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10-18:

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Around 5 o’clock Jim’s alarm rang.  The gears connected to the replicator whirled as they started up, awaiting command, while the lighting in the room automatically dialed from a blissful 0% to a blinding 90%.

Jim’s eyes tightened as the lights blared over him. Sneaking an arm out from under his sheets Jim slapped the alarm off with a grunt. After a moment he sat up, every muscle in his body begging him to lie back down, sleep for another precious hour. But Jim knew what he had to give up when he joined the FSOC—proper sleep being one thing.

Swallowing down a sticky lump in his throat, Jim finally cracked an eye open. His vision was bleary for a moment and an uneasy wave of nausea hit him. ­What I get for having beer before bed, he thought. Raising a hand to rub out a kink in his next Jim mumbled, “Lights to 60%.”

The lights obeyed and the room grew slightly darker. Jim ripped the tangled wad of sheets off his legs and flung them to the side. Cool air from the AC wafted over his bare legs, sending tingles up his thighs and hitting his groin. He blinked down at the rise in his boxers. “Good morning to you too.”

Jim slid his legs over the side of his bed and rocked forward. He stood hunched over and wobbling till placing two hands on his hip and arching his back. A loud chorus of pops and cracks echo through the room as Jim’s back straightened. Jim let out a satisfied sigh. He walked the few unbalanced steps around the bed before he was face to face with the buzzing replicator. Slumping forward, Jim smacked his forehead to the touch screen.

“Good morning, 51152-45196.” a mechanical voice beeped from the small speaker close to Jim’s ear.

Jim punched a thumb into the replicator’s screen. “Coffeeeee…” Jim moaned then let out a small cheer as he heard the replicator’s door swish open. The heavy scent of the brewed drink filled his senses immediately. “Thank you, babe,” he quipped, patting the replicator before taking the coffee in his hands.

He never really ate breakfast. His normal morning meal consisted of two or more mugs of coffee and (maybe) the bottoms of the beer cans he didn’t polish off the night before. But he was trying to lay off of that though—trying.

Settling on the end of his bed, Jim let his shoulders sag as he took a large gulp of black liquid. He raised his chin slightly, gesturing to the blank holoscreen in front of him. “Holoscreen on.” The screen clicked then flashed on. “Channel 3,” Jim said, taking another sip.

The screen stayed still before turning to a man and women news team.

“—all eyes were watching as Abrah Pik Dosux, prince to Ipp-Nov 5, was officially crowned Public-Raja. As we all know, Pik Dosux was selected on May 12th, nearly two months after his father, Pik Seosux, was assassinated. Due to this fact, Ipp-Nov 5, and I quote, “waited for the crowning, not wanting for this joyous occasion to fall within the mourning period of the late Raja.” Officials have confirmed that Pik Dosux will be traveling to the sister planet AVA-9 for the final ceremonies.”

The woman finished speaking and the screen zoomed in on the man. “In other news, can a new form of allege help your body’s complexion? Find out af—”

“Who the fuck cares?” Jim muttered, telling the screen to skip to channel 15.

The screen flashed to a group of orange skinned aliens talking in some language Jim didn’t know. No translation was provided.

“Channel 11,” Jim said, finishing off his coffee. He rose and walked back to the replicator for another cup when the screen flashed to a yellow-eyed standing in front of the large window of a carrier. Jim paused to watch.

“As you can see bellow me, Romulan ships are still heading into Vulcan. A count of nearly 50,000 have barricaded all major exiting ports of cities such as Gol and ShiKahr.” The man was practically screaming over the background noise of people rushing and talking around him. The whole carrier was buzzing.

Jim felt his chest tightened. He already knew about this. Everyone knew about this.

Six days ago, Romulan ships had unexpectedly attacked the planet Vulcan. The rivalry between the two races had always been evident, but as far as Jim knew, they had been at a stand-still for decades. Then suddenly, thousands were forced to evacuate and more thousands died when the Romulans dropped tons and tons of what people were calling “Cloud 9” onto the major cities. Jim had read what “Cloud 9” was, and selfishly thanked his lucky stars that he wasn’t on that poor planet.

It was a gas that the Romulans had concocted. If inhaled, it caused massive fevers and reportedly triggered seizures. A report was release two days earlier that FSOC made all members read in case Terra was ever attacked. DAI (death after infection) for Vulcans was charted as 96 hours. For humans, however, it was charted at a measly 48. In all honesty, the stuff scared the living piss out of Jim.

