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It was published in Beyond Dreams #9 and later online.
"A Federation bureaucrat decides to set up Spockʼs assassination when he learns that the Enterprise will be in the vicinity of the planet he knows holds a potentially wealthmaking chemical."
Reactions and Reviews
I really enjoyed this story. I’ve loved this author’s work for years, and was so very pleased when she started writing again after a long, long absence.
“Mortal Thoughts,” like many of this author’s pieces is intricately plotted with a cast of evil characters the reader loves to hate. Gregory Ranivich works at Starfleet HQ and is privy to all sorts of inside information. He and his nefarious partner Roger Callister stand to make a great deal of money very soon. A chemical that enhances plant growth is prevalent on a planet the two have bought. Only one thing stands between them and untold riches, the brilliant science officer of the Enterprise. And so they determine to remove him from their path. Permanently. Now knowing Debbie’s work, I was prepared for this turn of events. She often puts Spock through the mill in her stories. She totally surprised me in this one, and from then on I couldn’t turn the pages quickly enough. The ending will leave the reader wanting more. It’s a perfect set up for the next installment in the saga, and indeed, the author is working on the continuation now. I can only hope she writes quickly. I very much want to know what happens next.This was great, Debbie. More please, and soon. 
This particular author started out writing hurt/comfort gen stories before delving into the world of K/S, and as this story shows, the transition caused her in no way to lose her touch. As with all her stories, K/S or gen, this one is well-written with a style that is smooth and flowing, with no hiccups, characterizations that are right on the money, and most of all, an intriguing plot that keeps the reader turning the pages until the end.
This is an established relationship story, but due to some nitpicking paper-pushing Admiral, Kirk and Spock find themselves with little free time to indulge in such a relationship. Still, they do their best to steal whatever moments they can to be together, blissfully unaware that a conspiracy by a wealthy businessman and a powerful bureaucrat in Starfleet sets in motion a sequence of events that threatens to destroy not only that relationship, but their lives, as well. And that threat remains very real, even at the end of the story which finds one of the conspirators free and on the loose to exact his revenge. It leaves the reader begging for a sequel and one can only hope the author doesn't leave us hanging too long.Highly recommended. 
There's a maverick bureaucrat embedded in Starfleet Central, an obnoxious power-hungry, evildoer. Evil, conniving *and* well-connected, we find in the opening chapters. It seems there are more than a few bad apples in the Federation who were able to slip by all the psych tests. Gregory Ranivitch (rhymes with son-of- a-bitch), Callister, Ferrar. Many others too. LIke slimy tentacles seeking to encircle the whole ball of wax. Our heroes are swept into that ball of deception, misconception and brutality.
The difference between right and wrong couldn't be more sharply drawn than it is here. Against a background of happiness and light for Kirk and Spock's personal lives, a shadow falls. Sinister, inhuman, motivated entirely by unprincipled greed. We are shown that it is still rampant in the 23rd century. The worst thing about it is that we know those sinister elements all wear SF uniforms. Ugh! I hated it, but loved it and how the baddies get their comeuppance at the hands of Kirk, Spock and crew. A wonderfully-written story where good prevails over evil. This gifted writer shows vividly Spock's struggles with his negative human emotions; his lust for revenge, even for bloodthirsty retribution. His turmoil is so poignantly depicted I felt proud of him when he triumphed and won the day. A finely-crafted mystery that will have you on the edge of your seat rooting for our guys. Speaking of our guys, the scene on the ship at the pool was a blast! I loved it! Kirk's smugness is apparent as he watches other crewmen surreptitiously eying his bondmate who's swimming like a sleek seal before them. I thrilled when, in Kirk's mind voice, he says to the ogling bystanders, "Too late, he's mine." Evocative writing here! Spock standing at the edge of the pool, drying off, his legs spread and his pelvis tilted forward. Hmm, I kind of think that Vulcan knows the wares he's exhibiting for Jim and everybody else. He's confident and strong, knows his own potency and appeal. Anyway, he gives Kirk something to chew on. No, I mean mentally. And later he gives it all to Jim! My favorite part! Ok, I have another favorite. When one night Spock, sensing Jim's discomfort at sleeping alone because Spock is so busy with a gigantic project thrown on him by the brass, steals into the cabin he shares with Jim. It is, of course, in the line of duty. It's the Vulcan's responsibility to work the kinks out of his man's psyche whenever possible. God, I love these nighttime visits! Aside: I may be chastized for loving these sentences, too, but love them I do: pg. 84, 85: "His innate gifts. Treachery, greed and a total disinterest in the fate of others, innocent or not. A businessman in every sense of the word." My sentiments exactly!This is a fascinating trip. Take it! 
