The Prize (Star Trek: TOS story)

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K/S Fanfiction
Title: The Prize
Author(s): Ray Newton
Date(s): 1981
Length:
Genre: slash
Fandom: Star Trek: The Original Series
External Links: online here

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The Prize is a Kirk/Spock story by Ray Newton.

Online now, it was first published in the K/S slash anthology The Price and The Prize, see that page for more of this story's history and its context within the print zine.

Summaries

"A/U: Spock reluctantly accepts the human slave, James, after winning him from his sadistic master in a warrior challenge."

"On a Vulcan where Surak's Reforms never happened, the warrior Spock acquires a Human slave."

Inspired Works

From the Author: Origins of "The Prize"

In January 1999, this story was posted online by Foresmutters Project. An excerpt of the introduction to that post:

As well as I can remember, The Lorath was the first slave story I wrote, for the Naked Times competition; that did seem to be the hot topic at the time. The line I took was that in a practical slave society, a beautiful, useful slave would be valued and cared for, so there would be a specific word to describe the relationship. Lorath was my attempt at a suitable word, and yes, it pre-dated t'hy'la - in fact, I remember thinking that Gene had come up with a word that was very necessary in the K/S universe (without the slave context, of course).

Most of the basic ideas about Vulcan warrior society were inspired by [Gayle F's] S'Kanderai; I took the view that a chaotic, disorganised society would neither work nor survive, so the rules and codes of honour were important.

I had in fact found myself writing several slave scenarios, most appearing in Duet under the name Jane Jones. There was quite a bit of debate at the time as to whether slave stories were valid - some people took the position that Kirk and Spock would never take part in such a relationship, whatever universe they were in, or that if they did, Spock would immediately want to free Kirk. I took the view that in a slave-based society, it would be so normal for Spock to own slaves (even Kirk) that it would take a considerable period of inter-relationship with someone strong enough to make him really think about the consequences of what slavery did to the psyche of the slaves for him to learn to change his opinion.

In "The Prize" I tried to show the evolution of the relationship and the process of learning through Spock's eyes. I also thought that in such a society simply freeing one member of a slave race would be very dangerous for that slave, since he would not have even the meagre protection that the rules of ownership afforded. First the individual had to change, then gradually society; as we know, such change can be led by one man.

Over all, I was quite pleased with what I had done, though on re-reading now I can see things I could have done differently. I didn't get a great deal of feedback at the time; the trouble was, most copies of *The Price and the Prize* coming into Britain were seized by Customs - including my own.

We had some quite funny discussions at the time on the slave theme; a situation that was very common was Spock falling for this beautiful golden god. I thought that a vulcanoid race that had never seen a human before might think very differently, and did a story for Duet (Eye of the Beholder) where the Vulcan in fact found this pale-faced, round-eared, clammy-skinned weakling a distinct turn-off - though Spock learns to love him, of course.

To the best of my remembrance, the master-slave story was pure K/S; I can't remember anything much before that though there may have been the odd story in which one or the other posed as a slave.

I did do a sequel to "The Prize," in which K & S left Vulcan; it was never printed, and we can't seem to find a copy. [1]

Reactions and Reviews

Unknown Date

The mother of all rape stories was The Prize (from the zine The Price and The Prize) by Ray Newton. The original Pre-reform Vulcan story -- it should have been printed on special asbestos paper. [2]

1992

This is the best known of Ray Newton's slave stories. It has a number of major conceptual flaws that have been dealt with in sequels which answer all the questions I had about the background when I first read this story. There are also some minor plot holes. I found it amazing that a Kirk who seemed to be dying had the presence of mind to ask another slave how Spock liked his dinner, served it, cleaned the tent and never once collapsed. I also wonder how Spock could leave Kirk alone in his tent if there really was the necessity to guard Kirk at all times to prevent him from being raped. Nevertheless, Kirk's willingness to remain a slave for Spock's sake is still moving after all these years. The irony is that Spock became a warrior in pursuit of an ideal relationship of equals. It's the contrast of what K/S appears to be to outsiders and what it is in private that lends "The Prize" its continuing appeal. [3]

