"Too Sexy For His Shirt" (Part One)

Author - Pennyforum | Category - Humour | Main Story | Rating - PG-13
Trip * Malcolm Fanfic Home

Author: Pennyforum

Pairing: Reed/Tucker

Category: Slash

Rating: PG 13

Summary: Malcolm is coerced into entering a competition, and ends up performing to 'The Stripper'.

Comment: Please let me know if you like this as part two is in production.

Disclaimer: Paramount owns everything - I own nothing, and am not getting paid for this.


Crewman Kelly, from engineering, had come up with this great idea to relieve the monotony of spending weeks travelling through empty, endless space - a competition to find the sexiest person on board Enterprise.

It all started when she decided to take photos of the senior staff, out of uniform, for the next issue of the ship's newsletter. Captain Archer was all for it, and as good as ordered the rest of them to agree.  Naturally there were some dissenters - well just one, actually.  Lt. Malcolm Reed thought it was completely unnecessary and made his feelings plain. 

"Aw, c'm on, Mal.  Where's the harm?" Commander Charles Tucker III tried talking his lover into changing his mind, but Malcolm Reed was adamant.

"No, Trip,"  he said, "I have no intention of posing for what are essentially pin-up pictures."

"The rest of us are doing it.  You'll be the odd one out if you don't."  Trip was doing his best, but Malcolm wouldn't be moved.

"Then I shall be the odd one out,"  he retorted.  "It won't be the first time."

When Tucker  told Kelly that Lt. Reed would not co-operate, she wasn't worried.  She thought she would probably get him one way or another.



Kelly had great fun photographing the senior staff.  Each one was posed with something connected with his or her job and Kelly took several different shots of each one, including a head-and-shoulders shot. 

The Captain was pictured sitting in the command chair wearing a green,  short-sleeved, knit shirt and jeans.

T'pol was persuaded to wear one of her Vulcan dresses, a flowing peacock blue gown, and she held a tricorder.

Trip ,of course, had to wear his most outrageously patterned Hawaiian shirt, with cream-coloured lightweight trousers.  He held a microspanner.  He would have preferred the warp engine but it was just a bit too big.

Hoshi Sato was happy to dress in one of her beautiful kimonos and to carry her universal translator.

Travis Mayweather was pictured in the gym wearing rather brief shorts and singlet,

and he was holding an old-fashioned sextant that was one of his most prized possessions.

Dr. Phlox posed with a hypospray whilst wearing his most daring outfit - a long-sleeved pink and purple shirt with his favourite 'mandarin' style collar.

Having captured six of the seven senior staff, Kelly started wondering how to get Lt Reed. 




Her chance came on movie night! 

Malcolm had agreed to go after Trip had told him there would be lots of explosions in it,  - "and you know you love a good explosion, Mal." - that was the convincing line. 


Trip rang the chime on Malcolm's door, all eager to take his lover to the movie, but when he saw Malcolm wearing faded jeans and tee-shirt, Trip was disappointed.

"Hey!  I went to a lot of trouble to dress up for you tonight," he complained indicating his button up blue shirt and navy trousers, "and you've just thrown on any old thing."

"Oh.  Sorry, Trip."  Malcolm sighed.  "You really look great.  I do like that shirt on you."  He kissed Trip on the lips in apology.  "I didn't mean to show you up. Here, give me a few minutes and I'll change."

He turned to rummage in his wardrobe and brought out a black shirt and his leather trousers. 

Trip sat down on Malcolm's bunk while Malcolm stripped off.  The two had been a couple for over a year now and were quite comfortable with each other, although Malcolm was completely unaware of how delectable he looked wearing nothing but a thong.  As he eased himself into his leather trousers, Trip felt himself getting rather horny. 

"Gee, Mal,"  he thought.  "you've just no idea what you do to me."  He tried not to look too hard, (should I rephrase that?) but - well, he didn't think Malcolm would mind or he would have gone into the bathroom to change.  So he sat and admired the play of his lover's muscles under his skin as he moved.  Malcolm put on his shirt and after doing up just the lower buttons, which meant  a good portion of his chest was visible, tucked it neatly into his trousers.   

Trip gulped, and said, "I think it's time we went. We don't want to be late"




Together they made their way to the mess hall, joining the crowd of people already trying to get through the door.

"Hi, Malcolm, Trip."  Hoshi Sato waved furiously at them.  "We've saved you some seats."

"Thanks, Hoshi.", Trip said as they sat down.  Travis Mayweather was sitting the far side of Hoshi, with two tubs of popcorn.

"Are you sure you've got enough, Travis?" Malcolm asked.

"Oh. yeah.  Like I'm gonna eat all this lot."  Travis grinned.  "I got some for you two before it all went."

"Why thanks, Travis."  Trip took the proffered bowl,  "That was real thoughtful of you."

"What are friends for?"  Travis sat back and put his arm around Hoshi, who happily snuggled up to him.


Two rows behind them, Kelly sat with Liz Cutler, looking at Lt. Reed.

"Are you thinking what I'm thinking?"  Kelly asked, mysteriously.

"Yup!"  was Cutler's brief reply.

"I'm going to slip out and get my camera."  Kelly stood up to leave, but was stopped by Cutler's hand on her sleeve. 

"Don't forget the pistol."  she whispered.

"Good thing you reminded me."  Kelly disappeared from the room.

Five minutes later she was back with both items in a small holdall. 

"We've just got to catch him before he leaves tonight."  Cutler said quietly.

"Perhaps we can get Commander Tucker to keep him here for a bit."  Kelly said, hopefully.

"Mmm.  It's not often we see the lieutenant out of uniform , and this is as good as it gets.  Have you looked at him?"

"Yes, and there's one word that comes to mind   Wow!"

"My feelings exactly."

"Shhhh."  Their whispered conversation had started to annoy their neighbours.  So they  subsided to watch the feature.

Completely oblivious of the plotting going on behind them, Trip and Malcolm were getting involved with the film.  Trip put his arm around Malcolm's shoulders and pulled him close. Malcolm was quite content to stay that way.


