Author: Keira Marcos
Betas: Ladyholder & Chris King
Series: Tangled Destinies
Series Order: 10
Fandom: Star Trek
Pairings: Kirk/Spock, Sarek/Amanda Grayson, Pike/McCoy
Genre: Romance, Angst
Warnings: Language, explicit sexual contact, an author whose respect for canon is both casual and transitory. Go with it. It won’t hurt you.
Summary: Jim faces his past and someone he thought he’d already lost.
* * * *
Most of the school knew they were essentially married. There had been a congrats on your weird alien nuptials party over the summer that they had attended, mostly out of peer pressure and political obligations. Spock trusted that Jim was right about how the friendly relationships they created in the present would impact them in the future. The new school year had proven to be slightly more stressful as they no longer shared the bulk of their classes. Jim had rearranged most of his academic plans so they could finish at the same time and start their college educations together. That meant he hadn’t had room for several of the electives that they’d both taken the year before out of interest rather than need.
They still shared an engineering class and a class on intergalactic politics that Spock’s father had been insistent that they take. The material was dry and not particularly interesting but they both took the class seriously, especially when they’d realized Sarek would be discussing their various assignments with them on a near weekly basis. In his own way, Spock knew that his father was doing his part to prepare Jim and himself for a career in Starfleet. Diplomacy and politics were subjects they would face again and again as they headed towards Starfleet Academy.
One of the few classes they had together was Advanced Engineering. The classroom had been rearranged so that four-person teams were possible. Spock hadn’t been at all surprised when Rob David had claimed a spot directly across from him. He was a brilliant engineering student and Rob had complained bitterly about his partner last year not pulling his weight in practical work. The fourth chair at their table was filled by a human female named Dana Marcus. The class met only met twice a week and this was their second meeting.
The first one hadn’t really allowed for social interaction or introductions so Spock wasn’t surprised when the girl left her own chair and moved around the large table to speak with him. He glanced briefly at Rob and found the boy smirking. It was not a good sign.
Spock set aside his PADD as the girl slid into Jim’s seat. “Yes.”
She held out her hand. “Dana Marcus.”
He blinked at her extended hand and shifted away from her. “I am touch telepath, Miss Marcus. Vulcans do not shake hands.” She blushed prettily and Spock lifted an eyebrow as she pulled her hand back. “Did you require something from me?”
“Actually, I was wondering if you were free this Saturday. A bunch of us are going to the beach. My sister, Carol, and I are hosting a party.” Her fingers twirled a piece of honey blond hair.
“Vulcans do not party,” Rob David offered sternly from his place in front of Spock and the rest of the class laughed. “Come on Spock, say it—no one says it better.”
“It is not my purpose in this universe to amuse you, Mr. David.” Spock watched David laugh for 2.75 seconds and then returned his attention to the girl who still sitting in Jim’s seat. “I already have plans Saturday but your invitation is appreciated.” He returned his attention to his PADD satisfied that he’d been polite enough to avoid a lecture from his bond mate on proper social interaction.
“I heard you hang out with Jim Kirk a lot. You could bring him along. I have a few friends I could introduce him to that might like.”
Spock cleared his throat and for the first time since he’d met Rob David, looked toward the boy for help. David shrugged and looked equally uncomfortable. He exhaled sharply because the thought of his bond mate interested in one of the girl’s surely vapid friends had his blood boiling, but he was stopped from responding further when Jim entered the room.
“Hey.” Jim shrugged out of his satchel and stared pointedly at Dana. “Get a new lab partner when I wasn’t looking, Spock?”
“Miss Marcus was inviting us to a party,” Spock responded with a flush.
“And hitting on your boyfriend,” David tattled with a laugh and Spock’s ears went almost entirely dark green. “And offering to set you up with one of her friends.”
“You’re gay?” Dana questioned wide eyed as she slipped off the stool. “You’re both gay? How is that fair?”
Jim shooed her away good naturedly. “Thank your stars I’m confident of his fidelity or I’d be pissed with you.”
She laughed. “Sorry. I had no idea. I mean—no one said that you guys were a couple.”
Jim pulled out his PADD and set it on the lab bench. “It isn’t something we’re keeping a secret. Half the school attended our engagement party over the summer.” He paused and then grinned. “But Vulcans do not party. Trust me on this—I have lots of empirical evidence on the subject. I’m considering writing a paper on the pure lack of party on the planet Vulcan. I think the Federation should stage an intervention on behalf of future generations.”
“It concerns me, really, that you believe yourself entertaining,” Spock responded.
Dana poked Rob as she settled back on her stool beside him. “You could’ve said!”
“No, I really couldn’t. Nothing makes my day like watching Spock educate someone that isn’t me on being a Vulcan. I kept waiting for the ‘Vulcans do not date’ line or something equally awesome like ‘Vulcans do not practice infidelity’.”
“You’re a jackass, Rob,” Jim said sincerely.
“I believe that is a disservice to jackasses,” Spock complained. “The last time you used that word to insult someone—I researched it and frankly Mr. David is just not that industrious and hardworking.”
Jim laughed softly and slid his fingers over Spock’s briefly. “You make my day, really.”
“You’re engaged?” Dana questioned. “I mean, aren’t you a little young for that?”
“We’re not Human,” Jim said bluntly. “Betazoids and Vulcans bond early in life.”
* * * *
“It is not funny, James. It is a serious concern for me.” Spock pulled off his jacket and then his sweater. “I would think it would be a serious concern for you as well.”
“Well, I certainly didn’t like it and I probably would’ve been a bit of an asshole if I’d actually witnessed it—but it’s just something you’ll have to get used to. Humans, in fact, most other species are pretty forward when it comes to seeking companionship.” Jim ran his fingers through his hair in frustration and exhaled. “You’re very attractive. People of various species and genders are going to hit on you, Spock. It’s a fact of life.”
“It is very irritating,” Spock hissed. “I don’t know how to respond without being rude.”
“Look, turning down or deflecting attention doesn’t have to be insulting or rude—it’s really more about tone of voice.” Jim guided him towards the dining room. He wasn’t gratified to see that his Dad and Bones were already in attendance. The room was silent and they were all staring at the pair of them. “We’ll work on it after dinner.”
Amanda lifted an eyebrow. “Are you two fighting?”
“No, Mother.” Spock sat down. “I had an uncomfortable experience at school and Jim thinks it is funny.”
“That is an unfair assessment,” Jim protested and sat back as a plate of food was slid into place in front of him. “The situation wasn’t funny but the fact that you’ve done nothing but complain about it for the last hour—kind of is.”
“What happened?” Amanda asked, her gaze darting between them.
“There was a new student in our Advanced Engineering class and she…” Jim waved a hand. “Invited Spock to a party and basically offered to set me up with one of her friends though I’m pretty sure she meant her sister because her sister asked me to that same party earlier in the day.”
“Well, it didn’t bother you when Rob David invited you to his birthday party forty-seven times,” Amanda responded, her eyes bright with laughter.
“Rob isn’t as hot as this girl was,” Jim informed and laughed when Spock blushed. “She was seriously working her tiny skirt and barely there t-shirt when I got to class.”
“It was very unseemly,” Spock responded seriously. “Human girls are predators, Mother.”
Bones started laughing softly. “Christ, kid, truer words have never been spoken.” He sat back in his chair. “I would’ve assumed your relationship was well known among your peers due to the engagement party you had to endure.”
“There are a bunch of new students—mostly ‘Fleet brats coming in due to parental reassignment. Dana and Carol Marcus actually transferred in from Darius 7. Their parents are Xenobiologists,” Jim admitted.
“You do realize you’re actually a ‘fleet brat yourself,” Chris pointed out dryly.
Jim shrugged. “I don’t hang out with them much.”
“There comes a time when it is perfectly okay to be blunt with someone if they aren’t getting the idea that you’re not interested,” Amanda said.
Spock jabbed at his meal with his fork. “She acted as if she did not have a brain cell in her entire head while she was interacting with me then during class she built a fully functional medical tricorder without a schematic.”
“Some Human men like women to act dumb and defenseless,” Amanda explained.
“That is entirely illogical.” Spock looked at Pike and McCoy.
McCoy shrugged. “My ex-wife is a neurosurgeon. But your Mom’s right—this girl was just acting the way she normally does to attract a boy’s attention.”
“She treated me as if I were Human,” Spock said then. “She tried to touch me.”
“She obviously missed a few lessons in xenobiology,” McCoy muttered. “Look, kid, just you do as your mother says—be honest but as kind as circumstances allow when rejecting unwanted attention. You’re entitled to your personal space and no one deserves to have private information from you. They don’t need to know why they are being told no.”
