Stay Till Morning
|Title:||Stay Till Morning|
|Fandom:||Star Trek: The Original Series|
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It was published in the print zine KaleidoScope #7.
"After the V'Ger mission, Kirk goes to Vulcan to try and understand what he wants from life and from his relationship with Spock"
Reactions and Reviews
Kirk is camping in the Vulcan wilderness which sets the story as he communes with his surroundings and reflects on the past with poignant memories of loving and leaving.
His first memory begins when he left his mother to assume command of the Enterprise. There's a beautiful moment as he first locks eyes with Spock, and they mentally share the image of flying with wings.
His second memory was when Spock told him he would be leaving for Vulcan, "I go to Gol." The word dropped into the silence like a heavy stone into a dry well. The scene has such a haunting quality with the mixing of memories with emotions. The dialogue is succinct and painful with unspoken words.
Kirk watches the beautiful Vulcan birds and the next memory is when Lori was leaving him. He looks out the window at the night sky and Lori knows he's looking at the Vulcan star. She says, "But you see it. And I see it, in your eyes."
Some of the writing is really lovely—To be a Vulcan's friend was a rare and sacred thing, which Kirk had profaned time and again.
And this taking place in sickbay after V'ger. ...that he felt friendship for Kirk, and that he valued that feeling beyond all the knowledge in the universe. And he had done it with an unabashed smile that lit the room as a sunrise would after a year of rain. A shockingly beautiful thing to see.
Finally Spock comes to Kirk out in the desert just as Kirk sees the image of two birds flying together. And they lie on the soft, warm sand and kiss. Be still my heart! They make love—which is totally fine—but, rats! What's with the cut-to-the-crashing-waves? So they lay together in the shade, skins bare to the hot breeze, and enjoyed each other in that most elemental way for the first time. Hey! What way was that?However, I liked the ending as it tied in with the title when it's morning and Kirk becomes "someone who will stay." 
This elegantly structured, beautifully-written story based on the theme of commitment is constructed rather like a series of concentric circles bisected by a straight line (which could also be an arrow, triangle, or other linear symbol—actually, the image of the "IDIC" symbol formed in my mind as I read the story). This non-linear structure is an important element of the story. I found it a powerful driving force underlying the story's drama and message.
"Stay Till Morning" begins shortly after ST:TMP and illustrates Kirk's difficulty "staying" with those he loves. his need to run away, in a series of flashbacks. In the stories "real time," Kirk is on Vulcan, in the desert, standing a kind of vigil, "like the one a mediaeval knight stood on the eve of his anointing." In evocative language like this, the author makes plain the spiritual significance of what is happening to Kirk. We understand that this vigil is a critical turning point for him long before the issues in the story are fully revealed.
The flashbacks are the series of concentric circles I spoke of. They begin with the "earliest" scene, on the eve of Kirk's assuming command of the Enterprise, then move closer to the story's "real time" with each succeeding flashback. I felt the effect was rather like a set of concentric circles gradually tightening around Kirk until the decisive dramatic moment in the story is reached.
That moment occurs in the final flashback, a scene between Kirk and Spock on their last night aboard the Enterprise after the VGer mission. In that moment. Kirk reverses the pattern of his adult life and instead of running to the stars and expecting those he loves to follow, he decides to go to the Vulcan desert and wait for Spock.
It's impossible for me to describe in a review how effectively the story presents this "turning point" We're not just told of Kirk's decision, and we're not just shown it. either. The entire structure of the story works to make us see how important it is. At Kirk's decision point, the story itself "turns." At that point the tightening series of flashbacks ends and the stor/s outward movement begins. The physical movement from the ship to the Vulcan desert, from the vessel that Kirk flies to the stars to a place where he can only sit still and wait, mirrors the internal shift within his character: "The change in Kirk was more like a sea change. It wasn't the release of his true inner self, but a shift in the foundation of who he was. who he thought he was."
"Stay Till Morning" is an excellent example of how a story's structure can enhance its meaning. It's not too great an exaggeration to say that this story's message is more than just a part of its flesh; it is built into its very bones.
Some other reviewers have contended that the love scene toward the end of the story should have been more explicit. I disagree emphatically. If anything, I thought the beginning of the scene was a little too explicit A detailed tab-A-into-s)ot-B scene would have been inappropriate to the narrative style of this story (which is poetic and metaphoric, alternating between narrative "telling"—which does indeed have a place in good fiction—and showing) and its focus on Kirk's inner spiritual state. Lines like this: "And Spock, when he climaxed, sobbed aloud, once" reveal much more about the meaning of Kirk's and Spock's love-making than a detailed physical description of who does what to whom. I think the author made the correct judgment that the emotional immediacy of a highly explicit sex scene was not an appropriate way to illustrate the "sea-change" in Kirk, which is a deeper, more long-term process that in fact has already occurred by the time the two characters begin to make love.Finally, I appreciate the characterization of Kirk in this story. IVe read many, probably far too many stories about Kirk's alleged "problems with commitment" Many of these stories suggest that Kirk is driven by a pathological difficulty making a commitment to a lover or potential life partner. If I read this story correctly, it suggests that Kirk's failure to form commitments, to be there for the significant others in his life (if indeed this is a pattern characteristic of Kirk), is merely a by-product of what really does drive him. his need to "run to* the stars. I personally find that characterization more believable. 
