(Standard Year 2247)
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Spock was in the con when Ruth stepped onto the Bridge. She smiled at the sight - he looked so good there - and said, as she walked up to him, "Boss, do I look like Janice Rand?"
Spock regarded her studiously. "Your hair is a similar shade, though much longer," he said seriously, "and your eyes, while larger, are of a related if darker hue; you are both slender in physical structure. However, you are several centimeters taller than Miss Rand, three years younger, half Antari, and of quite a different temperament. Why do you ask?" Ruth noticed that he didn't even blink at her annoyed frown.
"Roy and Lieutenant Wong Lo seem to think I'm a yeoman," she returned blithely, and handed him the packet. "For the Captain."
Spock turned it over in his hand. "This was given to you by Lieutenant Lo?"
She nodded. "He said Admiral Gordon thought it was of utmost importance - but it's not classified." She shrugged.
"That's what I think."
The First Officer glanced at her and she stifled a smile. "Thank you, Miss Valley."
"This has to do with the Captain's sordid little gambit, doesn't it?" she asked.
"You spoke with Mr. Sulu."
"Before he went sleazing off with Lo again, yeah," She shuddered. "Does Komack think all we do around here is gossip and screw?" Before Spock could reply, she turned, shaking her head. "See you later, Boss," she said, and left the Bridge.
Spock carefully turned the package over in his hands. It wasn't coded as classified, but it did carry the Admiral's personal security seal. Frowning, he signaled the Captain's office.
Jim's reactions went through rising hope and cautious celebration to puzzled anxiety and frustrated disappointment.
"Damn it!" he spat, and slammed the packet to his desk.
"I take it the contents do not implicate the Admiral?" Spock said mildly.
"No." The word was curt, brusque, and Spock fell silent. "All it is is a list of valuable resources for which the Enterprise should be on particular lookout, a personal coding system for the listing of those resources, and the Admiral's personal subspace frequency," Jim growled. Spock watched as the Human started to pace. "Suspicious, yes, but hardly incriminating. There are any number of plausible reasons why the Secretary of Resources would want a heads-up if a world with those particular assets was found." There was a short pause, then Jim again snapped, "Damn it!"
"I have no suggestions to offer you, Captain," the First Officer said ruefully. "As I have stated before, Vulcans do not bluff."
"I'm beginning to think I shouldn't," Jim answered. He stood staring at nothing for several seconds. Spock was well aware that Jim's annoyance was a cover for his friend's worry; worry that the mission would fail, worry that Jim himself would fail, worry that the Federation he loved and served would be defrauded by one who, like himself, had sworn to protect and defend her. And, Spock knew, he was worried that his only option was one of manipulation; pushing the limits of what a commander could ask of his crew.
Finally, Jim asked tonelessly. "Has Mr. Sulu reported back aboard?"
Spock kept the disapproval from his voice and expression. "Not yet, sir."
"When he does, have him and Miss Valley report to me."
"Miss Valley, Captain?" Spock asked, eyebrow rising as his heart dropped.
Jim's face was set, his teeth clenched. "Miss Valley."
Ruth had gotten the hint. Less than fifteen minutes after Lo had pulled him into a harsh, erotic kiss, the communicator at Sulu's hip beeped. "Damn damn damn!" he whispered, and reached for it as Lo pulled reluctantly away.
"Sulu," he said, hoping it sounded breathless.
"The captain wants to see you," Ruth's voice said with just the right touch of sympathetic innuendo. "Sorry."
"You can make it up to me later," Sulu returned, sending the Antari a grateful mental kiss and broke the connection. "Damn Captains and Admirals," he growled.
"I trust," Lo murmured, "that you'll have the time to make this up to me, Sulu."
"From your lips to the ear of the Great Bird of the Galaxy," Sulu said, and gave Lo another fierce kiss. He couldn't leave the Spartan, efficient, well-ordered room fast enough.
When Sulu beamed aboard and was told to report to the Captain, Spock took the opportunity to remind him that regulations permitted him to decline certain assignments. The young man's quite obvious relief vanished and he only nodded with a terse, "Yes, sir. Thank you sir." Spock then uncharacteristically escorted Ruth Valley to Kirk's office.
"You think I forgot the way?" the Antari quipped, but the First Officer could sense her unease.
"My duty requires that I ensure your familiarity with certain regulations," Spock began, "regarding when it is permissible for a crewmember to refuse assignments which he or she finds morally or ethically..." He paused. "Repugnant."
The lieutenant's eyes widened, then she quickly looked away. "Oh shit," she said.
The Vulcan's eyebrow rose. "You seem unsurprised, Miss Valley."
She took a deep breath. "When you sent me station-side to meet Sulu, I also met Admiral Gordon," she said. "After hearing what the Captain had asked Roy to do... well, when he introduced him, it was pretty obvious what the slime was interested in." She grimaced. "And the Captain didn't seem any too anxious to dissuade him."
