Date: 08/09/2010 11:29 PM Title: Reparations
But it was good, even if Jim swears too much. And really, who judges how much is too much, anyway? Plus there was that little bit of humor when Jim thought about how Spock pretty much is an epic fail when it comes to being undercover, so bonus points there!
Date: 08/06/2010 9:51 PM Title: Reparations
I just wanted to say that when I read the story it was pretty clear to me why Kirk was getting drunk and acting this way. The backstory was not laid out in tidy exposition, but I understood that Kirk had done something he thought was awful and brutal but that Starfleet thought was a job well done. I took this story to be a character study... it wasn't about about what happened, but Kirk's reaction to what happened. I also don't think Kirk's reaction here was out of character for Kirk, even a mature Kirk. Even in TOS there are many references to the fact that Kirk sometimes struggles with the martial aspect of Starfleet and struggles with the reputation that he has for being a tough soldier. I think an important facet of the much better adjusted Kirk of TOS is that, though he prefers to be an explorer, he can be a willing and damn-good fighter for the ideals of Starfleet. Errand of Mercy and ST:VI I think especially deal with the more militaristic side of Kirk and how it's not always pretty. . . and how Kirk is aware that this side of him may not always be something to be proud of. I think it's fair to explore how the not-so-well-adjusted and much younger Kirk of the reboot world would struggle with this issue and to believe that the struggle might be ugly and messy. I also do not think that Spock of any world would allow anyone to strike him simply out of a sense of duty. Again, it isn't clearly laid out that Spock and Kirk have a close personal relationship, but fanfiction by its nature draws on the fact that we already have an idea of the basic characterizations of these characters. There is even a code to warn readers beforehand if the character is going to be behaving out-of-character or if the story is in an AU. Reboot Spock removed himself from duty for attacking Kirk, so why would he believe that his duty covered allowing Kirk to attack him? I think that the character of Spock as set up in XI would never think it anyone's duty to suffer abuse at the hands of a commanding officer, so clearly there is another reason as to why he lets Kirk treat him this way. I'm OK with surmising that it is Spock's personal relationship with Kirk that makes him take the hits from Jim and that maybe lets him understand why Jim is hitting him. It seems a bit unfair to critique a writer for having Kirk not behave like "himself" and then be unwilling to apply that prior knowledge of these characters to understand the actions of Spock. What this boils down to is that though some might not be onboard with this story, I personally did not have any problem understanding what was going on and don't think it portrayed Kirk or Spock in a way inconsistent with those characters
Thank you for this.
It was intended as a character study, and a specific moment of high emotion, through the lens of somebody in the grips of high emotion. This is not meant to be the defining coda on Kirk - who he was yesterday and who he'll be tomorrow - it's a slice of right now, struggling through a painful set of circumstances and reacting, badly, by his own admission. It was also an experiment for me to deliberately introduce an intentionally skewed perspective on events.
RE: TOS Kirk's struggles with the martial aspect of Starfleet & Nu!Kirk's lack of corresponding age and experience: YES! Thank you!! By introducing the billboard and Starfleet's PR campaign I wanted to address the direct consequences of Nu!Kirk's career starting with him saving the Earth. At a time when Starfleet had just suffered a staggering loss of people and the Federation one of its founding members. Of course they're going to want a figurehead, and who better than the son of George Kirk, who is young, attractive and a Hero in his own right. I can't imagine that kind of pressure and exposure is easy, he'd do it of course because the Enterprise is TOTALLY WORTH IT. But just because you can accept certain things you don't like, doesn't mean they stop bothering you. So yes, adding that element on top of the scenes you mentioned of TOS Kirk (and may I introduce, as well, his actions in The Arena, Obsession and The Enemy Within for an even more nuanced examination of his demons) I can see it combining together, with the catalysing force of Spock's betrayal, to create this kind of mess. Regardless of how heroic he can be, or will be, he is still very much human with his own demons to fight (and in the context of this story - can you sat trust issues?)
I'm also glad that you were able to read between the lines and fill in the blanks on your own, another thing I wanted to do with this story was leave enough room for people to interpret the events in their own way and come to their own conclusions. It doesn't matter to the story if Kirk and Spock are just friends or if they're screwing each other into the mattress at the end of every shift. It doesn't matter if the colony was called Rathgar or Alpha Beta, and it was attacked by Romulans or Klingons or the Borg. If you envision any of these scenarios, great! But the impact is in Kirk's reactions in the aftermath. I think it has more resonance that way, than if I'd just handed everything to you on a silver platter and told you how to take it. You may not read it exactly the same way that I do, but that's the nature of stories and art (uh, I'm not calling this story art or anything, it's just that I'm also an artist and that lens informs a lot of my reality XD).
Thanks again for reading, and for actively considering it! It's really the best compliment a reader can give :D
Date: 08/06/2010 6:48 AM Title: Reparations
No no... you haven't understood what I was trying to say :)
Being drunk and hurt is all good, but what lacks here, at least what I felt was lacking, is the Thruth about why Kirk is getting drunk. I understand it was wanted on your part, you desired to left it "open". Yet, as much as I can stylistically understand, I must also say that, withouth some background information about the reasons Jim Kirk is getting drunk, I don't think it is In Character with the person he was in the end of the movie.
