Along the Way
|Title:||Along the Way|
|Fandom:||Star Trek: The Original Series|
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It was published in the print zine KaleidoScope #5.
"A/U: Kirk is transported to another universe by a disgruntled crewmember and finds a relationship with the Spock of that universe that he never had with the one in his own."
Reactions and Reviews
Boy, did I love that story by Emily Adams. I'm not too fond of AU stories—I like it best when Kirk and Spock are indeed themselves. But these characters were really on the mark. The decision Kirk had to come to about which universe he would remain in caused a lot of gut twisting emotion in me. These two loved each other so very much, it did seem a shame for them to be separated forever. I couldn't put this story down— ALONG THE WAY gets 10 out of 10 from me. 
When a turned page reveals an Emily Adams story, I just settle back and prepare to enjoy. I can't ever remember her letting me down. She didn't this time either. This is an outstanding story. It has everything! Plot, loads of it. Suspense, and even more questions than plot. Romance? In spades! Great love scenes. Different from any Trek story I've ever read. (Which isn't easy to manage any more.) 
With some terrific writing of suspenseful scenes, Ms. Adams shows us Kirk who is plagued by mysterious occurrences. The entire beginning of the story is so well done as this exciting mystery unfolds. Strange letters, unknown people. odd happenings and a slightly off-center world all for Kirk create a wonderful 'Twilight Zone" feeling.
Spock is aloof and an enigma, but Kirk wants to tell him what's been happening.
So now. I must sound the alert! If you haven't read this story and you don*t want to know what happens: READ NO FURTHER! So with that understanding, I will reveal lots of things in order to discuss this story! Wonderfully shocking when we find out, quite casually, that, oh by the way, Spock has a wife and child on Vulcan! This bit of information knocked my socks off because of the very way in which it was revealed.
Kirk is shown in his ever-increasing and growing paranoia—really well portrayed—especially at moments when he imagines Spock must be a shape-changer or that his own mind is being affected by some outside force. And when Kirk takes Spock with him to Earth to investigate his memories. I loved how Kirk wasn't sure of Spock and continued to think there was some plot going on. Ms. Adams captured the whole paranoid world so well and I loved never really knowing what was the truth.
They go to Kirk's family at the farmhouse in Iowa. Such a poignant scene took place when Kirk sees his father, alive and well, when supposedly the father had died years before. And nicely suspenseful when a previously unknown sister suddenly appears.
The way that Kirk and Spock compare their own Kirk and Spock in their own universe is very touching. They feel more comfortable with each other and their alternates are more reserved. When they stay at the farmhouse for a while, there's a lovely moment when Spock comforts Kirk by kissing him. More poignancy here—Kirk knows he has to leave this Spock and he doesn't want the relationship to go any further. This is when a wonderful dilemma is set up. Should they grve in to their feelings knowing it has to end? What a terrific premise this is as they fell in love despite the inevitable.
Spock goes back to the ship and Kirk's "mother" tells the man she thinks is her son that Spock loves him," 'If you could have seen his face when he looked at you, when he thought no one was watching, if you had noticed the way his eyes followed you everywhere you went.../" So beautiful.. .except I guess the mom takes over McCoy's job to tell them that they love each other. Oh well, what's a mom to do?
So many unique and clever things in this story like Kirk already having experienced going to a planet and having Spock retrieve a crystal as a gift for him. So Kirk can tell this Spock all about the crystal which very cleverly figures into the whole scheme of things.
Time to thrash on the carpet if there ever was one— Kirk can't stop his lustful thoughts for Spock as they go into a cave and are really close together. Spock asks him to quit it!" You are wanting so intensely that I can feel it as if it were my own body. And since my own body feels the same. I cannot possibly resist for both of us. You must stop it1 "Terrific! Also a neat tie-in with the title and the theme when Kirk's mother said he should love Spock regardless of having to leave and that he "shouldn't miss the possibility of something wonderful along the way,"
What a gorgeous and romantic scene in tne cave when they kiss. I love that they decide to go to a safer place to "satisfy some other intentions"!
Then boy! Do they ever satisfy! Neat love scene—I especially liked what Spock did between Kirk's legs.... You'll just have to read it.
