Imperial Captain Jean-Luc Picard, with his personal bodyguard behind him, purposefully walked through the corridors of the ISS Enterprise E on his way to engineering. As he passed them, crewmen snapped to attention and saluted him smartly. Each crewman thumped their right chest and then extended their arm with their hand held flat outward. The captain didn't notice. His mind was filled with thoughts of finally possessing his extremely beautiful, but elusive quarry. She just barely managed to slip through his fingers the last time. He had waited nearly a year and a half for the right opportunity to go back for her and now it looked as if the perfect occasion had presented itself.
As the captain entered engineering, he scanned the area for his chief engineer. The low roar of the immense engines that powered the Leviathan class battleship and her horrific weaponry reverberated through the floor of the deck. He spotted Commander Geordi LaForge going over schematics displayed on a computer terminal halfway across the room and made his way over to him.
"Captain." The chief engineer stood up straight and saluted his commanding officer.
"Report, Commander," the captain ordered brusquely.
"Everything is right on schedule, sir. The new interdimensional transporter will be ready in seven days," LaForge informed him, glancing only briefly at the huge bodyguard standing right behind the captain. "The Ferengi thought-maker and interdimensional transmitter is ready for use. To keep reliable coordinates for transport, I recommend that contact be made with the intended target in the other universe every twenty-four hours until the transporter is ready."
"A successful test of this equipment is of the utmost importance to Starfleet Command and the capture of the intended test target is of great significance to me personally. The target is extremely cunning, Commander, I do not wish to tip our hand." The captain coldly told the engineer before asking, "Exactly how will the target perceive the transmission?"
LaForge handed him a device, a small black square with a glowing half sphere on top. "The transmission is experienced by the target as simply a dream. The sender has complete control over the content, complexity and the direction of the transmission. A telepathic sender will be able to see the target's reactions and experience the dream being transmitted as well as read the target's thoughts. A non-telepathic sender, such as yourself, sir, will be able to see the target's reactions and experience the dream being transmitted, but will not be able to read the thoughts of the target."
"Understood, Commander, carry on." Turning on his heel, Imperial Captain Picard left engineering with the device and headed for his personal quarters.
Vash found herself reclining on a large overstuffed couch upholstered in a very soft, camel-colored suede. She sat up and surveyed her surroundings, trying to orientate herself. She was in the sitting room of a small spaceship about the size of the Enterprise E's new captain's yacht. At one end of the couch wall an easy chair with a matching ottoman upholstered in the same rich suede. In front of the couch was a coffee table of highly-polished oak. The wall behind the couch, as well as the wall across the room from the couch, was lined with large oval windows, giving a stunning view of the stars outside. On the wall across from the couch was a long desk of highly polished oak with a high-backed, leather wing chair. The floor was covered with a very deep, plush, burgundy carpet. On a third wall was a large oak display case and a doorway. The display case held a vast collection of weapons, including a jeweled cutlass, a stiletto, a derringer, a Luger, a Klingon bat'telh and a Romulan disrupter. Also in the display case was an impressive display of what looked like military decorations.
Vash turned her head to look at the fourth wall behind her. On that wall was an intricately carved credenza with a large mirror over it and another doorway. Standing up, she walked over to the mirror and she studied herself in it. She was dressed in a sleeveless, full length gown made of a shimmering white organza. The barely opaque material clung to the feminine curves of her delicate frame. Her slender waist was emphasized by the gown's wide, fitted waistband of white and silver brocade. Three jeweled clasps along the front of the waistband were all that held the gown closed. With each breath, the soft roundness of her cleavage threatened to spill out of the V neckline of the gown which plunged all the way down to top of the waistband. With every step, her long legs were exposed to her upper thigh by the slit that ran from the bottom of the waistband to the hem of the gown. Vash's brunette hair hung to her shoulders in gentle loose curls. Her blue eyes went wide with shock as she realized that underneath the gown she was wearing nothing except a pair of white satin slippers on her feet.
Cautiously, Vash stepped over to the door and it slid open revealing a large bedroom. The decor of the room was quite luxurious as well as decidedly masculine. Long, mahogany dressers and tall, oval windows lined two walls. Centered on the wall in front of her was an immense mahogany four-poster bed. The rich burgundy color of the silk bedding matched the deeply-piled carpet. A sumptuously plump comforter was turned down to show matching sheets and collection of voluminous pillows at the head of the bed. Her eyes drifted up to the wall above the head of the bed where there was a large plaque and she instantly recognized the depiction on it. It was the Picard family coat-of-arms. Just days before they were married, Jean-Luc had shown her a similar plaque that hung over the fireplace in the dining room of the Picard ancestral home. But something about this plaque was not quite right and she looked closer at the design. The features of the crossed swords were harsher, much more menacing. Vash glanced down at her left hand, her wedding ring was gone.
"Patience, ma belle," a familiar baritone rumbled from behind her. "We'll make it into the bedroom soon enough."
Although it had been almost a year and a half, Vash realize instantly who that voice belonged to. She knew instinctively that the man behind her was Imperial Captain Jean-Luc Picard, Jean-Luc's counterpart from a brutal, alternate universe. As Vash turned around to face him, the movement caused the slit on the front of her gown to flutter open, briefly revealing her long shapely legs. The cool air tingled against the sensitive skin of her inner thighs.
The alternate Picard stood nonchalantly in the far doorway, the cockpit of the ship visible behind him. His appearance reminded Vash of a rakishly dashing pirate. The corded muscles of his well-defined chest and arms were displayed by a sleeveless vest. The vest was made of a crimson metallic fabric with gold epaulettes that emphasized his broad, masculine shoulders. On the left side of his vest there was a Starfleet Parabola with a dagger through the center of it. A ceremonial dagger hung from the woven-gold sash that belted the waist of the short vest. The tight black, uniform pants conformed to his body's every muscle.
Both this man and her husband were genetically Jean-Luc Picard, with the same sleek, muscular build, the same handsome, chiseled features, the same penetrating, steel, grey eyes, and the same deep, sexy, resonating voice. The unadulterated, masculine presence of either of these two men could easily overwhelm Vash's senses, especially with that masterful voice. Although physically the two men were identical in every way, their personalities were very different. This alternate Picard was a sinister mirror image of her own Jean-Luc. They were two very different versions of the same man. Vash's heart began to pound against her chest from an intense combination of apprehension and sexual tension.
"Imperial Captain Jean-Luc Picard," Vash said squaring her shoulders slightly and trying to keep a calmness in her voice that she didn't feel. "Would you mind telling me where I am, please?"
"You're right where you belong, Ma belle," his voice was casual, "aboard my private yacht, the ISS Valhalla."
"Valhalla was the great palace of the Nordic god Odin," Vash told him, almost amused by the inference. "I'm happy to see you don't suffer from any delusions of grandeur."
"Impressive," he chuckled as he walked over to a replicator and called for a glass of Aldebaran whiskey. After taking a drink, he gestured toward her with the glass. "I'm pleased you recognize the reference."
"I do have a doctorate in archaeology and several other advanced degrees in history." She muttered somewhat indignantly. She leaned back against the wall next to the bedroom door, being careful to keep the slit running up the front of the gown closed. She watched him drink the whiskey. "Basic Earth mythology is certainly within my grasp."
"Of course it is, kitten, and I'm sure you have some brilliant insights on the subject." The alternate Picard said indulgently. Having finished his drink, he placed the glass back in the replicator. He walked across the room toward her and stopped next to the coffee table. His eyes never left her as he laid his dagger on the table.
Vash knew she should try to flee from him. She should try to get past him to the cockpit to send a distress signal or try to find the emergency escape pod. She knew she should try to do those things, but she felt frozen in place, as if she couldn't control her own actions. All of Vash's attention was riveted on the man in front of her. She was fascinated by the tightly sculpted strength of his bare arms. She found herself yearning for the feel of those large, capable hands possessively roaming over her soft skin. Every movement of his powerful leg muscles could be seen in the tight, black pants as he walked across the room.
Blushing, Vash quickly looked away. Sounding more flustered than she would have liked, she inquired, "what do you mean I belong here?"
"You are my concubine." The alternate Picard's words were emphasized by a tone of possessive pride. "Now, look at me."
Vash lifted her face to meet his gaze. He gave her a small predatorial smile as his eyes hungrily traveled over every curve of her feminine silhouette. She felt the intense heat from his desire-hardened, grey eyes course over her entire body like it were an actual physical caress. A shiver of excitement raced through her. The rosy crests of her breasts hardened, pushing against her gown as the sensation spread across her. Suddenly, she was very aware of the way the nearly translucent material of the shimmery gown molded itself to her like a second skin. Conscious of her body's reaction to his searing gaze, she crossed her arms in front of her in what she knew was a pathetically futile attempt to protect herself.
"Never deny me, ma belle." His commanding, demanding tone captivated her. "You belong to me, all of you. I want to see the fire in your eyes as you become aroused by the sound of my voice. I am the reason your skin flushes with anticipation, awaiting my touch. Your beautiful breasts are hardened and aching for my hands and lips to possess them."
Her arms fell helplessly to her side as she licked her suddenly dry lips. Breathlessly, she began to protest, "Captain, please."
"What would it take to get you to call out my name, Vash?" the alternate Picard asked, his voice deep and resonating.
Vash felt like a tiny robin that had fallen under the spell of a king cobra's stare. She found herself held hostage by this man's sheer animal magnetism. She bit her bottom lip as the erotic images of about a dozen answers to his question flitted across her mind.
"You're fantasizing about me," this Picard growled triumphantly, sounding like a pleased lion. "You always bite your lower lip when you're fantasizing."
"This is insane," Vash muttered. Dragging her eyes away from his overpowering gaze, she became aware of the hard evidence of his desire straining impressively against the tight fabric of his pants. The sight sent another heated rush of arousal through her.
"Not insanity, ma belle, lust. My body has been rock-hard from it ever since the first time I laid eyes on you," the alternate Picard baited her shamelessly as he untied the woven-gold sash at his waist, casually tossing it to the couch.
"Captain," Vash stammered in protest, unable to think of anything else to say. She blushed at having been caught, but didn't look away.
"I was simply stating the obvious," he replied with a wicked smile. Undoing the front of his vest, he pulled it off to toss it aside to land on the couch next to the sash.
Vash's breath caught in her throat at the sight of his lean hard body stripped to the waist. Her eyes drank in the tightly leashed strength contained in the sculpted muscles of his chest, shoulders, and arms. Slowly, he advanced toward her and Vash tried to retreat back against the wall even more. She looked down as he stopped directly in front of her with only an inch of space between them. He was standing so close that she could feel the heat from his body. She could detect the subtle, but very provocative, combination of the smell of the whiskey and his clean, masculine scent.
"Vash," he rasped hoarsely, making her name a sensual command. She raised her face to meet his gaze. She was unable to resist him, tantalized by his smoldering grey eyes and the firm set of his mouth. She was hungry for his kiss.
"You belong to me, kitten. You're mine for the taking and I intend to take possession of every lovely inch of you. I'm going to kiss your lush lips hard as I fill my hands with the full curves of your perfect breasts. I will slowly roll my tongue over the sweet, hard peaks of your breasts as if they were a wine of the finest vintage. I'm going to feel your magnificent body writhing beneath mine as I take you to the peak of ecstasy. I will hear you call out my name as my body drives deep inside yours, possessing you body and soul." The wolfish timbre of his bedroom baritone had the effect of a physical touch, making her entire body tremble from intense sexual desire.
"Ohhh!" Vash cried out in shock, feeling his hand thrust into the slit of her skirt and between her inner thighs. His fingers invaded and stroked her mercilessly, arousing the very center of her desire. The exquisite torment was driving her to near insanity. She knew she should push him away and flee, but she couldn't make her traitorous body move away from the fire his questing hands were building. Instead, she let his touch take her to an even higher height of need. Going weak in the knees, Vash reached up to grip the bulges of his upper arms for support
"You're so wet, Vash." The alternate Picard's growl was husky with masculine satisfaction as his fingers continued to caress and fill her erotically. "The mere sound of my voice has you so wet and ready for me."
Before Vash could respond, his lips claimed hers in a fiercely demanding kiss. Her arms slipped up around his neck as his tongue plunged past her lips to boldly stake claim to everything in its path. Vash could only whimper into his kiss in protest when his hand left her. Both of his hands slid up her tiny ribcage to cup her breasts just as he said he would. She could feel the heat of his strong hands through the thin material of the gown. The hardened peaks of her breasts tingled as his thumbs rubbed over them. Breaking the kiss, the alternate Picard lowered his mouth to gently nibble at the sensitive spot where Vash's neck met her shoulder.
"Captain," Vash moaned softly. Even to her own ears it sounded like a plea for more.
"I want to hear you say my name," he whispered into the curve of her neck.
Vash shivered at the feel of his breath and warm lips against the delicate skin of her neck. He pulled back and looked down at her. His hands found the edges of the plunging neckline and impatiently pulled the material aside. His heated gaze swept over her breasts with their lush roundness and ivory skin tipped with deep rosy peaks. Vash gasped and trembled as his large hands moved to cradle her now bare breasts, the hardened crests pressing against his palms.
"Your body is so incredibly responsive," the alternate Picard rasped. He lowered his head to capture the stiff nipple of one of her breasts in his mouth and a low moan escaped from Vash's lips. Leisurely, he swirled his tongue over the sensitive peak.
"Oh please," she whimpered, her head rolling back against the wall. Her mind told her to push him away and flee, but her body wouldn't listen. As streaks of fire raced through her entire body, her delicate hands traveled across his scalp until her fingers tangled themselves in the fringe of grey hair at the nape of his neck.
"My name, Vash, I want to hear you say my name," the alternate Picard coaxed in a deep, resonating whisper. He moved his head to her other breast and gently pulled at her nipple with his teeth, punishing her with this pleasure-pain for denying him his desire. His hands moved down and undid the three jeweled clasps on the front of the gown. The gown hung open, exposing every inch of Vash's curvaceous silhouette to his carnal onslaught. Slipping his strong hands inside the gown, he gripped her tightly around her small waist. He fell to his knees and his mouth left her breasts to slowly journey down the smooth skin of her flat stomach with a trail of hot, moist kisses.
"Picard," Vash gasped, the sensations so overwhelming that she almost gave into his demand. Every touch of his lips and tongue felt like a lightning strike to her sensitive skin. Her fingers tightened reflexively in his hair.
"Getting closer," he noted in a pleased rumble, his mouth traversing even lower. Sliding his hands to grasp the gentle flare of her hips to hold her still, his lips finally reached their intended destination. Vash closed her eyes and moaned softly as she felt him lick and softly kiss the very core of her desire as reward for her partial compliance of his demand. With the skill of a virtuoso, he used his lips and tongue to take her almost to the peak of ecstasy. Leaving Vash whimpering, his mouth began to travel back up her body tasting every dip and curve along the way.
