by Cheryl Petterson

(Standard Year 2247)

Return to Valjiir Stories

Return to Valjiir Continum

Return to Part Eight of Hotel California - Klingons!

When the familiar transporter room materialized around them, Ruth gave a whoop of joy and turned, hugging Sulu.

“We did it, Roy!” she laughed. “We did it!”

“Indeed? What is it you have done?” came a voice that was equally familiar – except for the harsh, icy undertone.

Ruth whirled, gasping. The man who stood at the transporter controls was Spock – or at least someone who looked like Spock – except he had a neat goatee and wore what looked like a modified dress uniform in a muted blue color, with a scarf of lighter blue at his throat.

She blinked, and her attention was caught by the transporter room wall. It was painted with a huge depiction of Terra, a dagger piercing the globe.

“What the…?” she began, and Sulu pulled sharply on her arm.

“Don’t say another word,” he hissed. “I know where we are.” He took a deep breath and raised his left arm, his fist striking his chest in what was an obvious salute. It was only then that Ruth realized he was in a tunic of blood red, belted at his waist with a wide, gold sash – and that his face bore a hideous scar.

Panicked, Ruth shifted her gaze in rapid succession. Kevin wore what looked like a standard-issue Fleet tunic, except it, too, was belted with the sash, and she noted that the ship insignia was a replica of the globe and dagger on the bulkhead. His hair was greased back from his forehead, and there was clear panic in his eyes. Jilla wore a red halter and skirt that was even shorter than their usual uniforms, though it flared a bit longer in back. She, too, had a gold sash, and boots that came up over her knees. Her face was painted in what to Ruth’s eyes was a horribly sensual manner, her thick hair pulled back from her face and ears, then sweeping up into a wild fall of burgundy. As she watched, Kevin followed Sulu’s lead, though his ‘salute’ had nowhere near the force of the helmsman’s. She swallowed, glancing down at her own costume, identical to Jilla’s except it was Sciences blue, then imitated Sulu and Kevin, seeing Jilla’s arm move in the same gesture with almost mechanical precision.

Spock – it was Spock – took a step toward them. “You haven’t answered me, Miss Valley,” he said with cool menace. “What have you done?”

“I…” she stammered, and Sulu broke in.

“We won a particularly impressive wager, Commander,” he said, then let a smirk cross his features.

“One, I take it, you should, by rights, have not?” was the amused reply.

“Yes, sir.” Sulu’s voice sounded almost oily with satisfaction.

“And ‘Roy’ is…?” the Vulcan questioned again.

“An affectionate nickname,” Sulu answered with another smirk.

“And you do not think it dangerous to share ‘affectionate nicknames’ with the Captain’s woman?” Spock said mildly.

“Cap…?” Ruth began, and Kevin discretely poked her in the back.

“Only if he knows about it, sir,” Sulu responded. He took what Ruth thought was a foolishly provocative step forward. “I can trust to your discretion, can’t I, Mr. Spock?”

The Vulcan’s eyes flickered to Jilla. “For the usual price, of course, Mr. Sulu.” He moved aside. “Your leave has officially ended. Return to your duty,”

Sulu gave another salute and nearly strutted out of the transporter room, followed by the other officers.


“What went wrong?” Ruth whispered as the four moved down the corridor. She glanced nervously at the red-shirted security guards that seemed to be at every doorway, and who gave salutes to Sulu as he passed.

“Too many parameter options in file 261 Alpha,” Sulu snarled.

“But I specified…”

“Kirk and McCoy and Uhura and Scotty,” Sulu returned harshly, “who just happened to be the four officers who were involved in a transporter malfunction that beamed them into the goddamned mirror universe!”

“But that’s not what I….!”

“It’s an entertainment program!” the helmsman hissed. “What fun is boring old Federation Enterprise?”

“But how does the program even know about…” Kevin began.

“Because I do, and you do!” Sulu spat.

“But I certainly wasn’t thinking about…”

“It was the list of names. It triggered our subconscious memories of everything Uhura told us.”

“I mentioned Spock, too,” Ruth tried.

Sulu gave her a disgusted look. “And who met us here? He’s been in every one of these damned things!”

“Look, Roy, don’t take it out on…” the Antari protested.

“And don’t for the love of god call me ‘Roy’!”

“This isn’t my fault!” Ruth snapped back.

Sulu stopped walking, sighing deeply. “I know, Ruth. I’m sorry. I was just so sure this was gonna work…”

Kevin leaned forward. “Uh, maybe we should get out of the corridor?” he said, inclining his head in the direction of a guard who was stepping toward them.

Sulu glanced in the direction of his nod. “Yeah,” he mumbled. “Uhura said I – he was the Chief of Security here, too. Let’s go to my office.” He lifted his head, staring at the guard. “You want something, Mister?” he asked harshly.

The guard paled. “No, sir. I only wanted to see if there was anything I could do for you, sir.”

“Do you think I need your help?”

“No, sir. Not at all, sir. I’m sorry, sir.” The man saluted and stepped back to his post.

Sulu ignored the apology and the four continued to the turbolift.


As soon as the door to the Security office closed behind them, Sulu turned to Jilla. “Uhura said he monitored everything. Can you make sure only the four of us can hear and see what we’re saying and doing?”

“Unable to comply,” Jilla whispered. “All input received must be routed through file HDS 010 A.”

“Within parameters of current simulation,” Ruth said, “ignore standard Imperial protocols.”

“All Security monitors off-line,” Jilla answered with clear relief.

“All right, what happened?” Ruth demanded.

“File 261 Beta, subsection 26 parameters activated as per input from receivers 32 through 36,” Jilla said.

“I don’t think she was talking to you, hon,” Sulu muttered. He gently touched her arm, and her face became momentarily animated – a slow, sensual smile coming over her features. Sulu blinked. “Jilla?”

“Do you want me right now?” she purred. “Here, in front of them?” Her tone held clear disdain.

He shuddered. “No, I don’t.”

She tossed her head, gazing at Ruth and Kevin with decadent superiority.

Oy geveult,” Ruth moaned.

“Okay, the transporter thing didn’t work,” Sulu said after an uncomfortable pause. “What’s next?”

“Unless we really are in the Empire,” Kevin put in uncertainly.

