WIPpet Wednesday: Pickle Juice and Leverage

Welcome to the Halloween version of WIPpet Wednesday, a weekly blog hop which encourages writers to move WIPs (works-in-progress) to publication by posting excerpts related to the date. It is hosted by the lovely K.L. Schwengel, maven of bad boys, stock dogs, and flying monkeys!

And, speaking of our incendiary duo….

Here’s another snippet from The IDIC Romance, my Story A Day May Challenge project. This is a Star Trek: Enterprise fan fiction, exploring the interspecies relationship of T’Pol and Trip.

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

I’ve got something a bit different for you today. A few weeks back, someone, and I’m sorry to say I don’t remember who (Emily, maybe?), posted a “blooper” – a scene that didn’t make it through revisions. I loved the idea, and I wasn’t the only one. So…

Story a Day May provided me with lots of good TnT stuff – but also a few bits that wandered off into weird places. So today, in honor of tricks and treats, I give you a bit that didn’t make it into the slot eventually filled by “Strangers in Sickbay”.

Spoiler Alert! This occurs after the events in “Tigress T’Pol”, which we will return to next week. If you don’t want to know if TnT spend forever in that cell; don’t read this!!!

WIPpet Math:

  • Today is October 29, 2014.
  • My math is – Halloween, baby! Call it a trick; call it a treat; call it a tenth birthday gift for my nephew; call it whatever you want! =D

This story is an add-on scene for the episode: “Acquisition. Ive done my best to extrapolate without violating series canon. I haven’t edited it; it’s as-is!

So T’Pol and Trip have just bamboozled three alien thieves into captivity, thereby saving the ship….

T’Pol looked at the three big-headed aliens she’d just dispatched. “I trust you will disarm them, Commander? Their scent is – powerful.” She wrinkled her nose; I tried not to notice how cute that small uncontrolled gesture was. Suddenly, I was very aware that we were two of only three people awake on the entire ship.

“What about that nasal numbing agent you used to talk so much about?” I said it mostly to distract myself.

“I no longer use it. I’ve grown accustomed to the scent of humans. However, these people possess a markedly different body chemistry. I find it somewhat – overpowering.” She swallowed. “I would prefer to go no closer.”

“You all right? You’re looking a little green around the gills.”

“The smell is rather -nauseating. Once I am out of close proximity, I suspect the sensations will fade.”

I went to kneel by the aliens, and now my nose wrinkled, too, and I cleared my throat. “These guys don’t smell as bad as Klingons, but this is a little like being too close to an entire vat of pickle juice.”

“‘Pickle – juice?'”

“Mostly vinegar, with some spices, then cooked. It’s a powerful scent – even to my nose.”

“Then I suggest you complete your search quickly.” Her voice wavered a little.

“Good suggestion. Good shooting, too.”

Their skin was like worn leather when I brushed it, and I had to fight the impulse to wipe my hands on my coveralls like I was back to being a kid. “They all have something like phase pistols, and those handcuffs they used on the captain, and then there’s this whip plasma contraption…”

“We will confiscate their weapons, and study them. As for my aim, I had the element of surprise, and a contained area. I believe our phase pistols are the more powerful.”

“Well, their handcuffs seem just about perfect for what I’ve got in mind.”

It took a little shoving and arranging, but, when I was done, they were all attached to one another. “With the way these guys bicker, they’ll be too busy blaming each other to figure out how to get themselves out of this.”


She looked at the pile I’d created, and there was smug satisfaction in her tone. She withdrew something from somewhere around her waist – where the hell did she manage to hide anything in a uniform that fit her as though she poured it on every day? – and held it up. It caught the light with a metallic glint. It was a key. “I believe it is time that I released the captain -“


My voice was sharp, and it bounced and ricocheted off the pipes. She tensed. “Sorry. Didn’t mean to be so loud. But, if you’ve had that key; does that mean Krem is disabled, too?”

“It does indeed.” She watched the key spin, almost as though it had her mesmerized.

“Then why didn’t you unlock the captain?”

