Disclaimer: I do not own Star Trek or associated characters. I do not make any money from this completely unauthorized story. PLease do not hunt me down with flaming torches and pitchforks.
Warning: mention of childhood traumatic experiences
A/N: This was written for this prompt: 5 times Kirk surprised his crew with something about himself
How Well Do We Know You?
Five Times Jim Kirk Surprised His Crew With Something About Himself and One Time They Surprised Him
McCoy had been the first to notice, back at the Academy, but he hadn't realized the significance. He knew that Kirk had an alarm on his watch that sounded at specific intervals, but he didn't know what it was a reminder for. After all, he didn't actually see Kirk every day and when they did see each other, it wasn't always at the same time. He'd thought it might be a reminder for a class or something similar.
The bridge crew noticed next. Every day before Kirk took his lunch break his watch would sound an alarm. It wasn't loud or obnoxious, just a soft chime that sounded once and was done. Kirk himself barely seemed to notice it, so it didn't take long before the others ignored it as well.
It was while they were joining relief efforts on a colony planet that was suffering major flooding in the most populated area that anyone realized it wasn't just a minor habit. The entire crew was working around the clock to shore up levees, evacuate colonists, see to those same colonists' needs while on the ship, and try to salvage what they could of the flooded cities. Everyone was grabbing bites to eat whenever they had a second and no one, not even McCoy, noticed that the Captain hadn't even had a snack for over forty-eight hours. Not until he keeled over in a dead faint after transporting up from the surface with more rescued colonists.
When he woke up hours later, it was to many worried faces. He blinked. "Shouldn't you be helping the relief efforts?"
Spock stood as if giving a report, his hands clasped behind his back. "The group you beamed up were the last needing rescue. The remaining levees are holding and there is not much else we can do until the waters start to recede. The only injuries are minor bruises and scratches, except of course, for you."
McCoy broke in, "What the hell happened, Jim? My scanners indicate you haven't eaten in over two days! What were you thinking?!"
Kirk's brows furrowed and he looked at the watch on his wrist. "It stopped. Must have been the water. Huh, thought these things were supposed to work in worse."
"Damnit, Jim! What does your watch stopping have to do with your going without food long enough to collapse?"
Kirk shrugged, "It's my reminder to eat. If it doesn't go off, I don't remember."
Uhura and Sulu exchanged confused glances, but it was Scotty who spoke. "Your pardon, sir, but why would you need to be reminded to eat?"
"It's not a big deal. I just don't really notice hunger. I haven't since I was thirteen. It's not in my file, Bones, because it's not medical. It's psychological but as long as I have a reminder," he held up his wrist to indicate the faulty watch, "I can manage it." He frowned, "This is the first time I've had a problem since I was a kid and we were trying to figure out what was going on."
"What is going on, Captain?" Spock's face was the only one that didn't betray confusion. "What happened while you were thirteen to necessitate a reminder for a basic biological function?"
Kirk wouldn't meet anyone's eyes. "It's just, I got used to not eating, ignoring hunger until it didn't register. You know, on Tarsus. So even now, if I'm not reminded, I don't remember to eat."
His words were met with stunned silence. Uhura broke it with a whisper. "You were on Tarsus when Kodos..."
Kirk nodded, his eyes still on the blanket covering him. "Yeah. It's in my file, but it's classified information." He looked up then and met McCoy's horrified eyes. "It's not a problem, Bones! I went through the therapy, there weren't any lasting effects. This is the only issue and it's easy to manage. I just need a new watch." He snorted in amusement. "One that won't stop working in the middle of a mission."
Afterwards, Kirk got that new watch, one considerably augmented by Spock and Scotty to work in the most adverse conditions.
It was an engineering ensign who first discovered him in one of the small maintenance junctions. She had been climbing through the Jeffries tubes trying to find the source of a minor but irritating malfunction when she heard music. Some kind of stringed instrument, it echoed through the crawlways.
When a voice, a clear light tenor, joined the music, she couldn't suppress her curiosity. She followed the sound and came to the junction point where several Jeffries tubes met, making almost a small room. Seated at the edge of one of the tubes, his feet dangling down to the floor, was Captain Kirk.
He was playing an instrument that she didn't recognize and singing a song about the beauty of the stars in space. The tune was old Earth folksy with some hints of xeno influences. Suddenly, it stopped and she found the captain looking at her, an unreadable expression on his face.
