Expectations: The Red Shirt Always Dies, Final

Series Expectations
Adventure Fourteen: The Red Shirt Always Dies , Final Part
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

“I am fearful of what might happen if this continues,” Sungmin announced as he entered the transporter room. “Everybody is growing restless.”

Donghae, who was standing behind the transporter controls working, looked up at the security chief. “Has he not released them?”

“No,” Sungmin answered as he came to stand on the opposite side of the controls, facing Donghae.

“He hasn’t sent the rescue team to the planet yet either…has he?”

Sungmin shook his head.

Donghae looked truly mystified. “Why not?”

“I don’t know…he had his reasons,” Sungmin insisted. “But I can feel the crew’s distrust increasing by the minute. Once Jaejoong announced that Yunho was in the brig…it was like half the crew was ready to mutiny and the other half were considering it. I need to have patrols in the corridors constantly, but…”

“But what?”

“A lot of the security officers are young and inexperienced, but I can feel their faith in me slipping away. They keep muttered about Federation laws being broken. Plus, they are worried about the other four security guards that are down on the planet.”

“I can’t begrudge them for being worried about their comrades.”

“No…and Kangin…”

“What about Kangin?”

“Most of security looks up to him…he’s really popular.”

Donghae nodded his head. “I can understand that…I looked up to him at the academy.”

“We all did,” Sungmin responded. “If Yoochun was Yunho’s right hand man, then Kangin was his left. People are talking more and more.”

“What else are people saying?”

“People are saying it was a fool’s mission.”

Donghae leaned against the transporter console and regretfully told the chief of security, “Sungmin…they aren’t wrong.”

Sungmin took immediate offense. “So you are against him too?”

“No!” Donghae immediately replied. “I owe so much to Captain Leeteuk. You know he saved my life when I was just a green ensign fresh out of the academy…but Yunho and I have been friends for a long time. Yunho is a good man.”

“They both are.”

Donghae looked doubtful as he asked, “But are they both good captains?”


The doors to the transporter room whooshed open and an extremely agitated looking Ensign Junsu entered. “Donghae, did you really transport them to brig? Did you really do that?”

Both of the lieutenants focused their attention on their angry friend.

“I did,” Donghae answered honestly.

“Why?” Junsu demanded. “Everybody on this ship knows Yunho is in the brig…but nobody knows why! Can you tell me why?”

Donghae shook his head.

Junsu turned his attention on Sungmin. “So would you hold any innocent man in the brig if the captain orders it?”

“If he orders it,” Sungmin truthfully replied.



“Even if they are innocent?”

“They are not innocent.”

“I don’t believe that,” Junsu told him. “I don’t believe that for one minute. Nobody else on this ship is going to believe it either. Tell me what terrible crimes they have committed.”

“Mutiny!” Sungmin shouted at the other man, unable to restrain himself any longer. “The captain has been gracious in not accusing Yunho publically, but that is why he, Commander Cho and Commander Yoochun are in the brig. Are you happy now?”

Junsu gave Sungmin a look of utter disbelief. “No, I am not. It’s a lie! If Yunho had led a mutiny he would have succeeded and he would be in command right now.”

“He never got the chance,” Sungmin informed his old friend. “He never got to put his plan into effect.”

“Did he actually have a plan?” Donghae asked curiously.

Sungmin shook his head. “No…it was just talk.”

“So Yoochun was right, you have been eavesdropping on everybody,” Junsu told the chief of security while shaking his head in disgust.

Sungmin looked down at the floor. “Yes.”

A surprised Donghae asked, “Yunho was actually planning to take over the ship?”

The security chief swallowed nervously and shook his head. “No, he never planned anything…but the talk…the talk was the reason for the concern.”

“You put Yunho in the brig…because of talk…not for mutinous plans…not for action taken…but for talk?” Junsu asked, not bothering to hide his disapproval. “Was this talk done in the privacy of their own quarters?”

Sungmin kept looking at the floor. “Yes…I was following orders.”

Junsu rubbed his face and declared, “Even ancient humans knew the importance of freedom of speech and the right to privacy!”

“Sungmin…how could you?” Donghae asked accusingly.

Sungmin looked up to glare at Donghae. “Me? You are the one that transported them to the brig.”

“Only so nobody else would attempt it! I did it so they wouldn’t end up in a bulkhead,” Donghae said in his defense. “I did it so they would be safe!”

“I thought you supported the captain,” Sungmin said, questioning Donghae’s loyalty.

“I do. I support him…but something crazy is going on. Something isn’t right,” Donghae tried to explain to Sungmin and then he looked at Junsu. “And then there is Eunhyuk.”

“Eunhyuk?” Sungmin questioned, confused.

“You remember him don’t you, Sungmin,” Junsu snapped, his anger growing by leaps and bounds. “He’s your oldest friend. He’s trapped on the planet below…with no rescue in sight. I realize he isn’t as handsome as your prince or as shitty to you as Commander Cho was, so it is understandable if you have forgotten about him. I wouldn’t expect you to be concerned about his wellbeing.”