"I see," Spock commented pointedly.
"Don't worry, Boss. I can handle it."
"You should not have to Miss Valley," Spock found himself murmuring, well aware that she had used the same phrase as Sulu. Ruth blinked at him, then smiled.
"That's sweet, Boss," she said.
"I am quite serious regarding regulations," he told her. "Should you wish to decline, I will support that decision."
"And if I don't decline it?"
It was Spock's turn to blink. "Miss Valley?"
"Will you support that decision, too?"
She grinned again. "Just checking." Then she caught and held his gaze. "Thank you, Mr. Spock."
He stopped the flush before it could reach his face. "My duty, Miss Valley."
"Of course." She gave him another teasing smile before squaring her shoulders and walking into Kirk's office.
Jim listened carefully as Sulu reported his impressions of Lieutenant Lo, along with what little information the aide had given him on Admiral Gordon. "I haven't had enough time to do anything more than gain his confidence," the helmsman finished, then apologized. "I'm sorry, sir, I'll keep at it."
Jim nodded grimly. "I'm sure you're doing your best, Lieutenant," he said. "But this isn't moving fast enough. No fault of yours," he added quickly, lest Sulu think he was being chastised. "Komack didn't give me a lot of room to maneuver. So I'm afraid... Ah, Miss Valley," Jim interrupted himself as the door to his office opened, admitting her and Spock.
"Reporting as ordered, Captain," the Antari said.
Jim motioned for her to take a seat next to Sulu, deliberately ignoring the air of disapproval that surrounded his First Officer - which he no doubt thinks is undetectable, Jim added privately. It's not that I don't understand the feeling, my friend. It's not even that I don't agree with it. There's simply very little in the way of good choices here.
He took a deep breath, then decided the only way to get through this was to plunge ahead. "Miss Valley, what I'm about to tell you is under a strict need-to-know classification, which means, obviously, there's a reason you need to know it."
"Captain, let me make this easier," the Antari broke in. "Admiral Ivan Gordon is suspected of selling development grants for personal gain. You've been assigned to find legal proof of his guilt. We're here because the man's a sleaze and he took a fancy to me and Sulu and you want us to pump him for incriminating information by any means necessary." She glanced at Lieutenant Sulu, then over her shoulder to Spock, then returned her gaze to him, giving him a bright, brittle smile. "Right?"
Jim, too glanced at the other occupants of the room. Sulu's face was set in a tight grimace of dread and determination. Spock's eyes closed briefly and Jim was certain there was real distress behind the stoic Vulcan expression. The Captain sighed, then cleared his throat, deciding not to ask which one of the other two had told her.
"That's correct, Miss Valley," he said. "I know he's guilty, but I need to find hard evidence. I think that's contained in his computer, and if my Science Officer and I can find a little bit of uninterrupted time in his office, I'm certain we can get it." He paused, looking intently at the two lieutenants. "Which is where you come in. The Admiral has a certain reputation, one of - well, let me be honest; frequent and varied sexual conquest." He saw the expected look of cynical distaste cross Ruth's features, but was slightly surprised to see a moment of stark terror flash into Sulu's eyes before the helmsman, too, registered loathing disdain.
"You'll have the time you need, sir," Sulu said grimly.
"You do have the option of declining..." Jim began.
"Yes, sir, Mr. Spock explained that," Ruth put in.
"I don't know what, exactly, you'd be up against," Jim found himself saying. "I do know you'd have to convince him it was your idea." And why are you belaboring the point? They've already agreed. Just like you knew they would.
Which is why I'm belaboring the point.
"Understood, Captain." Sulu again.
"It could get - uncomfortable," Jim warned. They deserve every chance to refuse.
So you can come out of this with a clear conscience?
"We can take care of ourselves, can't we, Roy?" Ruth replied.
"I want to be clear here," the Captain went on, ignoring his own internal dialogue. "If Mr. Spock and I are successful, Starfleet will take notice of your contribution, and you'll have my personal thanks..."
"We understand, sir," Sulu broke in. "We're under no orders here. We're volunteering." He glanced at Ruth, who nodded. "Whatever we do, whatever happens, we won't hold you or Starfleet responsible."
Spock spoke for the first time. "Mr. Sulu, I am certain the Captain did not..."
Jim held up a hand. "No, Spock, he's right. That's exactly what I'm saying. And I'm sorry for it, and if either or both of you want to reconsider, I'm certainly not going to hold it against you." He grinned crookedly. "Komack will just have to go find some other way to..."
"No, sir." It was Ruth's turn to interrupt. "We know what's at stake."
Jim took a deep breath. "Final chance to bow out, Miss Valley, Mr. Sulu," he said.
