When you are a commander, constantly at war, you learn to take quickly the measure of a man. When you are bred for brilliance and savagery besides, you always trust your instincts. They never fail.

2- You've seen him before. You've stared at his shocked face as the transporter beams you up and out. He is a witness. He was a target. This is important.

3- He is willing to take you alive. You know Marcus. You know Alexander crush his face Marcus. These are not Marcus' orders. When it comes to you, Marcus knows only his own reflection- the fear of a person more bloodthirsty and successful in blood than he.

This is a witness, willing to see your face. In your time, no soldier ever showed their face, everything contained in body armors and tanks, communications networked together. The only time you unmask is to speak and hear the enemy, equally armored and webbed in his comms.

This is a different time, an era without shells. You put great importance on this fact anyway.

1- He looks at your desperation. He measures your words. You don't know why but for your instincts that you allow your fear to show on your face. Impress on him the importance of his cargo. Your crew.

7- He beats you. He beats you on behalf of his dead admiral. You do not know Christopher Pike, you don't care. You care about the fact that he feels loss deeply enough to break his moral codes and beat you. You allow it. You measure his strength, and you witness his limits.

The woman screams 'Captain!' and he stares at you, like a hunted being. And this, more than anything, makes you trust him enough to speak to him.

4- The silent one, the Vulcan, you despise. A savage species with greatness in their blood, but for their obsession with logic. They channel all their repressed violence into forming a vicious intellect. They speak of peace, diversity. You know the truth.

Take away a Vulcan's ethics and you have a puppetmaster, the same type of mind who created your breed and logically concluded to terminate your kind, citing war crimes. Like breeding a dog to be vicious, then putting him down for attacking his master.

Life undeserving of life.

6- When the game plays out you uphold your part of the deal because he deserves at least to die with those he loves. You will grant him this much as thanks.

You have known ships with crews tortured to death as the captain was forced to watch. The silent one takes your words as a betrayal but to you, it is mercy. You plan to make their deaths quick- another mercy. You've witnessed agony to know.

You and the Vulcan speak with completely different concepts attached to words, but you do not care. This is your mistake.

1- You and Kirk, everything shows in your face. Motivations, past, future plans. Present thoughts. The silent one says the most inane and obvious things because he is pedantic, yes, but also because he will not say what is not certain.

This is different from lying. This is what you did not see.

He holds his speculations to himself.

1- This is why you run when you see him, without his captain. Because there is only one certainty- Kirk is dead. He holds you responsible. You will die before the day is out.

You run because you have one more secret. If you lose him, perhaps you can live out the rest of your days, anonymous, keeping bees. The loss of your crew has finally crushed blood savagery.

You run because you will not become their blood bank. More labs and tubes and endless tests. That to you is worse than death.

0- You find mercy in this encounter not because Kirk listened to you, but because Spock spared your crew. The silent and pedantic one who, it's clear he doesn't like you. But he fights your battles all the same.

You ask him: "Why."

He answers: "I have seen enough."

You have seen enough, likely more than him, but never thought you could truly stop it. They will place you back in space, frozen. As the deep and familiar cold takes you back to a place of rest, your last thought is to consider Surak's teachings: infinite diversity in infinite combinations.

This is the first time you have seen written that you have a right to a place in this world, no matter your blood or breeding. You mounted a campaign against the lesser blooded because they insisted you were unworthy of life.

This is the first time you have had hope that the world might be different.

You do not dream in cryogenic sleep, but you feel relieved. All these years, you did not know what you were searching for.

Now you do.

And that is a gift of its own.