Thanks to DesiArcy for editing help, and Betsy for coffee, walking around and general snuggles.
(trigger warning: Certain sections of this work may cause negative reactions for sexual assault/abuse survivors. Unfortunately, being true to the character as presented & interpreted didn’t leave me a whole lot of room; also for transphobic language)
James T. Kirk. Galactic hero. Defeated the Narada. Every morning, looked into the mirror and tried to see something familiar in that face. Just a sign - or maybe two - of the person inside. Walking around the ship with a spring in the step, it was easy enough to believe the Captain had no personal troubles in the world, only the ones that every ship captain in history shared.
One would be wrong.
Alone, at night, restless in bed, there was one little problem.
There was one little thing in a successful life that didn’t fit.
James Tiberius. The last legacy of George Kirk’s love for his family. A name chosen in the last moments of his life, sacrificing himself to save his wife and child.
James Tiberius. A name that the younger Kirk would have to painfully shed... in order to reach for her destiny.
The Crossworlds Affair
Based upon situations created by J.J. Abrams
Based upon “Star Trek” Created by Gene Roddenberry
Kirk stood nervously in front of Spock. The Vulcan was, as usual, inscrutable. They say a little honesty’s good for the soul? Well I feel really damn uncomfortable right now. Her whole body was shaved (thank heavens that her body hair was lightening and thinning), slowly lengthening hair fluffed into as feminine a style as she could manage. She was wearing a pair of long blue loose-legged pants and a copper-colored top that accented her blue eyes.
She sighed exaggeratedly. "No, Spock. Anything but Jane Kirk. I'd never, ever hear the end of it."
She told him her new name.
"As you wish. Captain."
“For real, Spock?”
“Captain, it’s only logical that if your mind truly feels conflict with the sex of your body, that you would seek to change the latter and not the former. The literature shows that changing the former only leads to further and deeper conflict, while changing the latter leads to resolution.”
Kirk found herself hugging Spock tightly.
* * *
Lieutenant Commander Scott broke into a huge grin. “I’d say ye were kiddin’ meh, but I had a great friend in E-School, midway through second term said ‘he’ couldn’t live the lie o’ bein’ a man anymore, it wasn’t right, an’ quick as ye know it, Sean became Sarah - and Sarah was as much the life of the party, as Sean had been a sullen little drunk. So what I’m tryin’ to say - in a probably stupid kinda way, lass, is that you go through this, be the best Captain you can be, and I’ll keep followin’ ye to Hell an’ back.”
Kirk couldn’t help but smile at Scott’s enthusiasm. The man was not one to damp down a sunny day, and he was making her feel a lot more at ease.
* * *
It hadn’t gone so well with Leonard.
McCoy looked skeptically at her. “I’m your doctor. I’ll support you if this is what you need to do - my oath and everything. But as your friend... I know Jim. I like Jim. Whoever you’re becoming... I don’t know her.”
“Bones... Doctor... There’s something like three centuries of medical research behind this by now. Look into that? Personally, me, I feel like, the best parts of me are staying around, and the stupid bonehead crap is withering away and dying, like it should. For lack of a better way to say it, I feel calm right now. I mean, I’m a little bit upset because it hurts to think people want the stupid, bonehead crap to stay around - but other than that?”
“I said I’ll support you, my friend.” McCoy looked like he had his reservations. Kirk figured that it would be all right. She’d make it all right.
“Trust me, it’ll be all right.”
* * *
Kirk looked fidgety in front of Admiral Pike. She felt very uncomfortable right now, and the fact that she was binding didn’t help matters any. "Sir, let me tell you a story. You know how I was when you met me. All my life, I've been looking for a way to get rid of feeling wrong... misbehavior, borderline crime, fighting, drinking... becoming the best Starfleet Officer I can be... but it's just something I can't deal with. I've been doing some reading on my off hours and I really can't deny anymore that I'm... well, transsexual." She looked like she would rather swallow her tongue than say that.
Pike sighed, then grinned lopsidedly. "Oh, is THAT all, Ms. Kirk? I thought this was something serious." At her confused look, he continued, "Captain, I've been in this Starfleet for twenty-five years. I've been everywhere in the galaxy, seen everything. I've seen a few very good officers, including one very good friend, go through what you're going through now. You're an excellent officer, and one of the best students I've ever trained. You want my opinion? You're going to get through this in style."
* * *
Chekov smiled and hugged Captain Kirk. That was not the response she’d expected.
“Let me tell you a story, Keptin...”
* * *
"Kirk, I have no idea why the hell you thought this was funny, but it's not. Now go the hell away!" Uhura smashed her hand down on the door close button, virtually slamming it in the captain's stunned face. Kirk blinked a few times before she even had to start forcing back the shock reaction. It simply would not do for junior officers to see the Captain break down. She managed to hold her poker face together until she reached the turbolift - which thankfully wasn't that far away.
Kirk took a few tries before she could summon an even enough voice to dare trying the intercom. "Kirk to Spock."
"Here, Captain." The Vulcan's voice somehow managed to sound concerned, even though he was as even as ever.
"Could you have a... talk with Lieutenant Uhura? Gently?"
"I take it yours did not go well?"
"That's... putting it mildly."
"Captain, I would recommend going off-shift early. Judging by the strain in your voice, the correct response..."
"Spock... thank you. Sulu has the conn, I'll be in my quarters."
"You are welcome, Captain."
Uhura was still fuming by the time Spock reached her quarters. When he refused to respond to her throwing herself into his arms, she suspected something serious was up. “Lieutenant. Captain Kirk asked that we should speak.”
It slowly began to dawn on her what she’d done. First rage drained away, and then was replaced by horror and self-doubt. Uhura had always prided herself on being a sensitive person, attuned to others’ needs and feelings - and she’d slammed her door on Captain Kirk when... oh hell.
“I am not the one to whom you should be apologizing, Nyota.”
“I... holy shit... and I...”
“I wish I could shield your feelings at the moment, but hers have not been, and my duty is to the truth. The Captain is in a state in which she is unlikely to accept an apology at this moment, but when she has had some time for her emotions to settle, I would recommend seeking her out. Until then, as humans are wont to say, you must live with what you have done.”
“You and h... she are hardly that close, how...”
“On Vulcan, when a mismatch between the sexes of mind and body occurred, the correction of the body to match the state of the mind was a routine procedure, normally performed in childhood.”
“You - and the Captain - have given me a lot to think about.”
“Then, I would suggest you think as quickly as you are capable of, Nyota. You have a very short window of time to repair the damage you have done.”
When Kirk was angry, she paced. She felt like she was wearing a hole in the decking of her quarters right now. The door buzzer sounded.
A familiar voice came from the other side of the door. “Whoa! Cap’n, it sounds like ye need tae get shit-faced even worse than I thought!”
Kirk hit the door. “Sorry, Scotty,” she said, “I thought you were Uhura coming to rub it in.”
Scott looked aggrieved, but said nothing.
“Right now? A drink sounds good. I could use something to settle my nerves.”
“An’ probably a talk. I’m not the best at personal advice but...”
“That’s ok, Scotty. If I needed personal advice, I’d be talking to Bones right now. What I need is someone to listen.”
Scott shrugged. “I can do that.”
Over the course of half a bottle of Scotch, Kirk poured out her story to Scott. Scotty listened intently - he was always good at that. “The way I see the problem, J...”
“Please no, Scotty.”
“Well I’ve got tae call ye somethin’...”
“The way I see the problem, Captain, is that ye’ve embedded yeself in the Letenant’s mind as a troublemaking frat boy. An’ so she saw ye’ as that, an’ seriously overreacted.” When Scott started getting drunk, his accent started getting incomprehensible rather quickly.
Kirk groaned. “Gimme another drink.”
Some hours later, a still half-drunk Kirk answered her door. “You.”
Uhura flinched from the verbal slap. “Captain, I’m...”
“Haven’t you said enough already?”
“I deserved that. Captain... I’m sorry.” Uhura’s body language told Kirk that she wasn’t just saying that.
Her whole posture read of someone who knew she’d grossly overstepped the limits not just of the relationship between a junior and senior officer, but of common human decency.
Kirk sighed, a woman less than wholly pleased with the hand life had dealt her. “Yes, Lieutenant, you really did. Thank you for the apology, though. It means more than you might think at the moment. I’ll be going on leave for a couple months. Once I get back... that’s that.”
Uhura paused. “Captain... if I haven’t stepped too far into it, I would like to know... What’s your name going to be?”
Kirk paused. “I spent a lot of time talking with my mom. About this, about growing up with my Uncle Frank trying to ‘beat the pussy out of me,’ about a whole lot of stuff that she never, ever knew was going on. Uncle Frank... is very, very sorry right now. Probably not that he did it; certainly that he got caught. Mom helped me pick a name - Veronica Olivia. Her maternal grandmother, and my dad’s. She’s proud that I’m the second generation of Kirk women to command a starship.”
“Veronica Olivia Kirk.” Uhura rolled it around in her mouth, tasting it. She decided it fit. The first name had just the slightest hint of self-sure arrogance - perfectly fitting for the Captain. “Then, I guess I’ll see you when you get back... Veronica.”
The door closed, and Veronica Kirk smiled just a little bit.
“State your name for the record.”
“Veronica Olivia Kirk.”
“Now, because of your duties to Starfleet, you are being permitted to record this testimony rather than giving it in person. Please state your legal name at the time of the offense.”
“... James. Tiberius. Kirk.”
She swallowed nervously.
“Please, Veronica, tell us what happened on June 7, 2245...”
June 7, 2245
Veronica Teresa Kirk stood nervously at the bus stop. She was wearing a neat black satin jacket, a short jean skirt, and white sneakers. Her short blonde hair was fluffed out into a feminine blur; she had just the slightest hint of makeup on. She was, in short, trying to look like a reasonably mature teenager, not a little girl running away from home, which was what she felt like right now.