She looked at me, and there was something a little reckless in her glinting eyes. “I have unfinished business with Captain Archer, and this key represents leverage.”

“For someone who claims she’s motivated by logic, you certainly seem to be enjoying this.”

What will T’Pol say to that? What business does she have with the captain, and why does she need leverage? Is she enjoying this? How come they’re both keeping their hands to themselves?

Nope. Not telling. That’s the trick part…but you know the drill by now– you can watch the episode, or wait till I post this on a fan fiction site and share the link!

These posts are the seeds of a project I’ll be expanding in 2015, so your input is always valuable. No need to feel shy; I’m a friendly sort, and will keep my phase pistol on stun… for the most part. 😉


  1. Great scene Shan. It’s interesting to see another (slightly more) professional side to them both. I like the interaction between them and how they’re each approaching the situation they’re in differently. 🙂

    • They definitely do get a lot more professional than this – this one was a bit of a no-holds-barred, get the ship back by any means necessary romp…with Trip deliciously running around in his bright blue undies for the first 20 minutes!

      I think T’Pol got a little carried away by the whole thing – playacting isn’t a Vulcan tradition, but she clearly enjoys it! Of course, she had to feign sleep while a Ferengi fondled her ears, she had to fondle an alien’s ears, and the captain was ready to trade her into slavery…

      She’s not the best at retaining her equilibrium in moments like this, and that pickle-juice stench isn’t helping, I’m guessing…

      At least she’s still throwing poor Trip off balance! =D

    • ‘Especially invested’…yes, I think that perfectly expresses their relationship, at this point. There’s something of a moratorium on getting physical – well, mostly – because there’s lots they both need to figure out…T’Pol’s whole life has shifted and changed, and she’s got a lot to figure out.

      But, yeah, there’s a good deal of investment and exploration happening on deeper levels, and a good friendship and working relationship are forming,,,

      Sometimes the most important stuff happens in the lulls. I’m glad you picked up on that, Ruth!

  2. I love their banter, and I love the way he notices the tiny things like her physical reaction to the aliens’ smell. It’s interesting to me that the others see UST in this, where I see an underlying trust and friendship (I tend to think of UST as something sort of smoldering, while this feels like something deeper). Anyway, in either case, great scene!

    • It feels like both, to me, but then, I’ve never been an either/or kinda girl…

      They’ve adjusted somewhat, by this point, to their mutual attraction (and a few things have happened that tempered their early fireworks, too).

      They’ve had some pivotal moments together that have made them something approaching friends, even if they haven’t quite gotten there yet..

      At this point, it’s still a largely undefined connection, but it’s evolving, and deepening, and they are certainly relating to one another in a way neither relates to anyone else…

      They’ve shared a few secrets, been furious with one another, been terrified of one another, been on opposite sides and totally in sync, and they’ve started to develop a secret shorthand, of sorts…

      I see their relationship as a trial and error process, with lots of false starts and direction changes, and, at this point, they’ve got some very good reasons not to be leaping into one another’s arms or beds…

      But they are learning to read each other, to look out for one another, and what it means to learn to be friends to someone of another species.

      I love that you picked up the deeper levels of friendship…

      I really like this snippet, and it was lots of fun to write – and, at some point, I may figure out how it fits into the storyline…

    • Oh, yes, she is! The next time the captain tells an alien that she’s ‘not very intersting, has no sense of humor, and complains all the time’, while those aliens are attempting to kidnap and sell her into slavery- and TOUCHING HER EARS!!! – well, he just MIGHT stop to remember that those ears hear very well, and that, whatever she may claim to the contrary, this logical lady has a quick temper, and the brains to exact payment…. She definitely makes the Captain squirm, and gets her point across, before she eventually frees him.

  3. haha yes “claims” to be motivated by logic is the key word there. Great excerpt. I love the descriptions of the alien. Make it really come to life.

