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Randall Landers with Rob Morris

January 14th 2295

As the commander of the United Star Ship Enterprise, NCC-1701-B, Captain Pavel Andreievich Chekov had too little time to do too many things. One of those ‘lovely leetle tasks,’ as he was wont to call them, was evaluating prospects to replace crewmembers who were constantly coming and going where Starfleet needed them. The mission to Alpha Tucanae IV had resulted in quite a few deaths in the crew, and while Personnel had supplied replacements, they were, in general, temporary. Over the past few days, per his orders, his chief tactical officer had been conducting the unenviable task of ranking those who had either requested transfer to the Enterprise-B or were being nominated for the postings by the Personnel Office. Now, he was working on the ‘short list,’ and was surprised not to find one name on that list.

"Kyptin to Bridge."

"Lieutenant Commander Saavik here."

"Ah, Saavik, good. Just the person I vwant to see. Report to my office immediately, Commander."

"Yes, Captain. Saavik out."

Now he would get to the bottom of things.

The door chime chirped. "Come in."

The chief tactical officer strode in briskly—as any good Romulan would—and efficiently—as any good Vulcan would. It was almost amusing to see how the duality of her heritage was exemplified virtually in her every move. As that notion flashed across his mind, he realized that perhaps it was her duality at issue here.

"Lieutenant Commander Saavik reporting as ordered, sir."

Chekov smiled. "Have a seat, Saavik."

Her lips switched in disapproval, but she did as ordered. "Yes, sir."

"I have been reading over your evaluations of the prospective crew replacements." He looked across at her. Her face did not react, not even a glimmer crossed her face. "In fact, your evaluations have saved me days of work."

"As Chief Tactical Officer, I consider it my duty to assist you in any way, Captain."

Chekov smiled broadly, and she seemed to relax ever so slightly. He doubted that anyone without extensive association with Vulcans would’ve noticed it. "Yes, of course. I looked at your ‘short list,’ and—"

"Excuse me, sir. My ‘short list’?"

"Your list of prospects who you highly recommend."

She tilted her head in understanding, but said nothing.

Chekov almost chuckled. "I noticed a name was missing from the list."

"Indeed?" she asked, seemingly puzzled, but Chekov noticed she crossed her arms.

"Can I ask you a few questions regarding these recommendations?"

"Of course, Captain."

"I’d like you to review this officer’s file." He handed her a padd.

"Certainly, Captain." She scanned it quickly, raised an eyebrow, then met his gaze with what appeared to be deep conviction. "I have refamiliarized myself with the file, sir."

"By his lack of inclusion, do I take it that you consider Lieutenant Peter Kirk unqualified for the position of Second Science Officer?"

Chekov knew Saavik disliked having to clarify words, when their meaning was so very apparent. "No, sir, I do not," she responded. "His educational qualifications are, in fact, excellent for the position."

"Does he have any medical condition which would disqualify him from the position?"

"I would not choose to offer a medical opinion, sir, but his exposure to the blastoneurons on Deneva was a possible concern to me as well his neurosis which lead to his actions aboard the Enterprise-A."

The captain paused, choosing his words carefully. "Then can you explain why you find that he is less deserving than another equally competent officer?"

Saavik lightly nodded her head. "Yes, I can."

Chekov was trying not to get impatient. Saavik was an excellent Second Officer. She was one of his top advisors. He even considered her among his friends. "Please do."

"I consider Lieutenant Peter Kirk to be a security risk," she stated matter-of-factly.

"A security risk?"


Chekov waited for some explanation, but she said nothing. Frankly, he was torn between being amused by her curtness and being pissed at it. "All right, Commander. You’re making this difficult. Explain why Peter Kirk is a security risk."

The dam broke. "In 2287, Lieutenant Kirk collaborated with a Klingon, engaged in willful sabotage of the Enterprise-A, committed arson in the process, aided and abetted an assault on one of his fellow officers. He has proven himself to be an untrustworthy, disloyal—"

"Yes, he did those things. I was his arresting officer, remember? And he was punished. Those matters were settled eight years ago."

"Sir, he is a convicted felon who served time in a psychiatric rehabilitation facility."

And that was the basis of her concern, he was sure. "Commander, tell me about his record following his time in detention."

