I. He is ten, three days away from being eleven, when he dies.
He remembers the day clearly. It was only a few hours after Sam had finally had enough. His older brother was tired of living under the rule of Frank, never being able to be a Kirk in the household, and left. With a departing hug, Sam had whispered given his word of coming back for him, saving him from their abusive stepfather as soon as he could. But, for now, he was supposed to keep his head low and stay out of the drunkard's way until Sam came for him. Something that usually wasn't a problem for him, he had learned at an early age to stay out of the man's way if he wanted to survive.
It wasn't to be. Not even one hour after his brother had left that Frank did the unimaginable; well, at least in his eyes. The slimy bastard was on the phone selling the only inheritance Sam had left; their father's–their real father's–classic `65 Chevy Corvette convertible. He had overhead the man on the comm, talking to a very interested buyer and he would not let the bastard take the only thing Sam had left. It was only luck Frank had thrown him outside–demanding him to clean the car–that had given him the chance to pull off the stunt which would ultimately lead to his death. The keys which literally fell into his hands only furthered his determination. Although, he could have hotwired the car as well, seeing how Sam had taught him how to over the summer, having the keys just made it easier.
Without a second thought and in the blink of an eye, the only thing of the red Corvette which could be seen was its red taillights as the convertible fishtailed out of the drive. His tiny hands had trouble unlatching the top while keeping his foot on the gas pedal and hearing the top crashing on the road behind him wasn't exactly what he had expected to happen when he decided that the hood should come down. However, it wasn't as if he could fix his mistake, not right now at least. He had bigger problems to deal with, one of which was finding Sam; the other being the cop who was currently signaling him to slow down and pullover.
Really, he should have pulled to the side of the road, but the adrenaline pounding through his system was telling him different. More importantly, he needed his brother. He needed to get Sam's car to him or at least make it so that Frank could never get his greasy hands on it and seeing as his underage driving experience was about to come to an end, the second choice was his only opened option. It only took his hands rapidly turning the wheel for the car to crash through the gates leading to the Riverside Quarry. Oh, he knew exactly where he was and what he was about to do, he even envision himself plummeting over the edge with the car. He would never have to deal with Frank again. However, the thought of Sam's disappointed face had him changing his mind.
He could neither remember bailing out of the car nor pulling himself up from the quarry's edge. He did remember the cop asking his name and answering without any hesitation, but after that, everything flies by in snippets. There was the ride to the police station, he liked being on the back of the hoverbike, it was almost as exciting as driving Sam's Chevy. The station was all a blur of hustle and bustle; still, he could remember the cop asking him where the bruise on his arms and neck came from. He never answered, he just keep his head low and adverted his eyes, just like Sam told him to do. When all the paperwork had been filled out and after the doctor had examined his body, cataloging all of his injuries, Frank was called.
His stepfather didn't make a show of picking him up; the man barely hid the anger in his eyes as he stormed into the police station. The bastard all but dislocated his shoulder as he was pulling him out of the chair he was told to wait in, an action that drew half the department's eyes towards him. Not that it helped, no, Frank was still able to walk out of the police station with his slimy hand digging into his shoulder. All the officers could do was watch as he was manhandled into the old batter hovercar that his mother used on her rare visits to Earth.
No, what he remembers the most is coming home to a blood speckled floor and Frank pitching him into the basement where Sam is laying on the floor; his brother's blood slowly seeping into the dirt floor.
He doesn't think twice when he scrabbles to his knees, crawling over to Sam even as the door at the top of the stairs slams shut and cuts off all light. His little hands easily finding his brother's broken body as he cradles Sam's head in his lap. He can scarcely make out his brother's hazel eyes with just a spark of life still left in them and he cries. Not, for himself or for the danger he is most certainly in when Frank comes back, but for his brother. His brother who came back for him when he saw the red Corvette tearing down the old dirt road with a mop of sun-bleached blond hair behind the driver's seat.
"It's okay Jimmy…" His brother, whose last word words were relief that he was safe and a promise that he would always be with him.
It was his cries that alerted the police to his presence down in the basement when his arresting officer stopped by to deliver his leather jacket that had been left at the station. It didn't take the officer a second to call for back up when he saw the blood stained floor and the body of Sam cradled in his arms. Although, it took him and two other officers to pry Sam's cooling body from his hands.
He is ten, three days from his eleventh birthday when Jimmy dies.
III. JT is fifteen when he dies.
It's not his first death, and is probably not his last, but it is his most quiet death. JT emerged when James died. He survived massacres, beatings, starvation, numerous hunters and soldiers.