“Junsu!” Sungmin exclaimed, taken aback by the ensign’s sudden outburst.

“He…he has always been a good friend to you. He’s always worried about you…and you…you support Captain Leeteuk blindly…when Leeteuk will be the death of Eunhyuk!” Junsu yelled back at Sungmin with tears streaming down his face. “Now, you have betrayed Yunho and Eunhyuk; congratulations!”

“I ha…haven’t…” Sungmin stuttered, shaking his head, but the look of disappointment Yunho had given him still played on repeat in his mind. “I was following orders.”

“Dumb orders!” Junsu proclaimed. “Dumb…law breaking orders. They weren’t Federation or Star Fleet orders!”

“I don’t have to listen to th—”

Sungmin was interrupted by Leeteuk’s voice as it emerged from Donghae’s combadge, “Lieutenant Donghae, report immediately to the docking bay.”

Donghae stared only for a moment at the two friends that were close to coming to blows before he hurried out of the transporter room, on his way to the docking bay.

Junsu looked at the extremely irritated security chief and accused, “What? What are you going to do? Are you going to arrest me?”

“I might!”


“So do we really think…that Commander Leeteuk has been taken over by a crazy Joong?” Commander Yoochun asked.

Commander Kyuhyun, who was sitting beside Commander Yoochun on the floor reasoned, “We can’t be sure of anything.”

Yunho, who was still standing and staring through the force field at the empty security department, stated, “I strongly suspect all three of them are being controlled by outside forces.”

“You did keep saying Heechul was off,” Yoochun stated, wistfully. “Makes sense now. I wish we had acted sooner.”

“Also, Commander Ji-Hoon seems way off to me,” Kyuhyun added. “He didn’t used to be so…”

“Stupid,” Commander Yoochun finished for Kyuhyun.

“Yeah,” Commander Cho agreed. “It’s like he spaces out at times.”

Yunho pointed out, “He is the oldest of the three of them and was by far the one most damaged by the anomaly.”

“Ryeowook kept saying he couldn’t explain why they were better,” Commander Cho reminded them.

“It’s because they never were better, they were just being controlled,” Yunho added and turned around to look down at the two commanders sitting on the floor. “But why take over those three? Why not take us over? Why take over three people with severe brain damage?”

Kyuhyun shrugged and replied, “Maybe because they have no real connections on the ship. Jaejoong would know if you weren’t you…you would know if Yoochun wasn’t himself, and Ryeowook would know if I was different.”

“No,” Yunho disagreed. “I think there has to be a different reason.”

“Maybe they can’t control an undamaged mind?” Yoochun suggested. “Maybe a healthy mind could fight them off.”

“That is actually a comforting thought—we just went into warp,” Yunho declared as he felt the very subtle shift in the ship that few could detect.

Yoochun was immediately up and on high alert, also detecting the jump to warp speed. The chief engineer placed his hands against the walls of the brig, feeling for the subtle vibrations that being in warp caused and complained loudly, “Not just warp, but a high speed warp!”

“Does that mean they rescued the away team?” Kyuhyun asked as he stood up.

“I highly doubt it,” Yunho answered, looking more displeased by the second as he looked through the force field and noticed someone watching them quietly. “Not with the inexperienced away team you were sending after them.”

“You?” Yoochun questioned as he spun around and noticed that Leeteuk had entered the security department.

Leeteuk’s eyes were locked on Yunho as he stated coolly, “You of so little faith.”

“They needed to be protected and taught…not thrown to the wolves before they were ready.”

“But the Jex aren’t wolves…they are merely flying bugs,” Leeteuk replied as he stepped closer to the force field. “Bugs with a dangerous bite, I will concede.”

“Did you abandon the away teams on the planet?” Yunho asked in a clipped tone.

Leeteuk nodded his head.

Yunho tensed and demanded, “Why?”

“Because another emergency demanded my immediate attention, but you will be happy to know that I followed your advice and sent another…more experienced away team to rescue them.”

“You did?” Yunho asked, unable to hide his surprise, “Who?”

“I sent Lieutenants SooYoung and Donghae and Ensign Henry. They went by shuttle…and I know that will make you happy.”

“Then who the fuck is running engineering?” Yoochun demanded. “I am in here. Ensign SungGyu is probably dead! Ensign Henry…is my…he’s mine! He should not have been sent off this ship! He’s an engineering genius that belongs in engineering!”

“That is exactly why I sent him…he should have that force field figured out in no time,” an amused Leeteuk explained. “He’s a prodigy, after all.”

Yoochun glared at Leeteuk. “You didn’t answer my question. Who is running engineering?”

Leeteuk took a step back from the force field. “Why Commander Yoochun, that glare of yours is quite lethal.”

