Leave No Soul Behind

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Star Trek Fanfiction
Title: Leave No Soul Behind
Author(s): whochick
Date(s): 06 January 2010 - 19 April 2011
Length: 258,951 words
Genre: slash
Fandom: Star Trek (2009)
External Links: Leave No Soul Behind (AO3)
Leave No Soul Behind (K/S Archive)
Leave No Soul Behind (LiveJournal)
fake TV promo picture by live-long-and-bite-me

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Contents

Leave No Soul Behind is an epic Kirk/Spock novel by whochick. It was written for stripedpetunia on trek_exchange and posted as a WIP on LiveJournal.[1]

Summary: If you're Starfleet, you spend your whole life wishing you never see an EPAS uniform right up until the moment they become your only hope. Whether you're dying a slow, cold death in space, or a long painful one on some godforsaken planet, they're going to come for you. So count your last breaths, son, and hold on tight. They leave no soul behind.

live-long-and-bite-me made a fake TV promo picture for the story because fake movie posters were too mainstream.[2]

Recs and Reviews

"An AU in which both Kirk and Spock end up in the Federation's Emergency Personnel Ambulance Service, a search-and-rescue operation semi-independent from Starfleet."[3]
"Altered movie!verse - Kirk, finding no desire to captain his own ship after the destruction of Vulcan, joins Spock's squad of ninja EMTs."[4]
"I'm really enjoying it. It has Kirk, Spock and McCoy in Starfleet, but as part of some emergency service who rescue survivors of battles and the like. The worldbuilding and background for the characters is still becoming clearer as this progresses, but Vulcan was destroyed by the Narada in this universe as well. And there is plenty of action adventure mixed with personal angst. Anyway, it has me completely hooked."[5]
"Leave No Soul Behind by whochick is simply the most original ST AU I have ever read. By this, I mean that she built a world from scratch, and holy hell, what a world. This fic is like, ACTION/ACTION/ACTION non-stop, which is an icredible feat by itself because this kind of stuff looks great on screen but usually shies away from words. This chick knows how to do it! *thumbs up* And if one thinks it would leave no place for character development or for a very refreshing look on K/S, one would be grossly mistaken..."[6]
"I love to read, and having embraced the fact that I'm a massive Star Trek fan have taken to prowling around LJ and Dreamwidth to find whatever Kirk/Spock stories I can. Some of them are stunning, none more so than Leave No Soul Behind by whochick. This story has prompted me to offer more than the usual little encouraging reviews, I positively slobber. I genuflect. I leave comments so vast that it generally takes me two comments to finish babbling and analysing it all. The quality of the writing is like nothing else that I've found here. [...] I mean ... guh this story is good."[7]
"Okay, I have to rec this one. [...] It is incredible. It's an AU where Spock, instead of winding up at Starfleet, winds up at EPAS, the organization that goes in and cleans up the broken bodies Starfleet leaves in its wake. Enter Kirk, a brash young man disenchanted with the way Starfleet handles its disasters. Sparks fly. And that's just the prologue. I can't possibly say enough good things about this fic. Like all of whochick's stuff, it's exquisitely written, with an incredible eye for detail and character development. Even as an AU, you can clearly see and feel the original characters. I've been fortunate enough to glimpse the future chapters, and this is one fic that isn't to be missed. I encourage even the non-slashers on my flist to give it a shot, because it's just that good."[8]
"This is a glorious AU of what is already an AU. Kirk and the others are emergency medical personnel who travel around the galaxy mopping up the mess Nero leaves behind. I love this Kirk. I love the reasons he chooses to leave Starfleet. I love the burgeoning relationship between him and Spock. I adore Spock's characterization and how loved he is by his crew. I love the reversal of the power dynamic (Kirk is subordinate to Spock here), and I love the exquisite writing. Excellent, excellent read."[9]
It's amazing the energy and good pacing this has throughout when it clocks in at over 250K words. Neither the action packed plot nor the strong emotional connections (and it's great to find both done beautifully in one story) spend time in a rut. Half way through a conflict in the war with Nero, you'll find the seeds of a relationship hurdle, and it all keeps growing and rolling forward to the end.

After the destruction of Vulcan, Kirk's disillusioned by poor decisions from his superiors. He leaves Starfleet and joins EPAS (the Emergency Personnel Ambulance Service) doing search and rescue with Spock as his commanding officer. This gives whochick a chance to write suspenseful missions from a non-military perspective, but with Nero still a threat. EPAS takes on everything from planet evacuations to clamping a bleeder's artery while the ship goes down in flames.

With lives on the line, levelheaded Spock is fiercely admired by his crew, and though Kirk's cynical about devotion to commanders, it doesn't take long to figure out that it's not just hype; Spock has everyone's back in a crisis. It's good to see Spock as a successful leader, and he also understands when Kirk's intuitive leaps are something he needs to trust. Professional admiration between them leads to a personal relationship that's sometimes rocky but is always deeply felt and... downright hot.

Try the opening scene with Spock in the middle of an ocean rescue, and you may well be hooked too. Leave No Soul Behind is a rollercoaster read. There was only one aspect that wasn't dead-on for me, and even that isn't something that would be an issue for all readers. (I would've preferred dialog tags that were mainly the more invisible "says" rather than "muses," "exclaims," "responds," etc., but I was drawn in so fully that I stopped being distracted by it, and whochick often skips tags altogether where possible.)

This story was started in 2010, but I only just read it about a year ago, so if you're like me and are finding it complete, you're in for a treat![10]
Whochick? Who’s whochick? The last name on my rather short list of new authors to watch, that’s who. This isn’t whochick’s usual fandom. After a notable foray into K/S with a STXI story for the Advent calendar (also at http://www.ksarchive.com), whochick comes roaring back with an STXI AU that knocks it out of the park.