He survived Tarsus IV.
The moment the first phaser is fired, he knows there is no help. Not when it is the soldiers of the government and members of Starfleet that are the ones holding the phasers which are killing the people around him. He sees Alva, the Xindi, Shana, the Andorian, and Li, the Chinese Terran, all shot in the backs; their executers not even being able to look them in eyes as they ended his friends lives way too early. JT considers it luck that he is able to save little Kevin Riley, the Irish Terran, and the even younger T'Mir, the Vulcanian; their parents already halving been murdered by the xenophobic asshole governor. He finds Dista hiding under her parent's bodies and thanks the stars he is able to save her as well despite the phaser wound to her shoulder. He took to the night–taking his young charges with him–and rarely saw Tarsisus, the sun of the Tarsus IV. If he hadn't, he would have never survived. His children would have never survived.
For two years he spent his time searching and raiding Kodos's various food storage warehouses. The few survivors he did find, he would add to his ever growing number of mouths to feed. Never once did he mind picking up another stray, but he always had to worry about food and making sure that none of his children were caught by the hunters the asshole sent after the few that had escaped his massacres. JT keep track of every single death of his children; of their names, when they died, and how exactly they died. They were scars forever burned onto his heart. If he could, he made sure to burn their bodies and spread their ashes into the winds; hoping that Sam would take care of them from there. If he couldn't get to their bodies in time, their names would be engraved onto a nearby tree as a makeshift headstone.
He learned early on that the grownups couldn't be trust, not with bounties on all the heads of his children and himself. On a starving world, people would do anything for a little extra food, even if that meant selling children into certain death. There was one adult he had trusted, but once Hoshi Sato was seen helping him, her status of one of the chosen four thousand to survive was quickly terminated. She had helped shelter and took care of the various children he was able to save while he was off on one of his nightly missions. However, with her gone, he had to work extra hard to keep his children safe and had to move them constantly. The first eight children he saved became his elite little helpers and took up some of the responsibilities he could not provide to his children. They made sure to take care of their younger siblings while he was away and kept them busy.
Lil' Mirror, T'Mir's nickname, taught her siblings what they would have been learning in school. Even at her young age, she was well educated and her Vulcan heritage went a long way with earning her respect. Kevin, or Key, did well with keeping his siblings entertained, singing them silly Irish songs quietly at the dead of night and telling them about the amazing adventures of various space explores. Thomas Leighton, or Doc, along with Bear made sure their siblings got the proper vitamins and medication they needed, going as far as hunting for the various native herbs on the plant to patch up their siblings when JT couldn't get any medication. Dista (now going by Empathy), Sight, Red, and I.Q. all did their part as well to help out with their siblings as well; however, they were more or less JT's team when he was required to infiltrate the different buildings for food, medication, or whatever else his kids needed.
He blamed himself when they got themselves caught. He wasn't there when some of Kodos's lackeys stumbled across their newest hideaway. JT knew he couldn't have done anything himself, he himself being caught and in one of the asshole sessions when everything went down. There was nothing he could do, his children had reassured him themselves countless times it wasn't his fault. Even with this knowledge, it didn't help knowing they were caught while helping their siblings escape into one of the abundant safe houses through secret underground caverns he had set up for the very reason of making a quick escape. They weren't able to get away themselves, but they did put up a hell of a fight before being overtaken.
JT almost died when he awoke from his latest session with Kodos, to see eight of his children hanging from their limbs in front of him. His curses echoed through the makeshift dungeon which at one point or another had to be some sort of grand hallway or dining area judging by the amount of open space and decorative walls. He usually waited till one of the ex-Starfleet officers–he refused to think of any of the men or women in the uniforms were Starfleet officers after they had voluntarily assisted Kodos with his massacre–locked him in for the night to make his escape. He didn't wait even to fully awake before he started to pick the lock that restrained his hands above his head, his curses flowing all the more louder as his broken fingers refused to work properly. The second he was free, he was working on freeing the child closest to him.
None of JT's children spoke as he worked on freeing them, knowing that he needed to work out his own anger and guilt at not being there for him. However, the moment they were free, they all enveloped him into a hug as he wept. For the first time, JT understanding why Sam's last words to Jimmy were of relief he was safe after Frank had beaten him to near death. His children's safety was just important to him as his safety had been to Sam.
