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Originally published in 1996 in the print fanzine Kaleidoscope 5.

 

"Come on, Pavel. You're my best friend. Remember, you get a free gift, and I know several items you're just going to love."

"I vud like to help you, Sulu, but I vud feel funny giving this kind of party. How vud it look to the captain if I had a sex toy party. He might think I vas not serious about my vork. Besides, Russians don't need help in that area. Ve are werry proficient lovers."

Sulu rolled his eyes. "According to you, every accomplishment there is was invented by a little old lady from Leningrad. Surely she invented dildos, too."

"Possibly, but I still von't give a party. Find someone else dumb enough to risk the captain's wrath. I will be a guest but not a host," Chekov said, before scooping up his empty lunch tray and leaving the mess table.

With no one at the table to talk to and anxious about the success of his new interest, Sulu looked around the room for a new prospect. He had invested quite a few credits in the stock for his new business, Lotions and Potions, Etc., feeling certain that the crew would flock to him for the exotic merchandise. Unfortunately, like Chekov, everyone was willing to come to a demonstration party, but no one was willing to host one.

He was just about to give up and watch his credits go down the drain, when Mr. Spock entered the officers' mess. Sulu automatically discounted the Enterprise's first officer. What would a Vulcan want with sex aids when he, like the rest of his species, wasn't even interested in sex? Which was too bad. If there was anyone on the ship who was immune to criticism from the captain, it was Spock. Then again, if he played his cards right.... He thought about the matter for a few more minutes, planning how to present the idea to Spock in a way that would gain his cooperation, and then rose from the table and walked over to where Spock was eating, grateful that the captain wasn't in his customary seat. Kirk would figure it out in no time; Spock, unfamiliar with the Human need for sexual variety, would not. He hoped.

"Mr. Spock. There is something I would like to ask you. May I join you?"

"Certainly, Mr. Sulu. How can I be of assistance?"

Just stay in that frame of mind, Sulu thought.

"I've, uh, got this new hobby," he began. "It's something I think that could really boost the morale of the crew, but I'm having trouble introducing it, and I thought you might help."

"What is the nature of this hobby?"

"Well, to be honest, it's really a business. Still, the merchandise includes a lot of things that would improve crew health, efficiency, and mental equilibrium. The problem is that the business is a type of franchise. The way it works is that I do demonstration parties where the guests can see the merchandise. Since it's a business, I can't use the rec room. What I need is some place to have the party."

"Would not your own quarters serve the purpose?"

"Yes and no. I could display them there, but regulation 347.25 says that...."

"Yes, I am familiar with the injunction against using one's living accommodations as the base for a permanent business."

"Then you see my problem. What I need is a host who's willing to let me give a presentation in his or her quarters. You would be a perfect host. As first officer, you have a lot of influence with the crew."

"I can think of other individuals more suited to serve as a host. Also, would that individual not then be in violation of the regulation?"

"No. You see, you only need to host one party. Then one or more of the guests agree to host one. That enables me to do demonstrations for small groups of friends and as an incentive, each person who hosts a party gets a free gift. Since most crewmembers don't have a lot of credits to spend, this enables them to get a little something extra."

"It sounds like a system beneficial to all. Why not ask your friends to serve as hosts for you?"

"I have, but the new ratings tests have a lot of people working extra hours. Mr. Scott is realigning the main drives, Uhura's immersed in that new code encryption system, and Chekov is knee deep in weapon's systems manuals."

"I see," said Spock, not sure that he understood at all. He was not in the habit of fraternizing with the crew. However, the captain had urged him several times to unbend a little so that the Humans aboard would be less intimidated by him. Perhaps this was a way he could do so on a small scale.

"What is a host required to do?"

Sulu tried desperately not to let his elation show. "Not much. Just provide a place where the party can be held, invite a few friends, and provide refreshments. Nothing fancy, of course. On second thought, I'll get the refreshments, set up the display, make the actual presentation, and write up the orders. There's really nothing to it."

"If the products are as beneficial as you say they are...."

"They are. I think they'll make a real difference. A lot of the items I'll be selling will be great tension relievers." Boy, will they!

