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ST Fanfic - Where men can't walk (Pt1)

 Same warning applies, you don't read Star Trek fic, don't bother.

...almost 12,000 words. Wowzers.

Title: Where men can't walk
Series: Western Skies (#2)
Author: Anrui Ukimi
God-like Beta: Welovethelegend

Rating: PG-13
Warnings: AU, Wing!fic
Word count: 11712
Other Pairings: None
Notes/Disclaimer: Not mine, I just like playing with them. :)

Actual Summary: Where Jim is not lonely, he likes the peace and quiet of the desert, and he wishes certain people would just shut up about it already.

AU Summary: Over 200 years before the famous birth of James T. Kirk, the governments of the world had collaborated in the drug-induced suppression of the x-gene, then considered a mutation to be eliminated. Over time, however, it became acknowledged that the x-gene was the next step in evolution; now firmly out of humanities' reach due to the actions of the past. Brushed aside in the excitement of their expanding universe, the issue was considered a lost cause and all but forgotten. But the makers of the drug could never have anticipated a birth happening in the midst of the most unique of circumstances...
TL;DR: X-Men 3 ended differently with the mutant "cure" being forced on world population, no more mutants were born after about 2025. Then the Kelvin happened.

A Short Note on Ages: Due to the lack of official ages of the "older" characters, I have wrangled my own ideas of them based on character and actor. I want to thank [info]robanybody  for her wonderful "Two Gay Uncles" series, which inspired me to put Archer in this. :)

In this story: 

Jim - 16
Chris Pike - 41
Winona Kirk - 45
Jonathan Archer - 52 


Where men can't walk


     Jim looked up from the PADD he was reading to check the oven timer, his long hair falling into his eyes. He needed a haircut. He set his reading down and rose to his feet to see if his dinner was done. If anyone had told him that he would be relaxing in a house in the middle of the fucking desert baking casseroles even a year ago, he would have laughed in their face.

    It wasn't lame to have discovered that casseroles reheated well and could be stretched over several days. It was efficient. Cleared up time for other things. Never mind he was ahead on all of his class work and the house was in good order. Jim still didn't know how his Dad knew about these things. He leaves the kitchen messy for a few days, and suddenly during their bi-weekly talk he gets told to clean the kitchen. John told him that it was parental instinct, knowing when the kids weren't doing what they were supposed to. John had laughed at the end of that talk and had told him about a few similar events from his childhood. Jim had thought he was mental. Mom had been gone so often, she never knew what was going on; Frank couldn’t have cared less, he would have happily left Jim on Tarsus if it wouldn't have gotten him kicked out of his mother's house. Only since Chris had taken him in did he feel like he had a parent who really cared.

    It was all ancient history now, thanks to Chris. Jim eased the casserole out of the oven and set it on the counter, closing the oven door with his hip. He had class tomorrow, even if it was done as a vid conference, and he needed to make sure he was prepared. Jim had long gotten used to the odd invention that he and Dad had put together to keep his wings as flat as possible while hiding them, but he didn't want to be rushing to get into it right before the class was scheduled to begin. He had considered going to school in Mojave, but he thought it would be too risky. Dad had left it up to him, but Jim could tell that he had been concerned as well. The Yorktown was scheduled to go on a three year mission in four months, he would socialize then. Cutting a piece from the casserole, he balanced the loaded plate on one hand as he picked his PADD back up and sashayed through the kitchen door, falling into the first chair he came across. Just as he was taking his first bite of cheese and pasta, the computer console dinged, signaling an incoming call. Jim didn't move, and stuffed another forkful of tuna casserole into his mouth. After several more dings, the console alerted that the call was connected, and Jim grinned.

    "Couldn't get up and answer the thing before it auto-answered, could you?" Chris's voice came through, and Jim chuckled.

    "Of course not, you wouldn't know what to do if I actually put in the effort," Jim said, the sound garbled through a bite of dinner, and a groan came from the console.

    "I was about to ask you to activate the video feed, but I could do without watching a teenager shovel food into his mouth." Jim could tell by his tone that Chris's eyebrows were crawling up his forehead, and he leaned over and hit the button to turn on the video. Jim was right. "Thank you. I think. Jim, that's disgusting. Close your mouth while you chew."

