Title: Where No Mind Has Gone Before

Author: Qlara2002

Author's e mail: letterq@appleisp.com

Date: 09/15/03

Archive: Archer's Enterprise

Fandom: Star Trek Enterprise

Pairing: Tucker/Reed

Rating: NC-17

Disclaimer: Don't own them, just imagining the possibilities.

Summary: A member of the crew wants multiple orgasms. Enterprise meets an alien species capable of granting that wish. Zany hijinks ensue.

Beta: All good things to beta readers Shi Shi and the Grrrl. Generous with their time and insights.

Author's note: A response the 12,000 post challenge.


"What's that you're lookin' at?" Trip asks, letting himself into his lover's quarters, expecting the usual warm welcome consisting of an armful of Malcolm. Instead, Trip finds him comfortably and firmly seated cross-legged on his bed, slightly flushed and deeply engrossed with something on his PADD from which he reluctantly looks up to offer a polite, but less than warm -

'Oh. Hello.'

"I'm curious." Trip says, smiling as he walks across the room, "what's more interesting than me?"

"Nothing," Malcolm says, looking up to return a smile as Trip sits down next to him, then down to make his lie the truth by hastily closing the page he'd been reading.

"Okay," Trip says, spying the game and buying in, "you wanna play it like that—what were you looking at?"

"Just a story," Malcolm says, pulling the PADD close to his chest, and his legs closer together.

"What kind of story?" Trip asks, reaching for the more accessible symbol of his frustration as Malcolm presses a button that brings up on the screen a monthly maintenance report.

"The story of an armory run at peak efficiency. Look for yourself," Malcolm says, releasing the PADD to his skeptical lover.

"Darlin, I know you're enthusiastic about the ship's weaponry, but when reading about it starts giving you a hard-on wellS" Trip says, looking down for effect at Malcolm's pointed evidence of excitement, "forgive a guy for gettin' a little worried."

"All right. If you must know," Malcolm says, flush turning to blush. "It was just this story posted at a group I belong to. Quite silly really," he says, retrieving the PADD to send it an easy, and accurately measured flight to his bedside table.

"Malcolm, how long have we been together?" Trip asks, carefully examining the side of Malcolm's face not involved in watching another safe landing.

As Malcolm turns to answer, Trip brushes a finger across his lovers' lips. "That was a rhetorical question. I know exactly how long it's been," he says meeting Malcolm's eyes. "The real question is how long before you know that I love you—all of you—silly parts included," Trip says sincerely, even more sincerely surprised that a three-month intensive examination of Malcolm's basic equipment has yet to detect any parts even remotely silly in deed, fact, or origin.

"Do you really want to know?" Malcolm asks, his face a combination of hope and doubt that yearns for an answer, and begs for engagement.

"It was a story. We've established that. A story about what?" Trip asks, undeterred but fully sensing the change in the wind from playful banter to serious discussion.

"Remember that old television show 'Travels in Space'?"

"Yeah, of course. Everyone knows that show. It's the reason half of us are on this ship."

"'Come along as we follow the exciting exploits of Admiral Church and his intrepid crew aboard the good ship Earth's Spirit as they venture through the stars, across the galaxy, and into the unknown. Join them for their 'Travels in Space'," Malcolm says, reciting the show's introduction.

"At the time there was some controversy about the shows' portrayal of the ships' Vulcan doctor—Pok'oy. The Vulcans took umbrage at, what they felt were, inaccuracies. Supposedly, they were less than amused," Malcolm says.

"How could anyone tell?" Trip grins. "Wasn't there a story about their ambassador gettin' pissy because people kept flashing him some hand thing?"

"The Vulcan salute—at least according to the show. 'Long life and gainful existence,' " Malcolm says, solemnly invoking the familiar gesture.

"Yeah, the hand thing. Never could do that," Trip says, thinking back to grade school days when the ability to flash the Vulcan peace sign was a major component of cool.

"The show only lasted a couple of seasons, but lives forever in reruns. They say there's no part of the known universe the signal hasn't reached, and no place inhabited by humans where the show isn't on at some point in the day," Malcolm says, warming to the subject, but still unsure of its reception.

"So, were you a Spacer, or a Traveler?" Trip asks, as interested in the answer as he is surprised to be asking the question of Malcolm.

"Well, neither, really. I liked the show well enough—" Malcolm replies, cautiously dipping a toe into the open seas of trust, "but what I'm really interested in is the fanfiction—" he says, closing his eyes for the dive in, "especially slash," he concludes, rising to the surface to see the size of the splash, and Trip's reaction.

"Well," Trip says, short on words, but long on observation of the expression on Malcolm's face. He sees that something is expected of him, and—for the benefit of their relationship—that 'something' had better be good.

He looks at Malcolm, who's no less anxious for the pause in their conversation, and recalls the words of Mark Twain : 'When in doubt, tell the truth.'

"Okay, I figure that fanfiction is stories written by fans of the show."

"A brilliant, and accurate deduction. Congratulations," Malcolm says.

'Well, he must be feeling better," Trip thinks, 'he's gettin' snarky.'

"Sorry. Unnecessary snideness alert—after the fact," Malcolm says, patting Trip's knee, "but you're exactly right. Fans write stories exploring plotlines that didn't, or wouldn't have happened. The possibilities are endless, and really quite fun to imagine."

"So, what's slash?" Trip asks. "I'm thinkin' it doesn't involve grisly deaths all round."

"No," Malcolm replies, taking his own pause to determine just how far into the subject he wants to wade, and decides to stay at the kiddie pool end of the discussion.

"Slash refers to punctuation, not violence. It's the slash mark that delineates a pairing between same-sex characters."

"Same sex characters?" Trip asks, thoughtfully considering this new food for thought while simultaneously trying to digest it. "Like Church and Pok'oy?"

"That's quite a popular pairing, actually. Sometimes they have sex, sometimes they don't. What makes it slash is more their openness to romance and intimacy with each other than what they actually do about it. Though I do like a good snogging story," Malcolm says, leaving the kiddie pool for a dip into the Jacuzzi.

