Author: Merlin's Sister
Fandom: Star Trek: Enterprise
Spoilers: Up to the end of Season 3. A nod to Season 4.
Acknowledgements: Thanks to samgirl for the beta. And also to wandersfar for the transcripts provided at LD of those key Trip and Hoshi conversations.
Enterprise is the fifth incarnation of the Star Trek universe. It is a prequel to the Classic series (ie Kirk and co) and is set on the first Warp 5 ship sent out on a mission of exploration. This essay is about the relationship, and its possible development, between Commander Charles 'Trip' Tucker III and Ensign Hoshi Sato.
Commander Charles Tucker III, or Trip to his friends, is the Chief Engineer and Second Officer of the Enterprise. He is from Florida, and an old friend of the Captain's ("First Flight"). According to Trip, Captain Archer chose him as Chief Engineer because he can take apart and put together pretty much anything ("Stigma"). He was also initially meant to be First Officer, and his friendly, approachable nature certainly shows his skills in that area. He is very excited to be out exploring the galaxy. Indeed some would say that he is a bit too excited, rushing into some situations without clearly thinking them through. As the series has progressed though, he has found his 'space head', and has increasingly shown his command skills. He has a strong sense of family and great loyalty to those he cares about. He is generous and funny. He can also be impulsive and hot-headed, traits that have got him in to trouble more than once. Oh yes, and he seems to be very attractive to alien females...
Ensign Hoshi Sato is the Communications Officer on the Enterprise. She is a linguistic prodigy who has the ability to learn new languages at an amazing rate. It is this love of languages that has propelled her into the stars, not outwardly being a natural explorer. She is a seemingly nervous person, who finds the adventure of space exploration, at least initially, very anxiety inducing (see "Broken Bow" and "Fight or Flight"). It seems that she often feels that she is the weak link in the team, despite the crew's faith in her, and she underestimates her ability to cope and deal with all that the crew encounter. As she relaxes though, we do see other sides to her. She can be very feisty, and more than a little mischievous; she has been known to play the odd prank, and her one liners can hit their target with a delightful zing.
The relationship between Trip and Hoshi on screen seems to be that of friends.It also comes across as one of equality, despite the difference in ranks, and one that may be long standing; there has been much speculation on exactly how long Archer, Trip and Hoshi have actually known each other. But, at least to me and many other shippers, it is also full of UST and the possibility of more.
We can start right in the pilot, "Broken Bow", for some small hints at a possible connection. It seemed fairly noticeable, at least to me, that Hoshi and Trip are tactile people. In this episode there is a smattering of touches on shoulders (when they are captured by the 'good' Suliban, and when escaping from the Kabul). It is Trip to whom Archer entrusts Hoshi's safety in that escape.
When we move into the series proper, the first episode, "Fight or Flight" shows the contrast between these two characters. Trip is desperate for an adventure, and to go on away missions. Hoshi, on the other hand, is more cautious and would happily spend the mission at her station. The nature of this first episode has Hoshi questioning her decision to join the Enterprise and nearly deciding to return home. It's Trip to whom she confesses these thoughts, and Trip who possibly helps her to question that decision, before the plot helps her realise what she can offer the crew that no one else can. In the discussion with Trip there is a real sense of people who have a relationship that extends beyond rank. It is also an episode that again shows their relaxed nature around each other. In the opening scene we see Hoshi worrying about 'Sluggo', her pet slug from a previous planet visit. Trip leans in close as she looks into the slug’s tank before making a teasing comment. It is a position, if you'll pardon the phrase, that we often find them in.
There are other moments that show their friendship and trust of each other. In "Breaking the Ice," Trip trusts Hoshi enough to ask her to translate the encoded Vulcan message sent to T'Pol. This seems to show both a recognition of her skills and a trust in her professionalism. In "Vox Sola", Trip questions the working of the translator technology rather than Hoshi's skills as departing aliens speak to them in seeming riddles. It's also in "Vox Sola" that we get another subtle hint at the bond between the two of them. Through Hoshi's skills, Trip and Archer are saved from an alien presence that threatened their lives. As T'Pol goes straight to the freed Captain, Hoshi goes to Trip's side. Hoshi's sense of humour, and freedom to express that with Trip, get highlighted in "Rogue Planet". As she, Malcolm and Trip discuss the away mission to the planet of the title, Hoshi can't seem to resist a little wind up of the dear Commander about the bugs on the planet:
Trip: "If the bugs glow in the dark, at least you can tell when they've crawled into your sleeping bag."