“With computer-Jilla still on duty?” Ruth returned. “I don’t think so, Kev.”

That was computer-Jilla?” the Irishman scoffed.

“She’s controlled by the simulation, idiot,” Ruth snarled.

“I’m not an idiot!” Kevin growled back. “And if you don’t want me to report your little slip to the Captain…”

“Stay out of it, Kevin,” Sulu said, and the navigator turned a fierce glare on him. “I mean the drama, Kev.”

Kevin’s anger faded. “Oh. Yeah. Right.” He smiled sheepishly at Ruth. “Okay, darlin’ maybe I am an idiot.”

She grinned back, then leaned forward, kissing his cheek. “Yeah, but a cute one.”

The comm unit on Sulu’s desk signaled. He frowned at it, but took a breath and thumbed the switch to answer it. “Sulu.”

“Boss, all the monitors are off line,” a voice said as the small image resolved into the face of Jeremy Paget. “Something wrong?”

“Jer?” Sulu said with sharp surprise.

“Cobra?” came involuntarily from Ruth.

“Cute, ma’am,” Paget replied with a hint of a growl. “What’s she doin’ there, Sulu?”

“It’s a long story,” Sulu answered, trying to sound both cold and amused. “I just beamed up. What’s our status?”

“I hope he knows,” Ruth whispered.

“We’ve laid in a course for Creasa. The Empire says there’s rumors of a rebellion, and Kirk jumped on it. Those processing plants are ripe for heavy extortion.”


“Two days.” Paget looked over his shoulder at something Sulu couldn’t see. “And I’d give Miss Valley about five minutes to get to her quarters. Kirk just left the Bridge.”

“Shit,” Sulu muttered, then straightened. “Thank you, Mr. Paget. Keep me posted.”

On the screen, the handsome TerAfrican grinned. “Hope she’s worth the risk, Boss.”

The comm went dark.

“I’m not going,” Ruth stated, folding her arms. “I’m staying right here until we can crack this thing.”

Sulu bit his lip. “Look, we tried keeping detached from the dramas. We’ve been involuntarily caught in them. Neither of those reactions got us out. What would happen if we actively played along?”

“You’re joking, right?” Kevin said.

“No, I’m not. If the program is picking up on brain waves, then if we know we’re acting, if we know we’re in a videoplay, shouldn’t that get picked up too? And shouldn’t that, at some point, trigger an endgame? I mean, we know from the Klingon ship that we can have an effect on the events. We can make this fun, or stupid, or…”

“Dangerous,” Ruth put in skeptically.

“No, that’s the last thing we want to do,” Sulu pointed out. “If we concentrate on keeping it silly, like Rentig IV was…”

“The Empire, silly,” Kevin scoffed. “Yeah. Right.”

“Do you have a better idea?” Sulu blazed.

“We could just stay here and keep asking Jilla questions until we hit on the right solution,” Ruth suggested.

“Until Kirk comes barging in here looking for his woman,” Sulu returned. “That would qualify as dangerous, don’t you think?”

“Well…” Ruth sighed, “when you put it that way…”

“So play along,” Sulu said. “Jazz it up. Make it really over the top. Have fun with it, just like we did with the first one. You know, all clichés and snark-worthy innuendos and private jokes…”

“Wait,” Ruth said, and turned to Jilla. “Can we access one of the previous dramas?”

“This program is designed to prevent repetition within any one viewing session,” Jilla replied sadly.

“Damn!” Ruth shook herself, then squared her shoulders. “Okay, Roy, let’s give it the old Academy try. One vamp Captain’s Woman, coming…”

“Not vampires again!” Kevin burst out. Ruth made a face.

“Not vampire, vamp. As in…”

“Vamp; coquette: a seductive woman who uses her sex appeal to exploit men,” Jilla recited.

Ruth giggled. “Yeah. Like that.”

Sulu grinned. “You certainly look the part.”

“Do I?” Ruth primped.

“Oh, honey, you sure as hell do. Ouch!” Sulu turned to Jilla who had just slapped him hard on the arm.

“She’s not yours, Sulu,” the Indiian hissed.

“Now do you suppose her ‘man’ would let her get away with that?” Kevin mused, his eyes twinkling.

Sulu clicked his tongue against his teeth. “I’ll bet not. Kevin, go find out where you’re supposed to be for – oh – say an hour or so, won’t you?”

“Roy, don’t…” Ruth began worriedly.

He smiled. “Don’t worry, Spike. It’s still me and Jilla, you know.”

Ruth glanced at Jilla’s flashing grey eyes. “I’m not so sure about that,” she muttered, then took a deep breath. “Wish me luck.” She turned and headed out of the office.

After checking with the day’s duty roster, Kevin said, “I’ll be on the Bridge, Sulu, me boy-o.” Then with a grin, he, too left the room.

Sulu grinned at Jilla, who was licking her lips at him. “And I’ll just play along,” he murmured to himself, then took the Indiian into his arms.


Ruth did her best sexy slink on the way to the Captain’s cabin. She could feel the eyes of the guards she passed following her and realized with a start of joy that her keheil abilities seemed to be functioning again – at least on a minimal level. That’s gotta be part of the program, she thought, because with a full-powered keheil on his side, Bwana would be Emperor by now. She considered for a moment seeing if she could use her talents to actually get into the mind of the computer, but that immediately sent a hornet’s nest of buzzing into her skull. Certain races might feel a slight tingling, she reminded herself. Slight tingling. Right. So okay. No deus ex machina. Then she giggled to herself. No, that would be Jilla.

She paused before Kirk’s door to take a deep breath and get her game-face on, and to acknowledge the ugly brute of a man who stood guard there. A modern twist on a line from a very old movie came suddenly to her: “Is that a phaser in your pocket or are you just glad to see me?” She made sure her features were set in sensual promise, and stepped into the cabin.

She didn’t expect the harsh slap that greeted her.

“Where have you been, slut?” Kirk’s angry voice snarled at her.

She blinked, started a retort, then remembered her role. She widened her eyes, putting her hand artfully to her cheek. “Jim, I was on leave,” she pouted.

“With that rat-faced Riley, my bastard of a Security Chief, and his Indiian whore?” His tone made it clear that there weren’t many choices she could’ve made that would’ve been worse.