Over the last six months, she had befriended an older girl named Julia, who lived in Minneapolis. It was closer than Seattle, but she hoped far enough away that Uncle Frank wouldn’t be able to come get her without alerting her mother to his real intentions. Julia promised to put her up for the summer, until she could figure out what was going to come next.
The ticket clenched in her hand seemed to be almost running from the sweat. Every pair of headlights that came, she almost wanted to leap out of her skin, terrified that it would be Uncle Frank. What he would do to her if he caught her like this... not pleasant...
“Captain, you stated that your preferred name then was Veronica Teresa. Would you explain the difference for me?”
“Gladly. Tiresias was the name of a legendary Greek prophet, a transsexual woman herself according to some interpretations of the legends about her, and I wanted the name to honor her.”
“You changed this later?”
“Yes, after a great deal of discussion with my mother, I chose “Olivia” to honor her grandmother.”
“Thank you, Veronica. Please continue.”
It was almost midnight! Where was the damn bus, did it break down somewhere?
Suddenly, Veronica felt a terrific blow.
“You little shit, what the hell do you think you’re doing, all tarted up like this out here? Who the hell do you think was gonna come along?”
Oh hell. Her worst nightmare was steadily coming true...
Veronica licked her lips, took a long drink of water... chose to tell a little lie. She wanted to tell the truth, wanted Frank to pay for the... the violation he’d done her, but when she felt close to forming the words... she felt a little of her mind cracking. Finally she said, “He... I must have hit my head against the shelter after that... I don’t really remember what happened...”
But she did.
Veronica huddled in the corner of her bed at Uncle Frank’s farmhouse. She was naked, and bleeding. Her waist was scrubbed raw where Frank had brutally ripped the skirt off of her... and further down... down... no...
“And the next day...”
“Yes. The next day was the arrest documented in the police report filed 2245, June 9th.”
“Thank you, Veronica. I know this must have been very hard for you.”
The camera went dark. Veronica smiled to the cameraman until he left her quarters; only then did she let the tears flow.
You have no idea.
Earth, San Francisco
Wearing civilian clothes - a simple wraparound tunic, a pair of loose slacks and a pair of flat shoes - Captain Veronica Kirk stepped into the clinic where she would spend the next couple of months undergoing medical procedures and then recovery. Her goal - and Starfleet’s - was the shortest possible time for her off of her bridge. In her absence, Enterprise would continue to perform training and workup in Sol System under Commander Spock’s expert handling.
Veronica smiled. She had a good team on the ship, and they fit together beautifully. Her vessel was in good hands while she was away, so she could relax and focus on the healing process.
Healing HURT. It hurt a LOT. Veronica spent a LOT of time for her first month or so in a haze of pain meds. Now she was well into her third month and feeling a lot more functional. She’d started light Starfleet duty about ten days ago, instructing a class in combat tactics at the Academy. Mom was coming back to San Francisco on a flight tomorrow - she’d been in Riverside to be present at the sentencing for Francis R. Kirk’s sentencing on the abuse against her children. Veronica had testified by communicator while still on the Enterprise.
Her testimony - of Frank’s abusive bullying, his insistence on aggressively quashing any feminine tendencies in his niece - had been effective enough. The two siblings had grown closer through the trial, with George and her spending a week together in San Francisco shortly after the verdict was handed down, not waiting for sentencing.
Veronica would never forget the look of sheer hate in her mother’s eyes, watching her take the stand.
“That man consistently and horribly abused my children, with whose welfare he was trusted, and systematically lied to me about their condition. He beat them both - especially Veronica. It was only through the confidence of my daughter that I discovered what I had long suspected, that Francis Roland Kirk is a child abuser, a liar and a thief. He stole my children’s innocence. Fortunately, he was not able to steal their futures.”
Veronica and her mother, Rear Admiral (Retired) Winona Kirk, were shopping at the Wharf in San Francisco. Winona smiled radiantly at her daughter - Veronica was a quick bloomer, and acknowledging her womanhood had made her a much calmer and more centered person. James had been bright and driven, but also a troublemaker and incredibly difficult to know sometimes. James’ intensity had glowed bright - too bright.
Veronica’s bright smile made her finally appear complete.
Winona had never taken the black mourning ring off of her finger. Engraved on it was one of her favorite things George used to say, a saying that after his death, she had adopted as her own. Fate brings you where you need to be.
Fate had put George Kirk, Senior, on the bridge of a dying starship long enough to save the lives of his wife and newborn child. Winona’s nightmares of her husband’s death had never truly gone away, but time had faded the sting somewhat. Watching her daughter flirt outrageously with a counter girl in Ghirardelli Square - and watching the counter girl flirt back - she thought maybe it was time, at last, to take a second chance at love of her own.
She slid the ring from her finger, put it in her purse, and snapped the catch closed with a final click.
U.S.S. Enterprise NCC-1701
Veronica Kirk saw the world swim back into view as she materialized in the transporter. As soon as she was able to move, she pulled the manila envelope out from under her arm. Breaking the seal and removing the letter contained inside with crisp precision, she read loud and clear, “Authorized by the office of Admiral Christopher Pike, Starfleet Command. As of this Stardate, Captain Veronica O. Kirk is hereby authorized for full and unrestricted starship duty. She is returned to her previous assignment as Commanding Officer of the Federation Starship Enterprise, NCC-1701.” She nodded and stepped to Commander Spock. “I relieve you, Commander.”
Spock nodded. “I stand relieved. Welcome back, Captain Kirk.” A young male yeoman strode forward with brisk efficiency to take the Captain’s duffel bag and put it on a floating dolly to be taken to her quarters. She walked off the transporter pad to shake hands with her senior crew - and accept hugs from the majority of them.
This was the first time most of her crew members had seen her in four months. A lot of muscle mass had simply disappeared under the influence of estrogen, making her body much slimmer. Rather than average height, which she had seemed before, her slimmer build made her look imperially tall. Her face had been carefully resculpted by expert surgeons - as she had always been blessed with relatively fine features, their job was thus not uncovering a new face from the old, but in carefully revealing the feminine qualities of this face. Her hair, four months longer, framed and softened the edges of her face; her body was not straight up and down as many of her officers had supposed but subtly curved, with the slight edge of growing breasts and a slight flare of her hips.
Under her breath, she nervously asked Spock, “How do I look?”
Spock replied, similarly quietly, “You present a classical physiological profile, Captain, with slight asymmetries that conform to the mathematical fundamentals of the classicist painters.”
Kirk worked that out in her mind to the compliment that it was, and smiled.
Absorbed in conversation with her senior officers, Veronica failed to notice the sullen look of one of the security officers in the corner. He was one of the first Starfleet cadets the young Jim Kirk had ever punched out.
Kirk felt her body slam into a ladder, painfully, and heard the sound of something metallic dropping down the ladderway. She hadn’t even felt the punch, but she was starting to. “What in the...” She grabbed instinctively for her phaser - but of course she didn’t carry one aboard the Enterprise - why would she need to? Reached for the other side of her belt - the fallen thing was her communicator.
She hadn’t even been back on the ship a week. An entirely too-familiar goatee, paunch, and balding head hove into view. Along with an entirely too-familiar fist, which she expertly parried. Oh. Shit. This was a scene entirely out of memory. And this time there was no Captain Pike around.
“I’m gonna make you wish you’d never joined Starfleet, freak.” A big, beefy fist that telegraphed itself well ahead of time came at her.
Kirk ducked out of the way in time for the big security Lieutenant - what the hell was his name, anyway? to punch the ladder. Good. I hope you broke your hand doing that! “Lieutenant,” she growled, “You are so far out of order that it is completely beyond belief.” She kicked him in the stomach and tried to run, but he grabbed her foot and twisted her onto the ground.
He shook his bleeding hand. “Forget that, Cupcake. I am just going to end you.” In another moment he was on her, and for a brief snatch of thought she wondered what he was going to do next while she prepared to knee the man in the groin. A fist to her temple robbed her of her equilibrium and the ability to fight back, before he wrapped his hands around her neck and started squeezing.
Some detached part of her brain asked, What the hell, universe? Why do people keep choking me? She flashed back to Cupcake here, then the Romulan on the drilling platform, then Spock, then Nero, lastly Ayel. All the while ineffectually flailing at his face, trying to get a finger into something sensitive before she passed out.
Her sight had just started to grey when she heard the unmistakable sound of a phaser set to stun, firing. Suddenly, her lungs were being compressed, but at least she could breathe. She scrambled out from under Cupcake’s inert bulk.
“Glad we arrived in time, Captain.” A dark-haired, dark-eyed Security officer helped Kirk to her knees. “Commander Spock sent us after you. He said it was urgent; I can see that it was.” Kirk was quietly and efficiently sick.
“Thanks, Lieutenant...” A squeeze-bottle of water materialized out of seemingly nowhere and she swished and spat, trying to get the taste of bile out of her mouth as quickly as possible.
“Lieutenant Mercedes Martinez, Captain. Chief of Security.” She helped Veronica to her feet.
Veronica straightened her uniform, noting the blood on the collar with dismay, then pointed to a pair of burly ensigns, then to Cupcake, sleeping off his phaser stun on the deck. “Get this trash out of my companionway.”
Martinez handed Veronica a Type-I phaser. "Courtesy of the girls in security. A lot of us carry them."
"Thanks, Lieutenant." Kirk exchanged a hug with Lt. Martinez, intending for just moment of touch before she reasserted herself as Captain, but somehow she didn’t want to let go.
“It’s ok, Captain. Rank or no... it’s ok.” Martinez, over her years in Security, had comforted more women than she’d wanted to in the lower decks after an assault. These areas of the ship were not very safe for a woman to be in alone. Kirk had made a bad mistake and thankfully lived to learn from it. “Let’s get you topside.”
In Sickbay, Veronica groaned softly as Martinez hiked her up on the bed. “My head feels like it’s packed with mud.”
McCoy ran a medical tricorder over her. “Sounds like you’ve got a low grade concussion... yep, grade 1. No bones broken - looks like that tritanium in your skull is good for something, kid.”