“You have no idea!” Yoochun threatened.

“Don’t be so dramatic. Engineering is in good hands—Commander Ji-Hoon has temporary control of it.”

Commander Yoochun turned deathly pale. “You have that idiot in charge of engineering! You are taxing my engines at high warp and you have that idiot in charge! Are you mad? Or are you just suicidal?”

Captain Leeteuk shook his head. “Now Commander, that is not very nice. Starships are supposed to go fast…that is why we have warp engines.”

“You crazy fuc—”

“Commander Yoochun, stop,” Yunho ordered, interrupting his friend.

“Where are we going in such a hurry?” Commander Cho said, asking the obvious question.

“Oh, there is a guardian acting badly,” Leeteuk responded. “We are off to save the day.”

Yunho frowned. “A Guardian of Time is acting badly? What do you mean by that?”

“It’s sending out time ripples through space…it’s demanding a Joong. Kinda like it did that time on Eternity…you remember that time, right?”

Yunho stared down at Leeteuk. “We are nowhere near Eternity.”

“Oh, it’s a different Guardian,” Leeteuk answered. “You know, there seems to be quite a few guardians in this region of space, and didn’t I read they are all connected? I think I read that in some report of yours.”

“And it is asking for a Joong?” Yunho clarified.

“Yes, so we are hurrying on our way so your Jaejoong can talk some sense into it.”

Yunho pressed closer to the force field. “You are going to send Jaejoong down to the planet?”

“Commander Jung, you are not looking very friendly towards me,” Leeteuk told him, taking another step back. “You and Commander Yoochun should really work on your tempers.”

“Jaejoong is not leaving this ship without me,” Yunho announced, glaring at Leeteuk. “He could give birth at any moment!”

“Yes, I know. What a happy day it will be when the baby is born,” Leeteuk told Yunho. “And of course you will be accompanying Jaejoong to visit the guardian. I wouldn’t dream of separating you two.”

A suspicious Kyuhyun asked, “You are sending a prisoner down on an away team? Isn’t that against Star Fleet regulations?”

“Like he gives a shit about Star Fleet regulations,” Yoochun grumbled.

Leeteuk flung his hands up and proclaimed in a voice full of embarrassment, “Oh, your arrest was nothing but a terrible misunderstanding. You three haven’t committed any crime. It was just harmless talk; there was no mutiny attempt.”

“That’s right!” Commander Yoochun quickly agreed. “Now, let me out of here so I can go to engineering.”

“Oh, I couldn’t do that,” Leeteuk replied. “Let’s follow the proper channels this time. Lieutenant Sungmin should let you out but…you know what, we should be at the planet by then. We could just beam you all down to the planet directly from here.”

“We are all going to the planet?” Yunho asked, but he already knew the answer.

Leeteuk lowered his hands and smiled at the men locked in the brig as he backed away. “Yes all three of you...plus Jaejoong, Dr. Cho, Shindong and that perky Ensign Junsu, who is so loyal to you, Commander Jung. It will be one big, happy reunion.”

“We are so dead,” Commander Yoochun whispered as Leeteuk walked away, “so dead.”


They watched as a black cloud made up of Jex rose up into the sky and collided with the shield. Massive swarms of Jex veered off from each other. Some continued to ram the invisible shield in the sky, hoping to escape to their breeding grounds. Other swarms appeared almost angry as they descended toward the land below them.

From the safety of the small cave Ensign SungGyu had made them Jonghyun and Eunhyuk watched, both amazed and terrified.

“At least they are ignoring us,” Jonghyun stated too loudly, his nerves showing as he clutched his phaser.

“For now,” Eunhyuk told him as he watched some of the Jex descending downwards. “There are so many of them…I didn’t see any structures on this planet sturdy enough to keep them out. The people live in huts…huts can’t keep them out.”

“No, the only thing that could withstand them is the fortress.”

“But whatever is inside the fortress also kills…maybe there are Jex inside it,” Eunhyuk said, thinking aloud. “How long as he been gone?”

“Almost an hour,” Jonghyun answered. “I wish I was on the Expectations. I wish I was in the transporter room…transporting everybody away from the Jex.”

Eunhyuk gave the other man a sad smile. “Me too.”

Jonghyun rubbed his face against the crook of his arm. “The away team…I hope they are hiding.”

“They have phasers.”

“I don’t see any phaser fire though…if they were shooting up at the sky wouldn’t we see it?”

Eunhyuk stepped up closer to the cave’s entrance and looked down at the land below them. “The Jex seem to be flying above the tree line for now.”

“The ones we can see. It only took one bite to paralyze Doctor Nam.”

“I know.”

“Do you think…”

“Do I think what?”

“That is it time for us to go in there…shouldn’t SungGyu be back by now?”

Eunhyuk nodded his head, forcing his fear under control. He knew what he had to do. If SungGyu had died trying to solve the puzzle…then they had to try their best to finish the mission. “We can’t wait here any longer…we need to see if he needs our help.”

