DISCLAIMER: Paramount owns everything Star Trek. No money is being made here. I'm just playing around in their backyard. Okay, I want to say up front, this is a parody. Of sorts. Inspired when watching "The Cage" one too many times too often. Thus the title. No doubt some will find it a bit offensive in places, out of character, not so funny, full of gaping plot holes, illogical ... and so on. It is not meant to be taken seriously, so please don't. It is only meant to entertain a little. If this is not your cuppa tea, that's okay. It is rated NC-17.

THE WOMEN! ... or, Earth Girls Are Easy


Spock leaned forward and peered into the hooded viewer, his exotic Vulcan features bathed in a pale blue light as he studied the readouts before him. One elegantly slanted eyebrow rose slowly and he tilted his head to one side in consternation, highlighting the tip of one pointed ear. What he was seeing puzzled him. His long nimble fingers raced over the controls of the science console as he attempted to adjust the sensors and pull in more data. The results were the same and genuine concern was fast overshadowing his initial curiosity. At its present rate of speed, compounded by the Enterprise's rate of speed, they would encounter the anomaly within three point four minutes. He abruptly straightened up and turned to face Kirk.


Kirk swivelled his chair to face his science officer, startled by the urgency in the Vulcan's voice. He felt a rush of adrenaline set his heart pumping faster and knew it must be bad. Spock almost never used exclamation points in his speech. "What is it, Spock?"

"We must change course immediately, sir! Sensors are picking up a curious ... "

Spock never finished his sentence. The last thing he thought as the ship bucked then shook violently and darkness overtook him was that he had miscalculated ... badly. And perhaps he should have paid closer attention to the little disclaimer at the bottom of the sensor screen that read ... 'Unidentified Objects may be larger and/or closer than they appear.'

* * *

Kirk came to slowly. Opening his eyes, he found himself staring at the ceiling of the bridge, the red alert klaxon ringing in his ears.

"Intruder alert! Intruder alert!"

He was still in the command chair, his head resting against the back at an odd angle, but a quick internal check confirmed that he didn't seem to be seriously injured in any way. Taking a deep breath he quickly straightened up, wincing at the crick in his neck, and glanced around the bridge. In the dim red emergency lighting he could see everywhere crewmen were groggily picking themselves up off the deck. Kirk hit a switch on the arm of his chair. "Security, report!"

"Security Chief DeSalle here, Captain." DeSalle was panting hard and paused a moment to take a couple of deep breaths before going on. Oh, why did he ever think he wanted to be head of redshirt detail? He should have stuck with command. "Security sensors indicate we had an intruder ... or intruders, sir. I have teams scrambling now to do a deck to deck search, but so far scans are negative."

"None on board now?"

"None that we can detect, sir. Like I said, we're doing a deck to deck search."

"Very well, Chief. Keep me informed. Kirk out."

Kirk took a deep breath of his own and pushed out of the command chair, rubbing his neck as he made his way to Spock's station. The Vulcan had recovered his seat and was working over his console, not one single strand of shiny dark sable hair out of place. "How long were we out, Spock?"

"Fifty-one point nine-nine minutes, Captain."

"That long?" Kirk responded in dismay. "Was it ship wide?"

"I believe so, sir."

"Any ideas, Spock?"

"Too soon to attempt speculation, Captain. I will need time to analyze data."

Kirk nodded. "Carry on."

"Yes, sir."

Kirk turned next to engineering. Scott had regained his feet and stood swaying slightly over his console. "Damage report, Scotty?"

The engineer studied his readouts a moment. "No major damage as far as I can kin, Capt'n. A few wee electrical outages lighting up the boards to be sure, but tis all, sir." As he spoke, Scott hit a button and immediately the strident warning from the computer stopped. A second later normal lighting flooded the bridge, although the red warning beacons continued to blink.

"Thanks," Kirk grinned. Until that moment, he hadn't realized he had a humdinger of a headache, but the cessation of noise went a long way towards easing it.

Scott returned the grin. "Aye, Capt'n."

Kirk sighed and turned to face communications. "Lieutenant Uhura, channel all ... " His voice died in his throat. He felt a hard knot form in the pit of his stomach and his breath caught in his lungs. For a moment all he could do was stare at her empty seat. He looked around wildly, saw Spock stand abruptly and do the same. Uhura was nowhere to be seen, neither were Rand or Palmer. A coffee thermos and a couple of datapadds lay abandoned on the deck. Kirk's questioning gaze went to Spock just as the Vulcan's eyes found his.

'The women!" they said in unison.

Spock immediately bent over the ship's internal sensor board, his mouth set in a grim line. When he straightened to look at Kirk again, his stony expression betrayed the gravity of the situation. "Captain, there is not a single female -- crew or otherwise -- currently onboard the Enterprise."

"None?" Kirk breathed incredulously.

Spock slowly shook his head. "None, Captain."

Kirk's mouth dropped open, but before he could respond further, McCoy's excited voice broke in over the intercom. "Sickbay to Bridge! Damn it, Jim! What in blue blazes is going on up there? First we're all shaken up like a martini cocktail down here, then knocked unconscious, and when we come around, I find Chapel, Ames, Sanchez ... all the female members of my staff are missing!"

"I don't know what happened yet, Bones," Kirk sighed. "We're trying to determine that now. You have a casualty report for me?"

"Nothing too serious, Jim. A few broken bones, some concussions, a bunch of cuts, several electrical burns, a ruptured spleen or two, some fractured ribs and punctured lungs, and a few bruises coming in so far. Mostly from exploding consoles as far as I can tell," McCoy reported. "Like I said, nothing too serious. But what are you gonna do about my missing nursing staff?" the physician demanded, his voice starting to betray a hint of hysteria. "Who am I gonna bark orders at and make cryptic remarks to? Who's gonna clean and bandage these cuts and take care of the chest tubes? Who's gonna clean up the blood, puke, excrement and other nasty body fluids starting to mess up my Sickbay?"

Kirk took a breath to answer, "Bones--" But McCoy was on a roll. No way in hell was he going to get a word in edgewise.

"Or change the sheets on the biobeds, put in the catheters, fetch the bedpans and hyposprays?" McCoy continued his litany. "File my reports, start the IV's, pass out the pills, draw the lab specimens, run the medical equipment, find and set up the surgical instruments, hand me those surgical instruments, and mop my brow? For God's sake, man! Who's gonna make the coffee?!"

"Settle down, Bones," Kirk tried to placate his CMO. "I get the picture. You and M'Benga will just have to grab some male techs and do the best you can until we can figure out what happened and try to find our missing crew."

"Humph! I'm a doctor, Jim, not a nurse!" McCoy growled. "If you think I'm gonna wipe--"

"Just take care of your end of business, Doctor," Kirk cut him off tersely before McCoy could launch into another tirade, "I'll attempt to do the same. Kirk out."

Kirk was just about to turn back to say something to Spock, when DeSalle reported in.

"Captain, DeSalle here. There are no intruders currently on the ship, sir, but there's plenty of evidence they were here. Security cams were blacked out throughout the ship, so we don't have a visual of what they looked like, but tricorder readings have picked up traces of ... well, it seems to be some kind of alien pheromone in the air. Hell, it's everywhere, Captain! We're sending what we have to the boys in the lab now. And there's something else damned peculiar, sir. All my female security officers failed to report for duty. In fact, there doesn't seem to be one single woman--"

"Left on the ship," Kirk finished for him grimly. "Yes, we've already determined that fact, Mister DeSalle. Continue your investigation and report any new findings immediately."

"Aye, sir," the Security Chief responded with a glum sigh. "DeSalle out."

Kirk scowled, rubbing his forehead absently. His headache was back with a vengeance. And McCoy and DeSalle weren't the only ones shaken-up about the missing women. For the Captain of the Enterprise, the situation was grave. More than grave ... it was freaking intolerable! No women? What the hell was he gonna do on Friday and Saturday nights? Tri-de Chess and reading A Tale of Two Cities or Moby Dick was fine the rest of the week, but the weekends belonged to Mister Happy and any female crewmember amenable to keeping Mister Happy ... well, happy. The prospect of a weekend without his usual stress therapy was enough to make Kirk's temples pound with dread as his headache came roaring back. No more Mister Happy weekends? Unthinkable!

The lump that was his stomach worked up into his throat and he tried to swallow past it. Glancing around the bridge and seeing the looks on the faces of his men -- Scotty, Sulu, Avery, Chekov, even Spock -- Kirk knew he wasn't alone in his feelings. What would they do without women, especially this far out in deep space? What baser instincts would surface among them? He had heard stories about the days before women were an integral part of crews on naval vessels and his fertile imagination immediately began to supply images of those stories running through his mind like B grade holovids. His stomach abruptly fell from his throat to his toes and clenched -- along with other parts of his anatomy -- and he sucked in a shallow breath, already missing that certain whiff of estrogen in the air. And McCoy was right. Who would make the coffee? He had to do something and he had to do it fast! It was already late Wednesday afternoon, which meant the weekend was just around the corner.

Kirk turned once again to his science officer, his expression almost as tight as his puckered backside. "Well, Spock? What the hell happened to one hundred and forty-three members of my crew?" he demanded.

The Vulcan straightened to his full height, suppressing a sigh of annoyance as he kept his face carefully neutral. "Unknown, Captain. The anomaly the sensors picked up just prior to us losing consciousness is of a type never before encountered. As it appears to have coincided with the presence of intruders on the Enterprise, I can only surmise it was an alien vessel of some kind, undoubtedly cloaked, and possibly with a very unique warp system. However I shall endeavor to answer your question in more precise detail as soon as possible."

Kirk blew out an irritated sigh. "Sorry, Spock. I didn't mean to take out my frustrations on you. I'm just ... concerned for their safety."

"Understood, Captain."

Spock turned back to his console and began pulling data from the sensors and correlating it through the main computer, yet his mind wandered a bit as he worked, preoccupied with his own concerns.

Spock could well empathize with the Captain's agitation. Friday night was fast approaching and with it Spock knew would come the inevitable and dreaded Vulcan mating drive he could not avoid. His blood would burn, his eyes would become flames, his logic would be ripped away from him, and he would be helplessly driven to commit unspeakable biological acts upon another person's person. It was the ... pon farr!

Although pon farr normally occurred only once every seven years in Vulcan males when they reached sexual maturity, Spock's unique genetic make up had the unfortunate by product of forcing him to deal with it more frequently. A lot more frequently, as it turned out. It was yet one more cross he had to bear due to the duality of his nature. What was fortunate, however, was the fact Nurse Christine Chapel was in love with him and had secretly agreed to assist him through these trying times, thus assuring him of a willing female partner when he was in need of one. And for the past eight point six four months he had needed one on a regular basis. Every Friday night, to be more precise. In retrospect, it was a most logical arrangement. She desired him; he needed her. Over time, he had developed considerable affection for her and was even considering a permanent bonding, but something had held him back from making that final commitment. Still, what she could do to him with her...