Kirk rolled her eyes. “Funny, Bones.”
“Seriously, I can give you an anti-swelling agent that’ll take care of most of the concussion symptoms...”
“And an analgesic that’ll take care of the pain...”
Kirk swallowed a large pill. Several hundred milligrams of fast-acting iso-ibuprofen started its work nearly immediately.
“And if you’re having trouble sleeping, come back to Sickbay and I or whoever’s on duty will write you a prescription for a sleep aid.”
“... Is that really an issue?” Kirk was surprised. She was being expected to take sleeping medications, something she had always tried to avoid wherever possible.
Martinez nodded. “A lot of assault survivors tend to have difficulty sleeping, Captain. If you need a sympathetic ear, call my office; if you need someone to give you more specifically professional help, ship’s psychologist.”
McCoy added, “I wouldn’t recommend drinking within 24 hours, not just because of the medication in your system but also because some survivors develop drinking habits that way. Self-medication is a dangerous trap, Ji... Veronica. And if you need to sleep? Meds are safer than booze by a long shot. Now, I’m going to send you with Dr. Wright over here, to get you a full physical.” Dr. Catherine Wright, a slim, pleasant-faced woman in her late 30s with a soft expression of concern, drew the Captain behind a curtain. Kirk seemed relieved to have someone female doing her physical workup, especially when Dr. Wright asked her to strip down to her underwear. She had a sudden real feeling like she didn’t want McCoy to be looking her over, especially since he would inevitably be comparing her body now to the body she used to have.
Martinez turned to McCoy. “She’ll be all right, right?”
McCoy cleaned his instruments while he talked. “Physically? Completely. Psychologically? That’s up to her but I think so. I don’t think I ever comprehended how tough she really is.”
“It’s hard to know how tough someone is, sadly, until something really, really horrible happens to her.”
McCoy put down the hypospray in the ready drawer, then closed it with an angry snap. “Mercedes? Nail the creep. I’ve had too many women in my clinics and sickbays over the years because some jerk just like this one tried to hurt them... not just for Veronica, for them, too. I went into medicine to cure disease and heal people, and it breaks my damn heart to see someone hurt so needlessly.”
“Will do, Doctor.”
Hours later, the Captain entered the brig. A sullen Lieutenant sitting on the bunk with a bandaged hand smirked up at her. “So. Gonna get out of here and leave the real work to the men, Cupcake?”
Veronica looked at the roster in disgust. “Lieutenant Edmund E. Coleman. That’s your name? Edmund? No wonder you’re such a dickhead. Fortunately, you’re not my problem anymore. At Starbase 12, you’re going to be put ashore into the waiting hands of JAG, where you’ll await trial for assault and battery of a superior officer - a court-martial offense with execution as its maximum penalty. And JAG and I are pushing for maximum sentence.”
Coleman looked suddenly panicked. “You wouldn’t.”
Kirk turned and walked away. “And until today, I thought that no member of my crew would try to kill me. You stole that certainty from me. Now, we’re even.” She left the Brig without another look back. She didn’t bother to give him the satisfaction of a turn or even so much as a start when he started screaming epithets after her departing back, until Martinez turned the sound damping on the brig forcefield to maximum.
What a sad, unpleasant little man. On her way to the bridge, Veronica hid her phaser in a small pocket just under her uniform tunic.
Mercedes Martinez sat back in her chair and glared at Coleman. The man had been a dickhead, and worse, a discipline problem from word one. None of the other women in the security department wanted to be paired with him, because he was so aggressive in his belief that women should never be in the line of battle that he would sometimes deliberately throw off his partner while on a routine security patrol. “I’m not sure that I want to know what was going through your mind, Lieutenant, but I promise you no one will ever work with you again as long as you’re in Starfleet.”
Which might not be very long. Eighty-Eighty was one of the guaranteed crash landings - the Starfleet regulations the violation of which could net the violator the death penalty.
Mercedes hoped the Captain was all right. She seemed like a perfectly lovely person. Martinez figured that some of Kirk’s soft-spoken politeness was due to the shock she’d just received, but she liked the Captain, and there was some real steel underneath that soft, lovely exterior.
ok, Mercedes. She’s ten years younger than you, and she’s your Commanding Officer, besides. Cool it. The lovestruck teenager thing can wait.
* * *
“Captain on the bridge!”
“As you were!” Kirk crossed to the captain’s chair where she relieved Spock. From the rear of the bridge, Uhura called, “Captain, we received orders at 1021 hours, the orders are on your desk for review at your convenience.”
Kirk pulled up the public portion of the orders. No matter what had happened belowdecks, her bridge was her space, and nothing could take that away from her. “Set course for Starbase Twelve, Warp factor six.”
Sulu turned to look at her. “Starbase Twelve, course laid in. Ready on the Captain’s orders.”
Captain Veronica Kirk of the U.S.S. Enterprise drew in a breath, paused for just a moment. In front of her, Chekov looked expectantly over his shoulder. “Punch it.”
A line of subspace drew itself between Earth Spacedock and Starbase Twelve. Impossibly fine, winding around planets and suns. After just a moment longer, the Enterprise followed that line at hundreds of times the speed of light.
Starbase 12 was a vast, sprawling mushroom in space. One of the largest and newest starbases, it was over nine kilometers in diameter, and its outer section was large enough to envelop even the largest starships, although Enterprise was scheduled to moor to its lower “stalk” section.
“What?” Kirk wasn’t sure she’d heard right. “Admiral Brand, correct me if I’m wrong but you said attempted murder is off the table?” The nightmare she’d suffered last night said otherwise.
“Captain, in point of fact, your recommended charges are advisory only. It is my opinion that we have enough evidence to prosecute assault on a superior officer but not attempted murder.”
“Admiral, I know what he was trying to do. You don’t put your hands on someone’s throat and start squeezing unless you mean to kill them.”
“Very well, Captain. If you insist, I will assign Captain Parnell’s office to assist you. Good day.”
Kirk was seeing red. Admiral Brand had never treated her with this much contempt before. She was already mentally composing her report to Admiral Pike.
In the furthest corner of the office, Kirk ran into a woman in a staff uniform, wearing Captain’s stripes. “You must be Captain Parnell. I’m Captain Kirk. Admiral Brand sent me to talk to you?”
Captain Parnell looked up. A pleasant looking woman, young for her rank - Veronica would guess thirty to her own twenty-six - she had green eyes and dark hair. “So welcome to purgatory, Captain. Any case Brand wants shuffled off into nowhere and disappeared, comes to my desk.” She stood to shake Kirk’s hand and Kirk noted that she was quite tall, perhaps just a little bit shy of her own 180 centimeters.
“Captain, I am trying to push charges of assaulting a superior officer and attempted murder, and Brand isn’t doing anything.”
“Captain Kirk, call me Alicia. My rank means a grand total of crap-all in this ugly back office, there are Lieutenant Commanders with more effective authority than me here. I’ll do what I can do, but I don’t guarantee much. Brand despises me.”
“If I can get Admiral Pike’s office to assist you, Alicia, do you think you could get it done?”
“Definitely. If we can actually push this to trial, Brand will turn a one-eighty. The trick is, getting it there. I’ve been getting the distinct feeling here that Brand’s been pushing down women’s assault cases to die - if you and I can get that out in the open, you’ll not only be getting justice for yourself, Captain - but for every woman who’s been raped or attacked on a starship and found justice closed off to her.”
Kirk’s blue eyes went hard. “Consider it done, Alicia.”
“Veronica, are you related to Admiral Winona Kirk?”
“I am - I’m her daughter.” She felt a rush of pride and pleasure at being able to say that.
“Captain, your mother was my inspiration for entering Starfleet.”
“Mine too.” The old Spock, from the alternate universe, had spoken a lot about her father - but really Winona, not George, had been much more of Veronica’s inspiration. Veronica hadn’t spoken to the old Spock since transition - she was too afraid that he’d look at her and see his old friend, the James Kirk of that world-that-had-never-been.
Spock and Uhura were waiting outside of the office. “Captain?”
“Spock, I need you and Uhura to amass as much video, sensor and biometric data to support the charges against Lieutenant Cu-- I mean Coleman as possible. If possible, I want the last time he took a shit before he attacked me. In the mean time, we need to continue our mission. We only have three days’ layover and we need to take on as many supplies as possible.”
Uhura reached for Kirk’s elbow. “Veronica, Mercedes - Lieutenant Martinez - and I would like to meet with you in Rec Lounge 1, after shift.”
Kirk seemed about to shake her head, thinking of all the work she needed to do, when Spock added, “Captain, the ship can take care of itself. Right now, you need to take care of yourself. When we ship in three days’ time, the Enterprise will need her Captain rested, relaxed and at full health. It is only logical.”
“Also,” added Uhura, “You can dress in anything you want, but you can’t come in uniform.”
Later, Veronica looked blankly into her drawers. On-ship, off-duty wardrobe was pretty limited - she found a pair of light brown, loose-legged pants, though, and a comfortable grey bodysuit. Her mom had bought her this outfit during the long, long shore leave on Earth while Enterprise was being repaired from the battle with Nero. She thought about makeup, left it off of her face. She looked good enough without it. Changed her mind and added eyeshadow and a bit of lipstick - just enough to accentuate the fresh-scrubbed look she was often using. Tucking her phaser into the rolled-over waistband of her pants - she never left quarters without it these days - she headed for the door. And nearly impacted a young woman in a security uniform.
“Veronica Kirk, I’m Chief Petty Officer Sandra Duncan - Mercedes Martinez sent me to escort you to the rec lounge.” Very few crew members were aboard the Enterprise, opting for the more copious entertainment venues on the station, and even fewer questioned why the Captain was in civilian clothes, with an anxious security officer walking with her.
“Do you do this a lot, Chief?” Veronica wasn’t familiar with this, but it made a lot of sense.
“All the time. Many women in the crew request security escorts for routine tasks - it’s easier to feel safe when you’re with someone.”