1998

My favorite story in this zine - moving but with a happy (mostly) ending. Kirk as an abused slave rescued by Spock (although not intentionally). They grow to care about each other and eventually bond. I didn't like reading the rape scenes (not by Spock or I wouldn't have liked the story), but they made the story work. And the A/U Spock, so like our own, but so different, killing so logically, but loving so fully. I wished that Spock had not left Kirk painfully aroused so long, it seemed cruel. I also felt badly for his neglected child, but this was apparently the norm for the society. I liked the characterization of Spock when he was unable to ask Kirk to make love to him, yet showed his need during his time by calming only in Kirk's presence. This author included the pon farr in this emotional A/U, but had it modified (more frequent but more easily accepted) from our universe - I thought that this was a good detail to make the A/U more cohesive while separate from the series. And I felt for Kirk as he lived through his jealousy as Spock bedded T'Pring and in his joy when Spock finally submitted to him (I was glad to see this equalizing of the relationship). The growth of the relationship felt real. And the sex was erotic and tender and well enjoyed by the characters and this reader. [4]

1999

This is a wonderful master/slave story—very rich, full of unique, imaginative and colorful detail, and a love against the odds. It's also liberally and explicitly illustrated by Gayle ("Explicit") F.

Though the Vulcans in this story are a warrior society, it's not Pre-Reform times (though I was a little confused at first by the juxtaposition of Vulcan warriors and space flight). We learn that Orion slave traders supply slaves of all races to Vulcan; and that before his capture, Kirk was a pilot in the renewed space-flight era after the Eugenics Wars.

Even though Kirk and Spock are shown by this author as the exemplary individuals they are, so that they shine above real life and other characters, the danger in this is that they might seem too obvious or cliched; but the characterizations here didn't feel at all predictable. Spock is a young warrior in training. Though he was born and raised in a slave-keeping society, and adheres to the rest of the warrior tenets of his people, he somehow does not share the inbred master/slave mentality, at least to the extent that he doesn't blindly believe that being enslaved makes the person a sub- standard being. Amanda was, of course, a slave, but was not known by Spock to be his mother.

Predictable, perhaps, but delicious: The rare human slave for whom the warriors are competing in the opening of the story—spirited, beautiful, untamed...Kirk.

But Spock doesn't compete. He doesn't want a bed slave; he wants an equal.

The humans had not been told they will be mates for male warriors, as their race is adverse to this, and when they find out, their struggles excite their masters. (A gratuitous piece of titillating information from me to this LOC.)

There are lots of vividly shown scenes of camp life, both the Vulcans and the human-slave sides.

Spock can't get this particular human out of his mind. Some time later he's forced to wager a fine pelt for the human and he wins the human, though he wanted to keep the pelt. Kirk knows how to and do serve (not sexually) Spock that evening in their tent, but Spock sees he's been abused by his previous master, Savak, because he resisted sex. We eventually get the terrible story of Kirk's abuse, through a meld. Spock wouldn't have believed it of a fellow warrior, this kind of savage cruelty, but he learns that indeed Kirk suffered at the hands of Savak and his cronies.

Spock will keep Kirk but not for sex, but in public they must act as if they do have sex...and as the story unfolds in a nice leisurely desert camp-life way, Kirk grows to trust Spock, to feel desire for him. So in private, Kirk is not really a slave (in a way, to put it simply, without arguing about slavery) and Spock will be training him as a fighting slave. His goal is to be a space-faring warrior, with Kirk at his side. And still they haven't been sexually intimate.

There's a good sequence pivotal to the story. First, Kirk's one slave friend, Jorith, plots escape and, after agonizing, Kirk joins him. They get a certain distance...and Spock catches them. Spock has to kill Jorith; and that he puts Kirk in his place breaks Kirk's heart, just when he'd begun to feel he had such an honest and special relationship with Spock.

But later, when Spock is in pon farr and wants only Kirk, Kirk unquestionably desires to be the one to help him. A really, really nice sex scene—lovely, hot, lustful fucking and in the morning, sweet lovemaking. Spock, though, will not let Kirk fuck him. I always like this, in any type of story, when for either of them (or both), being penetrated is a definite problem that must be worked through.

So now they've grown even more close, and on the journey to Spock's home (he has to go home and father a child), a band of escaped slaves capture Spock and say Kirk is free. They want to torture Spock and kill him. Kirk is still legally Spock's slave...but he drugs the renegades, rescues and escapes with Spock. And now their relationship is cemented even more.

The scenes at the end, at Sarek's home, are wonderful—all the family goings-on, the huge feast, Spock's warrior initiation, etc. But in the middle of all this, Kirk and Spock's minds are touching, they know they love each other and are wanting to bond. But it must be secret. At Spock's initiation, Kirk is also initiated as his fighting slave, and gets a new gold collar.