    Jim left his mouth open for a moment, earning an extended look from Chris, before shutting it and swallowing. "Hi Dad! How was your day? We talked yesterday, yeah? I wasn't expecting you to call again this soon."  Jim's voice was pure sunshine, and Chris sighed, leaning back in his chair. Jim noted the sigh, the grin falling off his face. "What's going on?"

    Chris gave Jim a half-smile. "Starfleet has issued extra orders, Jim. I won't be back for another month. I have to go to Andoria for a few weeks after the current mission is wrapped up." Chris looked apologetic, and Jim bit back a snarky retort. He wasn't a kid anymore, he could deal with it. His opinion on the matter must have shown on his face, though, because Chris's expression turned into concern. "Jim, I know. I didn't want to be gone any longer either. Are you having any problems? I can authorize more credits for you if you need them."

    Jim shook his head. "No, I've got plenty to pay for food and stuff. I guess I just miss having you around, old man." Jim smirked at Chris, who rolled his eyes.     

    "Why don't you go into town more, Jim? It'll get you out of the house, and maybe you can meet some people. It'll be good for you." Jim's expression soured as Chris spoke, and he took another bite of his dinner. Jim was chewing angrily when Chris started again. "It's not healthy to isolate yourself so much, Jim."

    "We'll be back on the Yorktown in a few months, and I talk to you and John a lot. I have classes too; it's not just me in those. I'm fine, Dad." Jim continued eating, and for a long moment there was silence from the other end of the line.

    "Have you been talking to your mother?" Chris's head was cocked slightly to the side when Jim looked up, and Jim gave a short nod.

    "Yeah, usual schedule. Same old shit, nothing new." At Chris's sharp look, Jim's voice dropped to a mumble. "Sorry. She's goin' back up soon, on the...Wellington, I think. She'll be gone for two years."

    Chris nodded. "I spent six months on the Wellington when I was finishing command training. It's a good ship."

    "Yeah, I'm sure. At least we'll have something to talk about," Jim muttered, as he pushed the last few bites of the casserole around his plate.

    "Jim." Jim continued staring at his plate. "Jim, look at me."

    Jim's head remained down. "What?" His response was flat, and he heard Chris sigh.

    "Jim, I know it isn't always easy to talk to her. But I wouldn't push it if I didn't think it was important." Jim looked up at that, his eyes meeting Chris's over the vid screen. When his dad gave him a sad smile, Jim relaxed his expression. "I don't doubt that she loves you, Jim; I just think she doesn't know how to connect with you."

    Jim returned Chris's sad look, shaking his head. "She never has." Jim's eyes focused on the gray appearing at Chris's temples. It hadn't been there two years ago, and he had once thought in a moment of guilt after a pointless argument that every one of those light hairs was his fault.

    "Jimmy, stop staring at my hair. I feel like I'm going to wake up completely gray when you do that." Chris ran a hand through his hair, the barely contained curls fluffing a bit as he did so. Jim pouted, an over the top pursing of the lips that made Chris bite back a laugh. "What in the world is that for?"

    "Nuthin'." Jim held the pout for a moment longer, until his mouth felt like it was going to cramp from the pose; Chris was smiling serenely on the screen, and Jim let his mouth relax with a snort.

    "The men of my family gray early along the temples, Jim; I've told you this before." Chris paused, and rolled his eyes. "That was a very skilled reroute of the conversation, by the way." Chris steepled his hands, the long fingers elegant as he rested his chin against his index fingers. "Do you have any plans besides class tomorrow?"

    Jim stabbed the last few noodles off his plate and stuffed them into his mouth, letting himself think for a moment. "Nothing special. Maybe practice some music, go flying for a bit...I don't know. I'll figure it out after school is over," Jim said through his chewing, earning one final look of disgust from his father.

    Chris angled his head. "Sounds good. Make sure you have the proximity alarm alerter with you if you go out." It was the same warning as always. Jim nodded.

    "Yes sir."

    Chris lightly smacked his palms on the table where his console sat, and gave Jim a smile. "Alright Jim, I’ve got to go do 'captainy things' now, as you like to put it. I'll call you at the usual time. Call me or John if you have any problems, don't blow up the kitchen again-"

    "It was only the one time!" Jim whined.