"Am I in your way, Ensign?"
"Uh, no, sir. I just heard the music..."
"Oh well, I found this spot is surprisingly acoustic and it's out of the way."
The ensign nodded, "I'll ah, I'll just go and get back to work then."
"Of course, Ensign."
She ducked back into the crawlway and heard the music start again. She wished been able to tell him she liked it.
Well, she hadn't been able to say it to him, but she did tell a few of her friends. One by one, people found out about the captain's private concerts and every so often one or more of the crew would come to listen. By the time several of them were there every time, the captain's instrument had been identified as an Andorian Dulcimer.
As the months went by, the entire crew had, at one point or another, observed the captain playing and singing songs that were by now recognized as his own creations. They never disturbed him, staying out of the way in the tubes themselves. They knew the captain realized they were there, but he didn't say anything and neither did they. They also didn't tell anyone not part of the crew about what had become a private performance for Enterprise personnel alone.
When the transmission from Earth came, Kirk took it on a small viewscreen at the back of the bridge, but the sound wasn't muted enough for the crew not to hear the conversation.
Kirk's voice was completely serious and maybe a little worried. "Frank. Is something wrong? Is it Mom?"
At that, the crew stopped even pretending not to pay attention. The captain didn't talk about his family. All that was known were the few facts everyone knew of the Kirks and the fact that he had a stepfather. This last was courtesy of Dr. McCoy who had also tendered the theory that said stepfather must have been a real bastard. He'd been drunk at the time, but the rumor had gone around the ship before he'd sobered up enough to realize what he'd said.
The man on the viewscreen had a deep voice, still strong despite his age beginning to show in the lines on his face and the gray in his hair.
"No, Jim, Winona's fine. She's still on that deep-space run so you'd probably hear if anything happened to her before me. No, this is about Diana Barstow."
The bridge was quiet enough that even the Humans could hear Kirk's sharp indrawn breath. "What about her?"
"The restraining order is about to expire and I can't file for a new one for you. You're an adult and you don't live in Riverside anymore. If you want to keep it going, you're going to have to file it yourself, probably with Starfleet."
Kirk nodded, his face tight. "Thanks for letting me know. Do we know where she is?"
"Still living in Riverside, so if you want to come home for a visit, I suggest you file." Frank's face broke into a proud smile. "I know, I know, you're a starship captain now, you can take care of yourself. Still, it never hurts to be careful."
"You're right, of course. I'll take care of it right now. Thanks for letting me know. You're always looking out for me."
"Sometimes you still need it. Take care, Jim."
"You too, Frank. Bye."
After he ended the transmission, Kirk turned to Uhura. "Lieutenant, if you could contact Starfleet about the possibility of filing a restraining order in my name against an Earth citizen, please?"
Uhura instantly turned to her station, all business. "Of course, sir." She worked for a few minutes, murmuring softly. "I have Starfleet for you, sir."
Kirk nodded, turning back to the small viewscreen that once again lit up. Most of the conversation he had with the Commander on the other end was routine until he was asked to describe the circumstances warranting the order. The crew's ears perked up once again. If Kirk was aware of it, he gave no indication. Instead, he talked steadily to the older man on the viewscreen.
"Ten years ago, I was in a relationship with the woman in question. Over time, she became violently abusive, both emotionally and physically. With the help of my stepfather, Frank Emerson, I was able to get away from the situation. As I was under eighteen at the time, my stepfather was the one who pressed charges and filed for the original restraining order. Since she is still living in Riverside, where my own family also resides, I am requesting that the restraining order stay active."
The Commander nodded. "Of course, Captain Kirk. That's all the information I need. I'll send the paperwork through right away. You'll be notified when it becomes official."
Kirk nodded, "Thank you."
When he stood up and walked back to the captain's chair, the rest of the bridge crew busily studied their own stations, allowing the captain the illusion of privacy.
When a computer error occurs on the Enterprise, the Computer Sciences Division can usually handle it. When the problem exceeds them, they send it to the Science Officer, Commander Spock. When Commander Spock is unable to correct the problem, he requests that the Captain alter course so that they can dock at a Starbase for repairs. This was the first time during their mission that such a problem had presented itself.
Kirk nodded thoughtfully as Spock outlined the problem, the solutions he and the computer department had attempted, and the reason why he recommended they request outside help. Then the captain denied the request, much to Spock's quickly concealed astonishment.