It was in that position that the Starfleet officer found them. Huddled in the middle of the room, starved bodies flecked in blood or–in JT's situation–covered in copious amounts of blood, weeping. The moment his children caught sight of the red shirt, they had stiffen, causing JT to take notice for the first time of the new arrival and put himself between his children and the man. He himself had growled at the man and would have attack him, if it weren't for the fact that his appearance was pristine. The man's hair was not straw-like or in a matted mess, the shirt was new with no tears or was it patched up unlike the ex-Starfleet officers under Kodos's rule wore. But most of all, he was very plump and round, not to mention he looked sickly pale; an expression that no man, women, child, or any other living entity on Tarsus IV wore since the beginning of the nightmare began. He was a true Starfleet officer.
That was the beginning of JT's death. He had thought he would die being shot by one of Kodos's soldiers trying to save one of his kids. Or maybe after being captured for the sixteenth–or was it the seventeenth?–time, Kodos would finally lose his temper during one of their sessions and his failing body would give out during one of the harder blows. Hell, he thought the hunger or some type of disease would finally get to him and his body would just stop after everything that had happen to him. But JT went out unnoticed; his death wasn't a bang or one last heroic act. No, his death had hand signed signatures from various influential politicians and classified was written all over JT's death certificates.
Worst of all, they took away his children; which was the final nail to JT's preverbal coffin. Out of fifty-three strays he had picked up, forty-seven of his children had survived and six he let Sam take and watch out for them when he couldn't. All the same, the politicians determined that his children should be scattered throughout the stars and took them away kicking and screaming. Their locations were classified to the highest level and he was shipped back to Riverside, Iowa.
JT was fifteen when he died.
V. Cadet Kirk is twenty-five when he dies.
His death is just a few hours before the deaths of six billion Vulcanians. He can't help but wonder if Lil' Mirror was able to get off the planet or not. However, seeing as Cadet Kirk died before Vulcan's implosion, the thoughts weren't Cadet Kirk's or even the long dead JT's; but that's not here nor there.
Cadet Kirk's life was an easy one. Well, easier than any of his other lives had been thus far. Though, that might have been because there was no Kodos or Frank to make his life a living hell, but that was what the teachers were for he figured. His days were repetitive and predictable. Hence, why he thought it was best to liven things up. As a child, he really didn't get to have a childhood, not with the bastards and assholes that were a constant in his life. Zack had tried to give him a childhood when they had moved to Tarsus IV, which had worked out up until the famine hit. But seeing as he was going to school again, Cadet Kirk decided that this time, he would have the childhood that others had denied him.
He went to class, not that he really paid attention, the material was all review to him. Well, most of it anyways. When the content was new, he made sure to listen, but most of the time he spent being the class clown. Although, he made sure it wouldn't interfere with any of the other cadets' learning; if anything, Andy taught him that learning was a gift, one that should never be disrupted by others. If anything at all, he actually cemented it in their minds. He would ridicule the lectures, picking apart their validity and when the legitimacy of the information was sound, he would play devils-advocate and ask what-if questions when they applied to liven up the dreary monotone speeches. His favorite class would have to be the extracurricular engineering classes he took during the night. There, Cadet Kirk was allowed to tinker, build, and program different variations of engines. From steam engines of old to the newest warp engines, he always had something to fiddle with.
It was in one of these classes that he met his second friend at Starfleet, Cadet Gaila. However, the first time he saw her, he couldn't help but think of the sixth stray he brought home on Tarsus IV; the little Orion girl who he had named Red after her fiery locks of red hair. Except, Red died around the same time as JT did. A fact he knew for the reason Cadet Gaila herself told him straight out that Red died when they took her away from her protector, her JT. From then on, Cadet Gaila and Cadet Kirk were constantly partnering with each other during their classes together. It was the only classes that he didn't totally misbehave in, for the reason that the Orion sitting next to him misbehaved for him when he wasn't picking at the teacher's lectures. They spent so much time together, sneaking into one another's rooms when they weren't supposed to, that they were constantly mistaken as dating each other. (Cadet Gaila had to inform him of this, because when it came to gossip, he was uninterested and thus, uninformed.) In reality, the two thought of each other as siblings, the only one who didn't think they were fucking each other–even when they were caught together in nothing but their underwear and a very compromising situation–was his first true friend.
As for his first friend, Leonard H. McCoy, affectionately known as Bones, he was a whole different holoprogram altogether. Bones was usually the one that had to bail him and Cadet Gaila out of whatever mess they had gotten themselves in for the night half the time. The other half of the time, he was sitting right next to them in the police station's holding cell, muttering under his breath for listening to the two idiots next to him. But, when the next weekend came, he always joined them on their newest hair brain schemes. Cadet Kirk couldn't ask for a better friend, or a better doctor, when he needed patching up after another scheme gone badly. Better yet, whereas Cadet Gaila wouldn't go drinking with him, Bones would never miss a chance to go out to get knocked out drunk with him, no questions asked. In turn, whenever Bones would head out to drink alone, Cadet Kirk would always right there behind, because that was when his friend needed him the most (even if he didn't know it himself).
