DS9-"Before This Mission... I Was Taller."
By Gayle Rochefort-Potts
(c) March 2001

SUMMARY: This was in answer to a challenge by Selek... (grins his way) and being the only Human on a Vulcan ship took on a whole new meaning.... I do hope you enjoy this. (Also an experiment for me writing in the first-person)

**And thanks to Salatrel for betaing until it squealed...

DISCLAIMER: Don't worry... stories like this will never make it to the money making state... they are too much fun!



*~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~*

"Captain's Personal Log, final entry:

My short tour aboard the Vulcan-manned science vessel, Akansu (Alien) ended today and not soon enough for my liking. Don't get me wrong I have captained a vessel with Vulcans on board, don't mind them at all. Living on an all Vulcan manned vessel for three months is an entirely different matter.

"The crew has been exceptional. I mean what else can be said of a crew that is comprised of Vulcan scientists. If the logic doesn't get to you then the perfectionism will.

"Computer, pause recording." I turned away from dictating the entry for a moment. After stuffing the last of my personal belongings into my duffle bag, I looked around the room one last time. Nothing was left behind. I sealed the duffle bag then tossed it over with the satchel that contained my 'official paperwork'.

I sat back down in the chair and resumed recording, "The new captain will be reporting in fifteen minutes and that should be just enough time to finish this and to meet him at the transporter.

"I think... and I am not sure that I want to let too many people know about this but... I am going to miss... not sure if that is the right word... working with this crew. It was definitely something different and gave me a different perspective on some things.

"In my log entries I gave Starfleet a few recommendations about assigning certain officers in command of certain vessels... which I am sure they will ignore totally... and a few recommendations on assigning crews to vessels. A little more thought is needed, not just assigning this lieutenant here or this engineer there... or this captain... here." I couldn't help but chuckle. Okay so I thought that this whole situation was totally wrong after my first week, but that is a story in itself and one I am going to share with Benjamin, in detail, until he is crying with laughter.

I looked to the time, "Final log entry, Captain Bronwyn Maximillian Hartman." I tapped off the recorder then popped out the storage chip, "My copy is definitely coming with me." I slipped it into my uniform pocket as I stood. I also knew that a copy was kept in the main computer but would only be accessed if necessary and that my authorization was needed.

I straightened my tunic then shouldered my duffle bag and picked up the satchel. It was something I bought myself directly after graduating the academy. I was thinking ahead. I always hated the hard-shelled briefcases, too stuffy looking. So, I opted for this, it was less obvious that it held all my 'official' baggage. Orders, medals, awards... I hated all that sort of stuff but it came with the badge and the duty.

I locked the quarters open, as was custom, allowing the maintenance staff to reprogram it for its new occupant then headed for the transporter room.

*~~~*~~~*

Captain Benjamin Sisko looked out of the viewing port at the docked Federation vessel. He would not be able to meet its departing captain as he had wanted, but he had extended a dinner invitation to Captain Hartman in his quarters. He trusted that a home-cooked meal in his quarters, would make amends.

The Space Stationís Captain turned back to the last of his reports. If he buckled down and there were no further interruptions he would soon be heading to his quarters to prepare the meal. Seeing Bronwyn again would be quite enjoyable. He smiled to himself as he recalled the long days they had shared, classes at the near-by New Orleans Academy campus and the hours spent working in his father's restaurant and homework. He recalled the arguments... or rather heated discussions that would start in the kitchen and continue late into the night. His father would tell them both off, quite frequently. There were midnight meals, dishes and mopping the floor. How many nights had they fallen asleep on their books, stylus still in hand, muttering the latest information they had to memorize? Those were the mornings that his dad would take pity on them and serve them breakfast.

Benjamin caught himself laughing out loud. He looked out into the outer room, operation central, glad that no one noticed. He grinned as returned to his work, armed with a little more zeal than before. It would be good talking over 'old times' with Bronwyn.