* * * *
Jim swung a leg over his bike as he fastened the helmet strap under his chin. It was odd, not to have his bond mate with him. It had been weeks since he’d ridden by himself. He left Spock’s house without incident and headed for home. Pike and McCoy had made it clear that they wanted him at home for a meal since Joanna was visiting. The custody hearing was near at hand and from what he’d overheard Bones had an excellent case for at least joint custody.
His helmet communicator pinged, “Incoming call from Dad.”
“Activate comm,” Jim murmured. “Hey.”
“On your way home, young man?” Chris asked.
“Yep, about ten minutes out. Traffic isn’t that bad.”
* * * *
Pike checked his chronometer one more time and activated his comm. Jim’s own communicator ID was first in his contact list so he hit the name and it went straight to the voice messaging system. “He’s nearly two hours late.”
McCoy set aside the last of the dishes and shoved his hands into his jean pockets. “Look, maybe we underestimated how comfortable he is with all of this. We pretty much hid our relationship from him and he found out by outright asking you. I move in, you add onto the house, and we tell him that my kid is going to live here half the year if all goes according to plan.”
Pike’s jaw tightened. “He’s never lied to me, Len. If he was uncomfortable, he would’ve said.” He pushed up from the table and went to the house communication system. Sarek must have been sitting at his desk because he immediately answered. “Jim’s two hours late.”
Sarek raised one eyebrow. “He brought Spock home at 1600 hours. It was our understanding that he was heading straight home.”
“I called him to confirm that and he said he was ten minutes away,” Pike said. “Is Spock available?”
“Just one moment, Christopher.” The screen went blank and reactivated just over a minute later with both Spock and Sarek visible.
“I have informed Spock that Jim is not at home,” Sarek explained.
“Spock,” Pike began as he leaned forward. “I don’t even know what to ask, here. Was Jim upset when he left you? Irritated about being asked to return home? Did you two break plans? Anything?”
“No, Commodore, Jim was looking forward to seeing Joanna and promised T’Mara he would bring her around for the weekend so they could have a play date.” Spock paused. “He has experienced no significant physical trauma that I can sense. I am, however, unable to communicate with him through our bond.”
“What does that mean?” Pike demanded.
Spock exchanged a look with his father before continuing, “Our bond is telepathic and while I have limited ability to connect with him mentally when there is no physical contact—verbal communication requires that he reach out for me unless we are in close proximity. I don’t know if he’s unconscious or merely refusing to communicate with me. If he were in pain, our bond would be… resonating with that stimulus. I would know.”
* * * *
Jim struggled to his feet. He had vague memories of stopping at a traffic signal and a large transport van pulling up beside him. A phaser engaging. He’d heard the sound enough in his life to be familiar with it. Contrary to popular belief, using a phaser required training and good marksmanship. Pike had one in the house so Jim had been thoroughly instructed on its use. He’d never had one used on him before but the lethargy in his body made him believe he’d been stunned.
A low bleed of worry was working its way along his bond with Spock but it was a slow, distant whisper. The room was well-lit and absolutely empty. He reached out hesitantly with his mind and met with a wall. He recoiled physically, horrified to realize that he was in a psionic disruption cage. There was nothing in the cell that said Federation Security and he figured Starfleet wouldn’t risk taking him to ask a few questions. Pike had a lot of power and even more powerful friends. Even if some of the darker portions of the ‘fleet wanted a conversation with him they’d probably wait until he was legal.
The thing about psionic disruption cages is that they weren’t perfect. Psionic bleed points were inevitable and even likely if a facility wasn’t maintained. Considering how much he was getting from his bond mate, it made him think he was in a pretty old building. Maybe a decommissioned FS building of some sort. He tried to push assurance of his good health back at Spock but the worry just spiked.
If Starfleet and Federation Security were unlikely, it left him stymied for a reason for his detainment. His grandmother had accepted his bond with Spock and would never risk the political fall-out of trying to have it severed. Jim wanted to believe she’d learned her lesson after that mess with Delis Brise.
Their problems on Vulcan over the summer were a slim possibility but kidnapping him was illogical and dangerous. He had a history of lashing out psionically and no Vulcan would risk their sanity by trying to sever a telepathic bond without permission. T’Lena, herself, didn’t have the skills to do it and Jim didn’t think she could’ve found a single adept on Vulcan that would risk T’Pau’s wrath. Her son was afraid of Jaret and wouldn’t risk the potential fall-out of such a situation.
The only real pending situation was the bombing at the Vulcan Embassy and that had nothing to do with him as far as he knew. The message boards and news feeds were even starting to lose interest in the event and no terrorist organization had claimed it. If it had been an anti-alien group from Earth or a first strike from someone hostile to the Federation Jim figured they would’ve already let it slip they did it. There was no point in making a statement if no one was listening, after all.
They’d taken his bag, his communicator, his chronometer, and the light weight jacket he’d been wearing. He huffed and arranged himself on the floor in the middle of the room. He situated himself into a comfortable position and closed his eyes. Jim figured he was going to get a locator planted in his ass due to this shit and that was infuriating.
* * * *
Spock was sitting in the chair his father had ordered him into, his body nearly vibrating with anxiety. They’d put in a call to Federation Security but had been rebuffed because Jim had only been out of contact for just over four hours. Pike had, in turn, contacted Starfleet and reported his status as compromised. All of his access to Starfleet had been immediately suspended and Admiral Archer had beamed into his living room. Now, his house was hosting a dozen security personnel from Starfleet.
McCoy walked across the room and stood in front of Spock. “Do I need to sedate you, kid?”
“No, sir, I am well,” Spock said instantly.
Chris kept his disbelief to himself. He was fucking worried sick and he had no recourse. He couldn’t imagine that Spock was in any better shape. They’d searched for an hour on their own before he’d called in for reinforcements. The locator on Jim’s bike had been disabled or damaged. The last position the system had for the vehicle had put him at a traffic intersection just a mile from home. He was being treated with kid gloves now—spoken to gently as if he might shatter into a million pieces. That was pissing him off, too.
Jaret Molia had arrived roughly twenty minutes after Archer. He hadn’t said a word since his arrival. Pike figured he was mining everyone mentally for information and he didn’t even have the energy to protest the utter lack of respect the man was demonstrating for himself and everyone else in the house.
Someone new walked into the room and Chris sprung to his feet. He had the man he knew to be head of Federation Security pinned to the wall in seconds. “You fucking swear to me on your life that your people don’t have my kid in custody.”
“Commodore Pike, I assure you that we have exhausted all of our legal options regarding your son’s participation in our prisoner’s recovery and accepted defeat. No one in my organization would risk a prison term by kidnapping a minor. Especially the minor son of a high ranking Starfleet officer.”
Sarek wrapped one hand around Chris’ wrist and pulled carefully. “Christopher, I believe that Inspector Preston is here to help.”
Chris let his friend pull him away from the man. “If I find out any of you had anything to do with this…” He took a deep breath.
“No man in this room knows were Jim is,” Jaret said bluntly. “No one even has the first clue as to where to start looking. If Jim has been taken in some official capacity—it’s a clandestine operation.”
He stood and went to the replicator where he ordered a cup of coffee just the way Pike took his. He brought it over and Chris took it with a huff. “Get out of my head, Molia.”
Jaret inclined his head and focused on Inspector Preston. “You have news, correct?”
Preston offered the Betazoid a glare and took a deep breath. “We located Kirk’s air bike. It doesn’t have any impact damage. I have a team checking it for evidence. He doesn’t appear to have been in any kind of accident. There was no foreign DNA or any blood evidence at all per the scans that were taken on the scene.” He paused. “The systems on the bike have been overloaded. Probably with a phaser set on stun. Commercial bikes like that aren’t shielded against that kind of threat.”
“You’re saying someone stunned my kid,” Pike said pointedly. “While he was… no damage so he wasn’t in motion.”
“No, we believe he was stunned and the bike disabled at the intersection where the locator service stopped reporting,” Preston explained. “I’ve requested… in cases were telepaths have been taken in the past, I often seek the aid of security personnel from the Betazed Embassy. Ambassador T’Pol has also made four of her own security people available. Security cameras in the area were disabled around the same time that Kirk’s bike was taken down.”
“He’s being held in some kind of psionic disruption cage,” Spock said.
“You can’t know that for certain,” Preston protested.
“He can,” Sarek said shortly. “My son and James Kirk have a profound mental bond. He knows what his bond mate’s mind feels like in a variety of situations—including when he is behind a psionic shield.”
