James T. Kirk, "T for Tomcat," man's man, youngest starship captain in Federation history, confronts a problem ofan unfamiliar kind, a question of sexual orientation and personal commitment. In a plot familiar to readers of "slash" fiction, Kirk and Spock are stranded on a desert planet with little chance of immediate rescue; the Enterprise is away on an emergency mission delivering plague serum to Mmyrrmyon II, when Spock prematurely enters Pon Farr, the Vulcan mating fever. Spock will die if he does not achieve immediate sexual release. Kirk comes to the slow, reluctant realization that the only way to save his friend's life may be to become his sexual partner. Kirk reassured himself: "No one is asking you to
enjoy yourself" (4). It seemed the logical thing to do at the time. The situation does not remain that simple; Spock resists, angry at the captain's violation of his privacy, unsure what the consequences of these actions might be, yet soon succumbs to reason, to need, to pleasure. Instead of the anticipated displeasure, Kirk experiences intimacy, warmth, release: "Relief flooded through him and Kirk stopped for a moment, just holding Spock in his hand, not daring to look at him, just letting the knowledge be there between them, that this was going to work" (5-6). Spock survives, Kirk endures (well, perhaps a little more than endures), and the two return to the Enterprise, now confronting the aftermath of that desperate situation. Kirk is haunted by the memories which intrude into his otherwise "healthy" erotic fantasies of sex with blue-skinned Andorian women; the captain is uncertain what these strongly felt desires say about his masculinity, what it all means for his sexual orientation: "Welcome to bisexuality, Captain Kirk, where gender has nothing to do with who you want" (11-12).