T'Pol (ENT-22)
T’Pol (ENT-22)

T'Pol (ENT-64)
T’Pol (ENT-64)

During her first year aboard the Enterprise NX-01, T’Pol defied her critics—Humans and Vulcans alike—who thought she wouldn’t last. She surprised the Enterprise crew on its maiden voyage when Captain Jonathan Archer was injured and she took command of the ship by continuing the mission he set out to accomplish, rather than simply returning to Earth after the Klingon courier Klaang was captured by Suliban agents.[1]

Her interactions with her Enterprise crewmates were initially filled with disdain and mistrust, but after working together on various missions, these early rocky relations improved substantially—T’Pol formed relationships with Dr. Phlox, the only other non-Human onboard, and Captain Archer. Though she may not have always agreed with the captain’s style of command, she did respect him. At the captain’s suggestion, she also attempted to fraternize more with the crew, and even attended one of the ship’s regular movie nights. T’Pol was surprised to find herself enjoying the movie, “Frankenstein.” She later noted that she saw it as a parallel to the experience Vulcans had when they first landed on Earth.[12]

Even other Vulcans were surprised that T’Pol could stomach working so closely with humans,[7] since Vulcans find the smell of Humans unpleasant[1]—T’Pol was able to endure the experience with the aid of a nasal numbing agent.[7] T’Pol demonstrated a strong ability to adapt, which was rare in Vulcans—perhaps it was something she’d learned from Humans. For example, when Captain Archer decided to take an away team to a newly-discovered, uninhabited Minshara-class planet against T’Pol’s precautionary warnings, she ended up being the only crew member on the planet not experiencing hallucinations caused by indigenous pollen in the air. In danger of being assaulted or killed by the affected crew members, she was able to role-play in order to coax a peaceful resolution, something most Vulcans would never do. Similarly, she also role-played when a mysterious group of large-eared aliens took over Enterprise, tricking them and gaining the upper hand.[2]

T’Pol showed that her allegiance was to the truth; she didn’t turn a blind eye when the secret Vulcan surveillance station at P’Jem was revealed and, at Archer’s behest, handed over her scanner to the Andorian commandos who seized the temple when their suspicions proved correct—the Vulcans had indeed been engaging in deception.[3] The Andorians destroyed the temple shortly thereafter, and the Vulcan High Command decided to recall T’Pol. Before the scheduled rendezvous with a Vulcan ship, she and Archer were kidnapped by Coridan rebels, and during rescue attempts by an Andorian/Human team and a Vulcan team, Sopek, a member of the Vulcan team, was nearly killed by a rebel. T’Pol selflessly put herself in harm’s way to save him, resulting in an injury that nearly took her life. This act forced Sopek to take up her cause with the Vulcan High Command, allowing her to remain on the Enterprise.[6]

Before T’Pol joined the Science Directorate, she was assigned to the Ministry of Security, and was trained in reconnaissance and retrieval. Circa 2135, T’Pol was sent to retrieve a group of rogue Vulcan operatives. She was successful in capturing nearly all of them, save for two. She later nearly caught these remaining operatives on Risa, but one escaped, and she shot the other one when she believed he was reaching for a weapon. After the incident, T’Pol resigned her position with the Ministry and sought guidance at P’Jem. It was there that she underwent the Fullara, an obscure Vulcan ritual in which her memories and the emotions surrounding the events on Risa were repressed. In 2152, the agent that escaped, Menos, was located, and T’Pol was sent to apprehend him. She asked Archer to come along with her on the mission. T’Pol was successful in capturing Menos, but he reminded her of her long-buried memories, and she was forced to come to terms with the fact that she once killed a man. Luckily, Archer was there to help her overcome her feelings of self-doubt, and the incident solidified the trust between the duo.[10]

