Expectations: The Red Shirt Always Dies

Series Expectations
Adventure Fourteen: The Red Shirt Always Dies Part 1 of 5
Author: Aquariuslover
Pairings: KyuWook, Yunjae, Various
Rating: R
Genre: Crossover, Romance, Science Fiction, Adventure
Length: Chaptered
Beta: tahoeturquoise

A/N: This story is inspired by Star Trek and the Kpop community.

Summary: Lives are put at risk when the captain makes a reckless decision. The away team struggles to survive a perilous journey filled with dangers. New heroes emerge while old heroes are lost.

Prior Adventures

Ensign Junsu entered the mess hall and immediately wished he had stayed in his quarters. In the middle of the mess hall the tables had been pushed together to make one large table. At the center of the table was Captain Leeteuk, surrounded by crew members who adored him.

Many of those crew members were some of Junsu’s closest friends, including lieutenants Sungmin and Donghae and his very best and oldest friend, Ensign Eunhyuk. His best friend caught sight of him and motioned toward the empty chair he had saved for him. Junsu waved back but made no acknowledgement that he was going to take the seat. He turned around and hurried toward the food replicators.

Junsu inwardly groaned as he noticed Commander Yoochun at the replicators smirking at him knowingly. “Commander.”


“Sir, how are you…how are you doing?” Junsu asked awkwardly.

Yoochun shook his head and walked away from the replicators without answering the ensign’s question.

Junsu watched as Commander Yoochun moved toward the exit and before he had to time to second guess his own actions he gathered up his food and rushed after the commander.

Once out of the mess hall Junsu followed after Commander Yoochun. The urge to call out to the other man was strong. That smirk had been the first he had received from the commander since weeks earlier when he had stirred the commander’s ire by rejecting him.

“Ensign Junsu, are you tagging along behind me?” Yoochun asked without slowing down or turning around to acknowledge the younger man.

“Yes…no…yes,” Ensign Junsu stammered.

Commander Yoochun slowed his pace and allowed Junsu to catch up with him. “Do you also lack the desire or the stomach to eat with King Leeteuk and his happy court of fools?”

“Yes!” Junsu gasped because Yoochun understood.

“So you are not just a cute ass after all?”

Junsu brightened considerably because he had felt sure the commander had forgotten all about his cute ass and him. “No.”

“Your friends are drinking up his attentions aren’t they?”

“They like the new captain very much,” Junsu answered as he matched Yoochun’s pace, not bothering to hide his disapproval. “It makes me want to gag.”

“I am surprised you don’t also love his lavish compliments. I thought having your head petted, belly rubbed, and ego stroked was right up your alley.”

“You don’t know me as well as you think,” Junsu said defensively. “I can’t stand—”

Commander Yoochun reached out with his hand and motioned for Ensign Junsu to hush. “Be careful, Ensign. Captain Leeteuk is a very insecure man…that is why he dishes out all the false praise. He can’t earn his subordinates respect the old fashioned way a captain should, so he builds up their egos instead.”

“But you…you are insulting him.”

“I am the Chief Engineer of a Star Ship and you are a lowly ensign.”

“I am a bridge officer and the helmsman of this ship,” Junsu reminded the Commander.

“And ten people could take your place…” Commander Yoochun paused after seeing the offended look on Junsu’s face. “To be completely fair, you are the most skilled pilot on this ship, but it isn’t like we are going to be flying the ship through a meteor field anytime soon.”

Junsu opened his mouth and shut it.

“I can be critical of the captain…because the engines run this ship and I run the engines.”


“Exactly,” Commander Yoochun said with a grin. “Yunho could manage the engines if he needed to, but Leeteuk is useless. He wasn’t the first in his class at anything…he doesn’t excel at anything other than being extremely ordinary.”

“But he was a commander.”

“Just like your lowly friends like to be praised, so do weak superior officers,” Yoochun reminded Ensign Junsu. “He did well enough at the academy, but there are many men on this ship that did a whole lot better.”

“I miss Yunho as—”

“Shut up,” Yoochun warned, interrupting Junsu. “Unless you want to find yourself red shirted on an away mission, I’d be quiet. He probably monitors everything said about him on this ship.”

Junsu gulped because it was true. The ship recorded everything that was said, but the crew’s cabins were supposed to be surveillance free. He needed to talk about how frustrated he was with the new leadership. “You want to eat dinner with me in my quarters?”

Yoochun arched his eyebrows suggestively.

“I need to talk to somebody,” Junsu urgently explained. He needed to talk to somebody who didn’t think Captain Leeteuk was the greatest captain in the history of the universe.

“No, I don’t want to eat with you…or talk with you, Ensign. We are not friends. If you want to talk with someone you will have to talk to your ass-kissing friends or find new friends. I am no longer interested in you or your games.”

Junsu took an involuntary step back, startled by the commander’s words as he watched Yoochun walk away from him without another word or a glance back.


“He hates me.”

“He loves you.”

Jaejoong, who was walking down the corridor with Yunho, insisted. “He hates me.”

“He loves you.”

“Then why has he made me look like a cow for so freaking long?”

Yunho with the endless patience of one who both loved the moody Joong completely and absolutely, maintained, “He loves you. Stop calling yourself a cow. How many times do I have to tell you that you look nothing like a cow?”


“What is it with the comparisons to cows lately?” Yunho asked curiously. The night before when he had tried to initiate some intimate time, Jaejoong had refused saying he couldn’t have sex when he looked like a cow. Jaejoong’s complaining had increased substantially in the last couple of days.

“Ryeowook showed me what a cow looked like, and now I expect to start mooing at anytime.”

Yunho peered down at his slightly shorter mate. “Why did he show you pictures of cows?”

“He was feeling nostalgic for that little primitive colony he grew up on.”

“Homesick,” Yunho said with a sigh. “I understand the feeling. I often wonder about life on Earth. Do you get homesick?”

“No! And no way in hell am I going back to Joong looking like this.”

