GROPE (#1) contains little of specific interest to the K/S fan, except possibly for the suggestive cover: a naked Spock, seated on a log in a forest, pensively watching someone beam down (looks like it might be Kirk), and also possibly one of the five stories, a rather infamous one in which Kirk gives Spock a public flogging. This story, "Standing Orders", was reprinted (and somewhat rewritten, I suspect) from OBSCZINE
, that odd little British zine which I'll be mentioning in my next column. The story concerns Spock defying direct orders, risking his career and life, to rescue Kirk, who is probably already dead. Spock allows himself to be captured and mistreated by the unpleasant natives, in order to be taken to Kirk. They escape. Admiral Fitzpatrick discovers Spock's insubordination, but rather than the expected arrest and courtmartial, he orders "a cheaper and quicker" way which "will very likely, achieve the same results". Kirk is ordered to "flog Mr. Spock, schoolboy fashion, with a cane on the bare buttocks...one hundred strokes" in front of the Admiral (watching on the view-screen) and the entire bridge crew, who are ordered to watch. Kirk is stunned. Later, he weeps, and wants to refuse, knowing how painfully humiliating and degrading this will be for Spock, but Spock will not let him refuse and incur a charge of insubordination himself. The entire bridge crew offer their support to the extent that, when Spock must stand naked, bloody, and aroused in front of the Admiral and crew, they, too, take off their uniforms, Uhura included. She poses provocatively for them, and showing their own erections, they almost jeer at the Admiral. He has become the laughing stock, not Spock. After Spock is finally allowed to leave, bloody and in pain, he goes into an induced pon farr
, but is successfully aided by Uhura. (What an interesting K/S story it would have been had it been Kirk instead!). Afterwards, he recuperates. He wonders whether to transfer, but Kirk and McCoy reassure him that he still has the crew's respect. When he hesitantly returns to the bridge, they stand in respect to him, and he can see that their respect and solidarity has been intensified by the experience. Back on Starbase Six, the Admiral and his friend, Doctor Amir, are well pleased that their test proved the psychologists wrong, and that Spock is indeed "fit to command humans, any time, any place." The Admiral is proud of the way the Human crew reacted to the situation. GROPE also includes "Linkage", in which Kirk, Spock and McCoy are captured by a group of savage and rather sadistic women who hate Romulans. Believing Spock is one they mistreat him, and cause him to go into yet another induced pon farr. His agonies are transmitted to Kirk, to whom he is tied. Eventually, when they return, he is helped by Chapel. There are a few other pieces, including a Sulu/Uhura post-MIRROR, MIRROR story, and "'Artigrope"—A gropish look at the arts', which includes such items as an illo of the "Spock de Milo" statue, the Botticelli Spock, the Rokeby Spock, and a clever takeoff on a poem, Masefield's "Cargoes."