Change of Command

Written by  on June 4, 2002 

Change of Command Cover

Stardate 137812.2 (Wed 15 Mar 2299): John Harriman is steping aside as captain of the U.S.S. Enterprise NCC-1701-B. Taking his place is Pavel Chekov, who served under Captain Kirk.

U.S.S. Enterprise NCC-1701-B
Docked at Earth Spacedock
Deflector Control Room
Stardate 137203.9
15 March 2299 1123 hrs

Pavel Chekov sat in the dimly-lit deflector control room, his face somber, his feet dangling over the edge of the grilled gangplank platform. His forehead rested against the railing, one hand lightly gripping beside it. This was where it had happened. This was where James Kirk had died.

It had been just seven years since the fateful, disastrous launch of the Starship Enterprise-B. John Harriman was stepping down after serving as the ship’s commanding officer, having accepted a promotion to the admiralty, and the ship had been recalled to Earth for the change-of-command ceremonies.

Granted, Harriman had grown into his role as captain since that first mission, but Chekov didn’t care how well Harriman had acquitted himself over the years—he couldn’t get past his hatred for the fact that the man had figured heavily in the death of his friend and onetime commanding officer.

There was a muted hiss as the doors behind him parted to allow someone entry to the deflector room. The person stopped just inside the room, and the doors slid shut. He cleared his throat—it was obviously a he, judging from the deepness of the sound.

Chekov didn’t budge. The man cleared his throat again, and was again met with no reply.

"Excuse me," the man said. It was Harriman. Chekov’s face twisted into a scowl. "We should be heading up to the observation lounge; the ceremony’s about to begin in a few minutes."

Again, Chekov didn’t respond.

"Captain Chekov?" Harriman asked.

"I heard you," Chekov muttered.

"I’m sorry that Captain Kirk died," Harriman said. "I’ve said and done everything I could think of to try to convince you of that. We… we can’t change the past."

Chekov’s expression changed briefly to one of mild amusement, but with his back to the younger man, it went unseen. "Sure ve can," he said. "I’ve done it a few times."

"That’s not," Harriman began, then stopped himself mid-sentence. "I mean… you know what I mean."

"DTI von’t let you?" Chekov asked sardonically. "Or are you still trying to ewade your responsibility?"

"I haven’t evaded anything," Harriman replied.

"Oh?" Chekov asked, vehemence growing in his voice. "Vhat about your responsibility to make sure your ship vas prepared for anything before leawing spacedock?"

"I had no choice," Harriman argued. "Admiral Evans ordered me to launch on schedule."

"Ewans vas trying to cower her own ass," Chekov retorted. "She sent vord out to the press about the launch, made it into a big ewent, and then gave you that idiotic order just so she vouldn’t look like a fool vhen final preparations vhere delayed. You vould have been vithin your rights to refuse an order like that."

"I realize that now," Harriman replied, "but at the time, I was still so damned inexperienced that I never knew when I could say no without risking insubordination charges."

"It vas your responsibility to know that," Chekov said harshly. He stood, glared at Harriman for a moment, then pushed past the younger man and made his way out the door.

Starfleet Headquarters
Office of the Chief of Operations
Stardate 137088.6
1 February 2299 0930 hrs

"Captain Chekov is here to see you, sir," said an avian-featured lieutenant six weeks earlier as she activated the comm panel on her desk within Starfleet Headquarters.

"Send him in," an older man’s voice replied. The line went silent and the lieutenant looked up at Chekov, who was standing in front of her desk.

She gestured to the door behind her and said, "The admiral will see you now."

Chekov stepped through the doors and into the office. Admiral Robert Bennett, promoted to the position of Chief of Operations following the Cartwright scandal, was seated at the desk, waiting for him.

"Come in, Pavel," Bennett said amiably. "Take a seat. I won’t bite."

"You vanted to see me, sir?" Chekov asked as he sat in one of the comfortable-looking chairs across from Bennett.

"Yes," Bennett admitted, "I did. How are you doing, Pavel?"

