Ensconced in his center seat, Captain James T. Kirk readjusted the cast on his left hand and regarded his bridge's forward viewscreen, where the planet of his birth was depicted in all its deep blue, cloudswaddled glory. At any other time in his life, the captain would have looked on the sight with gladness and anticipation.
Gladness, because there was something in every man that responded warmly to the sight of the familiar and the traditional. Anticipation, because there were people who loved him on Earth, people whose embrace Kirk would have sought out at his earliest opportunity.
But this time, there was no gladness in...