With every nerve of her body on fire and desperate for release, Vash opened her eyes to find the alternate Picard staring down at her. He straightened up, his hungry gaze roving over her. As he pulled back from her, Vash's arms slipped from around his neck. Her fingertips brushed over the masculine slope of his broad shoulders, the coarse hair on his muscular chest and down his taut stomach to the waistband of his trousers before her arms fell helplessly to her sides. Vash felt as if she had no control over her actions or physical responses. She was unable to offer any resistance against his skillful seduction. The alternate Picard removed her gown, bringing his hands up to push it off of her shoulders. The material slid from her body to the floor with a sigh.
He wrapped one, powerful arm around her tiny waist, pulling her roughly to him. He brought his mouth crushing down on hers in a savage kiss. With a soft sigh of surrender, Vash gripped the solid muscles of his upper arms and arched into him feeling every inch of his hard form pressed against her own overheated body. Without breaking the kiss, he swept her up in his arms and effortlessly carried her into the bedroom.
As he stopped to stand at the side of the huge bed, his mouth finally released hers. The alternate Picard laid her down on the soft, satin bedding. The deep burgundy of the satin highlighted the feverish flush of her skin and her dark hair fell in a cascade over the sumptuous pillow under her head. The heat in his steel grey eyes pinned her in place as he quickly stripped off his boots and trousers. Vash's breath caught in her throat at the sight of his rippling, hard body glistening slightly beneath a sheen of sweat.
The alternate Picard joined Vash on the bed, positioning himself between her long, shapely legs. His strong hands tightly gripped her tiny wrists and forced her hands up above her head to lay against the bedding. He stretched himself out full-length to cover her body with his own. The hard length of his body weighted her down, crushing her body into the bedding. His mouth attacked hers in a ravenous kiss, his tongue forcing its way past her lips to thoroughly explore her mouth. She writhed beneath him, desperate for him to satisfy the ache inside her.
"Oh please," Vash pleaded breathlessly when he finally broke the kiss.
"Please take you hard," the alternate Picard's voice was low and husky, "Or please take you now?"
"Both," she whimpered as she felt her breasts crushed against the muscular expanse of his chest, the coarse hair on his chest tormenting her already inflamed nipples. She arched her hips toward him in response to the erotic pressure of him pushing against her.
"Just say my name, Vash," the alternate Picard growled as he withheld from her what she so desperately burned for. "I promise you, ma belle, you will have both if you only say my name."
"Jean-Luc!" Vash moaned ardently, as his body filled hers completely with one, powerful movement. She matched him motion for motion as he drove himself into her hard and fast. He thrust deeply into her over and over driving her wild.
"Oh Jean-Luc . . .more . . please more," Vash panted wantonly as wave after wave of intense sensations crashed over her body. As she moved in perfect synchronization with him, her hardened nipples grazed through the coarse hair on his chest adding to the fire that threatened to consume her.
"Oh yes, Jean-Luc," Vash's heated moans merged into a feral duet with his growl of conquest. She could feel him bury himself deep inside her with each rapid thrust. Her hips arched to accept every powerful blow of his body into hers.
"You're mine!" he hissed triumphantly as he thrust into her with an ever-increasing urgency. Fiercely, he drove himself deep into her. His body violently plummeted into hers repeatedly.
In the same instant that he made one last deep, powerful thrust, she arched her entire body up into his as an explosive release ripped through her and she screamed out, "Jean-Luc!"
"Jean-Luc!" Her cry still reverberated through the room as Vash sat bolt upright in bed alone, her eyes wide open and her heart pounding. She reached over to the nightstand and turned the lights on dimly. Looking down, she found her wedding ring glimmering comfortingly on her left hand. She ran her hand through her hair, greatly relieved to find herself back on the USS Enterprise E in the cabin she shared with her husband of almost one year, Captain Jean-Luc Picard. Jean-Luc was on the bridge, having taken a late duty shift to oversee the monitoring of a star going nova.
"Easy now, Vash, it was only a dream," she chided herself out loud. Only the most disturbing, intense, erotic dream she had ever experienced in her life. She couldn't remember any dream being so vividly real. It was also the only time she had ever had a dream about the alternate universe's Jean-Luc Picard. "But damn, what a dream."
Tossing back the covers, she sat on the edge of her bed for a second before standing up and smoothing out her nightgown. The short negligee, with its simple lines in white satin and thin spaghetti straps, was her favorite. She had a closet full of lingerie that was far more elaborate and ornate, but she loved this one for its sexy simplicity. She made her way to the bathroom.
Leaning low over the bathroom sink, she splashed some cool water on her face to try and calm herself. As she dried her face off with a towel, she peaked into the mirror above the sink and groaned at the disarray of her hair. Picking up her silver hairbrush, she began to brush her hair back into its proper place. Vash knew her husband was not very sympathetic about bad hair moments. Once, when she was upset with her hair, he had told her that, in his humble opinion, any day with hair was a good hair day. She responded by throwing her silver hairbrush his retreating backend. The good captain had learned two very important lessons that day. The first was that you never tease woman about bad hair and the second was that his wife had damn good aim.
As she brushed out her hair, Vash's thoughts wandered back to the dream she had just had. She was troubled by the fact that she had dreamed about that other Jean-Luc Picard. Why, after all this time-- it had been almost year and a half-- would she dream about him now? After all she was a very happily married woman. Of course, this was an evil alternate of her very sexy husband. And why was it such an intensely vivid, erotic dream? She did a little mental figuring. It wasn't even baby week, which was Beverly's little nickname for the fertile point in a woman's cycle when the sex drive usually went up a notch.
Captain Jean-Luc Picard quietly slipped into his quarters. Things had gone very well with monitoring the nova and he had managed to finish up a few hours early. As he sat down in a chair to slip off his boots, he heard a plaintive meow. Charcoal, Vash's small black cat, was making her nightly rounds of the cabin. The cat sauntered up and rubbed the back of his hand as he unfastened his boots.
"Shhhh, girl," Picard whispered gently to the tiny animal as he scratched it behind the ears. "We really don't want to wake her up, now do we?"
Charcoal, now satisfied that both of her people were where they were supposed to be, continued on with her nightly rounds. As Picard reached his bedroom door, he glanced behind him and smiled at the sight of the cat stalking some nonexistent prey under his desk. Picard chuckled under his breath, "That's it, I'm cutting you off from the catnip."
As he undid the fasteners of his uniform jacket and slipped it off, he stepped into the bedroom. He instantly realized the lights were on dimly and that Vash wasn't in the unmade bed. Laying his jacket on a bedroom chair, he quickly stripped off his tunic and tee shirt. He noticed the light coming from the open bathroom door and silently moved to stand in the doorway.
He stood there, behind Vash, watching her brush her silky brunette hair. He loved to watch her, especially when she wasn't aware of his attention. The delicate white satin of her negligee clung to the perfect curves of her body. In the mirror's reflection he could see the lush cleavage revealed by the negligee's thin straps and low scoop neckline. With every stroke of the hairbrush, the very short negligee rode up Vash's long, shapely legs until it barely covered the roundness of her backside. The muscles of his body tightened in an ardent response to the way the flimsy material molded itself to the flare of her hips, her slim waist, and the graceful arch of her spine. For a moment, he entertained the delightfully naughty thought of pushing that material up just a few more inches and making love to her right there over the bathroom sink. In a low whisper he told her, "You're so breathtakingly lovely."
Startled, Vash jumped slightly and gasped when she looked up to see his reflection in the mirror. Seeing the concern in his gentle, grey eyes, she instantly realized it was her own Jean-Luc. She smiled at him, "Jean-Luc, I didn't hear you come in."
"I thought you would be asleep and I didn't want to wake you," he said softly as he stepped forward to encircle her tiny waist with his arms. "I'm sorry if I frightened you. It's 0300, what are you doing awake? Is something wrong?"
"Not really, I just had a dream that startled me awake. That's all," Vash sighed as she set down the brush. She leaned back against him, enjoying the feel of his warm, strong arms wrapped around her. She took a deep breath, delighting in the clean, masculine scent of his aftershave. She covered his arms with her own and teased him, "Of course, it's all your fault. I'm not used to sleeping in that big bed all by myself and I got lonely."
"I beg her majesty's forgiveness. How may I make amends?" he teased back as he let go of her, smiling at the reflection of her lovely face in the mirror. He loved the way her blue eyes sparkled when she smiled at him and the way they flashed fire when he made love to her. Reaching up, he slowly slipped one of the straps off the feminine curve of her shoulder. Lowering his head, he let his lips gently brush kisses along the soft, ivory skin.
"This is a good start," Vash sighed as she felt his lips gently caress her shoulder. She arched her back as his hands slid up to cup her breasts through the satin of her negligee. As she did, she became aware of the rock-hard condition of his lower body. "Well, as long as we're both up," Vash began then broke off with a sharp gasp as his fingers began to titillate her nipples. Suddenly she pulled away from his hands and spun around to face him. When Picard started to speak, she put a finger to his lips and softly shook her head no. Vash threw her head back exposing the graceful lines of her throat, as she slowly slid the remaining strap off her shoulder to allow the negligee to slither down her body to the floor. She stepped out of the satin pile at her feet and advanced on Picard. With one hand entwined in the coarse hair on his muscular chest, she pushed him backward until he bumped against the doorjamb. "Say my name, Jean-Luc."
"Vash," whispered Picard, slightly breathless and still somewhat unsure of what she had in mind. The sweet scent of her along with the sight of the ivory skin and feminine curves of her nude body were playing havoc with his senses.
Leaning forward, Vash gently nipped at one of his pebble-like nipples. "Who am I, Jean-Luc?"
"Madame Picard, my love," Jean-Luc answered in a throaty growl.
"Good boy," Vash murmured as her tongue swirled over the nipple she had just nipped. Her mouth moved up to strong square lines of his jaw. With her teeth, she gently nipped at the skin and then immediately caressed the area with her tongue. She continued to nibble-lick along his jawline, noting the tightening of the muscles as Jean-Luc responded to this new, but obviously successful, stimulation. She brought both hands up to knead the hard expanse of his chest, enjoying the feel of his muscles rippling beneath her ministrations.
Picard's head dropped back to rest against the doorframe, enjoying whatever had gotten into Vash and what she was doing to him. He closed his eyes and concentrated on the feeling of her full, luscious mouth as she began to alternately nibble and lick her way down his throat. He could feel her small hands massaging and caressing the muscles of his chest and moving down towards his abdomen. Picard thought briefly about moving them both in to the bed, but all rational thought fled when Vash's mouth closed around one of his nipples and began to pull at it erotically. He brought his hands up to cup her silken head and pull her closer, wanting more of the sensations she was building in him.
Vash felt his hands come up to either side of her head. Without missing a beat, she entwined her fingers in his and moved her arms so that his hands, clasped with her own, were behind his back, resting on his hips.
"For the rest of this night, Jean-Luc, you are mine, body and soul"
"For the rest of my life, ma chere," Jean-Luc whispered in response.
When Vash heard the warm timbre of his voice and the answer that it carried, she pulled back slightly to smile into his very aroused, steel grey eyes. She loosened her clasp of his hands and slowly traced small circles across the backs of his hands. The circles widened until her fingers strayed from their path and began skimming upward along his arms. Her hands lingered of their own accord on the solid, bulging biceps of his upper arms. The tender strength they represented were a constant source of amazement and arousal to her. Continuing their journey, her hands rubbed across his broad shoulders, now covered in a slight sheen of sweat as Jean-Luc's body continued to react to her touch. Tracing up his neck to the hair of his temple, she allowed her thumbs to caress the outline of his ears. Her hands cupped his head and pulled his face down to hers. His lips were firm but pliant as she captured them in a fiercely demanding kiss. Forcing her tongue between his lips, she ravaged every corner of his mouth.
Picard kept his burgeoning passions in check and allowed Vash to continue to set the pace of this encounter. His hands slipped around to grasp her hips and pull them into his own, rocking her against the hard evidence of the effect she was having on him. Immediately, he regretted starting that as Vash wrapped one leg around his hip, giving her free access to rock herself against him even harder. He could feel the full curves of her breasts, with their hardened peaks, rubbing against his chest. As she took over and set the pace of their erotic rocking motion, her tongue began to match the tempo in it's own fashion as she continued to explore and dominate his mouth. He groaned into her mouth as she continued to increase the urgency of their movements. With a gasp of satisfaction, Vash arched into him, using her leg to pull his hips tight against hers.
"Well, that was fun," Vash commented breathlessly as she pulled away from him slightly. Looking down she arched an eyebrow and continued, "but apparently you're not ready to settle down for the night yet."
Jean-Luc groaned in frustration, afraid that she was simply sleepwalking and was going to go back to bed, leaving him like this for the rest of the night. Confused, dazed, and bewildered he reached out to Vash whispering her name pleadingly.
"Don't worry, darling, we're not finished yet, not by a long shot," Vash cooed. Her release had only added to her need instead of sating it. She rested her hands on his shoulders, thrilling at the breadth of them compared to her tiny palms. Vash's hands started to roam over the well-defined muscles of his shoulders and upper arms. Gliding her hands down his chest to explore the rippling pectorals, she lowered her mouth to let her tongue trace his collarbone, savoring the taste of his skin. Her hands journeyed further down the lean, tapering lines of his torso to the taut strength of his stomach. Vash let her mouth drift to the center of his chest, swirling her tongue through the coarse hair as she went. She gently took one of his nipples between her lips and rolled her tongue over it while her hands found the waistband of his uniform trousers. Swiftly, she opened his trousers and grasped him expertly. She heard a groan from the back of his throat as her hand took up the familiar rhythm.
"Oh Johnny, you're really hard," Vash purred seductively into his chest, using a pet name she usually reserved for lovemaking. As her hand continued to caress him, she asked sweetly, "Did I do this to you?"
"Oh yes!" Picard breathed, more in response to the sensations caused by her delicate fingers than to her question. He thought he might actually lose his mind as her lush mouth followed her skillful hands down his body. A trail of hot kisses sparked fire down his abdomen, nearly exploding when her lips replaced her hand, claiming him in a most erotic manner. He reached overhead to grip the top of the doorframe hard, trying to keep control as the moist heat of her mouth enveloped him. Unbidden, his eyes looked down at the seductress tormenting him and immediately regretted that as he saw the sight that met his eyes. Now on her knees in front of him, she paused briefly and looked up through her lashes to coyly meet his gaze. Deliberately, she swirled her delicate pink tongue around him, making sure he could see her every movement. Arching an eyebrow up at him, she redoubled her efforts. His head fell back against the door frame and he moaned, "Oh Vash."
Vash managed to remove his trousers without straying from her task. She was thoroughly enjoying herself as she took him just to the edge, keeping him there as she listened to his ragged breathing. Every nerve in her own body tingled with anticipation. The fires of her excitement fed off his. The sight of his lean, powerful body stretched out in front of her with the hard, sweat-dampened muscles straining as he fought to keep control was extremely erotic. Her mouth kept up the tempo as she reached up to gently rake the tips of her fingernails down the tense muscles of his abdomen. She was delighted as he responded by moaning her name again. Only when she knew he was at his limit did she let up. She moved back up his body, using her lips, tongue and hands to explore every muscular inch of his body. Reaching his mouth, she crushed her lips to his in a deeply ravenous kiss, her tongue searching for and finding his. He brought his hands down to gently rest on her hips as his mouth responded to the demands of hers. Finally, she let them both come up for air.
