"Too Sexy For His Shirt" (Part Two)
Category: A bit of angst.
Pairing: Slash Reed/Tucker
Summary: Guess what hair-brained scheme the Admiral has come up with now.
“Somebody - I can't imagine who, but he's probably got four pips on his uniform
- told Forrest all about that little competition we had a few weeks ago.”
Disclaimer: Paramount owns everything, I own nothing, and I'm not getting paid
Comment: Malcolm's my very favourite character and I've loved putting him
through all this. I hope he'll forgive me.
I understand that the name ‘Starfleet Academy’ didn’t exist as such during the
exploits of NX01. In the mid 22nd century it was known as Starfleet’s Training
Centre. I may be wrong about this, but that’s the name I’m using.
Please send me feedback. I really want to know what you think of this.
* * *
I'm Too Sexy For My Shirt. Sung by Right Said Fred.
I'm too sexy for my shirt, Too sexy for my shirt,
So sexy it hurts.
And I'm too sexy for Milan, New York or Japan.
And I'm too sexy for your party, too sexy for your party,
No way I'm disco dancing.
I'm a model. You know what I mean,
And I do my little turn on the catwalk. Yeah!
On the catwalk. Yeah! On the catwalk. Yeah!
I do my little turn on the catwalk.
I'm too sexy for my... Too sexy for my... Too sexy for my...
'Cos I'm a model. You know what I mean.
And I do my little turn on the catwalk. Yeah!
On the catwalk. Yeah! On the catwalk. Yeah!
I shake my little touche on the catwalk.
I'm too sexy for my cat, too sexy for my cat.
Poor pussy, poor pussy cat.
I'm too sexy for my love.
Love's going to leave me.
And I'm too sexy for this song . . .
* * *
"You know, Trip," Lieutenant Malcolm
Reed held his thumb and index finger a mere
apart, "I'm just a teensy-weensy
"Oh, right." Commander Charles
Tucker III looked across the dinner table which they were sharing with Ensigns
Hoshi Sato and Travis Mayweather, "and with the British propensity for
understatement, I guess what that really means is you're madder'n a wet hen."
"Yes, I am madder'n a wet hen."
Malcolm mimicked Trip's Southern drawl perfectly, which as usual amused the
other three, so making Malcolm even madder.
He glared at them in such a way that
they all endeavoured
to put on serious expressions.
"So what's eatin' you, then Mal?"
Trip asked his fiancé.
Malcolm picked up his mug of tea,
wrapped his hands around it, and inhaled the aroma deeply before speaking; "The
Captain called me into his ready room just as I came off shift. He'd had a
message from Admiral Forrest. You'd never believe what hair-brained scheme the
admiral has come up with now."
"We're obviously not going to be able
to guess,” observed Travis, "so why don't you just tell us?"
"I will if you'd stop interrupting.
Where was I? Oh, yes. It seems that somebody - I can't imagine who, but he's
probably got four pips on his uniform - told Forrest all about that little
competition we had a few weeks ago."
"Oh," squealed Hoshi, "so he knows
about you being the sexiest man on board? Is he going to give you a medal or
"Hoshi, really!" The interruptions
were frustrating Malcolm and he spoke rather sternly to her.
"Sorry," she sighed, looking anything
"Just tell us, Mal." Trip put his
arm around Malcolm's shoulders encouraging him to continue.
"Forrest liked the idea so much he
wants to make it a Starfleet-wide thing."
The others looked at him in
"You mean...?" Hoshi for once seemed
lost for words.
"I mean, that he is instigating a
competition to find the sexiest person in Starfleet. All other ships and the
land based institutions, like the Training and Medical
are to choose their own representatives to compete in a Grand Final."
"And you are mad because...?" Travis
had to ask, although he was sure they all knew the answer.
"I will have to go to this
'Grand Final' to represent Enterprise."
"Oh, Malcolm,” Hoshi gushed, "We're
so proud of you. You're bound to be the overall winner. I think it's a
Malcolm put his head in his hands and
groaned. "I thought all this nonsense was over and done with."
"Hey, don't worry, darlin'." Trip
rubbed his hand over Malcolm's back. "It might be a bit of fuss for a couple of
weeks, but then we'll all be able to get back to normal."
"I hope you're right. Perhaps I
could persuade the Captain to send Keely instead. After all she was the
runner-up, and therefore could be a stand-in for me."
"Now the cap'n won't go along with
that, Mal." Trip countered. "You'd have to have some seriously good reason for
being unable to go."
"Are you thinking about alien bugs
again? Because I bet you still don't have any." Malcolm was referring to an
earlier time when he was trying to get out of the first competition.
"No, sorry." Trip replied. "Of
course, if you were no longer in Starfleet, you would not be eligible."
"You're suggesting that I resign from
"No, just going through the options."
"Some option that is." Malcolm
finished his tea, put his mug down in a very deliberate fashion, looked at Trip
and said, "I could think of one way they'd have no choice but to send Keely."
"And what would that be, Malcolm?"
Travis was puzzled.
"If I were dead!"
"MALCOLM!" Trip shouted so loud that
other diners turned to look. Trip lowered his voice but still spoke
forcefully. "Don't you dare even think about it!"
"Oh, come on, Trip. I'm not that
stupid. It's just another option."
"Thank goodness for that." Trip
breathed a sigh of relief. "I know you'll find it embarrassing, but it really
won't be that bad,"
The two ensigns looked relieved, too.
Travis stood up. "Well, Hoshi and I
- er - have things to do. We'll see you in the morning."
"Yes, goodnight," Hoshi smiled,
"Don't worry, Malcolm, we'll get you through this."
The two of them took their trays and
left the mess hall giggling together. Trip knew full well what 'things' they
had to do in Hoshi's quarters.
"She's right, you know." he assured
Malcolm. "Your friends will help you through it. Just don't be afraid to ask."
"I know, love, but I can do without
this sort of thing, and it will be a much bigger affair than ours was."
"Well, don't worry yourself sick
about it before you have to. Now, if you've finished playing with your dinner,
perhaps we should go, too."
"OK. This is cold, anyway."
They picked up their trays, dumped
the contents into the recycler, and headed for Trip's quarters, which were a bit
bigger than Malcolm's, so they tended to spend most of their time together
Once inside Trip pulled Malcolm into
his arms and kissed him. The kiss was returned warmly and eagerly, till Trip
"Tell me, Mal, you really didn't mean
what you said - about that other option - did you?"
Malcolm brought his hands round to
play with the zip of Trip's uniform, pulling it down a couple of inches, then up
"No, love, I wouldn't do anything so
foolish, not when I have so much to live for. I'm looking forward to spending
many happy years with you."
"That makes two of us. Now will you
stop playing with that zip and do something serious, like taking it right down?"
"You're giving me the distinct
impression that you want me to undress you."
"Now why would I do that?"
That zip had never moved so fast!
* * *
At breakfast with the captain next
day, Trip was informed that Crewman Kelly had been temporarily released from her
duties in engineering because Admiral Forrest had been so impressed with her
of the competition that he wanted her to draw up a set of rules for all the
other ships and facilities to use in selecting their representatives.
"But that's ridiculous, Cap'n." Trip
was astounded. "It's simple enough. Why can't they just make up their own
rules? As long as they send someone, does it matter how he's chosen?"