Malcolm was happy!  He had actually leapt out of his seat and punched the air with delight at the explosions that occurred during the final moments of the film

"Wow," he said,  "Now that really was well done.  I'm glad you talked me into this, Trip."

"So are you in a good mood now?"


"So we can go back to your quarters for a beer then, can we?"

"Not so fast."  Kelly spoke up from just behind them.  "If the lieutenant is in such a good mood, perhaps he would consider posing for some photos now?"

"What? No."

"Yes, Mal" Trip held his arm to stop him escaping and turned to Kelly, "Where do you want him?"

"Over against that wall.  It makes a good background."

"Right.  Stand over there, Malcolm, and do whatever Kelly asks of you."

"No.  I'm not doing this, Trip."

"Yes you are, and if necessary, as your superior officer, I will make it an order."

"In that case, I would like it noted that I do so under duress."

"Do it under whatever you like, Malcolm, as long as you do it."

The next ten minutes were purgatory for Malcolm.  He stood in the poses Kelly wanted, but he flatly refused to smile.  He scowled, he smirked, he put on his most serious expression - but he would not smile. To start with he decided to button his shirt up to the neck, but Kelly told him not to, in fact she got him to undo another button.  Then she gave him a phase pistol to hold.  He looked at it with some surprise, wondering how she had got it from the armoury, then realised that it was a replica.

"Oh, great.  Now I'm playing with toy guns."

"Just hold it James Bond fashion, Sir."  Kelly asked.

He did, giving her his best scowl, not realising that in fact he was smouldering.

Looking through her viewfinder, Kelly caught her breath.

"Oh boy!  This is going to be fantastic!"

Next she had Malcolm standing with his feet slightly apart, holding the pistol in both hands and pointing it straight downwards.

"I strongly object to this,"  Malcolm cried.  "It is definitely not the way to hold a phase pistol.  Someone might think I was demonstrating the correct hold."

"No they won't Mal.  Just shut up and do as you're told."  Trip was getting a bit cranky.    He wanted to get Malcolm back to his cabin, and from the comments of people round about,  Kelly wasn't the only one noticing how hot Malcolm was looking.

Kelly asked Malcolm to sit on a table, with his right foot on the table top, his left foot on the floor and his right arm resting on his knee.  He automatically put his left hand down on the table behind  to balance himself.  With the phase pistol dangling from his right hand he looked  - ah - well - Kelly was finding it rather difficult to take the pictures, the viewfinder kept misting up!

Finally Kelly closed up her camera and said, " That's it.  Thank you, Lieutenant.  I really appreciate your co-operation."

"I just hope it was worth it, that's all."

"Oh, I think we've got some  rather nice pictures here."

Cutler sidled up to Kelly and said quietly, " I think those pics are going to be a bit better than 'rather nice'.  Don't you?"

"Of course.  But I wouldn't tell the lieutenant that.  I think these pics will need a public health warning, they're so hot!"

"Here, Kelly, take your toy back."  Malcolm tossed the pistol towards her. 

She caught it deftly.  "Thanks.  It's a present for my nephew."  She put it in the holdall with the camera and left the mess hall with Cutler.

"How about that beer, then, Mal?"  Trip was waiting impatiently by the door for him.

"I don't know that you deserve it but..."

"You know I do really."  Trip gave him that engaging grin of his, and Malcolm conceded defeat.  They headed for the turbolift and B deck.



                                                            *            *            *


Trip had finished his shift in engineering and decided he'd go to find Malcolm and persuade him  to have some dinner. He wandered into the armoury and saw the object of his search at one of the consoles. He'd entered rather quietly and Malcolm was engrossed in what he was doing, so Trip leant against a locker and waited.

After a couple of minutes, Malcolm said, without looking up,  "Are you just going to stand there, Trip, or do I have to guess what you want?"

"I might have known I couldn't sneak up on you."

"You call that sneaking?  A herd of elephants could have done better."

"Did you hear me?"

Malcolm turned to face Trip.

"Yes, and I saw you."

"How? You had your back to me.  Have you got eyes in the back of your head or something?"

"Definitely 'or something'.  Ever heard of mirrors, Trip?"

"There are no mirrors around here."

"Not what you'd call mirrors, no.  But there are plenty of reflective surfaces."

"OK.  Right.  Well, I came to drag you down to the mess hall for some dinner.  Unless I miss my guess, you didn't have any lunch today."

"I was too busy to stop for lunch, but dinner I'm looking forward to.  Let's go."



"At least it wasn't resequenced meatloaf today."  Trip remarked as they found a table and sat down with their meals.

"Chef does it so frequently that some people must like it."

"Can't think who."

"Hi, guys.  Can we join you?"

They both looked up at the sound of Hoshi's voice.  She and Travis were waiting expectantly with their trays.

"Of course. " Malcolm waved them to the empty seats. 

Hoshi was obviously full of some news she wanted to impart, and couldn't wait to tell them.  She dug in one of her pockets and came out with a bundle of paper.


"Kelly is distributing the newsletter and I managed to get one of the first ones.  Guess what?  All our pictures are in it, and they're fantastic.  Kelly takes some super photos."

Trip almost snatched the newsletter out of Hoshi's hands and riffled through until he found the pages of photos.  The centrefold was of the captain as was his right.  The three pages before had pictures of T'Pol, Trip and Dr Phlox.

"Hey. T'Pol looks so good in that dress.  Wish she'd crack her face and smile, though."  Trip said.

"You look as though you're enjoying yourself, Trip.  It's a smashing picture of you."  Malcolm said, with his chin practically resting on Trip's shoulder.

"Where're our pictures?"  Travis asked.

"Must be further on," Trip said flicking the pages.  He passed the captain's picture and then found the pages with photos of Hoshi, Travis- and Malcolm.

"Wow."  He whistled in appreciation. 

Malcolm nudged his arm.  "Is Hoshi's photo that good?"  he asked.

"Hoshi's?  Dunno, I'm not looking at hers.  I'm looking at yours."

"Mine?  You must be joking."

"No, he's not, Malcolm," Hoshi grabbed the newsletter and turned the page for all to see.  "Just look at that.  I've never seen a sexier photo. That picture is going to adorn a lot of walls" It was the photo taken with Malcolm sitting on the table.