“Joong,” Yunho repeated the mysterious planet’s name. “Could you go back to Joong if you wanted to?”

“Of course I could go back to Joong, but the hell if I will. I can just hear all my siblings telling me snidely with their verbal voices that I’m glowing…the bitches.”

Yunho cringed involuntarily; he had made the mistake of telling Jaejoong he was glowing more than once. “Where is Joong?”

Jaejoong gave Yunho a look that screamed ‘idiot’ and informed his lover, “I could tell you…but then I would have to kill you. And since killing you would mean killing me and Changmin, I’ll pass.”

“Exxxcuse me?”

“Really Yunho, it is one of the greatest secrets in the universe.”

“Sorry, I thought since we were bonded for life and all that I might be privy to the location.”


“I guess I won’t be visiting the in-laws anytime soon.”

Jaejoong cleared his throat. “Did we get married and it slipped my mind?”

“Don’t start.”

“Yes, I remember now…we are living in sin with each other while I am pregnant with your bastard child.”


“Captain Leeteuk could marry—”

“Jaejoong, not now!”

The Joong sighed and looked up at his lover; even though his telepathic and empathic abilities had been gone for a month he couldn’t miss Yunho’s discomfort. Jaejoong didn’t need his telepathy to know how much it hurt Yunho to give up command of the ship to Leeteuk. “Sorry.”

“Nothing to be sorry for,” Yunho told him as he reached up and rubbed the back of his neck.

“I am just grumpy because Changmin thinks leaving me this huge forever is so funny.”

Yunho looked at Jaejoong curiously. “Why are you so eager to give birth all of a sudden?”

“Have you seen me?”

“Yes, and you are beautiful…but for the longest time you kept insisting he would slow down, and you acted like you wanted it to happen.”

“I did.”

“So he did as you wanted.”

“Yes, two weeks ago…when I was already full term with him. I have been very patient…but now he needs to be born already!”

“He will be…when he is ready.”

“You mean when he is finished making me suffer.”

“He’s a baby, there is no evil plan involved.”

“The grown version of Changmin wasn’t that fond of me.”

“He grew to love you.”

“But maybe this is payback for me lying to him for so long.”

“How could fetus Changmin know any of that?”

Jaejoong shrugged. “It just feels…like something he would do.”

“No, he wouldn’t.”

“He was really smart!”

“A genius many times over.”

“With a devious mind…perhaps…”

Yunho reached out, took Jaejoong’s hand and squeezed it, reassuring his mate. “He’s not being devious. He just doesn’t want to leave you…it’s sweet.”

“It’s not sweet!” Jaejoong barked.

“It is.”

“No, it isn’t!”

“Just focus on your bond with him…then you will be happy,” Yunho told his mate. “Just bask in the bond you share with him.”

“So I will forget how fat I am?”

“You are not fat, you are pregnant.”

“I am fat!” Jaejoong yelled, yanking his hand away from Yunho. “I am so fat…” Jaejoong paused and sniffed the air. “Do you smell something?”

Yunho, who was very accustomed to Jaejoong’s rapid change in moods, answered, “I can’t smell anything, but we are right outside the galley.”

Jaejoong looked at the doors that lead to the galley. “Somebody is cooking something.”

“That is what people do in the galley.”

“I am starving,” Jaejoong declared and barged right in.

“Jaejoong,” Yunho chastised as he followed after his mate. “You can’t just interrupt people!”

“It’s not people! It’s Ryeowook and Kyuhyun,” Jaejoong informed his mate as he sat down at the table with the couple that had been having a private dinner together and grabbed a piece of chicken.

Yunho entered the galley and looked apologetically at the couple. “I’m so sorry.”

Ryeowook, who was just shaking his head at the Joong, told Yunho, “Its okay.”

“Sit down and help yourself to some dinner,” Kyuhyun offered.

Yunho sat down and told the couple, “We actually just ate.”

Jaejoong glared accusingly at Ryeowook and with a mouthful of chicken he spat, “You are eating fried chicken without me. You know I love your replicated fried chicken!”

“I saved you some.”

“Some,” Jaejoong scoffed. “I want it all.”

Kyuhyun, who had never seen Jaejoong eat hardly anything before, asked, “I thought you…rarely ate.”

“I eat,” Jaejoong protested and grabbed another piece of chicken and tore into it as if he were starving to death.

Yunho elaborated for Kyuhyun. “For the past couple of weeks…he’s had a ravenous appetite…remind you of anybody?”

Kyuhyun broke out into a huge smile. “Changmin is exerting his will…awesome.”

Jaejoong put down his chicken informed the others. “Laugh now, but once he is born…I’m not feeding him anything.”

“We have already had this talk, and you have to feed him,” Ryeowook informed the Joong.

Yunho rolled his eyes. “Why would you even say that? Of course, you will feed him.”

“Ummm…no, I’m not.”

Ryeowook and Yunho shared a long suffering look and informed the Joong, “We will make you feed him.”

Jaejoong snorted. “I’d like to see you two make me do anything. Once Changmin is born and I have reverted to old form…my wondrous telepathic and empathic powers will rule supreme once again.”

An appalled Yunho commanded, “You are not going to starve our son!”

Jaejoong gave Yunho a particularly annoyed look and snapped, “He won’t have to eat. The bond will nourish him.”

“We know Joongs don’t have to eat,” Ryeowook told Jaejoong.

“They don’t?” Kyuhyun asked.

“No, they don’t starve like we do…their self-healing ability keeps them from starving.”

Yunho looked at his mate and maintained, “But he can eat…he will want to eat. He’s half human. He likes to eat!”

Jaejoong grabbed another chicken leg and informed his mate, “Too bad. If I feed him I will have to clean him.”

Yunho gave Jaejoong a blank stare and the Chos broke out in laughter. Yunho found his tongue, but Jaejoong was saved from his response when Yunho and Kyuhyun’s insignias beeped and Captain Leeteuk’s voice announced, “All senior officers to the main briefing room.”

Jaejoong brightened and announced, “Good, more chicken for me.”

