All things considered, sleeping with an alien princess wasn’t all it was cracked up to be.
Certainly, the sex had been pretty good, and it definitely made up for Kaitaama being the worst kind of bitch imaginable when she woke up, but in retrospect, Travis wished he’d just kept it in his pants. From the moment the Kriosian princess had lunged at him and locked her lips with his, things had just gotten progressively worse. Oh, not in that department – she’d seemed more than satisfied with the result of his … technique if her insistence for a repeat performance immediately afterward (and then again later, aboard Enterprise while they were waiting a rendezvous with a Kriosian ship) was any indication. No, the problems really began when the landing party showed up.
The open amusement on the faces of both the captain and Lieutenant Commander Reed at Mayweather’s general lack of clothes had been one thing, but Travis didn’t know how to react to Hoshi’s anger. Her face had tightened at the sight of a mostly nude Kaitaama nearby and a week after the fact, the communications officer was still ignoring him. If he didn’t know better, Travis could almost fool himself into thinking that Hoshi might actually be jealous, but that just couldn’t be the case.
He sighed and went back to stirring his soup. After his latest attempt to talk to Hoshi had blown up in his face thanks to Rostov’s big mouth, Travis had retreated to the mess hall for some comfort food. Unfortunately, chef was experimenting again – he was on a British food kick this week and the results had been inconsistent at best, inedible at worst – so Mayweather grabbed a bowl of soup rather than press his already questionable luck and retreated to the darkest corner he could find, thinking that nobody could ruin soup.
Apparently, he was wrong.
As he stared at the dirty dishwater that chef called soup, his thoughts drifted back to the entire Kaitaama mess. No matter how bad the situation had seemed at first, what with Hoshi angry at him, most of the females on the crew looking at him like he was either a walking sextoy or the lowest form of life imaginable, and nearly every single guy aboard including Ambassador Soval giving him subtle attaboys, the long-term aftermath was even worse. On paper, the preferred trading status that Princess Kaitaama gave human ships in gratitude for Enterprise’s part in rescuing her – and Travis’ role in … ahem … making her stay on the swamp planet (and the Starfleet vessel, thanks to the captain’s damned spur-of-the-moment decision to assign Travis the role of Kriosian “liaison”) comfortable – was an astounding coup for a junior officer like him, especially when coupled with the commendation for ‘creative thinking in the face of danger’ attached to his file and jointly written by the captain and Soval, or the dozen private messages from Boomers in the area thanking him for opening up new shipping routes. If hadn’t been for the name given to the agreement by Princess Kaitaama, Travis honestly wouldn’t have minded the attention. But that name …
The Mayweather Sha’eg.
Travis shuddered. In Kriosian, “sha’eg” apparently meant accord or agreement or something like that, but it hadn’t taken any time at all for the jokes to begin making the rounds with the Enterprise crew, especially when the Brits like Malcolm saw or heard it. Even Captain Archer had chuckled at it, and Travis was absolutely convinced that Soval had almost cracked a smile when he overheard Reed explaining the joke to a baffled Doctor Phlox. Since then, the jokes and pranks hadn’t stopped coming. If Mayweather found out which engineer had broken into his cabin to install the mood lighting or the smart-ass that reprogrammed his personal computer to play overly sexualized songs from the twentieth century every time the door opened… well, his vengeance would be swift and brutal and Biblical in scope.
If there were pranks in the Bible, that was.
“Plotting your next conquest, Lieutenant?” Reed’s voice caused Travis to flinch and he looked up to find the armoury officer standing in front of his table, a tray with some sort of food substance in hand. The lieutenant commander’s smirk looked like it was a permanent fixture on his face.
“Absolutely, sir,” Travis replied crossly. “Doesn’t England have a couple of princesses?” Reed snorted in amusement before taking a seat from Mayweather.
“Caroline and Elizabeth,” he said. “A bit long in the tooth for you, I’d think.” Reed grinned openly as he began stirring … what the heck was he eating? Was that sausage in pudding? Travis made a face. Earthers were weird. “Perhaps you should stick to non-humans,” the armoury officer mused. “Do Andorians have princesses?” he wondered aloud. “Or Suliban? Although I guess they could look like anyone you wanted them to, if you asked nicely.”
“You know, sir,” Travis grumbled, “I’ve built up enough good favor with Starfleet that they might just overlook me punching a superior officer in the face.” Reed laughed out loud.