“My son sleeps under a psionic shield generator,” Pike said bluntly. “I need the room cleared, Admiral.”
Archer jerked his head and all the security personnel left. When they were alone, Sarek secured the door. “The kid… he’s not like his father, then?”
“No, Jim might as well be a Betazoid when it comes to his mental abilities. The theory is that when George gave his son his telepathic legacy at birth, it altered his brain chemistry for the sake of his sanity. He wouldn’t have survived it otherwise.” Chris took a deep breath. “If either one of you breathe a word of this to anyone—the consequences will be deadly.” He paused. “For you.”
Preston nodded. “I believe we’re all on the same page when it comes to how far you’re willing to go to protect your son, Commodore Pike. Our people did want his help in reviving the man that attacked him—any data we can get on the slave market is valuable. Surely you understand that.”
“I do but not at the expense of my sixteen year old son’s mental health,” Chris said evenly. “And it’s not just him we’re protecting at this point.” He glanced briefly at Spock before continuing. “My son’s bond mate would have no refuge if Jim suffered a traumatic mental experience.”
“Spock, can you tell us more about what you’re getting from Jim?” Jaret asked.
“Confusion, irritation, and his repeated assurances that he’s physically unharmed,” Spock murmured. “But it’s not easy to catch the impressions nor can I hold on to them long term. This is why I believe he’s in a psionic disruption cage.”
“Telepathic bleed,” Jaret murmured. “If it was an active field generator—the bleed would be miniscule or even non-existent depending on the sophistication of the device.”
“Who ever took him knows he’s a threat psionically but they haven’t given him an inhibitor.”
“It’s public record that Jim is allergic to most of them,” McCoy said. “It was part of the Brise trial. If they wanted to kill him—they’d have left him on the street.”
Christ winced at McCoy’s blunt assessment. “Did you get Joanna settled?”
“Finally, yes, she’s upset that Jim isn’t home.” Leonard sat down on the couch and let his head fall back.
“Dr. McCoy, you are James Kirk’s doctor of record,” Preston began. “Does he have any health concerns we should worry about? Any daily medications?”
“Kid’s healthy as a horse beyond a few allergies to medications and foods,” McCoy said. He lifted his head and frowned. “Spock, you’re sure he’s on the planet?”
“We’ve proven we can communicate when one of us is in an orbiting craft but Jim has to initiate such contact. His ability to manipulate the psionic plane is substantial,” Spock explained. “Since I was able to use our bond to prod him awake, I believe he is still on the planet. In fact, he has to be within the city.”
“I should’ve put that transmitter in him,” McCoy muttered.
A knock on the door took their attention and Preston went to answer it. A man in a Federation Security uniform entered with a clear plastic bag. Jim’s school bag and jacket were immediately visible. Pike sucked in a deep breath. “Where?”
“About a mile from where we found the bike,” the agent reported. “No blood or foreign DNA.”
* * * *
The door opened and a man entered. Jim opened his eyes and regarded his visitor silently. He had a hand held psionic generator in his hand. Jim could feel the field pushing weakly at him as the man approached. A second man entered with a chair and it was placed a few feet from him. The second man left and the first sat down casually in the chair.
Jim glanced at the generator in his hand. “Smart.”
“Better to be safe than sorry,” the man explained coolly. “The people at Federation Security have you marked as a probable Level 10 psionic threat.”
“Level ten?” Jim questioned.
“One being psionically sensitive and ten being capable of terminating brain function in a sentient biological organism.”
Jim inclined his head. “They’re pretty intelligent people.”
The man pulled out a PADD. “You’re going to ransom yourself, Mr. Kirk.”
“Ransom?” Jim asked, incredulous. “Are you serious? This is a real kidnapping-for-credits kind of thing?” He rolled his eyes.
The man smirked at him and sat back in the chair. “What were you hoping for? Interplanetary politics? Us blackmailing your father for access to Starfleet?”
“Well, I kind of figured you were terrorists,” Jim said bluntly. “And that your main goal was something to do with the Vulcan Embassy.” He inclined his head and smiled as the man paled. “After all, that whole bombing thing was something of a failure. The second bomb didn’t go off and the area around the embassy remained undamaged. No one is blaming the Vulcans for the loss of lives or property damage. No wonder you guys didn’t claim it—must be really embarrassing to fail your cause in such a public way. You’re one of those Earth First people, right?”
“I don’t know what you’re talking about.”
“Of course, my real concern is that you came in here without covering up your face.” He jerked his head towards the open door. “And so did Henchman #2. I guess that means you don’t intend to leave me alive.” He glanced towards the PADD. “I’d rather my money go to the charities I picked out than to line the pockets of a bunch of murdering cowards.”
“You’re going to sign over half of your trust fund,” the man said. “Right now.” He thrust the PADD towards Jim.
“Just half?” Jim asked. “Really?”
The man leaned forward, eyes hard and furious. “Do it.”
“You should’ve waited until I turned twenty-one,” Jim said evenly. “My access is limited until that time. I get a monthly allowance. My schooling is paid for automatically and all that rot. Even my Dad can’t access my trust fund on the level you want. It’s all tied up legally until the day after my twenty-first birthday.” The man stood with a curse and started towards the door. “Oh, and by the way,” Jim paused and waited for the man to turn around. “That piece of shit in your hand wouldn’t keep a five year old out of your head.”
The man’s skin went pasty and he backed quickly out of the room.
“And tell my brother he is a fucking coward and a liar!” Jim shouted.
* * * *
Spock’s knees went weak at the burst of empathic fury that washed over his mind and barely acknowledged when his father took a hold of him. He was gently deposited on the couch and he barely had the wherewithal to grab McCoy’s hyper-spray bedecked hand.
“Spock, you’re shaking,” McCoy snapped.
“Psionic shock,” Sarek murmured. “Spock, let McCoy sedate you.”
“Jim’s brother,” Spock said. “Earth First. Terrorists. Trust fund.” He took a deep breath. “Coward. Liar. Betrayer.” He shuddered as another wave hit him. “He’s battering on the psionic disruption field he’s in. Causing a massive empathic bleed. Tell them to look for a shielded building. The whole building is shielded.” His grip loosened on McCoy and the doctor darted in to press the hypo-spray against his neck.
* * * *
“You son of a bitch,” Jim hissed. “You let Winona tell me you were dead!”
Sam stood outside the room in a non-descript hall. “Thanks for not killing Carl, Jimmy.”
“Shutting down the brain function of that thug wouldn’t be much of a fucking loss,” Jim ground out through clenched teeth. “Some crowd you hang out with, Sam. Christ, you aren’t even entirely human yourself for fuck’s sake.”
“If our dear mother had married a decent human being we’d had a different life,” Sam said shortly. “You wouldn’t be a fucking freak show!” He stepped forward and stopped just short of entering the room. The air around the doorway was tinged light blue due to the active disruption field. “And I heard about your bond with that half-Vulcan abomination. You’d think than when two species couldn’t procreate naturally they’d take as a sign not to disturb the natural order of things.”
“Spock is not an abomination,” Jim snapped. “But, you… you’re something else. You kidnapped your own brother for credits?”
“You sold our legacy!” Sam shouted. “You fucking sold our grandfather’s land to Starfleet!”
“Oh, you mean Tiberius Kirk’s land?” Jim asked. “You mean the man that married a woman from Betazoid and fathered a child with her? That man? Why on Earth would you want any part of his estate? He’s a race traitor, Sam.” He smirked. “That’s what you think, right? You want that dirty, alien money? My dirty, alien money?”
“I’m entitled to half!” Sam shouted.
“Winona told us you died on Tarsus,” Jim said quietly. “We settled your estate, had you declared dead, and donated your half of the money Starfleet gave us for Grandpa’s land to the colony for the recovery effort. It was supposed to be a fucking tribute to my beloved dead brother. Now, it’s just a great big fuck you and I’m feeling pretty great about it. At least the money won’t be used to buy weapons or kill people.”
“My half,” Sam repeated.
“Pike arranged it all. You know he’s been looking for you since he rescued me from that fucking monster you abandoned me with,” Jim said coolly. “Even after we went through with the process of declaring you dead—he still kept looking for proof that you’d been killed on Tarsus.”
“Well, Pike didn’t rescue me,” Sam hissed. “I had to save myself! Our dear godfather didn’t lift a finger to help me.”
“You didn’t ask,” Jim snapped. “I had my records flagged so the next time Frank beat me half to death Pike would get notified. That’s how I saved myself, you bastard! You just left me there!”
“I had no choice!”