"What precisely are you selling?"

It was a good thing Sulu had thought out the answer to this particular question in advance, or he would have given the game away. "Therapeutic oils for massage therapy, personal exercise apparatuses, that kind of thing."

It sounded innocuous enough to Spock. And the request was not unreasonable. As first officer, it was his duty to set an example for the crew and make sure that morale remained high to maintain efficiency. The problem was, there were few who he would feel comfortable inviting to his quarters. Jim, of course, who would be pleased that he was trying to interface more with the crew, McCoy, since the merchandise dealt with the health of the crew....

"Very well, Mr. Sulu. How many guests do you require?"

"Anywhere from two to ten. I'll leave that to you. How does tomorrow night at 2000 hours sound to you?"

Spock rapidly reviewed his and Kirk's schedules. "That will be acceptable. However, I have a meeting at 1930. I will not be able to assist you with the preliminaries."

"That's all right," Sulu said, heaving a sigh of relief and trying not to think what was going to happen when Spock discovered what the health aids were.

Sulu then departed, leaving Spock to wonder what he had gotten himself into.

* * * * *

Had Kirk been available, Spock would have invited him first. Unfortunately the captain was in meetings and unavailable. Besides, Spock was certain that his friend, and recently his lover, would be pleased that he was making this effort and support him fully as usual. Since McCoy was next on his list, he headed for Sickbay.

"Now run that by me again. I'm not sure I heard you right." What McCoy really meant was that he couldn't believe his ears, but he wasn't about to say so. This was too good to miss.

"Mr. Sulu has requested that I give a party to promote his new interest in a line of products promoting health and exercise aids to enhance the crew's well-being. I thought you would wish to attend and make certain that these items are safe for the crew. Mr. Sulu mentioned therapeutic lotions that you might want to test, and some personal exercise equipment."

Oh, brother. How can such a smart Vulcan be so dumb! I thought Jim was teaching this boy the facts of life. Hasn't he learned anything?

"That probably would be a good idea. We don't want the crew getting hold of something that isn't good for them. I may even try out some of the stuff myself to see if it really works."

"An excellent idea, Doctor. Then you agree to attend tomorrow evening?"

"I wouldn't miss it for the world. Who else is coming?"

"Besides the captain and yourself, I am not certain who to invite. Perhaps you have some recommendations or would care to include personnel from your department to assist you in your evaluation."

"I'll see who I can come up with."

As Spock turned to leave McCoy's office, McCoy asked, "Have you told Jim about this?"

"I have not yet had the opportunity to do so. However, he will be informed as soon as his schedule permits."

"I see." Yeah, and I can't wait to hear HIS reaction. "Well, you can count on me."

"Thank you, Doctor."

* * * * *

When Spock finally had a chance to inform his lover of the upcoming event, Kirk's reaction was "Lotions? Since when are you interested in skin care? And potions? As in love potions? What do you need something like that for? Or are you getting tired of me already?" Although he was joking, there was a hint of insecurity in his tone.

"I do not believe that any of the products are designed to produce an emotional reaction in another. From Mr. Sulu's explanation, the products include lotions which enhance a person's sense of well-being and various small personal exercise apparatuses. I have invited Dr. McCoy so that he can ensure that all items are safe for use by the crewmembers who purchase them. He may also be bringing some of his assistants."

"I doubt I'll find anything of interest to me, personally. You give me all the exercise I need, and you know how sensitive my skin is, but I'll be more than happy to come. I'm really impressed by this effort to be more sociable with the crew. I know it isn't easy for you."

"I must admit I feel some trepidation over acting as a host at a social occasion. Also, I think you view this as more important than it is. Only yourself and Dr. McCoy, and perhaps one or two of his assistants will be there.

"The important thing is, word will get around to the crew that you did this and they will remember you made the effort. It won't be something they'll forget."

Spock was not sure that he wanted the crew to think of him primarily in a social context, but if Kirk was pleased, that was enough. "So long as you approve."

"Of course I approve. I approve of everything you do, Spock," Kirk's voice becoming more of a purr as he moved closer. "Of course, there's some things you do that please me more than others."

