Star Trek Beyond Forever (prologue part 5)

8 10 2016


Kirk was dark when he left Security Admin.  What he’d assumed would be a fair discussion, an exchange of decision-making ideas, even a plan, military, economic, to remind the Orions what Starfleet was and what its people were capable of, had turned into an interrogation, and a sometimes mean-spirited one, courtesy, primarily, of the ambitious JAG man, Detmuller.   Whom he’d briefly sent to Base Medical.  With a simple single tap to the jaw.  Jim knew he’d pay for that one but he did not understand such vitriolic judgement from his higher-ups, borne of their mysterious, ultimately meaningless, arcane politics, no doubt, but it lingered.

Meeting Carol — as they’d planned rolling out of her bunk aboard Enterprise that morning — for drinks at at the Captain’s Summit “Officer’s” Club, following their depositions later that day to compare notes,  he’d be there for her any way she needed him.  She’d naturally receive the Admirals’ and, hopefully,  the JAG’s sympathy for her trauma at fearsome Orion hands and their dizzying, sick plans for her, but laying out the details again would exhaust and humiliate her.  Also, because he knew, though he’d likely be rightfully blamed for ignoring regs, even to free her, she’d be there for him, too, in all things because it was her wont generally (such was part of his fascination with her, a genius in advanced weaponry with as strong a capacity for empathy as he’d ever known) … and because of how longingly, he was sure, she felt for him. And he for she. That was why he was annoyed by the impersonal simplicity of a message left for him on a private reader waiting for him at the Club: “Returned to ship for personal matter.  No need for your current attention.  Take care. C. Marcus.” Part of her goddamn father’s legacy, that’s what that was – – anger with herself for allowing anything to happen beyond her control.

Lieutenant Commander Carol Marcus, in tight black, a sports bra and calf length shorts, worked the heavy bag in the the lonely gym of the ship.  She’d always kept her body as tight as her thinking since her teens when, already studying at Oxford, she prepared for both Olympian swimming and equestrian events, in the water for the Yanks, riding for the Brits in the ancient, still sports-lively slang.  Right now, each punch and kick came from a different tightness — every skillful slug of the bag and she was left thinking of her comm conversation with her mother following her deposition.  June Wallace was attractive, in her mid fifties, thin and small, bird-like and bone polished with a clear-voiced, genteel, Upper West Side mid-Atlantic accent.  “Carol, my dear, what you’ve been through, no human woman’s been through that.” June had several recommendations for her independently-minded daughter, to help her through;  esteemed psychiatrists — all experienced in severe psychosis and stress.  “Mum, I have Jim,” Carol laid down defensively,  the last word, knowing her mother’s feelings, the Grand Dame of UFP charities herself, of the boy-commander’s “insufferable self-importance”. “The Captain?  I see.” Her opinion of Jim Kirk was in the ice.  “Well, darling, I’ll brook no objection to one of my legal team’s expertise in making sure you’re done right by.  That, I insist upon.”  “What do I need a legal team for, Mum?  Who told you—?”  A man in his early sixties smoking health weed replaced Carol’s mother on the secured comm line. “Doctor Marcus, hello.  My name is Aaron Satie.”  Carol was familiar with the influential civil liberties attorney. “Now, we have much to discuss but first and foremost, short of ship’s technical business, you are to stop speaking to Captain Kirk immediately, on every personal level, even to say, ‘hello’.”  Carol’s controlled fury, her skilled combination of furious jabs and roundhouse kicks on the heavy bag, a whirling flurry, would have laid a Klingon d’k tahg Dancer flat.

Bones met Kirk in the transporter room and McCoy convinced the Captain to a martini mixer of his legendary Finagle’s Folly.  Kirk caught on that Bones pointedly ignored his exhortation they round up Carol for drinks— and approached McCoy’s cabin.  “It was unbelievable, Bones, the attitudes of the fine members of our graduating Academy class,” Kirk said with straightforward displeasure. “Their… opinions.  Let’s just say, it was some cocktail hour at the “Officer’s” Club….”………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………..


