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If sounds could have carried through the vacuum of space, as the two ships danced slowly around each other in the void, all anyone would have heard would have been a frankly impressive profusion of curses in various languages, and the odd, perhaps vaguely hysterical, chuckle. The two crews, alien to each other and not inclined to be overly diplomatic, exchanged harried messages across the ever-decreasing gap between ships, cursing ships and each other alike.

The Enterprise and the Liberator, enchanted and enamoured of each other, paid none of them any heed.

The Enterprise, sleek and lean and thrumming with power, her computer purring across the void at her beautiful counterpart, declined to notice her captain's jealous rage, her engineer's fatherly fretting, her science officer's calm disbelief, her helmsman's virulet cursing, and her doctor's snickers, all in favour of the sweet coded murmurings of the Liberator's silver-toned computer.

The Liberator, towered engines rotating balletically as he drew ever closer to the object of his sudden affections, was equally deaf to the rants of the rebel leader, Avon's harsh stupefaction, the thief's fretful murmurs, his pilot's lustful communion and the boxy Orac's voyeuristic delight, all for the hum of her voice in his receptors. Zen, his intelligence all but pulsing through the electric nerves of Liberator's form, promised her every delight he knew, races, stars, the power of his weapons beside her as she fought her enemies, anything she pleased, if only she would allow him to remain at her side.

Graceful Enterprise, she heard his offers, thrilled at the wild promise in that neutral voice, laughed in delight at the seductive coding he flashed through space to quiver through her mainframe, arcing around him in declining orbits, her nacelles brushing mere kilometers from his engine turrets with barely restrained tension. In her engine room, her engineer cursed in hoarse gaelic, head in hands, while her bridge crew stared in horror at the view as the ships drew ever closer. She ignored them all, and sent a whispering message that, teasing aside, nonetheless agreed to his proposal.

Liberator, offhandedly fighting the desperate efforts of Avon to override Zen's enthralled control, spun dizzily away from her in celebration, swooping in under her while his crew all but collapsed, and brushed heat from his engines between her nacelles, laughing as she leapt in shocked pleasure.

And as he sped away, crying delighted challenge as she gave chase in vengance for his audacity, on the Enterprise's bridge a certain doctor burst once more into helpless snickers, and shook his head as his captain demanded furiously as to what could possibly be so funny.

"Well," said her Doctor McCoy, with a pointed and infinitely amused look at her science officer. "Guess it turns out even machines can fall in love."