    "-and try not to break anything with your wings. I've already had to pack up most of my fragile belongings," Chris said, his smile turning into a wry smirk that Jim bristled at.

    "It was only...a few times! Yeesh. And you tell me this every time, Dad." Jim said, scratching at his ear.

    "I think John referred to it as 'fatherly duties' yes? I'd prefer not to get a communication from the Mojave police informing me that you've managed to recreate the aftermath of the Eugenics Wars at my house...by yourself." Chris said, his smirk deepening further.

    "That would take more effort then I'd ever be willing to expend, Dad. You know this." Jim made a tut-tut sound, and shook his head. Chris snorted.

    "Alright, you reprobate, I really need to go. Talk to you later, kiddo." Chris rose to his feet and stepped away from the console, and Jim waved.

    "Bye Dad; don't do anything I wouldn't do!" Jim grinned; Chris rolled his eyes.

    "I don't think I'll have a problem with that." Chris gave a short wave, and then the line disconnected.

    Jim sat back in his chair for a moment, his eyes closed. "Well, shit." He mumbled, exhaling through loose lips. He shook his head, causing the blond strands to flutter around and tickle his cheeks. He really needed a haircut. Rising to his feet, he picked up his dishes and headed back into the kitchen; he quickly piled all the dirty dishes in the sink, filled the pot with water, and left. He would wash them later.

    Jim headed to the front door, grabbing a small handset on the way. He scanned the handset and a small screen recessed into the wall next to the door. No alerts from the proximity sensors, and nothing on the exterior cameras. Stuffing the alerter in his pocket, Jim threw open the door and stepped out; the rapidly cooling early evening air bit into his skin, and he curled his wings around his front like an feathered cloak. Hitting the lock on the door, he walked away from the house, the sand and loose gravel crunching under his feet as he turned towards the deeper recesses of the canyon. The Bristol Mountains were one of the most isolated places in California, Chris had told him, and Jim agreed. The house had been custom-built, hidden in a canyon; the area was so remote that water had to be sent in by delivery due to the complete lack of groundwater and springs. The land had been in the Pike family for centuries, used only for camping trips until Chris decided to do something with it. Chris thought that the Mojave was the most amazing place in the world; that had been clear to Jim from that very first trip only a few months after he moved in. It was equally clear that the jury was still out for John, however, who had grumbled about the crazy temperature fluctuations and the endless sand and dirt, but even he couldn't deny one very important thing about the place.

    Jim unfurled his wings from his shoulders, executing a slow flap that caused the dust to stir around his feet, but did not move him in the slightest. The winds were good, as they usually were; the Santa Anas and the trade winds had kept the wind farms in business here in the desert for hundreds of years, that same power made his job easier. Jim flapped his wings again, more forcefully this time; he continued flapping them as he took off at a run, the red-gray dirt trailing behind in his wake. He had discovered very quickly that the hardest part was taking off, and he had broken several bones in the past to prove it.

    The air rushed past his face, and Jim stretched his wings out to their fullest extent, the white-gold feathers catching the light from above in a display that would have been blinding had there been anything observing him; with a great sweep of his wings he leapt into the air, the large feathers catching the wind. He was aloft immediately, and Jim soared to the upper heights of the mountain within minutes, watching other birds move out of his way as he climbed in altitude. The Bristol range was actually rather short, less than fifteen-hundred meters at its zenith, and as he crested the peaks, the sky exploded into existence; the upper-level winds beating at his control as he searched for a stable air current. Jim glided around, allowing the wind to move him. He would never get enough of this, this feeling of complete weightlessness as he circled the moonscape of his little portion of the Mojave. Feeling the air calm somewhat, he maneuvered his body into a near standing position and faced the west.