“I didn’t spend my leave with them,” she offered with what she hoped was the right amount of petulance. “I just happened to be at the beam-up coordinates with them.” She moved subtly closer to him. “Really, Jim, do you think I’d could possibly be interested in any of them?”

The hazel eyes studied her, then a half-smile pulled at his lips. “Well, I have seen how you look at the Indiian.”

Oh ick! Ruth thought, but she laughed lightly. “Only to please you, Captain, sir,” she breathed.

He chuckled, his arm going around her waist, pulling her tightly to him. “You’re going to apologize anyway, aren’t you, angel,” he stated.

“Of course I am, Jim,” she murmured, arching to him. She closed her eyes, letting her head fall back as he roughly nuzzled at her neck. She focused her thoughts on how nice he smelled, how strong his embrace was, and – truth be told – how handsome she found him. She was well aware, though she’d never admit it out loud, that her insubordination was in part due to how attracted she was to him. He was, after all, unavailable in her not-in-a-psychocin life, and she had to have some way to deal with it.

Her train of thought was more than allowing her to play her part with conviction, and she raised her head, parting her lips and letting her eyes gleam at Jim through her lashes. His hand slid easily along the invisi-seam at the side of her halter, and she drew back enough to let him peel the material away from her. His large palm covered her breast, and she sighed – then started as his grip turned harsh.

“Jim, not so rough,” she whispered.

He chuckled again. “But you know that’s how I like it,” he murmured.

Sudden fear coursed through her, and she swiftly countered it. I can change this, she told herself firmly.

“But there shouldn’t be anything so common when I’m trying to apologize,” she said in her most sultry voice. “Should there?”

He smiled. “What do you have in mind, angel?”

“Let me show you,” she said, taking a step away from him. She grasped the open side of the gold vest he wore, moving with a seductive smile toward the divider of the cabin and the bed beyond.

And when I’m done with you, you’ll think you’ve died and gone to heaven, she thought with a lascivious giggle. Even if you haven’t.


Kevin hoped his face approximated the sneer he saw on nearly everyone he passed on his way to the Bridge. He called on all the acting ability he had – considerable, if the Irish genetics held true – and stepped down to the navigator’s station. He recognized the junior navigator, as well as everyone else on the Bridge, and decided to have some fun.

“I see you managed to lay in the correct course, Mr. Chekov,” he drawled disdainfully. “Good for you.”

The young Russian, looking a great deal more seedy than he usually did, curled his lip at him. “I knew you were relieving me, Mr. Riley,” he said, “and I didn’t want to cause the Captain to discipline you.” The implication that Riley would have somehow mangled the coordinates was clear.

Kevin felt his cheeks growing hot despite himself. “Yes, I know,” he found himself replying. “You much prefer his – attentions – yourself.”

Chekov growled, rising from his chair. “Down boy,” Kevin murmured. “Kirk likes puppies, not pit bulls.”

The snickers from the rest of the Bridge crew were most satisfying and Kevin ignored Chekov as he took the Navigation Station. He winked at Lieutenant Walking-Bear, who sat at the Helm, and added a toothy grin when the Native American man lowered his eyes in disgruntled submission.

After a few moments, he heard footsteps behind him, and turned. Uhura, resplendent in the same type of red halter and skirt that Jilla had been wearing, leaned down, one hand on the back of his chair.

“That was a clever move, Riley,” she whispered, her voice husky.

“Why thank you, m’dear,” Kevin returned, then, on impulse, added. “I was hoping you’d think so.”

She chuckled, a deep, throaty sound. “You are a bold one, aren’t you?”

“You given me reason to be, haven’t you,” he said, hoping it would be enough of an influence on the program.

“And confident, too,” she murmured. “I like that.” She paused, licking her lips. “My cabin, after watch, Lieutenant,” she said. “Assurance like that deserves a reward.”

“Yes, ma’am,” he replied, giving the statement all the innuendo he could.

Uhura laughed lightly, then patted his cheek with a little more force than he would’ve expected. He watched her undulate back to the Communications Station, not bothering to hide his interest. Somehow, he knew she’d be aware of it.


Sulu was lying on his back on the deck in his office, well-sated and nearly half asleep. He and Jilla hadn’t removed all of their clothing, just his tunic and sash and her halter. Her skirt and his pants had only been rearranged as necessary. She was curled next to him, one leg still on top of his, her head on his chest. Her fingers were moving sensually over his skin in a way that indicated she was more than ready and willing for another round. She had reacted to him with all the blatant sensuality he had always associated with Ruth, though with none of the Antari’s teasing brashness. Jilla was all silver fire and wanton urgency, the long scratches on his back a stinging testament to her avid decadence. He’d given her delicate skin a few bruises himself, he knew, but that had only seemed to increase her hunger. He knew it had increased his. And he refused to let himself worry about how she might react when this was all over. After all, he could always blame it on the Mirror Universe programming of the psychocin.

Her lips began licking at his flesh, her teeth finding and capturing the sensitive nub of his nipple, and he shivered in renewed desire. He brought his hands to her head, fondling her ears, and she moaned softly, then moved lower, kissing along his ribcage and down to his navel…

And the comm on the desk signaled.

Not now! he barked silently at it, but Jilla sighed and sat up.

“Duty calls, my love,” she said, but kissed him as he rose to his elbows. His hand tangled in her hair, returning it, only releasing her when the comm sent its second request for attention. With a sigh of his own, he stood, not taking his eyes off her as she nonchalantly reached for her halter and started putting it back on.

“Sulu,” he answered the inconvenient device.

“Boss, the monitors are still off,” Jeremy Paget’s voice said, and the face on the small screen grinned at the sight of his naked chest. “I see you got a little busy, but they’ve been off for over an hour.”

Sulu didn’t try to stop the leering chuckle. “I’ll take care of that, Jer,” he said. He saw Paget nod, the grin lingering, and switched off the comm.

“Jilla,” he said, and she rose, sensual and fluid, coming again to his arms. Her grey eyes flashed at him, and he had to close his own before saying, “Within parameters of current simulation, restore standard Imperial protocols.”

Her face lost its seductive animation. “All Security monitors on-line,” she said, but her gaze was still soft.

