Summary: "Do we shoot it?" Maybe Malcolm shouldn't ever leave the ship. My entry for Drown Malcolm Month.

By Emiliana Keladry

Setting: During the second season, after "Minefield" and "Dead stop"

Pairings: None

Genre: Friendship/humor

Author's note: Sorry that this is a little late! I hope that you can forgive me. I think that you'll like this "Drown Malcolm Month" entry. Please let me know what you thought! :) And Poohdog, I'll try to have no Mal/Hoshi in this story, but you know me. ;)

Sticky and hot, muggy and disgusting; this planet was not his taste. Sweat dripped down Lieutenant Malcolm Reed's back and drenched the front of his uniform. If they hadn't detected that strange component that Commander Tucker wanted to examine and take samples of, they might have skipped this section of the planet. It was completely jungle and it wasn't even possible to see the sky through the tree tops, but it was warm none the less. Malcolm wiped sweat from his brow and followed after Trip as he did the same motion. Captain Jonathan Archer and Sub-commander T'Pol were a few feet ahead of them, observing a plant. The closest science team was about a mile away. The tall yellow and blue trees were swaying in a slight breeze towards the top that the crew below couldn't feel. The intense heat felt like hell.

"Can't you relax for a few minutes? Nothing is going to hurt us on an uninhabited planet," Trip teased, taking a picture of him.

"Sorry Commander," Malcolm responded, giving him a tight lipped smile.

They walked slowly around in the forest, pushing past branches that snapped them in the faces. Twice Malcolm had to catch his balance after a branch had almost knocked him over. Trip took a swig of water and offered some to Malcolm.

"You thirsty?"

"I'm fine."

The group continued deeper into the jungle. Malcolm glanced over to see that Captain Archer was taking a drink of water and resting while looking at a flower growing upon the side of the yellow tree. The group kept walking around until they were around a big body of water. It was the edge of a lake and the perimeter of the area that the team was checking. Malcolm kept his eyes turned away from the water. Thick reeds poked up from the surface. On the edges it didn't look deep, but his scanner told him that it went down fifteen meters at the deepest point. Spongy grass and a dark purplish moss were growing around the edges. It was a disgusting sight. The still water chilled Malcolm's entire body and he kept his eyes away from the water in an attempt to not have a panic attack. Trip was inspecting a small bug that he found and was showing it to T'Pol.

"Having fun?" Captain Archer asked, using his eyes to motion to the surroundings.

"Of course."

Jonathan knew about his aqua phobia, something Malcolm wished he could take back. It was uncomfortable to be close to the water, but it could be worse.

"How are you doing?" he questioned, lowering his voice so the other two didn't hear him.

"I'm fine," Malcolm replied, letting the lie slip past his mouth.

Captain Archer gave him a skeptical look before walking over to talk with T'Pol about something. Malcolm glanced back at the water again, not liking that he couldn't see his enemy. Suddenly, the ground began to shake, causing Malcolm to fall back a few steps. He could see Trip catch T'Pol as the planet continued to move. Malcolm attempted to move forward away from the water, but the shaking was moving him backwards. After a long minute, it stopped. Malcolm placed a hand on his chest, drawing in a shaky breath. He only had a second to relax, seeing that Captain Archer and the others were okay, getting to their feet. The mossy ground sank beneath his feet and a small sound escaped his lips.

"Malcolm!" Jonathan yelled, turning in slow motion.

There was a splash as Malcolm fell into the water. The surface water sucked him under into the deep part of the lake. He couldn't draw in any oxygen before he was submerged in his nightmare. Trip ran past Archer, getting to the edge first. There was no sight of Lieutenant Reed under the water. It was still.

"Where is he?" Trip demanded.

"Malcolm!" Jonathan exclaimed.

"Why isn't he coming up?"

"Maybe he cannot swim," the captain muttered to himself.

Trip stripped off his boots and socks, and then jumped into the water. Jonathan did the same, leaping in after him. T'Pol waited for long moments on the surface and neither man emerged with Malcolm in tow. Jonathan came up first, gasping and searching for the surface. T'Pol knelt down closer, extending her hand as Jon came to the edge. She helped him onto the spongy moss as he spat out the stuff in his lungs.

"I couldn't find him," Archer coughed.

A second later, Trip burst to the surface, coughing and struggling to hold onto an unconscious Lieutenant Reed. Malcolm wasn't moving or even attempting to rid his body of the alien water and whatever microscopic things were in the gunk. Jonathan helped Trip pulled Malcolm onto the bank of the lake and Trip threw up the remaining liquid in his stomach. Malcolm's face was pale and his lips had turned blue. Mud and moss stuck to his soaked uniform.

"Come on Malcolm! Breathe!" Archer ordered, placing hands on the man's shoulders.

There was no response. The Captain began doing compressions on Malcolm's chest, hoping to jar his heart and get him to draw in oxygen. T'Pol pulled out her communicator and began to hail Enterprise, only receiving static in response. Trip checked Malcolm's pulse, finding it weak and erratic. Enterprise still didn't response. Jonathan realized that he was going to have to do mouth-to-mouth to help Malcolm breathe. But before he could sacrifice his lips, Malcolm turned his head and began to retch. Trip helped him turn enough so he could empty his stomach and clear out his lungs. His head dropped in relief as he heard Malcolm breathing heavily. At least he was getting air now, though he was still unconscious. At that moment… Trip saw It. He jumped back slightly, causing Jonathan to give him a strange look.

"Trip?" he murmured.

A long slimy creature, no longer than six inches, was attached to Malcolm. It appeared to have bitten right above… well, Malcolm's crotch. Jonathan saw what Trip was looking at and gasped.

"Do we shoot it?" Trip asked frantically.

"We might hit… no… get a stick T'Pol."

"Are you going to stab it?" Trip demanded to know as T'Pol went in search of a suitable stick. "Couldn't that be worse if you miss?"

"Well, I'm not sticking my hand there!"

T'Pol returned with a sharp branch that had fallen in the ground tremor. Jonathan took a deep breath and reached out with the stick, praying that he wouldn't miss.


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