“Okay,” Jonghyun agreed, clutching his phaser tighter.

“We will just stay close to each other,” Eunhyuk said, trying to sound commanding as he mastered his fear and tried to stop his knees from shaking.

The younger man eagerly nodded his head.

Eunhyuk motioned toward the outside. “Stay close. We have to keep our eyes open for…” Eunhyuk paused as he noticed the sky turn golden, signaling the collapse of the shield.

“Is that the…the…shield!” Jonghyun gasped loudly. “The shield; it went down! Didn’t it?”

“I think so…” Eunhyuk answered, while they both watched the golden sky slowly fade away.

“Is it down…is it down?”

Eunhyuk looked down across the landscape. “I don’t know…we can’t tell.”

“Look! Look!” Jonghyun shouted as he pointed toward the Jex. They had gathered together once again as they were ascending towards the sky.

Eunhyuk exhaled a deep breath as he watched the Jex fly past the point of the shield. “He did it! He really did it,” Eunhyuk whispered softly as a great weight was lifted from him.

“He did!” Jonghyun cried out as he hugged Eunhyuk tightly.

Eunhyuk hugged Jonghyun back. “He did.”

Jonghyun let go of Eunhyuk and rushed toward the fortress. “We have to find him.”

Eunhyuk gave one last upward glance toward the departing Jex and then raced after Jonghyun to find Ensign SungGyu. “Junsu is going to love this.”

“Why wouldn’t he? Isn’t he your best friend?” Jonghyun asked as they headed toward the fortress. “Won’t he be happy you’re alive?”

“Yeah, he will be glad I am alive. He just sometimes gets mad at me because occasionally I can be…an idiot,” Eunhyuk answered, not saying more.

They hurried through the graveyard of bones, unafraid as they searched for their missing companion. They were quickly rewarded when they caught sight of SungGyu exiting the enormous doors that were guarding the entrance to the Fortress of Snow.

Both of them raced toward the other ensign, unable to hide their excitement.

The exhausted SungGyu grinned in relief as he saw the other two quickly approaching. He promptly sat down among the bones before he collapsed.

Eunhyuk was the first to reach him and he stared down at bedraggled ensign, who was trying to catch his breath. “Are you…are you okay?”

SungGyu’s voice was shaky as he answered, “Yeah...”

Jonghyun stopped himself from reaching down and hugging the other man, who was visibly shaken. “What happened in there?”

SungGyu didn’t answer immediately; he just tried to control his racing heart.

Eunhyuk’s concern grew. “Are you sure you are okay?”

“Yeah, I think…there was a big…a huge spider in there,” SungGyu declared, still trying to calm his nerves. “It was talking to me…talking to me. It told me if I didn’t answer the riddle correctly it was going to eat me and then spit my bones out here. It must have been telepathic…because its mouth wasn’t moving. It was blocking the path to the power source…it wouldn’t let me pass.”

“So it did make you answer a riddle,” Eunhyuk stated, surprised as he looked out at the graveyard. “So all these people got the riddle wrong?”

“I don’t now,” SungGyu answered with his eyes tightly shut. “It was like I was in the middle of a Tolkien novel.”

“You must have got the riddle right,” Jonghyun told SungGyu encouragingly as he reached down and squeezed the shaken ensign’s shoulder.

“No,” SungGyu answered, opening his eyes. “I didn’t get it right. I got it wrong.”

“But you…the shield is down…and you are alive,” Eunhyuk pointed out, casting a concerned glance at Jonghyun.

“Only because I shot it,” SungGyu informed them, shaking his head still dazed by what had happened. “The thing wouldn’t die. I had the phaser set to kill and I bet I shot it a hundred times before it died. It just kept coming for me. If I never see another spider as long as I live…it will be fine by me.”

Eunhyuk and Jonghyun both grinned but were beamed away from the planet before they had time to reply.


“How can you eat at a time like this?” Ryeowook demanded as Jaejoong slurped down a bowl of soup.

Jaejoong set the empty bowl down loudly against his kitchen countertop. “Why? How can you ask me that! You know why! Changmin is demanding it. If I don’t feed him he takes turns kicking different internal organs until I do.”

Ryeowook winced at the thought. “Jaejoong, that isn’t exactly true.”

“Shut up! I am not a cow.”

“I didn’t say you were…it’s just that Changmin really loved food…and you are tightly bonded with him right now.”

Jaejoong grabbed a loaf of bread, tore off a piece, and stuffed it into his mouth. “I am stressed, too.”

Ryeowook reached across the counter and also tore off a piece of bread. “Tell me about it. I used to eat all the time. I was once really cubby.”

“Because you were stressed?”

“No, not really…my grandmother is an excellent cook.”

