Archer's Romance

by Annie Hall

It had been a long year aboard Enterprise for Captain Jonathan Archer. The past few weeks, he had become increasingly bored and irritated with his routine. So much so even the crew had begun to notice the change.

When he came off shift, he immediately took off his uniform, showered and settled in for the rest of the night. He sat on the bed reduced to reading the romance novel he had picked up on the bridge intending to chew out whomever left it. Porthos, his beagle, lay next to him. He began reading and was halfway into chapter five before he was interrupted.

“Damn it!” he said under his breath and quickly stashed the book under the pillow next to him. “It’s open.”

The door slid and Commander Charlie (Trip) Tucker, Archer’s chief engineer and best friend, stepped in.

“Evenin’, Cap’n,” Tucker greeted with his famous southern smile.

“What is it this time, Trip?“

“We’re gettin' together a game of cribble, Cap, was hopin' you’d wanna join us.”

“Not really interested in going anywhere. I think I’ll just stay in and read.”

Trip tried to entice his friend out of his room. “Ya sure, Cap? My systems analyst, Arian, will be there. I invited her special for ya.” He winked.

Though he was a bit intrigued, Archer pulled the pillow next to him onto his lap and crossed his hands over it in a gesture that told Trip, once again, he wanted to be alone. Trip leaned forward, picking up the book that now lay exposed, and looked it over.

“I knew it, Jon.” He smiled and shook his head. “Didn’t I tell ya this was yer problem? Ya just need a little romance in yer li...”

“It’s just a goddamned book, Trip,” Archer interrupted sharply.

“Oh? And I s'pose ya got a whole collection of this kinda sex trash in yer library?” Trip teased, trying to change Archer’s tone and bring him out of his self-pity.

“Maybe it’s the only sex I’m entitled to here. I’ll make sure you get to read it next.”

Archer was still bitter and biting, but Trip kept on. “I’m doing okay with that right now, Jon. But yer needin' a little help, and I told ya I got Arian ta pl...”

Archer snapped him off mid-sentence again. “Damn it, I don’t need your help with this, Trip. Just drop it.”

“Geezis, Jon, ya don‘t hafta snap like that. I was tryin' ta do ya a favor here. If yer gonna be an ass about it, go right ahead an' be one. I don’t need this shit from you right now. I got enough problems of my own. Screw it, and screw you.“

Trip threw the book back at Archer and headed for the door, but concern for his friend turned him back.

“Look, Jon, ya need ta get out of this room. Have a little fun once in a while. It might make it easier ta deal with being alone. I was just tryin' ta be yer friend here, that‘s all.”

“It’s not that bad,” Archer mumbled.

“What? It’s not that bad? Hell it ain’t! Half the crew wants ta know what’s goin' on with you, an' I got half a mind ta tell em. Geezis, yer such a mule.”

Archer sighed. “I’m sorry, Trip, I don’t mean to be an ass. I just...”

“Need a little female company. I know the feelin', Jon, that‘s why I‘m here. The game is played in pairs, and I was fixin' ta team ya up with Arian. The girl ya said ‘could analyze your systems’ any time. You remember, don‘t ya?

“I remember.”

“She is a beauty, and ya gotta love the way those dark eyes of hers can melt ya into a puddle. I know she’s sweet on ya, and I know ya can trust her to keep quiet about it. Come on, Jon, give it a shot.”

“Are you suggesting what I think you are, Trip?”

“That’s exactly what I’m suggestin', Jon.“

“Nobody said I needed that...” Archer growled and turned his back on Trip. “Aw, come on, Jon, nobody’s gotta say it. Geezis, we been out here more n’ a year, and everybody itches for a little release now an' again. Ya can’t tell me you don’t itch, too.”

Archer remained silent, and Trip thought maybe he should drop it right where it was but instead he pushed on.

“So, I’m guessin' that trashy sex novel and plenty of soap in the shower is enough for ya?"

Archer turned back. “You just don’t give up, do you, Trip? Fine, you’re right. Sometimes it’s not enough. I think about it... I think about her... and I’m lonely. There, damn it, I said it. But you know I have to keep those feelings in check, Trip. I can‘t let myself...”

“Geezis, Jon, you gotta learn ta relax a little. Yer human, we’re all lonely out here, an' we all get those urges. Well, 'cept maybe for little miss pointy ears. You ain‘t immune just cuz yer sittin in the captain’s chair.”

“Maybe not, Trip, but I can‘t afford to lose control of myself or my position here.”