"Who either have sex—or don't—but are open to the possibility," Trip replies, eyeing the metaphorical plate of escargots placed in front of him, confident that he'd ordered fried catfish.

"Wait a minute," Trip says, bringing Malcolm's attention to the discrepancy.

"I was a lot younger when I last saw that show—and I'll admit, maybe a little naïve—but even lookin' back on it now, there was never any indication that anyone on that ship was Gay," Trip says, sending his plate back to the kitchen.

"That's as may be, and remains a highly contested subject of debate," Malcolm replies, shaking his head at the memory of polite conversations turned into heated discussions become flame wars.

"To me, that's just not the point. It's not about what they actually were, or what they actually did that bore witness of the supposed fact," Malcolm says, turning away from snideness and anxiety, and toward his lover. "What I enjoy is watching them do what I'd like to see them do—basically, 'Let's you and him fuck.' "

"Is that a statement, or a request?" Trip asks, attempting to widen the menu of the night's offerings.

"Neither love, just a fantasy," Malcolm replies, gently poking an elbow into Trip's ribs, "didn't you ever think about having it off with one of those sexy alien wenches on the show?"

"Nah. Green skin, and extra parts I wouldn't find out about until way too late are not on my list of turn-ons," Trip states decisively, until remembering something, someone who was.

"Now, that communications officer, Sula," he says, nodding his head, "sitting there at her station in those shorts and stockings. Strong, firm, and fully packed. I have some warm memories of that hot lady. Every time she crossed her legs, I spread mine," he continues, enjoying this walk down memory. "There was the age difference to consider. Me, a little tow-headed Southern boy with a woman of herSexperience. It would have beenSwell, what it would've been was somethin' I spent a lot of time thinkin' about. Is that what you mean?" he asks, back in the present and somewhat out of breath from the race back from the past.

"Yes, quite. And quite enough information, thank you," Malcolm says, drawing his own conclusions, "but just enough to prove my point. The barriers to having your fantasies are no greater than the leap I take to have mine."

"And just what are your fantasies?" Trip asks leaning in for the low down. "Are they about all those hot, dirty stories," he says, slipping an arm behind Malcolm's back, "or, hot, dirty stories about Starfleet officers playing hide the salami in the ready room?" he asks, catching his breath, and holding Malcolm.

"A bit of both, actually, and a little more," Malcolm says, rubbing his head against his shoulder, tickled both by the words, and their statement so close to his ear.

"Malcolm, you're never more yourself than when you're explaining something, you're never happier," Trip says, running a hand down the inside of Malcolm's thigh, caressing him through the fabric of his sweats. "What makes you happy makes me happy," he says, reaching into Malcolm's pants to have and to hold the evidence of their mutual pleasure. "So give me everything you got, and I want all the details," he says, warm hand on hot dick, stroking out the answer.

A hiss and a sigh are Malcolm's reply, until he finds the words, and the ability to speak them.

"I like imagining Pok'oy bent over a desk, naked from the waist down, with Church standing behind him, watching," Malcolm says, writhing in mind and body. "By the way, I love what you're doing to the head of my cock."

"And I love how you look when I'm doing it, but back to the story," Trip says, holding firm in his decision to find out how both come out.

"Then, Pok'oy would spread his ass wide open with one hand, reach for the lube with the other, and smear it all around his hole and inside, getting himself ready. God, Trip. The whole thing is rather dirty, but that makes it nasty, and so goddamned hot," he says, his legs following where Pok'oy's ass cheeks have gone before.

"Half a sec—can we get rid of these?" Malcolm asks, gently removing Trip's hand from his dick, then less than gently removing the pants from his legs, "and add a little of this," he says, retrieving from beneath his pillow their bottle of lube—one of several comprising their first purchase made together as a couple.

He squirts a slick line onto Trip's palm, and watches as his lover warms it in his hand.

"Always the gentleman lover," Malcolm says, smiling sweetly at the considerate gesture.

"That's me all over, darlin'," Trip says, leaning forward to bestow a kiss.

"When last we left, Pok'oy had made himself ready for entry," Trip says, reaching down to find Malcolm's bookmark faithfully holding their place. "What is it about him being bent over the desk that turns you on?"

"He's so stoic. Cold, and reserved, when what he really wants is to let loose into the warmth," Malcolm says, resuming the story, and spreading his legs. "Such a stick up his arse when what he really wantsSOh, yes Trip. Just that," he says, as Trip cracks his ass and runs fingers a slick path up and down and all around his hole.

"Just that, and more, Trip. More," he says, raising his legs, and the stakes. Hearing the call to serve, enraptured by the sight of its' origin—Malcolm's face and body, open and pleading—Trip pumps his fingers in and out of Malcolm's ass, the heel of his hand paying lip service to the space between there and his balls.

"Talk to me, darlin'," Trip says, moving in between Malcolm's legs, leaning in for a deep kiss from his lovers' mouth, reaching in for a deep touch inside his lovers' body. "Tell me what you want. Show me what you like."

Malcolm's head whips back and forth, caught in the space between his pillows, and the place where fantasy meets reality.

"He wants it, Trip, he knows that he does—but he can't believe that anyone, that Church does too," he says, pumping his ass onto Trip's fingers. "He's denied it for so long, fought against it, and nowS" Malcolm says, head back, chin up, ass still, defenses seemingly at the ready.

"Oh, no, don't you leave me now," Trip demands, "I got three fingers up inside ya, and a hard dick ready to take their place. I know what ya want, but I'd really get off hearin' you say it," he says, his face softening, but not his cock.

"Trip, I've got a personal interpretation of why we Brits call you 'Yanks'. Would you like to hear it?" Malcolm asks.

"Sure, honey. But do you really want to discuss semanticsS"

"Bloody hell," Malcolm demands, ire and face rising between his legs. "Would you just yank out that hard dick you've bragged about, and fuck me stupid."

