WIPpet Wednesday: Trip, Stumble, and T’Pol

Welcome to WIPpet Wednesday –K.L. Schwengel’s weekly blog hop which encourages writers to move their WIPs (works-in-progress) to publication by posting excerpts related to the date.

I’ve spent most of the last week writing. Tens of thousands of words of my current WIP, The Stars are Fire. It’s ragged and extremely rough, so I won’t be inflicting it on you yet. You’re most welcome. =)

Instead, this snippet comes from my Story A Day May Challenge: Star Trek: Enterprise fan fiction exploring the interspecies relationship of T’Pol and Trip, in a project titled The IDIC Romance.

Disclaimer: T’Pol and Trip , and all the rest of Star Trekare property of Paramount; no copyright infringement intended. I just want to play with them, and I’m careful!

A bit about the challenge:

Story a Day is just that- a story every day in May. To make the challenge more interesting for myself, I used all of the prompts offered, throughout the month.The stories are sequential, they will have various tones, POVs, and voices, due to the particular prompts that were in play during the writing.

For those keeping track:

  • Installment #4 of Story #3, Vermilion Threads. The prompt was to write a story of about 640 words. An additional guest post was use the words “vermilion” and “musky” (that one’s in this WIPpet).

WIPpet Math:

Today is June 25, 2014

  • 25 sentences, for the date.

This snippet is a memory-fragment T’Pol experienceduring meditation shortly after she reports for compulsory duty aboard the human starship Enterprise in the pilot episode: Broken Bow Part 1.It follows immediately after last week’s WIPpet, “Breathless”. The beginning of this clip shows the scene that inspired this WIPpet.

I drew a deep breath, held it until I could control my autonomic response, and nodded. Soval studied me for a wordless moment, his face revealing nothing but alertness. I held myself still under his regard, wondering whether I wished him to conclude that I was in fact unsuitable for this assignment.

“Although the service is compulsory, Subcommander T’Pol, you still honor Vulcan in your willingness to accept this challenge. You are at liberty for the remainder of the day, so that you may attend to your affairs, and tend to your meditation.”

I said nothing else. It would be illogical; it was not that I didn’t trust my composure to hold if I spoke.

Then came a grueling 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 stood at the door to Captain Archer’s office – his Ready Room, according to the very young human Ensign who had directed me here. I heard two male voices, the words indistinct – but there was no mistaking his intonations, or my Awakened, yearning response. I was aware of Trip, as I entered; my eyes shifted to the precise place where he was before I could control the action. My senses were fully engaged, my mind alight with searing, quivering arousal. Trip looked back at me with a human expression that might be shock, or disbelief, or any number of other things I could not decipher- but I was certain that he knew me as I knew him. Commander Tucker, I admonished myself – I must not think of him as Trip, as the man I had yearned for since that chance, forbidden encounter fourteen months, two weeks, and six days ago.

I had postponed using the prescribed nasal numbing agent, so that I could learn from his scent what only my olfactory sense could tell me. His pungent human odor was spiked with musky overtones, and my own pheremones released in involuntary response. I turned to the Captain, and attempted to still my instinctive reaction.

The animal upon the floor – a small, large-eared canid – provided an outlet; that was fortunate, since my control had already slipped unacceptably and quite noticeably, making me react discourteously. I focused my attention on the creature, allowing the assumption that its natural odor was offensive to me – and Captain Archer apologized, remarking upon the olfactory sensitivity of Vulcan females.

“I took a shower this morning, How ‘bout you, Cap’n?”

All my efforts at control were as nothing, to the smile I could hear in his voice – how could I hear any such thing? The captain belatedly made introductions, and I was forced by courtesy to turn to face him. Trip Tucker rose, extended his arm to me, hand open, in a blatant offer to touch that would only be shared by sexual partners, on Vulcan. “Trip. I’m called Trip.”

“I’ll try to remember that.” I only resisted the impulse to heedlessly take hold of that hand, recklessly give myself to what would follow, by turning away and clutching my quivering hands behind me.

Will T’Pol be able to maintain control in the face of her attraction for Trip? How will Trip react to being spurned? Will the mission be a success, or a disaster?

Yup, you guessed it…you’ll need to either read below, or wait for next week, to learn more…

Story A Day commentary…

Full version of the story…

These posts are the seeds of a project that will germinate over the next months, so input is especially valuable. No need to feel shy; I’m a friendly sort, and will keep my phase pistol on stun ..for the most part.

Want more WIPpets?

Okay, I have to do this! =D



  1. I love this. I think it’s one of my favorite scenes so far because she’s caught in such disarray and is struggling so hard to keep herself together. And Trip’s reaction…*snork*

    • I love it too – it’s fun to note that T’Pol has met Captain Archer before, at least twice (because, in the scene shown, he’s said to ‘know everybody’ when she’s one of Soval’s diplomatic group).

      The previous meeting included her accusing humans of being provincial and uncontrolled, and Archer informing her, “You have no idea how much I’m repressing an urge to knock you on your ass.”

