Sunday, August 29, 2010

Captain's Log Challenge 0810.29 "...more than a question of style..."

"I don't get it," Jim Kirk muttered angrily

Pike smiled wryly and began to step through the door. "You will." Then the door was closed and he was gone.

"I don't," Kirk glowered at the closed door. "I said I don't get it!"

"That makes two of us," Admiral Kirk added with a resigned grin. "That was Chris Pike?"

"Nobody calls him Chris. I don't think his parents even call him 'Chris'. That was Admiral Christopher Horatio Pike. Who the hell are you?"

"Call me Jim. I'm afraid I don't recognize your uniform. Who-?"

"James Tiberius Kirk. USS Enterprise. Starfleet. I suppose they didn't have uniforms this nice when you got your first command."

Admiral Kirk's eyes widened, but he covered it by smiling. "Oh, we had something like that, but the collars were hell, and the fabric didn't breath."

"Look, I don't understand where we are, or why we're here. And I really don't get why my uniform is so important to you."

Admiral Kirk suddenly started to take in his surroundings. "Actually the uniform is the least important-"

"Then wha-" Jim Kirk stopped in mid sentence as he too took in his surroundings. "Where are we?"

"I've been here before, long ago, and strangely enough, on a planet lightyears away. It's a bar, called 'The Captain's Table'."

Jim Kirk picked a glass up off the bar and blew a thick coating of dust off of it. "Must be a pretty popular place." He started to open up cabinets and compartments. "Do they serve Budweiser classic in this place?"

Admiral Kirk moved behind the bar like he owned it, and pulled out a dusty bottle. "This is better. Saurian Brandy." He poured two drinks, handing one to Jim. "Cheers."

Jim Kirk drank it in one shot and grimaced. "How long has that been sitting there?"

Kirk lifted the curve-necked bottle and looked. "2265."

"Good trick," the younger one answered. "Last time I checked, it was 2263."

"This isn't your typical bar," Kirk said. "Do you mind if I ask you a personal question?"

"How personal?"

"Personal. It's important." Kirk poured another shot of brandy. "About your father."

Jim Kirk threw the shot back. "If you have to. I don't know too much about him."

"Let me put it this way. How much are you your father's son?"

Jim looked away, his eyes moving along a wall that had several empty mounts where decorations must have been displayed. "Kind of hard to say, considering that he died about thirty seconds after I was born."

"Sorry. I could have put that better. What I meant to ask was, how has your life been shaped by him? By how he died?"

"It didn't help. I grew up with a stepfather that hated me, and a mother who spent more time off-planet than on."

Admiral Kirk looked at the younger Kirk, taking him in fully. He was different. Very different. And it was so much more than a question of style "Yet you've grown past all that."

"I didn't have much of a choice," Kirk answered. "And if it hadn't been for Pike..." His words trailed off. "Who are you? Where do I know you from?"

"I knew my father. He inspired me to do the things I've done. But where you've had Admiral Pike, I lost that mentor. I also lost a son."

Jim Kirk was suddenly uncomfortable with the older man's obvious pain. "Sorry to hear that."

"I've come to terms with it. It'll always be there, but you learn to live with it. But..."

"But what?"

Admiral Kirk answered by pouring a third drink. "Take this one a bit slower, Jim. Enjoy it." He raised the glass to the young man who was so much him, and so much someone completely different. "To missed opportunities."

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