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It was published in the print zine Starry Knights #1.
"A/U: After his cohorts turn on him, Kirk finds himself in prison for stealing a top-security disc."
Reactions and Reviews
Well, this is a Deanna Gray story, so of course it has an interesting and unusual plot, great characterizations of Kirk and Spock, and hot sex scenes. I feel I am repeating myself, because every LOC I write for a Deanna Gray story starts off with this same or a similar paragraph. But as long as Deanna continues to write such excellent K/S stories, I can’t figure out any other way to begin the LOC’s!
“Mate-Lock” is in Starry Knights, and is an AU story. It begins with Kirk stealing a data disk from Star Fleet Headquarters with two partners who double cross him and attempt to take the disk from him, shoot him, and leave him for dead. Kirk is found by the authorities and ends up in Galactic House, a jail on Earth where Spock is a fellow prisoner. There are no walls or force fields at the prison—the prisoners don’t attempt to escape because each wears a necklace that is linked to one which another prisoner wears. As the warden explains: “We affectionately call it mate-lock, because you have to stay within thirty meters of your ‘mate’ to keep yourself alive.” If the thirty meter limit is exceeded, the necklace starts to beep and then finally explodes, disintegrating the prisoner. The 30 meter limit won’t be exceeded as long as the prisoners stay within a white line surrounding the prison grounds. Needless to stay, the prisoners don’t know who is linked to whom. In the prison, the human prisoners are separated from the aliens. Humans are not allowed to have physical relations with each other. Instead, they are allowed time in the evenings to go to the Recreation Lounge. There, they can interact with the aliens if they wish and have sex with them. The aliens have no choice in the matter and must submit to any request made by one of the human prisoners. Of course, Kirk is immediately attracted to Spock and pursues him, despite a very large and powerful prisoner having already staked his claim to Spock. Kirk and Spock become lovers, discover they are mate-locked to each other, and eventually escape. They are pursued by prison authorities, and Kirk’s old partners make an encore appearance, too. I’ve read more than a few stories where Kirk and Spock are thrown into prison together, but none have used such an intriguing plot device as the mate-lock. The story is imaginative and exciting, and has some unexpected twists and turns. Neither Kirk nor Spock is what they seem at first, which leads to some really interesting plot developments. Even though this is an AU story, I think fans who prefer traditional K/S stories set within the familiar TOS universe will like it too. It’s not that different an AU from the TOS universe, and Deanna always writes a strong and commanding Kirk, whether she is writing in the TOS universe, an AU universe or a Mirror story. This Kirk is a man of integrity and honor, too, despite his profession. One fun thing for me about AU stories is seeing where the familiar characters of the TOS universe might show up. Deanna doesn’t use the regular bridge crew of the Enterprise in her AU story, as some others of hers have, but does have some characters we know. Kirk’s two partners are Stiles (from the episode “Balance of Terror”) and Helen (from “Dagger of the Mind”). A fellow prisoner who turns out to be a stool pigeon is named Gary, Komack is the evil prison warden, High Commissioner’s Ferris name is mentioned (and not in a positive manner!) and McCoy is a friend of Kirk’s.If you want to read an exciting, fast paced, well written K/S story then I think you’ll like “Mate-Lock”. I certainly enjoyed it a lot. 
"Mate-lock" by Deanna Gray is the first story in the new zine series STARRY KNIGHTS. It's 70ish pages and has a lot of nice development. Deanna is a favorite writer of mine, so naturally she was the first one I chose to read in this zine which basically has a/u and mirror stories in it. All told there are only four stories in the zine so each story is substantial. There is also art in this zine which is adequate, but nothing that I truly fell in love with. In other words, it wasn't Suzan Lovett, Chris Soto, or Shelley Butler quality in my opinion, but I am very picky about art.
