Thank you for taking the time this story. It's sort of my first foray into Star Trek writing, so please leave a review to let me know how I'm doing. However, I ask that you don't leave any flames, as they will be deleted.
Disclaimer: I do not own Star Trek, either the original series or the alternate universe. They are the property of Paramount and the creation of Gene Rodenberry. I am only creating this work of fiction for my own creative satisfaction.
Heritage is rated T for scenes of violence and innuendo.
Heritage can define a person. Where we come from can have a major impact upon what we will turn out to be. Perhaps no one would understand this better than Danielle Kirk and Ashley Pike.
Danielle Kirk is the daughter of a captain who died a hero's death. Ever since that day, she always believed that her main purpose in life was to take care of her brother.
Ashley Pike is also the daughter of a Starfleet captain, but her ancestry holds a far darker secret than not many are aware of. However, her own innate abilities can make her an unwitting target for prejudice.
These two very different women have been defined by their heritage. But when danger threatens themselves and those which they hold dear, it will ultimately by the choices which they make which will create their future.
Danielle Kirk would never forget the day when her life changed forever.
It had all started when her mother had unexpectedly gone into labor with her new baby brother. He was early, as the due date was actually a few weeks away. However, the nurse who was staying with her in the waiting room had said that such things were not uncommon, and that her mother and brother would both be fine.
She hadn't really been nervous after being told this. Even her daddy had assured her that everything would be fine. He was on the bridge, but he had promised that he would come down as soon as he was born.
With these assurances, she really had no need to be nervous. On the contrary, she was quite excited at the thought of having another brother to play with. Her older brother George was back on earth staying with relatives. He had never really had much of an appetite for space travel.
So, she was not afraid, believing that everything would turn out all right. And then, the ship had begun shaking. Danielle knew that space travel wasn't always a smooth ride. She had been through her fair share of ion storms and attacks from hostile aliens. They were scary, but they were scary in the same way that a thunderstorm was frightening. There were a lot of loud noises, bright flashes of light and shaking, but it always ended, eventually.
But this time, it felt different. For some reason, Danielle felt as though the shuddering of the ship was more violent and that the explosions seemed to be coming from within the ship itself. This time, she felt more scared that she had ever been before.
Danielle did not know what was going on. She was not alone, as none of the other medical personnel knew what was happening either. Danielle heard snatches of communications, of Romulans attacking the ship and the severe damage which was being wrought on the USS Kelvin. The only thing that she clearly remembered was hearing her father's voice over the comm system of the ship, "All decks, this is the Captain speaking, evacuate the ship immediately."
Her father sounded different. Danielle could tell that right away. She had never heard fear in his voice before, but in that announcement to the entire ship, she heard fear and strain. She felt confused and anxious. She wanted to know what was going on. But till, nobody had any answers.
What happened next was all a blur. The nurse who had been looking after her immediately gathered her up, and rushed out into the corridor, where they were met by the doctor and another nurse who had been helping her mother through the labor.
Winona was in a hospital gown, being pushed in a wheelchair. Sweat glistened on her skin from the exhaustion of the contractions. She was even more terrified than Danielle herself in some ways, as she was about to give birth in the midst of an alien attack and with no idea where her husband was or when he would be joining them.
"Get to your designated shuttlecraft, begin evacuation."
"That's George's voice. What's happening?" She begged, looking wildly all around her, as if hoping that she could find the answer from one of the medical personnel.
"We'll deliver it in the shuttle. Go!" said the doctor, as he pushed the wheelchair hurriedly through the corridors of the ship, making their way to the shuttle bay. While doing so, he turned to the nurse who was carrying Danielle. "How is Danielle? Is she all right?"
"I'm fine." Said Danielle, before the nurse could answer. He voice was shaking, but she was determined to at least try and be brave. "What about my mommy? Is she all right? What about my brother?"
"Don't worry, Danielle." Said Winona, trying to sound comforting, even though she was between contractions. "I'm sure that you're father will be joining us soon. Just be a good girl, and do what the doctor and nurse ask you, all right?"