As a child, T’Pol was betrothed to a Vulcan named Koss. Her wedding to him would have meant the end of her assignment on the Enterprise—once again, she bucked tradition and decided not to go through with it.[4] This put a strain on her family relations and helped to brand her amongst her people as unorthodox, to say the least.[14] Although T’Pol’s behavior might have seemed extremely conservative and cold to her fellow crewmembers, it was radical when compared to standard Vulcan behavior. It should also be noted that while T’Pol was unique among Vulcans, she still held fast to Vulcan ideology and was the first to be skeptical of any unsubstantiated opinion or theory, such as time travel, which Vulcan science had deemed impossible. When faced with seemingly impossible events that time travel could explain, she stubbornly held out for proof before jumping to conclusions.[5]

Another event that challenged her beliefs came in the form of the Enterprise‘s encounter with the V’tosh ka’tur, or “Vulcans without logic.” These Vulcans tried to integrate emotions into their everyday existence. Among these Vulcans was Tolaris, who was attracted to T’Pol and attempted to sway her to his group’s way of thinking by means of the Vulcan mind-meld, an ancient and almost-forgotten telepathic practice that Tolaris hoped would free T’Pol’s emotions. As a result of the mind-meld, combined with avoiding her regular meditation, T’Pol began to have dreams and flashbacks to earlier times, remembering a time during her assignment at the Vulcan Consulate when she wandered out alone at night and visited a nightclub. Ultimately, the experience was overwhelming and disturbing to T’Pol, yet Tolaris continued the invasive meld, leaving T’Pol in a weaker state.[7]

The encounter with Tolaris ended up having long-lasting ramifications—T’Pol was infected with Pa’nar Syndrome, an apparently incurable Vulcan disease. Unfortunately, the syndrome carried a stigma on Vulcan—it could only be transmitted by the reportedly small number of Vulcans who were born with the ability to mind-meld. Because this telepathic minority’s behavior was considered “unnatural” to other Vulcans, those who carried the disease faced discrimination, and the disease was not a high priority when it came to medical research. T’Pol experienced this sort of bigotry firsthand when several Vulcan doctors learned of her condition. When they learned that she was forced into the mind-meld by Tolaris, T’Pol was not recalled to Vulcan. Still, she was appalled at the intolerance faced by those who suffered from Pa’nar Syndrome, and planned to let the High Command know of her displeasure.[11]

Though T’Pol may sometimes have seemed detached from others, she did have great admiration for certain individuals, particularly legendary Vulcan Ambassador V’Lar[8] and her great-grandmother, T’Mir.[9] T’Pol had a chance to meet V’Lar once on Vulcan, during her early schooling. The Ambassador inspired her eventual career path, and T’Pol had another chance to meet her when V’Lar was involved with a complicated mission to Mazar.[8] As for T’Mir, T’Pol once told Archer and “Trip” Tucker that her ancestor was part of a group of Vulcans that crash-landed in Carbon Creek, Pennsylvania, in October 1957. According to T’Pol’s story, these Vulcans actually posed as Humans in the small mining town, thus initiating first contact long before the documented events of 2063. T’Mir even contributed to the college fund of a young Human by “inventing” Velcro. Though T’Pol later led Trip and Archer to believe that her story was merely a tall tale, there was still some doubt as to how much of it was truthful. When T’Pol was stationed in Sausalito (prior to her assignment on Enterprise), she took a five-day leave to visit Carbon Creek.[9]

T’Pol’s presence on the Enterprise took even greater significance as Archer and the crew prepared to journey to the Delphic Expanse. When the Enterprise was given this assignment, the Vulcan High Command disapproved, and demanded that T’Pol return to Vulcan. She refused, resigning her commission and preparing to join Archer on the dangerous mission. As T’Pol continued to spend time on the Enterprise, in close contact with Humans, it was significant not only for the historic nature of the event, but also as a hint of what the future held: Collaboration and shared service between races was not only a feasible notion, but could yield results and accomplishments greater than if Humans and Vulcans worked alone.[13]

Portrayed by Jolene Blalock.


Wednesday, June 30th, 2010 Enterprise, Library, Personnel

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