Twice Upon a Time
|Title:||Twice Upon a Time|
|Fandom:||Star Trek: The Original Series|
|External Links:||online here|
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It was published in the print zine Legends #2.
"What if Gary Mitchell had been stopped but not killed? What if he’d remained aboard ENTERPRISE? How different would life have been for our favorite crew?"
Reactions and Reviews
Gary Mitchell is not my favorite character. After reading this almost-AU story I was forced to ask myself the reason for my animosity. The answer seems to be that had Gary Mitchell not died, he would have been a rival for Kirk's friendship, if not his love.
Elise expertly takes us on that unimaginable journey. She asks little sympathy for the character, who survives the Galactic Barrier with only the loss of his psi abilities. He is painted as self-centered and an intrusive factor in Kirk's attempts to offer Spock acceptance. A dark personality emerges, one that causes Kirk to seriously re-examine who this man truly is.
Through it all, Spock remains the dignified and honorable Vulcan, sensitive to a fault to Kirk's feelings and wishes. Kirk walks a tightrope, not wanting to alienate his longtime friend, yet eager to gain Spock's trust and companionship as well.
Episodes are woven into the fabric of this story, but not as you might expect, as they are altered to fit this alternate timeline, adding a touch of realism without providing a known outcome. Add to the above a series of frightening attempts on Spock's life and you have a most compelling and dramatic plot. Poignant moments occur also. Witness this: Kirk is questioning a very ill Spock about who might want to kill him. "I don't get it. Why would anyone want to kill you?"
"Sometimes," Spock replies truthfully, "...sometimes what I am is enough provocation for some."
So sad that such extreme prejudice exists aboard the Enterprise. Even more heartbreaking because Spock calmly accepts it as part of his heritage. This is a Spock who has much difficulty accepting himself or the idea that anyone could value him for other than his intellect.
Kirk is not as certain of himself in personal relationships as is normlly the case. McCoy is less humanitarian than usual, almost cruel at times. With all these deliberate inconsistencies in place, Ms. Madrid still manages to find the love that exists between this Kirk and this Spock and slowly, painfully drags it to the surface.Twice Upon A Time is an ambitious and involved character study, murder mystery and love story filled with twists and turns that would put Alfred Hitchcock to shame. Instead of giving away the ending, I choose to instead heartily recommend that you read it for yourself. 
Gary Mitchell has never really been a character I’m much interested in, but obviously lots of people disagree, based on the number of fan stories featuring him. Which brings me to Elise’s story featuring Gary Mitchell, which I found myself really enjoying. She comes up with a very intriguing premise. The story opens with Gary in sickbay, recovering from the incident down on the planet where he tried to kill Kirk. In her story, Gary is not killed, but instead Spock figures out a way to negate his powers. The story shows the changing relationship of Kirk with both Gary and Spock, as Kirk slowly notices his old friend has some very undesirable qualities, and begins to appreciate Spock more and more. I loved how we see Kirk and Spock’s relationship slowly building over the course of the story from solely a professional relationship as Captain and First Officer, to friends, and finally to lovers. This was so interesting to read. We see how Kirk is intrigued by Spock, and deliberately tries to befriend him, but initially runs into some resistance from Spock. This was something a little different, and Elise convincingly shows us Spock’s slow thaw as he allows himself to be friends with Kirk, and then Kirk’s growing attraction to Spock. Elise also convincingly portrays Gary’s jealousy at being supplanted as Kirk’s friend and confidant by Spock. The story covers several months, and is set against the backdrop of some of the episodes. This was fun to read, too, as the events in the episodes have minor or major changes due to the presence of Gary Mitchell. A major plotline in this story is a series of attacks on Spock, and that is deftly worked into the fabric of the story. There’s more going on in the story, and several interesting twists, but I’ll leave that for you to discover. I thought this was an excellent story, and I highly recommend it 
This story is, in my opinion, the best in the zine. Once again this author has produced a well-written, well-paced tale that is guaranteed to keep the the reader turning the pages until the very end.
