Golden Boy (Star Trek: TOS story)
|Date(s):||1998 (though author has 1999 on the story on her website)|
|Fandom:||Star Trek: The Original Series|
|External Links:||Golden Boy|
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It was published in the print zine Amazing Grace.
- 1998 Golden Orgasm--Best TOS Story
- 1998 Golden Orgasm--Best Challenge
- 1998 Golden Orgasm--Second Place, TOS Slash
- 1998 ASC--Second Place K/S
"A/U: Kirk is being forced to give up Spock after he discovers that his loverʼs father was a client of his when he worked as a paid companion during his cadet days."
"Kirk's sordid youthful past comes back to haunt him in a unimaginably painful way."
Reactions and Reviews
I'm going to reveal something in this LOC that I believe impacts your reading experience, so don't read further if you haven't read the story yet. Unless you want to.
A unique idea; a meaningful exploration both of Kirk's character and of Vulcan ways; emotional, raunchy, shocking, among other things—an excellent story. Really good writing; it's perfect English-wise, and has wonderful flow and drama.
This is another first-person POV story, Kirk's. In the beginning, we don't know why yet, but Kirk is convinced he must break off his relationship with Spock. Things aren't spelled out for us, yet they're not written so obtusely that only a mind-reader would get it; it's perfectly in-between these two. Maximum impact and information with the fewest words; heartfelt expression and creative depiction. For instance, just the word "tipsy" in connection with something Kirk's mother had said, and the word "prick" in connection with his father, leads us to conjure up dysfunction in Kirk's background without spelling out more than we need to know for this story.
There are many memorable lines, and those lovely one-line paragraphs I like so much (except when it's overdone, forced drama, but not overdone here). Especially the opening line: "Last night Spock made love to me for the last time." The story proceeds to tell us why Kirk feels he must end it; we learn of his dark past he cannot let be known in a meld.
And as to that "last night," ahh...lovely words of Spock's pleasuring him. Very beautiful sex; fine writing.
Spock had said a Vulcan word for "my golden one," and Kirk is thinking back to being the "golden boy." This is the only, or nearly the only, reference in the story to the title theme, and it is quite sufficient.
It wasn't until the second page or so that we first learn where Kirk is physically; it seems we should know sooner. He's drinking on the planet they're orbiting, trying to figure out what to say to Spock, thinking back to this past he cannot let be revealed.
I won't go into all the details here, but they're excellent. The past of the story involves prostitution and such by Kirk at the Academy, in the company of Gary Mitchell. The name of the bar, the name for this particular type of bar, the descriptions of all the sex he has with all the different aliens and of these aliens' sexual equipment, along with Kirk's state of mind--all of this is creative and written so well, few words saying so much.
(I wondered, did the author have to put this in, that almost all alien cunt makes Kirk gag, so he doesn't suck females? Like alien semen wouldn't also make him gag? Except for Vulcan, of course.) Enter Sydan the Vulcan.... This is an older man who becomes Kirk's main customer, and eventually the trysting takes place at Sydan's apartment, not at the sleazy bar. Their sex is exquisite; and Kirk loves watching the Vulcan control dissolve.... This Vulcan really, really makes love to him. "Within a month, I would have paid him," Kirk says.
Gary Mitchell is a full character in this story. He and Kirk have a friendly kind of sexual relationship. Though Gary's the one who gets Kirk into the sex business, Kirk is the one who gets a swelled head about it and takes it farther than Gary thinks is wise for their Academy careers. And Mitchell is the one who ends up hurt by it, which sours their trusting friendship.
There is a great sex show, or contest you might say. Wonderfully crude and fun. Except for it's not funny what happens to Mitchell.
Another one of those great one-liners: Says Kirk of Gary (because of what happened above): "But he never kissed me again." Made me so sad.
Through all of this are the passionate scenes of Kirk and his Vulcan. And then the story in the present, Kirk and Spock's
beginnings. Really excellent; but I won't go into it all here. Kirk does want a bonded relationship, but doesn't want to meld, as Spock mustn't know his past. We go through a few of the episodes—adding a nice "realism" to the events, and then....