Both lieutenants remained attentively silent.
"Very well. I have to meet with the Admiral. There's an outdoor café a few blocks from his office. I suggest you wait there."
"Captain, what about Lieutenant Lo?" Sulu asked.
"He's not on duty for the rest of the day, Lieutenant," Jim replied.
"Yes, sir, but without something to - occupy him..." Sulu paused. "I've gotten to know him well enough to know he'll be hanging around Gordon's office anyway."
"I can entertain the Admiral if Sulu needs to continue to woo Lieutenant Lo," Ruth offered. Jim noted the sour look that came over the helmsman's features at the word ‘woo.'
"Don't worry about that, Miss Valley," Jim returned. "I've thought of a way to take care of it."
"I trust it does not require involving any more of the crew," Spock commented. Jim frowned, though he was well aware the jibe was more than deserved.
"No, Spock, just you and me." He stood from behind his desk. "Are there any questions?" he asked.
"How long should we keep Admiral Gordon engaged?" Sulu asked.
Jim tried not to grimace. "A few hours, three or four, should be sufficient," he replied. He waited for a moment. Neither lieutenant said anything more. "Good luck, then, Miss Valley, Mr. Sulu."
And try not to hate me in the morning.
"What do you suppose he's into?" Ruth asked. She was drumming her fingers on the table at the café, deliberately not looking at Sulu.
Sulu took a sip of the Saurian brandy he had ordered. Not his usual preference, but it was strong and numbing and the reason he'd ordered it was something he didn't want to think about. Because Cal drank it, his treacherous mind said anyway. "Probably the worst kind of kink," he replied, and shuddered involuntarily.
"Jesus, he gives me twitches," Ruth shivered.
"Yeah, me too."
"Roy..." Ruth paused uneasily. "What have we gotten ourselves into?"
"Unmasking a thief and a traitor and an opportunist," Sulu answered. "And that's what we have to remember."
"He went to fight wars for his country and his king," Ruth murmured. Sulu reached across the table, gently squeezing Ruth's hand.
"With any luck, he's only a run of the mill lech." The Antari stared dubiously at him. "Yeah, well, I doubt it too, but..."
"So," Ruth rejoined airily, after an uncomfortable pause, "Do you really think we can handle it?"
"Yeah," Sulu replied firmly, then grinned sardonically. "And that's the bitch of it, isn't it?"
Jim contacted Lieutenant Lo and suggested the Admiral meet him at the café to which he'd sent Lieutenants Valley and Sulu. Captain's instincts told Jim that Lo would accompany the Admiral to the café. After all, this was the final test, the final meeting, and as Gordon's Spock, Lo would have to be there. It was sordid, and it made him feel a trifle unclean, but if Sulu's charms had had even the beginnings of their usual effect, Lo would be a touch jealous seeing the helmsman with the Antari - and just might be downright furious watching Jim set the Admiral up with him.
Instinct didn't disappoint him. He arrived a good forty-five minutes later than he'd arranged, striding casually to the table at which the Admiral sat. Lo was a few feet away, watching Gordon's table - and, Jim noted, the table at which Ruth and Sulu were seated.
He also noted that the Admiral stared at the Enterprise's lieutenants with cold intensity.
"You received my package," was the first thing Gordon said.
Jim smiled, making sure it was a touch cold. "I was disappointed by its - vagaries," he replied as he took a seat.
Gordon sipped at his drink, the ever-present Long Island Iced Tea. "Oh? I thought it quite specific."
"Detailed, Admiral. Not specific. And not, shall we say, binding?"
"You're interested, then, Captain?"
"I'd be crazy not to be, Admiral."
Gordon smiled, but his eyes traveled again to the other table. "I've got binding specifics in my office, Jim." He paused. "But it's too beautiful an evening for business, wouldn't you say?"
"No, sir, I don't think it's too beautiful at all," Jim returned, with just the right emphasis on the ‘too.'
"Just beautiful enough, then?" Gordon asked and his blue eyes gleamed with the unspoken question.
"I'm certain, Admiral." He, too, glanced at Valley and Sulu. "I've spoken to them since our last meeting," he said. "They were - intrigued by your obvious interest, if I can be so bold."
"Were they?" Gordon took a longer drink.
"They'd be crazy not to be."
Gordon chuckled. "Well, since you've gone to all the trouble, Jim..." He stood, crooking a finger at Lo. The attaché immediately rose, and Jim couldn't identify the expression that crossed Lo's face before it became a proper, impassive mask. "Escort Captain Kirk to my office, Lieutenant. Make him comfortable until I can join him there - say, in three or four hours."
"Yes, sir," Lo replied. He smiled without mirth and gestured. "This way, Captain."
I'm sorry, Jim thought at his officers.
"Excuse me, Lieutenant Valley, Lieutenant Sulu. May I join you?"
