And Mate in One
|Title:||And Mate in One|
|Fandom:||Star Trek: The Original Series|
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It was published in the print zine First Time #9.
"Spock starts sending Kirk confusing messages of a personal nature while on a mission away from the ship."
Reactions and Reviews
The coded correspondence of illegal chess moves between Kirk and Spock in this story may be one of the best uses of chess I have ever seen in fiction. The author seems to be well acquainted with chess. She utilizes it as a gimmick, but it's one that has been thought out and seamlessly integrated within the plot. This is my favorite story by Roberta. 
Digging deep in to my pile of First Time zines, it was number 9 that emerged as looking mainly unfamiliar—and isn’t this one of the joys of K/S, that we can reread with as much pleasure sometimes as we found first time around?
This is a lovely story. As it opens, Spock and a science crew are away from the ship on a science-type mission, the details of which totally passed me by, but do not matter too much.. On the bridge, Uhura receives a message from him which she conveys to Kirk should be taken in private. Jim is taken aback to find Spock communicating as if the two of them were lovers, separated for the first time! He has no idea what Spock’s trying to say, and tells Uhura she’s been heeding too many rumours when he realises that she cannot see a problem with the words. Kirk composes a clever reply that plays along, whilst also enabling him to ascertain that the sender is actually Spock, referring to their last game of chess. In due course a further message confirms the identity, and begins to send a series of chess moves, along with the more intimate hints. Kirk is confused, to say the least, but more than willing to back Spock up even when he doesn’t understand. We see him using McCoy as a sounding board and staring at the chess moves for hours, aware that Spock’s trying to convey something more. McCoy is interested in Jim’s acceptance of such open declarations from Spock and of course gets him to admit his hidden love and that he should do something about it. There’s a lot of time to while away as they await Spock’s next messages... and a somewhat tantalising reference to “that link you say the two of you have,” but Jim can only feel that his First Officer remains alive. In due course, he realises that Spock and his Team are in trouble and that he’s sending the messages to get the Enterprise to come to them and sends a triumphant communication to let Spock know: “You bet it’s mate in one....You owe me two nights my Vulcan.”The story does not feel rushed at all and is beautifully written, with other members of the bridge crew playing their part and eventually, the entire science team are safely rescued from a Klingon crew (yes, it was them) and Jim and Spock are alone together, so to speak. For the first time, we see things from Spock’s POV: He, too, has been waiting for this moment (as well as me, then). Jim has to ask, why THAT form of message, and , eventually, the decider: “Didn’t it upset you to...tell them you had a male lover?” A wonderful scene, with both of them staring intently at the wall and of course they are interrupted. Eventually, all is sorted and they become lovers there and then. In the captain’s cabin. On the floor, with laughter and tenderness. It’s beautiful, as is the meld that follows. All in all, a lovely story that gave me no problem suspending my disbelief that Spock would use such a ploy. In fact, it ALMOST made me want to learn to play chess! 
If ever there was a unique and intriguing story plot, this is it. Spock is away on a research project but is expected back fairly soon. But then Kirk gets a message from him that there's been a delay and that Spock misses him and that he's thinking of Kirk every minute. His dreams are filled by his t'hy'la. The words are those of one to his lover.
Thing is, they're not lovers, and Kirk is bewildered by the message. But because Kirk doesn't know why Spock sent such a strange message, he continues the lie in his response.Days go by as the messages fly back and forth. With each new message, Spock's words become even more intimate, the only off note (well, even more off,) is the chess game they begin to play. Kirk is still confused, even more so by Spock's chess moves, but he comes to realize that he wishes the messages were true. He knows now that 
...AND MATE IN ONE by Roberta is the most innovative story I've read in awhile. A captured Spock sends a very interesting communication to a puzzled Kirk on board the Enterprise. The fun is when Kirk gets over his short embarrassment and realizes that the Vulcan is truly in trouble and not just out of his head. I really like Roberta's writing and seem to find the best of it in FT — one reason I keep reading FT's first. 
Another story that exhibits cleverness beyond the call of duty is "...And Mate In One." Kirk and Spock conduct a very strange chess game over sub-space. This is the best use of chess that I have ever seen in K/S. Not only does Roberta show a good working knowledge of chess, but she has the game play a powerful symbolic role.