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fic: Not the Enemy, Star Trek reboot, GEN

Title: Not the Enemy
Author: Sundara
Pairing/Genre: Jim Kirk, Spock, crew; Gen
Rating: G
A/N: This continues my look at a 2009 movie scene I first explored in Innocence Lost. Prior reading of that story not necessary, but it would certainly help establish context.

Not the Enemy

Jim didn’t think about it until later. If it had been a test, he would have flunked it. A red alert, a dire crisis, the captain not aboard ship—there was no question. The first officer should have been on the bridge.

It never even crossed his mind to leave the transporter room. He was glued to Chekov at the control board, leaning over the kid’s shoulder and watching Spock’s tracking blip move across the screen and disappear into the mountain, cursing Spock in his mind the entire time. He kept one eye on the other screen, where planetary fluctuations displayed in a beautiful, multi-colored graph form as Chekov muttered out loud about expanding event horizons and mantle cohesiveness, and that Spock had less than one minute left.

When Spock called the ship forty-seven seconds after disappearing, time seemed to slow down around Jim. He could hear Sulu breathing heavily next to him, hear the tap and slide of Chekov’s fingers as he struggled with the controls, as he mumbled under his breath at the wavering gravity readings interfering with the transporter signal.

He could feel the pulse and push of adrenaline in his bloodstream, his own elevated heartbeat pounding in his chest, in his ears. He wanted to reach out and grab the controls away from Chekov’s furiously moving fingers because it was taking too long, it was taking too goddamn long—

“I’m losing her, I’m losing her!” Chekov cried, frantic, and Jim’s heart jumped into his throat.

Losing who, who

Figures began to solidify on the transporter pad, energy whirling white and concealing until it faded, six people standing there, Spock standing, dirt smeared on his face and tunic, hand outstretched and a look in his eyes, on his face, that Jim wouldn’t wish on his worst enemy.


Time jerked into normal flow as Jim understood with crystal-edged clarity. Jim was a lot of things: angry and self-destructive at times, yes, but never deliberately cruel. His thoughts earlier that day, seemingly eons ago, came back to haunt him now.

“You of all people should know, cadet Kirk, a captain cannot cheat death.” The Vulcan commander seemed to Jim almost to gloat over the logic he employed so pointedly to make the case against him.

“ I of all people….” Jim couldn’t help curling in on himself in response to the subtle attack. Non-emotional Vulcan bastard…let’s see how you’d like it if someone important to you was killed and some asshole calmly smeared your face in it in front of all your peers.

Let’s see how you’d like it if someone important to you was killed

Horror rose sharp and fast in Jim. He had to look down, look away from the broken, lost look on Spock’s face. Never in a million years would he have wanted that to happen, not really. It had been a knee-jerk thought, fueled by the hurt he’d felt at what seemed like casual, thoughtless cruelty by the other officer.

Then again, he’d learned his achilles’ heel in that moment before the entire academy. It had robbed him of coherent thought, made him lose the hastily constructed argument he’d formed. Saved by the crisis, as everyone had hurried away, Jim’s honest doubts about himself rose to the surface. What kind of command officer could he be if he was so easily derailed in crisis, so unable to apply the necessary strategies to the situation so he could achieve his goals?

Spock was now facing that same test, and the fate of everything hung in the balance.

Something stirred in Jim, some inchoate understanding. It rejected this devastation. It should not have happened. Twenty-five years ago, his own father should not have died. Six billion sentient beings, plus one, should not being dying on a collapsing planet.

Something dark and powerful, something inflexibly resolute pushed at the back of Jim’s mind, urging him to action. No one else will die at this madman’s hands, he swore to himself, not if I have anything to say about it.

That was a problem, because everyone in the Federation was now at risk. With the home fleet destroyed, only the Enterprise stood between Nero and annihilation. And Spock was in command.

Jim looked back up at the tableau of Vulcans still motionless on the pad. Shock, at the very least. They needed medical attention; the ship needed its captain.

