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14 July 2009 @ 12:55 pm
Fic: Wanderers and Deities (3/7) - Mercury  
Title: Wanderers and Deities
Chapter: Mercury, the Winged Messenger
Genre: Gen
Rating: PG-13
Note: See the master post for author's notes.

Mercury was the last piece to be composed. It alternates almost seamlessly between 3/4 and 6/8 time, and prominently features two rather rare instruments: the glockenspiel and the celesta.

III. Mercury, the Winged Messenger

Hikaru Sulu considers himself a man of many talents. As the celebrated helmsman of the flagship of the Federation his presence is a vital and necessary one, but the depth of his influence does not stop at the bridge. Sometimes even the glory of piloting the Enterprise pales in comparison to his oft humorous but ever treasured experiences with the crew that call her home.

The morning finds him sitting in the mess hall with the young navigator. The ensign always has a frantic air about him so early in the morning, one that Sulu finds oddly endearing. The young boy seems to have a lack of inhibition almost in opposition to himself, and placing the two of them together seems to instigate a sort of osmosis in the young ensign. He will begin to talk incessantly and Sulu will listen because he enjoys it. His exterior will remain ever calm, tranquil, as he deciphers the words that gallop toward him. He absorbs the information with a patient silence, his eyes always focused on his exuberant polar opposite.

He does not even attempt to correct the ensign when the young man leans very close to him, drops his voice very low, and conveys a very important piece of Russian history that, in actuality, is a complete misconception. Sulu will merely respond with a wry smile he is sure that the ensign does not see, because there is something infectious in the Russian's effervescent optimism that makes the day so much easier to endure.

Several hours later the first officer is standing over his shoulder, dark eyes fixed with an expression that is unreadable but conveys a deadly air. Sulu is focused at his controls, watching the numbers and the figures as they fly by in rapid succession. His expression has not changed despite the tension inherent in the situation; he is attempting a difficult maneuver that the first officer feels the need to supervise, though Sulu does not think this is necessary and proceeds in his duty without paying much notice to the looming, statuesque form beside him.

The Enterprise is his épée. To an uniformed mind this may seem a ludicrous comparison, to liken a Constitution class starship to a slender and near obsolete dueling weapon. Sulu entertains this belief in his own private revelry. He knows ways to make the slenderest of swords into the most honorable and dangerous of weapons with a technique that borders on an artistic endeavor, and it is not difficult to extrapolate this prowess to the Enterprise. As the helmsman of said vessel, he can control her every movement as easily as he moves his fingers.

He can make the jump to faster than the speed of light with the same ease as breathing, while navigating with the impulse drive and thruster fire is nearly second nature. Even in the clutches of a battle, where his ability to control the ship may mean the difference between life and death, at his command she will lunge forward in preparation for attack or bank away in defense. Backward and forward and upside-down and sideways, he could probably pilot the ship blindfolded if the situation warranted it.

All this is the innate power of the ship, and not his own. He is merely the messenger.

He is the d'Artagnan of the Enterprise, wielding a ship weighing hundreds of thousands of metric tonnes with the ease and skill of a delicate rapier.

The ship eases smoothly into position; he takes his hands from the controls and lets them slip deliberately to his sides. His eyes travel upward with no hint of condescension or arrogance. The Vulcan nods slowly in approval, turns on his heel, and paces gently away.

After his shift he is in one of the simulation rooms with the captain, returning a favor of sorts.

He remembers how the captain had jumped after him, and how they had fallen together without a chute in the most terrifying seconds of his life.

He is a great believer in the balance of all things. That is how physics dictates it should be.

Therefore, when the captain expressed interest in learning a particular body throw when Sulu used it to defend himself from a hostile alien life form several weeks before, the helmsman was more than willing to oblige.