Trip can't help but laugh, or stop himself from asking -

"I can't tell from your intonation—was that a statement, or a request?"


Malcolm mumbles into the crook of his arm, the lucky recipient of words from lips that Trip has recently tasted and felt.

"What's that you say?" Trip asks, leaning down to lend an ear as he lends a hand, gently swabbing Malcolm's ass with a damp washcloth.

"To quote Oliver Twist—'Please sir, may I have some more?'" Malcolm asks, turning his head to share a roguish grin with his lover.

"Well, we must talkin' about your fantasies again," Trip smiles. "I don't doubt you've still got some tricks left," he says, looking down at his spent dick, "but I'm about out of treats."

"Oh, love, that doesn't matter," Malcolm says, rolling over onto his back.

"Let's just talk," he suggests, lacing a limber leg through Trip's arms and across his back to draw him closer.

"I've got lots of fantasies to tell you about."


Trip stands at the window in the Captain's ready room, staring out into a void filled with stars, and his thoughts.

"Hey, Trip. Lost in space?" Archer asks, watching his friend watch the stars go by.

"Sorry, Cap'n. Got something on my mind."

"Obviously. I'm just not sure what. You've gone from smiling to frowning to furrowing your brow, and back again too many times to count," his friend says, taking a seat in front of his desk.

"It's nothing to do with the ship," Trip says, freeing his captain from concern. "You really don't need to hear this," he says, freeing his friend to walk away.

"Oh, but I will Trip," Archer says, "and whether I need to or not. Eighty-three crew members equal eighty-three problems that all eventually find their way to my doorstep, or at least my notice, especially when one of that crew is my best friend."

Trip ponders the statement, and the situation inspiring it, as his face once again rushes through the series of expressions that begat their conversation.

"There. You're doing it again," Archer says, pointing at him. "Well, if it's nothing to do with the ship, let's see—smiling, frowning, the brow—my diagnosis is a bad case of Malcolm," Archer says, crossing his legs, and his fingers, hoping it's nothing more complicated than-

"Couple stuff, Jon," Trip says, refusing the topic, but turning around to face his friend.

"Admittedly, it's been awhile since I've had the privilege of calling anything 'couple stuff', but I know the drill," Archer says, pointing toward the personal supplies drawer of his desk. "Will this require liquor?"

"No, but thanks," Trip says, waving away the offer. "If it were that bad, I'd have brought my own," he says, walking over to take a seat beside his friend. "It's really not bad, justSI don't know—unexpected."

"Well, whatever it is, you know you won't feel better until you talk about it, and aside from Malcolm—who you obviously can't, or won't talk to—I'm the only one on board who fits the bill, so spill."

They face each other across a gap filled with curiosity, care, and challenge. A friendly stand-off until Trip can't stand it anymore and takes the first step in.

"Well, if you really want to know, first tell me what you know about slash."

"A genre of fanfiction," Archer acknowledges. "Homoerotic relationships, romance, intimacy, sex, blah blah blah. What of it?"

"Malcolm likes to read it."

"So? He's gotta do something when he's not out saving your ass," Archer says, smiling at his own joke.

"Do you try this material out on Porthos?" Trip asks, not sharing in his friend's amusement, "cuz, besides the fact that he's a dog, I gotta tell ya, there's another reason he doesn't laugh."

"I'll have you know that dogs can so laugh, and that got a big one," Archer says, satisfied at making his point, but sure that there's another. "What fandom?"

"He likes 'Travels in Space'."

"No shit," Archer says, grinning and rubbing his hands together. "Let me guess. His favorite pairing is Pok'oy and anyone. And anything from anonymous quickies with 'not long for this world' red jerseys, to soul fucks with his long-term lover, Admiral Church. Am I right?"

"Yeah, but how'd you know?" Trip asks, questioning his friend's knowledge of the subject in general, and of Malcolm in particular.

"Having gotten to know T'Pol, I can't say much for the show's representation of Vulcans. About all they got right were the pointy ears," Archer replies dismissively. "Having gotten to know Malcolm though, I'd say that representation is pretty close to home. He obviously identifies with the character of Pok'oy."

"Yeah, obviously," Trip says, walking back to the window, and his evening with Malcolm. "And in ways that I'm not even gonna get into."

"Okay, good enough," Archer says, "—for now," he adds, under his breath. "So, if you're cool with him reading slash, good with him identifying with Pok'oy, what's the problem?"

"We started talking about slash, then we started talking about fantasies, then I asked about his. And dammit," Trip replies, punching a fist into his palm, "I knew it was a mistake the minute I said it," he says, passing a hand across his mouth as if it would wipe away the words. "I was just so caught up in the moment."

"Look, when you love someone it's natural to want to know more about them. And we both know that the only way to find out anything about Malcolm is through direct questioning," he says, pointing out a well-known fact. "That you actually got an answer to the fantasy question isS"

"Trouble." Trip says, pacing across the room. "That one never works out the way you expect. You just end up finding out things about each other that you wish you'd never known."

"Like what, Trip? What did he say that has you so worked up you're bouncing around my ready room like a tennis ball?" Archer asks, rubbing his neck from the effort of following Trip's back and forth path. "Which, by the way, has never been one of my favorite sports, in part because my neck can't stand the strain of following it, or you. Would you please sit down?"

Trip stops and resumes his seat, replacing determined pacing with energetic fidgeting.

"Thanks. It's easier to replace a seat cushion than a carpet," Archer says. "Trip, I know that the fantasy discussion can open doors that you'd prefer remained closed, but I think that the personal cost of the effort contributes to the value of the intimacy gained. It's all part of getting to know the person you love."

Trip thinks for a moment, almost moved by those words, but standing (and sitting) firm.

"That's a good one, Jon. I'll bet that Porthos was really moved," he says, leaning forward in his chair, "but it's not quite good enough for me. Getting to know someone is one thing, pillow talk consisting of a guided tour to every nasty piece of gum stuck to the floor of their imagination is another altogether."