My heart really ached that Kirk had to leave this Spock after having found such a love with him.
Some difficulties—one being some telling-not-showing such as before Kirk leaves, he and Spock spend what's described as many nights together talking about their hopes, dreams, childhoods and their lives, but not one of these things is shown. We're only told that they talked about them which doesn't mean much to the reader. We also donl get to see their last night together.
Many changing POVs, sometimes in alternating paragraphs, weaken the story. This was especially difficult when Kirk is supposedly transported back to his universe and he wakes up and then we are in Spock's POV who wonders which Kirk this is. If that's confusing, it was also confusing to read. Also, using only a sentence or two to describe long periods of time such as "It had been a month of disastrous encounters-with Klingons, with pirates, with asteroids, with breakdowns" is not effective. I guess it doesn't have to be pages and pages of events, but even just one would help create more of a picture for the reader...
But mostly, I was disconcerted that never once did Kirk or Spock even mention that the 'real' Kirk who belonged in that universe had to return. Or that he even might want to return. This was never a consideration and the lack of thought of the other Kirk became rather glaring to me. This leads to the choice of story ending. Like I said before, my heart ached because Kirk and Spock couldn't be together—which is good—it's a 'good' ache. Well, after the big development of this terribly wonderful tragedy, the whole thing is kind of thrown away for a "wishful thinking" type ending. Yeah, we'd like them to be together, but what happened to all the considerations of timelines, alternate universes and especially the other Kirk's life? Did he want to stay in the other universe? So if the author wanted the story to end like this, which is fine, then perhaps it could have been justified more.
But I must say, despite the difficulty, I truly enjoyed this story. It was long and satisfying (does that remind me of something?) and was written in a direct and comprehensible style. The characterizations were on target, the sex was hot, the emotions were flowing...those things in themselves make for a fine story. Also, the mystery was expertly done—I just loved going along with Kirk and not knowing what was happening to him. It was very exciting.Okay! All you guys who left the room during this LOC can come back now! So hurry and read this terrific story! 
I loved this story, and was glad it was a long one, at a nice, slow pace.
Even though it seemed mostly to be a "Kirk" story, the gentle switching of perspective was successful, wasn't jarring. We were in both Kirk's and Spock's heads, but it wasn't like bouncing between the two.
But I'm not sure how I feel about the storytelling mode. Kirk seems to be showing us this story as an "it all started when..." type thing, where he's looking back on these mysterious goings-on. But I wasn't sure exactly what was the instant moment, the moment from when he is looking At one point it is said, 'Looking back on all this afterward...' The whole story is written like this, as if the end is already known...but by whom? Kirk, you might presume, but again, there seemed to have been a point when Kirk came into his present-time and would no longer be telling us the past, but showing us the present; and so who was looking back on all of it afterward? And what about Spock? Is he also privy to all of this? I suppose all this doesn't matter if you don't consider it written from the characters' points of view.
So I guess there was one of those pesky undramatized omniscient narrators, but I wondered if the author really knew exactly who was telling the story - even besides herself...this POV thing can get much more complicated than it's worth. And anyway, despite wondering about these things, I really enjoyed reading this story.
All these weird little oddities start happening in Kirk's life. I liked all the inner dialogue, all of Kirk's thoughts, thinking this through, finally deciding he must discuss it with Spock, or else he's going crazy.
Spock posits it's an elaborate practical joke; or Kirk's mind may have been tampered with; or Kirk's an impostor. Kirk starts to think Spock could be the impostor; then thinks maybe his memory's been tampered with - by whom, Spock?
I was viewing this as a fascinating, very subtle "mirror" universe. Then they realized Kirk must be in a parallel universe to his own. This was so well done - even though this answer was staring us in the face, I found myself pondering all these other possibilities right along with Kirk.
Their closeness is just beautiful, touching and tender, especially because Kirk's Spock is not so warm as this one; nor does Spock's Kirk engender these feelings in him.
Picky detail; An oak is not an evergreen.
