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Judith Gran's Fan Fiction


Public Offering

By Judith Gran

 

Series: VOY/TOS
Pairing: Kirk/Seven of Nine
Rating: NC-17
Archive: Yes
Feedback: Please! All kinds welcome
Summary: James T. Kirk and his famed problem-solving ability are pressed into service to help Voyager get home.

Disclaimer, acknowledgments and warning: Although I couldn't make money on this story if I tried, I'm not trying. This is a work of amateur fan fiction and as such, it was created outside the market economy where Paramount, Viacom and other holders of Star Trek copyrights live and reign as The Powers That Be. It is intended as fair use and not as infringement. Author's copyright extends only to original material.

This story is part of the Kirk Fuh-Q Fest organized and flawlessly administered by the incomparable Karmen Ghia. Thanks to Kaki4's sister and to Katy for inspiration. They are in no way responsible for the story's faults.

This story contains sexually explicit adult material. Do not read if you are under 18 or if such offends you.

*******************************

PUBLIC OFFERING

Copyright 2000 by Judith Gran

"Have you ever considered trying to *buy* the technology you need to get home?"

James Kirk kept his voice even, trying his best to hide the edge of exasperation he felt after six solid hours of brainstorming with Kathryn Janeway and her senior officers. Where the hell was their creativity? He hadn't seen such an unimaginative bunch of Starfleet officers since his latest debriefing with Admiral Komack.

It was a damned good thing they'd stumbled on the spatial-temporal anomaly that had suddenly opened up a link between Voyager's bridge and his own, and begged him to come lend them his legendary problem-solving abilities.

Spock and Scotty had done some complicated calculations about mass and energy and velocity and so forth, and figured that he could safely pass through the anomaly, spend the equivalent of nine or ten days on Voyager, and return only an hour or so later in real time on the Enteprise. So he'd accepted, and here he was. But he was beginning to doubt his ability to be of any help.

For a Federation ship and crew stranded 70,000 light years from home, they'd put precious little effort into getting back. Oh, they'd tried to steal some technology from the Borg -- an inept effort if he'd ever seen one. And they'd stumbled by sheer luck onto a couple of other possibilities for shortening their journey -- a wormhole, an encounter with the sister of the Caretaker who had sent them there -- but even there, they'd screwed up. Mostly, as far as he could tell from their ship's logs, they waited until they were dangerously low on fuel to scrounge whatever dilithium or deuterium they could find on the worlds they encountered in this quadrant. If he and his crew had been this lackadaisical about survival, they'd never have survived the first year of the five-year mission.

So here he was, trying to help them figure out how to get home, and evidently doing a lousy job of it. Janeway was looking at him without the slightest hint of comprehension.

"I mean," he continued in the mildest voice he could muster, annoyed that he had to spell it out, "do you know of any races in this sector who have the technology to travel at faster than warp speeds, and who might be persuaded to sell it to you?"

"Well." Janeway pursed her lips, obviously thinking hard. "There are the Rasmaliyin, I suppose. Their technology is tremendously advanced, but we've found them completely unapproachable. We've sent subspace messages informing them of our plight, but they've completely ignored us."

"Is it possible the Rasmaliyin aren't interested in appeals to charity, but might respond differently to an appeal to the profit motive?" Seeing the shocked expression on Janeway's face, he added lightly, "We've found that not every world we encounter is peopled by good Samaritans."

"That is logical." The Vulcan officer, Tuvok, whom Kirk had liked immediately, nodded his agreement. "However, Captain Kirk, we have no resources we could possibly use for currency with such an advanced race. The Rasmaliyin have no need of our technology or any goods we could manufacture."

"Hmm." Kirk leaned back in his chair thoughtfully. "What do we know about the economy of this sector?"

Not much, to judge from Janeway's response, which was to call for a break, order refreshments and send several of her officers to the library computers for information. Kirk accepted a glass of juice and sipped it slowly while he looked at the faces around the conference table.