"The bed?" Picard managed to gasp, his voice hoarse with sexual arousal.
"Too far," Vash responded breathlessly, as she grabbed his shoulders, pulling him to the floor with her. Pushing him down to lay on his back, Vash braced her hands on his broad shoulders and straddled his hips. Leaning forward to capture his mouth in another heated kiss, she rubbed her hips against his in a tantalizing simulation of what they both so fiercely needed. Ending the kiss, Vash sat up straight to brazenly gaze down into his smoldering grey eyes.
Picard stared up at Vash, completely transfixed, as she sensuously trailed her hands up her body. He watched as, slowly, her hands slipped up the soft skin of her thighs to the slight flare of her hips. His own hands itched to replace hers as they continued over her hips, across the flat plane of her stomach and tiny waist to the full curves of her breasts. His breath caught at the small, enigmatic smile she gave him as her hands leisurely moved up her neck and entangled her fingers in her silky, brunette hair. Wishing he could feel her hair spilling through his fingers, he watched as she piled her hair seductively on top of her head with her fingers. Still entranced, he wet his lips with his tongue as Vash let her head roll back. Every fiber of his being seared with sexual passion as she arched her back provocatively. Her bent back position offered the perfect view of her breasts, with their lush roundness and ivory skin. He was willing to give anything at that moment to explore the hardened, rosy peaks with his mouth. Instead, he slid his hands up to cup her lovely breasts, caressing them possessively.
"Oh Johnny," Vash moaned. She arched back even farther, pushing her aching breasts into the exquisite sensations caused by the tender strength of his hands. She could feel his body's hard response pulsing against her inner thigh. Vash knew Jean-Luc wanted to take over and that she was testing the limits of his legendary self-control. But, trying to nudge that incredible self-control was so much fun! She really had to admire the restraint he had shown. Taking in a deep breath, Vash allowed herself just to luxuriate in the masculine presence of the man beneath her.
Picard's eyes swept over Vash as she sat astride him, stretching indulgently like a contented cat. The urge to roll them both over and take her hard and fast was almost overwhelming. He was not really sure why he was fighting that urge, just that it was important that he fight it. He was so desperate for her and Vash seemed to be willing to take her own sweet time. His arms fell back to his sides, clenched fists resting on the carpet next to her knees. As his overheated synapses searched for some way to convince her to show him mercy, he remembered something she had said earlier.
"Vash, I need you." His deep, resonating whisper was hungry with passion as he pleaded with her. "S'il vous plait, Madame Picard?"
"Oh yes, Jean-Luc," Vash rasped, closing her eyes in a near swoon as she heard his wonderful voice caress her name. She gradually released her hair, letting the silky strands stream back down to her shoulders. Deciding that she had tortured them both long enough, Vash sat up straight and looked down at him. His breathing was uneven and the tense muscles of his body glistened under a thin layer of perspiration as he struggled to control his need. Vash braced her hands against the damp, muscles of his broad chest as she lifted her hips slightly. She heard his gasp as she took his body into hers. She closed her eyes and savored the delicious feeling as she very slowly lowered herself onto him. Finally, she settled her hips against his, allowing her body to adjust to the heat and fullness of his body buried deep inside hers. She sighed sensuously, "Oh, you feel so good."
Picard closed his eyes and arched his back at the sensations that coursed through him as Vash started to very gently rock her hips back and forth. With long, deliberate strokes, she would slowly raise herself up almost pulling completely away from him before slowly lowering herself back down onto him. Her steady, leisurely tempo was driving him mad with desire. He could feel his body bury itself deep inside hers with each and every descent. Her hands rested flat against his chest as she continued her methodical movements. Vash gradually began to tense and her body tightened around his. She continued her relaxed pace even as her entire body shuddered with completion.
"Oh Jean-Luc," Vash sighed as her release gently washed over her. It just wasn't enough, her body still craved more. She leaned down to capture his lips in a deep kiss. As her tongue searched his mouth, her body continued to move against his, slowly at first, but steadily building the pace. Breaking the kiss, she raised up slightly and braced her hands on the masculine slope of his shoulders.
"Yes, Vash," Picard hissed as he felt her finally increase the tempo. Taking advantage of her position, he raised his head to claim the hardened peak of one her breasts in his mouth. Using his lips and tongue, he tormented the rosy crest. Throwing her head back with a soft moan, Vash started to move against him even faster, grinding her hips into his with each stroke. As his mouth pulled and teased the peak of her other breast, he felt her knees push into his sides as she came down on him over and over. Unleashing the tight rein he had held on his own passions, he began driving his hips up to meet her every motion, relishing in the punishing pace she was setting.
Vash's fingernails dug into his shoulders as he spurred her to higher heights of desire. She could feel an overwhelming pressure building inside her and she pushed them both harder, wanting more. His hands moved to tightly grip her hips as he thrust up powerfully to meet her, driving her to increase their cadence to one of furious intensity. With each swift movement, his body completely filled her own. As a final, overwhelming release came in wave after wave of ecstasy crashing over her, Vash cried out, "Now, Jean-Luc, Now!"
Hearing Vash call out, Picard gripped her hips even tighter, thrusting into her with an ever increasing urgency. The tension that she had been building in him all night finally reached a crescendo. With one last thrust, he held himself deep inside her as his own powerful release ripped through him. His entire body arched up into hers as he called out her name.
Exhausted, Vash collapsed against the damp, muscular expanse of his chest. As spasms of pleasure still coursed through her trembling body, she felt his warm, strong arms wrap around her to hold her tightly to him. Quietly, they both laid there, enjoying the feel of their sweat-dampened bodies and feeling their hearts race together as, gradually, their breathing slowed.
After awhile, Vash sat up straight. With a self-satisfied smile on her face and her blue eyes sparkling, she greeted her husband with a very perky, "Hello Jean-Luc."
Picard briefly closed his eyes and shook his head with gentle exasperation. He looked back up at the lovely imp still perched on top of him as he sighed, "What in the devil got into you?"
Vash just couldn't help herself, she glanced down at where their bodies were still joined. Placing her hands on her hips, she looked back up and raised an eyebrow at him meaningfully with an obvious answer to his question poised on her lips.
Before she could answer him, Picard placed a finger against her lush lips to stop her. "It was meant as a rhetorical question."
Vash kissed his finger tenderly before taking his hand in both of hers. Resting her chin on their clasped hands, Vash purred, "But, I had a really wonderful answer."
"Oh, I'm sure," Picard retorted dryly, rolling his eyes. He shifted slightly, becoming aware of the scratchy feel of the carpet underneath him. He looked up into her lovely face and gently lamented, "Vash, this homecoming was truly wonderful; however, the carpet is becoming a tad uncomfortable and I probably have one hell of a rug burn. Do you think you could possibly let me up now?"
"Oh, I suppose I have to let you up sometime," Vash sighed melodramatically as she got to her feet in a graceful series of fluid movements.
"It would make commanding the ship easier," he quipped, sitting up and tentatively rubbing his back.
Vash placed a quick kiss on the top of his smooth scalp and chuckled, "a rug burn, huh? Maybe you'll remember that the next time you have the urge to lay me down on a rug in front of a fireplace, the rocks next to a waterfall, a blanket in the middle of a wine vineyard or a cavefloor." Walking over to retrieve her negligee, she added, "Or the next time you decide to bend me into some ridiculous position over a computer console, your readyroom desk, the pilot's chair on a shuttle, or even the bathroom sink"
'The bathroom sink? What does she do, read my mind?' Picard thought to himself as he got to his feet and gave her his most innocent 'What me?' expression.
"Like you weren't thinking it," Vash teased him playfully as she headed back over to the bed with the negligee in her hands. "You might be able to fool your command staff, but I know better. You're a bad boy, Johnny Picard."
"Indeed," he gave her a sly smile, gently snatching the satin material out of her hands as she passed by him. "Then, you won't be needing this, will you?"
"Touche," Vash replied as she climbed back into their bed. She watched him toss the negligee over to join his jacket on the bedroom chair. She expected him to join her in the bed, instead he walked over to the bathroom doorway and started to examine it. Confused, she asked, "What are you doing now?"
"I thought I pulled the doorframe loose when you were . . . when you were . ." Picard paused a moment, shaking his head ruefully as he inspected the doorframe. Clearing his throat, he continued, "We are both well aware of what you were doing at the time."
"You loved it," Vash cooed at him boldly. Having a very amusing thought, she laid back against her pillow and giggled, "Oh please, oh please, oh please!"
"Oh please what?" he asked as he turned to head for the bed.
Vash stared at the ceiling as she laughed, "Please let me be there when you explain that one to Geordi."
As he got into bed next to her and turned out the lights, Picard replied, "Vash, I'm the captain. I don't have to explain things."
"You were right about one thing, though," he admitted softly into her ear as he pulled her into his arms.
"And that was?" she whispered sleepily, snuggling into his warm embrace.
"I loved it."
"Vash, are you all right?"
Vash blinked as Dr. Beverly Crusher's voice shook her out of her own thoughts. Vash looked across her office desk, covered with every type of chocolate known to women, at Beverly and Counselor Deanna Troi. Brushing a brownie crumb off of the pantleg of her fitted, khaki jumpsuit, she said, "I'm fine, Why?"
"You seem distracted. It's not like you to be so quiet, especially when there is so much chocolate and whipped cream around." Beverly gestured at the trappings of their weekly girl-time chocolate fest.
"I'm sorry, I haven't been sleeping well," Vash admitted, leaning back and rubbing the bridge of her nose.
"Well, out with it," Beverly coaxed, leaning forward in her own chair. "What's up?"
"Nothing really, in fact, I feel rather silly," Vash started. With a deep sigh, she confessed: "For the past several nights I've been having some very disturbing dreams."
Deanna smiled. "Why do you feel silly? We've all suffered from the occasional nightmare. It might help to talk about it."
"That's just it, they're not nightmares; but, I've never had dreams that were so vividly real and . ." Vash pushed a stray lock of hair behind her ear as she trailed off.
"And?" Deanna prompted as she reached for a double fudge brownie.
"So intensely erotic," Vash confided, feeling herself flush at the memory of the dreams.
Deanna looked at her slightly confused. She could sense the tangle of emotions that the memory evoked in Vash. Confusion, anxiety, and guilt were all mixed with a strong sexual attraction and arousal. "Why are these dreams upsetting you?"
Before Vash could answer, Beverly raised an eyebrow and guessed, "Unless they're not about Jean-Luc."
"That's the little twist of lime to the whole situation," Vash joked humorlessly. "They are, but then, they aren't."
"Excuse me?" Now, Beverly was confused.
"Oh, they're about Jean-Luc Picard, all right. Imperial Captain Jean-Luc Picard," Vash explained, stressing the title of the man in her dreams.
"You mean the Captain's counterpart from the alternate universe?" Deanna clarified.
" Uh huh," Vash replied, running a hand through her hair. "I don't understand it. I've never had any dreams about him before, and that whole fiasco was well over a year and a half ago. Why am I suddenly having these very erotic dreams about him?"
"Vash, it's very normal to have an occasional erotic dream about someone other than your partner," Deanna noted.
"I understand that, Dee. It's the particular individual involved that bothers me," Vash shrugged briefly and then turned to Beverly, "I don't even know if he survived after he escaped to his own universe. Didn't you say that you thought his injuries were most likely fatal."
"I don't see how he could have survived without immediate medical attention. Of course, you know how tenacious Jean-Luc Picard can be," Beverly offered, taking a piece of fudge. "Have you tried talking to Jean-Luc about this?"
Vash started laughing, "Jean-Luc darling, remember when I first came onto the Enterprise E, just before you and I became involved again, and that impostor tricked me into sleeping with him because I thought he was you? Well, I'm having these wild sex dreams about him now, hope you don't mind. Gee, Beverly, I'll get right on that."
"Okay, maybe not."
Shaking her head, Deanna cajoled the two of them, "I can assure both of you that the captain understands a dream is just dream and he would not take it personally; however, I get the idea that Vash would rather not tell him about it."
"Bingo," Vash quipped, tapping the end of her nose with her index finger. She contemplated the sparkling diamond in her wedding ring as she continued, "I'm head over heels in love with my husband; but in these dreams I know Imperial Captain Picard's identity and still, I..."
"You have sex with him, anyway," Beverly finished the thought for her.
Vash nodded and looked down at her half empty mug of hot chocolate. Taking the nearest can of whipped cream, she filled the mug to the top with it. "I know who this man is and I want to fight him, but I can't. It's like I have no control over my own actions or physical responses. As he continues to seduce me I find myself wanting him to the point of begging him. The first night I woke up screaming his name."
"At least you don't have to worry about mixing up the names," Beverly teased.
"Oh, thank you, that was so helpful, Doc," Vash retorted good-naturedly. "So Counselor, any ideas why my brain has decided to torture me at this particular time?"
"I wouldn't be too worried about it," Deanna advised gently. "This is your sleeping brain, it's not sadistic, just not in your control. As for the question of what it means, well there are many different theories on why we dream. One theory is that dreams are merely the random firing of synapses in the brain during deep sleep. This theory says that dreams are, to quote the Captain's favorite author, 'full of sound and fury, yet signifying nothing.' You do seem troubled that you enjoyed the night you spent with the alternate. There isn't anything wrong or surprising about you enjoying that night. First of all, that night you truly believed you were with the captain. Second, the alternate is physically identical to the captain. The purely physical attraction between you and the captain is extremely strong. I sense it the moment the two of you are in the same room."
Vash glanced down shyly. "I never realized that my desires for him affected your empathic abilities so strongly."
"They do," Deanna replied with a sudden glint in her eye. "But actually I was referring to the captain's powerful attraction to you."
"Indeed." Raising an eyebrow, Vash did a perfect impersonation of her husband.
"Vash, I hate to be the one who tells you this." Deanna gave a huge melodramatic sigh and leaned in closer. "You're perfectly normal."
"You have to admit," Beverly interjected gleefully, "there is something sexually thrilling about a pirate version of Jean-Luc Picard."
"There certainly is," Vash had to agree. She decided this was the perfect time to satisfy her own curiosity. "And now that I've spilled my guts, there is something I've always wanted to ask you, Doc."
"Shoot," Beverly replied.
"I'm well aware that there was only one other woman in the galaxy that ever had a real hold on Jean-Luc's heart and I'm looking at her," Vash smiled knowingly at Beverly. "Why didn't you ever make a move on him?"
"Oooh, this I want to hear." Deanna was very interested in the answer to that question.
