TripHammered
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The Forgotten

Trip is still sporting all of last week's soot and smudge; apparently he's been running so ragged that he hasn't even had the chance to wash his face. He's also operating primarily on caffeine and nerves, since he hasn't slept since the attack in "Azati Prime" two (screen) days ago.

While he's in this stellar state, Cap'n notes that one of the redshirts was from Engineering, and asks Trip to write the condolence letter to her parents. Trip pleads that his wee bairns are in ICU and he's running out of duct tape to hold the deck plating together, but Archer insists.

Repairs are difficult. The ship hits a dense blorp pocket, sending Jacob's Ladders flying out from the core, giving our boy serious acida (which Archer blows off). Over a snack break, Trip frets about the letter. T'Pol tries to talk him into getting some rest, but he claims he doesn't have the time, and with weary guilt points out that they're flying on a stolen warp coil. An internal FOOM shakes the ship and sends Trip's coffee flying.

It turns out it's just as well he didn't have the caffeine, as Phlox nabs Trip in the hallway and relieves him of duty for exhaustion. "Come again?!" he says in disbelief.

Phlox orders him to sleep six hours; Trip proclaims he can't take six minutes or the ship will fall apart like a leola-root soufflé. After the doctor threatens to tell Malcolm on him, they haggle like my grandmother and the butcher over the price of a steak, settling on four hours. Trip calls Phlox a used car salesman. Phlox smirks delicately (no creepy CGI smile, thank goodness).

Trip hopes to sidle off and sneak back to work, but the former Phlox of Twelve knows the value of the SLEEP command, and stands his ground. They pause on the way out of the corridor to exchange glares.

Trip does go to bed, but has a nightmare. He dreams he walks the dark and deserted halls, dodging debris, to Taylor's quarters, finding her there. Once he realizes it's a dream, Taylor asks him how the letter is going. He confesses it's going badly.

She starts to remind him of their shared history, of how he complimented her skills and liked her as a person. He twists this way and that, unable to look her in the face. "Just...remember me," she says softly. "Is that asking so much?"

It is -- he wakes up, her hurt voice echoing in his ears. But he's still not owning up to the real problem.

Back on duty, he has to help T'Pol pull up the database on the spheres for Degra. But the architect of the Death Star and the Baby Death Star is in the room with him, and Trip can't contain himself. He starts with a few simple questions, which T'Pol attempt to deflect, but then builds up into a yelling confrontation. "That's the name of one of the places you destroyed...Florida," he spits. Archer tells him to take his Southern cynicism and bury it, although Trip doesn't appear particularly fazed by the warning.

A warp plasma conduit FOOMS, requiring Trip and Malcolm to go out onto the exterior of the ship to shut down the plasma feeds. Mal continues to uphold his record of having truly bad things happen to him when he's on the hull, and gets steamed unconscious in his EV suit. As Phlox takes Malcolm to Sickbay, Trip explodes at Degra, "What's one more dead human to you?" Archer slaps him down harder this time, which at least gets through.

Finally showered, Trip tries again to write (well, dictate -- I gotta say I couldn't get used to doing that; I need a keyboard) the letter for Taylor's parents. He starts out very formally but bails. A second try is a little smoother, but still impersonal, and he knows it. A tiny red light marked "Rescue Trip" starts blinking on Malcolm's console, and he calls a Tactical Alert. Trip scrambles off to the crisis with great relief.

Later on, Trip slaves over a hot conduit, trying desperately to untangle fused relays. T'Pol brings him portable power cells from the Xindi. She asks if he can help. "Not unless you can resurrect the dead," he says with flat bitterness.

He begins naming the lost, and kicks the cylinder of power cells across the hall in anger. He points to where they found Taylor. It was sheer bad luck that she was under the wreckage and not a few yards away, where she would have survived -- and Trip would not have had to write to her parents.

And that's the rub. Not Taylor...but that every time he tries to begin, he can only think of his sister. He's been trying for months to smother his grief, to ignore it, to pretend that she was only one of seven million. "But she's my sister...my baby sister," he finally whispers, fighting with tears.

T'Pol hesitantly, gently puts a compassionate hand on his shoulder. He clutches it like a lifeline. "I envy you Vulcans," he tells her.

But she contradicts him -- Terrans at least have ways to express and cope with their emotions, which Vulcans don't learn. He nods, pulling himself together, and gives her a watery smile.

Trip sits on his bed, and speaks to the Taylors as he might a friend. He tells them how hard it was for him to face writing this letter, because her death was so arbitrary and sudden. But she was his friend, and he will not forget her.

He looks down, to a photo of Lizzie, and touches it in a caress. "Goodbye, Elizabeth."