It's been a very long time since I've had the luxury of burying myself in a zine, and as it turned out, the only thing that could stop me from enjoying the first real glorious spring day was the cool and natural writing style of Debbie Cummins' Mortal Thoughts in BD 9. With a gift for creating diabolical tension and internal organ-melting scenes of the love between Kirk and Spock, this story was an absolute joy to read. The relationship of our two heroes is described so naturally and with a real clarity of character. Even McCoy is handled perfectly, striking a nice balance between his two friends. Debbie's handling of the antagonists was also done so well, I found no need to speed over or skip ahead to the "good stuff", of which there is plenty; even then it is not so much physical love as abundance of emotional tension and longing. Debbie's style of giving plot clues in advance could have been a detriment to such a story but I found it an exhilarating tease. I can't wait for the sequel. There is one coming isn't there? Pretty please?! 
I opened BD9 to this story, thinking I would read just a bit, and that’s exactly what I did, but only because there existed but a few moments before I had to leave for work. Eight hours later I was home and at the first opportunity, my nose was thrust deeply into the pages.
This can only be classed as a thriller, a deeply emotional and suspenseful crime drama unfolding within the familiar confines of the Starship Enterprise and with her command team as the focus. Exceptionally well- developed new characters mark this author as talented and meticulous. I was riveted from the start and the pace never let up. I so admire a writer who can create an involved and believable plot and Ms. Cummins does that in spades. And did I mention suspense? I was literally holding my breath during the pivotal scene in the story. While anyone could pick up this chronicle and enjoy it as a compelling set of events and murderous intent, Kirk and Spock were not overlooked, not by any means. Early on, their love is well defined and has a touching purity and beauty. As circumstances occur, we find it is a love that is most fierce in a protective and unswerving way. Spock is explored to a stunning degree here. The emotions he has denied for so long are ripped open and we see in an alarming way the hold they have on him where James T. Kirk is concerned.This is a finely tuned, well plotted, intelligent and emotional story. Need I say more? 
I feel like I might be doing this story a dreadful disservice merely because it had the ill luck to follow on from a story I liked so much, but I didn’t find Mortal Thoughts grabbed me at all. I was about a third of the way through when I realised I just wasn’t interested in the plot or the characters and I started then to ask myself way. Now I know that I have liked work by this writer before and I also think that there is plenty OK with this story, but in the interests of including more analytical/critical reviews which several people have wished for, I’m going to continue. Before I am too heavy on the criticism however I must say that I really liked the beginning images of Spock being so unconscious of his sexiness. Yes, that’s the Spock I know and love! My first inclination that I wouldn’t really love this story came when the author’s voice interjects ‘James Kirk didn’t know it, of course, but he was about to get his wish. A part of it anyway.’ On the whole I really do not care for this kind of intrusive narration. It throws me out of the story back into the author’s world. The problem is perhaps that often the narrators voice gets a bit muddled with her characters – this for instance is McCoy thinking about Kirk ‘The great captain of the Enterprise ... who seemed to have the strength of ten men, the will power of a hundred, prowling round the ship in the wee hours, unable to sleep because his beloved wasn’t lying at his side’. “wee hours”, “Beloved” somehow we seem to have slipped into the authors voice here and left McCoy behind. I was a bit uncomfortable with the McCoy portrayed here. He has the computer rigged up to monitor Kirk and Spock’s behaviour and alert him to anything ‘unusual’ – firstly has he never heard of privacy and secondly does he really want to be woken up at ungodly hours because Spock’s heart is racing!? I also found that I couldn’t remember which of the villains was which, now I readily admit that I am a dolt when it comes to names and using first and last names interchangeably often throws me when it wouldn’t someone else, but I found I had to keep flicking back to remind myself who was who. Finally when Spock only noticed he had an erection when he looked down and saw it (A pet hate of mine) I nearly gave up on the story. But I decided that instead I would skim read it, glossing over the small details. And you know what, read at speed and without looking at the details very closely I really rather enjoyed the rest of the story! So I’d recommend it for a quick fix rather than a long wallow! 