Danielle nodded, as she had no more words to speak.
Suddenly, the communicator that Winona had been carrying beeped urgently. "George." She cried, in relief.
"You're okay, thank god. What about Danni, is she with you?"
Winona glanced up to Danielle, and said, "Yes, she's here, George."
"Good. I have medical shuttle 37 standing by. Get to it now. Can you do that?"
"Yes." Winona gasped out, feeling the onset of another contraction.
"Everything's gonna be okay." Said George, doing his best to reassure them amidst the direness of the situation. "Do exactly as I say, shuttle 37."
"George, its coming, our baby." said Winona, desperately. George had to get there in time, he had to see the birth of their third child. "It's coming now."
"I'm on my way." George told them, before he cut the transmission off.
Danielle and her mother arrived in the shuttle bay with the medical team only a few moments later. The cavernous room was a scene of people running in what seemed to be every direction at once, responding to their captain's call to evacuate the ship. Winona suddenly let loose a terrible scream, and Danielle hid her face in the shoulder of the nurse that was carrying her. She was a sensitive soul, and hated seeing anyone that she cared about going through such pain. And the pain was even worse for Winona because uncertainty still seemed to hang over all of it.
Several seconds of groaning and straining later, the contraction passed. "That was a big one."
"Just keep breathing." Said the doctor, "You'll be fine."
"And the baby too, right? And my daughter?"
"And them, too, of course." said the doctor, after only a moment's hesitation.
They arrived at the shuttle, and hurried inside. The nurse who was carrying Danielle deposited her gently on a soft chair across from where they were putting her mother onto the bio-bed of the shuttle. The nurse told her, gently but firmly, to remain there and be quiet while she helped Winona. Danielle nodded obediently, and tried to be patient. She knew that it was the only thing that she could do right now to help her mother. But that didn't mean that she didn't squeeze her eyes shut and covered her ears against the sounds of her labor.
That also meant that she missed the crucial conversation that took place at the front of the shuttle. One of the medical officers rushed to the front of the shuttle and began to start up its engines. He heard George's urgent voice through the comm., "Captain to shuttle 37, are my wife and daughter onboard?"
"Yes, sir. They are."
The next words seemed to be torn from George's mouth, as though the very act of speaking them caused him nothing less than physical pain. "I need you to go now, do you hear me?"
"We're waiting on you, sir." said the officer.
"No, just go, take off immediately. That's an order." said George, forcefully, in a tone that held no argument.
The officer paused for half a second, before he said, "Yes, sir." With a great deal of reluctance, he punched in the appropriate commands, and the shuttle's engines roared, taking off from the shuttle bay of the Kelvin and flying into space.
The sudden motion of the shuttle jolted Winona. She jerked up from where she had been lying down, and she cried to the pilot, "Wait, we can't go yet." Her voice was high with panic and fear. "Please stop."
"Mommy, where's daddy?" said Danielle, who hadn't heard the exchange, but she had no idea why the shuttle was taking off without her father. "He was supposed to be here, wasn't he? What happened to him? Where is he?"
Winona shook her head mutely, unable to answer her daughter. "George, the shuttle's leaving." She said, desperately into her communicator, "Where are you?"
There was anguish in Winona's voice that caught Danielle's attention. She looked over at her mother, the fear evident in her eyes. It was only at this moment that she began to understand that something terrible was happening to her father, something that neither her mother nor her father had anticipated. Years later, she would remember this as the moment when the security of her life had been forever altered.
"Sweetheart, listen to me. I'm not gonnna be there." George's voice was filled with pain and desperation.
The full meaning of this statement crashed over both Danielle and Winona with all the force of a tidal wave. Winona completely lost any control that she might have had, sobbing with both the pain of her labor and the fact that her husband was about to die. "No."
"This is the only way you'll survive." George said.
"Please don't stay on the ship. You have to be here."
"The shuttles will never make it if I don't fight them off."
"George, I can't do this without you."