“You could’ve told Pike after you ran,” Jim said. “You could’ve left him a message. You could’ve done anything but maybe you figured if you just left me there to suffer that Frank wouldn’t tell Winona for months. That’s what happened you, you know. She didn’t know you were gone for nearly eighteen months by then you were long gone and I was trapped with a mother who didn’t love me and a monster who liked to rape little girls in front of me.”
“You should leave,” Jim said coolly. “This building is old and the telepathic bleed on the disruption fields is getting bigger by the minute. Even if I spare you, I’ll probably kill all of your friends when they fall. It’s really in the best interest of you and your people to be as far away from San Francisco as possible when Pike comes from me. He won’t be… kind.”
The hum of a phaser activating followed that statement and Sam leveled it at him. “And if I just kill you now? Had I known what you’d turn into, Jimmy, I would’ve put you out of your misery before I left Iowa.”
Jim looked at him, eyes glinting with temper. “If you’ve got it in you to kill me, Sam, then you are not George Kirk’s son. At least do me the favor of never using his name again.” He turned his head and didn’t flinch when the weapon primed. Mentally, he reached out for the bond he shared with Spock and clutched at it desperately. He couldn’t even know what would happen to Spock if the phaser was set to kill.
Sam pulled the trigger.
* * * *
Spock hadn’t moved from his place by the infirmary bed since he’d arrived at Starfleet medical. Being stunned twice in just a few hours with what they’d determined was a stunner of Klingon design had wrecked havoc on Jim’s psionic shields. The area around him and Spock was practically glowing with the output from Jim’s personal generator.
Amanda had taken charge of Joanna and T’Mara following Jim being found. Both little girls had been allowed to see him briefly before they’d been returned to Sarek’s home. Two Betazoid healers and Healer Stopak from the Vulcan Embassy had arrived shortly after it was made known that Jim had been taken there for treatment. It was nearly one o’clock in the morning and no one had made move to leave. Pike figured that McCoy was annoyed with the intrusion of three different healers but he’d shared records with them regarding Jim’s history and promised all three of them dire consequences should Jim’s medical information be distributed.
Chris trusted Stopak and the two healers from the Betazed Embassy were probably already privy to much of the information about Jim considering how he’d been first treated on Betazed. McCoy finally came across the room and sat down in front of him.
“Just say it, Len.”
“Physically he is fine. There was no bruising, no indication that he suffered any sort of physical assault at all.”
Pike relaxed. Jim was an attractive young man and he couldn’t say he hadn’t harbored some fear regarding sexual assault, especially not after Brise and the situation with the slavers over the summer. “Okay.”
“Psionically, however, he is in shock. Jaret and the two Betazoid healers are concerned about his compromised emotional state. That’s why we’ve jacked the field generator up so high and why T’Mara wasn’t allowed to enter it.” McCoy paused. “Chris, his mental and emotional distress is extreme and it is preventing him from settling his mind and reforming his shields. We’re lucky he’s bonded.”
“If he hadn’t been?”
“This level of psionic shock can be… fatal in Betazoids.”
“How about giving him an inhibitor until we can get him calmed down?”
“At this point, the only comfort he has is Spock. If we give Jim an inhibitor—he’ll lose that as well. That’s not good for his emotional health to limit the bond that way while he’s not aware enough to give permission. Stopak and I agree that separating them like that would detrimental to them both and might damage their bond. Whatever happened to Jim in those last minutes before he was stunned—it was extremely painful.”
Pike looked back at his son just in time to see Spock put his hand on Jim’s face in a way he’d seen more than one Vulcan do during his time with Starfleet. He moved forward but Sarek grabbed him. “What…”
“Spock would never hurt him,” Sarek said carefully. “They meld often and have since even before they bonded formally.”
Pike’s eyebrow shot up and Sarek’s face flushed. The three Betazoids in the room shifted away from the area where Jim was. “You realize when you say meld like that… I think of sex.”
“Your preoccupation with copulation has not waned at all since you resolved your UST with Dr. McCoy,” Sarek informed him.
Jaret started laughing. Pike really regretted that whole co-parenting thing he had going on with the man at that moment. He huffed. “Before Jim—I had no family to speak of.”
“Now you’re practically overwhelmed,” Jaret said slyly.
Spock broke away with a harsh intake of breath and immediately looked for his father. “His… the door to his courtyard is locked.”
Sarek sucked in a deep breath as Jaret swore.
Spock focused on Jim’s teacher. “What does that mean? His mental courtyard has never been locked to me. There is only one door… only one door I’m not allowed to…”
“The door he keeps Frank behind,” Jaret said bluntly. “What he keeps there is not… I would keep it from you forever Spock that is how bad it is. I offered to take those memories from Jim more than once—to dull them in his mind until they were little more than half-remembered dreams. He’s always refused me.”
* * * *
“I thought he was going to kill me.”
“I know,” George murmured. “I am so sorry, baby.” He pulled his son close and ran his fingers through Jim’s thick blond hair. “You can’t stay here. The psionic legacy of another isn’t meant to be used this way. You were taught better.”
“I’ve never given into it before,” Jim protested. “I know you’re not really here.”
“Everything that I was,” George murmured. “Everything that made me a good officer and a man I could be proud to be—is here with you. I’ve always been with you, son and I will never leave. You’ll carry me in your mind for as long as you live and every moment of your life enriches the legacies you carry. I am so proud of you, Jim.”
Jim shifted on the ground and lifted his head from his father’s shoulder. He looked at the door that held the memories of his childhood. His mother’s callous disregard, Frank’s abuse, and finally his brother’s abandonment. He’d worshipped Sam as a child—preserved the memory of him in such a careful way and now it was destroyed by the man his brother had become. “I never hated him for leaving me—not even when Frank nearly killed me.”
“I pity him,” Jim whispered. “I pity him and it hurts so much—that he thinks that way about me. He resents me. He’s jealous of the relationship I have with Pike. He hates the life that I have and the opportunities that he thinks were just given to me. He really does think I’d be better off dead. He’s ashamed to be your son and my brother. I’ll never be able to trust him. Not ever.”
* * * *
Jaret pulled back gently, retreating from his student’s mind and sighed with relief. “He’s severely emotionally compromised but he’s not suffering like we feared.”
“What’s going on?” Pike demanded.
“Jim retreated into his father’s telepathic legacy,” Jaret said bluntly. “He interacts with it on a surface level and has since he developed the mental discipline to do so without being overwhelmed. But this is the first time he’s retreated fully into the legacy.”
“Is it dangerous?”
“It’s seductive on a level that few things ever will be,” Jaret said. “He’s surrounded by his father’s immense love and all the protective feelings George Kirk was feeling when he passed his legacy on to his infant son. It is the most safety Jim will ever know empathically. Depending on how much effort George was able to put into it—there could be an intelligent presence in the legacy.”
“Like…” Pike frowned. “Like what, exactly?”
“My grandfather’s legacy is in essence a separate entity in my mind,” Jaret explained. “I can have conversations with it as if I were sitting with my grandfather on Betazed having tea. In fact, I join him for tea once or twice a month when I meditate and have since he died when I was fifteen. He left his legacy to me in a psionic stone, which I took into my mind. A telepathic legacy is not sentient but in some instances they can make every appearance of being so.”
“Why is his courtyard locked to me?” Spock demanded, impatient with receiving information he already had.
“Instinctual protection,” one of the Betazoid healers murmured. She inclined her head gently when Spock focused on her. “You’re very talented mentally in your own right but you are in no way prepared to deal with the level of empathic feedback that must be ensconced in George Kirk’s legacy. He died violently and his legacy is not… soft and would comfort no one but his son. The first thing a Betazoid is taught is to protect others around them from empathic bleed off. Even his bond mate would not be exempt from such protection. In fact, considering your species, James might exert more effort into protecting you in events such as this.”
“I…” Spock averted his gaze.
“It’s not a sign that he believes you weak, Spock,” Jaret said quietly. “He’s in a unique position to know exactly what your emotional control costs you. Jim would not add to that burden unless he had no choice. He protects you because are beloved.”
Spock’s gaze jerked to the biobed where Jim was and found his bond mate awake and reaching for him. He re-entered the psionic field and slid his fingers against Jim’s the moment he could. “Ashayam.” Their fingers thread together. “Who hurt you so much?”
Jim made a soft wounded sound and curled on his side toward Spock. “I need Ambassador T’Pol, Spock.”
Spock’s gaze widened briefly but his gaze connected with his father who had already stepped aside and engaged his communicator. “My father is contacting her.”
“Get the head of Federation Security in here as well,” Jim whispered. “Dad?”
