Ornonia is supposed to be one of those easy away missions that everyone secretly hopes to get assigned to. The Ornonians have had a request to join the Federation pending for several years now, and every ship that's visited up until now has reported a friendly, pleasant civilisation that is more than ready to be a part of the Federation.
The friendly part is especially important when Kirk informs the away team that a particular aspect of the Ornonian atmosphere renders phasers useless.
"So, everyone behave," he says as they walk to the transporter room. "Not that we should need to defend ourselves."
Sulu glances across at Chekov. "Are you okay?" he asks.
"Yes. Commander Spock says the Ornonians are over two and a half metres tall, and I have never seen someone so tall before." Chekov fiddles with the hem of his shirt.
"Hey, don't worry about it, Pavel. Even if they're not friendly, I've got my sword and nothing on the planet can stop that from working. I'll look after you," he says, patting Chekov's shoulder.
"Thank you," he says in a slightly odd voice, but when Sulu glances across at him quickly, Chekov seems to be fine.
They beam down to the surface of the planet where a group of a dozen Ornonians are waiting for them. Even knowing how tall they are, it's still a shock to see them in the (mottled purple) flesh. Sulu grips the hilt of his sword without even thinking about it.
The tallest takes a step forward from the rest of the group. "Greetings, Captain. I am the Ornich of this world," he says. "It is an honour to receive you."
"And an honour to be received," Kirk replies, inclining his head slightly. "This is my first officer, Commander Spock and two of my officers, Lieutenant Sulu and Ensign Chekov."
"And they are prepared to participate in the ritual? Good." The Ornich makes a gesture involving too many fingers.
Kirk frowns slightly. "I'm not sure we were briefed on any rituals—Spock?"
Spock doesn't get a chance to answer, because six Ornonians are advancing on the away team, and none of them look particularly friendly.
Sulu pulls out his sword and presses the button to unfold the blade. "Just get behind me, Pavel, I can handle—"
The Ornonian in front of him lets out a bone-shaking growl and reaches out for the sword, snapping the blade clean off.
"—oh, cockbags," he finishes, staring at the now-useless hilt in his hand.
A sturdy, Starfleet-issue boot whistles past Sulu's head and thumps into the face of the Ornonian, knocking the alien flying. Chekov recovers his balance and leans down to check if he's unconscious.
"Don't worry, Hikaru, I will look after you," he says with a sunny smile. He straightens up again and turns to punch another Ornonian in the—well, it looks like a human hip, but from the reaction it gets, Sulu wonders if it's actually where Ornonians keep their genitalia.
The fight is quick and dirty. The Ornonians seem to be completely baffled by the idea of fighting someone so much smaller than them, and their hesitation makes it a much fairer fight than their size had indicated. Chekov in particular seems to have the greatest advantage over them, being smaller than Kirk and Spock as well as more nimble on his feet. He takes a few glancing blows but nothing keeps him down, and he's doing far more damage to the Ornonians than they're doing in return. Sulu can only watch in amazement as Chekov stops any of them getting anywhere near him.
It's all over in less than five minutes.
"That was a good fight, Captain! Your Federation has strong warriors and we should be proud to be counted amongst them," the Ornich says, baring his teeth in an approximation of a smile (difficult, when your mouth opens vertically instead of horizontally).
Kirk smiles back at him, looking a little shaken. "Thank you, Ornich. Will you return to our ship with us to begin the discussions?"
"It would be my pleasure."
"I don't have any idea what just happened," Sulu says as they wait to be beamed back up to the ship. "I mean, you kicked their asses, Pavel. I've never seen you—I didn't even know you knew how to throw a punch."
"In Russia," Chekov starts, "we fight to pass the time in the winter." He's still breathing hard from the fight but the grin on his face is spread from ear to ear.
"Yes, bar fights. My uncle Misha, he once broke my arm when I was seven."
"He broke your arm?"
"Well, I broke his nose first. That was a good fight," he says, nodding proudly. "So was this one, Hikaru; you should have joined in. But it would have been better if we had chairs."
"Chairs?" Sulu asks, feeling like someone's filled him up with question marks. This is a side to Chekov he's never seen before and it's actually kind of unnerving.
Chekov nods again and mimes breaking a chair over someone's head, grinning even wider.
Make that entirely unnerving. And maybe even a little attractive, Sulu thinks as he smiles back at Chekov.