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James Tiberius Kirk was a Human Starfleet captain during the 23rd century. He was named commanding officer of the USS Enterprise directly out of training at Starfleet Academy after saving Earth and the United Federation of Planets from the vengeful Nero. (Star Trek)
James T. Kirk was born on Medical Shuttle 37 of the USS Kelvin, to Winona Kirk and George Kirk in 2233 in the alternate reality that was created by Nero's incursion. He was named after his mother's father, James, and his father's father, Tiberius. He lost his father within a minute after his birth. His father's last moments involved him hearing James for the first time and finding out he was a boy before deciding on a name with his wife.
By 2255, Kirk was an aimless rebel who had found himself on the wrong side of the law on more than one occasion. While visiting the bar near the Riverside Shipyard, an inebriated Kirk met and began flirting with a Starfleet cadet named Uhura. Although annoyed by Kirk's advances, Uhura was surprised that Kirk knew what was involved in the study of xenolinguistics. Moments later, Kirk engaged in a bar fight with three male cadets who were displeased at the attention he was giving Uhura. He was ultimately overwhelmed by the cadets until Captain Christopher Pike broke off the fight.
Pike, who wrote his dissertation on the USS Kelvin, pushed the rebel to challenge himself and reach the greater potential he was capable of achieving. He tried to persuade him to join Starfleet, firmly believing that he could do more with himself than get into bar fights and break all the laws in the state of Iowa. Kirk laughed at the idea of joining Starfleet, but Pike reassured him that with his "off-the-chart" aptitude he could make captain and have his own ship in only eight years. He reminded him that his father had saved 800 lives, including Kirk's and his mother's, and dared young Kirk to do better.
Soon after their conversation, and to the surprise of Pike, Kirk decided to enlist with the intent of completing the Academy training in three years. He rode onto the shipyard, gave his bike to a construction worker, and boarded a shuttle for new recruits heading to Starfleet Academy. It was on his trip to the Academy where he first met and befriended Leonard McCoy.
While at the Academy, Kirk became friends with McCoy whom he had met during their first trip to the Academy. He failed the Kobayashi Maru test twice but decided to take it a third time, being sure that he would succeed. He eventually managed to cheat the test and won. Spock, who programmed the "no-win scenario," investigated the matter.
While discussing his cheating ways with his superiors, Kirk argued that the test itself was a cheat, and stated he didn't believe in the no-win scenario, something he believed his father would agree with. Kirk asked to face his accuser, and Spock stepped up. This was the first time the two met and clashed over their differences.
Kirk and Spock continued to engage in a heated argument, when the hearing was suddenly interrupted after Starfleet received a distress call from Vulcan. Many of the cadets were called into action, but Kirk - who had been suspended because of his recent academic dishonesty charges - was not allowed to join. McCoy, however, was able to get him aboard the Enterprise by injecting him with a vaccine to make him temporarily sick and insisting that he be transferred to the ship on medical grounds.
Kirk tried telling Captain Pike and Spock about Nero's attack and that the ship was heading into danger, however, frustrated at his latest act of insubordination, no one wanted to initially listen to him. Eventually, Kirk, McCoy, and Uhura were able to convince Pike about the trap. Pike raised the Enterprise's shields as they entered the Vulcan system, only to find a massive debris field of destroyed Federation starships having been attacked by Nero.
Along with Chief Engineer Olson and Lieutenant Hikaru Sulu, Kirk skydived onto the platform. Kirk and Sulu landed on the platform, and faced off against two of Nero's crew. Kirk and Sulu eventually killed both of their adversaries before destroying the platform. Sulu fell from the platform before they could be beamed off, so Kirk dove after him. He caught Sulu before being narrowly transported by navigator Pavel Chekov.
Shortly, the Narada deploys a device into the hole it drilled, creating a black hole at its core. Spock quickly ordered an immediate evacuation and personally beamed down to the surface to escort the Vulcan elders but lost his mother when they ground beneath her feet collapsed during transport. Vulcan was then completely swallowed by the black hole, leaving only 10,000 Vulcans in existence.