    • ‘Claims’ is definitely key! I think Trip’s figured out that the lady isn’t always motivated by logic – he’s had some experience with her, shall we say, emotional side, after all… But the captain is still looking at her and seeing mostly just what he expects to see…a Vulcan.Sometimes, that’s a BIG mistake…as he finds out when she finally gets around to dangling the key just out of his reach! =D

  4. Okay, so I love the description of T’Pol’s uniform fitting like she poured it on each day. Great descriptive language, there. And I agree with Rachel on the descriptions of the smells and the underlying UST the whole way through.

    • There certainly was not a lot left to the imagination in T’Pol’s uniforms, ever. Funny thing was she always wore them in a way that suggested she never considered the effect they’d have on males of several species….

      I like the idea that T’Pol can effectively dispatch all four of these aliens, with just a little help along the way, but getting close enough to restrain them turns her stomach…

      And I LOVE that she kept the key. Since the captain used her as a bargaining chip in his bluff, and said some not very sweet things about her, besides, it seems only fair…

      They’re on a low simmer, here,,,but it’s still lots of fun to watch and write…this bit just didn’t end up fitting into the story I eventually wrote.

      There was another one, with food in the Captain’s mess, but it’s still loitering somewhere in 750words,com, waiting to be retrieved, I think…that one got very, very strange….

  5. Even in this scene, where they’re both dealing with the task at hand, there’s an underlying sexual tension. I love that – love them in fact. Great descriptions on the smells too…my own nose wrinkled!

    • I’ve always wondered why she didn’t unlock the Captain until AFTER she and Trip eliminated the threat…I mean, LOGICALLY, three people would have had an easier time than two, when it came to dealing with these guys, and Trip dragged them all over the ship, so she certainly had time…

      And the little snippet when she eventually does get back to Captain Archer is wonderful, and provided me with the inspiration for her bit of naughty revenge…

      As for the tension – yeah, that’s pretty much always there, between these two. Fortunately, (or maybe not, for the reader or viewer), they do figure out how to work together…most of the time, anyway.

      And this time, Trip saves the ship in his underwear, and T’Pol gets a front-row view she doesn’t pass up, even if she pretends to disapprove….

      As for the smell – I don’t know. Ferengi just SEEM like they ought to smell like a vat of pickle juice, to me…. and their heads look a little like well-worn saddle seats…

      I love TnT SOOO much. So stinking cute…I think I will be writing stories for them forever. ❤

      • If you are, you won’t get any complaints from me! 🙂 And the way you write them, you bring them to life on the page, so they’re in good hands. I would like to read the scene where Trip saves the ship in his underwear – I can imagine T’Pol’s reaction…it already makes me smile.

        • In brief (pun intended);

          Trip is in decon, in his cute blue underwear, when an artifact he’s had beamed aboard for T’Pol to study releases a gas that knocks everyone else out. The Ferengi come aboard and proceed to attempt to shove the contents of a starship into their one little scout ship….

          After he’s been in decon considerably longer than he was supposed to be, Trip calls Dr, Phlox, and gets no answer. Eventually, he short circuits the panel, gets out, and then discovers the invaders – and sees the captain, who tells him where he can find a hypospray to wake others. All the marketable women have been dragged to the shuttle bay to be sold into slavery; Trip (naturally) wakes T’Pol first, and he’s been a little too busy to think about what he is and isn’t wearing…

          T’Pol’s first sight is him bent over Hoshi, and she just gives him the look, and he realizes….

          “Just because a guy’s in his underwear, you gotta assume the worst,” he says.

          She replies that she’s certain he has a logical explanation…

          I haven’t written it yet, but you can watch it for yourself if you click the episode link…

          Trip does eventually find a uniform to slip into, more’s the pity for T’Pol!

          • That sounds awesome! I’d rather read your interpretation than watch it, so when you do, let me know and I’ll be all over it 😉 Loved the ‘brief’ comment – made me chuckle.

          • Well, I will definitely be expanding these stories during one of the CampNaNos in 2015 – don’t know which, yet, but one of them.

            It’s also the year where I start posting to a fan fiction site – I’ve been exploring a couple of options…

            I will certainly let my fellow WIPpeteers know, when I do….there is a LOT more story to be told! =D

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