After Kirk blows it at a dinner party in Iowa with his intended wife, whom he abhors, Spock wants to comfort him and does, more assertively this time than the shoulder rub earlier. Oh a lovely, lovely scene, Spock drawing Kirk into his arms, in Spock's POV here, looking into Kirk's eyes, his lips.... Just a quiet, gentle kiss.
I would have liked to see the immediately-after this kiss. We see Kirk, later by himself, surprised at having kissed a man - a most pleasant surprise - and as if he'd been waiting all his life for this. Beautiful words, beautiful look into Kirk's feelings, but I wished we'd had them at the time of the kiss, not later in Kirk's thoughts. Although I suppose doing so would have bulked up the writing of the kiss where it was better just there and immediate; and, in fact, Kirk wouldn't be "thinking" during this kiss anyway, would he. He would think these things afterwards, just as Emily wrote it.
Then there's wonderful misunderstanding and separation. I felt troubled, because I sure didn't love the sound of the real Kirk in this universe, nor the Spock of Kirk's universe, and so I didn't want Kirk to go back to his rightful reality. I wanted these two to be together, and was so curious as to how Emily was going to resolve this. I loved the feeling of being very open, reading this; no preconceived notions.
So painful, that Kirk felt they shouldn't get closer, not when he had to leave. Oh, it hurt. However, it was delightful when Kirk's thoughts are getting more and more sexual and explicit, and he can't help getting hard just walking behind Spock. In a cave scene, his wanting is so strong Spock can feel it, asks him to please stop - Spock feels the same and cannot resist for both of them. A beautiful conversation, felt so real. Spock's words made me cry, in fact; I was feeling very sad yet it was so sensual, the intimacy in the cave.
And back on the ship, a nice sex scene, too. Slow but sure...I really liked it....
Maybe I won't say anything more, about getting back in the right realities; but it was wonderful drama. And a realistic, clear and intense action scene I was impressed by, too.
Except I have to say that a jilted lover being the cause of all this seemed not a strong enough motive, even though I know that most crimes are done by people like this. Besides, if a different Kirk took the rightful Kirk's place, why wouldn't the jilted lover think the new Kirk would also seduce his girlfriend?
I had felt I wanted to learn about the other Kirk and Spock, like what if the other Kirk was trying to get back? Would Kirk then be snatched out of this universe when the other Kirk tried a transference? Kirk and Spock never really spoke of what was happening to their counterparts. But again, that just complicates things beyond reason, and I do appreciate this story for what it is, not for what it is not...yet at the same time I can't help going on about the discrepancies, since I have time on my hands and this is how I have my fun.
Now, I'd like to go on a little more, in response to [name redacted's] LOC last issue. I dont think this is an A/U story as she referred to it. I considered the Kirk and Spock in this story to be our characters, not A/U versions. Although technically the "mirror" universe is an alternate universe, or parallel reality, I think for our K/S purposes we distinguish a mirror universe story from A/U. To me, this story was more like our mainline characters involved in mirror universes. These were our Kirk and Spock; it's just that Kirk had been with the wrong Spock and Spock with the wrong Kirk. But now that these two are together, this is the mainline ST universe existing as it should.
As to A/U as far as K/S fiction is concerned, this seems to mean when Kirk and Spock are living lives other than being Federation starship officers according to the episodes and movies. Even if a story has them developing along different lines because of how we interpret something that happened in an episode or movie, that's not A/U, it's just a "what if story. (Not to mention that it's said all of K/S could be considered A/U anyway.)And it's up to Emily anyway if she calls this AU. Do you? Whatever it is, it was a most enjoyable read. 
