Intermission (Star Trek: TOS story)

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K/S Fanfiction
Title: Intermission
Author(s): Cordelia Naismith
Date(s): 1999
Genre: slash
Fandom: Star Trek: The Original Series
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Intermission is a Kirk/Spock story by Cordelia Naismith.

It was published in the print zine First Time #49.

This story was nominated for a 1999 STIFfie Award.


"Spock runs into Kirk during intermission while at a concert and an understanding is reached between then in time for them to leave before the concert restarts."

Reactions and Reviews

This story is absolutely brimming with the author's trademarked style and wit It has, what I consider to be, one of the best declarations of love I've ever read in K/S. Picture a white uniformed James Kirk leaning over one shell-shocked Vulcan and seductively saying in that honeyed voice, "Anyone who thinks mathematical precision can't be passionate as hell has never really listened, have they?" I often pull this one out of the pile if I need a dose of light-hearted, loving K/S. [1]
This is a fabulous, refreshing story, just to my liking. The writing is clean and clear, taut, so visual, so sensual, some strung-out sexy and nice drama, too. I sure know how difficult it is to get just the simplest actions down so they read smoothly, and this story reads really smoothly. I know most of us go through a lot of angst getting down the words for the images in our minds, but this story comes across as if it just rolled out so easily. Not to mention Ms. Naismith's incomparable wit.

Too clever—the very original metaphors or allusions way beyond the "tight as a Denebian shellmouth clam" ilk. The humor is "straight," not intentionally ha-ha. And it doesn't feel overdone, even though it fills every page. It's because of her marvelous Spock, because of his perspective as it's portrayed here, that all these dry, witty observations work. Also, somehow she's written the beautiful, lofty sentiments of purple-passion love without them sounding trite; at times I almost felt as if this was the first time I'd read those words—sigh. Again, it's because of this Spock's perspective. When she says Kirk's smile is clearly the most beautiful sight Spock has ever seen, I really believe it. I mean, as with the witty observations mentioned above, I believed that these were Spock's feelings and observations, not the writer just saying all this beautiful (or amusing) stuff. I suppose some might not care for Spock being a bumbling mass of insecurities, but I like him this way, only with Kirk. We know Spock is super-competent, and he's so suave on the surface, but his inner self vis-a-vis Kirk is so charmingly insecure. And we get a nice dose of his weak-kneed nervousness in Kirk's presence, his "shameful" desire, in the drawn-out scene of their coming to understand what each other is saying. Not to mention Kirk—whoa girl. It's not like she used all these super-descriptive words, it's just that she used precisely the right ones to show us (through Spock's eyes) this drop-dead gorgeous golden alluring seductive man in the clearest light. There was so much detail in the setting—a garish symphony hall (including, succinctly, why it happened to be so garish); and all these details were integrated into the story. Precisely perfect and simple word choices to convey something rich so richly. I loved her words about how Kirk and Spock saw Baroque music and the Romantic composers, l loved how each of them loved the music that reminded him of the other—Kirk being drawn to the Baroque because of Spock and Spock being drawn to the Tchaikovsky because of Kirk. This made me laugh out loud for a long time: When Sybil (with the hots for Kirk) comes with two glasses of champagne and Kirk blithely says thank you and takes both and hands one to Spock! Love it. And these other characters were just perfect—Sybil the annoying and, most especially, the ubiquitous ushers. A brilliant touch, to have them keep popping up with their outlandish souvenirs. So much funny little stuff. I loved the mention of the Temple of Supreme Supremacy, and it was a skillful touch to have it come up again later in the story. The crux of the story is the conversation between Kirk and Spock, and this was filled with wonderful misunderstandings and innuendo. But we weren't tortured (even though we like this kind of torture) with a heavy history or future to work through—only what was going on in this little slice of time. Here's a line I loved: "He had spent most of his life alone, but only since Kirk had he known loneliness." And this cleverness: What Spock considers valuable life lessons he should have been taught as a child along with not running with scissors: "The Acturian scented cat is not perfumed. Never order anything from the Denebian section of the menu. The central appendage on a Maranx is not a hand. Never fall in love with your commanding officer." And the kiss...and leaving at intermission together....

