Thsi is written in one fell swoop. I know I missed a ton of stuff, but you know, I can totally meta on this for weeks.
Most of this is subject to change. In about a week, after I've read more, I'll probably have some caveats.
The timeline changes by the Kelvin that reverberate through the timeline alone are breathtaking, because I do think, after watching and reading teh novelization, that this is something the writers actually thought about hard before pursuing. It's not just the people are different; you can trace a lot of the differences in personality that occurred.
There's also an indecent amount of parallelism: Spock's mother, Kirk's dad; Spock and Kirk's arguments; the change in upbringing that made Spock repress instead of controlling his emotions and anger expressed in violence while Kirk's upbringing had him searching out ways to express his anger in violence; the fact that both men go for the throat in a fight and do not pussyfoot around it.
The Boring Preface: Timespace
Okay, so I follow two schools of general time-travel thought:
a.) a universe cannot be destroyed or altered [see c.], but it can be forked. In terms of what little physics I get (and years of sci-fi fandoms) it makes sense if Time comes in with a built-in failsafe to avoid destroying itself.
b.) timestreams try to correct themselves in general to match their parent as closely as possible. I submit TNG for evaluation in an Enterprise that was exactly the same crew complement and all after the time-disturbance that sent the Federation to war with the Klingons. For that matter, checking out any of the canon AUs and there's a suspicious amount of similarity when there shouldn't be by any normal stretch of the imagination.
[a.) You can also blame Dr. Who for this one, as the Timelords were once protectors of time, to avoid getting paradoxes and snafus occurring regularly. I've brooded on for a while--Tasha Yar was like, a huge deal for me in sci-fi, because those eps were just plain cool. Dr. Who finally gave it the right voice; destiny is another word for Time trying to correct itself toward its parent universe.]
[b.) This may or may not count timespace changes that were natural to the universe, but I'd have to go and re-read a lot to get the specifics of that down; sometimes, things were supposed to happen in a universe and required time travel to make them happen--see Voyager season Seven and goddamn Seven of Nine.]
[c.) It probably helps to think of timespace as not necessarily sentient, but has a script it wants to follow and dislikes having to switch things up. Like growing crystals, the crystals have a pattern and they do not like being fucked with.]
This gives several possibilities on why, no matter the universe, there are constants that have to occur. It was described once, somewhere, that an alteration in timespace is like throwing a rock into a pool; the big changes occur at impact, forward and backward, with the ripples becoming smaller and smaller until until they reach a rippleless state that will match the parent universe. Sure, that could actually end up being the practical end of the universe, but you know, they still match at the end. Kelvin was hit by the rock. That's the big change that reset the universe. And it changed things going forward (and potentially, backward as well. You see how this really works to explain what can't be explained by the destruction of the Kelvin).
So. In a universe where Timespace has method to madness, a lot of Trek makes an odd amount of sense.
Right. Now the movie.
The destrution of the Kelvin--which was basically Nero throwing a pointless temper tantrum that would later come and bite him in the ass--lead to the birth of Kirk in space, which to point out, unless I'm missing some deeply buried canon, should not have even been possible in Prime Universe, as from what I can tell, she was in labour before the Narada showed up and I don't see them zooming back just to make sure Jimmy was born on terra firma. Hence my thought on time change like a rock rippling forward and backward.
That said, that was an awesome space battle.
Spock and Kirk, interestingly, get on a parallel track they didn't have in Prime Universe; Spock and his temper have a stronger bonding experience due to (speculative) Vulcan xenophobia getting a kick in the ass at the appearance of Romulans thirty years too early and probably only a few years after his birth. Instead of just being a hybrid with a (lesser) human mother, he's a hybrid who is the son of a traitor to racial purity. That's two very, very different mindsets. It's kind of the difference between being British circa teh nineteenth century with the noble savage nonsense and the Ku Klux Klan [alter deed in light of Vulcan's pacificm; the lynchings are all verbal]. Spock was written off as not Vulcan enough--the entire scene in the Vulcan Science Academy was a long and torturous way for Vulcans to remind Spock he's not accepted for himself, but as a consolation prize, he can pretend in the Academy on the strength of being Sarek's--a Vulcan--son.
Spock may have some authority issues.
Kirk without his birth father, but more importantly, left in the care of his stepfather [the novel has some interesting bits referring to how much Kirk's stepfather sucked] and without his mother's presence [in space, from what I gather], is left to his own devices to work out what he's supposed to do with his life. So you know, connects with his inner rage at being abandoned pretty much, which no teenage boy can do well. Kirk's rebellion is against those who wrote him off [his father's death, mother's abandonment, his stepfather being very stereotypically steppy]. Even Pike's acceptance isn't acceptance of James Kirk--it's for George Kirk's son.
Kirk may have some authority issues.
Fast forward three years, this first meeting could not go well.
