A Vignette
by Mylochka

(Standard Year 2249)

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When people asked, "What's it like living with Noel DelMonde?" the one thing Chekov found they never quite believed was how very quiet it was most of the time. Usually during the limited amount of time they were both in the cabin, the engineer read or wrote. The two of them had lived together long enough to distill routine greetings and requests down to a mutually understood code of grunts and gestures. As a result, the navigator actually spent less time conversing with his present roommate than he had with his previous one -- which was notable since his previous roommate had been an Edoan.

Even when he sat on his bunk and played his guitar, Noel did so very quietly. Although Chekov didn't know most of the songs he played, sometimes the Cajun would play wistful Russian folktunes that seemed to be pulled straight from the navigator's memories of childhood... which, for all he knew, they could be.

"You know, my uncle Des tone deaf, too," DelMonde began, as if they were in the middle of a conversation. "An' he love music as much as you do. I not see what th’ hell th’ two o’ you get out of it."

"I cannot speak for what your uncle Desmond -- or the rest of the human race -- does or does not hear," Chekov said, not looking up from the report he was reading. "But to me, pleasant sounds are pleasant. Unpleasant sounds are unpleasant."

Del looked at him for a minute, then took his fingers off the neck of the guitar and struck a discordant chord.

"That was unpleasant," the navigator confirmed.

The engineer experimentally plucked one of the top strings, paused, and then plucked a bottom string.

"I can tell the two notes are not the same," the Russian reported patiently. "I do not know what I cannot hear. I've just been told I can't reproduce the sounds correctly.”

"Oh, yeah, you tone deaf," DelMonde assured him. "The song you remember actually sound more like this..."

The Cajun played a version of the folksong that for all Chekov could tell just seemed to have more notes in it. He shrugged to let his roommate know that he didn't detect a discernable difference.

"Well..." Del went back to the less note-y rendition. "Your version not so bad.... I jus’ wish I figure out how your brain work... Or not work. Someday, someone should make a study on that."

"Yes," Chekov agreed in mock earnest. "I suppose it is very puzzling that everyone is so very interested in the way that your brain works when here I am, a veritable mystery of science."

“Don't kid yourself, son,” Del switched over to an American song. "You as much a freak o’ nature as I am.”

“And you should not underestimate yourself, Noel,” the Russian replied, picking his report back up. “You set a very high standard for abnormality.”

The two lapsed into one of the customary long silences that kept them from strangling each other. Chekov had finished reading the report and was initialing boxes to indicate that he’d reviewed it when the engineer unexpectedly spoke again.

"What you do if you had a child who was like me?" the Cajun asked.

"I would have a very serious conversation with my wife about the importance of fidelity."

"No, not look like me… You know, had the 'pathic t'ing goin’."

The navigator paused to consider. “That would be almost impossible,” he concluded, dismissing the notion.

“Hypothetically,” Del suggested enticingly.

This was a little unfair. The engineer knew that the Russian was a sucker for a good hypothetical. Chekov tried to resist, his stylus hovering mid-air over his report, but the problem had already cast grappling hooks into his brain. "Hmmm... It would be a very challenging situation."

“You jus’ go t' the Vulcan Science Academy an’ dump the li’l guy on th' doorstep, wouldn' ya?” the Cajun accused.

“No, of course not.” The Russian replied. “But I would avail myself of the copious research they have done on psychic phenomena... And the child would have to undergo a great deal of training, wouldn't it? To avoid psychological maladjustment.”

The engineer narrowed his eyes. “Why you look at me when you say that? “

Chekov initialed another box. “No reason.”

“So, you gonna put your precious li'l baby into the hands o' some cold-blooded, emotionless, walkin' computer in hope that it gonna turn out normal?”

“Well, of course I would be actively involved as a father.” The navigator paused and tapped the stylus to his lips. “Am I in Starfleet in this scenario?”

“Oh, yeah,” DelMonde confirmed. “You in Starfleet 'til you die. Your wife too.”

“And I'm married?”

“Yeah, you heathen. You wanna give that baby your name, doncha?”

“And since I decided to have a family, I assume that means that the Nest ship proposal went forward so my family could be with me?”

“Okay,” the engineer granted. “Sure.”

The navigator considered for a moment. “Can we say there is a Vulcan on board who could act as a tutor?”

“No, that cheatin’.”