After their beautiful bonding and blood-exchanging in private, finally Spock begs Kirk to fuck him. They have lots of sex without Kirk's new collar on yet, as totally equal lovers.

A really satisfying story, thank you. [5]

2000

[comment by Karmen Ghia]: I recently read "The Prize" over on the Foresmutter's Project and I liked it. The sex was pretty good and the fashion and decor were great. But this is what puzzled me: Here you have two engaging and sexy guys who could be anyone, Alexander and Bagoas, Ed and Flynn, Brooks and Helmut, so why did the author even bother to make it K/S? I suspect it was more than that the author would have a pre-packaged audience but, if so, I'm sorry, I don't get it.

[response by Greywolf the Wanderer]: Hmmm. I think possibly you're right -- but also possibly the author really did see them strongly as Jim and Spock. I saw Spock that way; Jim was not as clear to me, because I can't see Jim agreeing to be tokhe'straav, willing-slave. But hell, I enjoyed all the longhair Vulcans and the mucho nookie so much I just kinda blew off the other stuff. I don't think it's a terribly realistic story -- but hot damn it's great for "one-handed reading", if ya know what I mean... ;-)>[6]

2004

Why this must be read.

While most of my recommendations have been for old stories, this one is definitely the oldest. It was originally published in a print zine (anyone remember those?) in 1981! It’s now available online, with permission from the author, courtesy of the “Foresmutters Project”, which makes old slash stories (primarily Kirk / Spock) available online for the first time. These old stories, and especially the historical commentaries, are well worth reading for a sense of where fanfic, and slash in particular, started out.

“The Prize” is one of my favorites of these old stories, and stands up very well against modern fanfiction. It considers an alternate universe, one in which Surak’s reforms never happened on Vulcan. In this world, the warrior Spock acquires a human slave. It’s a very interesting look at what would happen to the essential characters of Kirk and Spock if they instead lived under very different circumstances. Spock’s characterization, in particular, is carefully drawn and quite consistent with his portrayal on the show. The story is well written, and the evolution of the relationship between Spock and Kirk is excellent and realistic. The universe itself is well-drawn, as well; interesting details such as how Kirk arrived on Vulcan make this a much more well-rounded story than the usual AU tale. My only quibble would be that the age difference between Kirk and Spock is different from on the show, but hey, it’s an AU! [7]

2009

Previously published in classic zine The Price and the Prize with gorgeous art. On an alternate Vulcan, novice warrior Spock finds himself with a young human slave he did not want, named James Kirk. Respect and mutual feelings develop between the two, but Kirk can't let go of his dream to be free again. Raw and compelling, a fascinating story of how love can change one's view of the world. Love how even in that very different reality, Spock was still at heart a good and honorable man. Warning for rape (not between K & S). [8]
Set on a Vulcan where Surak's Reforms never happened, Spock acquires Kirk as a Human slave. The story has non-con because of Kirk's previous owner, so fair warning. I'm kind of iffy on slave stories, but this one is a winner. The culture of the Vulcans has a mixture of the logical but with that ancient fierceness mixed in, so you get logical fierceness, lol. The slow building of their relationship into love is highly believable and their characterizations are fairly intact. The violence shown fits this world and it doesn't have a 100% happy ending of Kirk getting freed, but it gives you enough happiness to appease you. [9]

2013

Fans of Star Trek should really read this on two counts: one being that it's a long, engaging story, with some absolutely fantastic world-building. If you're a fan of harlequin romances, than this is definitely the fic for you. The second reason is that this a piece of fannish history; it was written in 1981, published in printed fanzine "The Price and the Prize" by [Gayle F]. This was before the Internet could connect fans effortlessly, when vidding actually involved video cassettes and meeting fellow fans meant traveling to conventions instead of logging onto your computer. This fic is one of the oldest examples of slash, with the pairing that created the term 'slash'. How cool is that? (has a geekgasm). Just thinking about it makes me all warm and fuzzy inside. :D [10]
Oh man! It's historical! And having read it I must say - hurt/comfort slave fic with strong BDSM overtones? Fangirl tastes haven't really changed in the intervening years it seems. [11]
God, I remember when this came out - and I think I knew the author, too. I must confess it was never a particular favourite of mine but it created quite a stir in (our little bit of) fandom at the time. And hey, if you ever want any horror stories about being a fan in the days of manual typewriters, stencil correction fluid and the Post Awful, let me know! [12]

While most of my recommendations have been for old stories, this one is definitely the oldest. It was originally published in a print zine (anyone remember those?) in 1981! It’s now available online, with permission from the author, courtesy of the “Foresmutters Project”, which makes old slash stories (primarily Kirk / Spock) available online for the first time. These old stories, and especially the historical commentaries, are well worth reading for a sense of where fanfic, and slash in particular, started out.