    There was a line from an old song that had always came to Jim's mind here, "Looks like a painting, that blue skyline," and as Jim stared at the magnificent show that was a Mojave sunset, streaks of brilliant orange and yellow arcing in a massive zigzag pattern that looked as if a painter had composed it with violent strokes across the darkening sky, better than anything he had ever seen in Iowa, Jim agreed with every statement his dad had ever said about the desert. He could stay up here forever, gliding on the currents and watching the fire-lit sky dissolve into night. Even John had admitted that it was spectacular, and he and Chris had gotten their crowning view from a shuttle, not free-floating. Jim's face suddenly lit up in a brilliant smile. He wanted to take Chris up here, to show him his beloved view the way he saw it. It was impossible right now, for all of his bodily adaptations to allow for sustained flight, none of them allowed for a teen-aged boy to pick up and ascend with a grown man who had ten centimeters and twenty kilos on him. He could glide gently down with Chris, if it ever was needed, but no flying him straight up yet. Jim ran a hand through his hair, a feeble attempt to control it failing miserably in the face of the winds that surrounded him. Someday.

    Jim was so focused on the sky, now faded to dark blues and purples that obscured the view of the land below that he did not hear the buzzing coming from his pocket at first; nothing would break the spell for him. But the noise was persistent, and Jim dropped fifty meters in his distraction before he wrestled it out of his pants. The furthest sensor had been triggered, the one at the turnoff to the only road to the house;  Jim pitched his back backwards at an angle that would look painful to most people and took towards the canyon with frightening speed. Jim made an irritated noise at the back of his throat, the sound lost to the rushing wind as he plummeted towards the ground. He had forgotten all about the water delivery; he needed to get back to the house and get his public outfit on before they got there. 

    The sides of the mountain flew past, and about a hundred meters before the canyon floor he pulled up; slowing his descent as he allowed himself to side-slip back and forth, before angling into a wide spiral. Landing with a pained grunt, he ran down to the house and rushed in, running to his room and forcing his wings into the apparatus that flattened them out as much as possible. Wincing as he tightened the straps, he put on the first regular shirt he found, and made sure the ends of his wings were tucked into his jeans. Jim really hoped it was the two men today. When the two women came, they treated him nicely enough to his face, but when they thought he couldn't hear, one of them would mutter how it was such a shame that such a pretty face was being wasted on that 'misshapen' body. The first time he had heard that, albeit in a much more vulgar form, years ago from a craggy-faced Lieutenant on the Yorktown, he had almost ripped off his disguise in anger, and he didn't want to think about the evening after. Luckily, Number One had also overheard the remark, and the tongue lashing the officer received was so severe that he had requested a transfer within a month. Amazing what a month of Gamma shift will do to a man, Jim remembered hearing Number One say to Chris. Jim learned to never mess with the lady that day, but he hadn't considered doing so anyway; she was too cool for that. It had taken him awhile to realize that the entire ship had gotten the hint at the same time; he never heard a remark of that severity ever again on board his dad's ship. His control had gotten better since then; it had to, or the shit would have hit the fan years ago, but it still hurt.

    Jim was distracted from his thoughts by the doorbell, and with a final glance and twirl in the mirror, he headed down to answer it. It was the two men today. Jim smiled, answered their polite inquiries about Chris (Jim had figured out early that having been the youngest ever Captain in Starfleet, even if he wasn't the youngest anymore, carried a decent amount of notoriety) and watched them as they filled the water tank. His wings ached under his clothes, they always did if he had to bind them so swiftly after a flight; Jim struggled to keep a pleasant look on his face while the men worked.

    After the deliverymen left, he headed back inside and went to his bedroom, flinging off his shirt and fighting out of the harness as he fell onto his bed. His wings freed, Jim kicked off his shoes and pants and closed his eyes, sighing in relief as the pain waned.

    "I gotta do the dishes." Jim mumbled into his pillow, but the siren song of sleep was too hard to resist, and he was asleep within minutes.




    Jim found that it was a good thing that he was in distance schooling. At most traditional schools, he would have been expected to have the same or a similar curriculum to everyone else, which would have bored him to death. Through this distance program, however, he had been allowed to test into university-level courses early, and he had excelled at them, much to Chris's delight. Jim smiled as he remembered when the placement results had come back. Chris had ruffled his hair and given him a thoughtful look; when Jim had asked him what the look was for; Chris had answered with "You make it hard for me to call you a bird-brain, Jimmy. How am I supposed to find another completely clichéd thing to call you?"

    Not that it ever stopped him.

    The professor was lecturing about something called Clovis points, and Jim was wondering why he would ever need to know this stuff when the professor called out, jarring him from his musing.