He can hear his opponent approaching behind him with heavy, elongated strides. He counts the seconds, prepares his balance, and raises his hands just as the captain slams into him from behind with an attempt at a complete takedown. But Sulu grapples at the captain's arms with no sense of urgency. Bending slightly at the waist and with a sudden outburst of breath Sulu pulls hard; the captain's feet leave the ground as he is thrown over Sulu's shoulder in one fluid movement and lands gruffly on his back, completely surprised.

It is a beautifully executed throw, done so smoothly that he has hardly broken a sweat. The captain, supine with his limbs thrown wide, looks as if he has just run a marathon. He asks Sulu how the hell he can do that, and the helmsman merely replies that it is a little bit of physics and a little bit of art.

It is more about the mind, captain, than it is about the strength.

The captain replies to this with a skeptical expression.

It is now the apprentice's turn to execute. He stands with his back to Sulu, arms akimbo. In comparison to the captain's mammoth strides, Sulu's approach is light and precise. He stands perpendicular to the captain and the two remain in stasis for a delicate moment. He can feel the captain's tension build as the silence percolates; it is a natural response, one of anticipation.

He explodes in movement from complete silence. With a feline grace he drops almost to his knees, wraps one leg around the captain's own, and the two fall together. When the dust settles the captain is again on his back. Sulu untangles himself and settles on his knees, poised and unruffled, and can not help but smile in response to the livid expression on the captain's face below him.

The captain indicates that they will perform this particular stunt again until the results turn in his favor.

After the fifteenth attempt the captain decides to call it a night.

Sulu remarks to the captain that he is making progress, and the captain responds with a friendly punch to his shoulder that nearly sends the helmsman reeling. As the two part ways in the hallway the captain gives him that knowing, confident smile of his, brimming with a determination and grit that, despite his attempts, Sulu can not hope to quantify.

Later into the evening the chief engineer invites him to the engineering deck on the premise of showing him something fantastic. In secret of most everyone on the ship he has constructed a very advanced distillery in a remote corner of the deck. It is a device normally frowned upon on any starship, but the helmsman can not help but smile at the ludicrous nature of it all. The unabashed expression on the chief engineer's face as he brandishes a glass of the engine room hooch, as he has so delicately named it, proves to be both frightening and empowering at the same time.

The engineer says that he, Mr. Sulu, is the first man on the Enterprise to take bounty in this precious commodity, because he is the the only man that can be trusted not to boast about it. The engineer says he might make its presence known to the captain one day, but everyone knows how big the man's mouth is, and even more debilitating is that certain shadow of a first officer with those very acute Vulcan ears and a harrowing lack of a sense of humor.

Sulu merely nods his head in agreement as the engineer carries on this one-sided conversation and accepts the glass of alcohol proffered in his direction. The engineer and helmsman raise their glasses in a toast to the Enterprise, and Sulu watches with a growing sense of apprehension as his companion begins to consume the illicit liquor at a rate twice that of himself.

After his first glass, however, the thought suddenly slips his mind.

It is late into the evening when Sulu's clouded brain finally realizes the mistake of conversing with the chief engineer over, as the man so quaintly puts it, a wee belt of alcohol. He decides after an intense moment of thought that the chief engineer's definition of the word stands to endure a major adjustment.

By his second glass, which may be the engineer's fourth, the conversation begins to run in unusual and dangerous circles.

When the captain asks his helmsman the next morning why the engineer woke up half the ship when he chased him out of the engineering deck whilst wielding a wrench, Sulu merely shrugs one shoulder, his face a complete mask of neutrality, and feigns alcohol-induced ignorance.

To Be Continued.

 


 
2 2 comments | Leave a comment
 
 
blcwriterblcwriter on July 16th, 2009 02:39 am (UTC)
Enterprise = epee.

Yes.

Elegant, elegant imagery.
Melisus the Wee: sulumelisus on July 18th, 2009 02:41 am (UTC)
I have to say, you really know how to work music into fic as a mood. Sulu's movements were quick and light-footed just like the tone of the music and Mercury himself! I liked the idea of the ship being his epee as well. Great chapter! If you're calling these chapters... installments, maybe?