From Choice

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K/S Fanfiction
Title: From Choice
Author(s): Vivian Gates
Date(s): 1987
Length:
Genre: slash
Fandom: Star Trek: The Original Series
External Links: From Choice

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From Choice is a Kirk/Spock story by Vivian Gates.

It was published in Greater California K/S.

Discussed in Not Tonight, Spock!

See Sexuality in K/S Fiction: Anal Intercourse Prolonged er uh Continued.

Summary

"A/U: Just as Kirk is getting his doctorate, his servant Spockʼs time of indenture-ship is ending."

Reactions and Reviews

I love this a/u scenario where Kirk is a Professor of Archaeology and Spock is his indentured servant. Spock's confidence and selfhood have been totally shattered in this story. I was very moved by Kirk's efforts to help Spock recover. My only criticism is that I would have liked to see more—more of Spock's recovery, more of how K/S developed in this universe over time, and more of Kirk as an archaeologist. [1]
An A/U story in which Kirk is a university professor and Spock is his indentured servant. Spock's term is coming to an end and he wants to stay. I didn't quite understand what the laws were as explained, but Spock reveals to Kirk a transgression. He watched Kirk having sex with a woman. Spock asks to be punished (Yes! Yes! You must be severely disciplined!) so that Kirk will keep him. Anyway, after some effort, they decide to remain together as friends until soon after when they have sex. There's a strange mention just thrown in at the end of the story where Kirk asks Spock what the matter is, didn't he like it and so forth and Spock says he is still too sexually immature so he is unable to get excited. Huh? Written well for the most part, but the theme, that of equality (I presume) is given short shrift. [2]
"From Choice" written by Vivian Gates is an original "alternate universe" story. Here we have our Kirk as a Professor of Archeology and Spock is his indentured servant. Instead of offering us a Spock who is confident and self assured, we have a Spock who is down in his luck with no self-respect and no place. to fit in. Kirk is a compassionate person who takes Spock under his wing offering him emotional support and a future. This is a very touching story and I hope that Ms. Gates writes a sequel to it. I would love to come back and visit the Kirk and Spock she created just to see how far they've gone. [3]
... there's also a really good story by Vivian Gates. Her story, "From Choice", takes place in an original AU in which Kirk is a Professor of Archaeology and Spock is his indentured servant. Vivian shows us how this came about convincingly and the emotional interaction is quite moving. In this story, Spock is a man who has hit bottom. He has no self-respect and only a marginal place in any society. I loved reading of how Kirk began to restore Spock's self-image and of the ambitions Kirk had for Spock's future. It would be wonderful to see a sequel to this story. If Vivian would be so good as to write one, we would find out how far this Spock was able to progress and how much acceptance he was able to attain. [4]
What a delicious AU! I've read a lot of Vivian Gates stories these last months, but this one was completely new to me and I think it might just be my favorite by her so far. I love the setting, Jim as the broke new PhD professor and Spock as his discrete, indispensable servant. I also liked the concept of the indenture for the story's purpose, even though it strikes me as barbaric that someone would have to PAY in any way for being rescued, especially in the future. The characterizations were great; Kirk was a brilliant, kind-hearted man, just as he normally is, even-tempered with a few quick surges of heat at times. Spock was self-sacrificing, completely devoted to Jim, and oh-so-willing to do anything possible to remain with Kirk. My heart squeezed a little in sympathy - and sympathetic anger - when he told his sad story, and I couldn't help a knowing grin when he confessed to being a VSA graduate. It is SPOCK, after all; he couldn't be anything less. I think it's only then that Jim fully realized how attached Spock was to him, to offer to remain forever in the shadows at his side if necessary when he was so over-qualified. The buildup to their getting together was very well done. I could feel the feverish quality in the air while the end of Spock's indenture approached, and Jim's analogy with the days before a wedding was a very apt one since it would mark a new beginning for both of them... although I'm sure he didn't quite expect his new, irrepressible fantasies about Spock were about to come true :). Kudos for making Spock's response to the sexual encounter different from the common, human-like one; it is always a risk in a fic. It worked because it was clear that Spock enjoyed the sex, and we could extrapolate that after he became sexually mature, he'd be able to respond physically to Kirk too. Great concept and great story! [5]
I had, at first, borrowed this zine from a K/S friend at Shore Leave. I now have my own copy. She had raved about this story and so I was curious about it. However, I'm not a lover of AU's; I rarely read them and don't seek them out. Mainly because I cannot see Kirk and Spock in many of the situations. However this story is an exception because the essence and dynamics of Kirk and Spock are there, and plain to see. Had the roles been reversed though it would have missed the mark for me. Anyway, James Kirk is a professor living on Earth and Spock is an indentured servant in his employ who's two year contract will soon be up. James has grown very fond of Spock, and Spock has no desire to leave the man who has always been good to him; treats him as a person not a servant. And so the story unfolds from there. And beautifully so, with superb dialogue and scenes you can picture in your mind. Writing at it's best when this happens. The ending is lovely with yummy sex and words I find myself re-reading over and over again. A favorite story for me in K/S. And an AU at that! [6]
An A/U universe, but a universe which isn’t completely explained. There are glimpses, but these glimpses only wet the appetite to learn more and we aren’t given more. There’s much raw material available for a possible development into a novel. Though I prefer to have Kirk among the stars, I can go along with her portrayal of him being a professor and Spock being his servant. I would’ve loved to have her explore their burgeoning relationship against the backdrop of that particular universe. [7]
I think this might be my favorite Gates story. Kirk is a young professor of antiquities with a soon-to-be-expired contract for an indentured Vulcan servant. While the situation is AU, both men remain in character throughout. There is some lovely writing here, and those who do not like AU scenarios will miss something special if they let this story pass them by. [8]
After the first fic is written in any fandom, traditional themes (cliche fic, tropes, archetypes – whatever you want to call them) quickly follow. It takes no time at all for any fandom to develop its favorite tropes (often the same tropes, no matter what the fandom).

