Common Knowledge

by Domenika Marzione

The common-knowledge version goes like this:

Christopher Pike has always been going places. He's ambitious, he's smart, he talks a good game, and he consistently makes the most of every chance he gets. He is a bright light others are attracted to, want to orbit, or at least want to follow through the sky.

(He's got an ego the size of a galaxy, he's a fucking know-it-all, he kisses so much ass all he can taste is shit, and he's been the recipient of some of the most uncanny good luck known to Starfleet. He's a shark you have to keep your eye on constantly lest he bite off your leg or steal your prize.)

Pike leaves the Academy with important patrons and, as valedictorian, the first choice of billets in the fleet.

(He was dating the Commandant's daughter.)

He rises quickly through the ranks, combining the promise he showed at the Academy with uncommon valor once in the Fleet.

(Everyone knows Rossum wasn't wrong, wasn't cowardly, wasn't doing anything against the spirit or letter of his commission. And everyone also knows that if he hadn't had the misfortune of having Pike as a lieutenant on board, he would've gotten out of it without a sharply-worded memo, let alone a court martial. Instead, a good guy was cashiered out of the Fleet for not wanting to take a chance that had a high reward but also a very high risk and Pike sets a speed record for promotion to captain.)

His regular contributions to the professional journals earn him notice; his trio of articles on quasi-state actors in Proceedings gets added to the undergraduate Peace, War, and Social Conflict curriculum before Pike can expand upon them for his dissertation.

(Nothing like showing up for Staff College and finding out that Pike's essays – and then his book -- are required reading no matter what track you're in. Nobody's surprised that Pike gets permission and funding to go for a full doctorate instead of just getting the quickest graduate degree you can find and then get back to work.)

He is named captain of the Enterprise because the Board, for reasons as much political as practical, wants a younger man in the job and Christopher Pike is the best available candidate in that category.

(Pike must have incriminating pictures of the entire fucking admiralty to go from the Ushant to the Enterprise. To jump classes like that, to go from a rustbucket in for an eighteen-month refit to recruiting duty to the newest heavy cruiser in the Fleet? Pictures. With. Goats.)

Enterprise's complement of officers had been named at the time she is rushed into service, but only the enlisted crew have officially joined the ship. As such, he is forced to accept Cadets First Class in almost all leadership positions before embarking for Vulcan.

(Pike's ass is saved by his cadet helmsman's incompetence and then by his pet project, who was about to embarrass him by getting expelled from the Academy for cheating but instead ends up shattering his record for promotion to captain.)

While recovering from injuries sustained during his capture and torture, now-Admiral Pike revisits his treatise on non-state actors and produces a new monograph incorporating the lessons learned in the battles against Nero. Simultaneously, he is responsible for the Board's official proposal to begin training commissioned officers outside of the Academy environment.

(Pike's made his career and his fortune twice over on the backs of the Kirks. The funny thing is that the only one alive to call him on it is too grateful to do so.)

… all of this is common knowledge. Which is not necessarily the same thing as the whole story, or even the truth.

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15 August, 2009