Star Trek Guide

Star Trek: Where Kirk Is During Discovery Season 1 & 2 Revealed

The latest Star Trek: Discovery tie-in novel reveals what James T. Kirk was doing during the show's first two seasons. The Star Trek TV shows have hopped around the timeline with joyous abandon, and Star Trek: Discovery season 1 kicked off in stardate 2255. That's roughly a decade before the original series.

This actually caused problems for the show, because Star Trek: Discovery season 1 introduced technology that seemed far too advanced for its time period; it's since spent quite a bit of time retconning away the continuity issues. The holographic communicators were one particularly thorny issues, but season 2 revealed unexpected technical problems with them that even crippled the USS Enterprise; as a result, the Federation abandoned the technology. Discovery's spore drive had the potential to transform space-travel, but only two vessels ever had it installed; Discovery's sister ship was destroyed after a malfunction, while Discovery itself has now blasted off into the future. The only known expert on spore drive technology, Lt. Stamets, was aboard, meaning the Federation lost access to it after Discovery's departure. The continuity problems have been neatly resolved.

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But, of course, that raises the intriguing question of just what the stars of the original series were doing at the time of Star Trek: Discovery. The latest official tie-in novel, Die Standing by John Jackson Miller, finally reveals what Kirk was up to. It seems he was a freshman out of the Academy at the time of Star Trek: Discovery season 1, and in 2255 he'd been assigned to serve on the USS Farragut as a phaser operator. Unfortunately, shortly after the end of the Klingon War the Farragut encountered a mysterious anomaly; a quasi-gaseous creature that killed almost all its crew. Kirk was one of the few survivors of the Farragut, and blamed himself for the tragedy because he'd been slow to fire on the creature when he saw it drifting in space. This story is actually detailed in the original series episode "Obsession," but Die Standing reveals it took place just before Star Trek: Discovery season 1. Philippa Georgiou, former Empress of the Terran Empire, is actually called in to investigate in one of her first missions for Section 31.

Kirk isn't seen in Die Standing, but his name is mentioned several times, because Georgiou is working with people who'd trained at the Academy with him - and who were appalled at the tragedy he had suffered. It sounds as though Kirk was sent back to Earth to recuperate from potential PTSD after the slaughter at the Farragut, but it didn't take him long to get back on his feet and resume his Starfleet career.

The repeated references to Kirk made Die Standing an enjoyable read; they serve as a reminder that the events of Star Trek: Discovery seasons 1 and 2 happen during the formative years of the Enterprise's famous crew. No doubt Kirk was working with countless people who had fought during the Klingon War, and seen their loved ones die, explaining his initial hatred of the Klingons. Meanwhile, the consequences of Die Standing would be explored years later, when the Enterprise stumbled upon the same gaseous creature and Spock learned his then-Captain had not really processed his grief at all.


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