Jim looked up shyly from the borrowed PADD he had been looking through. He wiped his sweaty palms on his slacks and rose. “I’m James Kirk.”
A guard kind of scowled at him as he surveyed a list he carried with him. “Your parent has come to claim you. Dock 4.”
The guard shrugged. “No clue, kid. Be on your way.”
Jim walked trepidatiously up to the counter where he’d obtained the borrowed PADD. He handed it back to the lady who took it without comment.
Pulling up his hooded sweatshirt, which had been given him by the volunteers at the space station he and the other children had been taken to when they’d been evacuated from Tarsus IV, to cover his head, Jim shuffled over to Dock 4.
He had a ball of dread in his stomach that it would be Frank, his stepfather picking him up.
As he made his way in the direction of the dock, he noticed another one of the kids from the Tarsus Preparatory School standing alone by himself. He was older than Jim by a few years and Vulcan.
All of the students who attended the school had been evacuated as far as Jim knew. The planet was experiencing a dangerous famine and the headmaster of the school decided to send the kids back to their home planets. Jim didn’t know what else had happened since because there was a news block coming from the planet itself.
All the kids had been taken to this space station where they waited until a parent or guardian could collect them. Some students had already been picked up. Jim was among the last, he guessed, and so was the Vulcan. Spock, he remembered.
The Vulcan looked up from the paper book he held in his hands. There was no sign of recognition in his dark eyes as he gazed back blankly at Jim.
“Jim Kirk. The school. We weren’t…you know…in the same year. I think you attended the school longer than I did too.”
When there was no reply, Jim shifted a little, then bit his lip.
“You still waiting for your parents? Spock, right?”
“That is correct to both questions.”
Jim noticed Spock looked a bit blurry. He grimaced, then removed his glasses to wipe them on his shirt. “Sorry, my glasses keep fogging up.”
“It is the moist hot air of this space station.”
“Yeah.” He licked his dry lips and then stuck his glasses back on. “Anyway, I should go as I guess my parent is here. Not sure what to expect.”
Spock did not reply to that, so Jim figured he was certainly not very chatty.
“Could be my mom or my stepdad,” Jim continued. “Hope it’s not him. When will your folks be here?”
“I do not have folks,” Spock said stiffly. “I am expecting my father later this afternoon. He is an ambassador.”
“Ahh.” Jim nodded. “Okay. Well, see you around then, Spock.”
“That is doubtful.”
And that made Jim laugh. Not that it was particularly funny. And he supposed to a Vulcan it wasn’t rude at all, but to Jim? Yeah, okay.
“Right,” he agreed. “Good travels home, Spock. And sorry we never got to know each other at school.”
He expected no answer to this, so he made to turn around and head to Dock 4 to go home with whomever had arrived.
“Live Long and Prosper, Jim Kirk.”
Jim looked back, smiled, and nodded, and continued on his way.
To Jim’s everlasting relief, Frank did not stand waiting. It was his mother, Winona Kirk.
“There you are! That man left an hour ago to tell you I was waiting here.” She shook her head as she opened her arms to him. Jim went to her and allowed her to wrap him in her embrace. “How are you, sweetie?”
“Okay,” he whispered. “Ready to go home.”
“I bet. We have a long shuttle ride home though. Want to eat something first?”
“No, I just want to go home.” Jim pulled back and looked at her.
She yanked down his hoodie. “I can barely see you. What? Are you in disguise? You’re so gaunt. Are you sure?”
“Yeah. Mom? Uh. Frank?”
She hooked her arm with his and drew him forward. “Kicked him to the curb.”
Jim tried not to smile too much, but damn, he felt good.
“Yeah, I think so. His idea of sending you to that school was terrible. And Sam never has come back.”
Jim sighed. “Yeah. Have you heard from him?”
She shook her head sadly. “Looks like it’s just you and me, Jim.” She stopped and turned to him. She tucked a longish strand of hair behind his ear. “Let’s get you something to eat, okay?”
“Sure, okay,” Jim agreed. And as she led him toward the food court, he spotted a rather severe looking older Vulcan headed in the direction they’d come from. Jim would bed that was Spock’s father. He looked kind of mean to Jim, but he hoped he was wrong.