“I want to meet your grandmother…right after we get our respective mates out of jail,” Jaejoong said, pulling the bread protectively out of Ryeowook’s reach.

Ryeowook shook his head at the greedy Joong and turned around to face the door. “Captain Leeteuk said he was going to release them…why hasn’t he?”

“Because he isn’t Leeteuk…”

“We need to get control of this ship back to Yunho…evil imposters can not have control of the Expectations.”

“I totally agree; do you have any suggestions?

Ryeowook let out a deep breath and stated, “Since we are forbidden from returning to the brig…I think we should talk to Sungmin.”

Jaejoong sneered at Ryeowook’s plan and set the bread down on the counter. “Your friend Sungmin is, like, Leeteuk’s favorite pet. He will be no help to us.”

“Maybe not,” Ryeowook agreed, heading toward the door. “But I still want to give him a piece of my mind.”

Jaejoong grabbed the loaf of bread and followed after Ryeowook. “If nothing else, this should prove to be amusing to watch.”

“Not for him—” Ryeowook never finished his sentence as he was transported away with Jaejoong.


Eunhyuk, Jonghyun, and SungGyu materialized inside a shuttle craft and were right away greeted by Lieutenant SooYoung, “Hey, you fellows need a ride?”

“Did you get the others?” SungGyu blurted out, instantly gathering his wits.

“Yes,” she answered, giving him a scrutinizing look. “You look like you have been through hell.”

“Are they all alive?” SungGyu asked urgently as he looked past her to the front of the shuttle where he saw Ensign Henry piloting the shuttle and Lieutenant Donghae sitting next to him working steadily at the control panel.

“All of them,” SooYoung replied. “Lieutenant Donghae has them stored in the shuttle’s transporter beams at this time. Some of them are injured but nothing the Expectations can’t fix once it gets here.”

“Once it gets here…” Eunhyuk repeated, unable to hide his surprise. “Where is the ship?”

“They answered a distress call and left us here to rescue you, but of course we couldn’t do anything with the shield being up,” SooYoung told them.

Jonghyun wrapped an arm around SungGyu’s waist and said proudly, “Luckily Ensign SungGyu saved us.”

SungGyu shrugged free of Jonghyun’s hold and corrected, “It was a team effort.”

Eunhyuk snorted. “Yeah, but you were the team leader. We did what you said and we got to live…and I for one am totally okay with that.”

SungGyu sighed and repeated, “It was a team effort.”

“You are the one that faced the giant spider,” Jonghyun reminded SungGyu with a grin.

SungGyu cringed involuntarily. “Don’t….don’t…mention spiders…ever.”

Lieutenant SooYoung beamed at SungGyu. “I won’t ask…for now. I told Minho to stay with you…he should have listened to me.”

“He tried,” Eunhyuk answered. “Lieutenant Yesung wouldn’t part with him…so did the Jex get them?”

“We haven’t examined any of them, but some of their life signs did show signs of the Jex toxin, along with Doctor Nam…who is also hypothermic.”

Eunhyuk grimaced. “We are kinda responsible for the hypothermia.”

“Freezing him was the only way of saving,” Jonghyun promptly explained.

“I am sure he will be fine,” SooYoung assured them.

“What about the people in the surrounding villages?” SungGyu asked. “How did the native people fair?”

“That is the strange part…they seemed to all have taken cover, but the away team was out in the open,” the science officer explained.

SungGyu frowned.

“I don’t think the Jex descended on the villages,” Eunhyuk added. “They seemed to be staying above the tree line.”

“The majority must have,” SooYoung agreed.

“Eunhyuk, come talk to me, I can’t leave the transporter controls,” Donghae called from the front of the shuttle.

“I will be right there,” Eunhyuk told his old friend as he hurried to the front of the shuttle.

“Oh, I want come too,” the young transporter tech declared as he followed after Eunhyuk. “I want to see how you are stabilizing their forms with the limited power of the shuttle.”

“Well, actually we have Ensign Henry to thank for that…I think he could funnel energy from a dead engine,” Donghae explained.

Lieutenant SooYoung watched as Jonghyun and Eunhyuk joined Donghae and Henry at the front of the shuttle. She then leaned into SungGyu and warned, “Commander Jung was arrested along with Commander Yoochun and Commander Cho.”

A stunned SungGyu asked, “Why?”

“Nobody knows,” SooYoung whispered. “Jaejoong came to the bridge and let Captain Leeteuk have it…then the captain said it was all some horrible misunderstanding.”

“So he released them?”

“He said he was going to, but I wasn’t around to see if he actually did it.”

“When will the Expectations be back?” SungGyu asked, growing more and more concerned.

“They are traveling at a high warp, it shouldn’t be long.”

“How high a warp?”

SooYoung let out a small laugh. “Warp eight.”

“Warp eight!” SungGyu gasped. “Commander Yoochun will have a stroke.”

She nodded her head and agreed, “My thoughts exactly.”


