Title: The Learning Curve
Author: raku
Series: TOS
Part: interlinked

Rating: ratings vary from PG to R, depending which storyline is chosen.

Codes: Most of the TOS cast turns up. The main characters, depending on the path taken, are K, S, and McC. A couple of story lines are A/U, others work around some events in the first five movies.

Summary: When Spock passes through fal-tor-pan, his human side is not well restored. He does not regain his human feelings for his bondmate James Kirk nor does he really remember their relationship. In The Learning Curve Kirk, Spock, and McCoy all struggle with this situation. The reader of the story clicks on links to make choices about how the story will turn out. The story has something like ten endings, depending on which links are chosen.

Special thanks to the beta readers on this one, who did yeoman's duty--Greywolf, jonk, Judygran, and sydvick. Doc Science and Jungle Kitty had many helpful remarks, especially on Kirk, and Doc Science offered "The Garden of Forking Paths" at a critical moment. One anonymous person kindly shared unusual details of her life that enabled me to write Spock more realistically, I hope. I am very grateful to her. Heartfelt thanks to Dina and Charlene, for helpful advice. Thanks also to two men from rec.climbing for info on El Capitan, and to David Jaroslav and Searcher55, for info on the military.

The Tang water bottle that Kirk sees in the museum lives in the Famen Temple Museum, Shaanxi Province, P.R.C., and is published as plate 125 of the Guggenheim Museum's exhibit catalog "China, 5,000 Years," edited by Sherman Lee.

Archiving: OK for ASC/EM archive, others please ask.

Disclaimer: Paramount and Viacom hold all copyright in the "Star Trek" characters. The plots in this hypertext story are mine; the city of San Francisco and Yosemite National Park you might say are public domain. . . This is a non-profit work of fanfiction and no copyright infringement is intended.

* * * * *
The Learning Curve

copyright 1999 by raku

for H. A-L., in hopes of a better timeline

* * *

The late afternoon sun made the cobbled plaza glow brightly. Long shadows snaked away from the two men strolling on the stones. One was gesturing with his hands.

"And over there is the Cultural Groups wing, Jim, branching off of the bit with the Spanish tiles."

"You mean that section with the steel-and-wood beams?"

"Yep, that's the one. Wanna start there? We don't really have time for the whole show, but the Immigrants section is the newest."

"It's your call, Bones, whatever you want."

They resumed their walk, passing next to the sand-fountain that leapt and slithered in its basin. For a moment they paused, watched it glide and hiss among the smooth round rocks. It vaguely reminded Kirk of a fountain in another museum, one he'd seen in another time and place. Unable to draw up the memory, he turned to McCoy and they moved into the arched doorway.

"I never quite get used to that," said McCoy, shivering a little. "I know all about the physics behind the thing, but it always gives me the willies to see sand pretending it's water."

"Well, it was all political, wasn't it, the complaints about a fountain of water in such a dry area?"

But McCoy had stepped away to the desk to retrieve a padd loaded with exhibition information. He began keying different screens.

Not looking up, he said, "Um, they've got it divided roughly according to cultures that made up the area, Jim--there're a couple halls on Old Chinatown, some on the Europeans who came as miners--there's a section on the Devta'q colony. . ."

Kirk replied, "Why don't we just start walking and see what grabs us?" He nudged McCoy's elbow and they moved into the main hallway. Doorways beckoned them at intervals, amid large colored posters.

McCoy threw an arm across in front of his companion and pointed toward a rather dark room. "Let's try that. It's the beginning of the 'Daily Life' section."

McCoy's choice -- or -- Kirk's choice
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