Author's notes: I must apologize to begin with- my Star Trek knowledge is limited to the five or six times I've seen the new film, a week worth of web-searching, and the two or three episodes of TOS I've been able to catch.
So… please don't shoot me if anything isn't accurate? And let me know.
Now that that's over and done with… I've "retired" from fanfiction writing, but the plot bunnies wouldn't die (although I tried, but a bunny genocide is NOT something I want to worry about right now). But I know myself, and every time this happens, I start writing a plot, think it's spectacular, and then lose interest within a month or so. So, I've determined that the best way NOT to disappoint readers with an unfinished story is simply to write each chapter as if the story could end there.
I'm a Kirk freak; and I'm even more in love with Hurt!Jim and Worried!Enterprise crew, so that is the premise of this story. It may turn out to be a collection of one or two chapter short stories under that theme, or a greatly extended plot (most likely the former). Who knows. Let's see how this goes.
And I promise that this is the one time the author's notes will be so long.
Title: Stained Glass
Relationships: Crew/Jim friendship, mostly concentrating on Uhura/Jim friendship and Bones/Jim friendship (aka no slash).
Summary: He always made an impression on all of them, but it was up to them to turn the tables.
It was one thing for the crew of the U.S.S. Enterprise to shirk their duties for a few brief moments, fully intending to return to their posts and jobs after enjoying themselves or performing whatever task was at hand. And someone was usually watching the readings; after all, the ship couldn't possibly be left to her own devices, aimlessly drifting and wandering through the beautifully monotonous sky.
The scene reflected at the present was a different matter completely. All of the filled chairs on the bridge were swiveled towards the center, the posts they were intended to support ignored and abandoned. Their eyes were fixated on a single point in the room, surprisingly not the looming space visible from the window, even if it was filled with tiny, distracting diamond-bright spots of white dotting the entirety of the area.
Not even the stars could absorb their attention right now. The dark sky had once seemed mysterious and exciting to them, but now seemed to be in mourning. As they were. Black as their optimism, they turned away from it, the vastness of the sky seeming miniscule compared to their grief.
In the center of the room, still as the crew's neglected posts, sat an abruptly empty chair.
Sulu, Chekov, Uhura, and even Spock- they knew what that empty chair meant, and who was supposed to be there, sitting in it. Barking orders, cracking a joke, laughing hysterically at something no one cared to understand.
It also reflected moments that might never occur again outside of the room. Flirting with anything in a skirt, a cockiness that wouldn't disappear with a punch, a bold determination, and outstanding leadership that had evaporated in the span of a few minutes of misfortune…
And yet he was gone.
A single man stood in the doorway, witnessing the pathetic scene, his eyes the only set present not filling up with a glassy haze at the thought, instead misting over with determination. He unsteadily leaned against the frame, the blue fabric of his shirt seeming to blend in with the mood of the room. He flashed a hand over his sweaty face and through his dark hair, wiping away the expected perspiration. It was obvious that this silence wasn't going to improve the situation, and he intended to do something about it.
"We're going to find him," McCoy's voice broke through at once, roughly breaking as it cut through the rough and clear silence that had overcome the crew. "We're going to find him. Alive."
Uhura suddenly rose from her chair, drifting to where Spock sat and purposefully and inconspicuously lacing her long, dark fingers with his, both sets of hands leathery from repeated abuse from tapping at touch screens and keyboards for hours on end. "Doctor McCoy, the chances that the Captain will come back unharmed, let alone alive are-"
"Jim Kirk has saved your ass more times than you can even remember. All of you," Bones spat back, ignoring the fact that the seemingly emotionless Vulcan he had just walked past had tightened his grip on the young woman's hand.
Spock felt the heat rise to his pointed ears, but ignored it. "It is simply illogical to expect that-"
"-most of which you didn't even know he was doing anything!" McCoy interrupted, waving both of his hands to emphasize his point.
How can he be so optimistic? Uhura mused. Was this the same phobia-prone doctor they were all so used to?
"But all that blood, sir…" the young Ensign whimpered behind them. Chekov and McCoy had been the ones to find it all, after all.
They let the silence wash over them for a few moments as flashes of scenes attempted to connect themselves in their minds.
Exiting the planet they had just visited the night before, all of them exhausted, and Kirk telling them all, with his trademark smirk, to get to bed so he could "work their asses off" the next day when they were bored as they traveled to their next destination. He gave them a wink and a slanted wave before making his way to his own bed. That was the last any of them had seen him.
The realization that the Captain had not shown up to the bridge that morning.
The sudden fear that had crept into their hearts as they rushed down to the Captain's quarters.
The forced entry at his door, only to find a mess. Broken glass and plastic littered the floor, their translucence masked by dots of an ominous, thick red liquid smeared over everything. An empty, unmade bed, the once-pristine sheets tangled into themselves on the floor in a pitiful wrinkled jumble, spotted with more blood than it seemed a human could contain.
