Fic: To Become Immortal, First You Have to Die
Fandom: Star Trek XI crossover with Highlander
Summary: At some point in the movie, Kirk really did die.
This is a response to this prompt on the Star Trek XI kink meme, aka, the community that has taken over my life.
To Become Immortal, First You Have to Die
He was dead. It was the only thing Winona could think of. All other thoughts were banished from her mind. Her baby, her son, the only link she had to her husband, was lying dead in his crib, after only a week of life. She knew it still happened sometimes, infants dying for no apparent reason, but she never thought it would happen to her baby, to her sweet Jimmy.
She probably wasn’t thinking clearly when she decided to bury the body in secret on a remote corner of the farm. She didn’t want anyone disturbing her Jimmy, not even in death, so she hid him away, digging a deep hole beneath a towering oak tree. She didn’t know how long she knelt there after completing the burial, but she was jolted out of the daze she’d fallen into when she heard a baby’s cry.
At first she figured that she must be hallucinating. She was grieving for Jimmy so much that her mind was trying to comfort her, convince her that he was still alive. But the grave was at her feet, the dirt freshly churned, and still she heard crying. And it was growing louder.
Winona followed the sound, still not thinking clearly, only knowing that she had to find this baby, save it like she couldn’t save her Jimmy, for what baby would be out here without someone to care for it? It surely needed help. She found the child lying in a small bed of wildflowers, naked and looking newly born. She rushed over and picked the baby up, noting that it was a boy, and cuddled him close to her breast. The baby’s crying began to soften into little hiccups as she comforted him and that was when she knew.
She would keep this baby, keep him in the place of her dead Jimmy. He needed a mother and she needed a son and no one would even know. The standard genetic profile wasn’t performed until a child was a month in age so Jimmy’s DNA wasn’t on record yet. There was no reason to run paternity or maternity matches as everyone knew who Jimmy’s parents were. No one would ever suspect that this baby wasn’t her natural born son. And, she resolved, neither would he. She would treat him as Jimmy, he would be Jimmy.
And so it was. The boy grew up as James T. Kirk, son of the deceased hero George Kirk. Winona tried to be the best mother she could be, though she had to take more offworld assignments than she really liked. She made sure, however, that they never lasted for more than a few weeks. And if she sometimes went out to a small corner of the farm and stood by an old oak tree, well, everyone needs to get away, there was nothing unusual about that. And her son, young Jimmy Kirk, grew up into a man who was so like his father that she could sometimes forget he wasn’t truly George’s son.
Dr. McCoy was going through all the medical records from what the media was now referring to as “The Narada Incident,” trying to get everything filed correctly. There had been a lot of injuries treated within a very short span of time so of course paperwork had gone right out the window. But Starfleet was still a bureaucracy and demanded that reports be filed for even the littlest detail.
The only one he had left was the report on Kirk, which he wasn’t looking forward to because it meant he had to explain what he’d done to get Kirk on the Enterprise in the first place. Everything that had happened later was easier. He had been in several fights and been strangled twice but had healed up rather quickly after all the ruckus was over. McCoy had been extremely surprised when bruising was really the only evidence of what had happened, and that had been gone by the next time he’d gotten a chance to see Jim, several days later.
But the mud flea vaccine was different. Sure, Earth was saved and therefore what he’d done was being overlooked. You can’t go about reprimanding people for actions that ultimately saved the entire planet. Still, he didn’t want to write the whole thing down in an official report.
Telling himself that he was merely checking all the available information, but knowing that what he was really doing was procrastinating, McCoy started searching for known results of allergies to the emulsion of the Melvaran mud flea’s internal organs, what the vaccine had been created from. He’d never seen anything like what had happened to Kirk.
After an hour or so of researching and double checking, McCoy felt tempted to throw up his hands in exasperation. Everything he’d read suggested that an allergic reaction like this was fatal without the proper treatment, which he hadn’t provided since he hadn’t known what was happening. He’d treated symptoms, but not the underlying problem, a problem he had caused.
He decided that he probably would never figure out exactly what happened, especially since Kirk wouldn’t be likely to submit to any tests. But at least now he could write up a paper about unusual reactions instead of just the one admitting that he’d deliberately, if unknowningly, given a healthy man a potentially fatal drug that he hadn’t needed. Still, even as he was grateful for it, he wondered how his friend had survived. Jim should be dead.
The very newly minted Captain James T. Kirk was puzzling over something himself. Ever since he’d been on the Enterprise he’d been getting headaches, but they weren’t like any headache he’d ever had before. These didn’t linger. They started suddenly and then stopped just as suddenly. He felt as if he was getting drive-by headaches. It didn’t make any sense.
He figured that he should probably go see Bones but what was he going to tell him? Lingering headaches were a bad sign, as were debilitating headaches. These were neither. They passed within minutes and they weren’t actually all that painful, just enough of a sensation to get his attention. Maybe if he figured out when he was getting the damn things, he could figure out why.