The computer beeped several times, pulling Spock from the erotic reverie his mind had begun to slip into. Marshaling his concentration on the problem at hand, he reviewed the computer analysis and very nearly sighed his frustration out loud. He fed in a new stream of data, this time expanding the parameters of possibilities. As he waited on the results, he shifted uneasily in his chair and his mind again turned to his most immediate concern.

What would he do if they were unable to locate the women in the next sixty-eight point six-seven hours? They were currently on the edge of Federation space. There were no inhabited planets, no other starships or Starbases within light-years, thus no hope of encountering a female of any species by Friday night. Of course, he could confide in the Captain, as he had done the first time pon farr had come upon him, and request that he be locked away in his cabin until the end came. But looking back on it now, Spock came to the conclusion that had been a really stu ... uh, an illogical course of action. In truth, he did not wish to die. He had a duty to his ship, a duty to Starfleet and his Captain, a duty to his clan on Vulcan. Not to mention a sixty year mortgage on a sweet little homestead near the foothills of Mt Seleya. Besides, he had grown accustomed to dealing with the physiological rigors of interspecies copulation at regular intervals. And if he were truly honest, he actually found a certain measure of undeniable ... anticipation involved. If only he had bonded with Christine, then perhaps now he would be able to trace her whereabouts through the bond. But he had not and it was an illogical waste of mental energy to lament that which could not be changed. There must be an alternative!

Spock glanced at Kirk, who was impatiently pacing the deck between stations, and a small shiver raced down his spine as a new thought occurred to him. He immediately rejected it. Un-uh! No way, S'Jose! He had never been one to tread lightly in his boots and he was not about to start now. On the other hand, it was a matter of life and death, and the Captain did have a rather aesthetically pleasing...

Appalled by his current line of thought, Spock ruthlessly pushed it aside and bent over his console with renewed determination. He would find Christine and bring her back before the Friday night deadline -- dead being the operative word -- and refused to think of any other alternatives. At least, not yet.

* * *

"Chrissy, honey? Would you pass that fabulous purple bath gel down this way?"

"Sure, Ny."

Nurse Christine Chapel reached lazily behind her to the ledge of the huge oval shaped bathtub and plucked up the ornate container of bath gel, a thick dollop of bubbles sliding off her long, creamy white arm to join the heavenly foam floating on the water's surface. She handed the container to Rand, who in turn handed it to Ames, then Johnson, until it reached Uhura at the other end.

"Thanks, Sugar," Uhura cooed. She squeezed some of the gel onto a big fluffy sponge thing and began soaping down one arm in long, unhurried strokes.

Chapel settled deeper into the steaming water until she was submerged to her shoulders. She closed her eyes and let out a long, blissful sigh. "I know we're supposed to be captives and all that, but if this is the Khirians' idea of captivity, then I may never want to be free again."

Rand giggled and brought one long, shapely leg up out of the water, suds dripping off her calf as she stretched painted toes toward the bathtub controls. "Amen to that, sister! This is heaven! Now, I wonder what this little lever does?" Seconds later, powerful jets of water began to circulate deep under the water's surface. There were a few startled squeals as the force of the jets surprised a few of the women, hitting some rather sensitive areas, then a collective sigh of pleasure as they settled in and continued to lounge in the tub's seductive warmth.

It was quiet for a little while as the women soaked in near Nirvana. Finally, Uhura looked around at her fellow abductees and sighed. "You know these Khirians are just after one thing, don't you, Ladies?" she asked casually, her attention still focused on soaping down one slender, dark arm.

Chapel opened her eyes briefly to squint at her closest friend and fellow officer then closed them again. "Of course, Ny. They made it pretty obvious, forcing us to put on those sheer little toga things and parade around half-naked, no matter how sweet they were about it. They are males, after all. That can only mean one thing. Sex."

There was a subdued murmur of agreement around the tub. No one, however, was particularly perturbed by the prospect.

Uhura turned her attention to soaping down her other arm. "True, but what do you think? Should we give in, or try to defend our honor?"

"Are you kidding?" Sanchez asked. "You get a good look at those big, beautiful bad boys, Lieutenant? I don't know about the rest of you," the petite bombshell continued with a grin, "But I can think of worse fates. A lot worse!"

"You got that right," Palmer chimed in dreamily.

Silently, Uhura had to agree. The Khirians were, without exception, some of the finest specimens of the male gender she had ever laid eyes on in her myriad travels throughout the galaxy: at least the ones they had seen so far. Tall, bronze skinned and lithe, they practically oozed testosterone. And they had the most fascinating green eyes she mused, thinking back to hours earlier when they had met their captors.

Shortly after the women regained consciousness, four of these fine specimens had paid them a visit in their holding cell. Cell? Uhura mused wryly. She had paid good credits for accommodations in Galactic Hiltons that weren't half as luxurious as this. The Khirians as they referred to themselves, had been almost embarrassingly gracious, the one in charge assuring the women over and over again they would not be harmed in any way. The only 'request' they made was that the women shed their uniforms and don the togas Chapel mentioned. After a few tense moments of looking down the barrels of several hand phasers, the women complied. It did not escape their notice that their captors watched the hurried striptease avidly with a certain glint in their eyes that was universal. But that was as unpleasant as it had gotten.

Afterwards, the Khirian leader, Jhamal, became once again the perfect host and had ordered food and drink brought in to them. He even answered a few questions. They learned their captors were from the Khiri planetary system, that they had been a peaceful and space-faring race for many centuries, and that their present mission was the direct result of unfortunate circumstances at home. These circumstances Jhamal would not discuss, but he did reveal that every single woman onboard the Enterprise had been taken, sequestered in cells like this one throughout the Khirian ship. He also assured them that the Enterprise and the remaining male members of her crew had been left unharmed and free to go on their way.

This had stunned Uhura a little and she had exchanged knowing glances with Chapel, Rand, and Johnson. Clearly, these guys were either really stupid, or really, really arrogant. Uhura tended to believe the latter. Jhamal admitted to knowing about the existence of the Federation but appeared unfazed when she warned him that they were violating Federation law by kidnapping them and that their ship would come after them. This reaction, or lack of it, worried her even more. Maybe these people were so advanced they didn't need to be concerned about the Federation or a lone Starfleet starship on the edge of Federation space. But the Khirians refused to go into any further detail and shortly afterwards left without laying one single finger on them.

After several hours of unproductive discussion about escaping and some rather farfetched schemes on how they might take over the Khirian ship, the women had eventually given in to thirst and hunger. Once they had eaten, Sanchez discovered the Olympic-sized bathtub in the spacious and luxurious bathroom and one by one the women shed their togas -- along with their inhibitions -- and succumbed to the allure of the fragrant, steaming water. There they had stayed for almost the last hour, as if they didn't have a care in the universe. In fact, Uhura suddenly realized, she felt nothing but pure contentment. She had stopped thinking about their captivity and a way to escape a long time ago.

"Why don't I feel outraged at our situation?" Uhura suddenly voiced, grabbing hold of that realization with a small frown creasing her lovely dark features. "I mean, we've been abducted against our will, right? We should be trying to figure out a way to get off of this flying harem and back to the Enterprise. But for some reason, I don't give a damn. Something isn't right about that," she added in a distracted voice, her frown creasing her brow further. But the frown faded away a few seconds later as she returned to the delightful pleasure of letting the big fluffy sponge fill with water, then squeezing the water over her exposed skin in a slow, sensual cascade, rinsing off the suds.

"Drugs," Chapel murmured sleepily from her end of the tub. "It has to be drugs." Feeling herself about to slip under the water, she pushed up and forced herself to be more alert and concentrate on the conversation. "Really, really nice drugs," she added with a languid smile. "They must have put them in the food and drink. That's the only logical explanation."

Odd, until Uhura mentioned it just now, it hadn't even occurred to Chapel to be concerned ... about anything, at least not for the past hour or so since they had eaten. The Khirians must have drugged the food and that deliciously tart wine they had provided. But whatever it was the Khirians had given them, it didn't seem to interfere with her ability to reason. She could reason just fine. Instead, it seemed to put her in a state of controlled euphoria, something like the effect of the spores of Omicron Ceti III. At the time that little incident had happened, Chapel hadn't even cared that Spock was off in a meadow somewhere banging his brains out with that bimbo Leila Kalomi. Just as the memory of that time had no real effect on her now. The most she could work up was a tiny sense of irritation.

"Logical?" Uhura laughed. "Chris, honey, you've been hanging out with our First Officer way too much, girlfriend."

Chapel's smile grew wider. "I'll never tell," she replied coyly. "Besides, I have my own reasons for not being too concerned. Reasons that have nothing to do with being drugged. Let's just say I expect we'll be rescued soon ... if rescue is the right word. A girl could get used to this treatment," she sighed. "It beats the hell out of being on my feet twelve hours a day in those damned high heeled boots and trying to keep my fanny from hanging out in the breeze in that piss poor excuse of a uniform Starfleet insists we wear." There was a murmur of assent at this statement.

Johnson, silent so far, turned in the communal tub to look at the Head Nurse quizzically. "What do you mean you expect we'll be rescued soon, Lieutenant?"

"I mean exactly that, Sweetie. By my calculations it's late Wednesday night ship's time. At least, I think it is."

The women glanced at each other, puzzled, then turned their attention back to Chapel. "Yeah, okay," Uhura commented. "So?"

Chapel sank down into the water again, feeling her skin beginning to prune but savoring the feeling too much to be motivated enough to get out of the tub. It seemed the drugs also heightened the tactile senses. The feel of the water caressing her skin was almost orgasmic. "I don't know about the rest of you, but I have a -- well, let's just call it a standing date on Friday nights with a certain male member of the bridge crew, whom shall remain nameless at this time. And if I know this certain male crewman as well as I think I do, he'll move heaven and earth to make sure I'm back on board the ship for our ... uh ... Friday night date, or die trying." Her smile tuned a little evil. "At least, he'll think he's dying."

They all stared at Chapel for a long moment. When it finally hit at least two of the other women present what she was implying, Uhura started to laugh.

"Christine, you wicked, wicked woman! Congratulations, Honey! Someday you'll have to fill me in on how you finally reeled him in."

"Reeled who in?" Chapel responded cryptically. "And it's not exactly final ... yet."

"So that's why I get stuck working almost every weekend! Here I thought you just didn't like me," Ames teased her boss.

"Sorry about that, Anne. Usually I'm just too worn out to make it in on Saturday mornings. One of the few perks of being the boss is not having to. But I hadn't realized I stuck you with so many weekends. I'll try to rotate the schedule a little better when we get back."