At Gordon's voice, Sulu briefly closed his eyes, gathering his courage and his resolve. Time to turn it on, he thought, and looked up at the Admiral.
"Of course, sir," he said with sensual welcome.
"We'd be honored, Admiral," Ruth added, her tone inviting and seductive.
Gordon smiled, a wintry display of teeth, and took a seat. Without looking away from them, he snapped his fingers and a waiter moved quickly to them. "Another of whatever the lieutenants are drinking," he said, "and another for me."
"Yes, sir," the server replied and hurried off.
"You're too generous, Admiral," Sulu flattered.
Gordon snorted. "I don't think so, Lieutenant. I suspect you'll find a way to repay me."
Sulu chuckled to hide the shiver. "I expect I will," he returned.
"So," Ruth began with exaggerated casualness, "just what is there to do on this lovely station of yours, Admiral?"
"I find enjoying the beauty is often sufficient," Gordon replied. Ruth smiled, slowly running one finger around the top of her glass.
"I find that visual enjoyment is almost never enough," she returned. "I'm much more of a..." She paused, glancing up at him through her eyelashes, "tactile person."
"Starship officers are creatures of action," Sulu put in. He leaned back in his chair as the waiter brought fresh drinks, and nearly drained the glass of dark green brandy before leaning forward again. "And, if I may be so bold, Admiral, we could use some."
"Really, Lieutenant?" Gordon relaxed, stretching his legs out in front of him. "To what kind of action do you refer?"
Ruth giggled suggestively and Sulu smiled, blatantly enticing. "Several things do come to mind, sir," he murmured.
Sulu met Gordon's eyes. "Yes, sir," he said, licking his lips. "And if I'm not presuming too much..." He let his gaze sweep over the man. "...there are things that come to your mind, aren't there, Admiral?"
Gordon chuckled. "Kirk said you were quick, Lieutenant." He turned to Ruth. "And you, my dear, are you also quick?"
"No, sir," Ruth breathed. "I tend to be..." She smiled at Sulu. "...languorous."
"An interesting combination," the Admiral remarked.
"We work well together," Sulu told him, and his fingers began caressing Ruth's thigh. She closed her eyes with a small ‘mmmm.' "Ruth and I are very good friends." He squeezed the firm flesh beneath his hand and Ruth's eyes flashed open, sparkling at him. He leaned over to her, kissing her with abrupt passion and after only a moment's hesitation, she melted beneath it, her arms coming up to pull him closer to her.
"I believe," Gordon's voice interrupted the display, "that I can provide you with the action you're looking for." Sulu glanced at him, a leering smile claiming his features.
"I was so hoping you'd say that, Admiral," he nearly growled. Ruth took a deep breath, not quite pushing Sulu away, but leaning forward with eager attentiveness.
"Not here," Gordon murmured. "Come with me."
He rose, heading away from the cafe toward the ornate building that housed the Officer's Lounge. Sulu and Ruth exchanged tense, determined glances, and Sulu finished his glass of brandy before they anxiously followed the Admiral.
Gordon led them through the Lounge to an elevator that took them to the top floor of the building. Sulu shuddered. He really hadn't needed Gordon to have the penthouse suite. Maybe it has something to do with being a sick-fuck, he mused, then deliberately put memory aside.
The suite was as elaborately appointed as the Officer's Lounge, but from the way Gordon was striding through the rooms, Sulu didn't think they'd be spending much time in the decadent luxury. Once they reached the bedroom, the Admiral ushered them in, then turned.
"This is quite a lovely apartment," Ruth said, making a show of pivoting slowly around on her toes, showing off her long legs.
"And you certainly add to the decor, my dear," Gordon murmured. Ruth flashed a promising smile. "As do you, Sulu." the Admiral added. "I can call you Sulu, can't I, Lieutenant?"
Sulu moved slightly closer. "You can call me anything you want," he said, his voice a teasing caress.
Gordon chuckled. "How very - cooperative of you, my boy."
Sulu hid the shudder and casually strode across the room to place a caressing arm around Ruth's waist. Gordon gazed at Ruth. "And you, Miss Valley?"
"Ruth, please," she responded. "And, it's Ivan, isn't it?"
Gordon didn't answer her question. Instead, he made a small gesture toward the door. "We don't want to be disturbed, do we, Lieutenants?" he asked companionably.
Sulu glanced briefly at Ruth. "No, I'm sure not," he replied with a touch of wicked innuendo.
"Then let's lock the door, shall we?"
After another exchange of looks, Sulu turned back to the door, carefully locking it. He had considered only pretending to lock it, and was glad he'd discarded the notion when Gordon stepped over.
"It's a little tricky sometimes," the Admiral confided, and checked the mechanism. Sulu took a deep breath and deliberately put his hand on top of Gordon's, meeting the Admiral's eyes with a sensual smile.
