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Vash - Round Three

by Catherine Ellis

Rating :Any Age
Disclaimer : Paramount owns Star Trek. I'm just playing with their toys for my own amusement.

Summary: This short story is set just after the book Resistance. On a visit to a Starbase, Picard encounters an old flame. Does she have a stronger pull over him than Beverly? (Revised May 2009, I decided I could do better.)

Picard had been irritated at being summoned from his ship. He had objected but not revealed the real reason for his annoyance - that he and Beverly had recently become lovers and he was anxious not to disturb their relationship.



Picard turned and watched the caller approach. Her lithe confident stride was as appealing now as when she'd first besotted him. Eight years had passed since Q had forced them to act out a Robin Hood - Maid Marian charade. If asked he'd have said she was a half-forgotten memory, but in truth she still visited his thoughts.

"Captain," she purred, "this is an unexpected pleasure. Are you as pleased to see me?"

"Vash, what brings you here?" he replied, ignoring her question.

"Oh you know, opportunities."

"Opportunities? So whose antiquities are you stealing this time?"

"Jean-Luc! That wasn't very gallant of you." She flashed a mischievous smile and ran a finger down his arm.

His body responded - there was no denying it.

"I didn't see the Enterprise at a docking bay. Don't tell me you've lost your ship?"

"She's still mine. I've been summoned by Starfleet to discuss a new management proposal."

"Sounds fascinating," she mocked, "But I'm sure you would rather spend the evening with me. There's an excellent Andorian restaurant on level four."

Picard hesitated, could he trust himself in her company? Temptation would be avoided if he claimed pressure of work. But if he did that would he ever be free of her? Would she always remain the fantasy woman who clouded his relationship with Beverly?

It was time to find out. "Andorian sounds interesting," he responded at last.

Vash gave a brief smirk of triumph. Captain Jean-Luc Picard was still under her spell! Though she would have to remind him he was supposed to take her arm.


The waiter placed the last of their dishes on the table and left them to it. Picard leant forward and breathed in the aromas, if it tasted as good as it smelt he was in for a treat.

"See, I told you you would enjoy yourself." She flashed a provocative smile and gracefully removed her jacket. The silk blouse underneath left little to the imagination. Her breasts were still as firm and shapely as he'd remembered. Picard swallowed and forced his eyes away.

"So Vash .. tell me what you've been up to?"


Thirty minutes later she had reached her fourth story. They were all entertaining but the plots were similar, variations on their own first encounter on Risa. Picard was forced to acknowledge that he wasn't as unique in her life as he had liked to believe.

How many men had she now beguiled into helping her? And why were they all older men, like himself? There's no fool like an ...? The saying got stuck in his head.

"I've just returned from Bedervern 7." She was telling him.

"Were you there during the earthquake?"

"Yes, but I was able to get a flight out the next day. A transport captain owed me a favour." She seemed proud of this achievement.

Jean-Luc had come to tolerate her dubious behaviour, it was part of the adventurous streak he found so appealing. But this latest action was hard to forgive. Places on such flights should have been reserved for the seriously injured. That she could admit to it - boast of it - demonstrated a selfishness he found difficult to stomach. If only she had told him of her efforts to aid the victims or of her patient wait for a chance to leave. If she had done that, he could have justified his feelings for her. As it was he was forced to concede that excitement and lust were the root cause of his interest.

Something in his manner conveyed disapproval, Vash decided to change the subject.

"So who's in charge of the Enterprise while you're away?"

"Beverly Crusher."

"The doctor?" She laughed. "You're joking."

Jean-Luc bristled. "Dr Crusher is a fully qualified and accomplished bridge officer. Her 'Commander' rank isn't honorary."

Vash backed off. "Okay, Oaky, She's a talented lady."

"Very." Picard snapped, then gradually calmed down. To be fair, Vash wasn't the first to question his choice. With Worf away, Miranda Kadohata - the Second Officer - had expected herself or La Forge to take command. However, Geordi was fully occupied with a new sensor system and Picard wasn't convinced Miranda was ready. How on earth was his companion supposed to know all this?