Hoshi: "One more reason I am happy to spend the night in my own bunk."
Hoshi: "Anyway, it's the things you can't see that I'd be worried about."
Malcolm: "Like those bore worms."
Trip: "Bore worms?"
Hoshi: "Apparently they crawl into your ear to lay their eggs." *sly pat on leg* "Have a nice night!"
Trip: *concerned look*
It's not to say that Trip can't give as good as he can get. In "Two Days, Two Nights", teasing is in full force as Trip's ability with innuendo is shown to the full; he suggests that Hoshi might want to do something more than talk with people on her shore leave. Cue blushes from the Communications Officer.
Finally, we have perhaps the key episode for many Trip and Hoshi shippers in Season 1, "Acquisition". In this episode Archer and Trip enter a battle of wits with some Ferengi who have taken over the ship and are looting it of anything not tied down, including the women. They improvise a ruse to regain control by persuading the aliens that there is gold on the Enterprise, and the Captain would rather lose the women than the gold. Cue a pretend fight with the ultimate Trip/Hoshi shipper declaration by Trip, "You're not taking my wife!" Yes, Trip exclaims that he will take the aliens to the gold rather than lose his 'wife', Hoshi. Many non-shippers have declared this a convenient use of characters. We Tu/S shippers, of course, know that it shows Trip's subconscious in action.
If Season 1 showed the foundation of their friendship, Season 2 gave a feel for the depth of the growing bond. In the opener ("Shockwave II") we have two scenes that show the influence each of the characters have on the other. As Silik threatens Hoshi, Trip can not contain his instinct to protect her, and he warns the Suliban to "Leave her alone!" Later, when it becomes clear in their escape plan that only Hoshi is suited to accomplish an essential task, it is Trip who persuades her that she has the strength to do so.
We also have some other lovely small moments. In "Precious Cargo" Hoshi calls Trip on his attention to a beautiful alien Princess; her smile showing that she knows a lot about him and beautiful aliens by this stage. Hoshi's classic "It's not polite to stare, Commander," is met by a flustered Trip's "I wasn't staring." The gentleman doth protest too much, I feel. But more importantly it again shows a friendship in which playful banter is more than acceptable on both sides.
Trip's admiration for Hoshi's skills is reiterated in "Dawn". Trip, not sure if he and his alien opposite, an Arkonian, are going to escape from the planet, is recording his log. At one point he explains about how he and Zho'Kaan have managed to communicate, and declares, "Hoshi, you would be proud of me." Her opinion of him is important, and her skills are ones that he values.
This season also has the running theme of Trip and the movie choice on the ship. Hoshi is the one to call him on this. In "The Catwalk", in the middle of a poker game, it is Hoshi who pointedly asks who was choosing the movies. This is followed up in "Stigma". Trip and Hoshi are having dinner and discussing why anyone would want to stay on board when given the choice of shore leave to the planet below. Trip enthuses about that night's movie causing Hoshi accuses him of being in charge of the movie choices. He denies it, of course, but the smile says it all.
In the same scene we also have Feezal, who is currently in sexual pursuit of Trip (see, I told you there is an issue with alien women). After a conversation in Denobulan between Hoshi and Feezal, Trip is paranoid that they are talking about him. Hoshi, completely deadpan, says they are. She is not expecting Feezal's contribution that Hoshi was telling her how attractive she thinks the Commander is. Hoshi immediately protests her innocence (they had in fact been talking about grammar), which Trip is quick to acknowledge. The embarrassment on both sides could be interpreted in many ways, but it might be a sign that Feezal came a little too close to the truth.
Finally, we have "Vanishing Point" in which Hoshi experiences a hallucination whilst using the transporter for the first time. Although the plot is a little old, the story does allow a look into Hoshi's psyche, and especially her relationship with Trip. The story starts with Hoshi and Trip nearly trapped on a planet due to a storm. Ordered to transport back, Hoshi argues with Trip about it, yet not as a subordinate. It is another example of how they seem to see each other outside their rank, which would definitely be needed for a romance to develop.Once seemingly back on the ship, Hoshi's experiences as she apparently fades from existence show her both leaning on Trip and fearing exclusion by him and other friends. Only once she has disappeared do we see Hoshi's sense of Trip's bond with her, as he grieves and blames himself for her apparent death. Unaware that she is watching, he sighs her name with great feeling. Behind him, unexplained emotions play over Hoshi’s face, leaving one to ponder whether her feelings for the Commander have more depth than previously explored.
