Pavel Chekov struggled out of his gym clothes and into a clean uniform, all the time cursing softly in Russian. He was going to be late again. And the captain was going to be very angry. This was would be the third time during his first month as navigator of the Enterprise.
Chekov left his quarters and ran dawn the corridor for the turbolift, which had just discharged one passenger, the doors already beginning to close again.
"Bozhe moi," he swore again when called to his new friend. "Hikaru, please! I an wvery late! Hold the lift for me, vwill you?"
Lieutenant Sulu reached for the turbolifts hold button, but he was too late, and the skidding ensign was unable to stop himself as he slid hard into the now-closed doors.
Chekovs head hit the metal doors with a hard thud, and the young Russian officer slid to the floor, his last conscious thought: "Now Im really going to get it!"
Chekov awoke a few minutes later in Sickbay, with McCoy and Chapel standing over him.
"Well, Chekov," the doctor was saying with a wry grin. "It looks like youre going to have a nasty headache for a while."
McCoy then walked away from the bed and conferred briefly with his head nurse. "Christine," he said in a low voice. It was obvious he thought Chekov wouldnt be able to hear him. "I dont understand exactly what the problem is, but theres something strange about his brain waves. I want to keep him here for observation for a day or two. But dont say anything about the waves. I dont want to frighten him."
"Of course, Doctor."
"Doctor McCoy," the young ensign called from his bed. "Can I go back on duty?"
"Not now, Chekov. You took a nasty blow on the head. I want to keep you here for a while, just to make sure you didnt scramble your brains or something."
The doctor was grinning broadly, and Chekov grinned back, somewhat tentatively. Well, at least if I am in Sickbay, I cannot get into trouble with the captain for being late for duty.
Certified later that afternoon by the doctor as fit to return to duty (despite a continuing fluctuation in the pattern of his brain waves), Chekov was late again that evening, once again rushing down the corridor and shouting for Sulu to hold the turbolift. And once again, his friend was unable to stop the doors from sliding closed in the ensigns face. Finally, in total exasperation, Chekov called out, "Wait a minute!"
And suddenly it did. The doors stopped sliding shut midway in the closed position, leaving just enough room for Chekov to slip inside.
Once inside, he turned to Sulu. "Thanks, Hika..." He realized that Sulu didnt hear him. In fact, the lieutenant was standing absolutely still, staring straight ahead, not even blinking an eye, as if frozen in place.
"Hikaru?" Chekov asked tentatively. Nothing. He reached for the turbolifts manual control, thinking he should take Sulu to sickbay. But when he attempted to restart the turbolift, it remained motionless, just like Sulu.
Mumbling a Russian oath beneath his breath, Chekov attempted to puzzle out what had happened. All he had done was shout to Sulu to wait a minute, and everything had stopped. Glancing down at his wrist, he noticed that even his chronometer had stopped. Then suddenly, things started up again.
"Sorry, Pavel," Sulu was shouting out the doorway to his friend who no longer was half way down the corridor.
"Thanks, Hikaru," Chekov was saying at the same time from inside the turbolift.
Sulu pivoted around and faced his friend. "How?" he asked in puzzlement. "How did you get in here so fast?"
Chekov shrugged. "You were daydreaming and didnt notice me?" he suggested tentatively.
"Sure, Pavel," the very scrutable Asian helmsman responded. "Sure."
Chekov sat at his navigation console later in the shift, counting himself lucky that he had received just a slightly reprimanding glance from Jim Kirk when he arrived on the bridge only a little bit late for duty. Apparently, the captain had decided to be lenient on the ensigns first day back after the accident. But Chekov had better be careful in the future. He was going to have to do something about his tardiness. He was still too new on the bridge crew to get away with anything. And Kirk had a reputation for being a stern taskmaster.
"Mister Chekov." There was an edge in the captains voice. "Do you have that computation yet?"
Oy vey. He was in trouble again. He hadnt even heard the captains request and didnt dare ask him to repeat it. Instead, he turned to the officer at his side and asked Sulu what computation the captain was talking about.
Looking at him somewhat strangely, Sulu answered his question, and Chekov realized he couldnt complete the task quickly enough to satisfy an already angry captain. Now what?
Suddenly, he remembered the incident with the turbolift and wondered if it had been his imagination, a fluke or...
