Spirk (Captain James Tiberius Kirk and Commander S’chn T’gai Spock) is my favourite ship. Not only because how their dynamic shows one of the best example of a fine-tuned machine and team, they are the oldest ship in fandom based on, Henry Jenkins, a media scholar’s assertion. It is also the most popular and longest lived, though there are stipulations that JohnLock (Sherlock Holmes and John Watson) are the longest, but there are no evidence to support that claim. Spirk is also one of the simplest ships, in my opinion. The fandom isn’t overwhelming and are always interpreting their relationship as a gradual escalation rather than an imposition on their dynamics. Also most fan works show them interacting as they would in the show or the movies with a more romantic undertone. This makes them easy to love and easy to see how they could work.
Who are the characters in Spirk?
James Tiberius Kirk is a human male from Riverside, Iowa who becomes a Starfleet captain at a very young age. He is loyal, kind and traumatized from his childhood experiences. In the original series he was raised by his parents and lead a happy childhood, other than the trauma he experienced in Tarsus IV. While the reboot has him raised by his abusive step-father after his father death at his birth, and also lived through Tarsus IV. James is a story of hope, perseverance, and development whether by following a parent’s footsteps or by defying the odds.
Spock on the other hand is the more relatable character. He is half Vulcan and half human. His experience with both humans and Vulcans placed him as an outsider, especially as he tried to reinforce his place in Vulcan society by following its idealism. However, idealism isn’t what a society makes and that is what his experience as a half human in Vulcan portrays. In both series his story is pretty consistent up to the point where Vulcan, in the reboot, is blown up. This event gives the Vulcan an out to present his emotions when needed that the original Spock already did.
Why They Work Well Together (In My Mind)?
Spirk works because Jim and Spock’s friendship is one for the ages and has been recognize as one of the most recognized ones. Beyond their friendship, they are an amazing dynamic team that compliments each other. Jim is the passionate one with an emotional investment in every activity he does. Spock is the logical one who views any problem with a detached view and understanding. Together, they come up with creative solutions and ideas to solve whatever problems they are facing from life threatening to basic command decisions. As characters, they tease, bicker, and play with each other admitting they cared about each other.
Also, in Vulcan society, there is a bond called T’hy’la, which translates roughly as Brother, Lover, and Friend. This bond usually results between warriors who are seamless in activity and fight. It is ancient and reverent. Many fans stipulate that this bond exists in Spirk. The idea is not far fetched based on their existing dynamics and how enthusiastic they are about protecting each other.
Their relationship would be the crowning jewel in Kirk’s pansexuality and the evidence that Vulcans are truly diverse and open minded as they claim.
Why They Don’t Work Well Together (In Real Life)?
With all the elements that make Spirk seem like the perfect ship, let us not forget that Kirk and Spock are both canonically straight. Though with Spock there was a point in the main series where I thought he was asexual. Pon Farr, the time of heat for Vulcan males, destroyed that idea. Beyond their sexuality, their relationship is at points too pure to be anything more than friendship. To top that off, Kirk could be highly emotional and encourage Spock’s passion, which contradicts his Vulcan heritage and cause unnecessary inner conflict, especially in a romantic context. The last reason would be that their work requires that level headedness that is sorely lacking because of their friendship and would only increase theoretically by a relationship. If Kirk and Spock are already defying the federation already for the sake of friendship, imagine the consequences if they were in a relationship. Though, there is a possibility their sometime irrationality wold not increase but change or evolve. As the show and the movies show, their combined sacrificial tendencies usually produces positive outcomes.
Is It a Standard/Popular Ship? Are There Alternate Ships Involving the Characters?
Simple answer is yes. Spirk is the standard and popular ship. However, that does not mean that it is the only one involving those characters. I have not been very fond of the alternatives but I see the sense in some of them. According to Archive of Our Own, for the reboot series, the most popular ship is Leonard “Bones” McCoy and James Kirk. This ship is easy to see both in the reboot and the original series because of the closeness of the two characters. Although I see them more like brothers or as a parent/child relationship, it is simple to see how it would evolve to a more romantic relationship. Another popular ship also stemming from the reboot is Spock/Nyota Uhura. This is reinforced by their relationship in the movies as well. As mentioned before they are all good, but Spirk is the one who makes relationships seem seamless and that love knows no bounds.
Dream fantasy (keep it PG though!)
Spirk for me is the simple stories of friendship turning into romance. My ultimate fantasy would be to see a glimpse of a quiet content life they would lead after Starfleet. This is based on the assumption they would live past Starfleet, which was not the case in the original series. They are a symbol of the maturity of the federation and its advancement. Spirk is the idea of interspecies marriage, acceptance of different sexualities, and “Infinite Diversity in Infinite Combinations”.
In the end, Star Trek of the original and the reboot shows a unique friendship blossoming between two characters who are culturally, socially, and originally different. Spirk is an addition to that diversity and the story lends itself to creating a more romantic relationship between them. James Kirk and Spock are meant to be together and they are in a platonic manner. The next step in their relationship is easy to see unfold and would not shock the viewers. Let us all remember the “There is a kink in my back” incident in the original series and Spock Prime’s emphasis on a friendship developing in the reboot.