"Gee, Mal, you may not have wanted to pose for pin-up pics, but that's exactly what you have done."  Trip put a hand on his friend's shoulder as Malcolm put his head in his hands and groaned in dismay. 

"I think I'm going to resign from Starfleet.  Perhaps I'll go and live on a desert island somewhere."

The four friends finished their meal while discussing the merits, or otherwise of the photos, aware that quite a few other diners were doing exactly the same thing.  Several crewmen, male as well as female looked across at Malcolm and silently wolf whistled.  Then Lt. Hess whistled out loud directly at Malcolm.

Trip, Hoshi and Travis watched as Malcolm blushed right up to his hairline, then he picked up his tray and said, "I'm getting out of here."  He tipped his tray's contents in the recycler and headed for the door amid a chorus of wolf whistles and cheers.


Trip caught up with him as he strode down the corridor towards the turbolift. 

"Hold on, Mal.  I've got some scotch in my quarters if you're interested."  Trip could see his lover was rather embarrassed by the happenings in the mess hall, but knew that it would be better if he was not left alone right now.  He would probably start brooding and thinking that it was all a bad joke. 

Malcolm accepted the offer of a drink and walked with Trip to his quarters.

"Hmm.  A single malt."  said Malcolm appreciatively as Trip poured the amber liquid into two chunky glasses.  He invited Malcolm to take the only chair, while he himself sat on the floor with his back against the bunk. 

"Thought you'd like it.  I don't only drink bourbon, you know."

They sat quietly for a while, conversation not always being necessary between them.

Then "Whatcha thinkin', Mal?"  The alcohol made Trip's Southern accent more pronounced.

Malcolm looked up. "How long do you think it will take all this fuss to die down?"

"Dunno.  A week.  P'raps two.  D'pends how soon the next excitin' thing crops up."

"I don't think I can stand it for that long."

"Well, ya could go and get y'self confined to sickbay with some sorta alien bug, I s'pose."

"Do you have any alien bugs handy?"

"Nah, 'fraid not."

"You're a lot of help."

"At least Ah'm tryin'!"

"Yes, I know, and I appreciate it."

There was silence for a few minutes then Trip said, "Stay the night?"

Malcolm smiled at him.

"Love to," he said, easing himself down to the floor and snuggling up to his lover. 


*          *            *


Captain Archer was bored.

Trip and Malcolm were bored.

Hoshi and Travis were bored.

Even T'Pol was showing signs of distress.

In fact, anyone you asked would have said they were bored.


Except Dr. Phlox .  He was fed up. 

Fed up with dishing out remedies for boredom related illnesses.


The senior staff were all in the Captain's ready room, listening to his latest brilliant scheme.  'Brilliant' depending on who you were and how you looked at it.  Well, it was not exactly the Captain's idea, but he thought it would be good for morale, so he was all for it.

Crewmen Kelly and Cutler had liked the staff photos very much, and thought that they all looked rather sexy.  They had the idea of taking photos of all crewmembers and having a competition to find the sexiest person on board Enterprise.

This grabbed the attention of the senior staff in various ways.  T'Pol declared that it was  illogical and a waste of resources.  Trip, Travis, Hoshi and Phlox all thought it a wonderful idea and Malcolm said "I've never heard anything so stupid in my entire life."

"Well, whatever you think of it, this is going ahead, and all crewmembers are taking part with absolutely no exceptions," Archer announced.

"Captain, I categorically refuse to pose for more pictures,"

"But that's the beauty of it, Malcolm, you don't have to.  Kelly already has pictures of the senior staff."

Malcolm sighed, and folded his arms across his chest in resignation.

"So how's this going to work, Cap'n?"  Trip asked.

"Kelly and Cutler will photograph all members of the crew, and the pictures will be displayed in the mess hall.  There will be three rounds.  Everyone will have one vote at each round.  There are eighty-three people on board.  The thirty with the most votes will go through to the second round.  The ten with the most votes from the second round will go through to the third round.  The winner and two runners up will be chosen from these ten."

"So this is not going to be over in a few days, then, Captain?" Malcolm asked.

"No, I intend to string this out as long as possible.  There could be a week between rounds.  We are travelling through a very uninteresting section of space and the crew are in need of a definite morale boost.  Phlox has informed me of a number of personnel going to him with the kind of complaints that can only be attributed to boredom. This will give them something to hold their interest for two or three weeks.  Any questions?"

"Yes, Cap'n."  Trip spoke up.  "You've made no mention of prizes.  I s'pose there will be prizes?"

"There will be prizes, Trip."  Archer responded.  "A bottle of champagne for each of the three winners, and the overall winner will have a slap-up meal prepared in my private dining room to which he or she can invite three friends.  Does that sound reasonable?"

"Gee. Yeah, Cap'n.  Very reasonable"

"Good.  Any other questions?"

T'Pol actually raised her hand.  "How do I assess the - um - sexiness of a human, whether male or female?"

"Why don't you have a chat with Trip or Travis?  I'm sure they'll be able to help you out there.  OK people, back to your duties."

They all filed out of the small room in varying moods, from excitement (Hoshi) to incomprehension (T'Pol).  Trip and Malcolm headed for the turbolift as they were both going back to their departments.

As the lift took them down they discussed the 'contest'.

"I'm inclined to agree with T'Pol."  Malcolm sighed.  "It's an utter waste of resources.  They could have found some other way of boosting morale."

"Such as?  I bet you don't have an answer.  I think its a great idea."

"Maybe you like having people drool over your picture.  I don't."

"The Cap'n and Travis' pictures were pretty good, too, you know.  I shall be interested to see the rest of the photos.  There are some real lookers among the female crewmembers.  Take Crewman Williams.  Have you seen her in a low cut dress?  She wore one at a  party a few months back.  I reckon she'll take some beating. And what about Keely, huh?"

The lift had reached Trip's deck so their conversation was cut short as Malcolm was going one deck further. 

"I'll see you later, Trip.  Dinner tonight?"

"Sure thing, Mal."  Trip called back as the lift doors closed taking Malcolm down to the armoury.