There is a wonderful story very similar to this about TOS, and it was very credible. Because the author gave us the reason behind Kirk self-destructive approach (to the point of a more serious self-harming than in yours)
All the question marks in your reply to my comment means exactly that: there is something... not here in the story. It lacks something. It is more like a chapter than an one shot, and as a chapter I can't see a sense in neither their reactions. Sure, it could be... a lot of things. But it is undefinied and therefore too vague to make such extreme reactions, on both their part, "adeguate" :)
I would love to see a whole fanfiction about this, that is for sure :)
Have you ever reached a point in a conversation where you suddenly realized somebody was Just Not Getting It and probably never would?
Mine was this: "All the question marks in your reply to my comment means exactly that: there is something... not here in the story."
I think we're done now. You're right, this story isn't for you. And if I changed it so it was, it wouldn't be for me.
In the meantime, I encourage you to look up the "socratic method" of teaching. Wikipedia is a good place to start.
Date: 08/05/2010 5:06 AM Title: Reparations
You write very well, but I am not sure if I like this story. The characterization of both Spock and Kirk doesn't ring very true to me, not even as Reboot (Kirk is growing during the movie, and this is one of the thing I loved in it) while here he seems struck on the "pause" button at the bar scene when he meets Pike.
I don't really understand if it is him who exagerates or if he is here really the Worst Captain Ever (and I doubt starfleet would keep giving him missions is he keeps making people die, PR is all very good, but the truth of war reports has a nasty habit of showing up sooner or later).
Also, Spock is... undefinied. I don't understand if he is here for his duty of for friendship (which apparently here doesn't exist, so, scratch that) of for some UST.
In short: the style of this story is breath-taking, and I am not kidding. It is raw but in a good way, strong, and convey all the points. It makes you *feel* what Kirk is feeling, which is good. But the characterizations and motives are rather awry. This feels like a chapter in a longer story throws here for a change. In a longer story it could be explained why Kirk feels like that, why Spock is there, what really happened. Like this, it doesn't make much sense.
I am sorry for the rather brutal feedback :( but I am honest in those things. 5 stars because of your wonderful writing style^^
Author's Response: I'm not going to jump down your throat for daring to criticize my work, no worries. I am, however, going to ask you some questions to help put things in perspective. Have you ever been very drunk, very angry and very hurt (not to mention feeling guilty and insecure and the rest of the mess of emotion and painful memories that's happening in this story)? If no, then this story will be a stretch for you. If yes, how clear were your perceptions? Can you look back on your thoughts and actions, under those circumstances, and say they were a true and accurate representation of everything that you are when you're not struggling with that kind of pain and anger? Or did you wallow and use your pain to distort reality and see everything through the lens of drunk, angry, and hurt? It's an important distinction to make here, that this is told through Kirk's eyes and he's not exactly in a rational state of mind. Reexamine the story through that lens and Kirk's 'old avenues of self destruction' ( emphasis on OLD, as in habits dying hard - because there is comfort in the familiar, even if the familiar isn't particularly comfortable) and hopefully Kirk's characterization and the POV resolve themselves. If you still think I failed after that, please let me know. The flippant comment on Spock's sense of duty and friendship kind of baffles me. Kirk states explicitly that he feels betrayed because he trusted Spock, makes mention that Spock is one of the few people that he does trust 'to not hurt him'. I'd say that's a pretty strong case for a friendship, at the very least. Now remember that Kirk is drunk and angry and hurt and separate the baggage of Kirks perspective from Spock's reactions. How do they read now? He makes no moves to defend himself, he tries to apologize and he accepts all of Kirk's accusations and punishments and THEN he holds him gently and helps him home. Why would he do that? Surely not just out of duty? Perhaps he thinks Kirk's anger is justified and feels the need to make 'reparations'? As for the actual event leading up to this scene... Kirk is obviously feeling guilty that he didn't make it in time to save the colonists. Further to that, he thinks he should have been able to save them and is angry at himself for not making it in time. Further to THAT he was successful in tracking down the murderers but he doesn't feel he was justified in killing them. I don't need, or want, to write that story so I gave it to you in the first couple of paragraphs. It's the emotion that I wanted here, the what happens after. Now, starfleet obviously disagrees with Kirk's interpretation of events, hence the medal. But Kirk is angry, drunk and hurt so he's spinning everything in the worst possible light. Then, in addition to not being able to save the colonists, he's facing the fact that he IS capable of 'murder' and having trouble coming to terms with that. Hence, the self loathing and frequent comparisons to his image on the holos and the ubiquitous billlboard. Its a metaphor. As awful as this is, kirk's also dealing with a deep, personal betrayal, so keenly that he can't even bear to name it in his own head. What was his last threat to Spock? What other allusions does he make to the betrayal? What would someone that holds onto his scars, so absolutely that seeing them removed from a billboard unsettles him, fear the most? Hopefully the story makes more sense now, I deliberately left it ambiguous and unresolved because I wanted it to feel as messy and complicated as real life so often is.