"It's not for the likes of us to
decide, Trip. The admiral wants it done fair and square, and that means all
using the same rules."
"So how long am I going to be without
Kelly in engineering, then?"
"A few days. I've asked her to get
it done as quickly as possible, and to ask for any help she needs."
"Is there any date set for this Grand
Final?" Trip wanted to know.
"Not yet, but I'm sure we'll hear as
soon as it is."
"I think I'm beginning to dislike
this as much as Mal does." Trip muttered.
T'Pol, who had been listening to this
exchange without comment, now spoke up.
"I'm sure Mr. Reed will enjoy it when
it gets going. Look at the way he perked up after winning our competition. I
did wonder if he intended to remove more than just his shirt."
"I doubt that very much, T'Pol. But
then, you never can tell with him. I would never have expected him to do what
he did do." Trip had to smile at the memory of Malcolm taking off his
shirt to the accompaniment of 'The Stripper'.
Captain Archer grinned. "That was
certainly an unexpected sight. But much appreciated by the crew."
"Yeah. Well, I'd better get down to
engineering. We've got work to do and I'm a man short." Trip took his leave
and headed for the door.
Later that day Trip changed into
workout gear and went to find Malcolm who he knew had been busy in the gym
instructing some younger crewmembers in self-defence.
Now, having finished with them, he applied himself to
some of his tae kwon do skills. The crewmen had been about to leave, but when
what Mr. Reed was doing, they stopped to watch. After all, they might learn
something. They moved to the edge of the room and sat on the floor.
Trip had arrived whilst Malcolm was
still teaching, but he also decided to just sit and watch the show, rather than
using the stationary bikes as he had intended.
Malcolm seemed oblivious of his
audience and was unknowingly giving them a fantastic demonstration of the art.
He was a seventh dan black belt - and it showed.
Having finished a series of
complicated kicks and punches, he stood quietly in the middle of the room, feet
slightly apart, eyes closed. For a moment he stayed thus, just concentrating on
breathing, then he started to move - very slowly and in complete contrast to the
earlier exercises - he raised his arms up to chest height and
on the balls of his feet to the left, making controlled but gentle movements
with his hands and arms. He continued performing what some of the onlookers now
as tai chi. After the hard, fast and furious kickboxing, this was slow and
beautiful to watch. Trip thought that the way Malcolm was doing it made it look
like dancing; it was so slow, so precise, and so sensual. It lasted
about eight minutes and in all that time, Malcolm never seemed to open his
When he came to the end, his small
but very appreciative audience, burst into spontaneous applause.
He looked around seeing the crowd for
the first time, and blushed. Then he saw Trip coming towards him.
"I've never seen you do tai chi
before, Mal." Trip flung his arm around Malcolm's shoulders, "That was
absolutely beautiful. And real sexy, too."
"It's not supposed to be sexy. It's
supposed to be contemplative."
"It can be sexy as well, you know.
Did you do the whole thing with your eyes shut?"
"Mostly. It concentrates the mind.
If you know what you're doing you don't need to be able to see."
"Well, you gave those crewmen a great
show, kick-boxing followed by tai chi! They'll be telling all their friends
about it right now."
"I thought they would all have
gone." Malcolm picked up his towel and wiped his face and neck. "I need a
shower. Are you staying here?"
Trip looked over to the bikes that
were now both in use. "Nah. Don't think I'll bother. I'll come back with you.
Room for two in the shower?"
"You haven't done anything to deserve
"Let's get to my quarters and we can
soon change that." Trip grinned.
"OK. You win." Malcolm smiled at him
and led the way from the gym.
* * *
The next few weeks were spent doing
things that were 'normal' for the Enterprise crew, that is, they charted
new star and planetary systems, had a couple of first contact situations (one of
which did not go too well, and resulted in Malcolm getting a projectile wound in
the shoulder whilst getting the captain out of trouble), had a dogfight with a
couple of hostile alien ships, and suchlike incidental things. Nothing to write
home about, really.
Then one day, Captain Archer called
his senior staff together in his ready room.
"I just thought you'd like to know
that I had a message from Admiral Forrest this morning. He says that all ships
and facilities have sent in their entries for 'The sexiest person in Starfleet'
competition, and they are now ready to proceed to the next phase.
There are nearly a hundred entrants
and so the next two rounds will go exactly as we had them here. Kelly has
downloaded all the photos and she will display them on the wall as before. You
will then make your choices, as before."
Travis was looking rather puzzled, as
were Trip and Malcolm, "But, Cap'n." he pointed out, "what's to stop us all
from voting for Malcolm and...?"
"I know what you mean, Travis,”
Archer interrupted, "but the powers that be think it will work out."
"Of course," T'Pol suggested, "there
will probably be many people who will look at all the photos and judge them on
merit, not just choose their shipmate."
"Yeah, and some of the smaller craft
may not have anyone particularly sexy on board anyway." Trip suggested. "They
most likely just sent photos of the best of a bad bunch."
"I think you may have it there,
Trip,” Archer was pleased they were giving some thought to this, "and we are
going to have the next round in two days. People will have just twenty-four
hours to cast their vote."
"So if I'm knocked out of the first
round, I won't have to worry about going to the Grand Final." Malcolm seemed
more cheerful. "Well, that's a relief."
"But we have faith in you, Malcolm,”
the captain declared. "I am fully expecting you to be in the top ten, at the
Malcolm groaned. "And how long will
it be before the next round, Captain?"
"Forrest wants the final to be held
in two weeks time, so it won't be long."
"Well, you'd better hope I am not
in the top ten again since it will take us that long to get back to Earth."
"That's why we are heading back
straight away at warp five, Malcolm"
"But I thought we were going to
investigate that M-class planet we discovered yesterday?" Malcolm was aghast.
"Sorry, but we've had to put that on
hold for another time. The admiral's orders were explicit. We have to get back
for the final, just in case you are in it."
"This is crazy. They might at least
wait for the results before ordering us back." Malcolm threw his hands in the
air in disgust and looked across at Trip. "You're not saying much."
"What's there to say? It seems to be
all cut and dried." Trip shrugged.
"Every cloud has a silver lining,
they say," Archer grinned at Trip and Malcolm, "We can put the ship in space
dock for a week or two for repairs and upgrades, and the crew can have shore
"Oh, yes," Hoshi giggled, "and for
you two it could be a honeymoon."
"My thinking exactly, Hoshi." Archer
smiled. "Their wedding is planned for next week, so it will be just in time for
an Earthside honeymoon. Don't you agree?"
"Hey, I think it's a wonderful idea,
Cap'n." Trip answered. "Don't you, Mal?"
"Well, yes, it is actually." Malcolm
"OK. I'll keep you all informed of
any progress. Dismiss." They filed out of the room to return to their various
Some weeks previously, Malcolm had
been the hands-down winner of Enterprise's competition, much to his
dismay, but he had really enjoyed the evening once he had got into the swing of
things. The enjoyment had continued back in Trip's quarters when he asked
Malcolm to marry him. The ceremony was to be held on board, Captain Archer
would officiate, and video links were being set up to allow both families to
witness the occasion. They had not been expecting a honeymoon.
* * *
Crewmen Kelly and Cutler had spent a
couple of hours in the mess hall putting the pictures on the wall. There were
no names attached, just numbers, and Malcolm's picture was about two-thirds of
the way along, numbered seventy-three. With just twenty-four hours to make
their choice, there always seemed to be a crowd in front of the photo-wall.