It was during one of these alcoholic rehabilitation sessions (as he liked to call them), Cadet Kirk learned of Bones's demon of an ex-wife filing for sole custody of their six year old daughter. A daughter that he didn't even know his best friend had, but he wasn't about to make a big fuss about it while Bones was ranting about how horrible his lawyer seemed to be and how he would never get to see his "JoJo" again. So, while Bones was sleeping off the alcoholic beverages he consumed that night, Cadet Kirk was busy hacking into the court case fills and reviewing the two-bit lawyer that Bones hired, and even he could see that his best friend was going to lose the case. Very, very badly. His fingers were already typing before he could make a full plan of approach to help the man out.
By the time Bones woke up the next morning, his lawyer had been removed from his case (and was the interest of several investigations for fraud) and one Samuel T. Cogley appointed his new lawyer. As for Cadet Kirk, he was out one first edition Shakespeare written novels and so tired for the rest of the day that all his teachers accused him of being drunk in class. However, it was worth it when four months later, Bones had sole custody of his daughter and Jocelyn Bradford was at the mercy of him to see her daughter. Sadly, little Joanna McCoy would be living with her mother until Bones graduated and was assigned a station either on Earth or a spacestation where officers' children were allowed. He just hoped that his friend wouldn't be assigned a ship right away, or JoJo would be staying with her mother longer.
When Cadet Kirk wasn't in class or hanging out with Bones and Cadet Gaila, he devoted his extra time to different clubs for the reason that he never had been in any clubs growing up. He joined the xenolinguistics club (he never did see that Uhura chick there) in honor of Hoshi Sato and became treasurer of the club after a year. He also became an assistant instructor in the advanced hand-to-hand combat courses when he had unknowingly beaten the top TA in the class in front of one of the instructors. I.Q. would have been very proud of him, even though JT's child was only two years older than him and much bigger, I.Q. had the build of a linebacker before the famine hit and knew how fight. The African-American Terran had made sure to teach JT, and Cadet Kirk never forgot any of the lessons he had learned. They saved JT's and Tiberius's lives too many times to count for him to just forget.
He had debated on joining the chess club, but in the end, Cadet Kirk decided it was best just to play online. That, and he was already scoping out the unwinnable test by that time. The Kobayashi Maru–the test that no one had ever beaten before–never had a chance. After taking the test the first time, he had scoped out all the possibilities before coming up with a plan to beat it the second time. When that didn't work, he got a little creative and with Cadet Gaila's help, hacked the test. It didn't matter that he had been caught; he purposely made it so he would. Cadet Kirk wanted to be called out to justify his means to an end, he had his argument already planned out on what a cheat the Kobayashi Maru was and everything was going according to plan. That was, until the interruption and the emergency deployment of the senior cadets.
Bones had risked his career to smuggle him aboard the Enterprise and Cadet Kirk was ever so grateful, but it was because of his best friend's selfless act that he died. The moment he heard the phenomenon of a lightning storm in space, Cadet Kirk knew he had to die. The situation was no place to be living out a childhood; there was no room for mistakes.
In the end, Cadet Kirk died by Nero's intervention, just like his father twenty-five years before him.
IV. Tiberius dies at twenty-two.
Tiberius emerges after JT's death, in one of the countless hospitals that the politicians try to contain him in after Tarsus IV. He lives as he dies, a rebel and a fighter. At first, he lets the bureaucrats do as they please with him, but only because he was biding his time. The horrors of Tarsus IV and the countless punishments his body had to endure were more severe then he could have guessed. By no means did that mean he would willingly trade one scar for anything in the world; he knew each scar represented another life saved; another of JT's children that would live against all odds. In those six months that it took Tiberius to recuperate, he researched, hacked, and schemed between all the physical therapy and psychologist's ramblings. Not that he ever told that nut job anything, the psychologist was more messed up in the head than he was.
No, how Tiberius deals with life after Tarsus IV–subsequent to breaking out of the medical facility he was currently stationed at–is more physical, which was accomplished in two different ways. Bar brawls or one-night stands. More often than not, what little liquor he did drink had him brawling than getting laid, but at least I.Q.'s training kept him going when the odds were against him. Fighting allowed him to work out his demons through his fists. His mind always worked better when adrenaline was coursing through his veins and the terrors of Tarsus IV slowly became distant nightmares as the raw wounds scarred over. It probably wasn't the healthiest of ways to deal with the fuckup nightmare that was Tarsus IV, but it worked for him which was all that mattered.
