"Daddy! Daddy!" A young girl, almost five years of age. Her long brown hair was flowing wildly around her head, and her small, bare feet were making no sounds as she danced on the grass. She waved at him, calling him over and over again, the smile on her face as bright as the sun above her. The whole world seemed to laugh with her. The birds were singing, the light breeze was like a caressing touch to the skin, and not a single cloud stained the blue sky.
"Daddy, I'm scared!" The same voice was now tinted with panic and fear. The girl in his arms is shivering and crying as he puts her to bed, telling her everything will be better tomorrow. Lying to her because he doesn't know what else to say, because he doesn't know if they will still be there in the morning. The sky is darkening; black clouds hiding away the moon, the stars, and the sun. The clock stops ticking. The phone is dead. The radio doesn't find a signal. The TV sends the same message again and again.
"Daddy, what's wrong with Mommy?" The body of his wife, lifeless, the skin turning black, slowly peeling off. Her eyes wide open, filled with pain and fear. Her hands clinging to the sheets of her bed, the hair turning grey within minutes. He wants to bury her. But his daughter is watching. She's staying outside the room, asking him if her mother will come back. 'She will be fine,' he says. He's lying again, because he can't tell her she's dead. He's glad his daughter survived. He goes outside, trying to find out if someone else is still there.
"DADDY! Something is not right with Ruffles!" He hears her scream. "DADDY!" He runs. He runs as fast as he can, through the large garden, back to the house. Her screaming stops. He hears something else, something he never expected. A low growl.
He finds her on the kitchen floor, blood staining the white tiles. Her head is tilted to the side, her eyes open and lifeless. The next thing he sees is the open wound in her chest. All of his training as a doctor couldn't possibly prepare him for this gruesome sight. Bones were clearly visible through the mangled flesh. Time stops. Everything stops. He feels as if his own heart has stopped. He can't breathe, the air is too thin.
He hears the growling again. He turns around, only to find himself staring at his dog. Or what was supposed to be his dog, Ruffles. He has found him on the street as a puppy, wide, pleading eyes staring at him. He took him home to his daughter, who was two at the time. She never accepted that his name was Jet, calling him Ruffles instead. The same dog who has kept him company through every argument he had with his wife, was now grown. His eyes are jet-black, his fur no longer golden but almost white with dark red stains. His snout and claws are bloody with Joanna's blood.
He doesn't think as he grabs the kitchen knife. He screams, loud and desperate. Tears are running down his face, blurring his sight. The dog leaps at him, its claws digging into his shoulders. But the blood he feels on his hands isn't his own. He pushes the monster off of him, stabbing it again and again, until his arm weakens. He can no longer see, for the tears and the blood loss are slowly taking away his consciousness.
He uses his last bit of strength to get up on his knees, taking his daughter's hand. It's not cold yet. The skin is soft beneath his fingers, just as her hair, and her forehead. He kisses her cheeks, before the darkness takes him. He is glad to die together with his family.
"Bones! C'mon Bones wake up already." Oh no, not him again. The doctor turned around on his mattress, ready to throw whatever fell into his hand at the other man. His hand searched the floor yet the only thing he did find were his boots and those were definitely too precious to throw them at someone like Jim. "I'm sorry to interrupt your sweet dreams, but I gotta go and I didn't wanna leave you here without saying goodbye." Sweet dreams. A dry laugh escaped his lips, as he finally opened his eyes to glare at the most obnoxious person he had ever met. He didn't have sweet dreams for two years now; two years in this wasteland they once called earth, the blue and green planet.
"Why would you care if I know where you're going, kid? You'll come back anyway." And that was why Leonard still liked the guy, even though he was the most annoying asshole you could find. James Tiberius Kirk was the only person who actually cared for people anymore. He had saved him. He had found him lying unconsciously next to the dead body of his daughter, with the corpse of his wife in the room above their heads. Instead of just leaving him and taking the food, he had taken care of him. Shaking his head, the older man got up, slipped into his boots and reached for the gun under his pillow, before turning around to face his friend. "And?" he asked, quirking his brow and waiting for an answer.
"Well, ya know, Uhura just told me they found something. I dunno what it is yet but they're sure it's important." The younger man shrugged the usual grin on his face as he threw his worn out military bag over his shoulder. "I know you don't want to come with me, but I'll tell you if it's really important or not once we found out." Jim looked more tired than usual; he had dark circles around his eyes, and even his typical messy hair didn't stand up the way it usually did. McCoy felt slightly guilty because the kid had kept watch, while he was being sound asleep, though they had technically agreed that the older would take the second shift. But he knew it was futile to tell Jim to get some rest first. When the man wanted to do something, he just did it, no matter what other people said. Not even if said people had studied medicine and could list a dozen different ways your brain shuts down when you're exhausted.