The comm whistled, breaking the tense silence. "Bridge to Mr. Kirk.  I've engaged sublight engines to avoid getting caught in the gravitational well being created as...as...." Lt. Pierson's voice faltered.

The Enterprise and its crew needed its First. The Captain—Jim looked up at the devastated Vulcan. Spock needed him.

Jim cleared his throat as he pushed the comm button.




( 11 spoke — Speak )
Jul. 22nd, 2009 11:36 pm (UTC)
I really enjoyed this. It's a very quick moment in the film but it hangs on me. And the looks on Kirk's and Sulu's faces...

Very well done.
Jul. 22nd, 2009 11:56 pm (UTC)
Thank you! Yes, it's one of those moments in the movie that can race by you too quickly, but after many rewatchings, it hit me hard. I'm so glad other people reacted that way, too!
Jul. 23rd, 2009 12:17 am (UTC)
Wow, very interesting look at the meaning of that moment in the trial. :D
Jul. 23rd, 2009 01:00 am (UTC)
During the 'trial', I don't think Jim was thinking very clearly. I think he was blindsided because the staff didn't get what he meant by his act, and then Spock was so obviously not a happy camper.... His dad is, to me, his biggest Red Button. It's something he's never really reconciled in his life, and Spock stomped on that button pretty hard. Jim's reaction should be equally strong--and not exactly clear-thinking (yet). I think it's the tests he goes through with Spock and Nero that brings everything into clarity and balance. Truly a trial by fire!
Jul. 23rd, 2009 02:36 am (UTC)
oooh, this is goooooood. *and you used the 47 seconds, heh*
Jul. 23rd, 2009 03:55 am (UTC)
*smooch* Well, it's a different 47 seconds, now isn't it?? LOL Completely unconscious, I assure you. But hysterical nonetheless. All moved?
Jul. 23rd, 2009 12:39 pm (UTC)
I really enjoyed this. It was such a life changing few minutes for them all, it needed this type of exploration.
Jul. 23rd, 2009 06:14 pm (UTC)
Thank you! I'm so glad you enjoyed it...it really was one of the most pivotal moments of the movie, IMO, even though it went by so damn fast. (Everything went by too fast! They crammed a lot of action in that movie.)
Jul. 26th, 2009 04:59 pm (UTC)
Y'know, when I first watched the movie, & Spock brought up George Kirk during the hearing, I thought, "Oh dude, that's just low."

And when Amanda was killed, "Damn, karma's a harsh bitch." I really felt bad for Spock, but kinda like Jim here, I went there...

Which reminds me, I'd like to read a fic where Spock apologizes to Jim for trivializing his father's death. (It's always Jim apologizing for provoking Spock with his mom.) And, how did Chekov know that signal or whatnot was a "her"? Can the equipment really tell?
Jul. 27th, 2009 12:25 pm (UTC)
I'm so glad someone else thought that.... However logical an argument it was, it really pushed all of Jim's buttons. It's interesting that a loss of a parent is now one of their biggest shared similarities...the loss hit both *so deeply*, tho' in different ways. Yes, a story wherein they both acknowledge that similarity, and Spock acknowledges/apologies to Jim would be a great idea!

As for Chekov and the mysterious gendered signal? Well, I can only assume that transporter signals a la 2009 are much more sophisticated and unique than they were in 1966! :-) Perhaps they can utilize a combination of visual signal also to 'see' what they're grabbing?
Oct. 29th, 2009 07:32 pm (UTC)
I'm caught in a dilemma; on the one hand, my instinct to analyze everything is fascinated by your literary technique; on the other, my eyes are welling with tears.

Putting Jim's revelation into the direct middle of the piece gave it a dynamic structure that was surprising, surprising in the horrifying sense, so that I was overwhelmed by a sense of shock. Jim's immediate self-doubts, his resolution to make a decision now were wonderfully dialectic, ringing true not only with the title of the piece, but also on the purely psychological level. I was filled with a sense of longing for Spock - you did not only describe his devastation, but made it palpable. Thank you for another fantastic, moving and insightful piece.
( 11 spoke — Speak )