Another Country Beckons
|Title:||Another Country Beckons|
|Fandom:||Star Trek: The Original Series|
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It was published in the print zine Cyberdreams #1.
"Kirk begins to question his assumptions about Spock after finding out the Vulcan is homosexual and then having a diplomat make a play for Spock."
Reactions and Reviews
This story captured me in the first few lines. Set in the series, post Amok Time, Kirk becomes aware for the first time that Spock is homosexual and has been actively experimenting for the last few months. This comes as a complete surprise to Kirk. Rae Trail has a wonderful gift with words, and with detail which draws one in to read every word in every scene. Case in point, a brief scene where Kirk conducts an inspection of the auxiliary control with two midshipmen. So very Kirk, lighthearted and yet always serious about his ship. There was enough information about the two midshipmen to intrigue me but not too much so that I end up skimming as I must admit, I'm guilty of doing in certain cases.
The development of Kirk altering his perception of Spock and finally accepting that he was in love with him was very well done. I believe it and accept it as one of the few stories that convince me they were lovers during the first mission. I loved it when Spock became angry with Jim, accusing him of flirting with him for months, stating that everyone was aware except for Kirk himself. It was a way of explaining the blatant sexual looks exchanged between them in the episodes. I considered that explanation for the next few days and have decided I like this thought very much. In the story, Kirk flirted with Spock, but thinking he was strictly heterosexual (as Kirk says,"...because I made the stupid assumption that homosexuality is illogical."), did not consider Spock as a sexual partner. It is a wonderful way to fit the series into the story. The interactions between Kirk and McCoy are priceless, as he helps Kirk to understand his own feelings especially walking him through what real 'love' is and what Kirk thinks he's looking for and what he really wants.And then finally the scene where Spock tells Kirk his emotional reasons for proposing is beautiful. Spock remains completely in character but is so poetical with his reasons that I felt as stunned as Kirk must have been. I have reread this story many times since discovering it on the net and enjoy it more with each time. 
I really enjoyed this story. I especially like when Spock is written as a competent adult who knows his own mind. Perhaps my only quibble is that I tend to think Kirk would know his own, too, but it’s a small quibble and didn’t keep me from getting totally involved in the story. At first, I didn’t care for Kirk not knowing as much about Spock as McCoy did. Probably because it makes me think S/Mc which I loathe. But as the story progressed it made sense, and McCoy is a concerned friend to Kirk, which I really liked. Even the lack of a sex scene in the story didn’t lessen my enjoyment. It ended as it should, the boys together. 
This is an interesting look at how Kirk becomes aware that his feelings towards Spock are beginning to gradually change, becoming stronger and more complex than he thought. His astonishment when he is told by McCoy that his attitude towards Spock is more than a little flirtatious is well described as is his gradually dawning awareness that most of the crew think they are already lovers. This causes him to take a hard look at how he interacts with Spock, leading to several in depth conversations with McCoy. His surprise when he realises that McCoy is right is very well portrayed, especially when McCoy tells him how unusual their relationship is in that he is the only person that Spock will allow to touch him, something which Kirk does frequently almost without thinking and something that nobody else would dare to do, is very realistic and makes him start thinking about Spock in an entirely different way.
Although all the characters are well drawn in this story, I especially liked McCoy here, he is frequently featured in stories as just “along for the ride” but in this one he has a real role to play, acting as a supportive sounding board for Kirk to analyse how he really feels. One scene in particular was very realistic, where they are discussing how Kirk does not think that he is in love with Spock, because he does not feel the same with Spock as he does with a woman he is attracted to, and McCoy explains that this is to be expected, talking Kirk through all the emotions he feels one by one and rationalising why they are different with Spock than they would be with a woman, which leads to Kirk finally realising that he actually does love Spock, after McCoy has explained that he cannot expect to feel the same way in love with Spock as he would in love with a woman.He ultimately helps Kirk to his form his own conclusions about how he really does feel about his first officer, which paves for way for him to actually tell Spock how he feels as well. I also liked the fact that Spock here is also very sensitive to Kirk’s needs as well as his own. Although he wants nothing more than to immediately bond with Kirk, he holds back, realising that Kirk is a bit put off by the fact that any relationship with Spock will have to involve a full lifetime commitment. His statement that he does not want to push Kirk into something which he is not ready for is very true to life as is the revelation that at the moment he simply wants Kirk to think about forming a relationship and gives him as much time as he needs to work out in his own mind what he really wants, putting his own feelings aside until Kirk can decide what he really does want without any pressure. Although their first meeting does not go exactly as planned they do eventually manage to achieve the desired outcome in the end, which makes a very enjoyable story. 