Slowly, Tiberius drifted through the system. He traveled the globe and even to some distant planets, working off the book jobs here and there for credits and getting into trouble during the nights. In the mornings, he was busy rebelling against the politicians that stole JT's children from him. They thought they had hid them from him, but he found them. All forty-seven. It took him five years, but he got to see all of the survivors of Tarsus IV in person. JT's children seeing him was a different story; Tiberius's plan was to steal all of JT's children back like they had been stolen from him. His plans quickly changed.
He first located I.Q. when he was sixteen in Southern Alabama and when he sees I.Q. for the first time, he ducks his head and they pass by each other without so much as a brush of the shoulders. It's then that Tiberius realizes that JT's children have grown and they no longer need him. I.Q. isn't a half starved teenager but Nathanael Wright, an eighteen year old college pro football player who's majoring in physical education and volunteers at the local gym, teaching anyone who wants to learn self-defense. Tiberius shadows Nathanael, or Nate as his friends call him, for two weeks before he leaves a custom jersey shirt–he had the name I.Q. printed on the back of the jersey and the Roman numeral four as the shirt's number–in the mail for him and skips town.
He checks up on all of JT's children this way, never seeing them face to face but always leaving a little memento in the mail for them. His rebellious ways lead him to find out exactly why the bureaucrats buried the names of the survivors of Tarsus IV so deep and it isn't for the reason he first assumes. Well, not primarily at least. The politicians did want to hide their mistakes with appointing the xenophobic Kodos as the governor of a new xeno-colony, but they also hid the children's names because of who they were. Sight and Bear were the children of some of Federation Ambassadors and heroes all around. Sight was the great-granddaughter of the Andorian Imperial Guard Shran and her real name was Tala. Additionally, Bear–otherwise known as Mevix–was the grandson of the famous Denobulan Doctor Phlox. Both of them had home and families to return to and lives to live that didn't include the horrors of Tarsus IV needing to be mentioned.
Red, even though she had no famous ties, went to live with a distant relative of some sort on a colony not too far away from Earth while Key and Doc were taken in by the same foster parents. Dista or Empathy, who was a Betazoid, went to live with her old half-brother in the Betazoid Embassy on Earth. Dista's brother was apparently an assistant to the Ambassador who also held the title of the Second House of Betazed. Lil' Mirror had been adopted by an elder Vulcan woman by the name of T'Pol and was about to embark on her kahs-wan (more hacking on Tiberius part to figure out what that meant and a lot of muttering about Vulcans' tendencies to hide really important information on their own species). And that was just the eight that could identify Kodos's face, some of the other children had highly influential backgrounds as well, which was expected seeing how Tarsus IV had some of the best and brightest in its ranks. The rest of JT's children were sent to live with distant relatives or put into caring families; none of them needed rescuing anymore. None of them needed JT. He was dead and he would stay dead, his children were better off without him.
With all of JT's children accounted for, Tiberius had nothing to do. Well, nothing productive at least. He had more time to drink and a hell of a lot more time to get into trouble. His mind, with nothing to occupy him, and with nothing better to do, he did what he did best, Tiberius rebelled. He hacked a number of different databases, from Starfleet–though, that was only to find JT's children, well, mostly–to some questionable private companies. It wasn't his fault if the IRS or other government agencies would show up after his sneak pecking into their company's everyday happenings. Still, the few times he was caught hacking into private systems, he was charged and convicted. Oddly enough, he only ever seemed to get caught when he was in Iowa; so he tried to stay as far away from the place as possible. Yet, somehow, he was drawn back to his father's hometown. He always chalked it up to Sam wanting him to come and visit his gravesite, which he did every single time he was in state.
The last time, the time which lead up to his demise, was because he was hauling some new parts for the newest flagship of Starfleet to the Riverside Shipyard. His boss at the trucking company he currently worked at insisted that he be the one to take the load over, something about him being a little shithead and not respecting his superiors got him the job that no one else wanted. Tiberius only went with it because he needed the credits and he needed to finish putting the rest of Zach's affairs in order. He had put it off for almost a decade and it was the least he could do for the man.
