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Trip is taking Shuttlepod One (already a bad thing) by himself (really a bad thing) to test the autopilot (why'd he even get up this morning?). And it looks like he borrowed Mal's lipstick without asking, so he might as well curl up and die now. While dictating his log, he slams Travis, and the Spirit of Helm Boys Yet To Come promptly flushes Trip's karma down the toilet for the week. A small nasty ship fires on Trip several times, forcing him to dive for the nearest moon -- he has three score to choose from -- and make a crash landing.

Pod fares worse than Trip; in fact, Pod may be retired after this episode, poor thing. Our boy shakes off the air bag and takes out the Q-tips to apply iodine to his bruised face. Or maybe it's like Joan Allen in Pleasantville, and he's actually touching up his bruise makeup.

He attempts to repair the communications array by firelight. See, now, if he'd brought somebody else along, this might have been a moment for quiet bonding between friends, or have the potential for romance, but nooooooooooooo, it's just a boy and his toy, and the toy is feeling sulky. Trip gets zapped a few times because the evening chill (chill? cuddle? romance? oh, the waste) is making his fingers numb.

Not everything on this moon is frozen into immobility, however: the pilot from the shuttle which brought Trip down is moving around just fine. Trip hears Something Wicked This Way Comes Sounds and goes to check them out, using a flashlightsaber™ he no doubt inherited from Fox Mulder. But he's also apparently got Mulder's lack of sense of self-preservation, because he didn't pack any weapons in the shuttlepod. All he has to take with him to go investigate the scary noises is a pipe. (Mal is so going to kick his ass when he gets back to Enterprise. "That's it! I'm implementing my OCD regulations! You're going to be wearing a phase pistol and a tracking sensor from now on! In fact, I'm going to strap you into a bloody EV suit whenever you leave your quarters! That should keep you from getting your stupid arse into trouble every ten minutes!")

The pilot fires a bunch of times, yelling at Trip, who gets his arse safely (and rather acrobatically, I might add) into the pod and slams the door. However, the pilot isn't so much after Trip as he is the transceiver. (Guess there was some romance in that scene after all. {ANNOUNCER}"A fiery love triangle between Trip, technology, and a dark mysterious stranger! Tonight on Enterprise!" Look, I don't want to see "A Night in Sickbay" again any more than you do.)

One very annoyed engineer goes skulking through the Joshua trees to the other crash site. Turns out the other pilot -- since this episode is a fairly close derivation of the first half of the book and movie Enemy Mine, I'm just going to call him "Jerry" and have done with it, okay? -- has also built a fire, the better by which to cuddle with Trip's comm board.

Trip gets all jealous. He starts moving down the rocks and slips, causing dust to kick up and highlight a detection beam. (Extremely cool effect, by the way; kudos to Roxann Dawson.) Rather than limbo under it, Trip figures there's more than one way to skin a cat. He goes back to the pod and starts fiddling with a PADD, muttering about not having a UT. (He left the Hoshionary behind on this jaunt, figuring that the last time he brought it with him he couldn't get the stupid bint to shut up, and he'd rather play Charades in Klingon than have to endure that again.)

Jerry hears Trip yammering in the distance. "My love is a fever, longing still for that which no longer nurseth the disease!" he calls to the transceiver. Jerry's never heard Shakespeare, so he grabs his pistol ("Now there's a man with some sodding sense," Mal grumbles) and goes exploring. "In faith, I do not love thee with mine eyes for they in thee a thousand errors see," Trip's voice continues, his voice oddly tinny, "but 'tis my heart that loves what they despise, who in spite of view are pleased to dote." The real Trip zips in, stage left, and clutches the precious comm board to his bosom. "Are y'okay, darlin'?" he asks breathlessly, checking all the switches and relays. Jerry is still wabbit hunting. He finds the PADD Trip left on a high ledge, which is now up to "Shall I compare thee to a summer's day? Thou art more lovely, and more temperate..." Curses! He's twicked me! Jerry rushes back to the shuttle to protect his mistress's eyes, and is hoist on his own petard when he trips the sensor beam. An alarm sounds. Thus alerted, Trip hurriedly kisses the array goodbye -- "Ah'll be back for you, Ah swear!" -- and scrambles off. Jerry checks out the campsite, but nothing seems to be amiss. There is a mister, though -- in the door of the shuttle. Trip leaps on Jerry and starts whaling the tar out of him.

They wrassle. Trip makes Mal proud with the jujitsu. Jerry gets the gun away from Trip. Jerry makes Bon Jovi proud and Trip takes a Taser nap.

Trip is tossed in the corner like yesterday's sandwich wrapper, bound hand and foot. Jerry is meaner than a junkyard dog; he kicks Trip in the ribs a few times to wake him up. "Ah'm no good until Ah've had my coffee," Trip groans. (No really. I told you I love John Shiban.) Jerry growls and barks a few things. Trip gives him the beagle-watching-Jeopardy look. Through much pointing and grunting, Jerry gets across that he wants Trip to sweet-talk the comm array into calling the mother ship.

"Ah'll never go to the Dark Side!" Trip announces. Jerry roars and jams the pistol into Trip's throat. "Well, okay, Ah could dabble. Ah mean, just a little. And Ah wouldn't get all Scary Veiny Willow about it or nothin'." Jerry unties Our Boy, who limps over to the assembled TECH.

After the expected "Zho'Kaan and Dammit at Tenagra" exchange, Trip asks Jerry for some water. Jerry throws him his own thermos, but it's full of lizard grog. Trip immediately yaks it back out again. You'd think that by now he'd have learned to sniff before eating, drinking, or snogging anything he can't identify. He wants to go back to the pod for actual water, but Jerry says "zot."