"Indeed, are you by any chance requesting a small demonstration?"

"That's exactly what I was suggesting, although I wouldn't describe it as small. Shall we adjourn to the bedroom?"

* * * * *

"Hey, Jim," McCoy said as he caught up with Kirk on the way to the mess for lunch.

"Hi, Bones."

"Has Spock told you about his party."

"Of course. I'm on the guest list."

McCoy came to a halt, staring at Kirk's back with a stunned look, then hurried to catch up. "Are you planning to be there?"

"Sure. This is a big step for Spock, and I want to give him all the support I can."

Flabbergasted, it was a moment before McCoy could think of anything to say. "I see." After another long pause, he added, "You and ol' Spock are just full of surprises."

"What's so surprising?" Kirk asked absently as he punched in his lunch order. "I'm really proud of the way he's trying to get involved with the crew more. I think he's beginning to come out of his shell."

"He's coming out, all right," McCoy muttered too low for Kirk to hear.

"What was that, Bones?"

Nothing important. Just wondering what rock you two have been hiding under for the past ten years. "Where do you want to sit?"

"Over in the corner. After the inspections in security and hydroponics, I'm ready to retire from the limelight for the day."

"Fine with me." The only way you're going to be able to do that is to cut the power to Spock's cabin before that party starts.

As they sat down, McCoy considered telling Kirk just what Spock had gotten himself into. After all, did he really want to see his two closest friends embarrassed down to their shorts? What the hell! Every Starship captain needs a good shaking up now and then. And that overstarched Vulcan could do with a little deflating, too. Besides, I can't wait to see their reactions.

* * * * *

By the time Spock arrived at his quarters, it was only a few minutes short of 2000 hours. Having no premonition of anything out of the ordinary, he entered calmly, only to come to an abrupt halt just inside the doors, bewildered by the scene that greeted him.

True to his word, Sulu had arrived early and had just finished setting out his products in what he considered the most attractive manner possible. However, to Spock, it wasn't artistic in the least.

To his left, a rack of skimpy feminine outfits and male briefs, which were extremely brief, indeed, and obviously made of nonregulation lace, knit, and soft pseudo-leather, stood just to one side of the entrance to his sleeping quarters. In front of the clothing rack, Sulu had set up a table draped with shimmering pink simu-satin upon which was displayed a plethora of bottles and jars.

On the other side of the doorway, beneath a banner proclaiming "Bound to Please," the lattice divider was adorned with a startling array of metal and pseudo-leather devices that looked more menacing than his wall of ancient Vulcan weapons ever had.

To his right, his desk was covered with the same garish iridescent cloth as the table and was heaped with what appeared to be plastiform samples of every type of male reproductive appendage in the known galaxy, some extremely odd items with which Spock was unfamiliar and wished to remain so, and boxes of X-rated vid tapes, all of which totally obscured his computer from view. The crowning blow, however, was the inflated, plastic facsimile of a naked female with an over sized chest, positioned on his desk chair to provide an extremely lascivious display.

Had he been Human, Spock's eyes would have bugged out, his jaw dropped, and he might have gone into cardiac arrest. As a Vulcan, however, he blinked, cleared his throat, and consciously regulated his heart beat. It was obvious that Mr. Sulu had ...misrepresented the merchandise he was selling.

Warned by the sound of the automatic door opening, Sulu held his breath as he finished arranging the refreshment table set up near the desk and then greeted Spock with all the aplomb and bravado he could muster. "Mr. Spock. I'm almost finished setting up."

Moving further into the room, his eyes piercing Sulu like the rapiers the helmsman was so fond of, Spock said, "Correction, Mr. Sulu, you are finished. You will immediately dismantle this extremely unseemly display and remove these items from my quarters." As if to emphasize his statement, he strode over to his desk, intending to wrap the offending items on top of it in the table cloth. Instead, he tripped over the previously unnoticed gargantuan two foot high brown penis standing proudly at attention in front of the desk, and knocked it on its side. He reached down to pick it up, straightened, and turned just as Kirk walked into the room.

