It wasn't a long ride for Kirk to the hotel near the San Francisco bay area, where his date had a room. "Call me anytime, Captain," Janice had said at their last good-bye on the Enterprise, and the look that had accompanied those words had been clear enough. He had thought about her offer for some days, then had called the number she had left on his computer, together with all her perfectly finished reports he still had to sign. He hadn't been happy about her wish to be transferred for "personal reasons", but he had granted it. And now they were free to explore...other possibilities.

Janice Rand opened the door of the hotel room at the sound of the chime, wearing the softly falling robe in which she had materialized on the bridge during the events that Charlie had set into motion on board the Enterprise. On that day, he had avoided looking at her, but now he took the time to examine her features.

She gave him a smirking smile. "I see you appreciate my outfit, Captain," she said, and stepped back to let him enter.

He passed her and turned back to her when she had closed the door again. "I always did, Janice. And it's Jim, under these circumstances."

Her smile broadened, though it still had a mischievous look to it that he couldn't quite read. "Thanks, but you'll always be the Captain to me. Do you want something to drink?" Her gaze wandered over to the small bar loaded with various colorful bottles.

"Do I have a choice?" Kirk asked, flashing his most charming smile.

"Yes, Captain," she said and drew nearer, stretching out her hand towards him.

He took it without thinking and pulled her into an embrace. Inhaling her smell, he remembered how she had felt on the bridge when he had his arms around her, awaiting the impact of the Romulan energy shot. Of course, it had simply been the act of a commander to protect a young crewmember. At least he had told himself that. Her hair had smelled of vanilla and oranges, and he had wondered what shampoo she used and if her skin would smell like that, too.

"You smell like a fresh wave," she whispered. "Just like on that day with the Romulans."

He closed his eyes and rubbed his nose on her forehead. "My favorite soap for water showers. Though I would've thought my sweat would've covered all other smells. My nerves were quite worn out after that encounter."

"During it, too", she said. "I can remember how you were laying on your bed, too alert to sleep or eat..."

"Well, that danger is long over," he replied, and opened his eyes again. "You're sure about this, Janice?" he asked in a low voice.

"Yes, Captain," she replied earnestly. "Very much so."

"Well, I am happy that you're no longer my yeoman," he said. Caressing her hair he kissed her, reveling in the smoothness of her mouth and the sweet taste of her lips. The long-forbidden pleasures sent tingling fires through him. Finally he broke the kiss. "You were quite a temptation," he said roughly, tightening his embrace. "Those legs of yours. Why do you think I never looked at them? They're just too damn tempting!"

"I'm pleased you didn't give into the temptation, Captain," she replied with a smile, and pulled him into another kiss.

"Hmm," he said when he came up for air again, "it would've gone against regulations... fraternization rules... and plain common sense..."

When she began to nip on his throat, he inclined his head back with a sigh.

"Yes, Captain," she murmured between kisses, "it... would... have. But" -- she withdrew from him, a loss his body instantly bemoaned --"not every captain would have resisted."

He looked at her through half-closed lids. "Probably..." Suddenly a suspicion rose in him, and he held her slightly away from him, staring into her eyes. "Has another captain tried to take advantage of you? Has any of my crew tried?"

"No, Captain." She shook her head and laughed. "Do you think I'd be so easily ravished?"

"No, not since I saw how you handled Charlie," he said. "Before that, I just thought you were a... well, a very young, inexperienced girl. But you handled him like an sister... a grown-up sister."

Her hand was on his face now, tracing a line along his forehead over his cheeks down to his chin in a caressing touch. "You've been the only one I wanted to tempt, Captain," she said, and her smile held the same mischievousness as before.

He looked down at her with a frown. "Why me?"

"Because you are the youngest, brightest captain in the Fleet with a reputation of a ladies man. Fleet Command wanted to make sure that your hormones wouldn't get the better of you."

He felt his jaw drop when he took in what she said. "What?" Letting her go, he stepped back. "You were...?"

She smiled at him. "Do you think all captains get a personal yeoman like me? Do you honestly believe that a dumb blond would make it onto the best ship on the fleet?"

"I never saw you as 'dumb blond'," he defended himself.

"No, but many others did," she replied, and sarcasm as well as self-mockery danced in her voice. She turned and disappeared into the bedroom, leaving him behind.