"Touche," Archer says, approvingly, "I think even Porthos would give that one two paws up. Though I think he'd also agree that you're probably overreacting."

"Overreacting?" Trip demands. "You don't know what he said."

"Because you won't tell me," Archer replies.

"You've got to promise that you won't tell Malcolm I told you any of this."

"Scout's honor," Archer pledges, "one of my Eagle Scout badges was for discretion."

"There are no badges forS"

"Trip. The story?"

"Okay. We'd just had sex," Trip says, making himself comfortable in his chair, "hot sex," he continues, unconsciously rubbing his hands up and down the sides of the arm rests, "hot, juicy, out of this world and into the next sex," he says, suddenly noticing their appealingly sensual quality.

"I get the picture, Trip," Archer says, totally involved, and slightly out of breath.

"Sorry. I got a littleS anyway, afterward he says that his favorite fantasy isn't the one he told me about Pok'oy, but more about the stories themselves. I guess that the characters in these stories have a lot of sex—I mean a lot of orgasms. Like three or four a night."

"It's not unheard of—in stories," Archer says regretfully. "None of us are seventeen anymore."

"Exactly. And the thing is I'd just fucked him into the next galaxy. I'm surprised Hoshi didn't pick up a subspace signal when he came."

"That loud?" Archer asks.

"Like grannie used to say—'Jiminy'."

"So, he got it good and wants seconds, thirds, and a light dessert to top it off," his friend laughs.

"What's wrong with having one really great meal?" Trip asks, working off his anxiety around the question by getting up to pace around the room. "Would having two or three more really make him any happier—or more satisfied?"

"Oh, I get it now," Archer says, catching his breath, and a clue. "You're worried that your 'one great meal' isn't filling Malcolm up."

"Yeah. Something like that," Trip admits. "Maybe this whole multiple orgasm fantasy is his indirect way of tellin' me somethin'."

"Well, first off, when has Malcolm ever been less than direct about voicing a complaint?" Archer asks. "Second, this isn't about you, Trip. It's about Malcolm, and he isn't complaining, he's just sharing a fantasy with the man he loves."

"That's kinda what Malcolm said." "Apparently, not clearly enough," his friend replies. "And did he happen to mention that it's a well-worn slash cliché? Legendary tales of the legendary tail," he says, raising a hip to pat his own, "and the dick that never stops in its service. Christ, the cliché pops up more often than the erections it references. But it's all just fantasy, Trip."

"Ya know, Jon," Trip says, narrowing his eyes at this new view of an old friend, "I'm startin' to get a little uncomfortable here."

"Getting a bit too close to home, Trip?" Archer asks, unable to resist another tease, but leaving it at that. "Okay, final words. Malcolm's neither unperceptive, nor stupid. He knows the clichés to be clichés, and he knows his fantasies to be the same. He isn't trying to make either real, nor is he trying to tell you that he's not satisfied. What he's really trying to do is tell you is about himself, and hope for some understanding when he does," Jon says, concluding with a pointed look at Trip.

"And on that noteS" Archer says, rising to walk behind his desk. "I hope the subject is exhausted, because I sure am."

Trip hears the note, and takes the hint. There are limits to friendship, and he sees that they are at its' boundary.

"Right. No problem. We've still got to talk about our new friends, the amazing Kreskins. Telepaths, that's a new one," Trip says, shaking his head. "Have to tell you, I'm only slightly more comfortable with them than with Malcolm right now."

"Oh, what's a little mind reading between friends?" Archer asks, sitting down behind his desk for a good, long stretch.

"Cap'n, you know I've got nothing against first contact, but not when it involves the inside of my head—especially now. That's a touch too much for my comfort."

"What are you afraid of, Trip? What they'll find, or that they won't find anything at all?" he asks, smiling and leaning back in his chair.

"Did that one get a laugh from Porthos?"

"Haven't had a chance to try it yet. I'm saving it for when I'm off-duty," Archer says, making his way from friend to superior officer.

"Trip, while this is our first encounter with a telepathic race, it's not their first with a race that isn't," Archer dutifully assures.

"They say, and I believe them, that rules of courtesy and protocol regulate the use of their abilities among themselves and, most especially, other races. Basically they can't see anything you don't want them to, and they won't look any further."

"Well, that's slightly reassuring, but stillS" Trip says, neither reassured nor willing to let go of the argument.

"From what they've said, the problem isn't that they go looking for your thoughts, but that people just start throwing them out," Archer says, "It must be kinda like when someone's talking, gets excited, and accidentally spits in your face."

"But, JonS"

"I know, Trip. It's an uncomfortable experience for everyone, that's why the Kreskins provided us those handy dandy relaxation exercises."

"You mean like, 'Relax, you're getting sleepy—too sleepy to steer the ship -let us?' " Trip says, waggling his fingers in the air in a good, but dated, imitation of a hypnotist.

"No, Trip," Archer says, smiling indulgently, "the only mind control suggested is to be practiced by us and on ourselves. T'Pol says the exercises are very similar to Vulcan techniques. It's all in the memo you didn't read."

"Oh, Vulcan techniques. Well then," Trip replies, "now I do feel better."

"I knew you'd understand," Archer says, patting him on the back, and steering him toward the door.

"Now if you don't mind, I've got some meditations to get to. Tonight, Trip, 2100 hours in the shuttle bay to greet our new friends. I get their captain, Ur Igellar, and you get their chief engineer, Pe Enteller. Until then, think good thoughts," he says, ushering his friend through the door as Trip executes a perfect about face from the wrong side, re-armed with new arguments regarding both of their previous conversations.

"Be there, or be oval," Archer says while making yet another dated hand sign/thing that Trip would rather never see again, relieved from his view by the closing of the doors.


"You told him wha'?" Malcolm demands, dropping his consonants, and almost losing his composure. He carefully lowers his glass to the table, while menacingly raising his eyes to Trip seated on the other side.

