Peter Kirk—a Deep Space Nine story by Jeri

He was headed for Star Base 42 to replenish a supply of medication for a chronic and incurable neurological disorder. He knew it was risky for him to pilot a shuttlecraft alone, but he felt it necessary to prove to himself and others that he could do things on his own without help from anybody, despite his condition. This feeling of self-reliance grew from his terrible experience at the age of twelve, when it seemed that to him nobody really cared whether he lived or died. Even his own uncle, whom he despised, cared more about the crew of his ship than he cared about his own flesh and blood. He sighed. He knew it was best not to dwell on that painful memory, but there was little else to do during the long trip from Sherman's Planet to the star base. He had settled there after getting married to another Starfleet orphan, Mary Janowski, and leaving a Starfleet orphanage eight years after the creatures attacked Deneva. There was constant pain from pinched nerves and muscle spasms, and victims also suffered from unpredictable dizzy spells and blackouts. The disorder mimicked epilepsy, and the medication did little more than control the symptoms.

He had suffered from this condition for over thirty years. He blamed it on his uncle James, who was more concerned about a half-breed first officer than he was about him. If Uncle James hadn't been mooning over Spock, Doctor McCoy would have detected the damage the alien creatures inflicted on his nervous system sooner.

The memory of waking up in sickbay, still in pain and no uncle in sight angered him. The pain from the disorder was much less than what the creatures did, but it was enough to leave a deep emotional scar well into adulthood.

He could not understand why his uncle did not visit him, and it hurt him more than any alien flying buzzing fake vomit could do. Why did he stay away? Counselors tried to tell him that his uncle did not know how to relate to children very well, and, that, in his own way, Uncle James did care. After all, what kind of life would it be for Peter on a Federation starship? Starships were not meant for children. They were military in nature. Uncle James had a career and a life of his own. He did choose a good facility for Peter. He met a number of other Starfleet orphans, including his wife, who had emotional scars of her own. It took her years to get over the deaths of her parents, despite the fact she had been manipulated by that alien known as the 'Friendly Angel'. The pain of what Peter had considered rejection all these years had lessened to a degree, but he always thought the counselors were making excuses for his uncle.

Suddenly, the proximity alarm sounded, getting him off his reverie and back to flying the shuttle. There was an object off the starboard side that Peter couldn't identify. It looked like a cosmic string, but it was moving erratically. The last thing he remembered was that it overtook his shuttle.

***

Major Kira saw it first. An old-style, badly damaged shuttlecraft suddenly appeared from out of nowhere. Sensors told her that life support was barely functioning and that the occupant was probably injured, since he wasn't responding to hails. Sisko had just stepped into OPS and he followed her gaze with interest.

"What's that?"

"It appears to be a badly damaged ancient shuttlecraft, sir. There is one human life sign, and he's not responding to hails."

Frowning, Sisko pressed the intercom button to the infirmary. "Doctor Bashir, we apparently have a new patient for you. I will have O'Brian beam him directly to you."

"Acknowledged, sir" answered the young doctor.

"Mr. Worf, put a tractor beam on that shuttle and bring it in to service bay one."

"It might be too fragile to take a full tractor beam, Captain. I recommend half intensity."

"Good thinking, Worf. That thing looks like a giant ball of aluminum foil. It probably went through the Badlands, but what pilot in his right mind would take a relic like that out for a joy ride through the roughest part of space, second only to the galactic barrier?"

***

Doctor Bashir watched as his new patient materialized on the bio bed. Julian started to search the man's clothing for identification, as one of his nurses checked the man for injuries. He found an almost empty pill bottle and nearly dropped it in astonishment when he saw the name of the drug and the name of his new patient. He pressed his communicator.

"Captain! I think you'd better get down here!" He called excitedly over his comm Badge.

"What is it, Doctor?"

"It's our new patient, sir. I think he's famous. His name is Peter Kirk!"

"I'll be right there!"

"Sir…" Jadzia said, equally astounded. "I knew him when I was Curzon. May I accompany you?"

"By all means, Lieutenant."