                                                            *            *            *


A week later  personnel entering the mess hall were greeted by a wall of pictures.  Kelly and Cutler had done a great job of photographing the crew, enlarging and printing the results and arranging them on the wall.  Nobody was left out.  Even Porthos had his spot!  All the pictures were numbered, no names, and voters simply had to write the  number of their choice on their voting slip and post it in a special box.

Comments were heard that as Porthos had been included he would also be allowed a vote.  Who, then, would decide Porthos' choice?  Captain Archer?  It would stand to reason that the Captain would have Porthos vote for his master, wouldn't it?  Would that be fair?  One vote either way would not make much difference, would it?  The discussion went on throughout the next couple of days. 

Eventually, the Captain got to hear about it and sent out a shipwide announcement.

"This is Captain Archer speaking.  I would like it to be known that Porthos is as much a member of this crew as anyone and as such is entitled to have his say in this competition.  However, I want to make it clear to all of you that he will not, I repeat not, be voting for me.  Archer out."


Over the next few days people were to be seen studying the pictures, marking their slips and posting them in the box.

Trip and Malcolm stood side by side looking at the wall of photos.

"Who're you voting for, Mal?" Trip asked.  "Williams still looks good, but then so does Travis.  Look at those biceps."

"He's OK if you like that sort of thing.  Personally I think I'll vote for Porthos.  What's his number?"  Malcolm neatly wrote a number on his slip, folded it and posted it in the box. 

"You're not serious, are you?"  Trip asked.  "I've voted for...ah, no perhaps I shouldn't say."

Malcolm grinned at Trip.  The number he had written down was Trip's not Porthos'.


                                                            *            *            *


Trip was breakfasting with the Captain and T'Pol the next morning and conversation had turned to the competition.  Something was worrying Trip.

"Y'know, Cap'n, a lot of people are wondering just how Porthos made his choice.  I think you're going to have to admit that, in fact, you got two votes." 

"No I didn't.  Porthos made his own choice."

"And just exactly how did he do that?  Did he actually say the name of his preference?  Or maybe he wrote the number on his voting slip?"

"Neither."  Archer had to laugh at the thought of Porthos filling in his slip.   "I'll tell you how he let me know his decision.  First I explained to him what I was going to do.  Then I called up the complete crew complement on my computer, and I read out the names in alphabetical order.  He listened carefully to each name.  He did show some interest when I read out my own name, but that is only to be expected.  Most of the time he just sat there with his head on his paws, occasionally becoming a little excited at the sound of someone he knows.  But I knew he had made his choice when one particular name had him jump up wagging his tail and yapping happily.  I asked him if he was quite sure, and he jumped on my lap and licked my face.  I wrote that person's number on Porthos' voting slip."

"Don't s'pose you want to tell us who he voted for?"  Trip asked.

"Ask me after the competition.  All I can say is, I think he has very good taste."


                                                            *            *            *


The closing date for the first round arrived and the box of voting slips was taken away to be counted by Kelly and Cutler.

The mess hall was closed while the photos of the unlucky crewmembers were removed from the wall and the thirty lucky ones were rearranged.  People waited outside the doors with bated breath. 

Finally, the doors were opened and everyone crowded in. 

Squeals of delight from some lucky contestants were heard, and moans and groans from unlucky ones.

"Would you believe Porthos has got through,"  someone at the front called out.

"It's a fix,"  was heard from several voices but there was laughter in them.

From the senior staff, the Captain, Travis, Trip and Malcolm were all there.  It was understandable that Phlox didn't get through but did nobody find Hoshi or T'Pol sexy? 

When Malcolm saw his picture up on the wall he was not happy. but he brightened up when he saw Trip's picture still there.  Crewman Williams (showing off her very obvious assets)from hydroponics was there as well as Ensign Cook from engineering, Ensign Tanner from armoury, Crewman Namon  recently assigned to astrometrics (she was very petite and pretty with it) and Crewman Baird from communications,  which meant there was a reasonable cross section from all departments.  There would be another week for everyone to make their selection for the second round.  The tension was building!


                                                            *            *            *


Another week of enduring boring, empty space had made even Malcolm think that the competition was a good idea after all.  Phlox had reported fewer people visiting sickbay with boredom-related problems, and the atmosphere on the ship was definitely more cheerful.  How early space explorers had coped with journeys of months, and even years, just to get to planets in the solar system, was beyond comprehension.  Nowadays it took only six minutes at warp four point five to go from Earth to Neptune - and back!


Captain Archer entered the mess hall and went to look at the wall of photos, much reduced now from the original eighty-four. 

"Hi, Cap'n."  Trip came over and joined him.  "Have you posted your second vote yet?"

"Hello, Trip.  No.  I'm just making sure that both Porthos and my choices are still here." 

"And are they?"

"Yes, I'm glad to say."

"Porthos will be pleased."

"Yes, he will."  Archer filled in both slips and posted them.  "I'd better get back and tell him.  See you at breakfast tomorrow."

"Sure thing, Cap'n"


Malcolm had posted his vote as soon as he had received his voting slip from Crewman Kelly.  As Trip's picture was still there he did not have to consider a different candidate, as some people had.  He thought Trip had a pretty good chance of winning with his blue eyes and blonde hair, and yes, having looked at the picture more closely he could see that Kelly had cleverly airbrushed out a couple of Trip's blemishes. It got him wondering as to how many other pictures had been 'cleaned up'. But it was just a bit of fun, not a serious competition.


                                                            *            *            *


Most people had cast their votes several days before voting ended and so were waiting rather impatiently for the count.  Therefore, when the day of the count arrived there was a heightened feeling of excitement all over the ship.

The result was to be announced at 1600 hours, and long before that time there was a big crowd in the corridor leading to the mess hall. And they were not exactly quiet and orderly.  Lt. Hess, seeing the crowd, tried to restore some sort of order, but found it beyond her. 

She hit the nearest comm panel. "Hess to security."

"Reed here.  What is it?"

"We could do with some help outside the mess hall, Sir."

"Why?  What's going on?"

"It looks like everyone who's not on duty is here waiting for the voting results.  As you can probably hear, it's very noisy, but its not belligerent.  It's more like a party."

