In an Alternate Universe, Spock Kisses My Hand
This morning I saw Leonard Nimoy on The View. In fact, I’ve been seeing Nimoy almost all week on shows because of the promotion for the new Star Trek film in which we see Kirk, Spock and the rest of the bridge crew as young men and women. Nimoy is in the flick as an older Ambassador Spock. “Older” is right. Leonard Nimoy is now 78, his Spock voice is thinner with age, and he’s on his third wife. His latest foray into photography features very large women. James Doohan, Majel Barrett, Gene Roddenberry, and DeForest Kelley have all passed. It could be that this is Nimoy’s last Trek appearance, but as he said today, never say never.
I think that there is more affection for Nimoy than there is for William Shatner; more affection for Spock than there is for Kirk. I think it’s because the character of Spock revises the view of biracial people; he chooses to be Vulcan; he chooses to use his intellect before speaking. Yet Spock cannot help but display his humanity: his geekiness, his irritation, the significant lifting of his eyebrows, and the way he would signal or mask his emotions by saying, “Fascinating,” or “Interesting.” Not so noted was his quiet understanding of and affection for people like Christopher Pike, his mother Amanda, Flint, and women like Droxine and Liviana, the Romulan commander, and even for Tribbles and the Horta.
And Spock is not destroyed because he is different, but he is enhanced and made more interesting and attractive by it. That there is a portrait of Barack Obama going around wearing Star Trek gear and wearing pointed ears–Mr. Cerebral Cool–proves that Spock will continue to live on in the American cultural repository.
However, because I am female and black, I identified, as well as fell in love with the character, too; though I wasn’t supposed to. I was only supposed to relate to black characters or figures. White girls who were in love with Spock wanted to seduce him on an “I could do it” basis. And while he was alien, Spock was also part white, which meant that if he was going to make love to anybody not white, she had to be absolutely special. And class-wise, equal or superior.
And I was Spock, too; that is, as a tween, I was those things that made people misunderstand him, even to the point of equating him with the devil. Because I was easily hurt, I wished that I could assume some of that armor of his. Moreover, he as well I was deserving of love, and that is what I reacted to when I saw him on television 42 years ago.
Yet Nimoy himself is dismissive (and embarrassed) about the impact that he had on young girls and women when Star Trek was running on NBC. As the Wikipedia entry relates:
Spock, in fact, became a sex symbol of sorts to many young girls–something no one connected with the show had expected. Leonard Nimoy notes that the question of Spock’s extraordinary sex appeal emerged “almost any time I talked to someone in the press…I never give it a thought….to try to deal with the question of Mr. Spock as a sex symbol is silly.“
Whatever. It’s easier for him to deal with Kirk bedding women than Spock, I guess. I’m sure this response (from his 1970s book, I am Not Spock) has to do with his separating the character from the real man, and the typecasting he underwent after Star Trek went off the air. In my tweens and teens–and way into the reruns on Channel 2, I knew that it was a character I was enamored of, and not Leonard Nimoy.
In the alternate Star Trek universe, which comprises of books, cartoons and video games, and which is not part of the official Trek TV and film canon, it is Saavik who, as Spock’s former ward, bears his child and later marries him. But in my alternate Trek universe, Spock is the father of royal twins by their mother, the biracial queen of a black planet.
No one has ever been able to keep Trek enthusiasts from creating their own fan fiction: timelines, sexualities, worlds, religions, and new characters based on the original series and characters; in essence, extending Star Trek into subjects never seen or heard about on Sixties TV. I’ve heard of these stories, plays, comics, videos and novels being passed around privately, presented, placed on websites, and even sold at Trek conventions, since the 1990s. Until the rise of the Web, I thought I was the only one who’d written Trek fiction.
At 13, I had heard about Star Trek, but I was more into Batman and The Man from U.N.C.L.E. until one night, when I visited my childhood friends, Meemsy and his brother, and they were watching the show. Of course, I was hooked. I think it was when NBC threatened to get rid of the show, that I began to write my universe. And it wasn’t just because I was fascinated with Spock. I was also ticked that Uhura wasn’t getting as much action or attention from the men on the Enterprise, and why not from Spock, who was not completely white. When I saw Tuvok and his brown pointed ears on Star Trek: Voyager decades later, I smiled. Now women are ticked off that the new Uhura and the new Spock are getting it on.