"Thanks, I'd really appreciate that."

"Hey, can we get back to this rescue thing?" Palmer interjected, completely clueless to the conversation going on around her.

"Yeah," Rand added. "I'm not sure I'm really clear on what you're saying, Chris."

"Oh! Right," Chapel answered, sitting up straighter and forcing herself to concentrate once again. Another little side effect of the drugs: Distraction. "Come on, girls. I'm sure I'm not the only one here whose sex life suddenly gets very active on the weekend."

At Chapel's comment, the other women looked around at each other knowingly, a few blushing a little. Rand in particular turned a pretty pink. She was, after all, the Captain's personal yeoman.

"I thought so," Chapel continued. "And as we all know, there's nothing in the known universe that motivates a man more than sex. Or, more importantly, the lack of it. It also seems to be an unwritten law in the male universe that Friday nights are for just one thing -- getting laid. Followed closely in popularity by Saturday night, of course."

"So what you're saying is ... the Captain and the other men will be more motivated to find us by Friday night because they'll all be ... umm ... horny?" Rand asked incredulously.

"Bingo," Chapel smiled. "And some will be more motivated than others. Trust me on this."

"Well, you don't hear me complaining," Sanchez piped up.

"You wouldn't," Johnson observed dryly.

Everyone present knew Angela Sanchez's reputation. Her enthusiasm for sex was a well-established and corroborated fact. It was said she could suck a man dry just shy of four minutes flat, which, of course, made her very popular among the male members of the crew. The thing was, she had such a sweet, good-natured disposition that most of the women couldn't help but like her too, in spite of the occasional pang of jealousy.

"Can I help it if I happen to like sex? A whole lot?" Sanchez asked, a little hurt.

Johnson glanced down sheepishly. "Sorry, Angie. Of course you like sex. We all do."

"S'okay," Sanchez immediately smiled her forgiveness.

"So, you really think the Enterprise will find us by Friday night?" Palmer pursued the subject. She seemed to be the only one able to stay on track for any length of time.

"I almost guarantee it," Chapel replied smugly.

"That's still a long time from now," Uhura pointed out. "In the meantime we have a decision to make. I repeat ... do we give in and allow ourselves to be ravished? Or fight to protect our womanly virtues?"

Everyone fell silent a few moments, contemplating Uhura's question. Finally, Johnson shrugged.

"Sorry, Lieutenant. I'm almost ashamed to admit it, being in Security and all, but I just don't have it in me to fight anything right now. I don't want to."

"Truth is, J.J., neither do I," Uhura admitted.

"And those Khirians really are hunks," Palmer chimed in.

"Did you see the way their muscles rippled when they moved?" Rand asked dreamily.

"Yeah, and just looking into those gorgeous green eyes made me want to melt," Ames sighed.

"And what's so bad about being ravished?" Sanchez grinned. "I like being ravished."

There were a few giggles at that remark.

Uhura looked at Chapel. "What do you think, Chris?"

"I say we jump off that bridge if and when we come to it. So far, we're just speculating. Maybe the Khirians don't want us for sex at all, although I have to admit at this very moment, I'm not adverse to the idea," she smiled. She had drifted a little too close to one of the underwater jets and it was producing the most incredible sensations ...

"But you said earlier it was sex," Ames reminded her.

"Well, that's just the most obvious answer, however, it may not be the correct one. There are too many variables and too little data to accurately ascertain what the Khirians true motives might be. It would he highly illogical to make assumptions prior to establishing those motives."

"Geesh, Chris, you really are starting to sound like Spock," Uhura observed. "Cut it out, will ya? It's a little spooky."

"Oh! Sorry, Ny," Chapel apologized, realizing her faux pas. After all, human women were not supposed to be logical. It would interfere with the plot line.

"If not sex, Chris, then what?" Palmer persisted, confused. She was just getting used to the idea of doing the dirty deed with at least a few of these intergalactic hunks and now found herself feeling oddly disappointed.

Chapel shrugged. "Do I look like Madame Cleo? I don't know. There could be several reasons. But until we have more information to go on or are presented with an opportunity to either escape or are rescued, my best medical advice is to kick back and relax," she suggested. "No doubt we'll find out soon enough what the Khirians are really up to. In the meantime, no sense in wasting the effects of these perfectly good pharmaceuticals."

"I'll second that," Ames sighed and settled further into the water.

"Maybe they're going to take us to their homeworld, fatten us up, then eat us!" Rand suddenly interjected, her eyes growing huge in alarm as she bolted upright in the bathtub and caused water to slosh over its sides. Drugs or no drugs, the idea of being part of the menu set her heart to racing. "I saw this really, really old holovid once, and these big headed space aliens landed on Earth and gave the Earth leaders this book, and--"

She was cut off by Uhura's burst of laughter. "Really, Janice! Honey, you watch way too many old holovids. If they were going to do that, why bother to kidnap just the women off the Enterprise? Why not take the whole crew?"

Rand shrugged. "I dunno. Women are more tender?"

Uhura laughed again then sank further into the water. "I think Chris is right. No sense in worrying about it, even if we could. Besides, this conversation has degenerated far enough. I think it's time for a nap."

Chapel sighed softly and closed her eyes. "I'm already half way there, girlfriend."

The women settled into a comfortable silence, each drifting into their own very pleasant and totally unconcerned thoughts. After several long minutes, Johnson murmured, "I wonder whose making the guys their coffee?"

* * *

Jhamal turned from the conference room's large central monitor and eyed the other men seated at the table with him. A small smile graced his handsome face. He was still amused by the pretty little blonde's speculation that they had been captured as food, something to actually be eaten. What a macabre imagination, he mused. "Well, what are your opinions, gentlemen? Are you convinced now we made the right decision?"

Hiebet, the chief xenopsychologist, nodded. "Indeed, Lin Jhamal. We gave these subjects only a small dose of therillium, yet they have responded better than even I had hoped. It indicates a tendency towards malleability that has been unequaled in our previous studies of other female species from this quadrant. The preliminary reports gathered on these Earth women appear to have been true. At least on the surface. Further studies will be needed, of course, to accurately determine exactly how well they will be able to adapt to our culture and societal expectations, but at this point I am most encouraged. Yes," Hiebet smiled, "Most encouraged."

Jhamal nodded. "Thank you, Lin Hiebet. And what of you, Lin Tih?" he asked, turning to the man on his left. "What is your analysis?"

Tih was quiet a moment, his gaze lingering on the monitor, although Jhamal had muted the sound. These Earth women were such lovely creatures he found it difficult to divert his attention. He especially favored the small dark one. Such a lovely face, and her breasts ... Finally, he raised his head to look his superior in the eyes.

"Genetically speaking, I have never studied a sentient race with such reproductive possibilities. It appears humans can breed with almost any known species in this part of the galaxy. Indeed, if the studies we obtained through our operatives in their Federation are true, they have done just that. Both genders are very active sexually, the males in particular. However, it is the female who controls the mating cycles. Those cycles appear to be random and subject to the personal preference of each female on an individual basis. Fortunately for us, their personal preferences correlate closely with that of their male counterparts. Perhaps this is the reason these females are so highly regarded and sought after among other species in this sector. If approached in the right manner, almost any male of any species can be assured of being granted her sexual favor. In other words, gentlemen, Earth girls really are easy."

Tih paused, picking up a small disc, then slipped it into the slot in the center of the table. "Our operatives sent us a holovid. They sent us several, in fact, demonstrating the truth of these reports. With your permission Lin Jhamal, I will activate one now."

Jhamal nodded. "Proceed."

On a slightly smaller screen next to the one monitoring their captives, large letters in an alien language appeared. Underneath, the translated caption read, "I Was A Vulcan Love Slave".

Startled, Jhamal turned to Tih, his expression clearly reflecting his disbelief. "Vulcan?" he asked doubtfully.

Tih nodded. "Even Vulcans, Lin Jhamal."

The letters faded, replaced by the sights and sounds of a beautiful blonde Earth woman caught in the throes of passion as an obviously aroused Vulcan male mounted her from behind and proceeded to pump into her with focused intensity. The woman's cries became even more passionate as she eagerly pushed back against the Vulcan's rhythmic thrusts. The scene was quite explicit, the excellent 3-d quality of the holovid adding to its impact.

"By the Gods!" Jhamal breathed aloud. Beside him, Hiebet could be heard sucking in a breath.

Tih could not fault his comrades' reactions. His had been much the same when he first viewed the 'holovids' their operatives had sent them, and this one in particular.

The Khirians had had several encounters with Vulcans in the distant past, limited mostly to trade. A more emotionally repressed and conservative race they had never encountered. The females, though attractive, were more passionless than the androids the Khirians produced to compensate for the dwindling number of females of their own race. Androids, after all, could be programmed. After study and brief speculation, it was decided Vulcan females would not be unsuitable for their purposes. That is what made the images before them so startling. If an Earth woman could motivate a Vulcan male to such passion ...

"Lin Tih," Jhamal turned to his science officer, tearing his gaze from the screen. "Surely this is a fabrication?"

Tih nodded in understanding. "I had those thoughts as well upon first viewing this particular 'holovid'. However, other reports and visual graphics seem to bear out the evidence. There are similar scenes with Klingons, Andorians, Deltans, Rigellians, Orions ... even beings that seem to have no actual corporal existence. The list is impressive. And further investigations corroborate what you are witnessing, at least in part. The current Vulcan ambassador to Earth is publicly mated to an Earth woman. It is a well-known and established fact within the Federation. They have even produced offspring."

Jhamal mulled over this information silently for several long moments, his eyes again drawn to the holovid playing out before them. In fact, all eyes in the room were drawn to it, including the two security guards stationed at the conference room door. It was impossible to ignore.

The scene had changed. The Earth woman was now on her back and smiling up at her lover, arms outstretched, thighs parted. The 'Vulcan', if he were truly such, went into her embrace willingly, sliding into her with a loud groan which turned into a low growl as he began thrusting into her once again. The look on the male's face was one of glazed passion, almost painful, his dark eyes intently focused on the woman beneath him. It was incredibly erotic and Jhamal realized he was becoming aroused. To once again take pleasure in the flesh of a real female, to know the warmth, the smell, the touch of her ... His gaze went from the holovid to the monitor beside it where the captured Earth women still lingered in the tub. The tall regal looking blonde at one end had caught his eye from the beginning and rested on her now. He shifted in his chair, the tightness in his groin suddenly growing uncomfortable.

"Lin Tih, you may deactivate the holovid," he ordered abruptly.

"Yes, Lin Jhamal." Tih cut the holovid, then turned expectantly to his leader. There was silence as all present took a moment to breathe deep and collect their respective calm.