"Mate-lock" is a/u. We are led to believe that Kirk is a thief who gets sent to prison, and that Spock is a half- breed Vulcan with extremely bad luck. Things, of course, are not how they appear because both men are pretending to be other than what they are. Naturally Kirk and Spock are drawn to each other. But unlike many stories, both men lie to the other about various things, even though they do fall in love with each other. Kirk in this story is supposed to be het who gets used to homosexual sex because he is 1) in prison and has no choice and 2) likes Spock as a person almost from the very beginning. This is not my preferred view of Kirk, but it's not a deterrent to my liking the story. In case you wonder, I see both men as bi from the very beginning and thus very accepting of homosexuality. I'm not particularly fond of the view of Kirk as truly het until he meets Spock and falls in love. It just seems unrealistic to me-much more so than imagining ships flying all over the universe to various planets we've never heard of. But that's my baggage. There is a basic villain who is Komack and some new villains named Stiles and Noel. McCoy makes an appearance as Jim's friend and also Nogura turns out to be a good guy. The story is actually set entirely on Earth. Frankly this could be a very present day story with any buddy couple except for the fact that Spock as a Vulcan does have some non-human powers and there is some advanced gadgetry that we don't have today. I think it speaks to Deanna's ability as a writer that she wins me over despite the fact she presents a view of Kirk I'm not into and also is basically writing a non sci-fi story, another thing that turns me off when I am reading K/S.I got the zine, I saw Deanna's name, I started reading the story and I kept on reading the story until I got interrupted by my husband. I had to put it down and go do something else and then the first chance I got I returned to the story and finished it. It's a good story and it's well written. It's a little more romantic than I personally like but that is okay. Most K/S people like romance so I shouldn't complain. I definitely do recommend the story. It definitely does NOT bore you. The twists and turns are interesting. 
One thing about this author, she knows how to take you for a hell of a ride... and this story is no exception. Lots of plot and action and sex...hot sex. This is an AU story and I know some people don’t care for this genre, but I do if Kirk and Spock stay in character. And they do here. Kirk is forceful and in command as far as the limits of the story allow. I’m not going into too much detail for those of you who haven’t read this yet, but I have to say that I loved the end when we find out the truth about Kirk. You Spockies out there should really enjoy yourselves. A lot of bad things happen to our favorite Vulcan. No, I’m not telling you what, just know that everything turns out right in the end. Good, clear, concise writing. Great dialogue. And Deanna exhibits a fine sense for detail. This woman can tell a story. I highly recommend Mate-Lock. Curl up in bed, read it and enjoy. 
Once again this author shows her tremendous versatility and talent by penning a K/S story complete with an intriguing plot filled with elements of suspense, betrayal, trust, and of course love in an A/U universe, as only she can.
What makes this story so unique lies in the origins of its title. "Mate-lock" refers to the inventive and very effective way Galactic House, a penal colony, uses to ensure none of its inmates attempts escape. Upon arrival, each is issued a collar that is electronically linked to another prisoner. As long as the two stay within 30 meters of each other (the length of the prison grounds), the collars remain inactive. Once that distance is breeched, however, the collars begin a self-destruct sequence, with devastating results. What makes the method so foolproof is that no inmate knows who his "mate-lock" is, so the odds of a successful escape are next to impossible. It is here that Kirk and Spock are confined; Kirk (apparently working on the wrong side of the law) for a covert operation that is successful in all aspects but one—his capture—and Spock for a crime he didn't commit. Despite witnessing for himself the destructive power of the collars, Kirk is determined to escape. That opportunity soon comes when circumstances surrounding Spock lead to the revelation the Vulcan is Kirk's "mate-lock". What follows is a harrowing series of events as the two make good their escape, only to find themselves relentlessly pursued not only by local law enforcement, but also (unbeknownst to Kirk) by two of his cohorts from that last mission, all of which are guaranteed to keep the reader on the edge of her seat. Yet interspersed between all the hair-raising, desperate attempts to stay within that crucial 30 meters of each other, there are moments of quiet tenderness and serenity as Kirk finds himself falling in love with Spock. A betrayal from a completely unexpected source, however, threatens to destroy their burgeoning relationship and it is left to Kirk to determine if he can forgive that betrayal, for if he cannot, then a future with Spock, a future he so desperately wants, can never be.Another unforgettable, imaginative K/S story from one of the best authors around today. I can't wait to see what she comes up with next.