Ryeowook found himself on an unknown planet and standing in front of a stone monument with a blue liquid-looking interior that was swirling around in circles. “Where are we…and is that…is that…”

“A Guardian…” Jaejoong answered as he looked at the great portal, still gripping his bread from earlier. “But your transporters brought us here, not the Guardian.”

“Why are we here,” Ryeowook asked, eyeing the Guardian uneasily.

“For no good reason, you can be sure of that,” Yoochun answered as he, Yunho and Kyuhyun appeared behind them.

“Jaejoong!” Yunho exclaimed and rushed to his mate’s side, barely managing not to fall on the slick surface of the planet. “The being controlling Leeteuk is up to something.”

Jaejoong took Yunho by the hand and agreed, “I concur.”

“He’s up to nothing good, you can be sure of that,” Kyuhyun added.

“I don’t recognize this planet,” Jaejoong stated as he looked up at the sky and was relieved to find five small moons, not two.

Kyuhyun grabbed a hold of Yoochun’s arm after losing his footing. “Be careful, the ground is a gel-like substance.”

“Yeah,” Yunho agreed as he examined his surroundings. “It’s slick.”

“It’s also hot,” Jaejoong complained, wiping his brow.

Ryeowook rubbed his arms. “I don’t think we should be out here in this sun…it doesn’t feel right.”

“I honestly didn’t think there was a Guardian…I thought he was just going to kill us,” Yoochun replied, staring at the ancient portal anxiously.

“I am rather shocked,” Yunho admitted. “I didn’t think he would send us to a Guardian…why would he do that?”

“What the hell is going on,” Jaejoong demanded, quickly deducing the three commanders knew something he did not. “I can’t read minds, people! Somebody tell me what is going on.”

Yunho squeezed Jaejoong’s hand and explained, “The imposter posing as Leeteuk stated there was a guardian disrupting space and time and he was going to send us down to deal with it?”

“And needless to say we are kinda surprised he wasn’t lying,” Yoochun elaborated as he bowed before the Guardian. “I just want to apologize for kicking you that time. I am really, really sorry.”

“Yoochun,” Yunho chastised, while shaking his head.

“What?” Yoochun complained. “It’s all swirly looking; I can just imagine all the places it would like to send me.”

Ryeowook eyed the portal, while holding up his hand to block the sunlight from his face. “Doesn’t it swirl before it swallows people up?”

“It does not swallow people,” Jaejoong protested and looked at Yunho. “Are you no longer under arrest?”

“No,” Kyuhyun answered for Yunho. “He said we were free, but instead of freeing us he left us in the brig until we were transported here.”

Yoochun carefully walked around the monument and stated, “Wherever we are, it doesn’t take long to get here at a high warp…not that it takes long to get to most places at a high warp.”

“We were at a high warp?” Ryeowook asked, shocked. “Why so fast?”

“He wanted to quickly get rid of us for some reason,” Yunho answered, putting his focus back on Jaejoong. “Could the Guardian send us back in time…to the point before the imposter took control of Leeteuk, Ji-Hoon, and Heechul?”

“It can do whatever it wants…but it has to want to do it. We haven’t even greeted it.”

“Hey, I greeted it!” Yoochun proclaimed, defensively.

“I was talking about me and Yunho…it doesn’t even acknowledge your existence,” Jaejoong informed the engineer.

“Well, it hasn’t exactly acknowledged you either, Your Royal Highness,” Yoochun smart-mouthed back at the Joong. “Maybe—”

“Junsu!” Ryeowook exclaimed loudly as the ensign materialized. “What are you doing here?”

“Being punished…for his loyalty,” Kyuhyun responded, taking a step closer to Ryeowook. “But where is Shindong? Shindong is supposed to be here also. Leeteuk clearly stated Shindong would be joining us.”

Yoochun eyed Junsu warily and explained, “They probably haven’t sent him yet. Who the hell is running the transporters? Donghae and Jonghyun are both off the ship. We are lucky we didn’t find ourselves encased in rock. If he put that fucktard Ji-Hoon in charge of engineering he probably has a housekeeping bot running the transporters.”

“Junsu, you have a phaser and tricorder?” Yunho questioned, examining the ensign closely.

“Yes, Sir,” Junsu answered, eyeing the Guardian uneasily. “I was told I was going on a rescue mission.”

“What kind of rescue mission?” Yunho asked, relinquishing Jaejoong’s hand and carefully walking closer to Junsu.

Junsu, whose attention was on the ancient portal asked, “Is that a Guardian of Time?”

“Ensign, what kind of rescue mission?” Yunho repeated.

Junsu forced his eyes away from the Guardian and pointed to the sky. “That star is about to explode…I was told we were a rescue party for a small rebel instillation that had sent out distress calls. But I don’t see any installation here.”

Yunho jerked his attention toward the small yellow star in the sky. “About to explode; give me the tricorder,” Yunho commanded, yanking the tricorder out of Junsu’s hands.