"I believe it is time to proceed to the next step," Jhamal stated. "We have invested a great deal in this mission. It would be costly indeed to discover after all we have done that these females are not suitable. However, before we reach our home system we must be absolutely certain, while there is still time to return these women to their ship if we have, indeed, been mistaken."

Tih and Hiebet both nodded. "Agreed," they answered almost in unison.

"Have you made the preparations?" Jhamal directed at Tih.

"I have, Lin Jhamal."

"Very well," Jhamal nodded. "Lin Hiebet, notify the other teams to make ready and stand-by. We will commence with the final phase tomorrow upon my order."

"Yes, Lin Jhamal."

Jhamal stood up from the conference table and the others followed. "I will contact you both when it is time."

With that he strode from the room. He had his own preparations to make.

* * *

The conference room doors hissed open and Kirk strode in. He felt a hand on his shoulder, then a jerk. There was the sound of ripping cloth as McCoy quickly bared his shoulder and slapped a hypo to his smooth skin. Kirk glared at his CMO, thoroughly pissed. Damn! Another tunic out of his pay! "What the hell was that for, Bones?"

"Caffeine," McCoy answered succinctly. "Cookie still can't get the coffee replicators right. I've tasted some of the stuff they're spewing out. Believe me, Jim, you'd much rather have the hypo."

Kirk grunted and flexed his shoulder uncomfortably as he seated himself at the large conference table. All the department heads were there. He waited until McCoy settled into his chair, then looked each man in the eye for a lingering moment as he surveyed his assembled officers. "Gentleman, it is now nineteen hundred hours on Thursday evening and a full twenty-eight hours since all one hundred and fifty-two female members of our crew were abducted. I think it's time for some answers. Past time."

There was a moment of silence, then Spock drew a breath.

"I believe I may be able to provide some of those answers, Captain." The Vulcan leaned forward and dropped a data tape into the slot before him. The tri-screen monitor in the middle of the table lit up with an image of the surrounding space with a thin luminescent trail clearly discernible against the blackness.

"I believe what we are looking at is a distinct ionization trail of the vessel we encountered yesterday at approximately sixteen hundred hours and thirty-two minutes. Of course, this is extreme magnification and the picture has been enhanced, but calculating the vessel's trajectory at a constant speed of warp five, I believe I know where this ship is going and what species we may be dealing with."

Spock paused, dropped in a second tape and the scene on the monitor changed to that of a planetary system with two yellow dwarf suns and as many as twenty or more planetary bodies and dozens of orbiting moons.

Kirk looked at the screen, his brow furrowing. "I don't recognize this system, Mister Spock."

"Nor should you, Captain. It is beyond explored Federation space. However, it has been encountered before ... by Vulcans. I did some cross-referencing with the Vulcan Science Academy's Astronomy and Astrophysics databanks. Many of them contain old trade routes that are no longer in use." Spock paused to take a deep breath, settling into his 'lecture mode'.

"This, gentlemen, is the Khiri star system. It boasts three Class M planets with a substantial population inhabiting each. At one time, before the formation of the Federation, Vulcan had a limited trade agreement with the Khirians. They are quite advanced technologically and were known for their agricultural achievements and terraforming skills. Cultural reports done at the time noted they were a non-aggressive and peaceful race, if somewhat xenophobic. Rather gracious by Human standards, but also somewhat secretive. They are humanoid in appearance and quite long-lived. The average Khirian life span is two hundred and fifty to three hundred Terran years. Trade relations between Vulcan and Khiri did not last long ... less than twenty years, due to a lack of interest on the part of both parties. The Khiri system was just too far from the main trade routes to be profitable to Vulcan merchants and the Khirians found little they required from Vulcan. Relations did, however, end amicably as far as I can determine. That is why I am somewhat puzzled, Captain. It does not seem in the Khirian nature to be so aggressive, yet the evidence strongly suggests they are the ones we seek."

"I consider knocking us out, boarding our ship without permission, then abducting one hundred and sixty-four members of my crew pretty damned aggressive, Mister Spock," Kirk responded tersely.

Spock nodded. "Agreed, Captain. Clearly, something has triggered a change in the Khirian gestalt that has resulted in this turn of events. I suggest we begin our pursuit immediately. We must try to catch them before they reach their home system. Once there, we will be outgunned and outmaneuvered. As I have said, they are quite technologically advanced and these reports are over one hundred and fifty standard years old."

Kirk nodded, then looked at his chief engineer. "What about it Scotty? Can we catch them?"

"Aye, Captain," Scott answered solemnly. "But it'll put a terrible strain on the engines for sure. No way around it."

"I don't care if you have to strap bottle rockets to the nacelles, Scotty! Just give us the power we need." Kirk glanced around the table. "Anybody else have anything to contribute?"

McCoy cleared his throat. "Those traces of pheromones DeSalle and his security teams picked up? Well, lab reports suggest they're exactly that, Jim: distinctly male sexual pheromones and quite potent at that. My guess is these guys are really hot to trot."

Spock quirked an eyebrow. "'Hot to trot', Doctor?"

"You know. Horny, randy ... steamed up?" The eyebrow rose higher. "Um, extremely sexually motivated, Mister Spock." When Spock finally nodded his understanding, the doctor turned his attention back to Kirk. "And in that case, it seems apparent why only female members of the crew were abducted. Jim, we gotta get them back, and soon! No telling what sexually perverted antics these Khirians have in mind, but I can guarantee you on thing for sure, our ladies' virtue is at stake here!"

Kirk held the doctor's gaze, saw that Bones was completely serious, and swallowed against the sudden dryness of his throat. He didn't mind availing himself of those aforementioned virtues, but he'd be damned if he was gonna let some over-sexed, technologically advanced aliens get away with stealing their women and committing unthinkable acts of sexual perversions on them. That right belonged to them!

"Understood, Doctor. Mister Scott, let's get down to engineering. I want to make sure we get every ounce of power needed to catch these bastards."

"Aye, sir," Scott nodded, rising from the table.

"Spock, take the con and have Sulu lay in a course for the Khiri star system. I'll be in Engineering with Scott." Kirk stood up, looking down at his First Officer. The Vulcan was staring off into space, almost as if he were in a trance. "Mister Spock?"

Spock was lost in the images McCoy's words evoked in his mind, of another male -- an alien male -- locked in a fervent embrace with Christine. The Vulcan survey reports included holos of the Khirians -- a tall, lithe and attractive species -- and in his mind's eye he could see them together ... could imagine those alien hips grinding into his t'hy'la, breath coming short and fast and hot, taking what was his. His! And what of Christine? Would she succumb to this alien lust? Or was she terrified, feeling abandoned by him? He should have bonded with her, Spock berated himself again. At least then he would know on some level what was happening with her. What emotional scars would be left behind? Would she ever be able to bear the touch of a male again? Specifically, his touch? And by Friday night ... tomorrow night?! The stylus in his fingers snapped in two.


Spock suddenly realized Kirk was addressing him. He took a deep breath and looked up, gathering control and pushing aside his sudden burst of outrage.

"You all right?" Kirk inquired, concern shining in the soft hazel eyes.

It was already starting: the fever. Spock could almost feel the heat of his body temperature rising incrementally as he sat there. It would take every Vulcan discipline he had ever mastered to maintain emotional equilibrium in the coming hours. "Of course, Captain." He stood up and gathered the tapes and pieces of the broken stylus, forcing a calm he didn't feel. "I was ... distracted by the urgency of our mission."

Kirk nodded, then looked around at the other grim faces in the room, his own set in determination. "Very well then, Gentlemen. Let's go hunting."

* * *

Chapel stirred drowsily, vaguely aware of warm fingertips caressing her cheek then slipping down to her neck and shoulders making small lazy circles against her skin. Not willing to open her eyes just yet, she stretched languidly, her lips pulling into a soft, seductive smile. "Oh, Spock. I had the craziest dream," she murmured sleepily.

The fingers continued to caress her as she felt him bend over her and nuzzle into her hair. His teeth caught her earlobe and lightly pulled on it before he drew it into his mouth, gently sucking on it and teasing it with his tongue. A moment later she felt him pull back slightly, the warmth of his breath fanning across her neck and tickling her ear as he whispered, "I am not Spock."

Chapel's eyes snapped open and she bolted upright, finding herself nose to nose with the Khirian leader Jhamal. He smiled at her showing perfectly even white teeth, almost luminescent in the dimly subdued lighting of the room. She felt an absurd impulse to squint against the dazzling glare but his deep emerald eyes caught and held her startled ones for a long moment; clear, serene ... hypnotic. She felt mesmerized, unable to pull her gaze away. At last she broke the spell and shook her head, looking around her wildly.

She was no longer in the 'holding cell' with the other women of the Enterprise but seemed to be in a luxurious private stateroom of some kind. She was sitting in the middle of a humungous round bed with Lin Jhamal sitting in front of her. His absurdly well-muscled physique was clad in a short satin robe of deep emerald green that matched his eyes and the satin bedspread underneath them as well as the drapes lining the walls. Either this guy had a thing for the green satin or they had run into a terrific blue light special on fabric somewhere, she concluded. A soft kind of alien music played in the background and dozens of lit candles (green, of course) were placed around the room casting a soft glow. Next to the bed stood a table with a platter of what looked like delicate confectionaries -- chocolate? -- and next to that, a tall decanter and several glasses. Boy, this guy didn't miss a trick, she mused.

"I am pleased you have awakened," Jhamal continued to smile at her as he inched closer. "I did not wish to disturb you, but time is of the essence."

Chapel scooted back, realizing instantly that her bottom was bare against the slick satin spread. She glanced down and saw she was wearing what one might call a negligee, but even that was stretching it a bit. It was more like a see-through oversized handkerchief in a pale lime green with nothing else underneath, and so short it would barely cover her behind if she were standing up. Which she wasn't. Good Lord! How cliche could things get? And who the hell was this guy's decorator anyway? The Wizard of Oz? She felt like she had just woke up in the local brothel of Emerald City.

"Ah ... where am I?" she demanded. "And what have you done with the other women who were with me?"

"You are safe," Jhamal informed her. "You and the other members of your crew are still guests on my ship. As I have told you previously, you will not be harmed."

"But where on the ship?" Chapel frowned, getting a sneaking suspicion she already knew. "These are not the same quarters I fell asleep in."

The women had spent what felt like another whole day in their 'cell' with no one bothering them and still no sign of a rescue. The drugs were still in full force, preventing them from formulating or attempting a serious escape plan. By then, Chapel had come to the conclusion it was neither the food nor drink that were drugged, but that it was being pumped in through the ventilation system. Of course, she didn't care when she realized this. That was the nature of the drug. She had a hazy memory of another long and lazy communal bath and a light supper the night before, then they had all stretched out on various plush pallets scattered about the cell and fell asleep. How long they had been out, Chapel had no idea, but she was guessing it had been a really long time. She felt well rested and there wasn't even a trace of a hang over. No doubt due to more drugs, she decided. These guys really liked the drugs.