Looking back, he realized that the headaches had actually started almost as soon as he was on the Enterprise. The first time he’d run to the bridge, in fact. At the time, he hadn’t really thought anything of it as he had just been experiencing side effects from Bones’ voodoo. But thinking back, his reactions had stopped before the headache had started.
The next one had been on the drilling platform, maybe just before Sulu had landed. He couldn’t be sure about the timing, everything had been so chaotic. After that, the headaces had always hit when he first entered the bridge. He’d thought it was adrenaline. Even after the Narada was destroyed and the Enterprise started to make her way home, they had all been riding high on what had happened. And he hadn’t let anyone see, but he’d been really nervous every time he sat in the captain’s chair, knowing full well that he didn’t really belong there, not yet.
But the headaches had continued after they brought the Enterprise into dock. Now, though, they seemed much more random. Two or three times a day, sometimes while walking through the Academy grounds, sometimes when he met the rest of the bridge crew for lunch, twice so far in the gym. What was the commonn denominator?
He was pulled out of his musings by someone calling him and another headache flairing up simultaneously. He turned on the bench he’d been sitting at to see Sulu striding towards him, a serious look on his face. “Captain! Congratulations. I was wondering if we could talk somewhere private? I have something rather important to tell you.”
Hikaru Sulu (and yes, he was using his real name this lifetime) had first sensed the other Immortal on the bridge while warping to Vulcan. He’d been unsure which of the three newcomers it had been as none of them had even spared a glance to determine who might be the Immortal they must have sensed. Of couse, it had been a dangerous and time sensitive situation and most Immortals knew better than to advertise their existence in the presence of others. Still, he had expected at least a nod of acknowledgement.
He’d figured out pretty quickly that the Immortal was Cadet Kirk as they followed Pike down to the shuttlebay. Still, the other man had barely spared him a glance and at that point he must have also realized who the other Immortal was, as out of the three men who’d come down from the bridge with him, Spock was Vulcan and, from the way they talked, Pike and Kirk had already known each other. Sulu was the only other option. So why not at least a small gesture to let them both know they’d been recognized (and could agree not to fight until the mission was over)?
As he spent more time around Kirk, Hikaru began to suspect that the man didn’t even realize what he was. His fighting style was, well, young, with no evidence of decades or centuries of practice. He’d seemed surprised at Hikaru’s sword and hadn’t seemed to understand the significance of the fencing hint that Hikaru had dropped. Sure, Kirk certainly appeared to be reckless about his own life, but while most Immortals weren’t too concerned about dying, knowing they’d heal, they still tried hard to avoid doing so around mortals, so as not to allow anyone to discover their secret. Hikaru had been concerned for a minute there that he’d have to help cover up a death by choking during Spock’s outburst on the bridge.
That brought him to the last few days on the Academy. He’d hung around Kirk a few times, just out of sight, to see if the other man would search for the Immortal he must feel. But Kirk hadn’t once even seemed curious. Everything added up to James Kirk being a new Immortal. It was puzzling of course, since everyone knew the story of Kirk’s birth, but Hikaru wasn’t interested in discovering the story behind it, he just wanted to deal with the situation.
Kirk would need a teacher, but he would be out on a starship for who knew how long. That actually made the need for a teacher even more urgent because if Kirk was injured or even died on a mission, all Immortals would be threatened. Well, Hikaru was most likely going to be assigned to the Enterprise as well and with very few Immortals actually in Starfleet, it was likely that they’d be the only two on that ship. That would give him time to train Kirk before he had to actually enter the Game and defend himself from headhunting Immortals.
Resolved to taking a student for the next few years, Hikaru made his way to where Kirk was sitting. “Captain! Congratulations. I was wondering if we could talk somewhere private? I have something rather important to tell you.”
Kirk nodded, a strange expression on his face, as if something had just occurred to him. “This have anything to do with the headaches I seem to get whenever I’m near you?”
Hikaru grinned. It seemed as if Kirk had been figuring a few things out for himself. “Yeah, that’s part of it. But come with me. This conversation is better done away from accidental eavesdropping.”
As Kirk followed him to his room, Hikaru reflected that the next few years would certainly prove to be interesting.
It would be three months before the Enterprise was repaired and ready to for her next mission. Add to the repairs the fact that a good third of her crew, including her captain, still had to finish classes, and it was no wonder that Starfleet wasn’t ready to send them out yet. So for those three months, in every spare moment they had, Sulu and Kirk worked on the new Immortal’s training.
In fact, there was very little free time to do this in, as Kirk not only had classes to finish, but he had the administrative duties of a captain preparing for a mision to take care of as well. That had been one reason (the other was presenting a PR event for the world) that he had been promoted before he had actually graduated. No other captain had learned their job in quite the same hands-on manner.