Trip, Malcolm, Travis and Hoshi stood
together surveying it.
"I can see that you might have a
problem here, Malcolm," Travis commented. "After all, we know who we're voting
for, but you have to choose from all these others."
"You're not obliged to vote for me,
"Oh, yes we are. Do you know what
Trip's threatened us with if we don't?"
Malcolm looked shocked. "Trip, you
"No, of course not." Travis
laughed. "Just kidding. We're voting for you because we want to. That's all
there is to it."
"I'd rather you voted for someone
else. But have you looked at the others? I haven't a clue who to choose. I
couldn't do worse if I went 'Dip, dip, dip', or threw a dart at the pictures."
"Why don't you turn your back to the
wall and pick a number out of thin air? " Trip suggested.
"That's as good a way as any, I
suppose." Malcolm turned away from the wall, thought a moment, then said,
When he turned back to them they were
all looking at a photo of a really pretty girl with
hair, blue eyes and a trim figure.
"Hmm." Malcolm said, "Not bad. OK,
I'll go with her."
"Not literally, I hope?" Trip
"Why forty-two, Malcolm?" Hoshi
wanted to know.
"Well, you know. It's the answer to
life, the universe and everything. It seemed appropriate."
They all laughed. 'The Hitchhiker's
guide to the Galaxy' was the feature on movie night last week.
It was the work of moments then for
them all to fill in their voting slips and post them in the box. It wouldn't be
too long before the next round. Just a matter of days.
* * *
As before, the second round was
reduced to thirty contestants, and again Kelly and Cutler had the job of
clearing the photo-wall and putting back just those thirty. And again, just
twenty-four hours was allowed for casting votes, so as soon as the results were
available there was a crowd in the mess hall scouring the photos for their
"He's here!" A joyful shout came from
the front of the crowd. "The lieutenant's got through."
Whoops and cries of delight were
heard, their meaning clear to anyone.
Trip was among those scanning the
board for Malcolm's picture and was overjoyed to see it there.
"Hey, Kelly,” he called. "I don't
suppose you know what the figures were, do you?"
"Sorry, Sir," Kelly answered from
across the room, "they didn't give me that information. I'm as much in the dark
"OK. No worries. I'll go tell him.
He's still working."
"When's he ever not?" Kelly grinned.
Trip laughed as he left the mess hall
to find his fiancé.
When he arrived in the armoury all
Trip could see of Malcolm were his feet and legs protruding from a torpedo
"You gonna be long in there,
Malcolm?" Trip asked.
"Oh, about one point seven-five
metres, I imagine." Malcolm replied as he slid back out of the tube.
"Ha, ha! That's funny. You made a
"It wasn't so funny." Malcolm
wiped his greasy hands on a rag, made some adjustments on a console, then turned
"Did you want me for something?"
"Now that's a loaded question if ever
I heard one,” Trip had a big grin on his face, "but seriously, yes. I came to
tell you that the results are out."
"No need to tell me what results you
are referring to, is there? So are you going to tell me, or are you waiting for
me to ask?"
"See this grin on my face? That
should tell you what you want to know."
"Oh, no." Malcolm dropped his head
onto his hands.
"Oh, yes. And guess what? Number
forty-two is still there, too."
"Well that's nice. At least some
people have some sense. I was really hoping to be knocked out in this round."
"Cheer up, darlin'. There's still
another round to go before the final. Anything could happen."
The comm beeped.
"Archer to Reed." Malcolm hit the
button. "Reed here, sir."
"Malcolm, has Trip given you the good
"He has given me some news,
Sir. Whether it's good or not depends on your point of view."
"Well I think it's good news, and we
should celebrate it. I'd like you and Trip to join T'Pol and me for dinner
"Of course, Sir." Malcolm said
resignedly. "Trip and I will be delighted to come."
"See you both at 1800, Malcolm. I
asked Chef to do something special and he mentioned having some fresh
pineapple. Archer out."
Malcolm turned to Trip. "It has
begun again," he groaned, rolling his eyes towards the ceiling
* * *
Twenty-four hours later the photos
had been removed from the wall, the votes had been counted and the figures sent
to the competition organiser.
But before the next round, however,
they would be celebrating Malcolm and Trip's wedding.
It was a low-key affair held in the
mess hall. Chef had baked a cake and excelled himself with the buffet, while
Hoshi, Travis and several others, spent the afternoon decorating the room with
balloons, banners and streamers.
The ceremony began at1900 with an
exchange of vows and rings, and a kiss to seal the union. Captain Archer was
very proud to officiate at the nuptials of two of his officers, and was grinning
all over his face as he said, "I now pronounce you husband and - er - husband."
A party that went on until midnight
followed the brief ceremony, and it was without doubt the happiest party they'd
had on the ship.
Video links had enabled both families
to watch the event, and Trip and Malcolm were able to speak to each family in
Malcolm's father was not overjoyed
with his son's choice of partner, but accepted him graciously, although he did
insist on calling him Charles. Malcolm's mother and sister were both very happy
for him and were looking forward to meeting Trip. It was quite a serious
Trip's family was the opposite. They
were loud, cheerful and full of advice for the newly- weds. Trip's Mother
wanted to hug Malcolm and said she would do so at the very first opportunity,
which had better not be too long. They sent lots of good wishes as they waved
When Trip and Malcolm went to leave
the party as it was winding down, they found that the engineering and armoury
crews had decided to escort them back to their quarters. "We're reviving an old
medieval custom," Kelly informed them, "where the newly married couple are led
to their new home by their friends."
So they had to wait while the
procession formed up. The women, in their pretty dresses, went in front
carrying baskets of (artificial) flowers, the men followed behind, and somewhere
around was a piper playing some appropriate music. It was a happy procession.
The women danced in front, throwing down the flowers for Trip and Malcolm to
walk on. The men followed behind making lewd comments and jokes. The happy
couple were a little embarrassed, especially when the procession arrived at
their door and waited for Trip to open it. Before Trip and Malcolm could enter,
however, the women pushed their way in and scattered the rest of the flowers
around the room, especially on the bed. Then they laughingly left them to it.
Malcolm shut the door on the unruly
crowd and asked, "Whatever did we do to deserve this?"
"I guess that's their way of saying
'We're your friends and we love you both.' But now we can shut them out, darlin'.
It's just you an' me." Trip pulled Malcolm into his arms and kissed him
tenderly, but Malcolm wanted passion so he deepened the kiss, pushing Trip
towards the bed until he had to sit, then he sat astride Trip's lap and started
undoing his own shirt buttons. Immediately Trip started to sing "The Stripper"
so that Malcolm had to gyrate whilst removing his shirt, much to Trip's
delight. Moments later they were both enjoying their first night of married
* * *
The results of the second round of
the competition were to be announced at 1600 on Friday, and well before then
there was a crowd gathering outside the mess hall. Kelly decided to do
something different this time. Instead of displaying the ten finalist's photos,
she had covered them over so that they could be revealed one by one. But she
refused to begin until Malcolm was there.
She commed engineering. "Kelly to
"Tucker here. What's up, Kelly?"
"Do you think you could persuade the
lieutenant to stop working for a few minutes and come to the mess hall, please?"
