Like Humans Do
by Mosca

"Having is not so pleasing a thing as wanting. It is not logical, but it is often true."
-- Spock

There's always one like T'Pol. In any group with enough women and enough men, there's one, with the eyes and the lips and the hips and the tits out to there, the one that the guys want all the more because they can't have her. She has her pick of them, and she knows that none of them will live up to her. I can see it every time she walks off the bridge: there goes T'Pol's ass, and there follow six pairs of eyes. Straight men think they're subtle, but they've got nothing to hide.

The women like me, we learn to blend in. Not that I think anyone would have a problem, but with guys like Trip Tucker around, you never know. I just don't want to get into it, I guess. It's easier to act like I'm one of those people who doesn't like talking about her private life. Which is true, anyway. Tucker tried to horn in on me a couple of times, asking about things like which men on the ship were considered the good-looking ones. He got aggressive after I shrugged him off once or twice. "C'mon," he said. "Whatever you say, it's not going to leave this bridge."

"I really don't know," I said, more interested in the game of solitaire I was running on my console than I was in him.

"Then who do you like?"

"There's really not anyone in particular."

"Oh, come on, there's got to be someone."

"There doesn't have to be," I said, "because there isn't."

"You're telling me that out of the hundreds of men on this ship, there's no one you're attracted to?"

"Leave her alone," Reed jumped in. "It's obvious she doesn't want to talk about it."

I mouthed Reed a "Thank you" and went back to my computerized cards.

Of course, there's people on Enterprise who catch my eye. There's an engineer, Agnieszka Nowak, with long blond hair and a shy smile. And Magda Suarez in Security, who's built like a brick wall but is actually sort of sweet and scattered. She's the butt of a lot of dyke jokes, the kind of thing that stings me into the closet. I know I ought to say something when those jokes start up. I tell myself that it's enough to make a point of not laughing, but that conveys only my disapproval, not my hurt.

So when T'Pol is on the bridge, I don't look at her. It's too risky. Maybe I'm caught up in myself, convinced that everyone is watching me when the truth is, they don't give a shit. But Enterprise isn't a friendly place unless you blend in, and I'd rather not take that chance.

Once in a while, when they're sure T'Pol's not around and they assume I'm not listening, the guys on the bridge will talk about what they'd do to T'Pol if they could get their hands on her. They'd strip her out of that catsuit, grab her breasts, fuck her so hard she'd drop her Vulcan reserve and scream. It's never when the captain's there, because they know he'd scold them, but apparently Reed and I don't count. I know that the violent fantasies make Reed uncomfortable. He has a real crush on her, not just on her body but on who she is. Maybe she makes more sense to him than she does to the rest of us. In any case, when the talk gets dirty, Reed and I are confederates. We're both ashamed to be in the room. He looks at me with heavy eyes, and I smile back at him weakly.

And what would I do if I had her? I don't know. The whole point of wanting her is knowing she's unattainable. You can't break her or make her scream. You can't even buy her flowers.

When she stops me in the hallway, I assume it's just something for work. She has all kinds of coded documents to transmit to Vulcan, and she likes to hand them over to me so the captain doesn't freak out about what's in them. Or she'll get some communique and ask me to translate it, because when the Vulcans try to write in English the result is so staid and technical it'll make you dizzy. It makes me wonder what I sound like to them when I speak Vulcan.

"Ensign, may I speak with you privately for a moment?" T'Pol says.

"Sure," I say.

"There is a... medical matter in which I think you may be of some assistance."

"Okay," I say.

"As you probably know, Vulcans mate every seven years. Males enter a state of Pon Farr, and their mates react to the pheromones they release and enter a similarly aroused state."

"Mmm-hmm," I say. I've known this since the night Nurse Arif hacked into Dr. Phlox's classified medical files and passed around the details of Vulcan sexuality.

"Humans, on the other hand, experience a less dramatic sexual readiness at all times."

"Well... yes."

"I seem to be... reacting to the pheromones that you emit. I have spoken with Dr. Phlox, and he has run some tests. My reaction to human male pheromones is minimal, but I experience a moderate reaction to female pheromones."

"Oh," I say, trying to sound unruffled.

"I suppose my situation is much like that of a normal human, but for me it is quite... distracting."

"You get used to it."

It takes her a few seconds to realize that I'm joking. I have trouble remembering that Vulcans don't really get sarcasm. Hell, there are a lot of humans who don't.

"You are... sexually attracted to me, are you not?" T'Pol says.

"I... well..."

"The concentration of pheromones that you release increases in my presence," she says.

"Does it?"

"Dr. Phlox said that this is an indication of sexual attraction and arousal."

I laugh. "You have gaydar."

"Pardon me?"

"Gaydar," I say. "When you can tell who's gay and who's het."

"There are humans who possess this ability?"

"There are humans who think they do."

"I take it you are not one of them."

"Sometimes you can tell," I say. "Usually, you can't. A lot of people are surprised about me."

"Then you are... homosexual." This is clearly T'Pol's new vocabulary word for the day.


"And you are sexually attracted to me."


"That is most helpful."

"Why?" I say.

"The constant state of arousal is beginning to interfere with my ability to perform my duties," T'Pol says. "Dr. Phlox can synthesize a drug that will suppress my pheromone receptivity, but there are side effects, particularly if I were to take the drug over a long period of time. I told Dr. Phlox that I would seek other approaches before resorting to medication."