"Me, too," he whispered.
Gordon chuckled again, then crossed the room and pressed a wall panel to reveal an inset bar. "Would either of you care for another drink?" he asked.
"No, thank you," they both replied, then laughed lightly at their timing. Gordon laughed as well.
"I see you two have worked together," he said. He stared at them, smiling, letting his gaze drink them in. "Now, my dear lieutenants, you mentioned things that came to mind. Shall we be clear on what those things are?" He paused, a dark gleam coming into his eyes. "For all of us?"
"Whatever you want," Sulu replied immediately. "Our captain referred to you as a connoisseur. I'm more of an - " he paused, letting his own gaze drink in Gordon's body, " - omnivore."
"And I love experimentation," Ruth chimed in, then giggled. "I am a scientist."
"How refreshing," Gordon murmured. "You're familiar with safe words, then?"
Sulu nodded, but said with a leer, "Do you really think we'll need one?" and kept his panic to himself.
"It never hurts, Sulu," was the Admiral's response. "Since we've agreed on first names, perhaps the use of family names will suffice?"
Sulu glanced at Ruth, who nodded. Gordon clapped his hands together.
"Perfect," he enthused. "I have no limits, dear ones, and no requirements save one." He paused again, stepping closer to them. "I like obedience - active, eager obedience. That's not going to be a problem for either of you, is it?"
Oh shit, Sulu thought, and saw the flash of panic in Ruth's eyes. He nuzzled to her temple as a cover for some hurriedly whispered reassurance. We can handle it, Spike. It's just sex. "Not a problem at all," Sulu answered for both of them.
"You require action, isn't that right, my boy?" Gordon said as he reached out, cupping Sulu's jaw in his hand.
"Yes, sir," Sulu returned as sensually as he knew how.
"And what does lovely Ruth require?" the Admiral whispered, his other hand stroking the skin above the collar of her uniform. "Let me guess," he went on before she could speak. "Unambiguous instruction." He smiled. "Scientists prefer to have clear-cut methodology, am I correct?"
"It's like you can read my mind," Ruth whispered, but Sulu could hear the apprehension behind the words.
"Well, then." Gordon smiled. "Kiss me."
Ruth made a show of dropping her gaze coyly, then leaned forward, gently pressing her lips to Gordon's. His hand immediately came to the back of her head, pulling her into a fierce embrace, which she returned with what Sulu thought was admirable passion. His choice of mental words caused him a moment's sour humor, then Gordon broke the kiss and turned to him.
"Your turn, boy," he growled playfully.
Sulu took the Admiral's face into both hands, turning it ever-so-slightly. He held the blue eyes with his, licked his lips, and very slowly leaned toward him, making sure to touch Gordon's lips with his tongue the instant before sealing his lips to the older man's. He gave as thorough an oral exploration as he knew how to give, complete with teasing pressure of his teeth against Gordon's tongue, as well as two or three feints toward breaking the kiss, only to reclaim it with redoubled ardor. When he finally did pull away, it was as slowly, as lingeringly as he had begun, with a final sweep of his tongue over the Admiral's still-moving mouth.
"Very good," Gordon admitted. "I can see who's the expert here."
"I've never had any complaints," Sulu confessed with taunting immodesty.
"And have you, Ruth?" Gordon asked.
Ruth laughed. "I am Antari, Ivan," she boasted.
"Yes," he said, his voice sounding suddenly speculative. "Yes, you are." He walked away from them toward the bar. His back was to them as he continued. "You know, Ruth, I never did consent to your using my given name."
Sulu's breath caught, his heart thumping almost painfully against his chest as Ruth's eyes widened in sudden fear.
"Your friend's a little quicker on the uptake there," Gordon continued. "But then he's more - experienced, aren't you, boy?"
"Forgive her, Admiral," Sulu began. "Antaris are usually very casual." He laughed. "Hell, she calls our Captain ‘Bwana' to his face."
"Does she," Gordon rejoined tonelessly. "That's not something I would be likely to put up with." He turned to face them again, and all the friendliness was gone. "Reprimand her, Lieutenant," he snapped. "Hard, across the face, twice."
"Sir?" Sulu stammered.
"You heard me, boy. You do outrank her, don't you?"
Sulu blinked. "Yes, sir, but..."
"Then do as I tell you!"
With a clenched jaw, Sulu stepped to Ruth. He mouthed ‘sorry' and slapped her, forehand and back. She immediately brought her hand up to her cheek. "Forgive me, Admiral," she pouted breathily, and Sulu nodded imperceptibly at her quick reaction.