Vash assumed he was annoyed at his decision being questioned. You are growing prickly Captain, though still as sexy! And she was sure he held the same opinion of her. To remind him of that fact, she casually ran a hand through her hair and took a deep breath. The fabric tightened across her breasts. Jean-Luc's eyes focused obediently on the intended target. She let him indulge awhile then lowered her hand, bringing it to rest millimetres from his. Eight years ago he would have touched her immediately. Tonight, he did nothing.

"What's the matter, Captain?" she teased. "Don't tell me age has dampened your interest?"

He met her gaze but did not reply.

"I could be of help on that score, Jean-Luc. You know I could."

There was a long pause, after which Picard smiled and let out a small sigh. He was free of her charms!

"Thank you for the offer," he replied with excessive politeness, "but there is no need."

Vash barely hid her irritation. For him to lose interest in sex would be a tragedy, for him to lose interest in her was inconceivable. Unless!... Inspiration struck.

She leaned forward, "Tell me Captain, ... are you and the talented doctor...?"

He stiffened. This wasn't something he was willing to reveal. Yet why not? His crew all knew he and Beverly were lovers. Why hide it from Vash?

"Your assumption is correct." He replied succinctly

Vash gave him a 'sly-dog' smile and returned to her food. There was probably some Starfleet regulation, about 'only one lover at a time'. And Jean-Luc would feel obliged to obey it.

Their conversation started again and continued amiably through to desert. Her flirting was now more restrained, though her eyes and smiles told him she was still interested and available.

Judging her moment, she tried again.

"You know," she whispered, "no one need know, if you and I ... for old times sake?"

"I'd know."

She stared at him, baffled. "I don't understand."

"No, I don't suppose you do."

He swallowed the last mouthful of his wine. "Now, if you'll excuse me, Vash, I have work to do." He stood up. "Meeting you again has been ...'educational'. Good-bye."


Next morning Picard boarded a transport ship for his journey back to the Enterprise. With 17 hours to kill he settled down to read. The book was a poor choice, soon his mind was wandering. It wasn't long before Vash and their recent encounter filled his thoughts. Last night he had resisted her advances, but was he safe from future infatuation? To help guard against the possibility he tried to remember why he'd been repelled. Surely it was for more than minor irritations - laughing at Beverly being Captain or boasting of a place on the rescue flight.

When he thought of Beverly the difference between the two women became glaring. Vash had intelligence and ability but they were squandered in pursuit of pleasure and excitement. The life she described through her stories was one in which he found little purpose. Did she ever stoppped help someone? He doubted it. It wasn't because she was cruel rather that she was indifferent. Such a life such was fine for a holiday, but he wouldn't want to live there.

There was somethinhg else about Vash that had also finally destroyed his interest - the long line of men on whom she had bestowed her favours. He wasn't misjudging her, the stories made it obvious. If she'd thought knowledge of his rivals would heighten her appeal then she was sadly mistaken. Intimacy granted so freely had no value. Maybe he was growing sentimental, but Picard wanted it to be precious. He wanted more than mutual desire. He wanted to love and be loved.

"Captain?" His thoughts were interrupted by an eager young ensign. "Captain Turran asked me to find you. We've received a message from your ship."

A momentary anxiety was quickly stifled. He thanked the ensign and took the PADD. It told him the Enterprise had received a distress call and had gone to evacuate survivors from a colony devastated by forest fires. They now expected to meet him at Deep Space Four in two days time. He sent a message of acknowledgement, nothing more. Beverly would have her hands full. If he tried to speak to her it might be misconstrued as lack of faith in her abilities. She'll do fine, he told himself, though he knew she'd find it hard. She'd be torn between wanting to manage the medical teams and her responsibility for the whole ship.


