Author’s Notes and Acknowledgements
First, I would like to thank coldmero, the amazingly talented author I had the incredible privilege of working with on this challenge. With out her art, this story would never have come to be; I never would have even conceived of it, so I am indebted to her for the opportunity to write this story, the inspiration, and the collaboration that made it possible. Shortly after I claimed her sketch we exchanged emails and IMs online, and she told me her thoughts behind the image. The description was something along the lines of it’s a scene where Bones is wearing a flannel shirt, and Jim is in uniform, and there somewhere quiet together on a planet; Bones has maybe been thinking of leaving Starfleet because something happened, maybe with Joanna, and he didn’t expect Jim to come. From there we started discussing ideas, strategies, what could happen to get Bones and Jim to this place, how should it resolve, what themes or back story elements would be good to include, how should TOS canon come into play in an AOS/Reboot story? It turned out we were on the same page. Less than a week later, I had a 3,000 word outline, and the rest is history. coldmero was easy to work with, and we continued to check in with each other throughout the process. She hasn’t read the finished fic yet (she wanted to be surprised), so I sincerely hope she likes the finished result.
Next, I would like to thank my amazing and dedicated betas: Carlos, calamitycrow, engel82, and sleepwalker1015. They went above and beyond the call of duty with this, helping me pick a title, letting me know if the story made sense to people who weren’t familiar with TOS canon, finding the horrible typos that result from my temperamental keyboard, helping me work through sticky points in the plot and figure out how to make this all happen, and doing it all wile they were swamped with other work and challenges. Thank you guys! *hugs*
I would also like to thank the lovely and eternally helpful mods ileliberte and zippitgood for organizing the trekreversebang challenge, and giving us this opportunity. It was a really novel experience for me as an artist to be doing the claiming, taking a step back and following my artist’s lead, and getting a new perspective on the challenge experience. Thanks, mods, for a wonderful experience! I hope this is the first of many.
Now for some notes about canon, fanon, and other meta-y things…
This fic is set in the AOS / Reboot ‘verse, but as anyone familiar with TOS may notice, I’ve incorporated a lot of elements both from TOS and the Movieverse and blended them with AOS / Reboot chronology. This means I’ve made some assumptions, and tweaked dates and sequences in a few places.
My assumptions were as follows:
1) Joanna McCoy exists in the Reboot / AOS ‘verse and much of Bones’s mental state when we meet him in Star Trek XI is the result of being forced to leave her behind.
2) David McCoy, Bones’s father, still contracted pyrrhoneuritis and Bones still helped him commit suicide shortly before a cure was found.
3) Jim Kirk still went to Tarsus IV and was there during the genocide.
4) Jim Kirk has lots of allergies (not exactly an assumption there, but I extended it beyond canon into fanon territory).
5) Jim Kirk’s stepfather was abusive, especially after George Samuel (Sam) Kirk ran away from home.
Putting these assumptions together I found a few problems with the timeline. In TOS / Movieverse canon, David McCoy didn’t die until 2264. This story is set in mid 2260. I thought David McCoy’s death and Bones’s role in it might be a good contributing factor to the implosion of his marriage, so I took artistic license and moved David McCoy’s death up from 2264 to late 2254 / early 2255, having it happen shortly before Bones and Jocelyn’s divorce is finalized and Bones joins Starfleet. Considering that this is the AOS / Reboot timeline, I’m not sure that’s really a big stretch.
The second big change was I wanted very much to write a story where Jocelyn wasn’t a villain. I know that expanded universe works for TOS have established that it was Jocelyn who was cheating on Bones with Clay Treadway, but I’ve turned the relationship dynamic on its head a bit in order to contextualize Bones’s relationship with Jim in the scope of his sexuality and 23rd Century cultural and regional attitudes towards the spectrum of human sexuality. I combined Bones’s struggle with self-acceptance with his father’s death and used the two to construct a (I hope) plausible explanation for his relationship to fall apart and for Jocelyn to get full custody of Joanna. I hope the result is satisfactory.
Finally, Joanna’s disease is completely made up. The name “Vespasian-Telos” is a nod to two of my other favorite interests—Roman History and Star Wars. Vespasian was the Roman Emperor who famously both started construction of the Colosseum and instituted an incredibly unpopular “urine tax” on public toilets. Telos IV is a planet central to the plot of Knights of the Old Republic II (KOTOR II); it was devastated during the Mandalorian Wars and Jedi Civil War and was where the Jedi Exile uncovered much of the Sith’s ongoing plot to destroy the Republic.
Thanks for reading!
Part 6: Rebirth and Epilogue | Master Post