Here the author once again uses one of my favorite formats when it comes to K/S stories, that of taking the original episodes and fleshing them out, but this time with an interesting twist. This story begins at the end of the episode "Where No Man Has Gone Before", with one very fascinating difference. Here Gary Mitchell has survived his encounter with the energy barrier and as a result of some quick-thinking from Spock is now psi-null and back to normal. One of the things I really like about this story is how the author portrays Spock in the beginning. He is much as one would expect him to be in the beginning of the series, cold, distant and very Vulcan, who considers Kirk to be his commanding officer, nothing more. But as the story continues, his friendship with Kirk begins to grow, much to the consternation of an increasingly jealous Mitchell. As mentioned before, the author uses various TOS episodes, including "The Enemy Within", "Dagger of the Mind", "The Galileo Seven", and "Arena" (to name a few), all written with slightly different scenarios, to illustrate Mitchell's growing jealousy towards Spock. That jealousy soon begins to have dangerous consequences for Spock as he frequently falls victims to various attacks launched by Mitchell to get the person he considers his rival for Kirk's friendship permanently out of the way. But he is unsuccessful and his frustration only grows as he sees the friendship between Kirk and Spock deepen after each failure. Then Mitchell manages to arrange it so that Lt. Galloway, the crewmember who is killed by Ron Tracy in the episode "The Omega Glory", is the one who has been targeting Spock. But even though he knows that now he will never be found out for what he did, that thought brings him no comfort as he sees Kirk and Spock's friendship growing stronger and stronger. After the events of "Journey to Babel", Kirk is upset with Spock for not telling him about his parents. Spock, in an attempt to make amends, comes to Kirk's quarters and during their conversation, reveals what happened during the events in "Amok Time", which in this story are quite different than from what was portrayed during the original episode. It is after Spock relates those events that both he and Kirk realize they need each other both emotionally and physically. Mitchell soon discovers that they have become lovers and unable to accept their new relationship, decides then and there to get make sure his next attempt on Spock's life will succeed. What follows is a suspenseful and harrowing sequence of events that is guaranteed to keep the reader on the edge of her seat until the very end.This story for me really illustrates how much this author's talent has grown in a very short period of time when it comes to writing K/S. She just keeps getting better and better and I for one look forward with much anticipation to her future works. 
This story focuses on an interesting idea, what if Kirk had never killed Gary Mitchell? I am rather fond of stories like this that change one small thing and then
gives us a journey through TOS with this one difference. In this story we see many of the familiar episodes but events have turned out a little differently because of Gary. Gary is affected by the psychic jolt he experienced at the galaxy edge and it gradually warps his personality until he becomes bitterly resentful of Spock. In case anyone is worried, no he doesn’t desire Kirk sexually, he’s just a dangerously possessive friend. As events move on Kirk and Spock come ever closer shutting Gary out of Kirk’s friendship as Kirk falls more and more in love with Spock. I think this is my favourite part of the story I love to see the gradual development of the love between Kirk and Spock, a lot of stories either take that love for granted or imagine it developing from a single incident. Here love takes time to develop and I find that very, very believable for two men who work side by side as Kirk and Spock do.There are also some very tender scenes as Kirk and Spock realise their mutual affection, particularly the part where Spock explains what happened at his marriage to T’Pring (its not what we saw in TOS)! For you nit-pickers out there, there is a rather amusing misprint on page 100 of my copy, when Spock returns from destroying the giant space amoeba he announces ‘Captain I have fascinating data on the orgasm’, I assume he means organism—a Freudian slip if ever there was one! Don’t worry though it didn’t detract from the story at all, and of course at the end of the story Spock does have fascinating data about it. 
This story contains two of my favorite tropes so I was delighted to find it. ―What ifs‖ are among my favorites, and this one is a delight. Instead of dying in Where No Man Has Gone Before, Gary Mitchell lived on, saved by Spock, and a whole new alternate reality is born. Very cleverly, Elise latches on to the fact that it was Gary‘s innate ESP abilities that enabled him to mutate into a superbeing. Spock, in saving Mitchell‘s life, burns out his esper capabilities, a loss Mitchell bitterly resents. What follows is a whole string of altered episodes, everything from The Enemy Within, through Arena, The Conscience of the King, City on the Edge of Forever, Amok Time and beyond. Sometimes the outcome of each episode is little changed because of Mitchell‘s presence, sometimes radical changes ensue. For example, Spock is unable to go with the Galileo to investigate Murasaki 312. Unable to apply his own unique blend of human and Vulcan logic, everyone on the landing party perishes. I really enjoyed seeing how Elise changed each episode and what the ramifications of each change were. Mitchell was just off screen in several retellings, and had a more prominent role in others. All the while his paranoia slowly increases. Add to this Gary finds his ability to navigate the ship has eroded due to the loss of his ESP abilities.
Spock becomes the target for Mitchell‘s anger as he observes the slowly growing connection between the captain and first officer. This is another favorite trope of mine. Given Mitchell‘s remarks about the ―walking freezer unit‖, it seems fated to me that his personality would inevitably clash with Spock‘s. Elise doesn‘t rush any of this. This is a long slow build up of the K/S relationship where the end result seems absolutely inevitable—connection builds to friendship builds to love builds to passion. There are several typos but they didn‘t hinder my pleasure in this story at all. This could all have come across as just a simple retelling of several key episodes in the manner of ―and then this happened, and then this happened‖, but it certainly didn‘t, very much due to the author‘s skill.I find myself very much in agreement with the opinion Karen P. has offered that it‘s a very definite treat to find favorite authors on the archive and discover stories from zines I had somehow missed along the way. 
- from The K/S Press #76
- from The K/S Press #77
- from The K/S Press #74
- from The K/S Press #74
- by Carolyn S. in The K/S Press #177