Word Count: ~9000
Rating: T, for language
Notes: A few weeks ago, I spotted a prompt at startrek_crack for "Superhero AU". I thought 'huh, sounds interesting'. Then I spotted a square on my cliche_bingo card that reads "Mutation/physical transformation".
...I think you can draw the same conclusion I did.
The brochure developed when the Federation really starts getting into the program tells the story something like this:
During a routine tour of Starfleet ships and technology to school-age children, the Commander on board noticed an unusual type of radiation moving towards her ship's location, with a trajectory towards Earth. Further inspection showed that the sweep of radiation was likely to brush through the atmosphere and cause no serious harm, but acting on her suspicions set course for the vessel to return to Starfleet Headquarters earlier than planned.
As she and the Captain of the ship arranged for the children to transport down from the ship, the radiation's trajectory altered slightly. As the last child waited to beam down, the radiation passed directly through the ship, affecting all three people on board. It continued through the atmosphere as the Commander had suspected, but further into the atmosphere. Small particles of the radiation were caught up in clouds, dust, and other particulates
Since that time, people world-wide have been slowly and mildly affected by the radiation, developing superhuman abilities. Speed, strength, flight, and many other powers have been discovered.
If you have such powers, do not be afraid of them. You can learn to control them, to use them for your own benefit. Starfleet can help.
Our own Captain, Commander, and Lieutenant were the first to discover their powers, having been most strongly and immediately affected by the radiation. With their help, we have founded a superhuman training program, designed to help you learn to control your abilities and learn the risks of misusing or abusing them.
By Christopher Pike's memory, it goes something more like this:
Doctor Boyce has organized the kids into groups of five, assigned crewmen to go down with them the minute Lieutenant-Commander Kirk's finished extending their transport range, while he's trying to decide who on the bridge crew is absolutely necessary, and who can be better spending their time moving things for the escape. He ends up sending everybody off the bridge but the helm, and only because Ensign Sulu's refusing to leave his children's lives in another pilot's hands, "not even yours, sir". The scanning being done on the radiation wave is useless--all they've learned is what they knew the moment long-range scanners picked up the thing: they've never seen anything like it before. Which is a common enough occurence in deep space, but not in Federation space.
If it wasn't for Number One, he wonders if he would have cracked under the pressure. As it is, the nervous energy building up makes his fingers tap frantically at the sides of his chair, watching a crackling pulse onscreen draw ever closer. Four thousand kilometers. Three thousand five hundred. Three thousand.
A breathless Kirk gives him the all-clear for safely beaming down children, and he orders the crewmen to take their groups of kids to the transporter rooms, relieved beyond belief that at least one thing is going right on this nightmare of a tour. Number One stands at his shoulder, silently reminding him that it's not quite over yet. They still have to get the ship in the atmosphere if they want to have any chance of saving the ship from being completely irradiated.
Sulu may be straight out of the Academy, but he's been a licensed low space pilot for five years now. Sliding into the atmosphere at high speeds without any burnup is one of his best-known tricks. He brings them to a stop a dozen kilometers above the Pacific, sets the impulse engines to keep them hovering in-atmosphere, and leaves the bridge with the captain's blessing. He's got two kids of his own waiting for Daddy to take them on the transporter ride home
That's everything done now. He slumps in his seat, and can feel Number One relax behind him. All that's left is to wait for everyone else to get off the ship, and then leave her themselves.
The radiation is fifteen hundred kilometers away when the call comes up from Starfleet. The transport officer on duty sounds harried--only natural, given the situation--but as he listens to her message, he realizes it's for a very different reason. All of the kids have beamed down and checked off the list of kids sent up, and one's missing. Jim Kirk. The Lieutenant-Commander's son. Swearing under his breath, he leaves the conn with Number One and runs off to look for where they kid could have gotten to.
A thousand kilometers away, and all of the crew but the technicians running the transporters are on the ground, and Number One is reassuring Lieutenant-Commander Kirk that they'll find her son, but could she please calm down, as a panic attack won't help anyone. No sign of the kid.
Five hundred kilometers away, Number One's sent all the technicians down and put up the shields, and he's reached the starboard observation deck. Jim is standing there, a skinny blond eight year old staring out a window to space. He can see the radiation coming towards them, but now that he's not measuring the distance in numbers it's slowed to a crawl. He says something he hopes is witty to Number One still on the bridge, sits down next to the kid, and asks him why he didn't go down with the others.
Jim doesn't turn to him, doesn't even blink as he stares at his death approaching. He says, I wanted to see the lightning that killed my dad.
There's about a hundred things wrong with that sentence--no one knows what exactly happened to the Kelvin, even having been on her himself he doesn't know, but just because the last visual resembled lightning in space doesn't mean that was what killed George Kirk--but one thing is horribly right.
The radiation looks exactly like that so-called lightning storm.
It's the last thought that occurs to him before the radiation hits the ship, and it has him kicking himself as he slips into unconsciousness.
The world just loves them. Jim suspects that they could only love them more if they were related, and as Pike is totally dating the Commander (don't ask him to try and pronounce her real name--seriously, don't) "secretly", the world can't get much closer to that ideal. But, point is, the world loves their superheroes. There's been a huge jump in number of old Superman and Captain America comics being read, and it doesn't take a genius to figure out why. If Pike wore red-white-and-blue he'd be a near perfect match for either patriotic hero, though the Commander is more Wonder Woman than Lois Lane. So, yay, the Captain and the Commander are the world's perfect superman-and-wife (to be).