I'm truly in awe of Emily Adams' narrative skills. In this satisfying story, the implied author as narrator is firmly in control. The initial sentences of the beginning sections of this story establish that control ("It started out like any other day ...."; "It all began ...."; 'The next incident....") and tell us that the narrator knows where this story is going, that she has decided to keep certain facts from us until she chooses to reveal them, and that she's arranged the pieces of the puzzle to fit her preordained plan for us. Calmly and serenely, she guides us through the mystery. She's objective when she needs to be, she dips into the characters' thoughts and feelings when she needs us to feel along with them. The narrative style heightens our sense of anticipation as we read the story; we're confused along with Kirk, but at the same time we're confident that the storyteller knows how everything will turn out. The effect is a pleasant irony that in my opinion is much more effective that simply experiencing Kirk's confusion would have been. Early in the story, casually and almost incidentally, a critical difference between the two universes is revealed. Because we trust the narrator and know that she has set every detail of the story in its place for a purpose, we know that this fact is going to be significant. And indeed, at the end it turns out to be critical to resolving Kirk's dilemma whether to go or stay (I refuse to reveal plot secrets in a LoC, so I'll give no more away). But because this fact is so important, I couldn't help worrying about it throughout the rest of the story, wondering why Kirk wasn't worrying about it as much as I was, why the two men didn't even talk about it. I think this particular plot detail, and how to handle it, would have been an enormous challenge for any author, and it showed me that the device of the trustworthy privileged narrator can come with a price. Still, the story, and the mode of telling it, was so successful I felt it was a small price to pay. 
Let me get this straight. You have one universe where you have a Kirk and a Spock not being friends; furthermore, Spock is married. And you have a universe where Kirk's father is alive still and where Kirk and Spock are friends.
So far, so good. Kirk-One gets thrown in Universe-Two, so you might assume he would regard Spock-Two as he would his very own, now wouldn't you? If they are not friends in the first universe, where does my overall impression of Kirk-One regarding Spock-Two as his friend come from? I'm getting confused. Getting?? I am confused. Are or aren't Kirk-Two and Spock-Two friends? First I'm getting the idea they are and now I'm being told Kirk-Two is a total jackass, a totally self-centered person who calculatedly uses people. Am I dealing with four universes??
And then that Nilsson fellow. He wants to punish Kirk-Two, but for him to punish Kirk-Two he needs to get to Kirk-One because that Kirk has the crystal which is an essential component of the device that got Kirk-One to Universe-Two. How did he get on Enterprise-One? Because I can only assume it's Nilsson-Two that Kirk-One meets at the turbolift. Another crystal? But Enterprise-Two at that point in time hadn't been to that planet where Kirk-One will find that same crystal which he had already found in Universe-One. What happened to Nilsson-One? Wouldn't he have spilled the beans when the exchange had taken place?I'm having a headache (ha ha). Do you follow me? No? Can't blame you; I'm having trouble following me, too. 
When I first started reading this, I figured it to be just another story, the boys not yet friends, but of course, destined to be together. Boy, was I wrong. It's an A/U, but I was half way through it before I finally decided that up til then, I really didn't like the story, because not only is it an A/U, it's an A/U in an A/U. Once I could read it as not part of "our" universe, I could finally kick back and enjoy the story, which I did completely. Basically, what you have is a Kirk from a universe where Spock never allows a relationship of any sort to develop between them. He is truly Vulcan. He is married to T'Pring and they have a son. Other than that, everything seems to be the same.
When Kirk ends up in another universe, he doesn't notice anything wrong at first. It's only with time, and the discrepancies that keep cropping up that finally make him realize the truth. In this universe, his father is still alive and he has a younger sister. Spock is more open to him—friendlier. Scotty isn't his chief engineer. Kirk thinks it's a trick that someone, possibly Spock, is playing on him. When he decides to visit his family, he invites Spock along, and is blown away when he accepts, since his own Spock would never have. We find out that the Kirk of that universe is a total jerk, ambitious and completely disregarding of anyone else. He's engaged to a social climbing snob and is at odds with his father.
Needless to say, Kirk and the Spock of that universe become very close, with the inevitable consequences. The story is further complicated by the mystery of WHY Kirk was sent to another universe, and by who.The premise seems to be that one of them, I presume Spock, was born in the wrong universe, though it's Kirk who ends up making the switch. But what I kept wondering about was the other Kirk. Was he trying to get back to his own universe—did he even care? And how did McCoy handle his friend being replaced by such an unpleasant person? How did that Kirk and Spock relate to each other, since they, too, would be more alike? I wish there was a companion piece to find out what happened in the other universe. 
- from The K/S Press #4
- from The K/S Press #4
- from The K/S Press #4
- from The K/S Press #5
- from The K/S Press #6
- from The K/S Press #7
- from The K/S Press #58