“I’m here, son,” Chris shifted around the bed and took Jim’s free hand when it was held out. He was careful not to touch Spock but he shifted as close to them both as he could. “Bones says they didn’t hurt you physically.”
“No, I’m good,” Jim whispered. He took a deep breath. “Get me up and in a chair at least. I don’t want to do this on my back.”
“Jim,” Spock began but stopped as a trickle of embarrassment shifted through their bond. He cleared his throat before he rearranged himself and released Jim’s hand. He slid one arm under his bond mate and helped Jim sit up. “The lethargy is a result of being stunned multiple times in a short period of time. Dr. McCoy thinks perhaps at least twice.”
“I remember twice but they might have done it a third time—I think I woke up briefly in some kind of van. It’s very vague.”
Jim focused entirely on his father. “Sam isn’t dead.”
Pike grimaced. “Was he a hostage as well? Did they try to use you against him or something?”
Jim laughed weakly, bitter and raw. “No… he was… I’m pretty sure he was in charge of them.”
“Oh, Jim.” Pike sighed. “Okay. There is a small conference room across from the infirmary. We’ll get everyone corralled in there.”
“Let Spock take me in there first,” Jim said and flushed. “I’m not going to be able to walk.”
“Right. Whatever you need, son.” He turned to look at McCoy who was standing by with a scanner and hypo. “Hmmm, but first you gotta deal with Bones.”
Jim offered the doctor a grin and laughed when McCoy just frowned in return. “Don’t be mean, Bones. I’ve had a very difficult evening.”
“Sure, kid,” Bones said. He finished his scan in silence then set aside the tricorder. “You’ll need a meal so this meeting is going to be very brief.” He glanced at Pike and grunted when his lover only nodded his agreement. He pressed the hypo to Jim’s neck. “A mild stimulant. This will give you a little boost. I’m not going to give you another so make the most of this one. We’re going to take you home after this and I won’t hear a word out of you about the two days of bed rest.”
“Two days!” Jim exclaimed in dismay.
“Two days,” Bones snapped. “And I may let your boyfriend sit with you for a few hours if you behave.”
Jim huffed and turned to Spock. He raised one blond eyebrow at him. Spock took it for the suggestion it was and barely refrained from rolling his eyes as Jim smiled. It wasn’t the first time he’d carried his bond mate. Jim was quite light and it wasn’t taxing at all to pick him up from the bio-bed ‘bridal style’. Jim threw one arm around his shoulders and relaxed against him.
“You’re ridiculous,” Spock said in low murmur.
* * * *
“Inspector Daniel Preston.” The man nodded in Jim’s direction as he sat down. “I realize you’ve had a very difficult evening, young man. This could wait until you’ve recovered.”
“I disagree,” Jim said bluntly. He waited until T’Pol had gained her seat and cleared his throat. “I have sixteen names, four potential targets, and the addresses of ten potential safe houses as well as the names of several ships for the Earth First organization.”
Chris sucked in a deep breath. “Hold on. We need to get Admiral Archer in here. I don’t have the rank for this conversation.” He stood from the table and plucked up his communicator.
Jim sought Spock’s hand under the table and glanced briefly at Sarek who was sitting calmly at one end of the table. The low buzz of neutrality he normally received from the older Vulcan was missing entirely. It was surprising. Sarek was suppressing his emotional state so ruthlessly that Jim felt bereft for him. He knew Vulcans were capable of such but Sarek had never done so in his presence. Just a few minutes passed before Archer was seated at the table across from him, in between T’Pol and Preston.
“Just start from the beginning, Jim,” Pike said. “Take your time—every detail matters.”
“I was at an intersection.” Jim took a deep breath and retreated mentally into that moment. “The traffic signal was… weird. Delayed. Normally, it turns within thirty seconds of a vehicle approaching the intersection and the traffic wasn’t so heavy that it would have fallen into another governing protocol. A large transport van pulled up beside me but I didn’t pay it much attention. I remember hearing a phaser being primed. I think I woke up in a vehicle of some kind at least briefly and might have been stunned again.” Spock’s fingers clenched briefly on his when Jim paused.
“Did you hear anyone speak at that point?” T’Pol questioned.
“No, I didn’t see or anything at that point. I was very disoriented—it might have lasted seconds.”
“They would have endeavored to prevent him from reaching out to someone telepathically,” Sarek interjected. “It is unlikely that the van itself had psionic shielding of any kind. Keeping him unconscious was the best recourse. They would not have wanted to risk him lashing out at them empathically or telepathically.”
Jim nodded. “They certainly knew I was capable of it. They had access to my records from Federation Security.” He paused and focused on Preston. “When I woke up I was in a room that had been fashioned into a psionic disruption cage.”
“You were in an old Federation Security building,” Preston admitted. “It was decommissioned nearly ten years ago when our new facility was built. The room you were in was actually a detainment cell for telepaths.”
Jim nodded. “Totally not surprised by that. It felt familiar, actually. You guys kept me and Spock in one similar to it when we were attacked over the summer.” He rubbed his thumb over the top of Spock’s hand. “Right. Well, I woke up and two men entered the room—neither one of them bothered to cover their faces. The one who stayed—his name is Phillip Caster. The second one—he left after putting a chair in the room for Caster to sit in—and his name was Jake Marstow.”
“How did you come to have their names?” Archer questioned. “I can assume they weren’t interested in introducing themselves.”
“No, I took it from them,” Jim admitted. “There were five people in the building and the moment the door opened—the bleed off of the psionic cage became so vast that I was able to brush over all of their minds. Caster offered me a PADD and ordered me to sign over half of my trust fund to him. I assumed he would’ve had a secure credit account off-planet to transfer the credits to. I don’t know because I refused to do it.”
“You refused?” Preston frowned at him. “You realize your life is worth more than credits, young man? It was foolish to refuse.”
“I had no choice,” Jim said. “My trust fund isn’t set up for open access. I have a limited allowance and my schooling is paid out of it directly. My allowance will gradually increase as I get older based on my needs—i.e. college, the academy, or off-planet educational opportunities. The full measure of my trust fund won’t be available for anyone to access until I’m twenty-one. I explained that to Mr. Caster and he was very irritated.”
“You said there were five people in the building?” Preston prodded.
“Phillip Caster, Jake Marstow, Lesley Marstow, Darrin April, and George Samuel Kirk, Jr.,” Jim supplied quietly. “My brother came to the doorway of the room at that point. I believe he was under the impression that if he didn’t enter the room he was safe from me. I’d already made it clear that the handheld psionic field generators his people were carrying weren’t a deterrent for me.”
“And what did your brother want?” Archer asked.
“He was furious with me for selling our grandfather’s land to Starfleet and he demanded half the proceeds. I told him that our mother had reported him dead to the Federation and that as a result, we had settled his estate and donated his half of the money to a Tarsus charity.” Jim exhaled. “He’s… he was furious and so disgusted with me. He said if he’d known what I was going to become he would’ve put me out of misery before he left Iowa.”
“Jesus Christ,” Preston murmured.
“He wanted to kill me,” Jim admitted. “He seriously thought about it and I wasn’t sure he wasn’t going to do it. He said if our mother had married a decent human being that we’d have had a better life. He’s profoundly xenophobic and was obviously the leader of the group. His mind was a riot of anger, hatred, and jealousy. He’s had some cosmetic surgery – his eyes are as blue as mine these days. They were black when we were younger. He also took on a new identity—he’s using the name Samuel Masterson. I think this was a legal change on a Federation level. Keeping that hidden would’ve taken a lot of money. Pike and I have been looking for him for years. He seemed proud to have abandoned our father’s name and the legacy of his service. He just wanted the money to fund his cause.”
“His cause?” T’Pol questioned.
“He founded Earth First about two years ago. His mind was an open book.” Jim turned and stared at Preston. “Caster told me that Federation Security has me listed a level ten telepathic threat.”
Preston raised an eyebrow. “Do you disagree with the designation? Vulcans and Betazoids are both listed as such. It’s not an individual determination of your ability, Mr. Kirk, though if it were—I’d say you weren’t far off that. I’ve seen the reports concerning your attacker over the summer.”
“The man is a violent child rapist,” Jim said shortly. “Some people get exactly what they deserve.”
“You said you had more names? Locations?”
“I tried to keep Sam engaged so I could get as much information as I could,” Jim admitted. “He… is responsible for the bomb going off in the Vulcan Embassy over the summer and was really disappointed that I wasn’t among the casualties. He set the bombs off after I entered the embassy on purpose.”
“His intention was to kill you?” T’Pol said.