Just then, the screen split and the face of a no nosed women appeared. Her stern faced glared out of the screen. “Von, can you tell us about the plan of evacuation? Is that still in effect?” the woman asked.

Von waited a moment, taking in the woman’s words. “Yes, evacuations are still in place. Federation and Vulcan ships that, at the beginning of the invasion, managed to successfully evacuate civilians have turned back and are now hovering just outside Vulcan.” The man pointed to a cluster of Federation and Vulcan ships floating lifelessly in darkness outside the window. “Rescued civilians are to be taken to Terra. Federation officials say that some may even be taken to the colonies on Luna—”

“You say the “some” civilians, Von, do you have a rough estimate of how many still remain on Vulcan?” the woman interrupted.

The yellow-eyed man waited a beat. “Ah—numbers of trapped Vulcan citizens have not been released. Estimated, though, we’re looking at thousands and thousands of innocents still on the planet.”

“Jesus,” Jim whispered, leaning to grab his new batch of coffee yet not looking away from the screen.

“I see that as of yesterday, Terra has declared war on Romulan forces, am I correct in saying this?” the woman asked, her dark eyes raking over the papers in her hands.

“—Yes. Terra, in alliance with Vulcan, followed nearly 18 hours after Vulcan officials confirmed war. We are to believe tha…”

Jim felt his breath catch as the reporter froze, raising one hand to press against his ear. Jim’s heart lurched as the color in the man’s face drained away. “I…I'm just getting report that Vulcan Regar has fallen. Again, Vulcan Regar has fallen. I am being told that Cloud 9 gas is being used and Romulan forces are now ‘on-ground’. This is…this…”

The reporter shook his head in utter disbelief and let himself get pushed slightly by the rest of the frantic bodies on the carrier.

Jim stared numbly at the screen as the no-nosed woman took up the whole viewer, video of the yellow-eyed man turning off. The woman looked at the camera grimly.

“As you have just heard, Cloud 9 gas has been dropped along inner Vulcan Regar. We will have more information for our viewers as soon as possible. Our hearts go out to the people of Vulcan. For Central 11, I'm Sandra Gyahpi.”

Only when the feed switched to a commercial did Jim shake himself out of his trance. Somberly, he glanced down at his coffee, suddenly sick to his stomach. He placed his mug back in the replicator and turned the holoscreen off. He hadn’t been awake for thirty minutes and already he had a migraine.

Being a part of FSOC, Jim wasn’t a stranger to death. At time, his job was to be death—to assassinate—to kill the unlawful and save the rest. It was a dirty job, but he wasn’t afraid of it. But this, this, was nonsense. All of this made him sick, made him scared—no, not scared, nervous, and it took a lot to do that.

Looking at the clock, Jim saw he had a few hours before he was supposed to be at Station 1. He took a moment to just stare at the floor before stripping out of his nightwear and pulling on sweats.

“Lights to 0%,” Jim said as he walked out of his room, the door sliding shut behind him. He punched in his security code and turned down the still dark hallway.

0-0-0

By then, the compound would have been full of noise and light; other FSOCs making their way to the rec rooms or the main hall and the sound of the overhead speakers blaring out roll call. But today Jim was alone. He would be for the next couple of days as the rest of Alpha team was on leave. Jim didn’t join them, of course. He wasn’t a ‘let’s-take-a-well-deserved-break’ type of guy.

 “Just once, Jim.” Jim could remember Pike shaking his head after he rejected the idea of leave once again. “Just take a leave once.”

“I can’t,” he had told him. “There’s nowhere for me to go.”

Jim reached the rec room and tapped in his code.

It was true. There was nowhere for him to go. Iowa was a hellhole that he had pledged to never go back to and the shitty apartment that UFP had acquired for him in San Fran was just as bad. Floating out on a housing-craft in the middle of space was the only place that Jim had ever felt remotely at home in. Or maybe it was just space—the stars, the darkness and the mystery it held.

Yeah, that was it.

Stepping through the rec room’s door, Jim began swinging his arms and quickening his step slightly, getting his blood pumping and body ready for that days exercise. Wearing himself out physically with excess amounts of training seemed to be the only thing that kept him sane on days without missions. It was like he was allergic of sitting still. He needed action, goals to accomplish, all that jazz. It was this “unconventional ambition” (as the councilmen had called it) that had snagged him his lieutenant garbs in the first place.  James Tiberius Kirk, the wild card that no one would play but held unlimited potential.