Beverly's smile turned wistful, "Jean-Luc is probably one of my oldest and dearest friends and I absolutely adore him; but there was too much history between us. There is a part of both of us that is always going to belong to Jack. A part of me will always see him as Jack's best friend and a part of him will always see me as Jack's wife and widow. I want and deserve a relationship without ghosts from the past. Jean-Luc deserves a wife that is his and his alone." Beverly reached over and gently squeezed Vash's hand. "I was delighted when he found that with you. I liked you from the very first time we met in his quarters on the Enterprise D and I took you on a tour of the ship. I remember thinking that you would give him a good run for his money."
"Thank you." Vash squeezed Beverly's hand back. "It means lot to me."
Letting go of Vash's hand, Beverly leaned back and grinned. "Even when you have an erotic dream about someone else, it's still a version of him."
"I hadn't thought of it that way," Vash responded with a chuckle. "As exciting as the alternate is, he's really very two-dimensional. He lacks Jean-Luc's playful side."
"Playful side?" Both Deanna and Beverly asked simultaneously, instantly intrigued. They knew that the Captain's controlled authoritative demeanor was softened by his gentle charm and wonderful sense of humor. But a playful side?
Knowing she had their undivided attention, Vash's eyes sparkled with mischief. "I can't imagine the alternate chasing me around the bed with a stuffed toy tiger singing the 'Tigger Song' and ending it with a growl of trilled r's just before pouncing to pin me to the bed ."
All three women reached for more chocolate, giggling.
Vash instantly recognized her surroundings. She was again in the bedroom onboard the Valhalla. Noticing her reflection in one of the mirrors, she was shocked at her attire. She was wearing a gold brassiere with precious gemstones from a hundred different worlds sprinkled across each lush, firm breast. Draped around her waist and floating around her hips and legs was a skirt made of several gem-colored, diaphanous scarves. A golden belt held the scarves in place around her trim waist.
"Yes, ma belle, it is perfect," came a deep, resonating growl from behind her.
Vash jumped, startled out of her study of her clothing. Standing just behind her, the alternate Picard again was wearing a very tight, revealing pair of trousers but, this time, he was shirtless. Before she could react, he swept her into his strong muscular arms. Twining one hand tightly into her hair, his other arm trapped her firmly against him, his hard, masculine hips grinding into hers. Breathless, she couldn't resist when his mouth found and engulfed hers in a fiery, demanding kiss. As his hot, questing mouth possessed her, he bent her awkwardly backward over his arm. This position forced Vash to clutch at his broad shoulders for balance, trusting him to hold her. As she gripped at his shoulders, the alternate Picard broke the kiss. Pulling back a little, he moved his hand from her hair to sweep her up into his arms. Vash's arms automatically moved their grip to circle his neck as he straightened up and purposefully stalked toward the bed. Laying Vash on the comforter, he reached for the waistband of his trousers.
Vash grabbed at the opportunity presented when he released his grip on her. She instantly scooted off the opposite side of the bed and eyed him warily as she struggled to catch her breath. It was all happening too fast. The alternate Picard was a very powerful and dominating man, but this time it was more. In all of their previous encounters, even her dreams, he had coveted her. She realized that this was another dream and this time it was more intense, almost as if he was trying to subjugate her. Definitely not liking the way this dream was going she thought back to what Deanna had said about dreams. Well, if this was just the random firing of synapses in her brain, she definitely had a screw loose up there somewhere.
"Get back in the bed, ma belle," the alternate's murmured command startled Vash out of her reverie. "We can talk later, I have been aching for you."
Reasoning with a dream? Well, it wasn't the strangest thing she had ever done, so, thinking back to her last conversation with Bev and Deanna, Vash took a deep breath and plunged in.
"I think we should talk now, .... Jean-Luc." She had to force herself to use his given name. "You, I mean, we are going a bit too fast this time."
Vash broke off with a gasp and tried to back away as the alternate sprang off the bed toward her, one of his massive hands circling the back of her slender neck.
"You will not deny me, mademoiselle," he gritted out. With that Vash found herself pressed into the bedpost at the foot of the bed, her cheek resting against the polished wood. With one hand the alternate easily trapped her hands over her head resting against the post. With her small, scantily-clad body caught between the hard, unyielding bedpost and the tightly, sculpted muscles of the alternate's unclothed frame, Vash felt completely overpowered and her heart began to pound.
"Jean-Luc, please," she began, hesitantly.
"Please you, ma belle? That is exactly what I had in mind," came his throaty response.
As he nudged beneath a curtain of brown hair to nuzzle the sensitive skin on her neck, Vash closed her eyes as a shiver raced down her spine. She could feel her body responding to him already, in spite of her confusion. The feel of his warm lips brushing against her neck stirred her senses. Weakly, she tried to pull her hands out of his grasp.
"Oh no, ma belle. Leave them there, they would only get in my way otherwise," the alternate whispered in her ear as he pressed her more firmly into the post with his body. Sliding one hairy, sculpted thigh between her own soft, slender ones, he pushed her legs apart and maneuvered himself between them.
Vash could feel the stones on her bra pressing uncomfortably into the softness of her breasts. Shifting, she idly wondered if the gemstones were spoils of war. Right on the heels of that thought was the realization that he probably viewed her as a spoil of war. Her attention was abruptly drawn back to reality, at least the reality of her dream, when the alternate took the end of one of the scarves on her skirt and lightly drew it up the inside of one thigh. Instinctively, her body arched backward, into the feather-light caress. The movement brought her into contact with the alternate's rigid state of arousal. Shifting behind her, the alternate pushed her legs even further apart. The reason for this was obvious as he continued the feather-light caresses with the scarf further up to more intimately stroke her. Whimpering softly at the tingling sensations that his actions with the scarf invoked, Vash squirmed futility not sure if she was trying to move into the caress or away from it.
"Before this night is over, kitten, you will freely surrender your lovely body to me. More than that, you will beg me to accept that surrender." And with that proclamation, the alternate began seducing and tantalizing her body in earnest. Her heart pounded even faster as he removed one of the scarves from her skirt and deftly unfastened the belt to discard it on the floor.
Vash strained frantically, trying to look behind her and see what he was doing. She gasped as she felt him lightly tracing across the back of her shoulders with the scarf in a stroke so light she wondered if she had imagined it. The scarf brushed up her arms then seconds passed before she felt it tracing down the length of her spine. Everywhere the scarf brushed it sensitized her skin, leaving her in a state of highly-charged anticipation, wondering where it would stroke next. Writhing against the post Vash could feel the rough stones rubbing the delicate skin of her breasts. Her nipples hardened as the stones scraped across them almost erotically with each movement against the post. Pressing herself more firmly against the post, Vash groaned at the sensations flooding her body. The hard stones on her bra were a direct contrast to the softness of the scarf the alternate was wielding so adroitly. A heated rush of arousal surged through her entire body. Instinctively, her hips rocked back into his in a silent invitation. Vash knew that if she didn't escape from this sweet torment soon, she would surrender to him completely. Impatiently, she tried to pull her hands out of his grasp.
"Jean-Luc," she gasped when she felt him wind the scarf he had been teasing her with around her wrists and tie them to a ring near the top of the bedpost.
Now with both hands free to sexually torture her, his hands followed the path the scarf had taken moments before. She shivered as he deliberately trailed his fingers down her outstretched arms and over her shoulders. He splayed his large hands across her back and slid them down. A hiss escaped her lips and she arched into his hands as his fingers barely brushed the edges of her breasts. His thumbs traced the feminine curve of her spine to the small of her back. His muscular arms encircled her, his palms slipping around her tiny waist to skim up the flat plane of her stomach.
The warmth of his powerful hands as they traveled over her body aroused her even further. The alternate removed the bra to cup her now-straining breasts. Rolling his thumbs over her nipples, he lowered his mouth to the tender junction where her neck met her shoulder. Vash's head fell back with a gasp when she felt his mouth suck strongly at the delicate skin. With one hand, he continued to tease the sensitive peak of one of her breasts. The other hand trailed lightly back down her stomach and past her hips to caress her intimately. With a feather-light touch, his fingers tormented her erotically, causing her entire body to feel as if it were made of liquid flames. She arched against him as he rocked his hips against hers in a frustrating simulation of what she so desperately needed.
"What is it, ma belle? Do you want me to stop so that we can 'talk' more?" He intentionally taunted her by throwing her own words back at her.
Vash was squirming frantically against the post, trying to ease the fires the alternate had ignited. She shook her head no whimpering incoherently.
"Tell me, ma belle, tell me what I want to hear." The alternate moved to put some maneuvering space between their hips. He cupped her hips with his hands and lifted them slightly, keeping her legs apart. "Tell me or I'll stop," he added as he brushed himself across her, so near to where she was aching for him to be.
"I surrender Jean- . . ." Vash broke off with a groan as the alternate's hips repeated their erotic stroking.
"What was that, kitten?" came his taunting response.
"Please, don't stop! I surrender Jean-Luc. My body is yours for the taking," Vash begged him shamelessly, only wanting this sweet torture to end. "Oh please, Jean-Luc, take me!"
Vash moaned as she felt the alternate's body suddenly thrust deep into hers from behind. His hands gripped her hips tightly to hold her steady as his body violently pounded into hers. Her own body was filled completely by his with every powerful movement of his hips. She felt her body begin to tense and tighten around his as he drove deeply into her, over and over. With one of his large hands holding her steady, he reached around the front of her hips with the other hand to add to the fire racing through her body. Gripping the post for support, Vash pushed herself against his driving thrusts and teasing fingers. Her entire body arched back against his as an explosive release coursed through her in wave after wave of pleasure. With her sweat-dampened body exhausted and quivering, Vash leaned against the post, hanging from her silken chain. The alternate didn't let up and continued to drive into her relentlessly.
"Again, ma belle. My terms were your complete surrender. I will feel you lose yourself in my pleasuring again," the alternate Picard rasped hoarsely into her ear. He thrust into her with an ever increasing urgency, both hands gripping her hips and pulling them back to meet his every drive. The cadence became one of furious intensity as his body demanded total surrender from hers. Gasping, Vash bucked up from the post, lost in the throes of an even stronger release than the one before. He pulled her hips hard against his, slamming himself into her one final time.
Vash closed her eyes as she collapsed wearily against the bedpost. Her breathing was labored and spasms raced through her damp, trembling body. The alternate reached up to deftly untie the scarf that bound her hands, leaving Vash's arms to fall helplessly to her sides. Effortlessly, the alternate Picard swept her tiny, limp frame up into his powerfully muscular arms and laid her down on the bed.
"My most beautiful and precious jewel," she heard him whisper as she felt his fingers lightly trace her cheek. Her eyes fluttered open to see him sitting on the bed next to her. As he stared down at her, his steel grey eyes held her captive. The fingers, that had just been so gently stroking her cheek, suddenly gripped her chin roughly.
"Once you're with me, kitten, remember this: Never deny me!" the alternate growled before crushing his mouth against hers in fiercely demanding kiss.
Vash's eyes flew open to find herself in her own bed, staring at the ceiling of her own bedroom. She quickly brought her hands up to her chest, relaxing when she felt the satin of her blue nightgown instead of a risqué, gemstone-studded brassiere. Vash snuggled against Jean-Luc and laid there listening to his slow, rhythmic breathing. She curled one hand into the hair on his chest, taking comfort in the warmth of her husband's presence as he slept next to her. Thinking back on her dream, she was very troubled by the ending of this one. She could hear the alternate Picard's warning reverberating in her head. 'Once you're with me, kitten,' he had commanded, 'remember this: never deny me.'
Vash kept hearing the phrase, 'Once you're with me.' To her the phrase implied that the alternate knew she wasn't really there, but that she would be in the future. Reaching up to rub the bridge of her nose, Vash wondered why a figment of her own imagination would refer to the unreal nature of the dream. Her next thought made her blood run cold. What if these weren't her dreams? What if these dreams were from an outside influence instead of creations of her own mind? There were devices capable of transmitting directly into the brain. The Ferengi thought-maker was a perfect example, although, even the Ferengi themselves considered the machine unethical. Vash allowed herself a brief smile, it would have to be something pretty bad for the Ferengi to consider it unethical.
Vash's smile faded as she realized that if these were not her dreams, only one person could be responsible. Imperial Captain Jean-Luc Picard must have survived after escaping to his own universe. Was the alternate contacting her as a precursor to another cross-over? Cross-over was the term Starfleet had used for any contact with that particular universe since Captain Kirk's first encounter with them a century ago. Vash knew from personal experience that a cross-over was considered a red alert situation. She no longer had a choice, she had to tell Jean-Luc. The question was how? As quietly as possible, to avoid waking up her husband, Vash slipped out of the bed. She grabbed the white terrycloth robe at the foot of the bed, which just happened to be Jean-Luc's. Sliding it on, she silently made her way to the living room.
Vash turned the lights on and headed over to the replicator for some hot chocolate. Before reaching the replicator, she changed her mind, realizing chocolate just wasn't going to cut it this time. Instead, she walked over to a cabinet behind Jean-Luc's desk. She pulled out a decanter filled with green liquid and a crystal tumbler. Vash set the tumbler on the desk and filled it up half-way with some of the Aldebaran whiskey. After putting the decanter back into the cabinet, she picked up the tumbler off the desk and took a long drink. Immediately, she was gripped in a coughing spasm as the liquid burned its way down her throat. Hearing a warm, masculine chuckle behind her, Vash turned toward the bedroom door, still coughing.
"Serves you right for breaking into the old man's liquor cabinet," Picard teased her, still chuckling. His wife usually preferred a more delicate beverage such as French champagne, fine wine, and assorted frozen concoctions. Whiskey was not her typical poison.
"How do you drink this stuff?" Vash managed to gasp between coughs as he walked over to her. He looked so wonderful, the masculine power of his body exposed by his short, grey pajamas. Every movement he made emphasized the tightly leashed strength in the corded muscles of his arms and legs. The open V of the neckline allowed for a tempting view of the coarse hair on his muscular chest. Vash wondered for a moment why he hadn't put on his robe, only to realize she was wearing it.
"Well, I don't drink it alone at 0300 for starters," he noted as he carefully took the tumbler out of her hand and set it on the desk. Sitting down in his desk chair, he gently pulled her down to sit on his lap. "Do you want to tell me about it?"
"May I ask you something?" Vash snuggled up against him.
"Years ago when that DaiMon used a thought-maker on you, did you experience any of the transmissions as dreams?"
"They can be experienced that way; although, I also experienced hallucinations and severe headaches. Why?" Picard was a little confused, that incident happened the first year he commanded the Enterprise D. He watched as Vash got up from his lap and started to pace the room. Echoing the words she used when they first met on Risa, he added, "Would you rather I guess? I can be very persistent."
Recognizing his words, Vash stopped pacing and gave her husband a small smile. Her smile faded and she took a deep breath. "I think there might be a problem. A problem that is serious enough to require that I alert the captain of this vessel to it."
