In Name Only
|Title:||In Name Only|
|Author(s):||Dana Austin Marsh|
|Fandom:||Star Trek: The Original Series|
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It was published in the print zine First Time #49.
"In order to keep Spock from being transferred, Kirk talks him into getting married “in name only”, unaware that Spock is in love with him."
Reactions and Reviews
I love this simple and elegant premise so much--of a marriage in name only and how Kirk and Spock would handle this—that I personally wished for a more serious story to be built around it. But while not serious in the sense of really deep angst, still the story was a full exploration of how this might come about. After the disastrous fiasco on Vulcan (in Amok
Time), Kirk has convinced T'Pau to release Vulcan medical information to the Surgeon General. Unfortunately, this exposes a problem regarding Spock's medical profile such that Starfleet wants to transfer him planetside. Starfleet personnel on starship duty are required to use contraceptive shots...but there are no Vulcan contraceptives. And now Starfleet knows Spock is not always sterile as they had thought, that he's fertile during pon farr. The only exception to this regulation is if you're in a permanent same-sex relationship. Ah ha— very cool. I was disappointed when we came in on a scene where Kirk and McCoy have already brought up this proposal to Spock, so we don't even see into Spock's feelings when this is presented to him. And McCoy had been there, too—it wasn't just Kirk approaching Spock with this, which would be a whole other scene.... I think this is when I realized this was not going to be as deep or serious a story as I'd first thought, even though it's really long, covering months of time. Okay, so I switched gears. And for many pages and days, weeks, months afterwards, we get this very satisfying (if frustration satisfies you) thing where each of them misunderstands the other's feelings. Kirk is trying to be considerate, such as keeping to his side of the double bed (kindly provided by Mr. Scott). Whereas Spock hopes that living with Spock will make Kirk see him as more than just a friend. Each thinks the other wants this to actually be only a marriage of convenience, yet we are privy to the dawning truth of each of their feelings. I adore the ceremony, where the crew think this is for real and treat it seriously. Especially cool is when McCoy, with a vidcam, says, how about a kiss? Tense moment...and Spock does the Vulcan fingers thing. And there are lovely (hurt-so-good kind of lovely; painful-sad for Spock) scenes such as Kirk making light of their marriage in front of McCoy, not realizing Spock would love for this to be real. Finally McCoy realizes Spock's real feelings. The crew is also pissed on Spock's behalf whenever they see Kirk doing his tomcat thing. It's very pleasant living together, except Kirk has to jerk off in the shower. Lots of stuff goes on for months, slowly inching toward each other...and finally things happen that force the issue. Spock starts on a seduction thing, with some advice from McCoy.These parts are also what bent the story toward the fun instead of serious...where I was sitting there wanting it to be all serious. However, fun is funny and sexy too—scenes like when Kirk is all flustered over chess because Spock's in this gauzy robe; and about Kirk being an "ass man." Finally the light-bulb goes off in their heads at the same time...so they'll be having an interesting time after the story's end. 
Does anybody else miss D.A. Marsh? She took a sabbatical from writing K/S for a while, then came back to write several stories, such as this one, and now seems to have gaffiated for good. Heavy sigh. Well, we do have the stories to read and enjoy, at least.
In Name Only is one of Marsh‘s trademark amusing stories. Not quite laugh-out-loud humorous, but definitely stretching the bounds of what is quite everyday-expected, I treasure them. Here Spock is going to be transferred off the ship to the hind-end of space if he doesn‘t undergo contraceptive measures, which he can‘t, according to a Starfleet degree, unless he is involved in a monogamous same-sex, official relationship. Kirk, desperate to keep his first officer and best friend on the ship, proposes that they marry one another, but he doesn‘t mean it to be serious, he thinks it will be ―in name only.‖ But they have to pretend that it‘s serious to crew and others or Starfleet will realize he and Spock are perpetrating an untruth.
Of course, the fly in the ointment is that Spock would desperately like for the marriage to be the real thing, but he can‘t say that to Kirk....
I love the scenes where Kirk asks Mendez to marry them. I love how he and Spock are working on reports up until the last minute before the marriage ceremony. I adore Scotty in this story, the meddling Scotsman! And the scene on the bridge when Kirk returns from his first shore leave after the marriage is priceless. You gotta love that first shift bridge crew. And Spock‘s expression as he looks around ―fondly‖ at Scotty‘s solution for intimacy for the two commanding officers I can just see in my mind.It takes a while for Kirk to stop going crazy at having to live with Spock and realize that the situation is really the fulfillment of his dreams if he‘d only wake up and smell the roses. (McCoy reassures Spock that Kirk really does love him, he just doesn‘t know it yet, and there are numerous indications of this throughout the story.) We don‘t get a real sex scene in In Name Only, as we don‘t in many D.A. Marsh stories, but I say: who cares? Not when we can smile our way through this amusing tale. (And I will say that Anne Elliot reminds me of Marsh sometimes, and that‘s a high compliment from me!). 