He found himself drawn, as he's been since the meeting began, to the tall woman with cyborg implants at the other end of the table. He'd been told briefly about her rescue from a cyborg collective, but not enough to contaminate his own timeline with knowledge of the future. He guessed that she'd lived with a cyborg race that was unknown to the Federation in his era. The woman's serious demeanor -- she out-Vulcaned any Vulcan in her lack of emotional inflection -- was in striking contrast to her sensuous body, with its bountiful bosom, lush full lips, flawless skin and high cheekbones. Her luxuriant fair hair was tied back in a simple bun. She may have intended the style to be severe, but nothing about a woman with her face and body could ever be severe.

Definitely his "type," Kirk thought, and automatically clamped down on a rising surge of lust. A highly visual person by nature, he had learned long ago how to numb the erotic connection between eyes and glands where crew members were concerned. A good captain didn't screw the crew, and as far as he was concerned, that extended to Captain Janeway's crew for as long as he was aboard Voyager.

It was a pity, he reflected morosely. It had been far too long since his last shore leave, and he could certainly use a good lay.

Janeway's assistants were back with several padds full of economic data. As the Voyager officers retook their seats around the table, Kirk quickly scanned a sample of the files. What he found surprised and fascinated him. Finally, he raised his head to the silent, expectant eyes of the Voyager crew. "I'd like to go to my quarters and read this more thoroughly. I think we have a tremendous opportunity here. Captain Janeway, perhaps you could try contacting the Rasmaliyin again to ask whether they'd be willing to sell their technology."

**********

Two hours later, the officers reconvened. To the surprise of everyone present except Kirk, the Rasmaliyin had replied to Voyager's latest inquiry in the affirmative. After analyzing Voyager's propulsion systems, they estimated that they could install a faster-than-warp drive for the equivalent of 16 million Federation credits. Now Janeway and her crew were ready to listen to Kirk's proposal.

"To make a long story short," Kirk began slowly, "the economy of this sector is experiencing an unprecedented boom. Entrepreneurs are making huge fortunes virtually overnight by selling shares in innovative new businesses. I suggest we launch a similar effort to raise capital."

Murmurs of shock and disbelief rose around the table. "Start our own business?" Janeway said in a voice that dripped incredulity. "Doing what? With what resources?"

"You've got a highly skilled crew, decent computing and communications technology. Let's start with a concept that draws on what you have to offer."

"Jim, we went through all that this morning." Janeway sounded tired and defeated. "There's absolutely nothing we can manufacture on board Voyager that the advanced worlds in this sector don't already have in abundance." "You're right, but I'm not thinking of manufacturing, Kathryn," Kirk replied with an enigmatic smile. "This is a service economy, growing by leaps and bounds. I suggest that Voyager offer a service."

Janeway's expression was skeptical, but attentive. "Do you have anything particular in mind?"

"As a matter of fact, I do," Kirk nodded. "The people of this sector are ardent consumers. They love nothing better than to buy material goods, pleasurable experiences and luxurious homes. Shopping is a form of recreation and entertainment for them."

He paused so that his proposal would have as much impact as possible. The Voyager officers were looking at him expectantly. Seven of Nine, the part-cyborg woman, was particularly attentive.

"What I propose is that Voyager take advantage of this interest in shopping by organizing an electronic commerce system, using the ship's computers and communication systems. The particular variation I have in mind would allow shoppers to name their own price for space travel fares, hotels, consumer durable goods such as aircars and shuttlecraft, and perhaps even bank loans to purchase those luxurious houses."

The looks around the table were puzzled now. Kirk did his best to explain his reasoning. "This particular form of commercial enterprise would not require that we manufacture or buy any goods of our own. We'd merely serve as a broker of other businesses' goods. This particular business concept was wildly successful in old Earth in the early 21st century. I know because I wrote a high school term paper on it," he added helpfully. "And as far as I can tell, nothing like it exists in this sector yet. As the pioneer, we'd have an opportunity for incredible success."

"It does appear to be a promising concept," Tuvok nodded. "It would take a great deal of work, but the work is well within the skills of most of the ship's crew."

"And it would be a great way to eliminate all the downtime," the part-Klingon woman added crisply.

Janeway looked thoughtful. Kirk suspected that her mind was already racing ahead of the others'. "Assuming we could put half the crews' time into this venture, how long would it take us to generate enough revenue to purchase the propulsion system?"

Kirk leaned back and favored her with his most charming smile. "Ah, there's the beauty of the economic system we've stumbled into. We don't have to make any money at all. In fact, we can afford to *lose* money on it -- and we probably will."

