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On Earth, in San Francisco, Captain James T. Kirk is waking up in his apartment after a night spent with a pair of Caitian women. They are annoyed when he answers a call from Starfleet. He and Spock are summoned to the office of Admiral Christopher Pike. Kirk is convinced they are going to be given Starfleet's first five-year mission of deep space exploration, though Spock is doubtful. When they arrive, Pike reveals that there are discrepancies between the captain's log on Nibiru, and a report Spock filed about it; namely being, the former said that it was 'uneventful', while the latter detailed a breaking of the Prime Directive. Kirk is dismayed by Spock's apparent betrayal. After a brief argument, Pike dismisses Spock, and proceeds to dress Kirk down for his lack of humility and respect for the chair. Kirk counters that Pike convinced him to join Starfleet because of his maverick attitude. Starfleet Command, however, saw it differently. The head of Starfleet Command, Admiral Alexander Marcus, formed a tribunal that did not include Admiral Pike. They relieved Kirk of his command of the USS Enterprise, and ordered him to return to Starfleet Academy. Pike tells Kirk pointedly that one day his reckless leadership is going to get his entire crew killed.

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