    "Mr. Pike, can you inform the class where the first examples of the Clovis point form were discovered?" The professor said, managing to give Jim a sharp look even over a group vid conference. 

    Busted. Jim blinked, staring into a spot above the monitor for a moment. He had just read this, what was it again-

    "Mr. Pike?"

    Clovis. Clovis was the name of some Merovingian Kings. Wait, that was Clo-vee, not Clo-vis. Clovis, Clovis- wait. "New Mexico, sir." The professor arched an eyebrow, but nodded.

    "That's correct, Mr. Pike. Now, it was quickly uncovered that the range of the discoveries reached far beyond New Mexico-" The professor said, immediately launching into the next part of the lecture. Jim shifted in his seat, trying to find a comfortable position. This was going to be a long day.

    Hours later, he bid farewell to his Physics instructor and ended the transmission, bringing his arms over his head and stretched, his spine making popping noises as he did so. Time to go free-range. Jim rose to his feet, and had gotten his shirt almost over his head when he heard the distinctive ding of an incoming call. Jim quickly reversed his motions and yanked the shirt back down, and stared at the incoming ID. After another pull on the bottom hem of his shirt, and a collar check along the back of his neck, Jim hit the answer button.

    "Took you long enough, Jim."

    Jim snorted. "You know, John, Dad said almost the same exact thing yesterday. Are you sure you two aren't married yet?" Jim said, giving the older man a smirk.

    "No, that just means that you take too long to pick up the call, you lazy brat." John chuckled. "How are you doing, Jimmy? Kitchen still intact?"

    Jim growled at the screen, causing John to laugh. "That was one time! Shit, you guys are never gonna let me forget that, are you?"

    John pursed his lips, the furrows on the sides of his mouth deepening as he tipped his head minutely from side to side. "Hmmmmmm- no. Definitely not." John tapped his index finger against his lips. "I'll be sure to bring it up at the best of times, maybe at your wedding or at some other socially significant event."

    "Has anyone ever told you that you can be a real jackass, John?" Jim said, his face set into a pout.

    John grinned, the light wrinkles around his eyes crinkling. "Oh, frequently. I'm pretty sure that even T'Pol called me that once, although I've never mastered Vulcan swearing."

    Jim's eyebrows went up. "Really?"   

    John hummed, and shook his head. "Who knows. I'm pretty sure that Vulcans have four-hundred different words for 'illogical,' though. It was probably one of those." John leaned over out of view, and Jim chuckled as a snuffling dog was brought up into view.

    "Hi Porthos," Jim said, laughing as the beagle wiggled out of John's arms and licked the monitor. John immediately pulled the dog back with a grimace, and Porthos disappeared out of view.

    "That's disgusting, Porthos. I'm sure Jim wanted to see your drool, you crazy dog." John grabbed a tissue and wiped at the screen. Jim used his distraction to scratch under the back of his shirt, his fingers digging into the thin flesh underneath his feathers. He really wanted to take the harness off, but John couldn't know. Chris had never set boundaries over it, but they had managed to make it over five years with no one else finding out, so Jim was determined to keep it that way. Chris pretended it wouldn't be an issue, but Jim was worried for his position. Chris had given up what seemed like everything for him, and Jim was sure that Starfleet wouldn't take one of their most illustrious captains hiding what they were pretty sure was the only Homo Sapiens Superior in existence lightly, and John would be obligated to report it if he found out. Jim was certain of it. Talk about a misleading label. He didn't think he was any better than anyone else. He had been forced to learn how to sew because of it!

    "How lame is that?" Jim mumbled under his breath, and John made a confused sound.

    "Say again?" John said, body leaning at an odd angle. Jim jumped in his seat, yanking his scratching hand back into his lap.

    Jim shook his head. "Sorry, just zoned out." Jim's left index finger felt weird, and he looked down to see a gold barb from one of his feathers caught under the fingernail; with a quick pinch, he had extricated it and flicked it to the floor.

    "Hey, Jimmy, you all right? You seem distracted," John said, his smile changing to a look of concern. Jim cursed mentally, and waved his right hand loosely.