*~~~*~~~*

"The shower was the most exquisite one I have had in a while. Not to mention the fact that when I stepped out I wasn't sweating again. Oh, that ship was so hot!" I held out my glass so that Ben could refill it. "Do you know how hot they keep that ship?"

He was flashing me one of those award winning grins and replied that he hadn't really thought about it. He poured as if he were still working in the restaurant, with that little twist of the wrist, so the wine would not dribble down the bottle.

I had forgotten how much I loved his voice. So deep, like heavy silk, cool against your skin but it makes you feel warm. I drank down a good amount of the wine. "Tell me, why haven't you opened up a restaurant yet? That meal was fantastic." The meal and the wine were getting to me and I could feel myself relaxing.

"Not sure. I think I like being the commander of this station more."

He stood then led the way over to the facing couches. He waited until I sat down then he sat opposite me. He opened his uniform jacket, sat back and stretched out his long legs.

"Besides, I wouldn't have any free time as an owner of a restaurant."

"True." I watched him for a second then looked to the wine swirling around in the glass. "You know that ship was so hot that I actually contemplated wearing shorts as the uniform of the day." I smiled, "But the rest of the crew would have found it too cold."

"You should have seen the look on your face when you read those orders that day in my office. It was priceless."

Ben drained his glass, placed it on the side table, and then stretched his arms along the back of the couch. He looked comfortable and relaxed.

"I can imagine." I giggled. "Okay and the worse part other than the heat... was the title they used for me?"

"And that was...?"

"Khart-lan. Vulcan word for captain."

"And the problem?"

He lifted an eyebrow and it made me shiver. I have learned to wonder about that gesture. Sometimes it meant confusion or curiousity, at other times, the Vulcans used it for an inquiry or a statement of humour... yes, they do have a sense of humour. Vulcan humour. Strange humour, but it was humour nonetheless.

I sat forward, "Pair that up with my surname."

He thought about for a split second, grinned then said it clearly for effect, "Khart-lan Hartman."

His grin widened then he started to chuckle, then moved to a full laugh. I couldn't help it and I started to laugh too.

"I gather they did not find the rhyme as ... humorous?" He managed to get the phrase out before laughing again.

"Well the first day I did not say anything. The second day, I asked Shashem about it."

Ben held his hand up, "Shashem?"

I sighed, "Yes, Ensign Shashem, assigned to me as my personal yeoman." I tried to keep a straight face as Ben dissolved in laughter again. "You should have been there the day he walked in on me having a bath!"

"Oh I wish I had been..." Ben laughed even harder, his head in his hands and shaking with the almost hysterical laugh of his.

"It wasn't funny you know... I did try to keep from blushing from head to toe."

"I bet you looked pretty in pink blush." his devilish grin warmed me deep inside.

"You do want to hear this, right?" I managed to feign irritation.

With a zip of his lips, he nodded agreement.

The sheen from his dark baldhead was intriguing and somehow I managed to keep a straight face until the end of the tale. "I was having this nice relaxing bath. I heard Ensign Shashem walk into my quarters. He simply opened the door just as I was standing. And he was standing there with the reports that I was to sign, without a bit of reaction on his face. I reached over for the towel, it slipped to the floor and he walked over, picked it up and handed it to me." I was grinning now as I remembered that look on the ensign's face, not quite stoic. "He stood there then just lifted his eyebrow, turned and left."

Ben was wiping his eyes by now, trying to find some calm. "You must admit you do make life interesting. I don't think anyone else would have half the things happen that happen to you."

I started to giggle. "The first day I even tripped over the gravity wall into my quarters." I sat back, sighed and stared at Ben for a minute. "I swear that before this mission... I was taller."

"I wouldn't doubt it for a minute." He dropped his head back and sighed. He looked my way, cocking his head just a bit. "So I gather it was an interesting time."

