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When Worlds Collide: Spock Confronts the Ultimate Challenge is a six-page comic published in the May 2009 issue of Wired magazine, which was edited by J.J. Abrams, the director of the film Star Trek. The story was co-written by the film's writers Roberto Orci and Alex Kurtzman (credited as K/O) and Paul Pope. Art by Paul Pope.


Spock finds himself marooned on the planet Delta Vega, a barren planet with many rocky spires. Despite his circumstances, he does not stress, as he has been trained to control his emotions and emotional state. This was done by learning techniques and puzzles that emphasized logic over emotion. While playing with a puzzle given to him by his father, Sarek, he reminisces about some of the other puzzles and crises he has faced.

When he was young, Sarek assigned a tutor to Spock in order to teach him how to play the Vulcan harp. He learned that the mathematics and logic behind the music would help him master his half-Human side inherited from his mother. This half-Human side also led him to being something of an outcast among his peers at the Vulcan Atheneum, but he learned to keep a calm focus. He also learned the Vulcan nerve pinch, something far more elegant than a brute shove or careless punch.

When adolescence arrived, he had to master the tal'oth test in Vulcan's Forge. He smelled the Sa-te kru beast before seeing it and realized that it was the embodiment of his roiling emotions. A simple nerve pinch allowed him to "pass through to a new state of consciousness" and become a mature adult.

Years later, he joined Starfleet and by this time was very proficient with the harp. He did notice that the harp's music affected the Human mind by triggering emotions, quite the opposite effect it had on Vulcans. One example was the way that it affected Lieutenant Uhura. On the USS Enterprise, he discovered the game of three-dimensional chess and found that "playing chess with Captain Kirk was a welcome respite from the perils we encountered." The lessons learned from this game also helped him suggest the means of defeating Khan Noonien Singh in the Battle of the Mutara Nebula by viewing things in a three-dimensional way rather than a simple two-dimensions.

Spock facing his decision

He notes that Kirk never believed in unsolvable puzzles in no-win scenarios, but finds himself unsure. He knows that he is responsible for his circumstances, what has happened, and what will happen, but despite his efforts, he finds himself afraid. In the sky above, the Enterprise appears and he finds himself faced with a choice. "A choice that will change the course of history. But it is the galaxy's only hope... it is only logical."



James T. KirkSpockNyota Uhura
Referenced only
Amanda GraysonSarekKhan Noonien SinghHikaru Sulu

Starships and vehicles

USS Enterprise (Constitution-class) • USS Reliant (Miranda-class)


Delta VegaVulcanVulcan AtheneumVulcan's Forge

Races and cultures


States and organizations


Other references

Battle of the Mutara Nebulaemotionlogicphoton torpedoSa-te kruSarek's dilemmatal'oththree-dimensional chessVulcan harpVulcan nerve pinch


Related stories

  • Star Trek (TOS movie) - This comic shows elderly Spock on Delta Vega setting the scene for his appearance in the Star Trek film.
  • Yesteryear (TAS episode) - Spock's status as an outcast among his peers at school was established in this episode.
  • Displaced (VOY episode) - The Tal'oth test shown in this comic was first established in Voyager in a reference by Tuvok to how it made Starfleet training seem comparatively less challenging.
  • Charlie X (TOS episode) - Uhura singing along with Spock while he played the Vulcan harp was seen in this episode. Indeed, the character which looks like Janice Rand in the background may indicate the scene in the comic is a recreation of the scene in the episode (albeit with Uhura's hair modeled after the new movie's Uhura rather than the original 1960s version).
  • The Wrath of Khan (TOS movie) - This comic recreates a portion of the Battle of the Mutara Nebula from this movie.
Stories set in the Kelvin timeline
comics When Worlds Collide: Spock Confronts the Ultimate ChallengeNero (1234) • Starfleet Academy (12345) • Star Trek Movie Adaptation (123456) • IDW Star Trek: Volume 1 (Where No Man Has Gone Before: 1, 2The Galileo Seven: 1, 2) • Volume 2 (Operation: Annihilate: 1, 2Vulcan's Vengeance: 1, 2) • Volume 3 (The Return of the Archons: 1, 2The Truth About Tribbles: 1, 2) • Volume 4 (1314Mirrored: 1, 2) • Volume 5 (17181920) • Countdown to Darkness (1234) • Volume 6 (After Darkness: 1, 2, 324) • Volume 7: The Khitomer Conflict (1234) • Khan (12345) • Volume 8 (Parallel Lives: 1, 2I, Enterprise!: 1, 2Lost Apollo: 1, 2) • Volume 9: The Q Gambit (123456) • Volume 10 (Behemoth: 1, 2Eurydice: 1, 2, 3Volume 11 (The Tholian Webs: 1, 2Deity: 12Flesh & Stone) • The Spectrum War (123456) • Live Evil (123) • Reunion (12) • Legacy of Spock (1234) • Connection (12) • Manifest Destiny (1234) • Stranger Worlds (123456) • Boldly Go: Volume 1 (123456) • Volume 2 (789101112) • Volume 3: IDIC (123456)
novels Star TrekStarfleet Academy (The Delta AnomalyThe EdgeThe Gemini AgentThe Assassination Game) • Into DarknessThe Unsettling StarsMore Beautiful Than Death
video games Delta Vega: Meltdown on the Ice PlanetAcademy TrainerCadet Training FacilityD-A-CRace to DestinyThe Mobile GameStar TrekRivalsDark Remnant
board games Expeditions live-action shorts Transporter CommercialBrilliant Enterprise CommercialCollision insurance commercialBold Explorers
websites Starfleet ShipyardDossiersExperience The Enterprise apps Star Trek App
prequels in original timeline Countdown (1234)


The comic's framing story takes place in the Kelvin timeline created in Star Trek, at moment where James T. Kirk is marooned in Delta Vega. The comic takes the form of flashbacks, to Spock's childhood, adolescence, and service on the Enterprise in the 2260s and retelling events of The Wrath of Khan.

Published Order
Previous story:
Countdown, Number Four
Stories by:
Alex Kurtzman & Roberto Orci
Next story:
Star Trek
Chronological Order
Previous adventure:
Star Trek
Chapter 5-18 & Epilogue
Memory Beta Chronology Next adventure:
The Covenant of the Crown
Chapter 2
The above chronology placements are based on the primary placement in 2258.
The Memory Beta Chronology places events from this story in 4 other timeframe(s):
Previous adventure:
The Better Man
Chapter 1
Pages 1-2
Next adventure:
Chapter 6
Previous adventure:
Spock: Reflections, Issue 1
Pages 11-20
Pages 2-3
Next adventure:
Old Souls
Previous adventure:
Charlie X
Page 4
Next adventure:
Elegy for Charlie
Previous adventure:
To Reign in Hell: The Exile of Khan Noonien Singh
Chapter 26
Page 5
Next adventure:
Prodigal Father


External links