Jim gets to punch assholes and get rewarded for it for a change.
...but the thing is, about Superman, is that he's alone. The last of his kind. Even though he finds a Lois Lane, a Jimmy Olson, none of them are really anything like him. No other Man from Krypton left to understand him. The closest he gets is a Batman, a Justice League, though that's not quite the same. It's lonely.
This is just Jim guessing about comic book superheroes, after all.
It's not like he knows anything about it.
About being lonely.
Cause Jim's not lonely! He's the Cadet, the world loves him too much for him to be lonely.
Not lonely one bit.
...except maybe once in awhile. Maybe.
It doesn't help that there isn't anybody his age, okay?
He's in Toronto for a press thing as the Cadet (he never gets the point of them, it's not like people don't know what his "secret identity" is) when that changes.
It starts when the square he's standing in front of starts blowing up. Apparently there were some terrorists or something trying to threaten the Prime Minister and thought an award ceremony for a superhero was an appropriate time? Whatever, terrorists always seem pretty stupid to Jim. So the square is exploding, and his mostly-impervious-skin makes that not really a problem for him, though it is a bit of a problem for everyone else in the square. Especially because there's an garage sitting under the square.
As Jim starts running around, grabbing people and pulling them to safety, he realizes that there's a lot of people in the square. A lot of tall people. A lot of tall, squirming, screaming people. It makes it really hard for him to save people if they're being uncooperative and hard to carry, which they really are today.
Trying to help a particularly stubborn lady with a scarf on her head who keeps insisting on going back for her dog or something, Jim trips over something. Like, actually trips. If Pike wasn't already going to be mad at him for getting mixed up in a terrorist attack (which he will, being the blame-the-coincidentally-involved kind of guy he is), he'd be furious at him for moving at a speed too fast for him to avoid hitting things. They'd just reviewed that last week.
The lady goes flying out of his arms, and Jim would be worried about her getting hurt in the landing, but he's a bit preoccupied with what he tripped over.
It's a bomb. Well, no. It's a lot of bombs. And the timer attached to them is set for ten seconds.
Jim isn't proud of what he does next. "Mostly impervious skin" covers a lot of rocks and punches and things, but they haven't exactly tested it to see if it covers point-blank range explosions. Jim's rarely concerned about his mortality unless (a) he's falling from a high height, (b) he doesn't know if something can hurt him or not, but when he's concerned he freaks out. Which is exactly what he does: He panics.
He picks up the bomb, watches the seconds tick down, juggles it from hand to hand. He might be screaming a little, or he might just be saying "oh my god oh my god oh my god" under his breath, he can't quite tell one voice from another.
Then, suddenly, someone yanks the bomb out of his hand. Jim blinks, glances up expecting to see a bomb specialist simultaneously berating and saving him, only to see sky. Surprised, he looks down at the odd-looking figure messing with the wires. His age is hard to guess--on one hand, his round face, wide eyes and short stature make him look younger than Jim, but the serious expression of intelligent determination makes Jim feel a lot younger than him. He's wearing a black knit cap pulled low over his head, which, you know, they're in Canada, it makes sense, but there's something odd about him Jim can't quite pinpoint.
He hands the bomb back to Jim with that same solemn face, some wires yanked off at one end or another, and as Jim glances at the timer he realizes what's weird here. It's stopped at seven seconds fifty, not even a full second since the kid took it from him. That means two things. One: he really has to learn to tell the difference between the speed that's normal for him and that's normal for other humans. And two:
"You're like me," he breathes, shocked.
The kid's expression doesn't change, but he somehow looks sad. "I sincerely doubt that."
Jim picks up a stone and crushes it in his hand.
"...I retract my former statement."
The kid explains how he deactivated the bomb, and Jim starts running around and fixing them. It's pretty easy, once he knows how to do it, and between the two of them they find and deactivate the rest of the bombs before the policebots can get into the square and, in their words, "apprehend the criminals". The terrorists surrender quickly enough--trying to make a statement or something? Jim doesn't get it, he never gets terrorists--and the damage to the square is minimal. The Prime Minister, huffing and puffing from the run back to the square, declares him a hero again for saving them all. Normally, Jim would be okay with this, except he's really not the one who saved them this time.
He deflects the compliments, looking around for that kid, but he's disappeared. Reluctant, and a bit upset, Jim accepts the praise.
Half an hour later, fidgeting during the shuttle flight back to San Fransisco, he shoves his hands in his pockets and feels something unfamiliar in one. Frowning, he pulls out a neatly folded piece of paper, opens it. It reads:
I am sorry I had to leave without alerting you, but my mother was in need of my assistance. I am all she has left. I hope you understand my reasoning.
We will likely never see each other again, having met by coincidence and having no knowledge about the other. This is unfortunate. Our work together was highly efficient, and we saved many important officials in the process.
Aside from that, I am grateful to have met you. It was reassuring to learn of the existence of someone with abilities similar to my own.
Live long and prosper.
The note is unsigned, but something between the lines leaves Jim with a wide smile and a glowy warm feeling in his chest.
He's found his Batman.
He's used to people staring. One of the disadvantages of being a more physically affected super than mentally is that other people can tell. And yeah, it hasn't helped that it's only grown worse--more noticeable, that is--over time, but he expected a bit more tact from the Federation-sponsored supers club.
"Holy shit, did I just develop X-ray vision?"