This is a gem of a story, that remained with me a long while after. [2]
Very clever writing style! Just the opening sentence says you're in for a treat: "Spock's atoms coalesced on the surface of Canopis V". And then the fact that it's pouring rain and all the transporter officer told Spock was something about cats and dogs. Funny! Spock goes to a symphony hall—dripping wet—and surveys his surroundings. "If the colors and decor clashed any more they would produce a sonic boom." Delightful humor! Descriptive phrases abound. Like this "Dark hair swirled about her head like a cloud of satin gnats." The lightheartedness with which this story began quickly dissipates and we are given a painful look at Spock's loneliness. As he watches from the theater balcony, on the floor below yet another woman apparently succumbs to Kirk's charms. Spock crushes his symphony program as the author tells us, "it was crushed and useless. So was his heart." So sad. So well expressed. And this: "He had spent most of his life alone, but only since Kirk had he known loneliness." So simple and yet so profound. I found this an amazing story with a very quirky writing style that made it absolutely effervescent. One could not ask for a better conclusion or a more perceptive view of how much Kirk and Spock love each other, for you see, Kirk does visit the balcony. This story not only made me smile a lot, it warmed my heart. I will remember it for a long, long time. [3]
Another absolutely delightful Naismith story complete with the author’s signature gentle humor, wit and love.

The description of the garish and overwhelming Palace of Intergalactic Symphonic Arts (with its appropriate acronym PISA) was priceless. And I adored the hilarious running joke of the weird alien ushers trying to hawk their souvenirs of the PISA to an ever-increasingly irritated Spock. But one of the most wonderful moments occurs when Spock, from his box seat (he reserved the entire section for privacy, of course!) sees a gorgeous Kirk, his “trim form clad in the new formal dress whites” (oh be still, my heart!) in the audience below. Written from Spock’s POV, this story is so very Spock. Everything that he sees and feels speaks exactly of his character. And his wonderful angst over his growing feelings of desire for Kirk and his funny jealousy over the woman whom Kirk is supposedly with, is beautifully done. Spock’s perspective of the woman, Sibyl Ordina (even the name is perfect!), is so great—he sees her hair heavy like the Horta; her red painted fingernails like talons; her voice like “Some voices could be referred to as musical. This was not one of them”. And what a moment as she arrives carrying two champagne glasses and Kirk hands one of them to Spock! Almost everything takes place during intermission which becomes the time that Spock’s life is changed forever. I could go on and on—this is such a wonderful and clever story. And in case you might think I require a sex scene in every one of my K/S stories, let me say that the drop-dead romantic kiss on the plush carpeting of the balcony was fine by me.

I simply must have a pair of those “Gorn-shaped chandeliers” for my living room. [4]
I loved it—especially because it’s from Spock point of view—the way he feels about Kirk; the way he sees him. Spock’s jumble of emotions and Kirk’s seduction efforts are just great. Cute lines, such as: “Spock could not imagine that Jim would ever be ‘just’ anything” Or “A satisfied smile spread across Jim’s face. A smile that went straight from Spock’s senses to his brain with no stop at the logic centers.” [5]
This story was so delicious it was almost fattening. (It’s a good thing I’d rather read K/S than eat.) I always smile when I sit down to read a new Naismith story. Her wit and refreshing lack of sentimentality is as invigorating as a crisp autumn day. "Intermission" is no exception.