Stunned by the sight of his very correct first officer, not to mention his barely broken in lover, standing in the middle of his office cradling a dildo that would scare a Berengarian dragon out of ten years' growth, Kirk stood gawking, speechless. Then his sense of humor kicked in. It was all he could do to keep from bursting out laughing. "I'll say one thing for you, Spock, when you decide to come out of your shell, you do it with a vengeance."

"Jim!"

It didn't take a mental giant to see that Spock was not happy, and however much Kirk might like to have a quick look around at the wares on display, he wasn't going to endanger his own future happiness by prolonging Spock's embarrassment.

"Mr. Sulu," he began in his best command tone, "you have precisely...."

He was interrupted by the insistent buzz of the door signal.

"That must be McCoy," Spock said, as close to panic as he ever had been. "Jim, what are we going to do?"

Kirk glanced from Spock to the door, then back again and shrugged. "We're going to have to brazen it out now, Spock. But would you please put that godawful cock down someplace."

Before he could put it down, the door opened and McCoy stepped into the room.

"Evenin', Spock. Got your free gift all picked out, I see."

Spock struggled to restrict the flow of blood to the surface blood vessels and failed. He was blushing green and knew it, which only made the betraying tint deepen as he hastily put his burden down near the desk.

"Interesting color, Spock," McCoy commented as he brushed past his mortified friend and into the room. Behind him trooped his "assistant", Yeoman Tonia Barrows, and last, but certainly not least when it came to potential embarrassment for Spock, Christine Chapel.

Responding to the barely masked look of panic on Spock's face, Kirk moved to stand beside his out-of-his-depth lover and assumed his most intimidating captainly look. Kirk's supportive stance did nothing to lessen Spock's apprehensions.

Dipping his head so that the others could not hear, he asked, "Jim, did you invite anyone else?" hoping fervently that Kirk had not.

Kirk nodded grimly. "Remember what you said about the party not including any junior crew? I decided to fix that and asked Janice Rand. I thought she'd really enjoy it, considering how much she likes to dress up.

Spock could not restrain a sigh of defeat. Rand had an unfortunate tendency to gossip. By morning, the entire ship would be privy to the details of his party.

In this, Spock was in error. While the three ladies might be fascinated by the display, none of them was the type to openly admit she'd been an attendee, let alone a purchaser, at a sexual aids party. Nevertheless, Spock was certain he would never be able to look any of them in the eye again, superior officer or not.

While Barrows and Chapel stood hesitantly near the entrance, eagerly eyeing the clothing display and the lotions table, McCoy was at it again. Reading the signals clearly, he decided that the first order of business was to bail Sulu out. He didn't want the Enterprise's premier helmsman cleaning jeffries tubes when the ship needed to make a fast getaway. Besides, it's not his fault that Jim and Spock don't keep current.

Sidling up to Kirk, he muttered sotto voce, "You look like you've got a poker up your ass, Jim. What'd you do, get here early?"

"Damn it, Bones, will you stop! It's bad enough as it is without you making it worse."

"Come on. Lighten up a little, Captain. It's not the end of the world. Besides, if you don't, everyone's going to start calling you Herbert again, me included. This isn't any more embarrassing then the time on Rigel 12 when security had to rescue us from that female mud wrestling arena."

Kirk hastily suppressed a smile at the memory. "If it were just me, I wouldn't mind, but it's Spock who's the host."

"Spock's a big boy; he can take care of himself. If you really want to help, stop glaring at everyone and divert the attention away from Spock."

"A lot of good that would do with you taking pot shots at him every chance you get."

"Yeah, well, there are temptations, and then there are TEMPTATIONS." Seeing the piercing look in Kirk's eye, McCoy capitulated. "All right. I'll stop harassing him." 'Course that still gives me a lot of leeway, he thought.

While all of this was going on, Sulu, who had already decided that his career was dust, had maintained a discreet silence. Now that the initial furor had died down he decided to try to get their focus off of him and onto the merchandise, and hoped he would be forgiven or at least forgotten, by the end of the evening.