"As vell as ewer, sir," Chekov replied.

"Good, good," Bennett said. "And please, call me Bob." He took a deep breath, pausing slightly, and continued, "I called you here to discuss the Enterprise." Chekov’s brow furrowed. "I take it that’s still a sore subject."

"Yes, sir," Chekov admitted.

"Well," Bennett said, "I suggest you try to put aside your feud with Captain Harriman. It’s not going to help you if you knock him on his ass again."

"I don’t have much contact vith the man," Chekov said. "I’ll try to… control myself the next time I see him."

"That could be sooner than you think, Pavel," Bennett said. "He’s accepted a promotion, and the center seat’s opening up. I want you in it."

Chekov looked up in surprise. "To be honest, I vasn’t expecting that."

Bennett smiled again. "I pulled a few strings and whispered into the right ears. The Enterprise is yours."

Chekov simply stared at Bennett in shock. After being beaten to the captaincy of the newest Enterprise by Harriman and remaining as first officer of the Excelsior under his lifelong friend Hikaru Sulu, and finally making a royal fool of himself by slugging Harriman when it appeared the younger captain had killed Sulu’s daughter, Chekov had come to believe he’d never command the flagship.

"I… I don’t know vhat to say," Chekov said.

"’Thanks, Bob’ might be a good start," Bennett said dryly.

U.S.S. Enterprise NCC-1701-B
Docked at Earth Spacedock
Observation Lounge
Stardate 137203.9
15 March 2299 1147 hrs

Chekov and Harriman stepped through the wide doors of the observation lounge together, neither wanting to accord the other the honor of stepping into the room first. They took their seats at the head of the room, but soon Harriman was on his feet again and making his way to the nearby podium—as the current captain, he would open the ceremonies and then, figuratively, pass the baton to Chekov.

Chekov, meanwhile, looked at the faces before him. Most of Harriman’s senior staff had transferred off the ship, and several had already left to report to their new assignments. The reasons for the transfers were varied—many were just the typical transfers common in
Starfleet life and those would have left regardless, but one was sent packing when Chekov insisted he pick his own first officer rather than inherit one from a captain he didn’t respect to begin with. In the end, only three members of Harriman’s command crew remained.

Since the decommissioning of the Enterprise-A, several of Chekov’s old shipmates from that vessel came together again on the new Intrepid. Kirk and Scott had retired and had only set foot aboard that ship once, when Spock took command. Since then, both had disappeared without a trace—Kirk during the commssioning of the Enterprise-B, and Scott while en route to the Norpin V retirement colony just a few months later. He looked to Uhura, now captain of the Intrepid, who sat between Ambassador Spock and Dr. McCoy, and she smiled warmly in support.

"Ladies and gentlemen," Harriman began after clearing his throat, "welcome aboard the Enterprise. I’m Captain John Harriman. For the past seven years, it has been an honor and a privilege to command this vessel, but now that time is over. I’ve been asked to take on a new role in Starfleet, and have accepted a promotion to the admiralty.

"I’ve made several new friends, and a few new enemies." Harriman forced himself not to turn and look at Chekov. "But that’s all part of the job. With more than a few regrets, I’ll be moving on.

"And now I’d like to introduce to you the man who will be taking over the center seat. He’s a man with unquestionable experience in why we’re out there, and I’m sure he’ll do well as the new captain of the Starship Enterprise. Ladies and gentlemen, I give you Captain Pavel Chekov."

The audience thundered applause as Chekov rose from his seat and stepped up to the podium. Harriman stepped aside, and the two shared a brief glance before Harriman left for his own seat. Despite himself, Chekov was truly surprised that Harriman had found it within himself to speak so well of the man who held only contempt for him, and realized with regret that he wasn’t sure he could have done the same.

"Good morning," Chekov began. "I’m sure you have probably heard my name repeated more than a few times vhen you vere all in grade school." The room murmured with muted chuckles, and he continued, "I spent most of my career vith Jim Kirk, and I must admit, those vere some of the greatest years of my life.