He went to pick up his tunic and sash, putting them on. He had a little trouble tying the gold material until Jilla came to him, readjusting it with swift precision. Then she stared curiously at his face.

“Injury consistent with parameters in file 261 Alpha,” she murmured, as if somehow reassuring herself.

“Yeah,” Sulu agreed, “but it’s butt-ugly.

“File 261 Alpha contains data to explain removal of cosmetic alteration,” she told him. “Implement parameter correction?”

He had to smile at that, but shook his head.

“No, it’s best to leave it for now, hon. And it’s also best you get back into character. I’m sure these rooms are bugged, too.”

“Security Office in subsection 26 of file 261 Alpha free of parameter-mandated surveillance norms,” she assured.

“Well, there’s a piece of luck,” he returned.

“Luck; the condition or state of heightened positive effects or attitudes within a given set of circumstances,” Jilla replied almost happily.

“That it is, hon,” he said, and hugged her. She immediately returned it, writhing against him in amorous delight. The thought that he should check on his duty schedule was lost before it fully formed, and the comm signaled again.

“Damn it!” he spat, and Jilla drew away, a teasing half-smile on her full lips. He again crossed to the desk. “What is it now?” he snarled.

“Good thing you turned the monitors back on when you did, Boss,” Paget’s voice said. “There’s trouble outside turbolift 7 on the crew deck.”

“On my way,” Sulu acknowledged, then turned to Jilla. “Stay here, Jilla. Wait for me.”

She gave a sensual salute as he headed out the door.


Kirk lazily squeezed Ruth’s upper thigh as she finished dressing and tried to look competent at re-donning her jewelry. She playfully swatted his hand away and he grabbed her wrist, twisting her arm behind her.

“That was a wonderful apology, angel,” he grinned – then his eyes hardened. “But don’t push it.”

She smiled seductively up at him. “I’d love to give you a second,” she murmured, “but you did say I had to report to Sciences.”

He frowned, then relented, releasing her arm. “That I did,” he conceded. “What ever made me tell Spock you were a working officer?”

She smiled, caressing his face. “If you hadn’t, you wouldn’t leave your quarters very often,” she told him with sultry insouciance, then kissed him. She had intended it to be only a light flirtation, but his arms came around her, turning it into something much more passionate. She fell into her role, and her heart was pounding when he finally drew away.

“Fix your lipstick and get out of here,” he growled, but it was friendly. When he strode out of the cabin, Ruth took a moment to shiver – and have a small giggling fit – then touched up her make-up, hoping she was applying it correctly, and left the cabin herself.

She got the same reaction as before from the guards as she sashayed to the turbolift, and even turned as the door opened to take a teasing bow for her ‘performance’ – and was startled when a hand grasped her arm, pulling her into the car. The door hissed closed and she was turned and was being thoroughly kissed before she could even blink. Then every sense in her body responded as her brain made the startled identification.


Hush, cher, no one s’posed to know we ‘pathic, came the dark chuckle in her mind.

He pulled away from her and she caught her breath. She hadn’t seen the engineer since the leave they’d spent together on Naois, though the memories of that eventful, heady encounter were still a guilty pleasure within her.

His hand was harsh in her hair, his smile the dark, sensual expression that seldom crossed his features in real life. His hair was longer than he usually wore it, though it was still drawn back from his slightly hardened, unbearably handsome features and he wore a neat beard. His gaze was cruel and possessive, and as she watched, he frowned.

You smell like th’ Captain, he muttered in her thoughts.

After a short burst of panic – which from his reaction he seemed to expect, and actually enjoy – she said aloud, “I am the Captain’s Woman.” Then she silently prayed he would, even in this simulation, follow the protocols they had established at the Academy: when she spoke aloud, it was a signal that he was to stop communicating telepathically.

His frown deepened, though his eyes again became avidly sensual. “But you mine first, angel,” he said, his use of Kirk’s endearment an obvious dig.

Fighting the shivers of urgent need that pulsed in her, she tossed her head. “A girl has to look to her own advancement, Del,” she replied.

“An’ I let you do that, non?” the Cajun murmured, again capturing her mouth in a thorough oral embrace. She sighed into his mouth, writhing against him. The heat that was building in her was overwhelming, and she felt his satisfied chuckle against her lips. His hand moved, his other not letting go of her hair, hitting a switch on the lift controls. He broke the kiss long enough to say, “Malfunction in car 3, Officer’s Deck. Repair personnel on the scene. Estimated time of repair, one hour.” Then he hit the emergency stop, and returned his full attention to her.

“Now you gonna make it up t’ me,” he growled.

“Oh, yes, Del,” Ruth found herself sighing. “Oh god, yes!”


Kevin finished his shift with little incident. When Kirk came onto the Bridge, he managed to follow the lead of the rest of the crew, rising from his seat and giving a forceful salute. Kirk’s gaze swept the Bridge, lingering perhaps just a little longer on him. The undercurrent of disapproval was clear, but Kevin forced himself not to flinch, instead returning the Captain’s glare with cool, not-quite-disdain. David Kelly arrived a few moments later to take over Navigation, and Kevin gave Uhura a significant look before stepping to the turbolift. She rose silently, entering the car closely behind him. Once in it, she pressed herself against him, giving him a devastating kiss. He let himself enjoy it completely, his hands cupping her buttocks, pulling her hard against his hips. She gave a sensual wiggle, murmuring “Mmmmm…” in his ear. When the lift reached its destination – the Crew Deck – he was thoroughly engaged in the parameters of file 261 Alpha, subsection 26.

The door opened, and he glanced up from Uhura’s kisses, his eyes going wide at the sight of Daffy Gollub, her pretty face a haughty, sensual mask with a nose ring and a fine chain that went from it to the piercing in her ear. She smiled, a somehow frightening display of perfect, white teeth.

“Uhura, you’ve brought me a present!” she breathed, and stepped forward, preventing the door of the lift from closing. Uhura chuckled and moved back towards her, pulling Kevin with her. Daffy slipped around behind him, and he felt her body beginning to writhe against his back, her arms coming around him to blatantly fondle Uhura’s breasts.

“It’s so good of you to share him,” Daffy murmured, her lips moving at Kevin’s neck.