She shivered a little bit, entering the foliage-filled room. Felt the tension that had sustained her since the attack start to dissipate. Tears started to fall. Tears of anguish, tears of healing. She hadn’t let herself cry like this since... well, since she was twelve.
Uhura let Martinez go first. The two wrapped Veronica in their arms and let her cry. Her words were hard to make out, but she said “I couldn’t stop him” over and over. Mercedes stroked Veronica’s hair softly. She had heard so many women say those words...
After a time, Uhura offered Veronica a tissue and let her blow her nose and blot the tears away from her eyes.
“Thanks... Nyota?” Veronica seemed a bit unsure.
“Uhura is fine, Veronica. I’ve been going by it since childhood, ‘Nyota’ sounds weird coming from anyone but Spock. Anyway... you’ve had a lot of awful experiences lately. Mercedes and I decided that you need some good ones to balance each other out.”
By the end of the night, Veronica had acquired a butterfly tattoo on her right shoulder and a matching one on the inside of her left ankle as well as freshly pierced ears with a simple golden stud in each; Uhura was still tattoo free but had another hole in each ear from which depended a pair of dragons; and Mercedes had a tiny, faceted crystal sphere depending from a new navel piercing, and a small dragon writhed on the inside of her left wrist. All three were quite pleased with their new acquisitions.
Veronica noted with appreciation that three centuries ago, the piercings would have taken weeks of aftercare to make sure that they healed correctly. Now it was just a matter of minutes. The mundane miracles of modern technology, I guess.
Well after 0200, the three sat together in the best restaurant on the station, eating and drinking. Someone from the Enterprise recognized the Captain, which led to a round of drinks on the Captain’s tab. Veronica didn’t mind as long as it got people off her back and got her back to Uhura and Martinez faster.
That night, Veronica slept deeply and soundly, her sleep untroubled by by dark dreams. She slept with one hand covering her new butterfly.
Veronica thought that 0800 was far, far too early for how tired she felt.
Alicia was standing at the Enterprise’s gangway hatch in front of a surprised Captain Kirk. “Captain, permission to board.”
“Permission granted, Captain.”
Alicia continued, “Coleman is refusing our plea deals, so Admiral Brand has put me on detached duty on the Enterprise to continue working with Commander Spock and Lieutenant Uhura on your case. It’ll be a pleasure working with you, Captain, and with them.”
Veronica smiled. “Likewise, Captain. I feel better already.” As Alicia hoisted her duffel bag over her shoulder, Veronica felt a smile come to her face. And did Alicia just intentionally brush her hip, feather-soft, past Veronica’s?
Veronica shook her head to clear it. No matter what else, Alicia was her attorney and a relationship between attorney and client that was not strictly professional was a clear violation of ethics. She wasn’t ready to get into THAT again - not after the screaming email she’d gotten back from Ensign Gaila after trying to break the news to her. Gaila still held her responsible for nearly ending her Starfleet career (to be fair, it was more or less her fault).
A half-hour later, Veronica was sitting at her desk. She was playing with a model of the Enterprise in her hands, in lieu of doing more substantial work.
The door buzzer came. “Enter.” She was expecting Alicia, but instead, Spock was there. Putting the model back on its stand, she waved Spock into the room. “You’re one of three people I need to see in the next two hours, Spock. It’s headache time.”
“How so, Captain?”
“Because I found out why we’re being sent on the contact mission - the Venari are on the border with the Klingons and we could use a new Federation member there... and they asked specifically for Captain James T. Kirk.”
“I do not see the problem, Captain.”
“The problem is that these guys have rather specific ideas about gender roles, and, well, not only am I no longer James Tiberius, there’s no way in hell I could backpass as him. I need some ideas, and we’ve got about three days at warp to figure them out. Sorry, four - I bought us an extra day by slowing to Warp 5 and sending them a message claiming that we’re having coil troubles in one of our nacelles.”
"And are we?"
"Yeah, Scotty says the port nacelle has developed a severe case of Spanneritis. It’ll take a minimum of a day to fix before we can get back up to full cruising speed." One corner of Spock's lips curled upward, the closest the Vulcan ever came to openly smiling.
Kirk cupped her forehead. “Seriously, can’t people just get over this stuff? I mean, people who aren’t experiencing it from the inside?”
“If it helps, Captain? I admire your courage.”
“Thanks... I think it does.”
Five days later
Venar IV rolled serenely under the Enterprise. Veronica thought it was a rather beautiful world, with vast oceans and green-gem continents very reminiscent of Earth. The Venari were a peaceful people with extensive dilithium resources that were more interested in joining the Federation than they were in being forced to join the Klingon Empire, and Captain Kirk was, somehow, specifically in their interest.
“This is... Captain Veronica O. Kirk of the Federation Starship Enterprise. Your planet requested our vessel to discuss peace accords and potential union with the United Federation of Planets.”
“We requested the assistance of James Tiberius Kirk, Captain.” The voice was curiously harsh.
Kirk swallowed a little. “And you have her assistance. But if you’re looking for the man... well I’m afraid he never really existed. Just a shadow puppet.” Spock raised an eyebrow as if to ask, was that not perhaps a bit impolitic? Kirk looked back helplessly, her eyes asking, What was I supposed to say?
The voice replied, neither aggressive nor conciliatory, but... curious, and with perhaps a touch of something else, “I see. We will return to contact in one standard hour. Surface out.”
Kirk slumped lower in her chair. Today was not her day.
As if on cue, Alicia burst onto the bridge. “Captain, I need to borrow Commander Spock and Lieutenant Uhura for about an hour.”
“For the investigation?”
“Exactly. Has the crime scene been altered in any way since the attack?”
Kirk shuddered a little, replaying her assault in her mind. “Negative. Security’s had that corridor roped off with a guard on-duty since... um, since then.”
In the corridor, Uhura scowled. There was a surprising amount of dried blood on the ladder and staining the deck plates. The necessity to avoid disturbing the crime scene - fortunately, this was a relatively little-traveled corridor with plenty of ways to avoid it - meant that it hadn’t been cleaned. She saw the place in the deck where a little blood pooled on the deck - she presumed this had been where Coleman had started choking Veronica.
Coleman. The man had had a major crush on her, which was probably why he’d severely beaten the younger, not-yet-Veronica Kirk for putting a few harmless moves on her. Sure, Veronica’s approach could have used a little work - or a lot - but it hadn’t been worth the beating she’d taken over it. Without Captain Pike there, Coleman had looked like he was going to beat Kirk until she stopped moving.
He’d tried to kill Veronica again, just a few days after she got back on her ship. Uhura still couldn’t believe it. Coleman was a creepy sexist stalker, but to outright attempt to murder someone went far, far too far.
“Uhura?” Alicia’s voice seemed like an explosion in the near-silent corridor. The thrum of the engines wasn’t that far away but it might as well have been all the way across the ship.
“Captain, what the hell is this? A junior security officer goes totally psycho and tries to murder Captain Kirk? How did he think he could ever get away with this?”
Alicia sighed. “I’ve seen it way too many times. A male junior officer thinks a woman higher in rank is getting too much of a sense of herself. Beats her to reinforce the idea that he’s supposed to be in charge. The crime is either unreported with the woman dropping out of Starfleet, or it gets reported but stonewalled by a male JAG officer who thinks that women don’t belong in starship service, and the woman leaves the fleet. Captain Kirk fighting back? Almost unheard of. First I’ve heard of it in at least five years.”
“She kicked Coleman’s ass in a bar four years ago. Would have probably finished him off then, except Coleman had three Academy buddies with him, who overpowered her with numbers. I sometimes got the sense that she wasn’t who she wanted people to believe she was - never had the sense of the sheer magnitude of that truth.”
“What was your first impression of Captain Kirk?”
“At first? I thought she was just another farmboy hitting on me to liven up his dull life. Then at the Academy I thought she was a frat boy with a serious authority problem, though one with really good grades who was plowing through the program like nobody’s business. Very few had ever done a full semester’s courseload over a summer, and nobody had done it in two consecutive summers, not before Cadet Kirk. From what I’ve heard... I think it was because she did not want to go back to that asshole uncle of hers for summer break. I know he beat her... I’m pretty sure he did worse. Spock influenced me somewhat before then, but I think my opinion of her really started to change after the assault. And she’s always been very determined and strong. She’s got the aggressiveness that a good captain needs, and it’s starting to be tempered by some useful caution.”
Alicia dusted her hands. “Let’s get some samples of blood here, and then close this part of the investigation so you can get this ladderway back into operation.”
Uhura nodded. “Then let’s get back to my quarters - I have a search going on, on Coleman’s time records. Trying to track his movements before the attack.”
* * *
The next hour was the longest sixty minutes in Veronica Kirk’s life. Time crawled by with amazing slowness. She could swear she felt the claws of boredom digging into her flesh.
Forty minutes later, she was reduced to playing a casual video game on her chair console. She hadn’t counted on everything being exciting all the time when she joined Starfleet, but commanding a starship shouldn’t be this... boring.
Ten minutes later, she was watching internet videos.
Five minutes later, more videos.
Three minutes... “Help me.”
One minute fifty-nine seconds... boop
“Please tell me something interesting is about to happen.”
“Captain, we have the surface on the line.” The relief communication officer sounded just as bored as she was.
“Patch it through.” She swung her chair back around to face front, then stood and paced down in front of the helm console. “Enterprise, Kirk here.”
“Captain, would it be... acceptable for you to descend to the surface to meet with us face to face?” Now, the voice was conciliatory.
“Acceptable? That’s kind of why I’m here.” Kirk was feeling the situation get weirder and weirder with each passing moment, and she liked it less and less as it did.
“Ten minutes, please. Surface out.”
“Chekov, you’re with me. Security, Lieutenant Martinez?”
“Here, Captain. Just came on-shift.”
“I’m taking an away team to the planet and you’re invited to the party, meet me in Transporter Room 3.”
“Scotty, our atoms are in your capable hands.”