"Most of Kyptin Harriman’s command crew vill be leawing vith him. I vish them vell in their lives and careers. Three vill be staying aboard under my command: Dr. Metcalfe, the ship’s surgeon; Lieutenant Commander Maggie Thompson, the ship’s science officer; and Lieutenant Demora Sulu, the ship’s helmsman. Also, Lieutenant Mark Stewens, who you may remember as the engineer who helped Mr. Scott save the El-Aurians during the Enterprise‘s maiden voyage, is staying aboard and vill be taking ower as chief engineer.

"New crewmembers vill be joining us in the command staff. Our new communications officer and first officer is another face from the old Enterprise, Commander Palmer, and the new chief of security is Lieutenant Jon Hardemon, who serwed vith me on the Excelsior. I’m confident ve vill all be able to vork together and carve our own niche into the history books, and continue the tradition of exceptional serwice associated vith the name Enterprise."

Chekov stepped away from the podium, and the audience broke into another round of thundering applause.

U.S.S. Enterprise NCC-1701-B
Docked at Earth Spacedock
Briefing Room
Stardate 137204.3
15 March 2299 1500 hrs

The doors to the briefing room adjacent to the Enterprise bridge hissed open. Chekov stepped through, quickly surveying the room and its occupants before him.

"Good afternoon," he said as he stepped up to his seat at the head of the table that dominated the room. He pulled his chair out and sat down, the others in the room—his senior staff—quickly following suit.

"I’ve called this meeting," Chekov began, "to bring you up to date on our next assignment. Admiral Bennett has ordered the Enterprise to join in the latest vave of humanitarian relief to the Klingon homevorld, Kronos. Ve’ll be transporting medical supplies and enwironmental control systems, and ve’ll be met at the border by a Klingon wessel that vill escort us through their space."

A ripple of unease ran through the room. Despite the newfound peace between the Federation and the Klingons, there were those on both sides who were still uncomfortable with the other.

"How long until we’re underway?" Demora Sulu asked.

"Two days," Chekov replied. "Loading operations vill commence tomorrow morning, and ve’re authorized to depart as soon as they’re complete."

"Will we be required to treat any Klingons?" Dr. Metcalfe asked, concern in her voice. "My staff and I aren’t very well-versed on their anatomy."

"Admiral Bennett anticipated that," Chekov replied. "He’s assigned a new doctor to your staff, Lena Stadi. She’s a Betazoid, specializing in xenobiology. Including Klingons."

"What are our orders regarding combat situations?" Jon Hardemon, the chief of security, asked.

"Ve’re allowed to defend ourselves," Chekov said. "Ve’re to make all efforts to awoid hostilities, but ve’re authorized to act in self- defense." He looked around the table, but no one seemed to be ready to voice any other concerns. "Are there any other qvestions?" he prompted. Again, no one spoke up. He rose from his seat, then continued, "Wery vell, then. Dismissed."

Starfleet Headquarters
Stardate 137088.9
1 February 2299 1130 hrs

"You what?" Nyota Uhura demanded incredulously on the screen across the desk from Chekov.

"You heard me," Chekov said. "I’ve been given command of the Enterprise."

Uhura blinked several times, trying to process the information she’d just received. "Does Sulu know?" she finally asked.

"Not yet," Chekov replied. "I vanted to talk to you first. I’ll be spending the next few veeks putting together my senior staff."

"How many of Harriman’s staff will be staying on?" Uhura asked.

"Not many," Chekov replied. "Just Demora, the science officer, and the doctor. If Sulu doesn’t object, I’ll be bringing the assistant security chief from the Excelsior ower vith me, and I’d like that engineer who vorked vith Scotty during the launch to take over in engineering. He struck me as wery competent."

"So," Uhura interrupted, "you still need a first officer, and someone at Communications, too."

"Any suggestions?" Chekov asked. "You know the people in that field better than I do."

