He walked the bridge of the recently refurbished USS Enterprise in strong, confident strides. Familiar faces surrounded him, yet the face he longed to see most was not among them.
He was Captain James T Kirk once more.
Starfleet wanted to pull Super Captain out of a hat, so Super Captain they got.
And in oh-so-typical Starfleet fashion, people were going to be stomped on and have the shit kicked out of them in the process. Will Decker was the latest target.
If Kirk were being sentimental, he’d say that Decker reminded him of himself. Hotshot, brilliant kid, bit of a showoff, a smart mouth, but he’d earned this command.
The Powers that Be wanted Super Captain, so Decker had been bumped down the ladder to First Officer.
Kirk would have been majorly pissed if that had happened to him. There simply wasn’t time for that right now. Then a mis-command on the bridge which could have created a disaster forced the boiling point for Decker, and the kid got in Kirk’s face over it.
“Admit it, ADMIRAL: you haven’t been on a starship in two and a half years. You know nothing…”
Kirk whirled around and forced Decker to stop short. He laughed without mirth, with fire in his eyes and blistering anger spread across his face. “Nothing. Yes. When you’ve stood for two and a half years hip deep in the bodies of murdered innocents, when their blood fills your shoes and soaks your clothes and floods your dreams, when your Almighty Prime Directive allows you to do nothing, say nothing, offer nothing, promise nothing, believe me, Commander, you BECOME nothing.
“Take the conn, Mister Decker. I’ll be at the Communications Center, reviewing data from Epsilon Nine.”
# # #
“What am I MISSING?” Kirk asked himself for the ten-thousandth time. He slumped in the chair in front of a bank of screens, each playing a different video report. Sheets of hardcopy logs were scattered across the console and at his feet. An earpiece rested in front of him, he couldn’t listen to another word.
His eyes still jumped from screen to screen, seeking, searching, WILLING there to be a fragment of information that would break open the mystery of this invader.
He was so engrossed, he almost dismissed the spark. “Jim.”
A sharp inhale, and he focused on the floor. “Spock!”
The intership comm whistle brought his attention back to the Enterprise. “Captain to the Bridge.”
“On my way, Commander.”
# # #
Kirk knew exactly what a caricature jawdrop was. He personified it when the “Grade One, Non-Belligerent” entered the bridge from the turbolift.
“Spock!” he whispered.
The Vulcan wouldn’t meet his eye. He instead walked directly to the Science station and asked Decker, “Commander, if I may?” Decker dipped his head a fraction and took two steps backward. Spock began rapidly entering data into the console, and finally looked at Kirk. “I have a mathematical equation which will solve your engine difficulties. I offer my services as Science Officer.”
The coming and going of people on the bridge, the impromptu welcoming committee, the exchange of conversation to reinstate Spock to active duty in Starfleet—it all was merely a buzz clouding the perimeter of the existence of Kirk and Spock.
Spock was expressionless.
Kirk’s face turned to cold wax.
“With your permission, I will discuss these fuel adjustments with Mister Scott.”
Kirk nodded, and Spock glided off the bridge.
After the turbolift doors closed, Kirk uttered, “Welcome aboard, Mister Spock.”
The spark in Kirk’s brain flickered, “Wait.”