Ah yes. Season 3. Not a good one for Trip/Hoshi shippers, and not just because of the canon relationship between Trip and T'Pol. The nature of the season's story, and the focus on the 'Big Three', meant little interaction between the ensemble. However, if you hang on to the end of the season, there are some small moments that help you keep the faith. In "The Council" we have a passing reference to them spending their meals together still. In "Countdown" Trip expresses his concern for Hoshi after her kidnapping. He may need to focus on the task in hand, but he is still worried about someone he cares about. Finally, we have the moment that Trip and Hoshi shippers have taken solace from in this season. As Malcolm, Hoshi and team arrive back from destroying the Xindi weapon in "Zero Hour" we have the hug. Hoshi says nothing, but takes Trip into her arms as Malcolm explains to him and T'Pol that the Captain is apparently dead. The friendship at least is finally allowed back into view.
As a Brit, I have yet to see Season 4. From the few spoilers I have allowed myself to read, there are again some moments coming up that may help us shippers keep the faith. "The Forge" has a basketball scene with some classic friendship signs in it, whilst "Observer Effect" has Trip and Hoshi stuck in decon after contracting a deadly virus. Here's hoping for some good conversations in that one. :)
So, why do I ship this pairing? It started with the fact that from the start Hoshi was my favourite character. She was the everywoman, who reacted just like I would if faced with similar circumstances. In contrast, I couldn't stand Trip. He was so the opposite; I just wanted to tell him to calm down and grow up a bit. Then came "Unexpected" and the writers (and Connor Trinneer) showed their gift for comedy. As the character became more likeable, I started noticing the chemistry between Trinneer and Linda Park. I enjoyed the subtle references to their friendship and, with the help of some of the examples I've cited above, started to see the potential for more.
I feel that the two characters balance each other. Where Trip is outgoing, Hoshi is reserved. Where he is adventurous, she is cautious. Where he has confidence, she has doubts. Combine the two, even as friends, and these seeming opposite ends of the spectrum balance each other. They bring the positive aspects of each other's personalities out. He protects her, and boosts her sense of strength and confidence. She centres him, and gives him the freedom to be more than the Commander or engineer for a while. They have the potential to have a strong relationship, that is romantic and loving, and capable of surviving challenges. Some people say they do not like the ship because they are both too nice and there is no risk of angst or conflict. There may be some evidence for this on an internal level, but external factors could cause some interesting storylines, the least of which is the fraternisation issue. There are also the more negative aspects of their personalities. They can both be stubborn. Trip has a quick temper, and tendency to charge in where angels fear to tread. Hoshi lacks confidence, and would possibly feel insecure about those alien females in a relationship other than friendship. But I say all the better for interesting story lines!
Oh yes, and did I mention they look hot together? Helps, you know.
If you want to find out more, here are some ideas.
Firstly, some good sites to check out. Linguistics Database is a great place to start. Dedicated to all things Hoshi, you'll find discussion about this pairing, fic and fan art. You can also go to Southern Comfort, an archive and fanlisting combined, run by the lovely Nadia and azarsuerte dedicated to Trip and Hoshi. Yahoo also has Trippin' Over Hoshi for Hoshi and Trip fans. More general sites that you might find useful include EntSTCommunity and Delta Story's Enterprising Times.Treknation, Nadia's main site, is also a fantastic resource for all things Trek. It's in German, but is easy to navigate around with a bit of common sense. Finally there is fanfiction.net for all your fic needs.
Now for the fic. There are lots there, and all are well worth checking out. The sense of continuity amongst the writers has even allowed for Hoshi to have her own fanon, such as a love for cheesecake to match Trip's canon hunger for pecan pie ("Breaking the Ice"). And who could resist a fanon that gives its lead character bunny slippers anyway.
The stories I am about to quote can all be found at Linguistics Database, unless stated otherwise. Go to the site index, click on shippage or author and go from there.