"Remember Palmer?" Uhura asked. " She was a relief comm officer on the old Enterprise. Damn good one, too. I hear she’s chief of Communications on the Monitor, but she might be convinced to transfer."

"Any command experience?" Chekov asked.

"Why? Looking for your own Janice Rand?" Uhura chuckled.

"Consolidating both open positions vith a single officer might be beneficial," Chekov replied.

"You’ll have to take that up with her," Uhura replied. "And Pavel, congratulations. It’s about time."

U.S.S. Enterprise NCC-1701-B
Docked at Earth Spacedock
Stardate 137209.0
17 March 2299 0847 hrs

"Captain on the bridge!" a crewman announced as Chekov stepped out of the turbolift and strode onto the bridge. He glanced aroud at the officers manning their posts, then made his way to the center seat.

"Demora, vhat’s our status?" Chekov asked as he settled into his chair.

"Spacedock reports that loading will be completed in approximately fifteen minutes," the young helmsman replied.

"They’re early," Chekov commented. "How refreshing."

"Engineering reports all systems nominal," Sulu continued.

"Wery vell, then," Chekov said, rising once more from his chair at the heart of the bridge. "I’ll be in my ready room. Palmer, you have the conn." The striking blonde nodded her confirmation of the order, and he turned to make his way to the rear of the bridge.

He hadn’t been behind his desk more than a few moments before the chime sounded.

"Come in," he said, tossing the datapad he’d just begun to read back to the desk. The doors parted with a hiss, revealing Demora Sulu, a serious expression on her face. Chekov noticed the way her jaw was set and how she avoided directing her gaze at him.

"Vhat’s wrong, Demora?" he asked with concern as the doors closed behind the helmsman.

"I’m… I’m a little uncomfortable, sir," Sulu admitted.

"Uncomfortable?" Chekov repeated when she didn’t elaborate. "Vhy?"

"I’ve known you almost my entire life," Sulu explained. "I guess it’s a bit more of an adjustment seeing you as Captain Chekov instead of Uncle Pavel than I’d thought."

"Is that vhat this is about?" Chekov asked, stunned. "Are you afraid I’m going to give you special treatment?"

"I suppose so," Sulu admitted. "I mean, you’ve been calling me ‘Demora’ on the bridge, but you call everyone else by their last name or their rank."

Chekov pondered her words, then replied, "I didn’t realize I vas doing that. I guess I’m just used to calling you that. If it vould make you more comfortable–"

"I don’t want to overstep my bounds, sir," Sulu interrupted. "It’s your prerogative to call me by my first name."

"You still make a good point," Chekov replied. "Don’t vorry about me; if something’s bothering you, I vant to know about it."

"Thank you, sir," Sulu replied.

"Vell," Chekov said, leaning back in his chair, "now that that’s settled, and assuming there’s nothing else, feel free to return to your station… Lieutenant Sulu."

The young helmsman smiled. "Thank you, sir," she repeated, then turned and exited back to the bridge.

U.S.S. Enterprise NCC-1701-B
En Route to the Klingon Border
Mess Hall
Stardate 137211.6
18 March 2299 0719 hrs

"Hey, this seat taken?" Sulu asked the next morning as she stood, tray in hand, at a table in the mess hall occupied by the Enterprise‘s science officer, Lieutenant Commander Maggie Thompson.

"Huh?" Thompson asked, blinking, as she looked up from the plate of scrambled eggs she’d been absentmindedly manipulating with her fork. "Oh, hi, Demora. No; the seat’s free."

"Are you all right?" Sulu asked her friend. "You seem a little… out of it this morning."

"It’s nothing," Thompson replied quickly.

"Nothing?" Sulu repeated. "You’re so busy stirring your eggs around your plate that you didn’t even notice me until I spoke. What’s bugging you?"

"I don’t think you’re the person I should be talking to about it," Thompson replied.

"What’s that supposed to mean?" Sulu demanded. "I thought we were friends, Maggie."