"You know for an uneventful trip I never had so many adventures." I shifted to sit at the edge of the couch. "And I promised that I would have you in tears telling you all of this." I quickly stuck my tongue out at him. He grinned.

Ben slid slowly from leaning against the back of the couch to lying along the couch; he propped his head up and looked at me. "Do you still listen to that awful country music?"

I felt insulted but I smiled and tilted my head slightly, "And do you still listen to all that awful *jazz* music?"

"Yes, of course." Benjamin adjusted his position slightly, getting a little more comfortable.

I leaned forward a little more, slipped off the couch and knelt on the floor. I leaned back against the couch. There were so many things that had been left unsaid between us, even after all of these years. Even after Jennifer's death. I drew in a slow breath, working on my courage to at least kiss him... but then the intercom sounded and he was paged.

Ben sat up, "Sisko here." He spoke to the disembodied female voice.

"Sorry to bother you Benjamin, there is a problem with one of the vessels. They want to leave but haven't received the clearance."

Ben sighed, "I will be right there, Old Man."

I watched him pull his jacket into place then fasten it closed. "It's okay. I'll wait." I stood and looked over to the almost forgotten remnants of our meal. "I can clean up the dishes and order our dessert. Maybe even have a raktajino waiting for you."

Ben smiled, "Sounds good. I won't be long." He hesitated for a moment, and then headed out.

I sighed then turned to the task of cleaning up after our meal.

*~~~*~~~*

Sisko had taken a little longer than he thought. He did not expect me to be waiting. The lights were dimmed for the nightshift. I was curled up in the corner of the couch. Soft music was playing... I had chosen jazz. He reached over me to the blanket that was lying across the back of the couch, and covered me with it.

Somehow I knew that he stood and watched me for a moment, and then I heard him walk over and turn the music off. He headed for his bedroom; I heard the sound of him slipping his uniform jacket off.

I think it was the quiet that woke me, and then I realized there was a cover over me. I cleared my throat and softly called out to him. I figured if he was asleep he would not hear me... but if he was still awake... well I didn't want the evening to end just yet.

Ben turned just as the door to his bedroom opened. "Thought you were asleep."

"No. Just resting my eyes." I grinned and somehow knew he was too.

"You still use that excuse."

"I use anything that works." I sat up, leaning on the back of the couch. "Are you really tired or can I talk you into staying up?"

"I was just going to do some reading." Ben tossed his jacket onto the chair just inside his room. "But only because you were sleeping." He walked over to the computer terminal and turned on the music again. "Thought you didn't like jazz?"

"It beats Vulcan temple music." While grinning, I stood up, and then tossed the blanket over the back of the couch. "But I know you like *jazz*." I remembered I had taken off my boots; I looked down then decided to leave them off. "And if I want to dance with you... then I assumed it would have to be jazz."

Ben grinned, "Oh really? That was your ulterior motive?"

I nodded. "You know that is another thing that I began to notice on the Akansu, no touching." I moved closer to him. He was still so tall compared to me. Not that I expected him to get any shorter... but I had hoped I was a little taller than I used to be. "You don't even notice how many times you touch people. Walking between tables. Even a simple conversation somehow seems different. Leaning in close when you want to share something." I looked up at him. "But you can't do any of that with Vulcans."

"No I guess not."

Ben closed the distance, taking my hands in his as he did. I felt myself tense at the touch then relax. "I hadn't realized how much I missed this." I watched his large dark hand as it engulfed my small pale hand. I closed my eyes and moved closer.

We started to move to the slow rhythm of the music. I began to lose myself in the music, just as I always did. Benjamin absent-mindedly hummed the tune and that made me smile.

Into the second soft tune, he pulled me closer and I rested my head on his... Well, I wasn't quite tall enough to reach his shoulder... so I guess I was resting my head on his chest. Didn't matter, I loved this feeling.