"I believe he's in the middle of
something complicated. Can't you manage without him?"
"Well, yes sir, we could. But it
will be much better if he's here."
"OK. I'll have him there in five
minutes. Tucker out."
As good as his word, a few minutes
later Trip ushered a somewhat reluctant Malcolm through the doors.
"I really don't know why I have to be
here, Trip,” he complained. “I do have a job needing my attention.”
"Aw, gee, Mal, the job can wait a few
minutes. Just get into the spirit of the thing, will you?" Trip gave him a
playful punch on the shoulder and urged him to the front of the crowd. "Don't
you want to see if number forty-two's a finalist?"
"That's the only familiar face
I want to see up there."
Kelly called for order and
announced, "I'm going to uncover the finalists one by one, just to make it a
little more interesting."
She went to the first photo and took
off it's covering. It was number two. Number eleven followed and then numbers
twenty-five and twenty-eight. The next to be revealed was number forty-two. A
cheer went up around the hall then, as everyone knew that she was Malcolm's
choice. Then Kelly proceeded to unveil the rest. Next came number fifty-three,
then fifty-five, - then it was number eighty-one. There were howls of dismay as
people realised that Malcolm wasn't there. He was seventy-three!
Trip was very disappointed, but
Malcolm visibly relaxed. He was off the hook.
Eight photos had been uncovered so
far, and Kelly went to uncover the ninth, number ninety-two. Finally, Kelly
reached up to the last one, but people were turning away. They had lost
Seeing them leaving, Kelly called
out. "Are you sure you don't want to see this one?"
Most turned back, but they were
barely interested. Trip and Malcolm had started for the door, but turned around
at Kelly's words.
She dramatically removed the covering
from the final photo, and yes, you've guessed it, it was number seventy-three!
"I was just saving the best till
last,” she protested, when she could be heard over the cheering that had
suddenly erupted in the room.
Malcolm looked shocked. He'd been so
sure he wasn't a finalist, that now, to discover after all that he was, he was
speechless. Trip, on the other hand, was overjoyed, and he let everyone know
it. He jumped up and down whooping with sheer delight. His pleasure was
infectious. Soon the whole mess hall was jumping. Malcolm sat at a table
watching the antics of his shipmates, wondering if the whole crew had gone mad.
Then he saw Captain Archer standing by the door with a huge grin on his face.
There was no way he could get out of it now!
When Kelly checked the voting slips
for the final round she was not surprised to find that there were eighty-two
votes for number seventy-three and one for number forty-two! She sent the
figures off to the competition organiser feeling quite pleased.
* * *
A few days later the ship had arrived
at the space dock in Earth's orbit and most of the crew were eagerly preparing
for some shore leave. Malcolm and Trip, with some friends for support, were
headed for San Francisco where the contest final was being held. Captain
Archer, together with Hoshi and Travis, was intending to enjoy every moment of
the coming event. Malcolm, of course, was dreading it.
Hoshi had instructed Trip to make
sure that Malcolm packed all his sexy outfits, but especially the leather
trousers! Dress uniform would also be essential for the eventual winner, so
Trip spent time helping his husband with his packing.
"OK, Mal." Trip gestured to the
half-dozen bags on the bed, "I think that's about everything."
"Are you quite sure we've got
enough?" Malcolm asked sarcastically. "Maybe we should pack one more bag just
to be on the safe side."
"Nah." Trip laughed. "This'll do.
You've got the essentials. Now we'd better get down to the shuttle bay. The
Cap'n will be waiting for us."
Malcolm sighed and picking up some of
the bags, made for the door. They only just managed to squeeze themselves and
their luggage into the turbolift, to go down to the shuttle bay.
They were greeted by the captain and
the two ensigns who were all out of uniform and were treating this as a
holiday. Hoshi and Travis cheerfully grabbed the bags and stowed them into
Malcolm looked at the pod and mused,
"Considering the bad luck I usually have in this thing, I don't think I need
worry about the outcome of this contest."
"Shut up and get in, Malcolm,” Archer
ordered, "or we'll never get there."
Obeying orders, he followed Trip into
the pod and found his seat.
They had booked into a hotel close to
the convention centre where the final was to be held, and were soon installed in
their rooms. Archer had told the receptionist that Trip and Malcolm were just
married, and the manager had insisted on giving them the bridal suite, the main
feature of which was the enormous circular bed.
The ceremony was not till the next
day, so the group had a chance to look round the city and see the sights. They
were quite surprised to find the city plastered with pictures of all the ten
finalists. They were everywhere - in shop windows, on hoardings and even on
giant screens high up on tall buildings. Hoshi and Travis had great fun running
around spotting Malcolm's picture in lots of different places. Starfleet was
making the most of recruiting possibilities. Finally, they ended up in a small
Italian cafe` where they enjoyed various pastas, washed down with Chianti and
cappuccino, before heading for their beds and a good night's sleep.
The ceremony was not due to start
until 1400, so as they had no need to get up early, Trip and Malcolm made good
use of the oversized bed, then shared a bath in an oversized circular Jacuzzi.
Trip made sure that Malcolm dressed appropriately for the ceremony - the leather
trousers were a 'must', and Malcolm topped them with a silver grey shirt. They
met the others for lunch in the hotel dining room, where Hoshi complimented
Malcolm on his outfit.
"That's a good choice, Malcolm," she
commented, "that shirt goes well with your eyes."
"Thank you, Hoshi," he replied, "but
I shall be glad when this is all over."
"Well, the results are in." Travis
remarked, "It's really just a case of announcing the winner, isn't it?"
"Yes,” Archer added, "but it's a two
hour ceremony, so what are they going to do all that time?"
They found out when they got to the
hall. The programme
included musical entertainment
from several groups and solo
artistes, interspersed with potted biographies of all the finalists and ending
with the actual announcement of the winner.
There was a reserved
section of the hall for the finalists and a companion, so Archer, Travis and
Hoshi had to find themselves seats in the main body of the auditorium. Trip sat
with Malcolm amongst the other contestants and their friends. Malcolm looked
around at the others and soon spotted number forty-two sitting with a
scholarly-looking type who was probably her boyfriend. He thought she looked
even prettier in the flesh. She saw him looking her way and smiled. In return,
he gave her his little half-smile, and a wink, which made her laugh. He nudged
Trip and nodded towards her. Trip grinned and waved. She blew him a kiss! Then
the lights went down and the programme started.
The MC was well chosen for the job.
He had the audience laughing and relaxed within five minutes. Even Malcolm fell
under his spell. He talked about the competition reminding everyone how the
earlier heats had been run, and then explained the prizes that were 'up for
grabs' by the winner and two runners-up. Trip and Malcolm had not heard about
the prizes and so were quite interested in what they were. Lacey and Garrod's,
the world's biggest international store, had promised the winner a year's free
shopping. Considering that they sold everything from an egg cup to a private,
luxury shuttlecraft, it gave the winner plenty of scope to indulge. Those
coming second and third would each get two and one month's free shopping,
respectively. A round of appreciative applause greeted this announcement, and
the finalists were getting quite excited. Even Malcolm perked up.
"Just think what we could do with
that, Trip,” he whispered.
"Yeah. We could buy ourselves a
house and furnish it from top to bottom at L & G's."