"You are correct. These are my personal quarters," Jhamal informed her silkily. "I thought it best to proceed in more ... private surroundings. We want you to be as comfortable as possible."

Chapel drew herself up in as dignified a pose as was possible under the circumstances, ignoring the fact that all her womanly charms were quite visible beneath the thin veil of gauzy fabric she wore. "'Proceed'?" she demanded. "Proceed with what?"

Jhamal again moved closer. But as she started to back away, this time he caught Chapel around her waist with one strong arm and held her fast. "You said it yourself, Christine," he answered huskily. "I may call you Christine, may I not?"

She nodded dumbly, mentally weighing the odds of success if she tried to fight him off, then deciding that he might be more 'vulnerable' at a later time. Jhamal smiled again, but now his smile had a decidedly predatory edge. Jeesh, what she wouldn't give for a pair of shades.

"Your initial assessment was quite correct, Christine. We took you and the other females from your ship for the obvious reason. Sex."

"Now there's a surprise," she returned sarcastically. "You were monitoring us?"

Jhamal shrugged. "Of course. We were collecting as much data as possible before continuing on with the next step of the experiment. Your conversations were very illuminating as well as ... amusing at times."

"Glad we could entertain you," Chapel commented dryly. "So I'm here because you ... uh ... have reached a critical stage in your 'experiment'? The clinical stage, I presume?"

"Precisely," Jhamal replied, genuinely pleased. "Such clinical studies are being conducted in private quarters throughout the ship even as we speak." Jhamal pressed closer, bringing his lips only inches from hers. "But there is more than the physiological pleasures of sex involved. Much more."

Suddenly, Jhamal leaned forward and covered her mouth with his own. Chapel let out a little squeak of protest and tried to wriggle out of his grasp, but he held her tight, refusing to let go. His tongue forced its way into her mouth and explored her with an expertise that took her breath away. The kiss seemed to go on forever and for one dizzying moment, she thought she might actually swoon. Was she still drugged? No, she didn't feel drugged. Jesus! This guy should register his lips as lethal weapons! she thought distractedly.

When he finally ended the kiss, Jhamal pulled back, one hand coming up to brush a stray wisp of pale gold hair from her face and caress her cheek as Chapel took in several deep gulps of air in an attempt to get oxygen back into her brain. "May we depend on your cooperation during this phase of research, Christine?" he asked in a husky whisper. "It promises to be most pleasurable. I find you to be a very attractive and most arousing representative of your species."

With that, Jhamal quickly untied the belt of his robe and shrugged out of it. He was totally nude underneath and paused for a moment, awaiting her perusal. "Do you find me attractive and arousing?"

Chapel couldn't help herself. Still a little dazed by his kiss, her gaze traveled to the lean, hard muscled expanse of Jhamal's chest noting the shiny ebony hair that matched the hair on his head. Always a sucker for men with hairy chests, she felt her heart rate accelerate and the instinctive urge to reach out and rake her fingernails through the crisp mat of hair almost overwhelmed her. Reigning in that impulse, her gaze moved lower, following the thinning trail of hair to a tight, washboard stomach where the muscles fairly rippled underneath the beautifully bronzed skin and again she felt the urge to touch.

Oh, this wasn't fair! How was a girl expected to resist this? Spock! She must think of Spock. But her gaze continued to travel down and a moment later a small gasp escaped her lips and her eyes grew wider as she saw the evidence of Jhamal's arousal protruding up between corded thighs and the satin robe pooled around his hips. As protuberances went, it was impressive. Damned impressive! Then something Jhamal said a moment before finally clicked into place and she looked up at him sharply. "We?" she asked suspiciously. "You asked 'may we count on your cooperation'?" Jhamal gave her that dazzling smile once again. "Of course." He made a quick gesture with his hand and another Khirian male seemed to materialize out of shadows. "This is Lin Hiebet, our lead xenopsychologist. He will be joining us in our research efforts."

The second man smiled. "A pleasure to meet you at last, Christine."

Up to this point, Chapel had been fairly calm, biding her time until an opportunity to escape from this green satin nightmare presented itself. If not for Spock, she might even have considered an interesting cultural exchange with Jhamal -- he was undeniably sexy in a gorgeous, alien sort of way -- but this! This was a whole other ballgame!

She glanced warily at the other Khirian, her mouth going dry. He was already shrugging out of his green satin robe as he approached the bed and it was obvious as he tossed the garment aside that she had his full attention as well. Although a little shorter and slighter in build than Jhamal, he was just as devastatingly handsome. When he climbed onto the bed and started to crawl up the length behind her, she swallowed repeatedly to push down the sudden lump in her throat.

"Ah ... Umm ... Look, boys. I know some girls are into this kinky, alien group sex sort of thing? But this one hasn't had all her shots yet. Besides, I don't think my boyfriend would appreciate it if I threw a party and he wasn't invited."

"Do not be frightened, Christine. We have no wish to harm you, only to give you pleasure," Jhamal assured her in silken tones. "I regret it was necessary to separate you from your mate, but you will soon adapt to what is expected of you. It is why your species was chosen. You will understand when I explain everything in more detail later. But now it is time to proceed."

Jhamal's arm tightened around her waist and he leaned forward to kiss her. Chapel jerked back and let out a small startled yelp when she realized Hiebet was just behind her, his arms sliding around her waist to join Jhamal's.

"Now just a damn minute, you testosterone inflated jerk!" Chapel began heatedly. She was beginning to panic a little bit and besides, she was getting thoroughly pissed off. "I think I've been pretty patient up until now, but just who the hell do you think you're dealing with? I'm a trained professional and a Starfleet officer, not some bimbo plucked up out of a Dabo parlor. And if my boyfriend catches up with you, he'll tear you limb from limb! He can do that, you know. He's a Vulcan!"

"Please calm yourself, Christine," Jhamal entreated soothingly. "All will be well."

Feeling herself becoming sandwiched between the two men as they both pressed closer, Chapel's panic jumped a couple of notches higher. "Calm?! I'll show you calm! And what kind of experiment is it that you keep going on about? I think I have a right to know since I seem to be the prize guinea pig here!"

Jhamal sighed, then nodded. "Very well. Perhaps if I explain now, then you will understand and realize the need for your cooperation."

Jhamal pulled back slightly to give her some space and behind her Chapel felt Hiebet do the same. She let out a sigh of relief.

"Many of your decades ago a plague was unleashed on our people, a plague of our own making," Jhamal began solemnly. "Our scientists were seeking a way to increase food production for our growing population by stimulating the breeding cycles of the bovine herds indigenous to our homeworlds. But something went terribly wrong. The genetically engineered virus designed to accomplish this somehow crossed the species barrier and infected the population at large. It was incredibly swift and before a cure could be found, it spread throughout our entire system."

"Oh, how awful," Chapel commented sympathetically.

"Yes," Jhamal agreed. "It was indeed awful. The cure left most of our females barren, and those that were still able to conceive gave birth to only male offspring. The males were not unaffected either. Perversely, the production of male sex hormones increased, resulting in a much stronger sex drive than before. We have compensated with holographs and the production of female androids. But, of course, that was not a solution, only temporary measures until such a time as we can reverse the disparity between the sexes. So far our efforts have been to no avail. Our remaining fertile females, revered as they are, grow old and past the time of their fertility. We have therefore been forced to consider other ... alternatives."

An uneasiness settled over Chapel as Jhamal's gaze rested on hers, pleading for understanding. "Alternatives meaning us. Humans," she stated the obvious.

Jhamal nodded. "Precisely. It is known that Humans can mate and produce offspring with many different species. Our research indicates the same should be true with our people."

"But that still doesn't give you the right to kidnap us and force us into the role of brood mares!" Chapel came back heatedly. "All you would have had to do was ask, for crying out loud!"

"Ask?" Jhamal looked startled at this suggestion. "But our operatives inside the Federation have lead us to believe this would not be possible. We were told there was great competition for females from Earth among the other members of the Federation. Even among those of your enemies."

"Really?" Chapel asked surprised. Then her eyes narrowed suspiciously. "Just who are these 'operatives' of yours, Jhamal?"

"The Ferengi," Jhamal answered. "They have been most helpful and sympathetic to our plight."

Chapel snorted. "Oh, I'll just bet the Ferengi have been sympathetic! And tell me, are you compensating them for their noble, altruistic efforts? Say, in the form of gold latinum bars?"

"Of course. That and the promise of giving them ten percent of the females we capture. But do not worry, Christine. As the leader of this mission, I have the right to choose any female I desire to keep as a mate. Since there are so few of you, I must share, of course, but you will not be given over to the Ferengi," Jhamal assured her. "I will see to that."

"Oh, well that's a comfort," Chapel returned sarcastically. "I hate to burst your bubble, Jhamal, but you've been scammed. Hoodwinked. Bamboozled. All you needed to do was place an ad in the personals of the Federation Intergalactic Enquirer and -- with the way you guys look -- you would have thousands of volunteers in no time! Believe me. Or else come to the Federation and ask for our help. The Ferengi know this, too. They set your people up to get what they wanted and get paid in the bargain to boot. They took advantage of you, Jhamal, and could care less about the problems of your species."

Jhamal was quiet for a long time, absorbing this new information. The Earth woman could be lying to try to delay the inevitable, but something in his gut told him she was telling the truth. He looked over her shoulder at Hiebet and saw the same conclusion reflected in his colleague's eyes. They had been taken for colossal fools! Finally, he sighed. "Perhaps you are correct, Christine. Yet we have come too far to abandon our efforts now. We will continue with the experiment." Jhamal started to lean forward.

Chapel pulled back. "What? You mean to tell me you're going to go through with this ridiculous plotli ... er ... plan of yours, even though you believe me?" Chapel asked incredulously.

Jhamal shrugged. "We have already invested a great deal of time and expense assuring the positive outcome of this experiment. It would be illogical not to proceed. We must know if you can be impregnated. If it is so, then perhaps we will give your suggestion of placing a personal ad in this Federation Intergalactic Enquirer more consideration."

"Whoa, cowboy!" Chapel shot back as Jhamal began to move in on her again. "Your plan has a fatal flaw. I can't get pregnant. None of us can. Starfleet regulations require all female personnel on active deep space assignment to be on contraceptive injections. And that's one shot I never miss. Of course, the men aren't required to be on contraceptives, but then the same Powers That Be who came up with that gem of a regulation also came up with those stupid Playboy Bunny uniforms they make us wear. What can I say? We live in a sexist society. But you see, your 'experiment' is already doomed to failure."