Leonard McCoy later realizes this is just him being honest (and tactless, and a bit lacking in common sense), but at the time it just sounds like he's being an ass. It doesn't help that he looks like the pretty-boy lawyer Jocelyn's taken up with. So, instead of making a pleasant first impression with these Federation supers, he says, "Not unless the rest of the goddamn universe has, kid."
The pretty boy bristles at the word kid, and glances at the doctor inspecting Leonard. "So, what, he's see-through?"
"In a way, Lieutenant," Boyce replies calmly, attempting to find a good vein to use his dye-filled hypospray on. Leonard can respect a doctor like Boyce; keeps his cool, gets people talking. A good kind of doctor to have on a starship, but then the radiation hit. Now he's probably registered as a low-level telepath, and the planet's still trying to figure out what to do with those. If it's ethical to allow supers to work their jobs, like they're somehow not qualified anymore. It's idiotic, but it's why Leonard is here. Probably why Boyce is here too.
Finding a strong pulse in the soft inner elbow, Boyce carefully places the hypospray against his skin and injects. Leonard winces--he was just a bit off--but sympathizes.
When you can't see the body you're working on, you can't exactly be a good judge of where to start injecting.
"Have you ever read The Invisible Man?" Boyce continues as the pretty boy 'Lieutenant' stares at Leonard's arm. "As best I can tell, this man's condition is a bit like that."
Leonard watched the dark blue dye travel up his shoulder, across his chest, and pause for a moment as it moves through the valves in his heart. The color is faint as the blood leaves his heart, and by the time it's travelled down to his opposite fingertips, it's completely gone. "Yeah, I've tried that before," he drawls. "The UV tag will have faded too." He flexes the cloudy blue arm, lets the doctor watch the color lighten. "Muscular activity speeds up the process."
"Interesting." Boyce scrawls something down. "But your skeletal structure's been unaffected?"
"Yeah, but who knows how long that'll last. It started out with darker pigmentation--my eyes, hair, even some freckles--and then skin started going. Then muscle. For all I know, the bones're just taking a bit longer to go. Or maybe they'll be all I have left." Frowning at himself for getting poetic, he reaches for the pants he took off earlier, pulls out his flask. "If we're done, doc, I think I need to have a date with my friend Jim Beam."
"I've finished my physical examination, if that's what you mean," Boyce says absentmindedly, still writing down notes.
The Lieutenant starts choking when Leonard pulls on his clothes. Doesn't take a genius to figure out why--he'd been staring at Leonard since the moment he walked in. "I swear, I totally didn't know you were--"
"Naked? It's not like it matters when there's nothing to see."
The Lieutenant frowns. "Still, it's probably annoying as hell. Sorry."
The sincerity of the apology surprises him, but Leonard just shrugs. He should be able to see that, as odd as a mostly disembodied shirt shrugging might be. "Forget about it." He finishes tugging on his boots, hops off the clinical observation bed and looks the kid over. Obnoxious pretty boy he may be, but he's still the Lieutenant. If Leonard's going to stick with this thing, they're going to work together. If this had been the Captain it would be different--he's in charge of this whole operation, after all--but the Lieutenant is probably on his level. There's nothing wrong with a drink between coworkers. "You old enough to join me and Jim here, kid?"
The kid almost bristles again, but something about Leonard's tone must indicate he's teasing, as he rolls his eyes and punches Leonard's shoulder instead. "Come off it, Bones, I've been drinking harder stuff than that for years, and I know I look it."
"'S what you are, isn't it?" The Lieutenant glances at his hands and face meaningfully. "Unless you'd rather I call you, uh..." He looks over Boyce's shoulder, where he's back to scrawling on his visit observations form. "McCoy, Dr. Leonard Horatio." He wrinkles his nose. "Horatio? And I thought my middle name was bad."
"Bones is fine, kid."
"And that's another thing, Bones. I'm not a kid, and I don't want to be treated as such if we're gonna be working together."
"Well I'm sure as hell not calling you Lieutenant. I'm a doctor, not a soldier."
"Jim, then. James Tiberius Kirk." The Lieutenant--Jim, apparently--holds out a hand to shake.
"Shouldn't you be keeping your name a secret? What's the point of your superhero pseudonym if you go around telling everybody your name?" But Leonard takes his hand anyway. Jim smiles at him, and they walk out of the room.
"And I don't know what you're talking about, Jim. Horatio is clearly better than Tiberius."
Phillip Boyce smiles to himself as he finishes his last comment. He looks the form over before he signs his approval and confirmation of what's been written above, then sets the pad down and walks out the door, locking it behind him.
FSH ID# 00005
Name: McCoy, Dr. Leonard Horatio
Pseudonym: (chosen pseudonym, if applicable)
Description of Superhuman Abilities: Pigmentation of subject's entire body has disappeared. Cells appear non-existent to any wavelength scan, with the exception of the subject's skeletal structure. Cells still have structure and ability of normal cells. Loss of pigmentation does not affect dyes in contact with skin, though it does affect dyes injected into the subject's body. Muscular contraction speeds up loss of pigmentation, indicating a possible myosin or ATP connection. According to subject's recollection, loss of pigmentation has occurred gradually over time, moving from darker pigments to lighter until all dermal and muscular structure became invisible.
Speculation/Notes: I believe the loss of pigmentation to be, rather than an irreversible physical attribute, a mentally or endocrinologically controlled attribute. Subject's family history shows signs of recent emotionally hardship, which I believe brought on the slow intangibility. Will attempt to expose subject to positive emotional environment and observe any changes in visibility on all wavelengths. Should changes occur, I believe the subject can learn to control his invisibility at will, or even expand it to affect others, making him a useful asset to the Federation tactically.