“We do seem to have an affinity for navigators,” Uhura returned, her hands leaving Kevin’s shoulder to reach down and cup Daffy’s buttocks as Kevin was clutching hers.

Kevin’s brain was going into overload, the arousal getting increasingly pronounced. He let the two women run their hands over both him and each other, encouraging them with grunts and moans of pleasure. He wondered for a moment why they weren’t either moving back into the car, or urging him out of it to a more private venue, but that thought died under the erotic, hedonistic stimulation.

They had removed their halters, Uhura pulling away to sensually remove her skirt as well. Kevin stared at her body, naked but for the tantalizing, thigh-high boots. She gave him a lascivious smile and bent artfully to remove them.

In rapid succession, Daffy’s arms tightened around his neck, pulling his head back. Uhura dropped to the deck. And Pavel Chekov lunged toward him, his smile the picture of evil vengeance, a short-bladed knife in his hand.


The first cut went into Riley’s abdomen, injuring but not deeply, and not damaging any vital organ. Daffy clamped her hand over his mouth. Chekov removed the blade, smiling darkly at the blood that was seeping through Riley’s uniform.

Uhura rose, picking up her clothing and Daffy’s. “Hurry, before Sulu’s damned Death Squad gets here!” she hissed.

“I’ve already taken care of that,” Chekov assured her, his gaze never leaving the bulging eyes of the senior navigator. “Daphne’s going to let you go, now Riley,” he smirked. “Please, do not do anything to make me kill you.” He paused. “Yet.”

He watched with satisfaction as Riley nodded, and Daffy eased up on her chokehold. Then he pressed the blade to Riley’s side as the man grasped at his bleeding midriff.

“Struggle and I’ll gut you like a Baltic zander,” he promised.

“Don’t worry, darling,” Daffy breathed. “I know what to do.” She stepped out of the lift as Uhura tossed her halter to her, and Chekov shoved Riley back into it. She quickly mussed her hair, hiking up her skirt and putting the halter on, but not fastened. Then she leaned against the closed lift doors and waited for the sound of boots on the deck. Seconds later a team of Security men rounded the corridor, led by Jeremy Paget and followed closely by the Chief of Security himself.

Daffy pushed herself away from the doorway, fumbling at her clothing. Then she glanced up as if startled.

“Oh hell, who raised the alarm?” she asked, her voice the perfect blend of annoyance and careful contrition.

Paget eyed her warily. “Automatic monitors picked up the unusually long stop of the lift here,” he said.

She laughed nervously. “Oh, that. Chekov got a little – overenthusiastic.” She deliberately arched in a way that reopened the half-fastened halter. The Security man snorted, but Paget didn’t yet look convinced – and Sulu looked downright angry. She swallowed, and kicked her performance up a notch, pretending to lose her balance as she tugged at her skirt. She hadn’t expected any of them to attempt to help her, and wasn’t disappointed when they let her stumble and fall to the deck. She pouted as she looked up. “I’m telling the truth,” she insisted petulantly.

Paget’s lips twisted as he held his hand out to her – more to cop a feel that to actually help her up – and she knew she at least had him.

“So why did you stop him?” the Security Chief asked, and there was a tone to his voice that she couldn’t place.

“I’ll be late for duty,” she explained, taking a deep enough breath to make her open halter ride farther open. “You know how Mr. Spock prizes punctuality.” She dropped her gaze, then looked up at Sulu seductively. “And how he punishes breaches of his high standards.”

Again the guards made suggestive noises. Paget actually grinned.

“So, Lieutenant, I’d suggest you get your pretty ass to our Chief of Sciences and explain this to him,” Sulu said, his voice oily with amusement.

She bent her head submissively. “Yes, sir,” she murmured and scooted past the guards as if afraid she’d be stopped. When she was out of their sight, she smiled, straightened, repairing both her clothing and her hair. By the time she actually got to Sciences, no one would have noticed anything amiss in her appearance.

And, as the Chief of Sciences wasn’t actually in his department, there was nothing to worry about anyway.


“Sorry for the false alarm, Boss,” Paget said as they walked back toward the Security Office.

Sulu was more than grateful that it was a false alarm. Brawls he could deal with, even ones that were likely to be a bit more weapons-heavy than those, as a Federation Security officer, he was used to. He wasn’t sure what he would’ve done if he’d had to deal with an assassination.

Remembering his role, he turned a veiled gaze to the man who looked so damned much like his best friend. The only difference he could see was that the chocolate-brown eyes were much less warm than were those of the Jeremy he knew – unless he was in full red-shirt mode. He smiled at himself, unable to stop the almost-fond thought. “You can make it up to me later, Jer,” he murmured in his best silky/dangerous tone.

The sudden shift from watchful attention to keening submission was startling. Jeremy’s whole body language changed, his eyes softer and more pleading than Sulu had ever seen them – which was, he had to admit, saying quite a lot. Paget lowered his head as if no longer able to look at him without turning to jelly, and brought his hands forward, wrists together, just begging to be manacled.

“Why not right now, seme,” he whispered, his voice surrender incarnate.

The breath caught in Sulu’s throat, the intense hunger the word engendered shooting through his veins like wildfire. It was rarely used outside Japanese courtesan houses, and it referred to one who was, in a strictly sexual relationship, the dominant partner. His automatic reaction was to grab Paget’s wrists, pulling their bodies close together, holding the taller man’s hands imprisoned between them.

Paget just as automatically fell to his knees, his arms raised to keep them in Sulu’s grip, his open mouth pressing tightly to his master’s genitals.

The touch re-started Sulu’s brain and he jerked away. He retained enough sense to snap, “I said, later!” then thought again and added, “If you can earn it.”

Paget’s upward glance was seductive and frighteningly willing. Then he got to his feet as if none if it had happened and said, with a deceptively casual grin, “I’ll be sure to do that, Boss. Do you want to fill out the Security incident report or should I take care of it?”

With a sudden surge of distrust, and remembering the nonchalant way Paget had groped Daffy’s breast, Sulu said “I’ll do it,” and continued back to his office. Besides, he really, really needed to get back to Jilla.


“Ah, Miss Costain, I was hoping I wouldn’t have to go looking for you.”

Jilla glanced up from the chair she’d curled herself into at the sound of Spock’s voice. A part of her was shocked at the use of the improper surname, then something clicked in her brain and it made perfect sense. She rose, sensual fire and grace.

