The Second Gift

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Star Trek Fanfiction
Title: The Second Gift
Author(s): Laura Scarsdale and Mary Lou Dodge
Date(s): April 1975
Genre: gen
Fandom: Star Trek: The Original Series
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The Second Gift is a Star Trek: TOS 47-page story by Laura Scarsdale and Mary Lou Dodge in the second issue of Delta Triad.

The Horse Story

It is commonly referred to as "the horse on the Enterprise story" and fans of the time were very familiar with it, sometimes citing it as an example of fannish indulgence: "Hell on Wheels’ is like those Star Trek stories by authors who like horses too much, they stick a few on the lower decks of the Enterprise. Overworked Homicide Sergeants temporarily transferred to the Venice Rollerskate Robbery Division is not overwhelmingly realistic, but then, this is fluff and as such it works…." [1]

From One of the Authors

Here I have to say the "Second Gift" was undoubtedly the hardest story we've ever written. It's very hard to tread the line between the unusual and the hokey and maintain fact and believability, and we've researched very carefully. Our local vets provided us with X-rays and other material as well as loosening up and letting their imaginations play with what will be available in animal medicine in 200 years. I regret that only a minute bit of our research is reflected in "Gift". We hope "Gift" doesn't come across as hokey, but as stated in the "Warning" we did it strictly for ourselves, then decided to share it. -- Laura [2]


At least one fan included this horse in her own story: "The horse in 'Paperchase' is one of my favourite characters in fan-fiction. I came across that horse years ago in an American fanzine. The author, with an almost Yorkshire-like determination to to get what she wanted, liked horses. She also liked "Star Trek . So, by a process of logic that would have commended itself to Mr. Spock, she had horses on the "Enterprise". Simple when you know how." [3]

Gallery of Art

Mentioned as a Subject of Parody

During the 1977 The SekWester*Con Porn Debate, an illo in Delta Triad Supplement One was parodied in Menagerie #13. Part of the parody mentions "What about the horses?, Met? Some of them are only 2 years old!"

Reactions and Reviews

...while I am not a horse freak and know next to nothing about riding or dressage, had enough "human" interest to grab me at the beginning and drag me, kicking and screaming in places but entertained all the way, through the story...The individual non-Trek characters had nicely developed personalities, and while they may not have been quite as unique, each one from the other, as other writers may have developed them, at least the motivations of each of the people was believable, mostly, and I was quite satisfied with the compromise ending. Somehow, I expected the denouement to be contrived, (So did we. Mel) and it really wasn't. The illustrations by Kris Trott were superb (She's a superb artist. Mel)...Helen Jordan's frontispiece for the story is handsome... [4]
Second Gift may have been written by horsepeople for horsepeople, but I find it hard to believe that horsepeople don't want the same basic elements in a story that the rest of us want; like strong plot, believability, characterization, cohesion ... I am inclined to agree (and I even like horses), but the horse artwork was magnificent. Somehow, though, the thought of horses on the ENTERPRISE is a turn-off. Still after all, DELTA TRIAD is a lovely 'zine, and if it is somewhat over-priced, it's in good company. [5]
...You really did it with "The Second Gift". The main strength is that you didn't go "Gosh, Wow, horses aboard the ENTERPRISE - isn't that neat?" ...But you three really did your homework, and made a very good story that even those of us less knowledgeable about horses could enjoy. For, your story was not only about horses; it was about people and their relationship with horses, and it came out to be very natural indeed... [6]
'The Second Gift', which I would have read even if it had been badly written - which it certainly wasn't. Quite a good, complex, anthropological whodunit; I like...I've never, never seen better illustrations...than K. Trott's lovely Arabians... [7]
An Arabian horse fan couldn't resist writing a story combining them with Star Trek. A few nice bits, but overall, it didn't work for me. The Mizaran culture gave Arabian horses to cultures around the galaxy, but finding their gift always used for war and pillage, became a technophobic society. Their sister planet, once a colony, continued as a technological world. The Federation has talked the Mizarans into giving their gift again, all Arabians elsewhere having succumbed to a "genetic flaw," and Enterprise is assigned to transport the breeding stock. Someone aboard is trying to sabotage the gift. [8]

A Reaction from a Fan Who Tied This Story into Tolerance, or Lack of It

In 1978, Interstat was exploding with heated comments and discussion over K/S. Mary Lou Dodge's numerous letters to Interstat and as well as her Open Letter by Mary Lou Regarding Explicit Fanworks. One fan, Della, responded to Mary Lou's opposition to K/S and how it had spoiled all of Star Trek fandom for her with this letter:
When I read THE SECOND GIFT in DELTA TRIAD #2, I was hard-pressed not to choke at several points. I found the entire concept not only ridiculous at best, but also degrading to man AND beast. But, I didn't run out and sell my Trek collection or refuse to buy any more Trekfic because it had been "spoiled" for me. Nor did I sell my 2 horses (or even refuse to give them din-din) because they had been "spoiled" for me, too. I try to look beyond what I don't personally care for and move on to other things. I would urge you to do the same... Since when is love (in ANY form) depressing or corrupt? At any rate, the whole K/S and/or adult argument has been hashed over and over and over in fandom, and it is strictly up to the individual to decide what he/she wants to explore more fully. (In other words, don't condemn us for writing of love, brotherhood, and yes, even sex, and we won't condemn you for writing about horses on board the ENTERPRISE.) [9]


  1. from a review of a Starsky & Hutch story in Partners in S and H #12, 1980
  2. from Delta Triad #2
  3. from the editorial in No, Really, Captain, I Can Explain What Happened to the Drinks Dispenser...
  4. from Halkan Council #10
  5. from Fanzine Review 'Zine
  6. from a LoC in Delta Triad #3
  7. from a LoC in Delta Triad #3
  8. Halliday’s Star Trek Zinedex (TOS) - Title Index, Archived version
  9. from Interstat #14