“I thought by now ah’d-ah find you hangin’ from the highest yahdahm.“  Stewing over Carol’s impersonal note, Jim Kirk had immediately recognized that old-fashioned, New England State o’ Maine.  “Aye-uh,” the youngish, pretty-ish woman, nodded with a shadow of a smile, just barely tall enough, five-two, five-three, for her fit, carefully muscled tri-athlete’s body or her Captain’s bars.

Jim had turned, smiling a gentleman’s smile.  “Still haven’t developed a sense of humour there, Cat? I thought last time I saw you, you’d got the knack.”  Captain Cat Dunbar, USS Akula, was a few years older than Jim but had shared her notes for their final essay exam at Academy Command School with “the kid from the Ioway fahm.”  She’d found him damn handsome, classically so, but felt no desire and, instead, held an older sister’s care for both his natural leadership and his capacity for self-destruction.”Circumstances as bad as ah’ve heard?”

“Why I joined the Service. Even our gossip shoots for the stars.” He glanced at her heavy tumbler of whiskey. “What’s an unappreciated hero gotta do to get drunk?”

“Or laid?” chimed in another voice Jim recognized, as Cat signalled for a round. Another female voice, throaty and sensual but light and dancing; turned away, at the bar, behind Cat, she glanced back at Jim over her shoulder with a raise of those sharp dark eyebrows, that carnal smile more appropriate to a teenage girl, than the intimidatingly over-qualified psychiatrist assigned to turn him inside out that first year commanding the Enterprise before Nibiru. Way before Carol, he reminded himself.

“Helen,” Jim said, greeting the shapely brunette. She turned in a tight, blue Starfleet R and R sweater with a deeply cut Vee neck, black Capris and non-regulation heels. “I’d heard you’d transferred from Tantalus back to active space duty.” Helen had the Starfleet arrowhead Delta stitched in the sweater’s hip, an attention grabber, and above her Commander’s stripes the patch worn by the small crew of Cat’s Akula: a Great White’s sleek body and dorsal fin, and for its pec fins, warp nacelles as chopped and channelled as those of his ship, and the saucer section hull that suggested a spearhead in place of the shark’s head. “Well, you make a good fit for the Akula, Doctor Noel. For one thing, it’s a flying death trap—“

“Kirk,” Captain Dunbar groaned, warning him from a subject she had no time for, not from “the kid from the fahm” and his unrelenting sense of what he found funny. “So help me—“

“And then there’s your new Captain,” he nodded in mock-conspiracy at Cat, “She has what they call in your game, issues. Yeah. The Akula needs a good headshrinker. Yes, she does.”

Jim winced, looking away, recognizing Helen’s wide grin as a response to his past flirtations and kicking himself. Helen sipped her gin cocktail, shaking her head.

“I always hated you calling me that, Jim. And what do you mean, death trap? Didn’t your current sweetie pie, your flavor of the month, have something to do with its design?”

Jim glanced at Cat who saw the “help me” light flash in his eyes. The Akula had been the final prototype okayed by Admiral Alexander Marcus, that is before the Vengeance, and he’d assigned his daughter to implement her state of the art weapons systems tied directly into the ship’s warp drive engines. The Akula’s line were intended to be exploratory vessels, high speed-sustained maximum warp collecting and analyzing data in potentially dangerous unexplored space and, per a secret Section Thirty-One directive, a very fast, heavily armed scout in large scale space combat operations.
“She’s the one that has got you in all this trouble. The remarkable Carol Marcus. You’re so many things but I’d never have characterized you as predictable.”

He started to reply- –

“Doc, cut it out. Jim, listen to me—” Captain Dunbar settled as the ‘tender delivered their round in the overcrowded bar. “I’m being serious, honey,” Dunbar said in that “older sister” tone she knew, Kirk long remembered, could grab hold of his attention and not let go. “None of us know much of what really happened the other night with the Orions but that doesn’t mean a lot of people at this event aren’t going to use that against you anyway.”

Jim stopped half way to taking a drink, looked at her askance. He had asked her, failing to keep his tone light, “What are you trying to say, Catherine?”

“We’ve got your back.”

“Yes sir, Sir,” Helen added with a hint of meaningful bravado.

“Not all of us, big man,” a lanky Captain with a West African Coastal accent had said coming up to the bar, signalling for a beer.  “Some of us can see through your typical self-aggrandizement.”

