Drawing of Spock's face.



Jacqueline Lichtenberg

          The name "Spock" (according to the Vulcanur used in the Kraith universe) means "a male who communicates a blended tradition." The name also carries the connotation of "Founder of Dynasties." (1.2)

          The Spock of the Kraith series is constantly aware of the enormous responsibilities his name imposes on him. "Founder of Dynasties" implies offspring--and fulfilling that prophecy is the closest thing to a "sacred trust" that a Vulcan can know.

          But by a slight shift in pronunciation the name becomes "Communicator of a blended tradition;" and this aspect of his name has contributed to the development of his character throughout his lifetime.

          The eighteen year old Spock who left Vulcan for Starfleet against his father's wishes did so in part because of his name. His grandfather, Suvil, had given him the tradition of his Vulcan heritage and had taught him all he needed to know as a Kataytikh and Guardian of the Tradition. (3) Suvil's training had been so thorough that this young Spock held within his mind the Vulcan Racial Memory and the values of his culture, Tsaichrani, in a richness of detail utterly incomprehensible to the human mind.

          But from his mother, he had received nothing even vaguely analogous. If he was to justify his name (and retain an integrated sanity), he needed the human analog to the Vulcan tradition he already carried.

          Since Tsaichrani was totally sufficient for Sarek, Sarek was unable to understand Spock's need. Spock was unable to make Sarek understand for Spock himself did not know what he was searching for. He only knew that there was an empty place inside himself and as he grew toward maturity, the need to fill that void became an undeniable imperative. Sarek knew, through his association with Amanda, that humans had nothing even vaguely analogous to the integrated tradition of Vulcan. But Sarek did not know that Spock felt a need for that which did not exist. Hence the breakdown in Father/Son communications that lasted for eighteen years.

          During these eighteen years, Spock grew to 3/4 maturity. Slowly and painfully, he learned that he would never be able to "communicate a blended tradition" in the full Vulcan sense because the other half of the blend was non-existent. It was only much later that he came to terms with a compromise.

          Let us pause here to trace the four steps in Vulcan maturation. First comes the physical maturity that corresponds roughly to human puberty. As with humans this occurs somewhere in the teens--certain individuals may undergo this process as early as ten years of age, while others may not reach this point until sixteen or seventeen. However, in the Vulcan male, puberty does not complete the process of preparing for parenthood. This completion occurs at first Pon Farr, which is step #3 in maturation.

          Between puberty and first Pon Farr comes a step which does not have any true analog in human experience. (4) It is an acute crisis in the maturation of the personality as opposed to physical maturation. It generally occurs between 25 and 30 years of age and it is heralded by an abrupt change in behavior. We observed this in Spock as the difference in him between the time he rescued Christopher Pike from the Talosians and the present day.

          The fourth and final step in Vulcan maturation is participation in the Affirmation of the Continuity. For Spock, this occurred after the end of the "Third Season." (5) Thus it is that Spock of Kraith II and onward is a vastly different, yet hauntingly similar, person compared to the Spock of the first three seasons.

          One informative way of tracing the evolution of Spock's personality is through the stages of his "love life." It is known (6) that Spock's charisma has attracted human females constantly and it may be assumed that this was true at the Academy as well. At first, the eighteen year old Plebe was, no doubt, quite bewildered by the phenomenon since Vulcan women don't express such preferences. But he learned to live with it in spite of the Vulcan sense of responsibility he felt toward any female who became so attracted. (7)

          We may assume that before "This Side of Paradise," Spock was absolutely immovable by any female. However, the "alien virus" which had disturbed his metabolism so profoundly in "Naked Time" had left him in a sensitive state so that the effect of the spores on a body ripe for first Pon Farr was strong enough to actually precipitate the onset of the drive--an onset which might never had occurred had it not been for his choice of career as one which would expose him to many alien influences. (8)

          As is well known (9), Spock's first Pon Farr was somewhat atypical in that it ended neither in marriage or death. The Kraith series is founded on several assumptions about the nature of the Pon Farr and consequently the peculiar condition Spock found himself in after "Amok Time." (10) In brief, it is postulated that the Pon Farr could not be properly terminated by the shock of "killing" Kirk . . . yet it had subsided to a level so low as to preclude any


possibility of a normal termination (which is, of course, the reason he released T'Pring.) It is further postulated that this is rare but not unknown among Vulcans. (11, 12)