"Since this is my first presentation, I'm a little nervous. I just can't see myself lecturing to this sophisticated group. I've laid out the merchandise on the various tables and racks, and I think the best way to proceed is for you to just check out whatever interests you. There are refreshments on the table in the corner for anyone who missed dinner. If you have any questions, I'll be glad to answer them."

When no one made any move toward the displays, he said, "You ladies might want to look at some of the negligees. Believe me, there's nothing like this in ship's stores. I checked." He laughed.

"Well, these outfits may look great on someone with curves, but I'm more interested in the giant penis," McCoy said.

Everyone looked at him as though he had just grown a second head.

"I have a hell of a time keeping some people in Sickbay. With that thing to threaten them with, I shouldn't have any trouble at all. And if that doesn't work, I can always use it as a door stop," he said, conveniently forgetting that the doors were pneumatic.

"You just want to keep it to remind Spock of this fiasco every time he walks into Sickbay," Kirk muttered for McCoy's ears only.

"Hell, Jim, I could tell he liked it a lot when I came in. He was hugging it like a baby," McCoy whispered to Kirk. "I can always let Spock borrow it if you aren't enough for him."

"Your generosity knows no bounds, Doctor," Spock said. "I must consider how I can reciprocate the sentiment."

"That's easy, don't sit on it. You've already got a stiff enough spine. You don't need to make it worse."

The sound of the familiar bickering relaxed Kirk as nothing else could. McCoy was right. He was making too much of the situation. He looked around, noticing that everyone's attention was on the merchandise, and relaxed a little more.

"If you two are going to start arguing, I might as well have a look around."

"Just don't overestimate what you can handle," McCoy advised. "Remember, the giant penis is mine!"

Kirk gave him a withering look and headed for the lotions and potions table. If he had been on Argelius or Wrigley's Pleasure Planet, he would have had no hesitation in examining even the most exotic items, but here in Spock's quarters, with members of his crew watching, he felt a little inhibited. Most of them knew that he and Spock were lovers. Consequently, anything he showed an interest in would add more fuel to the rumor mill.

"Captain, try this one. It really is great," Rand said, grabbing his hand and rubbing one of the lotions into his palm.

"Uh, yes, Yeoman, that's very nice," he said, pulling his hand away. He selected a bottle at random, checked the label, and set it down again. He had soon worked his way through Joy Jelly, Motion Lotion, and a host of other overrated options. Finally, when everyone's attention was on other things, he picked up the one that had caught his eye to begin with and began to read the back label. "Catapult...."

"A bit much, isn't it?" McCoy asked, reading over his shoulder.

Thoroughly engrossed, Kirk almost jumped out of his skin. "Sorry. You startled me. What was that again?"

"I said, 'It's a bit much,' don't you think. Nothing does all that, not even Klingon aphrodisiacs."

"Speaking from personal experience, Bones?"

McCoy grinned. "Maybe."

"Well, there's only one way to find out if it's claims are true."

"Don't tell me you're thinking about ordering some of this stuff?" McCoy asked in surprise. "You, or should I say Spock, would never live it down."

Kirk's expression became thoughtful.

"Of course, if there's anything you feel you can't live without, I could always order it for you," McCoy offered.

And beat me over the head with it, figuratively speaking, for the next ten years? Forget it, McCoy, Kirk thought to himself. "I've already got all I can't live without."

"Sweet, Jim. Real sweet," McCoy said. A wide grin crossed his face as he glanced over Kirk's shoulder. "Don't look now, but I think Christine may be trying to lure him away into a little S & M."

Kirk whirled around in time to see Christine handing Spock a complicated looking contraption of metal and leather, then sidling up closer to him. Kirk was across the room at warp speed.

"Nurse Chapel, I think Dr. McCoy is a little confused by all the ingredient labels over there. Why don't you go help him out?"

Summarily dismissed, Christine had no option but to skulk off.

Meanwhile, Spock was turning the device over and over in his hands. It appeared to be a belt of leather with chains attached from which was suspended a series of circular, metal-studded leather straps held together in a roughly tubular shape by more straps.

"You don't want it, Spock. Believe me," Kirk advised.

"Why, Jim?"