This is another well written and original established relationship story in which a pair of very unpleasant criminals have Spock in their sights as they believe that the Enterprise is about to discover a remote planet which contains a rare and valuable mineral which can speed up plant growth, and which will make them a fortune, if they can prevent anyone else finding out about it. The callous way in which they blackmail a young Enterprise officer to do their dirty work for them is very indicative of their greed and determination to let nothing get in their way.
Although Louise Ferrar is depicted as a rather weak woman she is by no means as evil as they are, she is quite simply caught between a rock and a hard place and does not have enough courage to do the proper thing and warn Kirk what is going on. In fact, I rather liked the fact that she is actually reluctant at the beginning to do what is expected of her, but unfortunately because of has her own strong feelings for Spock and her intense jealousy when she sees for herself just how close he and Kirk are, overcomes her reluctance and if she can’t have Spock herself she doesn’t want Kirk to be able to have him either and wants to see him suffer. Her bitterness and the ease with which she allows herself to be manipulated as a result of an incident in her past, is very well described, she is not really evil herself, but she does lack the courage to speak up and put a stop to what is happening. Even at this early stage in the game, Kirk’s unease over Louise Ferrar’s attraction to Spock is well described as he observes her watching Spock on several occasions and realises that she is attracted to him. Even though he knows that Spock loves him and would never look at anyone else he is still uncomfortable about her, perhaps wondering just what lengths she might go to, to get Spock’s attentions herself. The tension is admirably maintained as we follow events, second by second, aware of what is going to happen, but powerless to stop it, as all the main characters congregate at the scene of the crime. While what actually happens may not be what Louise Ferrar intended, it still has a devastating effect on everyone, and Spock in particular. His reactions immediately afterwards are what we would expect and are perfectly described as he tries to come to terms with what has taken place and take care of the ship and crew as Kirk would wish and keep the ensuing investigation of what happened on track, His inner feelings of conflict and his shame over wishing to take revenge on the culprits is very well described as is the fact that despite being concerned about Kirk’s condition, he still forces himself to spend some time on the bridge to reassure the rest of the crew that things are returning to normal. I also enjoyed this particular author’s view of Dr McCoy who is warm and caring and readily admits that he only indulges in his verbal sparring with Spock because he knows Spock enjoys it, which pleases Kirk. He is also very supportive of Spock in the aftermath of events in the lab and tries to act as a sounding board for the Vulcan just as Kirk would in other circumstances. He is clearly pleased by their new relationship and actually tells them they were “made for each other” at one point. What makes this story so enjoyable as well is that intercut with events on the Enterprise we see what the protagonists are doing and can follow their motivations and how they try to evade the net which Starfleet (and in particular Spock) are slowly drawing around them, as well as how things are progressing on the ship. This particular author really knows the main characters very well and as a result, they are depicted in a very realistic way, including Kirk’s stubbornness and both Spock and McCoy’s concern.Spock’s inner struggle with himself to come to terms with recent events and his realisation that as a Vulcan and a human he must accept the emotions his human side is experiencing as they are what makes his relationship with Kirk work and are not always a bad thing – emotions can be positive as well as negative. I particularly liked the scene towards the end when Kirk and Spock are on leave back on Earth with McCoy at his family home and are finally able to discuss what happened. Spock’s reactions to these events, and Kirk’s attempts to convince Spock what he felt was normal is very well done. The fact that the story ends with one the criminals still at large may perhaps be indicative that the author may be planning a sequel, which is something I for one would enjoy very much if it is as good as this first installment is. 
- from The K/S Press #119
- from The K/S Press #124
- from The K/S Press #128
- from The K/S Press #129
- from The K/S Press #120
- from The K/S Press #120
- from The K/S Press #123