"You know, being on the ship was nerve wracking. Temperature was always too warm. Gravity was too heavy. For the first month, I was exhausted by the end of a regular duty schedule. I don't think I even really got used to it after the three months. Seeing anyone?"

Ben stopped dancing and looked down at me. I had surprised him with the question.

"Sorry, forget I asked." I tried burying my head into his chest, but he stepped back from me.

"Why do you want to know?" He grinned slightly.

I drew in a breath and met his eyes... it was now or never, "Because I want you to make wild passionate love to me... and you won't if there is someone waiting for you." I spoke it all in one breath.

He pulled me back to him, and continued dancing. He muttered, "Really?"

I felt the deep resonates to his voice in his chest. I could not believe I had the nerve to ask him that way. My heart was racing; I was terrified that he was going to laugh or something like that. I didn't know whether to answer him or not. Maybe we both needed an out, not to commit ourselves to even the thought. It might have only been a comment.

He cleared his throat, "I would have thought that you would have grown accustomed to the gravity in the three months."

I held my breath. He wanted to ignore it. That was fine with me. I closed my eyes, blinking away the few tears of disappointment that welled up in my eyes. I should have learned from my time on the Akansu, private feelings should not be discussed.

I felt him take a breath. Holding my own, I waited for what he had to say, but he released his breath slowly.

Ben drew in a sudden breath, "Is this because of your tour on the Vulcan ship?"

It was my turn to stare up at him. "Maybe." I dropped my gaze. "Not sure. Maybe it's just that I finally got the nerve."

"Since when do you need 'nerve' to ask me anything?" He stepped back as he lifted my chin, forcing me to meet his eyes. "You have never needed...?"

"I have never asked this before." I swallowed hard. I closed my eyes for a moment. "Like I said before, forget I asked." I moved away from him back to sit down on the couch. I wasn't sure what to say next.

"I don't want to forget it." Ben sat down across from me.

I sighed. "It's just..." I looked down at the carpeting.

"Go on."

"I never found enough nerve to ask you before. Before you met Jennifer. Before I met Collin. Now... neither of us have anyone and I guess being on the ship gave me a taste of what it was to be really alone." I drew in a sudden breath. "I don't like being alone. Never have."

I knew Ben was staring at me, trying to figure out his next move. I figured that I should make it first. I picked up my boots and grabbed my tunic that I had tossed at the end of the couch.

"I will get going. What time is breakfast?" I tried to smile, but it was not coming across as confidently as I had wanted it to. "Maybe lunch? Whenever you have free time." I tried standing, but I couldn't seem to get anything to move. "I know you are busy here."

Ben started to chuckle, "I can see being with the Vulcans did not teach you to stop your mumblings."

I shook my head.

Ben reached for my tunic, I released my hold and he dropped it beside him on the couch. He stood then reached for my hand; lifted my hand until I had to stand. He pulled the boots from my other hand and dropped those onto the carpet. His fingers lifted my chin. He stared at me for what seemed forever.

The next thing I knew I was in his arms and his soft full lips were covering mine. I tried to draw in some air... but the strength of his kiss put me in shock. He pulled me towards him; his arms wrapped around me and easily lifted me off my feet.

"Tell me, Wynn, do Vulcans kiss?"

All I could do was shake my head. His mouth claimed mine again. He tasted so good. I wrapped my arms around his neck. I pulled away from the kiss. I needed air. He continued with gentle kisses down my neck. He put me down slowly so I could stand on my own two feet. My knees gave out and he held onto me.

I loved his dark eyes. I hid my face against his chest. Bravely, I slid my hands to the opening of his uniform shirt. I lifted myself onto my tiptoes and brushed my lips against his warm skin. He moaned and I felt the vibration against my lips. I felt my entire body shiver.