"You gave him a tour of engineering," he continues, looking at their Kreskin visitor, "since when did that include a drop in at my fantasy?"

"Malcolm, we didn't drop in," Trip replies, "it just sorta slipped out," he says, offering a glass to his new friend—Pe Enteller—chief engineer of the Kreskin vessel.

Their tour had indeed started in engineering, until Trip's attention strayed from his colleague as his mind wandered back to his lover, and their conversation of the previous night. Though Trip's vividly illustrated thoughts had been virtually thrust into his face, Pe's response was grace itself—politely (and appreciatively) informing him that, "While the view is delightful, I don't think you meant to expose quite so much." Looking back on it, Trip thinks the moment not unlike one friend telling another that their fly was open. The familiarity of the situation bred not contempt, but comfort and generosity. Pe offered his help in the matter, and Trip offered an invitation for drinks in his quarters.

"Malcolm, all I am saying is give Pe a chance," Trip says, raising his hands in appeasement, "to explain."

"Please," Pe adds, keeping one independently functioning eye on Trip, while turning the other to Malcolm.

"Trip hadn't meant to share his thoughts, and I certainly never looked for them. I'm a telepath, notS" he says, turning to focus both eyes on Malcolm, raising hairless brows at what he finds, "a goddamn snoop voyeur?" "I thought you said you don't go looking for thoughts," Malcolm says, embarrassed at being found out, though satisfied at having taught a lesson as to the consequences of eavesdropping.

"That was unintentional," Pe assures, "but I'll remind you that while we are adept at reading those of others," he says, sniffing distastefully at the accusation, "telepaths have feelings too."

"And quite frankly," he continues, lesson learned, but huff intact, "I needn't make much of an effort to look for thoughts when every time I turn around on this ship I practically stumble over them. I can see that neither one of you has practiced the recommended exercises, but honestly, doesn't anyone on this ship read memos?" Pe demands, his eyes spanning the distance between them.

"Well, since we're being frank," Malcolm says, turning to face him, "what Trip—and quite honestly, you yourself—have failed to read are polite standards of courtesy, not to mention a modicum of decorum, a hint of discretion, or any consideration whatsoever of my feelings," he concludes, not about to be out-huffed by any alien.

"Malcolm, that's just unfair," Trip says, "To me, and to our guest."

Pe bows his head, graciously acknowledging Trip's attempt at courtesy, while discreetly keeping an eye on each—especially Malcolm.

"Our guest, quite right. Excuse me," Malcolm says, regaining his manners before proceeding to lose it completely. "But at this point I'd say he was quite a bit more than that, don't you think?" he asks rhetorically, and somewhat more than sarcastically of his partner.

"I mean, really," Malcolm says, gathering his body inside protectively encircled arms. "Trip, you told him something extremely private, something I'd never told anyone else—even you until last night. At this point I'm starting to wonder what exactly Pe is a guest for—after work drinks, or an after drinks threesome," he says, spitting out a desperate defense from a weakened position.

"Oh, I've no desire to participate, or even watch," Pe replies, "even if you'd asked me," he says, his tone splitting the difference between what he's said, and what he means.

"Oh, right—" Malcolm says, "you, and Dr. Phlox. At least he admits that he wants to watch."

"Well, he's Denobulan," Pe says, shaking his head, nodding his eyes, and vice versa. "All those marriages. Talk about voyeurs. I've heard stories about them, let me tell you."

"Please, don't," Trip and Malcolm plea in unison.

"Malcolm, I know that what you told me was personal, private, just us," Trip says, "but I knew that it was important to you, so it was on my mind, and I was thinking about it andS"

"Oh, you were thinking," Malcolm says, fully armed with a freshly packed load of snark for a battle of wits against with what he sees as an unarmed opponent. "Well then, I suppose you can be excused on grounds of inexperience."

"Well said, Malcolm—and well done," Trip replies. "Stone-cold sober, and you set a record pace between dumb and rude to downright mean. Why don't you have a drink so you can better your time to obnoxious?"

"Oh, why don't you have a seat, so you can better your time to 'shut up'?"

Pe's desperate attempt to keep an eye on each of them ends in their uncontrolled, brain rattling collision at the bridge of his nose, the impact forcibly tossing his head back onto his shoulders

"Oh, I hate it when that happens. Enough," Pe says, waving a hand in front of their faces that leaves them suddenly calm, blessedly silent, and temporarily oblivious. He looks at each, and into both in the effort to find what's behind the rather unflattering display he's just witnessed.

"You two," Pe says out loud, but unheard by either, "so much love, so much passion, and dammit, so damned cute,' he says, groping for his cock thru his tented robes before comingSto a decision.

"I know that this could be seen as a terrible breach of protocol, but Trip's asked for it, and Malcolm wants it, and all told, I hardly think that a war will result over my making a way for them to have what's really just a simple little fantasy—would it?" he asks, lowering his eyes in humble request to his race's ever- present—and usually inflexible—Powers That Be.

After a moment's thought that lasts a lifetime, he receives an approval to his request in the form of a palpable wave over his head that leaves in its' wake a feeling of well-being, and takes with it his erection.

"Well, thanks a lot. It's not like I was really going to join in," he begins, silenced at the realization that the Powers are disturbed by his lack of gratitude.

"Sorry," he says, bowing his head. "As the Earthlings say—'my bad'." He bows once more, and returns to his approved mission, chastened, if not exactly chaste.

Closing his eyes against further distractions, he looks instead into their minds, silently reading their thoughts like open pages of a book.

'Malcolm, so much angst. Tell me dear—now that you can't answer—when they were passing out worries, did you go back for seconds? That just isn't healthy, or any fun at all, for you—and especially those who truly love you. You offer your worries in the hope that someone will care enough about them to care about you. It's just your way.'

