Disclaimer: Star Trek is the property of Paramount Viacom. This story is copyright © 1982 by Beth Carlson. Rated PG13. Previously published in R&R #17.

 

Pickup

Beth Carlson

 

"Fine shore leave this turned out to be. Jim, I swear they wait till I get off the ship to get sick, break bones and dislocate shoulders." McCoy began to pull credits from his belt and Kirk rested a hand on his arm.

"I'll get it, Bones. Call it a gift of consolation."

McCoy grinned. "Sure you'll be able to amuse yourself without me?" he asked, rising.

Kirk looked around, the lounge and smiled a smile that turned into a grin. He flashed the lopsided grin back at McCoy. "I'll give it my best shot."

McCoy laughed and flipped open the communicator again. "McCoy to Enterprise. Beam me up."

As the transporter took him, Kirk heard his voice echo, "If I ever get an uninterrupted shore leave, it'll…" He found himself laughing. If McCoy ever got an uninterrupted shore leave, it would be an occasion. He wouldn't know what to do with it. He raised an eyebrow. Oh, yes, he would. That eyebrow raising bit was contagious; he wasn't sure where he'd picked it up, from McCoy or Spock -- they both did it -- but he felt strange every time he realized he was doing it.

"Would you like anything else, Captain?" the scantily clad barmaid asked.

"Uh -- yeah. Another one of these--"

"Slertinferin Slush," she supplied in a low tone.

"Yeah. Another one." He wasn't going to touch that one with a ten foot pole. She flitted a smile and turned her shapely posterior to him in departure. He sighed and sat back in the booth looking around. The red-head at the bar looked nice -- but she was at the bar. Uhura would probably have his head for that thought, but -- there was something about a woman at a bar that turned him off.

The barmaid returned with his drink. "Can I get you anything else, Captain?"

Now she was a knock out! "No, thank you."

"Whatever you say -- Captain." The last word floated to him on her big green-eyed smile. Shit but they knew how to get a tip. She flashed the well packed round bottom in flight again and he found himself sighing as he watched her walk away.

The drink tasted slightly different this time but still was good, something like a daiquiri---but slushy with crushed ice and more of a jesequat taste. Whatever it was, it was good.

Maybe the Andorian woman. Starfleet uniform, commander -- she'd been here almost as long as he had. The trick was to find someone who would be amicable to a brief relationship without being... Uhura, I'm sure as hell glad you don't live in my head. You wouldn't like...

He grinned, thoughts cut short by realization. Well, lady. He had caught only a flash of her, but it was enough to make him laugh. I'm always underestimating her -- and I'm always so sure that we're so different, when we're all so much alike. That doesn't mean she's here, too... And why am I reluctant to believe it? He took a drink and smiled at himself and his own reactions. "Good luck, lady. Happy hunting to us all," he mumbled and fingered the cocktail napkin absently.

Looking up, he smiled at the Andorian woman. He'd made love with an Andorian once. Kitheitha Onothath -- on.... He couldn't place where, but he could still recall the fleeting memory of their bellies together and the oddness and arousal he'd felt at the sight of her azure against his peach-brown.

The Andorian woman smiled and he flashed her a broad grin. Her eyes cast down in -- embarrassment? -- shyness? -- assent? Well, there was only one way to find out. As he picked up his drink and began to make his way to the table, a huge Andorian male came from the entrance hall to greet her. She smiled and began to talk as he sat.

Kirk's stomach tightened, the drink in his hand, half way to the table. Well, he'd just been on his way to the bar, actually. And he sat at a stool a few seats from the redhead and took a pretzel. The redhead smiled at him and he gave her a cursory greeting and returned to his drink and pretzels.

A hand came to rest on his arm and he turned. "Captain? -- It's Admiral now, though, isn't it?&quuot; He turned and found himself looking into the deep brown eyes of Helen Noel, and he smiled. "Captain's fine," he answered, lifting his captain-braided sleeve. "Helen?"