Irritation, anger and curiosity warred inside of him, but then curiosity won and he followed her. When he reached the door, he leaned on the frame and looked inside, careful not to overstep the boundaries -- in every respect.

She stood in front of the mirror and worked on her blond, high-piled hair. "This was the most ridiculous part of my disguise," she said, meeting his gaze in the mirror. Then she put her hands into her hair and lifted it, pulling the wig away. Dark-blond curls fell down to her shoulders.

He looked at her face in the mirror, so different without that blond heap above it. "What did you report to them?" he finally asked.

She fetched a pad from the dressing table and began to remove her make-up. Blurs of black and blue surrounded her eyes momentarily, reminding him painfully of what she had looked like in Sickbay when she had recounted the assault by his duplicate.

"Everything, Captain," she replied after a long while, "including the assault of your evil half. It clearly showed that although you found me attractive, you never acted upon it under normal circumstances. The personality split wasn't your fault." She met his gaze in the mirror again, all synthetic colors now gone from her face. Her eyes shone nevertheless, and her cheeks had the color of peaches. And her lips were still red and inviting.

"Nice to hear that," he said caustically, and crossed his arms in front of his chest.

"They were very satisfied with my reports, so you have nothing to fear from Starfleet Command, Captain," she said. Reaching around her neck, she opened the clasp of her pearl necklace and removed it. He watched her delicate fingers and saw that her nails were not lacquered as he followed her movements until the pearls had disappeared in a box.

She turned around, and it was as if he saw another person, with only the outfit reminding him that this was his former yeoman. Nobody could overlook the determination and intelligence in those eyes. It had been quite a disguise, indeed. "Did anyone else onboard know?" he asked.

"Spock did in the end," she replied. "He made inquiries about me because he was suspicious. He is a very clever man." Her gaze shifted away in thought for a moment, and a small smile traveled over her face. Then she focused on Kirk again. "He didn't like it, but he saw Starfleet's…logic. And as far as I know, he would be the first to report you if you took advantage of the younger crewmembers."

Kirk swallowed hard, but then he nodded. "You're probably right."

She drew near again until they stood face to face, his crossed arms forming an impenetrable barrier between them. "Do you want to leave now?" she asked. A faint smell of vanilla and oranges hung in the air as their gazes met, and her blue eyes sparkled in an unvoiced challenge.

He pondered her question, torn between anger and amusement.

"I am still sure, more than ever," she added. "So if you want to stay, you're welcome."

"Well," he said, and let his arms loose, "no-one can call me a sore loser. And I have a soft spot for women with brains."

Taking her into his arms, he kissed her again. She answered his kiss fiercely, and within seconds they landed on the luxurious bed.

"Did you take this room with a queen-size bed especially for our date?" he asked when he took a quick breath somewhere between all the kissing and disrobing.

"I would never have made love with you on one of the Enterprise's bunks. You're to be cherished," she replied, and swung her naked leg over his hips, pulling him near.

"You've a high opinion of my abilities without ever having tested me," he chuckled.

"I've my informants, Captain," she replied dryly.

He pulled slightly away from her and propped his head on his hand. "You're really making me rethink my decision to stay here," he said with a frown.

"They all gave you superb ratings, Captain," she said as she caressed his chest, offering her lips in an unambiguous gesture. "Don't you always want to be the best?"

"I can't help but feeling equally flattered and insulted," he said with a sigh, and bent down to kiss her.

"Stop talking and start the action," she murmured when he pulled away again. "That's an order."

"Aye, sir," he replied smartly, and gave his best.


It was the timer that awoke him some hours later. The place on the bed beside him was empty, and no shower could be heard either. In fact, the silence was so deep that he got up quickly. "Janice?"

The living room was empty, too. Only a small, hand-written note leaned on a bottle on the bar -- Aldorian Rum, he classified idly by the lilac color -- before he fixed his gaze on the smooth handwriting.

Thank you for the wonderful night. You're getting a 9.4 out of 10 on my personal scale. And it was not only a memorable event, but also the last open point in my report. Sexual orientation did seem quite important to them. My mission is now over. I left you my personal comm number on the back of this note. If you need someone, you know where to find me. J.

He sat down heavily on the sofa next to the bar. His first impulse was to crumple the note in anger, but then he couldn't help but laugh out loud. Well, he was a man after all, and this time he had been tricked like a schoolboy. Never again he would trust those blondes, he promised himself. And it was purely absent-mindedness that made him put the note into his pocket when he left.