In Any Universe
|Title:||In Any Universe|
|Fandom:||Star Trek: The Original Series|
|External Links:||In Any Universe|
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It was published in the print zine Beyond Dreams #6 and online.
"A power surge and ion storm catch Spock in the act of beaming back up to the ship, and he finds himself swept in to the mirror universe and at the mercy of that Kirk."
Reactions and Reviews
This is a mirror crossover story and while this type of scenario does not always appeal to me, I am happy to make an exception when it comes to this particular piece. Time and time again, this author has put our two boys in unusual and often-times unique circumstances and yet always finds a way to make the story work. And while a mirror crossover story may not necessarily fit this classification, Deanna Gray has once again penned a tale that if nothing else, gives the reader something that lends a certain freshness to a theme that numerous other K/S stories have been based on over the years. As a matter-of-fact, as I read through this story, I came to realize that there were some parallels in this story to another favorite Mirror crossover story of mine, Cynthia Drake's "A Thin Flame". But those parallels are minor and this story is by no means a copycat version of that older tale.
As the story opens, Kirk is alone in his quarters, about to return to active duty after having suffered severe injuries following an attack by a wild animal. While his recovery was long and painful, it is tempered by fond memories of times spent with Spock, both in Sickbay and his quarters. Those memories, however, are soon replaced by concern that with only four months left to go in their current mission, he is filled with uncertainty as to whether or not he and Spock will be allowed to remain together, especially since he was beginning to feel that "they were on the edge of something, some new truth between them, but he wasn't sure he was ready to acknowledge it". Unbeknownst to him, Spock is feeling the same concerns and asking himself the same questions. But before either of them can act on those feelings, tragedy seems to strike as Spock, while beaming up from a routine planet survey, apparently arrives back on the ship a lump of burning flesh. The author's description of Kirk's shock and grief as he witnesses what he believes is the demise of his beloved Vulcan is nothing short of gripping. Thankfully for both Kirk and the reader, his grief is short-lived as McCoy soon discovers that what appeared on the transporter pad was not Spock. But then the next question Kirk needs to answer is if that mass of flesh wasn't Spock, where exactly was his first officer? Well, while Kirk is temporarily left in the dark about this, the reader is not. As in "A Thin Flame", Spock finds himself beamed aboard the ISS Enterprise, however, unlike Cynthia Drake's story, this is an accidental beam over, not a deliberate one arranged by the Mirror Kirk. That fact does not, however, prevent the Mirror Kirk from taking full advantage of the opportunity that arrives most unexpectedly on his ship. Spock soon discovers that just as in his own universe, the mission of the ISS Enterprise is soon ending, but whereas he has remained at his Kirk's side, his counterpart has left the ship and fled to Gol because, as the Mirror Kirk explains, while they shared a mutually satisfying physical relationship, when the Mirror Spock repeatedly expressed his love and desire to bond with his captain, the Mirror Kirk found he could not respond in kind. Instead, in order to prove to himself and Spock that he was still his own man, the Mirror Kirk maintained a physical relationship with Spock while still screwing anyone else he could get into his bed, making sure Spock knew about each and every one of them. Eventually the Mirror Spock found he could no longer tolerate Kirk's behavior and left the ship for Gol in order to free himself from "human contamination" i.e. Kirk. Angry and frustrated by the fact that his own Vulcan abandoned him, the Mirror Kirk is determined not to let that happen again and tells our Spock in no uncertain terms that he is staying. That, of course, is completely unacceptable to Spock, but he soon learns that all his reasoning and requests to be returned home fall on deaf ears. The Mirror Kirk is bound and determined to have Spock back in his life and he really doesn't care if it is the original or not. What follows is a torturous time for Spock as he is drugged, beaten, and sexually assaulted by that Kirk. Meanwhile, our own Kirk has finally figured out what has happened to Spock and without hesitation, beams over to the ISS Enterprise, apparently right in his own quarters. Within moments he finds himself reunited with his Vulcan, along with the Mirror Kirk. At first, outraged by the brutal treatment Spock has received, he clashes with his counterpart, but after he is soundly defeated, is forced to listen to what the other has to say. Surprisingly, he learns that the Mirror Kirk has decided to return his Spock to him and in a rare sympathetic gesture, warns our Kirk not to make the same mistakes he did with his own Spock. Once back aboard his own ship, with Spock being fussed over by McCoy in Sickbay, Kirk comes to the realization that what he feels for Spock is love in every sense of the word and that the Mirror Kirk was right in that if he didn't tell Spock how he truly felt about him, Kirk could find himself facing the same empty future without his Vulcan that was the Mirror Kirk's present reality. Meanwhile, Spock is back in his quarters, but his thoughts are quite different from Kirk's. Faced with the fact that he "now possessed carnal knowledge of James Kirk", Spock realized that both his body and mind would always long for his captain. That was something he could not accept and as his counterpart in the Mirror Universe did not so long ago, he himself decides he must leave the Enterprise for good and purge himself at Gol. He fails to consider, however, the one factor that may just lay all his plans to waste: Kirk.As is typical of this author's style, this is a well-written story with true-to-life characterizations and an intense, gripping plot. Despite its similarity in some ways to "A Thin Flame", there very significant differences that certainly permit this story to stand completely on its own and I highly recommend it. 
