The doors to the bridge pinged open as Bones and Jim walked out of the turbo lift to be greeted by the rest of the bridge crew hard at work at their designated stations. Jim's mask was back in place as he strolled over to the captains chair. But bones new better, and could see the anguish and pain in the depths of Jim's blue eyes. The alert for an incoming comm call went of as Jim made himself comfortable in the leather command chair.
"Chekov, put the comm on screen"
"I keptan" chekov's word were thick with his Russian accent as he spoke.
A phew minutes later the screen in front was filled with a view of the admirals conference room. Two rows of seats either side of a large oval shaped, dark oak table were occupied with the leading admirals. Two of which Jim recognized as part of the rescue crew to Tarsus all those years ago. But to Jim it felt like it was only yesterday that he was scrounging through abandoned houses for some scrap of food left, with the musty air thick with the metallic smell of blood that has become so familiar to his senses.
Only a phew people know of Jim's time spent on Tarsus and that's the way he wants things to stay. But only he has to live through the continuous nightmares that seem so real, he wakes up to the familiar sent of blood with the faces of so many of the people he couldn't save staring back at him in the darkness of his confines.
Deep in thought, Jim didn't realize the worried looking faces starring at him on the bridge as one of the admirals on the screen called out for his attention. It was only when Bones placed his hand on his shoulder that he became aware of the stares of the crew and admirals on screen. He tried to hide the flinch that his touch had produced, but Bones was not fooled. He could see the slight tremor in the captains frame that others would have missed. And that only made his worries for his friend deepen.
"Captain Kirk, are you with us?"
Jim looked up at the screen at the mention of his name and was faced with the old and familiar face of that of Admiral Pike.
"Ah, sorry I was just thinking"
"Oh, so sorry to have interrupted your 'thinking' captain, but we have things to discuss about the present mission at hand, and I need you on top of your game. Is that understood captain Kirk."
"Understood loud and clear admiral"
Pikes gaze was as hard as ever as he stared into the eyes of the young captain. Searching.
"Good, now lets get down to the mission principles. As you already know this mission is of the utmost importance and should be handled with that of respect and professionalism. Two days ago we received a comm call from an unknown source detailing the whereabouts of the former Tarsus IV governor Khan, Currently charged with Genocide and the mass murder of over 5,000 civilian's. The principle of the mission, to capture and restrain the one accused and bring him back to earth for trial. It is without said that we cannot afford to let him slip through the radar, and he must be brought back to earth at all costs."
the whole bridge crew nodded in silent agreement to the terms of the mission. Although young, they all understood the importance in the success of this mission and it was without a doubt they could not fail. Jim did not say anything, but instead just sat rigid in the command chair. A blank and emotionless expression across his features as he stared at the screen.
He knew that at some point throughout this mission people where bound to find out about his past on Tarsus, but was he really ready to face the man who's face plagued his nightmares every night. The man responsible of the deaths of thousands of innocent people, among those his cousins, friends and own brother. The man who held him prisoner for 2 years, and who tortured not only his body but mind as well. Would he be able to face the man who violently raped him when he was defenceless and weak. Would he be strong enough?
The thoughts running wild through his mind, made him cringe and scowl deeply at the thought of his worst nightmare becoming reality. He knew it was only a matter of time. All the while Bones had been starring at the young captain from his position behind the command chair, and he could not help but notice that his grip on Jim's shoulder had gotten tighter as he noticed the scowl and sorrowful look on the young man's features. The moments silence on the bridge was cut short as the smooth but demanding voice of commander Spock was heard.
"Admirals, the object of the mission is clear, but how are we supposed to recognize the accused when there where but only 3 survivors from the events of Tarsus that knew what he looked like. Two of which are dead and the last unknown."
Jim stiffened and took a shaky breath in through his nose. His gaze crossed over that of the leading admiral on screen, one out of the two admirals on the comm who knew of his past. His gaze was broken when the admiral turned to look at the tall standing Vulcan, his hands clasped tightly behind his back.
"the USS enterprise is the only ship able of accomplishing this mission, due to one of its crew members having been recognized as one of the remaining survivors of the events of Tarsus, and the last and remaining person who is able to identify governor Khan."
the bridge was in silent shock at this new information, and the only voice that could be heard was that of the young Mr Chekov, who was rambling a number of words in his home language of Russian which no one on the bridge understood.
"Vat! You are saying zat someone on zis ship is the soul survivor of the events of the Tarsus Massacre. And is the only person left zat can recognize him?"
His Russian accent coming out more prominent with all the emotion.
"Yes, in fact the person in question is present on the bridge at this very moment. Is that not correct 'Captain' Kirk. I think our discussion on the events of this mission have been clarified, and we will leave you to discuss further matters with your crew."
the admirals snide voice was thick with sarcasm aimed towards the captain. Jim knew the admiral didn't like him very much. Even if he was the saviour of the earth. But still, how could he just reveal in front of the whole bridge, 'his' crew, that he was on tarsus at the time of the massacre. Just a small child at the time. A secrete that he wished could stay buried forever. He should have known things would never be so easy.
The bridge was in stunned silence as the comm screen went black. Jim sat erect in the command chair and could feel the burning stares of the bridge crew. The light gasps of air from people in the room could be herd as they finally figured out who the admiral was talking about.
"Jim, is this true. Where you really on tarsus?"
Bones voice was shaky with the sheer emotion running through his body. His hand had slipped from Jim's shoulder at the realization that his closest friend could have kept such a secret from him all these years and not mentioned it to him. Did Jim not trust him?
Jim bowed his head to look at his empty lap, his voice so quiet it was almost a whisper. But bones still herd it.
"No, its true. I was on tarsus all those years ago, and I'm the only one left who can identify Khan."
no one spoke at the captains declaration, they all just stood starring at their captain. Never before had they seen the captain look so helpless and emotional before, even Spock looked as surprised as a half Vulcan could be.
Jim raised himself shakily to his feet and turned to look at the shocked faces starring back at him.
"Spock, you have the comm."
he moved steadily towards the bridge doors in silence, the tension thick in the air. He gulped heavily to try and cure his dry throat with no success. He placed his hand on the side of the door to steady himself. His legs felt unsteady beneath him. Without turning around he spoke to the crew. He couldn't face seeing the looks on their faces again.
"If you need my assistance I will be in my quarters"