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Story Notes:
January 3, 2010
“I love you,” George says again to Winona and their son as his ship crashes into the alien craft. He doesn’t get to finish saying it before there’s a bright light and an explosion as his ship detonates.

The light is the first thing George remembers. So bright that he can’t even describe it. He gasps as he begins to remember the rest, opening his eyes and reaching out. There’s nothing there. Something is covering his eyes, he realizes.

“Oh, good! You’re finally awake.” The voice is female and speaking an accented version of Standard.

“Win-“ George can’t get the words out. His throat is sore and something is pressed against his lips before he can finish asking.

“Drink this. It’ll help you feel better.”

The command is said with such authority that he doesn’t disobey. Only after drinking the warm liquid does he think of how dangerous his situation is. He can remember it, being on the bridge and issuing General Order Thirteen, hearing his son cry out as Winona described him, feeling the ship explode around him as the brilliant light was the last thing he saw.

“You’ve created quite a fuss, sir,” the woman is saying. “It’s been nearly a week since you dropped out of the sky. If there hadn’t been witnesses that I trust, I wouldn’t believe it was possible. I’ve tried to figure out how it could happen, but there aren’t plausible answers. If you had been flying, the distance of the fall would have killed you.”

George touches his face, fingertips grazing his jaw before his hands are forced away. He feels smaller fingers wrap around his wrists but there is an underlying strength in her grip. “My eyes,” he says, finding it easier to speak after drinking whatever it is she gave him.

“There is a salve on them. Our healer noticed damage on the retinas, so she has been repairing it while you were unconscious. They should be fine now, but it’s probably best to leave the covering on until you’re ready to handle the acclimation,” she informs him. “Now, I have a few questions, and you’ve been tended to so I can finally ask them. Who are you?”

“George Kirk, First Officer of the U.S.S. Kelvin. No. I’m Captain.” He isn’t sure why he makes the correction. To him, he’s First Officer, regardless of what happened to Robau what feels like moments ago. “Have you…my wife and son. Are they here? Winona and James?”

“I’m sorry, but no. You’re the only one we found. Were they with you? You’re American, then, as I assumed.” She makes a noise that reminds George of Winona’s ‘trying to solve a puzzle’ tone. “Why were you flying over Scotland? And how could you possibly fall from that height without breaking every bone in your body? It’s impossible. I’ve done research, and my research is never wrong.”

“My wife was on shuttle thirty-four when she gave birth to our son. They were fleeing the Kelvin to try to escape the attack from the alien craft. I do not understand the remainder of your questions.” George frowns because he knows better than to answer questions or give personal information. His name and rank are all he’s allowed to give, but he can’t stop the words.

There’s the feel of fingers against his face before something wet is on his lips. “Ice chips. Your voice sounds hoarse, which would indicate a sore throat. I want answers before I have to tell them you’re awake, but I’m not cruel,” she says.

“My throat doesn’t hurt much,” he admits, but he accepts the ice chips. Before she tells who that he’s awake? He can’t see anything, yet he doesn’t get an impression that she means him harm. If she did, she could have already hurt him, and he’d be defenseless.

“Now, back to the questioning, I think. You mentioned an alien craft? And your wife gave birth to your son on a shuttle during an escape?” She sounds suspicious and skeptical. “Mr. Kirk, what exactly happened before you woke up?”

George is surprised when he finds himself telling her everything. This is not his training at all. But he can’t make himself stop. He can only hope that Starfleet never learns of this or he might face disciplinary action. She interrupts a few times to demand more details, and he supplies them. Finally, he reaches the end of his story: the brilliant bright light before waking up here with her.

When he finishes, there’s a moment of silence. “That’s impossible,” she murmurs. “I have experience with time travel, but it’s only feasible to travel back a few hours. Anything beyond that hasn’t been documented. But you can’t lie to me, not for another twenty-two minutes. Perhaps you believe it so completely that you’re able to bypass the compulsion to tell the truth. No, that’s been tested with solid results that the truth still comes out regardless of delusion.”

“I’m not lying,” George says, curling his fingers around the soft blanket covering him. “Do you have a way to contact Starfleet? I need to find out about Winona and my boy. I have to know that they’re alive. Please, just get in touch with Starfleet, and they’ll confirm who I am.”

“Mr. Kirk--George, I’m sorry, but that isn’t possible.” She sighs, and he can hear the sincerity behind her apology. “I can’t understand this, yet, but I believe you. And won’t that just surprise them all, since I’m not exactly the type to be supportive of theories involving space travel and aliens. At all.”

"Theories? What are you talking about?" he asks. "Reality isn't a theory. Do you have any way of communicating with the Federation? A representative could do something, could try to find out about my wife and son. I need to know that they're okay. Winona will think I'm dead."

She makes a noise before she touches his face again, her blunt fingernails scraping lightly across his skin as she pulls on the damp material covering his eyes. “I want to help you, George. I'm not sure how, but maybe we can figure it out with some research and effort. But, when they arrive to question you later, you need to tell them that you don’t remember anything yet. I normally don’t encourage lying, but this is a difficult situation. If you really are somehow from the future, we don’t want you ending up in the wrong hands. You see, we’ve recently ended a war here, just six years ago, and the knowledge you have, even if you don’t realize it is knowledge, could potentially be dangerous.”

“A war?” he repeats slowly. There hasn’t been a war on Terran soil in his lifetime, yet she speaks Standard fluently. Maybe this is a colony or she has a Universal Translator. What if she’s really on the alien craft, and he’s their prisoner? “How do I know that you’re on the right side in this conflict?”

“You don’t. You’ll just have to trust me, George. I apologize for giving you the, uh, truth serum, but I had to know who you are to ensure that you aren’t a threat to us,” she explains. “There’s still time before the healer will check on you, so I’ll tell you where you are and explain about the war. If you’re willing to listen, that is.”

“You drugged me. That’s why I couldn’t stop talking.” George frowns. “And now you tell me to trust you.”

“Close your eyes. I’m removing the bandage, but there might be some discomfort at first as you adjust your eyesight. The damage is repaired, so it isn’t dangerous. I just chose not to remove them initially because--“

“It made me more vulnerable and less likely to resist,” he interrupts, remembering similar techniques discussed in classes back at the academy. “Are you a member of Starfleet?”

“No, I’m not. Starfleet doesn’t exist here. Or it doesn’t yet, if this is the same…well, we’ll discuss those possibilities later,” she says, almost as if she’s talking to herself. “Are your eyes closed?”

“Doesn’t exist? And, yes, they are.” He feels the damp cloth gently pulled away from his skin. After a moment, he carefully opens them, blinking at the stone ceiling above him. He turns his head slightly and sees more stone, along with a primitive light source. Candles? As he looks around, he finally finds the female. Certainly humanoid, though he thinks she must be Terran. She looks younger than he expected, and she’s wearing some kind of robe.

“Welcome to Hogwarts, Captain George Kirk,” she says, stepping closer to his bed as she moves her hand through her brown hair. It’s a nervous gesture, but she doesn’t seem anxious so much as curious and confident. “My name’s Hermione Granger, and I guess it’s my turn to answer a few questions.”