Summary: While away on an undercover diplomatic mission, Jim is destroyed and reborn. But no matter what science says, he will have to find a balance between what he is now and what he was or he loses it all.

Chapter: The Prologue

It's been three months. Three long months since Kirk, or Kirik, last saw his beautiful ship. Kirk drew in a deep breath, wiping the sweat that had beaded upon his pointed brow. He was aching and all he wants to do is to beam back on the Enterprise, away from stiff and formal Vulcans, and to get out of this ridiculous avatar.

The artificial body isn't hideous by any means, no. The avatar resembles his human body, all light-blue eyes, fair-hair, and bronze skin but with delicately pointed-ears and grave eyebrows. But it did not change the fact that James Tiberius Kirk just felt ridiculous as a Vulcan.

"Kirk to Enterprise, come in Enterprise", Jim spoke into his communicator.

"Enterprise, this is Lieutenant Uhura speaking." Jim could hear a small choke in her voice but he did not say a word.

Jim easily contained his smile and could barely keep from frowning. He didn't want to freak out any of his Vulcan companions with a display of emotions after such a highly emotionally straining mission.

"One to beam up, Lieutenant Uhura."

"Acknowledged Captain, please stand by," Uhura replies, still strangely tense, "Energizing now, Captain Kirk."

Kirk let out the breath he did not know he was holding, letting the familiar sensation of the transporter tingle through him. Turning to his Vulcan companions Jim held up his hand, fingers parted in the traditional Vulcan salute with little difficulty. It had taken a while, but with Spock's help and plenty of practice, the gesture became like breathing to him.

"Live long and prosper," Jim says as a goodbye to his fellow operatives.

"Peace and long life, friend," replies the leader of the group of Vulcans. And not a few seconds later, Jim is on board the Enterprise and looking at Spock, Bones and Scotty in the transporter room. Jim is so happy he manages to miss the tense looks of his crew.

"Bones! Spock! Scotty! Man is it good to be back! It was a horrible three months. No offense Spock, but being a Vulcan sucks." The three did not respond. Bones did not even crack a scowl of amusement.

"Guys…what's wrong? Why the long faces, aren't you happy to see me?" He swings his eyes to every person in the room, his eyes lingering on Spock last. Jim refuses to admit his senior officers' grim silence is starting to freak him out. McCoy clears his throat and Jim looks to him again. The pity on his face is obvious. Jim hates pity, especially when it is directed at him.

"Jim. Kirk. Captain. You need to get to sickbay. I, we need to show you something." A chill shot up Jim's spine and his smile became brittle.

Jim clears his throat, hoping that they did not see him falter. "Okay, hit me with what you got. Chekov's not a girl again, right?"

"Nothing of the sort, Sir," Spock says for the first time since Jim's beam up, "This way please, Captain."

As Jim picks up his tired feet to follow after his XO and CMO he shot a look at Scotty, hoping that his third in command's usual cheer would clear some of the dread that settled onto his being. But for once Mr. Scot was not smiling. In fact, on Scotty's face is the same look of despair that Bones gave him. Try as he might to feel otherwise, Jim is suddenly sick to his stomach.

The journey to the Medbay is silent. The crewmen that they passed by silently parted like the Red Sea when they saw their Captain. Jim feels the dread that settled itself into his stomach start to take root and grow. He did not even notice when exactly they stepped into the sickbay. The pneumonic hiss of the sliding door falls on deaf ears as they head towards the private sector of the bay, towards his body.

Jim glances at the bed and wishes he didn't. There is his body, lying where he last left it but sans the equipment that is supposed to keep it alive while he took the Vulcan model out for a spin. There is his body, which is probably paper white and cold and covered in a white sheet that is pulled over his head.

" No. this is not real. It's a funny joke guys, but you can cut it out now and hook me back up before I die! Haha! Bones, I thought you know better than to pull a stunt this dangerous with my body!" Jim grounds out semi-hysterically.

"Ji—," McCoy tries to interrupt.

Jim cuts him off, "Spock! I thought Vulcans didn't play practical jokes unless your lesson on Vulcan behavior is a practical joke itself…?"

Spock casts his dark eyes onto him. For once, humanity showed freely in his beautiful honey-warm orbs.

"James. I am sorry." Bones doesn't say anything.

And for once Jim hates Spock's eyes. Jim hates Bones. He hates sickbay and even his lady.

He wishes he never beamed back up.


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