“But I could put in a special request for personnel assignment...”

“Special request?” Del made a dubious face at him. “What you t'inkin’ you are, an admiral?”

Chekov shrugged. “Hypothetically.”

“No,” the Cajun said firmly. “That cheatin’ too.”

“Hmmm...” The Russian chewed the end of his stylus as he weighed his options. “Then I do not see how it could work satisfactorily. The child would have to undergo extensive training from a very early age. Education on Vulcan -- or Beta Antares, or Epsilon Indii, or any other Federation-allied worlds with a strong tradition of training in the mental disciplines, for that matter -- would involve extended periods of separation that would be difficult to bear and possibly damaging... Is my wife a psychic?”

“Don' try to put it all off on her,” Del warned.

“But the probability of my having telepathic offspring is so low...” Chekov protested.

“All right… What if it not your child?” the engineer proposed. “He actually mine, but you not realize that 'til he twelve an’ gets to be two feet taller than you.”

The Russian pursed his lips and considered this new data. “And my wife isn't tall either?”


“Is it Daphne?”

“No, if Daf have my bastard, she'd bust that out th' firs' time she get mad at you.” Del shook his head. “Your wife someone who not say a word fo' twelve years an’ you not even get suspicious...”

Chekov frowned at this improbability. “Really?”

“It Monique,” the Cajun decided. “You marry Monique DuBois.”

The Russian’s evaluation of the plausibility of the suggested model was suddenly reinvigorated. “What happened to Ramon?”

“Oh… he die,” the engineer determined. “Him an’ Daffy both... At the same time. But they went real quick an’ painless… an' all heroic-like… an’ had time to tell you both that they want you to go on wit’ your lives an’ find someone else.”

Chekov nodded, impressed. “That was very generous of them.”

Mais, they might have been some fumes in th’ air at th’ end that had ‘em a li’l light headed,” the Cajun conceded. “But that how you get together wit’ Monique -- the two o' you comfort each other.”

“I comfort her,” the navigator said with a frown. “But she has your illegitimate child?”

“Oh, I have to comfort her too,” the engineer assured him. “She real broke up.”

“But, you -- a telepath – do not realize that you have fathered a telepathic child?”

“I guess I’d have to have my suspicions, wouldn't I?” DelMonde played a repetitive vamp on his guitar as he considered. “Well, I out o’ the picture too.”


“Don't get your hopes up,” the Cajun chided. “No, I gone some place. Somet’ing happen to me.”

“Perhaps you went insane,” Chekov suggested. “Or became an alcoholic?”

DelMonde sighed and rolled his eyes. “Okay, what th' hell? A li’l bit o’ both. That make sense, non? You not wanna have that kind o’ father ‘round a poor bebe, would you?”

“I suppose not…” The Russian’s conscience began to trouble him about the terrible fate he’d proposed onto his roommate. “However, with the proper treatment you could recover and...”

“No, no, no,” the Cajun cut him off, firmly. “I run off from the institution where you an’ Monique stick me – ‘cause I not stand the food -- an' I take off, crazed an’ drunk, fo’ the Romulan Neutral Zone.”

“Oh?” The navigator frowned. “Then the border patrol...”

”...Not prevent me from bein' captured by a Romulan Bird o’ Prey an’ then given as a gift to the queen of a matriarchal Romulan colony planet.” Del’s tune had turned into a “chase” theme.

Chekov raised both eyebrows. “How dramatic... It does seem though, that a demented, alcoholic telepath might be seen by the Romulans as a less than ideal sex slave for an important figure of state.”

“You kiddin'?” The Cajun dismissed his concern. “They pay extra for that, son.”


“T'ink 'bout it… Zero inhibitions.” The engineer gave him a solemn wink. “Them Romulan women are wild t'ings...”

“Well…” The navigator nodded slowly. “You would be in position to verify that…”

“So, meanwhile, you an’ Monique raisin’ my boy...”

“And my difficulties remain essentially unchanged.” Chekov chewed his lip thoughtfully. “If we did not have access to a suitable tutor on board our vessel – a possibility which I am not as ready to give up on as you are…”

“'Cause o’ your pull as a soon-to-be admiral?”

“No, because it would be in the best interests of the ship. A rogue telepath could be quite disruptive.”

The Cajun frowned. “Why you give me that look again?”