“The Prize” is one of my favorites of these old stories, and stands up very well against modern fanfiction. It considers an alternate universe, one in which Surak’s reforms never happened on Vulcan. In this world, the warrior Spock acquires a human slave. It’s a very interesting look at what would happen to the essential characters of Kirk and Spock if they instead lived under very different circumstances. Spock’s characterization, in particular, is carefully drawn and quite consistent with his portrayal on the show. The story is well written, and the evolution of the relationship between Spock and Kirk is excellent and realistic. The universe itself is well-drawn, as well; interesting details such as how Kirk arrived on Vulcan make this a much more well-rounded story than the usual AU tale. My only quibble would be that the age difference between Kirk and Spock is different from on the show, but hey, it’s an AU! [13]
It keeps characterization spot-on and is definitely one of the classics. It is old (written in 1981), and with that age is a greatness that I think has waned in this fandom in recent years, only to be reanimated with the Nu!Trek crew. With that said, it is- without a doubt- one of my favorites. [14]
I usually don't like slave!fics, but this one was masterfully carried out. The characterization was clear and constant, and the subtle shifting dynamics between our boys was delicious. The whole tone of the story was--if you'll forgive the gushing--like burning embers in the dead of night. I loved every minute of it. [15]

I think I'd give it a miss if I were you. The author doesn't pull punches when it comes to Jim's life as a slave and, at times, it can be extremely brutal. Most of the bad stuff, including the rape, is fairly integral to the plot and not something that can be avoided (it's referenced to throughout the fic). Also, while I'm thinking about it, you might want to add BDSM to the warnings list, as that comes up in the story as well.

It's not all bad, of course, but well, it's not for everyone. [16]
I'd give it a miss. I read the fic and was rather put off by that part. It went into an awful lot of detail for the rape part and the plot really didn't demand that much detail. It could have been glossed over (especially since it was a mind-meld flashback to it), but instead was treated at almost the same level of detail/emotion as the Spock/Kirk "we now have feelings for each other" sex. It didn't sit well with me. [17]
Oh man! It's historical! And having read it I must say - hurt/comfort slave fic with strong BDSM overtones? Fangirl tastes haven't really changed in the intervening years it seems. [18]
God, I remember when this came out - and I think I knew the author, too. I must confess it was never a particular favourite of mine but it created quite a stir in (our little bit of) fandom at the time. And hey, if you ever want any horror stories about being a fan in the days of manual typewriters, stencil correction fluid and the Post Awful, let me know! [19]

References

  1. Ray Newton's comments January 27, 2000 as posted at ASCEML, when "The Prize" was first posted online by Foresmutters Project
  2. Sandy Herrold. Issues of Consent: Sandy’s mostly"Slash Without Consent" link page, via Wayback. (Accessed 09 May 2015)
  3. from The LOC Connection #44 (August 1992)
  4. from The K/S Press #19 (March 1998)
  5. from The K/S Press #33 (May 1999)
  6. from A 2000 Interview with Greywolf the Wanderer
  7. a 2004 comment on Crack Van
  8. 4 September 2009 Master List of K/S Favorites *Updated Nov 19, 2013*, Mary Monroe
  9. 20 TOS K/S fic recs, October 16, 2009
  10. from Epic Recs, posted May 24th, 2010, accessed March 20, 2013
  11. from lovelyhera at Epic Recs, posted May 25th, 2010, accessed March 20, 2013
  12. from theficklepickle at Epic Recs, posted May 25th, 2010, accessed March 20, 2013
  13. from bradamante13 at Crack Van, posted September 20, 2004, accessed March 25, 2013
  14. Katya's Fiction Recs, accessed June 23, 2013
  15. from Lomesir at Archive of Our Own, posted August 10, 2013, accessed August 14, 2013
  16. from slyprentice at Epic Recs, posted May 24, 2010, accessed September 24, 2013
  17. from llamabitchyo at Epic Recs, posted May 24, 2010, accessed September 24, 2013
  18. from lovely hera at Epic Recs, posted May 25, 2010, accessed September 24, 2013
  19. from theficklepickle at Epic Recs, posted May 25, 2010, accessed September 24, 2013