The Ties that Bind (Star Trek: TOS story by Dana Austin Marsh)
|Title:||The Ties that Bind|
|Author(s):||Dana Austin Marsh|
|Fandom:||Star Trek: The Original Series|
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"Kirk is called again and again to Gol for Spockʼs pon farr, and as each time the interval shortens, Kirk fights to bring them together permanently."
Reactions and Reviews
This is a quite beautiful and moving Adm. Kirk story. It opens with Kirk at Starfleet, his dreary life said in just a few, choice words full of Kirk's aching. Now he's energized by the call from afar of Spock's need. This is the fourth such time.
The scenes in the present are in a dramatic and richly worded first-person/present-tense Kirk. These present-scenes alternate with scenes of the past three times when he felt the call and went to Vulcan (those scenes written in third person). I was a little confused about the timeline; or else it was just the author's own. It's been six years since the end of the five-year mission. At first I assumed the events of the first movie would happen after this story ends, but I'm not sure actually. Doesn't matter. The first scene of Kirk at Gol is gorgeous--he is as needy as Spock. I like how this first pon farr sex is written in a few very short scenes. Obviously, they're bonded, but Spock is nonetheless trying to purge himself of emotion. Only his extreme need is strong enough to call Kirk. He believes when he attains Kolinahr he can control and will no longer call to Kirk. So sad at end of this first time. Spock is impassive; Kirk leaves in anger. So, there are a second and third time. Ms. Marsh shows us interesting little scenes of each time Kirk feels this calling from Spock, and what he has to go through (going up against Command, etc.) to go to Vulcan. The third time, I think it is, he tries to resist, but can't.There's a wonderful ending to this wonderful story; it's deep and dark, but with the light of love shining through. And so beautifully written, a very focussed story. 
This story takes the form of bitter recollections of Pon Farr by a disillusioned Admiral Kirk. Spock has remained on Gol, leaving Kirk's only contact with his former 1st Officer those times when Spock enters Pon Farr.
It's comforting -- sort of -- to know there exists a bond between the two, but it is brief consolation either to the reader or to James Kirk, who has little left of his former life or his bondmate. I find this to be a very strange and unsatisfactory way to carry on a relationship, however, it could be one interpretation of how the Vulcan bond really works. We K/S fen, being romantics to a large degree, like to whitewash the Vulcan mating imperative by envisioning it as a form of enduring love. One does not have such an impression while reading of Kirk's sexual interludes with this Spock. This is animal lust, plan and simple.Romanticism does creep in, fortunately, as Kirk receives what he understands to be another call to serve Spock, only to find things to be different this time. Hope is renewed and the final exchange between them furnishes the sweetness that this story needs. 
Although this story has a rather dark feel, I still enjoyed it. At the time this story takes place, Kirk is an Admiral at Starfleet HQ and Spock is pursuing the Kolinahr discipline on Vulcan. In spite of this, he calls Kirk to Gol several times when he undergoes Pon Farr, and Kirk always hopefully goes, although after the first time, he realises that his presence there will not convince Spock to change his mind. We see Kirk’s anguish at such an unhappy situation, he knows he loves Spock and wants nothing more than to be with him but at the same time he is angry and almost tempted to refuse to go to Gol, as he feels Spock is using him. This was an interesting look at both Spock and Kirk after the five year mission and how things might have been without the interference of V’Ger , and of course, there was a nice twist at the end, along with some very enjoyable descriptions of the planet Vulcan and its customs, including a quick peek inside the monastery at Gol.