"Take care." It wasn't much, but the other didn't expect anything else from him. "You know I'm always taking care, Bones!" The boy's grin spread even wider as he pushed away the large cupboard they had positioned in front of the door to keep potential enemies out. A toxic, yellowish twilight seeped through the opened door but neither one seemed surprised. They hadn't seen the sun in years now, ever since "The Great Catastrophe", as the survivors used to call it.
Leonard sighed, sitting on the edge of his mattress for a little longer, as he heard the engine of Jim's motorbike outside. It seemed weird how the old, fuel-eating machine was the only vehicle that still worked. All the newer, electric cars that were powered with sunlight were, of course, not working due to the eternal twilight. "I should be used to this shit by now." He muttered, taking a sip from the small water bottle and staring at the bag to his feet. He had weapons in there: guns, knives, even a few grenades. He, a peaceful countryside doctor, used to believe in the 'happily ever after' with his beloved wife and their beautiful daughter. It was a joke. Weighting the gun in his hands, he wondered why he hadn't used it on himself already. Two years, and everyday was a goddamn fight because something inside his brain wanted him to survive.
The Great Catastrophe had come without a warning. And without Jim, he would've never known the truth about what happened. But the kid and his friends had found out more about it. They had discovered transmissions and documents about a lunatic who had played with nuclear weapons and whose fault it had been that the first bomb had finally hit Europe. The war that followed could've been prevented if the governments would've wanted it. But nobody stopped it, and about one-third of the world had been wiped out. And those who didn't die right away, hit by one of the bombs which wiped out whole cities, still had to fight the radiation.
The only survivors were the ones with a genetic mutation called the A-gene. Leonard had never figured out why the people actually called it A-gene, it probably stood for 'Anti' or 'Apocalypse', but he didn't care. His wife didn't possess the gene, but he did, just as his precious daughter. He had thought himself happy, to have at least something left, until he had found out what else they had to fear. Animals, mutated and starved; pets who were turning against their previous owners.
He shook his head, pushing away the thoughts as he grabbed his bag and threw it over his shoulder. If he wanted to stay alive, he had to get going. It was the new daily routine for him. Wake up with the sun rising, get on the road; find a shelter where he could spend the night without being torn apart. He couldn't tell what exactly he was searching for, but there was something that just urged him to go on. He met other survivors from time to time, helping them out as best as he could and then telling them where to head. Jim's former mentor, some old man named Chris Pike, had started to build a shelter somewhere in San Francisco. Leonard had never actually been there, but the young Kirk had told him about it, and he trusted his words, well at least sometimes.
Tucking the gun back into the improvised holster, he shouldered his bag and stepped outside. The warm, foul smelling wind tousled his hair until he pulled the hood over his head. "Just another damn day of walking around in this wasteland…"
'Welcome to San Francisco'
The sign looked old, rusty, and dirty. The pole was bent like an old, sad man who tried his best to get away from the city he belonged to, but who couldn't move because his feet were chained to the ground. He always took the same way into the city; the same dusty road that was lined with car wracks and empty houses. In the beginning he had found it funny, how much it looked like all those zombie films. The films in which the apocalypse had brought back the dead from their graves, infecting everybody else, until the whole world was a huge pot of living dead people. But after a few weeks of travelling through the country, always greeted by the same sight, he couldn't laugh anymore. There were no zombies in this apocalypse, no threat but nature itself, and the lack of provisions, drugs and fresh air.
Jim still remembered the first time he had entered one of the houses. He had found the inhabitants hadn't left to go somewhere safe, but had simply died. He had thrown up at the sight. There was something in the air, some weird gas that conserved the corpses, so they didn't rot. No bones, but dead bodies, stiff and cold and ugly, deformed by what the radiation had done to them. It was a sight he wished he had never seen. Unfortunately, from then on it had become something he saw every day. At least it was still better than what he found in those houses, where either they hadn't been locked well enough, or the windows were close enough to the ground so it was easy for one of those monsters to get in. It was worse, far worse.
Most of the corpses weren't even eaten completely; it was always just pieces which were missing: a limb, the organs, the eyes. Jim Kirk had never in his life seen anything as terrible and sickening as what he witnessed in those two years after the world had ended. He had never been a religious man; he had enjoyed the prophets who told him to either think about his life's choices or to pay for his sins one day. He had read the bible once, back when he was still attending school like the other kids. This was before he began skipping classes, and he had found it highly amusing that people actually believed in the whole thing.
"And I will show wonders in the heavens and in the Earth:
blood and fire and pillars of smoke.
