Kirk was so deeply engrossed in his book that he lost track of time, and he didn't have time to hide his reading material before Spock entered Kirk's quarters for their scheduled meeting. The Vulcan came to stand in front of him and surveyed his lounging captain and that captain's Wonder Woman comic book.
Spock raised a disapproving eyebrow. "Comic books," he uttered in a tone that he would probably claim was utterly neutral, though Kirk thought otherwise. "I had not thought that even you would partake of such material."
Kirk grinned up at him, unfazed by Spock's disapproval, because he knew he had an ace in the hole. "I never did before, but you know who gave me this book? Old you."
Spock blinked for a moment before recovering his self-possession. "You lie."
Kirk stood up. "I was gonna just let this go, but nobody calls me a liar." He strode to the viewer on his desk and pressed the button. "Uhura, get me Ambassador Spock on New Vulcan, please."
"Aye, Captain," the communications officer said. "Right away, sir."
Kirk pulled a second chair over to his desk, then sat in front of the viewer and gestured to Spock to take the seat beside him. Spock sat down, looking slightly nonplussed, and Kirk found this quite amusing, though he kept his external demeanor impassive.
It wasn't long before Ambassador Spock's face was displayed on the viewer. The old Vulcan's eyes twinkled at his young friend, then he became more formal when he saw that Spock was also present. "Jim Kirk," he said, "It is always pleasing to see you." He glanced at Spock and then looked back at Kirk. "But I gather this is not a social call."
Kirk leaned back in his chair and smiled at the ambassador. "I do want to catch up with you soon, but for right now, my first officer just called me a liar, and since you're the only person who can prove I'm telling the truth, I called you."
Ambassador Spock inclined his head gravely, in a way that probably looked serious to young Spock, but Kirk could tell that the ambassador was suppressing his sense of humor with difficulty. "Of course, Jim. As always, I stand ready to assist you by any means within my power, so long as it does not entail revealing sensitive details of my timeline."
Kirk held his copy of Wonder Woman up to the viewer. "Where'd I get this from?"
The ambassador looked at the book in Kirk's hand. "Can I assume that you have not procured a second copy?"
Kirk chuckled. "Nope."
Ambassador Spock looked at his counterpart and said, "I gave the comic book to Jim because I thought it would be good for him."
Spock blinked several times, then fixed the ambassador with an intense stare. "Why would you believe such a thing?"
Ambassador Spock said, "The Captain Kirk of my timeline was the greatest captain of his generation, and his efforts were instrumental not only in saving Earth several times but also, upon occasion, the galaxy. Your captain has already saved Earth once and may be called upon to save a Federation planet or even the galaxy at any moment. Yet he does not have the experiences that my captain had."
"Hey," Kirk said, "I'm learning on the job. I'm getting this captain thing down!"
Ambassador Spock shook his head. "With your innate intelligence and your gift for leadership, the mechanics of captaining a starship will come easily to you. It is the intangibles that concern me. The Captain Kirk of my timeline was mentored for several years by Captain Garrovick, whom he respected greatly and saw as a hero. While Kirk was a young officer, Garrovick provided the sort of role model that was essential for Kirk to grow into the great and good man that he became."
Kirk sobered. "But because we lost half of Starfleet in the Battle of Vulcan, I didn't get to grow up slowly or learn what a starship captain should be."
Ambassador Spock inclined his head. "You did not. I have great faith in your abilities, my young friend, but everyone needs inspiration and role models to develop their fullest potential." He looked at Kirk with undisguised affection. "Your potential is so great that you require inspiration and role models of the highest order."
Kirk smiled. "I thought you were crazy when you suggested Wonder Woman, but the more I read her, the better I like her. She can kick some major ass when she has to, but she'd rather make friends with people than kill them. And she knows she's the strongest thing around, but rather than making her cocky, that makes her feel like she owes it to the little people to protect them."
Ambassador Spock smiled, always a disconcerting expression on a Vulcan's face. "And so too did my captain prefer to befriend adversaries if at all possible, killing only when he had no other recourse. So too did my captain feel as if a Starfleet officer's job was to protect not just the Federation but all people."
Young Spock spoke up. "Surely history provides a sufficient quantity of inspiration and role models, without resorting to fictional heroes of dubious verisimilitude."
Ambassador Spock shook his head. "History provides inspiration and role models for the vast majority of all good people, but Jim Kirk's potential is such that most historical personages would be too small to inspire him sufficiently. He requires a hero of sufficient strength, scope, and morality to inspire him to true greatness."
Young Spock looked at the comic book clutched in Kirk's hand, then back at the screen. "Your methods perplex me, but your goal is a worthy one."
Kirk clapped Spock on the shoulder. "Don't worry, Spock; I'll share! You can read Wonder Woman, too."
The young Vulcan stiffened. "I thank you for your offer, Captain, but I believe that Surak provides sufficient inspiration for any Vulcan." Spock looked at his elder self and added, "And I believe there is something you are not telling us."
Ambassador Spock inclined his head. "I compliment you on your perception. In addition to the reasons I have stated, it is also true that the Captain Kirk of my timeline was not the only Captain Kirk besides your own whom I have ever met."
Even Kirk was rocked by this one. "Wait, you've been in a THIRD timeline?"
Ambassador Spock shook his head. "The other Kirk visited my native timeline, sent to it by a transporter malfunction. In his home timeline, the Federation did not exist; instead he served the Terran Empire, an Empire so corrupt that officers advanced in rank by assassinating their superiors and discipline was imposed by a facility called 'the agony booth.' Kirk was also an extremely effective individual in that timeline, but his goals were selfish and his nature evil."
Kirk shuddered slightly, contemplating this. He looked at the ambassador. "So you think I'll be a mover and shaker, no matter what; you just wanna make sure that I'm one of the good guys."
The elder Spock inclined his head. "Precisely. I wish you to use force only as a last resort, to have great compassion for the rights and lives of ordinary people, and to use the potential that is within you for good, rather than purely for your own gratification." He looked at the thin book in Kirk's hand. "Let Diana Prince inspire you to become the great and good man that I know you can be."
Kirk looked down at the book in his hand and then back up at the elder Spock. "I've never had anyone else think that I was so important that I needed the best possible role model. I gotta say, the person I find most inspiring is you."
Ambassador Spock smiled. "I am honored." He turned to the younger Spock and added, "And you owe your captain an apology."
Spock looked seriously at his elder self. "I will give him one, nor will I underestimate either of you again."
Kirk smiled at the ambassador. "I want us to talk longer as soon as I get a chance, but right now I've got a demi-goddess to go live up to."
The ambassador once again gave his disconcerting smile, then raised his hand in the ta'al. His face vanished from the viewer, but his influence — as well as Diana Prince's — would be felt for the rest of their lives ... and that was as it should be.