Gordon smiled and beckoned toward her. She moved to him slowly enough to be sensual, but not so as to indicate hesitation. When she reached him, he grasped her hair, pulling her into a harsh embrace. The kiss was much fiercer than the first one had been, and Gordon's hand grasped the hem of her uniform, jerking it up over her hip. When his hand slid between her legs, she started, and Sulu damned her reflexes as the Admiral gripped her thigh with bruising strength.
"Admiral, you're hurting me!" she complained, though her tone tried to make it teasing.
"I've just started, Lieutenant," was his growled reply.
"What do you..."
Gordon kissed her, silencing her. Sulu watched as Ruth tried to relax into the vulgar exploration, but the Admiral must have been deliberately rough, because all at once, she pulled desperately away, taking a deep breath.
"It's better when you let me react," she said, still managing to sound sensual, though a bit winded.
"It's better how I want it," Gordon snarled.
"If you'll just let me..."
The Admiral stepped away from her, frowning. "She doesn't learn, does she?" he said, shaking his head. His eyes hardened. "Strip," he told Ruth, then spoke to Sulu. "If she says one more word, Lieutenant, she'll regret it." Then, again, to Ruth, "You hear that, Antari? You keep your pretty little mouth shut."
"If she needs to use the..." Sulu began.
"You said we didn't need safe words, Lieutenant," Gordon taunted. "And I think you were right." His gaze bored into Ruth. "Not one word, my dear. I think you know I can be trusted to enforce my requirements."
Ruth swallowed, nodding mutely. She shed her clothes, trying, Sulu knew, to keep up the aura of seductive eagerness.
"Turn around," Gordon growled. Ruth spun slowly, letting the steel blue eyes drink in the sight of her. "Very nice, Lieutenant. Get on the bed."
As Ruth obeyed, Gordon turned to Sulu. "You do what I say, when I say, and we won't have any problems here. Is that clear, Lieutenant?"
"As crystal, sir," Sulu returned.
"I want to watch you take her," the Admiral continued, and Sulu had to fight the rush of panic. "And I want all the fire my aide was fortunate enough to experience." Some of Sulu's shock must have shown on his face, because Gordon chuckled. "Yes, he told me all about it, boy. I like hearing his accounts of his lurid little trysts. Too bad there's only been time for the one, hmm?" His voice hardened. "Now get to it. And don't disappoint me."
Sulu had to take a deep breath to steady himself. It was obvious the charade of enthusiastic participation wasn't going to be necessary. Gordon didn't care if they were eager as long as he was obeyed. At least it'll be easier if I don't have to pretend it's my idea, Sulu thought, then deliberately shut down his conscience and moved to the bed.
He sat down, gently stroking Ruth's cheek with the back of his hand. "Just sex," he murmured to her. She nodded and he tried to smile reassuringly. Slowly, he began caressing her body, telling her to relax, to forget Gordon, reminding her of how good they were together. He could feel her beginning to respond, her arms coming up around him as his skillful, gliding fingers aroused her.
"Don't touch him, bitch," Gordon snarled.
Ruth froze and Sulu leaned back, disengaging her arms from around his neck. "Just do as he says," he told her. "Don't worry, I'll be fine."
"Turn her over," Gordon commanded. "I want it from behind."
Ruth raised an eyebrow and Sulu gave a little shrug. "If that's how he wants it," he said, and as she complied, he playfully slapped her backside.
"Good boy," Gordon murmured, and it was Sulu's turn to freeze. No. Please, no.
"Roy?" Ruth's voice hissed, nearly inaudible.
He exhaled slowly. "It's okay," he told her, and bent, kissing her shoulders and back, his hands again moving over her hips and thighs. "It'll be good, it'll be fine," he whispered. "Just relax."
Ruth buried her face in the mattress, breathing as deeply and evenly as she could. Sulu's hands were tender, loving, but she couldn't get excited. She was frightened, and she could feel Sulu's apprehension. Gordon was clearly into power games, controlling games. She hoped Sulu could play up to that, because she knew she couldn't. It was just as well that all he was asking her to do was lie down and shut up. If he gave her elaborate orders, she wasn't at all sure she wouldn't balk.
His voice cut into her nervous musings. "Now it's your turn, sweetheart. Take off that uniform, and make it pretty."
She turned her head, not wanting to watch but desperate to see that Sulu was all right. She was surprised at how elegantly, how sensually Sulu divested himself of his uniform. It was a slow dance, erotic and compelling, and the dark eyes never left Gordon's. She felt a twinge of embarrassment for him when she realized that Sulu was fully erect - but that was one department in which the helmsman never had problems. She heard Gordon grunt in obvious approval and found herself flushing. How sick was that, being turned on by Sulu but wanting to watch him screw her. Why didn't he just...
And maybe that's just it, she thought suddenly. Maybe he wants Sulu in you while he's in Sulu. She shuddered, not knowing if she could handle such close contact with homosexuality. It was an old prejudice, she knew, one that came both from her Jewish and Antari heritages. Jewish law forbid such practices, and the Antari taboo was so strong that the idea usually made her nauseous.
