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The Fish Tank

by Catherine Ellis

Rating : Any age
Disclaimer : You know the routine, Paramount owns the TNG Star Trek characters etc etc

Summary: I wrote this in 2003 in response to challenge in my writing group.

The Challenge from Karen was quite a difficult one. The mandatory elements were:

A nail file, a cigarette, hair removal cream, Riker walking into something he shouldn't, a mouse, a car, a pair of stockings and sex against the fish tank in the ready room.

My story is set before the episode 'Attached' but after Ro Laren joined the Enterprise.

The Fish Tank

Beverly wasn't pleased. He was ten minutes late for their holodeck appointment and not responding to hails. To find out what was happening, she was forced to go to his quarters in full period costume. There, fortunately, he at least had the decency to let her in quickly.

"Have you forgotten our date or is Dixon Hill wearing a Starfleet uniform these days?"

Picard looked up from his computer screen and smiled.

"Sorry Beverly, I know you've been calling but I had to finish this report." He hit the send button. "It's done now. I'll get changed immediately." As he spoke he rose and came round the table for a better look at her clothing.

"You know Doctor, I think I should recommend stockings as part of the standard uniform."

"Good idea! I can't wait to see you in them. You looked really fetching in those Robin Hood tights"

He cleared his throat. "Perhaps not."

She resisted an urge to say 'chicken'. "Well at least let me see you in a 20th century suit. I like the way they flatter a man's physique."

Picard gave her a quizzical look - did his figure need flattering?

"I'll be 5 minutes."

He disappeared into the bedroom area but continued to talk.

"Did you sort out what was wrong with Ensign Roberts?" he asked.

"Eventually, yes. It turned out she was experimenting with old beauty treatments. She's doing some kind of cultural history study. Her skin rash was caused by an ancient hair removal cream. It's a powerful chemical, smells awful; I can't imagine what possessed her to use it."

"Do you want me to reprimand her for taking foolish risks?"

"If you do, you'll have to reprimand your First Officer as well."

"What's he been up to?" Picard asked.

"Walking into things he shouldn't have."

"And what does that mean? A wall?"

"A reverse arm lock from Ensign Ro. She dislocated his shoulder."

He laughed. "What did Will do to deserve that?"

"He attempted to give her a wrestling lesson without checking how good she already was."

"Perhaps I should challenge her, I could do with a bit of competition."

Picard appeared in the doorway dressed in a suit but still struggling with his tie.

"Come here." Beverly took over arranging it for him. "You stay away from Ro Laren. I'm a good doctor, but even I can't fight the ageing process; your body doesn't mend as well as it once did."

"Spoil sport," he sniffed.

"And another thing Captain, when we reach the holodeck - no smoking - understood? Even holographic cigarettes can damage your lungs."

She slid the knot tight against his neck, threatening to strangle him.

Picard gave a mock salute. "Yes Ma'am."

"So, are you ready at last?"

"Not quite, there's something I need to look up first. Also can you have a look through that handbag of yours. Dixon Hill is supposed to borrow a woman's nail file to pick locks. Have you got such a thing?"

While Picard worked at his computer screen, Beverly rummaged through the contents of her bag - powder puff, handkerchief, purse, lipstick.

"I've got a thin piece of metal about 8 cm long."

"Good, that sounds like it."

Beverly moved to the window while he concentrated on what he was reading.

"Jean- Luc?"


"I've noticed Dixon Hill's secretary doesn't seem to like me. Why is that?"

"Because you've got better legs than she has."

Picard froze, suddenly realising what he had said.

She smiled at his embarrassment. "So you've had a good look at her legs then?"

"Not intentionally," he squirmed, "but there was this mouse running around the office. She started shrieking, climbed onto a chair and clutched her skirt. It was hard not to notice."

"I'll believe you. " She lent sideways to see his screen. "What are you doing?"

"Just reading up on something. I want to take you for a ride."

"A ride? Do you expect me to ride a horse in this skirt? Haven't you noticed how tight it is?"

"I mean a car ride, a mid 20th Century automobile. Last time I tried to drive one it kept lurching and making a horrible noise every time I changed gear. I want you to enjoy the experience not fear for your life."

"All right, read it up if you must." She sighed - what was it about men and vehicles.

She looked round for something to pass the time.

Next time Picard looked up, Beverly was bending over for closer look at the fish tank.

She was right about that skirt! He paused to admire the view.

"Jean-Luc, you know that second fish I gave you? Well I think it's getting on rather well with the first one. Come and see."

Picard went and stood beside her, hands firmly under control.

"Yes I had noticed," he replied. "It's why I moved them here from the Ready-Room. They kept rubbing themselves up against the tank side. It became very distracting when I was trying to work."

They stood watching the fish writhing together.

Picard gave an embarrassed little cough. "I think we should give them a bit of privacy, don't you?"

As they headed for the door Beverly hooked an arm through his. "You haven't invited anyone else to the holodeck have you?"


"Good. I think I'd like a bit privacy myself this evening."

The End.

The end.
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