“No, his intention was to destabilize the relationship between Earth and Vulcan in order to put the Federation Charter in jeopardy. He wants to turn the people of Earth against the Federation and other species and it was just a bonus that the bomb would’ve killed me as well. They didn’t claim the bombing because they planned to blame Betazed for it. That fell to pieces when the Betazoid Embassy staff all rushed into the area to help when the second bomb hadn’t detonated. They would’ve stayed far away from the area if they’d been responsible.”
Jim took a deep breath. “They are so irrational and crazy that they tried to create a war between two pacifist races within the Federation. They paint us all with the same ugly, alien brush. Romulan, Klingon, Vulcan, Betazoid, Ferengi, Trill, it doesn’t matter—there is no difference between us as far as Earth First is concerned. He hates me though, and not just because our stepfather used me against him when were children. It’s deeper, uglier than that. He blames me for our father’s death. He blames aliens for our father’s death and he doesn’t care that it was a Romulan. He doesn’t care at all. The Federation and every non-human in it is equally responsible in his mind.”
“You believed that he was going to kill you,” T’Pol said bluntly.
“He had a phaser pointed at me,” Kim admitted. “He was so angry and the hatred poured off of him. He’s not psi-null like his records said he was. But then he hadn’t seen a doctor for a few years before he ran away from the farm. He must have… been exposed to Frank for months or maybe longer before he ran away. If I’d been exposed to Frank on that level for months—I wouldn’t have jumped out of my father’s car when I drove it over a cliff. Death would’ve been a mercy.”
“Samuel Masterson,” Archer said quietly. “We’ll find out about the name change and if I have a thing to say about it… it will be buried so deep no one will ever know he was George’s son. Your father did the ‘fleet and the Federation an immense service, Jim. We’ll all do we what we can to protect his memory.” He cleared his throat. “And your future.”
Jim nodded. He reached out and grabbed the PADD Archer was using to record the meeting. Then, very calmly, he began to lay out his brother’s organization. Names, ages, locations flowed quickly. Ships, contacts within Starfleet and Federation Security came next. He explained the hierarchy of the organization, Sam’s role, and what each person under him did. He paused in his narration when he came to Darrin April and focused on Archer.
“This isn’t going to go well for his father, sir.”
“No,” Archer said with some sadness. “Has he been using his father for information?”
“Darrin April joined Earth First about seven months ago when his older brother was killed on an away mission. It’s all he thinks about now. He passed by the doorway of the room when Sam was talking to me and it’s on the surface of his mind at on a near psychotic level. I’ve been in Admiral April’s house, sir. We were all there over the summer. Now that I look back on it, Darrin took great pains to leave as soon as Spock and I arrived. I didn’t notice him that evening but I had taken care to withdraw mentally before we went to the party. We were some of the last guests to arrive at the party but we arrived with a large group of… aliens, to be frank. Ambassador Sarek arranged for us all to take a transport together.
“Most of us had been an engineering seminar at the Vulcan Embassy so it made sense for us to just … go from there. Admiral April was there as well. He was very comfortable around the different kids in the house—treated Spock and I with a great deal of courtesy and respect. He even presented us with a betrothal gift privately before he retired for the evening. Whatever his son is involved in, he’s completely ignorant of it. He’s not a careless man either. I doubt Darrin has gained access to Starfleet data through him.”
“Your defense of the man is admirable,” Archer admitted. “But he’ll have to answer to us regarding what his son might have learned from him. I don’t believe he is a security risk, either, but measures must be taken to make sure.”
Preston cleared his throat. “Are all Betazoids this capable of infiltrating multiple minds like this? You’ve gathered a great deal of information in a relatively short period of time, Mr. Kirk.”
“I’m not in a position to say what other Betazoids are capable of,” Jim said neutrally. “I have been trained in the traditional mental disciplines of my people. I have the telepathic legacies of two Betazoids. I was in distress and very upset. When I feel threatened, I tend to harvest information from all available sources in an effort to calm myself. The more I know, the better I’m capable of acting in most situations. In this particular situation, the more information I gained the more… dire my circumstances became. I wasn’t even doing it intentionally after a certain point. I… there are moments where my memory goes blank. I believe that I was teetering on the edge of psionic shock or I had a rage blackout.” His gaze dropped to the table. “I was very angry.”
“Did you attack any of them psionically?” Preston questioned.
“No, not even my brother when I thought he was going to murder me,” Jim said quietly. “I’m… Dad, I’m quite ready to go home now.”
* * * *
He’d gone to sleep wrapped up in Spock’s arms. He woke alone… no, not alone, Jim corrected mentally as he encountered Amanda Grayson’s fiercely shielded mind. He turned his head on the pillow and opened his eyes. She was sitting in a chair by the large window in his room reading from a PADD. He cleared his throat and her gaze snapped to his. “I don’t remember my own mother ever sitting by my bed when I was ill.”
Amanda frowned briefly but corrected herself quickly enough. Jim knew how much Amanda Grayson resented Winona’s behavior and how much she disliked her on a personal level.
“Her loss is my gain,” Amanda said as she put aside the PADD and stood. She sat down on the edge of his bed and pressed slim, cool fingers to his forehead. “You had a slight fever in the evening. Spock was most concerned.”
“Where is he?”
“T’Mara and Joanna were most insistent that he attend their tea party,” Amanda said with small laugh. “Though he did inform them, quite seriously, that Vulcans do not party.”
Jim laughed. “Oh, that’s awesome.” He relaxed on the bed and pulled at his covers until he was comfortable. “Bones around?”
“He was in earlier. Your scans are improving by the hour but the general consensus is that you will be in this bed for at least another thirty-six hours outside of minimal trips to the bathroom.”
“I feel very weak,” Jim admitted. “I doubt I could stand long enough for a shower but a bath would be great. Do you think that would be okay?”
“I think so,” Amanda murmured. “I will discuss it with Leonard and if he agrees, I’ll send Spock up to help you.”
“Thanks,” Jim snuggled down in the bed. “Didn’t know being stunned would do this to you.”
“A phaser built to Federation standards that has been properly maintained would not have left you in such a condition,” Amanda murmured. “Federation Security reported to your father that the energy residue left in the building you were in indicated a Klingon disruptor was used in the room where you found. To be stunned upwards of three times by one of these weapons in such a short period of time was very taxing on your body. It’s okay to relax here for a bit.”
* * * *
Jim allowed Spock to lower him into the steaming water without saying anything. Just the brief conversation with Dr. Grayson had been exhausting. He took the bath sponge when Spock offered it and let his fingers clench around it. Soap slid down his fingers and over the top of his hand.
He turned to look at Spock and sighed. “You and I are very unlucky in the sibling department.”
Spock took the sponge back when he realized that Jim wasn’t going to use it. He turned Jim carefully and started to wash his back. “We have made a good family in our bonding. Vulcan and Betazed are enjoying a relationship the likes of which has never been seen between two Federation planets. My clan and your House now share a history and an even greater legacy. We are accepted and well loved by those we chose to claim as family, Jim.”
“Sam and Sybok—perhaps one day they will learn the value of what they have given up,” Spock murmured. “Would you like me to wash your hair?”
“Yes, please.” Jim reached out for the bottle of shampoo on the corner shelf of the bath stall and knocked it off into the water with clumsy fingers. “Damn.”
Spock plucked the bottle out of the water with a little raised eyebrow. “Your physical strength will return, Ashayam. I realize that you take great pride in your independence but you will just have to endure my physical attention until you are sufficiently recovered.”
“I’m more than willing to endure your physical attention whenever you’re interested,” Jim said with a little laugh. He rested back on the wall of the tub and let Spock wash his hair. “My step-father was xenophobic. He said aliens didn’t belong on Earth and he was always saying he should send me off planet. He had a cousin on Tarsus.” Jim shuddered. “Frank threatened to send me there after Sam ran away—said he’d be glad to get rid of both of ‘Win’s Little Freaks’. To be honest, my mother isn’t much better. My father’s death made her hate… practically everyone that wasn’t human. How she manages to hide it from the chain of command is stunning.”
“Perhaps she has not,” Spock said. “After all, her career appears to be stalled.”
Jim turned slightly and stared at Spock. “How do you know that?”
Spock’s cheeks flushed slightly and he averted his gaze. “She is your mother. I wanted to know… about her. Father made a request on my behalf and I reviewed her service record.” He paused in his ministrations. “Was that wrong of me?”