Spock Prime travels to the past just as in the last movie but when Nero’s Narada passes through the rip in space-time, the rift isn’t stable and the Narada and her crew are splintered into multiple copies, one for each affected universe. Spock Prime has been diligently tracking down and removing Nero from each timeline assisted by an advanced Vulcan ship with a mixed crew gathered as he has passed from universe to universe in his mission of restoration. The Nero in whochick’s timeline is a little more unstable, a little more ruthless, a little more psychotically fixated on destroying every Federation world than most and has allied with the Klingons, Romulans and others to obliterate the Federation. After decades of fighting, he’s very close to achieving total victory. Nearly everyone is involved, directly or indirectly, in the war effort and StarFleet turnover due to battle casualties is extremely high. Jim Kirk’s background is even darker than usually portrayed and he enters StarFleet as his best, and perhaps last, option. But in any universe Jim Kirk’s is a brilliant military mind. As a young officer, his tactics are responsible for a number of victories, but these are only delaying the inevitable outcome. Disillusioned by the grinding losses and ‘johhny one note’ engagement tactics, Jim quits StarFleet and approaches Chris Pike to join the Emergency Personnel Ambulance Service, or EPAS for short, and save lives for a change as a point, a combination (super)combat medic/disaster first responder. Long before, a very young Spock also chose to leave Vulcan to enter EPAS, an the integrated Federation service, as a point and served under Chris Pike for many years to rise to the position of divisional commander. Here this isn’t a desk job. There just aren’t enough trained personnel so Spock is still an active Point First, the head point of a rescue medical shuttle which is more like a mini-mobile triage hospital complete with doctors than it’s like an ambulance. The points snag the injured during battle, on shipboard, in space or dirtside, and get them back to the shuttle to be stabilized, then forwarded to the main ship for complete care. Pilot Uhura, a painfully young and always chipper navigator named Chekov and Dr. McCoy are members of Spock’s shuttle team, a team with the highest save numbers in EPAS. Chris Pike has known Kirk since he was a kid. He may be the only person Jim Kirk actually trusts. Pike recognizes an intangible complementarity between Kirk and Spock and requests Spock assign Jim Kirk to his shuttle crew. And so begins a very long, intricately plotted and richly textured novel with great characterizations, both of the people we know and the people we meet for the first time. Everyone is here and everyone has a purpose. No familiar character is thrown in just to make an appearance. Somewhere in the middle of this read, it occurred to me that I could as easily imagine the characters from STXI evolving to this point as I could the STTOS characters. Jim Kirk still comes off as a confident, competent, ‘I’m so awesome’ smarta$$ but that’s partly a defense mechanism. He’s realized that his spur-of-the-moment, first-guy-into-the-fire decision making and his inability to trust make him unsuitable for the equivalent of the center seat. It also means he may never be capable of more than friends with benefits relationships. Spock, on the other hand, is the heart and soul of the EPAS mothership and refuses to have his life complicated by relationships that might interfere with his decision making. This novel starts with a rescue and ends with a reconciliation, and what a ride in between. Is Spock Prime telling the truth? Who is the Vulcan ship really supporting? Is the battle against Nero as hopeless as it seems? Will Earth actually fall? Can EPAS evolve to make a real difference in outcome? Was Pike right about Kirk and Spock? Can Kirk overcome his background? Will Spock acknowledge his emotions? Can I learn to talk smack as good as Gaila? Probably not. I have a bone to pick with whochick. Whochick completely wrecked my schedule for a week. I’m a slow reader. I kept going back to read the next chapter, and the next, and the next instead of accomplishing what was on the docket. I needed to know what happened next. When it was all over, the week was a disaster but I don’t have any regrets. This is a LONG story at 252,000 words. By comparison, Jenna Sinclair's opus In the Shade is 264,000. It’s as intricately plotted as Clancy but with beautifully consistent pacing. My only complaint is the cliched approach to StarFleet Command but that’s such a small part of the story, it’s easily forgiven.

If whochick isn’t already writing professionally, whochick should consider it. This homage to combat medics and first responders is head-and-shoulders above a lot of commercial fiction I’ve read. If you’re after hot encounter after hot encounter, skim it. If you love a great adventure story as much as I do, dig in. Encore, whochick, encore. [11]

References

  1. triwislinthis tag: leave no soul behind. (Accessed 25 June 2011)
  2. live-long-and-bite-me. Leave No Soul Behind TV promo picture, 11 November 2013. (Accessed 10 February 2014)
  3. Templum Bellonae Leave No Soul Behind. (Accessed 25 June 2011)
  4. whochick. I just had to share this: synopsis by fanceiling on Delicious. (Accessed 25 June 2011)
  5. RatCreature. Through the Looking Glass: Alternate Universe Recs - Star Trek. (Accessed 25 June 2011)
  6. kianspo. 2 Recs -- Star Trek AU, 24 March 2010. (Accessed 25 June 2011)
  7. sandyk199. Just in case anyone stops by ..., 17 October 2010. (Accessed 25 June 2011)
  8. the_arc5. Fic Rec: Leave No Soul Behind, 06 January 2010. (Accessed 25 June 2011)
  9. lunabee34. Recs!, 26 August 2011. (Accessed 27 August 2011)
  10. mothlights in epic_recs.Leave No Soul Behind by whochick (NC-17), 19 November 2012. (Accessed 20 November)
  11. by crunchy in The K/S Press #179 (2011)
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