Some time later, we're treated to the welcome sight of Trip's undershirt (no monty this week) as he slaves in the increasing heat of the coming dawn.

He tugs on something which doesn't want to be tugged on, and falls and slices his right arm on a nearby rock.

Jerry spits on him (eeew!), and promptly earns his species permanent employment in Denobulan hospitals all over the quadrant: the saliva heals the wound almost immediately. Trip is stunned. And skeeved. Bet he wishes that arm was still cloaked.

Finally Trip's done all he can. He staggers over to Jerry's ship and complains that he's nae miracle worker. ("Maybe if you vomit on it, it'll fix itself." hee hee hee) He gestures Jerry over to show he couldn't bypass the fizzbin generator, and then squirts radiator fluid into Jerry's eyes. This only slows the lizard guy down long enough for Trip to get the gun.

Now the binding's on the other foot. Jerry is hog-tied while Trip works over by the shuttlepod. He slugs down water, then offers Jerry some Balance bars. Jerry obligingly bites, and yaks. "They taste like Clif bars," the closed-captioning reads. Whatever; ENT's food streak is intact. (Would you rather see a shot of the lizard guy tied up or Trip's gleaming biceps? Yeah, I thought so.)

Trip finishes with the comm array. She's sulky now that the boys aren't fighting over her any more, so she zaps Trip again. Jerry laughs at him. Trip brushes himself off and taps a button, and the transceiver starts purring for Papa. Now who's laughing, lizard breath?

Unfortunately the interference is still too strong. Trip figures they have to climb to the top of Mesa Verde to get above the Plot Complicationite in the rocks, but both people are needed because the contraption is too heavy. He makes a big elaborate show of tossing the pistol away and being unarmed. (Mal sits up in bed screaming, "No, you blithering idiot, don't get rid of your only weapon! Just holster the damn thing!") Jerry makes nicey-nice gestures, so Trip unties him.

And Jerry tackles Trip and starts whaling the tar out of him.

They wrassle. Trip kicks Jerry. Jerry punches Trip and tries to strangle him.

Jerry finds the gun. Trip jumps on his back and they roll down the hill. Trip goes completely ass-over-teakettle en route. (I understand Trinneer loves doing his own stunts. I hope he has good insurance. It's easy to get hurt.)

Jerry spits in Trip's eye -- something different this time, because it momentarily blinds him. (I can think of any number of guy friends who would've killed for the ability to spit different substances at will back in grade school.)

Jerry slugs him again.

They fight. Lots of punching and falling and oofing. Trip gets slammed into a wall and socked a few times.

Trip thwacks Jerry. Jerry tries to tackle him. Trip does another karate move and down Jerry goes.

Trip kicks him in the ribs and punches him against a wall just for getbacks.

Jerry knocks Trip down with a kick to the the back of his knee and goes for his throat again. Trip finds a rock and cracks Jerry in the head with it, following it up with an elbow to the nose.

The sun is continuing to rise. It's getting hotter, and they're both tired and dehydrated, so the fight begins to wind down to bitch-slapping and name-calling. ("Your mama was a handbag!" "Your daddy couldn't get to Warp 2 if Superman was pushing him!" "You're not half the actor Paul Winfield was!" "You slept with a carp!" "Damn, ya got me there...")

Eventually they both collapse. Trip emerges the victor by dint of being the only one able to crawl away and stand.

He finds the gun. Showing enough damage to rival a post-First Spike, after whom he was nearly named (jeez, maybe this did have some Buffy crossover), Trip wings the pistol out into the wild blue yonder. Phlox already has the crash cart on B Deck heading to Mal's quarters. Trip tells Jerry he's a lover, not a fighter -- to everyone's great relief, there's no jungle, swamp, or dainty lavender gauze gown in sight, so Trip isn't likely to boink this particular alien -- and that he could still use some help getting the transceiver out of the valley. Jerry gives in and takes his half of the machinery. C.T. phones home. Nothin'.

For a while, in fact. It's getting hotter on that ledge -- they couldn't have gone to the other side of the rock? -- but the audience isn't complaining, 'cause Trip's down to skin, baby. (Did he learn nothing from the Melodramatic desert? Bare flesh + insane heat + blinding sunshine = second degree sunburn + severe dehydration.) Jerry can't take off his scales, however, and he's really in a bad way. Trip helps him with his grog flask a few times. (I notice that Trip's face looked a lot cleaner up on the ledge than when he was on the floor of the valley. Did he sweat off the blood or was there a powder room halfway up the mountain? And if he was going to wash up, why didn't he clean the crud off his arms too?)

Hoshi gets on the line at last. Archer wants to beam both Trip and Jerry up, but Phlox says if they try, they're going to have one toasted engineer and one chunky salsa lizard. Trip refuses to leave behind his new buddy, or give up a chance for one more monologue. Struggling with brain-fry (the opposite of brain freeze), he tells Archer how Jerry's kids can modify one of their shuttles to screen out the Plot Complicationite in the atmosphere.

While they're waiting, Trip essentially recounts the highlights of the last season and a half, plus a few non-fatal adventures we didn't get to see. In other words, what a long strange Trip he's been.

Back on the ship, Trip is mostly patched up -- by Phlox, we hope, and not Jerry slobbering all over him -- except for a cut on his lip where Mal cracked him upside the head for being such a berk. He gets Jerry the replacement grog he promised, and they exchange quasi-pleasantries before Trip heads out again for another lecture from Mal on care and storage of weaponry.