He waited five long years following behind the rest, just waiting to be seen by higher-up. To be recognized as a true hero, like his dad. To be a captain. To have his own team, to have two silver bars to his name instead of one. To be the second Captain Kirk in the family—it was all Jim wanted

And after five years of waiting, hoping, Pike found him and brought him up and Jim wouldn’t have it any other way.

“Light to 84%,” Jim said as he walked further into the room. The lights flashed on reviling a room full of equipment and mirrors. Jim pulled two black gloves out of a small cubby and slipped them over his hands. “Uh…audio, open ‘Jim’s File’ will ya.”

A small click sounded above Jim’s head. The same voice from Jim’s replicator spoke, “File opened.”

“Play from beginning.” Jim sniffed as he sat down of the seat of the bench press. Another click before the speakers that lined the room began pounding out music.

The one good thing about having the compound all to himself was that there was no one there to get mad at Jim for playing his old Terran music.

Jim settled down on his back and lifted his hands to grip the metal bar above his head. He took a breath. Clenching his teeth Jim pushed the bar off its stand. His arms bulged and strained but they soon caught onto the rhythm of up and down—up and down. Beside him, his reflection in the mirrors copied his movements.

Jim granted his eyes to wandered over and watch himself in the mirror. Being only 27, he was still vibrant and strong. His arms were toned and his skin was close to bronze. He was good looking, Jim knew this—for fucks sake, hundreds of women have told him just that since he was still crapping in diapers. He also knew that he could have anyone if he set his mind to it, but he never did.

He’d gotten over that stage of his life—shacking up with someone only to be met with another failed relationship (if you would call them relationships,) running around late nights looking for any willing soul that would give him a good time and a bed to crash in. All that “Jimmy Playboy Kirk” shit went out the window the second he stepped foot into FSOC registration. And subconsciously, Jim thanked God that it did. 

After two more songs rolled by, Jim finally placed the bar back on its stand. He let his arms sag and laid still, watching as his chest rose and fell quickly. Beads of sweat roamed down the frame of his face and into his eyes. Jim shut them and let his ears pick up on the song that was playing.

“No stop signs. Speed limit. Nobody's gonna slow me down. Like a wheel. Gonna spin it. Nobody's gonna mess me around.”

Jim’s breath slowly regained its normal speed and he opened his eyes. A dull throb beat against the back of his head, almost in step with the music. Thinking about his life before he shaped up always gave him a headache. Maybe it was just the memory of all the hangovers he dealt with or all the blows he got from stupid fights he’d provoke out behind a bar.

“I'm on the way to the promised land. I'm on the highway to hell.”

Sitting up, Jim wiped a gloved hand over his forehead then stood up. When memories bubbled up, they always brought the same old ones with them. His mother crying in her room, his stepdad’s fists hitting his arms, Sam walking away while he screamed himself hoarse trying to get him to turn back. The same old childhood trauma shit that plagued him every night. 

“—Highway to hell.”

 Jim walked over to the other side of the room where treadmills were lined up. He hopped onto one and turned it on. He revved the machine up as high as it would go and started running, sprinting the memories away. The memories of Iowa, the Chevy that he would peek at in the shed behind their house, all the faceless women he’d screwed then tossed, all the times he felt alone.

“—Highway to hell—”

All the times he felt like he didn’t belong.

0-0-0

For the next two hours, Jim pushed himself. He finished more than a day and a half’s worth of training and by the time 9 o’clock rolled around, Jim was completely spent.

He staggered out of the rec room, not bothering turning off the lights or music. An already soaked towel patted against his back as he walked down the hallway back to his room. Jim ripped it off his shoulder and wiped it over his neck and collarbone. Sweat, being hot, clingy clothes—it was the norm for the country boy, but that didn’t mean he liked it.

Jim slipped into his room and peeled away all his sweats right there in front of the door. As he walked over to the small bathroom he debated whether to turn his holoscreen on or not. Having white-noise around made it easier for Jim to have white-noise in his head, but he didn’t want to see anything more about Vulcan or Cloud 9, none of it.

“Sonics on,” Jim said when he secured the sliding door of the shower.

In a moment, blasts of air hit Jim from all sides. He shut his eyes as the sweat and grime on his skin seemed to blow off. In Jim’s opinion, sonics sucked. So what if it cleaned more than 96% more than normal water? Actual showers were heaven, but that was a luxury that housing-crafts didn’t have.

After a minute or so Jim turned the sonics off. He stepped out of the shower and patted himself down with a towel, not like he needed to. It was a habit.