    "I'm fine, John. Just tired. You called right after school had finished." Jim gave John a tired smile, and John nodded.

    "Sorry about that, kiddo, I forgot all about that." A voice came through from what sounded like far away; John held up a finger, and leaned out of frame. Jim heard him call to Ms. Nakashima, his secretary, in response. Jim checked his hands for barbs during the pause. That had been sloppy. John reappeared, scratching at his forehead. "Sorry again, Jimmy. Say, have you talked with that dad of yours in the last few days?"

     Jim made a short humming noise, and gave a quick nod. "Yeah, I talked to him yesterday. I suppose that's the reason for the sudden call?" Jim said, letting his lip curl slightly. 

    John chuckled, then huffed. "Not the only reason, but it was definitely a major reason. Everything going okay out there in Death Valley? I still think Chris is crazy building a house in the middle of nowhere out there, but well, no accounting for taste." John said, as he took a sip out of a coffee cup.

    Jim laughed, and jumped to Chris's aid. "Well, I think Dad referred to you as the coddled New York boy; there isn't even any deserts up in the Northeast, is there? You just don't know how to appreciate the wide-open expanses of the Mojave." Jim nodded slowly, a serious look on his face. John barked out a laugh, and took another drink out of his mug.

    "It's too late for you, I see. That creature you call your dad with sand in his brain is a horrible influence, and I should have rescued you before he had a chance to lure you out there," John said, and tilted his head back to down the rest of his drink.

    "I don't think water polo is my thing, John," Jim countered. John snorted in response.

    "You definitely aren't a fan of water. I've never been able to get you into a pool, even when you guys were up here in San Francisco. You can leave your shirt on, Jimmy. No one will care; you'll be too busy amazing them with clever repartee."

    "Are we talking about the same person?" Jim looked amused, and John sighed.

    "Don't you start getting all damned insecure on me, Jimmy. I don't think my old heart can take it." John paused. "Practiced any new songs lately?"

    Jim thought for a moment, and John got up and walked out of view with his coffee cup. When he sat back down, Jim spoke. "Just messing around, mostly. I've even tried some of the stuff by that guy you keep mentioning, even if I don't think I sound like him." Jim waved a hand, and John chuckled.

    "You sound uncannily like him when you sing, at least right now. Your voice may roughen up a bit when you get a bit older, but for now, don't bother denying it. All you are missing is the quirky accent he seemed to sometimes have." John smiled at Jim, and Jim returned a pout.

    "But most of his stuff is so lame! If he didn't have a thing for singing about being high a lot, I think he would be the most boring singer ever," Jim said, picking at a piece of lint on his shirt.

    John shook his head, and gave a soft smile. "Your opinion will change when you get older. I guarantee it." Jim shot him a sceptical look, and John met his eyes. "I really think so. I wasn't a fan of that kind of music when I was young, but I have a soft spot for it now. There is something special about a smooth voice singing about simple things, Jimmy." John saluted Jim with his mug, as Jim sat back in his chair.

    "Yeah, I guess," Jim mumbled, and John laughed.

    "That's teenager for "you're full of shit, old man." Don't think I don't know it." John grinned over his mug. "I was a teenager once upon a time myself, you know."

    "What, a century ago?" Jim said, his lips forming into a little smile.

    "That's more like it, you tow-headed brat. You seem subdued today; I was beginning to wonder if I needed to alert the bomb squad to protect the poor defenseless mountain you happen to live on." John finished his new cup of coffee in an extended swallow, and Jim grimaced.

    "How much of that have you had? It's already past sixteen-hundred."     

    "Trying to regulate my caffeine intake? Don't bother, Jimmy; even Tory can't stop me, though she's tried more than once." John looked into his cup, and Jim laughed.

    "Admiral Archer, the caffeine addict! Don't let him out of Starfleet Command without a bag of coffee beans-" Jim sing-songed and John pretended to throw the cup at the screen. "Careful, you might need that."

    John set the coffee cup down and looked at the screen, his expression soft. "Jimmy, I need to get going in a minute, but I want you to promise me something, alright? If you need any help or anything, let me know. You can even come up and stay with me if you want; you spending months all by yourself isn't probably the best thing in the world."