Kyuhyun immediately hit his combadge to call for the ship, but the connection was dead.

“Yunho!” Yoochun yelled. “How long do we have?”

“Seconds, not even—”


The Expectations had met up with the shuttle and Lieutenant Donghae had safely transported the injured away team members directly to sickbay. The Expectations had then locked its tractor beams on the shuttle and brought it into the docking bay safely. The shuttle crew had patiently waited as the docking bay pressurized, filling the bay with a breathable atmosphere.

After the docking bay crew had signaled it was safe to exit the away team quickly departed the shuttle. They found the usually cheerful docking bay crew unusually quiet. Lieutenant SooYoung narrowed her gaze and asked Lieutenant Donghae, “Is it just me or does it seem unusually somber in here?”

Donghae nodded his head in agreement. “They act like somebody died.”

Ensign SungGyu, who had been exiting the bay with them, froze in place after hearing Lieutenant Donghae’s words.

“Are you alright?” a concerned ensign Jonghyun asked after watching Ensign SungGyu come to an abrupt stop.

SungGyu inhaled a deep breath and rushed off, leaving the others behind as a terrible fear took root in his heart.

Jonghyun and Eunhyuk shared a quick glance, immediately knowing what the other ensign feared, and took off after him.

Ensign Henry, who worked closely with Ensign SungGyu in engineering, asked, “Dr. Nam…how injured was he?”

Donghae watched as the three men hurried away. “He was in the worst condition by far, but I would have thought it would be quick work for Dr. Heechul to heal him.”


SungGyu hurried toward sickbay, stopping for no one, but not missing the looks of loss and distress that appeared on the face of every crew member he passed. He mentally reviewed the process leading to this moment. WooHyun had been beamed aboard the ship seventeen minutes earlier…seventeen minutes was a long time in space…even sixty seconds was an eternity in space. Space could be a cruel mistress, and SungGyu knew this.

He sprinted through the sickbay waiting room, paying little attention to the other crew members that were gathered there. He burst into the exam area and did not dare to breathe till he locked eyes on WooHyun. A very alive WooHyun, who sat on the edge of his exam bed with a red blanket wrapped around him.

Without a second thought he dashed to the young doctor and pulled him into a tight embrace. SungGyu let his relief wash over him, and the fear that he had failed his friend slowly dissipated.

“Thank the universe!” Eunhyuk exclaimed from behind SungGyu. “There for a minute I thought you were goner, Dr. Nam.”

“Me too,” Ensign Jonghyun, who stood beside Eunhyuk, agreed. “I am so glad to see you alive…and not a human popsicle.”

WooHyun, who felt very snug in SungGyu’s embrace, smiled over the ensign’s shoulder at the two other men he had shared the adventure with. “I am getting warmer by the second.”

Jonghyun caught sight of a somber looking Minho. “Minho, I glad to see you! For awhile there I thought you all were goners.”

Minho looked at Jonghyun and tried to give him a small reassuring smile, but his eyes held only sadness.

Jonghyun, who knew his friend well, stepped closer and beseeched, “What is wrong. You look—”

Kangin’s loud voice filled sickbay interrupting Jonghyun, “I am not fine! I am far from fine!”

SungGyu broke away from WooHyun to watch as a grief stricken Ensign Kangin stumbled into the room with Doctor Heechul trailing after him.

“Just calm down…please calm down,” Heechul pleaded.

“Calm down? How can I calm down? You can’t tell me…you can’t tell me Yunho and Yoochun are dead and expect me to calm down! It’s a lie! It’s all a lie…a terrible, horrible lie!” Kangin screamed accusingly at the doctor.

“I am so sorry…you don’t know how sorry I am,” the doctor told Kangin, reaching out for the distraught ensign. “It is a tragedy.”

“It…it…isn’t true…NO!” Kangin shouted with tears running down his face. “They aren’t dead…it’s a lie…they aren’t dead.”

“Nobody wants to believe it,” Heechul assured Kangin. “You have to settle down…I can give you something to help calm you.”

“Keep your fucking medicine away from me!” Kangin cried. “They were my friends!”

Heechul nodded his head. “I know they were. They were my friends, too”

“It can’t be true…it can’t be,” Kangin insisted.

“Sadly, it is true,” Leeteuk stated, causing every gaze in the room to shift to him. Nobody had noticed him entering sickbay. “Commander Jung, Commander Cho, Commander Yoochun, Doctor Cho, Ensign Junsu, and Jaejoong are all dead…it’s a horrible truth, but yet it is still the truth.”

The room was filled by silence as Leeteuk’s words penetrated the minds of everyone present.

The silence was broken when Eunhyuk dropped to his knees and let out a pain filled cry after hearing his lifelong friend was dead. “Junsu…no…Junsu...”

