"Why do they continue to show these incredibly awful science fiction movies to us? We're on a starship! Earth's first starship, I might add, and yet, they keep showing us these massively stupid science fiction movies from the 20th century. It makes no bloody sense whatsoever."
Malcolm continued his litany of complaints as he and Trip made their way to their seats. Travis had promised to save them two seats since they were both guaranteed to run late. A brief run through an unexpected trail of debris had knocked out several exterior sensor arrays—all weapons oriented—and Malcolm and Trip had spent the day doing repairs.
When they sat down, Hoshi handed Trip a bowl of popcorn. "See if filling his mouth with that will shut him up."
Trip grinned and Malcolm had the grace to blush.
"Anyone ever seen this one?" Travis asked.
Trip shrugged. "Yeah, a few times."
An entire section of heads turned to look at Trip, and not just his friends. Trip felt his face growing hot.
"You've seen this movie, sir?" Michael Rostov asked. The woman next to him elbowed him sharply.
The lights dimmed and the movie started saving Trip from having to explain further.
Ninety minutes later the lights came back up and the same group of heads that had been turned to Trip before the movie turned to him again.
"That movie, to borrow a term from you, sucked donkey dicks," said Malcolm.
Trip blushed hotly. "Yeah, so?"
"And you've seen it a few times?"
Hoshi giggled. "How many exactly, sir?"
Trip desperately tried to salvage the shreds of his dignity. "I don't have to answer that."
"Yes, you bloody well do!" Malcolm clearly wasn't going to let him escape with any self-esteem at all.
"No, I don't."
Trip started to get up, but Travis and Malcolm both pulled him back down. "Yes, you do,....sir," said Travis grinning from ear to ear.
"He's seen it thirty-three times and I know why," said a voice from behind them.
Trip grimaced. Damnit, there were times being best friends with Jonathan Archer was just not a good thing.
"Thirty-three times!" Malcolm was clearly horrified. "Why?"
"Oh, you have to know the other movies he's obsessed with to know that."
Trip didn't need to turn around. He could hear the grin in Jon's voice. "Cap'n, please."
"Yes, Captain, please!" said Hoshi.
Everyone laughed. Even the crew Trip supervised. It was going to take him months to recover from this.
"Let's see, there's White Palace, and The Stick-Up, Secretary, that's a favorite. Last count on Secretary was one hundred and seventy-five. Malcolm, it's in his personal collection. You haven't seen any of these?"
Malcolm was definitely scandalized. "Trip, you've been holding out on me. I've seen every Ingrid Bergman movie made, but you've never shown me any of the ones the Captain just listed."
"A man's allowed to have a secret vice."
"No he's not," Travis responded. Everyone laughed.
Trip's knew his face was bright red and his pulse was pounding in his head.
"Tell them, Trip. Or I will," Jon said.
"I like that actor." Trip's voice was barely above a whisper.
"What did he say?" Rostov asked from the end of the row in front of Trip.
"Which actor?" Hoshi asked.
"That Angela Bassett is one hot lady," said Travis.
"Well, that bad guy, Peter Facinelli, wasn't bad at all. And he's got those high cheekbones we know Trip likes so much!" Hoshi said.
"Facinelli! Blah!" Trip imitated spitting. "You guys don't know talent when you see it, and that voice, that voice could make a man come in his....." Trip clenched his mouth shut, pressing his lips together in a thin line. Fuck, he hadn't meant to do that. Damn Jonathan Archer and his interfering.
Malcolm grabbed Trip's arm and lifted him out of his seat. "Excuse me, ladies and gentlemen. I believe it's time I rescued this man before he humiliates himself any further."
"But we don't know...." Hoshi insisted.
Malcolm interrupted, "I'll find out and tell everyone later."
That seemed to satisfy everyone for the moment and Trip allowed himself to be pulled out of the room and into the hall. He could feel Malcolm's hands on him, but he had closed his eyes and was refusing to open them. Malcolm efficiently guided him through the halls and onto the lift and then finally into another room. Trip opened his eyes and saw his own quarters. Some of the redness was draining from his face, but he still felt embarrassed as hell.
"All right, now, Mr. Tucker. I think it's time you came clean and let me in on this secret fetish of yours." Malcolm's voice was soft in his ear.
"Check the file that's labeled the voice." Trip spoke softly. He couldn't bring himself to actually tell Malcolm the who, but he could point him in the right direction.
As Malcolm sat down at Trip's desk, Trip dropped to his bunk and allowed himself to lie down, staring up at the ceiling.
"Good Lord, how many movies did this man make?"
"It's not all movies. I was able to get a few old television show recordings, and there was a book on tape."
"Ah...the voice. Right." The room was silent as Malcolm checked through the files. Then he accessed the book on tape and the man's voice filled the room. "What kind of story is this?"
"And what does "hmmmm...." mean?"
"Science fiction, horror, and from what I can see, a fair amount of kinky sex in his movies."
"Yeah, well, he was pretty adventurous. He was willing to take risks."
"So you like sexy voices attached to men who take risks?"
Trip turned his head and looked at Malcolm who was grinning like the Cheshire cat. "Yeah."
"Well, at least I know it's not just for my high cheek bones and fabulous hair."
Trip snorted. "Fabulous hair?"
"I know you like it. You touch it all the time."
"It's on your head, Malcolm, I can't help but touch it when I touch your head."
"And you touch my head a great deal."
"When I kiss you, yeah."
"And when we're in bed and you think I'm asleep."
"You're weird, you know that, Malcolm? I don't have a thing for your hair."
Malcolm moved from the chair to the bedside with his usual quick grace. "You do."
"God, you are the most annoying bastard in the universe."
Malcolm laughed and sat down. "No, you are, Mr. Tucker. And I'm not alone in that opinion. I feel sure if one was to take a vote, you'd win hands down over me."
Malcolm leaned in as though he was going to kiss Trip, but bypassed his mouth, closing in on his ear. "So his voice made you come in your pants?"
"I wonder if mine could do that?"
"Perhaps we should try some comm sex?"
Trip grabbed Malcolm and pulled him onto the bunk. "I'd rather do real sex."
Malcolm kissed him. "Oh, I can do that as well. But I think the next time you're in an EV suit on the outside of this ship repairing a sensor array..."
Trip sighed, closed his eyes and pressed his forehead to Malcolm's. "And you'd do it, too."