I had great fun reading this. Though I think that there would’ve been specific regulations for each species serving in Starfleet, I still found it a great idea. I just couldn’t figure out why it solely had to be a same- sex relationship (apart from the obvious reasons). 
It’s the aftermath of Spock’s pon farr. This time Starfleet demands contraception to all onboard a starship. Poor Spock can’t have any contraceptive, even if he needed it, which he doesn’t. Otherwise he’ll be transferred off the ship, away from Kirk, which, of course, is intolerable.
So McCoy suggests one exception to the rule: to be in a permanent same-sex relationship. I loved: “The silence that greeted that information was almost as profound as the soundlessness of space.” Kirk declares to McCoy that this would only be “a marriage of convenience”. I loved Spock’s reaction to Kirk’s proposal— he thinks it’s a practical joke! I loved the scene between Kirk and Spock where they discuss the situation. So wonderful as Spock ruminates on the scenario of appearing as a couple.
Very cleverly written with little insights into each of their thoughts and feelings. Spock is convinced that Kirk would never really want to be married to him and Kirk is equally convinced Spock wouldn’t want that with him. So funny: Kirk says: “You cannot tell a lie...who do you think you are anyway, George Washington?” “You’re sure?” “Is this not what you wanted?” Since this was exactly what he wanted, Kirk decided to leave well enough alone. I loved the angst Spock goes through each time Kirk makes a callous remark to McCoy about the marriage. “I will complete this report while you and the doctor exchange inanities.” Terrific moment during the wedding when the realization of their love and rightness for each other hits McCoy. At the reception—the crew members offer sincere congratulations—they don’t know the truth. A month later, Kirk goes on a shore leave by himself and on his return, the crew is mad at him for hurting Spock. Beautiful moment when McCoy asks Spock: “You’re in love with him, aren’t you?” I know I’ve said before how I usually dislike “McCoy-telling-them-they-love-each-other” stories, but this is so well done and not at all artificial. I loved that Spock didn’t have to answer, but the truth was out. So many adorable things: “McCoy wasn’t going to touch that one with robo arms.” Great situation as a sexually predatory ambassador comes onboard. She makes a beeline for Kirk and “As soon as they could rid themselves of all the extraneous personnel, they’d hit the closest horizontal surface for some uncomplicated lust.” Kirk turns her down and McCoy advises Spock to seduce Kirk. So Spock puts on a sheer silk Vulcan robe and then let’s Kirk see him naked in the shower! The most hilarious piece of advice from McCoy: for Spock to display his ass to Kirk by wearing tighter pants! I really liked how this game between them went on only as long as necessary and was really nicely structured. Also, this story is certainly the exception to the usual rule of one POV—it worked so well using all three POVs—it was well-thought out and clearly structured. There was always a reason for being inside each of the character’s heads. At the very end, they’re together, but I would have enjoyed a sex scene, however. This story is a wonderful mix of humor with seriousness, and finely detailed with moment-to- moment of their emotions. Although I was really struck by the feeling that the story might have been stronger as a serious one. This kind of humor is Ms. Marsh’s trademark and she does it very well, but this particular situation lent itself to much more seriousness. Spock’s angst was really dramatic and on occasion, the humor was jarring.But I feel this story is one of D. A. Marsh’s best. 
This post-Amok Time story thrusts Kirk and Spock into a really amusing predicament. And for a change, there’s no pon farr involved whatsoever. Instead, for complex reasons having to do with Starfleet regulations and Vulcan biology, Kirk will lose his first officer to a ground post unless Spock gets married—to a man. Kirk decides to talk Spock into marriage to him, promising that it’ll be a marriage of convenience only. Of course, the crew and Starfleet must think it’s real in order to make the deception work. But in an amusing twist, the crew thinks it’s a perfect match. So they throw a party, and then later, when Kirk doesn’t change his womanizing lifestyle, they freeze him out in Spock’s defense. Poor Spock really wants Kirk, of course, and that lends the story poignancy. McCoy, meddling in all of this, figures out what’s really going on and suggests Spock plan a seduction.
