Emotional,physical, and mental

There are three things that can hurt some-one when pushing them to their limits or making them feel pain: emotional, physical, and mental. Sometimes the last part can hurt more than the physical, and sometimes, just sometimes, but perhaps rarely this ever happens, you get the wrong version of the mind inhabiting it.

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9. Cadet

"Mr Spock, please leave the room." Came the request.

Jim was caught off guard being given the reigns to the body of his counterpart. He watched the Vulcan leave the room then his attention shifted to who could be defined as Christopher Pike. There was a remarkable resemblance of Pike from the one he had known (and seen his before photos) for a brief period of time. Pike leaned forward, his hands on the desk caught up in the shape of a ball.

"You are no longer captain of the Enterprise starting today, they gave her back to me," Pike said. "And you are to report to the academy after you have packed  your belongings."

"Captain. . ." Jim said. "May I suggest a first officer?"

Pike was surprised by the cool reaction Jim had.

"Yes." Pike said.

"Have Mr Spock," Jim said. "He is a fine officer." Jim stood up. "Captain,. . ." He had a friendly reassuring smile toward the older captain who could walk. "Good luck."

Pike watched the cadet leave.

/////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////

"Captain--" Spock started, coming alongside the cadet's side.

"Cadet." Jim said.

"That is pleasing to hear you are suffering the penalty for going against the prime directive." Spock said.

Jim felt like he wanted to punch Spock at the face.

That must be Kirk's anger.

Jim got in Spock's way.

"You want to know why I saved your butt back there?" Jim asked.

"Logically, my death would weigh on your conscious." Spock said.

Jim sighed.

"No," Jim said. "I would miss you." Spock raised an arched eyebrow. "If I had the chance, I would do it again." The memory of Spock Prime dying on the other side of the glass door. "Losing you?" He remembered the pod jet out toward Genesis. That was the most depressing time of his life losing his best friend. "That would cost half my soul."

Jim turned away from the stunned Spock then he went into the elevator then punched the lobby button.

The doors closed on Jim as he watched Spock staring at his direction.

Jim leaned his shoulder against the wall briefly closing his eyes. 

"The hard part is over," Jim told the sulking man. "Your turn."

Kirk looked up from the table, his hands together, and his eyes were full of sincere.

"Is it true?" Kirk asked.

Jim nodded.

"He is like my other half," Jim said. "My Spock, that is."

"Welcome back, captain." Scotty greeted Kirk.

Kirk had a sad smile.

"What is it?" Scotty asked.

"You are getting a new captain."  Kirk said, walking off the transporter.

"Oh, for how long?" Scotty asked.

Kirk shrugged.

"I give it a year." Jim said, from aside reading a book.

Kirk went out the door as the sound of a materializing figure started to come to on the transporter pad then he went down the hall.

"Hm?" Kirk said.

"A year," Jim said. "The universe can't stand a Enterprise without her captain for too long. You'll find yourself on the bridge in no time."

That oddly did not sound reassuring.

"Maybe on a completely different bridge." Kirk said.

"Likely." Jim said.

"Hey Jim!" McCoy caught up with Kirk. "How did it go?"

"I am not your captain." Kirk said.

"Different ship then?" Bones asked, raising his eyebrow.

Kirk sighed.

"I am not a captain anymore." Kirk said.

"Lieutenant?" Bones asked.

"No." Kirk said.

"Lieutenant Commander?" Bones asked.

"No." Kirk repeated.

"Ensign?" Bones asked.

"No, Bones." Kirk watched the plagues pass him looking out for his room.

Room 121.

"They threw you out?" The words came out more difficult from Bones.

Kirk glanced over toward Bones with a small smile.

"They decided to send me back to the academy," Kirk said. "There are some classes I have not finished."

"And you are going straight back into assistant instructor in advanced hand-to-hand combat." Bones said.

"Unlike last time I did in the academy," Kirk said. "I am not going to cheat the tests," They came to a stop at the doors to his quarters. "Make sure to send me some  postcards, will you?" Kirk patted on the side of  Bones's shoulder. "Captain Pike will command the Enterprise after I leave."

Kirk turned away from his friend then entered his quarters.

The doors came to a gentle close behind Kirk. Well, these quarters are not going to be his in a few hours. Kirk took out his luggage from underneath the bed then went packing. His clothes went first. Then his belongings. He picked up a photograph of his parents ingenious to this universe. He smiled looking upon the father who died the day he was born. If only. . . Kirk closed his eyes then put the picture frame onto the pile. He took off his yellow shirt leaving his black regulation shirt that matched his black pants. 

Kirk put the other belongings he had collected over the course of this cut short mission into the other luggage. He looked over to see a photograph of the bridge crew taken shortly after they went into space.  Kirk smiled down at that then he put it into a different pocket of the luggage and zipped it up. He took a few relics from the cabinets that he had collected. That one time he lost his memories and spent the best part of two months on a planet falling for a woman who died and never had his child. It hurt him inside knowing . . .  Knowing what could have been.