"Approaches such as..." I prompt, although I have a queasy suspicion of the answer.

"The traditional Vulcan method of combating sexual desire is..."

"To have sex," I finish.

"Yes," she says.

"You mean you want me to--"

"If you are comfortable doing so."

"And if I say no?"

"There are others on Enterprise that I can approach," she says. "Failing that, I will ask Dr. Phlox to synthesize the drug."

"Did you-- am I the first person you asked?"

"You were a logical choice," she says. "I am better acquainted with you than I am with any of the other women on Enterprise."

That hasn't occurred to me. I haven't gone out of my way to make friends here, with T'Pol or with anyone else. It's not that I've actively avoided social contact. I just don't feel like I've got a whole lot in common with the rest of the crew. But T'Pol apparently considers me a friend, to as much of an extent as Vulcans have friends. She may be incapable of experiencing disappointment, but it looks like even Vulcans have a healthy fear of rejection. And I'm her best bet.

"Why don't you come by my quarters later?" I say. "At 20:00 or so?"

"Of course," T'Pol says, and she walks away.

Like a little juggernaut of suppressed anticipation, I head to dinner. Everyone in the mess hall is being loud and stupid, and I am in too good of a mood to let them ruin it. There are a few empty tables, but sitting alone in the mess hall is like putting up an "annoy me" sign. I spot Reed, who looks like he's trying to blend into the bulkhead so that no one will join him. "Mind if I sit down?" I say. "I promise to read my book and ignore you completely."

It is probably the most pleasant meal I have ever had in the mess hall.

I go back to my quarters, telling myself that there's not any point in spending hours on my hair. T'Pol isn't going to care what I look like. Her species is genetically programmed to fuck men whose blood is boiling. I left most of my cuter clothes in storage on Earth, anyway. There's not much need for nightclub gear in deep space. I put on a black V-neck sweater and a pair of jeans. I've looked worse. Compulsively, I start neatening up my quarters. I haven't convinced myself that I don't need to seduce her.

She's unnervingly punctual, even though I knew she'd be right on time. "Your bed would be the appropriate venue, would it not?" she says, taking off her tunic.

"Here," I say, "let me do that." I lay her down on the bed and peel her slowly out of her clothes. Naked, she looks vulnerable, and not nearly as beautiful as she does in those curve-hugging outfits. It's that little bit of mystery that keeps us in thrall. She looks like she hasn't been eating quite enough, and her breasts sag a little without her bra to hold them up. I wonder if I'm too jaded to appreciate what I've got in my bed. I guess I was expecting perfection. I've had women with sexier bodies, but they didn't carry themselves like they knew it.

I cup one of her breasts in my hand and run my tongue around the edge of her dark areola. "You may skip the preamble," she says.

"What if I don't want to?"

"I understand," she says. "Proceed."

I taste every millimeter of her breasts like I am going to write a report on them later. She doesn't respond. She is lying there like a fucking board. I stroke her flat stomach and massage her hipbones with my thumbs. I might as well be sending a transmission into dead space. "Is everything okay?" I say.

"This is... pleasant, but I do not require it."

"Okay," I say, and I sigh. I part her knees with my hand and go down on her. I like to think I've got a good sense of technique. I lap at her clit, and she does begin to react. All she gives me are short, sharp moans. I guess she's a quiet one. Her responses are mechanical, and my own performance is uninspired. I remind myself how many times I have fantasized about this. But in the fantasies she is hot and wild, writhing and moaning, pleading for more. I don't know why I expected that to translate to real life. I flick her clit with my tongue, impatient.

"You may stop," she says.

"But-- but you didn't--"

"Vulcan females do not experience orgasm as humans do," she says. "But the sensation was pleasurable, and I am quite... relieved."

I am half expecting her to leave her cash on the bedside table. "Well... good," I say.

"Would you like me to pleasure you in return?"

"That's-- that's really okay," I say. The truth is, I don't want to ruin that part of the fantasy. I can't imagine she's ever eaten a woman out before. But in my dreams she is an expert. I need to leave myself with a few illusions.

"I understand," she says, although I don't think she does. She puts her clothes on and gets up to leave. "Thank you, Ensign," she says.

And I am alone and unfucked. I've got a small stash of food from home, and even though I'm not hungry, I choose a Cup Noodle. I mix the noodles and powder with hot water from the tap. They are rich and salty. I remind myself that there are pleasures other than sex.

I think of Ensign Suarez in security. She, at least, would know what she was doing. But it wouldn't be much more genuine than what I've just done with T'Pol. How would I approach her? "You're queer. I'm queer. Let's get it on." Or maybe I'm wrong. Maybe we could have something. She could be the love of my life, the one and only true mate of my soul. If I weren't so much better at second-guessing myself than at propositioning women, I would ask her out and know for sure.

Tomorrow, all those eyes will follow T'Pol's ass as she sways across the bridge. I won't have to avert mine anymore. What she's got to offer is all right there in the open. She's purely visual. I'd like to think I need more than that to keep me satisfied.


Silverlake: Authors / Mediums / Titles / Links / List / About / Plain Style / Fancy Style