          Episodes aired subsequent to "Amok Time" give eloquent testimony supporting these postulates. In particular, the often quoted "degeneration" or "humanization" of Spock during the Third Season is attributed in Kraith to the systemic tension of the unbroken Pon Farr acting to produce an effect which looked to human eyes like "emotion" but which is in fact nothing of the sort. After "Amok Time" Spock was left in a state of acute sensitivity of femininity and in fact was profoundly disturbed by a) the Romulan commander of "Enterprise Incident" and b) Zarabeth of "All Our Yesterdays." And he actually appeared to be flirting in "Cloud Minders." (13)

          Such a condition is anomalous in Vulcan society since an unmated male might become attracted to another male's wife, resulting in a duel to the death because access to his woman is literally a life-or-death matter to a Vulcan. (5) Thus we may assume that Spock was under pressure from the Vulcan authorities (T'Pau in particular) to take a mate, and in fact it is this assumption which is used in Kraith to explain the strangely un-Spockian Spock of the Third Season.

          While he was yet rational enough, Spock chose T'Aniyeh (14) as the logical candidate and sent her his proposition. But she wrote back putting him off with neither a "yes" nor a "no." Adding this frustration to the state of tension creates a deeper understanding of Third Season Spock.

          The other factor operating through Second Season and into Third Season which accounts for Spock's change of behavior between "Galileo Seven" on the one hand, and "Gamesters of Triskelion" and "Tholian Web" on the other (the latter being two instances where Spock commands the human crew with considerable skill whereas in the former he was ridiculously inept for a First Officer) is the process of learning about humans "in the field."

          When he went to the Academy, Spock had only a very distorted grasp of what it means to be human. In First Season he was still using phrases like "One of your human emotions." In Second Season that became "I still don't understand human obsession," (15) and in Third Season, "Only such as are inevitable where humans are concerned" and "Forget it, Bones." (16) We see right before our eyes the growing realization that though humans lack a unified tradition and a Racial Memory, they do have certain characteristics which serve the race well enough.

          So, first Spock recognizes in himself a need for something he doesn't know is non-existent; then he discovers that humanity does indeed have a set of Qualities which can serve as a Tradition if he can only systematize them in some logical fashion.

          It is this first attempt at understanding that accounts for his exceptionally human behavior under Captain Pike. It is only after his maturation crisis that Spock realizes he must stand within the Vulcan Tradition or face disintegration of personality. (17) Thus, drawing upon the strength of Tsaichrani, Spock sets about his second (and ultimately successful) attempt at absorbing the human analog of the Vulcan Tradition.

          This theory accounts for Spock's dreadfully unbelievable ineptitude in "Galileo Seven." He was, in effect, starting over from scratch in his attempt to grasp the essence of humanity. He had discarded his older data as having been gathered under fallacious assumptions and was taking a long, hard look at ALL the basic assumptions of the Philosophy. This process, no doubt, occupied him for several years, giving rise to Kirk's comment in "Amok Time"-- "That just sounds like Spock in one of his contemplative moods." It also accounts for the fact that about seventeen or eighteen years after entering the Academy, Spock was still in the oddly undeveloped state of "Oh, one of your human emotions." It is unbelievable that such an intelligent person could live among humans for so long, behave as he did under Pike, and yet not at least recognize without comment all the human emotion-words, if not the concepts behind them. The only logical explanation this author can concoct is that he had scrapped all previous data and was starting a new study of humans.

          If we assume that Spock's maturation crisis occurred just before Kirk took command of the Enterprise, we then get a very revealing picture of the Kirk/Spock relationship. At first, Kirk would be occupied with establishing a "Command Image" in the eyes of his human crew and with the myriad details of running the ship. He'd probably never worked so closely with a Vulcan before and those he had worked with had been pure-bloods who kept to themselves. Since Spock would perform his duties and run his department flawlessly, while spending all his off-duty time alone in his quarters, Kirk would have assumed Spock was the typical Vulcan and (since he didn't have to establish a "Command Image" in the eyes of a Vulcan to evince high performance, loyalty, obedience, and confidence) Kirk would have left him alone.