    This again. Jim's expression flattened a bit, but he forced himself to keep his voice light. "I'm fine, John, as I told Dad yesterday. I'm not a little kid anymore." Jim watched John's eyes narrow slightly, and Jim sighed. "Really, John. Yeah, it can get a little boring sometimes, but I don't feel like dealing with people that much. I like exploring around here, anyway; always lots of things to do." Jim paused, and smiled, but John's expression was still worried. "Did I tell you I went over to the Amboy Crater? It's really cool, even though it's mostly black because of the lava, there are these big white sections on the crater floor. It's a long walk to get down there, though. I was there for hours," Jim rambled, making motions with his hands. "Not a lot of tourists around here anymore, though. I guess space is more interesting."

    John gave a slight smile, and nodded. "You'll have to tell me more about it next time we talk, Jimmy. Sounds interesting." Jim nodded, and John continued. "Have the Mojave authorities had any luck catching those poachers you told me about last time?"

    Jim shook his head. "No, it's still in the news. The guys are real idiots, though. What did Dad say-" Jim paused, scratching at his neck. "Oh yeah! We were talking about how they've been shooting San Berdoo Kangaroo Rats for some odd reason along with other animals, but because these assholes are using old-school laser rifles and guns, all they've been doing is blowing the poor things up. What are they using them for, target practice?" Jim said, and John gave a dry laugh.

    "Probably. Sounds like just some locals out for some kicks, though. The serious poacher has proper black-market modern phasers, not relics from the Eugenics Wars. Laser weapons burn holes instead of stun, and that brings the value of the animal down. I hope they get caught, but I'm glad that your area really doesn't have any animals that are appealing to the career poacher. Those bastards are far more dangerous," John said, his expression serious, and Jim nodded.

    "Yeah, I'll bet. Well, the news loves talking more about dumb shit like what local celebrity is screwing who than worrying about some desert animals; at this rate they'll never get caught," Jim said, his mouth twisted in disgust. John laughed.

    "Human nature, Jimmy. Watch old news vids from the last few hundred years, and you'll see that it was the same exact thing," John said, just as Ms. Nakashima's voice announced that his seventeen-hundred was here. John groaned. "Back to work. Well, Jimmy, just remember what I said. Call me if you need anything, okay?"

    "Yessir." Jim nodded at John, and he watched the older man's eyes light up with a smile. "Have fun admiralling!" Jim raised a hand in farewell, which was responded in kind from John as the connection was closed. Jim sagged in his seat. Both Chris and John were worrywarts. He was doing just fine; he liked the quiet. Getting to his feet, he tripped over a PADD that had slipped to the floor, and kicked it out of the way with a snarl. He didn't feel like music right now.

    As he took to the dry evening sky, the sunset was as beautiful as ever; but if Jim was more interested in trying to tire himself out, he would never admit to it. And if he stayed out far too late, it certainly wasn't because Chris wasn't there to tell him to come back down.

Part Two




( 5 Tufa Towers a Leaning — Visit Negit Island )
Oct. 13th, 2009 07:30 pm (UTC)
I love this story
I love this story! It is beautiful, the way you perfectly captured young Jim is wonderful, the Pike and Jim father son relationship is adorable and poignant, and John is AWESOME!
Oct. 13th, 2009 11:59 pm (UTC)
Re: I love this story
I replied to your other comment already, but thanks again! :D

John is the cool uncle. 'nuff said. ^_~
Oct. 13th, 2009 10:08 pm (UTC)
This is wonderful, I almost have no words to express just how much I enjoyed it, and how much I'm looking forward to the next installment.

It's such a great idea, and you've pulled it off so well!
Oct. 14th, 2009 12:00 am (UTC)
Thanks muchly for your wonderful comments!

(I hope you read the whole story, as you commented on the first half ^_~)

Jan. 28th, 2010 09:42 pm (UTC)
was re-reading the whole story after having finished part 5. I love this.
Can't wait to see how Bones will cope with an "aiplane jim" flight (since Jim tought here that he could oneday carry Pike, he could also carry Bones).
Can't wait to see how Archer will take the loss of his beagle (don't remind having read that Scotty lost him already and that he punished him).

Waiting for the #6....
( 5 Tufa Towers a Leaning — Visit Negit Island )