He told the boss to go and shove it the moment his last delivery was made and headed over to the storage facilities' that housed what was left of the Zack's belongings (Andy's family had already taken care of his belongs, so Tiberius didn't have to worry about them). Cleaning out the small room was easy enough, almost everything went to charity save for the few mementos of James's life. His two classic cars were sent to the Kirk Family Farm, which he had gained ownership of thanks to Andy's book loving lawyer friend, where they would stay in storage until a later date. Tiberius couldn't help but keep Zack's 22 century bike either, it wasn't quite a hoverbike, but it did have some antigravity gadgets and gizmos. He spent a week in Riverside before he met the snarky little Cadet Uhura that would end it all for him.
Tiberius was just happy to go out in a brawl, for he lived as he died, a rebel at twenty-two.
II. Thirteen is the age James is when he dies.
James is quiet and an introverted child, more so than Jimmy ever was. He was a child from an abusive household and neglected by his mother, the only person who had cared for him died in his arms. His stepfather was convicted of murdering his brother and his mother all but disowned him when he testified against Frank. James was left to old PADDs and even older books in the Riverside Orphanage for the time he spent there, which was only a month.
At the time, what he didn't know was that his arresting officer, one Zackary Quinn, had asked for legal guardianship of him. A request which was granted within a month, his service record was spotless and he was one of the only people that James opened up to. His fiancé was just as glad as he was when the guardianship came through. The two of them were at the door to the orphanage first thing in the morning, ready to pick up the young boy and take him to his new home. Zack was the first to tell him straight out that they were not trying to replace his parents; they were there to look out for him and point him down the right roads: nothing more, nothing less. Under their roof, James flourished. For the first time, he could be himself and not have to hide who he was in fear of Frank's tantrums.
Zack was the one to discover that James was a genius, quite by accident really. He had taken the small boy to work with him one weekend when he needed to catch up on some of his paperwork and was working on one of his PADDs when Phawkes, his partner, asked him something about warpcore engines. The information pertinent to an ongoing case and with Zack's short stint in Starfleet had him serving aboard the USS Defiant as an engineer, it made him the perfect person to ask. Before he could even think about his partner's query, the little boy at his feet–currently reading a book he had found…somewhere–answered without a beat and never took his eyes off the page. Both he and Phawkes had been shocked to the core and Phawkes had begun asking him other relevant question while he discretely nodded his head affirmatively if his charged answered correct. James was correct on all accounts and when asked where he learned such things, he just shrugged his shoulders and went back to reading.
When he had informed his Betazoid fiancé, Andy, about James's behavior at the station, the man had promptly given him an I.Q. test and graded it as soon as he was finished. Having a college professor with multiple degrees as a fiancé had its perks as Zack had found out. The score he got wasn't what they had expected, they knew he was smart with how quickly he got his homework done, but they didn't realize how smart. Given the chance, he was able to test out of his current fifth grade class and into the curriculum of a junior in high school at the very least. Andy was excited at the prospect of finally being able to relate to James, because the boy still shied away from him at times and now they had a common ground to build a relationship on.
Andy introduced James to two of his favorite pastimes, reading Shakespeare and chess. The kid took to both of them like a Tellarite took to a new argument, with much pleasure and an abundance of enthusiasm. For then on, Andy took James's schooling onto his shoulders and pulled him out of the public school, which was probably the best decision. Zack taught him about computer systems, what he was really teaching him was how to hack, but he didn't know that yet and pasted on his love for engineering to the child as well. The two of them, along with some of the other cops on the force, had even rebuilt Sam's Chevy together–Zack having taken possession of the car after it was impounded–and when they were finished with that started to build a '65 Ford Mustang from the ground up.
James was especially excited for Andy and Zack's wedding and for the life of them, neither of the adults could understand why he was so thrilled about them getting married. Andy was the one to finally figure out why the little boy was so happy on one of their weekly visits to his brother's grave. He had told his brother's headstone that when his new guardian's got married, he would have a true family for the first time. His only wish was that Sam was there to experience it with him. Zack was speechless when he found out, but he couldn't help but hug the little boy to his chest and never want to let go.
Four months after their wedding, Andy was offered a job on a promising new colony, Tarsus IV. The two had talked it over and then asked James if he was okay with moving off world. James looked them in the eyes and then proceeded to ask a plethora of questions. A lot of them had to do with the cosmology, which had Zack figuring that he had been into Andy's books again. Neither Zack nor Andy could help but grin at the sparkle the appeared for the first time in bright blue eyes; a sparkle that just grew brighter on the long shuttle ride over to the new planet.