He added, once the stunned silence told them they were listening carefully, "We'll make money by selling shares in the company once it's begun to generate the kind of public attention I think it will attract. Basically, we'll be raising capital by selling a concept that investors will buy into because they think it will be profitable in the future. In Old Earth, this was called an Initial Public Offering."

Janeway's First Officer Chakotay spoke up for the first time. "You are suggesting that the economy of this sector resembles that of Earth before our planet united, and before the Great Securities Reforms of the mid-21st century."

"Yes," Kirk nodded, pleased that someone else in the room had a rudimentary knowledge of Earth's history.

Janeway's expression told Kirk she still didn't understand. "But how can we use the money we raise by selling shares on propulsion technology for the ship, and how can we go back to the Alpha Quadrant when we have a business to run?"

"I know it doesn't sound particularly logical," Kirk agreed sympathetically. "But let me explain why I think it can work." He settled back in his chair, and proceeded to give the Voyager officers a briefing on insider trading, secondary public offerings and leveraged buyouts.

*************

They worked quickly after that. Kirk was in charge of market intelligence, developing the overall business plan, leading the management team, and securing the necessary resources and expertise, soliciting it from the nearby worlds for the jobs the crew couldn't do themselves.

Janeway still didn't like the project -- she hated the idea that the proposed sale of securities in their incipient business was based on speculation and not on the creation of productive value. She was happy to let Seven of Nine take charge of the technical end of the business venture, now dubbed "Pricewire," confiding in Kirk that she consider the part-cyborg woman one of her most competent and intellectually brilliant officers.

Kirk was not about to disagree. He was beginning to find Seven deeply, thrillingly exciting, in a way that her voluptuous body couldn't explain. Her mind was as powerful and precise as a laser, and her body was equally strong, as he'd discovered when they'd lifted some hefty pieces of equipment together. With her extreme naivete about human cultures, she radiated an innocent sensuality that he found incredibly appealing.

She reminded him of Spock -- Spock, in the body of an extremely desirable woman.

As the team moved forward at lightening speed, and Kirk started to draft their preliminary prospectus, he found himself spending more and more time with Seven. He needed her expertise to explain the intricacy of the Pricewire bidding system, analyze the data he was collecting from the financial markets on the nearby worlds, and run the simulations they needed to decide the timing, asset mix and pricing of the company's shares. He began to rely more and more on her keen intelligence, her perceptions uncluttered by human biases.

They were dining together regularly now, usually a late night supper in the officers' mess after finishing the equivalent of two full shifts of work. Kirk longed to know more about her, and wished he weren't constrained by the need to avoid temporal contamination. More and more, he found himself repeating, like a mantra, "A captain doesn't screw the crew" -- although he was beginning to realize that the sexual liaisons on this ship were far more elaborate and complex than those on his own ship and that the participants seemed to have little respect for rank.

However, no such constraints applied to Seven's knowledge of him. One evening over dinner she revealed that she had reviewed the material on his life and career on the ship's computers. Although it was rather disconcerting to realize that Seven knew all about the rest of his life but couldn't share any of it with him, he found her interest flattering.

She set her fork down and looked at him with that direct, probing gaze of hers how deeply probing, he wasn't entirely sure, because of that cyborg implant in her eye, but it never failed to electrify him. "In my research on your history, I discovered that you were a person of great sexual prowess."

Kirk dropped his own silverware with a clatter and swallowed quickly. "*Were*?" was all he could think of to say.

Her bent her head in apology for the misstatement. "*Were* in your own timeline, of course. I did not mean to suggest that you are not now."

Kirk experienced a sudden flush of desire. He willed it to subside and waited until his body no longer raged before answered, in a voice he kept carefully neutral and businesslike, "You are interested, I take it, in sexuality?"

She considered this question for a few beats. "I am, as you say, 'interested' in my Captain, Kathryn Janeway."

Kirk's libido deflated abruptly. "I see. I did not realize the two of you had a, a ... relationship."

Seven shook her head. "We do not. I am attracted to her, and I sense strongly that she is to me. However, because she is my commanding officer, I believe she does not feel at liberty to 'make the first move,' as you Humans might say."