“Oh, come on, a little bit of romance off duty with somebody ya trust won’t compromise yer rank, Jon. Arian would be perfect for that."

“I don’t know. I‘d have to give it a lot of thought before I...”

“Just take a shot with her, Jon. What ya got ta lose?”

“Command of my ship?”

“I gotta be honest here, Jon... yer on yer way ta doin that already.”

“Damn it, Trip, do you always have to have the last word? Fine, I need a sex life. I’ll play cribble. I’ll give her a shot. Are you happy now, or is there something else you want to add to the list?”

“Nope, that’s about it.” Trip smiled.

“Geezis, you’re a hard-nosed son of a b...”

“Yeah, well, it beats the hell outta bein' a stubborn, violin-playing sorry ass.”

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

In the corner of mess, six other players were assembled making practice shoots with the dice when Trip brought Archer in. The others scooted back to make room at the table. Trip suggested Archer partner with Arian since she was an excellent player and he was a novice.

“Got a problem with that, Arian?” Trip asked with a smile toward Archer.

“Nope,” she answered.

“Are we placing bets?” Malcolm asked.

“Naw, let's just play for the fun of it. Besides, we wouldn‘t want to take the captain‘s money his first time out,” Travis replied.

“Yeah, right, Travis. No bets cuz Archer’s here,” Trip joked. "Truth be told, Cap, it's cuz Trav lost last time, an' he‘s a sore loser. Ain‘t ya a sore loser, Trav?” Trip laughed.

Travis picked up his pair of dice, rolling them around in his hand. “That’s odd, Trip. I thought it was you who lost last time.” He laughed and then turned to Archer. “Captain, since you’re the new player, why don’t you and Arian start?”

“Quite the bum kisser, eh, Travis?” Malcolm snickered.

Archer rolled the dice, and the game commenced, each taking turns amidst laughter and silly remarks. Archer had to admit, he was enjoying himself for the first time in a long while. And Trip was right, Arian was a beauty... dark hair, dark eyes and those full lips of hers. He sighed as his thoughts wandered toward what kissing them would feel like. God, maybe he really was that desperate for a companion. Maybe Trip knew him better than he knew himself.

“Who wants to lose this time?” Travis asked, intending to begin a new game.

“I have to bow out, guys” Arian said. “I‘m sorry, but I promised I’d run system checks for the commander before Alpha shift starts in the morning.”

Her eyes met with Archer’s, and she smiled softly. “Captain, I had a wonderful time being your partner tonight. I hope we can do it again soon.”

“Aw, come on, Arian. If you leave, somebody will have to sit out,” Sharon said.

“Sorry, guys, but with an early shift, I have got to get some sleep.” And with that, Arian took her leave.

“Blast, now one of the rest of you will be forced to sit out,” Malcolm commented.

“Since you brought it up, let's make it you, Reed.” Travis said.

Trip looked at Archer from across the table and gave an encouraging nod for him to follow Arian. He smiled back at Tucker. His friend was right; he could use a little female company, and maybe Arian was that female.

Archer made an exaggerated yawn. “I think I’ll sit this one out.“ He stretched and then yawned again. “Actually, maybe I should call it a night, too. Been a long day.”

“You sure, Cap‘n?” Trip asked, playing along.

“Positive.” Archer said his goodnights and left the table as well.

“Aw, they booted you out, Captain?” Arian asked Archer as he caught up to her.

“No.” He smiled. “I just wanted to walk you to your quarters.”

“Thank you, sir. I would like that,” she replied, turning a bit pink.

They had just left mess when Trip shouted for her to stop. She turned about.

“Commander?” she asked.

“Listen, I wanted ta start working on the transport system in the morning, but Malcolm tells me he’s got a few ideas ta run by me first. Is it possible for you ta take yer down time tomorrow and start the checks the day after?”

“Certainly, Commander, if you’re sure.”

“Positive.” He smiled. “I appreciate this, Arian. Thanks a lot. Enjoy yer day off.”

“Not a problem. Good night, Commander.”

Trip gave Archer a wink and a smile and headed back to the game.

Archer and Arian walked the corridor together, chatting as they went.

“Where do you call home, Arian?”

“Whereever I am, Captain. But I’m from the east coast. My mother teaches at the university in Boston.”

“What does she teach?”


“Your father?” “Engineering tech for Intercontinental Transport.”

“Must have been an interesting life.”

“Not really. What about you, Captain? It must be some kind of honor to be in command of the ship your father designed.”

“To be honest, I would rather be here under his command. I’m afraid he was a far better man than I will ever be.”