It seems that everyone in the crew already assumes Kirk and Spock are lovers, and that they're in a permanent relationship. This is news to Kirk - but once he hears about these rumors, he can't stop thinking about possibilities. Then, a tense, charged confrontation with Spock leaves Kirk to wonder that if he can meet Spock's needs, can Spock meet his?
"Bones... in your professional opinion, have I been flirting with my Exec?" McCoy choked on his whiskey and pressed a hand over his mouth, eyes watering as he forced himself to swallow. "I almost spit that out, Jim! That kind of question, when a man's got a mouth full of whiskey... why, that's practically alcohol abuse! Who accused you of flirting?""Spock." "Ah." McCoy sat back and cleared his throat. "Well, it's like this, Jim. Yes." 
Another extremely gifted fanfic writer. I love this story. I really do. It does two things that always appeal to me: it doesn't brush over the 'I think I'm gay and may have a thing for my first officer' but rather delves into it with intricate detail, and features a wise McCoy being a great friend and a good sounding board for Kirk. Oh, and for you TNG fans out there, read her TOS/TNG Kirk/Spock, Picard/Q crossover Out of the Big Black, just do it. It's so fantastic I can't even speak (though the Pon Farr scene is a bit on the, uh, rough side). God I love Q. I miss him *sniff*. 
I really, really like Another Country Beckons a lot. [Mary R] did a great job of summarizing the plot and describing this story in her LOC last month, so I’ll just discuss the things I especially liked about it.
Mary mentioned the detail in Rae’s stories, and this story does that especially well. Besides the inspection scene which Mary mentioned, another part I particularly enjoyed was Rae’s description of life on the Enterprise. Kirk’s daily routine, the descriptions of what a yeoman actually does (all Rand ever seemed to do was give Kirk coffee!), the briefing room scene before the mission, Spock’s duties as First Officer, the descriptions of computer usage, etc. all add nicely to the texture of the story. I also liked the funny bits in this story. For example, a discussion about how Spock prepared reports himself rather than have the computer prepare them, and read every report generated by the computer when he was not on the ship led to the following extremely amusing sentence: “Kirk had once accused him of micro-managing, and had learned from the weeklong sulk that followed that a) Vulcans did not micro-manage and b) Vulcans did not sulk.” Too funny! I also loved the whole part about Vulcan bonding. Rae has some very well thought out, detailed theories on Vulcan bonding in this story. While I would have loved to have had more episodes that dealt with Spock and Vulcan than the few we got in TOS, the lack of much information about Vulcans leaves writers free to speculate and create their own theories. Rae’s ideas are not contradicted by anything in canon, and neatly reconcile T’Pring, pon farr, and K/S very creatively. I also enjoyed the various excerpts from “The Waste Land" by T.S. Elliot that set apart some sections of the story. Very effective. Mary also mentioned the scene where Spock tells Kirk his emotional reasons for proposing, and how poetical it is. This is one of my favorite parts of the whole story. I melt into a little puddle when I read it, and just had to quote it: “You complete me. Where once I was a competent man, complete unto myself, I am now nothing without you. You have reshaped my life, my soul. You are the rain to my desert, the moonrise to my night. I cannot view a new phenomenon in space without the irrepressible urge to rush to your side and share it with you, just to see your reaction. My every thought is coloured by my reflection upon what you, in my place, would think. Your voice makes me restless and your touch excites me; you are the man I see in my dreams and I sometimes don’t sleep for days, because my dreams make me want to sleep forever. I am not an imaginative man, but I imagine a life at your side and never care if I see Vulcan again... and if I imagine a life without you, I cannot even face the next day arriving. I cannot tell you why we are a good match. I do not know. Perhaps it is chemistry; perhaps it is everyday, mundane, biology. But to me it is... fathomless, and endless, and without explanation of reason, but it is still perfect and I long for it with all of my being."Sheer poetry, indeed! Rae has a gift with words that makes this excellent story well worth your time. 
A starship captain discovers that his subconscious mind has been busily courting while his conscious mind runs his ship. Hilarious and I love how the gossip is spread through out the ship.