As the title implies, in this long and nicely written story we get to explore the K/S relationship in more than one universe. There are two universes involved: the "normal" TOS universe (or something very close to it, anyway), and the Mirror Universe.
I'm not usually much of a fan of stories set in the Mirror Universe, but this one is refreshing in a number of ways. For one thing, much of the story takes place in the "normal" universe, so we get a real sense that the K/S relationships are running in tandem in both universes, with enough twists and turns to keep them from being identical, and yet with enough similarity that we feel that the universes are somehow linked: as Mirror Kirk says, "...what happens in one will basically happen in the other."
There is also a nice, long scene in which Kirk confronts Minor Kirk. I had a lot of fun trying to picture this scene as I read it, and to imagine the subtle differences in body language between the two Kirk's and all of the similarities as well. I mean, imagine talking to a deliciously evil version of yourself! I do think the bizarre aspects of the scene could have been played up a bit more. If caught in a similar situation, I imagine many people, as they watched their evil twins, would have reactions alternating between "How revolting!" and "Wow...wish I could get away with stuff like that!" At the start of this scene when Kirk first encounters his Mirror self, he does pause for a moment to take stock of the differences. But after that it's mostly dialog, without much feeling for the emotional reaction that Kirk must be having to this surreal experience.One aspect of this story that I really liked was the fact that Mirror Kirk was definitely not portrayed as a nice guy. Granted, he loves his Spock. But apart from that he's pretty nasty. Often in Mirror stories, the characters end up sounding way too much like the "normal" counterparts that we all know and love. One problem I did have, however, was the feet that Mirror Kirk refrains from penetrating Spock when he has the chance. Granted, Spock's continuing virginity in this sense may make for a more romantic first time with his Kirk, but I think it was out of character for Mirror Kirk not to take full and complete advantage of the situation. 
I think this is the first Mirror universe story that I have seen in this particular set of zines and a good one it is too! Alternating between Kirk and Spock’s point of view, it tells a tense and enjoyable first time scenario. This story takes place just a few months before the end of the original mission just as Kirk is beginning to realise that his feelings for Spock are stronger than mere friendship and while Spock is considering leaving Starfleet to go Gol to escape from his seemingly hopeless attraction to Kirk.
However, Kirk is forced to confront his feelings when Spock is apparently killed in a bizarre and tragic transporter accident. His profound relief when McCoy tells him that the remains are those of an Orion are tempered by horror when he realises what has happened to Spock and that the chances of retrieving him are small. This particular author portrays Kirk’s all consuming grief when he thinks Spock is dead very well, as well as his overwhelming desire to rescue him in spite of McCoy’s scepticism.
Meanwhile, in the Mirror universe, Spock is having problems of his own dealing with a Kirk is completely ruthless and very embittered over the fact that his own Spock (who was his lover) has left him to go back to Vulcan and is determined to make this particular Spock stay with him, no matter what it takes. Spock finds himself strangely attracted to and completely in the power of a ruthless adversary who is not above drugging and raping the Vulcan to get what he wants. Kirk’s reactions to this when he arrives to rescue Spock are well depicted as are Spock’s struggles to deny his own feelings and confusion over which Kirk those feelings are directed towards.What happens when they finally get back to their own universe makes a well crafted ending to an enjoyable tale. I particularly liked the part when the other Kirk leaves a message telling Jim he is now back together with his Spock and advising Kirk to do whatever is necessary to ensure that he and Spock end up together in their universe as well. 