"OK. Hess.  I'll send a team down. Reed out."

A few minutes later two members of security arrived and soon had the problem well in hand.  They had been told to use soft tactics, and not to put too much of a dampener on the proceedings, so they calmed things down with a laugh and a joke.  Good humour prevailed.


Back on the bridge Captain Archer seemed amused.

"I'm glad people are so anxious for the results of this round.  It certainly has been a boost to morale."

"Yes, Sir."  Malcolm had been at his tactical station when Hess called, and Archer had heard the exchange.  "I just hope they don't start getting uppity when their particular favourite is voted off."

"Uppity, Malcolm?"

"Aye, Sir.  Self-assertive, if you prefer."

"Yes, I could see that would lead to the situation possibly getting out of hand."

"But at least it would give Security something to do."  Malcolm replied. "I wonder just how many the brig could hold if pushed?"

"You'll be planning on handcuffing people to their desks next."

"Interesting thought, Sir."  There was a definite smirk on Malcolm's face.


Down in the mess hall Kelly and Cutler put the finishing touches to the photo-wall, stood back and viewed their work.

"There are going to be some unhappy people out there."  Cutler remarked.  "I really thought the Captain would have got through this time, didn't you?"

"Yes. And Porthos didn't make it either."  Kelly replied.

"I think most people took this round much more seriously."  Cutler said as she collected up the unwanted photos. 

"I suppose we'd better let them in now."  Kelly moved towards the door.  "Stand back, or you'll get mown down by the crowd."  As Cutler moved away from the direct line of the door, Kelly pressed the button and said door swished open.


There were now just ten photos left on the wall - six men and four women.  And what a selection!

In alphabetical order they were- Ensign James Almack, Crewman Richard Baird, Crewman David Cunningham, Crewman Michael Fisher, Ensign Vanessa Keely, Ensign Jerry McFarlane, Ensign Travis Mayweather, Lieutenant Malcolm Reed , Ensign Billy Jo Secorro,  and Crewman Katherine Williams.


On the bridge Captain Archer was enjoying letting his senior staff know who was out of the competition and who was still in.

"Unfortunately, Porthos and I are both out."

"That's a shame, Sir." Hoshi commiserated from her station.  "I felt sure you would be in the final round."

"Obviously not enough people agreed with you.  Also out, strangely enough, is Trip."

"Really?"  Malcolm looked up from tactical, most surprised.  "Are you sure?"

"'Fraid so, Malcolm.  But you're not."

"Ah. You must have got it the wrong way round, Sir.  I'm out and Trip's in, surely?"

"Nope.  Travis is still in, you'll be pleased to know."

Travis beamed at this news.

"Hey, great.  I've always fancied myself as a sex symbol."

"Don't count your chickens, Travis.  You've still got Malcolm to beat."  Archer was thoroughly enjoying all this.

Malcolm was wondering if Trip had heard the news.  He was working on a problem in engineering and would be for some time, but Kelly had probably told him by now.  Malcolm  was rather annoyed at the way the voting had gone, but realised he should not let it bother him.   'Time to take control,'  he told himself.  'It's only a friendly contest, after all. No big deal.'


Trip had heard.  Both Hess and Kelly had made a point of telling him. 

"I don't mind a bit being out of it myself," he gamely said, "as long as Malcolm's still in there."

"I'll let you in to a little secret, Sir." Kelly whispered in conspiratorial fashion.  She moved close to Trip so that Hess could not hear and said ......

"Honest?"  Trip's face lit up.  Kelly's revelation surely pleased him no end.

She nodded with a grin before getting back to work.

"She's not giving away voting secrets, is she?"  Hess asked.

"What she said is between Kelly and me, Hess."

"Of course, Sir,"  Hess went back to her console.


Malcolm and Trip managed to meet up for a late dinner that evening, and were joined by Hoshi. 

"Hi, guys."  She always seemed to be cheerful.   As she sat down with her tray, she noticed the rather despondent look on Malcolm's face.

"What's up with Malcolm?" she asked.

"He doesn't like it 'cos I'm out of the final ten, and he's in."

"How can they rate Cunningham higher than Trip?"  Malcolm asked Hoshi.  "And what about McFarlane and Baird?  They can't hold a candle to him."

"Ooh, Malcolm, calm down.  I think you're getting a bit - what was that word - uppity?"

"Uppity?"  Trip asked.  "What sort of a word is that?"

"Ask Malcolm.  He introduced us to it on the bridge earlier." Hoshi giggled.

"It means being..."

"Ya don't have to tell me, Mal.  I think I can work it out for myself."  He put is arm across Malcolm's shoulders and murmured in his ear, "That's another word for me to add to my dictionary."   To Hoshi he said, "I love it when he comes out with words like that, especially when I can use them to describe him at some time.  And I think I'm going to be able to use this one a lot."

Malcolm scowled.

"So, Mal, " Trip wanted to know.  "Now I'm not on the wall any longer, who are you going to vote for this time?"

"I've absolutely no idea."

"Ha! Gotcha!"  Trip was delighted.  Malcolm had refused to say earlier who he'd voted for, but now he'd given himself away.  When he realised he'd fallen into the trap, he rolled his eyes and groaned.

"Well, it doesn't look like it will be Cunningham, McFarlane or Baird, judging by Malcolm's earlier remarks, so that reduces the choice for him."  Hoshi was ticking names off on her fingers.

"Can't see him going for the women, either." Trip ticked off four more.

"So that leaves just Jim Almack and Travis."  Hoshi declared.

"You know, he could always vote for himself."  Trip was enjoying watching Malcolm squirm all through this dialogue.  "But I don't s'pose he'll do that 'cos he doesn't want to win."

"But could he vote for himself?  I mean, is it in the rules?"  Hoshi asked seriously.

"I haven't heard a rule that says otherwise.  There's no way of knowing how many people, if any, voted for themselves."

"The voting slips will show that."  Malcolm interrupted their conversation.

They both looked at him as though they had forgotten he was there.

"They will? How?" Trip was puzzled.

