Terminus (Star Trek: TOS story)

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K/S Fanfiction
Title: Terminus
Author(s): see article
Date(s): 1982
Length:
Genre: slash
Fandom: Star Trek: The Original Series
External Links:

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Terminus is a Kirk/Spock story by Judith Gran (cited in The K/S Press and/or Dunya Saraf (on Organia's table of contents page).

It has art by Laurie Huff, Merle Decker, Nona Christensen, and Karen Flannery.

It was published in the print zine Organia.

From the Author: 1999

From An Interview with Judith Gran:
Karmen Ghia: When was _Terminus_ written?

Judith Gran : 1981-1982.

KG: How did _Terminus_ come about? Can you recall the decision to write it or did you just wake up one day, face down on the keyboard, and there was the first 3,000 words? (This happened to me, that's why I'm asking.)

JG: Well, first of all, I had left the cinema after seeing ST:TMP for the first time (yeah, yeah, I know, we should have known how bad it would be when they couldn't even come up with a title for it) with about a half-dozen K/S scenarios in my head for Why Spock Went to Gol. Terminus was one of them. So like your experience, it just kind of happened.

Also, this was during the early Reagan years. I was bummed about the administration, about trickle-down economics, about the Christian Right, about the fact that people in authority were trying to impose their own narrow culture on the rest of the country. Putting those issues into a K/S context kind of helped me deal with them emotionally. [1]

From the Author: 2000: Regarding a Sequel

I've received a number of requests for a sequel, but I don't write much fan fiction, and I don't see that changing any time soon. You are right, though, that I wanted to write a story that in which Spock's fear that he can no longer serve with Kirk is valid, and to explore the dramatic implications of that. If you are suggesting that the scenario is flawed as a story idea because it cannot account for the later movies, I dunno. It was pretty clear in TWOK that Kirk was serving a ground assignment and had not had a starship command for some time. I have often thought that, from a K/S perspective, this *could* have been a decision Kirk and Spock made after ST:TMP to resolve the issues their being lovers would create if they tried to serve together. But I'm not here to defend "Terminus," a very flawed story that I wrote a long time ago and found I couldn't "fix" when I tried to rewrite it.... Personally, I know that if I were to write a sequel to "Terminus," the sequel would *not* conclude that Spock was mistaken. Also, as I wrote above, I tend to think that if you want to show that a character is mistaken, you need need to do so through a character with more knowledge and authority in the subject-matter of the mistake than the character himself. (This can be a serious issue in a story written through the POV of the "mistaken" character.) Actually, I thought the only character in "The Word Withheld" with the potential knowledge and authority to determine that Spock was mistaken was Spock's older self from the future, but interestingly, the character was not used that way. [2]

Reactions and Reviews

Stories that made me most want to injure Lori Ciani, severely: Judy Gran's "Terminus" and Killa's "Full Circle"--I mean, damn, I actually had managed to avoid learning about this Ciani person, having ignored ST 1 as best I could, and here the woman is, horning her way into Kirk's life in both stories, distracting him from the man he belongs with. The good news was that both authors had the decency and common sense to link Spock and Kirk together tightly and well, the way they're meant to be. Yippee. [3]
I should mention that what I've managed to read of Terminus by Judy Gran TOS (K/S) convinces me that it's a must read. Back me up here gang. [4]
Having heard some say they would never again read this account of what Kirk and Spock would do if Starfleet disapproved of their relationship, I was instantly on alert. This is not what I would call a glowing recommendation. Yet, I rarely listen to anything but my own curiosity when it comes to K/S.