Kirk wanted to say that he hadn't noticed anyone on Voyager who seemed bound by such inhibitions, but asked instead, "Then why don't you take the initiative?"

She sighed. "I fear my own inexperience," she said sadly.

Kirk was torn between offering to teach her himself or to advise her more logically that her own pleasure was probably a pretty good guide to Janeway's, when she raised her eyes to him and asked simply, "I would be grateful if you could instruct me."

Suddenly, Kirk's uniform pants were much too tight for comfort. "Um, I'd be only too happy to" -- the words sounded awkward to his ears.

He reminded himself that Seven considered him a person of great sexual prowess. That meant the opinion at the table was unanimous. Still, he wasn't quite sure what to do next.

While Kirk debated whether to ask her to his cabin or suggest a visit to the observation deck first -- he wasn't sure how much foreplay a part-cyborg woman would expect -- Seven stood, picked up her dishes and put an end to Kirk's fantasies for the night.

"Thank you. I would be pleased if we could begin tomorrow at the ship's dinner time. Mr. Neelix is preparing a special meal for the ship's crew, and I would like you to accompany me as, I believe your term is, my dinner date."

"Uh, yes, that would be nice." For the second time in five minutes, the wind went out of Kirk's libido, and his straining cock subsided. "Though I'd be just as happy to start now," he offered with a weak smile.

Seven raised an elegant eyebrow. "Ah, you are suggesting we 'cut to the chase'? No, from my research, I have learned that Captain Janeway appreciates certain ... romantic preliminaries and therefore, I would like to begin my instruction with them. I will meet you in my cabin tomorrow at 1900 hours."

Deflated, Kirk watched as she left the dining room.

****************

The next day, Kirk tried to set his anticipation aside as he interviewed potential underwriting teams and investment-bank suitors who showed enthusiasm for Pricewire, went over the Securities and Exchange requirements with their legal counsel, and made preparations for the "road show" in which he, Seven, Janeway and Tuvok would explain their business plan to potential investors. But his most formidable discipline was barely enough to keep him from drifting into fantasy about Seven -- her breasts, mouth, throat, and what he imagined she would look like undressed. He wondered where else on her body she might have implants, and how they would feel when he caressed her.

Finally, it was time to go to dinner. As he rang the buzzer of Seven's cabin door, he was irrationally grateful for the large number of Talaxian feasts that Neelix felt duty bound to celebrate. But then, when Seven answered in a low-cut dress that clung to her lush body even more tightly than her uniform, he wanted to by-pass the dinner and go straight to bed. Firmly, Seven led him out the door and steered him in the direction of the dining room.

Kirk offered her his arm and showed her how to hold it, how to drape herself around him and support herself by leaning against him, although this wasn't easy because of the difference in their heights. All eyes turned to them as they entered the dining room, and Janeway's eyes, in particular, were suddenly enormous.

Kirk looked up at Seven and gave her his most brilliant smile. Seven looked satisfied with the reaction they were getting. 'Nothing like a little public flirtation,' he said to himself.

Neelix had arranged a sit-down dinner, and the two of them were seated next to each other at a long table. Kirk turned to face Seven and took her hand gently. He felt a deep frisson of desire when she curved her strong fingers, with their cyborg tubules, around his own. Her eyes glowed darkly, her full lips, too luscious to ignore, parted slightly as she pressed the flesh of his palm. Disregarding the stares of the other diners, Kirk leaned forward and touched her lips lightly with his own.

Kirk thought he heard Janeway gasp, but far more important to him was the reaction of the woman beside him. She shivered and leaned toward him, her lips swelling with desire. He kissed her again with open mouth and parted her lips and teeth with his tongue.

He wasn't sure what he'd find there, but there were no implants, nothing more or less than the lush, sweet mouth of a woman hungry for his touch. He lost himself in it, explored it with his tongue and savored the taste of her until she began, tentatively at first, to touch her own tongue to his.

By God, she was strong. Even her tongue was firm and muscular. He couldn't get enough of it. He put his arms around her shoulder and pulled her closer so they could delve even more deeply into each other's mouths. Finally they had to pull apart long enough to breathe.