Malcolm sighed.  "If you'd bothered to look at your slips you would have noticed your name on them.  Kelly and Cutler would have been able to match up names and numbers."   

"Oh, yes."  Hoshi understood.  "And having the names on them meant no-one could vote more than once."


"So, lets takes a step or two back here, then.  Who're you voting for, Mal?  Jim or Travis?"

Malcolm rose to his feet in despair.  "I don't know.  I don't care.  And if I did know, I wouldn't tell you. I'm going back to my quarters, Trip. Are you coming?"

"I'm not turning down an invitation like that." Trip got up quickly and grabbed his tray.

"Now, now, boys."  Hoshi chided.  "Don't do anything you'll regret in the morning."

They both grinned at her as they left the mess.


                                                            *            *            *

Captain Archer was in one of his happy moods.  He had called Kelly and Cutler to his ready room and discussed with them his ideas for making the competition final an evening's event.  And now, having sent them away to make preparations, he was telling the senior staff all about it.

"We'll have the final in the mess hall on Saturday evening but we'll make quite a ceremony of it.  I thought a buffet meal with music would help things go with a swing, and I've already asked Chef to do something special.  He was more than happy to oblige."Archer looked round at his command staff looking for their approval.  There were nods of agreement from all, even Malcolm.

"Yeah,Cap'n." Trip spoke up.  "I think that's a great idea.  And perhaps dancing afterwards?"

Hoshi came in with an idea too.  "How about decorating the mess.  You know.  Streamers and balloons, or something?"

"Glad to hear you're getting into the spirit of the thing, folks." Archer responded, "But Kelly and Cutler are in charge of the arrangements, though I expect they'll be glad of any suggestions and help from anyone.  So go talk to them."

Archer dismissed them to their stations, but asked T'pol to stay behind.

"Is there something you wished to discuss with me, Captain?"  she asked.

"I was just wondering, T'Pol.  Did you talk to Trip or Travis as I suggested?  Or did you not have any problems casting your vote?"

"I did not talk to either the Commander or Ensign Mayweather.  I used my own criteria for deciding who would get my vote."

"You mean you imagined we were all Vulcans?"

"No, Captain.  I really don't think you would understand, and I would prefer not to say."

"Of course, T'Pol.  I just wanted to make sure you had been able to join in the fun."

"I have indeed, cast my vote each time, Captain, and I am pleased that my original choice is still - 'in with a chance' - as you might say."

"Well, that's great, just great."  Archer smiled broadly, but as T'Pol went back onto the bridge, he felt somewhat disappointed.  She had obviously not voted for him.


                                                            *            *            *


"Trip, are you really going to make me attend this do?"

"You're one of the finalists, Mal.  You've got to be there."

"I didn't ask to be a finalist."

"Quit moaning will you?  Just get your glad rags on so we can go."

"All right.  All right.  Stop nagging.  What do you think I should wear?"

"You're asking me?"

"Ah. You have a point."  Malcolm opened his closet and brought out a pair of navy trousers and a pale blue shirt. 

"Good choice, Mal.  That shirt goes well with your eyes." 

"Glad you approve." 

Five minutes later they were making their way down to the mess hall.


There was only a skeleton staff on duty for the evening and everyone else was crowded in the mess.  The room was decorated with bunting and streamers, music was coming through loud-speakers  and Chef had excelled himself with an enormous buffet.

Against one wall three chairs had been set on a small platform, the centre one being placed higher.  All the chairs had been covered in fabric and trimmings to make them look special, but the one in the middle was decked out as a throne.

Malcolm saw the 'throne' and commented "I pity the poor so-and-so who's going to have to sit in that."

"Aw, I dunno, Mal."  Trip answered, "I wouldn't mind."

"But you're one person who won't be sitting there."

"True.  Hey, look.  Hoshi and Travis have saved us some seats.  Come on, before someone else gets them.."  They pushed their way through the crowd to where their friends were sitting. 

"Hi, you two. We thought you were never going to get here."  Travis was full of beans.  He and Hoshi had arrived early to ensure getting seats, and they both intended to have a good evening.  While Malcolm went to get them all drinks Trip told them of the difficulty he had getting Malcolm to come.  He really didn't want to be here.

"He'll enjoy himself once it gets under way." Travis said.

"Yes,"  Hoshi agreed.  "It's probably nerves.  He doesn't like being in the limelight."

"You can say that again."  Trip sighed. "As long as he's not one of the three he'll be fine."

"And if he is one of the three...?" Hoshi looked worried.

"I expect he'll go bright red and disappear under the table."

The subject of their discussion returned at this point with a tray of drinks.

"Sorry I was so long.  There's such a crush at the drinks dispenser."

"No worries, Mal.  Sit down, I think it's about to start."


Captain Archer came into the room with Kelly and Cutler, both looking very serious and businesslike.

Archer made a speech explaining the purpose of the competition and the uplifting effects it had had on the crew.  He thanked Kelly and Cutler for the way they had organised and run the competition, Chef for the buffet and anyone else for whatever they had done.  Then Kelly stepped forward  as M.C.

"Good evening, ladies and gentlemen.  I hope you're all having a lot fun, because that's what this evening is all about.  Fun.

You all know that we started this contest with eighty-four photos on this wall, and that over three rounds they have been reduced to ten. 

Tonight we are going to find out who is considered by his, or her, shipmates to be the sexiest person on board, and I know you're all desperate to know the result.

Well, I know who it is, and so does Cutler.  And I must say, I thoroughly approve of your choice. 

But first, I think we should have our ten finalists come forward so that we can see the real thing rather than just a photo."

Travis got up to go, then turned to Malcolm saying, "Come on, Malcolm.  You too."

Malcolm was sitting with his arms crossed and scowling.  "This is too much," he grumbled.

Trip gave him a push.  "Go on.  It won't hurt you."

Reluctantly he rose and followed Travis. 

Most of the finalists had dressed for the occasion in a manner to show off their best features.  Travis was wearing a tight tee-shirt that did nothing to hide his muscled torso, and Williams had on the low-cut dress she had worn once before. Keely wore a white dress that covered her completely - until she turned round.  The back was cut so low, it stopped just short of being indecent!