The anxiety plainly etched on Vash's lovely face pierced through Picard's relaxed poise. Wanting to reassure her, his voice was affectionate and calm, "I wouldn't worry, from what I've heard, the captain is extremely fond of you."
"It's not the captain's reaction that worries me," she told him. Sitting down in the large easy chair next to the couch, she curled her legs underneath of her and admitted, "It's my husband's reaction that worries me."
Picard blinked in surprise and then gently offered, "How about if the captain and your best friend promise to keep your husband under a tight rein. Would that help?"
Vash nodded. Picard made his way over to sit on the couch next to her chair. Taking her small hands in his, he gazed into her face, "Now, what's wrong? "
"Captain, I think I may have been inadvertently forewarned about a crossover from the alternate universe," Vash began nervously.
"Am I to assume my counterpart is responsible?" he asked, his hands tightening protectively around hers.
Vash nodded, "I had never dreamed about him after our last meeting, until four nights ago. I've had a dream about him every night since. These dreams are the most intense and vividly real dreams that I've ever experienced; however, until tonight's dream, I thought they were just dreams and they might actually be just dreams. Oh, I don't know, maybe I'm just overreacting."
"All right, slow down. What happened tonight?"
"Tonight, he gave a command that began with 'Once you're with me.' It bothered me and I couldn't figure out why until I started wondering why a dream would be talking about itself like that. Of course, maybe I just inserted that into my dream because I was trying to remind myself that it was a dream through the whole thing." Vash shook her head, "I haven't been sleeping well, maybe it's time for that nice room with padded walls you keep threatening me with."
"They're probably just dreams," Jean-Luc smiled gently as he reached up to tenderly stroke her cheek. "But, I want to make sure," he continued softly.
Picard tapped the comm link on the coffee table. "Captain to bridge."
"Data here, sir."
"Ah Data, just the individual I needed," Picard noted, pleased. "I want you to review the sensor logs for the past four days and search for anything that could be used as a carrier wave for a transmission."
"Can you give me any parameters for the transmission or carrier wave, sir?"
"No, Mr. Data, I'm sorry, but I'm not really certain what it is or if there even has been any transmissions. Just look for anything out of the ordinary in the sensor logs, please."
"Aye sir, but that could take some time," Data replied, "I would not want to disturb Mrs. Picard. I will have that report for you at the beginning of the day shift."
Vash smiled at Data's concern. Before her husband could respond, Vash spoke up, "It's all right, Data, I'm awake."
"Go ahead and contact me as soon as you've completed the review," Picard told his officer.
"Aye, sir, Data out."
"Well," Picard turned back to Vash. "Since we have some time on our hands, why don't you tell me more about these dreams? They are obviously upsetting you a great deal."
"I'm not sure where to start," Vash told him as she got up out of the chair to pace the floor again.
Picard leaned back in the couch, watching his wife do her best to wear out the carpet. "You said these dreams were intense. Are they frightening nightmares?"
"No, they're not nightmares." Vash shook her head.
Picard was very relieved by that. He abhorred the idea of a version of himself terrorizing her. "What is so intense about them?"
"Well, they are ... they are intensely..." Vash trailed off. Feeling her face flush, she pulled his robe tighter around her.
"Is the word you're looking for erotic?" Picard asked, as he thought to himself, 'Oh, that would be so much better.'
"That would be the word," Vash replied, wryly.
Picard stood up and strode over to stop her mid-pace. He gathered her in his arms and held her in a tender embrace. Pulling back slightly, he smiled down at her, "I am a ship's captain and you are making me seasick. Could we please continue what is looking to be a long talk on the couch?"
Vash allowed Jean-Luc to lead her back over to the couch. Curling herself up on the sofa, she asked hesitantly "so you're not upset with me?"
"Is that why you didn't want to tell me? You thought that I'd be upset by this."
"Well, you weren't exactly the spokesman for Understanders Anonymous the last time." Vash remembered all too well the argument they had last time.
"The last time, my counterpart drugged me, stuffed me in a cabinet, took over my ship and took my woman in my own bed. I wasn't exactly having a good day."
"Point taken," Vash responded contritely.
"Darling, they are dreams, be they yours or be they his, they are still figments of someone's imagination. If they are his and they are a foreshadowing of another cross-over, we'll stop him," Picard raised one hand to stroke her soft cheek.
"And if they're mine."
"What color do you want me to program the holodeck for when I create your padded room?"
"Jean-Luc, I'm serious, and I'm very scared right now." Vash moved over to snuggle into his strong, protective embrace.
"I know and I'm sorry, ma chere. If they are your dreams, then maybe if you tell me all about them they'll stop." Picard wasn't sure he wanted to hear all the details of her erotic dreams about another man, but if it would make her feel better he could handle it. Just then a thought struck him. This wasn't another man, the alternate was essentially him just in another place and time.
"You want me to tell you all the dirty little details of some very erotic dreams I've been having about another man? Are you sure about that?"
"That's the point, ma chere, they're not about another man. You've always thought of him as a version of me. I'm human so yes, there is a small part of me that is jealous; but the rest of me understands that, to you, he is basically me. Actually I should be flattered, even when you dream about other men, they're still me."
Vash elbowed him gently, "be careful, you might not fit on the bridge with that ego, Johnny."
Picard grinned at her rejoinder and dropped a quick kiss on the top of her head. "So, exactly how do these dreams begin?"
"They've all happened onboard his private yacht. He calls it the Valhalla."
"And you accused me of having a big ego?" Picard raised an eyebrow at the irony.
Vash ignored the interruption and continued. "The clothing is, well, I don't know how to describe it. He's been dressed in some sort of uniform. It looks like a cross between a starship captain and a desert chieftain out of one of my bodice-rippers. Come to think of it, he's treated me like a member of a desert harem in each of the dreams. I've been dressed in very sensuous or seductive clothing each time, but nothing like what I'm wearing when I go to sleep or even anything I've ever owned." Although privately she was wondering how she could go about getting the replicator to reproduce that bra, it had some interesting possibilities.
"Maybe we should find you more constructive literature to read than those romance novels," Picard noted.
"Perhaps your copy of the Kama Sutra, you know, the one with all those lovely illustrations." Vash couldn't help that little dig.
"That is a classic piece of ancient literature."
"It's a smutty book."
"Can we get back to the topic at hand please." Picard sorely regretted starting this. "What happens in these dreams?"
"You started it," Vash had to get the last word in. Getting back to the dreams, she continued. "It's a seduction, but more than that. It's almost like he's grooming me for something. Instructing me on how to do things or what not to do."
"Like a concubine?" Picard asked.
"Exactly. He even referred to me that way in one of the dreams. He's very overbearing, almost dominating."
"Details, darling, usually means a step-by-step recounting of the event. Why don't we start with the first dream, you said it was four nights ago?" Picard needed a clearer picture of what was going on. "What specifically did he demand of you in that dream?"
"His name. I hate calling that abomination by your name, but he insisted that I call him Jean-Luc," Vash paused and shuddered at the memory.
"What did he do to make you say it?" Picard felt like he was pulling teeth.
"The same way you get me to promise things."
"He let you spend his money?"
"No, the other thing."
They both sat there silently for a moment, each with different pictures of what Vash wasn't saying about the dream. Suddenly, Picard realized what else had happened four nights ago.
"That first dream was the night you gave me a carpet burn, wasn't it?"
Vash shrugged and looked down at her hands, very interested in the condition of her nails.
"Getting a little of our own back, were we?" Picard teased her gently.
"You didn't exactly look like you minded."
"Is that why you were so insistent about what I called you, Madame Picard?" He recalled how important it had been to her to hear him say that.
"In the dreams my wedding ring is gone. I guess I needed to hear you call me your wife, just to wipe away the dream." Vash held her left hand next to his, admiring their matching bands.
"Darling, how exactly can you tell that it's not me? Technically we're identical, how is it that you can tell us apart?"
"Physically I can't, that's the problem. My attraction to you makes me vulnerable to him. You're both physically overwhelming to me." Vash found it difficult to explain the arousal she felt when she was in a room with either one of them. "It's who you are that separates you. You're strong and passionate. He's rough and domineering. You've never tied me to a post and ravished me." Vash tried to soften her revelation with a humorous ending.
"I suppose this would be a bad time to tell you that I have considered doing that very thing on more than one occasion. I just never thought you'd let me get away with it." Picard sternly banished the erotic images that thought produced, reminding himself that they were in the middle of a serious discussion.
"No guts, no glory, flyboy." Vash couldn't stop herself from following this further. "When, oh my husband, did you ever entertain such lurid thoughts of your sweet, innocent wife?"
Picard chuckled softly. "How do I imagine thee, let me count the ways. The first time was on Risa when you told me you were planning to go to Sarthong V, of course that was just so I could spank some sense into you. Then, in Nottingham Castle, when you took my sword away from me in the midst of your rescue. When you took off with Q to explore places you didn't need to be and practically every other adventure you've ever been on. The most recent was four nights ago when you were testing the limits of my endurance."
"I do try your patience, don't I?" Vash smiled up at him sweetly.
"You certainly keep me in shape," Picard smiled back at her. "But this desert chieftain thing is one I hadn't thought about. I must admit, the whole scenario sounds quite interesting. I've often fantasized about you wearing a little-bitty outfit and obeying my every command. Mostly the fantasies are just about your obeying my every command, but the outfit is a nice touch." He wiggled an eyebrow at her suggestively.
"In your dreams, Johnny," Vash challenged tauntingly.
"Actually, in your dreams, ma chere."
"Touche, Mon Capitaine."
"What do you think about it, kitten, do owww-" he broke off abruptly as Vash inadvertently rammed her elbow into his ribs in her haste to sit up. Looking into her pale face, her blue eyes enormous, he thought back to what he had just said. "Let me take a wild guess here," he began, rubbing his side. "He calls you kitten. Well, darling, I was referring to Charcoal." With that he lifted the black cat from the floor up to deposit her in Vash's lap. Giving his ribs one last massage he remarked, "I'll try to remember never to use that endearment for you." He hesitated as a thought occurred to him, not exactly certain how or even if to voice it. "Speaking of endearments, do you-"
"No," Vash interrupted quickly. "I've never called him Johnny. It was hard enough when he forced me to call him Jean-Luc." She laid her hand on the spot she had elbowed, "I'm sorry."
Picard let out a breath he hadn't realized he was holding when he heard her answer to his unasked question. He covered her lips with his fingers, "it was an accident, it's all right. What were you saying before, about tonight's dream being different than the others? Something about a command he gave you, wasn't it?"
"Yes, at the end of this dream he told me that once I was with him, to remember . . ." Vash trailed off at the memory of what he had said.
"Remember what?" Picard prompted.
"Never deny him," her response was barely a whisper.
"Bridge to Captain Picard," Data's interruption startled them both.
"Yes, Mr. Data."
"I believe I may have found something in the way of a possible transmission. It appears to resemble low intensity transmissions similar to brain wave patterns. It is reminiscent of Ferengi thought-makers, however there are some distinct differences. Would you like me to send an analysis to your quarters?"
"No, thank you, Mr. Data. Assemble the senior staff in the conference room. We'll be right there." Picard stood and held hand out to Vash, "shall we get dressed?"
Vash resettled Charcoal onto the couch and took Jean-Luc's hand. "I guess so, although I'm not sure your senior staff is going to appreciate being assembled at 3:00 in the morning."
"It's almost 0400 hours," he corrected her as they walked into the bedroom. "And that's part of the joy of being senior staff."
Picard and Vash entered the conference room to find his senior staff already assembled and ready for a briefing. Data and Geordi were quietly discussing sensor logs as Data prepared to report on his findings. Everyone looked up as they walked in and Picard made his way to the head of the table. Vash remained standing, preferring instead to pace the floor just behind Jean-Luc's chair.
"I assume everyone is wondering why you've been assembled. It appears there has been some communication from the alternate universe. We may be looking at an imminent cross-over. Mr. Data, report."
"Well, Captain," Data began his fingers rapidly skimming across the computer panel in front of him. "I reviewed the sensor logs for the past 96 hours, as you requested. Beginning precisely 96 hours and 31 minutes from the time you requested I begin this search, there has been a low-intensity electromagnetic energy signature indicating a possible transmission to this vessel of approximately 28 minutes in duration once every 24 hours. The shortest duration was 72 hours ago, lasting 23 minutes and 40 seconds. The longest transmission was the initial transmission lasting 31 minutes precisely."
"What form have these transmissions taken, Captain. Were you threatened?" Riker was instantly concerned about his commanding officer.
"No, Number One, I have not been the recipient of these transmissions." Picard turned to Vash, "Do these times coincide with your dreams?"
"Could he run through that in English, please?" Vash had gotten lost right after Data's 'Well, Captain.'
"The transmissions would have begun at approximately 0230 hours each time," Data responded.
"That would be about 2:30 in the morning," Picard added, noticing the look Vash shot Data.
"Does this have anything to do with those dreams you were so concerned about?" Deanna asked.
"Yes and yes," Vash answered both questions.
"Has Vash been threatened, Captain? Perhaps we should bring in more security and put the ship on yellow alert." Riker's immediate response was to protect his captain's wife.
"I think Mr. Worf is sufficient security for the time being Number One," Picard was mildly amused at his first officer's reaction to the threat to Vash. "Did you say you knew about these dreams, Counselor?"
Deanna and Beverly exchanged glances.
"Yes, Captain. Vash was extremely agitated because of the dreams she had been having. She discussed them with Doctor Crusher and myself yesterday. We thought they were simply dreams at the time."
"Do I need to ask how much chocolate was involved in this discussion?" Picard asked dryly. The chocolate-fests were legendary among the senior officers.
"Perhaps I should run a complete scan on Vash," Crusher chimed in, getting concerned.
"Later, Doctor," Picard agreed. "Mr. Data, your analysis of the situation, please."
"The transmissions are regular in nature, may I assume that there was an indication in one of them that a cross-over was planned?"
"You may." Picard didn't elaborate.
"If they have some sort of interdimensional transporter, they would need to establish coordinates in this dimension to activate and safely transport across." Data's initial theory struck a chord in Riker.
"He's making good on his threat, Captain."
"Time out." Vash grabbed Picard's chair and swung it around so he was facing her. "What threat?"
"Number One, please review the Starfleet definition of tact." Picard made a mental note to kill his first officer if he survived his wife. "I chose not to tell you about his parting words. At the time, we weren't sure if he had even survived his injuries. It seemed like an empty threat and I didn't wish you to be concerned about it."
"Sorry, sir." Riker's somewhat meek apology filtered across the room.
"Well, I think maybe it's time you told me about it. And I won't even tell you that if I had known about it I might not have waited four days to bring these dreams to your attention. So what exactly did he say?" Vash would deal more directly with her husband when this was all over.
"Just before he activated his transponder, he said that I may have won the battle but that the war wasn't over. His last words were that he would be back for you." Picard's throat tightened at the memory.
Vash hugged herself tightly and walked over to stare out the window. Up until now, she had thought her mind was playing tricks with her. The realization that it was truly the alternate Picard who was playing tricks with her mind was terrifying.