"Well, its worth a chance," he whispered to himself, drawing another puzzled glance from Sulu. "Wait five minutes," he demanded, still in a whisper. And, once again, everything stopped. Chekov glanced around the bridge and realized that everyone was frozen in place. Grinning to himself, he began to perform the computation the captain had ordered, assigning a small part of his own brain the task of counting out the seconds that made up five minutes. Just as one part of his concentration completed the complicated navigational task, the tither part of his brain was counting "fifty-eight, fifty-nine, six..." and everyone started moving again.
"Mister Chekov!" There was no doubt about it. The captain was really getting mad now. "About that computation..."
"I have it for you now, Kyptin."
The response drew a puzzled expression from Kirk. Chekov knew the captain suspected he hadnt even started the computation less than a minute before, and now he had completed it.
"Thank you, Ensign." Kirk apparently buried his suspicions.
Chekov sat at his navigation station, smiling to himself. He hadnt been late reporting on duty or completing an assignment in an entire week. He didnt know how or where he had acquired this new talent to stop time, but it sure did keep him out of trouble. Anytime he was running late on anything, all he had to do was say, "Wait a minute"or five, or ten, or even thirtyand everything stopped, giving him enough time to catch up. Of course, he had had to learn a few tricks to keep the other crewmenand especially the captain and Mister Spockfrom realizing what was happening, but this certainly was a very useful talent. It had even drawn him a few commendations when he completed complicated assignments earlier than anyone believed possible.
Uh-oh. He was daydreaming again. Turning to the captain, he listened as Kirk repeated his latest order and then turned back to his console to begin the computations, the most complicated task he had been given lately.
"Oh, well," he hesitated, wondering how long he dared ask for. Finally, he decided to take a chance. "Wait one hour."
There, that would give him enough time to do the work, easily, at his leisure, with plenty of time to relax at the same time. Then, once time was moving again, he could pretend to do the work in half the time it actually required, perhaps earning yet another commendation.
The ensign stood up and began to wander around the bridge, checking out everyone elses station and studying the frozen faces of his captain and fellow crewmembers, trying to figure out the various traits of character that were revealed in those faces. Not everyone got a chance to study them this closely, and the ambitious young officer was particularly interested in those traits that made up a command personality. Someday, he would like to be the captain of a starshipor at least first officer.
As he turned from studying his captain, Chekov caught a fleeting glimpse of something on the viewscreen at the front of the bridge. Then it was gone. Hurrying to Spocks science station, he attempted to work the console and analyze the flickering image on the screen, but realized those controls wouldnt work. A quick check around the bridge showed him the same results.
Then, suddenly, it didnt matter. The ghostly image materialized clearly. A Klingon battlecruiser! He swore to himself, then pushing the motionless Sulu aside, attempted to fire the ships phasers, arm the photon torpedoes, or even raise the Enterprises shields to protect her from attack. It was no use. Nothing worked but his navigational controls, and even those were useless with the helm frozen in place.
"No!" he shouted as he saw the bolt of disruptor fire shoot out from the enemy ship. "No! I didnt mean it. I dont want to stop time. Im sorry, wvery sorry. Somebody please help me, somebody please..."
He clenched his eyes tightly as the disruptor bolt closed in on the ship.
"Pavel. Wake up, Pavel."
Chekov opened his frightened eyes to meet a pair of gentle hazel ones that held an expression of concern he hadnt noticed before.
"Are you all right, Ensign?" Kirk asked him.
"I think so, sir. I guess...I just had a wvery bad dream, Kyptin." The Klingons, the gift, it had all been just a nightmare.
"That must be it." The captain smiled kindly at him. "You had an accident while running into the turbolift doors. Mister Sulu brought you here, and Doctor McCoy says you have a slight concussion. You'll be off-duty. Take it easy a while longer. Things are a bit quiet right now. I think we can manage without you for a day or two until you get over this. But, Mister Chekov..."
"When Doctor McCoy certifies you as fit to return to duty, try to be a little more punctual. If you werent late all the time you wouldnt have accidents like this."
"Yes, sir!" he replied. "I promise, Kyptin. That is wvery good adwvice. I vwill remember it, and I vwont be late again." No way will I be late again!
"Thats good, Ensign."
"Thank you, Kyptinfor the adwvice, and the wvisit." He watched Kirk exit Sickbay and let out a sigh of relief, then noticed Nurse Chapel about to leave the ward. A bit thirsty, he decided to ask for something to drink.
"Nurse," he called out. "Can you wait a minute?" She froze in mid-step, and Chekov felt a leaden dread invade his entire body. It cant be!
"Yes, Ensign," she turned to him with a smile. "Is there something you need?"
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