Evolving Toward Forever
|Title:||Evolving Toward Forever|
|Fandom:||Star Trek: The Original Series|
|External Links:||online here|
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It was published in the print zine First Time #55.
"Kirk is unprepared for the side-affects of bonding with Spock when they go from friends to bondmates without first being lovers."
Reactions and Reviews
This author is relatively new to K/S fandom and is quickly becoming one of my favorites. There is something about her style of writing that just makes me keep reading her stories to the very end, even though the idea behind the story might not be one of my favorites.
But such is not the case with this one. Here she uses a format I always have enjoyed in K/S stories—taking various episodes of TOS and giving the reader a glimpse of what may have happened after the episode ended. In this story, the reader is taken on such a journey through the episodes "Amok Time", The Immunity Syndrome", "The Ultimate Computer", "The Paradise Syndrome", and "Turnabout Intruder". After that, the story takes off on its own and the reader finds herself immersed in a tale first of growing love, then misunderstanding that almost leads to a permanent separation between Kirk and Spock. In the end, it is a crisis that brings them together once again and helps them to resolve any differences that lay between them.A very well-written story that kept me enthralled from beginning to end. 
This story is about 45 pages and has a lot of plot- maybe even too much. Kirk and Spock are platonically bonded and dancing around making it physical throughout a lot of the story. Admiral Komack makes an appearance as do three scientists: a sympathetic Mark Rennie and an evil pair named Tom Matheson and Irene Norton. Much of the plot involves Tom and Irene's toying with Kirk. The author doesn't make it easy for Spock and Kirk to get together and then to stay together. I prefer my Kirks less troubled about their sexuality than this one, but it's an interesting interpretation. This is worth reading. 
What a great title that perfectly sums up this unusual, engrossing, and well written story! Elise Madrid continues to come up with the most creative and interesting plots, and this story is probably my favorite one in First Time 55. “Evolving Toward Forever” deals with friendship, love, and bonding, but it is different than your usual K/S story about bonding. When it begins, it is the aftermath of “Amok Time“, and Kirk comes to Spock’s cabin to make sure his friend is okay, and that pon farr is over. The episode showed us how much Kirk cared for Spock, but in this scene in the story we see even more proof of how deep their friendship is, as Kirk takes Spock’s hand as he talks with him and expresses his concerns: “The only thing I fear is losing you.” He tightened his grip on Spock’s hand. “I need to know. Is it over?“ As the story continues, we see Kirk and Spock after four more episodes (“The Immunity Syndrome“, “The Ultimate Computer“, “The Paradise Syndrome“, and “Turnabout Intruder“), discussing the events that occurred, and we are shown their deepening friendship. I loved how these scenes show them becoming closer and closer, and their conversations and interactions becoming more and more intimate. Each of these scenes had some favorite lines that revealed the love between the two men.
[bits of dialogue snipped]As the link grows and strengthens between them, they declare their love for each other, and finally they bond. (Janice Lester has something to do with this, too! There’s some great scenes between her and Kirk.) But, so far they are mental soul mates; the friends and brothers of the t’hy’la definition, but not lovers. Kirk professes his willingness to be there for Spock during his next pon farr, but they are not lovers at this point in the story. This is certainly quite different from most K/S stories that deal with bonding! Then, Kirk comes to feel desire for Spock, but while Spock loves Kirk and would do anything to make him happy, he does not physically desire Kirk. During a meld, Kirk finally does make love to Spock, but is full of guilt and regret the next day, since Spock still does not desire him. This leads to much angst for both, some misunderstandings and harsh words, and it seems as though they will break the bond. Ah, but this is a First Time zine, so we know there will be a happy ending, but I won’t give away the rest of the plot. The author has a very interesting way to resolve their differences that was a surprise, and not what I expected. This was another outstanding effort by Elise Madrid, one I thoroughly enjoyed. 
