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Precious Cargo

Trip is in his quarters playing a mouth organ. Um, he's playing a harmonica. By himself. Which seems silly, because the lights are bright and cheery for what's often a blues instrument, he's alone for what's essentially a performing activity, and Trip should be playing guitar anyway. A ship wanders up off the bow in a bad bit of greenscreen and Archer calls to ask if he'd like to play Mister Fixit on an alien wessel. Trip says that's sort of like asking if he enjoys breathing.

Two raisin-faced aliens, one of whom sounds similar to Zobral (which should have been a warning right there), greet the Big Three at the airlock. One asks for a bath and the other brings Trip into their wessel to fix their "passenger's" malfunctioning stasis pod. They claim they need to keep her in stasis because they don't have the resources for her to eat and breathe. In their surprisingly heated and oxygenated cargo hold, Raisin the Lesser introduces him to the pod. (Trip, pod. Pod, Trip.) Trip checks over the machinery, then scrapes frost off the window. Sorry, this isn't Voyager and that's not B'Elanna. It's not even Tom. Hell, it's not even a Vaadwaur. (Fortunately, it's also not Khan.) After eyeballing the mannequin, Trip says he needs to go fetch some tools and a Hoshionary so he can read the buttons.

Upon their return, Hoshi catches him staring at Miss Fish Stick again. (He should have savored the silence while he could.) She teases him, hands him a UT, and leaves. But as he's working, something goes kerflooey, and the sleeper wakes. Screaming. An alarm sounds in Raisin Zobral's pocket. He excuses himself from dinner and hurries to his wessel.

Miss Gorton's is yowling and beating at the window. Gentleman Trip uses the nearest crowbar to try and pop her out of her glass coffin. Raisin Zobral, knowing far more about Sleeping Beauty than Trip does, tries to prevent him from letting the genie out of the bottle, but to no avail. The window eventually opens. Trip tries to help her out. Raisin Zobral figures he'll spare Trip the agony of listening to the oncoming caterwauling and wallops him over the head with the crowbar. Raisin Zobral hails Raisin the Lesser, who also tries to make a break for it. Apparently the OCD Radiation™ really did something for Mal, because on half an order from Archer he is all over the guy. Despite some fast button-pushing and a brief firefight, the Raisin ship gets away, leaving Raisin the Lesser behind and taking Trip, Miss Defrosted Flake, and a bit of Enterprise's docking clamp with it. They dump a technobabble cloud in their wake and manage to escape.

Trip wakes up and tries to stand. Frosty the Snow Bitch clocks him again with the crowbar. He protests loudly that he was trying to help, that he's not her enemy, and for pete's sake would she quit hitting him already? She barks more commands at him, but he can't make heads or tails of the lingo. Trip makes some vague gestures about untying her hands. Eventually she lets common sense and those big blue eyes and waggling eyebrows get the better of her, but just as he starts to set her free, Raisin Zobral runs in to save him. I mean interrupt him.

Gentleman Trip stands protectively in front of Miss Fish and Chip on Her Shoulder while Raisin Zobral tells Trip to fix the pod. She screeches at Raisin Zobral, but his eardrums can't shrivel any further, so he's unaffected. Trip gives the usual contractor's estimate. Raisin Zobral tells him to get on with it and not to track construction dust on the new carpet.

Our boy takes the hint and flees in the other direction. Oh wait, that's what I was hoping he had done. Our boy whips around and starts untying his ungrateful compatriot. She recommences carping at him. Strangely, he makes the effort to find the UT so he can understand her. Once they're both on the same page, he informs her that he's ditching this popsicle stand and invites her to join him. She informs him she's Ambassador to the government of Betazed, daughter of the Fifth House, Holder of the Sacred Chalice of Rixx, and Heir to the Holy Rings of Betazed, and she doesn't have to accept his nerf-herder invitation. He shrugs. "Charles Tucker the third. Pleased ta meetcha." For the record, let us note that he does not at any time share or encourage her to use his nickname, Trip.

She swings titles and proprieties around for a while as he finds an escape route, insisting on doing the Royal Hostage thing by the rules. Apparently her rules don't include a trip to acting school. Trip informs Her Nibs that he's not from her fiefdom, so he doesn't have to play by her rules. She huffs. He suggests she join him in fleeing. She takes a good look at the butt she'd be following along the corridors and relents.

Crawling through the dusty ducts, Trip thinks longingly back to the good old days with Mal in the Stephen King repair station. But he's stuck with this big-mouth, so he finally asks how he should address her. I suggest "Middle of Nowhere, Gobi Desert, Siberia" and put a Priority Mail sticker on her. She gives her name, but he never uses it, and I forgot it, and it wasn't that interesting anyway.

Gentleman Trip helps her out of the tube and she lands very close to him, in a moment which I'm sure was supposed to indicate Opposites Attracting, but only emphasized how much the actress looks like Olive Oyl. They find the escape pod and sandwich into it, in a scene slightly reminiscent of Andy Dick's EMH Mark II trying to crawl into a Jeffries tube for the first time in "Message in a Bottle." Only with more dress ripping and high heels dangling.