Dr. Nam quickly got off the exam bed and engulfed Eunhyuk in a hug.

Kangin leaned against the wall as if his legs could no longer be trusted to hold him up. “It just…it can’t….it is unbelievable…Yunho doesn’t end like this….he doesn’t die like this. No…it’s wrong. It isn’t right. Yoochun is too ornery to die.”

Leeteuk closed his eyes and said in a voice that sounded full of sorrow, “He died doing what he did best…saving others. A most noble life he led.”

“But they can’t be dead…not dead…not so many of them,” Kangin muttered to himself, unable believe such a tragedy had occurred.

“And if not for this young man,” Leeteuk announced turning his attention to SungGyu. “So many more of you would be lost if he had not insisted on taking the hard path…the righteous path to the top of the mountain.”

The rest of the away team looked at SungGyu, still too stunned by the news of so many deaths to completely comprehend what Leeteuk had just told them. Minho and the rest of the away team were speechless, but Lieutenant Yesung swallowed all his pride and told SungGyu, “Thank you.”

“That is very gracious of you, Lieutenant Yesung,” Leeteuk told the leader of the away team as he reached out and rested his hand on SungGyu’s shoulder. “I am just very glad I thought of including Ensign SungGyu on the team…I am horrified to think of what else could have happened if I had not.”

Leeteuk’s words penetrated Kangin’s grief-stricken mind and he gave Leeteuk a look of disbelief, but before Kangin had time to say anything SungGyu quickly replied, “Captain Leeteuk, I can’t thank you enough for your faith in me.”

Kangin stared at the young ensign, who stared back at him unflinchingly. He recognized the lie, but held his tongue when he saw something familiar…something the gaze of a treasured friend had once held. Kangin nodded his head, going along with the lie. “Yes, think goodness…you thought of including him, Captain.”

Leeteuk released his hold on SungGyu and focused on Heechul, who had been strangely quiet. “Doctor, I sympathize with the great loss you have suffered, but I would be appreciative if you could join me for a moment. I would like your suggestions regarding how to best deal with the crew at this time of great tragedy.”

“Of course,” Heechul told him and followed Leeteuk out of sickbay.

Eunhyuk, who was still on the floor, pushed WooHyun away and shook his head frantically. “Junsu can’t be dead. He just can’t be. He can’t be dead. He’s my best friend. He’s been my best friend my whole life…my whole life.”

WooHyun said nothing, knowing there wasn’t anything he could say to make it better.

SungGyu looked around the room in disbelief. He couldn’t wrap his mind around what was going on. He should have known when he got off the shuttle. He let his own worry about WooHyun cloud his judgment. All the crew members had looked shaken to their core…only the death of Yunho could affect so many. Yunho had once saved them all…pulled them out of hell and made them a team once again.

SungGyu’s own sense of loss was immense. Yunho had always showed so much faith in him, and although Commander Yoochun could be difficult, SungGyu admired him. He wanted to know how they had died. It seemed wrong. He couldn’t put his finger on it, but his gut instinct was screaming that something was not right. His sharp mind remembered the ease with which Leeteuk took credit for Yunho’s work.

SungGyu watched as Lieutenant Donghae and SooYoung entered the room. Donghae immediately went to Eunhyuk, knelt down beside the sobbing man and engulfed him in a tight hug.

He watched as WooHyun made his way around the room carefully assessing each crew member, offering comfort.

He watched as Lieutenant SooYoung subtly took Minho by the wrist and led him down a hallway toward the rooms at the back of sickbay.

He instinctively felt compelled to follow after them and he soon found himself in a room with a beautiful young girl, who slept undisturbed. He had never spoken with Sulli before but she was well known throughout the ship.

He watched as the Choi siblings stood at their cousin’s bedside, reading the monitors above her bed that continuously scanned her.

“Is there any change?” he asked.

SooYoung did not answer him as she knelt at her cousin’s bedside and took the sleeping girl’s hand.

Minho answered, “No, none…there hasn’t been any change since she slipped into this…this long sleep.”

WooHyun’s words from earlier repeated in his mind, and SungGyu asked, “Does this mean…that you were wrong?”

SooYoung looked up sharply at SungGyu and shook her head. “No, it just means that her prince has not awakened her, yet.”

SungGyu met SooYoung’s intelligent gaze and he knew for certain she was not speaking out of grief. She was a scientist. He didn’t know how she knew, but he was certain she knew that someday Sulli would awaken.

He also knew that SooYoung had been with Lieutenant Jung that day he had disappeared into time and space. The brilliant Lieutenant Jung, who he still remembered…but how could he remember a man that had never been born? His mind raced with possibilities, but he said nothing, nothing at all. None of them said anything as they watched Sulli sleeping…sleeping and waiting for Changmin to be born and wake her from her long slumber.
  • Current Location: The Heartland
  • Current Mood: pensive pensive
  • Current Music: 60 Seconds by SungGyu

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