“Can it, Ogechi,” Cat warned the Captain of the comm relay ship, USN Catallus. USS Kitty Hawk’s Special Ops and Ex-Oh, Millie Krakowsi and her tough guy Yeoman agreeably joined Ogechi.

“I have no idea how Fleet allowed your relationship with your own field weaps to continue once it became commonly known to officers throughout Starfleet,” Krakowski sneered.  “It’s as simple as the great Jim Kirk throws a tantrum and—“
“A man has a grown up relationship that’s both personal and professional and, y’uh, you make him into a child—,” Dunbar mock-marvelled.

“I didn’t say a child, just the horndog still thinkin with’ what’s happening between his legs at the expense of his command.  You’re good, Kirk; I just guess you’re too good for a ballroom full of Starfleet’s legends,” the Kitty Hawk Ops Chief continued relentlessly. “Y’know? To ask for help?”

Dunbar had flicked looks at her young friend from Iowa — who. she knew, really was as good as his reputation.  “Jim Kirk is the commander you wish y’uh’ll be. And won’t.”

“Yes. One of a kind,” Ogechi had responded sharply, in all seriousness.  “Pirate.  Playboy — Psychotic.”

“Getting easier to blame you for what happened to the traitor’s daughter than it is the green bastards.  At least the Oligarchy is a genuine ethos,” Krakowski’s yeoman piped in, despite basic protocol.

“The rest of us us don’t mistake crazy selfishness for genuine bold leadership,” Krakowski piled on as Cat Dunbar led Jim and their heavy tumblers of Glengarry away. Helen lingered at the bar observing the other officers’ hostility with cool interest and clear dislike.

“What, aren’t you going to take a poke at one of us?”  Krakowski smirked.  “Or just cut off one of our heads for the road?”

Jim had put a hand on Dunbar’s arm as she turned aggressively to their Fellows and he maintained an even strain……………………………………………. …………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….
Jim was pretty much as surprised by finding Spock in MCoy’s quarters, studying on the computer, as he was by the fact the Vulcan was having a Saurian brandy.  Clearly, his first officer’s and his doctor’s need was to speak privately — and they had to be discussing his circumstances.  Bones had urged Spock to take things as public as possible and the Vulcan hadn’t need much wheedling in contacting their mutual FOC rep.

Spock and Jim’s mutual Services Corps Rights advisor sounded what he’d later learn was a familiar refrain:  Kirk would do himself and career good to simply follow orders;  most importantly, for reasons of possibly conflicting legal self-interest, he shouldn’t speak directly at all with Carol Marcus — who, the FOC said, off-handed, was likely to be transferred anyway — except in the matter of ship’s technical business and her work, and he’d probably hold onto command after decisions made by the Admiralty, given a brief leave of absence.

Kirk threw up his hands, despair almost edging indignation… ultimately becoming pure anger.  “I’m going to talk to Carol.  I owe her a drink—”

Bones got in his path saying, “Jim, there’s more.”  Kirk looked over at Spock…

“We’ve been called to Earth,” Spock explained, attempting neutrality.  “Starfleet has acceded to the Daystrom Institute’s request to study our systems after essentially two years.”

“Something that could easily be accomplished at, say, Starbase One-Two-One or Mech-center Diablo,  Come on, Spock!” Kirk objected.

“Jim,” McCoy added as positively as he could, “Some time on Earth would help the crew.  Not Carol, least of all.”

“Captain,” Spock said, standing. “As ours is the most sophisticated computer system ever successfully employed for our extended mission time, for deep space operations. Daystom has always intended such an examination. But, Doctor, really—”

“Really,” Kirk said, finishing his first mate’s sentence in simpatico, “I think all three of us better stop walking on eggshells. You think I screwed up, rescuing Carol the way I did? Killing that Orion pig- – Pasha Klimt?”  The anger still bubbled, but Kirk fell in a chair, accepting Bones’ drink.

“Y’all thinking I’d be pouring you my finest kind if we did?,” Bones asked. Kirk worked up a half-smile, a nod, but he could read in McCoy’s sharp look, and even in Mr. Spock’s impassivity,  they all had to prepare themselves for futures that defied them.