Reminded of BD6 by [D H's] review in the last KSP, I eagerly pulled it out to do some reading. Please forgive me if I’ve reviewed this Mirror Universe story before. I don’t think so, so here goes.
First of all, Mirror stories usually turn me off. I just don’t care for the characters from that universe, and I almost always become irritatingly confused trying to sort through two Kirks and two Spocks. No so here. Deanna does the sorting for us – and manages it very well by effectively separating the two universes. There is so much to enjoy – much sensitivity between the principals, even the gold-vested Kirk shows a great deal of humanity. The way the story begins is nice, allowing us to see that Kirk and Spock of “our” universe are on the verge of something important. McCoy sees it, too, thinking of what he’s just observed at breakfast where once again, the world was excluded when Kirk and Spock connected with their eyes: “McCoy looked after them as they left, walking side by side. That had been the weirdest breakfast, and he wondered what was going on with them now. He’d be damned if he could ever figure those two out.” Isn’t that a great passage? And how about this peek into the turbolift following that same morning meal: “Kirk drew slightly closer, their gazes locked, Kirk’s chest went tight and it was suddenly too warm in the lift. Something was happening between them, right there in the lift, something important.” Spock has just called Kirk friend, in response to Kirk’s having said the same, but the author conveys with a creative undercurrent, that intimacy is just beneath the surface.It isn’t to be so easy for them, because the transporter once again connects them to the alternate universe, depositing Spock there and leaving Kirk to fear the worst. The mirror Spock never appears, as he has chosen to leave his Kirk for Gol because that Kirk is unable to make a commitment to him. This is a great story, filled with the kind of love that keeps K/S alive and well. 
I'm sorry, but I am beginning to realize that it takes an awful lot for me to like a Mirror Universe story. In Any Universe, despite Deanna's skills and despite the fact that she's usually one of the authors in K/S whose stories I like a lot, doesn't measure up. I can't even pinpoint why it doesn't really do anything for me. It's not bad per se. It would take a lot for Deanna to write a bad story, I suspect, but it's not doing it for me either. Maybe it's simply that I can't stand the Mirror Kirk. He's a complete asshole and this story really depicts that well. I can't see anyone loving him, not even Mirror Universe Spock.... 
Unique story told from Uhura’s POV when she and the others return from the mirror universe. Small glimpses into Uhura’s own feelings and her life give this story a wonderful depth. How she sees Kirk and Spock is very well done, too.
Lovely dialogue and emotions between Uhura and Spock as they discuss their Mirror counterparts.Neat ending with Uhura on the observation deck, watching Kirk kiss Spock. Beautiful. 
A Deanna Gray story always means an unusual and interesting plot with satisfying characterizations of Kirk and Spock, and hot sex! Which is exactly what we get in this enjoyable story. This is my favorite kind of Mirror story, too, one where the plot revolves around our Spock and Kirk, and is told from their POV’s.
I had no problem with the characterization of Mirror Kirk in this story. Sure, he’s nasty, but this is the Mirror Universe! All of the Mirror Universe counterparts we saw and heard about in “Mirror, Mirror” only remotely resemble the characters we know and love, including Spock. Even though our Kirk said Spock was a man of integrity in both universes, think about the Mirror Spock. He readily used the agonizer on Kyle; watched Chekhov being tortured in the booth without a qualm; seemed surprised when our Kirk was considering a lesser amount of time for punishment; was ready to back up Kirk’s orders to destroy the Halkans; and forcibly mind melded with McCoy. This man is completely different than our Spock in so many ways! So Kirk being a bastard in this story didn’t bother me. I expect that in Mirror stories.I know many people don’t really care for Mirror stories, but I often enjoy them unless there’s excessive violence. While there was some violence in this story, I didn’t think it excessive, and it didn’t mar my enjoyment of this very entertaining story. 
This story brings together our Kirk and Spock with their Mirror counterparts, but in a way that is not particularly pleasant. It starts out rather nice enough – Kirk has just recovered from a long illness and while his stay in Sickbay wasn‘t exactly pleasurable, he is left with the warm memory of ―a soothing presence nearby, which later he‘d learned was the Vulcan, stationing himself by his captain‘s bedside whenever he was off-duty‖. Yet despite those warm memories, there is an element of worry. With the end of the mission near, Kirk has plenty of questions as to where not only his future lies, but Spock‘s, as well.