One of the problems that developed as FSH membership grew was, embarrassingly enough, keeping track of who was involved. She, having been telepathic before the radiation, had prior knowledge of how to control her abilities which she typically used to assist new members (or newly discovered superhumans, as the case may be) learn how to control their own. However, being that a number of superhumans had abilities whose controls were not mental (a pyrokinetic example came to mind, where the person in question required a specialized face mask to wear to keep from breathing fire on any who approached her), she knew that she did not see them all.
That said, the man she came across sitting in one of the meeting rooms, typing on a computer that easily took up half of the tabletop didn't look familiar at all. She approached. "Excuse me, Mister..."
He glanced up. Squat man, pale skin, otherwise dark features. Evidently cold, as he was wearing a thick coat and a knit cap. The temperature in this room was about fifteen degrees below standard temperatures, she realized. To keep the computer from overheating? It didn't look very delicate, but she could hear a number of fans whirring. "Scott. Montgomery Scott, call me Scotty." Noticeable accent, Scottish. Not Aberdeen, not Glasgow, but close to the latter. From central Scotland? He looked her over. "Are you the Commander, then?"
Has knowledge of FSH members. Could know the famous "original" members from the media. Could know her face from the recruitment paraphernalia. "I am. Mr Scott, I don't recall having met you before."
"Well that's because you haven't, isn't it?"
A penchant for stating the obvious? Or just to be obnoxious? Inconclusive. "What I mean, Mr Scott, is that I should at least have known your name. I meet with all new members."
"Oh, I'm not new."
Not possible. She would have noticed a man like this before. "You're not new?"
"Aye, I've been here for a month and half now." He typed something, then stepped away from his computer. "When Admiral Archer transferred me from Starfleet."
Ah ha. And therein will lie the answer. "Why did the admiral transfer you here?"
He shrugged, managing to make the act a sound as well. "D'you remember the series of cyberterrorist attacks on the Federation and Starfleet headquarters about, oh, three months ago?"
She thought back, remembered the spam emails and viruses destroying PADDs. The closer a person had been to the epicenter of the attack, the worse the bugs. San Fransisco and Paris had been impossible to live in for a week. "I remember. A third-party computer technician traced it back to the United Kingdom, found the actual people involved and brought them down."
He gestured toward himself and his computer.
She frowned. "We suspected it was someone involved with the Uhuru organization when no one took credit for it..."
"I'm not Uhuru, Commander. Though she's quite the computer wizard. I'd love to see what kind of processor she uses..." He trailed off wistfully.
"Uhuru is a group of anti-terrorists, Mr Scott. Rumors stating otherwise have never been proven. That aside, are you saying that you alone brought down that cyberterrorism group?"
"If it was proven otherwise, I don't think we'd be calling them rumors, Commander. But they do have some basis, or the rumors wouldn't have started in the first place." He smiled to himself, at some secret joke, and ran an affectionate hand across one of the smaller CPUs attached to his computer. "My lovely computer here pulled that one off. I built her from scratch five years back, and she's never failed me since. That group was running out of Edinburgh, and I was at the university at the time. We noticed the odd signal, investigated, found them, informed the appropriate officials through less-than-official methods."
And here was the why she was looking for. "Admiral Archer was not involved in the investigation, and I don't think he appreciated his personal computer being hacked into."
He scoffed. "Show a man the gaps in his firewall, he should thank you, not put you on suspension. After the investigation finished, and he realized I'd been in the right, he moved me here."
"I see." Christopher would have to speak with Admiral Archer about this. Superhuman wasn't the department you push people sideways into. "Have you met with Doctor Boyce?"
"He the white-haired doc with a stash of good scotch in the back cabinet?"
"Possibly. How was his bedside manner?"
"Terrible." He rubbed at his neck, and she had a strong idea of who he had seen. "No offense to the doc, but he shoved a hypospray at my neck and depressed without checking for a less painful place or anything. I'm not a medical man, but I'm pretty sure that's not commonly done."
"In that case, no. That was another of our doctors--I believe the public knows him as Bones?"
"What--the Invisible Man? That was him?"
"His pigmentation varies with his mood. If his hair was white and he was as impolite as you say, you likely caught him at a bad time."
"You can say that again. I couldn't turn my head that way for days."
"What did the doctor have to say about you?"
"Hm? Oh, that. Lacking strong evidence of radiation-caused abilities, due to my location at the time (Linlithgow, beautiful town, visiting my sister's kids). But if the admiral really wants me here, intelligence can be classified as superhuman." He made a face as he said it, making her suspect he'd quoted the doctor's words exactly.
"But you don't have any true superhuman ability."
"Nah. But I liked the sound of it, "superhuman intelligence". And I like this place! You know, it's exciting."
Yes, she knew.
Kevin Riley is the best roommate anyone has ever, or will ever, have. He's gotten his roommates: drunk on better alcohol than they've ever known before; the "study partners" of their dreams; and, on one memorable ocassion, recruited into the Federation superhero program.
What, you hadn't heard that story before? Well, far be it from Kevin to deny you.
It started when Kevin got into the Starfleet Academy, command track. Getting in at all was really exciting, and there was a lot he wanted to see and do when he got to San Fransisco.