Yunho just shook his head at his mate and got up from the table with Kyuhyun. “Try not to miss me too much.”

“Oh, I will try my best,” Jaejoong assured him as he ripped into another piece of chicken.

Kyuhyun chuckled, bent down and kissed Ryeowook on the cheek, “Next time.”

Ryeowook cast his eyes up and nodded his head.

Kyuhyun and Yunho left the galley. Ryeowook watched for several minutes as Jaejoong demolished the rest of the fried chicken before asking, “So how is Yunho?”

“Miserable,” Jaejoong answered, putting down the chicken bone he had been gnawing on. “He can’t relax. He patrols the ship even more than before.”

“It must be very hard for him.”

“It is,” Jaejoong agreed. “I wish he could be like you.”

“Like me?”

“You gave up your control of sickbay easily.”

“That’s because Heechul is truly my superior in every sense of the word,” Ryeowook explained. “He’s a genius.”

Jaejoong peered at Ryeowook. “Are you saying your precious Captain Leeteuk isn’t? I thought you were his great defender? I thought you licked his feet clean at night.”

“You are gross,” the doctor told the Joong. “I like Captain Leeteuk a whole lot, but some people aren’t…he is a great leader…but”


“Some people are born to lead others…and I’ve always known Yunho was born to be a leader of men.”

“So Leeteuk wasn’t?”

“Yes…No…I don’t know what I am saying.”

Jaejoong looked down at his distended stomach and demanded, “Can you be born already! These humans are driving me crazy. They are confusing as hell!”


“It’s true! You don’t even know your own mind.”

“I know my own mind.”

Jaejoong grunted.

“I like Captain Leeteuk. He has always been extremely kind to me…but I also like Yunho and I know how much Yunho misses being the captain. You know Kyuhyun and I served with Leeteuk long before Yunho joined this ship.”

“You knew Yunho in the academy, though. Yunho kept people from bullying you, and this is how you repay him…by being loyal to Freaky Face.”

Ryeowook’s mouth dropped open.

“Just because Leeteuk sprouts off nice words to you…you forget everything Yunho has done for you.”

“That isn’t true!” Ryeowook denied. “As Starfleet officers, we have to be loyal to the captain. It is how the ship runs. It’s not a democracy. Loyalty is an absolute!”

“Your hubby prefers Yunho,” Jaejoong reminded Ryeowook.

“Jaejoong, it isn’t a popularity contest. I have told you this.”

“He still likes Yunho best…unlike you.”

Ryeowook exhaled a deep breath. “I like them both…the same.”

Jaejoong’s eyes darkened.

“Don’t look at me like that!” Ryeowook exclaimed. He was very grateful that Jaejoong’s telepathic powers and his mental ability to kill hadn’t returned. “I didn’t say I didn’t like Yunho!”

Jaejoong scooted his chair back and then stopped. The frustrated Joong snapped, “If I could storm out of here I would…but it would be more of a waddle so I am just going to sit here and bitch at you.”

Ryeowook pressed his lips together trying not to laugh.

The amused look on the doctor’s face only irritated the grumpy Joong more. “I hope Kyuhyun never finds you attractive again.”


“You sexless little troll,” Jaejoong spat. “No, let me rephrase that…you are a disloyal, sexless little troll!”

Ryeowook quickly got up and walked over to the other side of the table and sat down by Jaejoong in an attempt to appease him. “I like Yunho better…there.”

Jaejoong eyed the other man suspiciously. “Are you lying?”

“No, I am not lying, so calm down. You are probably giving Changmin a headache.”

“You won’t always be able to lie to me. I won’t always be pregnant…and then everything will go back to the way it should be.”


“Old Freaky Face shouldn’t be the captain of a ship just because he’s older than Yunho. It’s stupid.”

“He isn’t captain because he’s older. He outranks Yunho.”

“Barely! If they were the same age Yunho would easily outrank him.”

“I know, and if we didn’t get stuck here I am sure Yunho would outrank him by now…but we did get stuck in this galaxy.”

Jaejoong leaned against the back of his chair and complained, “It’s insane; a month ago he wouldn’t even leave his clothes on and now he is the captain of this ship.”

“He was sick!”

“In the head.”

“He is better now…him, Dr. Kim, and Commander Ji-Hoon are all better now,” Ryeowook reminded the Joong.

“So? The three of them are better but two others also got better…only to lose their mind in less than a day.”

“I can’t explain why they are better…I just know they are better.”

“Then why are the other two back in stasis?”

“I don’t know…it’s likely their minds were too damaged.”

“Damaged…you primitives don’t know if a brain is functional or not. When my telepathy returns we will find out who is damaged and who isn’t.”

“Jaejoong…what exactly are you hinting at?”

The Joong smiled at him. “True power will be back where it belongs.”

“Yunho would never approve. Yunho knows he has to respect the chain of command…and so do you.”

“I don’t have to do anything.”

Ryeowook shook his head. “Yunho won’t allow it.”

Jaejoong smirked. “Yunho doesn’t have to know about it.”


Kyuhyun kept his face completely still as he watched the power struggle going on between Captain Leeteuk and Commander Jung.

“Yunho,” Captain Leeteuk told the commander patiently. “I have already heard your objections and discarded them. I do not need to hear them again.”

“Sir,” Yunho responded with a perfectly controlled voice. “I was merely going to offer a suggestion.”

“You are not going. I have told you repeatedly that as long as your life is linked to that of your mate and your unborn child I do not feel comfortable putting your life or theirs at risk.”

“I understand, Captain,” Yunho replied calmly.

“And Commander Kyuhyun isn’t going to lead the away mission either,” Leeteuk told Yunho. “Lieutenant Yesung will get his chance to shine. Leading the away team will be a great opportunity for him.”

“I have already stated my objection to Lieutenant Yesung leading his first mission…a rescue mission—”

Captain Leeteuk interrupted, “Yes, and I am sure you will file the appropriate objections through the official channels.”