Walking out of the bathroom, Jim stumbled over to his sleeping alcove. He pulled out a pair of black boxer-briefs, a white tank, and black pants from his dresser and got to dressing himself at the foot of his bed. While slipping on his shirt, a small ring came from under him. Jim looked around, patting at his bed and scanning the top of his desk. The ring coming again, this time leading him to reach an arm under his bed. He pulled out his comm. device and flipped it open.

“He-hello,” Jim managed suppressing a yawn that caught in his throat.

“Hey Jim, its Hikaru,” the voice on the other line droned through the receiver.

Jim brushed a hand through his hair. Hikaru Sulu was 2nd lieutenant for Alpha, one under Jim. He thought of them as friends, but they hardly “hung out” or knew anything personal about each other. But they were brothers. Anyone in FSOC was his family. “Hey Sulu. What up?”

“You see that Pike’s pulling half of Alpha out of leave.”

Jim frowned and sniffed. “No, I didn’t see that. Why?”

Sulu snorted. “Hell if I know. I woke up this morning and my comm. was blowing up. ‘Alpha respond, 10-18.’ That’s all his message said. Finney and Brent got called too. I'm on a shuttle right now, just left Luna an hour ago.”

Jim stood and zipped up his pants. 10-18 was code for Quickly, yet FSOC never messaged with ten-code unless the message was meant to be private. That worried Jim and the fact that Pike had not sent any such message to him made that worry double.

“Maybe we got another mission,” Sulu said after a bit. “No.” Jim bit out. He softened. “I would have gotten a comm.”

Sulu was silent for a moment. “Jim… I was just wondering…well I overheard a convey from FSOC Eta that higher up might start sending FSOC teams in for evacuation missions on Vulcan.”

At this Jim froze. “Is that true?” Sulu added slowly. “Has the UFP said anything?”

Jim blinked and set his jaw. No, UFP had definitely not said anything about evac-missions to the occupied planet. “Hush, hush” and “top secret” weren’t really a thing amongst FSOCs. One team would get information and pass it on to the next. They were a close knit group here. There were no secrets. There couldn’t afford to be.

Returning from thought, Jim flinched inwardly at how still the room had become. Even though Jim was standing he felt like he was miles underground.

“Jim…?”

Jim sighed before standing straighter. “No—UFP hasn’t sent anything down my way to imply that we’re gonna get…missions.” He cracked a weak grin. “What you heard was just more shit coming out of Eta. Rumors.”

The line was quiet before Sulu asked, “But is it possible?”

Jim stopped and racked his head for the right words, “Look—we’re o-kay. Right now we’re o-kay. I know that this is some crazy shit, but all I want you to know is that… I mean what’s happening to our allies is complete shit, and Alpha will assist in any way we can, if we’re assigned a mission, but other than that, we’re still FSOC, we’re still separate from Starfleet and military command.” Jim could feel himself slip into lieutenant-mode before he was able to shut it off. “So don’t worry, o-kay. Don’t worry about anything; rumors, missions, fuckin’ Romulans, infestation, Cloud 9. Nothing. Kay? Just fuck it.”

Jim’s words held in the air for a long time after. His attempt at a pep talk had most certainly failed as Sulu answered him heavily. “Alright.”

Jim’s gut tightened at how low his friend’s voice came out. “Look I'm—I'm going to contact Pike and clear all this shit up, yeah. I’ll figure out what’s going down and get back to you with it.”

The line was silent.

“That good with you?” Jim added, louder than intended.

“…Yeah, yeah cool. Thanks Jim,” Sulu whispered. Jim’s ear pricked as the voice of a woman echo in the background. “Ah, I gotta go, Jim. I'm boarding another shuttle.”

Jim blinked and nodded. “Oh, o-kay. Yeah, um, I’ll talk to you later then.”

Sulu’s laugh was distant. “Yeah o-kay.”

Jim opened his mouth to say…something, but luckily Sulu had taken that time to end the call.  Jim let his arm fall away from his face and shut his comm. He sighed and raked a hand down his face, stopping to let his fingers feel the slight stubble that graced his chin.

Evac-missions…to Vulcan. Missions to Vulcan.

Vulcan.

Jim could feel Sulu’s words sinking in inch by inch. “Christ…” Jim shook his head as he noticed his hands were trembling.

He wasn’t scared, or anything. James T. Kirk didn’t get scared. Nervous, anxious maybe, but never scared. Jim flipped his comm. back open and began typing in Pike’s number. He’d figure out what was going on. It was probably nothing anyway. Rumors, just like he said.

