Note: This is in response to LtBlackFire's challenge, to begin a fiction with the following: "'Malcolm!' Trip Tucker laughed at his friend's puzzledexpression. 'Malcolm?' Trip's amusement turned to shock when..."

x-x

"Malcolm!" Trip Tucker laughed at his friend's puzzled expression. "Malcolm?"

Trip's amusement turned to shock when Malcolm opened his mouth and…pop, pop, pop, three neatly formed, rainbow hued bubbles emerged. The lieutenant slammed his mouth shut and covered it with one hand, his eyebrows raised in astonishment.

"Um, Malcolm," said Trip, his voice shaking. "I think we should get you to sickbay."

Malcolm, his hand still over his mouth, simply nodded.

When Malcolm didn't move, Trip placed one hand on the small of his back, giving him a gentle push towards the doors.

Malcolm stumbled a bit, then recovered himself, but not before his hand came away and his lips parted slightly, allowing another bubble to burst forth. He closed his eyes, grimacing, and, pushing his lips together forcefully, stalked towards the doors, Trip following close behind him, trying hard to smother a smile.

As they left the armoury, Trip took a quick look back over his shoulder, catching a glimpse of the security staff, weapons raised, surrounding and staring up at their intruder: a tiny, floating, sparkling silver object, barely 5cm around, spinning about 3m above the deck. The doors closed behind him, cutting off his view, and he hustled a bit to catch up with Malcolm's fast strides down the corridor.

Malcolm stopped in front of the lift, stabbing at the call button with one shaking finger as he shuffled his feet nervously.

"You okay?" Trip asked, coming up beside him.

Malcolm flashed him an exasperated look, still clamping his mouth shut.

"Sorry," Trip said. They stood in silence for a moment, Malcolm staring at the doors to the lift, rocking slightly, then bouncing on his heels, anxious. He crossed his arms, holding himself tight as he waited.

Trip shifted uncomfortably next to him. "I told you not to touch it…"

Malcolm turned on him violently, opening his mouth to speak, then quickly clamping it shut with a groan as another bubble escaped and began its slow drift towards the ceiling.

Trip watched the bubble rise, then pop as it hit the surface. He glanced back at his friend just as the lift doors opened, and Malcolm entered, spinning to face Trip, his eyebrows raised impatiently.

"At least they're pretty," Trip said, trying hard not to laugh.

Malcolm pursed his lips, flashing an obscene gesture with one hand as the lift doors closed in front of him.