“I will,” Yunho assured him. “I will immediately be filing my objections to your choice of away team members and your refusal to send them by shuttle.”

Kyuhyun watched as Leeteuk and Yunho stared each other down, neither one blinking. They were sitting at the opposite ends of the table. The animosity between the two men had only grown since Leeteuk had used his superior rank to gain control of the ship. Yunho had followed Star Fleet precedent and relinquished control of the Expectations only to regret it more with each passing day.

Kyuhyun looked around at the other officers sitting around the table. One of Leeteuk’s first acts of being captain had been to officially remove any lieutenants from being considering senior officer officers. Only commanders were considered senior officers, now.

Kyuhyun sat on Yunho’s left and Commander Yoochun sat at Yunho’s right. Dr. Kim sat at Leeteuk’s left and Commander Ji-Hoon sat at his right. Commander Ji-Hoon was now listed as third in command of the ship. Kyuhyun had been transferred to the Communications department that had been acting without a chief. Kyuhyun was now forth in line of command.

“Perhaps we should hear Yunho’s suggestion,” Heechul advised carefully.

Leeteuk blinked as if he was startled by the doctor’s statement. “Yes, let us hear your suggestion…as long as Lieutenant Yesung remains in charge of the away mission.”

Yunho, who still hadn’t blinked, smiled. “Captain, I would suggest adding Ensign SungGyu to the away team.”

The captain turned his focus to Yoochun. “Isn’t he yours?”

“Yes,” Yoochun quickly stated, but his unflinching loyalty to Yunho had him adding, “he belongs to my department, but I will loan him out.”

“Wasn’t he just a mere cadet?” Commander Ji-Hoon questioned, unable to hide his amusement at Yunho’s suggestion.

“Yes,” Leeteuk answered, narrowing his eyes at Yunho. “But he has proven to be efficient on away missions. He took control on Kanzi from Ensign Junsu who was his superior at the time with great ease.”

Commander Yoochun snorted at the ridiculous thought of Ensign Junsu being in command of anything.

“Do you think Lieutenant Yesung will give up command so easily?” Yunho asked. “I was leading the mission on Kanzi, not Ensign Junsu. Ensign SungGyu took control after I was injured and presumed lost. Ensign Junsu has never had any desire to command. Ensign Junsu shows no aptitude for command…surely you are not comparing Lieutenant Yesung to Ensign Junsu.”

Captain Leeteuk folded his arms in front of him. Kyuhyun knew Yunho had the captain where he wanted him.

“Of course I wouldn’t,” Leeteuk told Yunho. “Only those with aptitude or a desire to command should be given command opportunities.”

Yunho nodded his head and informed the captain, “And this is where we differ on our opinions, I believe desire alone is not a reason to give someone power over the lives of others. I believe natural capability must be shown.”

Captain Leeteuk smiled and leaned back in his chair. “Lieutenant Yesung has passed all the necessary command classes. He might not have been the academy’s star pupil…but not everybody can follow in your exemplary example, Commander.”

Yunho smiled back at him. “No, they can not.”

Leeteuk stood up and declared, “Ensign SungGyu will join the away mission and this briefing is concluded.”

After Leeteuk had exited the room with Commander Ji-Hoon at his side, Yunho got up and Kyuhyun and Yoochun followed after him.

“Why don’t you just whip out your cocks next time,” Yoochun teased. “The one with the biggest cock gets to be captain.”

Kyuhyun rolled his eyes and walked away. Yunho paused at the doorway to give Yoochun a disapproving look.

“This is a sure fire way for you to win command back.”


“What? It’s totally a legit way of determining who should be the big man.”


“I say he is 5 centimeters at the maximum.”


“Interesting way of determining the captaincy there,” Dr. Kim, who had been eavesdropping on the two of them, stated as he stepped up between them.

“I thought so,” Yoochun told the doctor. “I know Nurse Heechul would have approved.”

“Nurse Heechul no longer exists,” Heechul reminded the engineer.

“And that is a crying shame,” Yoochun told the doctor as Yunho walked away. “How I miss that lovely lady.”

Heechul ignored Yoochun and hurried after Yunho who had already made it across the bridge to the lift. As the lift opened and Yunho stepped inside, Heechul rushed forward to join him.

“I can’t help but feel like you are ignoring me,” Heechul told Yunho. “Is that any way to treat an old friend?”

Yunho gazed steadily at the doctor and answered, “Doctor, do you require something of me?”



“Yunho, talk to me. We used to be great friends. This conversation is just between the two of us.”

“Is it?”

“Yes! I know you might be peeved at me…for siding with Captain Leeteuk so frequently in the past month, but he is newly in charge and he needs the Chief Medical Officer’s support.”

“You have done a commendable job of supporting him. You have repeatedly sided with him and by doing so you have showed little regard to the crew’s safety or wellbeing.”

“Yunho, you know that isn’t true.”

“On Xaleena the only reason the entire away mission didn’t end up dead is because the Rebellion heard about their predicament and stepped in to save them. I fear we may not be so lucky this time.”

“Your objections to that away mission were firmly stated.”

“And they were ignored.”

“They were not ignored,” Heechul exclaimed. “He simply did not agree with them.”

“I am not going to discuss this with you,” Yunho stated firmly. “I have filed the proper grievances and when we return to Federation space they will be addressed…and we will return someday.”

“You are so hostile…we are friends. Try to remember we have been friends for years. I have a role to play…just like you do.”

Yunho narrowed his gaze at Heechul. “For almost two years I did everything humanly possible to keep this ship running…after unimaginable damages and losses. I have valued every life on this ship as if it were my own. I can not approve of such recklessness when it is constantly putting lives at risk. You used to feel the same! What happened to you? You used to value the lives of others!”

“I value life!”

“Not like you used to.”

Heechul took a step back. “What are you saying?”

The door to the lift opened and Yunho bluntly told Heechul, “You have changed and not for the better.”

“Maybe it is you who has changed,” Heechul told Yunho as the commander exited the lift. “Although my body has walked the corridors of this ship…the Heechul you used to know has been asleep. You are the one that has been awake…awake, changing, and growing.”