Danielle had never felt so utterly small and powerless as she had while listening to this conversation. Of course, she was only five years old; there admittedly wasn't a great deal that she could do. But she still hated the feeling of helplessness which gripped her. Why did things have to end like this?
Winona's sobs of grief turned suddenly to cries of pain. Her labor was starting in earnest now. The next few minutes would always be a little hazy in Danielle's memory, the scrams of her mother, the bright lights of the shuttle, and the distant sounds and flashes of a fire fight outside the shuttle all swam together.
The next thing that Danielle would clearly remember was the first cry of her baby brother as he entered the world. Her mother called her over, for even if she was emotionally and physically exhausted, she still wanted her daughter to meet her new son before anyone else. "Come over here, Danielle. I want you to see this."
Danielle hurried over to he mother, and clambered up to the side of the bed, to look at her new brother's tiny face. "What is it?" George asked, over the comm.
"It's a boy." Said Winona, tears of joy and sadness mingling together with each other.
"A boy?" said George, and for a split second, it seemed as though his imminent death was no longer the first thing on his mind. It was merely joy that, for the third time, he had become a father. "Tell me about him."
"He really is, daddy." Said Danielle, as he gazed down at her brother.
George's attention now moved to his daughter. "Danni, sweetheart, I'm so sorry that I'm not going to be there for you, that I won't be able to watch you grow up. Promise me that you'll look after your brother for me."
"I promise, daddy." Said Danielle, for the first time, feeling herself beginning to cry.
"George, you should be here."
Over the comm, she heard the computer on the Kelvin saying "Impact alert." But George tried to ignore it. "What are we gonna call him?'
"We can name him after your father."
George laughed, a strained sound that betrayed the fact that his heart was breaking. "Tiberius, you kiddin' me? No, that's the worst. Let's name him after your dad. Let's call him Jim."
"Jim." Repeated Winona, almost smiling, though the tears were still streaking her face, "All right, Jim it is."
There was a terrible moment of silence, before George asked over the comm, desperate to hear the voice of his wife and daughter for a few seconds longer. "Sweetheart, Danielle, can you hear me?"
"We can hear…" said Winona.
"I love you both so much." George's voice had become distorted and distant, as the transmission started to break up. "I love you so much."
Static took over the comm, before it went completely silent. At almost the exact same moment, they began to feel the aftershocks of a massive explosion, as the Kelvin smashed into the Romulan ship, erupting in an inferno of destruction.
Winona broke down sobbing, cradling her two children against her as though they were now the only life-line she had from being lost in a sea of despair. Danielle was also crying now. She may not have known all of the details of what had just happened; she really didn't need to. Only one thing did she truly understand and that was enough: her father was dead. Her life would never be the same again.
Hours passed. Danielle and her mother both held each other and cried. But Winona, exhausted by birth and death, soon fell into a deep, merciful sleep. However, Danielle remained wide awake. She was not so young that she did not understand death. She knew that her father was never coming back. As her mother slept and lost in her grief, she felt terribly alone.
Until she heard little Jim starting to fuss in his incubator. She glanced into the glass case, wondering what he, as a baby, could possibly be sad about. Until she began to wonder; was he lonely, too?
The thought made her ask one of the nurses in the shuttle to open the incubator so that she could hold him. The first moment she held him in her arms was a moment that was indelibly marked on her memory. Jim stopped crying almost as soon as he was placed in her arms. He looked up at her with eyes so blue that they seemed a mirror reflection of her own. Danielle had a strange feeling that Jim, even if he was just a newborn, knew that he was safe with her.
It was in this moment that she first felt the strength of her love for Jim, and a desire to protect him. She had already made her father a promise, but now, in the private intimacy of this moment, she made a promise that came straight from her own heart. "I promise you that I'll always be watching over you, Jim. You'll never, ever be alone."
Danielle Kirk would always remember the day when her life changed forever. It had been painted with the extremes of life and death; it would be the day when she found her focus and her purpose from many years to come.
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