And yet… Captain James T. Kirk was no where to be found, although a blubbering, sobbing Scotty reported that a missing escape shuttle might have something to do with it.
And here they were at the present, a grief-stricken mess. A lonely cat without its master, a loveless, idol-less teenage girl. A crew without its beloved captain was nothing.
"I'm a doctor, damnit kid, not a moron. I think I know what blood means. But if any of you- any of you- think that Jim would be sulking around if it was any of you, then you're wrong. You're dead wrong, damnit," McCoy cut in, his voice trembling as he spat out the words, stringing together a statement that he refused to believe was false.
Uhura rose shakily from her position, gently releasing Spock's firm caress of her fingers, and found herself laying a comforting hand on the good doctor's back. "Leonard, I know how hard this must be for you, losing your best friend like this, but we have to face the facts: J-Jim, Jim is dead. There is no way he could have survived an attack like that, even if… Even if…"
She found herself in tears, pressing her body up against the wall in shock and heartache. If someone would have told her a year ago, even six months ago when she was still attending training at the academy, that she would ever have been broken, sobbing, shocked, even grief-stricken, over the death of Jim Kirk, she would have laughed in their face, or have come up with an extremely witty statement inquiring why the unbeatable, relentless force that was her reluctant yet bold and brilliant friend would possibly have the chance to confront death in any situation that didn't involve his own stupidity.
Bones squeezed his eyes shut in a hopeless attempt to purge all of the gory pictures of the last few hours out of his mind. He opened them, and began to speak again. "I know James T. Kirk. I saw him live through three broken limbs, nine cracked ribs, seventeen sets of cuts needing stitches or glue, a punctured lung, and fourteen bar fights- all during three years at the academy. And he would never let anyone tarnish his record without fighting back. Or expecting us to fight back for him. Jim is- not was, damnit, I absolutely refuse to talk about him like that- the best friend any of you will ever know. And we are not going to give up on him this easily. Now who is with me?" McCoy bravely inquired, his voice firm and unwavering. He paused, breathing heavily after his grand speech, expecting some sort of immediate response.
But none was given for a moment, the shocked and bitter silence crashing over the bridge once more like a tireless wave.
Logic and emotion had been dueling in Spock's mind for several hours now, the winner struggling to escape. And with Bones's determined and heart-filled statement, he found his answer. To hell with all of it, he thought, as the two sides of his Vulcan mind overlapped.
"My thoughts lie with Doctor McCoy's," he spoke suddenly, and although his fellow crew members did not audibly respond, he sensed their shock in the silence; an almost collective mental gasp rang through their heads. "It is logic, after all," he stated quite stoically. "The Captain has cheated the inevitableness of death too often for us to abandon all hope."
Optimism rose through the room, starting from the floor to the ceiling.
"I, too, have decided to join Doctor McCoy," a thickly accented voice cut through the silence like a knife, "in the quest to save our beloved Captain from… well, whatever it is he is up against."
Sulu recklessly stood up, attracting all of the attention in the room to his aloofness. "Me, too!" he shouted almost too excitedly, before slowly sitting down and letting the redness that had crept into his cheeks from embarrassment vanish. "I mean," he added, composing himself, "he's got to be out there somewhere. And we're going to find him."
Uhura's tear-filled eyes squinted in happy disbelief, and she let a small smile creep onto her dark and depressed features. "Count me in," she whispered, the sadness not yet vanished from her highly trained voice's tone.
I'm going to slap you, Capt-ain Kirk, she thought, the second we find you.
"Here?" McCoy shouted. "Are you absolutely sure, Chekov?"
"Yes, sir. If my calculations are correct-" an accented voice began before being cut off by a different, rougher voice.
"Oy, laddie, I helped!"
Chekov sighed, showing a rare sign of frustration before speaking again. "If… the theoretical calculations projected by Mr. Scott and myself combined with the actual data we've managed to collect and organize are correct-"
McCoy's voice crackled over the communicator. "Get to the point kid; we don't know how much time we have! I'm a doctor, not a science critic! I don't care how you get us there, as long as you do!"
"-then you are at the right location, and Captain Kirk should be in the general vicinity," the young Ensign finished with a flourish. He was proud of the loyalty he had shown; he had done his part in the investigation by leading them there. Now the rest was up to them.
The group, consisting of Spock, Uhura, and McCoy, found themselves on the planet they had left only the day before, a "logical" place to start searching. Sulu, Scotty, and Chekov tracked what they could, leading the others as they made their way through an abandoned church.
Only a day before, Kirk and Spock, as his first officer, met with the leaders of this small, but religion-dominated, civilization to discuss values, peacekeeping thoughts, and the most pressing issue: the planet's request for admission to the Federation. The meeting had gone without a hitch, with the polite but firm council members speaking their point and the U.S.S. Enterprise's young captain making only two or three passes at a female member of the council and only two off-color jokes. He was learning, McCoy mused, that diplomacy and personal lives didn't often mesh. The serious, middle-aged leader of the civilization, a man named Kaime, explained their situation with a stoic expression, making it clear that religion was everything to his people and their way of life.