Yunho turned around to look at Heechul. “Maybe I have changed…I had to, but the core of my being is unchanged.”

“I supported you in the briefing today…you may not have noticed, but I did,” Heechul reminded Yunho. “Now that Leeteuk’s captaincy is more concrete…I will support you more.”

“I don’t want you to blindly support me…I want you to be you! I want the amazing doctor…man, who does what he thinks is right no matter what. Remember him? He never let duty, opinion, or consequences get in the way of what he thought was right!”

Heechul did not step out of the lift, but he vowed, “I promise he still exists.”

Yunho closed his eyes and told his old friend, “I have somewhere I need to be.”

“Then don’t let me stop you,” Heechul told him as he stepped farther back into the lift.

Yunho watched as the doors to the lift shut.


Junsu, who had been resting in his quarters alone, looked up when he heard the chirp alerting him someone was at the door. “Enter.”

“Hello!” a very excited Eunhyuk told him as he entered his friend’s quarters.

“Hmmph,” Junsu muttered as he rolled over on his back.

“What kind of greeting is that?”

“An honest one.”

“Did you hear the good news?”

“Hear what?” Junsu asked as he watched his best friend start to pace his quarters.

“I am going on an away mission.”

“Really?” Junsu asked, his interest increasing as he sat up.

“Yeah, you remember the distress call we answered?”

“I wasn’t on the bridge at the time,” Junsu reminded his friend. “And neither were you.”

“That doesn’t matter! I am…going to be on the away team.”

Junsu peered up at this friend, who upon closer inspection looked both excited and worried. “Who is leading it…?”

Eunhyuk stopped pacing and visibly slumped. “Lieutenant Yesung.”

“Oh, no.”

“I know,” Eunhyuk groaned as he sat down by his friend on the bed. “I am glad to be picked to go on an away team, but I’m scared shitless. I am going to die. Aren’t I?”

“No…you won’t.”

“Yes, I will. You weren’t at the briefing…you have no idea what I am going to be facing.”

Junsu wrapped a comforting arm around his friend. “Tell me about the mission.”

“The people on that planet say there is some kind of shield that is malfunctioning and they are afraid they are going to be trapped inside it with a bunch of…”

“A bunch of what?”

“They call them the Jex, but honestly, after hearing their description they sound like evil, flying spiders to me.”

“Flying spiders?”

“Yeah, they are about the size of pigeons back on Earth and they…and they paralyze people…and then they suck their blood.”

“What is it with blood suckers in this galaxy?”

“I know! And the shield they are talking about sounds just like the one on the vampire planet,” Eunhyuk explained.

“We barely got off that planet.”

“Don’t I know it?”

Junsu tightened his grip on his friend. “Is Lieutenant SooYoung going with you? Please tell me SooYoung is going with you…she’s smart.”

“No…no SooYoung…no Yunho…no Heechul…no Kyuhyun—not that I think Kyuhyun is all that great of a commander, but most importantly no Changmin.”

Junsu paled and offered, “I will pray for you.”

Eunhyuk sputtered, “I need more than prayers…you think Ryeowook would tell them I am sick and can’t go?”

Junsu shook his head.

“Yeah…that was a long shot; plus, with my luck Dr. Heechul would find out and rat me out to the captain.”

“Tell me more about the mission,” Junsu told his friend in an attempt to distract him. “Does the shield keep the killer spiders out?”

“No, it does the opposite from what I hear. They said in the briefing that the shield covers a large portion of the continent. The Jex hatch in that part of the continent…but they don’t stay there. They fly away to other parts of the world and breed.”

“So if the shield is up the Jex can’t fly away?”

“Exactly, and apparently the flying spiders get really mean if they can’t get to their breeding grounds. The natives of the planet report that there are many accounts of the Jex biting people who disturb their breeding habits. They bite people to paralyze them and then a flock of them land on the paralyzed person and suck their blood out. Don’t they sound lovely?”

“No,” Junsu answered frowning. “Why would you erect a shield where they hatch…why would you live anywhere near them?”

“I don’t know,” Eunhyuk answered, honestly. “Apparently, as long as they aren’t disturbed they prefer eating other animals. When they come back to lay their eggs they never bother the people...unless if people disrupt them.”

“It just sounds really stupid. I wouldn’t live near them.”

“To be fair, the people didn’t make the shield; they are not exactly high on the evolutionary ladder. I don’t think the shield has worked for hundreds of years…maybe it was put there for another reason.”

“So it just started working?”

“Yeah, supposedly it started working a few weeks ago…and now the people are afraid the shield will be up when the Jex hatch.”

“The mission sounds really dangerous.”

“It is.”

“How are you guys supposed to get the shield down?”

“Find the power source and destroy it,” Eunhyuk answered. “Commander Leeteuk…has faith in us, but Commander Jung apparently was ranting that it was a stupid plan to send us.”

“Yunho was not ranting….he isn’t the ranting type. Who told you that?”

“Okay, he wasn’t ranting, but you can tell he isn’t exactly happy with the away team the captain picked out.”

“I wouldn’t blame Yunho if he was ranting. Why would the captain give Yesung command? Has he lost his mind again?”

“Captain Leeteuk believes in giving everybody a fair chance,” Eunhyuk said, suddenly defensive of his commanding officer. “He doesn’t just cater to his favorites.”

Junsu jerked his arm away from Eunhyuk. “Yunho didn’t cater to his favorites.”

“The same people always led the away missions,” Eunhyuk reminded him.

“Yeah…he usually led them! If he was leading this away mission you wouldn’t be on the verge of wetting yourself.”

Eunhyuk got up from the bed. “You just don’t like Captain Leeteuk.”

“I just think Yunho is a better captain,” Junsu stated. “A whole lot better.”

“Well, I don’t,” Eunhyuk declared as he headed toward the door. “You need to accept the fact that Yunho isn’t the captain anymore.”

