The Exile (Star Trek: TOS story)
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It was published in the print zine Beyond Dreams #4.
"Kirk and Spock are forced out of Starfleet after they are discovered to be lovers, and end up in command of a Vulcan science vessel."
Reactions and Reviews
"Exile" is a 45 page really weird a/u story. Frankly, I have trouble liking most far-out a/u stories, and this story is no exception. This is three years after "Amok Time" and Admiral Komack is trying to get Spock and Kirk into trouble. He succeeds because of some unbelievable events. What is shown as happening in the first pages simply wouldn't happen except in an a/u universe from hell. I also think McCoy and Christine Chapel are out of character in this story. Although McCoy does bounce between being an unfeeling bastard and being the guy we all know and love. Chapel ends up mean and nasty as does T'Lena. And when we are introduced to T'Lena, you know she's going to be trouble because she's T'Pring's sister and for some weird reason she wants really badly to bond with Spock.
The section of the story that is on the Vulcan ship Warrior's Oath is a lot better for me than the beginning. You can actually accept what is happening in this section except for the T'Lena part. There is a lot happening in the story, and some of the minor Star Trek characters end up having really good parts which is nice to see. A lot of work has gone into the creation of this universe and into the story. The ending is rather interesting as we really don't know quite what path Kirk and Spock will take after the story ends.It is interesting is that I picked Elise's story as my first choice in First Time 54, the contest zine. So that means that I like her writing as long as the concept is one that I can accept readily. 
The writer has arrived. This is the second part of “Evolving Towards Forever”. There is a plot. One big squig line "Their was a secret love, hidden from those who would wish them harm." A little too Harlequinesque. McCoy betrayal, little bit out of character. How Komack single handedly booted the guys out with the secret inspection and subsequent court martial. Hmm, interesting. If you can look past all that, the story is kick ass good in my book. Its got Vulcans, a new ship, a Vulcan chick whose got the hots for Spock's bod and is willing to kill to get him, Kirk gets sick, learn more about Vulcan bondmates, and the backup of a good crew. This story's got it all, betrayal, exile, jealousy, new adventures, aliens, and miracle cures. Did I mention it's got plot? Another excellent story. I really enjoyed it. Encore. 
An alternative title for this one might be “Kirk and Spock get found out”. Admiral Komack stages a “surprise inspection” and of course, catches Kirk and Spock together making love. He uses an obscure regulation to get them thrown out of Starfleet but Vulcan intercession prevents him from sending them to prison as he wanted. Instead they are exiled to Vulcan, where Spock’s family (rather surprisingly) make them welcome. This is a very good portrait of both Kirk and Spock as they have to cope with the worst kind of victimisation as Admiral Komack makes them the subject of what might be termed a “kangaroo court” as he holds his own hearing to get them thrown out of Starfleet without even a proper court martial and does everything he can to hinder their legal representative who, in spite of his inexperience, is trying to ensure they get a fair hearing. Their strength of character in coping with this with indignity is very well described, as is the support from the rest of the crew who do as much as they can to help their former command team through a difficult time. Although Dr McCoy is shocked initially, even he comes round before they have to leave. It was also a nice touch that although the main portion of the story deals with Kirk and Spock’s adventures on Vulcan and on the Vulcan science ship where they end up (The Warrior’s Oath), we also get occasional glimpses of what is happening on the Enterprise where they have to suffer a new Captain who has a quite different command style compared to Kirk’s easy and relaxed style of command, and we also see Sulu and Uhura doing their own investigation into Admiral Komack’s actions too. I particularly like the little details about their life on their new ship and on Vulcan where they purchase a house of their own. It was also pleasant to learn that Kirk and Spock made a great success of their new career and although the actions of one of the new team leaves a lot to be desired (although her motives are clear from nearly the start as is her identity) they generally seem quite happy in their new life. The visit of Dr McCoy however, starts a chain reaction which is only partially resolved in the end – leaving the strong possibility that this story is ripe for a sequel at some point in the future. 