“I wish you’d told me,” Jim murmured. “But I’m not mad because you’re curious. She’s actually a brilliant woman—a talented and inspiring engineer. It’s easy to see what my father saw in her, at least from a distance. She’s, from a strictly physical standpoint, beautiful. Combine that with her intelligence and ambition… well, not many men in Starfleet could ignore such a combination. It’s just too bad she let my father’s sacrifice corrupt her the way she did. ‘Fleet gave her a pass, I think, because she was George’s widow. The let her get away with too much for too long until it was too late to get her back on the right track mentally.”
“And now they… are waiting for her to retire rather than force her out.”
“Another way the admiralty protects the memory of George Kirk,” Jim murmured. “I guess I understand that and they’ve kept her out of command which is a good thing. She’s not suited for that kind of sacrifice.”
“But you are,” Spock murmured.
“I’d never want to leave you, Spock,” Jim whispered. “But sometimes… sometimes the good of the many outweigh the good of the few or the one.”
* * * *
“Special Operations in conjunction with Federation Security performed a raid on all four locations your son gave us,” Archer began. “We had a few major injures but no casualties. The other side wasn’t as fortunate.”
Pike took a deep breath. “Survivors?”
“Three,” Archer said shortly. “Darrin April wasn’t among them but his father was briefed beforehand. We did all we could to take them all alive but some were… suicidal. It was very messy business.”
Pike nodded. “Sam?”
“He’s in a detention cell. Wounded but he’ll heal,” Archer admitted. “He’s been given legal representation and we’re hoping some sort of deal can be reached. We want to avoid a trial. The other two have already made deals. Masterson is the only hold out.”
“You took care of the name change business?”
“We cleaned up the tracks left behind by the person who created the identity,” Archer corrected. “And we confirmed the death of George Samuel Kirk, Jr. on Tarsus through DNA results three days ago as far as official records go. There was a mass results list generated at that time. No one will ever be able to tell it was edited.”
“So the only problem is him keeping his mouth shut,” Chris said.
“That won’t be a problem for much longer,” Archer admitted. “He’s a threat to the Federation, Christopher. A terrorist and mass murderer. He’s a Level Five psionic threat per Jaret Molia. It will be recommended that he psionically castrated during sentencing.”
“You’re going to…” Chris took a deep breath. “You got them to agree to… I read up on that, you know. Neither Vulcan nor Betazed has ever agreed to the psionic castration of one of their citizens by the Federation.”
“Sam Masterson is not nor has he ever been a citizen of Betazed,” Archer said shortly. “He was born on Earth. I’ve been informed that when a Betazoid is psionically castrated that they often suffer a death of personality and have to be… re-educated.”
It was a horrifying thought. Chris wasn’t sure he could ever explain to Jim what had truly happened to Sam. “I…”
“It’s upsetting,” Archer allowed. “You wouldn’t be a good man if it didn’t upset you. None of us get to actually decide this. It is what the Vulcans and Starfleet will recommend at his sentencing. The judge in the matter will make the final determination unless he takes a deal. Any deal he takes will involve psionic castration. He isn’t being charged with Jim’s kidnapping. We’re hoping to separate Jim from this incident entirely. As he is a terrorist, the trial will be sealed and unavailable to the public if it comes to that.”
* * * *
Chris stopped in front of the cell and stared at his oldest godson in silence for a few minutes. Sam stared back at him from behind a psionic disruption field. “I could kill you for what you did to Jim.”
Sam blinked then he smirked. “Not much of a surprise, I guess. He’s always been an easy kid to love.” He relaxed back on bench he was sitting on. “Well, for some people. Winona never got the hang of that and let’s not even mention Frank.”
“You left him, Sam,” Chris said quietly. “You left that little kid in hell and you sit there smirking like you forgot to pick him from the library or something.”
“I was a kid myself.”
“You could’ve sent me a single word communication!” Chris shouted and took a calming breath. He straightened his uniform. “Even that would’ve been better than what you did, which was nothing. However, you’re right; you were a child. But what you’ve done as an adult… Your father would be ashamed. I’m ashamed and Jimmy… he’s just heartbroken.”
Sam’s face went slack for a few seconds but then it hardened. “I don’t give a fuck what that little freak thinks or feels.”
“Don’t you?” Chris asked softly. “He never gave up on you not even when you gave up on him. Jim had it in him to forgive you for leaving him behind. He focused so much on the good memories of you than he’d practically blinded himself to your abandonment… until you forced him to face it. But he’s lost to you and you’re poorer for it. It’s not a loss that is recoverable.”
“What the fuck would you know about it?” Sam sneered and averted his gaze. “He’s not yours, you know. He’ll never be anything less than George Kirk’s son. Jimmy—he’ll join Starfleet just like Dad and he’ll be a fucking superstar, but when people talk about him he won’t ever be your son. He’s the living embodiment of George Kirk and you’re just the poor bastard who rescued him from a horrible childhood.”
“You think that matters to me?” Pike asked. “I don’t need or want to live in your father or Jim’s shadow, Sam. Serving in Starfleet is about duty and honor. If Jim joins ‘Fleet, it won’t be because he wants to be famous. It won’t be because he thinks he has to for his father. He’ll do it because he considers it his best destiny.”
“Whatever,” Sam snapped.
“Right.” Chris shook his head. “I don’t know what I thought I’d accomplish by coming down here. I’ve been briefed on the deals you’ve been offered.”
“I don’t want your advice,” Sam snapped.
“You should take the deal,” Pike said quietly. “You’ll be found guilty of treason if it goes to trial and they’ll execute you. At least with… what they have offered you’ll be put in a rehab facility and eventually given a new life. You’re just twenty years old.”
“They just want to make a deal to keep George’s image all shiny and patriotic for the ‘Fleet.”
“Yes,” Pike agreed. “I guess this is the last time you’ll get to bank on his name. I suggest you make the most of it.”
“Fuck you,” Sam shouted and bounded off the cot. “Fuck you, Pike. Where were you when I needed you? Huh? You came for poor little Jimmy but not me. You weren’t there when I was selling my ass on the streets of New York to get enough food to eat, you sanctimonious bastard!”
“You could’ve reached out for me,” Pike said quietly. “There are instructions with Starfleet—to give you and Jim direct access to me no matter my posting and they’ve been that way since your father died. I looked for you, Sam. You’ll never know the lengths I went to, the favors I called in, and all the trips I took to New York and to Chicago because I heard a rumor you’d been sighted. I spent weeks combing through the records of the Tarsus colony after Winona told us you died there. I’d still be searching if you weren’t standing here in front of me. I failed you; I admit that. But you failed me, too. Take the deal, Sam and spare Jim the knowledge that his brother was executed for treason. It is the least you could do for him.”
* * * *
Chris had barely gotten settled at his desk when the door to his office swished open and the last person in the Federation he wanted to see stalked inside. His gut was boiling with fury and guilt—the last thing he needed was a confrontation with Winona Kirk. Chris went to the replicator without speaking to her and ordered himself a cup of coffee.
“Commander Kirk,” Chris murmured. He brought his coffee back to his desk and sat down. He stared pointedly at a chair in front of him until she sat. “What can I do for you?”
“I received notification that my son’s remains were positively identified,” Winona murmured. “I want… I’m here to claim his remains but I was rebuffed by Federation Security when I tried.”
Chris pinched the bridge of his nose and considered the story Archer had put into place. He was bound by duty to adhere to it and he wasn’t exactly fussed to be lying to Winona when it came down to it. He disliked her personally and couldn’t respect her professionally. “There are no remains, Winona.”
“What…” She sat back in her chair and stared at him. “What do you mean?”
“There is a large industrial furnace on Tarsus. The bodies of executed colonists were regularly burned. His DNA was recovered from that furnace along with the remnants of several thousand other bodies. Some of the samples aren’t visible without scientific equipment.”
“Has Jim been informed?” Winona asked.
“You told him some time ago that his brother had died on Tarsus IV. We had him declared dead over the summer and settled his estate,” he raised an eyebrow when she started to respond. “Jim donated his brother’s half of the money he received for the land in Iowa to the Tarsus IV Recovery Fund.”
“That was at least two million credits,” she protested, aghast.
“Nearly three million actually,” Pike corrected. “The trust fund was managed and invested by a private finance firm. They still handle Jim’s money and will until he turns twenty-one.”
“I still can’t believe you let him sell his grandfather’s land.”
“He wanted no part of that land and still can’t set foot on the acre where the house still sits. Starfleet turned it into a museum for the Kelvin. I seriously doubt that Jim will ever see it.”
“Jimmy always was a smart kid,” Winona said. “He certainly has you completely fooled.”