“I have accepted it…I just don’t like it.”

The doors to Junsu’s quarter’s whooshed open and Eunhyuk paused. “I don’t want to fight with you about this.”

Junsu got off the bed. “Yeah, especially since it might be the last time we ever see each other.”


“I am just saying…Yesung will be leading your away mission…and we both know that isn’t a good thing, but apparently Captain Leeteuk thinks it is a great idea! And we thought he was crazy when he wouldn’t wear clothes.”

“That’s low.”

“Well, your precious captain thinks it is for the best…who are we to question his godly judgment?”

Eunhyuk’s hands trembled. “You are being so immature.”

Junsu walked up to Eunhyuk and said in his defense, “You started it.”

“I did not.”

“You talked shit about Yunho.”

Eunhyuk reddened. “I didn’t! I like Yunho…I just like Captain Leeteuk, too.”

“You said Yunho catered to his favorites—which is a huge joke. Considering your Leeteuk has his favorites surrounding him all the time. The mess hall has turned into his royal court of admirers.”

“Is that why…why you won’t eat with me anymore?”

Junsu nodded his head.

Eunhyuk rolled his eyes. “That’s so petty.”

“Maybe it is…but it is how I feel.”

“I am sorry I ever voiced my concerns to you…” Eunhyuk paused turning red with anger. “I should have had faith in Captain Leeteuk’s choices. I am sorry I ever doubted him.”

“Then why don’t you leave and go beg him for his forgiveness?”

“I will,” Eunhyuk told Junsu as he stepped out of the room and hurried off.

Junsu stepped out into the corridor and watched as Eunhyuk stormed off. He couldn’t resist from yelling out, “Try not to get killed!”


“Let’s hope this mission goes a little better than the last one we were on together,” Ensign Kangin told Ensign SungGyu as they walked toward the transporter room.

“It couldn’t get much worse.”

“Don’t jinx us kid. Don’t jinx us. We are about to be led into a spidery hell. I fucking hate spiders.”

SungGyu grinned at the older ensign. “Sorry.”

“What do you find so funny?”

“That you hate spiders.”

“Most people do.”

SungGyu continued to grin. “They are harmless.”

Kangin wrapped an arm around the younger ensign and warned, “There you go jinxing us again.”

“I meant normal spiders…you know, spiders from earth.”


Ensign SungGyu and Kangin turned around to find Commander Yunho hurrying toward them, looking unusually anxious.

“Yunho, what’s wrong?” Kangin asked, concerned for his old friend.

“Nothing is wrong,” Yunho told them as he approached the two ensigns. “I just wanted to wish you two a safe journey.”

Kangin patted his pants pocket. “If I could sneak you along with us, you know I would.”

“I wish I could go,” Yunho told his old friend.

“I know you do. You are a regular mother hen, but in all honesty I wish you were coming along, too,” Kangin told Yunho earnestly.

Yunho turned his attention to the younger ensign standing beside his old friend. “Ensign SungGyu, I want you to know I fought to get you on this mission.”

SungGyu did not bother to hide his surprise.

Kangin bumped shoulders with the young ensign, telling him, “Volunteering you for this mission…I guess those rumors of him liking you are all lies.”

SungGyu smiled weakly at Yunho. He knew Kangin was teasing, but this mission wasn’t exactly one he would have volunteered for.

Yunho reached out and placed both of his hands on SungGyu’s shoulders and told him forcefully, “I think very highly of you, don’t believe otherwise. Some people are born to command others…and I believe you to be one of those rare few. A true commander has a sense of responsibility they can’t ever shake. Nobody excels at the academy like you did without true talent…not even extreme favoritism could have given you such high marks.”

“Do I need to leave you two alone for this love fest?” Kangin teased.

“No,” Yunho answered, still looking the startled younger ensign in the eyes. “The human race has evolved greatly but we haven’t wiped out jealousy. There are still those who combat their own insecurities by lashing out at others they are envious of.”

“Not everybody is jealous of others,” Kangin interrupted Yunho to point out. “I have never been jealous of you…not even at the academy when you were breaking record after record.”

“I know this,” Yunho told the older ensign. “But I want SungGyu to understand why I was so careful with advancing him. Why I made him work every department on this ship. A true leader…can not ask others to do what they are not willing to do themselves. It is true respect can be given without being earned, but lasting respect and loyalty must be earned.”

Kangin pressed his lips together and kept quiet, feeling the unspoken accusation against Captain Leeteuk, who was also his friend.

“I will not forget, Sir,” Ensign SungGyu pledged to Yunho.

“I want you to promise me that you will use your sound judgment and your natural ability to lead and listen to your gut…no matter what. I know Lieutenant Yesung is in charge of the mission, but I want you to always feel responsible for the lives of your fellow crew members and for the lives of the people on the planet. A true leader leads all the time…not just when the weight of the responsibly falls on him. Do you understand what I am saying?”

“Yes, Sir.”

Yunho dropped his arms away from the SungGyu and told him, “If I can’t be on the mission…I am glad you will be.”

SungGyu eyes widened. “Thank you, Sir. Your confidence in me…I hope it is not misplaced.”

“It isn’t,” Yunho assured him. “Now, you are dismissed.”

SungGyu nodded his head, and then quickly headed for the transporter room, leaving Yunho and Kangin alone together in the corridor.

“Yunho, do you think that perhaps you are putting too much on that kid’s shoulders?” Kangin asked his friend, concerned.

“Yes,” Yunho answered truthfully. “But I don’t have a choice. You all are about to beam down to a planet that has an unstable shield and if it goes back up it is highly unlikely we will be able to beam you back aboard. We are not even sure if the insignias, tricorders, or phasers will work. The shield has gone up twice since we have been in orbit.”

“But it has also gone immediately back down.”

Yunho turned to face his friend. “And for your sake I hope it doesn’t stay up.”

“What would you do differently if you were in command?”

“I am not in command, so I will not bother you with ‘what ifs’.”