His comm. buzzed for nearly a minute before Jim shut it then tried again. “Answer the fuckin’ phone, Chris,” Jim muttered.

The fourth time did and Pike finally picked up. “Pike here.”

“Chris? It’s Jim,” Jim sighed, the tightness in his chest he hadn’t notice slowly easing up.

“Jim. I was just about to video you,” Pike spoke gruffly and short.

Jim’s eyes widened. “Oh. Well, hold on.” He walked over to his holoscreen and turned it on. “Video feed,” he said to the screen. A small white box appeared with the words WAITING FOR USER CONNECTION written in it. “I'm up, Chris,” Jim said back into the comm.

In a moment or so, the holoscreen whirled and Pike’s face appeared on the other side. Jim cringed.

The man’s face seemed ever worst for wear then usual—heavy black bags hung under his eyes and his greying hair was tossed and lopsided. His mouth was pressed into a straight line and the corners of his nose were arched as if he were holding back a snide comment. Jim watched the older man take his comm. away from his face and shut it. “Hello, Jim.”

Jim laughed then hurriedly closed his comm. as well. “Wow. Uh, you…look like hell.”

Even if Pike was his superior, Jim never treated him like it. Pike knew that Jim wasn’t one for the whole “yes sir/no sir” bit, but he didn’t seem to mind. If he did, he wouldn’t have pulled him out of the cadet pen in the first place. The corner of Pike’s lips curled and he snorted. “Yeah, yeah. UFP’s been riding my ass pretty hard the couple of days.”

“Oh, and what do they want,” Jim said, crossing his arms.

Pike’s eyes glanced downwards. “They have a new mission on the table.”

Jim felt his pulse quicken. “A mission? Is it Alpha’s?”

“Yeah. We were assigned it this morning.” Pike’s voice came out grim.

“Isn’t that good? More missions more credit, right?”

“Hmm,” Pike nodded.

“And, uh, why didn’t I get a comm. about this?”

Pike hesitated. “…Because I didn’t want you to send a notice out.”

“Why?”

Jim watched as Pike let out a long sigh and sat back in his seat. He looked exhausted and irritated. “I needed to talk to you about this first, Jim.”

“Alright,” Jim nodded his head absently, his chest tightening. “I'm all ears.”

Pike wiped a calloused finger under one of his sagging eyes. “Yesterday, I met with a man named Ambassador Sarek?” Jim let his face scrunch up in thought. “You’ve heard of him?”

“Ambassador Sarek… He’s the…” Jim’s shoulders slumped slightly, “he’s the Vulcan ambassador to Earth.”

Pike nodded his head. “Yeah. The day the Romulans took Vulcan, Ambassador Sarek was at a hearing being held in Vulcan Regar. He managed to evacuate before the bombs dropped.” Pike stopped to stare at Jim levelly. “His family wasn’t with him though. They were in ShiKahr when it happened.”

 Jim’s brow furrowed and his jaw tensed. He nodded his head for the Captain to go on.

 “His wife and son were never reported on any of the evacuation shuttles nor did their names appear on any of the lists sent in from the accommodation sites. Soon after, the ambassador went to the UFP council and they managed to send a few drones in.”

For UFP to send in drones on such a short notice, Jim guessed that this ambassador was more than just a figurehead. He had some credit behind him. “A few days ago,” Pike continued, “they found the wife and kid hiding out in some building near the city’s central plaza with at least twelve others. A pick-up has been in the works since Monday. They plan on sending us in two days from today.”

It felt like someone dealt a blow to Jim’s entire body all at once. Goosebumps lined the top of his skin and a shiver rolled down his spine. Two days? Two days from today—he’d be on Vulcan?

For some reason, Jim’s mind wasn’t able to process what he was hearing.

“Jim?”

“Yeah,” Jim’s voice came out choked. He coughed.

On the screen, Pike slid his fingers across it. “I'm going to send you some files. Check your inbox.”

Jim, almost robotically, lifted his arm and tapped on the holoscreen’s face. A small box came up then opened, sliding to the side of the video feed. Three attachments were included. Jim clicked the first one. A map and a list of coordinates flashed across the screen. “That’s the pick-up area and some coordinates on nearby on-ground Romulan soldiers; but those might change,” Pike said. Jim scanned the map once more before shutting the file.

He clicked on the next one.