Okay, here is where I want to reveal what was a shocking surprise to me. I want to point out how different my reading of this story was from Shelley's, who was casually told beforehand by someone else that Kirk's Vulcan lover was...Sarek! Well, I had not one clue and it didn't even occur to me that it was Sarek. I just thought it was a made-up character for useful story purposes such as Kirk getting his taste for Vulcans. So when Spock's parents come on board during the trip to the Babel conference and Kirk sees who it is...I was blown away! (As he was.)
However, what Shelley got to experience was a major upping of the turn-on meter, when she was reading the parts of Kirk and his Vulcan lover, knowing it was Sarek. But she didn't get the shocking surprise like I did. So I wonder which is better. (I then skimmed back through and read again the juicy parts, with Sarek in mind this time.)
Then there are fascinating aspects of Vulcan ways: what Sarek and Kirk had, in light of what Kirk and Spock now have, make this whole thing an "incest" situation. This was fully explored. Excellent. I don't know that the flashback to Kirk with his father was really necessary to the story. This shows us that Kirk's father thought of him as a cunning, selfish manipulator who charms people and calls it leadership. This is indeed how Kirk is portrayed in this story. Not really likeable or honorable. Or if honorable, in a twisted kind of way.So Kirk is on his way to break it off. A bummer, sad ending. Except the story ends just before he goes to break it off, and we can assume it won't happen. I can imagine all sorts of ways that they could work all this out, but I would like to know what the author had in mind, for her own personal ending. 
Wonderful A/U story told as a flashback to Kirk's past in which he reveals he was a prostitute and a sexual exhibitionist with Gary Mitchell during their academy days. I found this story really compelling in the dark and moody way it's told from a hard-bitten Kirk POV and the twist of events in Kirk's life before the Enterprise. If you haven't read this yet, stop here because there's a terrific surprise in the story that I want to talk about. I really liked this feisty Kirk who wouldn't take any crap from anybody and also his complex relationship with Gary. And who cares about minor things like, "is this really Kirk?"—I went along with this dark, sexy story, no problem. Along the way was this beautifully mysterious relationship with a Vulcan, who's so well realized with his power and sensitivity, I thought the character, who turns out to be Sarek, fairly leapt of the pages. And while I generally accepted Kirk's abusive background, I questioned a particular scene that portrayed his father as not just abusive, but psychotic. I was sad when Sydan rejects Kirk and then on the edge of my seat when he shows up as Spock's father. Later it was so painful when Kirk learns he must hide the truth from his t'hy'la and that neither he nor Sarek can ever deeply share Spock's mind. I thought the ending was particularly clever It ends before Kirk actually tells Spock he doesn't love him and wants him to leave. The ending is left open to interpretation as to what really happened, whatever the author's belief. I loved that. Anyway, a terrific story that I thoroughly enjoyed. 
This is another masterpiece from JK. No one can read this one without being seriously affected, and you know that's the sign of a gifted writer. JK pulls the reader into her universe, even when that universe is less than pleasant. Creative, inventive--portrays a Kirk and Mitchell we've never seen before, but yet a Kirk and Mitchell we can recognize. 
In my opinion, it’s one of the very best and most challenging K/S stories published in 1998. Some of its themes—the "Kirk as hustler" and "Kirk as abused child"—have been done before, by some of fandom's finest authors, but this story can hold its own with the best of them. And the core story is among the most original and surprising I’ve read in fan fiction in some time.
I suspected where the story was going shortly after Kirk met "Sydan" in the First Contact, so I had that satisfying sense of things falling into place later on, when my suspicions were confirmed and the mystery of why Kirk is breaking up with Spock is solved. But the identity of "Sydan" was never obvious and I appreciated the subtle way in which the mystery was created and revealed.
One of the most fascinating and effective aspects of the story is the portrayal of “Sydan” and his attitudes and behavior toward young Kirk. I chuckled at the resemblance between his image of Kirk (an emotional, irrational "boy," fit mainly for sex and only a few cuts above a mere plaything) and the traditional vapid, dependent female mistress kept by a successful man of the world for sexual pleasure alone. This was all the more effective since this wasn't a Kirk forced to serve as a pleasure slave on some alien planet. It was "our" Kirk as seen by a regular Vulcan guy. And despite the fact that we're seeing Sydan through Kirk's eyes, the author managed to make his thoughts and feelings come through loud and clear, which is no small feat.