Spock has beamed down to Canopus V to take in a concert held in that monument to bad taste, the Palace of Intergalactic Symphonic Arts, or PISA to those in the know. "The grafting of Tellerite Bellicosian with Terran Baroque had proven especially infelicitous and the resultant optical trauma had resulted in several lawsuits." Whom should he see down near the front of the hall? Jim Kirk, of course, wearing a formal dress white uniform a la Redford in "The Way We Were." Oh, yes! Now that gets my vote as the most alluring mental picture of the month. Kirk joins him at intermission in the isolated booth Spock has chosen for himself, oh so gently chastising his first officer: "You can appreciate and admire things from up here...but the experience can be so much more fulfilling. Up close." Needless to say, he isn’t just talking about the music. Kirk is portrayed just the way I like him: gorgeous, alternately charming and arrogantly rude (not to Spock naturally), seductive and sweetly careful of Spock’s feelings. And Spock? Oh, I loved the Spock in this story! Inexperienced, out of his emotional depth, desiring things he’s certain he can never have, and very much in, what he thinks is hopeless, love with his captain. Music is the metaphor for Kirk’s verbal seduction. When Spock asks Kirk which composition he liked the most, Kirk tells him he favors the Baroque selection. Spock is surprised at the choice, thinking it too controlled, too precise for his friend’s tastes. Kirk moves nearer, his response a spoken kiss that just melted me into a puddle on the floor: "Anyone who thinks mathematical precision can’t be passionate as hell has never really listened, have they?" It’s nothing less than a declaration of love, and I found it far more erotic than the most mushy "I love you" could ever be.

If you love K/S, you have to read this story! [6]
Spock goes to a concert and spots Kirk below. Kirk, in turn, sees Spock and goes up to join him. They end up getting together and with Kirk buying Spock a gaudy souvenir to remember that moment. The funniest scene had to be the ushers who kept trying to sell Spock these ugly souvenirs as a reminder of his patronage at this music hall. It was too funny. All throughout the story, each usher kept getting bigger and bigger. [7]
This story is a deft blend of emotion and humor. It can’t be easy to write a story that manages to be both moving and funny; one that tugs at your heart strings one moment, but then makes you want to laugh out loud the next. “Intermission” is told from Spock’s POV, and the first part beautifully shows us how much he longs for his captain, and his pain over his unrequited love. (“He had spent most of his life alone, but only since Kirk had he known loneliness.” And, “How could he go on with this echoing emptiness that only James Kirk could fill? A life thus far made up of notes that had failed to form music.”)

The plot is deceptively simple: Kirk and Spock go separately to a concert, meet at intermission, and discuss the music. Their conversation seems to be about the concert, but is actually about something quite different. This is so cleverly done, as they each describe the type of music they prefer. Kirk says he likes the Baroque composition the best, to which Spock comments :”I am surprised. Many feel the Baroque works are too controlled, too precise. Without sufficient passion.” To which Kirk replies: “Anyone who thinks mathematical precision can’t be passionate as hell has never listened, have they?” There is more wonderful conversation like this that can be interpreted several ways, as Kirk and Spock obliquely discuss their feelings for each other. Cordelia’s flare for comedy, so evident in her stories with T’Jonesy, is on display here, too. The concert is taking place on Canopus V, in the Palace of Intergalactic Symphonic Arts (PISA), which apparently is breathtakingly ugly and vulgar. This description of the PISA is the first of many hilarious references to the PISA and Canopus (Gorn shaped chandeliers, anyone?) : “The rain shrouded edifice before him represented every color, texture, and form utilized by six races. It represented everything but good taste. The grafting of Tellerite Bellicosian with Terran Baroque had proven especially infelicitous and the resultant optical trauma had resulted in several lawsuits.” The lack of good taste apparently extends to the uniforms of the ushers as well: “The taffeta uniform accented the tangerine in its fur to such an extent that the visual acuity of the designers was called into question.” Cordelia’s descriptions of the increasingly persistent ushers aggressively attempting to sell incredibly tacky and ugly souvenirs are also hilarious. I love the part where one interrupts Kirk and Spock as they are about to kiss for the first time!

I first read this story almost two years ago, but it remains one of my favorites—it’s sweet, funny, and touching all at the same time. [8]


  1. from The K/S Press #90
  2. from The K/S Press #32
  3. from The K/S Press #80
  4. from The K/S Press #31
  5. from The K/S Press #43
  6. from The K/S Press #33
  7. from The K/S Press #145
  8. from The K/S Press #79