Kirk leaned closer to whisper in the pointed ear. "Because after you get this thing on, you press this button here and it shoots an electric shock into your...."

Hastily, Spock dumped the contraption back on the desk, took two steps back and promptly tripped over the ridiculous door stop penis. It hit the floor with a resounding thud, drawing everyone's attention.

"Leave that alone, Spock," McCoy laughed from across the room. "I already told you, that's mine."

Glaring at McCoy to remind him of his promise, Kirk led Spock to the refreshment table and shoved a cup of coffee into his hands.

"How long does one of these parties usually last, Jim?" Spock asked, wishing the coffee cup were large enough for him to crawl under until everyone left.

"How would I know?" Kirk replied. He saw that Rand and Chapel had moved back to the desk and were comparison shopping among the dildos. He heard Rand mention something about the Galactic Stud and captain's stripes and decided he really didn't want to know.

"Why don't you just stay here and pour coffee, or something," he suggested to his once again green-faced lover. "I'm going to go tell Sulu that if he doesn't want to be assigned to the ion pod during every storm for the next five years, he better wrap this thing up."

"I suggest ten years. Mr. Sulu is notoriously tenacious about his hobbies," Spock said.

Surprised, Kirk saw that despite the heightened complexion, there was a glint of amusement in Spock's eyes. Can I pick 'em, or can I pick 'em, he congratulated himself as he went to threaten his miscreant chief helmsman. He was curious to see how Sulu planned to steer himself out of this mess.

Seeing that Kirk was occupied, McCoy made a beeline for Spock. Knowing those two, this three ring circus was about to end, and McCoy had been too busy shooting one liners off at Spock; he hadn't had a chance to make his own selections. He'd have to see if he could keep it going a bit longer.

"Great party, Spock. Jim putting in your order?"

"No, Doctor, he is not. And I suggest, if you wish to place an order yourself, you do so with alacrity. Mr. Sulu just may have time to fill it before Jim incarcerates him in the brig."

"Ah, Jim won't do that. Despite your influence, he still has a sense of humor. I thought maybe I'd take this chance to buy you two a little wedding gift. Any suggestions?"

Spock appeared to give the matter some thought. "A gag, perhaps. For yourself."

McCoy laughed. "For a minute there, I thought there was hope for you after all." McCoy put aside his needling and assumed a speculative expression. "I really would have thought that famous curiosity of yours would have kicked in by now."

Despite his embarrassment, and though he was loath to admit it, Spock was beginning to feel just a bit curious about some of the items on display. Although he found his and Kirk's sex life immensely satisfactory, and, to all appearances so did Kirk, it was also true that his lover was much more experienced than he was. Perhaps he could pick up some suggestions for adding variety to their sex life that would not be included in the ship's library.

McCoy grinned as the telltale intent expression settled on Spock's face. He knew when this particular Vulcan was hooked. The party wouldn't be ending any time in the next few minutes, which gave him time to find something really interesting for himself and Tonia.

Seeing that almost everyone else was hovering around the desk, and that Kirk had drawn Sulu into the relative privacy of the bedroom, Spock made his way as casually as possible to the lotions table. He quickly became bored with the labels. Despite the extravagant claims, he saw that each and every one of the lotions contained the same ingredients, and, if memory served (and it always did) those were also the ingredients listed on the medically recommended lubricant he and Kirk already used. With the exception of the artificial flavoring, that is. Perhaps it might be worth obtaining one of the bottles just to see if it really did taste the way it was supposed to. As a quality control experiment, of course. The sour rhubarb did sound as if it might make a nice change. Although, Jim, of course, would probably prefer the chocolate almond.

Realizing he was letting his curiosity run away with him, Spock turned his attention to the lingerie items on the rack behind the table. He could see at a glance that each and every one of the items was made of the finest materials and the workmanship was excellent. The prices, however, were daunting. Surely items nearly as provocative were available at any of the Frederick's of Wrigleys that graced every shopping concourse on every Federation Starbase in the galaxy. Still, he couldn't help imagining how Jim would look in the simu-leather T-back briefs. He certainly had the luscious buttocks for it.

"You buy it, you wear it."