Her thoughts were interrupted as Sulu's body climbed on top of hers. His lips were gentle at her temples. "It's okay," he whispered. "Whatever he wants, I can take."
"I don't know if I..." she began.
Sulu quickly leaned up over her shoulders, lowering his head and turning hers, silencing her with a deep kiss. "Don't talk, baby," he said, and slid down her body again. His hands massaged her hips, caressing her sides. She could feel the steel of his erection against her and she squeezed her eyes shut, trying desperately to find some hint of arousal in his touch.
Gordon's voice seemed like thunder in the large room. "I told you, not one word," he snarled. "Hit her."
Ruth froze and felt Sulu's start.
"What?" he said.
"Hit her," Gordon ordered. "The little Antari bitch needs to learn that I mean what I say."
Ruth held her breath as Sulu sighed tightly, his hand coming down in a stinging blow across the back of her thigh.
"Harder," came Gordon's harsh tone. Sulu obeyed. Ruth bit down on her tongue.
The third blow was hard enough to leave a bruise, temporary though that would be on a keheil. Then Gordon snarled, "I don't want her to move," and Ruth felt something heavy land on the bed beside her. Sulu let out a shaky breath.
"Raise your arms, honey," he whispered as Gordon said, "Get them on her. Fast!"
She gasped as Sulu pulled on her wrists. Metal encircled them and she glanced up. She was being handcuffed to the headboard. "Sulu..." she moaned. He looked down at her, his eyes full of regret, murmuring, "shhhh."
"Go on, hit the slut," Gordon growled.
"Damn it," Sulu hissed, and Ruth swallowed a sob and flinched at the resounding slap that stung her buttocks.
"Not nearly enough," she heard the Admiral chuckle. Again something fell beside her. "Use it," Gordon said.
Sulu's voice was a rasp. "I'm sorry!" He moved away from her and she started trembling. Then she shrieked as her thighs were struck by something long and cylindrical.
"Harder, get into it!" Gordon commanded. Ruth screamed into the mattress with the hard blows that cracked across her shoulders and back and buttocks and legs.
She was black and blue, her thighs and shoulders swollen and it wasn't enough. Gordon had made him gag her - her shrieks of pain disturbed the old man's pleasure. He'd done it, trying not to see the helpless tears in her eyes. The Admiral was finally aroused, avid, the eyes gleaming blue ice. He pointed to the pillows lying on the floor.
"Under her hips, get her ass up," he said.
Sulu choked back his loathing. It had to be done, the captain needed the time. They'd played willing hedonists, it was too late to stop now. She can heal it, he told himself for the hundredth time. She's keheil, she can heal it. He was careful of her bruises as he arranged the pillows beneath her.
Gordon produced two lengths of chain, each with locking cuffs at either end. He gestured to the bedposts. "Spread her as far as she'll go," he ordered. "I want her held open."
Sulu shuddered, but did as he was told with brutal efficiency. Ruth moaned behind the gag and he tried not to hear. He forced her legs apart, fastening the cuffs to her thighs, just above her knees and up to the bedposts that held her arms. It wasn't a graceful position: she looked like a bruised, golden frog. As he was linking the last cuff to the bed, he felt a poking against the small of his back. He glanced around. Gordon held the ivory baton he'd been forced to beat Ruth with.
"You get this in her," the Admiral said softly, and started pushing it against Sulu's flesh, a firm pressure. "Just like this. Slow. Steady. Until I tell you to stop. You got that, Lieutenant?"
"Yes, sir," Sulu replied through clenched teeth. Gordon slapped the smooth ivory against the helmsman's thigh, then thrust it into his hand. Sulu watched as the older man took a few steps away from the bed, standing where he could easily watch it all. Sulu moved back onto the bed, taking deep breaths. Ruth was shaking, the grotesque position making her muscles tremble. The blonde curls between her legs were damp from sweat, not arousal. Sulu silently begged her forgiveness, and touched the end of the baton to her. She jerked. He swallowed and began pushing the cylinder into her. Slowly, steadily, exactly as the Admiral had ordered.
Her moans got louder, more fearful, but he kept sliding the baton into her. There started to be some resistance. He closed his eyes, but continued, using both hands to keep the pressure even. Her body jerked again. Sulu glanced at Gordon. The Admiral was rubbing one hand against his crotch, staring at Ruth. Sulu grit his teeth and went on. Ruth's muscles were rebelling, attempting to block or repel the painful invasion - and Sulu damned himself, but kept on pushing. Then her whole body spasmed and she cried out and Gordon rasped, "There!" Sulu stopped.
"Mark it," Gordon snapped, "then work her over. Ram it up to that mark, every time, hard and fast."