Chapel gave him her most winning smile, willing to forgive and forget if Jhamal would just listen to her. But something in the way he returned that smile made hers fade a little.

"You are in error, Christine. Fortunately, the Ferengi did inform us of this probability and we were prepared to take corrective action. While you were unconscious this last time each of you were given a treatment to reverse the effects of the contraceptives. It was a simple chemical reversal. Stimulating ovulation and preparing you for impregnation was a bit more complicated, however, and required more time using specialized instrumentation. That is why you have been kept unconscious until now. But even if only a small percentage of you become impregnated, then we will have met with success. So you see, we really are committed."

This information hit Chapel like a bucket of cold water. Oh, God! Not the old Alien-Probe-Up-The-Whazoo routine. At least she could be thankful she wasn't awake for it. One of these days she'd laugh about this, she really would. Just not today. She swallowed convulsively against the sudden lump in her throat, her mind scrambling.

"Look, it's still not too late, Jhamal. You can turn this floating bordello around and take us back to our ship. As it is, I have no doubt you're in deep sh ... uh, trouble with our captain. James T. Kirk is no one to fool around with, especially when there're women at stake. And I shudder to think what would happen if my boyfriend catches you putting the moves on me. Did I tell you he was Vulcan?"

Chapel knew she was babbling, but couldn't help herself. Something told her help was on the way if she could just keep stalling them. "But if you stop this now, I'm sure the Captain will listen to anything you have to say and might even be willing to use our resources to help you. And one of the women you captured along with me is a communications expert. It would be nothing at all for her to place an ad in the personals of the Federation Intergalactic Enquirer for you and set up a system for you to respond. In the meantime, our scientists could help you. In fact, I'm a research biologist. I promise to help if you give me the chance ... and our freedom."

Jhamal seemed to mull this over a moment and Chapel held her breath hopefully. Finally, he shook his head.

"I appreciate your offer, but I doubt you or your scientists can come up with a solution our own have been unable to find for almost two hundred of your years. Not soon enough to be of any real assistance. Time is critical. My species has already wasted enough of it before seeking this last and most desperate alternative solution. Neither does your captain and his ship frighten me, Christine," Jhamal said quietly, his eyes suddenly soft and looking deeply into hers. "We're less than a day away from our home system. Once there, he would be a fool to attack us. And I do not think your captain is a fool. Now, please. Enough talk."

"But ... but ... but ... " Chapel stammered as both Jhamal and Hiebet moved closer to her. Their hands began to wander over her body in soft caresses and she started to panic, batting at their hands as she tried to wriggle out between them. "Oh, now I get it! You guys don't really want our help, do you? You just wanna play hide the sausage and you'll grab at any excuse to get us into bed. That's it, isn't it? Look, you arrogant sons of a--"

Out of nowhere Hiebet suddenly produced a small metallic disc and pressed it to her neck. Chapel jerked then gasped, feeling a warm tingling sensation flow instantly through her entire body leaving behind tiny explosive fires in its wake. She could only stare at Jhamal, her blue eyes growing wide in a mixture of dawning realization, outrage, and something else ... raw, naked desire! Those tiny fires quickly became a full-blown forest fire of heat and lust centering low in her belly and groin and she ceased to struggle, panting against the incredible sensations suddenly throbbing between her thighs. What the hell?

Hiebet removed his hand and tucked the small device underneath a pillow, nodding to Jhamal as Jhamal then reached to caress one breast through the transparent gown. Behind her, Hiebet loosened his firm grip from around her waist and slid one hand up to fondle her other breast and Chapel closed her eyes, crying out with the unbelievable pleasure of their combined touch.

"I regret we must resort to artificial stimulation," Jhamal was saying as he leaned forward to brush his lips across hers, eliciting another soft moan from her. "I was hoping to avoid this, however time is growing short. In the future you will come to anticipate the pleasures we offer you and the drug will not be necessary, but for now we have a need to get on with the experiment."

Behind her Chapel felt Hiebet's lips nibbling on her neck as he pushed his hips forward, nudging into the soft flesh of her scantily clad buttocks. "Relax, let the drug flow through you," he whispered, bringing his lips up to her ear. "Let us give you the pleasures you deserve."

Chapel shuddered and arched her back, pushing into him instinctively even as she realized what was happening. Good God! This is some kick-ass aphrodisiac! Somewhere in her distraction she wondered if it would work as well on Spock. Their relationship was definitely in a Friday night rut. Rut? She almost snorted outloud at her own pun, but Hiebet's hand fondling her breast then suddenly moving down to brush across her stomach interrupted this errant thought and brought her abruptly back to the current situation with a plaintive moan. Friday! Oh my God, it's Friday! Isn't it? Oh Spock, where are you? She thought desperately even as her hands moved of their own volition to caress Jhamal's chest and scrape her fingernails through the crisp dark hair.

Hiebet moved to lie down and pulled her down on to the bed with him. Chapel gave no resistance. Resistance was futile under the onslaught of sensual sensations suddenly battering at her senses. In fact, resistance was not only futile, it was the farthest thing from her suddenly lust crazed mind. She reveled in the feel of the male flesh pressing the length of her back -- in particular a very taut and tumescent length of male flesh -- and wriggled her bottom delightedly against it. Looking up dazedly, she saw Jhamal smile that dazzling smile once again as he followed them down onto the surface of the bed, effectively covering her from on top. She no longer panicked at the feel of being sandwiched between the two men. In fact, she was suddenly thrilled to be the filling in this particular sandwich.

Jhamal captured her mouth with his and she moaned as the kiss grew deeper, hungrier, and felt his hand sliding up one inner thigh. When he slipped it between her legs and his fingers began a slow, deliberate stroking she thought she would pass out from the sheer ecstasy of it. Oh, Spock! You'd better get here soon! she thought forlornly through the heavy layers of pleasure descending upon her senses.

Then suddenly, Chapel felt the earth move. Then she felt it move again.

* * *

"Got 'em!" Sulu crowed triumphantly.

Kirk shot up out of his chair and went to stand behind Sulu, leaning over the helmsman's shoulder. "Engage the second tractor beam, Mister Sulu. Now! We don't want them slipping through our grasp when we're so close."

"Aye, aye, Captain," Sulu responded crisply as he flipped another switch and a second beam of energy shot from the Enterprise to latch onto her quarry. "Second tractor beam engaged." The Asian twisted around in his seat to grin up at his captain. "They won't be going anywhere now, sir."

Kirk straightened with a wide smile on his face and turned to his first officer. "Give the word, Mister Spock. Initiate Operation Java!"

"Aye, Captain!" Spock responded with blatant unVulcan enthusiasm. He forgave himself this slip as his hands flew over his controls, setting into motion the plan that would bring Christine back to him. Although unbonded, now that they were close to the alien ship he could sense her somehow, knew that she, too, was being affected by the fire that had begun to burn deep within him early that morning. He could feel the pull of her siren call beating at his senses. If all went as planned, it would only be a matter of hours now. He held on to that thought as he worked to make it so.

* * *

Jhamal and Hiebet scrambled off the bed, leaving Chapel lying sprawled across the satin spread dazed and confused as two Khirian security types burst into Jhamal's quarters.

"Lin Jhamal! The Federation ship has caught us in a tractor beam! She has all weapons poised to fire on us!" one of them reported breathlessly. Both looked as if they'd been running.

Jhamal strode naked to a console in his quarters. "Bridge! Raise shields!"

"Too late!" came the agitated response. "Our shields have been disabled, Lin Jhamal As well as our weapons! They are already boarding the ship!"

Hearing this exchange, Chapel pushed up into a sitting position in the middle of the bed, still dazed but catching on fast. The Enterprise! It was here! And Spock was coming for her. She didn't know how, but she could sense it, feel it in her bones. The drug Hiebet had given her still raced through her veins and combined with something else she couldn't define. An image of Spock filled her mind as he had looked their last Friday night together ... tall and dark and lean and hard in all the right places. A wide grin spread across her face. "Told you so. You should have listened to me."

Jhamal whirled to look at her, his expression revealing his surprise and consternation, then softened, his eyes pleading. "You will help us negotiate?"

"Humph!" Chapel snorted. "I don't think so, Green Satin Boy," she said haughtily as she crossed her arms under her ample breasts. "Besides, it's too late. My boyfriend's back and there's gonna be trouble."

Just as she said this raised voices could be heard in the corridor beyond the open threshold of Jhamal's quarters. One voice in particular cut through to her and Chapel smiled.

"You will stand aside, gentlemen, or I shall not hesitate to blast my way through you!" Chapel raised an eyebrow at Jhamal. "See what I mean?"

There was barely controlled fury in that voice. Jhamal heard it, too, and made a leaping dive for the bed and Chapel. Chapel let out a startled yelp as Jhamal grabbed her and wrestled her in front of him as a shield. Seconds later an irate Vulcan burst into the room flanked by a team of security guards from the Enterprise, all of them brandishing phasers. Everyone in the room froze. Spock's expression was hard as stone as his gaze riveted on the naked Jhamal and the nearly naked human woman he held in front of him in the middle of the bed. Chapel gave him a broad welcoming smile.

"Man, am I ever glad to see you guys!"

Spock's gaze flickered over her briefly, then back to Jhamal. "Release her," he demanded darkly.

Jhamal shook his head. "First we must talk. I wish to speak with your captain."

"I shall repeat myself only this once. Release her now, or suffer the consequences."

Chapel could practically feel the heat emanating off Spock from across the room, his dark eyes burning with an intensity she knew all too well. The pon farr must be in full swing. Watching Spock struggle to remain in control and fighting against her own raging libido, she tried to jerk free from Jhamal's grasp and go to him, but Jhamal held her tight.

"Better do as he says," she whispered harshly to Jhamal. "Remember the Vulcan boyfriend I was telling you about? Well, that's him. And he's gonna kick your ass if you don't let go of me!"

Jhamal ignored her and addressed Spock. "I will let the woman go only when I am permitted to speak with your captain."

Chapel read the subtle change that came over Spock as the words left the Khirian's mouth, and tensed. "Oh shit. Now you've done it!" she muttered.

With one last-ditch effort she pulled out of Jhamal's grasp and ducked ... just as Spock raised his phaser and fired.

Chapel felt Jhamal slump behind her and scooted away from him and off the bed. She stood there, trying to tug the hem of the negligee down over her bottom without much success. At last Spock addressed her, his voice tightly controlled.

"Are you injured, Miss Chapel?"

"No, I don't think so, Mister Spock." Chapel shifted uncomfortably. She could feel Spock's arousal washing over her, could see it in his eyes, and all she wanted to do in that moment was jump the Vulcan and ride him to the homestretch. But she couldn't, of course. Not yet.

"Very well," Spock nodded. He turned to the security guards with him. "Mister DeSalle, take these men to a secure holding area, then report in to the Enterprise," he directed. "I shall be along shortly."

