anonymous asked:

Hi there! I hate sounding so clueless, but what exactly is Tarsus IV and what happened in it that garnered so many Kirk feels?

Don’t worry, nonny! :D♥
It gives me an occasion to write meta and have more Kirk feels.

(Btw, sorry if anyone sent questions that aren’t answered yet, I have some half-written meta posts I have to get around to finishing. This one was just quicker to reply to.)

Tarsus IV is a planet, in which the Tarsus IV massacre happened. A deeply traumatic childhood experience for Kirk in the original series.

(Photo beneath unrelated, but Jim looking like he’s about to cry is highly fitting.)

Jim was living on Tarsus IV in his early teens when a fungus destroyed the colony’s food supplies.
Kodos, the governor of the colony, believed the relief ships wouldn’t arrive in time before the colony starved to death, and so he ordered the execution of half the colonists (4000 people), thinking the other half might then survive on whatever rationed food was left.

Kodos overthrew in a revolution the parts of the local government that would have opposed the massacre, and separated the population in two halves, choosing who got to live or die based on his own ideas about eugenics.

KODOS: The revolution is successful, but survival depends on drastic measures. Your continued existence represents a threat to the well-being of society. Your lives means slow death to the more valued members of the colony. Therefore I have no alternative but to sentence you to death. Your execution is so ordered. Signed, Kodos, governor of Tarsus Four.

It’s not been openly stated that Kirk was selected to die, but given what we know of the event from canon, it is clear Jim was in the group to be executed, of which only 9 survived in the end.
They were the only people who witnessed Kodos ordering the massacre etc. and could thus identify him.

Given that Starfleet had photos etc. of Kodos, it’s obviously not a matter of identifying him by looks alone, it’s a matter of Jim and the other 8 being the only ones who could go to court about having seen him give the order.
There would also not be a point in calling them “survivors” of the massacre if they had been among the thousands selected to live.

Which makes it clear that despite his good grades in school, Jim was sent to the group to be executed –either because of being viewed a rebellious child, or likely due to the allergies, which might have been perceived by Kodos as genetic inferiority.
(Kirk had at least one known allergy in TOS, and possibly has more in AOS due to being born premature, which puts people at a higher risk for allergies.
We know of his allergic reaction to the Melvaran mud fleas vaccine in AOS, and potentially an allergy to one of the medications Bones gave him in response to that, if the numb tongue issue he developed during that was a side-effect of the additional medicine.
He also most likely still has the allergy he already had in TOS.)

It’s never been specified exactly how much time passed before the relief ships arrived, but between the massacre and the aftermath the whole thing was deeply traumatic, however long they had to survive before help arrived.

Many theorize that after surviving the massacre, Jim and the other survivors might have had to live in hiding, nearly starving and constantly in danger of being caught and executed.

It’s also important to note that despite how gentle and compassionate of a person Kirk normally is,this event was so traumatic and abhorrent that even years later, he was tempted to kill Kodos in TOS (and this was with a cool head, not merely an in-the-heat-of-the-moment thing like when he wanted to kill Khan in STID), although naturally, Jim’s goodness prevailed and he didn’t, same as with Khan.

MCCOY: What if you decide he is Kodos? What then? Do you play God, carry his head through the corridors in triumph? That won’t bring back the dead, Jim.
KIRK: No, but they may rest easier.

Also, it’s interesting to note that while what Kodos did was indeed monstrous, he was at least partially tortured by guilt about it. His daughter Lenore, on the other hand, felt that murder was fine and said “it’s nothing” about the act of killing the witnesses, which is perhaps even more chilling.

This concludes it for the TOS part of it.

Promo material for STID indicates that the massacre took place in the new timeline as well.

We don’t know for sure whether Jim was also in Tarsus IV when that happened in the new timeline, although many speculate he might have been sent there after the car incident in the 2009 movie (when he destroyed his father’s antique car so that Frank couldn’t have it) –like how families sometimes send children they view as “problem kids” to live elsewhere for a while.
(Or he might have simply been sent there for whatever was the same reason TOS Kirk was living there.)

So it’s quite possible that Jim went through similar events in AOS too. On top of that, this time around he might have lived through all this trauma and then went back to Earth without having as much family support to help him heal from it all.
(Unlike in TOS, where he lived through the horror but had a stable family to help him heal afterwards).

Hence perhaps one more reason for how he became before Pike met him.

Btw, in the background info that Section 31 had as a fake profile for “John Harrison” (this is from the STID promo material, so it’s bonus rather than explicitly canon, but still deeply interesting), they had listed Harrison as one of the survivors of Tarsus IV.

Marcus found Khan long after the massacre, so he can’t have actually been there. This is just Marcus’ twisted sense of humor in listing Khan, an augment, as being one of the people Kodos had judged genetically inferior and ordered executed.
Perhaps it amused Marcus to imagine Khan bristling at this added insult.

It is possible that one of the real Tarsus IV survivors was actually named “John Harrison”, and that Section 31 simply gave Khan that name and identity because it was very convenient, someone whose family died and who might have less people likely to identify him as a fake.

Whether there was a real John Harrison on Tarsus or not, it’s highly likely they chose that background story because people would be less likely to find a flaw in it, or to wonder why he had no family etc. It might perhaps also make random people and co-workers less likely to ask about the past of someone believed to be the survivor of something deeply traumatic.
(If there was a real John Harrison and the same events with Karidian from TOS took place in AOS as well, it’s possible that Lenore killed the real Harrison, and that Section 31 just conveniently used his identity. Or he might have died of something unrelated.)

In TOS, Jim only realized that Kevin Riley was the same Kevin he knew from Tarsus IV when they looked into it more in detail (even though Kevin was one of the Enterprise crew), so he might not have recognized all of the faces from childhood once grown up.
But even then, it’s likely that Jim’s past would have played into him realizing “John Harrison” was fake. His knowledge that “John” wasn’t actually in Tarsus IV might have been how Jim knew as soon as he looked into it, that this “John Harrison” didn’t exist until a year ago.