It really was a good plan. An ingenious one, in fact. Fall fast enough, jumpstart the stabilizers, and pull out of the canyon just in time to clear the fall edge, safe and sound. Run off to save the Federation, as humans do. The physics, the math, it was all there, except for the little problem with the valley floor.
It was too shallow, of course. Just a few dozen feet more and the USS Franklin wouldn't have ended up an even more smoldering wreck with even more mangled bodies. Tragic really. Not that they could've known and even if they had, there was nothing that could've been done about it. Either the Franklin flew or it didn't. No fault on the part of Mr. Sulu either. The finest pilot in Star Fleet wouldn't have made it out of that canyon. The reality of life: you can't win them all. Damn Spock and his time-traveling, black-hole machine! Didn't he know what danger he put humanity in? Picard had earned the green light. They were in the clear! Now the Continuum wasn't satisfied the Federation could still meet its conditions for continued existence. They wanted Picard to stand trial again. And Q wasn't sure there would even be a Picard to attend. Not with the Franklin a smoking ruin and Yorktown consumed.
Kirk forced his eyes open. He wasn't in pain exactly but, given the circumstances, not feeling anything was probably a worse sign. Ok file that one away to deal with later. He was lucky the Franklin was built in an era that still required restraints on all the seats. That meant others probably survived, at least for now. Getting out of the captain's chair, finding Bones, and patching up survivors would've been an ideal course of action, but Kirk found himself having some trouble starting the first step. He struggled to look up at the conn stations ahead of him. Everything was smashed in beyond recognition. There were a couple of bodies scattered about, but he couldn't figure out who was who. He tried to remember who was sitting where when he caught sight of a figure off to his right poking at the wreckage. He was in a Star Fleet uniform and, by the bands on his wrist, a captain. Something else Kirk was growing too dizzy to think about.
"Hey!" he called, but it came out more of an agonized groan. Still the man looked over in his direction and walked over, somehow navigating the wreckage as if it wasn't there. He grabbed Kirk by the shoulders and, with no apparent concern for his injuries, forced Kirk to look up at him.
"Do you have a plan?!" he asked. Kirk blinked.
"Do I what-?" The man shook him again.
"A plan! To stop Krall! Prevent the destruction of Yorktown! Do you have one? I can't do this all myself." Kirk blinked some more, confused. This wasn't going the way he imagined.
"Uh no?" he groaned. "I was honestly waiting until this worked to put that together. Cross that bridge when we came to it, you know?" Most of the time that does the trick." The man let go of him, running his hands through his hair before turning back to him.
"Well you're not wrong about that one," he sighed. "Shit." He stood for a moment, apparently in thought before turning back to Kirk. "How about this? Promise me it'll work. Promise me you'll get him because this," he gestured around at the wreckage, "is just too crazy to actually succeed. No one at the Continuum is looking right now, but they will get suspicious. This is the only chance I have to help you. Any of you." He grabbed Kirk again. "Promise." None of this meant anything to Kirk. Why wouldn't this guy just let him sleep? He was so tired. He blinked again, struggling to keep his eyes open.
"Yeah I'll get him. I promise." What a bizarre conversation this is. The man let go and stepped back. Kirk closed his eyes.
"It'll have to do," he said and snapped his fingers.