“And since extra sensory perception is a very rare occurrence in Humans, I am sure Starfleet Science and Federation Medical would be interesting in monitoring his development…”

Del stopped playing to shake a warning finger at the navigator. “If you jus’ gonna stick th’ child in a test tube…”

“No, not at all,” Chekov protested. “However, this is part of the reason why I think it would be advantageous to raise such a child on board a Federation vessel. Special training and monitoring are routine activities on a starship. People the boy knew would conduct them. His mother and I would be there. And he could see that from time to time we also underwent special training as part of our careers and that our physical and mental health were also being monitored by the same people. Also, because the crew of a starship is trained to deal with the out of the ordinary, a human telepath would not be looked on as strange or unusual.”

“Jus’ the way that you not look at me as bein’ strange or unusual,” the Cajun pointed out cynically.

“Noel, you may be certain that – even if you had my level of psychic powers -- I would still find you to be strange and unusual.”

The engineer snorted. “Stayin’ on the ship keep your career on track too.”

“Yes,” the Russian conceded. “But, if I were married, the welfare of my wife and children would have to come first. If necessary, I would request a transfer to a ground assignment on a Federation allied world where 'our' child could be cared for properly.”

DelMonde smiled and shook his head. “I not see you livin’ half-naked in a treehouse on Beta Antares.”

“I would hope that would not be necessary,” the navigator agreed.

The Cajun played a fragment of an Antari lullaby for a moment before coming to a sudden stop. “Wait. You say wife an’ children – not child.”

“Oh, yes.” Chekov initialed another box on his report. “Monique and I have a rather large family.”

“I bet you do.”

“It was her preference,” the Russian replied. “She’s Catholic so…”

“I never notice her bein’ particularly devout.”

“Yes, but after Lieutenant Ordona’s tragic death…”

“Oh, yeah. She were pretty broke up,” DelMonde had to agree. “Just don’ make her too religious. I not want her to go ‘round t’inkin’ my boy possessed by the Devil an’ all.”

“She would not do that unless…” The navigator paused. “Just how much like you is this child?”

“Enough like me that by the time he fifteen he get sick o’ your shit an’ takes off.”

“To find you?”


“In Romulan territory?”

“No,” Del decided, switching over to a border planet bar tune. “I on a planet on th’ edge o’ th’ Neutral Zone now.”

“You escaped?”

“Not jus’ escape -- I overthrew th’ damned government.”


“No,” the engineer conceded. “I had a couple girlfriends who help out… where they could.”

“Oh, I see.” The Russian nodded solemnly. “No cheating involved?”

“Oh, no. I beat them Romulan bitches down fair an’ square…See, I knew their vulnerable points.”

“Intimately, it would seem,” Chekov agreed. “And you have returned to Federation territory?”

“No, I told you I was in th’ Neutral Zone. I open up a bait shop on Gandros IV.”

“So, now you have returned to relative sanity and sobriety?”

“What make you t’ink that?”

“In addition to overthrowing a Romulan matriarchy with very little assistance, you now own a small business.”

“Nope.” Del shook his head as he bridged to the chorus of the bar tune. “You gotta be crazy to go up against them Romulan bitches. An’ obviously you never made the acquaintance of the proprietor of a bait shop.”

“I suppose I haven’t.” Chekov frowned at the sort of emotional trauma his theoretical runaway child’s defection to the Cajun would inflict on his happy hypothetical family. “But 'our' son stays with you?”

DelMonde considered for a moment, then sighed. “Well, only a month or so… Now, don’t look so pleased. He not go back ‘cause o' you.”

“Of course not.” The navigator snorted. “By the rules of this scenario, anything that would make me think that would be cheating.”


“Then I would suppose he returns home to begin to prepare for his Academy entrance exams.”

“Yeah, he start to miss his books.” The Cajun began to play an acid parody of a 'happy home' song. “Start to get mad ‘cause nobody can understand his damn French/Russian accent… See, you ain’t raised him to be tough… or even taught him how to pass a good time. You done raised him in a test tube… Done let Monique turn him into a mama’s boy.”

Chekov shrugged as he put his signature at the bottom of the report. “I do not seem to have a lot of control over her.”

“Yeah.” DelMonde smiled as he switched back to his bar tune. “That why nobody surprised when she leave you t’ go off to be wit’ some crazy old drunk who run a bait shop.”

The End

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