Those Who Dare
|Title:||Those Who Dare|
|Fandom:||Star Trek: The Original Series|
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It was published in the print zine Out of Bounds Again.
A/U: Spock kidnaps Kirk in order to make him his bondmate, but Kirkʼs “training” is interrupted by a Romulan healer who wants Kirk for his own.
Reactions and Reviews
The Out of Bounds series is filled with stories in which the familiar Star Trek universe takes a pronounced departure from its televised structure. Many of these stories are interesting and occasionally, an author convinces me that the familiar could have been very believably diverted to an unexpected path. Marcella Belton’s novella is one of these. She successfully plays Spock’s struggle with his duality, overwhelming compatibility with Kirk, supreme faith in his captain’s ability to avert disaster, revulsion at harming that captain and Vulcan biological imperatives against Kirk’s ego, staunch determination, command self-image and love for Spock to tell a complex, dark and tragic tale of vastly different cultures in collision.
On a mission to Fatherton, an alien intelligence took over Spock’s mind forcing him to rape Kirk. Both are emotionally damaged by the incident.
Spock is angry that Kirk didn’t take control of the situation and stop his actions. Kirk felt the only way to stop Spock was to kill him, something he could never bring himself to do. But Kirk had never been physically controlled so easily before and now looks at Spock with fear. Though Kirk has made numerous overtures to Spock to convince him he was not responsible and to attempt to return their friendship to its close, comfortable, pre-Fatherton state, Kirk is not psychologically ready and Spock has remained monosyllabically withdrawn. When Kirk accepts Spock’s request for transfer without making an attempt to dissuade him, Spock finally realizes that the violence of Fatherton, his love for Kirk and the precariousness of his unbonded condition have driven him into a purely Vulcan, semi-sane state. He must have his warrior mate. He must have Kirk.
As Spock boards a shuttlecraft to leave the ship, he kidnaps Kirk and sets course for one of his family’s estates lying outside Federation space. Because of his family’s status and his importance as heir, Vulcan has formally condoned Spock’s actions and sent an elderly tutor, Scolarn, to help instruct an unwilling Kirk in the duties and traditions of a warrior mate. This unfortunately sends Spock’s determination to form a bond with Kirk down a traditional, purely Vulcan path rather than the one tempered by empathy anticipated under more normal circumstances.
While Scolarn instructs a defiant pupil, Kirk continues to vehemently proclaim his heterosexuality and determination to return to his chosen life while Spock becomes more demanding and erratic as his sanity slowly slips away. Scolarn describes the situation succinctly when he tells Kirk, “You have the capabilities to be what he needs. Now you shall both be condemned to living a bitter half-life with neither of you completely satisfied.” When Kirk is critically injured in an escape attempt, Spock is able to meld with him, sustain him and begin the healing process but as soon as Kirk becomes aware, he successfully rejects further attempts by Spock to help him. Scolarn’s skills are insufficient for the task. When a Romulan known to Scolarn is summoned, the stage for personal destruction all around is set.
Though Kirk’s condition improves under Acadaster’s care, greater skill is required to mend catastrophic leg injuries. Acadaster suggests the skilled healer Renar but in reality, Acadaster is offering Kirk to Renar, a highly placed Romulan, as payment of a personal debt. When Renar arrives, he proceeds to chastise Spock for his treatment of Kirk, gain a measure of trust from Kirk, break the bond which has formed between Kirk and Spock, then abscond with Kirk, intending Kirk to be a temporary amusement. Renar is old, sly, experienced and patient. He also skillfully manipulates Kirk’s conflicted feelings toward Spock.
As Kirk slowly heals, Renar cultivates a closer and closer relationship. When it becomes apparent that Kirk will not submit to him, he demands the rights he chastised Spock for taking and begins to understand the basis of Spock’s actions. Gradually Kirk comes to accept and actively participate in a physical relationship with Renar but adamantly refuses to go further and still considers himself a prisoner. The situation comes to a head when Spock is captured in Romulan space and Renar arranges for Spock to be brought to him. The Spock who arrives is gaunt and supremely dangerous in his insanity. He challenges Renar to combat over his stolen mate but Renar refuses dishonoring himself in the eyes of his staff and Romulans in general. You see, Renar also has fallen deeply in love with Kirk, has seen hidden in Kirk’s mind where his true feelings lie and is committed to doing whatever is necessary to keep him.
After exchanging harsh words with Kirk about his relationship with Renar, Spock, now in disgrace for his inability to reacquire his mate, agrees to be sent back to Scolarn while some healing is still possible for him. A final conversation between Kirk and Spock reveals that Kirk feels so damaged he is uncertain of his ability to command, uncertain of his feelings for Renar and uncertain of his feelings toward Spock. Spock, on the other hand, declares his love for Kirk, regret that he did not provide the solace offered by Renar and reemphasizes his intent that they bond honorably. As they part, Kirk’s reaction is a dichotomy, on the one hand declaring, “You bastard. I do love you. Now get out of here! I hope never to see you again” and on the other, despairing the parting as the remnants of their broken link stir.The characters are finely drawn. Each is left in a bad place with limited possibilities. The future for Spock, in particular, seems bleak. By the time I read to the end, I should have been depressed. Instead, I felt there were better days ahead. I wish the author had continued this story in a sequel but I don’t feel cheated. That’s skill! Kudos to Marcella Bolten and thanks to Carolyn the librarian for sending me Out of Bounds Again. 
- By crunchy in K/S Press #152