Tarsus IV was a whole new opportunity for James, he broadened his horizons. He would go to work with Andy, helping him as a TA would if the new professor had one, three days a week and go help Zack work on computer and engineering systems that were needed for the planet to function for three days a week as well. The last two days of the week (Tarsus IV had eight days a week) were spent with Andy's sister and her family on their large property. James and Andy's niece, Dista, had taken to exploring the woodlands and any caves they could find on the property together. This was how his weeks passed until a month before his twelfth birthday, when Governor Kodos made an unscheduled visit to Tarsus IV's only college.
James had accidently bumped into the governor when he was in a hurry to return a student's forgotten PADD. From then on, the man had taken an extremely unhealthy interest in James, not that the boy realized it. Andy was the first to realize Kodos's interest in his charge; the governor kept stopping by the college more frequently and was asking around about James. He didn't like it one bit and did everything he could to keep James out of his reach, going as far as banning the boy from going to the college with him anymore. That had not stopped the man; no, he had taken to stalking James at Zack's work instead. The ex-cop didn't take kindly to that and neither did his fellow colleagues; although, their complaints were more focused on the derogatory comments the man would make about their species. Zack tried his best to keep Governor Kodos away from James, but it was hard. The man had a lot of influence on the planet, more than he ever realized and with the beginning of a famine in sight, he had a lot more to worry about. The lives of his family were at stake.
They prepared as much as they could for the famine. Stockpiling food, medications, and other goods along with rationing what they had even before the governor would admit to the possibility of a famine. They were equipped to deal with a minor crisis. Neither Zack nor Andy were not prepared to open the door one night and be shot in cold blood. James wasn't ready to watch his guardians fall to the floor lifeless, nor was he ready for Kodos's men to ransack the house and drag him out to an awaiting hovercar. Kodos's men were not ready for him to bite the officer who was manhandling him before making a run for it. He escaped and ran into the crowd of people slowly making their way into the center of town. He hid in the confusion of the crowd and that is where he died.
James is thirteen when he dies, surrounded by a crowd of people but so alone.
"Yes, Mr. Spock?" the Captain of the USS Enterprise responded, snapping out of his silent musings and looking up for his PADD. "What can I do for you?"
"In view of the fact that Alpha shift ended approximately five point two zero six minutes ago, I feel that it is my duty to remind you of your assurance to Doctor McCoy that you would submit to a checkup in sickbay after your shift ended," his first officer stated without an ounce of emotion coloring his voice. Blinking a few times, Jim looked around the bridge to see that most of his command crew had already traded their seats with the Beta shift, but they were all lingering around their stations. It appeared that they were giving final instructions to them; however, the way Sulu's eyes keep darting over to his position, Uhura constantly shifting so that she always had him in her line of sight, and Chekov's blatant staring was an indication that he was the sole reason they were still on the bridge. Then there was the fact that Spock was standing by his side when, for the last month and a half, the Vulcan had been spending all of his free time down science labs on his latest new discovery. Him being here now instead of in one of the labs was just as blatant as Chekov's staring. He made a mental note to himself that his crew needed to work on the art of subtlety.
Smiling back a bright smile to reassure his crew, Jim turned his full attention to the Vulcan at his side. "Thank you Mr. Spock, I'll head down there right now." He handed his PADD to the waiting Yeoman Rand and gingerly lifted himself up off his chair. "Mr. McKenna, you have the conn," he notified the Beta shift's helmsman, dimly hearing a reply as he made his way to the turbolift. The captain tried not to notice how all eyes on the bridge were on him. Even for him, that was extremely difficult. (Irony of the matter was, given any other time, it would have taken Lieutenant Gaila to point out their staring for him to take notice. He would still be clueless of the gossip going on the Enterprise without her informing him.) It didn't escape his notice that no one entered the lift with him either, despite the fact that they were all off shift and should have been heading off…to wherever they needed to be.
The captain didn't think as he informed the onboard computer his current destination and was immediately hit in the neck with a hypo when the doors opened. He blamed it on his mind being preoccupied with his crew's strange behavior at being caught unaware and not because of anything else.
"Ye-ooww. Goddammit, Bones!" Jim yelped, covering his abused flesh from his pissed off best friend. "What the hell was that for?"
"That was an antiviral," the CMO said, not paying any attention whatsoever to the glare that was being sent his way as he loaded another vial into his trusty hypo. A hypo that was then ruthless jabbed into the unprotected side of Jim's neck. "And that was a vitamin supplement, because the captain of this ship is a complete moron who disregards his own health and doesn't listen to his chief medical officer."
"Now, Bones…" said captain tried to console the doctor as if he was a cornered wounded animal.