She grinned. "Long time, no see."

"Yes." He looked around. "Join me for a drink? There's a table."

She nodded. "Sure." He took a bowl of pretzels with them as they settled into his still empty booth.

"Can I order you something?"

"What's that?" she asked pointing to his glass.

"It's one of those," he answered indicating the card on the table by the candle.

"A Sler-tin-flerin Slush," she pronounced slowly.

"Not to hear them say it; it's Argelian," he grinned and she laughed.

"Any good?" He offered her his glass and she took a sip. "For something so pink and pretty--" She gave a little cough. "--it sure packs a punch." Savoring the taste, she decided, "I'll take one."

He smiled and summoned the barmaid, who was strangely businesslike now. "We'll have another one of these and some more pretzels." He turned to Helen as the barmaid left. "Long time is right. What's it been, about six years?"

"Thereabouts. You've become famous, you and Spock and the crew, but especially you and Spock. The Dynamic Duo." At his confusion she added, "Batman and Robin." And then, "You didn't read those kind of things, did you?"

"No. But I get your drift. And you? I heard you didn't re-enlist, but not what you were doing."

"Oh, I thought about staying in when my first tour of duty was finished, but I really wasn't that happy in Starfleet. The year I spent on the Enterprise and the three on the Potemkin were educational to be sure, and the benefits were good, but it was not exactly my cup of tea. When I finished my hitch, I got several offers. The best was from Jancon. I'm head of their medical department, staff psych, and troubleshooter. I make more in a year than the Fleet paid in three. I'm my own boss, and I get to do a lot of experimental work in making life easier for the average worker. Jancon employs fourteen hundred people here in Drydin at the headquarters alone, and five thousand, give or take a few, across the continent and on the satellites."

He smiled. "You're happy?"

"Very. And you?"

"I've got the Enterprise back, most of my old crew. Yeah," he grinned. "I'm happy." Their eyes lingered.

"And that's why you're bar-hopping all alone?"

Was that a clinical look in her eye? "I wasn't alone until a crewman spilled acid on his leg and McCoy had to beam up."

Her face wrinkled . "I thought you had Chris Chapel."

"We usually do. She's on one of your satellites reading a paper she's just published on some research." He took a drink. "That's part of the reason we're here."

"Yes. I remember now. I got a letter on the conference some weeks ago." She smiled. "I sent a colleague to cover it. Had I noticed Chris was going to be one of the speakers, I probably would have gone myself."

He fingered the edge of his glass and shot her a grin. "A colleague or a subordinate?" She laughed. "Let's say a subordinate colleague.

He laughed back. "Dr. Chapel only was asked about two weeks ago when Starfleet put us in this sector. It probably wasn't in your letter."

"No. Probably not." They were silent. "I got stuck in a meeting tonight anyway. That's where I was coming from when I saw you, the conference lounge."

He grinned again. "And I thought you were here for social purposes."

"This is a space port hangout, Captain. It also happens to be central between the living areas of the other people that I had to meet with and it had a conference lounge. I've never been here before." She paused. "You don't believe me, do you?"

"Sure I do," he said with a tease in his eyes. "And call me Jim. I haven't been your captain for six years now."

She gave him a surly grin. "Jim," she agreed, and there was another long silence.

At last Kirk broke it. "Helen. There's something that I've been curious about for a long time. Could I ask you a question?"

"Shoot," she said with a warm smile.

"On the Tantalus Colony. Why did you choose that particular suggestion that we'd had an affair?"

She covered his hand with soft warm fingers. "Maybe because I wished it had happened that way instead of you going all proper on me as soon as you found out that I was part of the new crew." Her eyes met his and a pixie look of teasing flirtation crossed her mouth. He had seldom seen such a blatant invitation.

He grinned, a feathery touch of discomfort tickling at him only to be deluged by his sense of adventure. "Are you propositioning me, Doctor?"

