While the captain’s official Starfleet file is deficient in the information it provides, the captain’s medical records are far more revealing. After a recent disastrous mission in which the captain ingested alien cuisine that was distinctly unsuitable for him, I was able to persuade Dr. McCoy to grant me access to his medical files. I argued that as the doctor rarely accompanies the captain on diplomatic missions while my presence is obligatory, it is logical that I be informed of all substances incompatible with his health systems. The doctor grudgingly acquiesced.
The captain has a remarkable ability to endanger his life in the most bizarre ways. Moreover, this skill seems to be something that he has devotedly cultivated since youth, perhaps even birth.
James T. Kirk was born 849.3 hours premature. In doing so, he decreased his chances of survival by 92% for three reasons.
First, though current medicine is extremely advanced, it relies heavily on technology and specialized equipment. That technology was not available to the medical personnel on the shuttle, and the notes in the captain’s medical file indicate that there was some doubt as to whether the infant would survive the long flight in space. Most prominently, the infant’s lungs were not fully developed and there was no ventilator on the small vessel. The nurse and the captain’s mother were forced to improvise. James Kirk stopped breathing on 26 occasions. Somehow, he survived.
Second, the madman Nero was bent on destroying all escaped shuttles. The sacrifice made by George Kirk disabled the majority of the mining ship’s capabilities, but the Romulan was not completely disarmed. I count it a stroke of fortune that the shuttle containing the captain and his mother were not destroyed, as 34% of the escape shuttles were either annihilated or suffered slow death from system failures.
Third, the shuttlecraft, especially the older models found aboard the Kelvin, were not designed for prolonged spaceflight. They have no warp capability and limited impulse power. There was no outpost or Starbase near the sector of space that the Kelvin was investigating, the planets of the nearest solar system are not inhabitable by humanoids, and the nearest ship capable of rescuing the shuttles was approximately 165 hours away.
After our last chess game, the captain fondly recounted to me an incident that took place in his childhood. At the age of ten Terran years, the captain illegally obtained the keys to his stepfather’s vehicle and proceeded to drive it off a quarry cliff, with himself inside. He described to me the ‘incredible rush’ he felt as he ejected himself from the car and ‘clawed the dirt’ to prevent from plunging to his death down the canyon wall.
His subsequent arrest and interrogation by the robotic police was not in the captain’s file.
“What possessed you to begin to contemplate such a course of action?”
The captain brushed off my question with a wave of his hand.
“I was bored. I was kind of wild and crazy when I was a kid. My stepfather was pissed off, and so was my mom, when she got back, but they couldn’t really do anything about it. Then I loved the adrenaline rush so much that I started doing stupid stuff all the time,” the captain smiled to himself. “Man those were some good times.”
It is a wonder that the captain survived childhood. By the manner in which he alludes to his teenage years, time at Starfleet and the hospital visits logged in the file, I infer that such episodes continued and likely escalated in both number and danger.
His record does not improve upon reaching his adult years.
Excluding his feats during the Narada incident, which were extremely perilous in their own right, our recent missions add more than a few compelling examples.
The captain has been bodily assaulted twice, telepathically disabled once, attacked by a wide assortment and/or combination of Federation and alien weaponry including phasers, ancient firearms, concealed knives, poison darts, rocks, a small nuclear missile, a gas grenade, and a laser mine. He has been kidnapped by alien technology and/or telekinetic beings once, trapped himself on a renegade penal ship, and much to the frustration of Dr. McCoy, has been infected and/or contaminated with seven varieties of potentially harmful bacteria, viruses from all seven terrestrial groups, viruses from 25 of the 36 alien groups, and miscellaneous foreign cell cultures. The captain has been trapped under a pile of rubble, caught in an electric storm, methane hurricane, and a sandstorm, stranded on an erupting planet, and concussed by debris floating in a flooded river.
Granted, not all of the items enumerated on this impressive list, accumulated over a period of 3768 hours, were truly life threatening. For example, for some unknown reason the captain had already received vaccinations for most rare and fatal bacterial and viral infections. His medical records indicate that he received these as a teenager at an undisclosed medical facility. However, the remaining entries of the macabre inventory did have the potential to end the captain’s life and/or endanger the crew and this ship.
There is no sign that the rate of these occurrences will decrease. On the contrary, the data I have gathered warns that the rate will continue to increase until it plateaus at some unfathomably high figure. If this were any other individual, I would immediately recommend that Starfleet find some excuse to court martial the captain and relieve him of duty. As it is James T. Kirk, I am compelled to take as many precautions as possible and hope that his ability to “make the impossible possible” lasts the entirety of our service together.
When I expressed my concern over this issue, the captain half-nodded, as though he knew all these facts and had accepted them long ago.
“I kind of figure that I’m living on borrowed time anyway,” he said.
“How so, captain?”
“I’m stealing from the universe,” he shrugged. “Someday she’ll find out and make me pay up. But right now, I’m enjoying the ride.”