It was hard to write the story at first. My mother tried to destroy every piece of juvenilia–junk, she called it–I wrote during that time. Her stated excuse was that I needed to learn math, but I knew then as I do now, that there was more to this inclination of hers, because she kept doing it for years. She made me to put the little hand-written manuscript in the garbage; but later, when it was part of my chores to put out the cans, I rescued it by putting it under my shirt. I smoothed out the pages, rewrote the ones stained with salad dressing, and hid them. I was so successful at hiding it that when I left home to go to college, the pages came with me.
The story is this: The Enterprise was confronted with a planetary system embroiled in war. It wasn’t just Oshuniya and neighboring Uresiya that was at war, but the Kingdom of Oshuniya, an all-black planet, itself had a civil war between a younger, usurper king half-brother and his older, rightful queen half-sister.
Queen Alixa was her name, and she too happened to be part-Vulcan; her father, Juozas, while crown prince, had met and married an impressive Vulcan woman, Ke-Renn, of both warrior and noble blood. Unfortunately, the princess, pregnant with their second child, was slowly poisoned to death in a conspiracy. Later, when Alixa’s father became king, he unwittingly married the woman who helped to murder his wife, the Duchess Geantine. She in turn bore the king another heir, Prince Juozas, who appealed to those who distrusted Vulcans, wanted a male ruler, and upheld the purity of the royal blood. Queen Consort Geantine later rose in rebellion on behalf of her son while he was a child, and but she committed suicide in the failed attempt.
When the first Juozas died, Alixa ascended the throne. In five years, however, her brother undermined the monarchy, encouraging insurrection while playing on the queen’s refusal to use her powers on her own people. Eventually, the queen fled, setting up her court and war council near the sparsely inhabited frontier, and the prince declared himself king, Juozas II. In the process, however, he disappeared his uncle, poisoned his aunt until she was an invalid, forced his cousin to marry him, and imprisoned her twin brothers, as all three of the latter were next in line to the throne. At the time the Enterprise comes onto the scene, the queen’s and the usurper’s forces had fought to a draw. The usurper’s wife and cousin, Queen Consort Seryona, had delivered a disappointment, a girl and princess, to the succession. Additionally, Uresiya was beginning to win the war against its neighbor, and taking the Enterprise would have expanded the war.
Instead, the queen uses her powers to divert the forced beam over of the Enterprise command (Kirk, Sulu, Spock, Scotty, Uhura, Chekov, Bones) from the Uresiyans to her Oshuniya enclave, and hiding the Enterprise from view. For it was the queen who had asked for the intervention of the Federation in the first place to help bring the interplanetary war between Uresiya and Oshuniya to an end. When this is accomplished, even as the usurper king attacks the queen’s automated fortresses, she then challenges her half-brother to a fight to the death, and wins–all without using her powers.
Somewhere along the line, of course, the queen and Spock mate. She’s just as lonely as he is; a kind of freak among her own people with pointy ears, and more powerful than any other Vulcan he’s known because of her Oshuniya ancestry, and with the reserved demeanor. There’s no one else like her until Spock shows up. And perhaps his presence is not an accident, as the Federation wants to put its best foot forward. For the first time, Alixa has someone her equal to talk to. By the time the civil war is concluded, and the queen is restored to her capital city and throne, she’s pregnant. Naturally, Spock accompanies her through all this.
Queen Alixa gives birth to twins, one of whom will marry his cousin and reconstitute the royal house. Spock makes two or three visits to see the queen and the twins during their childhood, adolescence and early adulthood, and stays in contact with them. He’s not exactly her husband or mate for life; he does not have a noble title; he is not one of her royal advisers, and they are not formally married according to the Oshuniya tradition, but the Federation recognizes that there is a tie.
I wrote this when I was 13, when I was feeling that I did not belong anywhere in my family, at school, in the black community, and wondered whether I would ever be attractive to a young man. Writing it affirmed me; that I could have a happy ending, too. Leonard Nimoy’s Spock represented Otherness as well as acceptance, a pride in ancestry as well as in being different, even for a black girl who wanted to be loved.
- Leonard Nimoy Retires ‘Star Trek’s’ Mr. Spock: Take the Trivia Test Even Trekkies Can’t Pass (omg.yahoo.com)
- Say It Ain’t So, Spock! Leonard Nimoy Retires from ‘Star Trek’ Conventions (space.com)
- caj: ThinkGeek :: Star Trek Spock Tree Topper (thinkgeek.com)
- 10 Things You Probably Didn’t Know About The Original Star Trek (thenewspundit.com)
- Leonard Nimoy attends his final ‘Star Trek’ convention (ctv.ca)