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Desert Crossing

Archer befriends a Cardboardus Stereotypicant captain with a bum ship. In gratitude for the repairs, the captain invites Archer for dinner on his home planet of Melodramatia. The captain wants Trip to join him. The thing is, Melodramatia is mostly desert, which Trip hates (I can totally sympathize), and frankly he was a little too close to Archer two episodes ago and could use some space. But Cap'n talks him into a second date, assuring him that there'll be plenty of Sterotypicants around to act as chaperones and he'll be a perfect gentleman, honest.

Dinner is a little nervous but mostly pleasant, until the Stereotypicant captain reveals that they're eating Chopped Rocky Mountain Oyster Soup. Trip either has to spit or swallow. (Kudos to Trinneer here; the look on his face as he discreetly struggles with his food is priceless.)

Before they've even had a chance to digest, or vomit, the Stereotypicant captain corrals them into a game of geskana, which is a combination of Quidditch and lacrosse. It's very athletic, and both our boys strip to the waist in the tremendous heat. Which is fine for attracting that Key Viewer Demographic, but really murderous on starship-pale skin.

Play is rough -- Archer gets whacked around and Trip is flipped ass-over-teakettle by enthusiastic Stereotypicants. Trip even switches to videotape for a second or two to try and improve their luck, but their side is definitely losing.

T'Pol hails Archer with a political warning from the Antagonist Party on other half of the planet.The Stereotypicant captain rails and flails and wails his tale, asking Archer's help in preventing more rhymes. The Antagonist Air Force beats him to it and starts shelling the Stereotypicant compound.

Trip and Archer have to hide underground in a none-too-sturdy bunker, where they get bonk-bonked on the head by falling rocks and beams and Plot Contrivance fragments. Trip says he thinks he's cracked a few ribs, tells Cap'n "never get involved in a land war in Asia," and convinces him to leave. Sound move. However, Archer decides to raid the shuttlepod for supplies and then set out across the open desert rather than actually fly away to safety. The man is desperate to get Trip alone -- T'Pol might have been right about the crew needing shore leave on Risa.

(The photo that launched a website!)

Trip and Archer wander across the desert at the Melodramatic equivalent of high noon like two cartoon characters. Trip points out that they should be traveling at night, or at least not on the tops of ridges where they make easy pickins. Archer pooh-poohs him. A sound in the distance turns out to be an Antagonist bomber, causing more pooh.

The boys bury themselves in the sand like overachieving ostriches to avoid detection. Now Trip's got sand down his shorts. And every other place. (Sorry, the Star Wars jokes have all been done by other reviewers. I can't do any without plagarizing.)

Water runs out shortly. Trip collapses, dehydrated, and starts to hallucinate -- complaining of the cold, admiring the colors, and accepting a commendation for his service as the ECH.

Archer threatens to put out Trip's lights if he doesn't drink the little water which is left. He finally sucks down whatever drops remain, but sweats it all out within a few minutes. They continue to head, um, second dune to the right and straight on until sunset, or wherever it is Archer thinks they're going.

After several more hours of staggering through scorching heat and barren shelterless waste, they find an abandoned compound. Archer dumps Trip on the floor to go search for water. There's a keg of the stuff, but it's not really drinkable; the captain has to boil it and strain it through Hogan's shirt first. Even then it's pretty foul. Trip spews the first mouthful back out before forcing himself to keep the next sip down.

After a day like that, all our poor boy wants is some rest. Archer's gotta get cute and play word games with him (and then has the gall to complain when Trip, stoned with heatstroke, beats him anyway).

The Antagonists figure out where Archer and Trip are before Malcolm and Enterprise can, and begin long-range bombardment. More falling debris and flying rafters ensue. Fortunately our boys keep their hands and feet inside the ride at all times, and only suffer a fresh coating of sand. Frankly, that's bad enough.

Archer grabs Trip and hurries him out into open desert again. At least it's night this time. At the sound of another flying vehicle, Archer valiantly flings Trip into the dirt and tries to protect him by lying on top of him (at least, that's what he tells Trip later in Sickbay). It turns out to be a shuttlepod with the rescue team from Enterprise. T'Pol waters them both down and hands out the gallon jugs of Noxzema as they zoom off to safety. No one points out, however, that the shuttlepod Trip and Archer arrived in has been abandoned near the Stereotypicant camp, undamaged and jammed with technology. Good thing it wasn't a book on Chicago Mobs of the Twenties, or a history of Nazi Germany, or anything really dangerous.