The Once and Future Captain

by Timothy Morgan

They say in space, no one can hear you scream. But Jim Kirk wasn't in space now. He was on the planet Veridian III, and he knew he should be screaming. But somehow, it didn't feel right to scream. As he clung to the falling metal bridge, twisting and turning as it struck rock after rock, he knew he was going to die. And yet, he knew he wasn't going to die.

Craaassshhh! As he hit the hard, alien rock, Jim expected jarring pain. Pain from hitting the rock, and pain from being crushed by the bridge. But instead, everything went numb. There was no pain. Jim tried to move, but he realized that he was pinned to the ground by the bridge. And so he waited - for death.

After what seemed like an eternity, Jim saw a figure making his way down the cliff toward him. So, the Grim Reaper had come. But as the figure got closer, Jim saw that, while he was dressed in black, the man was as human as he was. Memory started coming back to him. The Enterprise-B... distress signal... energy ribbon... chopping wood... Antonia... temporal nexus... help me... come back with me... captain of the enterprise... make a difference again... captain of the Enterprise... Picard.

Picard's features solidified as he leaned toward Jim through a gap in the wreckage. He looked up at his new comrade.

"Did we do it?" he asked. "Did we make a difference?"

"Oh, yes. We made a difference. Thank you."

"Least I could do... for the captain of the Enterprise. It was... fun." Jim smiled, but then his vision began to darken. "Oh, my..." The last vestiges of Jim's sight faded into nothing.

And suddenly the dusty smell of Veridian III was gone, as was the darkness, replaced by a white mist and the smell of sea air. Jim took a step into the mist and realized that he was no longer pinned down by the bridge. He continued walking, and out of nowhere a trumpet sounded. The music was long and low. He walked toward the sound. Suddenly, he heard a voice calling to him, again from out of nowhere.

"James... James, come."

"Hello?" he called out into the mist.

As if bid to by its master, the mist cleared. Jim saw that he was on an island, and standing a few yards away was a woman. She was dressed all in black and was wearing a crown on her head. She stepped forward and spoke.

"James Tiberius Kirk, welcome to Avalon."

Jim stared at her. "Who are you? Where am I?"

"I am she who is called Morgan Le Fay, and this is the Isle of Avalon."

"Avalon? Morgan Le Fay? As in King Arthur?"

"Aye," she said, and for the first time, Jim noticed that she had a British accent.

Jim looked around and saw that he was in a place even more beautiful than the Genesis cave. All around him there were apple orchards and palaces of all kinds, just as the mythic Avalon was described. He returned his sights to "Morgan".

She saw his confusion and beckoned him to come closer. He walked up to her.

"What is this place? Am I dead?"

"As I said, this is Avalon. And no, you are not dead. You would be, though, if you were not who you are."

Jim glared. "What do you mean?"

"Only the universe's greatest heroes are spared death. You are one of those."

"Well, thank you for the compliment, but that doesn't answer my question."

Morgan suppressed a sigh and continued. "You are one of the greatest heroes the universe has ever known. Therefore, at the moment of your death, instead of fading into oblivion, you come here. And here you shall wait until you are needed once more. Now, come with me and join the ranks of the Round Table."

Morgan took Jim's hand and lead him into one of the palaces. There, sitting at a huge, round table were men who Jim had read about as a child. Robin Hood, Sherlock Holmes and Doctor Watson, Hercules, Galahad, Lancelot... and seated on the throne, King Arthur. As Jim entered the chamber, those seated at the round table stood and bowed to honor the latest hero to join them. Jim was in awe.

King Arthur was the first to speak. "Welcome, valiant knight. Come and kneel."

Jim walked up to the legendary king and knelt. Arthur drew the sword, Excalibur, from its sheath and placed it on Jim's shoulder.

"By my power as King of the Britons, I dub thee James Tiberius Kirk, Knight of the Round Table. Arise, Sir James."

Jim couldn't believe it. He had actually been knighted by King Arthur. And he still wasn't sure he did believe all of this, though he'd had a strange feeling ever since he saw Morgan. A feeling that he belonged here, that this was his destiny. He walked toward the chair that the King had motioned him to. And as he sat, he looked at the table. There in front of his seat was an empty nameplate. As he sat down, words appeared on it. They read:

Here sits James Tiberius Kirk,
Captain of the Enterprise,
Knight of the Round Table,
and one of the Universe's greatest defenders.

As he read those words, he knew that this was real. That this was the home of legends. And that this was where he would stay, along with these others, until the universe needed them once more.

There is never an end.

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What people are saying about this story:

Phaser lady from New York, USA:
that was great. Somehow it's fitting, although I always imagined taht those of the Enterprise would be in the afterlife together, some how. Anyway, great job.

Neth from Bristol, England:
Can you possibly turn this into a sequel? The possibilities! And is Kirk able to look back to those in the mortal realm, even if he isn't a part of it?