The Exile is second in a series of three connected stories. Part One, "Evolving Toward Forever" appeared in FT 55 and I reviewed it previously. When the third installment appeared, I read them all in order so that I might recapture all of the intensity of the continuing saga.
This one is difficult to read—not because it is in any way badly written. It is because the events described are such a painful thing to imagine. Since the previous story, Admiral Komack has been horribly vindictive toward Kirk—determined to ruin him, we learn. The weapon he chooses is the most cruel imaginable: the newfound love between Kirk and Spock. He exposes that love in a brutal way that horribly cheapens what they have become to each other. He is determined they will not only forfeit their careers but will be parted and imprisoned as well. We K/S believers are all so enraptured by the sweetness of their union that this perception is unacceptable and excruciatingly painful to us. Redemption is found in their steadfast devotion to each other in the face of adversity. Their love never waivers. Whatever Komack throws at them, they are determined to meet it at each other's side. This gets better and better! Seeing the imminent loss of their lives at Starfleet and their beloved ship, do these men fold up? Not on your life! They find a way—a new path—and are just as successful as in their previous positions. I love the way Vulcan accepts them after they suffer the ignoble fate of being dishonorably discharged from 'Fleet. The best part occurs when the Vulcan Science Academy gives them a ship! With Kirk as Captain, Spock as First Officer and a crew of compatible Vulcans, they are off to explore the cosmos again. Still exceptional men with stunning successes left in their wake. I am so pleased to see this trait, this strength, prevail. And the bliss they find with each other is just that—bliss. The warmth I experienced reading about the miracle of their growing love and their strengthening bond overcame any concern I had over the absence of their old lives. Now here is the most gratifying part of Ms. Madrid's plot: their Vulcan shipmates understand bonding and are totally accepting of Kirk and Spock! So much so that they are able to be more relaxed as a couple than they have ever been. The ship's healer goes so far as to ask Kirk why he hardly ever touches his bondmate. Until then neither man has realized that this is a place where they will not face the kind of scorn that was inexplicably directed at them from Starfleet. There is more heartbreak ahead, of the most wrenching hurt/comfort variety (enough to be a story in itself) , and a bittersweet reunion that changes their lives once again.I can hardly wait for the next installment, "Ties That Bind" (which fortunately is already in print, so I have it in my hands almost instantly). 
The second story, [in the trilogy] “The Exile”, picks up where the first left off and makes use of the plot bunnies established in it. It begins with a gentle, tender love scene which ends with Kirk’s words, “You’re wonderful, did you know that?”. I am a sucker for conversation like this between them and I make no apologies for going all swoomy at moments like this. We move immediately to Komack demanding that McCoy uses his medical over- ride to allow a surprise inspection of the senior officers” quarters. My guts clenched at this point, knowing what was going to happen, and it does. Komack reaches Kirk’s quarters just in time to hear the declaration of love to Spock. Komack is bullying and sadistic, enjoying what he is doing. Grief is added to the scene by McCoy’s response at the discovery. He is distressed that they did not trust him enough to share their secret and his resulting outburst sounds jealous and homophobic. This distance between the trio is a necessary plot device for later events but is, nevertheless, distressing for the reader. I always want McCoy to be chief bridesmaid so whenever he takes this response to the relationship it tears me up.
