Rumors (Star Trek: TOS story by Karla Kelly)
|Fandom:||Star Trek: The Original Series|
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It was published in the print zine First Time #29.
From the publisher: "Terrorist activities on Starbase 12 interrupt a planned “honeymoon” by Kirk and Spock and then cause a blackout through the entire base."
"Damn! Damn! Damn! The captain of the Enterprise hit the bag again and again, oblivious to the stares of the few crew members who were working out in the gym at that hour. Why did I do it? Dumb! Dumb! Dumb! The heavy bag swayed under the onslaught. Sweat ran down Kirk's back; damp hair clung to his skull, dark brown against his skin. If only I wouldn't think of it. If only I could forget."
Reactions and Reviews
I'm quite sure I didn't understand all of this story, even after carefully reading it twice. It was fairly interesting. I particularly enjoyed Karla's interpretation of K and S's relationship. Very nice. She also created a fascinating new character and race, Lenore. Subtleties abounded for those who enjoy such things. A long complicated story with several facets, or perhaps they should be called subplots. 
I don't know why this author has spent her time writing so many vignettes when she is capable of writing a novella as brilliant as "Rumors". This it easily one of the best stories I've read all year. For starters, I greatly appreciated this story having so such PLOT. The various events unfolded gradually, built steadily, and were resolved with satisfying climaxes. A clever bit of writing all the way around. But what amazed me most was the sheer LOVE between Kirk and Spock (and also with McCoy) that jumped right off the page, even though it seemed that, relatively speaking, their relationship didn't necessarily receive a lot of space. Yet, even the smallest sentence or indication of feeling made me want to melt all over... The love simply oozed from between the lines. Another aspect I thoroughly enjoyed was the way humor suddenly came out of nowhere — yet blended right in with the story's tone. There were a nuaber of places where I had to stop reading so I could laugh a while... A few minor nitpicks: Maybe I wasn't reading carefully enough, but it seemed like there were some jarring transitions between scenes. One paragraph the characters would be one place, and the next paragraph they would be somewhere else... a day later, an hour later, whatever. I occasionally got the feeling the author was assuming I knew more than I did about what was going on. For example, I wasn't sure why Kirk jumped to the conclusion that T'Pau wanted to break them up. It seemed a rather rash assumption on his part, and, even if it were true, why was he so intimidated by the prospect? He can more than hold his own against T'Pau, so I thought he should have shown a bit more faith in his and Spock's relationship and worried less about what T'Pau intended to do. While on the subject of T'Pau, I didn't like being left hanging with the implied suggestion-- but no solid coofiroation — that she was ill. Overall, a remarkable story. I really liked the way McCoy was handled, and the character of Lenore was the neatest idea. 
This is the longest story I have ever seen by this writer. If it is the longest, most intricate piece she's ever done, then she's done a credible job. Three distinct major plot lines, at least, well woven together with a nuimber of interesting, but not distracting, subplots. I found no loose ends that left me with questions although I was vaguely dissatisfied by the ending. I believe this is not so much a matter of any lack on the writer's part but the fact that I had been engrossed for so long and so thoroughly enjoying the story that I did not wish it to end. Characterisation of the familiar main characters, especially McCoy, seemed to me to be right on the mark. I never found ayself thinking "he wouldn't do or say that" at all during the story. As indicated, I felt the portrayal of McCoy particularly excellent and I very much enjoyed seeing him as a character with a life and problems of his own. There is also a fine attention to detail in 'Rumors' which adds flesh to the bare bones of the plot. The only places I find where this descriptive quality breaks down is during the sex scenes which felt very rushed. This may have been because the author would describe the 'first' encounter of each night when Kirk and Spock were, given the story line, rather overeager for each other and then end the scene with something along the lines of 'they made love the rest of the night'. She might have done better to have glossed over the first or second encounter of the night and then described their lovemaking when they were less desperate. Considering the way I was drawn into the rest of the story, that is, however, a mild quibble, and "Rumors" is definitely one of those stories I will find myself rereading in the future. 
I love it when Kirk says "screw what everybody thinks, I love this man!" That's precisely what I see happening in this description of his first glimpse of Spock at a stodgy Vulcan reception: "Spock looked directlyinto his Captain's eyes and smiled that soft, not quite smile that sent waves of warmth through Kirk. The full blown, 100 watt Kirkian response stopped (the Vulcan guest with whom he was talking) in mid-sentence." WOW! Too much for a hot summer night! And makes you want to read on even if there's a fire alarm!
Of all the ways their relationship can develop, I love most when the dawning is slow and glorious and each newly-discovered feeling is relished and built upon layer by layer until the next step is reached. As is done so graciously here and with such lingering temptation! Evidence their first real kiss: "So long suppressed, so long desired, their love spilled out, surrounding them, stroking them, drowning out everything else. Freedom to touch, to feel..." Doesn't that dovetail exactly with the love that keeps trying to surface in the episodes?
Quite a bit of time and several missions are encompassed here, occasionally making me wish the next bit of K/S would hurry and appear. But appear they do, and each of them is special. The trials with a growing bond are handled with the aplomb and thoughtfulness you'd expect from a couple of professional men.
There's a nice thread regarding McCoy's self awareness that he's getting older and makes a mistake now and then (not that everyone doesn't). Friendship shines through and bring him back into the fold.
Even T'Pau's appearance isn't abrasive and jolting. She shows a fit of understanding, all the while reminding Spock of his eventual duty to Vulcan as her heir. But look out, T'Pau, these two—bonded—are going to be a challenge to one and all!A long, enjoyable, well-constructed novella.