'And you, Trip, so impulsive. But, my dear, there is such a thing as being too impulsive, even when it's done for the best reasons. Like bringing me here tonight. You use your actions as a statement of fact that you care- not the least about the man you love. But, then you leave it at that for them to figure out the rest, when you haven't really quite figured it out yourself. You show it, but do you really know it? That's your way.'

He knows that each has are more stories to tell, but he's read enough for his purposes. The snap of a finger brings Trip and Malcolm back from where they'd been, and lands them exactly where they'd left off.

"Did you just tell me to shut up?" Trip asks, leaning forward—once more into the fray, and Malcolm's face.

"Actually, I'd suggested that you sit down," Malcolm replies, "but considering the fact that you were blowing smoke out of your ass, I suppose it amounts to the same thing," he smirks, leaning back on the couch to rest on his laurels.

"Huh," Trip replies, taking a moment to gather his thoughts, and pull himself together. "Malcolm, I know that you're upset that I brought Pe here tonight, and I know that you probably didn't really mean half the things you've said," Trip says, meeting Malcolm's eyes and nodding his head to confirm his understanding, "but I have to tell ya—and I'll try to put this in a way a defense specialist can understand—friendly fire hurts just as much as that from the enemy. Didja ever stop and consider that having a 'good one' in your arsenal doesn't necessarily require its deployment?"

"Oh, Trip. I'm so sorry. I really didn't mean toS" Malcolm says, embarrassed at causing hurt, hurt at causing embarrassment, and feeling absolutely silly over the whole thing. He leans forward and reaches out, hoping that his offer of apology and embrace will be accepted.

"I know darlin'," Trip says, taking hold of Malcolm's hands—to have and to hold. "You just get so scared that you're gonna get shot down that you go straight to defensive tactics, and you got some mean bullets loaded in your clip."

"I know, love," Malcolm says, reaching up to caress his neck. "The defensive isn't the best position from which to see good intentions—like yours tonight. I do tend to shoot first, and ask questions later."

"In all truth though," Trip grins, "there were a couple of times when I just wanted to lick that smirk right off your face. It was nasty, but still kindaSI don't know—there was somethin' delicious lookin' about it."

"Well, what about you just now," Malcolm says. "I've never been taken to task quite soSlovingly. I didn't know which I wanted more—to hang my head, or kiss you madly," he says, looking away bashfully.

"Oh, why pick? Do both," Pe encourages, breathless and writhing at his observation post in a corner of the couch.

Malcolm looks up, catching one of their visitors' rather pronounced eyes in his glance, then catches sight of something even more sharply pronounced in Pe's lap.

"Trip, why is that bug-eyed alien still here," Malcolm inquires, "and why is he packing a boner?"

"I apologize for thisSuntoward display," Pe says.

"Rather decidedly headed toward something or other, I'd say," Malcolm mumbles under his breath.

"Malcolm, please," Trip says, rising from his seat. "Pe, it's been grand, and don't think that I don't appreciate yourSoffer to help, but I think we can take it from here."

"I know that this is awkward, and you've every right to ask me to leave, but if you'd just listen to what I have to say," Pe pleads, 'hear me out'—isn't that the expression?"

The heartfelt look on Pe's face causes Trip to momentarily ignore the still hearty erection in his robes, as well as Malcolm's desperate shaking of his head.

"He just wants to talk, Malcolm," Trip says. "That's all you want, right?" Trip asks of Pe, "and nothin' having to do with Mr. Perky there?" he adds, indicating Pe's crotch, and the persona therein standing up to introduce itself.

"Mr. Perky?" Pe asks, unsure of the reference until he grasps the implication, and discretely attempts to adjust it to a less noticeable position.

"No, this isn't about me at all. It's about you two. This entire evening began as a result of Trip's desire to satisfy your fantasy, Malcolm—multiple orgasms. I just want to help."

"But, Trip, that's ridiculous," Malcolm says, "I never meant that I actually wanted that fantasy made real. It's just something I like to think about it."

"But if having that fantasy made real is really possibleS" Trip says.

"But includes the utter and complete mortification of having a third party involved," Malcolm replies, unconvinced, "and an alien at that."

"A kind and generous alien—boner notwithstanding—who can help us have it," Trip says. "Malcolm, does it occur to you that I might like to have that fantasy made real too? I love it when you come. I love the way you look, the way you feel, the way you sound—though if this works out the way I think it will, I may need to keep a pair of earplugs next to the lube," he smiles at Malcolm, relieved to see one in return.

"I love it when you come too," Malcolm says. "You get this look on your face of utter abandon. It's like you leave everything else, and the only place you are is us," he says, suddenly finding himself there as well.

"Excuse me," Pe says, "I don't mean to interrupt, but before I do something untoward again, could we get back to what I'd wanted to talk about."

"Yeah, sure," Trip says.

"Quite," Malcolm adds. "You were going to tell us about achieving multiple orgasms—hopefully in as few words as possible."

"Actually, I'd hoped to not use words at all," Pe says. "While they can help to clarify, words sometimes just build walls around what's really meant. I suggest thoughts as a more efficient alternate."

"You want us to let you read our minds?" Malcolm asks.

"Actually I was offering mine as a common ground where we could meet, and you two receive what I have to offer. I'm hardly an expert on human physiology, but a day on this vessel has made me quite familiar with the human imagination. Multiple orgasms are as much about the mind as the body, releasing both to explore previously unconsidered possibilities. So, Trip," he says, responding to a stray thought from that direction, "it's really less about the limitations of your balls, than the limits of your imagination—and, yes, Malcolm—you can come like a revolver while Trip fucks you through each round. My goodness, you Brits certainly have an interesting way of expressing yourselves."

"Hey, you weren't supposed to do that, read our thoughts uninvited," Trip says, more embarrassed than outraged.

"And you called me rude," Malcolm says, "I've got nothing on him."

"You call it rude, I call it research for the purpose of better understanding what you've both requested. Look, I'm quite taken with you two, but I'm not sure how much more of this I can take," Pe says, crossing his arms and leaning back onto the couch—out of patience and erection. "Do you want this or not?"