It's always a treat to read something from this relatively new but very talented author. She sets the stage for this story by offering tantalizing flashes of insight into the effects of different episodes on Kirk and Spock—Amok Time, Immunity Syndrome, Ultimate Computer. There is an especially poignant accounting of Kirk's return from Miramanee's world in Paradise Syndrome. I found it unsurprising to learn that familiar and intense mind-meld was responsible for deepening
their link. Elise explores these episodes, showing us glimpses of how love grew as the Enterprise explored the galaxy. I was prepared and happy for this story to be a series of looks into the original series adventures, but I was in for much more. Following Turnabout Intruder, this author takes us on a very involved journey of personal discovery. A shared meld, for personal pleasure only, draws them purposely closer, both learning some things about themselves. Nothing is as simple as it seems, but the issues both men face are very plausible and both meet the challenges with intelligence and reason. We are privileged to feel with Kirk his dwindling interest in women and his very believable reaction to that revelation. Spock almost seems to understand the limits of his own sexuality better than does the Human. But while Spock accepts those limitations, Kirk is unable to do so. I really enjoyed the way this conflict of self was handled. Kirk is such a strongly masculine figure in my perception and he remains so as he grapples with his feelings for Spock and the unexpected effect on his physiology. It is equally intriguing, though heartbreaking, to look in on Spock's interpretations of the changes in their lives. It is a daunting task to introduce conceivable problematic issues while maintaining the feeling that Kirk and Spock are completely and unswervingly devoted to each other but it is handled masterfully here. Not overdone (which can be very readable in its own way) but convincingly done.Naturally there is a memorable tent scene near the end that absolves the reader and the duo of any lingering doubts they may have had. A wondrous love scene that warms you to your toes. 
I had known that Elise had written a prequel to her story The Exile in Beyond Dreams 4, and still I didn’t really guess that Evolving Toward Forever was it, so compelling was this plot and narrative. I love the naturalness of this tale. The author has tackled something that, in my opinion, is very hard to do, and that is show Kirk and Spock’s growing closeness of spirit without the physical, their affinity of soul without the sex. Love it! 
She is definitely an author that is starting to get my notice as her stories keeps improving. Some of her earlier works were ones that took place in the classic series where scenes took place from one episode to another which were quite repetitious and just didn't work. The writer relied too much on the episodes as her background, compounded by the heavy regurgitation of said episodes to move the story along. The abruptness and lack of smooth transition from episode to episode made the stories a flat liner, lacking in depth and
substance. Well, she's past her plateau. This is one story that made me stand up and take notice. It is very well written. The episode is just a small percentage of the background. There is more depth and substance to this story where Kirk and Spock develop their relationship in a very interesting way. I really enjoyed it. To me she's in the same league as Chris Soto and Karla Kelly. I didn't even realize that it was part one of the story.Great job. Looking forward to more of your of your creative work. 
The first story “Evolving Towards Forever” takes us through the stages of their developing relationship after significant events from the original TV series. So they first discuss their strong bond of friendship after “Amok Time”, and continue to deepen their awareness of what they are becoming to each other after events in “The Immunity Syndrome”, “The Paradise Syndrome” and “Turnabout Intruder”. Each of these scenes has its memorable dialogue from Kirk’s first hesitant “You OK? I’m glad you’re OK” to his, “I couldn’t let you out of my life even if I wanted to,” (which had me quietly whimpering), to Spock’s, “I will always be here for you. Do you not know that by now?”(even more whimpering). At this point they have melded and realise that a bond of some kind is developing but it is the ugly scenes between Kirk and Janet Lester that impel him to demand that Spock truly bonds them, which, of course he does. Thus, Kirk demands and Spock acquiesces to the “siren call of fulfilment”. What a way to describe the attraction between them.