“Of course. Have fun down there, Captain.”
Veronica smiled. “I intend to.”
Veronica materialized on the surface with Lieutenant Martinez and Ensign Chekov in tow. She moved forward to meet the party of Venari. Going over her memory of the cultural briefing, she remembered that diplomats were one of the traditional roles for Venari women - so naturally, the ambassador that was approaching was a woman. But it seemed a little... odd... that two of the women with her were obviously some sort of religious authority figures. It got weirder for her when the priestesses seemed incredibly, deeply interested in her. The Venari were very tall people, with mottled blue-purple skin. Their hair was in various shades of grey from iron to silver, and they seemed to have claws on their index fingertips.
“Welcome to Venar IV. My name is Stana, I am an ambassador to alien peoples.” Lieutenant Martinez was very, very carefully watchful of everyone who was approaching the Captain, but her phaser stayed in its holster.
Veronica smiled. “I have to admit, it’s a little unusual for us to see a species that’s not developed warp capability yet. Usually this would be a breach of the Prime Directive, however...”
“However, we’ve learned to use subspace for communications but not to drive a spacecraft yet. We can’t seem to get the warp fields to work correctly. The Klingon Empire, unfortunately, do not have the same rules about contact that your people, and from what we’ve been able to interpret of their communication frequencies, membership in the Federation is... preferable to us, over domination by the Klingon Empire.”
Kirk nodded, then grinned. “Working out all the problems of warp travel is, I’m told, a real trick. Scotty can tell you about that. Me, I’m just the captain - I say Warp six! and the ship goes.”
The landing party moved further into the heart of the city.
One of the priestesses moved up to Veronica. “What is it like, Captain?”
“What’s what like?”
“To live in a society that lacks specific roles for one to fit into.”
Kirk smiled. “Don’t know, never done it. I don’t think there’s any such thing. Honestly, I... got to be Captain because everybody used to think I was a man.” The cultural briefing hit her just before the priestess spoke again.
“That is still... I was made a Priestess because I was... I believe transsexual is the word in Federation Standard. In my heart, I wanted to be a diplomat. I worked as hard as I could, to be attached to the Foreign Liason Office. There is so much to share between our cultures.”
“I agree with that... from my perspective, your city is beautiful, and different from any culture I’m aware of in the Federation. And yet, I wouldn’t give up my life for anything. I can see what the stars look like up close.”
They walked into a government building.
Several hours later, Lieutenant Uhura’s voice came over Kirk’s communicator. “Captain, we have a severe situation up here.”
“What’s going on?”
“Border outpost 302-36A sent a signal four hours ago that three Klingon warbirds crossed their border into this sector. The trajectory of those warbirds places them here in approximately twelve hours.”
The Enterprise was rated two-to-one superior to the latest class of Klingon warbird - designated D-7 by Starfleet’s Threat Analysis Bureau; who believed that the Klingon class name for these vessels was K’t’inga. Three would be a very, very difficult battle.
“Federation assets in the area, Lieutenant?”
“According to Commander Spock, there are two Federation task forces in the sector. Endeavour task force has been dispatched, but they’re fourteen hours distant; Ushaan-Tor task force is eighteen.”
Veronica nodded grimly, “Then the Enterprise is this world’s only hope.”
The Enterprise prepares to defend a new world from the Klingon Empire!
“We can discuss proper social roles for gender-nonconforming people later,” said Kirk, “Not when one such person and her starship are all that stands between your world and a squadron of Klingon Warbirds. Enterprise out.” She let out a long sigh. One of the elder priestesses had suggested unwisely that Veronica not try to be a warrior. Which of course led to the problem that she already was. Not trying to be would be pointless.
“Chekov, give me all-stations.” The young ensign nodded and hit the appropriate controls.
“Attention all hands, this is Captain Kirk speaking. A Klingon battlegroup is six hours distant. The nearest Federation task force is at least eight hours out. Since we are mobile, the easiest answer would be to warp out and join the fleet, then return in force. However, we’re not going to do that. Every hour that the Klingons have to attack this planet, is an hour that innocent people will die. We’re not going to let that happen - not while I’m Captain of this ship. Let’s make the Klingons wish they’d never heard the name Enterprise.”
Closing the intercom channel, Kirk turned to Spock. “Commander, are those sensor decoys ready to deploy?”
“As ready as we can make them, Captain. They will fool a class-six sensor array into believing that they are a fully active starship, complete with subspace and sensor emissions.”
“Good. We’re not going to punch our way out of this one, it’s going to take as much guile, trickery, and outright deceit as we can muster. We need to keep their attention fully on the Enterprise so they can’t bomb the planet or worse, beam troops down.”
The hours before the battle were tense. Crew members stockpiled spare parts where they might be needed for quick repairs. Bulkheads were closed; security teams distributed throughout the ship for rapid response if the Klingons attempted to board. With each hour, the planetary population huddled a little deeper into their attack shelters.
“Captain, we have a number of small sensor returns rising from the surface.”
On the viewscreen, Lieutenant Uhura pulled up video feed of a squadron of fast attack boats, rising into space to defend their homeworld. Each was probably the right size to haul a six to ten round launcher of photon torpedoes. They could do some real damage, if they survived long enough to get into attack range. Kirk intended for them to. More ships were launching into orbit; the ships flying to join the Enterprise were shedding external fuel tanks every few minutes as they drained them.
“Enterprise to attack squadron. Please station yourselves at decoy Alpha and await our signal.” Supply tenders streamed out from the Enterprise’s shuttlebay.
“Sulu, Chekov - you’re off-duty for the next two hours. I want you two fully rested and alert when we hit those Klingons, so do whatever will help you the most in that regard. Get a nap in if you can.” The helmsman and navigator acknowledged Kirk’s orders and got up to leave the bridge, leaving their console for their relief, a fresh-faced young woman in a blue Sciences uniform and across from her a boy who seemed even younger than Chekov, if that was even possible. Kirk noticed that more women on the ship were wearing tunic and trousers, rather than the minidresses that had been previously common. The Captain truly sets the tone, she mused.
Uhura said, “Starfleet reports they have received our signal; the starships Mason City, Endeavour, and Bobcat are en route, ETA five hours.”
Kirk nodded. “The Klingons will be here in three. This will be determined without them.” She turned to Alicia. “I’m sorry you had to be in the middle of this fight, Captain.”
“I’m not. Just tell me what I have to do, Captain, and I’ll do it.”
“Man the damage control console then.”
Kirk would have reflected on how fast two hours fly by, if she had the time to do so. Instead, she was busy meeting with department heads over ship readiness, touring the areas of the ship most likely to take damage and meeting with crew members for whom she might be writing a ‘we-regret-to-inform-you’ letter in a few hours. Alicia spent the time running damage control scenarios with the teams that she would be coordinating in a few hours; by the time Kirk returned to the bridge, she was handling her console like a seasoned professional.
She returned to the bridge just in time to see Sulu and Chekov return to their posts. “Rest well, gents?”
“He slept, I played a video game,” replied Chekov. Kirk shrugged - whatever the young man needed to be ready for the battle. The two got down to running combat simulations, working out every situation in advance to be ready for everything the Klingons might try. When they finished those simulations, Chekov moved aft to start going over electronic warfare strategy with Uhura.
“And Klingons in five... four... three... two... one...” Three Klingon battlecruisers slammed out of subspace, retracting their warp field radiators into sleek, small nacelles. They weren’t as fast as Starfleet cruisers, but that hardly mattered. “Raise them.”
“On audio, Captain.”
“This is Captain Veronica O. Kirk of the Federation Starship Enterprise. This planet is under the protection of the United Federation of Planets.”
Guttural laughter came back over the channel.
“Really? The Federation wants so much to be soft and womanlike that...”
“SHUT IT.” Kirk growled, and there was no mistaking the danger in her voice. “I am giving you two options. Be peaceful and behave in this system... or else.”
“Channel closed. They’re powering up weapons, Captain.”
“Open a channel to the attack boats. Have two hold position at the torpedo launcher point of the decoys, have the remainder begin their attack runs. Sulu, prepare to fire all phasers, hold fire on photon torpedoes until my mark.”
“Incoming torpedoes.” Nine points of glowing red were already coming.
Veronica gritted her teeth. “Point defense, fire.”
Brilliant, short-ranged energy bolts shot from the rim of the Enterprise’s saucer. They shot down the incoming torpedoes before any managed to strike the ship’s shields.
Suddenly, the likenesses of two Federation starships appeared on the Klingons’ scopes. The coordination of the strike craft was near-perfect; they began firing just as soon as the decoys went hot. The Enterprise evaded, turning gracefully starboard while keeping her main photon tube trained on the enemy.
Sulu suddenly shouted, “Torpedo torpedo torpedo!” One weapon had managed to get past the barrage of point defense fire and slammed the shields. The bridge crew had just enough time to brace.
Below, on deck four, a shield relay broke free from its moorings, spinning out of control, ripping a crewman in half and severely lacerating several others. It embedded itself into the wall. Damage control leaped to repair the broken conduit, as corpsmen worked to staunch the flow of blood from the wounded, but until they could fix it, the shields would be weakened. Hull integrity, at least for now, was maintained - no one wanted to breathe the pitiless vacuum.
On the bridge, Veronica smelled burning plastic. She couldn’t see any smoke or fire, so it was probably something in the ventilation system. “Parnell, report!”
Alicia hung onto her console as another disruptor burst hit the Enterprise. “Two shield couplings broke loose on the port side! One dead, several wounded! Damage control teams are on it. Also, fire suppression system just went active on decks six, seven and eight.” Having given her report, she went back to speaking rapid-fire, sotto voce into her headset, directing the DC teams to the worst of the ship’s damage so they could get systems back online as quickly as possible.
“We can’t leave those missile boats out there, the Klingons will eat them alive. Sulu, bring us around and give them something else to think about!”