The couple in question exchange expressive looks and (hopefully) silent thoughts. Trip shrugs his shoulders in reply, Malcolm answers with raised eyebrows.

"What would it entail, exactly?" Malcolm asks.

"Relax, close your eyes, listen to the sound of my voice—the usual," Pe replies, flipping his hand in the air to count off the by rote steps. "I mean," he says, recalling his mission through his fatigue at its exercise, "the aim is toward the opening of the mind, the body—and most importantly—your perceptions of their potential."

"Oh, I get it," Trip says. "It's like that saying: Whether you think you can, or think you can't—you're right."

"Correct," Pe replies. "Furthermore, the effects won't be felt unless you want them, and even so, temporary unless maintained."

"Sounds to me like a 'no harm, no foul' situation," Trip says to Malcolm. "Whadya say, darlin? Let's give it a go."

"And you not going to be poking around for anything else?" Malcolm asks.

"Believe me, the only 'poking' being done will be between you two," Pe says, "unfortunately," he sighs under his breath.

All right," Malcolm says, dropping all obstacles, while raising his chin to face them, "what do we do?"

"Well, first I'll need some word or phrase—something meaningful—that will bring you back to your minds, and out of mine, fully engaged and motivated. I know that can be difficult to find butS"

Before he can finish the sentence Trip has found one.

"You're not gonna try to find why this is important to me, right? Look into my thoughts and memories to make sense of the reference," he asks Pe.

"Certainly not," Pe assures.

"Okay then. When you're bringing us out of wherever you're taking us, the phrase I want you to use is 'Make it so'."

"Well, that certainly seems appropriate, engaging, motivating. That will do."

Malcolm looks at Trip and shakes his head in wonderment, nods his head in laughter; his face and eyes smiling and filled with shared love, hopes fulfilled and—even in the presence of a telepath—theirs alone.

"Oh, Trip. I really do love you."


"How many was that?" Malcolm asks, tossing away the pillows that had been placed under his ass, and collapsing onto his back.

"Well, let's see," Trip says, tallying their moments of irrational exuberance in this sexual bubble of an evening. "Those are my pants over by the couch. What's left of 'em anyway," he laughs, pointing at a rucked pile of barely identifiable clothing. "That must've been the first one. Man, you tore 'em down so hard I wasn't sure what you'd do when you got to me. But then you sucked me off so sweet, I can just about forgive you ruining my favorite pair of sweats," he says, tapping Malcolm's lips, then kissing away the scold.

"Thanks. I loved every minute. And every drop," Malcolm says, chucking him under the chin in appreciation of the gesture, and the events that induced it. "But, what do you think Pe really did to us?" he asks, turning onto his side and propping his head on a hand. "Multiple orgasms were a fantasy, something I liked to think about—not a dream that I thought would come true."

"But we did, darlin'," Trip grins, "repeatedly."

"For which I'm no end grateful, and completely worn out. Still, I can't help thinking that it was a foolhardy thing to do, letting Pe practice thatSprocedure on us," Malcolm says, trying to recall something more than a memory, but less than he can actually remember. "It could have untold long-term lasting effects, and on more than your favorite pair of sweats," he says, going from sated lover to concerned security officer.

"I think you think too much," Trip replies, "but, I don't think he really did anything much," he reassures. "Just left a friendly calling card to let us know he'd been here, and given us his best. Based on the look—and smell—of this room, I'd say his best was pretty damn good."

"Agreed," Malcolm says, wrinkling his nose, "this place absolutely stinks of sex. Not that I mind."

"And as for untold lasting effects," Trips smiles, "I'm thinkin' that they're probably limited to your ass and my balls."

"How are those poor things?" Malcolm asks, momentarily distracted from professional concerns as he runs his hand a thoughtful (and very personal) cuddle up Trip's thigh. "I'd be happy to offer a gentle massage from that 'sweet mouth' you mentioned."

"I'm not turnin' down your offer, but those 'poor things' actually feel okay," Trip says, taking Malcolm's hand in his own, suddenly more interested in conversation than comfort. "And that's the thing. As much as I was looking forward to living out this multiple orgasm thing, I didn't exactly cherish the thought of the twins lookin' and feelin' like a couple of wrung out washcloths at the end of the evening. But that's not what happened. You're concerned about what Pe did to us, I'm wondering how I never figured it out for myself," Trip says, looking off toward the middle distance as if the way to an answer lay within.

"I don't know how many orgasms I've had tonight—like I said, I stopped counting—but I do know that my balls only joined in for about half of them. I mean, a couple times, I came, but I didn't come—ya know? Never occurred to me that the two don't always go together," Trip says, citing familiar landmarks missed along the way to an anticipated destination. " My body got a work-out tonight, but it's really my mind that's been stretched," he concludes, abruptly brought back from the there and then to the here and now by the sound of Malcolm's laughter.

"What's so damn funny?" Trip demands. "Here I'm trying to share something with you, and you laugh in my face?"

"Sorry, I'm not laughing at you," Malcolm says, trying to recover himself (and cover his ass) after an obviously misjudged reaction. "I do know what you mean, it's just that I was there too—and that moment—the thought of it is just tooS"

What exactly that thought was is lost in another burst of laughter, laughter that, to Trip's mind, is much like Pe's untoward hard-on -forgivable, given the circumstances, but ill-timed nevertheless.

Malcolm rises onto his knees to face his lover—on his knees to plead his case.

"Like you said—you certainly came, but you definitely did not come—ejaculate, I mean. But, like I said—I was there too," Malcolm says, reaching for common ground across the hole he's dug for himself. "You were inside me at the time, but I can always feel when youSwell, let's just say that you give new meaning to the phrase 'a damn fine shot'," he smiles, then dares and damns the Fates of his usually misbegotten love life and looks up to face them, relieved at the sight of the love of his life returning that smile.