      She just gives him the eyebrow and says nothing.

      Which is rather hysterically funny, given T’Pol’s greater strength and mad combat skills. I’ve always wondered if there was some point where Jonathan remembers that comment, after he’s read her record and seen what T’Pol can do.

      I may have to write that scene. I do think that comment is T’Pol’s first key to understanding humor.

      And Trip. *snork*, indeed. I adore the way he just ignores that she’s Vulcan, and starts in teasing her the same as anyone else. He definitely has the upper hand, this round, and I think they all know it!

    • “If the canid sits, blame him”? =)

      I don’t think Trip’s handshake was a faux pas at all. Like the shower comment, and many, MANY other incidents, I think he was daring T’Pol to react. My guess is that he was a little miffed and intrigued that that gorgeous creature who had done who-knows-what to his head in the jazz club was right here, for the next 8 days –

      And she just looked at him like he was part of the furniture and then turned her back on him!

      The nerve!

      Trip Tucker is most decidedly not the type to leave well enough alone…and he just might be stubborn enough to crack T’Pol’s discipline…he’s definitely created some hull integrity issues, already! 😉

    • ReGi,

      Maybe she’d chastise herself for letting them make the assumption, later – if Porthos hadn’t come up to her and put his forepaws on her leg, tail wagging and eyes filled with his best beseeching-beagle look…

      T’Pol definitely does not start out as a dog person!

      As for the handshaking, it’s not that they’re forbidden to shake hands. It’s more a cultural and physiological thing. Vulcans are touch-telepaths, and hand-centric. Their hands are prime erogenous zones, so their customary salute involves no touching. Close family and bonded couples use a two-fingered caress that allows them to sense one another deeply.

      When T’Pol Awakened to Trip, the sensation began in her hands, with a tingling. To touch the whole of his hand with hers- well, let’s just say that could have a cataclysmic effect on her, and definitely not one appropriate to the current setting!

      There’s a funny moment later in the series where the elderly and somewhat irreverent Vulcan Ambassador V’Lar does shake hands with Jonathan and Trip – by shoving her arm out, fully extended and rigid, several inches too high to be comfortable.

      I find that absolutely adorable! And T’Pol is so obviously shocked and disapproving at the impropriety of it all! =)

      • Awww. That’s cute in a way. At least, it is assuming she’s trying to show diplomatic respect and bridge cultural differences. Not so much if she’s got other motives.

        • It was adorable (as is V’Lar; she’s definitely my kind of old lady). She was indeed trying to offer a gesture of friendship, and there’s this delightful little sparkle in her eyes when she does.

          Downright endearing. =)

  2. Love that entire paragraph of her standing outside the door to Archer’s office. Especially the way she knows to the exact length of time how long she’s yearned for him 🙂

    • Deniz,

      The doors are soundproof by human standards. At this point, none of her new shipmates have any idea at all just how sharp T’Pol’s ears are (well, OK, they can see the sharpness of the EARS themselves – but they don’t know about her hearing, yet…).

      I always loved the way Spock “estimates” to several decimal points. The writers didn’t do the cheap thing of having T’Pol imitate that – but this is how she measures time – years, months, weeks, and days.

      And Trip -well, Awakening to him was definitely a memorable occasion. =)

  3. Nothing like a little extra brusqueness to hide discomfort now, is there? 😀

    Poor Archer… he has no idea what these two are going to put him through (though he’s a sharp cookie–I bet he’s figuring it out already)

    • Eden,

      Hey, it worked for her – for a while, anyway…although it kinda all falls apart in the face of Trip’s outrage, the minute he gets outraged… =)

      Yup…poor Cap’n Archer, blindsided by the immovable object of his unwanted Science Officer and the unstoppable force of his Chief Engineer. Not the most comfortable of positions, but at least he has Porthos to listen as long as the cheese and ear scratches last…

      I don’t think he has a clue about T’Pol. I imagine hes too busy being furious at her by proxy, and embarrassed as hell about that whole” knocking you on your ass” comment.

      As far as Trip goes, though – I think Jonathan catches on the second Trip makes that drawling comment about the shower, all kicked back in the chair…

      Trip’s as transparent as the viewport, and he and Jon have been friends for a long time… but I’m guessing he thinks Trip is absolutely wasting his time on an even more unattainable dream than Ruby the waitress.

      Little does he know! 😉

    • As the spunky Ambassador V’Lar once put it, “We have emotions. We’re just better at hiding it.” And, even if T’Pol’s heart is, as Dr, McCoy once said, where her liver should be, there’s no doubt in my mind that it’s pumping more than just green blood.

      It was an amazing challenge. I may just have to do more Enterprise stories next year, too, because, as I edit these and offer them up, I keep getting more ideas…..

  4. Beautifully written! I know absolutely nothing about Star Trek (except that it’s quite popular with the Big Bang Theory characters), but I really enjoyed the way you handled characterisation in this section.

    I’m so impressed by the story a day concept, and that you’re doing JuNoWriMo! Hopefully I’ll be back for NaNoWriMo, but at the moment it’s feeling like too big a task too far away!

