Story A Day May 3: “Vermilion Threads”

Hello, and welcome to 2014 Story A Day Challenge ,Day 2! If you’d like to read today’s story without commentary,click here!

I am basing my stories uponStar Trek: Enterprise, and the intriguing interspecies relationship between T’Pol of Vulcan and Trip Tucker, who is very, very human.


This story is a fan fiction extrapolation of the jazz club scenes in the Star Trek: Enterprise episode “Broken Bow, Part 1”.  T’Pol and Trip are property of Paramount; no copyright infringement is intended.

Today’s Story A Day prompt is to write a story of about 640 words. An additional prompt from author Mary Robinette Kowal, was to use the words ‘vermilion’ and ‘musky‘ in today’s story.

My own plan calls for me to write a scene detailing T’Pol’s reaction to being temporarily assigned to Enterprise.

I wrote a complete rough draft, but it went in a direction I wasn’t pleased with, so I rewrote, and I’m happier with the second version.  It’s still rough, but much better than the original.

Here’s the episode (and series) preview…

And now, today’s story, “Vermilion Threads”:

I lit my candles then sank down to sit upon the floor. I placed the skein of fine vermilion silkthread before me. After a moment’s examination, I propped the datapad, so that the compelling image stared back at me.

The vibrations of this ship differed from the Seleya, and I found them, as so much here, unsettling. But not nearly so unsettling as I found Commander Charles Tucker the Third. If I was to work with this man, or resolve my own tangled emotions regarding him, I must have the clarity of meditation.

I breathed, centered myself, found the void of stillness within – although it wavered alarmingly; threatening to dissipate and leave me without recourse for the inner upheaval.

Memory flowed in, and I attended to my responses, without attempting to analyze them.

“You are saying that the word ‘vermilion’ refers to more than a gradation of color?”

“Humans often attach evocative values and symbolism to colors. In the case of vermilion, it has cultural significance to several cultures. In one, it represents the concept of eternity. In another,women use it to declare marital status.”

“You have made a considerable study of this people, T’Pol. Until now, it has seemed – ” he refrained from saying ‘illogical’ – “somewhat irrelevant.”

“Until now?”

“The High Command has reinstated your rank, Subcommander T’Pol. You are assigned to Enterprise for the duration of its mission, effective as soon as you have cleared the medical and debriefing process.”

I protested, but he informed me that this assignment was compulsory. The High Command had determined that Vulcan interests must be insured, and that the humans must be guided to avoid the disastrous consequences their impetuous, volatile natures were likely to incur. I would serve as science officer – and chaperone.

He handed me the pad, which contained the ship’s specifications and the service records of the command crew, with a caution to avoid commingling with these people any more than was necessary. I scrolled through – and nearly gasped when I saw the face of the Chief Engineer.

For a moment, I was back in that restaurant, with the music pulsing, binding us together, Awakening me to him.

“Subcommander, are you well?”

I drew a deep breath, held it until I could control my autonomic response, and nodded.

Then came a series of preparations – I allowed those memories to pass quickly, until the moment I was ready to step aboard the courier, and Soval offered me a small box. “To remind you that, although you are traveling with humans, you are still bound indelibly to your own people.”

I took the box, opened it, and found the skein of vermilion thread.

And then I was stepping through the door to Captain Archer’s office. I felt Trip at once, with searing, quivering arousal. Commander Tucker, I amended – I must not think of him as Trip, as the man I had yearned for since that chance, forbidden encounter.

I had avoided using the nasal numbing agent, so that I could learn what only my olfactory sense could tell me. His pungent human odor was spiked with musky overtones, and my own pheremones released involuntarily.

He rose, extended his arm to me, hand open, in a blatant offer to touch that would only be shared by sexual partners, on Vulcan. I only resisted by turning away, clutching my quivering hands behind me.

Only now did I realize he’d intended only to shake my hand in a human greeting gesture.

I opened my eyes, consumed still with longings that left me agitated and unbalanced. I was intended to marry Koss.

I traced the vermilion thread on Trip’s uniform with paired, trembling fingers, then dared to caress his image’s face.

Was I bound by my own world’s expectations, or the irresistible pull of this man on my soul?

You can find all of my May Challenge stories at my “official” Story a Day blog. My commentary on the process of creating these stories are here.

Interested in reading more Story A Day offerings, or joining the challenge? It’s not too late!

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