winona smile

Fic: Pro Familia Mori

Title: Pro Familia Mori
Fandom: Star Trek XI
Characters/pairings: Winona Kirk, Winona/George
Rating: PG-13
Word count: 2285
Warnings: Character death
Summary: Winona Kirk was captain of the U.S.S. Kelvin for 12 minutes. She saved 800 lives.
Author's Notes: for girlsavesboyfic

The first time her communicator beeps, Winona switches it to vibrate and goes back to sleep. When it vibrates a few seconds later, her fingers hover anxiously over the grill. She'd promised George and the doctor she wouldn't take calls for at least twenty-four hours after the baby was born, but she can't help wanting to know what's happening. It's about curiosity, she tells herself, not control. Which is why, when it keeps vibrating, she snaps it open, stealing a guilty look at her sleeping husband and child.

"Kirk here," she whispers, hunkering over the communicator as if that will keep George from waking up and noticing what she's doing.

"Sir, we need you on the bridge."

She winces at the volume of Sangal's voice and holds her breath, steeling herself for a cry. When there isn't one, she peers at the baby. Still asleep. Too new to this world to be awake.

"What is it?" she whispers back.

"I don't know, sir. It looks a lightening storm. In space."

That's not possible, she thinks.

"I'll be there," she says.

"You're not s'posed to have that communicator," George mutters, barely opening his eyes. She smiles at the sight of his face, one half baby-smooth, the other imprinted with the creases in the sheets.

"I'm not supposed to have a baby monitor on the bridge either."

See if it'll stop her. She has three kids now: Sam, the baby, and the ship. Two of them are here. She'll find a way to watch them both.

"You talk to Captain Robau about that?"

"Finish building it for me and I will."

There are, of course, no baby supplies aboard the Kelvin. There are not supposed to be any babies either, but then, nature never cared much for supposed. Her pregnancy test had been negative two days before their departure and positive one day out. They were too far away even then to turn around and take her back.

She strokes George's face, exploring the creases with her fingertips.

"I'll be back before your shift starts."

No she won't. They both know it.

"George, I --"

Am sorry. Will make it up to you. Did not mean for you to give up your last tour of duty to care for the child we did not know we would have.

He sees the conflict on her face, lays his hand over hers.

"It's okay. We'll make it work."

It's not okay, but they have no choice. Starfleet says a first officer is more valuable than a scientist, so they cut back George's shifts to keep her on the bridge.

George looks at the baby, swaddled already in Starfleet blue. There were no diapers on the ship; they had to make them out of spare uniforms.

"He's worth it," he says.

Winona nods, squeezes his hand. It's true.

"They need you up there, Wi."

That's true too.

She leaves sickbay 18 hours after the birth of her youngest son, who does not yet have a name.

(Later, George will think he should have watched her go.)


When she steps on the bridge, she thinks that space is giving birth, and the sleek, sharp life sliding out of the ragged hole is as beautiful as it is deadly. She knows, even before the first volley of torpedoes rocks the ship, that this is their Kobayashi Maru. She goes to work, fingers steady on the controls even as the ship shudders and jerks, the hull plates split apart, and fire engulfs half of engineering. And she has never felt so much a part of something as she has now. This is family magnified nine hundred thirty-eight times: a crew. And they are all -- for now -- surviving together, as many of them as can.

They are hailed. For a moment, the alarms quiet and the crew stills. She realizes the black thing is a ship, and it wants her captain. She knows she can't let it have him, and knows at the same time that she is powerless to prevent it.

Once Robau had let himself be taken captive in her place. They got him back, of course, and afterward she had come to him with her face flushed and anger pounding in her temples.

"You should have let me go in your place. It's my job to keep you safe," she'd said. (Said was generous; it was really just this side of shouting, and her voice had almost broken on the word 'job.')

"No," he'd said, steady, calm, and patient. "It is your job to keep everyone safe when I am gone. I trust you to do this. It is why I can go."

She had nodded, chastised, and just before she left, he'd said, "Winona, staying behind is the hardest job. I know it."

Now she follows him off the bridge without being asked, and as she watches him step into the lift, she knows that he will once again ask her to do the hardest thing.

"I'm not the captain now, Mr. Kirk," he says. "You are."

Which means good-bye.

He fixes her with one last steady, intense stare. Do your job. I demand it.

She would like to give him a hug, prep his shuttle, ride down with him to the hangar bay at least. Something to say good-bye. But there isn't time. She's striding back to the bridge before the lift doors close on the man who used to be her captain.