To Jim’s surprise, a picture of an eloquent looking human woman popped up. Her angular face was framed by long locks of brown hair and her eyes were bright and shining. Jim went on to read the words next to the picture:

“Amanda Grayson…” Jim read out loud. He looked at Pike. “She’s the wife?”

Pike nodded, a flash crossing his eyes. “Hell of a woman. Smarter than a whip. She used to be a teacher then she met the Ambassador and has been a member of Vulcan Council since.”

Jim mouthed a “Wow” and studied the picture again. She was gorgeous, Jim admitted, and probably was as smart as they came if she could insert herself into the Vulcan’s tight-ass, proper world so easily.  Jim closed the file and clicked on the last one.

This time, a picture of a pale faced, black eyed young boy filled the screen. The kid had raven black hair that hung in a perfectly straight line above his brow. He looked strict and pulled together, something Jim wouldn’t expect to find in such a young kid. He is a Vulcan, he reminded himself—the slanted eyebrows and pointed ears made that clear. But something about his eyes seemed strangely…

Human.

Jim looked at the boy’s information. “Sh.. S’ch… Fuck, I can’t even say that name,” he muttered.

“The Ambassador simply called him “Spock”,” Pike piped up. “That’s the kid. Only fourteen, but has an IQ way past 200.”

Jim shook his head then grunted, “That’s not surprising.” He tapped on the boy’s picture to enlarge it. Jim stared at the pixelated face, gaze always being drawn back to the boy’s eyes, till it dawned on him—He doesn’t have black eyes. They’re brown

“The drones took a scan of their heart rates when they circled around and everyone’s was normal which means none of them have been exposed to the gas.”

Pike’s voice snapped Jim out of his thoughts. He closed the file. “So…this is why you called back Sulu and Finney and Brent from leave?”

“And a few others. I need my men, Jim,” Pike said, almost in a whisper. His eyes were dark. “I need Alpha to be capable right now, and dependable. UFP filed the mission under ‘Restricted Viewing.’ We’re going by ten-code on this one, Jim, and I don’t need anyone half-assing around.”

  Jim bit his tongue as a hard lump formed in his throat and stood up straighter. “Always…sir.”

Pike’s stare softened. “Jim, I know this is a lot to take in, but I'm counting on you to step up as 1st.”

“Absolutely,” Jim said, throat dry.

A smile slipped over Pike’s lips briefly. “I'll be arriving at the compound tomorrow, and hopefully so will the others. I'm going to want you with me when a video the Ambassador.”

Jim blinked. “You’re videoing the Ambassador tomorrow—wait, wait! You’re going to be here tomorrow?”

“Jim, a mission like this needs a captain. I'm not going to let you brats run out by yourselves,” Pike said. “Besides, I haven’t done anything but paperwork in months.”

But this is way different than any other mission we’ve had, Jim almost said. “Ah…o-kay. Do…do I tell the others what’s happening—”

“No.” Pike cut in. “I’ll make the announcement tomorrow.”

Jim swallowed and nodded. “O-kay.”

The two men stayed quiet for a few beats. “Jim.”

“Yeah?”

Jim met his captain’s stare. “I’ll see you tomorrow, 0800,” the older man said.

Jim nodded. “Yeah, o-kay.”

The video feed hovered for a second, giving Pike enough time to flash Jim a lopsided smile, before the holoscreen blinked off, leaving Jim to stare at his own reflection. For the next five minutes Jim stood still, then fell backwards onto his bed. He landed roughly on his ass and squeezed his hands together.

The image of the Ambassador’s son was still lingering in Jim’s head. He imagined what the youthful, smooth face looked like now—battered and dirtied maybe, those human eyes wide and terrified as his world slowly fell apart around him. The thought made Jim sick.

Lying back, Jim let his tense shoulders slowly sag. He stared up at the ceiling, feeling all of what Pike had just said still trying to digest inside of him. Everything seemed blurry and just off and Jim didn’t like it.

He didn’t like that he was being sent to the one place the universe knew he didn’t want to go to; he didn’t like that Pike had been so sneaky around him up until today; and he sure as hell didn’t like how that innocent kid and his mother were stranded on some oppressed shithole planet, so far away from their father and husband.

Jim could feel his eyes droop as he got adjusted in his bed. “Don’t worry, kid,” he whispered to himself. “I won’t leave you there.”

The last thought that Jim had before he fell asleep was of how pissed higher-up would be to hear that instead of going to his station he took a nap, and of how Jim didn’t really give a fuck.

Chapter End Notes:

First story here! Hope you like it so far!

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