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It was published in the print zine First Time #56.
The Becoming Real Series
"Right after his problems with Janice Lester, Kirk must deal with a matriarchal society contemplating joining the Federation...and with the dawning realization that he wants Spock."
Reactions and Reviews
I really liked this story as a whole. It felt as though I were watching a Star Trek episode and that does not happen very often. For the most part, the characterizations were very well done. I don't want to give the story details away because it's brand new, but it takes place after the events of Turnabout Intruder, the last aired Star Trek episode, so it's easy to see a first time here. I prefer stories that take place after the events of TOS rather than within the series. "Deflectors Down" has a lot to offer; a good trek plot, interesting secondary characters, relationship, some emotional h/c, angst, and a tender and passionate first time love scene, very much how I feel it would be btw Kirk and Spock. That said, there are a few things I found to be off, more so in the ending love scene. We all have our quirks in k/s. I don't care for feminine references in relation to Kirk and Spock and there are a few in this story that stand out; Kirk "begging to be possessed like a woman." Spock's skin was "soft as a girl's." I also don't care for one man picking up the other and carrying him to bed; "Kirk was carried like a child to the sleeping alcove." References like that are jolting to me and take me out of the story a bit because I can't relate to Kirk (or Spock) like that. But there are more elements that work for me within the story than not, so I tried not to linger on those things that I found to be off. There is a lovely color Shelley Butler illo that accompanies the story. 
Where do I start going on about the sparkling zine, BEYOND DREAMS 6, and a story in it that I loved, Starbase Eighteen? After reading it and being entranced, I found I wanted to go back to FT 56 and reread its prequel, Deflectors Down. As I did so, many superlatives sprang to mind. Unique ideas. Imaginative writing. Fascinating situation: a matriarchal, pacifist, planetary system on the brink of entering the Federation; strong, authoritative females, a pleasure to learn about. And most of all, a portrait of a very special, sensitive, strong and courageous, James T. Kirk. He is a captain who is suffering some profound self-questioning concerning his maleness, his strengths and weaknesses, particularly in light of his recent entrapment inside the body of Janice Lester. And recalling how Spock, his closest friend and confidante, had saved Kirk's life by touching his human mind, knowing him, and rescuing him.
All of this and much, much more I thought about. Yet this praise didn't come close to describing the emotions this story engendered in me. It made my heart sing, scared some exclamations out of me for Jim and Spock's danger and heartache, and caused me to wonder and feel admiration at the fine, at-times poetic style with which Ms. Cooke etched her cool ideas, and especially the love scenes. In short, I'm mad for it and its sequel. The time is after the Janet Lester fiasco, the ship is on the way to pick up dignitaries from the planet, Norr' ebra. Because Jim Kirk is troubled, Spock, too, is concerned about his Captain's well-being and the unspoken feelings about the unsavory events with Lester. Spock even goes, atypically, to McCoy to voice those concerns. Then he goes to Kirk. The scene in Kirk's cabin, where Spock comes to ascertain Kirk's emotional safety, to help him, is priceless. Kirk's "passionate aspirations", his "bright presence", the "lonely courage" that Spock sees in him, were all expressed so beautifully by the music Kirk had been playing before Spock arrived. And all in such lovely, vivid writing, so psychologically satisfying to me. Phrases that stayed with me long after I'd closed the zine: "They were both very proud men. How difficult, yet necessary, for them to surrender to tenderness." Just wonderful writing and insight! I also loved, "The naked communication" of their kissing! Wow! A lot of dwelling on their kissing, which is really important. The breathless excitation that I felt, witnessing one of the sweetest first times I've ever read. Yet initially I had the impression that there was only light mind-brushing, a meld but not a deep one. "Spock held Kirk's mind in his." These descriptions were truly poetic, phrasings expertly mingled with a heady solid reality. Extraordinarily sensuous! Their love is portrayed throughout sweetly, tenderly, erotically. But the memory of Kirk and Spock cuddling in the herbarium, where they'd gone for a picnic, is very special. It's one I wish Spock could imprint on my mind, as he did the memories of their 3 day lovemaking on Kirk's. It's a sexy, warm and wonderful time! (Yet I'm not sure if this imprinting and the fact that the couple do have deep melds later, is in some way a foreshadowing of