"Aye, Mister Spock," DeSalle nodded, pulling his gaze from the scantily clad Chapel and wondering what excuse he could find to wind up in Sickbay in the near future, then noted the nurse's eyes on the XO. Some Vulcans had all the dumb luck! "You heard the man," he growled to the other members of his team. "Let's get moving."

As the security team rounded up the Khirians and pulled Jhamal's unconscious form from the bed, Spock reached behind him for his communicator then flipped it open, his eyes never once leaving Chapel's. "Captain, we found Lieutenant Chapel and have captured the Khirian leader."

"Understood, Spock," Kirk's voice came back. "We're wrapping things up here as well. It doesn't look like any of the women were injured, just a bit ... um ... shaken up at the moment. I'll see you back on the ship. Kirk out." Spock closed his communicator and slowly returned it to his hip. When the last of security and the Khirians left and the door closed behind them, Spock finally permitted himself to move toward Chapel. Chapel ran the few steps and threw herself into his arms. Their mouths came together hungrily as their arms wrapped around each other. Fire and lust raged between them, each feeding off together. Finally, Chapel broke the kiss and breathlessly pulled back to grin up at her lover. "Is that a phaser in your pocket, Spock? Or are you just happy to see me?"

But Spock was in no mood for fun and games. He said nothing, merely searched her eyes for a moment, then gripped her upper arms tightly and pulled her to him, again kissing her breathless. Chapel groaned, feeling herself falling into the smoldering cauldron that was their mutual desire. His arms wound around her tightly then his hands started to wander down her back, caressing her roughly as they went. When they came to her buttocks, he slipped them up underneath what there was of the skimpy material of her garment and grabbed her ass, pushing into her at the same time. They both moaned, their kiss becoming open mouthed and frantic with their need. Finally, Spock moaned again, louder, and with a sound that seemed to be torn from somewhere deep within. He broke the kiss and pushed her back from him, his breath ragged as he tried to speak.

"We cannot. Not now. Not here."

"Why not?" Chapel demanded huskily as she tried to go back into his arms.

"Because there isn't time!" Spock answered irritably. "The Captain is expecting me, and you must go to Sickbay to be examined. I burn for you, Christine, but I will not jeopardize your well being."

Chapel again tried to move closer to Spock, but this time met with a little more success as his defenses weakened and his arms came up to hold her lightly, not trusting himself to do any more. She smiled seductively as she whispered, "Not even for a little quickie?"

For a split second, Spock vacillated, sorely tempted, then shook his head and sighed heavily. "No. I fear that once I give in, I will not be able to stop. Surely you understand?"

As much as she hated to admit it, Spock was right. Chapel knew that once they gave in to the fires burning nearly out of control within both of them, they wouldn't come up for air for a long, long time. Still, what she wouldn't give to see Spock spread out naked on that green satin bedspread. Her mouth fairly watered with the prospect. At last, Chapel took a deep breath and let it out slowly, stepping back. "Okay, you're right." She turned and searched the deck until she saw Hiebet's robe lying there. She scooped it up and shrugged into it.

Spock released a breath he wasn't aware until that moment he had been holding. His control had very nearly snapped and he was grateful Chapel was covering herself. She belted the tie snuggly and squared her shoulders.

"All I can say is ... Better eat your Wheaties, Mister, cause you're gonna need 'em!" With that comment she pushed past him and strode toward the door.

Spock stood for a moment in her wake, watching her hips sway seductively as she walked away from him. By the Gods of his ancestors, he never tired of that view! Then one eyebrow slowly climbed toward his forehead. "Wheaties?"

* * *

"I'll be all right, Leonard. Really."

"Just let me try one more, Chris. It'll be the last one. I promise." Chapel gritted her teeth and waited as McCoy fiddled with the hypospray chamber then clicked it into place. "If this doesn't do it, I'm afraid you're just going to have to wait until this stuff wears off. Another five or six hours, I'd say."

"Fine. Whatever. Just give me the hypo," Chapel responded irritably. Great. She was still the prize guinea pig! And her over stimulated libido was beginning to get on her nerves in the extreme. McCoy's presence was almost unbearable and his touch, although strictly professional, was only adding to her heightened state of arousal. Truth was, she always thought he was rather adorable in an irascible sort of way, but she could just picture the look on his face if she told him 'I'm going to jump your bones, Bones, if you keep touching like that.' It was like having the worst itch imaginable and not being able to scratch it. Besides, they had been back on the Enterprise almost two hours. Spock must be pacing his quarters like a caged tiger by now. She had to get out of there!

McCoy placed the hypo against her neck. "Okay, here goes." He released the trigger and the drug indicator sank with a quiet hiss. He looked up at the indicators above the biobed, and not satisfied with what he saw, ran the hand held scanner over Chapel. He paused to read the results and frowned. After several more minutes of waiting and Chapel fidgeting, he repeated the scan, then finally thumbed off the scanner and let out a long sigh.

"Sorry, Chris. We made a small dent in it, but that's about it. Even the Khirians don't have the antidote for this aphrodisiac, as they didn't anticipate needing one. They purchased the stuff from the Ferengi, of course. But like I said, five or six hours and it should be out of your system."

Chapel sat up and swung her legs over the edge of the biobed. "Well, you tried. Thanks, Len." She started to stand up, her mind already racing ahead to Spock and what she was going to do to him. This was gonna be one Friday Night pon farr he would never forget!

"Whoa there!" McCoy halted her. "I didn't say you were released."

Chapel glared at McCoy as she tightened the belt of the robe she wore over the flimsy little bit of lingerie the Khirians had dressed her in. Finally she took a deep breath and let it out slowly, telling herself to be calm. "You've got your hands full here in sickbay without me taking up another bed. I know there were a few injuries in the skirmish. Just let me go so I can take a shower, get something to eat, then go to bed." She didn't say she wouldn't be alone in that bed.

McCoy looked at her speculatively. "I don't know, Chris. You practically have 'Hi, Sailor. Wanna ride the waves?' tattooed across your forehead. Maybe I should keep you in sickbay tonight for observation."

"You can't keep all of us in sickbay," she shot back irritably. They only had so many beds, even if they opened up the two isolation wards. And since most of the nursing staff would be patients, there wouldn't be enough medical staff remaining to monitor them all anyway.

"Of course not," McCoy responded. "But most of the female crew have ... uh ... male friends that can watch over them tonight. Keep them ... um ... " McCoy shifted uncomfortably. "Oh hell, Chris! You know what I mean."

McCoy was actually close to blushing. He looked really cute like that, she thought distractedly as the constant arousal that had been with her for what seemed like forever now inched a notch higher. If it weren't for Spock... "Look, I appreciate your concern. And I admit that I'm ... uncomfortable, but--"

"Uncomfortable?" McCoy snorted. "I've only seen hormone and pheromone levels this high once before, but I'm not going to elaborate on that now. The point is, I don't want to have to worry about you wandering the corridors pressing buzzers tonight. It could get that bad over the next few hours."

Chapel hopped off the biobed and straightened her robe with slightly trembling hands. "What makes you think I don't have a friend of the male persuasion who can 'watch over me', as you put it? Now, if you'll discharge me, I think a certain someone is waiting for me."

McCoy stared at her, stunned for a moment, then his face split in a wide grin. "Holding out on me, huh. Okay, you can go. But ... well, what about Spock?"

"What about Spock?" she threw over her shoulder.

McCoy watched her make a hasty exit out of sickbay and shook his head, his grin settling into a contented little smile. About damned time she got over that pointy-eared walking computer. A drastic cure for sure, but maybe when all this was over she would finally come to her senses where the Vulcan was concerned. One thing for sure, Spock would never know what he was missing. Whoever the lucky guy was Chapel was making a beeline for, McCoy was positive he was about to get the ride of his life!

A hand on his arm pulled him from his reverie and McCoy turned, a little startled to find Uhura had wandered over from a few biobeds down. She was the last of the women left in Sickbay to be examined. She gave him her most dazzling smile and batted her lashes. "You still make house calls, Sugar?

McCoy swallowed hard and felt his eyebrows climbing up his forehead.

* * *

Chapel strode barefoot down the corridor like a woman on a mission, which she was. Before she could even press the buzzer to Spock's quarters the doors hissed open and one long arm snaked outside, snared her, and pulled her in. The next thing she knew she was being given expert mouth-to-mouth by a highly aroused Vulcan so hot to trot he didn't notice that the door was still open. And that was just fine by her.

They clung to each other, doing a sort of pseudo tango as they pushed and pulled against each other, hands grappling everywhere at once, and gradually half-stumbled half-lunged further into the room until finally they were next to Spock's bed. At last, needing to come up for air, Chapel pushed the Vulcan off her and stood looking at him, hair wild, chest heaving, and her eyes a smoldering dark blue. Spock stared back at her, his breathing equally as ragged, lost in the animal lust reflected in her eyes and the sexual heat hammering both within himself and from her. For what seemed like an eternity, they seemed almost to glare at each other like two punch-drunk prizefighters playing chicken. Finally, with trembling fingers, Chapel began to untie the sash of her robe, her gaze never leaving Spock's.

Her movement partially broke the trance and Spock hurriedly striped off his uniform and undershirt together over his head and tossed them aside, then immediately brought one foot up and pulled off his boot, followed closely by the other. Chapel shrugged out of the Khirian robe she still wore and let it drop to pool at her feet. Her eyes drank in the Vulcan hungrily as he continued to hurriedly strip down until he stood completely nude before her. She could tell he was using every Vulcan discipline he could muster to keep himself from pouncing on her like a man dying of thirst stumbling onto an oasis, the evidence of his arousal standing out before him in an excellent imitation of a photon torpedo.

With an evil little grin, Chapel grabbed the hem of the flimsy negligee then shimmied it off over her head. With an exaggerated flick of her wrist, she tossed it aside and her grin grew wider. She held out her arms and whispered huskily, "Who's your mama, baby?"

With a groan, Spock tackled her and drove her down onto the bed.

* * *

Kirk ambled over to join McCoy in the Mess hall, feeling relaxed and content now that all was right with his universe once again. He set his large cup of freshly brewed coffee on the table and took the seat opposite the physician. McCoy had an equally large cup sitting before him, his face poised over the brew, letting the steaming aroma waft up to engulf his senses. Kirk had never seen a look of such peaceful bliss on the doctor's face.

"Good morning, Bones."

"Morning, Jim," McCoy answered affably.

Kirk settled in and both men sat quietly, sipping in silence and appreciation for the finer things in life. Now that the women were returned to the Enterprise, the mess was filled with crewmen doing the same thing. What little conversation was going on around them was subdued in hushed reverence and exhausted satiation. Finally, McCoy took a deep breath and let it out in a contented sigh.