The room was silent. Kirk guessed it was because Janeway was staring at them, speechless. "We'd better not ignore Neelix's appetizer," he whispered to Seven, and she nodded with a shaky smile. Her face was flushed and her nipples were erect under her clinging dress. He could tell that she was already very aroused.

Between the appetizer and the soup, they kissed again, and while waiting for the entree, Kirk loosened the pins that held Seven's hair bun together and let it fall over her shoulders. He gathered the lustrous golden tresses in his hands and buried his face in her neck where the silky tendrils covering it, luxuriating in the sweet fragrance. By the time dessert was served, he was caressing her body.

He pressed his hands against her back, her arms, her waist, and stroked and squeezed her sides until his hands were under her heavy breasts, pushing discreetly but persistently against the softer flesh. He discovered that she had an implant in her abdomen, beneath her breasts. He also discovered that the feel of it excited him wildly. His cock was about to explode.

Someone had rung a bell to get the diners' attention. Neelix was about to give a speech explaining the origins of the Talaxian feast they had just consumed. Reluctantly, Kirk released Seven and politely turned to face the speaker.

Seven turned, too, but she had not let go of Kirk. She caressed his chest and side through his uniform. He returned the embrace with a chaster hand around her waist.

Chaste, however, was not at all how he felt. As Neelix spoke about the glories of the particular moment in Talaxian history that the feast was intended to honor, Kirk stroked Seven's side gently, touching the underside of her breasts and finally, allowing himself to cup the abundant flesh with his fingers and then, the palm of his hand.

Gradually he moved his fingers until he was stroking the front of her breast, brushing against the taut nipple that pressed against the tight fabric of her dress. He let his fingertips rest there, then when he was sure she welcomed what he was doing, he fingered the hard nubs, slowly. She stiffened, arched her back and pressed her breast into his hand, wanting more. He obliged by grasping her breast and rubbing her nipple with his thumb.

Finally, Neelix finished his speech to the sound of mild applause. Kirk disengaged his hand to clap politely and suddenly the applause swelled and the dinners began to clap with more enthusiasm. The diners were all looking at Kirk and Seven.

"Let's get out of here," Kirk whispered to Seven. "Unless you want to make love in public."

"Does this mean you are ready to copulate?" Seven asked seriously?

"You're damned right I'm ready to copulate," Kirk muttered under his breath. With a huge effort of will he forced his cock to subside long enough to get up from the table without embarrassment.

Somehow they managed to leave the dining room without incident. Kirk realized she was leading him toward her own quarters instead of his own. That hadn't been his game plan, but he guessed it was as good a place as any.

The moment they were inside her cabin, Kirk reached for her, wanting to unfasten her dress, but she was ahead of him. Expertly for a woman of her asserted inexperience, she stripped him of his dress uniform and pulled his briefs down over his aching cock.

"Ah," she said, eying it with interest. "The human male reproductive organ. It is an efficient design for its intended purpose, but these." She meant to squeeze his balls gently, but the cyborg tubules pressed harder than a merely human woman could have, and he shuddered in pleasure. "Seem excessively vulnerable."

Kirk meant to chuckle in agreement, but the sound caught in his throat as Seven dropped to her knees and began to tongue suck his cock with her strong, muscular cyborg mouth. The desire to come then and there warred with a dim sense of obligation that he'd promised to teach her how to make love to a woman, and then suddenly she let go and rose to face him.

"The taste and texture is most intriguing. However, I wish to know. Will we need ... contraception?" She looked uncertain. "The doctor has explained the mechanics to me, but he cannot predict what result human contraceptive products will have on me since my physiology and endocrine system are somewhat different."

"Um, it's OK," Kirk reassured her. "My shots are up to date."

Relief filled her eyes. "Then let us proceed," she said confidently.

She led him to her bed, where the coverlet had been removed and the sheets turned down. She sat down expectantly, her face luminous and gleaming in the pale light from the porthole display, her body taut with desire.

Kirk sat next to her, then pulled her close and buried his face in her ample breasts. She did not have any implants there, but she was firm and hard, without the softness of a fully human woman. Her difference from the women he was accustomed to as sexual partners aroused and excited him. He tongued first one nipple, then the other, pressing harder and harder with tongue, lips and finally, teeth as she moaned with increasing pleasure. She pulled him back until she was lying on her back on the bed and he was squeezing one nipple with his mouth, the other with his finger.