"Yes, Number One, it appears that he is preparing to make good on the threat he made." Now that the cat was out of the bag there was no point in beating around any more bushes. "Suggestions, anyone?"
"I propose twenty-four hour security on Mrs. Picard." Worf's immediate concern was security.
"I think we should initiate a constant transporter lock on Vash until we figure out what this guy is up to and how to neutralize it." Riker didn't want to trust any one person with her safety.
"Agreed, Mr. Worf, please see to both measures."
"Aye, sir." Worf rose and left the room to make the arrangements.
"Doctor Crusher, Mr. LaForge, any suggestions as to how to block these transmissions. They are very upsetting to Vash." Picard's primary concern was keeping her here, but he also wanted those dreams to stop before his alternate went much further with them.
As Picard, Crusher, and LaForge began conferring on various alternatives to blocking the transmissions, Data noticed Vash holding herself tightly and shivering almost imperceptibly by the windows. He walked over to her and stepped in front of her.
"What do you see, Vash?" Data asked softly.
"Right offhand, you," Vash answered wryly.
"My skeleton is a polyalloy composed of cortenide and duranium. There is no known humanoid with the ability to get through me." Data looked down at Vash reassuringly. "You will not be leaving this vessel."
Vash took a small step forward and threw her arms around Data's neck. Planting a quick kiss on his cheek she whispered, "thanks, Data."
Riker saw Vash hug Data and walked over to where they stood "No man on this ship is going to let anything happen to you. You're our queen bee, let him find his own."
Vash reached out to squeeze Will's hand and leaned up to give him a kiss on the cheek.
"If Sir Galahad and Sir Lancelot are finished vying for your favors, may I escort Lady Guinevere home?" Picard had finished his discussion with Crusher and LaForge and dismissed them before joining the threesome by the window. "Since the transmissions occur only once in a twenty-four hour period, Geordi thinks that we should have at least a twenty-two hour window of breathing space."
"I concur, Captain. I will get started at once on options to neutralize any type of interdimensional transporter device he may be planning to use." Data's lack of need for sleep usually annoyed others, now it was coming in handy.
"After you've had a little more sleep, Deanna and Beverly would like to see you in sickbay. Ostensibly to run some neuroscans, but I'm sure there will be chocolate involved at some point. In the meantime, let's try to salvage a little of this night. Goodnight, gentlemen." Picard dropped an arm around Vash's shoulders and steered her toward the door.
Data and Riker watched them walk toward the door and both quickly stifled their laughs when they heard Vash's voice drift across the conference room.
Later that afternoon, Picard sat in his readyroom pouring over weekly reports. He set aside the report he was reading and checked the computer for Vash's current location, just as he had done every ten minutes all day long. As captain, he knew it was totally unnecessary, Vash was under a constant transporter lock and her location was being continuously monitored in engineering, in sickbay, and by the tactical station on the main bridge. Any transporter lock on her from an outside source would automatically raise the shields and set off more alarms than a Romulan Warbird decloaking off the port bow. However, as her husband, he checked her location anyway. The comm signaled for his attention.
"La Forge to Captain Picard."
"Picard here," he replied, "Go ahead, Geordi"
"Sir, may I see you in engineering?" His chief engineer's voice came over the comm. "We have a plan, sir."
"On my way, Geordi." Picard stood up and headed for the door as he spoke, "Please contact Vash and Dr. Crusher and have them meet me there."
As Picard rounded the corner to main engineering, he saw his wife and her security guard coming from the other direction. Lieutenant Mark Randall, who was raised on a ranch in Montana, looked like a younger version of Will Riker. Vash affectionately referred to the handsome, young officer as 'the cowboy.' Even from down the corridor, Picard could see Vash chatting away amicably with the officer. As Randall and Vash reached the entrance to main engineering, the young man looked down at Vash with a gallant smile, replying to something she had just said. The lieutenant's expression turned serious and he took on a military stance as Picard approached them.
"Captain," Randall addressed his commanding officer.
"Mr. Randall," Picard nodded, inwardly amused by the young man's fondness for Vash.
"Hello, darling," Vash greeted her husband as she took his arm.
"Ma chere," Picard gently laid his hand over the small hand she had placed on his arm. "Shall we?"
"Of course." Vash turned to Randall, who was standing next to the entrance. "Mark, you'll be here?"
"Yes, ma'am," the officer replied with a glint in his eyes. "Right here where you left me."
"Good enough." Vash gave him a quick.wink before Jean-Luc led her into engineering to find Geordi.
"You don't really have to encourage them, you know," Jean-Luc noted dryly as they entered engineering.
"Of course I do," Vash shot back.
As Picard shook his head in amusement and guided her through engineering toward La Forge's office, Vash couldn't help glancing over at the powerful warp core. The sight of the immense heart of the warp engines still awed her. Lieutenant Reginald Barclay was working at the computer console next to the chief engineer's office door. Barclay stood up and straightened into a rigid military stance as they approached.
"Captain," Barclay said in his usual nervous tone. "Commander LaForge went to check on a slight fluctuation in one of the sensor relays. He wanted me to ask you to please wait in his office."
"Of course, Mr. Barclay," Picard replied. "Thank you."
"I . . . I . . . I'll let him know you're here, sir," Barclay stammered.
Vash always found Reg Barclay's bashfulness very endearing; however, she noticed that, along with his customary nervousness, he looked tired. His hair wasn't quite as neat as usual and there was some shadowing under his eyes. Her expression grew slightly concerned as she looked up at him, "Reg, are you all right?"
"Yes, ma'am. I'm . .I'm fine," Barclay answered with a small, timid smile. "I came down here halfway through my sleep cycle to check on a repair I had done. Mr. La Forge asked for my opinion on an analysis he was running. When I found out what he and Mr. Data were working on I volunteered to help."
Vash sounded stunned. "Reg, are you telling me that all three of you have been working nonstop since 4:30 this morning on my little problem?"
"Yes, ma'am," Barclay nodded.
Vash looked up at the engineer shyly through her lashes. "My heroes, how can I ever thank all of you?"
"We'd never let him, or anyone else, take you from us," Barclay told her with uncharacteristic firmness.
Picard cleared his throat. Wryly, he thought to himself, 'At this rate, the single men on this ship will be throwing rose petals at her feet by our second anniversary.' Arching an eyebrow, he addressed Barclay, "Lieutenant, weren't you on your way to let Mr. La Forge know we were here?"
"Yes, sir, certainly sir," Barclay nodded and beat a hasty retreat to find the chief engineer.
As they stepped into La Forge's office, Vash discreetly pinched her husband's arm. Under her breath, she scolded him, "Intimidating Reggie is the equivalent of kicking a puppy."
"Oh, it's Reggie now," Picard chuckled.
Vash turned to face her husband, her back to the door. "Reg comes by about once a week to help me calibrate some of the more finicky pieces of equipment in my lab. He's very sweet."
Picard regarded his wife with open amusement. "Talk about harems, ma chere, I see you're expanding your harem of single men to include junior officers as well as senior ones."
"Everyone needs a hobby, Jean-Luc," Vash cooed at her husband.
Just as the office door opened, Picard sighed melodramatically, "There must be at least one single male on this ship that isn't enamored with you." Looking up to see his chief engineer, Picard smiled, "Ah, Geordi."
Geordi walked up behind Vash, glancing down at her. He looked back up at the captain with a straight face and deadpanned, "Sorry, sir, totally smitten."
With a regal toss of her hair, Vash gave her husband her most triumphant smile.
"Et tu, Brute," Picard feigned injury as he took a seat in one of the chairs across from the engineer's desk.
Geordi smiled and shrugged his shoulders as he offered Vash a seat in his large desk chair.
Settling herself in the large, comfortable chair, Vash marveled, "this is as nice as the one in Jean-Luc's readyroom."
"I know, I requisitioned both of them at the same time," Geordi chuckled as Beverly Crusher, Data, and Barclay entered the office. Crusher and Barclay took the two remaining chairs. Geordi leaned against the edge of his desk. "Since we're all here, Doc, do you want to start?"
Beverly pushed a stray lock of hair behind her ear. "The medical scans I performed on Vash this morning did show brain wave activity with a low level energy signature similar to that of a Ferengi thought-maker; however, the effect is much more subtle and could be very easily missed, if you weren't specifically looking for it. Someone has obviously done some tinkering and fine tuned one of the devices. That would explain why Vash hasn't experienced the severe headaches and other side effects normally associated with the thought-maker."
"Someone most likely being my counterpart," Geordi's eyes narrowed with disgust. "This is not my proudest moment."
Vash's reply was gentle, "Geordi, you're no more responsible for the creation of this device than Jean-Luc is for the way it's been utilized."
"Vash is right, Geordi," Picard said sincerely. His voice became all business and he continued, "Options."
"Well sir, I have good news and I have bad news," Geordi sighed.
"Tell us the good news first," Picard suggested.
Geordi nodded, then began his report, "There are two distinct parts to these transmissions. First is the low level electromagnetic energy wave from the thought-maker. The second part is an interdimensional carrier wave. It would be easy enough to modulate the shields to block the low level energy wave of the thought-maker. However, that doesn't solve our problem because it leaves Captain Psycho's equipment still functional. Reg came up with the idea of using the carrier wave for our own purposes. We want to send a high energy pulse back up the carrier wave. It poses absolutely no threat to Vash and it will overload the thought-maker along with anything linked to it, such as a transporter."
"That's wonderful, Geordi." Slightly wary, Picard regarded his chief engineer. "What's the bad news?"
La Forge took a deep breath before continuing. "Since we are using their carrier wave, we need Vash to allow herself to be contacted again. We also need to make sure the energy pulse has sufficient time to travel back up the carrier wave and that it's not detected."
"Understood," Picard responded with a curt nod. It wasn't an ideal situation, but it would solve the problem.
"Not understood! You want me to what?" Vash arched an eyebrow, ala her husband, and shot Geordi a 'You wanna make a bet' glance. She didn't understand all the mechanics to this plan, but she understood the part about having to revisit Hades again.
Geordi kneeled down next to Vash's chair so that he was face to face with her. "I can stop him, Vash. But I need your help to do it."
"You absolutely have to have me receive another dream," Vash said quietly.
Geordi nodded. "It's more than that. I don't know what these dreams are that he's transmitting to you; but, during his next transmission, I need you to do two things for me. First of all, I need you to stall him, so the energy pulse has time to travel up the carrier wave. Secondly, I want you to try to keep his attention focused on you; any monitoring equipment will notice the energy pulse, but if he's occupied with you, he may not notice the warning until it's too late to stop it."
"Vash," Picard kept his voice even, knowing he was on very thin ice at the moment. "All you have to do is keep him distracted long enough for the pulse to reach his equipment and destroy it"
"Oh, is that all," Vash responded in a clipped sarcastic tone as she glared across the room at her husband. "And exactly how does the good captain suggest I keep his counterpart entertained without ending up on my back? Should I try an exotic dance such as the flamenco or maybe a belly dance. Perhaps I should try something in the striptease genre. There is always the old bump and grind, the bubble strip, and, of course, the fan dance. I know, I could mix the exotic with the erotic and do the dance of the seven veils."
During Vash's tirade, Picard reached up to rub the bridge of his nose. He could tell by her voice she was tired, frightened and frustrated. He purposely ignored the shocked expressions of his officers, trusting them to have the sense to keep their reactions tactful. When she finally stopped to take a breath, he arched his eyebrows and looked at her over his fingers. "Are you finished?"
"Not a chance," Vash retorted. "What if our friend out there finds my performance so diverting that he decides to transport me into his universe right then and there, while I'm alone in bed? I really don't relish the idea of spending the rest of my life as his courtesan."
Data spoke up for the first time. "That would be quite impossible. First and foremost, you will be in sickbay, not your quarters. Additionally, you will not be alone; Dr. Crusher, the captain, Geordi, Mr. Barclay and myself will all be with you. I have also taken the liberty of modulating the shields to prevent any known form of transporter from being used," Data paused and gave Vash a small, reassuring smile. "As I told you earlier, you will not be leaving this vessel.
"Maybe we . . . well, maybe we should just modulate the shields to block the transmission until we can come up with some other way to stop him," Barclay stammered. "When we . . we devised this plan, we didn't know that he was using these dreams to . . ."
"Reg, I'd be real careful about how I finish that sentence if I were you," Geordi teased.
"We didn't know he was using these dreams to take liberties with Mrs. Picard," Barclay finished euphemistically.
For the first time since the meeting began, Vash smiled. Looking at her husband, she chuckled, "Nice save." When she winked at Reggie and Geordi to share her amusement, she realized just how haggard and exhausted they both were. She felt chagrined as she realized that they would willingly give up more sleep to devise another means of protecting her if she refused to participate in this plan. "Oh, all right." Vash looked over at Jean-Luc and added, "you realize, of course, that this is going to cost you a very, very large diamond."
"Yes, dear." Picard had been planning to reward her with something anyway, not necessarily that big of a reward, but in the interests of peace, whatever she wanted, she would get.
Geordi clapped Barclay on the shoulder and sighed, "Well, I guess we'd better grab a pulse generator and head down to sickbay to get started on the necessary modifications to their diagnostic equipment."
"Mr. Data, would you be able to handle the necessary modifications yourself, at least for awhile?" Picard asked suddenly.
"Mr. LaForge, Mr. Barclay, I want both of you to report to your quarters and get some sleep. Mr. Data: I'd like you to begin the modifications. The others can join you once they've slept. It's going to be a long night and I think we all had best get as much sleep as we can, you included, my dear," he ended shooting a long glance at his very tired wife.
"Aye sir," came the responses from his exhausted engineering staff.
Beverly stood up to make her way out of Geordi's office. As she passed Data, she patted him on the shoulder, "Come on, Data. Let's get you started."
"Yes, Doctor," the android nodded and began to follow her out. Pausing briefly at the door, Data turned back to grin and wink at Vash. As he turned and continued out the door, she and the others could hear the unmistakable sound of Data whistling to the tune of 'We're Off To See the Wizard.'
"I could definitely use some courage right now, if the wizard has any to spare," Vash muttered aloud as she recognized the tune Data was whistling. The sound of Reg Barclay nervously clearing his throat caught her attention and she looked over at him.
"Ma'am, are you sure you want to go through with it? If you're uncomfortable with this, we can still block his transmission while we work on another way to stop him," Barclay offered, still sounding very concerned.
"Really, Reg, I'm fine. If you block his transmission, he'll know we're on to him and we'll lose the element of surprise. Your plan is the best way to stop him. I'll be ready for him this time and the more I think about it, the more I like the fact that I get to help stick it to him," Vash graced Barclay with one of her most charming smiles. "Besides, I know that nothing can happen to me with all of you right there protecting me."
"Yes, ma'am," Barclay nodded with a slight blush as he got up from his chair and made his way out of the office.