Sulu stared at him. "She can't take..." he protested.
Gordon laughed. "That keheil cunt can take anything. Do it." The steel blue eyes bored into him. "Or isn't my rank worth that much?"
No, it's not, Sulu thought furiously.
But is the mission? Is catching a traitor and a thief? Is defending the Federation from a fraud and a cheat? Is letting your captain know he can depend on you?
Ruth, I'm sorry!
"Yes, sir," Sulu growled. He fought back the sick loathing, the threatening violence. He fixed his gaze on Ruth's lovely flesh, eased the baton from her, then shoved it back into her with anguished strength.
Ruth passed out before the rape was complete. The Admiral forced Sulu to continue despite the blood seeping from between her legs onto the pillows. Her wrists and thighs were swelling and bruised, her hair a tangled mass of sweat and tears. Gordon's masturbation had reached a peak; he was pumping his erection with all the force Sulu had used with the baton. How the man managed to stay standing Sulu didn't know and didn't care. Sweat slicked his own skin in agony, his head and heart thundering with grief and guilt and horror. He was ready to cry out, to collapse onto Ruth's battered body with helpless, sick revulsion when Gordon rasped, "Get off that bitch and suck me!"
It was the last thing Sulu wanted to do. Take that leech's cock into his mouth? Complete the sick satisfaction watching Ruth's degradation had evoked? I can't do it, I'll vomit - or bite the son-of-a-bitch in half and shove it down his own damned throat! The rage seared him, his eyes burning, yet he pulled the baton from Ruth's body, leaving it lying on the bed behind her splayed legs and crawled to Gordon's feet. The Admiral's strong fingers grasped into his hair, pulling his head up. "After that, I'll bet you're hungry," Gordon murmured in pleased, guttural approval.
Sulu damned the fire in his eyes and opened his mouth in helpless submission.
Ruth woke to throbbing, searing pain, her muscles were cramped, her vagina burning. She sobbed behind her gag, futilely pulling at the metal around her wrists and thighs. She was healing, of course, but her own fearful apprehension made it more difficult. She tried to breathe evenly, but kept choking on waves of fear and anguish.
Then she heard a animalistic grunt, and a moan she recognized as Sulu's that was choked off. She lifted her head, trying to turn towards the sounds, seeing through the tangles of her own hair.
The shriek caught in her throat behind the gag. Gordon had Sulu at his feet, shoving his penis down Sulu's throat in demonic rhythm. He held a short, braided whip tight against Sulu's neck, and the helmsman's back was covered in welts. He looked up, the icy blue eyes full of lustful mirth, and Ruth screamed again.
Then Sulu was pushed away. He fell backwards, catching himself on his hands. Ruth saw a flash of murderous rage as the Admiral grabbed his own slick erection, snapping at Sulu in obdurate greed. "Do her now, good and hard!"
Her body convulsed as Sulu slowly crawled to her. His face was haggard, his eyes fever-bright. "It's gonna hurt, Spike," he rasped hoarsely. "I'm sorry, I'm sorry, it's gonna hurt."
She sobbed, grit her teeth, and inhaled.
The thrust tore open what healing she'd been able to do. Sulu knelt behind her, resting his weight on hands that were planted on either side of her torso, hissing in air in half gasps, half sobs. He was holding back, she could tell, but it made little difference. The penetration was agony and she couldn't stop the breathless screams.
"Harder!" Gordon roared. "More, harder!"
"I'm sorry!" Sulu sobbed and Ruth shrieked as he rammed into her with all his strength.
"Shove that bloody thing up her ass!" Gordon shouted.
"Oh god!" Sulu groaned in her ear, but he pulled away, entering her anus in rhythm with all the same force. Ruth screamed over and over, her throat tearing with the dry, wracking wails of agony. Gordon moaned, a heavy, almost delirious sound and she felt Sulu being driven into her with suddenly doubling weight. He cried out hoarsely, jerking forward with rasps of searing pain and Ruth screamed and he screamed and Gordon climaxed with an explosive exhalation of passion.
Ruth woke again to Sulu removing the cuffs from her wrists. Her legs were already free.
"The son-of-a-bitch came all over my back," Sulu snarled as he carefully pulled the pillows out from under her. She curled up, bringing her wrists to her breasts, cradling her hands.
"I thought he..." she began softly.
Sulu laughed, a hollow, bitter sound. "The damned baton," he said. "It's twice as bloody as before."
"Where is he?"
"He went to his bedroom."
"He apparently keeps this room for guests," Sulu interrupted. The irony wasn't lost on Ruth. "We're supposed to get the hell out. He can't be bothered with the clean-up." He collapsed to the bed beside her. "Christ, I'm sick. Let me know when you can walk."
He closed his eyes and Ruth fought back tears and concentrated on healing.
Go to Part Four
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