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Observer Effect

Trip and Hoshi are coming back from an Away Mission on Portentia VII. Hoshi's got k'rap in her hair and Trip's longing for a nice hot shower.

Trip coughs. Well, the flu's going around. He coughs again, much worse this time. Hoshi's surprised; she didn't think it was the Millennium flu from CS12. A few seconds later Trip lunges out of the pilot's seat and collapses on the floor of the pod. Hoshi peers over her shoulder and then hails the ship. "Commander Tucker's got Hack-Up-A-Lung Syndrome," she reports (I get that about once every year or so -- it's really brutal), and then mumbles something about not being able to fly the shuttle. Not to worry, Archer reassures her; Invulnerable Shuttlepod One can just about land itself.

Hoshi helps Trip stagger into Decon. She offers to dig up the sexy blue gel which hasn't been used in two years, but Phlox doesn't have his big floppy purple pimp hat on today and tells her to hold off for now. Archer mentions that Pod One needs a filter check. Trip promptly blames himself for being too concerned with keeping both lungs in his chest cavity and starts to get up to do the repair. Phlox quashes that too. Hoshi decides to make the most of the one A-plot she's got this year and starts coughing, then runs to the head and makes barfy sounds. Phlox and Cap'n scurry off.

A bit later, Phlox has apparently been and gone with some mediTECH, or at least some industrial-strength 22nd-century NyQuil. Trip injects Hoshi and himself. Travis, possessed by Eager Beaver Organian, taps on the glass and starts asking Hoshi "Tell me about your mother. She wore combat boots, right?"

Hoshi's a bit weirded out. "My momma was in the reserves. What's your point?" Then the Beav wants to know about Trip's dreams. "Sometimes a cigar is just a cigar," Trip tells him, and insists that since Makeup has been by with the Icky Palette, they need some rest now. He slides the door firmly shut in the Beav's face.

Hoshi's huddled under a standard-issue blankie while they chat. She tells him an astonishing story of how she got booted from Starfleet Training Camp for breaking Colonel Tigh's arm when he tried to interrupt her poker game. Trip's so flabbergasted he slowly topples to the couch, sort of balanced on his forehead. It's completely adorable. He's got that familiar "stoned on cold medicine" look, which apparently means that 150 years from now, Sudafed is still useless and DayQuil still makes you feel like your face is on too tight.

Cap'n comes by later to not tell them the bad news that they've got five hours before the Sand Virus completely kicks them in the glass. Trip grumbles at having to shoo Beaver Trav again before Archer identifies himself. ("It's me," he says. "Me who?" "It's me!" "Which me? The British me? The food-bearing me? Mini-me?" "It's me me!" "Oh, the ugly broad from "Drew Carey" who wears more makeup than Harvey Fierstein in Hairspray?") Trip answers the window looking sweaty and haggard, with artfully shadowed lines on his face. When Cap'n says Phlox and T'Pol are working on a cure, Trip immediately snags a clue that he and Hoshi are up Sand Creek without a castle. Archer makes a few comforting twitches. Trip slowly creaks back to the cot.

Hoshi wakes up and now Trip's wrapped in the blankie. He and Hoshi trade complimenvies about their respective fields of genius. When Hoshi asks if he's always been good at engineering, he says building things took a while, but he could disassemble stuff from birth. He tells her of the Thanksgiving he completely unscrewed the dining room table but left it stuck together, and when his father tried to put the turkey down, the entire meal had an attack of 52 Pick-Up. Trip was grounded for a month. "How old were you?" Hoshi giggles. "Oh...24, 25," he snickers. (We love the Reeves-Stevenses.)

Hoshi stands up to see Phlox the Beav and Curmudgeon T'Pol (although it's hard to tell, frankly) standing at the window, noses pressed to the glass. Trip tells them he'd feel less stalked if they were in Sickbay working on blasting the virus.

They've finally managed to get some sleep when Hoshi has a polyglot nightmare and wakes Trip up in Swedish?, German, and French. He tries to get her to relax, but the Pre-Death Pallor Concealer he's wearing is kinda frightening.

So much so, in fact, that she violates one of the few bits of continuity we have about her character (that she's crappy in math) and hacks the Decon door code. Trip has to stagger out into the halls to drag Zombie Threepio back into quarantine.

Hoshi has a S3 flashback and tries to airlock herself. When Trip tries to stop her, she does some strange ineffective fake-martial-artsy move to shake him off and slams him against a wall.

But Trip has fought pirates, Andorians, Jerry, and Princess Fishstick. Hoshi's no match for him. He pins her against him until she collapses in whiny tears and girly punches.

Phlox proves he was peeping because he heard how Charles Tucker II punished his son, and grounds them both. "Aw, do I have to inject myself with a horse sedative which ensures I'll sleep through my last three hours with no chance to write a will or say goodbye to the people I've entrusted with my life the last three-and-a-half years?" Trip begs, but the doctor holds firm. Trip injects himself standing up, figuring it's better to collapse on your feet than sleep on your knees, or something.

Curmudgeon and the Beav are squabbling about whether to continue the spying or call it off, and the only place they think they can fight without the kids overhearing is by animating Hoshi and Trip. The Beav immediately complains that Trip feels like he's been kicked around by an entire rugby team. Curmudgeon says "Life is pain" and returns to their philosophical quarrel.

Phlox eventually comes up with a variant of the microwave treatment he used to deBorgify himself, and SuperArcher insists on joining him in bringing Trip and Hoshi to Sickbay to be toasted.

Archer gets all macho and brave and takes off his gloves and helmet to help Phlox administer the medications. Hoshi shuffles off this mortal coil, despite several attempts to shock her back. They load Trip onto the microwave carousel, but they're too far above sea level and the kernels don't pop. Phlox staggers off to the Bridge, promising to come up with something before Archer starts pining for the fjords.

Archer quietly stands with his friend until Trip too sails into the west.

errrrk And does a U-turn. The Beav sits Trip up to compliment Archer on his bravery and tenacity in the face of impossible odds. Curmudgeon reanimates Hoshi to return fire.

After a really good speech, Curmudgeon is convinced to Reset Button™ both crewmembers and everyone's memories to boot, leaving Trip alive and well but completely snickpiddled.