A Disquiet Follows my Soul

Chapter 4

Kirk got up woozily, as if he had drank a little too much and was nursing a hangover.

Pull it together, Jim, he thought. I have to prove Q wrong.

He looked around the ship, satisfied that the Bridge was largely intact, with only a few things scattered, and most of the crew conscious. Kirk saw Mitchell, lying there on the ground, a large bruise on his head, and not moving. He crawled over to him, but was cut off by Bones.

"Jim, I got it," Bones said, as he quickly procured a stretcher and, with the help of a couple others, carried him away to Med Bay.

Kirk and most of the others then managed to get into their respective positions on the Bridge. Kirk leaned back in his chair, sighed, and said,

"Mr. Sulu, damage report."

Sulu's eyes darted across his display as he digested the information being presented at him rapidly, before the computer compiled most of the information into relatively neat sections.

"Minor structural damage throughout the ship, and a few leaks on Decks 3, 7, 15, and 18-21. Equipment in Med Bay's all over the place, but they're cleaning that up. Shield generators are shaky, but we'll take care of that soon. Weapons are online, and phaser banks charged. Hull plating is mostly intact, though some crumpling, and the deflector dish is online," Sulu said. Kirk nodded.

"Mr. Spock," Kirk said, turning to face the Science Console. "Any news?"

Spock looked over the display.

"We appear to be over Halkan, but with a drastically different surface and biosphere than expected. Sensors indicate several craters, scorch marks, and crust disintegration throughout the planet, along with very few life-signs. There also appears to be-"

"Captain! Ship approaching at Warp Factor 5, bearing 3-5-4, bearing 3-4-2!" Sulu reported. Kirk's expression hardened.

"Turn the ship about to align with the approach vector. Raise shields, and secure equipment in Med Bay. Charge weapons, and prepare to load torpedoes into the launchers," Kirk ordered, as Sulu's fingers flew across the console as he complied with his demands.

The viewscreen switched to an optical sensor on the fore of the ship, granting the Bridge crew full view of the area in front of the ship.

"Ship arriving in 3… 2… 1… Now."

The ship Kirk was facing was one that he never thought he'd see again. At least in person.

Her primary hull was circular, but less streamlined than the Enterprise's. She had a long, slender neck, with slicked back edges that slowly disappeared into the Secondary Hull. Her pylons were heavyset, yet gentle, blunt in the front and tapering off in the back, and the nacelles were large, larger than the Enterprise's nacelles and tapered off quickly towards the end, ending with a sleek set of warp fins. Her Engineering section was relatively bulky, with a clearly defined midsection that abruptly at the Hangar Bay, and a deflector dish that clearly stood out on the Secondary Hull, signifying it as an older version of the Enterprise's own. Kirk's hands tightened on his chair armrests, and his expression became that of wistfulness, and regret. Most of the crew's expressions were of similar magnitude as they realized what the ship in front of them was.

The Enterprise.

Kirk looked over the entire ship, inspecting every detail of it, remembering every curve, and noticing every minor difference.

He remembered this version of the Enterprise. This was the one from before his five-year mission, before the ship was heavily damaged in-

Shit, Kirk thought, as he looked farther up the ship, and noticed for the first time the yellow claw-like markings on the Primary Hull, and the yellow sword being thrust through the Earth, and realized what the ship stood for. Not again.

"Captain, we're being hailed," Sulu said, breaking the silence on the Bridge. Kirk nodded.

"Onscreen," he said.

The window view changed to the inside of the other Enterprise's Bridge, and a view of a man Kirk had met once before, but wished never to meet again.

"Hello, Captain," Spock Mirror said. "We have much to discuss."