Our clothes dropped off as we made our way to his bedroom. I don't think I even really noticed. Curbing my panic was too high a priority for me. My lips brushed against his skin as he held me close and managed to slip the pins from my hair. As the red-mahogany coloured length fell down my back, I heard him mutter that he was relived that I hadn't been talked into sporting the Vulcan hairstyle. He stepped closer to me, pressing his nude muscular body against mine, the back of my knees touched the mattress and before I could stop myself, I fell back, stretched out across the bed.

He held his body just above mine, resting on his forearms. I could feel the heat from him. Some parts were definitely warmer than others. I ran my hands along his back and heard myself moan. Not sure if it was from touching him or his lips brushing along my shoulder. His lips were hot every time they touched me. A slow trail of kisses moved down to a breast, I could barely breath.

I had no idea that I would react like this. No idea that he would have even wanted me.

I held my breath as his heavy body pressed mine into the mattress... feels just like I thought he would... warm, and strong. He fits so well too... I smiled to myself then drew in a deep breath... this was going to be heaven!

I clutched him even closer and held my breath as he slipped into my body with ease. Made for each other? Don't be ridiculous, I told myself... and then I moaned his name. I kissed his neck, searching for his lips and found them eventually. I loved the feel of his lips, soft and full. I ran my tongue over his even teeth then reached into his mouth. My hands moved up his back, his neck, and half expecting to rest in a head full of hair... but Ben did not have hair. The taut skin on his skull felt strange for a moment... then I realized this was just as Ben should have felt.

Benjamin pushed deeper into me. I wrapped my legs around him. He kissed me, long and passionately. He slipped his arm under my neck then skillfully rolled us over onto his back. His arms held me tightly to him. My breasts ached from being crushed against his firm chest but I would not release my strong hold on him, not even for a second. I tasted the saltiness of his skin at the base of his neck. I threatened to bite into his shoulder just as his strong hands pushed on my hips and drove himself deeper into me.

I drew in a sudden breath then lifted myself up with my hands resting on his shoulders. I shifted slightly, to straddle him and he moaned and held me tighter. I felt his fingers digging into my hips as his thrusts became more urgent. He seemed to move deeper into me, if it was possible... I pushed against him. M-m-m this was very nice.

His hands began to caress my body, moving up slowly. I dropped back my head and sighed at his touch. Expertly he flicked at my nipples, I could feel them harden and become more sensitive with every touch. I shivered when his hot tongue touched the hardened nipples. First one, then he would brush his lips across it. He brushed his lips across the other one then sucked it into his mouth. I closed my eyes, held my breath and felt the hunger he was awakening in me.

I wanted him so much. Needed him so much.

I couldn't help myself when he began to suckle on the other breast; I pulled him closer and held him there. My body shivered. I whispered that I did not want him to stop. His hand moved to tease the other breast. Every time his lips subtly tugged on my now hardened nipple, I heard myself moan and I pushed harder against his thrust.

I was running my hands all over his body, trying to absorb all of him in an instant. I loved to feel his movements, loved the feel of his warmth and thrilled at his reaction when I began to tease his nipples.

My body shivered. My hands clenched against his firm chest and I felt the wave travel my body. I moaned his name and he drove himself in deeper. I felt his body pump the hot liquid into me as I tensed from my climax.

My body went slack with fatigue and I fell back on the bed.

We lay there for a little while... recovering. I felt his hand lightly caressing my legs, which were still draped over his. We were content.

I reached to hold his hand then slowly sat up. I smiled, then made my way to lie beside him. He pulled me into his arms and held me. I draped my leg over his thighs. I wasn't sure if anything else would happen... but I was not opposed to the idea. I kissed his neck, slowly making my way up to his mouth.

I moved from the comfort of his arms and covered his body with mine. I could not get enough of him. I stroked the side of his face with my fingertips, watching him close his eyes and savouring my touch. I kissed his nose and he grinned but his eyes stayed closed.

I whispered close to his ear, "I don't want to leave yet."

"Who said you had to?" His deep voice whispered back.