"Do they sell houses?" Malcolm
"Dunno. But we could soon find out."
"Stop it, Trip," Malcolm laughed.
"You're counting your chickens."
"I can dream, can't I?"
They were entertained for ten minutes
by a music group that was supposed to be wonderful, but really just made an
awful noise. Well, that was Malcolm's opinion, anyway. Then a picture of the
first finalist had appeared on a huge screen at the back of the stage, and a
commentator started telling the audience all about him. He was number two; a
personable young man aged nineteen, who was a cadet at Starfleet's Training
Centre. People who knew him were interviewed and asked to give their opinions
about him, so that the audience would know what sort of person he was. There
were scenes from the Training Centre where all his friends were rooting for
him. His parents, grandparents and two sisters all had their say.
Malcolm looked at Trip in horror.
"I hope they're not going to do that
for everyone! Please don't tell me they've been interviewing my family, Trip"
"If they have, I haven't been told.
I'm as surprised about this as you are."
"This is going to be SO
Trip took Malcolm's hand and squeezed
it gently. "Hey, come on, darlin', it can't be that bad."
"I hope not." Malcolm smiled wanly,
"You know, I'm really glad you're here with me."
Another 'musical' item followed, and
then number eleven was given the same treatment. And so it continued, some
music, followed by a potted biography. Number forty-two was an ensign doing
astrometrics. Her name was Valencia and strangely enough, that's where she was
Inevitably they came to number
seventy-three. Malcolm cringed to see his picture on this enormous screen, and
slid down in his seat in an attempt to make himself invisible. Trip took a
tight hold of Malcolm's hand and refused to let go.
"Number seventy-three is Malcolm
Reed," the commentator told them, "a lieutenant serving on board the starship
Enterprise. He is the weapons and tactical officer, and he is also chief of
security, which makes him rather an important member of the crew. We were
unable to interview his parents, but managed to contact his sister Madeleine,
and Aunt Sherry."
"Oh, no!" Malcolm groaned. "Not Aunt
Sherry. I dread to think what she will say."
"I know she's a little - well -
dotty, but I'm sure she'll only speak well of you. After all, she is
rather fond of you." Trip tried to ease Malcolm's concerns.
Malcolm needn't have worried as both
his sister and aunt gave him glowing references. Aunt Sherry told them what a
lovely boy he was. "Always well behaved, polite and reliable," she gushed. "I
could tell you lots of stories about him but I don't suppose you've got time.
And now he is grown up and exploring space, I'm so proud of him."
Next up on the screen came the faces
of Hoshi and Travis who spoke about him from the point of view of his
shipmates. They both seemed really pleased to be able to tell everyone what a
loyal, dependable friend he was, and how he was always getting the Captain out
of dangerous situations. They didn't spare him, but laid it on very thickly!
They must have been interviewed just before the ceremony started, as they were
shown in the vestibule of the conference hall.
Malcolm was very glad when the next
musical item was announced.
Once all the finalists had been shown
on the screen, the MC came onto the stage and said that there would be a
half-hour interval before the actual announcing of the winners took place. This
was to allow the finalists to go backstage and prepare themselves for the
ordeal. So they and their friends were applauded as they left their seats to
depart the auditorium, and, guided by an usher, to make their way to the 'green
room' and make-up.
Trip and Malcolm were among the last
to enter the, by now, crowded room. A bevy of girls were waiting to apply
make-up and Malcolm was soon being attended to.
"But why?" he asked. "Surely this is
"On the contrary," he was told,
"without it you will look like death warmed up under those lights. And your
friend will get made-up, too, because if you win, he will be expected to go on
stage with you."
The make-up girl took one look at
Malcolm - and her knees turned to jelly. She was entranced. Unfortunately, she
then became so nervous that she was all fingers and thumbs, and kept dropping
things. After Trip had picked up her tool for the third time, Malcolm turned to
her and said, "Why don't you close your eyes, take a deep breath, and then start
She did as he suggested and was able
to complete her work without dropping anything else. She then worked on Trip
before turning to one of the other finalists.
Those who were ready sat and chatted,
getting to know each other. Valencia came over to Malcolm and introduced
"Hi, I'm Valencia King. Val to my
"Malcolm Reed. Pleased to meet you."
"Ha! Val and Mal. That's neat."
Then she asked, indicating Trip, "Is he your bodyguard, your friend or what?"
"My husband." Malcolm answered.
"Aw, shucks." she pouted. "Just my
luck for you to be already spoken for."
"I'm sure you'll meet the man of your
dreams one day."
"I thought I had just done that."
Malcolm laughed. "You're young.
You've plenty of time."
She sighed dramatically "I knew you
were just too good to be true."
He laughed again. "I'm surprised you
haven't got loads of young men falling at your feet already."
"Well, there are one or two, if I'm
honest about it. But I quite took a fancy to you."
"You can fancy as much as you like,"
Trip joined in, grinning, "just don't touch. OK?"
"OK,” she said, holding her hands up,
"I get the message." It was all in fun and they were soon chatting amicably
"So which of the ten finalists did
you vote for?" Valencia asked Malcolm.
"Actually, I voted for you." Malcolm
"Wow!" Her eyes lit up. "Really?
And I voted for you."
They all laughed at this revelation,
then Valencia wandered off to rejoin her boyfriend.
Then it was time for the next part of
the ceremony. The stage had been set with a throne adorned with gold and white
satin drapes, at one side of the stage was a row of ten chairs, and on the
opposite side, the MC stood at a podium.
The first finalist, number two, was
announced by name and, entering the stage from one side, he had to walk all the
way across to meet the MC at the podium. This was the only chance the audience
had of seeing the competitors in person and hearing them speak as they were to
be interviewed briefly before taking their seats on the row of chairs. Malcolm
had been doing some mental exercises to keep himself calm so that when it was
his turn to go on stage, he did so with aplomb, grace and dignity. He
acquitted himself well at the interview, answering the inane questions politely,
and then walked across to his seat to a round of appreciative applause.
"Ladies and gentlemen," the MC
announced when all ten had been interviewed, "it is time to tell you the winners
of this little competition. I have to tell you that the first three managed to
score sixty-seven per cent of the votes between them, leaving only thirty-three
per cent for the other seven. There is a very clear line between the top three
and the rest, and only two percent divides the third from the first. This was a
very, very close contest, and we had to recount the votes several times. Well,
we didn't want to make a mistake, did we?
So without more ado, in third place,
and with eighteen per cent of the votes, is number eleven, Jason Delfrido."
Jason, a well muscled, blond lad
working as a Starfleet technician on Jupiter Station, bounced across the stage
from his seat, to the excited applause of his supporters in the audience. He
had a big grin on his face and was obviously delighted even to have come third.
A pretty actress (whose name meant
nothing to Malcolm) presented Jason with a big bottle of bubbly, an envelope
from Lacey and Garrod’s and a huge kiss. Amid more applause, he was then asked
to take his place on one side of the throne.
"Now it gets more exciting," the MC
said. "Jason had eighteen per cent of the votes, the runner-up had nineteen per
cent, and the winner had twenty per cent. I told you it was close!
And now, it's my pleasure to announce
the runner-up. Number forty-two. Valencia King."
