Portrait of a Character – T’Pol
The character, of course, is Star Trek: Enterprise canon.
As in the show, the character is played by actress Jolene Blalock.
As a main character, a great deal of T’Pol‘s journey has already been seen on the small screen. Because there is limited time for television programs, T’Pol, Archer and Tucker all received significantly greater shares of airtime. This was virtually always at the expense of Reed, Sato, Mayweather and Phlox. Frankly, by the time I started writing fanfiction, I’d gotten sick of her.
Complicating matters was the fact that I have always found it extremely difficult to write wholly unemotional Vulcans (this is a large part of why Eriecho wears her heart on her sleeve so much).
The relationship, naturally, is canon. And in canon, it just plain doesn’t work out, despite what fan fiction writers often want. Them’s the breaks! However, it is also canon that they marry in the E2 scenario. Therefore, I follow canon and have them do just that. Because my E2 scenario contains two kicks back in time, Tripp and T’Pol are given two separate chances for love and marriage.
In the first scenario, their wedding is far more traditional, and they later have twins. Pregnancy causes T’Pol to lose her emotional control – a fact that, conveniently for me, makes it easier to write her.
In the second scenario, T’Pol puts the brakes on their relationship. When pressed by Tucker, she reveals that she was widowed for a very long time. He correctly deduces that she was horribly hurt by this. She eventually comes around and they wed, but the ceremony is less conventional. In keeping with canon, their only child is their canon son, Lorian. As in the other scenario, she loses her emotional control, but it happens later.
It can scarcely be called a relationship as it is more of a needs fulfillment gone horribly wrong. In the alternative timeline “what if” scenario story, The Black Widow, T’Pol attempts to satisfy pon farr with Doctor Phlox (that’s canon). When he proves inadequate in her eyes, she goes after Travis, and the encounter kills him. Still unsated, she attempts to seduce Malcolm as well (that’s also canon).
This version of the character is also canon. In Reversal, T’Pol is already dead – an easy way for me to avoid writing a character who I’ve always found difficult. But for the transitional story, Throwing Rocks at Looking Glass Houses, T’Pol is very much alive, although in the Brig and clearly not for long. In that story, the new Empress Hoshi Sato the First personally dispatches T’Pol as a means of continuing to cement her grip on the crew of the Defiant and, eventually, the Terran Empire.
“I surmised as much. Petty tyrants are predictable. True leaders are the only ones of interest. If you had remembered Captain Forrest or Soval as well as you seem to remember how to manipulate the weak-minded, I’d say you’d have a chance at a truly great rule. But as it is, you’ll only be remembered as a tin pot dictator.”
It continues to be a challenge for me to write T’Pol. and her lines are often a stumbling block in my E2 stories especially. However, I’m finding her easier and easier to write as time elapses and, I suppose, we get further and further away from the actual original broadcast of the series. I know I don’t do her enough justice.