But once he saw how smart the average student was, and got a good look at the city, he realized that what he really wanted was off-campus housing. And a quiet roommate. He'd found both in a four-person suite, where he shared a room with Hikaru Sulu. Vinny DeSalle (Vincent, but he'd decided on the first day that he was more of a Vinny) and John Kyle took the other bedroom, and they shared the rest of the house. It was convenient--they had classes in common, as they'd all decided to focus on the helm. Except for Sulu, but the only thing he could ever decide on was that he liked everything. Antique guns, antique swords, political history, historical airplanes, French history as a whole, with botany to round it out. All that, on top of his astrophysics focus. The guy was nuts.
Which was part of why Kevin liked him so much, at first. He was as quiet as promised and then some. The kind of roommate who would appreciate the studying frenzy Kevin went through every two or three weeks, when he realized that his classes were full of geniuses and he needed to keep up.
After they finished their first year, and Kevin realized that he wasn't as dumb as he'd thought, though, Sulu's quietness got a bit annoying. It wasn't like he spent all his time in their room or anything, but when he went out he never seemed to have much fun. Well, fun in the traditional sense.
So, a bar in mind and blackmail in hand, Kevin decided to change that.
They got kicked out of that bar after an hour, Sulu drunk off his ass and Kevin torn between remorse (his favorite bar, lost to him forever!) and glee (Sulu is the best drunk ever). Then they got back to their house, Sulu found the beer in the fridge, and Kevin was no longer torn. Because this was hilarious.
Sulu, it turned out, did not have a fascination with antique swords, political history, and French history.
He had a fascination with The Three Musketeers.
No, seriously, he had this box in his closet that contained a rapier that looked accurate to the time period (though it did give you an electric shock if you weren't careful), and a musketeer's costume. The box was, like, triple-locked, but when Kevin wasn't looking Sulu went and opened it up and got into the outfit. And, despite having been drunk off his ass after just an hour of hard liquor, Sulu was still conscious when Kevin collapsed on the couch.
He doesn't know what exactly transpired between his collapse and the next morning, but he can guess. The video footage helps.
When he woke up, it was to someone knocking on their door. It took him a minute to realize that Vinny's out of town and John stayed over with his boyfriend, and another minute to scramble to the door. It's only as he opened it that he wondered why Sulu didn't answer.
That was because it was Sulu at the door, red-faced, still in his costume. "I hate you, Riley," he said.
"Aw, you'll learn to love your hangover, Sulu." Frowning at the strength of his own, Kevin wandered back into the kitchen to grab one of the hangover cure hypos Vinny always kept around, God bless the man.
"I don't get hangovers."
"Lucky you," Kevin scoffed, wincing as he injected the cure. Then something occured to him. "Wait, that wasn't your first time getting drunk?"
"Are you kidding me? Of course not. I just know better than to get drunk. Or did you forget what I did last night?"
Kevin laughed. "Oh man, I hope I never do. You're a regular musketeer, my friend."
A pained look came over Sulu's face. "I guess you didn't see all of it, then."
"Why do you say that?"
A voice over Kevin's shoulder drawled, "Why don't you read the news and find out, kid?"
He jumped, hit his knee against the table, swore, and spun around. "What the hell?" There was no one there.
Sulu looked unsurprised. "You followed me back."
"Of course I did, d'Artagnan. You think we're going to leave someone with the tech to take down the Lieutenant by himself?"
"I said I was coming back."
"And we can trust you to tell us the truth? After knowing you for one night? Think again."
"Hold on, hold on." The hangover cure hadn't quite hit yet, and the sight of Sulu talking to the kitchen wall was confusing him. "Sulu, what the hell happened?"
His ears bright red, Sulu sat down and pushed a PADD across the table to Kevin. He read it over as a third chair pulled out and pushed back in.
Kevin has a hard copy of that article, and he will keep it forever. If you know Sulu at all, you know the article he's talking about, you don't need him to read it back to you. Besides, the title "MUSKETEER TAKES DOWN DRUG RING, LIEUTENANT" kind of says it all, doesn't it? Though the attached video of Sulu fencing with the gun-wielding trafficker as he declares something in French is pretty nice too.
"So what's your name, kid?" The candidacy forms he'd filled out are half unreadable. Not because the kid can't write, but because it's written with the Cyrillic alphabet. Leonard squints. No, wait, there's some Standard in there. Physical stats, superhuman terms. Common words, or things they don't have words for in Russian. His name, though, is definitely Cyrillic. He can't even tell if it's his born name or his super name.
"Chekov, sir. Pavel Andreievich." The kid frowns, glares a little. It's kind of cute, like a six-inch-high terrier puppy yipping at your heels. "And I am not 'kid'. Sir." The pause before the 'sir' gets a raise of Leonard's eyebrow.
"Alright, Chekov," he says, not believing him for a second. He can see the birth date written there clear as day, this kid isn't half his age. "You got a pseudonym too, or are you sticking with your real name?"
"I..." Chekov falters. "I do not wish to associate my family with...this." He gestures at the room around them, the tidy, sanitary office environment wrapped up in reinforced steel and shatterproof glass. Leonard nods, it's a common concern. "But I do not..." Chekov pauses, glances around nervously. Leonard recognizes this kind of shiftiness, he's seen it in supers before. Half of them used their abilities unethically at one point or another; with popular opinion so anti-super, it would have been the only way to survive. A lot of the new kids they bring in are supers who'd just run out of options. He puts on his sympathetic face, the 'I understand what you're going through' expression that a frightening number of people trust.
Chekov smiles weakly, breathes in, out. "When I was in the circus, they called me...Human Cannon. By myself, my power is quiet. When I involve other things..." He mimics an explosive sound, waves his hands to show the movement of air. "Like a cannon firing. They claimed I could play with an orchestra, just for the 1812 Overture." Chekov's smile is wistful, nostalgic, but pained. The memory is both fond and not. "I do not want that name again, but...something similar, perhaps?"