Yet here they were, and it was puzzling. How had Kirk ended up here, and what did they want with him? The residents of the small planet had seemed firm, but welcoming.
They took their values and religious beliefs seriously, and there hadn't seemed to be anything wrong with that before.
Chekov's navigating was never off, but it did seem odd that out of all of the grand cathedrals and simple chapels lining the streets, the one they were now visiting seemed to be in the most disrepair.
This particular place of worship's stone exterior crumbled into dark bits of dust and rock, ignored for quite some time by all who had passed it. The once beautiful and intricate designs carved into it had deteriorated into scarred rubble, littering the smooth, dirt ground around the building. In fact, the only part of the outside church that seemed to be in more than decent condition was the stained glass of the windows.
Flashy gold, deep violet, indigo, fleshy pink, bright crimson, and a brilliant emerald green detailed the elaborate glass pictures, forming multifaceted pictures that words could not describe, complex stories that were too involved to be shared by the tongue. And yet Uhura found that she, though a linguistics and communications expert, could assume little from these byzantine panels.
She ignored them as they entered the building. Why hide Kirk here? Who would bother to drag him to a random, abandoned building, let alone a church?
But as they kicked down the heavy, insect-eaten and worn wooden door, they saw a different scene through the splintered wood. They had expected to see some destroyed pews and a cracked alter, maybe some broken, knocked-over candles or a fallen lighting arrangement.
They did not, however, expect to see the illogical panorama before them. Instead of the cracked pavement or messy dirt floor they had predicted the church was built on, they viewed shiny and new wood, finished and polished to perfection. Simple wooden benches filled the majority of the hall, also gleaming with new and beautiful pride. They reflected the color from the panels in the elaborate glass windows, their light brown masked by shadows of brilliant color. An equally simple wooden altar adored the sanctuary, a light and white cloth of a particularly thin and papery fabric draped over its top as it cascaded down.
But the main scene-stealer of the church was behind the altar. The church had obviously been designed around it; it was pretty hard to miss.
Brick by brick and stone by stone, Spock, Uhura, and McCoy soaked in the outstanding piece of craftsmanship built in the back of the church. Intricate swirls wound their way up towards the peaked ceiling, resting on a floor of black and white tiles. A thin sheet of clear, beautiful water gracefully slid- no, ran- down the complex mosaic, ending up in a defined pool directly behind the altar. It was stunning; their heavy breaths of awe were covered by the loud crashing of the water at bottom. The curious thing was how a such a small amount of water could make such a tremendous amount of noise.
"Damn," McCoy spoke thoughtfully, and Uhura couldn't help but wonder if his mind was with Jim or his ex-wife at that moment.
"McCoy?" she asked gently, shattering his haze. She put a gentle hand on his blue –covered back and gave a gently, friendly pat.
"What was that, Doctor? I didn't catch that," Spock replied.
McCoy snapped back to reality, and found that he had to shout to be heard over the roaring of the water. "I said, 'Damn.' Some water show, huh?"
Spock seemed to think carefully before answering. "I do not think it is appropriate to speak such taboo language in a place of worship such as this, Doctor McCoy."
McCoy shrugged and continued through the church. "Jim's gotta be around here somewhere…"
They called out Jim's various aliases, hoping for a response, but found nothing.
"It's very curious," Spock muttered, almost to himself.
"What?" McCoy shouted, obviously not understanding the concept of silence.
"Why would the outside of such a building be in such disrepair, while the inside is-"
"-beautiful and pure," Uhura finished for him. "I don't get it either, Commander."
"Commander? From what your superior officer has told me, you two are much too familiar to use rank to address each other," a booming voice echoed from the left side of the church.
"You! But… Where's Jim Kirk, and what have you done to him?" McCoy asked, surprising himself by keeping his voice stable and unwavering.
Kaime ominously walked forward to greet them. He did not laugh in satisfaction, nor frown at his visitors, maintaining a stoic, serious expression.
Are we sure this place isn't a Vulcan colony? McCoy thought, suddenly scared again for his best friend's life.
He showed them the palms of his hands, offering them forward as a silent explanation
Hands that were covered in layers of blood- caked fragments of old, dried fluid, and fresh liquid running through his fingertips.
Author's notes: This one's a two-shot; I thought I'd start things with a bang.
And remember, reviews are like candy! Or Pop Tarts. Which I don't even really like, but found myself starring at because they had a picture of Chris Pine as Kirk on the box. Until my little brother poked me and asked if I was feeling alright…
Review, and I will (figuratively) give you a cookie! Personally, I like black and white cookies. Yum!