Drowning by Design
|Title:||Drowning by Design|
|Fandom:||Star Trek: The Original Series|
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It was published in the print zine Beyond Dreams #8.
"Kirk and Spock decide to spend a weekʼs leave in a cabin, but the planetʼs inclement weather and Spockʼs need to make a life altering decision, may ruin their plans."
Reactions and Reviews
I’m really running out of superlatives when it comes to describing Anne’s writing. This story is just fabulous, and I guarantee it will stay with you for a very long time to come.
I’m not going to be able to tell you practically anything about “Drowning By Design” without ruining it for you, and that is one thing I’m determined not to do. Let’s just say that Kirk and Spock have managed to take a week of leave for themselves on Paz Aquosa (neat name by the way), a planet near the orbiting space station where the Enterprise has put in for repairs; a planet where unfortunately it has rained incessantly since their arrival. Spock finds himself totally caught on the horns of a dilemma; on one hand he desperately wants to be part of his planet’s culture; he needs Vulcan’s approval and beyond that, he yearns to be accepted as a valuable member of his society, a husband, and in time a father. He wants simply what every other Vulcan of his age already has: a sense of belonging. His life would be so much simpler if he hadn’t fallen in love with his commanding officer. As if this weren’t enough to drive any self-respecting Vulcan to drink, there is always the fear of what would happen should he bond with his captain: “Could they move forward as equals, together, side by side, or would Spock eventually lose himself in the process and simply be dragged along by the raw power of the unleashed whirlwind, unable to withstand what Kirk was?” I love Anne’s vision of Kirk and Spock here. I’ve often thought that’s what it must be like for Spock. Kirk must seem to him like a force of nature: wild, unrestrained, unpredictable. He must overwhelm Spock at times. The river overflowing its banks is such an apt analogy. And even more than that, they are two mature adults with different needs, needs that may ultimately force them apart. The slow sweet seduction was exactly to my taste, and the little twist took me completely by surprise—I loved it! To top it all off, the writing is a treat to read.Anne’s writing is truly a gift to us, and there’s nothing left to do except open the present and enjoy. 
Was I supposed to be caught off-guard in the early stages of this story? I was reading it as a first-time and enjoying it immensely, waiting with baited breath for what would happen next with Kirk and Spock rain-bound on shore leave. I loved the way this world was so convincingly described—it set the mood perfectly.
Here, though, is a Spock that is seething with anger because of the demands his family and his homeland are placing on him. Bonding to the proper stranger, contributing an heir to the clan, those things are weighing heavily on him when all he really wants is Kirk. In his subconscious, there is a bloody war going on between what everyone else believes he should do and what he really wants: Kirk.
A hot tub proves to be more than relaxing, and again I am thinking they are doing things they’ve only imagined. I was just plain shocked when I learned they have been lovers for some time and it is not Spock’s yearning for Kirk’s body that is unfulfilled. He is torn and sick at heart because this is not the life that everyone else believes he should have. There are lots of twists and turns here, ones that make for very good reading and much consternation!Resolution, when it comes, is done in such an inventive and creative way, and in a way that suits Spock perfectly. The picture of him walking in the rain, comparing the effects of natural events on the landscape and every minute flora and fauna that occupies it, is unforgettable. I love the answer he arrives at! 
This story seemed illogical to me—at first. Spock seemed illogical, unlike himself. It was as though he and Kirk had exchanged attitudes and it made me uncomfortable. Then, as I was caught up in the beautiful theme, I realized the metaphor being painted in broad and beautiful strokes before me. A glorious metaphor! And I was taken to a wonderful ending which, of course, was Kirk and Spock's beginning. I was entranced by the lyric descriptions and how Spock was brought to his senses by the verities of nature around him. This author is such a gifted asset to the 'legacy' our fandom is creating. Don't miss it! 
This is a lovely and well written story to begin the zine with. One of the best things about it is that for quite some time the reader is not aware of the true nature of Kirk and Spock‘s relationship, are they lovers or aren‘t they? The story takes place while they are on shore leave sharing a remote cabin on a mountain and it‘s raining seemingly all the time, One particularly nice section is when they are sharing a sauna and the intimacy of the situation, in a steamy room with rain pouring down outside, is very sensuous and erotic as well, especially as the reader is not really sure if this is
their first time or not. It turns out that this is in actual fact an establishedrelationship, and Spock is pondering over a problem—he has a very important decision to make, and is finding it very difficult. The author expertly depicts him lying in bed with while Kirk sleeps beside him, rain pattering on the roof, as he tries to come to a decision. I loved the feelings of warmth and intimacy generated in this section, a complete contrast to the scene next day, as the rain finally stops and Spock goes out to walk while contemplating the solution to his problem. I also enjoyed the way in which Spock compares his own situation to the flooded landscape he views, and how this helps him make his choice, and then, how a few chance words with one of the planet‘s inhabitants, completely changes his perception both of the flooded valley below and his own situation, influencing him to change his mind and find the courage to bond with Kirk after all, despite the implications for his future relationship with his home planet and his family. All in all, this is cleverly written story of changing perceptions which was very well written with some lovely atmospheric moments, which I thoroughly enjoyed. 
As this is an Anne Elliot story, I expected a certain amount of wit and humor interspersed within her fine writing. I wasn't disappointed. But I was surprised to find that the humor was a red herring of a sort, slowing giving precedence to a serious exploration of what it is Spock wants and needs... from his life as well as from his relationship with Kirk.
And they do, indeed, have a relationship, something that also came as a surprise as the story progressed. Initially, I was under the impression that Spock's love for Kirk was unrequited, or at least not yet proclaimed. So I was taken aback when Kirk instigates sex (and some very *hot* sex it is!) I even started reading the story again, sure I must have missed something. I hadn't. Well, yes, I had. Though there is no obvious sign of them being lovers, there's no sign that they're not. What I missed, or maybe overlooked would be a better word, was that there could very well still be problems between the two men long after they'd gone to bed together. And that's probably the main beauty of this story. Anne has created a serious, troubling and realistic reason for Kirk and Spock to be having issues long after they have proclaimed their love for each other. The solution, while always clear to Kirk, eludes Spock until he's faced with the reality of what losing Kirk would really mean.Wonderfully written, with a Kirk and Spock I immediately recognize, this is one story I can see myself returning to time and time again. A must read!