The Image of Perfection
|Title:||The Image of Perfection|
|Author(s):||Fanzine - Debbie Cummins; |
K/S Archive - Debbie C
|Date(s):||Fanzine - 1991; Archive - 11/6/2006|
|Length:||Fanzine - 52 pages; |
Archive - 40,546
|Fandom:||Star Trek: The Original Series|
|External Links:||The Kirk/Spock FanFiction Archive|
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It was published in the print zine T'hy'la #10 (1991), and became available online in 2006.
"The Klingons had the perfect plot: substitute an android for Commander Spock. With Vulcans well known for their lack of emotion, there was no chance that anyone would detect the difference."
Reactions and Reviews
The almost idyllic first few pages didn't prepare me for the remainder of this most complex, well-plotted story. It's been a while since I've read a short story with this much... depth. It is extremely well written, full of believable characters, who are well fleshed out but never take over the action from our heroes. It was nicely paced, neither rushed nor protracted. The author obviously has both medical and general scientific knowledge. She adds those elements in such a manner that, while there are many details to be absorbed, they are always understandable and are never overwhelming. This story should not be read in a hurry. I found myself consciously slowing down in order to fully comprehend everything that was going on -- the villainess Klingon, the weak/corrupt leader, the frightened doctor, in over his head. The scene in the hospital where Kirk mentally insisted on sharing Spock's pain, while being observed by other people, was wonderful. The love between the two was palpable all throughout the story. And the last several pages -- wow! I hurt right along with K & S when poor Spock was being tortured; his mind nearly split apart. The poor creature was perfectly portrayed — a tragic figure. I don't want to give away too much of the plot but when "it" reached out toward Kirk, I could feel a chill. I would have liked to have had a more definite ending although the impression given was that everything would be all right. I guess I'm just one of those readers who likes to know for sure. All in all, I found this story very fulfilling and satisfying, and excellent read. 
Although I'd enjoyed several stories by this author, nothing prepared me for the beauty and power of this one. I'm going to say almost nothing about the plot, not because it's weak—in fact, it's compelling and chilling—but because what moves me most is Kirk and Spock's characterization and relationship. We first see them enjoying shore leave alone on an idyllic planet. As Kirk watches Spock study a geological oddity, he silently admires his friend's intellect, grace, and physique, and soon his lust for Spock surfaces, a need his bond-mate can sense. We witness their affection and attraction through their bond, in words, and in small gestures. Instead of slowly building up to a sex scene, Cummins starts the story with one, setting the tone. And what a gorgeously erotic, loving scene it is! While we know they have not been lovers for terribly long, this is no tentative or uncertain Spock who slowly, teasingly seduces a more-than-willing Kirk. I love how powerful and alien this Spock is—and how Kirk appreciates these qualities: "He could sense the power of Spock's sexual energy as the Vulcan finally let [himself] go, seemed to sink into him, feed on him. [Kirk] gasped as the hunger grew, blossoming out like a savage flower, exploding into a fierce passion that went beyond his own rather meager lust" (and we know Kirk is one lustful being!). Cummins ends the scene with Kirk's penetration of Spock, not revealing the rest of their encounter. This technique, surprisingly, is not unsatisfying because of the long fore-play and the final lines in the scene...
[much clipped due to length]... The mixture of spoken and telepathic communication between Kirk and Spock is lovely throughout the story, expressing the wonderfully intense closeness between the lovers. Not all is serious, though, and Cummins sprinkles her tale with bits of humor, such as when Kirk points to the snow outside and asks Spock how much he thinks will fall. Spock responds typically, 'Impossible to calculate, Captain, without more date,'and, suppressing a smile, launches into a lecture on atmospheric conditions. Kirk interrupts, 'I'd say eight inches. What do you think?' Spock: 'Nine.' In so many ways the often-cited rapport between Spock and Kirk—and more, their deeply rooted love and friendship)—appears in every little detail, as well as in the plot itself, which I'm not discussing... As you can plainly tell, I highly recommend this story. 
The long story “Image of Perfection” by Debbie Cummins is in T’hy’la 10, and it is characteristic of this author’s detailed, plot-filled tales. Here the Klingons plan to replace Spock with a clone, but they have not reckoned with the reality that Kirk and Spock are lovers. There are well-drawn original characters in this story, but the focus is squarely on the vivid feelings between captain and first officer. When Spock is injured, there is an incredible scene in the local planetary hospital, where Kirk insists on transferring some of his strength to Spock via the bond. I am tremendously tempted to quote it here, but I’ll resist. Suffice it to say that hurt/comfort fans know to look for this author’s name, and this story delivers well on both sides.