“Do you really think that’s true?”

“Had you known my father, you would know it’s true, Arian.” Archer smiled. “And by the way, we are out of uniform. Please call me Jonathan.”

“I’m not certain that would be appropriate, sir.”

“It may not be appropriate back home, but out here, I give the orders.” He smiled.

“Okay... Jonathan.” Arian smiled.

“My father was never given the respect he deserved. I think that if he had been, Enterprise would have been off the ground under his command long before now.”

She stopped and took his hand. “I don’t doubt that for a second, Jonathan. But they must be amazed at all you’ve accomplished out here in such a short time...”

He shook his head and started to say she was wrong. She placed her fingers on his mouth to stop the words from coming out.

“You have never given yourself the credit you deserve here. The truth is, none of us would be here now if you weren’t the same kind of man your father was. You must know that.”

Archer smiled. “Thank you, Arian. I can only hope I am half the man my father was. It just doesn’t feel right that he spent his entire life waiting for all of this, and I just stepped in. Sometimes I’m still not sure why I was chosen for this. There are times when I’m sure it was just a political maneuver to make them look good.”

“Oh, I highly doubt that, Jonathan. I think it’s more likely that you were chosen because you have so much of your father in you. You are willing to question protocol when the answers don’t seem right, and you tend to go with what instincts tell you as opposed to the book. Out here, dealing with the unknown, I really don’t think they’d want a yes man waiting on them to call all the shots.”

Archer cocked his head. “But I question whether my father would have chosen someone better.”

"Jonathan Archer, you can’t honestly think your father could have trusted his dreams to anyone else can you? Trust me, not only would your father have wanted you here, he would have been as proud to serve under your command as the rest of us are.”

Archer placed his hands gently on her shoulders. “Thank you, Arian, I appreciate that.” He smiled.

Being able to share what he was feeling with her felt good to Archer. He smiled, remembering Trip’s insistence that she was the perfect choice. Now he had to admit Trip was right. The eyes, the lips, the personality, her willingness to listen. She had it all, everything he needed. He let his hands slide from her shoulders to take hers. She gripped back and flashed him a soft smile.

“Well, this is my turn, Jonathan.”

“So soon? I haven’t heard any of your secrets yet.”

“I’m here all the time. All you have to do is call.” She leaned, placing a light kiss on his cheek and then whispered into his ear. “Any time.”

He moved to kiss her lips. They were warm and inviting, and he had to know if she was willing. “Is now a good time?” he asked.

“Now would be fine, but I’m afraid I have a bunkmate and...”

“I don’t have a bunkmate,” he volunteered, though he thought it a bit too fast.

“Jonathan, are you asking what I think you are asking?” she questioned.

He swallowed hard, not knowing quite how to answer. “Uh, no... yes... maybe... I’m not sure. All I do know is that I don‘t want to say good night.”

“Neither do I,” she whispered with a smile.

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

Arian made herself comfortable after stepping through the captain's door. She took in her surroundings while Archer fed his dog with the intent of keeping him quiet for the rest of the night.

“You certainly brought a lot of comfort from home with you,” she said.

“Had to bring it. Nowhere else to leave it.”

“You never planned on going back home after we left did you?”

He laughed. “I guess something told me I would be out here for a long time.”

He finished with the dog and came back to her, searching for a way to make her understand what was running through his mind. What he wanted... no, what he needed from her.

He took her into his arms. “I need you,” he whispered in a tone that told her need was all it was, nothing more.

“I understand, Jonathan. I’m okay with that,” she whispered back.

He drew in a deep breath and sighed out a 'thank you'. As the warmth of his breath rushed across her neck, a small whimper escaped her lips, sending an electric charge through his body. He pulled her closer, kissing her deeply, allowing his tongue to wander where his lips could not reach.

She responded with a search of her own. Her hands traveled under his shirt, caressing the muscular curves of his body. He muffled a moan of encouragement as he felt for the buttons on her shirt, furiously working to get them open and expose the soft skin underneath. She slid his shirt up over his head and then wriggled out of hers.

The kisses he placed on her neck as their nakedness touched for the first time made her weaken into his arms. He lifted her up onto the bed and began trailing kisses down onto her breasts as his hands worked to free her from the rest of her clothing. She clung to his shoulders, burying her face in the hollow of his neck as he rose to his feet and stepped away from her to free himself from his pants. Arian studied him as he stood there in front of her naked, his need for her fully apparent.

“Jonathan, you are so beautiful,” she whispered. He smiled, coming back into her embrace and the need that had yet to be filled.

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