This was a bit of an experimental piece about nu!Kirk. Despite my hatred of nu!Trek, I do often browse the fanfiction and this piece popped into my mind and I just couldn't help but write it. I really should be studying for my math exam tomorrow, but this was so much more interesting. It's a character sketch on nu!Kirk, but has references to real Kirk's past in The Conscience of the King. Also, there is a mention of Sam, who is, if I recall correctly, absent from the ST:XI just as his mother is. The mentions of Sam and his step-father are completely non-canon (even in nu!Trek), so I was hesitant about them… but they fit much too well.
The Concept of a Difficult Situation
Captain James T. Kirk on cheating through the Kobayashi Maru: if he did not win, he did not know what he could ever do again. Character Sketch.
James Tiberius Kirk would never call himself a cheat. The words disgusted him; he always played fairly.
Or, at least, as fairly as his opponent played.
He knew he cheated; he saw of no other way to win. He had to win. If he did not win, he did know what he could ever do again.
The Kobayashi Maru.
He did not think twice about the required exam of the Kobayashi Maru until he took it the first time. He failed, like everyone else who ever took the test, despite managing to save his own crew. He managed to fail the least in the history of the test.
He still failed.
The test forced itself into his head and made itself the bane of his existence as soon as he entered the Academy and before his first year ended, it became his obsession. His mind revolved around how to beat it, and he spent his spare time studying to find a way.
He had said he would graduate the Academy in three years, and because of the Kobayashi Maru, it seemed to be on the road to happening.
He needed to win the no-win situation and by his second year became the first cadet to attempt the Kobayashi Maru a second time.
He did his research, studied before, went over his strategies two dozen times in his head and then adapted them as he went.
The day of his second attempt, Jim Kirk destroyed over fifty Klingon Birds of Prey— more than there were in existence— along with dozens of other enemy ships. He experienced a power outage, lost life-support, and broke the transporters. His engineer, following his instructions, managed to prevent a warp-core breach using a tribble and some chewing gum.
Nonetheless, they saved not a single person on the hypothetical, distressed ship and managed to destroy their own hypothetical ship and hypothetically die.
"This was a disappointment," the professor in charge of the test had told him. "You showed great restraint the first time you took it and actually managed to save your crew. Cadet Kirk, if you ever want to be a Starfleet captain, you must know when to quit."
Jim had replied, "Isn't every Federation citizen worth saving? Isn't that what we're here for?" His childhood flashed in his mind, and he sighed. "Didn't we sign up to risk our lives to save others?"
The Professor gave him a look of pity and understanding. Kirk hated it. "You still have a lot to learn, Cadet."
After the performance at his second examination, nobody could accuse Jim of not taking the Kobayashi Maru seriously, despite the fact everybody had been accusing him of that since he vowed to beat it.
Nobody ever asked Captain James Tiberius Kirk why he cheated on the Kobayashi Maru test. If they did, he would have told them, "You know me. I can't stand to lose!" or, "Because I can!" He even might have told them, "I only will play fair if my opponent does."
What he would not tell them would be the truth.
To Jim, the Kobayashi Maru was not just some test. The Kobayashi Maru was a no-win situation. To Jim, the Kobayashi Maru was every no-win situation he'd ever been in and lost.
The test was his attempt to escape his abusive stepfather his mother could not see.
The hypothetical, dying ship called Kobayashi Maru was Jim after his brother, Sam, refusing to take it anymore, left his baby brother to fend for himself when he knew he was all Jim had.
The attack on the ship, by Klingons, was his father's death on the Kelvin, by Romulans, because he chose to sacrifice his life the day Jim was born.
Its doomed crew was the children on Tarsus he could not save because he simply was not able find enough food to feed them.
His own, albeit acting, crew was everybody who ever gave up on him: his own mother and every friend he ever had.
The Professor who gave the test was the people who just could not see Jim Kirk crying for help— crying for somebody to see he needed it.
The Kobayashi Maru test was everything he ever did wrong in his life and he could not just continue to lose.
Cheating or not, when he beat the Kobayashi Maru, it gave him courage. He felt more courage than he ever felt before in his entire life because he won the unwinnable for the first time in his laugh.
He always told people he did not believe in no-win situations.
He just did not believe his heart could take admitting to losing another.