          After a few months, when he'd finally settled into command of the Enterprise, Kirk's friendship with McCoy and the other crewmembers who had known the old Spock would have brought Kirk to the realization that his First Officer was behaving anomalously. Attracted by curiosity as well as a sense of duty, Kirk would have tried to strike up a deeper acquaintance. Kirk's first impression of Spock would have been of a Vulcan who had never known any humans before. Knowing that, as a half-human, Spock needed an understanding of humanity, Kirk would have set himself the task of "educating" Spock while dismissing the stories he'd heard about the previous Spock's personality.

          It is postulated in Kraith that Vulcans have absolutely selective memories--they can forget as perfectly as they can remember. In beginning the new experiment, Spock might have placed all previous knowledge of humanity under a block so that he would not have access to it until some trigger released it.


          Under Kirk's tutelage and McCoy's needling, Spock grew to be the person we have come to know and honor. The pressures of the events of the Kraith series continue to force the growth of Spock's maturing personality along lines which reveal his fundamental differences from both humans and Vulcans. The Kraith series can be thought of as the chronicles of:

A)   Spock's search for a permanent mate;
B)   the stages of Vulcan maturity;
C)   the effect of humans on Spock;
D)   the effect of Vulcans on Spock;
E)   the effect of Spock on Vulcans, humans, and the Federation as a whole;
F)   the impact of the great sweeping forces of galactic history on an individual and the value of strong interpersonal relationships in supporting an individual who must face such forces.

But most of all, Kraith is the chronicle of the maturation of Spock’s character.

  1. "Spock" is an ancient and revered name which was offered Amanda and Sarek for their son as a form of acceptance of their marriage. It had been used centuries before by the product of a very daring mixed marriage involving disparate cultural traditions and that child had grown up to leave a laudable mark on both societies.
  2. Kraith's Vulcan languages are discussed in Vulcan Sememics, in Kraith Creator's Manual #1.
  3. For a full explanation of this hereditary designation, see Kraith I, II, III, IV. See also note 10 below.
  4. Except insofar as human puberty is accompanied by emotional upheavals. Evidence supporting this four-stage theory may be drawn from the fact that Spock was immune to the plague in "Miri" (First Season.) It might have been his green blood that wouldn't support the microbes; but considering his naive phrasing in asking McCoy about the process of puberty in humans, and considering that "Amok Time" occurred AFTER "Miri," his immunity might be attributed to a lack of complete physical maturity.
  5. Kraith I, Spock's Affirmation.
  6. "This Side of Paradise"
  7. "This Side of Paradise"--the final scene where Spock insists gently that as much as he may regret it, he has no feelings to give. He has none to give because his whole mind and body are bound inextricably to T'Pring.
  8. It has been argued that the reason Spock did not request leave in time to get home before the Pon Farr is that, due to his human genes, the onset was much quicker than normal or unexpectedly early. It might also be true that it is a common Vulcan characteristic to deny the loss of control which accompanies Pon Farr since first Pon Farr is the first experience of the repugnant effect. However, I don't recall ever seeing the suggestion that the one-two combination punch of the virus and the spores might have been the cause of an atypically rapid onset. The most reasonable explanation is probably some combination of these.
  9. "Amok Time"
  10. In Defense of T'Yuzeti, in Kraith Creator's Manual #1.
  11. In fact, an incomplete termination of Pon Farr due to any of a number of causes such as the attempted use of some contraceptive measure usually results in a long, lingering and particularly terrifying death. Spock was fortunate that he was left well below this threshold. This is the reason that the pacifist life-worshipping Vulcans permit the practice of duel-to-the-death. Better to die cleanly than in unnatural agony.
  12. For a sketch of the evolution of the Pon Farr from a mere rut cycle into the do-or-die drive which seems incongruous in an intelligent species, see The Evolution of the Vulcan Primate, in BABEL 2.
  13. It must be assumed that all during Third Season, Spock remained unmated, since otherwise he would not have been vulnerable.
  14. Kraith II, Spock's Mission.
  15. "Obsession"
  16. "Tholian Web"
  17. The nature of the bond between Spock and Pike was never fully revealed on the air, but Kraith attributes the unusual (even for a Vulcan) sense of obligation that Spock had for Pike to the fact that it was Pike who stood in loco parentis during Spock's personality crisis. At the time Spock underwent this crisis, he was unwelcome in his home and un-trusted by his father's closest relatives. The only Vulcan who understood him, his grandfather Suvil, had died the year before he entered the Academy. During the crisis, the Vulcan had a truly desperate need for the support of a fully mature personality. Pike assumed this role for Spock.



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