One of the tasks Kirk had to complete was approving the crew manifest. In some cases, this meant reading the personnel files of crewmembers already assigned to the Enterprise and either accepting or rejecting them (he only rejected one and that was because he knew for a fact the man was violently xenophobic when drunk and no, he didn’t know how the guy had passed the psych exam, but he sent a memo to the appropriate admiral) and in other cases, it meant making his own choices to fill out the roster. He picked every single cadet who had been on the Enterprise when they saved Earth. He found that Sulu was already on the manifest so it wasn’t necessary to request the helmsman be transferred.
Sulu commisioned a collapsible sword like his own be made and presented it to his student a week before they launched. Kirk already had a long sword that he used in practice. Out of practice, he kept it displayed in his quarters. His quirk of liking to “hold history” was already known, so no one commented on the fact that when he started swordplay lessons he got himself a sword, instead of just using one from the gym. Sulu himself used a katana, so that ended any debate about why they weren’t using thin foils.
It just wasn’t possible to keep their sessions private, though they did book a small, little-used gym on the edge of the Academy campus. Still, Sulu was known to be an expert swordsman and Kirk was well-known for various reasons, not the least of which was the saving of Earth. They became something of a draw. This didn’t bother them much. Any discussions about Immortals and the Game took place in Sulu’s quarters (as McCoy had a tendency to just walk into Kirk’s without announcing himself, plus all the reasons people seemed to find to seek him out) and Kirk was still novice enough at the sword that their practice sessions were more tutorial and less sparring and so there was very little chance of either of them being injured and then healing before the crowd.
So it was that they had little reason to wonder when one of the admirals associated with the Academy came to watch them for several days, a calculating expression on her face. They certainly didn’t notice when this same admiral requisitioned and looked through Kirk’s medical records, especially those from the Enterprise. It was routine and didn’t concern them.
Commander Spock was unsure as to why he had been summoned to Admiral Amy Brennan’s office. The Admiral was associated with the Academy but not in any capacity that would bring his classes into her purview. Also, he was planning on transferring to the Enterprise instead of continuing to teach. The Admiralty was aware of this, as he had brought it to their attention at the same time he had withdrawn his resignation.
When he reached the correct office, he keyed the chime and had to wait only seconds before the door slid open. He entered, coming to stand respectively before Admiral Brennan’s desk. The lady in question was a silver-haired Human of approximately sixty years of age. Her face was calm and composed and gave no hint of why she had summoned him.
“Commander Spock.” Her voice was husky with age. “I am aware that you have requested transfer to the Enterprise. What you may not be aware of is the fact that this transfer has not yet gone through.”
Spock nodded, “I had wondered that I had not yet received official orders. May I inquire as to the reason?”
“Because I needed someone very specific to be First Officer and I hadn’t been aware that you were qualified in this area.”
“What area would that be? I am fully capable of fulfilling all duties required of the First Officer of a Constitution class starship.” Unspoken was the question of why this admiral, who normally was not involved with starship crew assignments, had authority over the choice of First Officer. Voicing that query would not be politic.
“I realize that, yes. This would be a qualification that is more - personal - in nature.” She rolled up her left sleeve and angled her inside wrist so that Spock could see the image tatooed there in blue ink. “You are aware of what this means?”
Spock blinked in surprise, a reaction too quick for him to control. He hadn’t even considered this possibility for why he was here. “It is the symbol of the Watchers, an organization that covertly observes the small percentage of Humans who, for an unknown reason, cannot die.”
“Immortals, yes. You know of them from your mother?”
“Affirmative. The Graysons have been Watchers for centuries. My mother informed me of this family tradition when I enlisted in Starfleet and came to Earth.”
“One of the officers on the Enterprise, Hikaru Sulu, is an Immortal. He has been relatively inactive in the game for the past few decades, content to pilot ships of one design or another. Since he was the only Immortal on board and someone who would not require very active monitoring, the Watcher we assigned to the Enterprise is an ensign in maintenance. We didn’t think she would need to get close to her assignment.”
“Logical. But you said he was the only Immortal on board.”
Brennan chuckled, “It has been very recently discovered that another officer on board is newly Immortal, is, in fact, Sulu’s student. As you might know, we like to keep close tabs on new Immortals, find out all we can about them, for future reference. Our current Watcher is not in a position to closely observe this new Immortal, as it is a high-ranking member of the crew.”
“Therefore the reason you wanted a First Officer with specific qualifications, that is, the knowledge of Immortals.”
“Exactly. As First Officer, you will be in a perfect position to keep a detailed Chronicle of our new Immortal.”
“And this Immortal’s identity?”
“Captain James T. Kirk.”
Spock’s eyebrow lifted to his hairline. “Fascinating.”
Kudos to anyone who knows the significance of the Admiral's name.