They eject. Trip struggles with the controls, the language, the subspace barrier, and his temper as he searches for a habitable planet to land on, or at least one with an atmosphere so he won't suffocate when he opens the door to boot her ass out. Working his way around the pod, which looked a lot more spacious when it was parked, Trip has to go through every panel and hatch in the pod to locate the correct TECH switch to make for an acceptable landing. He finds it stuck up her ass. Okay, he finds it in a panel under her butt, which is just as flat as T'Pol's when Archer had to pull a similarly awkward move in "Shadows of P'Jem."

They share an allegedly cute moment over the search for food, as Trip reminisces about his first car and parking in the moonlight with his girlfriend. What, no flashbacks? I bet she was nicer than Baroness Anorexia, considering she was likely from the South and all.

At length they find something big and round which appears to have oxygen and enough dirt to support the pod. "Ah think Ah'm readin' this display right -- it says 'Dagobah,'" he tells her. The entry vector is entirely wrong -- I took a flight from Calabria to Rome once which had that landing angle, and I thought I was on the Cyclone -- which makes for a very rough landing.

Empress Penguin makes a weak effort to clutch at Trip in a move which is supposed to be dramatic, or incipiently romantic, but looks more like she was trying to keep from smudging her makeup or smearing her nail polish. They land upside down.

The next shot shows them outside in thigh-deep water, next to the pod, which now looks more like Oscar's trash can. I am eternally grateful to whomever made the executive decision not to waste air time showing them struggling out of the pod.

They trundle through the swamp looking for a decent campsite. Miss I'm Not Feeling So Pretty has been reduced to going barefoot, but makes sure not to leave behind her dainty four-inch stiletto heels. When they stop, she notes that he's bleeding, and orders him out of his uniform. To treat the cut.

Connor Trinneer checks his contract, sees that he's gone way over his allotment of non-skin episodes, and complies. Mass swooning sweeps Trek fandom.

Our boy carefully ties his uniform top around his waist and sits beside Miss Suddenly Nightingale to have his cut bandaided. Gentleman Trip even thanks her, sincerely. Oh, but then he puts the top back on. Medics hand around the smelling salts.

Back at the pod they find some logs to sit on, and Trip tries to start a fire with some TECH from the pod. That is, he would start a fire if he could find some kindling. Unfortunately Chakotay won't be born for a few hundred years, and Countess McBeal won't sit still long enough for Trip to get the oil good and hot. He orders her to march her ass out into the swamp and find more dry wood. She tells him to suck plasma exhaust. He proclaims himself King of the Swamp. She takes a swing at him. He traps her little girly swat under his arm and knocks her over.

Somehow the kerfuffle pitches them corn-over-roe into the swamp. Trip wins the wet T-shirt contest before they've even stood up. They argue. The KISS NOW cue card goes up. When she finally lets go, Trip stares at her in astonishment. Mirabile dictu, she shut up! Our boy doesn't need another invitation, and promptly shoves his tongue down her throat. Silence continues to reign. (You didn't think I was going to do another shot of that stupid kiss, did you?)

The next shot is of Trip's uniform and her dress draped over a log. They're spooned together on the other side of the fire, the Lavender Queen in her slip and hair cascading down in Good Girl Gone Bad Waves of Unleashed Repression. Trip's tighty-bluesies make their long-overdue Season 2 debut. Trip wakes up, discreetly spits caviar, and goes for a drink of boiled water.

The escape pod starts booping for the mothership. "Artoo, stop that!" Trip yells, but the dumb droid keeps calling for mama, so Trip finds a handy rock and bashes in the homing signal. I was kinda hoping he'd whack Charlene the Tuna too, just to make sure she stayed quiet, but he's too much the gentleman. Shortly thereafter, someone comes through the swamp, making the requisite noises so he can be detected. Raisin Zobral appears, peeking around Artoo. He sees his former captive perched docilely on a log, sucking on a lemon, with a rather stiff blue-uniformed figure sitting across from her. He's tempted to get while the getting is good -- look, B&B rip off everybody; no reason they can't throw Ruthless People into the mix -- but in the end he figures he'll make more off the ransom, so he shoots the uniform.

Poor Trip; even his uniform takes a beating -- and he doesn't even have to be in it! The coconut head rolls off the dummy as it topples over and Miss Swamp Thang runs away.

Raisin Zobral stalks forward. Trip is waiting above on a handy tree branch. He Tarzans onto Raisin Zobral and they roll into the swamp. Mercifully, even though punches are again exchanged, Raisin Zobral doesn't try to kiss Trip. He does, however, shove Trip so he falls and hits his head against a rock.

He follows up on the advantage and tries to hold Trip's head underwater. Miss Blunt Object finally puts her one talent to use and clobbers Raisin Zobral with a handy tire iron. Or maybe it was the script.

Trip staggers out of the water and drags the poor sod onto the bank, then tells Miss Sluggo to help him look for the guy's weapon in the shallows. As they flounder around, Archer, T'Pol, and Malcolm come through the brush, phase pistols at the ready. Everyone gets a good look at Trip's tighty-bluesies before Archer can manage to stop sniggering long enough to make a cutting quip. Mal smirks in the background.