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tpol
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T'POL

Played by Jolene Blalock

NAME: T'Pol

SPECIES: Vulcan

HOME PLANET: Vulcan

AFFILIATION: Vulcan High Command,
later Starfleet

POSTING: Science officer,
Enterprise (NX-01)

RANK: Sub-Commander,
later Commander

PORTRAYED BY: Jolene Blalock

------------------------------

Commander T'Pol /tɨˈpɒl/ is a fictional character played by Jolene Blalock in Star Trek: Enterprise.

She is a Vulcan who serves as the science officer aboard the starship Enterprise.

CONCEPT AND CREATION

According to producer Rick Berman, it was originally intended that a younger version of T'Pau would be the Vulcan officer serving on the titular starship in Star Trek: Enterprise. Instead, after determining there were legal difficulties in using the original series character, the producers created T'Pol.

OVERVIEW

T'Pol is the first Vulcan officer to serve a prolonged term on a human vessel. The previous record was 10 days; by comparison, T'Pol served aboard the Enterprise for ten years (2151–2161). As a Sub-Commander serving the Vulcan High Command, she was stationed aboard the Enterprise in April 2151, as an observer to Captain Jonathan Archer and his crew, who the High Command insisted were not ready for interstellar space exploration. After the success of the Enterprise's initial mission led to the vessel being given an extended exploration mandate, T'Pol requested to stay aboard.

T'Pol remained aboard the Enterprise despite several attempts by her superiors to recall her to Vulcan. T'Pol's decision brought considerable scrutiny upon her from her superiors, and increasing support for her from her captain; she ultimately resigned from the High Command and accepted a field commission from Starfleet in 2154, resulting in her being granted the Starfleet field rank of Commander.

Originally viewed by her crew mates with resentment and suspicion, T'Pol has been forced to earn the trust of fellow officers, Commander Charles Tucker III being a particular focus of friction with her due to his perception of her being a spy for the Vulcans and their very different personalities. The character of T'Pol has developed from that of a "broken record" spouting the dogma of the Vulcan Science Council to that of a questioning scientific mind. Though she does not openly defy or reject the rulings of the Vulcan Science Council, her experiences on the Enterprise have proven to her that they can be wrong.

T'Pol is considerably more emotional than many other Vulcans and has always struggled to control her emotions, something that greatly concerned her mother. Her emotions became even more difficult to control following an exposure to trellium ore, a toxic substance which damaged the part of her brain responsible for emotional control. Nonetheless, T'Pol serves as an icon of Vulcan integrity. Her willingness to question the stale, self-serving decisions of her superiors (at least prior to the Kir'Shara incident), and her respect for Captain Archer position her at the fulcrum of human/Vulcan relations.

Throughout the entire Enterprise run, T'Pol only once said the trademark Vulcan greeting "Live long and prosper". With the exception of the episode In a Mirror, Darkly, T'Pol never rendered the Vulcan salute either.

BIOGRAPHY

Before Enterprise In Season 3 episode 24 Zero Hour she tells Trip that she is not old - she will only be 66 years old on her next birthday. T'Pol was born in 2088 or 2089 (as is measured on earth, making her 62 or 63 years old at "Broken Bow".

T'Pol was the only child of T'Les, an instructor at the Vulcan Science Academy, and her husband. As per Vulcan tradition, T'Pol was bonded with a Vulcan named Koss while they were children and expected to marry as adults ("Breaking the Ice").

As a child, T'Pol's path in life was inspired by Ambassador V'Lar whom she watched negotiating with the Andorians during Treaty of 2097 over possession of the planetoid Paan Mokar ("Fallen Hero").

Approximately 16 years before joining the crew of the Enterprise, T'Pol served as an agent for the Vulcan intelligence service. At age 47, she completed her training for the Vulcan Ministry of Security. During an early mission to apprehend a pair of rogue Vulcans, she was forced to shoot and kill one of the fleeing men. She resigned from the service as a result, and the guilt over killing someone face-to-face caused her to suffer a nervous breakdown or emotional collapse which led to her undergoing a procedure, the Fullara, that erased all memory of the incident. This "memory cap" disappeared when she was briefly reactivated as an agent during 2152 in order to capture the last of the rogue Vulcans, and she experienced another emotional collapse which was alleviated by the support of Captain Archer. Given the option to once again suppress her memory of killing, she chose to live with it instead ("The Seventh").

While in the Ministry of Security, T'Pol was also involved in mission operations at Tomed near Romulan space. Serving under her was Major Talok. However, unbeknownst to T'Pol, Talok was a Romulan spy disguised as a Vulcan working in league with corrupt Administrator V'Las of the Vulcan High Command. Their allegiance was to promote the eventual conquest of Vulcan by the Romulan Star Empire ("Kir'Shara").