With his other hand, he reached between her legs and found her wet and slippery with desire. The first time he touched her clitoris, she shuddered so violently he thought she had come. But when his hand stilled she reached down and pressed against it, gasping, "There! More! Please, do not stop!"

Kirk had no intention of stopping. He stroked her firmly, slowly, listening appreciatively to the strangled sounds of pleasure deep in her throat. Then, when he felt her begin to shudder again, he slid down the bed and knelt in front of her, his face level with the edge of the bed where her legs were spread.

She was moaning again, her desire so great that this time, she grasped his head and brought him down until his mouth was inches from the small taut organ that throbbed between her thighs. "There, there," she gasped, her head thrashing back and forth on the bedspread.

He touched her gently with his tongue, then as she spasmed, he pressed his tongue into the crevice and licked her in long, slow strokes, varying the pressure experimentally as he learned how she responded. From the sounds she was making, the quivering of her thighs and the way her body shuddered, he could tell she was in ecstasy.

Finally, her entire body convulsed in a single powerful spasm shook the bed. Kirk withdrew his tongue gently, rose from his knees and joined her on the bed. He loved to give a woman pleasure, loved the sights and sounds of appreciation from a well-fucked sexual partner. He leaned over her to get a good look at her face.

Her face was dreamy and deeply satisfied. "I now know how to give my Captain pleasure," she said. "I cannot wait until I can do this to her, and she to me."

Kirk's head fell back on the bed with a thud. Seven turned over to see what was wrong.

"Ah, I apologize," she said. "You require satisfaction too, of course."

Her lack of enthusiasm for him was certainly a letdown, but after hours of fondling her body, hardly anything could deflate Kirk's lust entirely. He reached for her arms, intending to lay her down on top of the bed so that he could mount her, but she mounted him instead.

He would have preferred to be on top, but when she took his cock into her hot wet opening, the pleasure was so intense that all thought left his mind. She straddled him awkwardly at first, plainly seeking a rhythm that allowed her to rub his cock with her clitoris. Whatever.

She panted in arousal and he tried to hold back his own orgasm until she had had hers, but he didn't need to, she came so quickly after she'd taken him inside her. Soon she was shuddering in another long, deep spasm, and he was too, shooting his seed deep inside her.

After it was over, they snuggled together sleepily. "That was very pleasurable. Thank you for giving me this experience. Perhaps Captain Janeway would enjoy it if I procured a dildo..."

**************

Pricewire was doing a brisk business and was getting a tremendous amount of attention from the local media. They had a firm commitment from a local underwriting syndicate; they'd completed all the disclosures required by the local securities regulators. They were far from turning a profit, of course, but thanks to Kirk, the Voyager crew understood that this wasn't necessary. The prospectus was finished, and it portrayed a glowing picture of Pricewire's market future.

Kirk looked forward to the "road show" with mixed emotions. It was going to be a grueling ten days of meetings with potential investors, selling their company's stock to a critical, experienced audience. The response would determine whether they could raise enough money for Voyager to go home.

But there was Seven. Since their first night together, they had met regularly for "instruction" in lovemaking. Seven still had not gathered the courage to declare herself to Janeway. Janeway had decided not to go on the road with them. Her asserted reason was she could not afford to stay away from the ship that long, but Kirk was sure it was because she was uncomfortable with the knowledge that he and Seven were sexual partners. Kirk was glad he'd get to spend his nights with Seven, but a part of him was unhappy being the cause of division between two women who obviously loved each other.

So perhaps it was because they both knew their liaison had to end soon, but on the "road show," they caught fire. Their lovemaking was strong, focused, incandescent. He'd rarely had such an enthusiastic partner as Seven, which surprised him since he knew her heart belonged to another woman.

"Why me?" he asked Seven curiously, as they snuggled together, sated. "Why, when Kathryn Janeway is the person you really want?"

"You are much like her," Seven murmured drowsily, but with her usual clarity of thought. "She is an excellent ship's commander, as I sense you are too. I believe that you are like her in many ways. She cares deeply for her crew and holds herself responsible for whatever happens to us. She is strong and decisive as a leader. You are all those things, too."

