Once they had been left behind, Trip and Malcolm started to walk back to the market town, for lack of anywhere else to be.
The grey clouds overhead were showing off Malcolm's mood rather well until Trip dug him in the ribs.
"Seriously Mal, I don't want to get wet," he said as he pointed to the sky above.
Malcolm's gaze followed Trip's finger and he sighed. "Sorry Trip. Let's just hail Enterprise and make sure they haven't forgotten us. I'll feel a lot better."
"You're right," Trip said, and he flipped out his communicator. "Tucker to Enterprise," he said.
"Commander!" Came Hoshi's instant response. "The Captain is going out of his mind thinking that you've disappeared! Apparently you got into the shuttlepod with him and Sub-Commander T'Pol and then weren't there when they got out."
"Same for us Hosh," Trip said, smiling at Malcolm's relieved look that they hadn't been usurped by doppelgängers. "We thought we were following them until they turned a corner and disappeared. Next thin' we know, the shuttlepod's flyin' over our heads. So when are ya comin' to get us? I think it's startin' to get dark here" Trip asked, looking out at the horizon.
There was a short pause from Hoshi's end. "Erm, I'll just get the Captain out of Sickbay- he wanted to make sure no one had kidnapped you from the shuttle and had the Doctor scan for any memory-altering drugs! He'll be very relieved."
Trip waited while Hoshi contacted Jon and T'Pol in Sickbay.
"They're on their way Commander," she said.
After a minute, Trip and Malcolm heard the very relieved sound of Jon on the communicator.
"Trip! Malcolm! Am I glad to hear from you!"
"Yeah Cap'n, we are too, for you that is- we thought we were followin' you all that time."
"It's this planet. I have to say that maybe T'Pol was right about the beacon. We're going to leave a better one in it's place."
"Maybe..?" Malcolm muttered from beside Trip. If Jon heard it then he chose to pretend he hadn't.
They heard Archer talking to someone away from the communicator for a few moments.
"Trip, it says there are suddenly lots of people in the area around the market town." Archer said, his voiced full of sudden urgency.
Trip and Malcolm exchanged sudden glances. "What did you think about?" They both asked each other simultaneously.
"Oh no," Trip suddenly realised. "What with thinkin' 'bout getting' back to the ship, I started thinkin' about movie night tonight- it's a zombie film..."
"Oh Trip," Malcolm said, shaking his head in despair. "Think about something else! Please!"
The night was starting to set in, and it seemed to Malcolm to be coming a bit too quickly, but maybe that was part of the planet's natural cycle as opposed to Trip's overactive imagination.
From the forest treeline nearby, they could hear the low grumblings and murmurs of every zombie movie soundtrack.
"Uh Cap',?" Trip said, "That shuttlepod comin' to pick us up would be a great idea right about now..."
"What's going on Trip? What's happening?" Came Jon's concerned voice over the communicator.
"Zombies Cap'n," Trip replied.
Just then, the comm gave into white noise and then died.
"What jist happened?" Trip said, backing away from the forest, Malcolm watching his back and backing away too.
"Did the communicator just die?" Malcolm asked.
"Yeah, just like that. It was all fine before," Trip said.
"Typical," was all Malcolm said, making Trip suddenly suspicious.
"Mal..." he turned to his friend, "I think you just fried our communicators with that attitude."
"What? I couldn't've," he said, but the sentence died in his throat. "Sorry Trip," he said sheepishly. "I think you might be right. It would be nice to have them back now..." he tailed off, both of them looking at the communicator hopefully.
"Sorry Trip," Malcolm repeated.
Trip looked at the forest line- he could just make out movement coming out. "Anyway, the Cap'n knows we're here and he's sending a shuttlepod. Let's get outta here."
Malcolm took one look at the treeline which he now realised was all around them and the whole line had halting, stuttering movements coming from it. All the movement seemed to be coming towards them.
"I'll suggest the market town as it's still there and seems to have no one in it coming towards us at this current moment."
Trip looked towards the town as he pocketed the communicator. "Got it. Lead on," he said.
They jogged to the town- it wasn't that far away, and as they reached the outskirts, it was still quiet.
"Shall we go see if those boats are there?" Trip said. "From every zombie movie I've ever seen, zombie's can't swim."
Malcolm rolled his eyes, even though Trip wouldn't be able to see him as they were jogging and it was definitely dark by now, the first stars pricking their way through the night sky.
They got to the market place and found the road that took them down to the beach as they remembered it. Halfway down it though, several doors burst open, and out came the zombies, the shuffling of the feet dragging against the cobbles towards them, arms outstretched.
"Time to retrace our steps Trip!" Malcolm yelled, grabbing his friend by the shoulder and spinning him around making Trip almost lose his footing in the process. He didn't though and they quickly got back to the market place, ducking behind some of the fruit stalls they had seen earlier in the day.
"Seriously Trip- zombies?" Malcolm admonished Trip as they crouched panting behind an abandoned market stall, the produce starting to smell over-ripe from being out in the sun too long.
"I can't help it- I was looking forward to that movie!" Trip retorted, trying to see over the stall, but without being seen himself. "At least the smell of whatever fruit this is might help disguise our live-human smell."
Malcolm snorted softly, "we still have to get out of here, which means going out there sometime," he indicated the market place. "The shuttlepod can't land here."