"Don't you 'now Bones' me!" McCoy yelled, slapping Jim's hands down before hauling the man towards his sickbay. "I spent over seven hours trying to patch you back up and had to endure you crashing four times, four times! You almost died on me and that was only a week ago!"
Jim couldn't help but grin inwardly to himself when, despite all the harsh and callous words his friend continued to rant to him about, he was particularly gentle in helping him onto the biobed. A smile that was quickly whipped off his face when yet another hypo was stabbed into his neck. "Ow! Would you stop doing that? I'm not a pincushion ya know."
The glare that he received almost had him shrinking into himself. "You shoulda thought of that before you decided to step in front of a spear," Bones deadpanned, running his tricorder up and down his patient's fidgeting body.
"Naw, it was more of a naginata than a spear. Actually, now that I think about it, it could have also been a glaive. Ask Spock, he could tell ya exactly what kind of weapon it was," Jim commented offhand, trying to lighten the mood of their current depressing conversation. It didn't work, judging by the look that the doctor hovering over him gave him and he had to change tactics. His expression changed from cheerful to somber in the time it took for Bones to ready yet another hypo. "Besides, what was I supposed to do? The guy was about to make a Russian shish kabob out of Chekov and unlike me, he wouldn't have been able to walked away."
Sighing, McCoy set aside his medical equipment and sat down on the biobed next to his friend. "Look kid, I'm not condemning you for saving the young'un, I understand your unrelenting determination to save everyone. God only knows why I can comprehend what goes on in that mind of yours, but I do. What you've got to remember is that you're the captain of a starship; you've got people counting on you to run this ship and friends that are counting on you. You're life is not expendable. People will care if you die. I'll care if you go and get yourself phasered to oblivion; hell, that green-blooded hobgoblin would care if you died judging by the way he carried your wounded ass up here after you went into shock from the combination of blood loss and poison in your system."
"Next time, tackle the young'un when he is about to become a Russian shish kabob. That way, both of you are out of harm's way," the doctor advised, sliding off of the biobed and ruffling the dirty blond locks affectionately.
"Thanks Bones," Jim murmured, grateful for having McCoy as a friend. Although, he wasn't quite sure if his friend was actually listening to him anymore, judging by the deepening of the lines on his brow as he read the information off of his tricorder. "You okay over there, Bones?"
The line on his brow just became deeper. "You didn't eat." It wasn't a question, but a statement of a fact.
"Ya, well, being stabbed through the stomach had made eating kind of painful," Jim answered with a slight shrug of the shoulder. He had tried to eat some scrambled eggs for breakfast and had only been able to swallow two bites before his stomach rebelled against him. He didn't even try to eat lunch and instead spent his lunchtime down in engineering with Scotty. The two of them had talked shop about their Lady which had diverted to the Scotsman pining for Uhura (not that Scotty knew that he knew the "lass" he was infatuated with Uhura. Gaila had to tell him that and then had to proceed to inform him that Spock and Uhura were never technically together during the Nero mission in the first place, everything was more in the heat of the moment type of ordeal).
"You're still in pain?" the concern was clear in his voice and Jim was starting to get concerned himself. Whatever his CMO was reading on his tricorder couldn't have been good if Leonard H. McCoy wasn't being his usual grumpy and bitchy self. This could not bond well for him. Not at all.
"No, no, I'm not. It's just…difficult. Whenever I eat any real heavy foods, I feel nauseated and it's not worth the effort," he tried to calm McCoy.
"Jim, you need to eat something. Anything at all, I'd even be happy if you ate one of those sugar packed milkshakes you covert at nights and don't you think that I don't know about all those milkshakes, because I do." Jim had the decency to look a tiny bit sheepish. "Go on and get the hell out of here, you're cluttering up my sickbay."
The captain was happily to oblige him, he hated hospitals for various reasons, but he couldn't help but prod Bones just a little bit more. He needed to make sure his CMO was okay and the man wasn't fine until he was being himself, which was a grumpy and bitchy doctor unless he was speaking to his JoJo.
"Only if I can get that milkshake…make it chocolate with whipped cream and a cherry on top!"
Jim is twenty-six and isn't planning to die anytime soon.
I'm not sure how well this will be recieved, but I'm thinking about making a continuation of this. I have so many ideas popping out of my head when I was writing this, I just couldn't fit them all in and still make sense out of it. I really want to write more to this verse, but I'm not sure if I'll have the time. Tell me what you think (oh, and most likely, if I do continue on with this, it will be slash). Hope you all liked my first Star Trek fic.