Unlike many of the stories I've read in which Kirk is shown as coming from a dysfunctional family, the family background here seemed to work as an explanation for this Kirk's pursuit of sex as a way of seeking attention and the appearance of love. It fit, in other words.
I do have some critical comments on the story, most of them reactions to the way the story was structured dramatically, rather than to any of the ideas. I hope these comments will be read with this caveat in mind.
On the phenomenon of "celesters": I thought the term was great, both in the imaginative "historical derivation" and the ironic association with the term "celestial." But I didn't experience much dramatic pay-off from the concept. I didn't see any humans in the story acting out of prejudice against sex with aliens—nor, for that matter, did I see any aliens acting as though they believed that sex with humans was taboo. taboo, merely as sexually fascinating (and not good for much else). The story would have worked just as well if the First Contact had simply been a place where all manner of life forms could get together, fulfill their particular fantasies about other life forms, and score. As it was, I kept waiting for the other shoe to drop, and I didn't feel that it did. The scene where Kirk first meets Spock had a much more "A/U" feel than the rest of the story. Knowing just a little about the evolution of this story, I think I understand why I thought that the first scene with Spock, where they jump each other, and the scene at the koon-ut kalifee, suggested a Kirk who had not matured very much since his First Contact days. They showed the K/S relationship as driven, at least initially, by raw sexual desire, and the Kirk of this story was not a very noble person at the time of Spock's first pon farr. However, shortly after the initial encounter, it's suggested that his relationship with Spock brought out the best in Kirk, as of course we'd expect it would. In this and other ways, the story seemed to straddle the conflict between Kirk's two worlds, or two selves. I was never really sure just how much Kirk changed after he became commander of the Enterprise. Of course, that had to be difficult to show in a story told from Kirk’s point of view. Kirk believed he was a fraud, so that’s what the story showed. However, I believe the story also shows that Kirk was not quite the hollow fraud he thought he was, that he had at least begun to redeem himself as commander of the Enterprise, and that with Spock he had a shot at a decent relationship of love and respect.
Yet I also felt there is something very problematic in the fact that in this universe, The Powers That Be within Starfleet allowed this James T. Kirk to command a starship. For me, the A/U label doesn’t really solve the dramatic problem created by Kirk’s sordid past. For the drama in this story to really work, I think we have to believe that the James T. Kirk of the "First Contact" part of the story could go on to earn a starship command and the respect of his crew, especially Spock. There’s an even deeper dramatic issue, though. For me, this story is essentially a tragedy in the full classical sense of the word, even down to the theme that connects it with the tragedy of Oedipus. As I view the essential drama in this story, the more Kirk has redeemed himself, and the more he has become like "our" Kirk, the more we care about his loss and the more tragic the outcome of the story. The less he deserves Spock and the Enterprise, the less he is like "our" Kirk and the less we are likely to view it as a tragedy when he loses Spock. If he doesn’t deserve Spock in the first place, it’s a sad story, a powerful and bitter story, but not the tragedy I think it has the potential to be. In a similar vein, I was never sure what was really "at stake" for Kirk, what he risked when he took those chances at the First Contact, what he was losing when he decided to break off his relationship with Spock. I don't feel I know how this Kirk felt about Starfleet, his career, his ship, the risks he took at the First Contact; even his feelings about Spock were more obscure to me than they usually are in a K/S story. Despite the use of the first person, this was a rather "distant" perspective on Kirk. I think his feelings about "Sydan" were probably the most vivid in the story, and of course those sections were well-done indeed— especially the fascinating character study of the fake first time and the devastating line about how addicted Kirk became to Sydan after that. I believe that if I had been able more clearly to see the other, more noble side of Kirk, it would have heightened the element of tragedy in the story.
Apart from the scenes with Sydan, I found myself wanting the sexual action to provide the kind of insight into Kirk's character that the scenes with Sydan did. I certainly have no objection to sex without any redeeming literary value, and will cheerfully read almost any PWP in which Kirk gets it on with almost any life form in the universe. But this isn't a PWP, it's a serious story. I felt at times that the sex scenes were leading us away from the serious business of the story, rather than leading us into it.
