Title: New life and new civilizations

Summary: Six months after the destruction of Vulcan, Captain Kirk and crew are given their first real mission aboard the Enterprise. When long-range sensors pick up a faint distress call in the Neutral Zone, no expects what they find…

Rating: T for language. There will be a pre-slash relationship built here, but there will be NO overt sex, I just don't do that.

Disclaimer: I do not own Star Trek. All non-OC characters, sets, ships, etc. are property of Gene Rodenberry, J.J. Abrams, or someone who isn't me.

Prologue

On second thought, this might not have been his best idea. Jim Kirk's body slammed into the wall. Hard. His chest was heaving, sucking air into his burning lungs. Mud and oil were smeared over his gold command shirt; he could feel blood trickling from his forehead and several bruises on his ribs. Holding his phaser at the ready Kirk slipped his head around the corner, only to be slammed into the wall, again, by the body of his First.

"What the hell is that thing?" Jim hissed, trying to see further down the dark tunnel.

"Unknown, Captain, although logic suggests-"

"Yes, yes, logic Spock, you can tell me all about it later; come on." Slowly the pair wound their way through the tunnels; Jim flinched at every hiss from the pipes and the flash of every light. The maze of pipes and cables cast everything in half shadows deep beneath the ground 'This is insane', Jim thought to himself, almost laughing despite the circumstances, 'this is like end very horror vid I've ever seen'. He moved to tell Spock as much, try to inject a little brevity into the situation, when the shit hit the fan.

It fell from the ceiling, landing behind Jim with a dull thud, a hammer-like fist slammed into his side, sending him sprawling to the floor. Spock dove into action, fists flying, trying to drive It away from the Captain. As hard and as fast as Spock hit, It was faster, deflecting every strike until the perfect time, knocking Spock back with a heavy boot to the chest. With a low, primal growl It turned back to the Captain, picking him up in a vice-like grip; the cold steel of his gauntlet pressed against the Kirk's throat.

"Spock!" He shouted, kicking and clawing at the iron grip holding him. It held its free arm to Kirk's neck, driving a hypodermic in deep; Kirk stopped moving.

"Captain!" Spock shouted, diving at the pair, but it was too late. In a swirl of cloth and a flash of blue light they were gone.

Two Weeks Earlier…

In the six months since he had officially taken command of the Enterprise Jim Kirk liked to think that things were going pretty well. Sure Starfleet had yet to send them on any real missions, but hey, you had to walk before you could run and if the Admiralty thought that having them run diplomatic protocols and cargo runs was good enough, then it was good enough for him. Kirk had no delusions about his position, he knew many admirals were not happy with this arrangement, but he had a…fishy suspicion that at least one of them had lobbied hard for his appointment, and he'd be damned before he disappointed that man. Still, ferrying diplomats and back and forth across the Federation was boring and damn it all if he wasn't getting a bit trigger happy; he couldn't wait to get his hands on a Neutral Zone patrol or two.

Roused from his early morning musings by the gentle, but still somehow irritating, tones of his alarm, Jim slowly stretched himself awake. Scowling, he stepped into the sonic shower (nothing could ever replace a real shower with real water) before putting on a uniform he was fairly certain was clean before grabbing a latte (sweet coffee goodness) and making his way to the bridge for the beginning of alpha shift.

"Captain on the bridge," Spock said as he stepped off the turbolift, "good morning Captain" he continued, somewhat quieter.

"Morning, Mr. Spock." Jim said brightly, clapping his first officer on the shoulder and taking a sip of his coffee. "Anything to report from gamma shift?" Jim settled into his chair, privately reveling in the soft fabric.

"Nothing of consequence Captain, Lieutenant Robinson merely reported a class three comet upon my arrival." Kirk considered his first officer for a minute; in the six months since the Enterprise had left on its first mission after the Nerada disaster, he and Spock had not exactly grown close, but they at least had a solid working relationship that was slowly working its way to friendship. Still, he liked to throw a wrench in Spock's life every once in a while.

"A class three comet, how exciting." Kirk drolled, picking up the PADD in his armrest and scanning the contents; most of the messages were bland and uninteresting status reports from the various departments in the ship, he'd read those later, a few others were Starfleet-wide briefs, status updates, and promotions lists. Not surprisingly, the Enterprise was not mentioned in any of these dispatches; the comet had been the most interesting event on their trip from Starbase Thirty-six to the new colony on Telleria IX to deliver heavy agricultural equipment.

Draining the last of his coffee he waved the yeoman over, trading her his empty cup for a stack of suspicious looking PADDs. One of the first things Kirk had learned upon taking command of the Enterprise was that there was very little snap decision making and shouting of orders to save the ship and crew in a captain's life. In reality, most of Jim's time as a captain was spent doing the one thing he hated most: paperwork. Scowling at the stack, he slowly began to scroll through them.