Carol had fallen asleep with one of his books — after half a bottle of wine,  alone — and she could feel him on every page of the antique hardcover he insisted she read when she’d come by it on his nightstand.  She saw him in all the stoic hot-doggin’ hot rod tests pilots climbin’ to “the top a that ole pyramid,” daring to be Mercury Program astronauts at the beginning of “the space race” some three hundred years earlier.  Jim Kirk, more than any man she’d known, truly had the right stuff. In more ways than one.

The next day, the final one for the Summit and still to be hosted aboard the Fleet flagship despite circumstances,  Carol pounded out the vino running the corridors then worked her team for a last minute inspection in case their guests wished a simple tour.  As her Weaps deck fell under Engineering, Scotty ran the check but the Captain hovered grimly behind him.  They each caught one another stealing glances; she was almost grateful her expertise with torpedo auto-armaments and counter-measures was called upon amidship and she had to dash off without him. And the hurt she felt she was the cause of.

By nineteen hundred, civilians from the Gesthemeni government,  the Federation Governor, Neville Breck, and his team, and the dozen ship’s Captains and their selected officers were milling aboard the crew lounge, heavily guarded, of the Enterprise.  And Carol had already had two strong vodka tonics in her cabin before arriving and was feeling them as she nursed a third in the lounge.  Jim, she finally was staring at openly and it looked like he felt nothing as he gave a cursory welcome aboard his (he emphasized, his) ship before turning pleasantries to Breck.

Carol watched Jim like he was a dangerous animal, one of the few surviving Le Matya, as he stalked to the bar and drank a strong Glengarry.  As the Governor finished pontificating, a decent jazz trumpet player from Captain Dunbar’s crew, played “Round Midnight” and Carol summoned herself, who she truly was, back to her mental and emotional forefront.   She knew that Jim thought she had her own version of the right stuff, a steadfastness.  She crossed the lounge toward him.…

They stood beside one another, not bearing the looks they had for each other and what they might miss or mean.  Finally, Carol ran her fingers down Jim’s arm, aware they’d already received some disapproval from several unfamiliar officers, and he pulled her fingers tightly into his.  Carol leaned up against him, whispering through the drink, “I want you.”

He looked down at her, uncertain, , “Carol — are you—”

“Jim.  I want you. Hard- – Deep inside- – I want- -”

“You want out of here?”

She barely nodded. Her stare was enough. It was that look he caught when he glanced back after welcoming her aboard his ship as one of his officers. He turned, pressing against her…

“Remember that surprise I had for you?”

Kirk’s surprise for Carol, set and ready since before the ill-fated Governor’s Ball at the Summit, was a private summer seaside bungalow on the warm equatorial coast of Gethesmeni.  They walked barefoot in the low, slow relax of surf and Carol tucked her shoulders under one of Jim’s arms.  They talked what they weren’t supposed to be talking about but soon fell silent.  Soon after, they fell onto, into a broad, deep hammock near their isolated lodging.

Jim kissed her, her face and neck, pressing down on her throat and open mouth until she managed, “Take my clothes off.”  He looked at her, eyes alive with all the pleasures they’d shared but she couldn’t help playing, saying, “Now!,” inverting one of their earliest encounters that she still teased him about.  Still, he took his time with the clingy off-duty formal wear, a tiny black cocktail dress, making her moan and laugh lightly as he wanted, running his hands over her naked body.  She was stretched back on the hammock as he, down on his knees now, held and rubbed and kissed her right foot. She ran her left foot, with its little blue-green painted nails, on his shoulder and moved him up and Jim massaged and licked every inch of her.  He buried his head down between her thighs, gently biting, working his tongue.  Carol took hold of his hair and guided him and he let her guide him, let her have complete control over the both of them, until she was bucking up against him a little and, finally, making hard, high almost girlish stutters –cries cut short — until there were no more sounds to make…

No, no — there was something else… a similar sound when Jim woke, realizing by the shifted star pattern over the ocean it was a good hour later, and, finding himself alone in the hammock, looked around desperately, panicking for Carol. Then he relaxed, catching sight of her, and pulled a long, heavy towel they’d rolled and used as a pillow, around his waist.

Carol was huddled by the small bonfire he’d set soon after they’d arrived, as the water crashed and hushed.  She was wearing his overlarge Starfleet pullover she found so comfortable.  Aware of him behind her, she fought against the small sobs that choked her.