For example, I didn't feel I learned very much about Kirk by seeing him interact with Mitchell. How did Kirk feel about Mitchell? Did he feel comradeship, loyalty, acceptance, respect, rapport? What, if anything, did he feel erotically for him? Did Gary turn him on? I think Kirk's relationship with Mitchell, sexual and otherwise, could have given us some insight into Kirk's character.
I thought the concept of the Vulcan "incest taboo" was ingenious and made for a suitably tragic ending to the tale. But I felt some discomfort with Kirk's decision for reasons that have more to do with dramatic structure than characterization.
The biggest difficulty with the ending, for me, is that we just don't know how Spock would, in fact, have reacted to the knowledge of Kirk's relationship with his father. I think the incest issue was essentially Spock's issue, a Vulcan issue. Dramatically, Kirk's problem with it was derivative from Spock's, or rather, what he assumed Spock's problem with it would be. Some readers have responded to this story by saying that of course Spock would have chosen to bond with Kirk and rejected the Vulcan incest taboo, so the unhappy ending was unjustified. Well, they may be wrong; or they may be right. There's just nothing to prove them wrong in this story. I can believe that Spock's reaction would be super-Vulcan. I can also believe that he would give primacy to his feelings for Kirk. His character is susceptible of both interpretations; fans have written him both ways. The point I'm trying to make is that for Kirk's sacrifice to have tragic and redemptive meaning, it must be either (1) clear to Kirk that Spock would, in fact, be devastated by the knowledge that he had broken the taboo; or (2) impossible for Kirk to know whether Spock will be devastated, but sufficiently probable that Kirk cannot bring himself to risk it. If Spock wouldn't be devastated, then Kirk's sacrifice is just a pointless waste. A story in which Kirk's sacrifice is a pointless waste could, of course, be perfectly valid story, but it's a different kind of story from a tragedy.
Finally, the concept of the complete telepathic openness of the partners during the bonding was a nice idea, and I like it very much, but I felt that coming so soon on the heels of the revelation about the incest taboo, it was perhaps one new Vulcanism too many for a single story.
Rather than use this device to create drama, I think the story would have worked just as well, if not better, had Kirk proposed to Spock, and Spock informed Kirk that if they were bonded, they would have to have full mind-melds, not the half-baked kind that Kirk had permitted Spock up to that point. No doubt Kirk would accept this as the price of bonding with Spock, and realize that he will now have to tell Spock about his old life before Spock sees it in his mind. But then Sarek comes along, and tells Kirk about the incest taboo, and Kirk knows now that he can never bond with Spock because he knows Spock would see his secret. And this would be his own realization, not something that Sarek tells him—more powerful dramatically, to my way of thinking.Regardless of any critical quibbles, this is a powerful and demanding story. I can’t praise the author enough for rising to the challenge of writing on such a theme. 
Wow! This story has so many different levels to it. We have Kirk as a youth and as an adult. His experiences as a youth result in terrible consequences for his adult relationship with Spock. We see Kirk realizing the consequences of his actions and accepting them, choosing to do what he believes is best for Spock. Even though I tend to think that adults in relationships should discuss their problems with each other before making decisions that influence both, in this case, the discussion is not acceptable; thus we see a Kirk willing to give up his own happiness out of love for Spock. This adult Kirk is one I can respect. Now more specifics. This is a very sexy story and very full of angst. The young Kirk's sex life is exciting and innovative. JK uses the term "celester" to mean someone who has sex with aliens; in this time sex between humans of any gender is accepted, but sex with aliens is considered perverted or, at least, way out of the norm. I much prefer to think that the TOS universe has no such prejudices. However, one of the best traits of TOS was it's use of similar situations to highlight the injustices/ills in our own society. So, I like to see stories where our own world view is taken and twisted just a bit, but in ways that are logical as future predictions. JK has done a great job with this angle. I believe that using the celester as anti-societal norm, then later showing the K/S relationship as true love, highlights the differences between the non-IDIC and the IDIC worlds, with the IDIC one clearly the more loving and mature. I wasn't shocked by the surprise character from Kirk's past, but then again I was involved early on in some of the conceptualizing that led to this story. It did serve to make the bittersweet ending of this tale possible.