But before he can find the answers to those questions, a transporter accident results in what appears to be the death of his beloved first officer. Fortunately, to Kirk‘s great relief, an autopsy reveals that the lump of flesh that he thought was all that was left of Spock turns out to be someone else, an alien who should have no business wearing a Starfleet uniform. The mystery of where that alien came from, and more importantly where Spock was, are soon solved, much to Spock‘s detriment, for he finds himself in the hands of the Mirror Kirk. Spock soon discovers that his counterpart has abandoned his captain and that Mirror Kirk is bound and determined to keep Spock as his own. This, of course, does not set well with Spock and especially with our Kirk, who mounts a rescue effort, only to find such an effort wasn‘t necessary. What‘s even more surprising is why that rescue effort was for naught. Or so it seems until the Mirror Kirk points out some unknowns to our Kirk, which if he does not take steps to resolve, could mean that he will lose his Spock much as the Mirror Kirk lost his. This story reflects very powerful and strong feelings throughout. From Kirk‘s anguish at Spock‘s supposed ―death‖ to Spock‘s shame and helplessness when he is forced to respond to Mirror Kirk to Kirk‘s fear and concern that he will soon, like his counterpart, find himself without Spock at his side if he doesn‘t do something he‘s not sure he can do, the reader is taken on a roller coaster of emotion. Perhaps the most surprising is the compassion the Mirror Kirk shows for our Spock, willingly releasing him so he can have the future with our Kirk that Mirror Kirk sees little chance of sharing with his Vulcan. Most of all, this story is ―real‖, where the problems Kirk and Spock are complex and not easily resolved, yet the underlying love and devotion they have for each other makes both of them determined to avoid the mistakes their counterparts made and strive for the future together that they both envision.This is the first story this author has posted on the archives and I know I‘m not alone when I say I hope it‘s not her last. 
Do you ever feel, when you begin reading, that you are entering a world where you are surrounded by warmth and comfort, where you want to stay? Such is the case with the opening pages of this story.
Kirk, ready for duty after three weeks recovering from injuries, spends some time reminiscing about the remarkable way Spock is always there for him. He remembers, even at times he was unconscious during this last hospitalization, a soothing presence nearby. Four months remain until the end of the five year mission and Kirk wonders what will happen to them, realizing as he does that he cannot imagine life without Spock. This is my favorite part because it depicts their everyday life on the Enterprise. It is this section that so fills me with a sense of well-being. Having breakfast with Spock and McCoy, while a common occurrence, is a very revealing experience as written by Ms. Gray. Kirk and Spock greet each other as McCoy watches, and when the doctor asks Kirk a question, he answers, but his eyes never leave Spock. When the three of them verbally spar about Kirk working out in the gym so soon after his injuries, Spock assures he would never harm his Captain. "I know", Kirk replies ever so softly. Then comes this revealing paragraph from McCoy's point of view: They were doing it again. McCoy gave up, finishing his meal in silence but watching them with interest. There was an energy between them that McCoy could feel but couldn't quite identify. We have all seen this silent communion, and his observation speaks volumes to me.
Into this idyllic picture comes one of the most sudden and shocking events you are likely to ever find in K/S. A transporter accident—a millisecond in time—the unthinkable senseless tragedy occurs. I won't reveal this, but it will imprint itself upon your mind in a way that few K/S events have done.The "other universe" aspect of this story retains credibility and held the interest of this anti-mirror girl. There is much to hold the reader's attention, not the least of which is the progression of a love story. Expect to be whipsawed from one emotion to another until the final page.
The end of the five-year mission is approaching and Kirk and Spock are thinking about the future, when an ion storm (gotta love those) throws Spock into the Mirror universe. I love Mirror!Kirk in this fic - he's a product of his environment, harsh and violent, but there's something very sad and tragic about him. Warning for dubcon. 
Very good writing, makes a great job of intertwining universes and showing how they can both mirror and influence each other and provoke epiphanies for all the main characters. Excellent characterization, with cruel yet not completely heartless Mirror!Kirk. Powerful feelings and a moderate dose of angst. Warning for near-rape. 
- from The K/S Press
- from The K/S Press #82
- from The K/S Press #79
- from The K/S Press #80
- from The K/S Press #116 and #192
- from The K/S Press #31
- from The K/S Press #86
- from The K/S Press #117
- from The K/S Press #82
- from The K/S Press #165
- from The K/S Press #87
- from Recs by Rhaegal
- Master List of K/S Favorites, Mary Monroe