Malcolm gave her a big smile as she
rose to go forward. He wished she had come first, but was happy for her to have
second place. He was feeling better, having escaped being second and third. He
thought his chances of coming first were getting less all the time. He looked
along the row and decided that several of them were more likely to win than he
A popular, young, male entertainer
made Valencia’s presentation. He first kissed and congratulated her, then
handed her a bottle of bubbly, an envelope from the store and a huge arrangement
of flowers. Amid tumultuous applause she took her place on the other side of
the throne to Jason.
"Now I expect you're all dying to
know who is first, but I really think I ought to make you wait a little longer,
so here is a new music group to entertain you for a few minutes - ladies and
gentlemen, let's hear it for - the Armadillos."
Malcolm was dumbstruck. The
Armadillos were a group of three musicians and a singer from his armoury and
security teams. They were good, but he had no idea they were considered good
enough for such a high-profile event as this. They performed a song called
'Where my heart will take me', and followed it with 'I'm too sexy for my shirt',
receiving a well-deserved ovation afterwards. (It seemed they had been secretly
engaged for the event only that morning, when the contest organisers, knowing
who the winner was, found out about the group from Enterprise crew
wandering round the city.)
"Thank you, Armadillos. I hope we'll
hear more from you in the future." The MC seemed to like them, anyway. He went
"So now we come to the main event.
Which of these eight fine young people is our winner, I wonder? I actually do
not know. But I have an envelope here which contains the name you are all
waiting to hear." He waved a gold coloured envelope at the audience. "I shall
now open it." He broke the seal and removed a folded sheet of paper from
inside. He took his time unfolding the paper while looking at the finalists,
who were all by now a little bit nervous. He looked at the paper and beamed!
"Ladies and gentlemen. The one you
have chosen as the sexiest person in Starfleet is -
Lieutenant Malcolm Reed!"
Thunderous applause greeted this
announcement, Trip backstage dancing up and down with delight.
Malcolm, however, couldn't believe
'No'. he thought. 'They must have got
But he was being urged from his seat
to go centre stage. He stood up feeling rather unsteady on his feet, and went
where he was asked.
"Well, Malcolm," the MC said to him,
"you look a little stunned."
"Yes,” Malcolm answered, "I am.
Don't you think you had better have another recount? You must have made a
"No mistake, Malcolm. We had five
recounts and they came out the same each time. Like it or not, you're it!
Now, I hope you've got a smile
for your audience, because it's something you're going to have to get used to.
There will be lots of audiences expecting smiles from you in the next few
weeks." This remark puzzled Malcolm, and Trip too, but this was not the time to
Two long-legged girls in skimpy
costumes appeared and conducted Malcolm towards the throne, settling him on it.
Then they disappeared, only to return a few moments later with Trip. Trip's
grin went from ear to ear and he went right up to Malcolm and hugged him.
"I'm so proud of you, darlin'," he
said. Then stepped back so that the presentation could be made.
It was the Managing Director of the
store who handed Malcolm his bottle of bubbly and the envelope containing a
voucher allowing Malcolm a year's free shopping in any of his stores world wide.
"We decided against flowers for you
when a little bird informed us that you are allergic to certain flower pollens.
But I hope you will make good use of this voucher. You certainly deserve it."
"Thank you very much, sir." Malcolm
replied. "I'll do my best."
More applause followed the
presentation, while Malcolm felt rather uncomfortable but tried not to show it.
Malcolm then, mostly on his own but
sometimes with Trip, had to submit to a lengthy photo session, until finally the
two leggy girls escorted the pair off the stage.
Flopping into a chair, Malcolm fanned
his face and said to Trip, "I don't want to have to go through anything like
that in my life, ever again."
"You carried it off beautifully,
darlin'. They all loved you."
"But what did he mean about more
"Dunno. But I'll find out before we
They did find out. It seems that
someone had neglected to inform Captain Archer that the winner would be expected
to make the rounds of some of the Starfleet facilities and 'flying the flag', so
"This means we'll be kept busy for
the next couple of weeks chasing around like headless chickens, from one
engagement to another." Malcolm was not pleased with this turn of events. He
had hoped that once the competition was over, he and Trip could disappear
somewhere for some quiet time together. They had planned on renting a cottage
in the English countryside. A small village in the wilds of Exmoor was their
preferred choice. But it seemed that it was not to be.
There was no peace and quiet for them
now, either, as they were whisked back to their hotel so that they could change
into dress uniform preparatory to meeting, and later dining with, a group of
very senior officers, including Admiral Forrest, at Starfleet HQ. They had no
time to themselves at all for the rest of that day, until they arrived back at
their hotel very late, and longing for their bed. They had seen nothing of
Archer, Hoshi and Travis, but suspected that they would have rounded up some of
the crew to tell them all about it.
The next day was to be very busy.
They were to visit Starfleet's Training Centre and meet the cadets there. It
would be a full day visit, culminating in an informal dinner with the cadets in
They rolled into bed, snuggled up,
and fell asleep. Tomorrow would be a heavy day.
* * *
Breakfast was intended to be taken
downstairs in the dining room, but Trip and Malcolm soon found that the ground
floor of the hotel was packed to the gills with media people wanting to
interview Malcolm. Trip arranged for them to have breakfast in their room, and
they invited Captain Archer, Hoshi and Travis to join them. Malcolm was
expected at the Training Centre to meet the cadets at 10.00. How they were
going to get through the crowded foyer without being delayed was anybody's
"On my own, I could sneak out, Trip,”
Malcolm said, "but in dress uniform and with you, it would be well nigh
"Yeah. You couldn't exactly climb
down a drainpipe dressed like that, now, could you?" Trip indicated the white
trousers and white gold-braided jacket Malcolm wore.
They needn't have worried though, as
a security guard from the Training Centre turned up to escort them, and so they
were led through the crowds with no difficulties. Outside, Trip was the first
to notice that all the photos were now of just Malcolm, the other nine having
been relegated to the rubbish heap, or something. It was rather daunting for
Malcolm to be confronted by his own face every few metres on their route.
The limousine deposited them at the
half-dozen front steps of the Training Centre in good time, and they were amazed
to find an actual red carpet was laid all the way up to the doors. There was
also quite a crowd collected to see Malcolm's arrival.
"Gosh," he muttered to Trip, "I feel
like royalty with all this fuss."
"Then I guess you should act like
royalty. Give 'em a wave."
As they stepped on to the carpet
there was a burst of cheering, making Malcolm blush slightly, but he raised his
hand in a wave. This gesture was much appreciated and the response he received
encouraged Malcolm to repeat it several times on his way up to the doors. He
was met at the top by the principal and turned to wave again to the crowd before
The main Hall was abuzz with
excitement. Every seat was filled. Not only was their visitor today the
sexiest person in Starfleet, he was also a bit of a legend. All new cadets were
told of his excellence during his training, and it was
that no cadet had passed out with as many
as he. Now they had a chance to meet him and possibly to ask a few questions,
and they intended to make the most of it.
At precisely 10.00 the doors at the
back of the Hall opened and Malcolm entered escorted by the principal. Trip and
the rest of the Training Centre staff followed behind. The cadets immediately
rose to their feet and stood to attention. The procession walked down the
aisle, mounted the steps onto the stage and arranged themselves on the chairs
The principal stood at the podium and
addressed the cadets.
"At ease. Be seated." They sat as
one, gazing in awe at the slight, rather modest-looking figure occupying the
seat of honour.
