I have this thing about San Francisco.
I’ve never been there myself, but nothing pleases me more than when people flesh out the world of the Academy and the city that surrounds it. Because I can see it, you know? I can see the shuttles rocketing across the sky, towering skyscrapers reflecting the bay, the streets packed and bustling because this is Earth’s gateway to the whole universe, really. I can imagine Uhura and Gaila club hopping and shimmying and laughing, hiking heels over their shoulders at the end of the night and sneaking back across the quad so late (or early) that they’re not even sure if curfew still applies. I can imagine Spock looking out the window of his office in the afternoon, everything coloured coppery-red and the Golden Gate glinting, and he can be reminded of the way the buildings pierce the sky and glow red on Vulcan. I can imagine Jim dedicating entire weekends to just wandering around the city, convincing Bones that he has the slightest idea that he knows where they are and dragging him along for the ride. It feels worlds away from Iowa - makes him wonder what it’ll feel like when he’s actually worlds away - because no two people on the street look the same, no one stares him up and down as he shrugs past them, and there’s sea salt on the wind instead of the faint smell of hay. And Bones? Well, he’s a country boy too, and he doesn’t believe Jim for a second when he says “We are not lost, Bones, have a little faith.” but he likes walking along the Bay on the way home from Medical, he likes being challenged by a whole new range of patients and problems, likes the look in Jim’s eyes when they try some new alien delicacy or bump shoulders on a new street or sit in a diner at ass o’clock in the morning, alcohol still buzzing in their veins lips tilted up in smiles that feel like promises.
It’s hope and adventure. And maybe it’s not so much San Francisco as it is Starfleet, and maybe it’s not so much Starfleet as it is the people within it. But there’s still something about it that feels right, that arching bridge looking out over the horizon, reaching for the stars all the while.