"May I ask the reason, sir?"
The Captain grinned, "I figured I'd look at it myself first before we start making detours."
Spock stiffened imperceptibly. "Captain, as I have already explained, neither the computer department nor myself can repair the computer. The next logical step is to dock at Starbase Five, which is only two days away at Warp Four."
Kirk nodded, his smile growing even larger. "Yes, Spock, I understand that. Now, I have a question for you."
"You like to thoroughly research everything, have you researched the team that installed the Enterprise's computer systems? To logically know everything you can about the ship you're on?"
"Of course, sir. The Enterprise's computer system uses the new crystal matrices that were designed on Earth only a few years before the ship was completed. The computing power and memory exceeds that of any planet bound computer of similar size. The team that created and installed the system was specially picked by Starfleet."
The bridge crew watched the by-play, wondering why the Captain was looking like a cat that had not only gotten the canary but all of its relatives as well.
"And, in your research, Spock, did you happen to come across the name of the man who both designed the system and headed the team that installed it?"
Spock blinked. "I know that he was very young to have completed his doctorate, but I do not recall his name being mentioned in the report."
Kirk nodded, "I'll wait while you go look that up."
"Is this relevant, Captain?"
Spock conceded and went to the library computer to make the necessary queries. It only took a minute or so and then he turned back to the Captain. "A Dr. James Kirk is credited and the installation took place while the Enterprise was being constructed in Riverside, Iowa." His eyebrow lifted in obvious curiosity.
Kirk laughed. "Did you really think I completely wasted my life before joining Starfleet? I got the doctorate when I was twenty. The crystal matrices were my thesis project. I spent the next two years working on the installation until Pike recruited me. Starfleet didn't have to waste time with a background check, I was already working for them. They didn't mind that I had a record when they first hired me so they couldn't object when I entered the Academy. Let me check the computer. If I can't fix it, then a Starbase probably wouldn't be able to help either."
The chess matches between Spock and the Captain drew a lot of attention. They played in Recreation Room One, the largest such room, and often had a small crowd surrounding them as they played. One day, the Captain was late to arrive. When he did enter the room, he was wearing a sleek pair of eyeglasses.
"Sorry I'm late Spock. My contacts were bothering me. I had to head back to my quarters to swap them for these," he indicated the glasses with a wave of his hand.
"I was unaware that you wore such archaic corrective devices."
Kirk laughed. "I'm allergic to Retinax V, so they can't fix my eyesight chemically. So it's glasses and contacts for me. I prefer the contacts, but as I said, they were bothering me today."
Spock watched Kirk's face as the Captain sat down across from him. "If I may ask, sir, why do your eyes now appear to be hazel?"
Smiling, Kirk said, "I always wanted blue eyes, so my contacts are tinted. This is the real color."
Kirk was heading to the shuttlebay to respond to a page he had just received. He was pondering why for the last few days the crew had seemed so quiet, especially around him. Well, this morning had been the Kelvin Memorial Ceremony, so perhaps that was it. All the crew knew how he had been personally affected by the Kelvin Tragedy, so perhaps they were being quiet out of respect. Still, that didn't really explain why conversations seemed to stop in his presence.
Kirk was so caught up in considering the possible explanations that he didn't notice the crowd of people in the shuttlebay until he heard the shout.
He looked up to see a large percentage of the crew standing in the huge space, his senior officers at the head of the crowd. There were balloons and streamers attached to the walls and a table off to one side held an enormous cake. He blinked in shock.
"What's all this about?"
McCoy came forward and started herding Kirk deeper into the shuttlebay. "Don't think we've forgotten it's your birthday, Jim. I know you liked to spend it alone at the Academy, but you're Captain now, and the crew wanted to celebrate."
"I ah, wow, thank you."
It was an enjoyable few hours spent chatting with various crew members and eating the delicious chocolate cake someone had apparently made from scratch. He received a few presents and cards, most of them collaborations by various departments.
At the end of the party, he'd drifted over to McCoy. "You know, I never really celebrated my birthday before."
His friend nodded. "I figured. Jim, you've been dwelling on your father's death every year. That's in the past. You've avenged him. Now it's time to concentrate on you and on your future. That's what this was about. We wanted you to know that you have people to celebrate with."