I'll start with the self pimping. If you want to get a feel for how I see Trip and Hoshi, the best thing to check out would be my Destiny series. Made up of Just Trying to Find A Way Home, Wheels Within A Wheel, and the soon to be completed Come What May, it is my labour of love. There are 3 more stories to go. The series takes Trip and Hoshi through the formation of their relationship, whilst trying to save the universe from destruction at the same time. Usual thing then. I also want to recommend By Any Other Name. It's a one off, and I'm not sure why I like it so much, but it feels my most sensual piece so far.
For the other fic, I'll start with my personal favourites by other authors. Other Tu/Sers reading this, feel free to add your own favourites in the comments section. :) My all time favourite is a tie between samgirl's Shekan and azarsuerte's The Panic in Me. The Panic in Me is a coda to "Vox Sola", and sums up for me all the potential that this pairing has. Shekan is a wonderful adventure story that shows how Trip and Hoshi are just destined to be. Shekan is archived under McCool 21, or possibly Mochachill, the sister double act (*waves hello to susan217 as well) who have produced some great Tu/S overall.
Other favourites include:
A Man and his Socks by marag - Trip recounting an adventure to Hoshi - check out the evil squirrels! (Archived under Mara Greengrass)
Priorities by medie - an insight into the lives of the couple.
I Grieve With Thee also by medie - Trip helps Hoshi grieve for her grandfather. (Available at fanfiction.net under M. Edison)
Anywhere by Starsearcher - Trip, Hoshi and shore leave. Utter sap and great for those down moments.
Heat Wave by azarsuerte - I like this as it's from the unusual POV of a wall in a secluded part of the ship where Trip and Hoshi get some down time, so to speak.
Opposing Forces by ozchick - a wonderful example of those external factors I was talking about. Hoshi and Trip's relationship starts to buckle after a traumatic incident. I also like it because it's told from Travis' POV.
Robbing the Cradle by Josephine - Trip gets charged with statutory rape on a planet where the age of consent is 30. Another wonderful external factors story, with a happy but very realistic ending.
Want by Dominatreks - Hoshi wants Trip, so she decides to make sure she has him.
When the Snow Falls by Starsearcher - Hoshi reflects on her life as it comes to an end. Soft and melancholy.
April Fool's Day by Llyzbeth - not explicitly shippy, but it captures that sense of fun in their friendship. Hysterically funny as well. (Available at fanfiction.net)
Love and Basketball by Starsearcher - another basketball scene, building on "The Forge". Currently in the fan fic forum at Linguistics Database.
Other stories you might enjoy include:
Bed of Lies by Lexis - Hoshi's getting married. Triangle fic.
Cause and Effect by Josephine - Archer helps T'Pol with a problem; her situation has a domino effect.
Engineering Project 8321A: The Lost Chapter by Dominatreks - What happened that first night Trip, Hoshi, and Malcolm had to room together.
Choices and Consequences by Saragirl - the follow up to the above and Taryn Eve's initial story. Wonderful exploration of a threesome.
Icon by Lilymaid - Hoshi and Trip are kidnapped during a ceremony on a newly discovered planet. (Available at fanfiction.net)
Just a Little Crush by AnnaPhylactic - Hoshi has a crush on Trip, but she's determined not to let it show. (Available at fanfiction.net)
Linguists & Greasemonkeys by Clez - Hoshi and Trip have a conversation in the Mess, with unexpected results. (Available at fanfiction.net).
Might Be Lost by Elizabeth "Llyzbeth" Wallace - Trip and Hoshi are trapped on a dead world, and their enemies are getting closer... (Available at fanfiction.net)
Nothing Left But The Essence by Dominatreks - Answer to the innocuous challenge Dad-Snow-Adore.
One Night In Engineering by Matilda7 - LD Challenge story: enraged, arm, crewmen.
Stuck by misanoe - An AU focused around Hoshi and Trip.
Sunshine by Lilymaid - Chaos erupts after shore leave on a tropical planet. (Available at fanfiction.net)
Thin Walls by Josephine - Hoshi has a stressful day and Trip helps her decompress. Done in eavesdropping style.
Triad--the 'L' Series by mnemosyne - Three different repercussions of "Shockwave II". Character death in Part 3.
The stories are a range of ratings, so make sure you check out the author's notes if that worries you.
So, there you have it. My take on the possibilities. Don't just take my word for it. Check out the fic and the art and soon you'll see just how 'sweet' this couple can be.