“As a consequence of your new rank, you will be given the duties to which you have demonstrated unswerving ability…the command of a starship”
-Federation President referring to James T. Kirk before the Federation Council
Year One of the Five-Year Mission
James Tiberius Kirk took command of the U.S.S. Enterprise NCC-1701 in 2265, at the age of 32, after Captain Christopher Pike had to be Relieved of Duty after receiving radiation exposure during a horrific accident on an older training vessel saving many young Cadet’s lives. Along with command of the Enterprise Kirk also found his two best friends: Dr. Leonard McCoy and First Officer Lt. Commander Spock. Captain Kirk would also bring longtime friend and confidant Gary Mitchell to serve as a bridge officer but fate had other plans for Lt Cmdr Mitchell.
In this first year, Captain Kirk solidified his command structure by transferring Lt Sulu from Botany to the command division and placing him as helmsman and chief of security. Kirk would also appoint Montgomery Scott as Chief Engineer, a role which he would serve and relish for the rest of his Starfleet career, and up-and-coming officer Lt Nyota Uhura as Communications Officer. Little did Captain Kirk know that, with very few exceptions, the officers he selected for these key roles would go on to become Legends in their own right and serve alongside him with honor and integrity for the next three decades, risking their lives multiple times to stand by his side in his hours of need.
Seeking out New Life
As we all know the mission of the Enterprise is to “Seek out new life and new civilizations and boldly go where no one has gone before” and Captain Kirk and his crew did just that. In one of his earliest missions to planet M-113, to provide supplies and routine medical checkups to the archaeologists working there encountered the last of a species of “salt suckers” native to the planet. In yet another unfortunate series of events, Captain Kirk was forced to fight his longtime friend after the ladder was given godlike powers after being exposed to the energies of the galactic barrier.
When Charles Evans was brought on board Captain Kirk acted much like a surrogate father, teaching the abandoned youth how to interact with other humans and how to be an adult. However, young Charles was given vast amounts of extraordinary abilities by an alien race known as the Thasians.
Later on, Captain Kirk would encounter Trelane “The Squire of Gothos” an individual with extraordinary powers over matter and energy who acted very much like a spoiled child and may or may not have been part of the Q continuum. Trelane only seemed interested in his own amusement and ended up putting Kirk on “trial” and having a duel to the death with him, until outside forces intervened.
Kirk was also responsible for stopping the Romulan intrusion into Federation space after a century of non-hostility following a bloody conflict. In a deadly game of cat-and-mouse, Captain Kirk was forced to destroy the Romulan starship to prevent another conflict from erupting. The season 1 finale of Star Trek Strange New Worlds ”A Quality of Mercy” shows EXACTLY how important that event is to the entire galaxy. if anyone besides Jim Kirk was in the chair, the Federation was fated to be engaged in a decades-long war with countless lives lost and Romulan/Vulcan reunification never happening.
Captain Kirk was a very hands-on ship captain. He didn’t have to micro-manage every single operation but he kept himself aware of the operations being performed on his ship. By the 24th century, he was quoted as being “quite the ladies’ man” and some have misinterpreted that to mean he was somewhat sexist in regards to female crewmen but that couldn’t be farther from the truth as he was shown to give the same respect to every member of his crew. He did, however, have a penchant for not following orders or regulations if it meant helping his ship or crew and he was eventually reprimanded for his actions. Captain Janeway of the U.S.S. Voyager said of all officers of the time period, Kirk included, were “a little quicker to draw their phaser, and a little slower to invoke the Prime Directive,” and that is an accurate summation of Starfleet M.O. in that particular time period. Another defining trait of Kirk’s command ability was the fact he didn’t feel the need to flaunt his authority at every opportunity and had earned the loyalty and respect of his peers and crew.
End of Year One
The first year of Captain Kirks’ mission ended in personal tragedy as his brother and sister-in-law, and the entire colony they lived on were killed by the flying parasites on the Deneva colony. The Enterprise would eventually find a way to stop the parasites and save Kirk’s nephew Peter but he had to live with the sadness of losing his brother.
Thank you for reading and check back in when we continue with Year Two of Captain Kirk’s five-year mission.