|ENTERING THE MARKETPLACE WITH
by K.V. Wylie
Sexual arousal transforms people.
Michael Thomas Ford
Will we burn in heaven like we do down here?
Will the change come while we're waiting?"
"Witness," Sarah McLachlan
Crewmen began showing up in sickbay, men and women both, complaining of jitteriness, bad dreams, bad feelings, night sweats, and a strange reluctance to work in remote areas of the ship. One crewman on nightshift described it as being frozen in fear. He wasn't able to work alone anymore.
Space nerves didn't cover it. Besides, none of these were new crewmen. Some had been out in space for over a decade.
McCoy took his medical logs to Kirk and Spock, but they were distracted too. Kirk kept drumming his fingers on the tabletop in the meeting room, and he'd sat facing the door. Spock kept turning his head back and forth, focusing on sounds that were inaudible to McCoy though the doctor didn't doubt the sounds were there. Something was getting to McCoy too, like a crawling just under his skin.
"Keep an eye on it, Bones," Kirk said, jumping up. "I have to get back to the bridge."
"Why? I thought we were mapping empty space," McCoy said. Kirk had been taking double shifts on the bridge lately.
"I should be up there. You never know," Kirk said, pausing at the door. It opened and he glanced both ways down the corridor before going out.
"Jim," McCoy started, but he was talking to himself. Kirk and Spock had left.
McCoy didn't want to be alone in the briefing room anymore. It wasn't as though anything was in there with him. There was nowhere anything could hide except under the table, and he'd looked there when he'd first come in. Yet he couldn't get out of the room fast enough. He bolted in Kirk's wake, sweat trickling down his back.
"This is ridiculous," McCoy muttered to himself. He looked at the now closed briefing room door. "I'll just go back in there and prove to myself it's perfectly safe."
But he couldn't. He couldn't get his feet to move. He felt nauseated at the thought of going back into that room.
He returned to sickbay. He and his staff had been running tests for the past several days, over and over, checking and rechecking every negative result and every dead end.
"Anything?" he asked M'Benga.
"No," M'Benga said, wiping his forehead with the back of a hand. "Nothing, nothing, nothing again."
"A frightened telepathic crewman could be unconsciously transmitting this," McCoy said.
"We've checked everyone," M'Benga said. "No one tests with that ability except Mr. Spock. His bio-readings are heightened, the same as everyone's now, but not enough to account for this."
McCoy took a tape of the latest lab results into his office but as the information flowed over his screen, he couldn't keep his attention there. He could hear sounds, muted strange sounds. He had to stop to identify each one. That was the intercom. That was Christine talking in the small exam room. That was the biocomp in the next room.
He tensed at each sound, his fists clenching around the chair arms until the knuckles were bone-white. Then he heard a noise he couldn't identify. He sat stock-still, holding his breath.
The door opened and Spock flew in, cradling one of his elbows.
"Spock, did you hear that?"
The Vulcan slapped the doctor across the face.
"What the--?" McCoy's hand flew to his cheek.
"Ssh, Doctor! Quickly, before the pain fades," Spock said. "I believe there is an alien entity on board. I hit my elbow on a rail in the turbolift and in those moments, I felt myself again, freed from its influence. Do you feel it too?"
McCoy realized that he did. His cheek was stinging, but nothing worse.
Spock suddenly smacked his other arm against the wall, and then hit the doctor again.
"The entity has been here for some weeks. It is growing stronger," Spock said.
"Stop hitting me!"
"I think it is possible to construct a dampening field to negate the alien's influence using the inertia control in the auxiliary station," Spock said. "I require your help."
"What, to keep hitting you?" McCoy felt a jab of fear. What alien? Nothing had shown up on their scans. Was Spock going over the edge?
To prevent another impact from the Vulcan's fist, McCoy jabbed his fingers into a plated cupboard hinge. When he yanked his hand free, he left a smear of blood.
"Ouch," he mumbled.
"Not to keep hitting me," Spock said. He looked uncomfortable. "Pain and pleasure travel along the same synaptic paths," Spock said. "Either sensation should be sufficient--" He paused to ram a knee up under the edge of McCoy's desk. "Should be sufficient to mask us from the entity." He hesitated again. "You are my husband."