a method of protection for Jim's mind, when, on Starbase 18, he is attacked by the sinister presence lurking there. Well, we'll find out about that soon enough. Read BEYOND DREAMS 6!) Uhura was superior in Deflectors Down, too, very much; she was bright, powerful, confident and valuable to the crew and her captain. Particularly in her role as guide and go-between to the Norr' ebrans. But I liked her best when she inadvertently caught Kirk and his lover holding hands in the briefing room! (Now don't you purists start saying Kirk would never do that, jeopardize their careers by making intimate gestures on duty where they might be seen! Wait'll you see what he does later— in front of the crew!) I forgot all that, though, in the next, unexpected and extremely exciting twist in the plot. Encountering an asteroid that turns out to be the "nest" of a strange species of beings, Spock and Gwenlin, a Norr' ebran beam into it and are trapped, presumed killed. Yow! Kirk's reactions, his superb control, his skills at negotiating, his diplomacy, all inveighed to bring a peaceful solution to the horrible scare. And it proved that this Human is precisely the man for the job he's doing for StarFleet. In any case, it's here in the transporter room, when Spock and Gwenlin beam back safely aboard that we get that bonus gesture, in front of the crew and the Norr'ebrans. I love it!! Later, in the debriefing room, Spock and Gwenlin's explanation of the events that Kirk and Cered experienced down in the caves is utterly intriguing. Illusions had been manufactured from memories drawn from Kirk and Cered by the young nestlings of the alien race, the embryos in the pods. In the process, Spock points out, StarFleet security may have been breached and the Prime Directive violated. This is important because it's what leads to the Board of Enquiry on Starbase 18 in the sequel in BEYOND DREAMS 6. The final bang-up love scene is so amazing, tender and hot that words fail me. We get passion, submission! in the red glow of Spock's quarters! So many firsts here and the thrills came fast and furiously. But also, lovingly, yearningly and so competently that, at the end, we hunger for another chapter to this sublime story.Anyone who hasn't read it should certainly do so, or read it again before you go on to BD 6 This is adult writing by an author who is wise, who possesses an uncanny ability to understand and portray deep feelings and intimate thoughts. She never lets you down. It's like watching a 4-star TV movie, and it's terrific. 
What a wonderful story! Kirk does lots of soul searching about the issues of identity and gender, and his relationship with Spock, in the aftermath of “Turnabout Intruder.” Katherine explores these issues very effectively in this story with its intriguing plot involving a matriarchal society. And I loved Uhura in this! 
It‘s James Kirk, and to a lesser extent Leonard McCoy, who have their deflectors down in this first time story in the series. In the wake of the abduction of his body by Janice Lester, Kirk is taking a good hard look at his preconceptions of women and especially at his own sexuality. Yes, he is vulnerable but is so grateful for Spock‘s unending support and belief in him. How incredible it felt to be touched so deeply in the meld and see Spock‘s close-held feelings for his captain in such a clear light. Finally Kirk has a label for all he feels for this most dearly beloved friend.
McCoy, too, is at a crossroads. He‘s received notice that his daughter Joanna, has fallen very ill, and the ensuing guilt at never being there for his child has brought about a crisis of conscience. Kirk, in his state fails to see it, but Spock does. Add to that McCoy‘s recent involvement in stopping serious medical abuses on Beta Auriga. It‘s a new role for Spock, this responsibility to provide comfort to a friend, but he, as always comes through. The little scene between the two is truly very moving and well done. Of course the missions of the Enterprise don‘t stop because of personal considerations, and next on the agenda is a diplomatic mission involving the Norr- ebrans, a peaceful matriarchal planet considering joining the Federation. Their leader Cered, her female partner Gwenlin and others of their ruling council come aboard for a ride to Starbase 18 to formalize negotiations. Meanwhile Kirk and Spock take that last step and become lovers.On the way to the starbase, they encounter an asteroid with an oxygen atmosphere and Spock and Gwenlin beam down to investigate. They stumble into caverns where the young of an alien bat-like species are incubating. Unbeknownst to them, the young exist in a physic field that the two accidentally contaminate with aspects of their personalities. Their leader Tilip is very unhappy about this. Alien miscommunication provides some serious angst for Kirk and Cered and opens the way for a charge of violating the Prime Directive. 
- from The K/S Press #77
- from The K/S Press #81
- from The K/S Press #82
- from The K/S Press #164