“Carol?” he asked.

“You’re such a good man, Jim— They shouldn’t have treated you like— they did.”

“What is it? What’s wrong?”

He came around and sat beside her just as those chokes broke open into messy tears — “Oh god, Jim!  The way those Orion monsters treated me— Not like I was someone with thoughts and… ideas and feelings of my own— they didn’t c-care— they were— they were going to turn me into an animal!”  He grabbed her and held her close.

“Carol, Carol— its done.  You’re safe.  I’ll never make any kind of mistake like that again.  Never when it’s you”

She pulled away but not by much.  “You’re blaming yourself for this?  No, Jim!”

“I let you down, beautiful.  I’m not— I don’t screw up.  Not like that  I can’t.  Now our own are going to take you away from me…. stick you in a lab some place while I count myself lucky to get assigned a first officer’s post on a space tug in Earth orbit calling Starbase One home.”

She hit him softly with balled fists.  “Stop it, Jim.”  She wiped away tears from her face with the back of her hand as her strength came back in waves.  Jim, of course, she knew he wouldn’t cry or anything so silly as she’d allowed herself, not since his sacrifice of self to save his ship, his crew, his friends from the genetic mutant Khan and his miraculous return from the dead; he’d just stare out the water, making jokes to coax a laugh ’til the Gethsi sun started its creep over the oceanic horizon.  “You hear me?  kiddo? We’re in this together.”

“You love me, Carol?”

“I want the future, my future, with you,” she answered, brushing back a stray curl of locks from his broad, thoughtful brow.  “You’re a brave man to feel about me the way you do.”

“No more crying?”

“Depends,” she answered with a smile. “Are you going to out do yourself in that hammock? I’ll cry Hallelujah!” and Jim kissed her, their teeth clicking, their lips sealing like they’d never say good-bye.

In the small squat, cool living space, Kirk’s communicator chirped.  Uhura.  She gave him frequencies to tune the bungalow’s comm-pic and her voice was tightly by the numbers.  As Carol poured them ice cold Altair water, Jim asked for the viewer to engage and saw what the Enterprise sensor’s were reading, a wavering image: five pinpoints of incoming light.  They heard Sulu, Chekov, and the new junior science man, Ashe, discuss the particulars of the lights — certainly not naturally occurring, then facts and figures and, coming to sit close by Jim, it took Advanced Weaponry Specialist Carol Marcus all of ten seconds, tops.  “You sure?”  Jim asked.

Carol nodded, adding, “That most distant light’s reflection pattern gives them away. It’s a rear guard giving the one at point a pinwheel effect, an older class S-Vee two-twenty, the array— oh, shit! Look!  Attack positions,” she analyzed.  “Maximum short warp!”

The image flared- – Kirk shifted frequencies on the viewer— found the Enterprise bridge off a security recorder—as Sulu slipped from the Chair to helm as Spock entered.


“Captain, my guess is it’s—”

“It’s an old armored Orion fleet.”

Spock nodded, studying the numbers on the reader handed to him by Mister Ashe.  “Agreed—”

“Lieutenant Uhura,”  Kirk commanded, Carol detecting the tonal shifts in his voice as well as his body, an Olympic boxer ready and eager to dance. ”Hail them.”

The image of the bridge, his crew, abruptly shook and rocked, inertials screeching, as colored steam blasted through light cracks, spiderwebbing the bulkheads.

“They’ve just started the conversation, Captain. Loudly.”

“Mister Spock!,” Pavel Chekov barked, his voice steady but carried by his young energy. “They’re coming around at five-five-five.”

“All hands, all hands!”  Spock’s voice echoed over comm systems.  “Stand by for second attack.  Barrage of old style nuclear torpedoes incoming!”

Kirk looked at Carol who nodded firmly.  “Mister Spock,” Jim said, “Launch countermeasures. Full spread. Make ‘em crazy. Phasers and torpedoes. Light ’em up–” He leaned forward studying the viewer as Carol’s eyes flicked between the screen and Jim.

“There’s a message coming through,” Uhura announced quickly, snapping switches to narrow the call signal and continuing with her distinct tone of annoyance when she knew she was temporarily off-line. “Spock, you’re not going to believe this…”




Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: