Welcome to the Personnel File, where we look
into the career and personality of Star Trek’s characters. Today we’re addressing the record
of Captain James T. Kirk. So as usual with the Personnel File, I will be using alpha
continuity canon to list out the career and where there are blanks, filling in the missing
time with beta content as long as it doesn’t conflict with the existing lore.
James “Jim” Tiberius Kirk was born in 2233, March 22nd in Riverside, Iowa, Earth
and was named aft-… James “Jim” Tiberuius Krik was born in
2233, January 4th aboard a Medical shuttle fleeing the USS Kelvin NCC-0514.
His parents were George and Winona Kirk. George Kirk died protecting the evacuating USS Kelvin,
saving around 800 lives. Winona moved back to Earth where she remarried and settled in
Riverside, Iowa, around 2240. The young Kirk never got along with his stepfather
and often acted out against his authority, especially when his mother wasn’t present.
Growing up he stole his father’s (George’s) Chevy Corvette and took it out for a joyride
driving it into a quarry while being pursued by local police.
During this time, Kirk partook in numerous academic aptitude tests and it was revealed
that he possessed a near-genius intellect, if a complete lack of discipline.
In 2255, at the age of 22, Kirk reached the Riverside Shipyard, a locale frequented by
Starfleet officers. Amid a bar brawl, Captain Christopher Pike
walks in an takes the young Kirk aside, familiar with his father, George Kirk’s acts, he
offers James Kirk a sponsorship to enter Starfleet academy and give his life a focus, daring
Kirk to outperform his father’s legacy. After pondering the idea, he eventually caught
the shuttle to Starfleet Academy where he met Leonard McCoy.
He joined the Command Training program with the goal of becoming a ship’s captain.
He also studied Advanced Tactical Training and was assigned Captain to Cadet Team Delta
for training scenarios. In 2256, he was assigned field learning on
the USS Farragut where he awarded the Palm Leaf of Axanar Peace Mission for valour by
Captain Garrovick. At Starfleet Academy in 2258, he took the
Kobiyashi Maru test twice failed both times, as is expected.
On his third attempt however, he cheated by rewriting the program in advance and was placed
on academic suspension. It was here that he was confronted by the
Instructor, Commander Spock who had been overseeing the test scenario, but an official verdict
on Kirk’s actions was never reached, as a distress call from Vulcan called away the
newly completed USS Enterprise NCC-1701. It’s crew was drafted from the numerous available
officers, most of who were cadets. Cadet Kirk was not selected as a crewmember
for the ship and it fell to Doctor Leonard McCoy to take Kirk aboard as a patient of
his. During the confrontation with Nero, Captain
Pike promoted Kirk to acting-first officer and assigns him the rank of Lieutenant.
Commander Spock found Kirk’s attitude irreconcilable with Spock’s command style and had him marooned
just outside Starfleet’s Delta-Vega base. It was here that he encountered Spock from
the unaltered future who, being the best friend of Prime Kirk, convinces the young Kirk of
his duty and giving him insight into the younger Spock’s mental state.
From here he met Montgomery Scott and returned to the Enterprise where, acting as first officer,
accused Spock of being emotionally unbalanced due to Vulcan’s loss and asked him to step
down. Spock acquiesced and the USS Enterprise fell to the command of acting-captain James
Kirk. Later that year, Kirk was officially made
captain of the Enterprise and assigned his own crew, based mostly on the candidates selected
by Captain Pike before him. In 2259, Kirk contained an outbreak of tribbles
on the Enterprise. He also made contact with the people of Gamma
Trianguli VI. A race of reptilian aliens called the Gorn
attempted to enter the galaxy through Vulcan-made portals but were thwarted by the crew of the
Enterprise. It’s unknown if these Gorn were related in some way to those native to the
Milky Way galaxy but possessed a number of distinct differences.
Captain Kirk was assigned to survey Phaedus IV where he encountered former Starfleet captain,
Robert April. In 2259, Kirk was demoted to Commander for
violating the Prime Directive on Nibiru and assigned as first officer to Captain Pike.