"As you all know, we have been
honoured today with a visit by a former cadet of this academy, Lieutenant
Malcolm Reed. Accompanying Mr Reed is his husband Commander Charles Tucker
III. Both men are currently assigned to Starfleet's flagship, the NX01
Enterprise. Mr Reed is the Weapons and Tactical officer, and Mr Tucker is
the Chief Engineer. Mr Reed is here primarily as the winner of the 'Sexiest
person in Starfleet' competition, but as he is here for the whole day, touring
the classrooms this afternoon,
and joining us for an informal dinner this evening, I have asked him to talk to
you now about his Starfleet training and his experiences on Enterprise.
Any questions you may have regarding the competition you will please keep for
this evening. And now I will ask you all to give Mr. Reed a very warm welcome."
And they did. As Malcolm stepped up
to the podium the cadets applauded loudly and enthusiastically.
"Thank you." Malcolm said when the
applause died down, "I wasn't expecting to give a lecture today, so I have
nothing prepared. It might be a good idea if you ask questions and I will
attempt to answer them. Does anyone have a question?"
About fifty hands shot up. "Ah.
This could be difficult." Malcolm considered the problem for a moment, then
said, "Could someone organise a couple of microphones in the body of the hall,
one on each side, please?"
'Someone' immediately disappeared to
do his bidding, meanwhile Malcolm continued.
"I suggest that you go to a mike with
your question and I will take one from each side of the hall in turn, but
please, no more than two or three at any time in each queue."
The microphones were soon in place
with cadets lining up at each.
Malcolm looked to one side of the
hall. "Right. First question."
"Cadet Thorne, Sir. Is it true that
when you graduated you took almost all the prizes for that year, and all with
"Erm - yes. Next question."
The brevity of his answer rather
flummoxed the next cadet, but she plunged in bravely.
"Cadet Bronte, Sir. Why did you
consider it necessary to give the phase pistols a stun setting?"
"Because, Cadet Bronte, dead is dead,
and that is not always the best solution. Many species we encountered were very
suspicious of us at first, and that is only natural, so for them it was a 'shoot
first, ask questions later' attitude. But by stunning, rather than killing them,
we really could 'ask questions later'. And you needed to be reasonably sure
about who was a real enemy, and who was just plain scared. Choose the wrong
setting and you could be in trouble. That is why I impress upon people not to
confuse the two. Having said that we rarely use the kill setting, stun usually
does the job."
"Thank you, sir."
"Cadet Wigmore, Sir. Can you tell us
why and how you developed the EM barrier."
"Good question. Hmm. The EM
barrier, more popularly known as the forcefield, was already being developed. I
simply stabilised and refined it.
'Why' is simple enough. We had an
alien entity in one of the cargo holds. It was growing fairly rapidly and
anyone who got in its clutches was enveloped in its web. Captain Archer,
Commander Tucker and three other crewmen were caught before we realised that it
was very slowly assimilating them. It was impossible for anyone to get close to
it, so it was necessary to isolate the cargo bay in order to establish some kind
of communication. And what we needed was a working EM barrier.
As to 'how', well... Starfleet had
actually been working on an EM barrier for about five years, but were unable to
get it stabilised. They hadn't been able to find a way to control the particle
density. All the specs were in the ship's database and I had been playing
around with them since joining Enterprise. I had got it to a stage where
it was stable for a few minutes but needed to work on it a bit longer. This
emergency gave me the excuse, for want of a better word, to make a concerted
effort to get the job done. There wasn't much time, so the result was very much
a jerry-rigged contraption. But it worked. Afterwards it just needed some
refining, and has been a useful piece of equipment ever since. Does that answer
your query, cadet?"
"Yes it does. Thank you very much,
"Cadet Regan, Sir. This is more of a
statement than a question. Perhaps you could comment on it."
"I'll do my best."
"Thank you, Sir. You are the chief
of security on the most advanced vessel in Starfleet, but you are not the
archetypal security chief. I mean, sir, that you are not two
tall and built like a barn door, are you, sir?"
"That's quite true, I'm not. But I
do manage to do my job quite satisfactorily." Malcolm turned to the next
questioner, but was stopped by Trip who stepped up to Malcolm's side and said
into the microphone, "I think I'll elaborate on that, Malcolm. You go and take
the weight off for a few minutes." Looking rather bemused, Malcolm did as he
was told and sat down.
"OK, so you expect a chief of
security to be two metres
tall and built like a barn door. I take it that means lots of muscle? You may
not be able to see it but there is a lot of muscle under that dress
uniform, he just doesn't show it off much. Can't do anything about his height,
though, and personally I wouldn't want to. He suits me fine the way he is." A
ripple of laughter greeted this remark.
"But what about his qualities that
you can't see?" Trip continued, warming to his theme. "During his security
training he reached the highest grades in several martial arts, like tae kwon do
and karate, and yet he does the soft form of tai chi and makes it look like
ballet. He's the sneakiest person I know - he can get in and out of a
heavily guarded building and you'd never know he'd been there except that he'd
bring you some kind of proof.
And then we come to explosives. He
knows more about explosives than anyone else in Starfleet. If you were to ask
him to make a hole in the ground - say two-point-seven
wide by one-point-three metres
deep, that's exactly what you'll get. He can calculate precisely how
much explosive to use in a particular situation. I don't know of anyone else
who can do that. He's never happier than when he can make something go 'kaboom'."
Trip used his arms to describe an explosion to his enraptured audience.
"Now take weapons," he continued.
"His knowledge of weaponry is vast. And I don't just mean modern day stuff.
He's as competent using a spear, sword, longbow or Winchester rifle, as he is
with a phase pistol or plasma rifle. And since he's been on Enterprise
he has learnt about, and become skilled with, many alien weapons too. Have you
heard about the Klingon bat'leth? He's quite capable of holding his own against
a Klingon adversary with one of his own weapons, even though the average Klingon
is twice his size.
Another skill he has, which I've
never seen him use and really don't want to, is that he can kill with his bare
hands. He has been called the most dangerous man on Enterprise, but in
fact, he's probably the most dangerous man in Starfleet.
And what do you think is his biggest
asset? You won't guess, so I'll tell you. It comes back to your original
question, cadet. It is his lack of stature. Y'see, boys and girls,
people will keep on underestimating him, and they come off worst each
time." Trip stepped back from the podium, leaving the cadets completely
overawed by this information, and turned to Malcolm. "You can have the floor
back, now, Mal."
Malcolm nodded and muttered "Thank
you, Trip," then took his place at the microphone again. He waited for the
applause to die down, then said "I don't know how to follow that."
The cadets still had lots of
questions, however, and kept Malcolm busy for another hour. They asked about
the ship, the crew, the tactical alert, the various planets and nebulae he had
come across, different alien species like the Suliban, and - well - just about
anything. When the session was over the cadets gave Malcolm a rousing cheer.
They were very appreciative of the way he so freely gave out information. Of
course he kept any classified stuff to himself, but what he could tell them, he
Lunch for Trip and Malcolm was a
quiet time just for the two of them, in one of the V.I.P. suites reserved for
visitors Malcolm had found the morning quite exhausting and his throat was
rather dry with so much talking, so was glad of the peace.