"It's justSthe look on your face," Malcolm continues, making laughter from a smile. "I can't help it, Trip. It was so funny at the time. You went from total pleasure to something like suspicious befuddlement. Then you looked down at your crotch as if you were accusing it of not giving your correct change," Malcolm laughs, "absolutely priceless."

Trip relents, and releases a chuckle.

"So, I'm forgiven for conduct unbefitting a lover?" Malcolm asks.

"Ya know I can't ever hold anything against you for long," Trip says, reaching out to caress Malcolm's face, "except my body."

As Malcolm thinks of ways to continue the thread of their discussion—ascertain if he'll be relieved of duty (not likely), or have further ones imposed to make up for his prior breach (yes, please)—Trip begins to laugh anew.

"Well, now it's my turn," Malcolm says. "What are you laughing at?"

"Things that were funny at the time," Trip grins.

"Okay, fine," Malcolm says, resigned to play along with a distraction not of his choosing, "I suppose I have this coming."

"So to speak," Trip smiles. "I just recall you having your own moment of glory in the battle of multiple orgasms. There was this time when you looked like you'd spotted your objective, took aim and fired, only to find that your phaser array had been taken offline," he laughs. "Ironic doesn't even begin to describe the expression on your face."

"Ah, yes," Malcolm recalls, "no bombs bursting in air, but quite a lovely implosion nevertheless," he says, squirming pleasurably at the memory. "Have to say I'd never felt anything quite soSdeep,"

"Same here darlin'," Trip says, reaching out to stroke his lover's face, "same here."

"But, the thing is that I didn't do anything," Malcolm says, looking away, and looking back at the previous several hours—and several orgasms—shared between them. "I mean that I never consciously practiced any technique that Pe gave us—not least of all because I don't consciously remember any of them. What I do I remember was wishing that I could come like that—from you just fucking me, without ever touching my dick. Plus, you were holding my hands above my head at the time, so that consideration was impossible."

"I thought you liked it when I did that," Trip asks, disturbed at the thought that he'd denied Malcolm anything. "I never meant to hold you back. Hell, sometimes it's all I can do to hold on. You get mighty feisty when you're hot and bothered."

"Oh, Trip, I do like it. I bloody love it when you hold me down, make me take it—take you—and force me past myself. It's just," Malcolm begins, moving back to gain perspective before moving closer to share his findings, "it's just that my dick ends up rather caught betwixt and between."

" 'Betwixt and between'," Trips says, smiling, and moving closer—damn perspective—"that's such a 'Malcolm' phrase. One of the things I find so darlin' about you, darlin'. C'mere." Trip bypasses Malcolm's frowning mouth, knowing that enough attention to his nipples will soon enough erase it.

"No. I mean, wait," Malcolm says. He places a hand on Trip's shoulder, not to push him away, but to hold him in place.

"I wasn't quite finished," Malcolm says, gently reminding Trip of his lover's duties, while firmly announcing his intent to have them.

"Okay. Sorry," Trip replies, leaning back onto the bed. "We were at your dick caught betwixt and between."

"Yes," Malcolm continues, "and however sexy you find the phrase, the truth is that while it's a nice bit of stimulation for the old boy, it's not quite enough to get me over. It's like I'm straddling an edge—pleasure on one side, orgasm on the other, and in between, there I am getting my brains fucked out."

"And that's a problem becauseS" Trip asks.

"It's not, Trip. It's just that this time was different. I'd settled in for a nice, long, hard fuck, just the way I like it," Malcolm says in dreamy recollection. "First it felt wonderful, then it felt amazing, then suddenly out of I don't know where, I was coming like blazes and the only thing I was straddling were your hips pounding into me."

"So, it was good for ya then?" Trip asks, leering appreciatively at the sight of his lover reliving the moment.

"Words cannot express," Malcolm replies.

"Now that sounds like Pe all over the place, and my point exactly," Trip says, rising onto his knees—not to plea for understanding, but to share it, "Maybe gettin' what we wanted was really nothin' more than lettin' ourselves have it, goin' past the limits of our imaginations and seein' what's really possible, bein' open to the possibility that anything is possible—whether it's deep space exploration, or multiple orgasms."

"That's a pretty deep thought, Trip," Malcolm replies, "but what about the current reality. You don't think that Pe'sSwhatever it was, was maybe just granting a wish?" Malcolm asks.

"He's an alien visitor, Malcolm—not a genie in a bottle," Trip says, shaking his head. "I'm startin' to wonder if Pe helped us, or just showed us how to help ourselves. You know that expression, something like 'give a man a fish and he eats for one day—teach him how to fish, and he feeds himself for a lifetime'. Maybe that's what Pe did—he taught us how to fish. Only instead of giving us a fishing pole, he gave us the key to the door of our perceptions."

"Oh my God," Malcolm gasps, " 'the doors of perception'? This evening's been filled with enough surprises—don't add your reading Carlos Casteneda on top of them."

"Hey, darlin'," Trip says, "I'm the chief engineer of the first warp five vessel in Starfleet history. I didn't get here because of my good looks alone."

"Of course not, love," Malcolm says. "Over the last several years I've had the honor of serving with you and witnessing your impressive professional skills, and in the last several months the pleasure of sharing your abundantSpersonal attributes. " Malcolm punctuates his sentence with an ellipses of cocked leg and a period of ass wiggling that makes it neither statement nor request, but a clear invitation.

"Well, it's always good to know my 'attributes' are appreciated," Trip says, barely containing his laughter amid wet kisses paced up and down the course of Malcolm's naked back, with occasional stops to gasp with pleasure, and suck enjoyment from his skin, before shepherding all into the crook of his lover's back.

"Ya know, I'm about ready for another walk through that door of perception," Trip says. "You've already spread your legs, how 'bout you open your mind, and join me?"

"Well, when you put it that way," Malcolm replies, reaching past his imagination and through the sheets. "I'm reminded of words spoken long ago and far away," he says, handing Trip the nearly empty bottle of lube. "As a wise man once said, 'engage'."

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