Disclaimer: The rights to Star Trek belong to Gene Roddenberry, and NuTrek belongs to J.J. Abrams, Orci, and Kurtzman.
A/N: Thanks so much for the review responses from everyone! I originally wrote the first chapter as a oneshot, but you guys convinced me to turn it into a story. So, I did! This is set during Kirk and Spock’s time at Starfleet Academy, but it isn’t set at the academy for the majority of the fic. (You’ll see what I mean later.) For now, enjoy!
Ch. 2: Kirk the Hacker
One Year Later
Cadet Kirk had not given his little run in with the Vulcan Commander a second thought. He plowed ahead in his studies, earning top grades in all of his courses. He secured his position as a Sex God by landing a different conquest every weekend. And when he was not studying, screwing around, or hanging out with his best friend Bones, he worked.
Some Starfleet Cadets worked jobs on campus to earn extra money for the weekends. Some upperclassmen tutored younger Cadets for monetary gain. Still others serviced the shuttles and starships that came into base from space dock. Not Cadet Kirk. He hacked computers, making a considerable profit by putting his problem-solving skills to good use. One job sustained him with enough finances to last him for a few months, until he was offered another hit.
This afternoon he was planning on tackling the job that had arrived earlier that morning via his secret email account. Like all hackers, Kirk had an alias – LighteningSt0rm. He'd created it when he'd been twelve and hadn't bothered to change it since. He was fairly well known in the hacker community. Thanks to his reputation, a few of the major hacking jobs came to him. Customers knew that LighteningSt0rm, while an amateur hacker, had the brains to get the job done.
The young cadet was not only one of the best amateur around, he was also fast. Once he secured the target IP Address, he would run his self-made program to hack through the firewalls. It usually only took about fifteen minutes to gain access to the system. His program had been a bitch to create, but it had been worth it. Thanks to his invention, he hadn’t yet come across a system that he couldn’t hack.
Kirk was just about to head for the computer lab when someone walked into his dorm room. Luckily, this person was well aware of his little ‘hobby’, and while he didn’t approve, he was kind enough to turn a blind eye to Kirk’s computing activities.
“Hey, Bones, you have a com from Joanna,” Kirk announced as his best friend and roommate came in. Sure enough, the light on the com center was blinking, indicating a message had arrived.
“Is it urgent?” McCoy wanted to know. Kirk shrugged.
“I don’t think so. It wasn’t marked urgent. I think widdle Joanna is just missing her daddy,” he explained in a sing-song voice.
“Shut up,” Bones grumbled. “I gotta change and head back to the ER. I’ll get to it later tonight.” He stripped off his bloodied uniform and rooted around in his closet for a fresh one. Kirk watched him thoughtfully. After a minute of this, he asked,
“Hey Bones, why did you marry Jocelyn?” McCoy rolled his eyes.
“Well, Jim, when you love someone and want to commit to them, marriage is usually the step to take.” Kirk shook his head.
“I know that. I meant, why limit yourself to one person? Why embrace monogamy? It just seems so dull.”
“Marriage is anything but dull, Kid,” the doctor laughed. “I was crazy about Jocelyn and she was crazy about me. We were completely devoted to each other, or at least we were for the first few years. Then Jocelyn started hanging out with a bunch of snobby women. They convinced her that she could do better than me, because I was never home.”
“That sucks,” Kirk said diplomatically. Bones shrugged.
“I was working long hours at the hospital trying to save up to buy the house that Jocelyn so desperately wanted. She couldn’t have it both ways. The trouble was, once I’d saved enough money, she could have the house and I could stay at home more. Unfortunately, she wasn’t content to wait. So, we divorced.”
“It seems that most marriages end in pain,” Kirk observed. “People get sick of each other. They quarrel about money or they fight about how to raise their kids. It just happens.”
“Not always,” Bones insisted. “Look at your parents. They had a successful marriage.” Kirk snorted.
“Yeah, if you call my father up and sacrificing himself, leaving my mom alone in this world a success.”
“If he hadn’t, you wouldn’t be here and I wouldn’t have a best friend,” the doctor pointed out.
“True,” Kirk considered, his expression turning wistful. “I just wish I could’ve met him, Bones. I wish that ship had never come and attacked the Kelvin. If only they’d been given a different mission- ”
“You can’t dwell on the ‘what-ifs’, Jim,” Bones said, his voice solemn. “What’s done is done. You can’t change the past.”
“Yeah,” came the despondent response. “I shouldn’t dwell on it. I just – I can’t get it out of my head. If I had been there, if I’d been older, I could’ve saved him.” The doctor grimaced. He had to snap his friend out of his gloomy mood, and fast! It was not natural for Kirk to be so down in the dumps. He was usually so exuberant, always living life to the fullest.
“Dammit, Jim!” Bones cried. “You’ve got too much free time if you’re sitting around thinking about the past. What you need is to get yourself a girlfriend-”
“Or boyfriend-” Kirk cut in.
“Or boyfriend,” Bones amended. “You need someone you can depend on, someone who will care for you. There are times when I won’t always be able to be there for you. You deserve a good partner.”
“I don’t do relationships,” Kirk snapped. “You know that – everyone knows that.”
“That’s just because you haven’t experienced how amazing it is to have a connection with that one special person.” The doctor winced when he realized how sappy he sounded. He really hadn’t quite gotten over Jocelyn yet; the wound still smarted.
“Bones, that crap just isn’t for me!” Kirk insisted. “I’m not the type to fall head over heels in love. Lust maybe,” he amended with a wink. “But not love, not the deep everlasting love you’re talking about.”