Kirk had snuck up on Spock and whispered the warning in his ear. The feel of the cool breath tickling his neck did little to pull Spock from his mental meandering. The words themselves, however, painted a, to him, thoroughly uninspiring picture.

"I shall take your position under advisement, Jim," he answered.

"You know something, Spock, you really are one in a million," Kirk complimented softly.

Spock looked at his lover with knitted brows. Obviously, he had somehow won both Kirk's approval and admiration. Considering the awkward position he had unknowingly put them in, however, he was at a loss as to how he had done so.

"I'd have expected this situation to have you paralyzed with mortification. Instead you're cracking jokes. I bet you'll still be surprising me a hundred years from now."

Unused to such unqualified personal praise, even from his lover who tended to respect Spock's low embarrassment threshold, Spock found himself at a complete loss for any type of polite public reply. What he really wanted to do was pull Kirk into his arms and kiss him into the same breathless, warm all over feeling the words had given Spock.

Spock's dilemma was completely obvious to Kirk. He smiled gently. "I told Sulu he's got ten minutes to get his orders. Why don't we just sit over here," he indicated the sofa and chair behind them, "and wait for our ...guests to clear out. If your curiosity's been piqued, we can always tell Sulu to pack up in the morning."

"That will not be necessary, Jim" Spock declined as he settled in the chair and watched Kirk take up a comfortable position on the sofa. He noticed Chapel avidly fondling an emerald green double-ridged false penis and hastily averted his attention to where McCoy and Barrows were studying the Bound to Please display.

Kirk nodded in agreement and settled back to wait.

Across the room, Sulu was discovering a whole new facet of the fiasco he had wrought. Under the watchful eyes of their commanding officers, the ladies who had ogled and fondled the merchandise with such abandon were balking at actually buying. Even the enthusiastic doctor, yielding to Barrows' restraining grip on his arm and her determined head shakes, was refusing to put his Leonard H. McCoy on the dotted line of an order form. Sulu was likely going to end the evening busted down to ensign fourth class (if there was such a rank) and he wouldn't have one thin credit to show for it. He knew that if just one person ordered one thing, the rest would lose their inhibitions. At that moment, the epitome of stupidity, disguised as brilliance, struck him. Without thinking twice, he opened his mouth and let it come out.

"Perhaps Mr. Spock would like to choose his free gift before anyone else orders," he said loudly into a silence that made the vacuum of space seem loud.

"There goes a promising career shot to atoms," McCoy muttered as all eyes turned to Spock.

Spock, who had been worrying this very subject to death since McCoy's first comment of the evening, had his reply all worked out. "I assure you, Mr. Sulu, that I do not feel it is necessary to be ...rewarded for the ...experience of this evening." The slight pauses and the glint in his eye made it clear to Sulu that he, on the other hand, could expect to be very appropriately rewarded for the unwanted experience.

Sulu closed his eyes against the mental image of his career, credits, and possibly his carcass, floating out an airlock.

* * * * *

"Jim, what is this?" Spock asked, holding up a bottle of Lick It and Love It, Sour Rhubarb flavor, that he had just discovered in the bedside table.

Kirk blushed a bit, squirmed a little, then shrugged and grinned. "I thought you might enjoy a little change from salt," he admitted.

"I see," Spock said, studying the bottle he held.

"If you're worried anybody else knows, I swore Sulu to secrecy on pain of permanent latrine duty...." Kirk mumbled to a stop as Spock crossed to the dresser, pulled out a drawer and lifted out a similar bottle. Snack Time, Chocolate-almond flavor, read the label.

"I threatened to transfer him to security and assign him to all our landing parties," Spock admitted.

Grinning, Kirk plucked both bottles from Spock's hands and made a sweeping gesture toward the bed. "Shall we try them out, Mr. Spock?"

* * * * *

Several decks below, Sulu closed the door on another red-faced but happy customer. Spock's party hadn't gotten him any orders, but now that the ice was broken, private consultations were booming to the point where he would soon be sold out completely. Bless the heavens. Then again, he thought as his door buzzer rang for the tenth time that evening, he could always order more stock.

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