This is a quiet story that opens with Kirk out on the Vulcan desert, waiting. He thinks a lot while he waits — about his mother and how he'd left his family without a second thought to take command, about Spock's invitation to visit Vulcan after Edith Keeler's death, about the day Spock told him he was leaving for Gol. He sees a pair of rtihythk birds, elegant in black and silver, flying away "in close formation, as always." And he suddenly realizes that he had been running away without knowing why, running from an intimate, sexual involvement with the man whose leaving had made him so lonely. Then Spock is there, on the desert, with no explanation, but Kirk seems to accept his presence as a given. They have a frank yet gentle conversation about what Spock wants, what Kirk is willing to give. After a night spent together at "the ShiKahr Visitor's Center — what passed for a hotel on this planet" (a nice touch), they get down to the pertinent question. Can Kirk stay? Will he stay with Spock and stop running away? There are a lot of nice elements to this story, including a deft touch with flashbacks, especially the best one when Lori Ciani confronts Kirk as she prepares to leave. (Later, Kirk tells Spock; "Lori was my type, remember, and she's convinced that I spent our entire term marriage mooning over you.") There's good description of the desert and the birds that are the catalyst for Kirk's understanding of his heart. But the story didn't flow too logically for me. I didn't really understand what Kirk was doing out on the desert if he hadn't already realized the status of his relationship with Spock, what was to be. What else propelled him there? Spock's sudden and unexplained arrival I think was meant to contribute to the quiet air of magic and mystery in the story, but it seemed more like he was a figment of Kirk's overheated imagination, and I read through a few pages before I was convinced he was real. Spock's quiet, patient omnipotence was a little annoying, too. And Kirk's inability to see that he was running away, that he couldn't stay as the title implies, seemed but roughly overlaid upon the events of the story. I think the story needed to be a bit more substantial to support its thematic ambition. But by far the greatest disappointment was the lack of a sex scene. Not that I think that every story needs one, they don't, but it seemed that Stay Till Morning was leading up to one, and there was a big empty space where it should have been. Every sex scene doesn't have to be extensive or detailed, sometimes a paragraph works, but here the reader only gets a sentence or two. It was disappointing. 
This is a quiet, introspective and loving story, with the theme elegantly woven in. The theme feels overshadowing, though, as if the purpose of the story is the theme, not just telling a story. This can also tend to make some moments of perception in the character's head too metaphoric. Be that as it may, it's a good and valid theme: about Kirk's always running; and now he will finally stop running away, will stay till morning. He is alone on Vulcan, with those wonderful silver birds, the rhhytkk, the ones who fly in pairs and mate for life...waiting for Spock to come.
I like it a lot that Kirk is just in one place in this story, and then we get a handful of flashbacks over the years which play on the theme, about all the times when, essentially, Kirk was not ready to see the love he could have with Spock.
The present of this story takes place between movies 1 and 2; and after we're given these scenes of the past, it seems crystal clear why they might not have been able to act on their love before this. But Kirk's certainly ready now.
All the flashbacks are good, but I'll mention a couple things.
The sadness is wonderful, when Spock went away to Gol.
And I liked the one involving Lori, when she and Kirk don't renew their marriage contract and she is leaving. This was an excellent scene, and a portrayal of Lori I'm partial to. The dialogue felt so real, I could hear it, and see them, too. A very poignant scene, and lovely writing.
And now in the present, Kirk watches the silver birds, the one pair, mated for life.... That's the message Spock had desired that he should learn, and he had given Kirk his freedom to do so.
Cosmic, heroic love notwithstanding, I always can see K/S in the way it is expressed here, that Kirk wasn't ready earlier to see the kind of love Spock could offer, and that Spock would just bide his time. Even had Spock overtly offered his love earlier, Kirk might indeed have taken him up on it, but I'm afraid Kirk had a way to go before he could really relax into himself, having gotten all the running around out of his system. And Spock would not have wanted to tie Kirk down.
Anyway, Spock of course shows up...and some beautiful scenes, beautiful the "foreplay," drawn out, emotional and sexy (and also a really charming-cute line by Kirk), but then...I was decidedly nonplussed by the one-line telling of their having sex.But at the end, all's right with the world, and I was left happy. 
This is a smooth 'voyage of discovery' story for Kirk, shown unhurriedly through a number of flash backs. There is one line that threw my entire sense of when the story was taking place, however. The line is "What could it have been like to wait twenty years for a kiss from the person you were closest to in the universe?" It was my impression that the story took place shortly after V'ger, which, in ST time, was between 2 and 3 years after the end of the five year mission. Therefore, at most, Spock had been waiting for his kiss for seven to eight years, not 20. 
This story was my favorite in a good zine. It takes place after ST:TMP. Kirk has gone to the desert on Vulcan to wait for Spock. While he waits, we see through Kirk’s eyes some of the events that have led to his being there. We get an idea of why they never got together as a couple before and get a feeling of Kirk’s gradual progress to get ready for such a commitment Then Spock does come, and wonderful things are said. The dialog in all the scenes is excellent. There’s a lot to read between the lines here. But then instead of a sex scene, we get “So they lay together in the shade, skins bare to the hot breeze, and enjoyed each other in that most elemental way for the first time.” I was very disappointed to be left out of the action here. Especially since this fine author seems capable of writing a dynamite description of what happened.