"You're kidding." McCoy said. "I agreed to marry you. I didn't agree to have sex with you."
"We only need to keep each other stimulated at a certain level of arousal while I construct the dampening field."
"What do you mean each other?"
"I cannot tend both to myself and the inertia field at the same time. I require you to…assist me. It is unlikely you can do this while under the entity's control. Therefore, we must both stay aroused without allowing release."
"Spock, I'm not in the mood."
Spock hit him again. "Now are you?"
They ran, pausing only to get the tools Spock would need, hitting themselves on rails or deliberately stubbing toes along the way. The halls were empty. McCoy imagined crewmen huddled in corners, eyes fixed on the door as they pounded past.
When they got to auxiliary control, Spock unfastened his pants, pulled down his underwear, and then lay down on the floor.
As Spock slipped open a panel, McCoy said, "I thought you were prudish."
Spock threw a pointed glance at McCoy's still-dressed state.
"I can't do this," McCoy said.
"The alien is affecting you again," Spock said. "Please hurry. I can only fight it for so long on my own."
McCoy knelt before unfastening his pants. Spock's attention was back on the open panel, his face partially hidden by the panel's cover. He couldn't see McCoy from this angle.
McCoy touched himself inside his underwear, then reached out and took hold of Spock's penis.
It was warm, the skin silky and slightly loose. McCoy stroked the shaft from bottom to tip. Spock's organ was heavy, an intimate, secretive heaviness.
Spock banged his head on the underside of the console. Startled, McCoy looked up. Then he understood and, leaning forward, he took Spock's penis into his mouth.
The Vulcan gasped at the same time that his organ jerked. McCoy felt the shiver run from Spock through to him.
"Yes," Spock said, his voice almost a hiss. He loosened some wires as McCoy moved his lips up then back down.
The doctor felt down to touch his balls before pulling at his own penis again. Spock's cock was lifting in his mouth, pulsing against his tongue and tasting of salt and sweat and the soap the Vulcan must have used that morning.
The doctor lowered his pants to his knees, allowing his cock free. As he drew Spock's shaft in again, his organ rubbed against the Vulcan's trouser clad leg. He let go of himself and, using one hand as a brace, used the other to explore Spock's sac. They were large and filled, the skin prickly rough here. McCoy wondered how they would feel scratching against him.
McCoy heard the buzz of a sonic wrench and the ping of a bolt dropping to the floor. He gave a hard suck and the wrench dropped to the floor too.
"Leonard," Spock said, his tone harsh. He grabbed McCoy's head to stop his movement. "Do not take me too far."
McCoy lifted up, but not so far as to expose his genitals. "If you're this far this quickly--"
"I do not," Spock swallowed. "I do not indulge very often."
"That doesn't sound logical," the doctor commented.
A corner of Spock's mouth twitched uneasily. "It is illogical." He moved his leg against the doctor's erection. "Are you adequately excited? Do you require any stimulation from me?"
"I can't believe you still talk like that when you're like this," McCoy muttered.
Chastened, Spock picked up the wrench again. McCoy ran his mouth up the underside of Spock's cock, just barely touching the skin there. He flicked his tongue at the fluid glistening at the tip.
As the Vulcan reached over to get a wire cutter, his leg moved against McCoy's hard on. McCoy stopped moving and closed his eyes, enjoying the sensation sweeping through him.
More fluid welled up under his tongue. He drew at it, and then mouthed the head of Spock's penis, his lips moving in kiss after fluttery kiss.
The Vulcan's breathing grew ragged.
"Too much?" McCoy asked, surprised at how uneven his own voice was.
Spock was looking at him, eyes dilated and darkened, the Vulcan mask fallen away. His lips were apart and swollen.
"You look nice like that," the doctor said.
Spock closed his mouth and swallowed, holding McCoy's eyes a moment longer before returning to the exposed wires hanging above him.
McCoy stroked his fingers under Spock's testicles, finding a moist, hidden trail of hair and skin. His forefinger touched the Vulcan's anus. He rubbed over it as he enclosed the head of Spock's cock in his mouth again.
The Vulcan moaned. His legs jerked as if he was trying to open them, but his trousers prevented it.