I found Spock’s methods very entertaining— especially showing Kirk his ass continually and wearing the sheer Vulcan robe for chess matches. It’s even more hilarious when the seduction starts working and Kirk finds himself in the position of having to hide the fact that he’s sexually attracted to the person he married!The characterizations are stretched quite a bit— Kirk’s womanizing and Spock’s exhibitionism are both exaggerated—but in the hands of this original author, the story is so much fun that I suspended disbelief and happily went along for the ride. All in all, a terrific read. I’m glad to see Dana is writing more K/S! 
I was recently rereading some of my old favorites, when I came upon this story. Dana has always had a very special spin on Kirk and Spock, and since she no longer writes K/S, I treasure each and every one of the stories we do have. This is one of her best in my opinion.
Because of almost losing her grandson to pon farr, T‘pau has realized Starfleet Medical needs to enhance its scanty information of Vulcan physiology. Ironically, the increased knowledge proves disastrous to Spock. You see, Starfleet has been informed that Vulcan males are only fertile one week every seven years during their compulsive mating cycle. Bad news, since there‘s also a regulation that states that everyone serving on deep space missions be given contraceptive shots. Unfortunately there are no Vulcan contraceptive shots, and Spock will, in the course of time, be reassigned to ground duty. (I suppose that Starfleet assumed that Vulcans had enough sense (or willpower?) not to get themselves or others pregnant.) The only exception is a permanent same-sex relationship. Kirk, understandably concerned at losing the best first officer in Starfleet, comes up with a solution. It‘s simple, he thinks. He‘ll merely marry Spock—a marriage of convenience, of course, and their problem will be solved. What he hasn‘t counted on is that Spock‘s fallen in love with his captain and yearns for the marriage to be real. Problems galore ensue.Don‘t dwell too much on the convoluted set-up. Just enjoy the twists and turns of the delightful plot and fine writing. I miss you, Dana! 
A bit of a stressful personal life lately has caused me to reread some favorite K/S stories to lift my spirits. Dana Austin Marsh is well known for her excellent humorous K/S stories, and “In Name Only” is truly enjoyable. The basic premise is a bit preposterous, but if you go along for the ride you’ll have a wonderful time.
The set up for this story is that Star Fleet regulations require that all personnel on deep space vehicles be given contraceptive shots. This had not been a problem for Spock in the past, because he had tested sterile, but this story is set right after Amok Time. Star Fleet now knows that Vulcan males are fertile during pon farr, and so the regulation is invoked. However, there are no Vulcan contraceptive shots to give Spock. (I guess because Vulcan males are fertile only during pon farr? But what if the couple doesn’t want to have children, pon farr or no pon farr? You’d think something would have been developed for that possibility.) The only exception to the regulation is being in a permanent, same sex relationship. (Huh? I mean, what if a woman gets raped? And I guess Star Fleet hasn‘t heard of bisexuality, and open marriages?) Okay, I said the basic premise is a little unbelievable, but then the story takes off and is well worth your time. Back to our Vulcan’s predicament, and Kirk’s, too. Because our intrepid Captain Kirk is not about to lose the best first officer in the fleet (and his best friend as well) to a ground posting. What to do, what to do? Hmmm, could someone perhaps take advantage of the exception to the regulation? McCoy throws out the comment that Kirk and Spock should get married as a joke, but Kirk’s flexible mind seizes the idea and runs with it. Before you know it, Kirk and Spock are getting married—a marriage of convenience only, to keep Spock on the Enterprise. There’s only one tiny flaw in this plan—Spock is in love with Kirk, as McCoy soon figures out, and he badgers Spock to try to make their marriage of convenience a real one.
