TripHammered
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Canamar

Trip's debut this week looks like something out of Ben-Hur -- sitting on a bench shackled at the wrists, one of a dozen assorted motley aliens from Coruscant Central Casting. He's been whacked around off-screen, since he's already sporting artful dirt, a pretty shiner, a fat lip, and some bright red welts. He and Cap'n anxiously mutter to each other about getting out of this mess before their pleather jackets get any more ripped.

Food comes around. (For those of you playing the home game -- drink!) Typical prison slop, apparently. Trip, accustomed to Chef's considerably better fare, feebly jokes about a menu. When the big ugly Nausicaan behind him demands Trip's lunch, he tells the guy to sod off. Big Ugly leaps up -- to strangle Trip, to steal his bowl, to dance the YMCA, who knows -- and the guard activates the Electric Fence handcuffs. Big Ugly goes down howling.

Our Southern gentleman thanks the guard for getting Big Ugly off his back. The guard is apparently from de Sade County, because he zaps Trip as well. Trip jerks and grunts and drops his lunch. Double whammy -- not only is he in pain, he's still hungry.

The guy chained up next to Trip looks like a cross between Clem (the friendly goofball demon from Buffy) and a turkey via the spider Barclay morphed back to, with some Talaxian thrown in for good measure. Unfortunately he has none of Neelix's charm, insight, cleverness, or courage, and twice his annoying persistence and insane bubbliness. He proceeds to chatter Trip's ear off. Trip is a very very very patient man. Very patient. But Clem has large lungs.

The bad guys stage a revolt and the Enolian one takes the bridge. Archer weasels his way along by boasting about his piloting skills, which are so remarkable that he doesn't even need a helmsman to fly his ship -- he just props up a dummy at the helm and flies Enterprise by telepathy. When Archer leaves, Clem takes advantage of the lull to yammer about facial surgery, island natives, and his limp. Trip's gentlemanliness is stretched to excruciating limits, but he tries not to be rude.

After a bit, Archer is able to talk the Enolian bad guy into letting him release Trip for a few minutes to do some engineering work. Our boy mucks about in high-voltage wiring, risking life and limb, although when he's rechained to Clem's bench to listen to the joys of eating live Melvaren mud fleas, he looks like he wishes he actually had electrocuted himself.

Trip finally loses it and begs Clem to shut up for just ten minutes. Clem sulks and whines about wanting a little pleasant conversation before ten years in the hole, and starts stroking his wattle flaps. (That was positively the creepiest thing I've seen since Feezie's smile.)

To make up for that icky visual, however, Trip rolls his eyes in an exquisite, Emmy-worthy expression of exasperation and guilt. He grudges out an apology. Clem's not interested.

Archer intervenes again, surreptitiously asking for Trip's help in retaking the ship. Trip ushers Big Ugly Nausicaan to the Land of Nod. He grabs a phaser rifle (Mal cheers wildly from the bleachers) and prepares to stun the bad guy when he storms from the cockpit. Clem is obviously suffering from schizophrenic rectilitis, because he shouts a warning to the bad guy that Trip is about to shoot him. A firefight ensues, and Trip takes a phaser nap.

Reshackled, Trip gradually awakens with a sloooooooooooooow head roll. Clem insists he was doing the right thing. If looks could vaporize, Clem would be a puddle with wattles and Trinneer would have that Emmy.

Archer has managed to contact Enterprise, and Mal (with Silent Trav, remarkably, and a redshirt who gets stunned, unremarkably) barrels in to the rescue. More shooting. Trip ducks frantically to make sure he doesn't get his hair phasered off, or his pleather singed. When Archer gets the upper hand, he tosses the restraint releases to Mal, who solicitously releases Trip first. Trip yanks Clem's wattles once just on principle, but then frees him.