Pike sighed. “Get out of my office, Commander Kirk. Next time you want to come by and belittle your only living child, make an appointment first.”
“I’ll want to have a memorial service for Sam. Jim should attend.”
“I’ll let him know about it but he has no interest in being in the same room with you and we held a memorial service when we bestowed the Tarsus Recovery Foundation with Sam’s estate.”
“I wasn’t notified,” Winona snapped.
“Jim didn’t want you there,” Chris said bluntly. “He wants no part of you, Commander. Your last visit destroyed any remaining good will he had for you. I don’t see that changing any time soon. It isn’t like you have any secrets from him. He’ll never tolerate your bigotry nor will he ignore your obvious disdain for him.”
“He ruined my career,” Winona snapped. “And you helped him do it. All those lies he told, the way he inferred that I knew about the so-called abuse and did nothing about it.” She stood up. “I met with Sam before he went to Tarsus IV and I asked him about it—asked him about Frank and Sam told me that Jimmy was a liar and that all of his accusations were false.”
Pike didn’t doubt that at all. He considered the corrupt young man currently being held in a Starfleet high security cell. “Had you turned him over to me as you were ordered to by the Federation courts, Sam might be alive today. You should’ve told me you’d found him and you should’ve reported his location to Federation Security. I was his legal guardian until he turned eighteen.”
“He wanted no part of you, sir,” Winona said. “I figured he was old enough to make his own decisions.”
“We can both see how well that worked out for him,” Pike said evenly. He watched the color drain from her face and didn’t feel guilty at all. Chris didn’t know if Sam was ever actually on Tarsus but he wanted to believe that he could’ve saved the younger man if he’d found him in time. “You’re dismissed, Commander.”
“And if I petitioned the court for visitation rights?” Winona questioned.
“You’d find yourself blocked by both Vulcan and Betazed. You don’t want to be evaluated and laid bare by a Betazoid, Commander. You’d have absolutely no refuge and the court would allow it because Jim isn’t a citizen of Earth. He is, however, a dual citizen of both Vulcan and Betazed. His political ties on both planets reach into the highest positions of government. You’d also have to deal with his grandmother. She already hates you.”
* * * *
Jaret Molia paused outside the shielded interrogation room and shared a look with Alexa Deloia. As one of only a handful of people who had been fully briefed on the situation, he’d been elected to do the final evaluation of Sam Kirk. “Are you sure we shouldn’t tell his grandmother?”
“She mourned him already—there is no need to make her suffer more. He is lost to us; damaged beyond rehabilitation and drowning in self-loathing. He’s a murderer.”
Jaret nodded and looked back into the cell to see Sam staring at him unflinchingly. The boy had taken the second deal that Federation Security had offered him. Psionic castration, new name, altered DNA, and if all went well a new mental history. A medical and psychiatric treatment team from Betazed was already on the way. He knew that Alexia would order Sam’s mind wiped clean of everything but basic skills. He’d wake a week from now with no memories of who he once was and with psionic castration—he’d never gain the skills to retrieve the memories.
He stepped into the cell and the telepathic bond he now shared with Taval muted, dampened by the psionic security of the room. “I am Jaret Molia. I’ll be conducting your final evaluation. After this meeting, you will be rendered unconscious and remain so until the procedures you agreed to are accomplished.” He paused. “This is your final hour as Sam Kirk.”
“I wanted… I wanted to see Jimmy.”
“I can’t and won’t authorize that,” Jaret said pointedly. “You needn’t bother projecting your sincerity; your weak little mental tricks aren’t going to work on me.”
Sam slouched down in the chair, the cuffs on his wrists clinked against the table. “I was surprised when they didn’t put a collar on me or give me an inhibitor.”
“Both would’ve impeded me in my task,” Jaret murmured. “You’re as talented mentally as your father, Sam, that’s quite a surprise considering how diluted your genetics are. Without the stimulus of a telepathic legacy, you should’ve been almost entirely human on a psionic level.”
“Telepathic legacy?” Sam questioned. “What are you talking about?”
“Your brother Jim carries the telepathic legacy of George Kirk. It was gifted to him in the moments after his birth; before your father sacrificed himself for his crew. It is a gift that your brother could’ve shared with you had you not… taken the path you took. The man you are today would find no comfort in such. George’s legacy would burn in your mind like lava.”
“What would you know about him?” Sam sneered.
“He was a loyal, brave man who dedicated himself to the safety and security of the Federation. He served in Starfleet with distinction for years before he made the ultimate sacrifice. The legacy is heavy with it—intense love and loyalty.” Jaret took a deep breath. “But that is neither here nor there; you should relax as much as you can. The more you fight this, the more it’ll hurt.”
* * * *
Alexia leaned against the wall and listened to Sam Kirk scream before what defenses he had broke away and his protests faded into a defeated whimper. She closed her eyes even as T’Pol joined her. “Is this justice?”
“It is all the justice we have,” T’Pol said. “They would have executed him otherwise. I have arranged for him to be taken to a facility in the Lorianth system—they specialize in the reeducation of individuals who have suffered catastrophic head injuries. They will teach him to be productive and perhaps in time he will be happier in this new life he has been given.”
“James must never know what has been done,” Alexa whispered.
“He must be told something,” T’Pol reminded. “Better to tell him that his brother has a new life, devoid of the experiences that made him a murderer than try to lie to him. It isn’t a secret we can keep long term from him—he’s far too mentally gifted himself. Commodore Pike knows and Sarek has been informed. He will tell Amanda Grayson. McCoy will likely know fairly soon as well. James is a curious young man and more to the point many will think of Sam in the weeks to come—think of him more when Jim is around due to simply being reminded of how we came to be here.”
“Does Pike know that Federation Security asked us to do this final evaluation?”
“No, not at present.”
“Then he shouldn’t. I wouldn’t want Jim to come to resent Jaret for what we asked of him.”
“James understands duty,” T’Pol said simply. “Perhaps far more than anyone would wish of him at this age.” She flinched when Sam Kirk started to scream in fury again.
* * * *
“His records will be sealed,” Pike explained. “You won’t ever be given access to them, Jim, not even if one day you sit in Archer’s chair. Do you understand?”
Jim nodded. Sam was strapped to bed in front of him, unconscious and psionically subdued by a collar. “I…yes, I understand. I don’t want to know.” He cleared his throat. “What if he’s killed or something?”
“He’ll be a stranger on a planet you’ve probably never visited with a face you’ve never seen,” Pike said gently.
“He won’t be able to join Starfleet?” Jim asked. “I mean, if he’ll be pretty much a blank slate…”
“No, he’ll never be allowed to serve in Starfleet or in the Federation Security forces. It’s a condition of the deal, though the new him won’t remember it. The FS will keep track of him for the rest of his life. His ability to travel from planet to planet will be limited for the first few years but gradually, if he chooses, he’ll be allowed to travel more. They are going to do some genetic manipulation so he can’t be traced back to you or Winona as a relative.”
Jim nodded. He reached out and touched his brother’s hand, causing various security personnel in the room to lurch forward in shock. Pike very gently took a hold of Jim’s wrist and pulled his son away. “I’m so sorry that I couldn’t save him.”
“He didn’t want to be saved,” Jim murmured. “He wanted to run and that’s what he did. He wanted to hate, so he did. He wanted to kill innocent people—so he set off a bomb. This isn’t your fault. We can blame the Romulans who attacked the Kelvin. We can blame Frank. Winona… well, she’s central to it all, right? It broke Sam, wide open, when he realized she was never going to save us.”
“It’s okay,” Jim murmured. “I let her go and I’ll do the same with him. He’ll live a life unfettered by the childhood we shared and unburdened by the lives he took while he wallowed in insanity. But it would be so much worse if he were executed for treason.” He shoved his hands into the pockets of jeans. “They’ll monitor him? Make sure he doesn’t go crazy again?”
“Yes. After today, he’s not someone you’ll have to worry about ever again. Do you understand?”
“He’s not my responsibility anymore,” Jim said.
“Jim, son, he never was.”
“No, but he was a burden.” Jim flushed at Chris’ intake of breath. “Maybe he’ll always be that because while he won’t have to live with what he’s done—I will. He murdered T’Mara’s father and all of those Vulcans in the embassy because he thought we all deserved to die. I’ll live with that and he won’t.”
“We’ll all live with it,” Chris corrected. “He’s not just your burden now—we’ll all be here to shoulder it with you.”
“That’s the best part of being a family, you know,” Jim said quietly.
This is the final installment in Arc 1 of Tangled Destinies. The second arc of the series will mostly take place during their academy years and the third arc will take place on the Enterprise.