I felt his lips brush against my neck then I was rolled onto my back. He covered me, holding my hands playfully above my head, pinning both with one of his hands. His other hand caressed my face then moved down my side.

"Still ticklish?" He inquired between kisses.

"Yes." I stated with a hint of 'tickle me and die' in my voice.

"Just curious."

He worked his way down my body, kissing, touching, and occasionally nipping at my skin. He sent shivers through me with every touch.

He moved down on the bed, his lips brushed my thigh. I held my breath waiting for the next touch. And then it came... his lips touch me... I held my breath and wanted to breath in deeply at the same time. His touch caused a shiver to travel through me.

"Oh yes..." I whispered and moaned. My fingers clenched in the covers. I closed my eyes and bite my bottom lip as his tongue urged its way deeper into me. I felt my body wanting this, my legs moved to give him easier access.

In the background noises, I heard a comm-pin sounding. It was an emergency signal.

I moaned as he nibbled on my thigh. I don't know how he did it but he lifted his head for only a fraction of a second and stated in a calm voice, "That is your comm-pin."

I could only moan an acknowledgement.

"Computer, transfer Captain Hartman's comm frequency in here."

He returned to pleasuring me... as if there had been no disturbance. I loved this man's ability to do two things at once.

He began to trail kisses up my body, his hands caressed and teased... and I tried to find my voice.

I cleared my throat and just as I started to speak, his tongue brushed over my nipple. "Captain Hartman... here." I was almost panting. A part of me prayed that it wasn't Command on the other end.

"Khart-lan Hartman."

I held my breath then swallowed. "Ensign Shashem?"

There was a pause before he answered. "Khart-lan, I apologize for the disturbance during your rest period."

"M-m-m." Was the only thing I could manage, Ben was now teasing one nipple with his talented fingers and the other was claimed by his equally talented mouth.

"I have been waiting as long as was possible... "

"Your point, Ensign." I took in a sudden breath as Ben positioned himself between my legs.

"I wish to transfer to your next command."

"What?" I tried to concentrate on what he was saying but Ben was distracting me in the most delicious way.

Ben's lips touched my jaw and he whispered, "He wants to serve under you."

I held myself steady. I glared at Ben but couldn't help but smile. I kissed his cheek. "Ensign Shashem..." I sighed without meaning to. "Yes... fine."

"I require written confirmation before I leave my vessel."

Ben chose this moment to slip that sensuous hardness into me. I moaned, sighed and whispered his name all at the same time.

"I have disturbed you." Ensign Shashem's voice had changed slightly.

"Oh.h... you could say that." I muttered close to Benjamin's ear.

There was silence for a moment.

"Khart-lan Hartman, I will await you at your assigned quarters."

"M-m-m, yes..." This warm feeling began to take over; I really did not care about what Shashem had to say at the moment.

"Wuh-lan Shashem closing communication."

"Oh-h-h... and not a moment too soon." I wrapped my arms and legs around Benjamin and met him thrust for thrust until our bodies climaxed.

Nothing in the room was heard for a time except our heavy breathing. I felt Benjamin's feeble attempt to move but I held him tightly. He held me as he rolled us onto his back.

He was shaking.

No, not shaking. I lifted myself up with my arms and stared at him.

"What are you laughing about?"

Ben finally allowed the laughter to burst out. He wrapped his arms around me and held me. "I am sorry. Really I am." His laughter died down. He looked at me. "You now have a Vulcan following you..." He was grinning far too much.

"Oh joy." I understood the humour but I did not want to give into it ... not just yet anyway.

"I want to be there when you call Command and tell them that this Ensign wants to serve with you."

"Not funny."

"Oh yes it is." He lifted my chin until his eyes met mine. "But... the next time you come to visit..." his lips brushed mine briefly, "... you leave him behind."

I grinned then started to laugh.

*~~~~~~*~~~~~~*

The end.... I think.

Feedback cheerfully accepted, send to Gayle

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