The ten got a big cheer as they lined up facing the audience.  Kelly then made a show of introducing them all giving their name, rank and department. 

On the wall behind them were the three winners' photos, as yet covered over so they could not be seen. 

Kelly picked up a padd and checked details.  "The votes were not evenly distributed.  In fact,  there were only eleven votes shared between the last seven finalists.  That means that the top three scored seventy-three between them."

There was a big cheer at this news, even though no-one knew who the top three were.

"Come on, Kelly,"  a voice called out. "Don't keep us in suspense."

"But that's exactly what I intend to do," she replied, laughing.

Cries of "Get on with it." were heard from around the room.

"O.K. O.K.  In the grand tradition of all such contests I shall announce the winners in reverse order.  Well, that is, Cutler will unveil the photos.  Ready Cutler."

"Ready and waiting, Sir."  she said.

"Right, then.  Without more ado, the third place has gone to..."

And Cutler pulled the cover off the photo to the left of the centre one.

                                    "Ensign Travis Mayweather."

Amid cheers  Travis stepped forward flexing his muscles for all to see.  He looked pleased as punch.

Captain Archer presented Travis with a large bottle of champagne, as promised.

Kelly spoke up again, "Travis polled twelve votes."  Another cheer.

Travis was then asked to sit in one of the chairs, which he did, cuddling his bottle of bubbly.

"In second place with twenty-one votes is..."

Cutler revealed the photo on the right.  It was Ensign Vanessa Keely. She moved gracefully to the centre of the platform, then did a twirl showing off her very low-cut back view.

She was duly presented with champagne and sat in her chair, amid cheers and wolf whistles.

"I think we'll have a little musical break before we go any further.  The Armadillos are going to entertain us with a couple of songs which I think you will enjoy."

Amid moans and groans of frustration, Kelly left the platform and the group, three musicians and a singer from Armoury and Security, prepared to entertain the crowd.  They were given a warm welcome as they were known to be very good, but the audience was really far more interested in learning the winner of the competition.  The Armadillos performed several songs ending with one that was familiar to everybody, and they were all encouraged to join in. 

The eight finalists, meanwhile, had seated themselves round the edge of the small platform, except that is, for one.  As soon as the music started, Malcolm snuck round the back and made his way to where Trip was sitting. 

"Hey, darlin'," Trip greeted him.  "Not that I don't want your company, but you should stay with the others."

"I'm not needed there.  I'd much rather be back here with you."

"Suits me.  But when they announce the winner, you'll have to run the gauntlet of all those people in front of us to reach the platform."

"If I were the winner, yes.  But I won't be, will I?  So stop worrying."

"Oh, so who do you think will win?"

"Almack - or maybe Williams."

"Uh huh.  Well, you could be right I s'pose.  They'd neither of them be my choice, though."

"And who would your choice have been?"

"Well now.  It just could be that I voted for a certain dark-haired, grey-eyed lieutenant I happen to be rather fond of.  Ring any bells?"

"I really appreciate the faith you have in me, love, but.."

"Will you stop that?"

"Stop what?"

"Doin' yourself down all the time.  You know, Mal, sometimes I get so mad when you say things like that.  I feel like kicking you from here to the middle o' next week!"

Hoshi, who had been listening to this exchange, hushed them as the music came to an end.

"You're getting rather loud, Trip," she said, "and I don't think you want everyone hearing what you say."

"No.  Sorry." Trip lowered his voice.  "It's just that I get so frustrated with you, Mal.  You've got as much chance of winning as any of them."

"But don't you understand, Trip?  I don't want to win!"

The conversation was cut short when Kelly took the platform once more amid cheers and applause.

"Thank you, Armadillos, that was wonderful.  Now to get to the main point of the evening..."  She was interrupted but lots of whistles and catcalls, and cries of "Get on with it."

"There are eight finalists left. We have three ladies and five men.  I wonder which of them is the lucky winner? Just to remind you we have, in no particular order, Jerry MacFarlane, Dave Cunningham, Billy Jo Secorro, Jim Almack, Malcolm Reed, Kathy Williams and Mike Fisher."  As she announced each name there was a burst of applause.

Then she made a dramatic gesture to Cutler "Prepare to unveil the winner."  Liz Cutler moved to the centre photo and took hold of its covering.

"Ladies and gentlemen.  Streets ahead with a massive fifty-one votes is..."

Cutler pulled away the covering to reveal...

                                                                                    "Lieutenant Malcolm Reed."

The hall erupted with cheering, clapping, foot-stamping and wolf-whistles, but  Malcolm looked at his picture and blushed right up to his hair line!

"I knew you'd do it, Mal."  Trip was over the moon.  "I just knew it."  He jumped up and down in his excitement, then he hugged Malcolm and danced around with him.  Malcolm, though was looking absolutely gobsmacked. 

Kelly was looking for Malcolm among the other finalists around the platform and when she couldn't see him started looking about the room.

"Lieutenant?" she called.  Then in a sing-song voice she said, "Come out, come out wherever you are."

This got a laugh, and those who were sitting near Trip and Malcolm's table urged Malcolm to his feet and to go forward. He had the daunting task of making his way through the crowds to reach the front.  Trip went with him, probably to make sure he didn't suddenly make a detour to the exit.  Looking somewhat bemused, he mounted the platform and turned to face Kelly.

"Don't look so nervous, Lieutenant." she told him.  "You're among friends here, you know.  Well, I think we can safely say that at least fifty-one of us would like to think that we are your friends."

"It's - er - very comforting to know that."  Malcolm managed to say.  "I suppose I've got to sit on this - um - throne, now?"

"Of course."  Kelly gestured to the decorated chair, and Malcolm sat rather carefully, as if expecting it to collapse under him.

Everyone cheered once he was seated, especially Trip, who was looking very proud.

Captain Archer stepped forward.

"Ladies and gentlemen, just a few words, because I know you don't want a lot, to say how pleased we all are that this title has been won by someone who never expected to win.  That's because he has no idea of the effect he has on others.  Even Porthos is completely bowled over by him.  He voted for Mr Reed right from the start." 