The look on her face intensified as she pursed her lips over a smile, her eyes twinkling. "You bet your starship I am. You interested?" Her face gave in to the smile and a sense of camaraderie.

He tightened his grasp on her hand. "Have you eaten yet?" Point and counterpoint. This was going to be an interesting evening.

"No. I haven't. I'm starved."

He called the barmaid; his eyes on Helen. when she came he glanced up. "Menu, please."

She returned in only a moment's time and handed them each a menu. "The seafood sounds good. But then so does the chicken," he commented looking from the menu to the woman beside him and back.

A hand came to rest on the inside of his upper thigh and he stopped speaking to look up at her and smile. "I thought you were starved."

"I am. But I was just thinking. I have lamb chops in my refrigerator at home." Her hand moved gently on his thigh. "It would be cheaper, and as I said, I can't vouch for the food here."

The ugly face of something reared in him and he looked at her for a long moment. "You're buying," he stated, "lock stock and barrel. Is that it?"

She moved her hand back to the table and took a drink of the pink slush, then looked at him. Disappointment and frustration were only partially hidden. "I thought you were more secure than that, Jim. I'm sorry. I didn't mean to corner you."

He felt her frustration and felt more the self-irritation at his own reaction. "No." He looked at her. "I am. You're right." He went for her hand but she moved it to the glass.

"Look, Jim." She started looking into the glass as she spoke. "I like you." She looked up and found his eyes. "Have for a long time." She smiled a small smile and let it go. "I'd like to spend tonight in bed with you. I think we'd both enjoy it. But I'm afraid I'm not much one for playing games, and I don't want to waste time and money on expensive food that may not even be any good or on all of the idle chatter that goes with it." She looked into the drink and back at him. "If that turns you off, then maybe we'd better decide right now to spend the night over coffee and talk, or let me go so you can find more suitable company."

His face broke into a grin. "No. It doesn't turn me off. But listen, lady," he took her hand from the-glass firmly and enveloped it in both of his. "Don't expect to just take charge of me without a fight."

She grinned back. "That kind of game, I don't mind a bit."

"Then let's get outta here." He waved for the check.

* * *

 

"Frozen," was the verdict. "I'm sorry."

He passed her uplifted handful of lamb chops and peered into refrigerator, then began to rummage. "Here's some spaghetti, how old is it?" His hand reached for another container and she stopped him.

"Not that one! It's -- been there a while. The spaghetti's fine. Here -- scoot over." She began to rummage herself and he straightened up, backing to lean against the counter and watch her.

A smile covered his face as he studied the muscles in her back and shoulder, and then let his eyes rove to the taut material over her rump. The age old temptation met and filled him and he reveled at his fortune in not having to quell it. Helen had set the rules down and they were open and free. His hand reached and came to rest on her rump as he pushed himself away from the counter with a hip. He came behind her and pressed his wakening body against her, his hands circling her hipbones.

"That's gonna get you just about everything but dinner," she commented, not stopping her foraging but pressing back into him.

He took a step back and pulled her with him, seeing her follow his urging and stand, turning to him. He reached a hand behind her neck and pulled her mouth to his firmly. The kiss was full and sensual. "What's so great about dinner?" he asked as they parted, the huskiness in his voice plain.

She played on it. "I'm hungry," she answered and started to turn back to the refrigerator.

Kirk grasped her arms firmly and turned her. "So am I," he growled with authority and met her mouth with his again, his body taking command of hers. She grinned into the kiss and wrapped her arms around his ribcage, letting her response skid openly to his control.

Later, neither was to remember who'd had the presence of mind to close the refrigerator.

* * *

 

"You're as good as they say you are," Helen grinned, leaning her back against his chest as they sat there, the sheets draped at their waists. He tightened his arms around her diaphragm and grinned back.

"You're not half bad yourself." His hand came to enclose her left breast, his lips at her ear. "You're cold."

"A little."