The strike craft were taking a terrible pounding. Two had already exploded before even reaching torpedo range. Despite her wounds, the Enterprise fired her phasers at all three Klingons at once, trying to draw their attacks away from the little craft.
“Captain, we’ve definitely got their attention again!” The Enterprise rocked, and Alicia blanched slightly as she saw various damage indicators start lighting up yellow and orange again. She bit her lower lip and started giving orders again.
“Fleet is accelerating to Warp 8 - they’ll be here in ten minutes!” Uhura’s fingers flew across the communication console. Unseen by anyone but her, she reacted with lightning speed to the three Klingon data warfare officers’ attempts to probe and infiltrate the Enterprise’s main computer system, as Chekov fought to do the same to the Klingons.
“Sulu, bring us around on the lead battlecruiser and fire!”
The Enterprise turned to bring her full might to bear on the Klingon lead. All six phaser turrets swiveled hard forward and spat energy, while photons ripped from the forward torpedo tube as quickly as they could be cycled. Precision aimed phaser bolts smashed apart three heavy disruptor cannon, and the remaining strike craft fired their loads of torpedoes before turning away. The hull ruptured, spilling brilliant light and heat before being completely consumed, becoming a twisted wreck slowly rolling over and over in the void.
“They’ve definitely figured out that the other two starships aren’t real. Decoy Alpha is neutralized... and Decoy Beta.” The surviving attack ships arced back for home, getting out of the Klingons’ firing range as quickly as they could. Half-a-dozen were left, out of nearly thirty.
Kirk gnawed on her fingernail nervously, before realizing what she was doing. “Now the fun begins, people. Look lively - we’ve got five minutes of pissed-off Klingons before the cavalry arrives.”
A starship’s shields are a miracle of energy conversion and protective energy theorems - but they are not perfect. Some of the energy that they absorb and deflect ends up transferred to the starship in heat - and when they begin taking damage, the rooms around the shield heat sinks begin heating up very, very quickly.
“We need to do something to get one of these Klingons off our tails, or we’re going to start hurting a lot sooner than five minutes.”
Kirk felt totally serene in the heart of battle. “Bring us behind that asteroid - make them come to us, see if we can’t fight them one at a time!”
As the first remaining Klingon ship came over the limb of the asteroid, the Enterprise engaged tractors on her. It was only enough to nudge her a few dozen metres - but it was enough. The ship’s captain overcorrected and her port nacelle brushed the side of the asteroid, wrecking it and causing a major internal explosion. It didn’t matter if the ship was still intact or not - it was out of the fight.
As the Enterprise closed on the last Klingon ship, Endeavour, Mason City and Bobcat dropped out of warp. Taking up protective positions around the battered flagship, they raised shields and prepared to fire on the enemy.
“Captain, the last Klingon vessel is standing down. Her captain wishes to speak with you.”
An attractive Klingon woman showed up on the monitor. “Captain Veronica Kirk. I am Captain Laressa, of the House of K’ntas. Honor does not require me to die facing you today, and I prefer not to. Allow us to collect our survivors, and we will be on our way with no further trouble to you.”
“It’s done, Captain. We will stand down to Yellow Alert and allow you to gather up all survivors.”
“Today was not a good day to die. Tomorrow may be. Until then, Captain... fight boldly.”
The screen went blank.
“Tell the fleet to stand down to Yellow Alert, but keep weapons active until the Klingons leave the system.”
The intercom light from Engineering was going off. “Scotty, report.”
“We’ve got maybe 10 minutes before we have to start dumping heat, Captain. I hope the fightin’s over?” She could hear Scotty’s heavy breathing - how hot WAS it down there?
“It’s over, Scotty.” Veronica suddenly started feeling the heat on the Bridge as well, starting to come down from her adrenaline high. The ship had handled an amazing pounding from the Klingons. She started looking at the butcher’s bill coming onto her seat consoles and was amazed that the Enterprise had gotten off so lightly, given the outnumbering.
On several sensors, the Enterprise suddenly became a bright-white flare as her radiators began dumping heat overboard.
The last Klingon Warbird maneuvered, being sure to keep her disruptor cannons pointed away from the Starfleet ships, to perform rescue operations on her disabled comrade. When she was finished, Kirk saw the bright flashes of scuttling charges going off, and within a few minutes, the second vessel, like the first, was reduced to a floating, stripped skeleton. At the same time, the Enterprise maneuvered to scan the debris field of destroyed torpedo boats for surviving crew members. It was difficult work, but eventually Chekov managed to find six Venari huddling in a compartment in their craft that had managed to remain airtight and beam them aboard the Enterprise.
Veronica slumped back in her chair as the remaining Warbird warped away into deep space. “That’s a relief. Cancel alert status.” The butcher’s bill had been amazingly cheap. This time. Only a couple dozen casualties, and only two fatalities. It could have been much, much worse.
Uhura said, “Captain, the Venari Speaker is on Channel 5.”
“Captain Kirk of the Enterprise. This is Speaker Aska. Our world gives its greatest and deepest thanks that you, a stranger to our people, stood with us in our hour of greatest need, and defended us against the Klingon Empire. We look forward to deepening our ties with the Federation.”
Veronica smiled. “Speaker, I look forward both professionally and personally to learning more about your people, and to seeing us grow closer together. The Enterprise will be in your orbit for approximately another week until a full detachment of Starfleet can arrive, then we have an urgent appointment.”
“Thank you, Captain. Your people are welcome to come and go as they wish... as are you.”
Several hours later, Veronica was back on the surface. She was greeted by Shenna, the Priestess who had first greeted her, two days ago. “Captain, I trust that your impression of our people has become more favorable?”
“In some ways, yes. The idea of being not just accepted, but honored for my identity has great appeal. However, I still look at your system of gender roles, and I don’t think I’d fit well into it. I think that to me, it would feel like a gilded cage from which I longed to be free...”
“Many of us feel that way as well,” Shenna said, looking down into her robe. Blue-leafed trees rustled in the wind.
“The human race still struggles with the idea that gender is not binary and that genders are traversable by a person in a relatively short time.” Veronica paused to turn over a rock with her boot before continuing. “I have at least one member of my crew, a very talented junior officer who’s going to make an excellent Captain one day, who took a path that our people refer to as ‘deep stealth’ - he is transgender, but he’s taken measures to hide the evidence of being transgender from view so he’s not treated that way. Myself, I didn’t have that option.”
“For all the flaws of my people, I could not imagine living in a society where I felt I had to hide part of who I am,” said Shenna, “I feel very sorry for him.”
“As do I. I hope he changes his mind... being on the Enterprise puts him in a position to do a lot of good.”
Lieutenant Cupcake comes to trial for assaulting Captain Kirk.
The night before the court martial, Kirk sat at her desk, preparing papers for tomorrow morning. “Captain, you have a message coming in on subspace from Starfleet Command. Admiral Pike.”
Kirk smiled as she turned on the monitor. “Admiral, it’s a pleasure to see you, sir. I’m glad to see your physical therapy is coming along.”
Pike smiled back. He was sitting in a straight-backed chair, rather than the wheelchair. “I’m up to walking 15 minutes, every two hours, with minimal pain. I’m a long way from clear for starship duty, but baby steps toward the goal. You’re looking very well, Veronica. Quite pleased with yourself, as well you should - the Venari are ready to join the Federation, the Enterprise came through battle with the Klingons with flying colors, and it’s entirely due to your hard work.”
Veronica smiled again. “Thanks, Admiral, but I can’t take the credit away from my crew. A Captain is only as good as the team that she has working for her. So, we’re ready to get this court martial underway. Admiral Brand’s been stonewalling, but Captain Parnell says she has all she needs to convict on the serious charges.”
Pike nodded. “I can offer my full support, Captain. This is something that has needed to happen in Starfleet for years, maybe decades. The infection needs to be lanced, so the wounds can start healing. Your mother was a fantastic officer, who should have been promoted instead of an early retirement. No surprise, she’s making an absolute killing tech-repping to Starfleet for Newport News.”
Kirk smiled. “That’s going to happen, Admiral. We are going to change things.”
“I’m not sure if this is going to comfort you, Captain, but your mother wanted me to inform you that your uncle was found in a stairwell in Iowa State Penitentiary with a shiv in his back. There were approximately forty to forty-five stab wounds, at least ten of which had been made after he was already dead.”
Kirk nodded. “It brings some closure, at least. Maybe some wounds can heal.” Despite her better instincts, Kirk felt that her uncle’s death was overall a good thing. It meant that he would never hurt another person.
After the call closed, Kirk chased some sleep pills with a glass of water. As Martinez had predicted, nightmares had marred her sleep since the assault. Most nights she could sleep through the night but she could tell tonight was probably going to be bad, so...
She was still mentally chasing her tail until the medicated fog wiped consciousness into blissfully blank slumber.
The Bailiff called, “All rise!” Everyone in the courtroom obeyed. Three Admirals - Jason Brand, Allan Wilson and Tom Jenner - filed into the courtroom. They would form the Board today. “This Board of Court-Martial is now in session. The Honorable Admirals Brand, Wilson and Jenner presiding as judges and jury. The charges, against Lieutenant Edmund Coleman, are the violation of the following Articles of the Starfleet Code of Justice: Article Six-Four-Two-Two: Willful Disobedience Of A Superior Commissioned Officer. Article Eight-Oh-Eight-Three: Aggravated Assault. Article Eight-One-Nine-Two: Attempted Murder, Unpremeditated. Counsel for the Defense is Lieutenant Commander Nathan Dexter, JAG Counsel 3rd Fleet. Prosecuting Officers are Captain Veronica Kirk; Commanding Officer, U.S.S. Enterprise, and Captain Alicia Parnell, JAG Counsel 3rd Fleet.”
Alicia whispered to Veronica, “Wilson and Jenner are a lot more sympathetic than Brand. I think we’ve got a good chance here.”
Counsel for the Defense stood. “Admirals, I move for a dismissal of all charges.”
Admiral Wilson looked at him. “On what grounds, Commander?”