As the Enterprise went to warp, Kirk attempted to dissuade Commander Spock from a rendezvous with the rest of Starfleet at the Laurentian system. He urged him to go after the Narada as the ship left for Earth, , reminding him that Pike also wanted them to come back for him but Spock was relentless. They were discerned from Nero's statement that Spock hadn't met him yet, so it meant that he was from the future. Though logically, Nero would know what was going to happen next, Spock stated that the events that happened to the Kelvin and Vulcan ultimately changed their course of history and thus his foreknowledge is no longer relevant. He finally ordered Kirk's removal from the bridge, and when Kirk tried to fight off the security guards, he knocked him out and threw him off the ship in an escape pod.
Kirk landed on Delta Vega, some kilometers away from a Starfleet outpost. The computer instructed Kirk to remain in his pod until authorities could retrieve him, but he quickly ignored those instructions.
After being chased into a cave by a predatory creature, Kirk was rescued by Ambassador Spock of 2387. Spock explained Nero's story and mentioned that in his timeline, Kirk was the captain of the Enterprise. Spock eventually entered into a mind meld with Kirk to help him better understand why Spock was there and what had happened to him. Understanding that their only hope was to have the Enterprise go after the Narada instead of returning to the fleet, they realized that they had to get the other Spock to step down from command. Spock advised Kirk to elicit an emotional reaction from the alternate Spock so that everyone could see that he was emotionally compromised and not fit for command.
Kirk and Spock traveled to the Starfleet outpost, and found a man named Montgomery Scott, whom Spock recognized from his own timeline. Scotty and Kirk beamed aboard the Enterprise, where they were eventually captured by security. Following the advice of Ambassador Spock, Kirk provoked the alternate version to attack him by mentioning the destruction of his his planet and the death of his mother whom he accused Spock of never having loved. The last remark did the job and Spock violently attacked Kirk, nearly strangling him before Spock's father stepped in and stopped him.
Spock immediately resigned command, and after McCoy mentioned the lack of a captain with no replacement, Kirk stepped up, and took command, just as planned. Kirk then decided to go after the Narada.
Spock demanded that he board the Narada to stop Nero, and Kirk agreed with him, however, insisting that he join him. Spock realized that he could try and stop Kirk by citing regulation, but knew that Kirk would just ignore it.
Kirk and Spock beamed aboard Nero's ship. However, instead of beaming in with the element of surprise, they were beamed into the middle of many of Nero's men. Kirk and Spock drew their phasers and a gun fight ensued, with Nero's men being killed. Kirk and Spock decided to split up, with Spock diverting Nero away from Earth and Kirk going to find Pike.
Kirk found Nero and a fight ensued in which Nero nearly killed Kirk. But when Nero heard about Spock's diversion, he left to stop him, leaving Ayel to fight Kirk. Kirk stood up, glaring, and staring down Ayel before leaping after Nero. Ayel jumped after Kirk and picked him up by the neck, but Kirk grabbed his gun and shot him in the chest, killing him.
Kirk found Pike, and was beamed back to the Enterprise. At the same time, Spock put the Jellyfish on a collision course with the Narada just before being beamed off himself. The resulting explosion ignited the red matter and created a black hole inside the Narada. Against Spock's advice once again, Kirk decided to give Nero and his remaining crew a chance to beam to the Enterprise and surrender. After Nero strongly declined, Kirk easily decided to have all weapons fired and the Narada destroyed.
Captain of the USS Enterprise
Dressed in his new captain's uniform, Kirk entered the bridge and took command of the Enterprise, telling McCoy to "buckle up" as he sat in the captain's chair. Spock arrived and requested the permanent post as Kirk's first officer, which Kirk accepted. He then ordered the launch of the Enterprise, and the ship went into warp speed.