The bridge is tense, quiet, waiting. They watch Robau's vitals together. They all know what they're waiting for, but no one will say it.

"His heart rate's elevated," Bardi says, breaking the silence.

No shit, Winona thinks. She leans forward in the chair, as if sitting a fraction of an inch closer to the viewscreen will help her figure out how they can survive this. Whatever-it-is out there is a ship she reminds herself, and all ships are the same. It will have torpedo bays, firing ports, something to let the weapons out. She rewinds the battle footage on the small screen on the arm of her chair, watches it over and over again. On the fifth time, she finally spots what she's looking for: six phaser ports and three torpedo bays.

Robau's heartbeat accelerates in the corner of the viewscreen.

She watches the footage again, thinks she might have spotted a gap in the firing pattern. She might even know a maneuver that will save them.

Might really isn't good enough. But it's all she's got.

TERMINATED, the viewscreen says. The outline of Robau's body flashes red. Alarms wail. It's a stupid way for a good man to die. She'll pray for him later.

"Their weapons are locked on us, sir!"

She knows what to do.

"Bravo six maneuver. Fire full torpedoes!"

The enemy torpedoes hit seconds later; the ship rocks. Shields fail. Her might wasn't good enough. Sparks and smoke fill the bridge. Ramirez falls out of his chair. Stunned, she thinks, not dead. She lunges for him, loops his arm around her shoulders. She cannot save this ship.

"General order thirteen!" she calls out when the smoke has cleared. "We're evacuating."

"Yes sir!" Bardi shouts from the helm, but he doesn't move. None of them do.
She nods silently, giving them permission to leave her. No one gets up.

"Go!" she shouts at them. "I'll take it from here."

They still don't move; no one will be the first to go. She totters toward the helm, barely able to keep her feet on the shuddering deck plates. She lays a hand on Bardi's shoulder, gently as she can when klaxons are wailing and her adrenaline is pumping and minutes are left before the ship splits apart.

"Get the rest to safety," she says. "I'll see you soon."

She's pretty sure it's a lie. She's absolutely certain they needed to hear it. They start moving.

She stumbles back to the captain's chair, jerks the comm switch, and settles into the seat for one last ride.

"All decks, this is the captain speaking. Evacuate immediately. Get to your designated shuttle craft now."

She thumbs off the switch, thinking of George for the first time since she arrived on the bridge. Was he safe? Did he have the baby? But she couldn't call; if he didn't answer, she couldn't bear it, and if he did answer, that was a second he wouldn't have to escape the burning ship.

He's okay, Win, she tells herself. He's running, with the baby, and he's going to call you from the evac pod.

Her comm chimes. It's him.

"Winona, where's Robau? What's happening?"

She hears the edge of panic in his voice, can't quite keep it out of hers.

"George? George, are you okay? Is the baby okay?"

It strikes her then that her son has no name. Could have died without a name, without meeting his older brother, without his grandparents even seeing a picture of him.

"He's okay, Winona."

"Listen," she says, drawing calm from the image of her son wrapped in her husband's arms. "There's not time to explain anything, okay? I need you to go to medical shuttle thirty-seven. Can you do that?"

"Yeah, Wi, I can do that. But what about you?"

She watches a fresh volley of torpedoes advance in the viewscreen.

"I'm coming."

It's a lie, but he'll believe her. He always believes her.

"Just -- "

Her voice catches; she takes a breath.

"Just do exactly as I say. Medical shuttle thirty-seven. I'll see you soon."

She closes the connection reluctantly, stares out at the ship.

If she can't win, she can at least take it down with her.

She stumbles to the helm, locks in a collision course and pulls down the throttle. Into the enemy, full speed ahead.

Now to see if she can get to George and the baby, maybe even back home to Sam. She calls up a damage control read-out beneath the yellow emergency lights on her old station. She knows she can't make it, but she wouldn't be her if she didn't try. If she could rig the phasers to auto-target the enemy torpedoes, she could leave with a clean conscience. If she could just find a way off the bridge. Biting her lip, she studies the flickering schematic of the ship. Lift six is still operational, and she could get there through the Jeffries tubes in, what, two minutes maybe? Then thirty seconds down to deck twelve, where George's shuttle is waiting, and then another minute to make it on board.