Scribbling something down, Leonard opens his mouth to offer suggestions when, with an annoying chirp, his comm begins to buzz. He sighs, sends an apologetic glance to the kid, and takes out the comm. "Doctor M--dammit, Bones here."
"Maybe you should just go by your name, instead of using a pseudo, Bones. You always almost say it anyway."
"If these comms didn't sound so much like my pager--" Leonard cuts off the tired argument. "What do you want, Jim?"
"We're on duty, Bones. It's "What do you want, Lieutenant?"."
"Not on your life. Get to the point."
An ominous pause. "The point. Right." Leonard suddenly notices a faint whistling sound in the background that he'd attributed to static. It doesn't sound much like static now. "Well, you see, Bones, inexplicably," it's Jim's fault, he mentally fills in, "D'Artagnan and I have fallen off of the training platform."
A new voice inserts itself in the conversation. "All due respect and all that, Lieutenant, but I am not going by d'Artagnan, no matter how much you and the media want me to."
"Sulu, do you really think this is the time to discuss names? We're falling to our deaths!"
"Well, I did have a parachute, but somebody broke it."
"I already apologized for that!"
"Doesn't change the fact that I'm going to have to take apart my entire suit to fix it." Sulu sounds surprisingly calm, given the topic at hand.
"Yeah, if we survive!" Jim contributes, much louder and sounding worried. "Point is, Bones, I need a flier out here ASAP, unless you want Sulu and me to learn how hitting the desert face-first feels!"
Leonard looks over the list of on-duty supers, frowning more and more clearly as he moves down the list. "I don't know if I can do that, Jim. The Captain and the Commander are the only fliers nearby, and they're both working with flier candidates."
Jim swears. "Any speeders around? Maybe they can make a cushion, slow us down?"
"You know that hasn't been confirmed as a consistent ability, Jim, we can't-"
"Excuse me." Chekov interrupting catches him off guard. Leonard glances at the kid, who looks like he only understood about half of what they said. "The people talking to you. They are falling without a parachute?"
"Yeah, from pretty high up." He glances down at the forms he's still got clutched in one hand. "Why, can you do something about it?"
"Da." He pulls some scanning do-hicky off of his utility belt and grabs the comm from him. "Excuse me sirs, hello. How far up did you begin falling, what is your approximate combined weight, and how long have you been falling, please?" He holds the scanner above the comm, and it starts beeping as Jim and Sulu answer his questions. It stops with one very loud beep, which the kid glances at. He moves the scanner and comm into one hand, and starts staring into middle distance, moving his free hand around in some pattern the Doctor can't quite grasp.
"...not meaning to rush ya, Chekov, but they don't exactly have much time."
The kid nods absently, muttering under his breath. "Hold on, hold on...I've almost..." He sucks in a breath, reaches out and grabs at some random piece of air, and shouts, "There!"
At first, Leonard can't even tell that anything's happened. Then he notices that the kid's hand is gone. Not cut off, not bleeding, but not cauterized. He stares at it. He can see the veins contracting, pumping blood, but he can't see where it's being pumped. It's surreal.
"Sirs, there should be a hand just below you." Chekov's arm wiggles, and he adds, "I am waving at you. Can you see it?"
"Yeah, and can I just say, what the fuck."
"Please grab my hand, sir, and hold tight." He suddenly struggles to stand straight, drops his tech to grab on to his hand-less arm and starts pulling up. After a moment, Leonard wraps his arms around Chekov's waist and starts pulling. It can't hurt, he decides.
With a loud crack ("like cannon fire" seems a bit like an understatement, this close to it), the hand reappears, Jim holding on to it desperately with one hand, the other wrapped around...a torn cape. Goddammit.
Leonard drops the kid and grabs his comm, calling Sulu's, hoping they hadn't been too close to the ground when Chekov got to them.
After a ring, he picks up. "Hey doc," Sulu says, calm as ever. "Sorry about that, but I could tell we were too heavy for your guy over there to handle. Better one gets back than none, right?"
"Dammit, Sulu," Jim grabs the comm out of his hands to shout at him. "What were you thinking? I'm partly invulnerable, I might have survived the crash!"
"Not likely, Lieutenant. And anyway, I've always wanted to test my landing gear. The physics is shaky, but that's part of the fun, right?" He chuckles shakily. "My list is folded up in my copy of The Three Musketeers. Make sure they don't feel too bad, alright?" His list? Leonard's stomach sinks as he realizes it must be his "to inform" list in case of a crisis. He's actually okay with this, with dying during a training session, of all the stupid things to die doing.
"They will not, Mr Sulu." Chekov has picked up his scanner and taken Leonard's comm from Jim, and it's beeping again. "You will not be dying today. Mr Bones, Lieutenant, please take this," he hands them the comm and scanner, "and keep me from going through completely. Hold my legs down."
With a faint pop Leonard hadn't noticed before, the upper half of Chekov's body disappears. Jim swears. "That's way creepier on this side."
"You're telling me," Leonard says faintly, staring at the kid's duodenum as he and Jim squat to grab his calves.
Abruptly, Chekov's knees buckle, and Leonard struggles to keep him from sliding out of his grip. With another crack, the top half of Chekov reappears, Sulu in his arms, and they fall to the floor. They groan, and Sulu pushes himself off Chekov's chest and collapses face-first on the floor. Chekov's red-faced and panting, but he grins to himself as he jabs at the air triumphantly and says, breathlessly, "Yobmayo!"