“Commander Spock,” she murmured, letting her eyes flash at him for only a moment.

“Where is Mr. Sulu?” the Vulcan asked.

She took a few carefully measured steps toward him. “There was a Security call,” she replied, then again glanced at him, another flicker of her eyes. “But surely you know that, Commander.”

“You have always been perceptive, Miss Costain,” he said, his tone amused.

“Shall I show you how perceptive I am?” she asked, coming even closer to him.

His eyebrow arched. “Please do.”

She moved next to him, letting her eyes meet his, standing on tiptoe to entwine her arms about his neck. “You’ve come to collect your payment,” she whispered throatily, then licked at the curve of his ear. She felt the shiver go through him and hid her delighted chuckle in a breathy sigh.

His arms came around her, his hands immediately beginning a bold caress. She wriggled against him, her fingertips playing through his hair and, as Sulu had done to her, over his sensitive ears.

The thought of Sulu brought a sudden flare of panic into her and from somewhere inside her own mind, she thought she heard Reinforce parameters of lines 497 through 508, file 261 Alpha, subsection 26, input receiver 36. The disquiet passed and she moaned in Spock’s fierce embrace.

“Shall we retire to my quarters, little one?” he said, his voice a liquid purr.

She shuddered. “It would be my pleasure, my kahlrn.”


Ruth held onto Del’s shoulders, her naked back against the curving wall of the turbolift, her arms around his neck, her legs around his hips. He was still held inside her, his weight pressing against her body to keep them both upright. They were both covered in sweat, Del whispering lewd endearments in her mind. She shuddered with pleasure, then he pulled away and let her slide down the bulkhead to crumple in exhaustion on the deck. He stared down at her, his dark eyes gleaming.

“Kirk not match that, non?” he chuckled.

To her infinite surprise, Ruth found herself flushing.

“Never in a million years,” she agreed earnestly.

He crouched, his hand coming behind her head, grasping her hair. “You remember it, cher,” he snarled. “You remember what we plan. You play wit’ him till we strong ‘nough t’ take him out, but you mine,”

“Always, Del,” she vowed, and there was a part of her that couldn’t separate the drama from her inner reality. His kiss was a harsh seal to both the promise and her confusion.

He stood, bending over to pick up her clothes from the pile they’d both left their uniforms in. Ruth couldn’t stop herself from reaching out to caress his muscled backside. He twisted around, with an erotic growl, pushing her back against the bulkhead. She welcomed him with a breathless moan, but he only kissed her thoroughly, then pushed her away.

“You not tempt a man like that, darlin’,” he drawled, his smile deliciously evil. “We only got five minutes more here ‘fore I gotta ‘splain it t’ Scott.”

Ruth shuddered, but nodded and took the clothes he handed her. After a few more false starts, they both managed to fasten the last of their uniforms into place. Del made a false entry into the repair log, ran his hand through his hair, then grinned at her again and started the lift car moving. He traced a sensual line at the small of her back just before the lift stopped moving, then straightened and took several steps away from her, his bearing one of uncomfortable respect. Ruth assumed one of sensual amusement, as if she’d just been taunting a man who wanted her but would never have her. The door opened and she took a step forward –

– only to be knocked off her feet by a hard blow to her ribcage.


“Whore!” Kirk thundered. “You godddamned faithless little bitch!”

Ruth was barely able to get her breath back to answer him. “Jim… what…?”

“Do you really think I’m too stupid to notice the coincidence of a malfunctioning lift car, your absence, and his!” came the reply as Jim advanced on her, slapping her face.

She blinked back the tears of shock and pain and realized that there were two Security guards pinning Del to the bulkhead.

“Please, Jim, it just happened, I was stuck in that car, Mr. DelMonde was only repairing it…!”

“You reek of sex, angel,” Kirk growled, and slapped her again. “That perfect lipstick of yours is smeared – where it isn’t completely gone!” A third slap sent her head reeling and she fell to her knees.

“Take that walking dead man to the Booth,” he snarled. “Tell Sulu he’s got a prime victim.”

“Jim, wait… please!” Ruth gasped, and his foot lashed out, kicking her in the stomach.

“Then bring this little slut to my quarters,” the captain ordered harshly. “I’ll deal with her myself.”

Kill him, cher! Sounded in her mind, and then Del was dragged away, Kirk pivoting on his heel and she folded her arms around her bruising flesh and wailed, weeping until no more tears would come.


Uhura had dressed, and she walked in front of Kevin, Chekov behind him, the knife digging ever so slightly into his back. Kevin was in shock, the wound in his stomach a sharp, continuous throbbing. It made it impossible to keep up the façade of the drama – it had become all too real. He suddenly recalled that the brochure for the psychocin had said no harm could come to the patrons, and that computer Jilla had confirmed it – but Jesus, Mary and Joseph, this hurt!

He was led/pushed into an empty briefing room, Chekov shoving him harshly as Uhura turned and voice-locked the door.

“Now,” the Russian said with an evil smile, “we have some fun, Mr. Senior Navigator.” His voice hardened. “Take off your clothes.”

“My – my clothes?” Kevin stammered.

“Or do you want them to get more bloody than they are?”

“Look, Chekov, I’m sorry,” the Irishman began. “There’s no need to…”

“Oh, but I think there is,” Chekov returned. “You have humiliated me for the last time, and if I get no satisfaction, it will be the last time you do anything.”

“I’d do what he says, sugar,” Uhura purred. She walked behind the Russian, her arms going around him, caressing his chest. “There’s a lot more to him than meets the eye.”

With a shudder that was as much from the slow but steady loss of blood as it was from the fear, Kevin removed his tunic, gasping a little as the material was pulled away from the knife wound. Bending over to try and remove his boots was dizzying, and he collapsed into one of the chairs surrounding the irregularly-shaped table.

“Oh, you poor man,” Uhura crooned. “Pavel, let me help him.”

Chekov chuckled. “As you wish, my lovely pirozhne.”

Uhura kissed his cheek, then moved to Kevin, kneeling down. As she grasped his boot, she licked it from toe to top, then gave Kevin a lustful smile before yanking it off. She did the same with the other, this time staring into his eyes. She turned her head slightly. “Chekov, be a dear and give me a hand?”

