"Just one question," James Kirk asked as he and the old Vulcan – Spock – walked across the snow.
"Yes?" the Vulcan replied.
"Me," Kirk said. "My life. My career. What happened to me?"
"I am not certain I am allowed to say," Spock replied.
"Bull," Kirk replied. "The other you said this was an alternate universe, so you can tell me whatever you want."
Spock turned to him, and there was a ghost of sadness in his eyes.
"You," he said, slowly, making a decision, "were Captain of the Enterprise. For a long time, in fact. Eventually, you retired from starfleet, about the same time as she was decommisioned."
No need for the details, for the admiralty, the wrath of Khan, the demotion. Let this young man, this new Kirk, discover these things on his own, that is what Spock thought.
"That's career," Kirk noted. "What about life?"
"Are you referring to your demise?" Spock asked.
"Well, I gotta be dead in your time," Kirk said. "No way I'm lasting a hundred and something years."
Spock allowed himself a smile, and thought for a moment before answering.
"On the Enterprise B," he said, "the successor to your last command, the Enterprise A. You were a guest of honour in her maiden voyage. You were apparently killed on that voyage, saving the ship from an energy ribbon. Your friends took it... quite hard."
There was a note in his voice that told Kirk that Spock was among those who took it hard.
"But you did not die – the energy ribbon was a doorway," Spock continued. "To another dimension, one where all your fantasies played out."
"Sounds crap," Kirk commented. "Boring."
"Perhaps," Spock said. "That may have been a contributing factor in your decision to leave. You were convinced by another Starship Captain, Jean Luc Picard of the Enterprise D, to leave with him to stop a madman from killing millions of innocents."
"Which I did," Kirk smiled.
"Which the two of you, together, did," Spock corrected. Young Kirk was arrogant, but Spock knew in time that he would mellow and become the perfect Captain. "But, in the process, you fell into a precipice..."
Kirk stopped walking.
"That's how I died...?" he asked.
Spock once again held out his hand to Kirks face, and Kirk nodded.
"I melded with Picard to learn the exact nature of your end," Spock said. "His idea – he felt it respectful to give me, your friend, those memories..."
Kirk saw himself, on the floor. He was older, but it was him, alright.
"Did we do it?" his older self asked. "Did we make a difference...?"
"Oh, yes," Jean Luc Picard, the man who witnessed his death, said. He was bald, in an unfamiliar uniform, but Kirk somehow trusted him. " We made a difference. Thank you."
And the old James T Kirk smiled, as blood trickled down his chin.
"The least I could do... for the captain of the Enterprise," he said. And the young Kirk felt an almost impossible to bear sadness from Spock. The Captain of the Enterprise. "It was... fun. Oh, my..." he added, looking upwards.
"What?" young Kirk asked, looking in the direction his other self did, but then he and Spock were separate...
Kirk stood still for a long moment.
"What do you think I was looking at?" he asked Spock.
"I imagine you were hallucinating," Spock said, and the logic and control of his voice was unparalleled, and at the same time, Kirk knew it was false. "You were dying."
"What do you think I saw?" Kirk asked.
"I imagine, knowing the human mind as I do," Spock replied, "you saw your long lost love."
"Who?" Kirk asked. He loved no one that he knew of, save his mother.
Spock smiled, a strange thing on a Vulcan.
"I do not wish to spoil all of the surprise," he said. "However, let us just say, I am returning you to her."
Kirks eyes widened, as he realised. And in some way, it made sense, knowing what he did about her.
"Are you on about the ship?" he asked.
Spock said nothing.