Thompson sighed heavily, her gaze returning to her plate with renewed interest. "It’s the captain," she said softly.

"Captain Chekov," Sulu asked, confused, "or Captain Harriman?"

"Chekov," Thompson replied. "Harriman. Both."

"I’m not sure I’m following you here," Sulu said.

"You know how much I respect Captain– Admiral Harriman," Thompson said, correcting herself.

"Of course," Sulu said. "We all do."

"Not all of us," Thompson said. "That’s where Captain Chekov comes in." She paused and stared at the ceiling above their table. "I don’t know why I’m telling you this."

"You’re concerned about working under Captain Chekov," Sulu said, now understanding her friend’s worries, "because of his history with Admiral Harriman."

"You’ve got me," Thompson said, sighing yet again in dismay. "How can I work with a captain who’s shown such disrespect and outright hostility toward a man whom I respect so much?"

Sulu nodded her understanding, then reached out and put a comforting hand atop her friend’s. "I’ve known the captain a long time," she said. "Most of my life, in fact. He’s a good man. I understand his feelings about Admiral Harriman, even if I don’t share them."

"Admiral Harriman is a good man," Thompson said. "He doesn’t deserve Captain Chekov’s hostility."

"I agree," Sulu said.

"But why does he hate Harriman?" Thompson asked. "He’s never been anything but friendly—hell, even deferential—to him."

"He blames him for Captain Kirk’s death," Sulu said. "It’s something he’s still trying to get over."

"That wasn’t Harriman’s fault," Thompson said. "That much was obvious from the moment it happened; it was a freak accident that could have happened to any one of us. My god, it would have been Harriman who’d died if Kirk hadn’t stopped him and gone to deflector control in his place!"

"I know," Sulu said softly, trying to calm her friend. "But logic can get lost in the pain sometimes. He knew Captain Kirk since before I was born, and losing him like that hit him hard." She looked her friend in the eye before continuing. "Give him time, Maggie."

U.S.S. Enterprise NCC-1701-B
Near the Klingon Border
Stardate 137214.9
19 March 2299 1209 hrs

"We’re approaching the Klingon border," said the young Andorian, Ensign Ruck, from the navigation console to Sulu’s left.

"Slow to impulse," Chekov ordered. "Any sign of our Klingon escort?"

"I’m reading a D-9 type vessel on an intercept course," Thompson replied from her post at the science console. "ETA ninety seconds."

"On screen," Chekov ordered.

The empty star field was immediately replaced with a close-up image of a Klingon ship that looked very much like a larger, flatter, and more stretched-out version of the old D-7 type vessels and their successor class, the D-8—K’t’inga, the Klingons called them, Chekov reminded himself.

"We’re being hailed," said Palmer from the commuications station on the opposite side of the bridge from science.

"On screen," Chekov ordered. The image of the D-9 was quickly replaced with a towering Klingon face—one Chekov knew all too well. "Korax," he muttered.

"This is Captain Korax of the IKS Bat’leth. It’s been some time, Captain Chekov. It pleases me to see they finally gave you a ship that does justice to you." Before Chekov could reply to the apparent compliment, Korax continued, "This new Enterprise can haul even more refuse than the last one."

"Frankly, Korax," Chekov began, "I’m amazed to see a p’takh like yourself in charge of a scow like that."

Gasps resounded throughout the Enterprise bridge. As the crew stared at their captain in shock, Korax grinned broadly, then threw his head back and laughed.

"You’re much more fun than when we first met, Earther," Korax said. "Hopefully your Klingon has improved since the last time you visited our space."

"I took a few classes," Chekov replied nonchalantly.

Korax grinned, then brought their conference back to business. "My ship has been ordered to escort you to Qo’noS for the delivery of your relief supplies. We can be underway as soon as you can get the targs in your engine room spinning their wheels."

"Try to keep up with us," Chekov grinned, then motioned to Palmer to close the channel. "Lieutenant Sulu, best possible speed to Kronos."


Category : To Boldly GoVersion 2.0

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