* * * *
Pavel Chekov walked briskly up to his friend Sulu in the lobby of the Starfleet HQ. An exhilarated flash shone from his eyes. "Okay, Sulu, I'm ready! Vhen do ve leave for Genesi--I mean, for you know vhere?"
Sulu chuckled. "Wow, you're excited. What are you wearing? You look like a fashion model."
"This is my favorite leather pantsuit!" Chekov opened his arms to show off the ensemble. "If ve're really about to break all kinds of Starfleet rules and become outlaws, I vant to be stranded in my favorite outfit."
"You're strange," said Sulu, pointedly but amiably.
"I don't see you vearing rags yourself," Chekov noticed. "You look pretty sharp."
"Oh, this?" Sulu looked down at his bright blue shirt. "All my civvies look like this. I don't own anything I wouldn't want to be stranded in."
"Ve better get upstairs. I'm sorry I'm late." Chekov and Sulu hurried over to the lifts. "Admiral Kirk should be meeting vith Admiral Morrow by now." They stepped into an open lift. "Do you think Morrow vill approve this mission?"
"No, not really," said Sulu. "The Federation's got itself too worked up over the Genesis situation to allow the almost mythical sounding rescue of one man to risk war with the Klingon Empire. It's definitely in their better interests not to allow us to go. That way, when we go anyway, it's our butts that are on the line, and not Federation bigwigs."
"You think Kirk vill go anyvay?"
"Of course!" Sulu exclaimed. "I know a swashbuckler when I see one. I read about them all the time, remember? A tradition of half a dozen centuries, brave knights fighting unknown dangers with unrealistically good luck to save that one very special person. Now, Spock's a pretty bad fairytale princess, but Kirk certainly knows his swashbuckling."
"I'm picturing Keptin Spock in a tiara," said Chekov dryly. "It doesn't go vith my lunch."
"I can already feel the excitement," Sulu continued, his face flushed. "Can't you? I'm a born adventurer, Chekov... you ever get captured by any fire-breathing dragons, and I'll be right there to rescue you with my trusty blade and worthy steed."
"Neither of vhich you have at the moment," Chekov pointed out. "Besides, vhat makes you think I vouldn't be rescuing *you* from the fire-breathing dragon?"
Sulu gave him a look, then moved in closer with a more serious expression on his face. "This is the craziest, most unpredictable thing we're ever done, Pavel."
Chekov nodded. "Somehow things vill vork out."
"I know. I have faith in Admiral Kirk," said Sulu. "By the way, it might be a long time before we're alone together again."
They kissed until the turbolift stopped. By the time the doors opened, they had resumed a more professional demeanor.
Admiral Kirk was approaching them from the other side of the officers' lounge. "He's so sexy vhen he looks that determined," Chekov murmured before Kirk was in earshot.
"Shut up, Chekov!" Sulu hissed with a wink. Then, to Kirk, who was stepping into the lift, he asked, "The word?"
"The word," snapped Kirk, "is no. I am therefore going anyway."
Sulu and Chekov shared a look as the lift doors closed again, and Chekov said, "You can count on our help."
* * * *
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