Jim smiles at Leonard--his standard successful mission grin, with a stronger hint of relief in his eyes. Sulu pets at the ground, muttering something under his breath--if he were Leonard, that something would probably be "oh thank God", but who knows with this guy.
Sulu rolls over, ripping off his domino mask. It reveals tired-looking almond-shaped eyes which glance at Chekov, huffing and puffing and smiling at the ceiling. "Thanks."
Chekov waves off the gratitude. "Is nothing." He sits up on his elbows and looks at Jim and Sulu with concern in his eyes. "You are alright? The first time, people usually feel...sickly? Nyet, not that; nauseous."
Jim laughs. "Nah, I'm fine. I've been teleported by tech before, I just didn't know there were supers who could." He looks the kid over. "Are there a lot of you, kid? We need a teleporter category, or are you alright sticking yourself in the others?"
"I do not know, sir," Chekov answers. "Before the officer gave me candidacy forms, I did not know there were any superhumans but myself."
At the mention of forms, Leonard looks for the ones he'd dropped in the rush of events. He finds them under the table they'd been sitting at before all this happened, completely undamaged. He picks them up, dusts them off, and plops them back down on the table.
"Chekov, come here. I think we need to do some editing on these forms of yours."
Generally speaking, Jim Kirk loves the international missions. See international places, beat up international dirt bags, hit on international women, it's all good. And once in awhile the dirt bag in question will be a radiated dirt bag, and those are always more fun. Sure, the Commander doesn't exactly appreciate all the damage involved in taking down the radiated ones, but Jim Kirk's definition of "fun" is not "easy". (Well, not fun as it relates to fighting, anyway.)
Today, though? He's decided that he hates the United States of Africa. No offense to her many cultures, peoples, and crazy awesome animals (Have you ever wrestled a Nile crocodile? A real one, not one of the robotic look-alikes for tourists? Ever wrestled one with a hand tied behind your back? Best thing ever.), but the radiation hit a wide streak here, affecting just about anyone between the Mediterranean and the upper half of the Sub-Saharan. Means lots of radiated superhumans, which means a couple things. One: such a large population of Africans in the FSH program that the Lagos base is the second largest in the world, next to San Fransisco. Two: nearly as large a portion of the population of superhuman Africans are distrusting, and not affiliated with the program.
Supervillains don't play fair. (Can he call them villains? That's probably not okay. 'Evil supers'? Just as bad. 'Rogue supers'? Pfft, right.) If they can find enough like-minded supers, they form supergangs. And then when you come down to kick ass and take names, they gang up on you. And take you down. And lock you up.
Which is not cool. The Lieutenant does not get caught. He doesn't even get beaten in a fight, ever (Except for that time when Sulu was drunk, but as far as either of them are concerned it never happened.), so getting caught is just. It doesn't make any sense.
He's been locked up in this little wooden house for forever (or a day and a half, if you're talking about the objective passage of time), and he's bored as hell. If he hadn't been caught with the very same manacles he'd been trying to use on their boss, he'd have been out of here in five minutes, ten tops.
Unfortunately, in addition to being bored, he doesn't know what to do to get out of here. He's never been caught before; he never paid attention when the Captain lectured him on that kind of stuff when he was a kid. Maybe he should have; Pike had also warned him to keep his guard up around unknown quantities, and maybe if he had Sulu wouldn't have surprised him with that taser-sword-thing of his. Which never actually happened.
So, fairly bored-out-of-his-mind and not sure what to do, Jim starts whistling his theme song. (No, really, he has an honest-to-god theme song. This is, like, #2 on his list of Five Reasons Why the Media are Pretty Alright.) The guard they put outside the hut hits the door a couple times and barks something that probably means 'shut up' in...Swahili? Like Jim knows what languages people speak in the central states.
But pissing people off is an underused talent of Jim's, so he keeps up the whistling. It's not like the guy can do anything about it; you can lock Jim Kirk up (apparently), but you can't shut him up.
The guard hits the door again. Once, twice, thri--no thrice. Jim stops whistling, tips his head to listen closely. Was that a choked off scream?
Someone hits the door, but it doesn't sound like the guard. Less to make noise than to...do damage? Why would--
With a crack, the door splits in two and collapses, revealing a very long, dark-skinned leg. The leg lowers (to Jim's mild disappointment), and the body it's attached to walks in.
For a second, Jim thinks: damn, she's hot.
And, inappropriate a situation to think it as it may be, he's right; she's hot. Tall and thin, evidently strong, with long dark hair and warm dark eyes, he can think of nothing about her that isn't attractive. She speaks--it sounds like that same language, which Jim has decided is probably Swahili after all--and he takes a moment to admire the curve of her lips. The moment passes, and it's time for business.
"Sorry, but I don't speak your language," he says, carefully enunciating. "Can you speak Standard?"
She frowns, and the warmth in her eyes is replaced by a piercing intelligence. Not replaced--overshadowed. It had been there before, Jim realizes, he just hadn't noticed it.
"I should have guessed," she says sharply, "that the Federation's hero wouldn't speak any language but his native tongue." Her accent is surprisingly non-existent, given the thick accent his captors had.
"Well excuse me," he retorts, "I was a bit busy learning how to not break people's wrists when I shake their hands to learn Swahili. I speak Spanish, though. And a bit of French." He shakes his arms, drawing her attention to his captured state. "Can you help me out, or did you just break in to see what 'the Federation's hero' looks like?"