Kirk and Spock are tried by Komack, found guilty and dismissed the service. While expected, the verdict is still devastating. Kirk is shown as frustrated at not being able to do anything to shape events to his will. Spock is patiently researching options and counselling calm; both react just as I would expect them to do. However, it is a disturbing part of the story here while we wonder what will happen to them and how Starfleet can be so homophobic. I’ve been through similar events with friends in the Royal Navy and this part of the story is so well written that it brought back feelings I’d long thought buried as it was so convincing. The guys are facing prison but at the last minute the cavalry arrives in the guise of Vulcan law and giving them a new home. Hurray! I needed this relief at this point so raised a cheer for T’Pau, the old bat. It’s interesting that so often it’s Earth that’s homophobic and Vulcan that is tolerant; here, Kirk’s mother is virulently anti but Sarek and Amanda are quietly accepting of their two sons. Much as I would like everyone to welcome their relationship with bells and whistles, somehow, these reactions all fit. After arriving on Vulcan, there are several scenes of domesticity and acceptance to tone the tension down a little, interspersed with wonderful love scenes, - really wonderful love scenes, gentle, tender and romantic - and culminating in their being assigned to a research vessel, Warrior’s Oath. What a brilliant and significant name for their ship; this is a touch of genius. However, the calm is broken by the introduction of T”Lena, T’Pring’s younger sister. Oh, oh. There’ll be tears before bedtime, I can tell, but that’s just one of the joys of Elise’s writing for me. She has a tele-visual approach in these stories, using related scenes rather than a continuous narrative and scattering seemingly unrelated events throughout which only become relevant as the story develops. Nothing is wasted but it is done so subtly that you only realise what she has done much later. So we have scenes on board Warrior’s Oath interspersed with scenes on the Enterprise to keep us up to date with how the crew is coping without Kirk and Spock. The scenes on board the research vessel provide some memorable images especially of Kirk on the bridge with his hand resting on Spock’s shoulder. They could never do that on the Enterprise but on Warrior’s Oath they are required to touch, it is the Vulcan way and considered essential to their health. PDAs as a necessary requirement; isn’t that wonderful?However, there are soon signs of trouble in Paradise. T’Lena makes a play for Spock, tells Kirk he’s not good enough for Spock, and Kirk has a nasty reaction to a bug bite. There is tension here but it is still low level and it is not until after they return from an idyllic shore leave that things turn nasty. Kirk falls ill and the healer onboard is unable to cure him. He is debilitated by pain and they return to Vulcan for a while. It starts to look as if the good life is over for them but McCoy visits them and eventually finds a cure. It is only at this point that you realise this scene has been set up several pages back so it is a neatly turned plot point bringing relief. More relief is offered by the news that Komack has been arrested thanks to behind the scenes investigations by Uhura and Sulu, which means that the case against Kirk and Spock will be reopened. Hurray! Happy ever after beckons. But even now Elise wrings our emotions with the announcement that it was Chapel who gave Komack his evidence against the guys. Chapel? How could she? You know that it will have been for some reason other than jealousy but this is left unexplained at this point. So while the ending is optimistic there are still worrying undercurrents which, for me, is the sign of a mature writer. 
This sequel to “Evolving Toward Forever” is much anticipated, and has a shocking bombshell of a beginning. It seems Admiral Komack has found an extremely heinous and devious way of bringing Captain Kirk to his knees, and Spock along with him. This is one of those instances in K/S fiction that you are never likely to forget or forgive. In his attempt to destroy the Captain and First Officer of the Enterprise, Komack also puts Dr. McCoy in a most untenable and distressing position that is destined to haunt him for a very long time. During this scene I wanted to scream over and over for the Admiral to not put McCoy in such a position, but to no avail. It is at this point we know nothing will ever be the same again. In the first few pages, Ms. Madrid has captured our attention in a most harrowing and convincing way.
True to its prequel, this story traces the evolving lives of Kirk and Spock as they are set adrift with only each other to turn to. The premise and the skill of the author make it a gut-wrenching experience for the reader. But oh, I like the results! I am so buoyed that Kirk and Spock once again prevail, finding strength in each other and trust where they least expect it – among the Vulcan people. Kirk is given command of a Vulcan exploration ship, and the atmosphere they encounter there is so refreshing and unanticipated. The author has given me an entirely new perspective of Vulcan culture and behavior.She isn’t finished with us, though. This story has in store another crisis as tense and suspenseful as the beginning.