- See James T. Kirk for his alternate reality counterpart.
|“||Space: The Final frontier... These are the voyages of the starship Enterprise. It's five-year mission: To explore strange new worlds. To seek out new life and new civilizations. To boldly go where no man has gone before.||„|
|~ James T. Kirk's speech in the introduction of Star Trek: The Original series, and Star Trek: The Animated Series|
|“||I don't like to lose.||„|
|~ Kirk in The Wrath of Khan.|
James Tiberius "Jim" Kirk is the main protagonist of the original science-fiction television series Star Trek and subsequent movie adaptations based on the original series.
Captain Kirk was arguably the most famous and highly-decorated starship captain in the history of Starfleet. Over the span of three decades in the later 23rd century, he commanded the Constitution-class starships USS Enterprise-NCC-1701 and USS Enterprise-NCC-1701-A, and also served for a time as a Rear Admiral of Starfleet High Command and as Starfleet's Chief of Operations at their headquarters in San Francisco. Over the course of his legendary career, he served the Federation's interests as an explorer, soldier, time-traveler, and diplomat.
Unlike his alternate reality counterpart, Kirk was born on March 22, 2233 after his mother received medical treatment to delay labor until she and her husband George returned to Earth.
Young Kirk was present on Tarsus IV when Governor Kodos had over 4,000 colonists murdered. Kirk and his friend Tommy Leighton snuck into the amphitheatre where Kodos had gathered the colonists he intended to kill, and witnessed the murders. Spotted by a guard, they escaped, but Tommy was severely injured when grazed by a phaser set to maximum. Kirk carried Tommy to the hospital.
Kirk was able to help Starfleet in their pursuit of Kodos by locating a photo of Kodos, which he then provided to then Commander Philippa Georgiou. Georgiou for her part was impressed by Kirk, and thought if he followed in his father's footsteps he would be a first rate officer.
|“||It stinks in here||„|
|~ Kirk, on his very first visit to the Enterprise bridge as a teenager.|
As a young man Kirk had brushes with the law and had a difficult relationship with his father. The Tarses IV massacre did not help matters, leaving Kirk with feelings of grief and anger. After he tried to run away from home Kirk's father took him on a voyage on board the Enterprise. There he met Captain Robert April and the crew of the Enterprise. Stepping on to the bridge for the first time Kirk remarked about a foul odor on the bridge. First Officer Lorna Simon advised the future Enterprise Captain to watch his mouth lest someone else some day insulted Kirk's ship like that.
At the conclusion of the mission Kirk decided that his future was in Starfleet. April sponsored the young man for Starfleet Academy, and Kirk was admitted in 2250. Feeling pressured to excel lest he let his sponsors down, Kirk excelled but developed a reputation as a hard nosed and slightly unpopular cadet. That changed after Kirk met Gary Mitchell, who convinced him that he would not let his sponsors down and that he could relax a bit.
In 2253 Kirk was accepted into the command school for his final year at the academy. In 2254 Kirk became the first cadet to beat the no-win Kobyashi Maru scenario by reprogramming the simulator so that when he informed the Klingons that he was [i]The[/i] Captain Kirk the Klingons stood down. Academy faculty were none too happy with Kirk and issued 99 demerits, just short of the 100 that would have gotten Kirk expelled. However they also gave Kirk a commendation for original thinking.
Following graduation Kirk was assigned to a number of ships, including the Farragut, Constitution, and Eagle. Kirk distinguished himself in his assignments. In the early 2260s he commanded the USS Lydia Sutherland with Mitchell assigned as his first officer. The ship was lost in a battle. Kirk and Mitchell managed to escape along with a majority of the crew, but Kirk was seriously injured and spent several months in the hospital undergoing treatment for his damaged knee.
First Five Year Mission
During his time in the hospital he was promoted to Captain and named the third Captain of the USS Enterprise after Christopher Pike was promoted to Fleet Captain. At the time Kirk was one of the youngest Constitution class Captains in the fleet.
Over the next five years Kirk's exploits led to the Enterprise becoming one of the most prominent ships in the fleet, and Kirk one of the most famous Starfleet officers in Starfleet history. (Some officers like Blackjack Harriman were jealous of Kirk and his accomplishments, and denigrated him as a bad officer). His mission was noted for the large number of first contacts; including the Horta, Organians, First Federation, Gorn, and Excalbians.
Kirk defeated a Romulan bird of prey in 2266. That battle marked the return of the Romulans to the galactic scene after nearly a century of self imposed isolation. At the conclusion of the battle the Enterprise and the bird of prey engaged in visual communications, making Kirk the first human to speak openly with a Romulan.
During the five year mission Kirk saved Earth and the larger Federation several times. He would become close friends with Spock and the other senior officers.
Refit and Subsequent Missions
The Enterprise returned to Earth in 2270. Due to its fame Starfleet reversed its decision to decommission and dismantle the Enterprise. However, the ship was still 25 years old by then and required extensive refitting to keep her in a state of the art condition.
Shortly after the Enterprise returned to Earth, Kirk was convinced to accept a promotion to Admiral by Heihachiro Nogura after Nogura revealed that Admiral Vaughan Rittenhouse's attempted coup of the Federation had been very damaging to Starfleet's reputation, and that the fleet needed someone like Kirk as an Admiral. Kirk accepted the promotion and became head of Starfleet operations.
As the Enterprise refit neared completion in 2273, the entity V'Ger was on final approach to Earth. Kirk convinced Nogura to give him back the Enterprise in place of Captain Willard Decker. Kirk was able to stop V'Ger before it destroyed Earth.
