Chapter One: Reasons
Star-date: 2259.55 (or February 24, 2259)
Kirk stormed into the holding bay, fuming, watching as Bones took a blood sample from John Harrison.
"Why aren't we moving…Captain?" Harrison questioned, eyes knowing something Kirk did not. "An unexpected malfunction, perhaps, with your Warp core? Conveniently stranding you at the edge of Klingon space?"
"How the hell do you know that?" Bones asked harshly.
"Bones." Kirk shook his head.
Kirk started to leave with Spock when Khan spoke up again. "I think you'll find my insight valuable, Captain."
Kirk glared at Harrison, tense. "We good?" he asked Bones as he finished retrieving the blood sample. Bones nodded. "Let me know what you find."
Kirk began to walk away with Spock when Harrison spoke again. "Ignore me, and you will get everyone on this ship killed."
Kirk stopped, considering Harrison's words whilst Spock tried to persuade him to do otherwise. "Captain, I believe he will only attempt to manipulate you. I would not recommend engaging the prisoner further."
Kirk had had enough of being told what to do. "Just, give me a minute." He gestured at Spock to let it alone and walked back over to confront Khan. "Let me explain what's happening here. You are a criminal! I watched you murder innocent men and women! I was authorized to end you! And the only reason why you are still alive is because I am allowing it. So shut your mouth."
Harrison gazed back at him calmly. "Captain, are you going to punch me again, over and over, until your arm weakens... clearly you want to. So tell me, why did you allow me to live?"
"We all make mistakes." Kirk replied, fighting the urge to do exactly what he'd just suggested.
Harrison chuckled. "No." He locked eyes with the Captain. "I surrendered to you because, despite your attempt to convince me otherwise, you seem to have a conscience, Mr Kirk. If you did not, then it would be impossible for me to convince you of the truth." Harrison paused. "Two-three, one-seven, four-six, one-one. Coordinates not far from Earth. If you want to know why I did what I did, go and take a look."
"Give me one reason why I should listen to you." Kirk glared at his prisoner, who seemed to be the only person on this ship that wanted to be there.
Harrison levelled his gaze with Kirk's. "I can give you seventy-two. And they're on board your ship, Captain. They have been, all along." Khan paused as Kirk's eyes widened. "I suggest… you open one up."
"Why is there a man in that torpedo?" Kirk questioned angrily.
"There are men and women in all of those torpedos," Khan replied calmly. "I put them there."
"Who the hell are you?" Kirk demanded.
Khan looked away for a moment before replying. "A remnant of a time long past…Genetically engineered to be superior so as to lead others to peace in a world at war. We were condemned as criminals; forced into exile. For centuries, we slept, hoping when we awoke things would be…different. But as a result of the destruction of Vulcan, your Star Fleet began to aggressively search distant quadrants of space. My ship was found adrift, I alone was revived."
"I looked up John Harrison. Until a year ago, he didn't exist." Kirk said, somewhat smugly.
"John Harrison was a fiction created the moment I was awoken by your Admiral Marcus to help him advance his cause. A smoke-screen, to conceal my true identity." Khan replied, a snarl curling his lip. "My name…is…Khan." He paused, watching Kirk intently.
"Why would a Star Fleet Admiral ask a three hundred year old frozen man for help?" Kirk asked, his tone slightly sarcastic.
"Because, I am better." Khan replied.
"At what?" Kirk replied with a hint of sarcasm.
"Everything." Khan's voice was low, every bit of malice and danger he possessed rolling off him in waves. "Alexander Marcus needed to respond to an uncivilised threat in a civilised time, and for that he needed a warriors' mind, my mind, to design weapons and warships."
"You are suggesting Admiral Marcus violated every regulation he vowed to uphold simply because he wanted to exploit your intellect?" Spock queried, head cocked slightly to one side.
"He wanted to exploit my savagery." Khan spat. "Intellect alone is useless in a fight, Mr. Spock. You can't even break a rule, how would you be expected to break bone? Marcus used me to design weapons to help him realise his vision of a militarised Star Fleet. He sent you to use those weapons; to fire my torpedoes at an unsuspecting planet. And then, he purposefully crippled your ship in enemy space, leading to one inevitable outcome. The Klingons would come searching for whomever was responsible, and you would have no chance of escape. Marcus would finally have the war he always talked about. The war he always wanted."
"No." Kirk replied, his voice barely a whisper. "No. I watched you open fire in a room of unarmed, Star Fleet officers. You killed them in cold blood."
"Marcus took my crew from me." Khan replied as he faced away from Kirk and Spock.
"You are a murderer!" Kirk roared.
"He used my friends to control me!" Khan continued, faced away from Kirk and Spock, holding back tears of grief and relief. "I tried to smuggle them to safety by concealing them in the very weapons I had designed… But I was discovered. I had no choice…but to escape alone. And when I did, I had every reason to suspect that Marcus had killed every single one of the people I hold most dear…" rage and hurt filled Khan's voice as a single tear fell from his right eye. "So I responded in kind… My crew is my family, Kirk." Khan's voice softened infantismally. "Is there anything you would not do for your family?"
Kirk regarded Khan carefully, comprehending in some small part why Khan had done what he had done, when Sulu's voice came over the intercom. "Sir, proximity alert. There's a ship at Warp heading right for us."
"Klingons?" Kirk asked Sulu, but Khan replied first.
"At Warp? No, Kirk. We both know who it is."
"I don't think so, Sir, it's not coming at us from Cronos." Sulu replied over the intercom.
Kirk looked at Khan for a brief moment, searching his features for signs that he was lying. Upon finding none, Kirk ordered Khan be taken to the med-bay – cuffed, with six security officers posted on him – as he himself made his way to the bridge.