(Played by Chris Pine)
Starfleet's legendary captain of the U.S.S. Enterprise was the person most changed in the alternate universe created by the Narada's time incursion into 2233. When avenging Romulan marauder Nero and his ship from the year 2387 emerged via a black-hole vortex, Kirk's father George, aboard the U.S.S. Kelvin as its first officer, gave his life in a suicide run so as to give cover to his ship's fleeing escape shuttles. His death was enough to split off an all-new altered timeline: one of the shuttles contained his wife Winona, who was going into labor amid the battle and delivered their son James Tiberius—now destined to grow up without his father's influence, a troubled child.
In and around his native Riverside, Iowa, this young Kirk frequently got into trouble with local authorities and was often at odds with his stepfather. His aptitude tests, however, revealed hidden talents, and brought him to the attention of Capt. Christopher Pike, stationed at nearby Riverside Shipyards for the Earth-bound phase of construction on this time-line's more massive Enterprise. When they met for the first time, Pike called Kirk “the only genius-level repeat offender in the Midwest” and suggestd that he enter Starfleet Academy, following his father's heroic profile—even though Kirk, now 22, was already the age of most typical cadet graduates. Much to his own surprise, Kirk swallowed part of his ego, took Pike's challenge—and was graduated in 2358, finishing his course of study in just three years. Unlike his "Prime universe" counterpart—self-styled as a "stack of books with legs" in his Academy days—this timestream's Kirk had a reputation as a lady-killer throughout his Academy days.
But some Kirk events span even parallel universes—like the Academy's "Kobayashi Maru" scenario, intended as a test of a cadet's reaction to a "no-win" situation. Like his "Prime" twin, this Kirk likewise altered the training program to as to "beat it"—i.e, by cheating—because, like his martyred famous father, young Kirk said he doesn’t believe in “no-win scenarios.” The disciplinary hearing which followed was Kirk's first introduction to Spock, the scenario's programmer, but that in turn was interrupted by the appearance of Nero's Narada once again. Kirk gets aboard the new Enterprise thanks to buddy McCoy's faked medical emergency, leaving Kirk and Spock to butt heads repeatedly in Pike's absence after the captian was taken hostage; Spock even has Kirk put off-ship after they break into a brawl, leaving him at Delta-Vega's lonely, ice-locked Starfleet base. Kirk's shocking, life-changing encounter there with the "Prime universe" Spock, marooned iike Nero in this timestream, led him to see "alternate Spock" in a new light.
Once reunited, the young men took the improbable fight to Nero and prevailed, ending the Narada's reign of terror: By decree of Starfleet Order 28455 soon after, Kirk won a permament field commission as captain and Enterprise commander despite his young age at 25—nine years younger than his Prime counterpart when he won his captain's stripes. Of Kirk's other senior command staff in this universe, he had met Uhura the same day as Pike back in 2355, and Dr. McCoy the next day when first reporting for admission.