"His sentence was reduced to the bare minimum. His term of parole was cut due to his actions aboard the Enterprise."

"Yes. His sentence was reduced because he was a model prisoner, and the psychiatrist assigned to his case and the director of Tantalus Penal Colony himself both pronounced him well on the road to recovery. His parole was cut after his actions saved the lives of an Enterprise landing party."

She continued, "He served aboard the Shenandoah during which time the ship was crippled, and—"

"He was awarded the Grankite Shield for his conduct above and beyond the call of duty," he noted.

"He was aboard the Marseilles when—"

Chekov interrupted her again. "He helped get his crewmates through that reprehensible incident."

Saavik’s Romulan temper was obviously flaring. Chekov observed that her eyes and checks were flushed with green. "Sir, permission to speak freely—"

The captain sighed. "Saavik, I’ve told you the answer to that before. As long as we’re not on the bridge in a crisis situation, the answer is ‘Always.’ Please don’t ask again."

"My apologies, sir. I am aware of his actions from the past eight years. In a word, it is satisfactory."

"High praise from a Vulcan," Chekov beamed at her.

"Indeed. But he crossed a line over Dianas that I feel should not be so easily forgotten nor forgiven."

His eyes twinkled. "Can you tell me about my service record in 2283?"

"Certainly. You served as First Officer of the U.S.S. Reliant until that ship was overcome by Khan Noonien Singh and his supermen. You were infected by a Ceti Eel, and you received treatment from Doctor McCoy."

"What did I do as a result of the Ceti Eel?"


"What did I do? Specifically, what did I allow to happen?"

"The Reliant fell into the hands of Khan."

"And what happened to the scientists at SpaceLab Regula One?"

"They were...they were killed."

He nodded.

"But you weren’t responsible, sir."

"Agreed," he answered, and she seemed visibly relieved. "Now, tell me about the events of six weeks or so later. The Enterprise had returned to Earth, and?"

"I don’t understand," she answered.

"Tell me what did I do after the Enterprise returned to Earth?"

"A short time later, you, Captain Sulu, Captain Scott, Captain Kirk, with the help of Commander Uhura, kidnapped Doctor McCoy, and stole the Enterprise."

"And those crimes I was charged with, they were felonies, were they not?"

"But you committed those crimes in order to restore Spock’s katra!" she argued.

"And you’re saying the ends justify the means?"

"I...I...I don’t know."

Chekov stood and walked to the large window overlooking the ship’s engines. Stars were flashing by as the Enterprise continued its patrol mission near the Romulan Neutral Zone. "Saavik, come here," he softly requested.

Stiffly, and still at a loss for words, she walked to his side.

"They’re beautiful, aren’t they?"

She looked at the view. "The engines?"

He laughed and gave her a quick one-armed friendly hug. "Nyet. The stars, Saavik. The stars."

She stood there. "They are...aesthetically pleasing."

"That’s the Wvulcan in you talking. I vwant to hear from your Romulan side, Commander."

"They are...beautiful," she conceded.

Chekov smiled. Now’s the time, he decided. "So tell me, Mister Saavik. I’m the captain of the Enterprise-B, and I’ve got a new candidate for a high ranking position on my ship. Years ago, this officer was one of Starfleet’s best hopes for a future, mentored by one of the Enterprise’s command crew. Unfortunately, this officer has run into problems. This officer has talent, to be sure, and has bounced from ship to ship to ship. This officer is argumentative, disruptive, disrespectful, insubordinate. Would you honestly say I should reject this officer as a candidate for the high ranking position?"

"Absolutely, sir," she said without a second’s hesitation. "I think you’ve just proven my point, Captain. Peter Kirk is just not suited for this ship."

"Saavik, you were that officer I was describing."

She turned to face him, the dumbfounded look on her face making him chortle. "But, I—" She forced herself to compose herself. "I have never committed sabotage, or assault—"

"I have," Chekov said. "Nobody’s perfect, Saavik,"

The words seemed to have a special significance to Saavik, what he could not say. But when she spoke again, she had clearly acquiesced. "Captain, permission to review my...short list?"

"Granted, Commander. Granted."

He stood there a long time after she left, watching the stars go by...

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