The twist in the Sydan character, showing a Vulcan as indulging in what would be to a Human 'illogical passion,' was good foreshadowing to the denouement as well as being quite sexy. When we find out that Vulcans also have extreme prejudices and do not even consider it optional to discuss them, we see another side of that race not shown in TOS canon, but easily consistent with it. Between the acting out of sexual fantasies and the irrational, unequivocal rejection of certain sexual relationships, we see the Vulcans as stunningly different from Humans, yet more similar than we often see them. This sentence may not seem to make sense, but I think that in highlighting the differences between Vulcans and Humans and showing that Vulcans also have foibles, we can see the tragic flaws that make up all of us. These aspects of this story make Vulcans harder to comprehend, but more worth the effort, in my mind. So sad the ending of Kirk and Mitchell's relationship. A good friendship, even love, ruined by obsession. JK writes this beautifully. Much emotion and much angst in the story, but this part done so lightly, slipped into the prose. So much pain in such a simple sentence. (Read it and see.)
Then we have the beautiful, caring relationship between Kirk and Spock. Both of them obviously in love and Kirk so afraid to show himself. This Kirk I really believe. I kept hoping he would trust Spock enough to let him meld them completely, so that Spock would know the past and both could bear the pain and heal. I believe that the Spock portrayed here could forgive Kirk easily. But the Kirk is so Human, has suffered so much hurt, that he can't accept open, trusting love. And he does the very Human thing of hiding from the truth until it is too late. Very realistic. Still, as he loves he learns to care and to give. He is willing to give everything he is for Spock. He finally chooses to reveal all to Spock when they bond; the acceptance of which shows he has decided to trust, but puts it off until then. Sadly or for the best, depending on how the reader views the likely outcome.
Then he finds out the truth which he believes will hurt Spock more if Spock finds out and has to live with it than losing Kirk will. So he makes the sacrifice, in love. Beautifully. Part of me wants JK to write a sequel, to make it 'all better,' to have Spock find out the truth and have the love between K and S triumph. But more of me hopes she won't write it. This way I can imagine a happy ending (maybe, Amanda was wrong about Spock's paternity) or I can accept the sacrifice Kirk makes and be proud of him.I know I will keep reading Jungle Kitty's stories whenever I can find them. 
Darkfic Rating: Espresso macchiato. A creepy, nasty alternate universe, where tragedy is the main course. I don't re-read this one often, because I always end up shell-shocked. Parts of the story are centered around "Journey to Babel"; the rest around Kirk's experiences at Starfleet Academy. Jungle Kitty weaves them together expertly and in unexpected ways. 
This alternate universe tale is very different from the usual “Kirk and Spock find eternal love” stories (which I happen to be quite fond of). But it’s a compelling look at an entirely plausible background for Kirk, and how his youthful activities could come to affect his adult life profoundly. The story invents a very interesting taboo, and explores what happens to those who break it. It’s extremely well-written, sparse and erotic in places and violent in places. And the end result is tragic, but completely believable. 
This alternate universe tale is very different from the usual “Kirk and Spock find eternal love” stories (which I happen to be quite fond of). But it’s a compelling look at an entirely plausible background for Kirk, and how his youthful activities could come to affect his adult life profoundly.The story invents a very interesting taboo, and explores what happens to those who break it. It’s extremely well-written, sparse and erotic in places and violent in places. And the end result is tragic, but completely believable. 
I'd never read this before.Original, moving and very, very powerful. I liked the Kirk as flawed approach which a lot of writers don't see. 
I'd never read this before.Original,moving and very, very powerful. I liked the Kirk as flawed approach which a lot of writers don't see. 
- from The K/S Press #28 (1998)
- from The K/S Press #27 (1998)
- alt.startrek.creative, February 1999
- from The K/S Press #31 (1999)
- from The K/S Press #31 (1999)
- comments on a private mailing list, quoted anonymously (October 20, 2000)
- Darkfic recs, November 2000, laura jv
- by bradamante13 at Crack Van, posted September 9, 2004, accessed March 25, 2013
- a 2004 comment on Crack Van
- a 2004 comment on Crack Van
- by ladysunrope at Crack Van, posted September 12, 2004, accessed March 25, 2013