I really like this story a lot. Both Kirk and Spock stay convincingly in character, which is not always the case in a humorous story. I could imagine them both acting the way they do in this story, given the plot line, and the dialogue rings true as well. And Dana has such a delightful way of writing, as some examples from the story will illustrate. The first challenge for Kirk is getting Spock to agree to his plan. As Spock puts it in the story: ”‘However, I refuse to believe that the only way to resolve the situation is to perpetrate an untruth. Starfleet will yield to the logic of the situation.’ With that, he crossed his arms over his chest, set his lips in a firm, stubborn line, and generally fell into his impression of an immovable Vulcan mountain. Despite repeated attempts by Kirk to shift the base of that mountain, Spock continued his impression right up until the moment, 16 days later, when Kirk handed him his transfer orders.” Convincing Spock of the necessity of lying still takes some persistence on the part of our captain. As Spock continues to resist the idea, “Kirk rolled his eyes, throwing up his hands in defeat. If Spock wasn’t bright enough to recognize a rock and a hard place when he was firmly wedged between them, who was he to keep pounding his head against the brick wall of Vulcan morality. Spock’s best friend, that’s who”. Once Spock is convinced by a persistent Kirk (who guilt trips Spock into agreeing), then the Star Fleet brass must be informed (“Kirk eyed the man who lay bent double over his own desk, tears running freely down a face twisted into a mask of mirth. Was everyone in the known universe going to react that way to his marriage of convenience?”) and then the crew. The crew is thrilled, and a few days later the deed is done. Kirk and Spock resume their lives as before, but with a few tiny little changes. Like the first time Kirk comes back from carousing during shore leave and faces a very offended crew, who are borderline insubordinate to Kirk, and very solicitous of Spock! (I loved how the author wrote this part of the bridge scene, after the crew has given Kirk the cold shoulder: “Mister Spock?” Kirk asked in total bewilderment. Spock straightened, turned and took in Kirk’s befuddled expression. He studied the frozen tableau and put up two eyebrows that clearly stated “search me”. Or the time when Kirk comes back from a mission, desperate to masturbate: “His last leave was four long months ago, and he’d just spent three whole days watching the favored concubines of the High Exalted Emperor of Andacia parade before his fascinated gaze. Combine that excessive visual stimulation with three nights of sharing surprisingly cramped quarters with both McCoy and Spock, and his balls were ready to burst any second now!” Only to find that Scotty had turned their separate quarters into one larger suite and he was going to have to share a bed with Spock. Or when a gorgeous ambassador beams aboard and immediately makes her intentions clear to Kirk: “Ah, this must be Kirk. She’d heard all the gossip about him. A small smile curved her lips as she eyed the stuffed crotch of his pants. For once, rumor didn’t lie. At last she scanned up to the face and found a pair of eyes almost as green as her own given her the once over twice. The gazes locked, mutual challenges were issued and accepted. As soon as they could rid themselves of all the extraneous personnel, they’d hit the closest horizontal surface for some uncomplicated lust.“ But is foiled by the ever watchful crew: “...the rest of the official welcoming party—McCoy, Scott, Sulu and DeSalle, were engaged in a little silent eye communications themselves. Their flashing contact confirmed them to be of one mind—they simply had to rescue Kirk from this long legged, red-haired barracuda and from his own less than noble nature.” Spock has had enough, and decides to attempt to seduce Kirk. (After being egged on by McCoy, who convinces Spock that Kirk loves him, too: “Of course he does. You’ve never seen him get his knickers in a knot when anyone else is in danger the way he does over you. And he sure bends over backwards, sideways, and any other which way to make sure nobody even bruises those so called non existent emotions of yours. Too bad he‘s not so concerned with the bruises he inflicts. As for the way he quotes chapter and verse of the gospel according to St. Spock, well....” It takes some time, but Kirk finally notices: “What the hell had suddenly happened to Vulcan modesty? When they’d first started living together, Spock’s modesty had been something of a pain in the ass. Now, too long between leaves and with even the inadequate relief of private masturbation denied him, Kirk wished for once that particular quality would reassert himself. It seemed to him, no matter where he looked around his quarters lately, there was naked bronze/green flesh. And it wasn’t just around their quarters. Not that Spock had taken to nudism in the corridors. No, it was the bending over. Everywhere Kirk looked: science station, navigation, engineering, communications, there was that unique, hard muscled little ass, set off to perfection by the pulled taut uniform pants. Didn’t the man ever sit down anymore? Then, a week ago, Spock started sauntering around their quarters in that robe! As soon as the door closed behind them after dinner, Spock made a bee line for his closet. And not a stitch underneath, not even briefs. For pity’s sake, the man wore more to bed! Didn’t Spock realize that barely veiled naked bodies were more tantalizing than naked ones?”I’ll conclude by saying that since this is a First Time story, I’m sure you can figure out that all is happily resolved by the end. What an enjoyable, delightful story! 
In order to keep "the best first officer in the fleet" from being forced to leave the Enterprise, Kirk and Spock enter into a marriage of convenience; a marriage that Spock wishes was a real one. This author is an expert at blending humor and pathos together, and by the time she has brought us to the very satisfying conclusion she has given us ample amounts of both. I wish she would return to writing K/S.