Kirk then began another five year mission as Captain of the Enterprise. Some of his missions during this time included aiding the Fabrini who had disembarked from the worldship Yonada to their promised land and testing an inversion drive.
After that five year mission was over Kirk retired from Starfleet in 2282, and the Enterprise was assigned to be a training vessel for Starfleet Academy. A couple years later Kirk became an instructor at Starfleet Academy. One of his duties was overseeing cadets as they took the Kobyashi Maru test.
In 2285, Kirk oversaw the test of a young Lieutenant named Saavik, and decided to accompany Spock and a training class on a three week training cruise.
Shortly after the Enterprise left Earth the genetically engineered superman Khan Singh escaped from the devastated Ceti Alpha VI and commandeered the USS Reliant. What followed was a deadly cat and mouse game between the heavily damaged Enterprise and the Reliant. Kirk was able to defeat Khan, but at the apparent cost of Spock's life after Spock had sacrificed himself to keep the Enterprise from being destroyed by the Genesis Wave initiated by Khan as a final act of vengence.
The Enterprise returned to Spacedock a short time later, where Kirk and the crew learned that due to her age and damage sustained the Enterprise would be decommissioned. At about the same time Kirk and Sarek learned that Spock had transferred his consciousness into Dr. McCoy's mind. Spock, meanwhile, had been regenerated by the Genesis wave.
With Starfleet unwilling to allow Kirk to return to the Genesis Planet to retrieve Spock's body, Kirk and his senior staff stole the Enterprise and went to Genesis themselves. Kirk was able to defeat the Klingon warlord Kruge, but great cost as he witnessed the death of his son David and was forced to destroy the Enterprise. After having had enough of Kruge when the defeated Klingon tried to take Kirk with him, Kirk kicked Kruge off a cliff, and Kruge fell into a pool of lava. Kirk and his friends took Kruge's bird of prey to Vulcan, where Spock's consciousness was successfully reunited with his body.
Exile and Return
Kirk and his senior officers spent the next three months in exile on Vulcan, preparing their captured bird of prey for a return to Earth and the end of their Starfleet careers. Meanwhile Spock underwent a training program and a series of mind melds with Dr. McCoy to ensure that any lingering traces of Spock inside McCoy's mind were transferred back to Spock.
The late Enterprise crew was sidetracked from their return to Earth by a whale probe that was vaporizing Earth's oceans. Kirk and his crew went back to the late 20th century, where they retrieved humpback whales George and Gracie and brought them to the late 23rd century. The whales were able to communicate with the probe and get it to leave the system, saving Earth in the process.
In gratitude, the Federation council dropped all the charges against Kirk's crew, and only punished Kirk for one charge - that of disobeying a superior officer. Kirk was demoted back to Captain, but given command of a new starship, the USS Enterprise (NCC-1701-A).
One of Kirk's first missions on his new ship was to deal with Sybok and his Galactic Army of Light. Sybok and his army hijacked the Enterprise and took it to the center of the Galaxy, where they encountered the maveloent being known as The One. Kirk was able to get the entity to reveal his true nature by pressuring it to reveal why it needed a starship to return to the galaxy at large.
A short time later, the Romulan praetor died and the Romulans began putting out peace feelers to the Federation. Kirk and the Enterprise were sent to meet the Romulans in the Neutral Zone. The talks were interrupted by the reappearance of the Probe. Kirk and Spock were able to convince the Probe to leave the Alpha Quadrant, and to be careful in dealing with humanoid life as to not harm them when speaking. The talks were not resumed following the departure of the Probe from Federation space.
In between missions on the Enterprise, Kirk later served as an instructor at Starfleet Academy in the late 2280s and early 2290s. He served as a mentor to David Forester, and helped prevent the extremist Vanguard group from assassinating a number of Federation officials.
In 2293 the Klingon moon Praxis exploded due to overmining and a lack of proper safety measures. By then Kirk and his crew were preparing to stand down - to either retire from the service or move on to other positions. With the Klingons on the brink of an ecological disaster, Spock reached out to Gorkon at his father's request and began discussing a peace process with Gorkon so that the Federation could help the Klingons. Opposed to the idea, Kirk still did his duty and took the Enterprise to meet Gorkon's ship.
After a conspiracy of Federation, Klingon, and Romulans opposed to peace managed to assassinate Gorkon, Kirk and Dr. McCoy were arrested and sent to Rura Penthe by the Klingons. The Enterprise crew managed to free them from imprisonment and were able to prevent the conspiracy from assassinating Federation President Ra-ghoratreii. Seeing what hatred drove individuals who he thought were honorable to do, the experience led Kirk to forgive the Klingons for the death of his son, David.
After the opening session of the Khitomer conference, Kirk retired from active duty. About a year after leaving, the Enterprise-B neared completion. On board for the launch ceremony, Kirk disappeared from the Enterprise-B while assisting in rescuing El-Aurian refugees, and was presumed dead.
Kirk had in fact been taken in to the Nexus, and was taken to a time where he had previously retired from Starfleet and living at his uncle's cabin in Idaho. He was visited by Jean-Luc Picard, who convinced him to exit the Nexus and keep Tolian Soran from destroying the heavily populated Veridian star system. Kirk was fatally wounded in the fight and died after Soran was defeated, and was buried on Veridian III by Captain Picard.
In the series of novels written by William Shatner, Kirk's body was retrieved from Veridian III by a group of Romulans working with the Borg, and was revived with Borg technology as part of a plan to kill Captain Picard. He was later healed by the ex-Borg Hugh, and returned to Federation space.