She snorts. "If I wanted to do that, I'd just find a holovid. No need to waste my time here when I'm just a file away from watching a dizzy, recently tasered super being laughed at by an invisible man." She walks behind him, lifts his manacled hands. "The charred look suited you better than this bruised one."
"That was one time," he says automatically. Then he frowns. "And that vid wasn't released outside the North American continent. It wasn't even widely viewed outside California." He tries to turn around. "How did you-?"
With a quiet clink, the manacles come apart. She takes them off his hands, and moves to the ones on his feet. As he rubs at his wrists to restore circulation, she says, "I have a way with computers." She stands up, putting both sets of cuffs in the bag slung over her shoulder, and pulls out something else. She hands it to him, and it takes him a second to recognize the compact object as the comm his captors had taken from him and crushed under their feet.
"This was destroyed," he says disbelievingly as he turns it on.
"Lieutenant?" Scotty's voice comes through loud and clear. "Where have you been? We've been trying to reach you for hours, lad."
"I'm somewhere in the central states. I can get to Lagos shortly. I think." Jim looks to his savior for confirmation, and she nods.
"Are you saying you're still in Africa?"
"Yeah, I was captured by one of the supergangs while inspecting the area. Why, do you need me over there? Whizbang can come get me using my signal as a target, can't he?"
"Aye, he could, but that's not it. It doesn't make sense, but my readings don't lie. You are in Africa, but I shouldn't be able to get your signal. Comms are only supposed work within a couple hundred klicks of the nearest base, and only to contact that base."
"...that's real interesting, Scotty. I'm heading for Lagos, I'll be in contact once I arrive. Lieutenant out." As a suspicion begins to form in Jim's mind, he glances at his savior. She's setting something up on the ground, and very obviously was listening in. "You didn't just repair my comm," he says slowly. "You improved it."
She steps back to reveal what looks like a small metal disc. She lifts a hand over it and it raises itself in the air, then adjusts for her weight as she steps up. It slowly moves out of the hut through the space where the door she kicked down used to be. Jim follows. Nothing seems to make sense today. He's been kidnapped, successfully captured and locked up, and been saved by a chick who can do better tech work than Scotty and has a home-made antigrav disc.
The disc expands, and she waves a hand in invitation. He steps up, then nearly falls off as the disc takes off at a much higher speed than he's used to for these things. He grabs at her waist, shrugging innocently when she turns her head to frown at him.
"Who are you?" he shouts over the sound of air rushing past them.
"Call me Uhuru," she responds.
Huh. That's one thing that actually does makes sense.
He calls himself Spock, and he says that Romulans are coming to destroy Earth.
Naturally, no one quite believes him, until the Captain gets a message from Starfleet.
It's the ship that destroyed the Kelvin. The one that appeared out of a 'lighting storm in space', the lightning which was more like radiation, which hit the Earth and gave about a quarter of the population superpowers. The ship that George Kirk died attacking, to save the Kelvin's crew of 800, including the people who would later become the Captain and the Lieutenant. The highly advanced, impossibly large ship crewed by tattooed Romulans the Empire refused to account for.
It's quickly approaching the Sol system.
Starfleet is sending out a couple of ships manned by cadets to stop it, and they want Captain on the new flagship--the Enterprise. The Commander gets a similar message a moment later; they want her to captain the Farragut.
Ignoring strict orders to stay on the planet and not get involved, Spock and the Lieutenant (along with six other FSH members) manage to get on the Enterprise. When the Narada (the Romulan ship in question) forces the Captain to leave the ship to discuss terms of surrender, half of the stowaways sneak aboard his shuttle and onto the Narada, quietly taking out unnoticed members of the crew and gaining control of the ship. The other half remain on the Enterprise, blending in with the crew and taking on roles for themselves. By the time anyone has realized it, Uhuru has control of the computers and communications, Whizbang the transporters, and Scotty the engines.
D'Artagnan rescues the Captain from his torturers with the help of Bones' medical talents, while Spock and the Lieutenant discover a small ship called the Jellyfish, and the old Vulcan who once flew it, who has the answers to so many of their questions.
The Narada is defeated, the Romulans aboard taken into Federation custody, and the seven superhuman stowaways taken into custody as well, to be charged appropriately when they return to Earth.
From their attitude, you'd think they were headed for a pleasure cruise. Scotty waxes poetic about the Enterprise, her nacelles and her matter-antimatter reactor, while Uhuru speaks wistfully of how well the computers listened to her. Whizbang listens to d'Artagnan's enthusiastic play-by-play of the action aboard the Narada, with Bones adding in a comment here and there about the inaccuracies in d'Artagnan's telling of the story. The Lieutenant watches them all with a faint smile on his face, Spock seated next to him with an impassive look on his. They are both thinking about what the other Spock has told them of their lives--of all of their lives, because impossible as it sounds, all these people had been a part of that other life.
Spock shivers, and the Lieutenant grabs Scotty's abandoned beanie and hands it to him. Spock nods, a wordless thank you, and slips it on, pulling it low over his ears and eyebrows. Something about this makes the Lieutenant stare, and then apologize before pulling Spock into a one-armed hug. Spock is momentarily confused, until his mild telepathy fills in the blanks. Surprised at the coincidences that fill his life, he smiles briefly, and hugs the Lieutenant back.
Whatever punishment awaits them on Earth, this ragtag team of superhumans (and one half-Vulcan) will be ready for it. They've done it all before, in another universe.