“Of course, doushka,” he said and stepped up to Kevin. With a few quick moves, the blade had sliced through Kevin’s uniform pants, allowing Uhura to peel the cloth from his legs and hips. She lewdly licked his naked flesh, then rose. She pulled her skirt up and climbed on top of Kevin’s lap, then removed her halter, leaving her exposed breasts inches from his face.

“She is such a helpful woman, do you not agree?” Chekov asked, his eyes as brown as Uhura’s skin, and just as gleaming. He walked around behind Kevin’s chair. “We’ll start slowly,” he whispered, leaning down to his fellow navigator’s ear. “A nick here, a cut there… exquisite little slices, much the same caliber as your feeble attempts at jests at my expense.” He gave Kevin’s ear a sharp nip with bared teeth. “Then,tovarichsh it will get much more – ” He paused, taking a long breath, exhaling the final word with decadent care, “ – personal.”

Uhura laughed, a sound that held the promise of wild abandon, and the blade bit into the top of Kevin’s shoulder.


When he found that Jilla wasn’t in his office, Sulu completely forgot about the ‘incident report.’ He’d told her to stay put, and while his in-the-drama self seethed with fury, he tried to collect his thoughts. What would the program have wanted her to do? Where would it have led her to…

The fucking Vulcan and his fucking payment! he snarled at himself.

It took all his will not to dash insanely back out the officer door. He had to know where to look; in this universe, a madman racing around on a murderous binge probably wouldn’t be conducive to his health – and he no longer knew what would happen if he or Ruth or Jilla or Kevin were to die while in the simulation.

It would have to somewhere private, wouldn’t it? he thought, forcing his brain to work. His office or his quarters… damn, why didn’t I ask Jilla how to work the fucking Security monitors!

As if on cue, his desk comm unit signaled. When the screen brightened with Paget’s face, Sulu didn’t know whether to be relieved or terrified – or both.

“Boss, just picked up something I thought you’d like to see,” Jeremy said, his voice carefully neutral.


“Monitor 17.”

Sulu closed his eyes. Okay, I know where the control for Monitor 17 is, don’t I? Without thought, he let his hand reach for the array of buttons on a panel on his desk. A small square of it lit up, showing what looked like a much more decadent version of Spock’s cabin. He could see the Vulcan, shirtless and kneeling over the bed. Then he lowered his body and Sulu caught the flare of silvery skin.

His vision went crimson and he swore gutturally. He pivoted and raced to the door, almost – but not quite – missing Jeremy’s lustful, “Did I earn it, seme?”


Ruth didn’t quite understand why she’d gone to Kirk’s cabin. Common sense told her that was the last place she wanted to be, but apparently going with the drama carried its own imperatives.

The Tantalus field, her mind whispered.

What the hell was a Tantalus field?

Okay, my character obviously knows, even if I don’t. She closed her eyes and relaxed, letting the program’s knowledge fill her. Then she gave an evil chuckle and moved unerringly to a large framed picture, touching it at the corners in a precise pattern. The picture, frame and all, slid up to reveal a screen with a large dial and a somehow ominous looking button. She started turning the dial and the screen came alive with a picture of someone’s quarters – and she recognized it as Spock’s before her mind registered what it was showing. Pure panic warred with both angry jealousy and grieving desire and she forgot all about program parameters and headed back out of the cabin, only to be stopped by Jim’s solid body as he stepped through the door.

“Going somewhere, angel?” he snarled as his hand savagely grabbed her by her hair, throwing her to the deck.

She stared up at him, breathless fear replacing all other emotion within her. She scrambled backward. He followed her.

“Jim, please, I know what you think, but, I swear…!”

Her voice was cut off as he bent, slapping her, then again grasped her hair, this time to pull her to her feet.

“No more lies, Antari,” he growled. “You’re the best prize on this ship – maybe even in all of Fleet – but that boost to my reputation doesn’t do me one damn bit of good if it’s thought that I can’t control you.” His other hard crushed her breast. “And I can, my beauty, even if you don’t believe it.” He gave her a brutal, passionless kiss. “But I guarantee you, angel, by the time this night is over, you will believe.”

He ripped the halter from her, pushing her back toward the bed with sheet force, then caught sight of the Tantalus field. His face lit with a dark smile.

“You still find Spock intriguing, do you?” he said, then reconsidered with wicked delight. “But no. You were quick enough to leave his bed when I offered.” He laughed at the look of anguished surprise that came into Ruth’s eyes. “Or is it Sulu’s silver whore you wanted to watch?” He licked his lips. “That’s okay, angel. You can look all you like. I’m sure they won’t mind.”

He threw her to the bed, immediately pouncing on her. He forced her to her hands and knees, facing the Tantalus screen, his hand once more holding onto her hair like some obscene pair of reins. She felt him opening his pants, pushing her skirt up over her hips, and cried out when he penetrated her with lustful fury, the sound turning to one of despairing horror when, on the screen, Spock did the exact same thing to Jilla.


Kevin was woozy, even though a part of his brain – and the lower half of his body – was working overtime. Uhura’s gyrations were intensely arousing, and every time he was perfectly prepared to have her dark flesh surrounding him, Chekov would slide the blade into his skin and he would deflate like some used party balloon. There were cuts all down his arms, in twin lines along his spine; horizontal slashes cut across his chest. There were even some carefully placed nicks at his throat and neck. He could feel the blood oozing from them, and Uhura’s hands were sticky with it – except for where she’d licked her fingertips clean. Her breasts, too, were smeared, and he could taste the salt iron on his own lips from the times she’d thrust a slicked, hardened nipple into his mouth. She’d also nearly suffocated him more than once, both to cover his screams and to apparently increase her own arousal. Chekov did his own share of licking at the wounds, his laughter at Kevin’s flinches both dark and delighted.

Finally, the Russian stepped back. “Time for the main event, Mr. Senior Navigator,” he murmured. Uhura squealed and climbed off of Kevin’s lap, dropping eagerly to her knees. Chekov gestured with the knife.

“Join her,” he ordered.

Swallowing, light-headed, Kevin pushed himself off the chair, falling heavily to his knees. His vision was tunneling, but he saw the Russian opening his pants.