Cue violins and happy ever after? No way; that would be far too simplistic. The ugly arguments with Lester serve to make Kirk realise that the all-enveloping acceptance he has from Spock is precious. Besides, he is having to acknowledge a growing physical desire for his First Officer whilst dealing with the twisted desires of two scientists the Enterprise has taken on board. Tom Matheson and Irene Norton are two of the slimiest creations I’ve ever read. They hunt together, share their spoils and will stop at nothing to satisfy their perverted desires. They want Kirk so they go after him. He plays along with Norton at first as a way of dealing with his confusion about Spock. Fortunately, Spock arrives in time to save him from a fate worse than death which allows them to discuss the physical attraction between them. Good, now we’re getting somewhere, you think, except that Spock does not reciprocate Kirk’s feelings. Well, he does; he is just unable to demonstrate that, if you get my drift; Vulcan mind nooky he’s up for but Kirk is after the good old fashioned Earth kind. Oh, Spock will do anything to please Kirk but Kirk wants a fully involved partner and turns him down. However, after the rescue Spock demands that his needs—his Vulcan needs—be satisfied. (Let me, I was crying. Let me.) He means a meld, of course, which goes so deep that they end up making love. Yes! Now the violins and happy ever after? No! No way! For a story in FT, their first time is a damp squib, especially for Kirk. As Spock points out, he entered Kirk’s mind and Kirk entered his body, “We each gave, and received, a gift of love”. I shall have to pause here for a little more whimpering and a cool down. Phew! The intensity of the dialogue between them is the real delight of these stories for me. Anyway, Kirk doesn’t believe that Spock is enjoying things the way he wants them both to do and just as they are about to explore this in more detail, Admiral Komack is announced. I hate Komack and am unable to tell you why, except that his arrival usually signifies black times ahead for Kirk. And, boy, does it ever. Tension is developed by the growing closeness between the Admiral, Matheson and Norton. Waterproof clothing is recommended from now on to cope with the quantity of slime these three manage to produce. The economy of the writing is a delight here. I can hiss and boo as if at the best Victorian melodrama but the characters are tightly and sparely drawn, remaining threatening without tipping over into caricature. There is another low key love scene between Kirk and Spock when they discuss their problems again and reach a better, but still slim, understanding. Amidst all this personal angst, Kirk is taken in by Norton and agrees to have dinner with her, his charm on “autopilot”. She has planned to drug him at this meal and share him with Matheson. However, it is Matheson who ends up drugged and Kirk’s virtue is safe, yet again. He is really mixed up at this point, wanting Spock but not wanting him unless he can respond physically, contemplating dissolving the bond. He is in pain; Spock is patient and understanding. The lack of histrionics in the writing makes these scenes plausible and painful to read. We know they are meant to be together so why can’t Kirk just get on with it? Well, finally he does. At last, the dumb cluck realises that life with Spock on any terms is better than life without him. And finally, Spock gets it together as well – that damned awkward Vulcan physiology playing up so that he had to wait a few days for the effects of the bond to manifest. So the story ends with their true first time, minds and bodies in synch at last and it’s a scene well worth waiting for. As Spock says, “I too, was unaware of the totality of feeling this act could produce”. More whimpering from me at this better late than never moment.This is a slow moving story, in some ways too slow for me and it is the least satisfying of the trilogy for this reason. The slowness of the scenes does emphasise the nature of the developing relationship but I still would have preferred a little more speed to move the plot on. However, the different scenes do allow for a close exploration of the relationship between Kirk and Spock which is always extremely worth while, especially from someone like Elise who can write these scenes with such a light touch and a real understanding of their characters. She writes a Kirk and Spock I can recognize from the TV series which gives added depth and enjoyment to the stories. 
Some things are inevitable though the path is often a rocky one. Slow building and angsty. The sequel, The Exile is an AU with lots more angst and h/c. 
This imaginative story launches us into a look at what might have happened had the Starfleet careers of Kirk and Spock been maliciously interrupted. The premise of them surviving all manner of difficulties is nothing new, but this is different in that the very foundation of their lives is shaken and yet together they find a way to prevail. Written exactly as I prefer to see these two men portrayed, with wisdom and maturity and unshakable devotion to each other, it was enjoyable on many levels. Early on, two of my favorite episodes are woven into the mix as examples of how Kirk and Spock are always there for each other and throughout the novella, Ms. Madrid deftly utilizes a number of episodes to advance the story.
Kirk and Spock are able to discuss their relationship in a way I found very refreshing, even immediately after Amok Time. Both readily admit they cannot envision a future where they are not together. This sums up the intensity of their friendship, something for which most of us can only express envy, and as K/S fans, our everlasting appreciation. For anyone who ever considered the encounter with Janice Lester was incomplete, there are some answers and some very disturbing moments when the two officers must deal with her during her competency hearing. This proves to be the catalyst for a life-altering decision.The author introduces two primary original characters to enrich the plot and leaves us very much wanting to know what happens next. 
- from The K/S Press #71
- from The K/S Press #77
- from The K/S Press #77
- from The K/S Press #78
- from The K/S Press #82
- from The K/S Press #84
- from The K/S Press #108
- from Past and Present Intertwined - Star Trek Kirk/Spock fic recs post, posted February 28, 2010, accessed June 19, 2013
- from The K/S Press #200