In the first year of their mission, Kirk and Spock’s relationship seemed to move backwards in the progress they had made following the Nero incident.
It was several months into deep space and far too many days between shore leave when Kirk found Spock brooding once again over the loss of Vulcan whilst on duty.
Knowing full well that compassion would fail him should he try it yet again, Kirk opted for humor. Grinning morbidly, he grabbed the Vulcan’s arm and said “Get over it, Spock;” gently, jokingly—but he said it nonetheless.
Spock snapped. In a cold, mechanical voice—one more laced with malice than usual—he asked “Captain, do you not understand what it is like to hear an entire planet screaming in vain, in horror, in agony, crying out for the help that you know full well will not arrive until it is far too late?”
Perhaps if he were not so tired, Kirk would have amended his statement. As it was, he was frustrated by his first officer’s obviously tumultuous emotions, the way he kept them hidden under the cool surface of his skin and refused to talk about them—with the captain, Uhura, Bones, anyone, even his own damn father—and so Kirk snapped right back with a forceful “Yes, Spock, as a matter of fact….”
As a matter of fact, he did.
“The revolution is successful but survival depends on drastic measures. Your continued existence represents a threat to the well-being of society.”
Reporters had waited with bated breath for the words of their governor, holding forth cameras and microphones like twisted sacrifices to a ruthless god.
“Your lives mean slow death to the more valued members of the colony.”
And Jim, little Jim, in his classroom, watching the vid screen, clutched his stomach—not in hunger, as the past weeks had made him accustomed to pangs of desire for food, but in dread.
“Therefore, I have no alternative but to sentence you to death.”
A helmeted soldier banged the door to the classroom open, knocking a colorful poster—Kodos for governor: Keeping the colony safe!—of the wall. His teacher fainted. His classmates screamed.
They were ordered to line up against the wall, and the soldier marched down the line amidst the terrified silence, asking for each child’s name. The third one, a girl named Marcy Davis, who wore her straight, black hair in pigtail braids even in early adolescence—was the first one he killed: a bullet to the heart, and one to the head.
Strange, how primitve firearms seemed only 15 years later—only 15 years later.
Those who were allowed to survive ran crying from the man in his shiny, black helmet with his hard, unsympathetic face, the gun cradled in his arms much as these children hoped their parents would still be alive to cradle them, to brush their hair from their eyes and whisper that it would all be okay.
Jim knew he should run the four miles back to his aunt’s house to make sure she was okay. But he knew that the soldier had killed based on name, and knew that no family would have a chance to mourn his peers. And so, alone, in a dark classroom, 13-year-old Jim Kirk sank to the floor, pressed his face to his knees, and wept amongst the corpses of the children whom he had played with at recess mere hours ago. Outside, the sound of his world falling apart raged on.
“Your execution is so ordered, signed Kodos, Governor of Tarsus IV.”
Kirk found his voice again. His last words to the rather bemused Spock were trembling, as though he were still in the first days of that horror story, still the child he was going into it, and not the rough adult who had come out.
“As a matter of fact, I do.”