“You see, I told you there was more to him,” Uhura breathed throatily.

Kevin shuddered, closing his eyes.

“You will give me proper respect,” Chekov growled, the sound one of pure depravity. “You may outrank me, but from this day on, I will most certainly be in the superior position.” He stepped forward, his hardened organ bobbing in front of Kevin’s face. “I trust you know what to do, Mr. Riley,” he smirked, his voice a fair approximation of Kirk’s.

Uhura giggled. “Like this, Kevin,” she whispered, and leaned forward as Kevin fought the rising dread – and the rising surrender.


The Indiian had always been the most wanton of his sexual partners. Antaris were more well-trained, their skill legendary. Human females were great experimenters, lavish in their knowledge of variation and technique. Romulan women, of course, held a special attraction for him, being similar in appearance to those of his own race, yet without their cold ruthlessness; Romulans were just as ruthless, of course, but no one could ever claim them cold. Even Klingons could be fascinating, once they’d been properly tamed. But lush, responsive little Jilla was by far his favorite. She knew what he wanted from her almost before he did, reacting to his every whim as though it were the most urgent of needs, giving him all the stimulation of both body and senses he craved without the danger of more gifted races. The fact that she made no secret of it, that she would endure time and time again the Security Chief’s harsh anger and retribution, made her surrender all the sweeter. And as she was still Sulu’s woman, it was clear the Human reacted to her in the same way. The potential hold it gave him over the mercurial officer was the sweet icing on an already rich cake.

Spock ran elegant fingers over the shimmering silver flesh. The alteration of her genetics that had been forced on her by the Vulcan who had first claimed her gave both her scent and her taste a familiar yet exotic tang. She gazed steadily at him through half-lowered eyes, her full, dark lips moist and slightly parted, her body softly undulating on the bed before him. He had always found the languid way she removed her clothing for him a particular delight, and the way she smiled at him while in that performance made it clear she was well aware of it. He watched her slow, sensual writhing as he removed his own uniform, then climbed onto the mattress with her. She gave a soft, seductive purring sound – so unlike that of his wife on Vulcan – and rose to her knees. She kissed his chest, his throat, his lips, his ears, then turned, glancing seductively over her shoulder as she got into the position that most enflamed him, on her hands and knees, her shoulders flattened to the bed, a willing presentation of heat and submission.

He smiled at her, grasped her ripe, rounded hips, and moved to thrust inside her.

He heard the loud, sudden thud! of something hitting the door to his cabin, then the door hissed open. He turned his head, and the last thing he saw was Sulu’s livid, twisted face and the flare of a phaser’s beam.


Ruth screamed as, on the Tantalus screen, she watched Sulu vaporize the only man who could ever compete with Del in her affections. She heard Kirk’s abrupt, booming laughter, and she twisted around beneath him, not caring that the action tore a handful of hair from her head. She felt the force of her own power gathering within her, grief and fury claiming her senses as she prepared to turn James Tiberius Kirk into a handsome, hazel-eyed vegetable.


Kevin’s awareness was rapidly fading. He had forced himself to lick at Chekov’s exposed flesh, hoping only to avoid more knife wounds, but the Russian had only grasped his hair, then proceeded to draw the blade in a deepening line down the side of his face. Kevin could hear Uhura’s almost orgasmic mirth, and he knew that Chekov had no intention of letting him leave the briefing room alive. He opened his mouth wide, sucking the column of flesh into it, and with his last conscious thought, bit down as hard as he could.


For a second, everything froze, the screen that had split four ways going a blinding white. The sound of raucous feedback screeched through every head set, the lights of the theater flickering wildly.

“Central processing unit, return to last known good configuration,” a voice stated, calm, but quite loud. The screen went through a rapid series of images, slowing, then finally settling on brilliant red letters proclaiming CAPTAIN’S LOG: RENTIG VI!, then fading to a background of stars.

“Last good configuration of file 261 Alpha, confirmed,” a soft voice murmured in quiet relief.

“End program,” the first voice ordered, and the screen went blank, the theater lights coming up to normal illumination.


Ruth blinked, shuddering, staring around the fully-lit theater. Beside her, Kevin was slumped in his seat, shaking violently. On her other side, Sulu held Jilla in an embrace tight enough to crush her, the Indiian’s eyes peeking above his shoulder with profound confusion. The other patrons of the crowed theater were grumbling, some rising, calling for the management.

Ruth glanced up, then threw the headset from her as though it were something alive and malevolent. She snatched Kevin’s from his head, and reached over to yank the devices from Jilla and Sulu. Then she stood up and stomped on them. Hard.

“Miss Valley, are you all right?” Spock said, and she let out a yelp, jumping and turning almost in mid-air.

The Vulcan stood at the end of the row of seats, Captain Kirk next to him.

“No, oh no, not again, fuck, not again!” she shrieked.

“Calm yourself, Lieutenant,” Kirk soothed. “We’re here to help, not to take you into custody for being AWOL for the last two days.”

“Ruth?” Sulu said, rising, his eyes widening as he saw Spock and Kirk. “Oh Jesus…” he began.

“While I can understand your apprehension, Mr. Sulu,” Spock told him mildly, “I assure you, you are outside the parameters of the psychocin program.”

Sulu gave him a wary look, then bent to Jilla. “Hon,” he said, then took a deep breath. “Why can’t we get out of the theater?”

Jilla looked up at him, frowning. “I do not know,” she whispered uncertainly.

“Jilla, hamentashen!” Ruth snapped, saying the first thing that came into her head.

The Indiian blinked. “I beg your…?”

“Is that not a sweet pastry usually filled with a prune or poppy seed preserve which is a popular confection around the Jewish holiday of Purim?” Spock rejoined, his eyebrow rising curiously.

Ruth glared at him. “Okay. Purim, Jilla!”

Jilla stared at her as if she had lost her mind. “You have mentioned it, I believe, but I am not certain of…”

With a loud whoop of joy, both Ruth and Sulu were hugging her in relieved delight. Ruth felt Kevin’s hand on her shoulder, weak and trembling.

“Is it over?” the Irishman whispered.

She turned to him, hugging him. “I think it is, Kev. Goddess, I think it really is!”


Go to Part Ten of Hotel California - Epilogue

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