If nothing changed. If the lift didn't get stuck, or the jeffries tubes weren't clogged with debris, or the path to the shuttle wasn't blocked by fire. Too many ifs to risk a single member of her crew, let alone her husband and her son. She clenches her fingers around the back of her chair, takes a deep breath, and closes her eyes. When she opens them, she's going to tell George to leave.

Another torpedo hits.

"Auto-pilot offline," the computer announces. "Manual pilot required."

There. It's settled. She has to do this now.

She orders the shuttle pilot to go before she calls George; she doesn't want him to feel that he has a choice. He'd never leave the baby of course, but this way, maybe he won't feel that he chose to leave her.

She stares at the schematic, watching the glowing blue outline of the shuttle sail away from the ship. When it's gone, she presses the comm switch with unsteady hands. For George, she can face this. For her son, she'll face anything.

"Winona? Winona!" George's voice is panicked, halfway choked with tears. "Where are you, Winona?"

"George, listen to me."

She can be calm. She can be strong. For him.

"I'm not going to be there. If I don't stay, none of the shuttles will get away."

She shoots down a torpedo, and one of the evac pods sails out toward the stars. In front of the helm, glowing red numbers inform her that she has two minutes and twenty-eight seconds to live. She knows how she wants to spend them.

"Tell me about the baby, George."

"He's beautiful, Wi."

She snorts.

"Tell me something I don't know."

She fires her last operational phaser, and a torpedo explodes meters from an escaping shuttle.

"His name, Winona. What's his name?"

"Tiberius?" she ventures. She smiles even though the old joke makes her eyes fill with tears.

"Tiberius? You've got to be kidding! That's awful!"

She is lucky, she thinks. Lucky to hear the laughter in her husband's voice one last time. In the background, the baby is crying and George is hushing him and she is lucky to hear that too. She fires again, and the last shuttle -- George's -- sails away. Forty-five seconds left.

"We could name him after your father," she says, shaking a little now that there is nothing to do.

"Jim," George answers. "Yeah, we'll call him Jim."

They sit together in silence for a moment, and she thinks of the year they spent keeping in touch by subspace transmissions punctuated by long, comfortable pauses. The year that had proven to them both that their love could survive their careers.

"You should be here, Winona," George says when she has twelve seconds left.

She nods; she should.

"I love you, George."

The numbers are shrinking. Four, three, two, one.

"I love -- "

(Later, George will watch the video of the explosion so he can find the star nearest to the Kelvin's last known coordinates. Its official name is Omicron Theta VI. He calls it Winona.)
Extremely well done. I don't cry in general and never over fics, but you've put tears in my eyes. ♥
Ah, I could see this happening even more than the way the movie went. Good writing. Thank you for a very good read.
Oh, this is amazing! I love it so much, how kick-ass Winona was as she tried to figure out ways to get to the shuttles and her solid determination, regardless of what she's doing, whether planning for escape or planning for sacrifice.

I wrote a genderswap fic a few months ago where Jim was actually Jaimie and George was the one to survive the Kelvin. Your fic made me think of mine. :)
This was wonderful. Though it leaves me curious about the later happenings in the Kirk family. ;-)
Thank you! I'm really curious about that too. I would really love to read about George as the flawed but well-intentioned father and Jim growing up in the shadow of his heroic mother. That makes me feel like I'm erasing Winona though.
This is so great. Spare and beautiful, and left me with tears in my eyes.
*collapses in my chair*

YES. This is so perfect I don't even have words. It's just -- exactly how it would have gone. Yes.
Thank you! I felt a little guilty for killing off Winona when there are so few women in ST to begin with, but I was so interested in this idea because it seems like a role women generally don't get to play. I think maybe I feel guiltier for wanting to write a sequel in which George is the well-intentioned but overwhelmed father and Jim grows up in the heroic shadow of his dead mother, which feels even more like erasing Winona?

And that was really a lot of word vomit when what I really wanted to say was that I'm glad you liked it.
That's okay! I figured a lot of people would need to pass it by. Character death is definitely not for everyone!
Rubynye sent me. I love the fact that in this AU, you're giving more background detail than we got in the movie.
Hmmm, it seems that however the story is told, I find Winona much more interesting than her husband. *g* Very nice re-imagining of the Kelvin</i tragedy.
it seems that however the story is told, I find Winona much more interesting than her husband.

I agree with you completely! (Although I am kind of curious about George the well-intentioned but flawed single father, so I might submit this if I end up doing that sequel exchange thing.)

I'm really glad you enjoyed this!