"Why don't you stretch out on the bed
and have a nap?" Trip suggested when they had eaten. "We've got an hour or more
before the tour starts." Malcolm looked at the bed and decided it was very
inviting. He removed his fancy uniform, settled himself down and was soon fast
asleep. Trip sat in an armchair by the window where he could watch the comings
and goings in the courtyard, and also where he could watch Malcolm as he slept.
At 1350 Trip shook Malcolm awake.
"Come on, Sleepyhead,” he said, " they'll be back for us in a few minutes."
Malcolm yawned, stretched and
declared, "Gosh, I needed that." Five minutes later he had donned his uniform
and was all spruce and ready to go.
The afternoon was less daunting than
the morning, since they were only required to visit various classes and watch
the cadets at work. Malcolm couldn't resist getting involved, though, asking
questions about what they were doing, making suggestions and generally 'poking
his nose in'. The cadets showed great interest in his input, and listened to
"Y'know,” Trip said, as they headed
back to their suite, "you should take up teaching when you're fed up with space
travel. You've got a way with those kids. I bet they've leant more from you
today than they would in a month normally."
"I think you're exaggerating, Trip,
but yes, I would like to teach eventually. What about you? You know a thing or
two about engineering."
"Yeah, I s'pose I should pass on the
knowledge before it gets lost." Trip grinned. "But we've got a couple of hours
now before this dinner we're expected at. What shall we do?"
"Well, you know," Malcolm purred,
"that bed was very comfortable earlier..."
"It was? Then I reckon we shouldn't
let it go to waste."
"No, that would be such a shame." By
the time they reached their suite they were entwined about each other. It's a
good thing they were on the top floor and no one else was around!
After giving the bed a good workout
they barely had time for a shower (together) and to dress before going
downstairs for the dinner. Trip wore a white shirt and cream coloured slacks,
while Malcolm was wearing his favourite outfit - black button up shirt (with
half the buttons left undone) and black leather trousers. And he still
didn't realise how sexy he looked in it. To him it was just - well -
The dinner was a pleasant, informal
affair with lots of chatter and laughter. Only the waiting staff wore uniform,
and the variety of civvies was amazing although there was not a single tee shirt
and jeans ensemble to be seen. For the cadets it was certainly a party.
When the dessert dishes had been
removed and coffee was served the principal called for attention.
"This will be your one and only
opportunity to question Lieutenant Reed about his title of the 'Sexiest person
in Starfleet', so I'd advise you to make the most of it."
When the cheering subsided the
questions started coming. There were the obvious ones like how did he feel
about being the winner of such a competition, and did Mr. Tucker vote for him?
And some less obvious like, was he going to take up a career in modelling now?
He answered all as honestly and truthfully as he could, and when finally the
questions stopped he thought it was all over. How wrong he was! Out came the
cameras, as all the cadets wanted their own personal photo of him. He was asked
to come round to the front of the table so people could get better pictures, and
he graciously obliged. He stood and sat in different positions as asked, and
then there was a shout from further back in the hall.
"Get your shirt off, Sir, we want to
see your muscles." The cry was echoed all round the hall, "Yes, come on, Sir.
Get it off."
Malcolm looked at Trip. This was
exactly what had happened when he won on Enterprise. He gave a
deep sigh, shrugged, and climbed up onto a table. Then he started to unbutton
his shirt. Someone in the crowd must have heard what had happened on
Enterprise at this point, because the strains of a harmonica playing "The
Stripper" were heard, and as before Malcolm played up to it, moving sensually in
time to the music, whilst slowly undoing his buttons. The cadets la la-ed the
tune clapping in time as they sang until Malcolm finally flung his shirt across
the room. There was thunderous applause at this action, and cameras were
working overtime. Cadets who were standing close enough were able to see
several scars on Malcolm's torso - proof, if it was needed, of the dangers
involved in being a security chief. Malcolm posed as he had the first time,
with his thumbs hooked in the waistband of his trousers, then he suggestively
undid the top button and toyed with the zip! The cadets went wild. They'd
forgotten that he was a lieutenant in Starfleet. To them he was simply a
gorgeously sexy man.
Trip decided to get in on the act
again, or maybe to remind them that Malcolm was his and they couldn't have him.
Whatever the reason, he climbed on the table behind Malcolm and put his arms
around him, running his hands over Malcolm's chest. While cameras clicked from
all corners, as on the previous occasion Trip worked his hands downwards until
he could tuck his fingers into the waistband of Malcolm's trousers. Then
Malcolm turned in the circle of Trip's arms and gave his husband a long,
When they broke apart, Malcolm jumped
down from the table and went in search of his shirt. As it was handed to him, a
cadet asked, "Sir, do you really do tai chi?"
"I thought it was - er - kinda
sissy, Sir." Cadets standing nearby were rather shocked at this remark.
"Are you saying I'm a sissy?"
Malcolm gave him such a look the cadet blanched and backed away. The atmosphere
in the room had suddenly cooled.
Malcolm pushed his shirt into Trip's
hands and strode to the middle of the room, "Clear some of these tables out of
the way,” he instructed. "I need some space." He sat down and removed his
shoes and socks.
Moving into the cleared space, he
stood silently in the centre, wearing nothing but his trousers, feet slightly
apart, eyes closed. Then he began the tai chi form. Beautifully, like a
dancer, he moved through the exercise, his muscles rippling with each step and
arm movement. Although performing very slowly he was completely controlled,
never losing his balance or missing a step. The cadets were entranced. When he
came to the finish he stood still for a moment, then he adopted a fighting
"Right," he challenged, “does anybody
want to call me a sissy?"
He slowly turned in a circle, looking
at everyone, challenging them, but no one stepped forward. What? Take on the
most dangerous man in Starfleet? Not likely!
He laughed then, lightening the
atmosphere. "Let me assure you," he said. "Tai chi can be as tough as any of
the martial arts, and can take as long to learn properly. Don't underestimate
it." He took his shirt from Trip and put it on, shoes and socks also.
It was close to midnight by now, so
the principal called a halt to the evening, thanked their guests for coming and
wished everyone goodnight. Trip and Malcolm were given a rousing send-off by
the cadets, before going up to their suite and falling into bed. It had been a
very tiring day one way and another.
Tomorrow would be the start of ten
hectic days of travelling around the world visiting several Starfleet
facilities, posing for photos, signing autographs and talking to various groups
of people. And when all that was done, Trip and Malcolm would be headed for
that village in the heart of the Devon countryside, and a few days of peaceful
relaxation, before reporting back for duty on Enterprise. They were both
very much looking forward to that and getting back to normal. Plus, of course,
they would now be able to buy a house and furnish it completely, courtesy of
Lacey and Garrod's!
* * *
Eventually they arrived back on
Enterprise with only a couple of hours to spare before the ship left dry
dock and headed into deep space once again. As the pair exited the shuttlepod
they were amazed to find the launch bay area packed with crewmembers eager to
welcome them home. There were balloons and streamers everywhere, and as Malcolm
appeared, the Armadillos started singing 'I'm Too Sexy For My Shirt', and making
a better job of it than the original group, Right Said Fred. Malcolm, by now,
was quite used to removing his shirt in public, having had to do so a number of
times in the last few weeks, and had no qualms about doing so yet again. He
would do anything for the Enterprise crew. They were his 'family', after
all. So to make them happy, he took his shirt off - one more time!
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