"I'm flattered, Seven," Kirk replied, "but surely you must recognize that I'm different from your captain in certain essential ways."

To drive his point home, he pressed his body against her. His cock touched her abdominal implant and almost automatically began to grow hard again. He thrust against her, thinking to himself, *Captain Janeway can't give you this.*

Seven stroked his sides and chest gently. "Yes, I agree that you are different from Captain Janeway. She is a scientist. You are not."

"Oh," Kirk muttered, his cock subsiding.

"Also," Seven added, gathering his flesh in her hands and squeezing, "Your body is softer than hers. She is slim and hard where you are somewhat more well-padded, to use the Human statement."

Kirk rolled on his back, not sure that this conversation had been such a good idea.

*************

The road show was a huge success. Conditions were perfect for an initial public offering. The market for IPOs was heating up to an historic high, and Pricewire's unique service was generating enormous publicity. The Voyager team and the underwriters agreed on an offering price that would generate a hefty pile of credits.

Their plan from here on out was simple. In the initial offering, 30% of Pricewire's shares would be traded. The Voyager officers who served as corporate directors of Pricewire would continue to hold the other 70%. Intially, the shares would be offered at 50% below market value. In the intense trading on the first day of the offering, the value of the shares would jump by 50% or even more. The Voyager officers would then sell their shares in the secondary market, generating even more credits all of which would belong to Voyager.

Next, the leveraged buyout Kirk had engineered would go into play. A group of investors had already obtained financing to purchase the entire Pricewire business, using Pricewire's assets as security. The Voyager team led by Seven had arranged with the investors to transfer all the files, software, data and protocols developed by Pricewire to a facility on a neighboring world. Voyager would depart with $16 million credits, and Pricewire's continued success would be the responsibility of the new owners.

Of course, in a highly volatile market, anything can happen. So it was with great relief to Kirk when it all came off as planned.

Everyone was happy. The investors who bought Pricewire shares in the initial public offering were happy because they bought the shares at half price. Many of them flipped them over the next day in the aftermarket and came away with a tidy 100% profit. Others held onto them, convinced that Pricewire's value would continue to grow. They were happy, too.

The underwriters and the brokers were happy because they got a tidy commission. The venture capitalists who provided the mezzanine funding for the project were happy because they got an even biggest commission. The soon-to-be new owners of Pricewire were happy because they were about to buy a valuable commodity.

The Voyager crew were happy because they could now look forward to going home. And perhaps happiest of all was James T. Kirk, who was soon going to be *be* home.

The night after the IPO, with Pricewire stock still the subject of a feverish crescendo of buying, the Voyager crew took the future owners to Sandrine's to celebrate. Kirk agreed to pose for advertisements for Pricewire. He felt silly doing it, especially since it involved dressing up in black and draping himself over a piano, but he supposed the whole venture had been a little silly, for that matter. Still, it was for a good cause.

Just before he went back through the anomaly, he said goodbye to Seven. Although she had never had much of a commitment to him beyond the wonderful sex they'd had together, he'd grown genuinely fond of her, and he knew he would miss her. He was surprised and gratified to see the emotion on her face when she came to the anomaly to bid him farewell.

He kissed her gently. "Seven, good luck with your Captain. I hope you have the courage to tell her what you feel."

She touched his face with her tubules, in a gesture he'd come to take great pleasure in. "The same to you, Captain. I also with you well with Sp... with your future mate." She cut herself off so abruptly she almost bit her tongue.

"What future mate?" he asked, puzzled.

She shook her head and shushed him with a hand to his lips. "You know I cannot tell you what is in your future," she said firmly. "I have already said more than I should have."

He looked her up and down, committing her face and mind and body to memory before he left. Her hard, strong, body. Her deep honest sensuality. Her brilliant mind. Her objectivity and logic.

He remembered his first impression of her and suddenly, her words made sense. And here, standing on the bridge of Voyager, he understood what awaited him when he went home. His future mate, someone with a brilliant, logical mind and a hard strong body. And perhaps a deep sensuality that it would be his privilege to uncover.

Kirk was grinning from ear to ear as he stepped through the anomaly and back onto the bridge of his own ship.

-- the end - -


 

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updated November 12, 2002

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