"Captain," Uhura looked up from her station, a look of slight confusion on her face. "We're receiving a priority signal from Starfleet Command." Jim turned to his communications specialist. In the six months since they had been in space their relationship had thawed considerably, they weren't friends yet, but they worked well together.

"Who is it?" Kirk replied, dozens of scenarios flipping through his head; this might be a chance to get those damned combines off his ship.

"Admiral Pike, sir." Uhura said. Everyone on the bridge seemed to perk up at this; subconsciously straightening their postures and stations, Admiral Pike seemed to be the only member of Starfleet Command to believe in the Enterprise and her crew. Tucking the PADDs into a case on his chair, Kirk straightened his shirt and turned to face his first officer.

"I'll take it in the ready room lieutenant, Mr. Spock, you have the con." Kirk stood and strode purposefully to his ready room. Sitting behind his desk, Kirk turned the small viewer towards him. Taking one last second to double check his shirt, he turned it on. "Admiral Pike," he said, not bothering to hide his bright smile from his mentor, "what can I do for you?"

"Jim, how's the old lady?" Pike's face was warm and bright; his hair had gone slightly grayer and a few more lines crossed his face. It had taken months, but it seemed like his time in Nero's care was finally washing away.

"She's phenomenal sir, though Scotty's still playing with her engines." He said with a grin.

"I feel sorry for the next tech that tries to touch that ship." Pike said, shaking his head. He let out a slow sigh before fixing Kirk with a serious gaze. "Jim, I know these past few months haven't been quite what you expected," Kirk opened his mouth to retort, Pike silenced him with a wave of his hand, "don't deny it Jim. Hell, I'm bored with your missions just reading your updates. That all changes today; I need you and the Enterprise to report to the attached coordinates at maximum warp. This is the real deal Jim." Kirk looked down at the attached files, his confused expression cleared immediately.

"That's the neutral zone, sir."

"Correct; you're to rendezvous with the USS Hillary Clinton and, at least temporarily, relieve her patrol."

"We're relieving the Clinton? What'd the old dreadnaught do this time?" Kirk grinned in spite of himself.

"She struck a gravitic mine and knocked out her warp engines. The USS Ulysses will meet you and the Clinton, she'll take on your cargo and complete the delivery after towing the Clinton to Starbase Sixty-Four." Pike leaned back in his chair and fixed Kirk with a hard stare. "Think of this as a chance to prove yourself. I had to lobby hard for this one, Jim, don't let me down." Kirk swallowed hard and fixed the admiral with an equally hard stare.

"I won't, sir."

"Good man Jim." Pike nodded once. "Now, how's it feel to be the big bad captain?" he grinned.

Twenty minutes later Jim begged off the comm., claiming the call of duty. Smiling brightly, he and Pike exchanged farewells before he powered down the station. He had never had a truly stable influence in his life before the Academy and, though he would never admit it, he was glad that Pike still kept tabs on him.

Sauntering out on the bridge, Kirk sat in his chair and accessed the coordinates Pike had sent him. He could feel the eyes of everyone on the bridge fixating on him, burning with a curiosity that could not be voiced.

"Mr. Sulu, set in a new course along these coordinates," pressing a button on his console; he forwarded the necessary information to Sulu, "maximum warp." Sulu automatically plugged the new data into his console automatically, hands pausing when he had finished the math.

"Aye – aye captain, new course laid in."

"Punch it Mr. Sulu. Mr. Chekov, what is our ETA?" Kirk was practically bouncing in his seat with excitement. After six months they were finally getting a real mission.

"We will be arriving at the indicated coordinates in sixteen point eight hours, keptan." The teen's accent had thinned somewhat, but it was still noticeable.

"Excellent Mr. Chekov." Kirk spun his chair to face his communications officer, stopping suddenly with the screech of his boots on the deck; he grinned as Uhura rolled her eyes and smiled ever so slightly. "Lieutenant Uhura, please forward a message to the USS Hillary Clinton of our impending arrival." She stared at her captain for several seconds, waiting for the joke.

"Aye, captain." She said warily, turning back to her console. Kirk jumped to his feet and strode towards the turbolift doors.

"Captain," Spock's voice was even, like always, but Kirk could just make out a hint of curiosity. "The Clinton is currently patrolling the neutral zone, is it therefore correct to assume that we will be taking her place in the fleet?" The turbolift doors opened. Stepping inside, Kirk turned to face his first.

"That is correct Mr. Spock; please assemble senior command staff in Conference Room A in ten minutes." Kirk grinned as the door slid shut with a faint hiss.

"Fascinating."

A/N: Hi folks! This is my first foray into fan fiction, but I have been a life-long trek fan, so I thought I'd give it a try. I'm sorry that this chapter is short and kind of dull, but it needed to be done to set the scene, I had to include the first scene, as it was the inspiration for the whole story, but don't worry, you'll find out who It is soon enough, and I promise things will get more interesting from here on out. This is unbeta-ed, so all mistakes are my own. As always, reviews are not necessary, but greatly appreciated.