After her resignation from the Security Ministry, T'Pol served aboard the cruiser Seleya for a year under the command of Captain Voris ("Impulse").

In 2149, T'Pol began her tenure at the High Command's Consulate on Earth, assisting Ambassador Soval in his obversation of humanity's progress toward space exploration ("Fusion"). She was selected by Soval to accompany Captain Jonathan Archer during his initial first mission aboard the Enterprise NX-01 as observer, sub-commander and Vulcan representative. When the mission was successful and the Enterprise greenlighted to continue its mission of exploration, T'Pol elected to remain on board as science officer ("Broken Bow").

PA'NAR, TRELLIUM, MIND MELDS AND EMOTION

T'Pol, who is described by her superiors as a maverick and a rebel, became fascinated with Tolaris, a member of a group of emotionally free Vulcans encountered during the first year of the Enterprise's mission. Tolaris introduced her to the concept of the mind meld, which at the time was considered a taboo activity among Vulcans. She severed her relationship with Tolaris after she asked him to stop the mind meld and he refused, attempting to continue the meld without her consent (essentially a form of mental rape), and causing her to forcefully break the link. She later learned that she had contracted Pa'nar Syndrome from the encounter. This condition, which has some parallels with the human virus HIV, was kept in check with medication and may or may not have played a role in T'Pol's gradually increased emotionalism over the next three years. In 2154, T'Pol, who had been told that Pa'nar was an incurable virus, learned that the condition was in fact caused by an improperly trained melder, and contrary to what the Vulcan High Command had decreed, it was indeed curable by the touch of an experienced mind (in T'Pol's case a service provided by future Vulcan elder T'Pau).

T'Pol was told that she is genetically incapable of initiating mind melds herself, however following the 2154 overthrow of the Vulcan regime that stigmatized mind-melding she learned otherwise. She performed her first mind meld upon Hoshi Sato, with the assistance of Jonathan Archer, who had learned details about mind melds during a period of time when he held the katra of Surak. In fact, not only is T'Pol telepathic, but the episode Affliction revealed that she is able to communicate with Charles 'Trip' Tucker, III over great distances using her new-found mental abilities. It was established a year later (in Bound) that this is because of a mating bond between the two.

During T'Pol's early years aboard the Enterprise, she demonstrated an unusual (for a Vulcan) willingness to explore human culture and customs, although she stated that certain human foods do not agree with her. After a discussion with Commander Charles Tucker, she sampled pecan pie, a dessert she initially dismissed as being "mostly sugar". She began attending the ship's weekly movie night social event (with Captain Archer), and expressed particular admiration of the film Frankenstein. She was reportedly less successful at mastering the art of eating with chopsticks, to the amusement of her crew mates (in one episode, Trip refers to her efforts as "dinner and a show"). Prior to her posting aboard the Enterprise, T'Pol on at least one occasion left the Vulcan Compound in San Francisco and visited a Jazz music club; the chaotic music generated an emotional response that came back to haunt her during a brief period when she abandoned her nightly meditation ritual (concurrent with her experimentation with mind-melding).

T'Pol also became adept at "play acting" which she found was often needed in order to successfully fulfill a mission. For example, she once pretended to be a slave when Ferengi pirates hijacked the Enterprise (Acquisition), distracted a group of Suliban invaders by acting deranged (Shockwave (Part II)), and pretended to be a domineering Vulcan commander preparing for an execution (Precious Cargo). In the latter example there is a clear indication that T'Pol enjoyed taking part in this sort of deception.

On several occasions during her first two years aboard the Enterprise, T'Pol resisted efforts by her family and the Vulcan High Command to get her to leave the ship and return to her Vulcan obligations. When pressed for a reason by Vulcan Ambassador Soval, T'Pol replied that she found working aboard the Enterprise "gratifying", for which she was chided for engaging in an emotional indulgence.

In 2153, after being ordered to leave the Enterprise and return to Vulcan, T'Pol resigned her commission with the Vulcan High Command in order to accompany the crew of the Enterprise into the Delphic Expanse to find the Xindi, a mysterious race accused of killing seven million humans on Earth. Despite being technically a civilian, she remained as first officer of the Enterprise and the crew continued to refer to her by her High Command rank of Sub-Commander during the mission.

While investigating the Vulcan ship Seleya (Impulse), which had become trapped in The Expanse, T'Pol experienced the side effects of Trellium-D, a ...


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