When Lightning Strikes Twice
|Title:||When Lightning Strikes Twice|
|Fandom:||Star Trek: The Original Series|
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It was published in Charisma #13.
"Follow Kirk and Spock on their professional and private odyssey from the time just after the first five-year mission all the way through "The Final Frontier"."
Reactions and Reviews
This story started out as an almost methodical listing of Kirk and Spock's life together (not a complaint, I enjoyed it), but progressed to a highly emotional tale of Spock's recovering from his death and rebirth.
I have always admired this author's style and I liked the way she showed the aftermath of Genesis to be more than just simply regaining memories or intellect. Kirk's struggles to give support and comfort to his love rang true, especially his forcing of the meld to discover for himself just what was going on in Spock's troubled mind.I thought Ms. Solten had the characters true-to-life and found Spock's journey back from the dark to be most readable and well thought out. 
Though it didn't have much going for it in the way of plot, Part One of this post-movies novella was my favorite section. There was something about the author's steady, unobtrusive tone that made me feel like I was there through the beginning of Kirk and Spock consummating their life-long friendship, despite being told primarily in narrative. In short, Part One made me fall in love with the relationship between the characters all over again. Part Two was a little more difficult to swallow. I was very glad to see the 'reality' of Spock's death brought to light -- i.e., how much it effected him deeply and emotionally, as so many stories have understandably side stepped this issue. It was good to see the effect of a 'partial death' hitting Spock so profoundly. Spock's behavior was rather bizarre, and difficult to get a handle on, but I imagine that's fairly realistic for one who had been through something so traumatic (especially considering it was an experience no one else had ever been through!) The only real flaw I found was that HcCoy's dialogue sounded a bit 'off, though I'm not sure why. Perhaps he was a bit too cardboardish -- he didn't seem to have much personality. But since he was such a small part of the story, that's a minor complaint. Part Three came across as rather weak, probably because I was waiting for something 'big' to happen to set everything right again. Instead, things just quietly developed an even-keel. The detail about Sybok's katra was very clever, and the final sentence admirably appropriate. An overall observation: This story had some wonderful short, one-sentence paragraphs that carried a lot of impact. Examples are: "It had been so long." (p. 136), "Their hands met and clutched." (p. 138), etc. The well-placed bluntness of these brief statements added a lot to the story's tone and readability. 
I've been meaning to review this story for months, but I've hesitated. Not because I don't like the story. I do, but I'm not sure I understand why I like it so much. I've thought about it a great deal, and I still don't have a handle on it, but here goes anyway. First, my very favorite kind of K/S is an established relationship tale when Kirk and Spock are older, and "When Lightning..." is just that. It takes place during the time just before and after Star Trek II through V. It postulates that K and S became iovers after fifteen years of friendship. Spock moves into Kirk's apartment in San Francisco, and their relationship grows and changes, and is especially affected by Spock's death and resurrection. Pretty simple, huh? Then why have I read the darn thing about ten times, each time more entranced than the last? There is a certain tone to this story that I find very attractive. It is far from a deep and emotional study of the characters. As a matter of fact, there are really three main characters here, Kirk. Spock, and an omniscient observer who stands above the action and provides a certain kind of eerie, poetic distance from the events of the story. And the style of writing, while occasionally poetic, is also very sparse. This author has taken the traditional advice to beginning writers. "Write with nouns and verbs, not adjectives and adverbs" to a new height. The dialogue between the two men stands starkly alone, without outside interpretation or interference. The opening 'scene.' which details how the two of them make the decision to live together, has a dreamlike quality to it. It is told from the omniscient perspective, looking back upon the event. Where other writers, including me, would be tempted to go into great detail, Ms. Solten uses broad brush strokes on a canvas that, with her skill, really needs nothing else... I especially liked Spock's nightmares, and Kirk's first reaction to penetration. I loved just about everything about their everyday lives together. I'm the kind of reader who really does care about what they eat for breakfast. I did think that some of the obvious symbolism was overdrawn: for example. Spock wearing black after Genesis, Kirk wearing white. And it was really hard for me to imagine Kirk wearing pajama bottoms that were too long for him. The image of him schlepping around the bedroom with his pants dragging along the floor just won't come to me. I also disliked the obvious parallels between rape, Kirk's initiation of the mind meld (and how can he do this without Spock's cooperation, anyhow?) and Spock's supposed inadvertent attempt at penetration. I see the point, but it seemed much too pat for me. The section detailing the delicate changes in Spock. helped aiong by a supportive Kirk, worked perfectly, especially striking was the scene at the Academy when Kirk is almost run over by an errant air car. So, why do I like this story so much? Maybe it's because the author manages to make Kirk and Spock seem so real, through the lovely detailing of their lives together. Maybe it's because the events and emotions portrayed present a new and intriguing interpretation. Or maybe it's just because Natasha Solten is a wonderful writer and she was on top of her form. I don't know. But I sure love this story. 