“Not feeling the heat, are you?” he asked. “Cheer up – we harass because we’re jealous. It’s not often an officer gets to shag a beautiful princess.”
“You’re enjoying this, aren’t you?” The armoury officer snickered once again.
“More than you can possibly imagine,” he replied. To Travis’ surprise, Reed sobered and glanced away. “Since Trip and the subcommander died,” he said, “there hasn’t been much to really laugh about.” He shrugged. “Between Crewman Cutler getting killed and the possibility of Starfleet yanking our charter … I think the crew just needs something to cheer them up.”
“That’s easy for you to say,” Travis pointed out. “You’re not the one being laughed at.” He gave up trying to eat the faux soup and leaned back in his chair. “Do you have any idea what my mom is going to say when she hears about this?”
“That’s my boy?” Malcolm offered with a smirk. When Mayweather shot him a dark look, Reed snickered. “How about ‘he certainly got an excellent rate of return for his … investment’?”
“At least she didn’t turn out to be a shapeshifting alien guy,” Travis retorted. Malcolm’s grin grew even wider.
“That’s the spirit,” he said. “Always counterattack, Lieutenant. The best defense is to have your enemy on the ground, moaning in pain.” He sipped his coffee. “Well played, by the way.”
“Thanks,” Mayweather muttered dryly.
“Cheer up, Travis,” Reed said as finished his coffee. “Your name is now known by every member of Starfleet, not to mention the Boomers and the Vulcans. You’re the envy of most of the male personnel serving – some of the women too, I bet – and you now have a quadrant-wide reputation as a manwhore.” He smiled maliciously. “An entire generation of horny teenage boys will read about your exploits and join Starfleet because they want to follow in your footsteps.”
“And boldly go where no man has gone before,” Commander Kelby interjected with smirk as he took the unoccupied seat next to Reed. Malcolm snorted his approval. “I heard a rumor,” he began, his eyes bright. “Is it true that the captain is naming you morale officer?”
“Just for the women aboard,” Malcolm added.
“I don’t know about that,” Kelby said. “Crewman Smith said something about wanting to ‘ride the Mayweather Express’ and you know how honest he is about everything.” The two commanders snickered at the expression on Travis’ face and he glared at them. A moment later, the chief engineer leaned forward and lowered his voice. “So,” he said softly, “was she … different? Anatomically?”
“I’ve been wondering about that myself,” Reed said. “I mean … she was an alien, after all.”
Travis sighed and leaned his head back to stare at the ceiling, wondering if this could possibly get any worse.
And just like that, it did.
“Bridge to Lieutenant Mayweather.”
“You had to think that, didn’t you?” Travis hissed to himself as he stood and walked toward the nearest comm.-panel, desperately trying to ignore the sinking feeling in his gut. “This is Mayweather,” he said after pressing the transmit button.
“Sir, we have an incoming transmission for you,” Crewman Baird said and, even with the slight distortions in the signal, Travis could hear the man’s smile. “It’s from the ECS Horizon.” The urge to throw himself out of the nearest airlock was hard to fight down and, when Mayweather glanced at his table, he could see both Reed and Kelby laughing.
“I’ll take it in my quarters,” Travis said glumly.
He passed Captain Archer, Commander Hernandez and Ambassador Soval in the corridor leading to his cabin, but the three were so busy arguing over something that they didn’t seem to even realize he was there. A song began playing the moment his door slid open – something by Barry White, but he couldn’t remember the name – and his eyes automatically fell on the glittering ball hanging suspended in the middle of his cabin. Multicolored lights seemed to be radiating from the device, pulsing in time with the beat of the music emerging from the hidden speakers. What the hell was that?
“Travis Anthony Mayweather!” His mother’s voice ripped him out of his horrified fugue as he stared at the gleaming monstrosity. Tearing his eyes away from the hideous-looking thing, he glanced sheepishly at the staticy image of his mother, now displayed on the small monitor. “You better have a damned good explanation for this!”
“Hi, mom,” Travis replied as he fumbled for the music off switch. “I guess you heard-”
“That the boy I raised is trying to sleep his way through the Alpha quadrant?” she responded hotly. “Damned right I did!” Travis blew out a breath as he collapsed in the small desk chair.
This just wasn’t fair.