Everyone on the Enterprise has several names that they go by. For instance, McCoy is Bones and canon only just declared that Uhura is Nyota. I want to illustrate the meaning behind five names per character and the relationships between the namers and the namees.
Disclaimer: Honestly, I don't think I'd know what to do with Star Trek if I actually owned it. I'm content to just write fanfiction instead.
Capt. James T. Kirk
I love the name of honor more than I fear death.
Everyone calls him Captain.
A captain cannot cheat death.
Was that some sort of epitaph that went on his father's bodiless grave? Were those his last words to be forever preserved on tape? Was there any indication at all that the stupid phrase be remembered?
No, there was no reason for everyone to spit out that phrase like it's supposed to make a difference in Kirk's life. His whole life, he's been hearing that. As though since his father was captain, he shouldn't be surprised that he's dead because captains cannot cheat death.
He wasn't even captain for that long. Only ten minutes or something like that. (Actually, it was twelve minutes and fourteen seconds, but if he lets on that he actually cares enough to remember, they might pity him even more.) He would have known he would die?
So they can all go to Hell, he thinks. All those people who act as though it was an honor for him to die. (Of course it was an honor. His father's a hero.) They make it sound like, oh well, of course he had to die. Captaincy means certain death, didn't you know? Look it up in the dictionary or thesaurus. Captain George Kirk's picture is displayed there, too.
He's not a captain. He's never going to job Starfleet, he won't be a captain. And apparently only captains cannot cheat death. He's not a captain, therefore he can. So he pushes his limits out in Iowa, stretching himself as far as he can before reaching the brink of death. He hangs off of cliffs, gets into fights, pokes sleeping beasts where they lie, all because he can cheat death.
But it's a strange turn of events and suddenly he's in the captain's chair aboard the Enterprise. It fits so well, you'd think it was made for him. Bones doesn't waste time telling him that he sits in it like it's a throne, but Kirk doesn't care. He's never felt more at home, more needed in his entire life as he does in this chair on this bridge on this ship.
He's not the same person he was back in Iowa, that much is certain. Sure, he still flirts. He still acts better than anyone else, because most of the time, he is better. But he doesn't push his limits as much. He doesn't drink as much as he can just to see how quick he can reach the blackout. He doesn't ignore advice just because he likes the way bruises look on his skin.
He's the captain now, and captains cannot cheat death.
Bones calls him Kid.
"Dammit, what are you talking about?"
"I did the math, Mr. Crankypants. You're only six years older than me."
"Congratulations. I'm sure you were up half the night counting on your fingers."
"…I choose to ignore that. Anyway, the point is: You're only six years older than me."
"This better have a point, kid."
"Good God, man, what's your problem?"
"That's exactly my point! You keep referring to me as kid!"
"You're younger than me. And you act like an infant."
"Name one time I've acted like an infant."
"Last night when you whined about how I threw my textbooks at you. Last week when that filly at the bar hit on the guy next to you, that would be me, and not you. The week before that when you cried over failing that damn Kobayashi Maru test."
"…I choose to ignore those, too. And I only told you to mention one time, thanks. Anyway, the point is, you keep calling me kid when you're only six years older."
"You're gonna bother me until we fix this, aren't you?"
"Oh, you do know me so well."
"Fine. I'll stop calling you kid if you stop calling me Bones."
"No deal. Calling you Bones is too much fun."
"Then you're still kid."
"And just for the record, I never cried over that stupid test."
"Whatever you say, kid."
Uhura calls him Kirk.
Aren't you supposed to treat the captain with respect? Everyone treats him with respect! Chekov practically trips over his feet with captain-worship. Even Spock acts courteously, and he emotionally compromised him!
But then there's Uhura.
She's fiercer than anyone on the Bridge, even Sulu who fences like a fiend. Hell, she could probably give Bones a run for his money if they ever got into a battle of wits and insults. And that's saying something because he used to think Bones was undefeatable. She spouts snarky comments from the side of her mouth and shoots from the hips, and damned if he doesn't love her for it.
She does her work better than anyone, even the original communications officer that Pike had assigned to the Bridge. Her talent and determination mixed with the fact that she looks infinitely better in the uniform than anyone else is why Kirk hasn't fired her or even reprimanded her for her behavior.
And if truth be told, he enjoys her disrespect and the resulting banter between them. He's not cocky, he's just self-assured. But she can't see that (no one can) and responds with some biting comment that would sting anyone with a thinner skin than his.
"Hailing frequencies, Kirk."
"Don't you mean, 'hailing frequencies, Captain'?"
There's a pause, and he can practically hear her raise her eyebrows.
"Hailing frequencies, Kirk."
It's their routine: He says something that she misconstrues as arrogant. She might do whatever work he asks her to do, but she does it with this attitude that rivals anyone he's ever met. Then she turns her head ever so slightly, tilting it to the side just so, and gives him what he's coined "the Kirk-smirk."
He's fairly certain that she doesn't share that smirk with anyone else, though she rolls her eyes when he makes that claim.
Chekov calls him Keptin.
It's not like he means it any differently than anyone else. He just says it differently. But that makes a world of a difference to Kirk.
He asks a question or makes a request, and Kirk finds he is entirely unable to not indulge Chekov. There's only eight years between them. For God's sake, he's slept with women with more of an age difference! It shouldn't be so difficult to accept Chekov as one of his own.
But Chekov asks a simple question, and his eyes are just so huge. Kirk is forcefully reminded of himself when he was only a toddler and asking his mother why they didn't celebrate Father's Day.
And then Kirk remembers why he's on the Enterprise and why he worked so hard and risked mutiny to save everyone. Because it's what his father did. You save the ones you care for, the ones frailer than you.
"And that's how you know the chicken's done," Kirk finishes explaining to Chekov. The young ensign nods vigorously, his curls shaking around his slender face. A surge of protection overwhelms him, and he knows that he will do anything to help Chekov and everyone like him.
"Zank joo, Keptin."
His mother calls him Jim.
To her, he's Jim. Never Jimmy when she's in a good mood, nor James when she's livid with him over his latest stunt at school.
No matter what conquest he made the night before with whoever he found at the bar, no matter how many months he's been away in space, he feels like none of that matters when he's with his mother.
Bones laughs at his humbleness and Spock gives his version of a smirk (he probably learned that from Uhura), but Kirk doesn't do anything to stop them because he's afraid his mother will call him out on being mean to his friends. She's the only woman in the world who can control him this well.
All she has to say is Jim, and he backs down from any argument. She has always been the sort of woman that people can't say no to, unless no is the answer she wants.
She is the one person in the world who has known him before nicknames. He stands before her, stripped of all his titles except for that first one he received so many years ago. She never asked for much in life (and got even less than that), and everything was given to him. The least he can do is answer when she calls his name.
Well, what do you think? Please, please review and let me know. I'll be updating this within the next few days, hopefully. McCoy is next.