Satisfaction spread completely through me by the end of this story. It commences not long after the 5 year mission and is mainly narrative in nature, telling in fairly undramatic prose how Kirk and Spock came to be lovers. What didn't rivet my attention in the beginning did keep me reading and that was much to my advantage. It is an easy and relaxed relationship Ms. Solten describes and yet it tantalizes with occasional snippets of intimate conversation. This seemingly uninspired love story still holds my interest as Captain Spock prepares for Saavik's Kobayshi Maru.
What the author has managed to do with her unassuming style, is make you a part of the lives of these two men, whose every word and action, you finally realize, is not profound and life-altering. Spock delivers Jim's birthday gift to him in bed (Tale of Two Cities— what birthday present did you think?) Then he says he'll see him later at headquarters and leaves for work. A normal work week that we know will change their lives forever. A humorous and heartwarming encounter between Kirk and two of Spock's students is a bright splash of amusement for the Admiral and the reader. In a corridor, one student is assuring the other that Saavik will get a break from the Admiral on her Kobayashi Maru because the Admiral and Spock live together. Kirk stands by and absorbs the speculative comments before coming up and asking the two for directions. Then he turns back to them and casually adds "Curiosity is an excellent trait. Even concerning commanding officers—but to my knowledge Captain Spock has never taken well to those who pry into his personal affairs. He actually threatened the life of a close personal friend of mine over just such an incident." Kirk raises his brows, then winks at the astounded pair. Somehow little touches like the above conversation reveal so much of the indomitable personality of the Admiral—his understanding, his sense of humor and his deep and abiding love for his Vulcan. Pride, also, don't you think? Part two takes place some time after The Voyage Home, with the timespan of the three movies left to canon and the reader's imagination. Again we are privileged to see a very mature kind of love between these men. While the refusion could have resulted in much angst and misunderstanding, it did not. Were things perfect? Absolutely not. But as Kirk explains to McCoy, "...things are different. I'm different, he's different. It was so good before. We were perfect together. Now all that's changed. It's hard times, that's all." Acceptance, guided by love, is a beautiful thing. We are able to share their journey back to perfection at Ms. Solten's hands.There is a lot of fun in part 3, and that same ease with each other, even when the most difficult and intimate problems arise. That's why I was left with such a complete sense of satisfaction at the end of When Lightning Strikes Twice. The "all's right with the world" feeling was pervasive and made this a very worthwhile read.
I remember attending a Shore Leave convention (I went every year for many years, so it’s impossible to pinpoint which one) where I had several conversations about the story “When Lightning Strikes Twice” by Natasha Solten, published in Charisma 13. I kept trying to figure out what made the story so compelling, when the story line was mainly domestic. After many years of platonic friendship, an older Kirk and Spock finally agree that they don’t want to part at the end of an evening spent in Kirk’s apartment; Spock shyly joins Kirk in his bed. I think that is part of this story’s charm, the shyness that each man feels as they slowly, very slowly indeed, expand their sexual relationship.