Two things on that: I'm surprised they went the academic dishonesty route on this one, sincerely. Kirk had taken the test twice before already, so it wasn't quite the same as going in cheating the first time on a test they were all well aware could not be passed. I do think Spock had a tantrum and pushed to turn it into an academic issue instead of at best vandalism issue and I think Kirk hit it on the head that Spock was Vulcanly pissed that a.) someone hacked the test at all and b.) that they did it well enough that it wasn't caught until after it was run.
And I think Spock brought up Kirk's father in a deliberate attempt to throw Kirk off enough a dispassionate argument and turn it from a judgment on Kirk's point that the test was in itself a cheat, since RL in infinite diversity cannot, by definition, be no-win, and turn it onto Kirk with a reputation for being a hothead.
[Actually, it was kind of brilliant a piece of manipulation if it hadn't been stopped short. There wasn't a logical reason at that point to bring up George Kirk at all in an argument regarding whether or not the simulation was a cheat; George Kirk had no bearing on whether or not something was wrong with the test. It was a direct hit on James Kirk to derail the argument away from "The test is a cheat and here is why" and to "James Kirk is a hothead and does shit like this; see how emotional he is? He can't be trusted. Get rid of him. And live long and prosper, fucker."]
[I tend toward thinking Spock has a scorched earth policy going on.]
Ships in Space
McCoy, for reasons best known to himself (how he could not have foreseen the chain of events to follow is beyond me; I call deliberate blindness) got Kirk aboard the Enterprise, where Kirk overhears the magic words "lightning storm in space" and runs for Uhura (of course) to play connect the dots.
Pike (who is less surprised by the magic of Kirk on his bridge; there was an air of "of course, yeah, this is my life, I recruited you. Of course you'll be annoying me here.") makes the executive decision to pause and consider before going to Vulcan and so misses the slaughter of a lot of ships. Because this is what captains do--ie, run quickly into traps because what the hell, why not?--Pike follows the same pattern that killed the captain of the Kelvin and leaves Spock in charge, then, because maybe he also remembers George Kirk's idea of how to win a no-win, Kirk as his first officer. Because yes, he does have a sick sense of humor like that. And because if this goes pear shape, its probably not the worst idea in history to have someone around who likes to cheat.
[Seriously. Pike was at that damn academic hearing. I have no idea what he was thinking, but my best guess is he was torn between agreeing it was bad to cheat and also seeing Kirk's point. And he did a dissertation on the events of the Kevlin; he might have been less amused by Spock dragging out George Kirk, who was his example to Kirk of someone who didn't accept a no-win, and using that as a weapon proving the no-win.]
Mutiny on the USS Enterprise
Vulcan's destruction was just cool, in a very depressing, very parallel way to the destruction of Romulus in Primeverse (and isn't that something that's hard to fathom; in Prime, Romulus and Remus are gone. Poof. There is no longer a Romulus.
Whilst Pike enjoys Nero's hospitality, Spock goes to get his parents and the Vulcan elders, who are hanging out underground for reasons that I'm sure are important, and gets them back to the ship, sans his mother. Spock, who has had a lousy few days, loses his planet and his mother in one fell swoop. It sucks to be Spock. On his return, he orders them to go to Laurentian system for the rest of the fleet (why is the fleet there anyway?) and Kirk--disagrees.
I went to double check, even though the movie's fairly fresh in my memory; Kirk says argue the point, and Spock has him arrested. When Kirk starts fighting, he has him thrown off the ship.
[Like I said, this isn't reaction in moderation; this is scorched fucking earth. Mess with a test; get thrown out of the Academy. Rebel against ship authority, exile from the ship. For some reason, the perfectly servicable brig wasn't quite enough. No. Put them in a pod and onto an ice planet.]
This is going to need like, an essay on everything that hurt about that meeting; everything that was sweet and everything that was bittersweet, and everything that hurt to watch and feel and wonder about. Spock never knew this Kirk, period, but he also never knew this Kirk at this age, which is a very long five to six years of not only maturity, but service on a starship. Even if Kirk had been a perfect parallel, the difference would have been huge. He remembers the man he served with that was already a captain, an officer, who'd done a lot more and seen so much more and been tempered in ways that this Kirk simply isn't. With the further changes in the timeline, this is a Kirk that has the potential to be the Kirk he knows, but with edge in him that's pure thug; Kirk Prime fought when he had to and enjoyed it. Kirk Mark II grew up to learn how to like it, and to choose it even when it wasn't necessary.
I really just--did not expect my own reaction to watching them.
Mutiny on the Enterprise, Part II
I'd kill to work out what changes caused Scotty to be tossed into exile. I mean, I know why in this timeline, but what specifically would set off a chain of events that lead to him being exiled instead of on a starship.
Right. After getting the transwarp, Kirk and Scotty beam to teh Enterprise, where Spock looks with emotionless shock at Kirk reappearing impossibly and upon showing up on the bridge, begins the next round of "you see this is all circular" with Kirk using Spock's mother against him as a weapon ot prove emotional fitness.