McCoy paused, then removed his hand and reached down to touch his cock again. He was wet too and the shaft of his penis ached.
"How much longer?" McCoy asked.
"Forty-eight seconds," Spock managed.
McCoy shook off one of his pant legs, straddled the Vulcan, and shimmied up to press his erection against Spock's. Forty-seven, he thought. Forty-six.
Spock had miscalculated. McCoy was at ten when Spock suddenly closed the panel and pushed himself out from underneath it. McCoy was flung onto the floor.
"The inertia field is building," Spock said. He got on his knees, holding his pants in two hands as if he was going to pull them up, but his eyes were on his distended penis. Then he turned partially away from McCoy.
The doctor saw one arm working. Spock groaned. McCoy heard the splatter of ejaculate hitting the floor. Spock leaned forward to mop up the mess with one his shirtsleeves. Then he was up on his feet and fastening his trousers. He didn't look at McCoy as he left.
McCoy closed his eyes as he reached down. Three quick jerks and he came in his hands. Then he dressed and cleaned up.
Later that evening he was in his quarters. Once the dampening field took effect, the crew recovered quickly, but unsure what to put in his medical log, McCoy decided to leave it for the next day and retired early.
He was at his desk reading a book when his buzzer sounded.
Spock came in, just far enough for the door to close. Hands clasped behind his back, he stood at attention. "The alien entity was outside the ship on the port nacelle. It is a life form unknown to us. That is why our sensors initially failed to detect it. Mr. Scott used a fifteen second three hundred ampere charge to dislodge it. We judged this would repel the entity without harming it. Mr. Scott has constructed a larger inertia field that we will keep in place until we have left this area of space," Spock said. "I have not received your medical report."
"Everyone's fine. You'll get it tomorrow."
Spock nodded. He turned to leave, but stopped.
"You didn't think it would be like that, did you?" McCoy said.
Spock didn't look at him. "I thought I would have more control."
"Thoroughly unVulcan." It wasn't a taunt.
"You did not simply stimulate me. You…made love to me."
"There's no need to get nasty."
Spock raised his head. The doctor looked amused.
"We have a real marriage," McCoy said. "Exactly what T'Pau wanted."
"A real marriage," Spock repeated dubiously, confused by the doctor's demeanour.
"What's missing?" McCoy asked. "Do we need to tell each other words of endearment? I can't see us getting that sentimental. Is whether or not we share a bed the deciding factor? Is it sex? Something that's what, oh so sacred and oh so cheap? I'm not concerned about your bed, but this marriage is real nonetheless. You should already know that. In T'Pau's garden, I promised to do whatever you needed. What happened in auxiliary control was nothing. I've shown you in a dozen other ways what I'm willing to sacrifice for you."
"What happened in auxiliary control was not nothing," Spock said.
"It wasn't so much that you needed to hide it away from me. You make it so big. I know you've been with Jim. Nobody told me when it was, but I can pinpoint the days because the two of you were awkward afterwards. It took weeks for you and him to get over it, to be able to look at each other without flinching." McCoy smiled. "If you have any other big secrets, I'd prefer you kept them to yourself."
"Considering how far you see, is that possible?" Spock countered. "I can promise you that what happened with the captain will not be repeated."
"You don't need to make that promise."
"I offer it all the same," Spock said.
McCoy contemplated his Vulcan. "Are you ok with a real marriage?"
Spock kept McCoy's gaze. Slowly his mouth softened. "Yes, Leonard. I believe that I am. I am willing and I promise to make the same sacrifices for you. I may require that you tell me what you need. I sometimes overlook what is in front of me."
"Don't worry. I'll tell you."
Spock's right eyebrow twitched. McCoy chuckled at it.
The Vulcan came over to the desk and held out his hand, extending two fingers. McCoy touched them and then said, "Goodnight, Spock."
Spock left. McCoy sat for a few minutes longer, looking thoughtfully at the door. Then he got up and went to his storage cabinet. He first withdrew a small box and opened it. Inside was a small silver ring. He put it on. Then he took out a second box. Inside this was a firepot.
He put the firepot on his desk beside his statue of Shiva. He studied it, moved it to the other side, and then moved both to a corner of his desk. Finally satisfied, he closed the storage cabinet, resumed his seat, and picked up his book again.