Stony-faced, he responded, “Regulation 619 indicates that an emotionally compromised Starfleet Officer must relieve themselves of duty. Captain Kirk suffers from a mental disorder that compromises her emotional state and is therefore unfit for further Starfleet duty.” Veronica wanted to dig her fingernails into her palm. Instead, her hands remained on the table, loose.
Admiral Wilson replied, “Regulation 619 does not govern treatment of transgender conditions, which are recognized by the Federation Medical Association as medical in nature, not compromising of a person’s emotional stability or state, and that transgender people are fully mentally healthy. Motion denied.”
Lieutenant Commander Dexter looked relieved. “Defense, however, still pleads not guilty.”
Alicia whispered, “I can’t believe Coleman tried that. Ok, I can believe it. I just wish I couldn’t.”
Veronica whispered back, “Same here.” She slid her hands underneath the table to smooth the knee-length dress-uniform skirt, and felt her mind calm. Coleman was not going to get a rise out of her that easily.
“Lieutenant Edmund Coleman, approach the stand to give testimony.” Coleman stood and walked past the prosecution’s table, leaning over Kirk deliberately. “Lieutenant, do not attempt to intimidate the prosecuting officer or her attorney.”
“His attorney,” muttered Coleman under his breath. This time, Kirk did dig her fingernails into her palm. At Alicia’s insistence, her nails wore pale-pink polish, just enough color to be noticeable while being relatively natural.
“Excuse me? I don’t think the court heard that.” Admiral Wilson seemed far, far less than amused.
“I said his attorney. I already said, Kirk isn’t a real woman, or a woman at all, in the first place, why should I care whether he’s intimidated?”
Veronica saw Lieutenant Commander Dexter rubbing the bridge of his nose between his thumb and forefinger, and her heart momentarily went out to him. It wasn’t often that an attorney had a self-destructive idiot for a client.
She, on the other hand, was more determined than ever to absolutely crush what little remained of Coleman’s career. He didn’t belong in that uniform. Alicia touched Veronica’s hand, then lightly squeezed it. We’re going to win this thing.
“State your name for the record.”
“Coleman, Edmund Elwood. Lieutenant. Starfleet Serial Number S932-1120A
“State your most recent posting.”
“Security officer, United Starship Enterprise, NCC-1701.”
“Do you swear to tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, under penalty of perjury and the surrender of all rank and privileges in Starfleet?”
Coleman’s testimony was not only less than flattering, it was downright damaging. He believed that trans women’s only real role in life was as prostitutes. He didn’t have respect for the Captain because she’d ‘thrown away’ her manhood and didn’t have the ‘self-awareness’ to do what she should be doing. Veronica listened to the bile he was throwing out with a certain sick fascination. Are there really human beings who believe this crap?
If Alicia had a swagger in her step when she stood to cross-examine Coleman, she was doing an awfully good job of keeping it from showing. She’d already won and she knew it. Her cross-ex was brief, as Coleman had done enough damage to himself already. She managed to coax Coleman into admitting that he thought that women didn’t belong in Starfleet at all, but by that time it was almost gilding the lily.
Dexter looked aggrieved. Veronica didn’t blame him, much as Coleman’s testimony had churned the acid in her stomach; it wasn’t easy to watch a man flushing his life down the head.
“Captain Veronica Kirk, approach the stand to give testimony.” Kirk squared her shoulders and walked forward - in the wine-red dress uniform of a Line officer of the fleet, she cut a striking figure.
Captain Kirk takes the stand.
“State your name, for the record.”
“Kirk, Veronica Olivia. Captain. Starfleet Serial Number SC937-0176CEC.”
“State your current posting.”
“United Starship Enterprise, NCC-1701. Commanding Officer.”
“Do you swear to tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, under penalty of perjury and the surrender of all rank and privileges in Starfleet?”
“You may begin your testimony, Captain.”
Captain Kirk stood before the three admirals. “Sirs. The incident in question occurred on 2259.45 - Common Era date February 14, 2259. I was performing an inspection tour of the Enterprise’s engineering spaces, which until that point I had made a habit of doing as Captain. I was attacked from the rear right side while near a ladderwell. The attacker was Lieutenant Coleman, who then repeatedly attempted to punch me in the head. I successfully deflected his attack twice, once allowing him to strike and injure his hand against a rung of the ladder, and then attempted to escape. He knocked me down and began choking me, and I have little doubt that he would have choked me to unconsciousness or death if not for the timely intervention of Lieutenant Mercedes Martinez, Chief of Security.”
“Sirs, when I was a child, my uncle, who raised me and my brother, would stop at nothing to push me into his own mold. He was loud, crude and angry. He repeatedly attempted to ‘beat the pussy out’ of me. He called me ‘no one.’ My uncle was recently prosecuted and convicted for child abuse, and was killed in prison. All this because he wanted us to accept him as the sole authority figure in our lives and resented the fact that his sister-in-law was a Starship Commander, one of the four women to hold that position at that time.”
Brand pursed his lips but otherwise gave no response.
“Sirs, in the fleet, as many as sixty percent of new Ensigns graduating Starfleet Academy every year are women. Yet the percentage has reversed by the rank of Lieutenant Commander, fallen to barely over twenty-five percent of Commanders, ten percent of Captains - most of whom serve, as does my attorney, as staff captains, while the majority of male Captains are starship commanders, and of the one hundred Admirals currently serving in Starfleet, only five are women. My own mother, then a Rear Admiral, resigned from the Fleet just two years ago. Admiral, we have presented to the court countless amounts of internet traffic among women currently or formerly serving in Starfleet that many, many women now serving aspire to higher ranks, aspire to starship command, aspire to serving as Captains and Admirals, and that many women formerly serving felt those aspirations quashed by men in higher ranking positions.”
“Captain Kirk, what does this have to do with the charges leveled at Lieutenant Coleman.” Admiral Brand seemed angry; Admirals Wilson and Jenner were holding their tongues, watching the Captain give her speech.
Veronica chose to let a little bit of her own anger show. “I was just getting to that, Admiral! Lieutenant Coleman did not act as a part of any sort of conspiracy. He did not act as anything but a man who was angered that a woman had gotten ahead of him in her career. By his own admission, he is a man who believes that the purpose of women is to act as some kind of help for men, rather than to have our own aspirations and authority in our own right. Until my transition, I had no problems with Lieutenant Coleman, even though I had entered Starfleet after him and advanced much, much faster. However, after transition, he became sullen, difficult to work with, and aggressive toward me, and five days after my return to full duty he assaulted and attempted to kill me. These facts are no longer in dispute, they have been proven by Enterprise system logs, by my own and Lieutenant Martinez’ testimony, and by the excellent analyses provided by Commander Spock and Lieutenant Uhura. These attacks, not just on myself but on many, many other honorably serving Starfleet officers, Sirs, have been suppressed by this office on this Starbase and other JAG offices, by assigning minimal resources to them and by maximally stonewalling them. Because those assaulted were women. In the immediate term, there is no choice but to convict Lieutenant Coleman; in the long term, however, Admiral Christopher Pike, Starfleet Command, has assured me that there will be a top-down review of the dysfunctional command culture.”
Veronica smiled and settled back. Coleman, glaring across the courtroom, mouthed “freak” at her, which she ignored.
Dexter began to cross-examine Veronica. “Captain, it seems to indicate a disturbing lack of discipline that a junior officer on a Federation Starship would assault not just a superior officer, but his Captain. To what do you attribute this lack of discipline? To a lack in yourself as commander, perhaps?”
Veronica smiled. “Absolutely not, Commander. I received monthly officer efficiency evaluations in the ten months prior to the incident, excepting the month in which I was on leave to undergo corrective surgery. In none of those evaluations were my ratings any less than Excellent across the board.”
“Captain, is it not true that you engaged in a fight with the Lieutenant in 2255?”
Veronica remained where she sat. Alicia immediately stood, however, “Objection! This question is irrelevant, Your Honors. Actions, even conflicts which occurred before Captain Kirk joined Starfleet should not bear on the ability of a junior officer to respect his lawful superior.”
The three admirals exchanged words, then Jenner replied, “Sustained. Counsel for the Defense, please stick to questions which are relevant to the case at hand.”
Dexter’s remaining cross-examination was brief and functional, focusing on details of the evidence.
Alicia’s summary was short and summed up the facts of the case. Dexter barely touched on the facts in his summary but spent a lot of time talking about the procedures of the case. Admiral Brand looked ashen, and that was when Kirk knew she’d won. The Admirals conversed for less than twenty minutes before returning to the courtroom.
Admiral Wilson cleared his throat. “This Court finds the defendant: On the charge of violating Article Six-Four-Two-Two, prohibiting willful disobedience: Guilty. On the charge of violating Article Eight-Oh-Eight-Three, prohibiting aggravated assault: Guilty. On the charge of violating Article Eight-One-Nine-Two, prohibiting attempted murder, unpremeditated: Guilty. Under the Starfleet Code of Justice, the punishment for these violations are: Loss of commission, loss of all rights and privileges as a Member of Starfleet, Dishonorable Discharge from Starfleet; additionally, at the pleasure of the Board of Court Martial you will be assigned a penalty of death, or life without possibility of parole in a Starfleet penal facility. Sentencing will follow within thirty standard days. This Board of Court Martial is adjourned.”
The Bailiff called “All rise!” again as the Admirals filed out. Starfleet Police escorted Coleman out of the courtroom, but not before he started screaming “Freak!” until his voice broke.
“The only freak here,” said Veronica, “is the one they just hauled away.”
Lieutenant Commander Dexter crossed the well to the prosecutor’s table. “Congratulations on a successful prosecution, Captain.”
Alicia took his hand and shook it firmly. “Thank you, Commander. My condolences on having to defend a total creep.”
Dexter looked Captain Kirk firmly in the eye. “It was my duty.”
