WIPpet Wednesday: A Horse’s What Did You Say?


Welcome to 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!

I’m sharing a 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.

Disclaimers: 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!

Last week Trip and T’Pol tried to figure stuff out. This week, they take it a step – or a saying – further…this one’s pretty long, but I had fun with Kathi’s word, ‘horse’s’ – pretty much everything in this snippet is brand new material! Thanks, WIPpet Mistress!

Will Trip be able to explain slang toT’Pol? Do they both have secret agendas? Read on!

WIPpet Math:

  • Today is December 17, 2014.
  • My simple math: 18 paragraphs, with lots of quick dialogue, and one added as a December treat (one shabbos candle; one star; one snowflake; one month to go till 2015, one saying, or another…your choice!)

Add-on scene for the pilot episode: Broken Bow Part 1. Ive done my best to extrapolate without violating series canon.


So, you like being in the company of a horse’s ass, then?” I whispered it so softly, I wasn’t even sure I’d made a sound, but T’Pol turned to face me again, the frown right where I thought it would be. Figuring her out was promising to be even more fun than figuring out that fancy Warp Five engine up on Enterprise.

Is ‘a horse’s ass’ analogous to a ‘jackass’, Trip?” She raised a brow at me, and tipped her head a little, and I’d be damned if it didn’t look like she had a bright little glimmer in her eyes while she waited for her answer. Was I really gonna finally get lucky enough to have a woman I wanted to figure out think I was worth figuring out, too? But then I remembered that she was going to be gone, as soon as we got that huge Klingon fellow back to his own people. She’d be at the damned Vulcan Consulate, where protocol said she had to stay put, not even go out for a few minutes. They sure as hell weren’t going to let her keep in touch with a human engineer…

Unless I could figure out a way to make her want to stay, the Cap’n agree to keeping her around – and the damned Vulcan High Command to assign her to us permanently…

If you are attempting to discover the lower threshold of my auditory range, you have done so.”

What – oh. No, I didn’t say anything – I kinda got to thinking…” But I couldn’t tell her, not yet. I figured we needed to actually get to bed with each other, first, spend some quality time where she could let go the way she seemed to want to, at least sometimes.

Does my query truly require so much analysis?”

Your query -?” Damn, I’d gotten distracted by plotting to keep her here; what the hell had she asked me?

Are the terms ‘a horse’s ass’and ‘jackass’ analogous?”

Oh. Right. Well, yes and no, I guess. I’m pretty sure a ‘jackass’ was actually a term for a male donkey, originally. A ‘horse’s ass’ is technically the – well, the rump of the horse.” I patted my own backside for effect. “But, when they’re used to describe behavior, they mean pretty much the same thing.”

I fail to see the logic in the terminology.” That glimmer was still in her eyes, and I suddenly got the idea that she might just be indulging her ‘fascination’ with me, too.

Maybe that’s because it’s not ‘terminology’, and it’s not supposed to be logical. They’re just sayings, T’Pol – you know, idioms. Figures of speech. Expressions.” She just looked at me, her face never changing, as though maybe she was waiting for me to start making sense. It might be a long wait, sweetheart…but I was damned sure gonna try to teach her something; make good use of every chance for inter-species understanding I could. “There are a lot of sayings with horses in them, maybe because they were an important part of our history.”

Such as?”

You can lead a horse to water; but you can’t make him drink. Getting up on your high horse. A herd of wild horses couldn’t keep me away. Horsefeathers. Don’t look a gift horse in the mouth. Horse sense. That’s a horse of a different color. Dark horse. Don’t beat a dead horse. I could eat a horse – ”

I believe I have heard enough. Does each of these – figures of speech – carry some significance, to humans?”

Well, it’s kind of cultural; informal language isn’t the same as formal. People from different areas use different expressions. Malcolm, Travis, and Hoshi all use some I’m not used to, because they grew up in different places. It’s not an exact science, or a science at all, but, if you understand the expression someone’s using, it gives you a better sense of what they mean, without them needing to explain.”

It seems a most -inexact method of communication. There is no such confusion, in Vulcan.” She looked like she was trying to figure out if that was a good thing, or not. Maybe she was fascinated by slang- wouldn’t that be something, with the way she talked?

You mean, there aren’t any idioms, at all?” She shook her head a little, and I tried to imagine what that would be like, but couldn’t. Or maybe I could – a whole planet of people who sounded like living computers, the way she sometimes did, at least before we got locked in here. “I guess we’ve got a lot to learn about each other’s cultures,” I said. “I’m looking forward to having the chance to figure it out with you.”