What I have seen in Terminus is probably a very possible if not probable description of the inner workings of Starfleet. Trust me, I have worked in a politically motivated organization for 26 years and I know the illogical and irresponsible turns that can result. Change in leadership stops the clock. What you've been praised for may suddenly draw a reprimand. What was considered good judgement may suddenly become completely unacceptable. It flip-flops the whole structure, and effects every single person, but the impact is much greater the higher you go in the chain of command. I've seen half a management team disappear in less than a year and the entire culture of who and what is right and who and what is wrong change positions. Sorry. Back to the story. Number one, life experiences tell me this is a very believable plot. Most of us have admitted that, while we would prefer otherwise, we believe Starfleet would have problems with such a union. This author most certainly had the same viewpoint. Let me say here that I am not saying this is how I want things to be. What else am I seeing? A love that is new, yet grows in strength each day. An excellent understanding between Kirk and Spock, at nearly every stage of the story. Lovemaking that is very well told, sometimes warm and nice, sometimes hot and demanding. Every encounter is more than readable. In spite of what I've heard, I like it. Kirk and Spock have learned that their first attempt to remain on board the Enterprise while it serves temporary duty as a training ship will not be approved. Kirk has made a beautiful declaration of his love for Spock to Lori Ciani. When she asks Kirk point blank if what Nogura suspects is true, she anticipates embarrassment, evasion, anger. What she hears is this: "Hell, yes, we're lovers. And you can tell Nogura that I am far more honored to be the lover of Spock of Vulcan than all the medals and commendations in Starfleet." Kirk refuses to hear more of Nogura's concerns, as he continues, "We were the best team in Starfleet before, and we're an even beter team now. I intend to spend the rest of my life with Spock, and I don't care what Nogura thinks. Just let him try to separate us!" I love that speech. But nothing is ever so simple and as I read it, I fear this is all about to become very complex. By midway, I was thoroughly engrossed in what was a well written, moderately well-paced accounting of the end of the 5 year mission, and was happy to find Kirk and Spock visiting Kirk's mother at the family home in Iowa. I always like these, and this was no exception. His mother was congenial, genuine and appropriately thrilled when she learned her son had found his life's companion. Maybe an inkling by now had commenced to gnaw at me that perhaps all was not going to be rosy, but so far I was enjoying myself. Back in San Francisco, Spock decides to make a short trip to Vulcan to work with a healer on managing his new-found emotional side within the confines of his relationship with Kirk. Kirk maneuvers to get command of the Lexington, and begins an all-out campaign to assure that Spock will be his First Officer. The scene where Spock leaves for Vulcan is dramatic and filled with tension. Kirk walks him to the transporter station where he first touches and then hugs his companion fiercely, promising to make their union permanent upon Spock's return. He doesn't promise the bond, as they have learned that while Starfleet may overlook a relationship, there is a clause in the regs that absolutely forbids bonded pairs in combat situations. This parting is extremely emotional and poignant to me. Now, as I had been warned, things begin to disintegrate. On Vulcan, Spock learns from a healer that they actually are bonded, spontaneously and without their knowledge. He also knows this precludes any possibility of them serving together. The aforementioned regulation is based on the fact there is a fierce and uncontrollable need for bondmates to protect one another from harm, to the exclusion of any other consideration or consequence. They might have served together on the Lexington unbonded, but now this dream is shattered. This is the first time in the story that I believe the author could have taken a more positive turn and allowed Spock to see some reason. As written, he does not believe he should tell Kirk of his findings, as it will disrupt Kirk's plans for another command and force him into a life not of his choosing. It becomes gruelingly painful when Kirk, lonely and anxiously awaiting a tape from his love saying he is returning soon, gets quite a different message. Spock is not returning. He has chosen Gol. Kirk's world is shattered. His anger is palpable, his defeat, his disappointment, his agony at this inadequately explained decision strips him of any ability to think rationally. He rushes to Gol, where he is rudely denied access to Spock. Ironically, there are three persons who may be allowed to see a postulate. If Kirk were a son, a daughter or a bondmate, he would be given the right to see Spock. Of course, as far as he knows, he is none of these. The gates close in his face leaving him to a future as bleak as the desert that surrounds him. He returns to Earth and promptly announces he is accepting the position at headquarters and plunges headlong into despair. This is the despair we still see at the opening of ST:TMP. I cannot speak for the author, but I believe Ms. Gran's goal here was, in fact, to provide a prequel to The Motion Picture. Her story does much to fill the gaping hole at the end of the five year mission and gives us reason, albeit terrible and tragic reason, for the things we see in the first movie. Seeing the haunted look in Kirk's eyes as he regains command of the Enterprise without Spock at his side, I can believe the occurrences from "Terminus" are the reason. Watching the outer shell of the Spock we always knew arrive on the bridge a few days later, I can believe Ms. Gran's reason for the tortures he has voluntarily endured for three long years.

Bittersweet as the outcome is, I would not want to give up the experience of this novella. [5]
Darkfic Rating: Cafe latte dark, espresso bleak. This is one of the first K/S stories I can remember reading. I was in a programming class, and I completely ignored the lecture for almost a week finishing this story. It's more bleak than dark, but it tied me up inside for quite some time. [6]

References

  1. from An Interview with Judith Gran, posted September 1999, accessed June 2013
  2. ASCEML, November 9, 2000
  3. comment by Raku at alt.startrek.creative, January 1998
  4. comment by Ruth Gifford at alt.startrek.creative.erotica.moderated/, November 3, 1997
  5. from The K/S Press #72
  6. Darkfic recs, November 2000, laura jv