“Mr. Kirk! Mr. Kirk! Please! Can we get a quote?”
“One picture! Mr. Kirk, Come on!”
Jim Kirk slipped through the doorway and heaved a sigh of relief when the lock sounded.
“Jesus,” he muttered.
“What did you expect, Jim? You’re famous.”
“I never asked to be famous, Bones.”
Leonard “Bones” McCoy was Jim’s best friend since as long as he could remember. Well, since he got out of Tarsus IV and returned to Earth. He was at Bones’ house. Bones’ wife, Jocelyn, and his daughter, Joanna, were in the kitchen right now. Jim could hear them.
“Didn’t you?” Bones shook his head and went over to his bar. He took out a glass. “You want a drink?”
Jim looked out the window at the press. “Yeah. I sure could use one.”
“Jim, didn’t you think hunting down and killing Governor Kodos would make you the hero of the Universe?”
“No. I just-he killed so many people, Bones. I never wanted to be famous or a hero.” Jim ran his fingers through his hair. “I didn’t even intend to kill him. I wanted to bring him in for a trial.”
Bones sighed and walked over with his drink, squeezing his shoulder. “I know. Here.”
Jim had been involved with Kodos’ daughter, Lenore. He hadn’t intended for that to happen either. He met her at a play, she performed Shakespeare. With her father. And then he’d realized just who the old man was.
Kodos, and Lenore, would not let Jim take him in for a trial to face his Tarsus IV crimes.
And now Kodos was dead, Lenore was locked up as insane, and Jim had infamy he’d never wanted.
Jim stared at the amber liquid in the glass. “What am I supposed to do, Bones? I can’t live like this. And you certainly don’t need me staying here with you.”
“Well.” Bones pulled Jim over to his couch. “We’ve been talking and—”
“The wife and me. We think maybe it would be best if you went somewhere, kind of remote, you know, laid low for a while, eventually, maybe, they’d forget and leave you alone.”
“Like where? They know I come from Riverside, Iowa. They’re swarming the farmhouse, too.”
Bones nodded. “I know. I was thinking more remote.”
“Another country?” Jim wondered.
Jim clenched his fist. He could feel his stomach turning over. “Leave Earth? Again? I just got back from Planet Q.”
“I know.” Bones patted Jim’s leg. “Jocelyn had a recommendation.”
“A recommendation? Jocelyn?”
Jim blinked. “Wait. What? Vulcan?”
Bones nodded. “Think about it, Jim. There’s no way the press will expect you to be on Vulcan. To hide out there with a bunch of hobgoblins?”
“No offense. But you know how they are. Bunch of heartless logical beings. They won’t tolerate the press and their nonsense.”
“I don’t know, Bones. Would they even allow it?”
Bones smiled. “Jocelyn has a friend on Vulcan.”
“Jocelyn? Your Jocelyn?” Jim would never admit it but he didn’t really like Bones’ wife. She wasn’t very nice to either Bones or Joanna, who Jim adored.
“Yeah, she knew T’Pring from a class they both took at a Science Center on Andoria a few years back.”
“Yes. She’s already been in touch with T’Pring and there’s a home there that T’Pring says has been empty since the old Vulcan who lived there passed on.”
“It’s a good solution, Jim. You don’t have to, of course.”
The doorbell rang.
Jim grimaced. “I’ll get it.” He stomped over to the door.
“Mr. Kirk, can you just tell us what it was like to kill—”
Jim slammed the door closed. Leaned against it. Eyes wide, he turned to face Bones.
“Okay. Yeah. Vulcan.”
The Vulcan woman who greeted his shuttle was beautiful in a cold sort of way. Her dark hair had been braided and pinned to her head in an elaborate hairdo. She wore long robes of white and gold and green. She appeared very regal.
“It is our custom to wait to be give permission to use a name,” she said coolly.
“No offense is taken where none is meant. I am T’Pring, and you may have my name.”
“I assumed so.” She looked down her pert little nose at him. “You are the infamous James Kirk who all the Universe is holding out as a hero?”
“Um.” Jim shifted, uncomfortably. Vulcan was really hot. And she was really cold. “I guess.”
“There is no heroism in taking a life. All life is precious.”
Jim didn’t think a man who had killed four thousand people was precious but neither had he taken pleasure in Kodos’ death. He said nothing.
“Come, I will show you to the house.”
Jim followed after her to a hover car, which he got into. They left the main city, Jim noticed, and went to an area that was clearly residential. She stopped before the furthest house out.
“This is Steran’s home.”
“The elder who lived here prior to passing on. Per the request I was given by Jocelyn McCoy, I have had the house stocked with provisions for your stay.”
Jim nodded. “Thank you.”
“Your thanks are unnecessary. The provisions will last for one month. When that month has ended, I will bring more.”
“Okay. But what if—”
“You will not contact me otherwise.”
Jim frowned. “Wait, what?”
T’Pring shook her head. “We are not friends, James Kirk. You are merely here for a favor I am doing for an acquaintance I once found tolerable. There will be no reason for you to contact me.” As they got out of the hover car, T’Pring pointed at a home several houses away. “That is my home with my husband, Stonn. He will not welcome you.”
Friendly bunch, Jim thought. But he nodded anyway. “All right. Did you want to come in?”
She arched a brow. “For what purpose? It has already been keyed with your print. To enter, put your thumb on the lock. Goodbye, James Kirk.”
He watched her get back into the hover car and drive away.
“Are you sure about this, Bones?” Jim asked out loud. At least he wasn’t being followed by either the paparazzi or worse…the Federation and their Starfleet goons. They’d been harassing Jim ever since the magistrate had decreed Jim wouldn’t be charged with Kodos’ murder. They wanted him to join, to go to their Academy.
At the moment, Jim didn’t know what he wanted to do. Or be. Other than left alone.
He went to the door and put his thumb over the lock. Sure enough it snicked open.
He stepped inside to the dark house.
They came on, bright, lighting up the entire house. It was cool inside. There was a kitchen, a living room, and from what Jim could see one bedroom and a bathroom. It was a small home, but it would suit his purposes. He set his luggage down in the middle of the living room, chewing his lip.
How long would his fame last? He hoped it would blow over soon.