"She died anyway," Jim softly spoke. "Stoned to death. Tried killing us."

"She died in your timeline too?" Kirk asked.

"She did."  Jim said.

Kirk put his purring pet tribble into a section of the luggage that wouldn't bother the little fellow. His tribble did not reproduce (well, really, it could not reproduce at all due to the interference by doctors beforehand), got his stuff from the bathroom, and slowly packed his belongings. He made his bed, with great care.  He pulled the chair back into the desk. Kirk could feel great emotions. Kirk felt like he would never step foot in here again.

Kirk closed his eyes, looming over the two zipped up luggage's once he was finished.

It was difficult for Kirk to walk out and head to the transporter room for the last time.

"Please, Jim," Kirk said. Do me this one favor."

Jim placed a hand on  Kirk's shoulder.

"I will." Jim said.

Jim's eyes opened.

////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////

Jim came out of his quarters, luggage in tow, trailing behind him.  What he did not expect was to see people standing at attention pose.

"Kid, you should come see this." Jim said, bringing Kirk over to the view screen.

Kirk's eyes stared at the screen and his jaw dropped.

"What. . ." Kirk said.

"That is for cleaning your ass up and taking some of my advice," Jim said. "I did most of the hard work."

Kirk felt mixed emotions. Jim went down the hall while the wheels to his luggage rolled. For being around a Vulcan for three some decades, Vulcans rubbed off him. Spock rubbed off Jim. Truth to be told seeing a honor guard lined along the hall flattered Jim. In fact this never happened to him, hardly ever, in his youth. Truth be told he pictured himself walking down the hall aboard the Enterprise. The one he had called home more than anything. The power of imagination worked for Jim as he felt at ease walking in the hall.

Kirk, on the other hand, was stunned.

The doors to the transporter room opened.

"Why am I am flattered, Mr Spock," Jim said. "You rallied most of the crewmen."

Spock raised an eyebrow.

"That was not my idea." Spock said.

Bones elbow punched Spock.

"Sure it was!" Bones said.

"Aye, it was." Scotty said.

Spock lowered his eyebrow.

"Besides, you might see me in the better part of the decade,"  Jim said. "Not like we are parting ways forever."

There was a familiar look on Bones face, something that Jim had seen when they parted ways after the five mission and he had said "Not like we are parting ways forever." It was almost like the man older than him had expected it to be that way. Jim wanted to believe that Bones was relieved that he wouldn't have to deal with the captain and the Vulcan anymore. But this time seeing it in this situation: Bones must be feeling it could be the last time he saw James T. Kirk in the flesh. Jim set the luggage upright then gave his friend a hug.

"Normally I would say, 'Don't get yourself killed,'" Bones acknowledged. "But there is the academy you are going to," Jim broke the hug. "Do not get yourself thrown out, you infant."

Jim grinned.

"I will do my best,Bones." Jim said.

". . . Jim," Spock said. "Did you really mean the part about the part relating to your soul?"

Jim looked over toward Spock.

"Every word of it," Jim said. "I left a message for you. It is in your audio message inbox."

Spock raised an eyebrow up.

"I do not have a audio inbox." Spock said.

"You do now." Jim said.

Spock lowered his eyebrow.

"That is illogical as reading letters I can easily pick up the narrator's voice." Spock said.

McCoy had a chortle.

"Somehow I knew you would say that." Jim said, not surprised.

Jim went over to the luggage then brought them over to the transporter sliding them on.

"Thank you for the bottle of scotch," Scotty said. "I am savin' it for a memorable occasion."

Jim turned toward  what few were there, except for Nyota and Sulu and Chekov.  They were likely refusing to believe that Jim was leaving (in a state of denial) or that they knew this would happen and did not want to be there. Jim could picture his crew, the one he served alongside, standing in the places. His Enterprise family were solid before his eyes briefly then they faded. Jim held his  right hand up doing the ta'al hand sign then said, "Live long and prosper." Spock reciprocated. "Beam me down, Scotty."

Scotty slid up the bar to the transporter console.

In the beaming golden haze, Spock could make out a different face to a person who was not there. Similar facial features to Kirk. It must have been the image graphics of the transporter becoming distorted. It was of a older man with golden hair, hazel eyes, wearing  a yellow shirt, and he had a warm smile. He seemed to have the build of a fully grown man.  Perhaps the yellow came from the transporter. That to had be a logical answer. In a golden haze former captain Kirk vanished before everyone's eyes.

"I am goin' tae miss him." Scotty said.

"Much as I hate to say it," Bones said. "I miss him already. It'll be nice to have a captain who won't swooned by women twenty-for-seven!"

"Jim was swooned by women approximately seventy-eight point ninety-two percent of the time." Spock said.

"Mr Spock is right," Scotty said. "It did nae happen all the time."