There was loud cheering at this, but Archer, ignoring Malcolm's blushes, continued. 

"I've been listening to what people have been saying this past week.  I've heard some of the  women saying that even a hint of a smile from Mr Reed is enough to turn their knees to jelly.  Several times I heard the comment that Commander Tucker is the luckiest person on Enterprise,  while some women have complained that it's not fair that Mr Reed should have no interest in the females on board.  I agree that Mr Tucker is a very lucky man, and I sincerely hope that his and Malcolm's relationship goes from strength to strength."

Cheers and applause interrupted him, but he continued...

"I'm glad you all agree with me because now it gives me great pleasure to present Mr Reed with his prize."  He turned and gave Malcolm a large bottle of champagne.

Malcolm looked at the label and commented,  "That's quite a good one, Sir.  Thank you."

"You're more than welcome, Malcolm, and don't forget you also have the dinner for four in the Captain's mess."

"About that, Sir, I'd rather not. Would you mind if I gave it away?"

"It's yours to do with as you please."

"I'd like Vanessa and Travis to have it.  They can then each ask a friend along."

"That's very generous of you, Malcolm.  From the looks on their faces, they both like that idea.  But I don't know why you don't want it"

"I'd much prefer a candlelit dinner for two in my quarters, Sir."

"And I shall see that you get it."  Archer was well pleased with the way things had turned out and was happy to give Malcolm what he wanted.

As Archer left the platform, Kelly stepped up. 

"Lieutenant, as the sexiest person on board Enterprise you are going to have to pose for photos  because everybody will want their own pictures, and I want some for the next issue of the newsletter.  So on your feet, please, and strike a pose."

Malcolm hadn't a clue what sort of pose to strike, but people from all over the room were happy to tell him.  He dutifully stood or sat as and when he was asked, doing his best to smile, and not scowl.  After a while, someone suggested that he remove his shirt  and show off his muscles. This was greeted with cries of "Yes, get it off!" Trip being the most vociferous.

Malcolm scowled at Trip and muttered so that only Trip could hear, "I'll get you for this."

Reluctantly he started undoing his shirt buttons.  Immediately someone started singing the "stripper" song and soon most people had joined in.  Surprisingly, Malcolm went along with it, undoing each button slowly and carefully, moving and swaying in time with the music, gradually removing his shirt to reveal his chest.  When he finally flung his shirt across the room the audience went wild.  They absolutely loved it.  He couldn't have pleased them more if he'd tried.

But he hadn't finished.  More photos were taken but this time Malcolm decided on the poses.  First he hooked his thumbs into the waistband of his trousers, then he made a show of undoing the button in a very suggestive manner.  He was certainly enjoying himself now.   Trip decided to get in on the act and leapt up onto the platform to stand behind Malcolm   He put his arms around Malcolm so that he could run his hands over his lover's chest, his chin resting on Malcolm's shoulder.  Malcolm turned to look at Trip, a smile on his face, pleased to share this time with him.

Trip ran his hands downwards until he could tuck his fingers inside Malcolm's waistband.  It made for some very sexy, erotic pictures, and the audience loved it.

Eventually Kelly called a halt to the session, "I think we had better stop before things get a bit out of hand.  Could we possibly have the lieutenant's shirt back here, please, so that he can get decent again?"  Said shirt was duly returned to Malcolm, who, rather reluctantly it seemed, put it on.

"We've had a fantastic competition which has definitely relieved the boredom of the past few weeks," Kelly said in closing the event.  "But after Mr Reed's performance here tonight I, for one, will never look at him in the same way again. But don't worry, Sir, I don't think it's going to undermine your authority.

There's still plenty of food to be eaten and there will be music for dancing, so have fun for the rest of the evening."

 Malcolm would like to have left early, but of course there was no chance of that.  He was the centre of attention for the next hour or so.

At some point the other photos Kelly had taken of Malcolm had been put on display with his winning photo, and now people crowded round to see them, admiring his 'James Bond' poses and head-and-shoulders shot.  And Kelly was actually taking orders for them!

Trip was approached by Lt. Hess.

"Commander.  Remember when Kelly whispered something to you in Engineering, a few days ago?"

"Yeah."  Trip thought he knew what Hess was asking.


"I can tell you now.  She said that Malcolm had won both the earlier rounds hands down."

"I thought he might have. And that suggests that some people got no votes at all."

"Yeah, but that's the way it goes.  I'm more than happy with the result."

"So am I.  Enjoy the rest of the evening, Sir."  Hess winked at him and went off to find her friends.


"You know, Trip," said Travis some time later, "I do believe Malcolm's having a whale of a time."

"He is, isn't he?  I've never seen him so happy.  Who'd have thought something like this would do it for him?"

"Ooh, I just hope it lasts," Hoshi sighed.  "Don't let anything burst his bubble."

"I'll do my best to keep his bubble intact." Trip put his hand in his pocket and took out a small box.  "Just between the three of us, I got this for Mal, and I intend giving it to him tonight.  Providing of course, I get the right answer to my question."

Hoshi was all agog.  "What is it?  Let's have a look."

Trip opened the box and there nestling in black velvet, was a golden band,with a row of diamonds, twinkling like stars, running through the centre.

"Oh, lovely!" Hoshi exclaimed, "We're going to have a wedding."

"Hey!  Hush.  I haven't asked him yet."

"Then hurry up and get on with it." Travis told him.

But Trip was in no hurry to end the evening - first he wanted to get Malcolm on the dance floor for a nice slow, smoochy number.


                                                            *            *            *


Silence had reigned in Trip's quarters for the last ten minutes.  Trip and Malcolm were spooned together in the bunk after a frantic love-making session.  They'd had their smoochy dance and more besides, then left as soon as was decently possible.  Now they were sated, spent - and half asleep.


Then -



"Marry me?"

"Yes please."


Pause -


"You got me a ring?"

"Naturally.  Only the best for the sexiest person on board."

"I love you very much, Trip."

"An' Ah love you, darlin'."


A few minutes later -



"We'd better tell the Cap'n."

"What? Right now?"

"Nah. In the mornin'."

Silence - then the susuration of lips meeting in a passionate kiss.




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