"Well, now that we have that settled," Vash stood up and turned to smile at her husband, "I should probably go round up the cowboy and head back to my office to finish up a few things before returning to our quarters, per orders."
"Very good. I'll meet you there in one hour for an early dinner," Picard said as he stood up himself.
"Aye, dear, I mean Captain, darling, dear," Vash teased with a jaunty, little salute before strolling out of Geordi's office.
Geordi flopped down in his chair, chuckling. Picard glanced down at his chief engineer with mock exasperation.
"Oh, go to bed Geordi," Picard retorted good naturedly as he followed his wife out the door.
"What time is it?" Vash asked her husband with a sigh as they headed toward a turbolift late that night.
"Around 12:30 am," Picard answered. Not wanting to irritate his wife, he was careful to use civilian terminology. Vash had been pleasant and in good spirits most of the day; however, in the privacy of their quarters, the anxiety and strain started to show as the evening progressed. Picard paused for a moment when they reached the empty turbolift, allowing Vash to enter first.
"Sickbay," he told the computer as the doors swooshed shut behind him. He turned to look at Vash. Dressed in a tan, cable-knit sweater that hung to her hips and matching leggings, she leaned against the back wall of the turbolift and crossed her arms over her chest. The tan sweater was his, in fact, it was one of his favorites to wear horseback riding. While pulling it from the drawer, Vash had said she wanted something comfortable to wear. After almost a year of marriage, Picard knew that was 'wifese' for 'I want to wear something of yours.' Over the past year he had become convinced that Eve probably found Adam's fig leaf more comfortable than her own. Discreetly, he let his gaze take in how the cable-knit of the sweater followed the feminine curves of her body. Of course, the damn thing looked much better on her than it did on him.
"Vash, Geordi wanted me to warn you that there may be a few seconds between the pulse hitting the alternate's equipment and the termination of the transmission." Picard watched her reaction carefully as he spoke. "The alternate will know what has happened, but it will be too late for him to prevent it. You'll need to be prepared to handle his reaction."
"Oh peachy keen," Vash huffed. "Is there a message you'd like me to give your counterpart?"
"What kind of message?" Picard asked, already wishing he hadn't.
"Maybe something like: Go find your own piece of ass," she hissed angrily.
"Halt," Picard called out, stopping the lift between decks. He knew she wasn't angry with him. She was simply lashing out from fear and frustration and he was the best available target. He kept his voice calm and gentle, "You know I would never refer to any woman that way, especially you; besides, it's not exactly ladylike."
"Not exactly ladylike," she parroted back. "Well, neither is a blowjob, flyboy, and I've never heard you complain about me giving you one of those."
Unable to keep the humor totally out of his voice, Picard raised an eyebrow as he replied, "And you never will."
Vash could see the amusement in her husband's gentle grey eyes. Her nerves were shot and she really wanted to throw a good hissy fit. Yet he had the audacity to stand there being wonderful, making it impossible for her to get a real good temper tantrum going. She sighed, "You're not going to fight with me are you?"
Picard shook his head no.
"Damn." Vash let her head fall back against the wall with an audible thump.
"Sorry," Picard said, simply to appease her, not sorry at all about cheating her out of a fight.
"No, I'm sorry, I guess I'm just a little tense." Vash ran her fingers through her hair exasperatedly.
"Only a little?" Picard quipped. Then, suddenly getting serious, "Are you sure you want to go through with this? We can still buy some time to look for other options."
"If we block the transmission, he'll just turn off the machine and wait for a more opportune moment." She didn't like the choice she had, but she couldn't argue the logic.
"Most likely," Picard agreed. He walked over to where she stood against the turbolift wall. Tenderly, he cupped her cheek with his palm as his other hand stroked her hair. Slipping his thumb under her chin to bring her gaze up to his, he murmured "there is a message."
"What," Vash whispered, breathless.
"He can't have you." With that, Picard's mouth descended to crush her lips beneath his. As his lips claimed hers, he used the hand that had been cupping her cheek to force open her mouth to deepen the kiss. His tongue began a thorough exploration of the warm, moist cavern, claiming everything in it's path. One hand moved around to the back of her head, entangling itself in her silky hair to push her lips closer to his; the other hand moved to the small of her back to push her hips into closer proximity with his own straining hips.
"Turbolift is still halted. Is there a problem?" The computer's interruption startled both of them.
"No, no problem. Resume." Picard bent down to resume kissing his now-very-amused wife.
In sickbay, Geordi, Data, and Barclay were making last minute adjustments to the equipmen and Dr. Crusher and Nurse Ogawa were preparing the center diagnostic bed. Data looked up as Vash and Picard entered the room.
As Data approached the couple, Picard greeted him, "Report, Mr. Data."
"All equipment is in place and operational, sir," Data responded. "Dr. Crusher has prepared the center diagnostic bed for Vash."
Beverly walked up and placed a comforting hand on Vash's shoulder. "Ready?"
"As much as I'll ever be," Vash shrugged.
"Status, Beverly." Picard tightened his arm around Vash's waist.
"All the equipment has been successfully interfaced. Using Data's analyses, I have reconfigured the isolation field on the biobed to block the transmissions as well as any attempt at transport as an additional safeguard."
"Excellent," Picard commended both officers. Picard glanced at the doors as Will Riker entered sickbay.
"Hi, Will," Vash smiled up at him as he approached her.
"Hi, sweetheart," Riker returned her smile and then nodded to his commanding officer. "Sir."
"Number One, I thought you would be asleep," Picard addressed his first officer.
"And let Data and Geordi hog all the glory of saving the queen?" Riker appeared incredulous. "Not a chance."
"There is only ninety minutes left until estimated time of transmission. Is Mrs. Picard going to be able to fall asleep within that time, under these conditions?" Barclay asked from where he was working.
"After all the years she spent as a field archaeologist, I imagine Mrs. Picard can fall asleep under almost any conditions. I've seen her fall asleep in the middle of a poker game," Riker teased.
"Only to give you a fighting chance, Ace," Vash quipped.
"Isn't it past your majesty's bedtime?" Riker raised an eyebrow at her.
Vash responded by sticking her tongue out at him.
"And on that note," Picard picked Vash up and placed her on the diagnostic bed. "I'll leave you in Beverly's capable hands while we make a last check of the equipment." Picard dropped a quick kiss on Vash's forehead before he and the others headed over to the far side of the room.
Running a medical scanner over Vash, Beverly shook her head and gently told her patient, "Vash, you're going to need to calm yourself down considerably if you expect to get to sleep anytime soon."
Settling herself down on the biobed, she looked up at her friend, "So basically I'm supposed to hurry up and calm down."
"That would be the idea," Beverly replied as she made adjustments to the bed's sensors.
"Should I prepare a hypospray, Doctor?" Ogawa asked.
"Not yet, Alyssa. I'd rather she try to get to sleep naturally first. We'll give it an hour before using a sedative," Beverly instructed. "Vash, why don't you try counting backward from one hundred."
"Never works," Vash replied.
"Maybe, if we left her and the captain alone," Ogawa began. "Does the captain have any tricks to help you get to sleep. Maybe if he counted backward from one hundred?"
"In that bedroom baritone? I want her calmed down, not turned on," Beverly teased, winking at Vash. Beverly jumped slightly as she heard the aforementioned baritone from directly behind her.
"And here I thought you ladies were completely enraptured with the wisdom of my words during staff meetings."
Ogawa mouthed to Vash "he knows?"
"The voice? Oh yeah, he knows," Vash answered from the bed. "Quit teasing Beverly and get over here. Beverly wants you to use your magic to get me to sleep without using a sedative."
"Your wish is my command, beloved." With an exaggerated bow, Picard waved Beverly and Ogawa away. "Dim lights." As sickbay darkened, Jean-Luc walked up to the side of the bed. Eyeing the biobed and her lying on it he whispered, "I suppose our usual ritual to help you sleep is out of the question here?"
"I didn't realize you had such exhibitionist tendencies, Johnny," Vash laughed softly.
"Roll over," Jean-Luc urged her.
"I'm going to give you a backrub, darling," Picard explained patiently.
"Oh." Vash twisted herself around to lie on her stomach.
Picard moved her hair aside and began tenderly massaging her shoulders. He could feel the tension in the muscles there. His strong hands moved along her back, working the stress and strain out of her as they went. Gradually, he felt her relax under his ministrations until, finally, she went completely limp. Ever-so-gently, he moved a lock of hair out of her face, so peaceful in sleep, and brushed a kiss along her cheek.
'Well Captain, how have you dressed your boy-toy this time?' Vash thought, as she found herself reclining on the large, suede couch in the sitting room of the Valhalla. She looked down to study the negligee she was wearing. The sculpted bodice of gold lame molded itself to her feminine curves. A sumptuous amount of her decolletage' spilled over the plunging sweetheart neckline, only thin spaghetti straps prevented the rest from escaping. The full-length, wrapskirt of crimson satin framed her long shapely legs all the way down to the five-inch heeled, gold pumps.
Vash settled back into the couch and tried to ignore the nervous fluttering in the pit of her stomach. She forced herself to remain calm, remembering that this was only a dream. In reality, she was safely in sickbay. In the past dreams, the alternate had used her desires to give himself the upper hand. She needed to keep his attention without losing control of the situation. But how? Suddenly, the answer hit her. It was so simple. He had already given her the upper hand. She knew what he wanted. All of this was because he wanted her. In fact, he wanted her so desperately that he was willing to chance a crossover. All she needed to do was make it seem as if she was going to give him exactly what he wanted and, if he wants a sex kitten, so be it. She intended to play the part of a merciless tease and then to leave him high and dry. It was time to give Imperial Captain Picard a taste of his own medicine and seeing as this was only a dream that would soon come to an end, Vash decided to let herself enjoy what she had to do. After all, Beverly had been right, there was something sexually thrilling about this pirate version of Jean-Luc Picard. With that, she thought to herself, 'battle stations, set all weapons on seduce.'
Hearing the far door open, Vash looked up to see the alternate Picard standing in the doorway of the cockpit, dressed in what she now assumed was his uniform. Her breath caught in her throat at the way his natural commanding presence revealed itself in his handsome, chiseled features and grey eyes. The tightly-sculpted muscles of his well-defined chest and arms were powerfully evident in the sleeveless, crimson vest with its deep V neckline. The gold epaulettes, along with the alternate Starfleet Parabola and rank insignia, glittered from his broad shoulders. Vash allowed her gaze to drift down past the gold-woven sash around his waist, noticing how the tight, black, uniform trousers conformed to his lower body's every muscle. In any universe, Jean-Luc Picard was masculine perfection. As she looked up and her eyes locked with his, she seductively wet her lips with just the very tip of her tongue.
"I've been waiting for you," Vash's voice was low and sultry. The crimson satin fluttered around her long legs as she gracefully rose up from the couch to stand and face him. The wrapskirt of the negligee came together over her right hip with the split of the skirt baring her right leg up to mid thigh.
"Indeed, and just what caused this sudden change of heart, ma belle?" the alternate asked. His grey eyes traveled over her, lingering on the generous length of leg revealed by her negligee, before returning to her face.
Vash slowly sauntered across the room, taking full advantage of the negligee by using just the perfect amount of sway in her hips and bounce in her step. Every step was deliberately taken to provide the most provocative view of her long shapely legs and lush cleavage. She stopped to stand right in front of him and stared up into his steel, grey eyes. Reaching up with her right hand, she leisurely trailed her index finger down the hard expanse of his chest exposed by the V neckline of his vest and cooed softly, "as you have so skillfully pointed out, it is impossible for me to deny you."
The alternate Picard grabbed her right wrist and brought her hand up to his face. He pressed his mouth against the delicate skin on the underside of her wrist in an open mouth kiss. Vash felt a heated surge of arousal go through her as his tongue flicked against the pulse point on her wrist. Somewhere in the back of her mind, she heard her own common sense tell her, 'Vash, honey, you are playing with fire.'
Without warning, the alternate Picard let go of her wrist and wrapped one powerful arm around her tiny waist, pulling her roughly to him. His mouth came down to attack hers in a savage kiss. Instead of fighting him, she parted her lips and allowed his tongue to boldly lay claim to her. With a soft moan, Vash brought her arms up to encircle his neck and molded the supple curves of her body against the hard length of his. Brazenly, she deepened the kiss, forcing her tongue past his in her own erotic exploration of his mouth. As her tongue continued to ravage his mouth, she felt his grip around her waist tighten.
Vash was very aware of the stiff peaks of her breasts pressed against the muscular wall of his chest. Bracing her hands on his broad shoulders, she pushed back slightly and broke the kiss. As she tried to catch her breath, she ran her hands over the epaulettes feeling the hard muscles of his shoulders underneath.
"Oh Jean-Luc, you're so tense," Vash gushed breathlessly as she toyed with the epaulettes and rank insignia. "You must have had a long day on the bridge. My poor darling, you need to relax. Here, let me make you more comfortable. You won't be needing this." Vash slid her hands down his vest to the woven-gold sash at his waist. Deftly, she untied the sash. Taking a step back, she pulled the golden material from his waist and wound it around her wrists. She arched her eyebrow and gave him a come-hither expression as she purred, "Unless, of course, you want to discipline me again tonight."
The alternate Picard grabbed the sash around her wrists and brought her back to him with one forceful yank. As he held her hands imprisoned and his mouth descended to capture hers in another fiercely possessive kiss, a highly charged, erotic thrill coursed through Vash. Her lips and tongue answered the fervent demands of his. Finally breaking the kiss, he unwound the sash from her wrists and dropped it to the floor. His voice was deep and resonating, "I always like to keep my options open, ma belle."
"I'm sure I could come up with some other ways of entertaining you," Vash taunted huskily, her small hands rested on the hard bulges of his biceps. Trying to gain control over her own rising desires, she firmly reminded herself that she was the one who was supposed to be doing the seducing. Still, her body instinctively responded to the pure masculine virility of his presence. Enjoying the play of the strong muscles beneath her fingertips, she trailed her hands down the corded length of his bare arms to clasp both of his hands in hers. Glancing up at him coyly, she led him behind his desk. She splayed her hands against the expanse of his chest and gently pushed, urging him to sit down in the high-back, leather wing-chair. "Now, why don't you just sit down and relax, darling, while I fix you a drink."
As he settled himself into his desk chair, she leaned down to look into his grey eyes. Although she was sure that his attention was focused on the full curves threatening to escape the neckline of her negligee. One of his large hands skimmed over the smooth length of her leg revealed by the split of her skirt. The warm caress sent a shiver of desire up and down her spine as she asked, "Romulan ale or Aldebaran whiskey?"
"Whiskey," he replied. Vash allowed her hand to brush gently down his arm as she started to move away to get the drink. He captured her wrist and added, an edge roughening his baritone, "Don't take too long, or I might have to use that sash after all."
The alternate Picard brought her inner wrist to his mouth, placing another open-mouthed kiss on the sensitive skin there. Vash took a deep breath at the intensity of the sensations washing over her, realizing once again that she was playing with fire. Smiling seductively, she purred, "Promises, promises."