The Enterprise crew became entangled in a scheme from Admiral Marcus and Section 31
to instigate a new war with the Klingon Empire and encountered an altered Khan Noonien-Singh
who had been brought into Section 31 as a military advisor and designer. Kirk was reinstated
as Captain in rank and position of the USS Enterprise by Admiral Marcus who wished Kirk
to pursue and terminate Khan. Not long after, the struggles resulted in
Kirk receiving a fatal dose of radiation from the malfunctioning warp core of the Enterprise.
He died inside the chamber. Fortunately, Chief Medical Officer McCoy devised
a cleansing serum from Khan’s blood to rapidly heal Kirk’s damaged tissue and after extensive
care, Kirk was revived. The Enterprise was then grounded for almost
a year for minor refits and repair. In 2260, Starfleet reinstated its plans for
deep-space exploration that the Constitution class had originally been intended for and
assigned Captain Kirk and the USS Enterprise to the first wave of these 5 year missions
to seek out new life and new civilizations. In 2261, Q entertained himself by exploring
different realities and arrived aboard the USS Enterprise, toying with the crew and wishing
to see the future of the Kelvin universe, teleported them to the year 2369, Terak Nor.
In 2263, Kirk was negotiating a peace between the Fiban-Fibonan-Fibna…Fibonan Republic
and Teenaxi Delegation. Not long after, the USS Enterprise NCC-1701
was ambushed over Altamid and brought down by Krall’s swarm ships.
Kirk assumed temporary command of the USS Franklin NX-326 to save the Federation station
Yorktown. Kirk was reassigned to the USS Endeavour NCC-1805,
replacing Captain Derbes. In early 2263, an unknown craft had arrived
at the edges of Federation space after destroying the USS Concord NCC-6871. This ship turned
out to be a single Borg Sphere responding to the presence of the Narada, detected years
earlier, which itself contained Borg technology. During this year, Cadet Jaylah is brought
aboard for training. Also, briefly, Kirk was impersonated by the
mad Garth of Izar. Later in 2263, the Babel Conference is held
with the Romulans and Federation to discuss a potential Borg threat.
By the end of the year, Starfleet had completed construction of a Constitution-refit design
and assigned it the name USS Enterprise NCC-1701-A, in honour of Kirk’s previous command.
The last recorded events in the Kelvin timeline had Kirk and the crew engaged in a merger
or realities where various incarnations of the Star Trek Universes were colliding in
a detrimental fashion. This Quantum Storm was being generated by the being evolved from
esper, Gary Mitchell. It’s hard to talk about the Kelvin iteration
of James Kirk without comparing him to his counterpart as there are a number of differences
caused by drastically different upbringings. James Kirk was a very rash youth, he displayed
frequent anti- authoritative behaviours and this came out as a lack of respect for his
parental figures and left him feeling aimless by the time he had progressed through his
teenage years. It must have been hard for him forever being
known as that kid whose dad saved lives and a sense of expectation was likely levelled
against him. He had the ability to excel at academia, as indicated by his scores from
aptitude tests but chose not to apply himself, perhaps conscious of the idea that he would
never match up to his father. Pike eventually goads the young Kirk into joining Starfleet
by way of a dare, to at least get him considering the idea. The fact that this works relies
on Kirk’s superficial tendencies to rebel, but cuts much deeper and appeals to sense
of direction he desperately needed. The dare got him to accept Starfleet, his inner drive
got him to stay. That’s not to say he was a model student.
Unlike his prime counterpart, this Kirk’s rebelliousness was much closer to the surface
and he acted on instinctive spur of the moment decisions, effectively relying on a mix of
his innate tactical ability, charm and seeming luck to wing it through scenarios. Throughout
his academy days he used his bad boy reputation to try to win over many a girl’s affection,
sometime more successfully than others, but this attitude was later dropped as he got
older, though again, unlike his prime version, these elements of him sat much closer to his
emotional surface. His proclivity towards tactics and a natural
charm are qualities that are often signifiers of a good Starship captain and he had no trouble
rallying his friends (and later crew)to action and kept a level head in most confrontations.