Kangin reached out and squeezed Yunho’s arm. “I know this is hell for you. I don’t know what to say though…I love you both. You both are my friends.”

“I know this, and I would never ask you to choose between us.”

“And neither would he.”

“I can’t help but be concerned for your’s and the other’s safety.”

“You shouldn’t worry so much. Concentrate on baby Changmin. Soon Changmin will be filling this ship up with his loud screams,” Kangin told his friend. “This is a happy time for you; let Leeteuk worry about us.”

Yunho sighed. “When you all are returned to the ship safely…then I will stop worrying.”

“You promise?”

Yunho gave his old friend a sheepish look. “I promise to be slightly less worried.”

“Only slightly?”

Yunho pulled Kangin into a tight embrace startling him. “Be careful, old friend.”

“Yunho the hugger is back?” Kangin said, hugging Yunho back. “You used to be such a hugger. It used to freak Yoochun out at the academy.”

Yunho squeezed Kangin tighter and told him, “I don’t hug you guys enough.”

Kangin broke from the hug and kept grinning. “Yunho, you are a good friend…and a wonderful commander. Don’t you ever forget it!”

Yunho sighed, hating that his friend was going on such a mission. “I will try not to…I don’t feel like a good friend right now…or a good commander.”

“This isn’t your call.”

“Just be careful.”

“I promise. I guess you will be seeing us all off?”

“Of course,” Yunho told Kangin as he started walking toward the transporter room. “Just because I am no longer the captain doesn’t mean all my old habits have to die.”

“No,” Kangin agreed, walking beside his friend.

“Be safe, Kangin…keep the others safe,” Yunho said, unable to shake his bad feeling.

“I will do my best.”


SooYoung’s breathing was only slightly altered, while Siwon was bent over holding on to his knees and panting loudly.

“Out of shape, Ambassador?”

“Lieutenant, I have asked you repeatedly to call me Siwon.”

“I am aware of that, Ambassador,” SooYoung replied, looking down at the winded man.

Siwon straightened up and looked her in the eye. “Yet, you have not given me permission to call you by your given name.”

“I know this, also.”

Siwon shook his head at the beautiful woman he considered quite challenging. “Are you less stressed at least?”

SooYoung waved her racquet at him. “A little, but my break from the bridge can not end quickly enough.”

“Not much longer.”

“Too long…I can’t help but be concerned. Minho is my younger brother, and even though he is a grown man…I can never stop wanting to protect him.”

Siwon gave her sympathetic smile. “I remember how desperately you wanted to get back to him when we were stranded on the planet.”

“Sometimes I forget about the time we spent on the planet together…how different things were back then.”

“I should have asked permission to call you by your given name back then.”

She laughed. “You should have, but you were too proper back then. Sulli and I were often comforted by your perfect, princely manners.”

“This pleases me.”

“It’s strange how it was almost peaceful there before Hangeng took Sulli and me.”

“Not for Dr. Cho.”

“No, his heart was breaking with the need to be with his husband.”

Siwon nodded his head. “Only to have it completely break when he returned.”

SooYoung gave Siwon a curious look but refrained from asking. “It’s like we have almost forgotten our time spent together stranded on the planet…the friendships we formed.”

“I am trying my best to reestablish them, so they are not lost.”

“Thank you…I almost miss it.”

“At times, I miss those days, too.”

She gave him a doubtful look. “Truly?”

“Yes, but I don’t miss the giant bears that wanted so desperately to eat us.”

“Me either…and I missed my brother. I am tired of missing my loved ones, Ambassador.”

“I completely understand. Hopefully, they will find the shield’s power source before it goes back up and your brother will soon be returned to you.”

SooYoung’s quickly become aggravated and complained, “Why we are not canvassing the planet with shuttles escapes my logic. I don’t understand why we would limit our search to one away team; an away team without a shuttle. It is completely illogical. Almost as if it the mission is purposely being doomed to failure.”

“Did you perhaps voice these concerns to the captain?”

SooYoung glanced down at the racquet in her hand, attempting to control her emotions. “I did…repeatedly.”

“And then perhaps you were asked to take a break?”


Siwon pondered her words. “Is dealing with Captain Leeteuk much different than dealing with Commander Yunho?”

SooYoung looked up, met his gaze and nodded her head.

“Perhaps, you require lessons in diplomacy.”

“Are you offering to be my teacher?”


SooYoung dropped her racquet and ordered, “Arch.”

The illusion of a racquetball room vanished from the holodeck and the exit appeared. “I might consider your offer, Ambassador.”

“Lieutenant, I am always eager to provide you with any assistance I can,” Siwon told her as they exited the holodeck suite.

“What assistance do you require, Lieutenant SooYoung?” Lieutenant Sungmin asked. He had been waiting outside of the suite, leaning up against the wall and waiting for their game of racquetball to end.

SooYoung quickly answered, “With my racquetball skills. I am terribly deficient when it comes to this sport.”

“Your skills are far from lacking, but I will be happy to assist you,” Siwon answered smoothly, sensing SooYoung did not want to share her real concerns with Lieutenant Sungmin.

“I will be allowed back in my science labs shortly; I shall go change so I can get back to work,” SooYoung told them.

“I know this will please you greatly,” Siwon told her.

“It will,” SooYoung confirmed as she gracefully took her leave. “Good day, you two.”

Sungmin watched as the beautiful lieutenant walked away. “You both are wearing matching white uniforms.”

“We didn’t color coordinate if that is what you are asking.”

“It wasn’t. I know the holodeck provides the clothing. I just couldn’t help but notice how beautiful you both are.”

“Do you wish me to thank you for your compliment?”

Sungmin sighed and shook his head. “No; I would have liked a…reassuring comment regarding my own beauty.”

“Sungmin, you are a very beautiful man, surely you do not require validation of this fact.”

“Perhaps, I should have said you and SooYoung make a beautiful couple?”

“Do you think we are a couple?”

“No,” Sungmin answered, looking back at Siwon.

“And you are correct…we are not. She will not even address me by my first name.”