Very aware of the intense heat from his steel, grey eyes as they followed her, Vash made her way to the replicator, using what had become known as her 'stripper strut'. Taking the whiskey from the replicator, she made her way back to him, noting the way the sway of her hips and shapely legs held his attention. Sliding gracefully into his lap, she handed him his drink. "Was I gone too long?"
He took a sip of his drink, considering. "I could be persuaded to other forms of amusement, kitten."
"Well then, I'll just have to be very amusing, as persuasively as I can be," Vash promised in a sultry voice as she slipped her small hands inside the neckline of his vest to massage his broad shoulders. Her skillful hands worked to knead the hard muscles of his neck and shoulders. Feeling the tension in his muscles ease, she coaxed softly, "that's it, Jean-Luc. Just relax."
Slipping one arm around his neck, she moved the other hand to begin toying with the insignia on his uniform. Nimbly tracing the outline of rank pips, her fingers strayed more and more to his bare chest. Leaning into him, her lips brushed along the strong line of his jaw as her fingers continued to tangle in the hair on his chest. She felt one large hand at the small of her back, pressing her even closer as he continued to sip his whiskey. She placed heated kisses from his jaw line up to the sensitive spot just under his ear. With her eyes closed, she nuzzled his neck. Vash's own desires were becoming more and more inflamed by his natural, masculine scent and feel of the hard length of his body beneath her. A small sigh escaped from her lips.
"Why kitten, you're practically purring," the alternate Picard told her with the first hint of amusement since he had walked in the door. She opened her eyes at the slight clinking sound caused by him setting down his empty glass on the highly polished oak of the desk. Sitting up, Vash opened his vest to run her hands over the coarse hair and hard muscular expanse of his chest. Fascinated by the play of his strong muscles beneath her hands, she entangled her fingers in his chest hair, her thumbs rubbing over the hardened nubs of his nipples. He closed his eyes and leaned further back into the chair. Her hands slowly drifted down the lean, tapering lines of his torso until they reached the waistband of his trousers. She paused a moment before moving her hands even lower to find the hard evidence of his desire. With a small triumphant smile, she expertly caressed him through his trousers.
Vash heard a low growl in the back of his throat as he opened his eyes and sat up. With his steel, grey eyes smoldering, the alternate Picard gripped her chin in his large hand and brought her face to his. He captured her lips with his in a violently possessive kiss. The slight, but very provocative, taste of whiskey in his kiss combined with the carnal way his tongue plundered the depths of her mouth threatened to completely undo her. Deepening the kiss further, her hands traveled up his hard muscular form to grip the masculine slope of his shoulders. When she shifted to straddle him, her legs finding purchase in the chair on each side of him, she was suddenly reminded that she wore nothing underneath her negligee. She moaned her own passion into his mouth as she felt the erotic pressure of his hard arousal pressed against her through the fabric of his trousers.
'Major tactical error,' she thought to herself as her body quivered from the sensations that the contact of their hips invoked in her. He slid his mouth from hers to trail heated kisses down the graceful arch of her throat. The taut peaks of her lush breasts tingled with anticipation and her hips began to rock gently against his. The alternate slipped his large hands up her bare thighs to grip her hips, rocking her against him hard and fast. All coherent thought left Vash as their erotic rocking motion took her to even higher heights of desire. His mouth made its way across the silken expanse of her skin. His tongue traced the swell of her breast before his mouth moved to claim one of the hardened nipples through the flimsy fabric of her negligee. Just on the edge, Vash involuntarily whimpered as he suddenly stopped their movements. The alternate Picard lifted his mouth and growled, "This has outlived its usefulness!"
Vash gasped, as he brought both hands to the center of her bodice and ripped it in two, dropping the shredded garment to the floor. Her ivory, satin skin had a feverish flush from her arousal. His hands returned to her hips, rocking her against him faster and harder than before. Her hands gripped his broad shoulders tightly as she felt an overwhelming pressure building inside her from the punishing pace he was setting. He lowered his head to let his mouth explore the lush roundness of her breasts, his lips imprisoning one of the rosy tips. Her head fell back with a soft moan as his lips and tongue teased and tormented one sensitive peak and then the other. The alternate grasped her hips even tighter as he continued to increase the urgency of their movements. Suddenly, Vash shuddered violently in his grasp as an explosive release ripped through her.
Vash collapsed against the alternate, trying to catch her breath and regain her senses as spasms continued to race through her body. Her head cleared quickly at the sound of his deep voice, hoarse with arousal. "I won't wait any longer, kitten."
As his hands moved to unfasten his trousers, Vash thought frantically, 'Now would be a good time, gentlemen!'
As if on cue, a warning klaxon sounded. The alternate Picard stood abruptly, unceremoniously depositing Vash on his desk and hissed, "Damn! This had better be extremely important." He reached across the desk to open a channel to the main computer and demanded, "What is it?"
Vash took advantage of this opportunity to swing her legs to the opposite side of the desk and slide off, keeping the massive piece of furniture between them. As she stood, the computer responded, "Total systems failure detected in transmitter and ship's main computer core. Transmitter destroyed and all ship's systems off-line. Cause: feedback from high level energy pulse. Transmission will terminate in ninety seconds."
Vash raised an eyebrow and commented coolly, "The ship's main computer core? Such a desperate act from a Captain of the Enterprise."
"Not desperation, determination. This is only a little setback, your betrayal of me will not go unpunished, my conniving cocktease."
Ignoring the threat, Vash calmly studied her fingernails. "By the way, your counterpart wanted me to give you a message: you can't have me."
The alternate Picard slammed his open hand on the desk, causing the empty whiskey glass to fall to the floor and shatter into a thousand pieces. Leaning threateningly toward her, he ground out, "I will not hear you speak of another man!"
Vash leaned toward him as well and replied enticingly, "Oh, but I belong to another man."
He roughly grabbed her chin. "You're mine, kitten."
"Here, perhaps, but this isn't real. When I wake up, he'll be there waiting for me." Vash wrenched her chin from his grasp. "And I intend to bed him willingly and ardently every night, everywhere, and in every position physically possible to humanoid lifeforms. My Enterprise is such a large vessel, so many jeffries tubes, so little time. So while you're concocting your pathetic fantasies about me, remember that the only place you will ever have me is in your wettest, wildest dreams."
Startled by the abrubt ending of the dream, Vash sat upright on the biobed, wide- eyed in the dimmed lights of sickbay. She felt two large hands gently grip her shoulders as a familiar masculine voice whispered soothingly, "Easy Vash, it's over. You're safe and sound with us, right where you belong."
"Will?" Vash murmured as she relaxed and allowed him to lower her back down on the biobed.
"It's me, sweetheart," Riker reassured her. Moving to the side of the bed, he looked down at her and gently brushed a stray lock of hair from her face. "Are you okay?"
Vash nodded, "where's Jean-Luc?"
"He's right over there with Geordi," Riker replied, running his hand over the silky hair on the top of her head. "I told the captain that I'd stay with you."
"Freeing him to go over there with Geordi, Data, and Reg, and spend the last hour breathing down their collective necks?" Vash smiled up at him and teased in a very perky tone, "Oh, the boys are going to love you for that."
"I see Her Majesty is feeling better," Riker chuckled, leaning down to place a quick kiss on her forehead. Standing up straight, he called over his shoulder, "Captain."
"Yes, Number One," Picard responded as he made his way across the room. As he reached the biobed, Riker stepped back out of the way. Picard moved to stand at Vash's bedside. Taking one of her small hands and clasping it in both of his, he greeted her tenderly, "welcome home from Oz, Vash."
Vash smiled up at her husband, "Not exactly ruby slippers, but keep thinking along those lines because I have a really neat idea for gem stones to tell you about later." She looked over her husband's shoulder to see LaForge, Data, and Barclay now standing behind him. "Congratulations and thank you, Reg, your plan worked like a charm. The transmitter was destroyed. Just out of curiosity, how long will it take them to get all systems back on line after the pulse hit their main computer core?"
Picard's eyes went wide, "He had it linked to the main computer core?"
Vash sat up and dangled her legs over the side of the bed, "According to the computer it was. When it notified him about the impending shut down, it mentioned transmitter failure and failure in ship's main computer core. I assume that means he had them hooked together."
"He chose poorly," Picard deadpanned.
"No, that wasn't too bright, but it does explain the strength and complexity of the transmissions." Geordi shook his head in disbelief. "My counterpart probably has one hell of a mess to clean up right now."
"So, how long will it take to clean said mess up?" Vash repeated her question looking from one man to another.
"A very long time," Reg answered her question almost gleefully before bursting out, "hot diggity dog!"
"I believe a more approximate expression in this situation would be 'hot diggity damn'," Data corrected him in amusement.
Sitting up as straight as she could, Vash performed the 'Picard maneuver', tugging on the waist of her sweater, and in a perfect impersonation of her husband, ordered, "Make it so."
Riker, Data, La Forge and Barclay all exclaimed together, "hot diggity damn!"
Picard rolled his eyes and sighed, "you are not allowed to play with them anymore."
"Well, if we're all done celebrating now," Beverly Crusher began as she walked up to the other side of the biobed behind Vash. "Geordi, would you and Reg like to pick up all your toys and take them back to engineering where they belong, please?"
"Sure, Doc," Geordi patted Barclay's shoulder, adding, "come on, Reg, Mom says we have to put our toys away."
"Gentlemen," Vash looked up at Geordi, Reg, and Data through her lashes. Her voice was quiet and sincere. "I really appreciate everything you did for me. Thank you."
"You're more than welcome, my lady," Geordi said, bowing gallantly to her before heading over to clean up the equipment. Blushing, Barclay looked at his feet as he stammered a 'you're welcome' before quickly following Geordi over to the equipment.
Beverly leaned in and told Vash, "That look of yours is dangerous. You almost melted Reg to the floor." She smiled and added conspiratorially, "You must teach it to me."
"Any time, Bev," Vash smiled back, "with that long, red hair, you'd be a natural."
Not entirely sure if he really wanted to know the answer to his next question, Picard looked at his wife meaningfully. "How close did we cut it?"
Vash thought for a moment about how to best answer that. "Well, I didn't end up on my back."
Data tilted his head. Sounding bemused, he interjected, "An interesting, if cryptic, response."
"Agreed," Picard nodded, before asking Vash again, "How close?"
"Real close," Vash replied holding her index finger and thumb only a few millimeters apart. She gave her husband a very impish look. "I can assure you that in that other universe, there is one very frustrated, and I do mean very frustrated, Jean-Luc Picard."
"With all ship's systems off line and a damaged computer core, I would think so," Riker commented.
"I'm sure he's finding that somewhat annoying also," Vash deadpanned. Seeing Will's confused look, Vash grinned and snapped her fingers quickly as she teased, "Come on, Billy, try to keep up. Will you?"
Not entirely able to repress a grin, Riker arched his eyebrows at Vash. "You can't possibly be the same woman who was just sleeping on this bed, looking so angelic."
"Vash," Picard interrupted. Concerned about any actions the alternate might have taken against Vash after discovering the high energy pulse, he asked, "how long did the dream last after the computer alerted him to our activities?"
"The computer informed him that the transmission would end in ninety seconds and that seemed about right," Vash guessed. Her eyes sparkled with mischief as she added, "I gave him your message. He took it about as well as you would expect; of course, there was the usual bravado-style threats. I have to admit I was surprised by his poetic gift of alliteration. Although I was really piqued at what he called me." Vash stiffened her spine and tried to look indignant. "Do you really think I'm a conniving cocktease?" Vash ignored Riker and Crusher almost choking in the background. "Well, I certainly couldn't let him have the last word, so I had to retaliate."
Picard briefly closed his eyes and shook his head.
"So you don't agree that I'm a conniving cocktease, do you Jean-Luc?" Vash flashed huge doe-eyes at her husband.
"Well, I certainly don't think you're a tease. I was more interested in that last statement, however, you retaliated?"
Vash pouted briefly before innocently looking up at the ceiling, "I simply set him straight on the actuality of the situation."
Will and Beverly exchanged an 'Ohhh, this is going to be really good.' look. Data simply observed the scene like a small child, taking everything in. Standing directly in front of Vash, Picard arched an eyebrow and enunciated very slowly, "What did you say?"
Vash boldly met her husband's gaze, "I believe the words 'only in your wettest, wildest dreams' may have crossed my lips. Your counterpart was rather infuriated to hear that I was looking forward to waking up to be with you. He seemed to be under the impression that he was the only man permitted to 'take liberties' with me, as Reg so delicately put it. And his uniform pants may have been just a smidge tight by that point. As far as I'm concerned, he got exactly what he deserved."
As Picard listened to Vash's explanation, a small smile of admiration pulled at his lips. She could be a very formidable presence, to say the least. Unable to resist how beautiful she looked all fired up, he playfully reprimanded her with a very familiar refrain, "From the moment I met you, I knew you were going to be trouble."
Seeing amusement soften his grey eyes, Vash gazed up at him coyly and splayed her small hands across the hard expanse of his chest. One hand slowly slipped up the front of his uniform jacket to toy with the rank pips at his collar. As her nimble fingers traced lazy circles around the individual pips, she seductively cooed the expected retort, "You look like a man who can handle trouble."
'Oh, what the hell. Rank is supposed to have privileges,' Picard thought to himself as he leaned down to capture Vash's lips in a passionate kiss.
With an grin, Data chimed, "And all is right with the universe."
After a long moment, Beverly cleared her throat and finally interrupted, "Look, I really do need to do a final scan on Vash."
Vash started to giggle in mid-kiss. Standing up straight, Picard broke the kiss. Adjusting his uniform jacket, he addressed his CMO, "Of course, Doctor."
As everybody cleared out of sickbay, leaving Beverly alone with her patient and Picard, Crusher began to scan. Vash waited patiently for Beverly to finish and then asked, "Well, Doc?"
"You're fine, Vash," Beverly told her before turning to Picard.
Picard gave an audible sigh, "That's a relief. Thank you, Beverly."
"Thanks Bev," Vash added.
"No problem." The doctor patted Vash on the shoulder. "But I really hope the next time you're in my office it's for a pregnancy test."
Seeing her husband blanch slightly, Vash teased, "She's just trying to drum up business, Jean-Luc. Don't panic. At least, not just yet."
"Now, go home," Beverly told Vash. She smiled as she pointed to Picard, "and take him with you."
"Shall we, ma chere?" Picard offered his arm, only to find his wife gazing very expectantly at him from where she sat on the biobed. Realizing instantly what she was waiting for, he quipped, "Forgive me, Your Majesty. How could I have been so silly?"
"Thank you, darling," Vash purred triumphantly as Picard's large hands encircled her tiny waist and he gently lifted her to stand on the floor next to him. Now Vash took his arm and they made their way out of sickbay. As they walked down the corridor toward the turbolift, she innocently asked, "So, Johnny, exactly how many jeffries tubes are there on the Enterprise?"