A New Light
|Title:||A New Light|
|Author(s):||Patricia Laurie Stephens|
|Fandom:||Star Trek: The Original Series|
Click here for related articles on Fanlore.
It was published in the print zine Fever #1.
"A/U: Drummed out of Star Fleet due to unforeseen complications with their bond, Kirk returns to a brain damaged Spock when the Vulcan enters pon farr."
Reactions and Reviews
The best story in the zine is. without a doubt A NEW LIGHT by Patricia Laurie Stephens. As usual with Ms. Stephens writing, she doesn't pull punches - and neither does Kirk. when he gives Spock a right-cross on the first page of the story because he's tired of the Vulcan's mind-talk in his head all the tine. It goes from there to detail how Spock steals a shuttle and deliberately allows himself to be caught by Klingons and have his mind wiped clean by the mind-sifter. As a result, the bond between them in destroyed, and Kirk is free. The thrust of this story is its poignant treatment of a child-like Spock, now living on Vulcan with Sarek and Amanda, and how Kirk eventually comes to the decision to see his former friend and lover once more. If this story doesn't win the Surak for Best Short Story of 1989, something's wrong! Undoubtedly the best K/S story I've read in many years. 
Another original tale by this author. In this story, Kirk has been driven almost literally insane by the bond he and Spock inadvertently formed during Pon Farr. Vulcan healers cannot dissolve the bond. Before Kirk can stop him, Spock goes off and deliberately allows himself to be captured by Klingons so that their mind-wipe device can dissolve the bond. Later on, the Klingons give Spock back to his parents; his mind has been wiped clean, he is quite retarded. But the bond is not broken, even though it no longer drives Kirk insane. Three years later, Kirk feels the compulsion to return to Vulcan to satisfy Spock's oncoming Pon Farr. What happens afterward is a fragile, yet loving encounter between Kirk and the much-altered Spock. The story is compelling and VERY bittersweet. In a time of much-repeated concepts and plots, Stephens is breaking into new areas in K/S. I look forward to more of her work. 
This is an emotionally intense story, but it's conceptually problematic. The author needed to do some more thinking about how this plot could be viable. I don't understand why Spock suddenly couldn't shield when it came to bonding with Kirk, nor is it ever explained. If Spock had been able to shield, none of the story's tragic events would have happened. Then we are faced with a basic contradiction. Spock has lost his telepathic ability, yet Kirk is still drawn to Spock in order to serve him in pon-farr. One would tend to assume that this process of being drawn is telepathic, and that it couldn't occur if the pon-farr affected partner were link blind. The author tries to explain this contradiction by telling us that the bond is actually a physical substance that coats the brain cells. We are also told that Kirk, who has left Starfleet, it nevertheless commanding some sort of vessel for a private shipping firm. How would a physical substance bridge the gap between Kirk on Vulcan and Kirk in interstellar space? The only way I can imagine that it might do so, as if it had a galaxy sized magnetic field. Unfortunately, the result would be that anything which was within that field which could be magnetically attracted, would also be drawn to visualise a bizarre image of Spock trying to fend off a gargantuan battalion of flying metal objects attracted to his magnetic field. If the author has figured out a way for her concept of the a bond as a physical substance to work, I would love to know it. Yet if she has, it shouldn't have been in her story. I also think that if Spock had somehow retained his telepathic ability, but had been unable to utilise or control it, it would have been unnecessary to postulate an improbability to work around his mental incapacity, and the story as a whole would have been far more believable. 
Even more disquieting was another story Stephens has in Fever, “A New Light.” It’s really disturbing, as the bond doesn’t really work for Kirk and Spock, and what happens is awful, Spock is brain-damaged. Most of our K/S stories have an optimistic look at things, but it seems to me that Patricia has some tougher perspective. Maybe that’s a good thing? I am not sure. 
[for the art] Chowing down on zines, as usual---this illo by the amazing Deeb can be found in Fever, for the story AA New Light by Patricia Laurie Stephens. Awesome story, Pon Farr redux...wish it would appear online!!