Then there are authors like Vivian Gates, who can take a long-familiar trope and find an entirely different way to look at it. Vivian was a prolific K/S author in the 80s, and she recently consented to have her work posted on ksarchive.com. There are currently three stories up, with hopefully more to come. Many thanks to ladyguenievre for retyping these stories. :-)

I always found Vivian‘s work to be fresh and original ―back in the day‖, and I still do, all these years later. She had a knack for coming up with unique ideas and carrying them out beautifully...

There had already been plenty of ―slave stories‖ before ―From Choice‖, often in a ―pre-reform Vulcan‖ setting, or involving Orion/alien slave traders, etc. I can‘t, however, recall ever reading another story which deals with indentured servitude. In this AU, Kirk has just earned his Ph.D. Two years prior, he had purchased a house close to the campus, which came complete with an indentured servant – Spock. Spock had been indentured several years prior to pay off his rescue from a starship crash. Now, his contract is coming to an end – and Kirk, who had become used to the presence of his nearly-silent, always-efficient servant, assumes Spock will return to Vulcan – and is surprised to find he‘s going to miss him. And then Spock, now able to make his own choices, and completely opposed to returning to Vulcan, makes a proposition...

Vivian is skilled at worldbuilding; she quickly gives readers all the information they need to understand how this world operates. Aside from the slave trope, ―From Choice‖ is also the Destiny trope – but she entirely avoids the ―love at first sight‖ cliche. (Vivian explores yet another common trope in this story, but to reveal it would spoil it.) [9]
When it comes to K/S stories, for me, the most important thing is not the plot (or lack thereof) or whether or not there‘s a sex scene (or two, or three). Rather, the one element that makes a K/S story a K/S story is characterizations. I‘ve always believed that as long as Kirk and Spock in a K/S story remain Kirk and Spock as seen in TOS, then one can put them in ANY situation, anywhere, anytime, and still make the story completely believable. This story stands out as a shining example of that belief.

While I‘ve read who knows how many A/U stories over the years, I have yet to find one more fitting of that classification than Vivian‘s. If I had not read this story and someone were to tell me that it involved Kirk as a relatively unknown professor who had an indentured servant named Spock, and there was no Enterprise, no starship, not even a mention of space, my first thought would be, ―You‘ve got to be kidding. How could anyone believe something like that?‖ But because the author never forgot that most important element of characterization, this story is not only completely believable, it has long been on my ―top ten‖ list of favorite K/S stories of all time. As mentioned above, Kirk is a professor teaching at a local university. As he‘s just earned his doctorate, he is by no means either well-known or rich. When he purchased his small home two years ago, it came with an added bonus – an indentured Vulcan servant with two years left on his contract. Over those two years, Spock proves to be hardworking, obedient, and unobtrusive. He also strictly maintains his privacy, so much so that Kirk knows nothing about him other the information contained in his indentured papers. Yet despite all this Kirk has grown quite fond of him and now faces a dilemma – Spock‘s contract soon will be up and he will be leaving. And as much as Kirk would like him to stay, financially it‘s just not possible. But when he broaches the subject with Spock, he finds many of his conceptions of his quiet Vulcan servant are more than a bit off base. But it is a surprising revelation by Spock himself that stirs feelings, first of anger, then desire, in Kirk, feelings he unwittingly shares with Spock. When Spock finally becomes a free man, both find they must each make a choice about their lives, one which could alter both their futures forever.

I cannot even remember how many times I have read this story over the years. Despite its most unusual setting, there is something about it that is just so compelling. Perhaps it‘s the uniqueness of the story line, perhaps it‘s the quiet pace of the story itself, or maybe it‘s the simplicity of the setting. But whatever it is, the author not only makes it work, she does so in such a way that it is not something one can easily forget. I know I haven‘t. [10]

References

  1. from The LOC Connection #9
  2. from Come Together #29
  3. from Datazine #41
  4. from Not Tonight, Spock! #12
  5. from ladyguenievre at The Kirk/Spock Fanfiction Archive, posted November 13, 2010, accessed January 30, 2012
  6. from The K/S Press #61
  7. from The K/S Press #40
  8. from The K/S Press #85
  9. from The K/S Press #176
  10. from The K/S Press #171