He began the retreat into the covers and she followed, ending in his arms, the covers around their necks. "Who are 'they'?" he asked again finding the breast and warming it with his hand. The other was snugly against the side of his chest.

"Women," she stated resolutely.

"What women?" he asked insistently.

"I'm not giving you names and places."

His hand closed mock-threateningly on her breast only to feel her hand travel the short distance from his navel to his soft penis and enclose it. He grinned.

"Fair's fair," she grinned back and his hand released its grip, remaining in place as did hers.

"You still as good at martial arts as you were six years ago?"

"I could take you," she teased.

"No, you couldn't." He was grinning, but serious.

"Maybe not." A grin literally took over her face. "Like to try it?"

His hand came away from her breast to rest on her cheek. "No, thank you."

Her eyes narrowed. "Your ego couldn't take it?"

He brushed her hair back from her face and looked at her for a long moment. "Helen, you're an overachiever. Always have been -- from day one."

Her hand moved to rest on his chest. "That your professional psychiatric opinion, doctor?" she asked, no long smiling.

"No," he said gently but with seriousness. "Just a personal observation."

She began to protest but her eyes caught the curve of his jaw and she smiled. "Captain. If I wasn't so captivated by your body," her hand resumed its ministrations at his groin, I might deign to argue with your mind." Her lips touched that curve of his jaw and his mouth found hers. It had been a jab, and his head wanted to respond -- but somehow their tongues intertwined like this made it hard. When they stopped kissing, maybe... But then everything tilted; her hand had just hit pay dirt.

* * *

 

Just before dawn the communicator beeped and Kirk's hand slapped at the table top several times before landing on it. He brought it to his face and opened it with his thumb. "Yeah," he mumbled, trying to stay asleep. Helen's hand rubbed his buttocks gently in half aware affection.

"Scott here, Captain." Kirk pushed his face further into the pillow, wishing he could forget the world. "We have an urgent call to transport medical supplies to the Canaris settlement. We called you last. Everyone is aboard exceptin' you and Mr. Sulu." There was a muffled communication in the background. "Mr. Sulu just beamed up, sir." Helen's body was now covering about a third of the length of his backside, her hand massaging his shoulder, her mouth kissing the nape of his neck.

"I'll be right there," he answered and closed the communicator, slapping it on the table. "I gotta go," he mumbled, his face still buried in the pillow. Helen wasn't listening; Kirk wasn't moving.

"Wouldn't take long." Her body moved against his and her hand slid from the hollow between his hipbone and the lower bone of his ribcage on to other pursuits. He grunted as her hand reached its destination.

"You gonna let me turn over?" he asked.

"Only if you're too interested to leave for another few minutes."

"How many?" he teased and turned over in spite of her weight and she landed in his arms. "However many it takes you. You've got a long haul ahead, Mister. I want you riding on 'empty' when you leave here."

His mouth met hers hungrily. "I wonder sometimes if I've got an 'empty.'"

She laughed and guided him into her, lifting her hips to meet his weight as he began to thrust.

* * *

 

"You look fine," she assured him, straightening the hemline of his uniform tunic. He handed her the hairbrush.

"We never got to that argument."

"Maybe next time, now that we each know where the other is." She grinned. "Was it so bad?"

"What?" he puzzled.

She kissed the curve of his jaw a last time. "Getting picked up by a woman."

He grinned at her. "We'll have that argument yet, Helen."

She stood back from him. "I'll be looking forward to it. Providing," she teased, "that I can keep my hands off of you long enough to argue."

He laughed and shook his head. "Kirk here. Beam me up." She was grinning as he lost sight of her and he heard his own chuckle touch the silence of the transporter room as he materialized.

Spock looked at him in an odd but pleased manner. "Enjoyable shore leave, I trust."

Kirk grinned and chuckled to himself again. "Yes, Spock." He nodded his head. "And very interesting." He shook his head at some private joke and led the way to the Bridge.

THE END