It took him much longer however to learn the lessons of diplomacy and apply that tactical
brilliance to find less confrontational means of settling disputes. From an early age, we
can see he had been conditioned to fight of flight a problem in a direct manner and perhaps,
he even enjoyed the adrenaline rush it bought him. The one thing that he learn in the academy
it seems however, is that when other people’s lives are in his hands, that gung-ho attitude
won’t fly. It’s hard to justify his rapid rise to captain
of the Enterprise as anything other than the film trying to place Kirk in the chair before
the film’s climax and the fact he went from Cadet to Captain in rank in a year is ludicrous.
But this is then tied into concerns regarding the second film, where Pike openly admits
that he may have promoted Kirk too quickly and reins him in, assigning him as his executive
officer. In this fashion, he can continue to monitor and instruct Kirk in proper leadership.
His disregard for the Prime Directive in this situation shows a lot of arrogance, but also
a clear morality developing. To him, saving lives is far more important than exposing
a primitive culture to alien life. Correct or not, this is combined with his
prior attitude of bending the rules paints him in a very impulsive light. For this reason,
more than ever before, this Kirk needs his companions to counter his emotions, he needs
McCoy to point out the cynical, but often realistic consequences of his actions, while
Spock had bring him the raw, unbiased facts to placate his impulsive acts.
By the time he has progressed three years into the Enterprise’s first five-year mission,
he has very much matured as a person. He had finally grown to fit the power and status
he was granted early on in his life. Learned, through trial, error and the realisation that
he needs others, that the bending the rules is sometimes necessary, but it shouldn’t
be your go-to solution for problem solving. Though he does, and will always, have those
rebellious tendencies, smirking at reminders of his younger days.
This does show a slight conflict with his own inherent nature, and by the beginning
of Star Trek Beyond, he is considering taking a desk job, thinking that any change would
be better and growing concerned with his ability to lead. When his worst fears come true and
he loses his ship, he finds that that doesn’t necessarily mean he will lose his friends
and his commitment to protecting and exploring his reaffirmed.
As far as hobbies go, this Kirk had an appreciation for Earth’s history, especially American
history but rather than focusing on earlier periods, it seems he gravitated towards more
20th-21st century oddities. Originally his father George Kirk’s hobby of collecting
or maybe restoring? classic vehicles was adopted by a young Kirk. Maybe in a way for him to
try to understand his father? He was described by those under him as “A
fearless and relentless captain who wouldn’t ask anything of the crew he wouldn’t do
himself.” This statement is a testament to his persona and inspiring nature as well
as perhaps a nod to the fact that he was still rather quick to assign himself to a hazardous
job, and off all the people who said this about him, it was Lieutenant Hendorff, that
burly security officer who started a fight with Kirk in the Riverside Shipyard’s bar,
and survived all three films wearing a red shirt.
This isn’t the Kirk from the original series. This is a Kirk who never had the guidance
he needed to set out for the captain’s chair from a young age but did possess the raw potential
to form a captain as iconic, if only he could be shaped somewhat. In an urgency to bring
responsibility and promote growth, he was placed in a command position to early and
had a trial-by-fire that eventually began to create the more capable leader, Pike saw
he could be and the universe, any Trek universe, needed him to. Without this lenient support,
it’s unlikely he would have developed beyond the cocky, aimless rogue he began as.
Thanks for listening to this Personnel file of the Alternate reality version of Captain
James Tiberius Kirk. Usually at this stage I’d recommend a couple of episodes to focus
on, but there’s really no point here. Instead, I’d suggest maybe picking up some of the
graphic novels around the Kelvin universe if you see them for cheap as for the foreseeable
future, that’s the only further tale we’re going to get of Alternate Kirk and the Kelvin
universe. Thanks again for watching and until next video,
I’ll see you later. Goodbye.