"Yes, it did," Bones said.  "I already look forward to the new captain."

They watched as a figure started to appear in a golden flare on the transporter pad.

/////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////

. . . Spock's quarters. . .

. . . Thirty-two minutes after Pike's arrival. . .

Spock pressed the play button to the audio.

"Hello, Mr Spock." Came Kirk's voice.

"Hello." It was illogical to greet a prerecorded audio tape.

"I want to believe you are going to serve with Captain Pike as you served me," Kirk said.  "But if he goes against your own morals, go to Bones and share a discussion regarding it. Bones is a listener and he can give you the best advice there is. You see  that when you lose the captain that leaves you as the commanding officer, which you know as it is logical. You will need Bones, much like a partner does, as much as he needs you.  I am well aware Vulcans are emotionless, but. . ."

"But?" Spock asked.

"You are half human." Kirk said.

"My half human side does not interfere in my missions." Spock said.

"Yeah, yeah, I know you are saying that your human half plays no part. But let's be serious. For once. You are human as I am and emotions are what makes us who we are. Logic and emotions play together. Without emotions you do not have logic. It is like which came first: the chicken and the egg." Kirk sighed. "Spock . . . You get on Bones nerves and he gets on yours, which you claim not to have any, but the fact is: you need to listen to him. He is the guy who saves your ass. Trust in him like you trust in me. Trust Pike.  I know he will make a great captain!"

Spock raised an eyebrow.

"Some of the memories I saw in the mind meld with older you showed me that he served under Captain Pike for eleven years," He sighed. "Spock . . . let me just admit to one single thing I had on my mind. When I thought I lost you and Bones, I thought my world was over. I thought I was the worse captain in the fleet. For losing the two important people on the ship. I would never have forgiven myself for the loss of my two best friends. You and Bones are like the world to me, family. Without you two. . . there is a empty void. A void in my heart. My soul, really. Nothing would be right for me. I can picture myself growing old and dying alone after my tenure in star fleet being over, you and Uhura together raising Vulcans or Vulcan/Human hybrids, Scotty being the head of some engine corps with Keenser, Bones living his life in Georgia, Sulu captaining another starship, Chekov moving up the ranks on different starships, and the Enterprise being decommissioned long after our departures."

"Logically, Nyota would die first and then  I would die soon after." Spock said.

"And I know you would say, 'Nonsense,  I would die alone.' But here is the kicker, Spock." He heard a soft laugh. "You are never alone.  You got it all wrong for yourself. In reality we are never alone. Those we care about are there with us in spirit which I believe might be in your case. I know  Vulcans outlive humans. You got it all ahead. If I die before my time is up in this world then I will miss you. I would be remembered as the poster boy." He heard a sigh from over the audio tape. "I hate to be that kind of kid. It feels so wrong. If anything, I rather die as a person who isn't that kind of poster boy. A man who left his mark in star fleet history. Wait, I am getting off topic."

"Jim. . ." Spock said.

"Pike is going to be the best captain you'll ever have. I sucked at it. Maybe the next time I have it at a go . . . I won't screw up. I will happily take the consequences. I don't see us being on the same bridge in my future. Swinging into my retirement years. Maybe I will become a farmer? A novelist, maybe.  Now, that, I can strangely picture myself doing in my retirement years! I had my hand in romance and some adventure to fill a series of books. That might be just what I could do. I might become a bookworm, which I find it hard to even picture myself. Perhaps Captain Pike is going to be better than I was at being captain.  I know he will. He is Captain Pike, the one who got me into Star Fleet, and best of all . . . He will always be your first. The first genuine captain who is prepared for space and those aliens. Making sure the ship doesn't engulf into flames. That might be his lexicon."

"Jim," Spock said. "You were not that bad at being  a captain."

"I know you are going to say I wasn't bad at being a captain, but maybe I have to find myself. The inner Captain Kirk on my own. I'll be better the next time I step on the bridge." There was a pause. "You know, when I first met you I wanted to punch you multiple times for mentioning my father and strangle you to death. Funny how we reconciled our differences and those feelings turned into friendship. Speaking of which. . . We never got to finish that love fest."

"That was not a lovefest." Spock argued.

"I know you are going to say 'That was not a lovefest, Jim' but . . . It is a figure of speech, Spock," Jim said. "I find myself wondering how life will change for the crew of the Enterprise.  Maybe nothing will change just the leadership in it. I think back at the bridge knowing she is in good hands. If you are my friend, then why not you give it a go without me? It seems wrong without a Mr Spock exploring the universe in space. Criminal, even." Kirk paused, for this part meant the most. "You are a person who is seeking a place to fit in. We all are. I think you are still heading that way. That one place everyone is seeking: home."

It was illogical to feel mixed emotions.

"Goodbye, Spock, until we meet again," Spock could easily picture Kirk grinning. "End message."

The message ended there.

"Until we meet again," Spock said, staring at the black screen. "Jim."

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