Not Even in the Stars
|Title:||Not Even in the Stars|
|Author(s):||what_alchemy aka The Poultry Alchemist|
|Fandom:||Star Trek: The Original Series|
|External Links:||Not Even in the Stars]|
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It has a sequel called A Distant Horizon.
Reactions and Reviews
[a review of both stories in the series]: Looking for a fic to review, I decided on two that make up a serial: Not Even In The Stars and its sequel A Distant Horizon by what-alchemy aka The Poultry Alchemist, who, I have to say, is a very fine writer indeed.
This is a story that crosses two universes. I‘ll treat the two stories as one, since one does follow on immediately after the other.
The premise is that after a transporter malfunction, Admiral James T. Kirk finds himself in the new timeline created by Nero. In his own universe, he‘s not long been made admiral and is bitter and angry because, at the end of the five year mission, he proposed to Spock - his long-term lover - and the following day, the Vulcan fled to Gol without explanation. So when he arrives in the new universe, he's hurting badly and not beyond taking it out on others. In this universe, Jim and Spock aren‘t in an intimate relationship. In fact, by the time the admiral appears, the friendship they built over the two years since the start of the mission has all but gone after Spock suggested to Jim they share more than a friendship. The problem is that since his school days, Jim‘s repressed his latent homosexuality, choosing to sleep only with women; so Spock‘s proposition essentially freaked Jim out and angered him, causing Jim to withdraw and feel resentful towards Spock for ruining an enjoyable friendship. When Admiral Kirk arrives, he‘s too hurt and angry with his own Spock to want to make contact with an older version of him. So instead he takes solace in the arms of Spock's younger counterpart, who with his strong and unrequited feelings for Jim is grateful to have any incarnation of him in his bed. When Jim finally realises what's going on between the admiral and Spock, he's furious and jealous and the result is... well... a mess. What_alchemy does a brilliant job of describing the emotional roller-coasters that everyone in this story is going through: the anger, the bitterness, the jealousy, the despair, the angst, the affection, the love... all in sharp and glorious detail. If you like your fic slathered with a thick spread of emotion, you‘ll love this. But what_alchemy‘s talents are far greater than that. The level of detail in this story is so great that as I read, I could really picture what everyone was doing at any given point in time, as well as their expressions and their general deportment. I really enjoyed the characterisations in this story. The POV shifts between each of the four protagonists, each one getting their own chapter, which gives great insight into their thoughts, feelings and motivations, and ensures the story never gets confusing despite having two Jim Kirks and two Spocks. We see a Jim who has been captain for two years and is comfortable with the rank and responsibility, having no qualms about wielding his authority when needed over both Bones and Spock, but is lacking in certain emotional development. His own counterpart leaves him feeling unnerved and he avoids him at all costs. Admiral Kirk is a little older and wiser than the Kirk we see in the TOS series, but he‘s not yet got the smooth confidence of the Kirk we see in The Motion Picture. He‘s angry and embittered and desperately lonely. what_alchemy does a brilliant job with the two characterisations: the differences between the admiral and captain are clear and intriguing, showing how personal histories can profoundly influence attitudes, beliefs and behaviours. We get a Spock who is comfortable in his own skin in his own way, is assertive and commanding, and accepting of his sexuality. He‘s in love with Jim and it‘s entirely unrequited, so beneath that stoic exterior is a plethora of emotion he's unable to deal with, not the least of which is guilt at misreading Jim and losing his friendship as a result. And finally there‘s Ambassador Spock – the author is wonderful at giving the reader a strong sense of how old he is without writing ̳he is old‘. We are shown a man who is deeply regretful, lonely and is accepting he is in the twilight years of his life, no longer having the energy to to do the things he used to. There's a sense that some of that comes from his own burden of guilt at failing to save Romulus and thus putting Nero on the warpath. His joy when he first sees 'his' Kirk via a vid- feed is palpable and as the two of them touch hands via the screen, I was strongly reminded of that terrible moment in The Wrath of Khan (which, of course, the ambassador will remember). We get a small cameo from Bones who is absolutely spot-on in character, with descriptions of some of his facial expressions that made me laugh out loud. The plot required a skilfully handled narrative so that the reader wouldn‘t become confused between the pairs of characters and we get it in spades here. It‘s clear, flows beautifully, and the author's great use of language gives us a story that is rich in description and tone, with a crisp dialogue that‘s at times maddening and at other times, entertaining. This is an NC-17 story with a series of poignant sexual encounters the first of which is the subject of the first story: the first time between the Admiral and Spock - both of whom feel rejected and helpless in the light of the decisions made by the men they love. To say this scene is angsty is to understate it, the powerful emotions evident in every ambivalent touch. Throughout the two stories, what_alchemy shows a degree of skill in clearly showing the differences in tenor and intensity between ̳having sex‘ and ̳making love‘, with emotionally wrought overtones - for different reasons - in each of those particular scenes.Together the two stories net you 24,000 words and from my own experience, they fly by in a trice! If you love angst, well-drawn characterisations and an original plot, then you'll enjoy this story as much as I did.