This was inspired by parts of KCS's amazing collection of oneshots, A Star to Steer Her By.
When Kirk first made Captain, the decision was nearly unanimous. Even those Admirals who didn't feel that a third-year cadet was ready to become Captain of a starship did recognize the position that Starfleet was in.
Having just lost one of the two founding planets of the Federation as well as nearly five-sixths of the graduating class at the academy, Starfleet was desperately in need of good PR and Kirk—the hero who saved the Earth and probably several other planets as well, avenging his father, the hero of the Kelvin, in the process, who just happened to be ridiculously good-looking and sociable—was nothing if not good PR.
And the decision to give him that crew? Well, not many experienced officers would be willing to serve under a twenty-seven-year-old fresh-out-of-the-academy Captain, they had all requested to serve with Kirk, and Kirk had requested to serve with as many of them as possible, so it was something of a no-brainer.
But many of the Admirals came to regret the decision very quickly.
Because while the crew was good—and oh boy were they good; despite the fact that they encountered more unexpected danger and insanity than any other Starship in the fleet, they still had one of the highest success rates, and most of the officers had proven to be among the best at what they did, despite the fact that few of them were thirty yet—Jim Kirk was insane. He also wasn't very good at following orders.
Not that he would flaunt the rules for no reason, but his idea of a good reason didn't always jive with his superiors'. When he felt that an order he had received was not a good one he would attempt once to convince the superior officer and then, generally, do whatever he wanted, regardless of his orders.
The worst part was that he was usually right. It was difficult to reprimand him for not following orders when his actions saved lives, prevented wars, or convinced yet another planet to join the Federation.
But that didn't mean no one wanted to. With each successful mission, certain admirals grew angrier and angrier; more and more impatient; waiting for Kirk to finally screw up.
The mission on which it happened was supposed to be routine which, on the Enterprise, meant that it was certain to go wrong. And when it did, it went very wrong. People died; a lot of them, including several members of Kirk's crew. And Kirk hadn't followed orders which meant that, as far as a few admirals were concerned, it was exactly the opportunity they needed.
The bridge of the Enterprise was far more subdued than usual when Admiral Komak called.
None of the officers were talking, laughing or joking with one another. Instead, they were all staring silently at their instruments, doing their work quietly and sadly. Kirk, usually the most boisterous, seemed almost depressed, though he quickly straightened up and plastered on a fake smile when Komak appeared on the viewscreen.
"Admiral," he said with mock cheer, "to what do I owe this pleasure?"
"You should have followed orders, Kirk," Komak said. "The fact that you didn't got people killed."
Kirk's smile slipped off. "Admiral," he answered painfully. "Could we not do this in front of my crew?"
"We'll do this wherever I want to do it," Komak told him. "This isn't just going to go away. People are dead because of you, and you will go down for that."
"I had to make a split-second decision," Kirk attempted to explain. "And maybe I made the wrong decision—"
"You did make the wrong decision. You deliberately disobeyed orders, and you won't get away with it anymore."
"Forgive me, Admiral," Spock said suddenly, "but it is not certain that the Captain did make the wrong decision. According to information that was discovered both before and after the Captain made his decision—information that was not available when the Admiralty issued their orders—it is highly probable that following orders would have caused more deaths than actually occurred."
"Did I ask for your opinion, Commander?" Komak snapped at him. "The fact is that your Captain has been ignoring orders for a long time, and it's high time we did something about that."
"Admiral," now it was Sulu's turn to interrupt, "are we to understand that you are now going to punish the Captain for every time he has ever disobeyed orders?"
"If necessary, Lieutenant," Komak said coldly.
"But Admiral," Sulu protested, "if Kirk didn't have a habit of disobeying orders when he felt it was necessary, everybody on this ship would be dead several times over. Are you saying that orders are more important than our lives?"
"I'm saying that your Captain can't just play fast and loose with the rules whenever he feels like it! Kirk, I'm not sure you understand the severity of this. You could lose your ship over this!"
That got Kirk's attention. "I could what? Admiral, it was one mission!"
"Perhaps this was the first time the consequences were so severe," Komak said, "but it's not the first time you've decided that you're apparently more intelligent then every single one of the Admirals in Starfleet!"
"Now wait just a goddamn minute!" McCoy burst out. "It sounds to me like you're more upset about the orders Jim didn't follow than about the people who died!"
"Doctor, this doesn't concern you! In fact, what are you even doing on the bridge?"
"It damn well does concern me!" McCoy retorted. "I enlisted in Starfleet because I had nowhere else to go, but that simply isn't true anymore. I'm a galactic hero; the only reason I'm still living in space is because someone has to keep Jim alive when he becomes so busy keeping everyone else alive that he forgets to take care of himself. If you take away his commission, I'll resign mine and go work on a hospital on Earth."
"I will, too," Sulu declared. "There's plenty of room for pilots in the private sector, and I don't think I can work for a Starfleet that punishes its officers for saving lives."
"The Vulcan high counsel would certainly not object should I choose to return and assist in the development of the colony," Spock added.
"I hawe been offered many positions at uniwersities," Chekov said.
"I think it's safe to say that if Starfleet decides to make a scapegoat out of the Captain, whoever replaces him won't have much of a command crew left," Uhura summarized coldly.
Komak's eyes narrowed. "Do you understand what you're saying?" he demanded.
"Don't insult us," McCoy retorted. "Everyone on this bridge has a genius level IQ."
"…Very well," Komak said finally, "I suppose you win this time. But don't think there won't be any repercussions. There will be an official reprimand for this."
"Understood, Admiral," Kirk said, and Komak signed off.
Kirk took a deep breath and turned to his crew. "You shouldn't have done that," he said. "What if he had called your bluff?"
"Captain," Spock said, "Vulcans do not bluff."
Kirk smiled to himself. "Thank you," he said quietly, and it was not mentioned again.
So, I really wanted to include Scotty in this, but I couldn't find a way to get him on the bridge. Let's just agree that if he had been there, he would have been pretty vocal about his support for Kirk.
Well, that's all for this fic.
I'll see you all later!