Chapter 8: Epilogue
A bit of wrap-up
During the Prosecution’s victory reception, Veronica found herself staring out into the void beyond the port. She was wearing a soft green dress and a gold bracelet at each wrist. Her hair was still not quite long enough to gather, so it fell free to just above her shoulders, curling gracefully at the ends. She found herself receiving a lot of admirers. Most of the Enterprise’s senior officers had already come by to congratulate and thank Alicia for doing an excellent job for the Captain, and more than a few crewwomen had also come by to thank Veronica for putting Coleman off of their ship for good.
Lieutenant Commander Dexter walked up, nursing a scotch on the rocks. “Congratulations, Captain. There are some clients you defend because you know they’re innocent, and some clients you defend because you know they’re guilty and if you don’t do your duty, they’ll walk. Coleman was in the latter category, and pretty slimy to boot. Made it real unpleasant for me, especially when he started spewing venom at you during his testimony. I’m sorry you had to go through that, Captain. I’m sorry it happened in the first place, even if Coleman isn’t.”
Veronica sighed. “It’s over now, Commander. Justice was done, and your duty discharged. Thank you.”
“Captain Parnell did a bang-up job, Captain. I’m glad to see she’s finally getting the credit she deserves.”
Alicia came up to her from behind. Seeing her reflected in the port with her hair elaborately styled and wearing a stunning cobalt dress, Veronica felt a part of her that she hadn’t really allowed herself to look at again, start to wake up. “Penny for your thoughts, Veronica.”
“What Coleman did was unquestionably his fault, but I should have stayed more on top of things. In a way... I feel like I failed as Captain.” Veronica swirled the wine in her class. After a couple of months, she felt like she was reaching enough emotional stability to drink without it becoming a problem, but she was still very carefully regulating her alcohol. Her last big bender with Scotty felt like it was a lifetime away.
“Veronica, you didn’t fail, and that’s a ridiculous thing to say.” Alicia shook her head. “What he did, he did all of his own accord, with a dysfunctional Fleet culture backing up what he wanted to do. You’re a Captain - not a Goddess. You had no real way of knowing what he was going to try to do to you, and blaming yourself for that is just unreal. What you and I have is a unique opportunity to change the tone in Starfleet. You know, there are a lot of senior women in Starfleet who want justice just as badly as we do.”
Nyota Uhura - wearing a red dress made all the more spectacular for her dark skin - strode up to the two. There was no mistaking the pride in her bearing. “Captain, thank you.”
Veronica feigned ignorance. “Thank me? For what?”
She laughed. “Funny girl. Your recommendation was approved. As of tomorrow morning, oh-six-hundred, I’m a Lieutenant Commander. My duties have also expanded - I’m now Third Officer of the Enterprise, and replacing Lieutenant Commander Denham as head of the Signals Intelligence department.”
Veronica smiled and lifted her glass. “I will drink to that. I can’t think of a better cryptologist for the job. Congratulations, Commander!” She, Martinez, Parnell and Uhura joined their glasses in a toast. “To more women in command!”
Veronica noted, later in the evening, that though Admirals Wilson and Jenner had made brief appearances, Admiral Brand had not shown up at all.
As the party was winding down at 1100, Alicia came up to Veronica again and slid an arm around her waist, comfortably resting it on her hip. Veronica suppressed the urge to moan - it had been ages since someone had touched her with evident desire, and even this simple touch felt beyond good. “Alicia?”
Alicia put a finger to her lips, which Veronica gave in to the urge to kiss. “Hush, Veronica. We’re both of equal rank, answering to different commands, and you’re no longer my client - there are no longer any rules preventing this, and I think we both need and want it. What happens tomorrow will happen tomorrow - we need each other tonight.”
As the two left the recreation bay, Uhura and Martinez traded knowing looks.
The following morning just before 0400, the red alert klaxons went off on the station. “Veronica Kirk and Alicia Parnell, please report to Admiral Brand’s quarters. This is an emergency.” The two scrambled out of bed, into their uniforms - Kirk’s gold and Parnell’s red; identical slashes of silver on their sleeves. When they reached Brand’s quarters, there were two security officers stationed outside.
“Captains. Admiral Brand...”
“Committed suicide?” guessed Alicia, though it was perfectly obvious. The charnel stench of phaser-blasted human flesh was something very difficult to mistake.
“Yes, Captain. There was a phaser discharge in his quarters at 0355. We went to red alert. He’s quite dead. He left a suicide note, addressed to Captain Parnell.”
Captain Alicia Parnell,
I am sorrier than I can adequately express for hindering the advance of your career. In my years at this station, I have always believed that I fought for justice in Starfleet, but you and Captain Kirk have left me with no choice but to acknowledge that I have hindered it for the women serving in uniform. There is nothing that I can possibly do to atone for this.
Before I die, I am recommending that you be promoted to command of this JAG division. If my recommendation is carried out, I ask that you bring the same zeal you brought to Captain Kirk’s case to all cases, that justice be done.
In deep sadness,
Admiral Jason Brand
Judge Advocate General, 3rd Fleet
“Captain, you are provisional commander until Starfleet answers with a permanent commander for this JAG division.”
Alicia nodded. “Admiral Brand’s desires aside, after spending some time on the Enterprise, I’d like to push for a starship command of my own after that. I’ve spent the last two years pushing a desk here at Starbase 12, and I’d maybe like to see a fourth ring on my sleeve before I retire, besides, and the only way to reach Admiral is to have a ship command under your belt.”
Veronica reached for Alicia’s hand. “I don’t know if he wrote that note out of real remorse, or out of desperation, or out of a desire to stick you with the bill, or whatever. All I know is that right now, you’re the best shot we have at bringing some equity and justice here. My mom says, fate brings you where you need to be. Well, right now? We’re here.”
Cast of Characters
Rear Admiral Winona Kirk (Ret.): Mother of George Samuel Kirk, Jr. and Captain Veronica Kirk. Former Captain of the Starship Farragut (NCC-1617).
Rear Admiral (Lower Half) Jason Brand: A Starfleet Judge Advocate General, commander of the 3rd Fleet JAG Office. Part of the Board of Court Martial for Lieutenant Coleman. Committed suicide the next morning.
Rear Admiral (Lower Half) Christopher Pike: A senior Starfleet commander. Mentor of Captain Kirk and former captain of the USS Enterprise.
Captain Veronica Olivia Kirk (formerly James Tiberius): One of the galaxy’s greatest known heroes and a trans woman. She transitioned in 2258 and currently commands the Starship Enterprise (NCC-1701).
Captain Alicia Parnell: JAG officer at Starbase 12 assigned to Captain Kirk’s assault case. After winning the case, romantically involved with Captain Kirk.
Commander Spock: Executive officer and science officer of the Enterprise. One of Captain Kirk’s closest friends.
Lieutenant Commander Leonard H. McCoy: Chief Medical Officer of the Enterprise, Captain Kirk’s closest confidante (although in some ways he has been supplanted in this role by Lieutenant Uhura and Lieutenant Martinez)
Lieutenant Commander Montgomery Scott: Second officer and chief engineer of the Enterprise.
Lieutenant Edmund Coleman: Former security officer aboard the Enterprise. Awaiting execution at Starbase 12 for assaulting and attempting to murder a superior officer, namely Captain Kirk.
Lieutenant Mercedes Martinez: Chief of Security aboard the Enterprise. Close friend of Captain Kirk.
Lieutenant Hikaru Sulu: Helmsman, gunnery officer and chief physicist aboard the Enterprise.
Lieutenant Nyota Uhura: Third Officer, Communications Officer and head of the Intelligence Analysis Department aboard the Enterprise. Promoted to Lieutenant Commander due to her work in investigating Kirk’s case against Lieutenant Coleman. Initially antagonistic to Captain Kirk, she becomes much closer to her after her transition.
Ensign Pavel Andreivich Chekov: 17 year old prodigy, navigator and computer operations officer aboard the Enterprise.
Ensign Gaila: Former lover of Cadet Kirk. Did not take her transition that well.
Frank Kirk: George S. Kirk, Sr.’s brother and Winona Kirk’s brother-in-law. Killed in prison while serving two consecutive twenty-year sentences for aggravated child abuse and an additional 20 for obstruction of justice.
Captain Laressa of House of K’ntas: Commander of the Klingon Warbird Chegh’mup (literal English translation “return strike,” or Reprisal)
As the difference between “creativity” and “plagiarism” is acknowledging your sources, I will now acknowledge mine.
First, an eternal debt of gratitude is owed to Gene Roddenberry and J.J. Abrams for creating such an enticing universe to play in, as well as Bill, Chris, Leonard, Zachary, DeForest, Karl, Nichelle, Zoe, George, John, Walter, Anton, Jimmy and Simon, and so many others...
Also, to Jason Matthew Smith. I'm sure you're a nice guy, it's just your character is such a total jerkwad.
Second, numerous writing partners and friends including Desiree Arceneaux, Penny Sautereau-Fife and Lauren Mitchell (notalwaysweak on AO3) have contributed feedback and encouragement to this work.
Third, my beloved partner, Betsy, who has been amazingly patient with her hard-writing wife,
Fourth, I should acknowledge the influence of various feminist writers upon my voice, including Rita Mae Brown, Ani DiFranco, Julia Serano, Audre Lorde. I am a feminist, and this work is one which is profoundly steeped in feminist thought. I use Star Trek for the same purpose as did Gene Roddenberry for twenty-five years: To comment on the social injustices of the modern world, and point to solutions. The Master's tools will never dismantle the Master's house, and the solution to sexism in the world will not come from men, no matter how well-intentioned they may be. Women must find our place, our voice and our leadership.
And fifth, this story may not even exist without some other writing inspirations. Julie O.’s Julieverse being chief among them, particularly the lower-magic end of her world’s spectrum represented by Special Agent Ally Burns and the Protector series. In some ways, both Captain Alicia Parnell, the love interest for Captain Kirk in this story, and indeed Captain Kirk herself, are both spiritual descendents of Agent Burns and her team: Tough, capable women who fight for justice, and do so within the rules, and to the highest morals that their world aspires.