This week’s episode of Star Trek: Strange New Worlds, “Spock Amok,” finds our favorite Vulcan meeting up with his fiancee T’Pring and accidentally swapping bodies (thankfully, this is not due to the effects of a magical fortune cookie). T’Pring, who also appeared in the first episode of Strange New Worlds, may seem like a relatively minor character in the Star Trek universe – but her one appearance in the original series ended up inadvertently inspiring a hugely important element of Trek fandom.

T’Pring first appeared in season two’s “Amok Time,” best known as the episode in which Spock comes down with a lethal case of horniness and, not unlike every character in a 1980s teen comedy, will die if he doesn’t mate. The only way for Spock to remedy his Vulcan urges, AKA pon farr, is to hook up with his betrothed mate T’Pring. Long story short, he ends up in a ritual fight to the death with Kirk because Vulcan customs are straight-up bonkers.

This beloved episode also ended up serving as a key influence on the burgeoning trend of erotic Star Trek slash fiction, in which Kirk and Spock are more than friends. And you can see why; this story is all about Kirk finding a way to satisfy his companion’s pent-up sexual frustrations, ending with a symbolic physical interaction that resolves the issue. It was this “particular” episode that became “the basis of a host of pon farr stories” in which “Spock is slowly going insane – and Kirk is his only option.” 

Star Trek fans, thanks in part to this storyline, ended up popularizing “the writing of fanfiction as we know it today.” So next time you’re enjoying a story in which, say, Teen Wolf has sex with characters from Tolstoy’s classic War and Peace, remember that you have Spock’s creepy ex-girlfriend to thank. 

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Top Image: Paramount

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