    • Rachel,

      It certainly is popular with the Bi Bang guys, although I can’t remember any references to Enterprise, specifically. I have a fascination for Vulcans (if they’re acted well, and some, sadly, aren’t, at least to my way of seeing it). And T’Pol has so many levels and textures to her, she’s a delight to play with (Trip and I agree on this one).

      So the deal with Vulcans is logic. They suppress their emotions through meditation and a lot of self control trained in from childhood. Marriages are arranged by their parents when they’re young; there’s no dating.

      Except T’Pol is something of a rebel. She’s young, and stubborn, and clearly passionate. She’s not above braking protocol in all kinds of ways. It gets her in trouble, but also gives her the freedom to live a life she couldn’t if she did what was expected of her all the time. And yet, she still tries to honor the traditions and code of conduct she was raised with…even and maybe especially, as the only Vulcan on a shipful of illogical and rampantly emoting humans. And none of them emote more chaotically than Trip Tucker…

      Makes for a wonderful playground for me, and I’m glad you enjoyed. =)

      I have a basic idea what my NaNo will be, and I’ll be developing ideas and plotting in September and October. By the time November comes, I should be raring to go.

      I loved Story a Day – this was my third year, but the first using the prompts. It definitely stretched my creativity, and gave the stories more life and depth.

      You could always just experiment with NaNo. Any words you write are words to the good, right?

      • Wow! Thank you for actually taking the time to explain Vulcans to me, it really added to my understanding of your excerpt and made me like it even more!

        I also have a basic idea of what my NaNo will be (third/final series book here I come). I did it last year to surprising success (100,000 words in 25 days, I won’t complain about that!). I’m also hoping that I will have largely finished my uni assignments by then, seeing as I only have two subjects and both of those are research essay based. So I know I can do it, I’ll just need to keep myself motivated these next few months to really edit my two manuscripts and plan my NaNo work. Hopefully bloggers like yourself will be able to keep me motivated! I’m even considering joining in on the ROW80 thing!

        • It’s my honor to introduce you to this fascinating species, and I’m glad that it enhanced your enjoyment. =)

          It sounds like you’ve got a handle on what needs to happen to get ready for November. And 100K in 20 days is awesome. I completed a 122K draft, and it’s the best first draft I’ve ever written.

          I think you’d really benefit from ROW80. It has definitely changed the way I see my writing life, and I know I wouldn’t have accomplished nearly so much without the challenge and the community that it’s inspired!

          Next round starts July 7, and the water’s fine!

  5. Lovely excerpt Shanjeniah, you write so beautifully as you describe the conflicting emotions going through T’Pol’s mind. I love the way you describe the senses she’s experiencing as she thinks about, then sees Trip and all the confused feelings that are running through her mind. Good stuff. 🙂

    • Thanks you, Elaine.

      T’Pol is easier for me than I thought (maybe being a rather passionate female, myself; maybe decades of writing Spock, maybe other things). It helps that Jolene Blalock, who portrayed her brilliantly, had a lot of latitude in creating the character.

      I love watching T’Pol’s extremely subtle body language in the early episodes (for various reasons, it shifts as the series progresses), and interpreting those tiny gestures and their deeper meanings.

      The whole bit with Soval is my own, imagining that she knows she’s going to see Trip again – er, Commander Tucker, that is =) – and is extremely conflicted about serving with him even briefly..

      When she enters the Ready Room in the “reporting for duty” scene, she glances at Trip before turning to the captain, and she’s more than a bit abrupt. And the way she rejects his handshake – if she were thinking rationally, she would’ve maybe expected it; she’s lived on Earth, and interacted with humans before. Statistically, odds are good that she’s seen a handshake at some point. But TRIP sticking out his hand – that’s more temptation than her logic and control can deal with politely, at the moment…especially since she can smell his interest so clearly!

      Our poor little Vulcan lady may never be the same..but, somehow, I think she’ll be able to accept that, sooner or later. 😉

  6. Wow, a story a day with prompts and everything is very impressive. Hope you’re having an awesome time with your JuNoWriMo too! 🙂 These excerpts are fun for me to read. I’m not a trekkie but have lived with trekkies for all but 2 or 3 years.

    • Alana,

      I was a LOT of fun, and very challenging. Some of the stories went over 6K!

      I completed JuNoWriMo with 50,070 words. I still have four scenes pending, but I’m taking a bit of a breather until CampNaNo starts on Tuesday…

      I’m glad you’re enjoying the excerpts. One of the many things that make T’Pol and Trip so much fun for me to write is that, beneath all the Trek trappings, they and their connection to one another, the dancing, stumbling evolution of their relationship, is very, very real. It’s any two partners who try to blend what attracts them to one another with what could be irreconcilable differences. My husband and I have had so many misunderstandings and missteps that aren’t so far removed from theirs!

      I hope I captured something of that essence, with these stories, because these two go through a LOT, and they deserve to be treated with honor and integrity.

Take a chance! Type something in this box, and see what happens! =D

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.