Or you could say it like this: "Spock is being a hothead; see how emotional he is? He can't be trusted. Get rid of him. And live long and prosper, fucker."
Unfortunately for Spock, there was no sudden attack to catch his attention and stop proceedings. After attacking Kirk, he relieves himself of duty and wanders off to commune with his loss and his father. Kirk, Sulu reminds everyone, was appointed first officer of the ship, and they take off to save Earth from Nero.
Okay, Plan, Sure
After Spock returns after finding emotional equilibrium (or accepting there cant' be any yet), tehy work out a plan to go rescue Pike and stop Nero from destroying Earth and then the rest of the Federation. It's--fighting. It's fun to watch.
It's interesting that Kirk manages to convey "Mindrape the Romulan" without ever mentioning how the hell he knew about mind melds and not actually ever referring to it. Spock, being--well, scorched earth Spock of lore, jumps all over that shit, and they split to carry out their plan of getting Pike and destroying Nero's ship. There's more fighting. They, you know, succeed. I mean, it was fun! But lots of action.
After returning to the ship, Kirk, in a stunning display of newfound mercy, offers to help Nero if he turns himself in. Spock, reprising his role as one who likes victory best when all the enemies are in their component parts, would rather skip to the component parts. And Nero refuses anyway, and there is destruction.
Kirk is captain, the crew is teh crew, and they go off for adventures.
I could go on a week about this, but while I totally get people saying "HE IS CAPTAIN? WTF?" I will say also, ti's not like the entire damn crew isn't working well above their natural paygrade. As in, Chekov is seventeen?
So, my general and totally wrong yet pleasing assumptions:
1.) They lost six ships totally, all crew and cadets--that's a hell of a lot of people. For that matter, what the hell were they doing calling cadets anyway? Chekov was in a senior position before destruction occurred. Sulu was second senior. I can't tell for sure from Uhura, but I'm going on a limb and saying she was also second most senior since that seems to be a pattern. They were graduating cadets to the second highest positions already. Spock was the one that made the most sense in becoming first officer, but that seems to imply that in seven ships, there was no one with more experience on a ship, period</i>. McCoy was one person from senior. They were already way up the food chain before seven ships were lost.
2.) The Laurentian ships crews were not up for transfer.
Okay, unprovable, but here we go--this is after like, several nights of talking with niqaeli:
AT best, teh Federation was always at cold war levels with Klingons and later the Romulans. When a Romulan ship destroyed the Kelvin, the Federation fleet stopped being Explore in Peace first and became Protect the Federation first, with exploration being a secondary objective. It took the Enterprise three years after Kirk started at the Academy to be completed. If exploration was of lower priority, it would make sense that the half-finished ship would take that long to get commissioned. And explain why it, along with the other six ships, being lower priority and therefore less in danger, be where you trained cadets before sending them to the important ships.
According to Memory Alpha, the Fleet was doing training maneuvers there. Granted, there are a dozen reasons to send your entire fleet minus seven to hang out in a particular system to train. I just wonder what kind of training exercises really require an entire fleet of ships all at once.
If you thought you were going to war really soon? That could be a reason. Just saying.
Spock and Uhura
News to me, TOS had some background for this one; there are two or three eps that were mentioned on a messageboard with some canon background, which made it so much easier for me personally to go, "Ooh, yeah. That's workable." So my initial "Er, really?" is more "Huh, that's kind of neat." I like continuity. It makes me happy. And I do want to see them with a Vulcan lyre a lot. And I'd love to hear Uhura sing.
Spock and Kirk
In TOS, Spock was a restraining and cooling influence on the much more emotional Kirk. Their relationship was adversarial but not personally so; I find it unbelievably awesome that this is going to be the opposite. If Pike had searched the galaxy in this universe to find the one person who will do the same job without the same results, he could not have done better. This is two people who can compare and contrast their juvenile arrest records. This is two people who already have a habit of fighting personally and escalate each other to violence. Their intial reactions to being challenged by each other is already set in the habit of going for the throat first.
It's like they were looking all their lives for the one person they can't break, and lookie here, there you go. Jim Kirk, who doesn't know how to lose, and Spock, who burns down the village and salts the earth when he goes to war.
They are going to have some epic fights, and some epic angry sex.
Actually, it's a neat symmetry. Despite appearances, Uhura keeps Spock grounded in what makes him Vulcan, in a way; Kirk's what connects him to humanity's unrestrained passion. Spock makes Kirk fight for every inch, explain himself, wear himself out against something; McCoy keeps Kirk from just wallowing in his own tendencies to leap and scream without thought.
McCoy and Uhura are going to bond, I can feel it.
Right. That's my intial thoughts.
I'm ridiculously in love with Spock. I mean, Kirk owned me from the start, but in TOS, Spock was awesome but he did not really--do it for me. Who knows why. Then this Spock is--wow. Just. I did not see that coming. Dear God.