Never in Julian Bashir's wildest dreams did he expect to encounter a living relative of one of the most famous starship captains in Federation history. It was long rumored that James T. Kirk had three nephews, but Captain Sisko, having done some research on the Kirk family after their adventure with the tribbles, quickly found out otherwise. Peter Kirk was indeed the last surviving member of James Kirk's family. Ben had found out that Captain Kirk started the false rumor himself on planet Exo III, when he impressed the thought of having three nephews on an android replica. That replica had very "interesting differences" indeed.

Julian also never expected to find a victim of Deneva disorder, a condition that was supposedly eradicated twenty years earlier. It had been a relatively simple matter to cure his new patient.

Peter Kirk was reported missing in space under mysterious circumstances almost sixty years ago. He had sustained a moderate concussion and a couple of cracked ribs from whatever it was he had encountered, but he was going to be all right.

When Dax was Curzon, he and Peter were close friends. They met when they were very young. Curzon once considered a career in social work, and Peter was his first case. He never told Peter that he was a Trill, because Peter was a bit xenophobic. When Peter was reported missing, Curzon spent the rest of his life trying to find out what happened to him.

Now, there was a new mystery to solve. How did Peter end up in the twenty-fourth century, some seventy light years from his last known location? Jadzia Dax was determined to find out. Peter's shuttlecraft was severely damaged, but the flight recorder tapes should be intact enough to give him some clues.

When Sisko and Jadzia arrived at the infirmary, Worf was already standing in the doorway. Sisko had ordered him there to deter curiosity seekers. One look at Worf's scowling features was enough to keep anyone away.

Worf was fascinated with the idea of meeting James Kirk's nephew. Worf's great grandfather had been Captain Kirk's 'defense attorney' after the assassination of Chancellor Gorkon.

"Captain. Jadzia." He greeted eagerly.

"Mr. Worf, I know want to meet this man, but until we can tell him of the current status between Klingons and Humans, I don't think he should see you when he regains consciousness…at least not right away."

"Understood, sir." Worf answered, disappointment evident in his voice. However, he really did understand. Peter was from an era when Humans and Klingons were bitter enemies. Worf expected to receive some animosity and racist comments from the twenty-third century human guest. In light of that, Worf was willing to stay out of sight for the time being.

"How is he, Doctor?" Sisko asked as he and Dax entered the room.

"Aside from a moderate concussion and a few bumps and bruises, he's in pretty good shape. I bet we can't say the same for that shuttlecraft."

"You're right, Julian." Dax responded, looking at her old friend with concern. "It was unsalvageable." She paused for a long moment, and then continued. "Poor Peter. I have missed him."

"Poor Peter nothing!" Julian Bashir retorted indignantly. "He's a very lucky man. He's the only victim of Deneva Disorder to get a quick cure."

When Peter Kirk came to and opened his eyes, he fully expected to be on the floor of his shuttlecraft. At first, he was puzzled, both at the intricate designs on the ceiling and at the softness of a padded surface under him. It then occurred to him that he was somewhere else. A feeling of dread, and then one of panic washed over him. Had he been abducted by aliens? Were they doing horrible experiments on him? Where was he? He tried to sit up, but a gentle but firm hand pushed him back down.

"Hey, now, take it easy! Nobody's going to hurt you. My name is Julian Bashir. I'm a doctor."

Peter's eyes focused on the younger man, who still had a hand on his shoulder. Dizziness from his head injury forced him to lie back down.

"You're human?"

"Yes."

"Where…is this place? Why have you brought me here?"

"You are on a space station on the edge of the Alpha quadrant called Deep Space Nine. We discovered your shuttle adrift near our outpost an hour ago. You were injured and needed medical help, so we beamed you here."

Peter seemed a little pensive for a few moments. He was collecting his thoughts.

"I've never heard of Starfleet building a space station on the edge of the quadrant." He then noticed that the man who called himself Julian Bashir was wearing the strangest looking Starfleet uniform he had ever seen. "Hey, what's going on here? Is this some kind of sick joke?"

"What do you mean?"

"That insignia on your uniform. It belongs to my uncle's ship! What gives?"

It was now time to tell his new patient that he was in the future.

"Oh, that. Starfleet adopted the Delta Shield insignia for everyone fifty years ago, in honor of the Five Year Mission crew. Welcome to the twenty-fourth century, Mr. Kirk."

To be continued…