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An Adventure That Comes With a Breathtaking View

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Christopher Pike sighs heavily at the PADD in front of him, and squares his shoulders back before turning toward the beaten and bloody kid nursing a beer at the table behind him. “So,” he starts, “James Tiberius Kirk. Hell of a thing.”

Kirk, to his credit, does little more than lift his beer in acknowledgement before taking another swig. “And who exactly are you, Captain?”

Chris arches an eyebrow in a move he’ll never admit he’s borrowed from his colleague, Commander Spock. “Nice to see you know enough about Starfleet that you can count the pips on a shirt,” he says wryly.

Kirk laughs at that, and Chris tries to ignore how harsh and humorless the sound is. “I know a hell of a lot more than that, sir.”

At this, Chris sits down across from the kid, and signals the barkeep for a beer of his own. “I have any number of recruitment speeches I could give you, kid, up to and including dragging out what your father managed to do in his time in the chair, but something tells me that’s not going to be enough here.”

“I dunno, man,” Jim drawls, “you could try. Not saying you have much of a chance, but you could try.”

Chris takes a deep swig of his drink, and plonks the bottle down on the table with a resonating thud. “How about you just tell me what you’d need to join up.”

Kirk tilts his head and squints, a feat Chris imagines isn’t easy given the bruise blooming around one eye, and the small cuts near the other. “Why do you want me so badly, Captain Whose-Name-I-Still-Don’t-Know?”

Chris laughs and lifts his drink in concession; “It’s Pike, son. Captain Christopher Pike. For now, let’s just stick with Chris.”

Jim clinks his bottle against Chris’s and takes a sip. “Okay, Chris. Why is Starfleet suddenly interested in little ol’ me? It’s not like I’ve been off their radar, what with the whole Tarsus IV incident. But they start building their new flagship and I’m supposed to believe it’s sheer coincidence you’re here recruiting me?”

Chris takes another swig, considering. “Fair points all around, Kirk. Honestly, I’m surprised you’d mention T-4; last I saw you, you were kicking and screaming and denying medical attention.” He watches as the color drains from Kirk’s face, and the cockiness previously visible in his eyes fades away. “Yeah, kid, I was on the Farragut during the rescue mission. I never set foot on the planet, but I was there in the room as they beamed the survivors up. You probably don’t remember, but you actually kicked me so hard in the face that you--”

“Broke your nose! Holy shit, that was you?” Kirk winces apologetically and hesitates before shrugging. “Serves you right, you tried to pull me away from my kids. Anyway, T-4 is just another in a series of fucked up things I’ve dealt with. No point denying it. But you still haven’t told me why you’re after me now.”

“Honestly? I had no clue where you were. I just came in to get a drink before heading back to the Academy tomorrow, found a couple of my cadets in a brawl with a local, and broke it up. Wasn’t til the barkeep said your name that I even realized what was going on.” He pauses to take a drink, and signals for another. “As for recruiting you...like I said, I’ve got any number of speeches I can give. How your father didn’t believe in no-win scenarios, and I think that’s something Starfleet’s lost. How you’re the only repeat offender I’ve ever met with a genius IQ. Or even how I feel like I owe you - Starfleet owes you - something better than being mopped up off the floor of an Iowa bar.”

Jim swipes Chris’s beer, as his own is now empty, and takes a deep pull before passing it back. “One condition then, Pike.”

Chris leans forward, trying to hide his eagerness. “Name it.”

“Make me anyone but George Kirk’s son.”

“I….what?”

Jim shrugs, extending both his arms before dropping them dramatically. “You and I both know that if I roll into the Academy with you, everyone is going to assume I’m only getting in on my name. Forget the fact that I have a genius IQ, forget my several doctorates and aptitude tests. Nobody will see past my name. Help me change it and hide my past, and I swear I’ll be the model cadet.”

Chris sighs heavily and gulps down the last of his beer, before perking back up with a sudden thought. “I can’t just falsify your records, son,” he says, holding up a hand as Kirk begins to droop in response. “But, if you were married, I could file a simple piece of paperwork that seals all of your records prior to marriage, save your school and aptitude results.”

Jim laughs, and says, “No offense, old man, but I’m pretty sure you being my sugar daddy won’t do much better for me in terms of accusations of nepotism.”

“Not me, you buffoon,” Chris laughs. “First of all, my husband would protest. Secondly, you are absolutely not my type.”

Jim waves his hand, a smile still on his face. “I’m everyone’s type, Chris, but okay. Who then?”

Chris grins, wolfish this time, knowing he has Kirk in his grasp, and realizing he has the perfect candidate who would also benefit from sealed records. “His name is Leonard. Doctor Leonard McCoy….”