Kirk initially had a largely antagonistic relationship with Spock, mainly due to their vastly different philosophies and approaches to life. The frictions began first at Starfleet Academy when Kirk cheated on a test Spock had designed, and then later continued when the disparate pair worked side by side on the USS Enterprise, eventually resulting in Spock throwing Kirk off the ship altogether. However, their attitudes towards each other softened after an encounter with an older version of Spock from an alternate future, who revealed that in fact the two had shared a great friendship in his timeline.
Kirk and McCoy met on a transport shuttle to Starfleet Academy, when the pair found themselves in adjacent seats where a slightly neurotic McCoy instantly opened up to the rebellious and somewhat incredulous Kirk. The two remained good friends throughout their time together at the Academy. When the time came, McCoy always had Kirk's back, such as helping to get him aboard the Enterprise after his suspension and berating Spock for throwing Kirk off the ship and marooning him on Delta Vega.
Kirk first met Nyota Uhura at a bar in Iowa in 2255, audaciously flirting with her while intoxicated, angering some other patrons of the bar, resulting in a fight. He met her again when the two studied at Starfleet Academy, although she preferred to keep a distance from him - not even ever telling him her first name - as she saw him as brash and uncouth. The pair ended up serving together aboard the Enterprise but she continued to maintain her distance.
Kirk seems to have been surprised at Hikaru Sulu's special training in close-hand combat, specializing in fencing. Kirk committed a selfless act when he dove off the drill platform to save Hikaru Sulu from death on Vulcan.
When Kirk appointed himself as Acting Captain, Sulu reminded everyone that he was already first officer and therefore was technically captain now that Spock had stood down from the post.
- 2233: Born on Medical Shuttle 37 that was attached to the late USS Kelvin.
- 2233-2255: Raised in Iowa.
- 2255-2258: Cadet at Starfleet Academy.
"Citizen, what is your name?"
"My name is James Tiberius Kirk."
- - Iowa Cop and Kirk. (Star Trek)
"Your father didn't believe in a no-win scenario."
"Well, he sure learned his lesson."
- - Pike and Kirk. (Star Trek)
"Four years? I'll do it in three."
- - Kirk accepts Pike's offer. (Star Trek)
"Two Klingon vessels have entered the Neutral zone and are locking weapons on us."
"Yeah, don't worry about it."
"I don't believe in no-win scenarios."
- - Kirk. (Star Trek)
"Who was that pointy-eared bastard?"
"I don't know. But I like him."
- - Kirk and McCoy after meeting Spock for the first time. (Star Trek)
"I get it, you're a great arguer, I'd love to do it again sometime."
- - Kirk, to Spock
"I am Spock."
"Attention crew of the Enterprise, this is James Kirk. Mr. Spock has resigned commission and advanced me to acting captain. I know you are all expecting to regroup with the fleet, but I'm ordering a pursuit course of the enemy ship to Earth. I want all departments at battle stations and ready in ten minutes. Either we're going down... or they are. Kirk out."
- - Kirk, after taking command. (Star Trek)
"I got your gun."
"I would rather suffer the end of Romulus a thousand times. I would rather die in agony, than accept assistance from you."
"You got it. Arm phasers, fire everything we've got."
- - Kirk's response to Nero after suggesting Nero to surrender peacefully. (Star Trek)
|Commanding officers of the starships Enterprise|
|Enterprise NX-01:||Archer • T'Pol • Tucker • Lorian|
|USS Enterprise:||April • Pike • Kirk • Decker • Spock|
|USS Enterprise-D:||Picard • Riker • Jellico • Halloway|
|ISS Enterprise NX-01:||Forrest • Archer|
|ISS Enterprise (NCC-1701):||Pike • Kirk|
|USS Enterprise (alternate reality):||Pike • Kirk|
The novelization of 2009's Star Trek by Alan Dean Foster states that Winona Kirk was given an inhibitor that would help slow the birth of James until the Kelvin's return to Earth. However, the impacts to the ship by the Narada's attack cause her to go into early labor. Screenwriter Roberto Orci joked in a message board post that the radiation from Kirk's premature birth in space caused his eyes to go blue.