“Mark my words, Jim, one day love will find you and turn your world upside down,” McCoy predicted, shaking his finger at his friend. “And, knowing you, it will probably be the person you least expect.” Jim stared at him in horror.
“I’m not marrying Admiral Archer.” Bones let out a great guffaw at that.
“Okay, that is a little farfetched,” the doctor admitted. “But you will get hit by Cupid’s arrow some day, and I just hope I’m there to see it.”
“Dream on, Bones,” Kirk smirked. “I’m perfectly happy living the single life. No rules to tie me down, no real responsibilities, freedom to screw whoever wants me. My life is pretty damn sweet.” He stretched in his chair, projecting an air of complete confidence.
“Lie to yourself all you want, Kid,” Bones said, deadly serious. “But you’re floundering. You want that deep connection probably more than any of us, but you’re afraid to reach out and take it. The sooner you admit that to yourself, the sooner you can be happy.”
“Bullshit,” Kirk muttered, hating how his best friend knew him so well. McCoy rolled his eyes, wondering if Jim would ever grow up. The doctor knew that whoever fell in love with Jim would have to be a saint to put up with all of his BS.
“I gotta go to work. Don’t get into too much trouble while I’m gone,” the doctor warned. Kirk just shot him a wide-eyed “who, me?” gaze. Bones started out the door, but Kirk called after him,
“Is Christine Chapel on your shift tonight?” McCoy turned slowly back around, his cheeks slightly reddened.
“I think so. What’s it to you?” Kirk grinned at him.
“You should ask her out.”
“That’s not going to happen,” McCoy’s voice was flat.
“If you don’t, I will.” Kirk’s grin grew wider at his friend’s appalled reaction.
“You wouldn’t dare!”
“Okay, I wouldn’t,” Jim conceded. “But you should still ask her out. I’ve heard rumors that she’s crushing hard on you.” Bones sighed.
“Jim, a pretty young thing like Christine shouldn’t be with an old codger like me.”
“You’re not old!” Kirk exclaimed. “But at least you admitted she’s pretty.” McCoy scowled at Kirk.
“You always have to have the last word.” Kirk nodded happily.
“I pride myself on that ability. See ya later, Bones!” The doctor grumbled a reply and slunk out of the room.
Kirk shook his head to clear it. What did Bones know about anything? It was his life, and he was going to live it however he pleased! At least Bones hadn’t given him a lecture on the dangers of hacking…
Soon he left his room, taking a book and his ID with him so he could gain access to one of the student computer labs. On his way, the young cadet scarcely crossed paths with anyone. It was the same story once he swiped his card and entered the closest computer lab. Since it was Friday afternoon, the computer labs were mercifully empty. Kirk took the computer in the far corner so he’d be able to run for it if someone happened to come in. He logged on, opened the email, found the IP Address in question, and started up his program.
While the program was running, Kirk lounged in his chair, immersing himself in a centuries-old novel entitled The Tale Of Two Cities, by Charles Dickens. Contrary to popular belief, Kirk was well educated and secretly enjoyed devouring and interpreting the classics. He’d just about reached the climax of the story when his program alerted him that he’d breeched the security measures. However, when it came to unlocking the document his customer wanted, he found it to be encrypted in a code he’d seldom seen used before.
Kirk pulled a few tricks out of his sleeve and was able to decode the document his customer had requested. He didn’t have the reputation for being a genius for nothing! But when Kirk was finally able to read the document in question, he found it to be rather odd. Instead of the usual page upon page, there was just one single page with very few words. Kirk frowned as he tried to figure out what he was looking at. He scrolled down to see if he’d missed something. He hadn’t. Kirk’s eyes returned to the sparse text.
Written in large, capital letters were the words,
Below the heading were a set of deep-space coordinates, presumably leading to the desired location.
The Guardian? What the hell was that supposed to mean? Kirk wracked his brain but couldn’t come up with a likely answer. He was, of course, dying to know where the coordinates led to, but that was not for him to know so he put it out of his mind. Instead, Kirk was more concerned about receiving his paycheck for this day’s work. He checked his chronometer. His customer was supposed to arrive at the lab in a few minutes. Impatiently, the hacker drummed his fingers on the top of the table. Patience had never been his strong point.
Just then, Kirk heard footsteps approaching the door. This was it, he was about to discover the identity of the person who had requested the location of The Guardian, whatever that was. Maybe if he flirted hard enough, his customer would reveal more about this mysterious Guardian…
It turns out his customer wasn’t a person at all. He was a Vulcan, and a very strict one at that if Jim’s friends’ stories were true. He was also exceptionally handsome, if you were into pointy ears. (Kirk definitely was.) Jim Kirk tried in vain to remember the Vulcan Commander’s name. It was something strange that started with an S. Spack? Speck? Spork? Somehow, none of those sounded right. Kirk decided it would be safer not to mention the guy’s name at all.
He’d heard that Vulcans never displayed much emotion, but that didn’t tally with the expression on this one’s face. The poor guy was sporting a ‘deer-caught-in-the-headlights’ look. Then again, Kirk had never heard of a Vulcan committing a crime before. Perhaps that was why this one was nervous.
“Hey, come on in.” Kirk motioned for the Vulcan to enter the lab.
“Good evening,” the Vulcan stiffly replied, closing the door behind him. Customers were often uneasy at completing transactions, due to conflicting morals or some crap like that. It was Kirk’s job to relax them long enough to deliver the goods and pick up his dues. Kirk blinded the Vulcan with his trademark grin and reached out to shake his hand in gratitude.
“I don’t know who I thought I was expecting, but I didn’t think it would be you.”
End Ch. 2