Perhaps at least some of the ‘figuring out’ could be done upon a comfortable bed, and behind a door that can be locked.” She’d been still, this whole time, but now she started to quiver again – and her scent and her eyes spoke another type of language entirely. One I thought I could spend about a lifetime getting to know…

Did T’Pol just proposition Trip?! Will they find the elusive bed and door, and the time to use them to figure each other out?

Come back next week to find out more!


  1. So I finally made it over and yee-haw! What a great use of your word. 🙂 And this “If you are attempting to discover the lower threshold of my auditory range, you have done so.” I laughed out loud I so would have said something like this but I would have been sarcastic, and T’Pol was serious, wasn’t she?

    • I love the idea of Trip being the one to introduce T’Pol to two very human forms of communication – kissing and idioms. I’ve always thought it was fascinating to consider figures of speech from a Vulcan perspective. What makes them work for us is exactly what would make them unworkable for Vulcans – they do rely on a very imprecise and evocative awareness that has almost nothing to do with logic or accuracy…

      I think T’Pol’s been pretty blunt all along – maybe even by Trip’s outspoken standards! All that grinding…!

      She doesn’t have a clue yet how not to be blunt, and hasn’t figured out how or why it affects humans when she’s just saying her truth…

      So very much to learn, for them both….

  2. I love all the discussion about language, although seriously those two need to get their act together and just get it on! It’s really sweet though how much thought Trip is putting into finding a way to keep T’Pol with him 😉
    Really fun snippet!!

    • Well – this interspecies thing is in the way, and this silly cell is in the way, and then there’s the mission and and and,…


      Trip’s an engineer, after all…he can put those skills to good use trying to get Little Miss Not Always Logical hooked on him…of course, she already seems mightily interested…

      We’ll see!

    • A lot like Data, actually – except that her drive to understand is more about a need to connect deeply than Data had for those years…and an attraction that he definitely didn’t have.

      She also has her own cultural conditioning, and a certain ability to be biased one way or the other, where Data’s interest is far more intellectual and emotionally neutral (because it couldn’t be anything else!).

      I think she picked a very talented mentor, for this exploration – and it probably doesn’t hurt that he’s cute as the dickens when he grins….

  3. I love this! The discussion about idioms was really interesting. I have a family member who is autistic. She has a very hard time processing idioms and often needs them to be explained. It’s very much like what Trip does here.

    I loved seeing how forward she was with him, too. She’s fun when she takes charge. 🙂

    I definitely agree with your comment above about Spock (just one more of the things I love about him).

    • I have a nephew with Asperger’s. He actively and vocally dislikes sayings, because his is a literal mind. It fascinates me, and I actively try to keep my language on a level he can understand when I talk with him.

      I’m sure he had some influence on this scene.

      Trip is highly motivated to connect with T’Pol on every level he can, as he starts to think about ways to keep her on Enterprise. He’s as take charge as she is, in his own, less obvious way.

      It’s perfectly natural for T’Pol to take charge. And she’s very good at it, too!

      And SPock…ahhh, Spock. I’ve really been loving playing with him these last several weeks, and it’ll be a little bit sad when I wrap up these two ‘dangling’ WIPs, because I’ve had Spock and T’Pol, in the same novels, for both of them….delicious!

    • I understand completely. I hope things are settling out now…

      And this story will be posted in its entirety at a fan fiction site TBA in 2015. I’ll post the details here, when i have them, so you haven’t really missed out.

  4. I love the discussion of language in this scene. It really got me thinking. What would it be like to speak a language in which every sentence was literal? I like that science fiction gives us an opportunity to explore these kinds of questions–and many others.

    Enjoyed that last paragraph. These two really need to get together. 🙂

    • It’s a long-running Trek theme. Spock would often pretend he didn’t understand idiom – but his human mother was a linguist, so it’s likely that he knew a lot more than he let on, and he just did it to tease – a way to embrace his humanity, without sacrificing his Vulcanity. For T’Pol, though, this is a very new way of communicating. She’s fluent in English; but it’s a formal understanding. Trip is a whole other type of education – and I agree. They need to be together, and, honestly, they’re already working on that…

  5. ‘as though maybe she was waiting for me to start making sense. It might be a long wait, sweetheart…’

    haha. I was seriously laughing through this whole snippet. Love them.

    • I love the way they’re learning to play, and trying to overcome what’s different (and that Trip’s already got a scheme to keep her there, and that T’Pol is willing to speak up in favor of beds and locking doors…).

      I am rather besotted with them, myself!

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