“I can understand why,” Sungmin stated. “Being a beautiful woman on this ship is quite difficult if memory serves.”

“Hopefully, not all the time you spent as a woman was unpleasant.”

Sungmin inhaled a sharp breath remembering the first time they had made love. “No, not at all.”

Siwon gave him a small smile. “Why are you so concerned regarding Lieutenant SooYoung?”

“I heard the captain had forbidden her from entering her labs or being on the bridge until 1400hrs.”

“Yes, she questioned his judgment…it was her punishment.”

Sungmin tensed. “I highly doubt that was the reason.”

Siwon arched one eyebrow. “We just arrived at a planet, whose people are asking for our assistance with a mysterious malfunctioning shield that could put thousands of lives at risk. One would think it would not be the proper time to put your best science officer on a time out.”

“Are you questioning his judgment, now?”

“I was simply pointing out a fact.”

“I am so sick of people constantly comparing him to Yunho.”

“I did not mention Commander Jung.”

“Leeteuk is the captain now…he does things differently than Yunho. Maybe he isn’t as open to people questioning his judgment, but he is the captain—he doesn’t have to be.”

Siwon looked down at the shorter man and pointed out, “You are very defensive in regards to him.”

Sungmin exhaled unable to hide his annoyance. “I know…you have only told me this a hundred times.”

“More like six,” Siwon told Sungmin, correcting him. “Your loyalty is admirable…but to question why is what humanity does best. We question. We seek out truths.”

“But to openly question his judgment is verging on insubordination!”

“Perhaps if more people had questioned his judgment on Xaleena your life would not have been at risk.”

Sungmin reddened, his anger growing. “Let’s not talk about that.”

“Yes, of course that would not be a topic you wished to discuss,” Siwon said carefully, attempting to remain calm.

Sungmin tried to force his anger under control. “I served a long time with Captain Leeteuk…I have told you this. He has always showed great faith in me.”

“Yes, you have told me this.”

“I don’t want you to side against him.”

“I was not aware there were sides.”

“He can’t help but feel insecure…I feel sorry for him.”

Siwon opened his mouth and then closed it.

Sungmin reached out and took Siwon’s hand. “I don’t want to fight with you…I miss you.”

“You see me everyday.”

“That isn’t what I mean…I miss being with you. I miss us.”

Siwon withdrew his hand from Sungmin’s gasp. “I don’t think that would be wise.”

“It would be…we agreed to keep it casual.”

“Yes, only after you ended our relationship, resumed our relationship, and then you finally settled on keeping it casual.”

“Siwon, I want you.”

Siwon looked down into Sungmin’s eyes and remained firm. “You will only want me until your insecurities sway you once again to deem yourself unworthy of me…and then you will not want me any longer.”

Sungmin pushed Siwon against the wall and pressed his body up close to the other man. “No, even when I am my most insecure…I still want you. I just start thinking too much. Why can’t you enjoy me while I am feeling confidant?”

“No, I don’t think so,” Siwon stated, pushing the other man away.

“Why not?”

“Because I think we are at a point where our friendship could be in real danger…and I don’t want to lose our friendship.”

“It isn’t.”

“I also have a responsibility towards you.”

“No, you don’t. I’ve told you this repeatedly.”

“You can not release me from this obligation. It is the custom of my people.”

“Forget about your customs. Can’t you just focus on us...being with me?”

“No, your insecurities are not to be trifled with.”

“Are you sure that is it?” Sungmin demanded. “Are you sure it has nothing to do with your racquetball partner?”

“Ah,” Siwon exclaimed. “And there they come rushing back.”


Yunho walked through his quarters looking for Jaejoong. “Where are you?”

“The bedroom.”

“The bedroom,” Yunho repeated. Yunho knew he desperately needed a distraction and he couldn’t think of a better distraction than making love to Jaejoong.

Yunho entered the bedroom to find a completely naked Jaejoong sitting on the bed. “Did you call me away from duty for a booty call?”

“A what?”

“Sexy times.”

“I did.”

“I am not really in the mood, but—”

“Screw that!” Jaejoong interrupted not giving Yunho time to finish his sentence. “Is this a marriage thing? If it is I am vetoing the whole idea of marriage. I swear we are not going to end up like the Chos…when Ryeowook doesn’t want to have sex, Kyuhyun does, when Kyuhyun doesn’t want to have sex, Ryeowook does, and now neither of them want to have sex. We are bonded and we are going to have sex…sex when I want it. Do you hear me?”


“Don’t Jaejoong me.”

“If you would have let me complete my sentence, I was going to tell you that when it comes to you…it’s very easy to get back in the mood.”


“Although, I am surprised by your sudden turnabout,” Yunho said as he started to pull off his uniform. “I thought you didn’t want to have sex when you felt like a cow—not that I think you are a cow…I’m using your own words. Words that are not true and words I could not disagree with more…because you are nothing like a cow. You are the hottest pregnant person in the history of pregnant people in the entire universe!”

“Oh, I am not going to be the cow…I am going to be the bull.”

Yunho stopped removing his uniform. “What?”

Jaejoong crawled towards the end of the bed where Yunho was standing. “I am going to penetrate you. It’s so awkward having sex with this big stomach. My dick still works so we will use it.”

Yunho quickly put his uniform back on. “Are you…

“It’s still going to be awkward, no matter how we do it. I think you should just bend over the bed. I can stand up that way,” Jaejoong said with his face full of excitement. “We have never done it this way before…it should be exciting.”

Yunho took a step back. “I...I…”

“Yunho! Man up!” Jaejoong demanded. “I having your child, you can at least satisfy me. I know the thought terrifies you but get over it. We won’t be able to do this once my damn empathy returns. Strip!”

Yunho just stared at his mate, his jaw gaping open in horror.

“I want this! I need this!”

“Jaejoong, I know…I know…I should…it’s just—”

Yunho insignia went off. The voice of Captain Leeteuk ordered, “All senior officers to the bridge.”

“Bye!” Yunho exclaimed and darted from the room.

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