No Witnesses

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K/S Fanfiction
Title: No Witnesses
Author(s): Kate Singer
Date(s): 1992
Genre: slash
Fandom: Star Trek: The Original Series
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No Witnesses is a Kirk/Spock and Spock/OMC story by Kate Singer.

It was published in the print zine First Time #34.


"Spock has a hidden lover whose fatal illness results in Spock taking extended leave from the Enterprise, raising fears in Kirk that he is losing the Vulcan."

Reactions and Reviews

Spock takes shore leave and goes to visit and stay with an ex-lover, a human man named Adam. Adam is dying of an incurrable disease, brought on by his planet's repressive attitude toward anyone or anything different than the norm. In this analogy, it's the love of composing and playing music which becomes the focal point that Adam and Spock share. The relationship that Spock shares with Adam helps him turn to his true love: Kirk. Of coum, a thinly veiled parallel to AIDS and its sufferers in our society. Which makes reviewing this a dilemma for me. On the one hand, I appreciate the comparison and the author does not beat one over the head with the message, but, on the other hand, I found I kept having to remind myself that this was K/S. The story had a feel to it as though these characters were just inserted in the telling, that it really could have been anyone. Also, there are a couple of other problems. One is, the character of Adam who is used here as a symbol of those who have AIDS. This leads to a rather removed, uninvolving character because a symbolic character is difficult to completely care about. Of course, one relates to human suffering, but, dramatically, the reader must ultimately care about the character, not what it represents. The other problem was with the characters, themselves. Adam was angelic and perfect, Spock was saintly and perfect, Kirk was perfect and so was McCoy. They were all incredibly caring, loving, giving and perfect. This robbed the story of any tension or drama except for the main theme of Adam and his disease which had its difficulties as explained. To be fair, the story was well-written and well structured, such as not revealing the true nature of the disease until it unfolds with the story. And being as this author has talent, one is left feeling cheated out of the potential emotional impact. [1]
This superb story had me spellbound from beginning to end. And the premise is not one I'd have expected to like-or even believe. But the author provides ample proof that a good writer can make anything believable.

Here's a basic idea of the storyline: Spock beams down to take leave on Lydeus. He goes to visit Adam, a man with whom he has been carrying on a longstanding (and mostly long-distance) love relationship. The details of their meeting are slowly revealed, as is the feet that Adam is a brilliant musician and composer. Very gradually, we learn that Adam suffers from an incurable, contagious disease that will inevitably cause his death, and soon. Spock has come to visit him for what will be the last time.

Spock cares for Adam as his health deteriorates, even taking an extended leave that threatens his position on the Enterprise and makes Kirk despair of ever getting his first officer back. Kirk goes charging back to Lydeus to find Spock and discovers the situation, and the fact that he's in love with Spock. Adam dies, but not before pointing out to Spock that he has only been a surrogate for the man who will be Spock's true partner in life: Jim Kirk. Adam realizes Spock is in love with Kirkbefore Spock does.

Back aboard ship, Kirk goes to Spock to comfort him in his grief, and ends up confessing his love; Spock valiantly fights for Vulcan control—and fortunately for everyone, he loses.

From a lesser writer, all of this could be trite, maudlin, and hard to accept. Not so here. In fact, even though IVe given a basic synopsis, I havent really "given away" anything. There's so much more to this story, more about Spock's and Adam's meeting, the disease, the attitudes on Adam's home planet and the Federation's lackadaisical attitude toward finding a cure, the delicate exploration of Spock's underlying love for Kirk, the role of music in Spock's life, Kirk's jealousy and his gradual understanding of his love for Spock, etc. And it all kept the pages turning until I finished. The story spans 38 double-column pages, and I couldnt have put it down if the house had caught fire. (I'd have taken it out with me!)

The story owes much of its success to the quality of the writing; the author has tremendous skill with the language. I could choose almost any passage, but how about this, from the love scene with Kirk: "Adam had been willowy, more slender—a birch to Kirk's oak—and for a moment Spock's hands faltered, confused by the trace memory. But the ghost departed after bestowing its blessings, and then there was only Jim."

The characters of both Spock and Adam are fully drawn. Even Adam, who could easily have ended up a cliche, was believable in the story's context. Yes, he was a bit on the angelic side, but I saw him as appropriately serene, a dying man who had made his peace with the universe. Even his extraordinary musical talent was entirely believable; his appealing humility and natural manner providing a good counterbalance.

Although the comparison with AIDS is inevitable, I didn't think of it much while reading the story, especially because the similarities are not blatant until very late in the story. The way the disease's cause is slowly revealed, however, gives the story an air of mystery.

I especially loved the scenes of Spock's and Adam's meeting and falling in love, of how Adam tried to keep his identity secret at first, and of his surprise when he realized Spock had known all along. I loved Adam's final composition, the melody crystals— everything. I even liked this story's Kirk, who is somewhat sulkily jealous much of the time. He was appealingly vulnerable in that condition, and yet he was still so Kirk—talking Starfleet into changing the Enterprise's orders so that Spock wouldn't have to resign, rushing down to the planet to find Spock and get him back.

The K/S first-time story is downplayed; indeed, ifs not the central purpose of this tale. The love between Spock and Adam takes center stage most of the time, and the message of tolerance and courage gets the nod for the ultimate purpose. But the characters suit that purpose beautifully, just by being who they are, people acting out their parts in a larger play. Spock, Kirk, and Adam are seen in the context of the universe and the Federation they live in, and that's a refreshing point of view.

The story has a few distractions—I hesitate to call them problems—first, I noted a few mechanical errors: a few awkward sentences, some actions out of sequence, a few diction errors. But these were minor annoyances, easily dismissed. Second, the facts about the disease dont entirely add up: if there is an "agent that keeps the virus inactive," why aren't the Exiles able to find or recreate that agent elsewhere? Again, not much of a distraction, and it didn't even occur to me until I'd read the story twice. Third, I thought Spock's love for Kirk was sprung on us from nowhere; there's little indication of how he feels for Kirk until Adam points it out, and even then, we dont get to see whatever Adam saw that led him to that conclusion. Whatever it was, it happened "offstage." In fact, the whole story places a lot of emphasis on exposition, rather than action or dialogue. For the most part, though, this appears to be a conscious decision rather than a mistake, and overall it suits the story, giving it a fairy-tale quality; ifs the kind of story you tell aloud.

I also had a little problem with the fact that Spock never confided in Kirk; I would have liked it better if he had told Kirk what was going on. But that action was one of several that kept him real, saving him from sainthood and the story from over-sentimentality. That action was also consistent with the Spock of the TV series, who was often quite secretive, even with Kirk, about affairs touching the Vulcan heart.

One tiny thing still bothers me about the story. I don't understand why it wasn't titled "Witnesses." Spock was a witness to Adam's greatness and his selfless love. Spock and Kirk and McCoy were witnesses to Adam's sacrifice in the name of the truth and for his music. Kirk was a witness to Spock's opening his heart to another. The reader is a witness to the tale's message, which is obviously but not obnoxiously delivered—a deftly managed effect. (A heavy message like the one in the story could easily offend, but this one just touched me and seemed appropriate.) The story was full of witnesses. So why the negative title? I still wonder, but who cares?

The story left me happy and sad and very, very satisfied. It's not just a good K/S story. It's a good story. Period. [2]


  1. from The LOC Connection #50
  2. the same LoC is in The K/S Press #48 and The LOC Connection #53