At Deep Space Four, the station Commander gave him access to the reports coming in from the Enterprise. Frustratingly, he couldn't tell from their content who was in charge. With little to do, Picard found himself worrying about two uncomfortable scenarios - Beverly still being in command but wishing he had never asked her to do it or her having handed over to Miranda and feeling guilty for letting him down. Neither would be good for their relationship. He cursed Starfleet for having called him away. If he'd learnt anything in their few weeks as lovers, it was that misunderstandings between them should be sorted out immediately.

The latest report did nothing for his peace of mind. Four members of the crew had been seriously injured. He could have contacted the ship to learn their identities, but he dreaded to have his worst fears confirmed. The last night of his wait was plagued with repeated dreams in which Beverly's medical station was over-run by fire. Finally falling asleep he was only awakened by a call from the Commander telling him that the Enterprise was coming into view.

From the observation ring she was a beautiful sight. Surrounded by the 12 Nivarian ships she was escorting, she looked like some mother creature protecting her young.

"Do you want to be transported aboard?"

Picard declined the offer. He knew whoever was in command would want the pleasure of completing the docking themselves.


Entering by a walkway, he made his way through corridors crowded with refugees. When the lift doors opened onto the bridge he breathed again. Beverly was there, her back turned towards him. Some of the crew noticed his presence, but he signalled to them to ignore him until she had given her final commands to disembark the Nivarians.

When that was done, he spoke.

"You seem to have had some excitement while I was away."

Beverly turned quickly at his voice.

"It's good to have you back, Sir." The words were for her Captain but the look was for her lover.

"Oh, I don't know. From what I've heard you've all managed very well on your own."

"All that training you insist on has its merits," she replied.

Examining her face more closely Picard could see the fatigue underneath the triumph.

"Doctor, how long have you been on bridge duty?"

She looked to Miranda for an answer.

"Ten hours, 20 minutes Sir."

"In that case I think you deserve some rest."

"Thank you." She mouthed.

As they passed she touched his hand discreetly, then climbed the ramp to the lift. As she did so everyone on the bridge stood to attention. Crusher stopped, both stunned and moved by their acknowledgement of her achievement. She nodded in thanks, unable to speak.


It was several hours before Picard felt able to take a break and head for his quarters. Would Beverly be there or in her own? In his, he was pleased to discover. Her journey to bed must have been a rapid one. One boot had been discarded just inside the door, the other a few feet further on. Moving quietly he made his way to the bedroom. The lights from the space-station were enough to illuminate her face. Clearing the clothes from the chair he sat down and watched her. Soon his breathing had aligned to her own soft rhythm. "Beverly," he whispered, "have I ever told you how proud I am to have you in my life ... and in my bed."

As he bent to remove a boot, she stirred./p>

"Jean-Luc?" She said sleepily. "Did you say something?"

He moved over and kissed her forehead. A bare arm stretched up and a hand stroked the back of his neck.

"I missed you," he whispered.

"And I you."

He kissed her again, then stood up and continued with his undressing.

"Are you allowed to tell me what Starfleet wanted?"

"No, sorry."

"Anything you can tell me about your trip?"

He paused.

"I had supper with Vash."


She studied his face, to her relief there was no sign of guilt or embarrassment.

"How is she?" She asked.

"Much the same."

"So she made a pass at you then?"

Picard laughed. "How did you guess? And in case you're wondering, I told her I was spoken for."

"That wouldn't have bothered her."

"True. I didn't try to explain. She would never have understood why I don't see loyalty as a restraint or why I get pleasure from belonging to one person."

Beverly breathed easier at his words.

"Come here."

He liked the commanding tone of her request.

"Yes Ma'am," he dropped the night-wear he was about to don and slipped quickly between the sheets. There he was welcomed by a warm and naked body.

"Anything else you should be telling me?" she asked as she nuzzled into his neck.

"Let me see ... one of your admirers sends his regards."

"Oh yes? Which one?"

"Admiral Wainwright."

"I hope you told him I was spoken for."

"Do I have the right to say that?"

Beverly lifted herself up and looked down at him.

"You have."

Picard beamed with pride, then pulled her down on top of him. What could he find with Vash that he couldn't find here?


The end.
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