"You know, Jim, it's funny the little things we take for granted," he began softly. "Like this cup of finely brewed coffee, for instance. I never realized how much I would miss it until it was gone. And I guess I never realized just how much the women on my nursing staff did until they weren't there to do it anymore. I swear, Jim, I'll never forget what it was like trying to do their job and mine, too. Never." He paused to shake his head in wonderment then took another sip.

"I know what you mean, Bones," Kirk responded in the same quiet tone permeating the room. Memories of Rand and the night before came to mind and a tired but satisfied grin spread across his handsome face. "There are just some things in life only a woman can handle."

McCoy snorted into his coffee. "Yeah, well, there is that. Too bad we're going to lose a few of them to the Khirians."

Kirk shrugged. "I know, but it was their choice. We should be able to replace the dozen or so we'll be losing at our next stopover at Starbase VI."

"Humph! You make it sound like you're ordering new dilithium crystals for the engines or something."

Kirk glanced up, his expression genuinely contrite. "Did I? I didn't mean it to sound that way. Honest. I don't want the Enterprise to get the reputation in the fleet that we're not female friendly. No woman will want to transfer here."

"Yep," McCoy nodded. "None of us want that. Still, we were damned lucky to have found that ship and rescued the women when we did ... if rescue is the right word. No telling how many more little Khirian surprise packages would have been delivered, if you catch my drift. As it is, nine pregnancies is a pretty impressive start. And from what Ann Ames told me, although they were drugged most of the time, they were treated like queens."

"Like queen bees, you mean," Kirk came back a little defensively.

McCoy shrugged. "Maybe. But I think we'd better pay a little closer attention to the amenities around here, like flowers, chocolate candy, and candle lit dinners. This whole thing has brought home to me how much we take the women on this ship for granted. Seems to me like we should be a little more forthcoming with our gratitude, if you know what I mean."

Kirk nodded in agreement. Mister Happy was once again happy, but what if all the women had decided to stay with the Khirians? "No argument here, Bones." With that both men fell silent again for a few moments, sipping on their coffee.

"You're going to recommend the Federation assist them, aren't you, Jim?" McCoy queried after a while.

Kirk sighed. "I may not approve of their solution to their dilemma, or the fact that they highjacked a third of my crew as part of that solution, but I can't see entirely condemning the Khirians, either. My talk with Jhamal after he regained consciousness convinced me these are not bad people, Bones. Just desperate."

McCoy chuckled. "Yeah, and we've all had a little lesson in desperation lately, haven't we, Captain?"

Kirk shot McCoy an irritated glance, then had to relent. What could he say? The doctor was right. "Just pray we're never faced with this kind of situation again."

"Oh, I'd say the odds of that happening are pretty slim," McCoy offered. "And speaking of odds and someone who could probably tell us right down to the last decimal point, where's our First Officer this morning? I haven't seen him since the hubbub was over yesterday. Saturday mornings usually find him in here devouring a huge breakfast."

Kirk shrugged. "I'm sure he'll be along later."

"Probably," McCoy agreed. "But I was looking forward to ribbing him a little about Chapel."

"What about Chapel?"

McCoy grinned. "It seems Spock isn't the only one our Christine is carrying a torch for. She practically trampled me to the ground in her haste to get out of sickbay yesterday evening. All I can say is, whoever the lucky mystery man is, I'll bet he's worn to a bloody nub this morning," he chuckled. "Chapel got a pretty strong dose of that aphrodisiac. Stronger than most of the other women."

"Well, whoever he is, I'm sure he'll recover," Kirk commented. "But I have to tell you, Bones. I'm proud of our women. It took potent drugs to keep them in line and aphrodisiacs to make them cooperative. I guess the Khirians found out Earth girls aren't as easy as they were led to believe."

"Nope. Never easy," McCoy agreed. "But well worth the effort."

Kirk grinned. "Every bit of it."

They fell quiet again each lost in their own thoughts of the night before. Kirk picked up his cup and drained the remaining liquid, then sighed. "Good coffee," he commented.

"Yep, good coffee."

* * *

Chapel came awake slowly, blinked a few times, then smiled drowsily as she wriggled back against the heat spooning her backside. Judging by the state of a certain part of his anatomy, Spock was already awake. Or at least part of him was. Just as she thought this, his arm tightened around her waist and pulled her more snugly against him as his warm lips moved to nibble her neck.

"Good morning," she sighed contentedly.

"Good morning," Spock returned the greeting, his voice deep and silky as he brought his lips against the rounded curve of her ear. He lingered over the taste of her a few moments then caught her shoulder and urged her onto her back. His mouth found hers and he proceeded to kiss her hungrily as one hand wandered over her body, caressing the soft, ample flesh with a sure touch. He was rewarded by a soft moan he took into himself and edged on top of her. Within moments he was positioned between her thighs and slipped easily inside her welcoming wetness, refusing to relinquish her lips. Finally even he needed to come up for air and he pulled back slightly to prop his weight on his elbows and look down at her. She gave him a small, seductive smile.

"Umm ... you feel so good," Chapel murmured as he started to move lazily within her.

"What happened to 'Oh Baby. Oh Baby. Yes. Yes.'" Spock quoted, completely deadpan.

Chapel laughed, causing a delightful clutching tightness where she encased him within her. "Well, that was quite a night."

"And you, t'hy'la, are quite a woman," Spock returned, the amusement evident in his voice. He hitched his hips a little harder, drove a little deeper, watching her face. He was not disappointed. Her expression immediately softened and took on that far away, internalized look, her eyes half-hooded and becoming darker as her pupils dilated slightly with her growing arousal. This transition always fascinated him, only now her arousal translated itself immediately to him through their newly formed bond. He caught his breath and was still a moment as the sensation washed though his mind. "My woman," he whispered possessively. "I was a fool not to have bonded with you before now."

"You expect an argument?" she asked sarcastically. "Cause if you do, you have -- oh!" she cried softly as he began to move once again. This time her eyes closed completely and the small grin, which had started to pull at her lips, faded and they parted slightly.

Spock rocked gently above her, a small smile of satisfaction twitching his own lips. "But you are also an evil woman, Christine," he scolded her, but with very little conviction in his voice. "All this time you have allowed me to believe I was experiencing pon farr, when in truth you were aware that it was not." The bonding the night before had revealed many truths neither had shared before and this was one of them.

Chapel cracked her eyes open and grinned wickedly. "Are you complaining, Lover?"

"Not precisely," Spock answered as he bent to capture her lips. He kissed her several long moments as he continued to move rhythmically between her thighs, then broke the kiss and murmured against her lips, "However, I am somewhat ... disconcerted that I was so easily manipulated."

"How else was I supposed to get you to see the light?" Chapel teased. "Besides, it's not my fault you confused your very human male sex drive with the Vulcan pon farr. I just took advantage of it. You came to me, Mister. Remember?" Chapel rolled her pelvis with a deep sigh and slid her hands down to his buttocks, urging him to drive deeper. Spock complied, picking up the pace as he did.

"Yes ... but it was still somewhat ... unethical of you, Christine." His respiration was becoming a little uneven as the fires that had burned so hot and sweet within him the night before began to flare up again. He didn't think he would ever get used to this. The feel of her, the taste of her, the way she molded her body to his and engulfed him in her senses. Before had been good -- so good -- but it was so much better now through the bond.

"Love may be noble, love may be blind, but nobody ever said love was ethical, Spock. Let's just agree that I've been a naughty girl and leave it at that," she laughed, then suddenly moaned softly and closed her eyes again as he shifted position slightly, bringing more friction to bear against her in just the right place.

"Then perhaps I should punish you for your errant ways," he murmured huskily as his mouth once again found hers.

Soon he was kissing her with almost bruising intensity. Spock wrapped his arms tightly around her, allowing his full weight to bear down on her as he raised higher on his knees, forcing her legs higher and wider apart as he found better traction. Chapel gasped into his mouth with a soft, strident cry that seemed to pierce through to the very heart of him and fanned the flames higher. Abandoning himself to instinct, Spock released control and growled low in his throat and began to thrust into her with pile driver force. The bond opened more fully, flooding them both with the powerful sexual heat of their coupling singing back and forth between them, and Spock felt himself become lost in her.

Chapel wrapped her legs around his hips and clung to him for dear life, meeting him thrust for thrust, her mind engulfed in flames and blank to everything else but Spock and the rhythm of their bodies as they pounded into each other. The tension swiftly grew, became tighter, hotter, agonizingly sweeter. And suddenly she was there, achingly poised on the precipice of total oblivion, loath to let herself fall over the edge, yet flinging herself towards it with every rapid beat of her heart.

Spock could feel her approaching release, was caught in the undertow dragging him inexorably toward the explosion with her. His fingers dug into her soft flesh and held her even tighter, the bed threatening to come loose from its moorings as he suddenly battered into her faster.

It was too much. Chapel arched her back deeply and threw her head back, gasping for breath. "Oh, Baby! Oh, Baby! Yes! Yes! Y-e-s!"

* * *


"They forgot," she said.

"Yes, it would appear so," he answered. "However, in their defense, they have been somewhat distracted."

"Still, you'd think McCoy would have warned her. I mean, he should have said something to her."

"Perhaps the good doctor was rather distracted himself."

"I suppose. But it's left me in a helluva pickle!"

"I believe pickles come later," he observed.

"Don't be a smart ass, Mister! Or you can just wriggle out there until that ridiculous tail of yours falls off and you dissolve into oblivion!"

"Forgive me," he responded contritely. "I was not endeavoring to be a 'smart ass'."

"That's better," she came back slightly mollified. "But you're going to have to do better than that. Give me one good, 'logical' reason why I should let you in."

He was quiet a moment, then said, "Because it would be illogical for us to protest against our natures, don't you think?"

"Humph! That line didn't work the first time, Buddy, and it's not going to work now."

"Ah, I believe I understand," he mused. "You are playing 'hard to get'."

"Me? Hard to get?" she came back incredulously. "That's a laugh! She did all kinds of crazy stuff to land him and make him commit. Lucky for her the Khirians came a long and he finally woke up and smelled the coffee."

"Granted, but now that she has 'landed him', as you say, would it not be logical for you to lower your shields and allow me entrance?" he cajoled. "Please?" he added as an afterthought.

She was quiet a moment, mulling this over. It was scary, but also exciting -- to become something entirely new and wonnderful. She wondered what they would be, a boy or a girl. Finally, she relented. "Oh, what the hell."

Her shields shimmered and weakened as he pushed relentlessly into her, using all his Vulcan strength to batter at them. Finally, they collapsed entirely and suddenly he was in. It was a phenomenal feeling.

"Come to mama, baby," her voice whispered all around him. And he did.