The Sun shall be turned into darkness,
and the Moon into blood,
before the coming great and awesome Day of the Lord,
and it shall come to pass
that whoever calls on the Name of the LORD
shall be saved."
But when the last day of the earth as they knew it finally came, he couldn't even laugh at all the people who tried to save themselves by escaping into the church to pray and beg for forgiveness.
And James T. Kirk was one of the only people who actually knew about everything that happened on this day. Not from the beginning though, but he had spent the first year after the apocalypse trying to find others, to gather people and knowledge around him. He had found friends, close friends, whom he trusted with his life and together they had begun searching for what was left of the truth. There was Nyota Uhura, a really beautiful young woman, who knew every important language fluently and about a dozen other, less important ones. Hikaru Sulu, secret agent and pilot, who had been trained to fly one of the few space ships they had built secretly in some hidden facility somewhere in Nebraska. The man could fight better than any other survivor, knew how to handle a sword better than a gun, and he had saved Jim's life many times. He also met a Scottish engineer named Scott, who knew everything about those spaceships, and who had worked for the government in designing and building them.
There was also Chris Pike, the man who had taught him everything he knew, and the one who convinced him to start researching. The older man, formerly a well known Admiral, had found him after everybody around him died from the radiation and had effectively talked some sense into him. They had started to work together, building a shelter for other survivors, finding provisions, and trying to find out what caused the war. Bones, the doctor from Georgia, was found with his dead family. Bones would have been killed if it hadn't been for Jim. The doctor had been attacked by one of the 'hunters', as Jim calls them, because they ceased to become pets as soon as they started killing people. Bones soon become his best friend, despite his gruff personality.
And then there was Spock, the man he fell in love with the second they met. Spock was one of those people who didn't just survive the great catastrophe; it changed him. He mutated, but not in the ugly and bad way. He gained abilities, and his looks changed a little. The man had pointed ears, weird eyebrows, and his blood was no longer red as it had been before, but an odd shade of green. But most importantly, he had somehow gotten psychic abilities. He could sense things and people halfway across the country, as long as he knew exactly what he was looking for. And that was exactly what they needed to solve the mystery about the war, and more importantly, the space ships.
Over the months they had found out almost everything they needed to reconstruct at least the basics of what had happened:
The criminal, John Harrison, whose code-name was KHAN, was a former agent of some super secret US military organisation called B.O.T.A.N.Y. -whatever the letters meant. He had obviously found a way to travel through space without having to comply with the laws of physics. Thus, he had helped the military of various states in Europe, the USA and Russia to build space ships which were able to leave the galaxy and travel to faraway worlds. However, he had earned their government's trust and somehow managed to get his fingers on a nuclear warhead, stored by the US military. For some unknown reason, he had used it to destroy Berlin. The panic spread quickly, and war broke out before the president had a chance to clear his name. It had only taken a few days to completely destroy one-third of the whole world; governments, states, military, none of them were relevant anymore, after whole countries were wiped out. Chaos had risen to rule the world.
Of course, they still had the spaceships. Since they were only prototypes, they were small and could only fit for a few hundred people. As soon as the second atomic bomb was being dropped, politicians, kings and queens, and the wealthy had all left the planet as soon as they could, together with Khan himself, the one responsible for billions of deaths.
James T. Kirk had found one of those spaceships. It wasn't completed yet, but with a lot of work, it would one day be able to fly. And Chris Pike had been the one who believed that they would find a way to get it done. That they would one day be able to leave the planet and find another home, another world where they could rebuild what they had lost. Where a brighter future was waiting for them. And if the documents were right, there had to be a planet just like Earth, the one Khan and the others had set off to find. Most of the other survivors called them crazy, and continued living in the shelter they had built for them but refused to help them. Luckily he had this team of people who knew what they were doing, and with them it was all but impossible to get the beautiful Lady Enterprise, how Scotty had called the ship, into the sky.
Jim stopped his motorbike just in front of a huge building, looking around warily before he waved at the cameras that were installed right over the ridiculously small entry. The steel door opened with a high pitched sound, hinges which hadn't been oiled since the day they had been forged. Two men, clad in the red gown of those who volunteered as security and who knew best how to use a weapon, stepped outside, gesturing him to get in. While one of them took care of his bike, the other watched out for eventual monsters who were daring or hungry enough to hunt in what one might call 'daylight'.
"What is it?" His voice echoed through the large room. Once he stepped inside, he found the whole group gathered around a round table, covered in documents, note pads and photographs. They all looked at Pike, who greeted him with what was the brightest smile he had ever seen on his face. "We have found something you might find interesting…"