By Emiliana Keladry
Author's note: This is a story idea that Poohdog and I came up with. We both wrote along the same plot line, but different stories. You should read hers, it's very good. We mean nothing by using the same topic. It was pre-arranged to see how we could modify the same idea. I hope that you enjoy it. It was something we came up with with watching Trip run around Enterprise in his underware, though it doesn't deal with him in underware. Anyway. Please read and review!
Disclaimer: I don't own Enterprise or the characters. Wish I did... but can't.
Ensign Hoshi Sato laughed uncontrollably as Lieutenant Malcolm Reed read his cards to the small group gathered around the table in the mess hall. Commander Trip Tucker slapped the table with his hand, shaking up the liquid in their glasses. Ensign Travis Mayweather had his head in his hands and his shoulders were shaking with laughter. Each one of the four were wearing civilian clothes since they were off duty. The blue, red, yellow, and green cards decorated the table. Printed on the backside of each card was the word "Uno" in white font. The others in the mess hall simply ignored the ridiculous group, keeping their smiles hidden behind forks and hands. Hoshi scribbled down Malcolm's score, regaining control of her amusement.
"Are you sure that you've played Uno before?" she teased. "The point of the game is to get rid of your higher cards. You want to be the one with no cards."
"Maybe the British play it differently," Trip joked. "It's not called Uno but called Loser-has-the-least-points."
Malcolm blushed slightly and scooped up the cards to shuffle them.
"The score stands at Travis- 34, Trip- 54, Malcolm- 169, and me with 28. I guess I am still winning," Hoshi announced.
"Not for long," Travis said as Malcolm dealt the cards. "I've got a good feeling about this round."
"Nope, it's all me this time," Trip interrupted, eating some of the abandoned peanuts from the table in a bowl. "Unless Mal is going to catch up… well, not get any points this round."
"I might surprise you," Malcolm responded, grinning as he stared at his cards.
Since Hoshi was sitting next to Malcolm she got to play the first card on top of the red four he had pulled from the center of the deck. The game continued with more picking on Malcolm and eating their snacks. Hoshi finished eating her peach, feeling smug that she had won it from Trip during the first game. During the first round they had bet what snacks they brought and the winner got to assign who got what. Travis ended up with popcorn, Trip with peanuts, and Malcolm with pretzels. It was almost an hour later when Hoshi started to feel funny. Her body was weak and she had a headache coming on. She didn't realize that she was nauseous until Trip offered her some of his peanuts. She felt her stomach lurch and turned away from him. In her hurry to look away, she knocked a few of the used cards on the floor.
"Are you okay, Hoshi?" Travis inquired.
"I don't know," she murmured reaching down to get the cards.
"Let me help you," Malcolm offered.
He leaned over at the same time and she attempted to avoid hitting heads, but it was inevitable. There was a loud smack at they hit. Travis and Trip winced at the sound. Hoshi placed a hand on her forehead and tried to stand up, but knocked over Malcolm's cup of tea. It splashed over his cards and on to the front of his pants. She was terribly embarrassed, but had no time to apologize as her stomach flip-flopped. Hoshi dashed out of the mess hall and threw up in the corridor. Malcolm was close behind her. He steadied her arms until she had her body back under her own control. Travis and Trip came out of the mess hall with a towel.
"Let's get you to sickbay," Malcolm ordered, helping Hoshi stand.
She stumbled and ended up in Malcolm's arms. Her weary eyes caught his and she smiled faintly. Trip gave a small grin, hiding his hand in his face. He watched the two walk down the corridor.
"Hey Travis," he started to say.
"What?" the younger man asked.
"Do you wanna be in on a practical joke?"
"Of course. What did you have in mind?"
Malcolm watched as Dr. Phlox ran the scanner over Hoshi as she breathed deeply, staring at the floor. He watched the Denobulan's face for a trace of concern. The doctor smiled after a few minutes.
"Have you eaten anything recently?" he inquired.
"Um… just a peach," Hoshi answered, feeling uncomfortable. She could see that the front of Malcolm's pants had liquid all over them.
"That peach must have had some kind of bacteria on it. You have food poisoning. I'll give a mild analgesic. The symptoms should be gone within a few hours," he announced, injected a hypo-spray into her neck.
Mal watched her relax and nodded her head slightly. He thanked Doctor Phlox and slowly escorted Hoshi to her quarters. She wouldn't meet eyes with him the entire way there. He noticed a pink mark on her forehead where they had smacked heads trying to pick up cards. He assumed he had a matching mark on his head and sighed. Hoshi looked up.
"I'm sorry that I spilled your drink all over your lap and then threw up," she apologized, blushing.
"No problem. It's Trip's fault anyway. He's the one who provided the peach," Malcolm joked, trying to lighten the atmosphere.
He waited until Hoshi opened her door and stepped inside to follow her. He helped her lie down on her bed, covering her with the light blanket. She blushed, covering her face. Malcolm pulled out her desk chair for a moment and sat down.
"Is there anything that I can get you?" Mal murmured.
"No, I'll be alright. Tell Trip that he's gonna pay for this one. He gave me a peach that gave me food poisoning."
Malcolm laughed at her response. "I'll make sure to tell him." He stood up and walked to the door, glancing back at her. "Feel better, Hoshi."
She didn't hear him for she was already asleep, thanks for Doctor Phlox's medication. Mal smiled at her sleeping form and left her quarters. Little did he know that the rumors aboard the ship had begun to spread as he left Hoshi's quarters. Malcolm didn't notice Ensign Liz Cutler peering around the corner at him with a devilish smile on her face.
12:40 pm, the next day
Malcolm wiped the sweat from his eyes, working on one of the weapons systems that had suddenly decided to stop working. He had been working on it all morning with very little work and it was frustrating him. Mal spent only a few minutes on the bridge earlier, finding out that Hoshi was still sick and resting in her quarters. Phlox said she would be feeling better by evening. He attempted to concentrate on his task, but felt his stomach grumble. He had skipped breakfast and it was now lunch time. Mal set down his tools and crawled out of the tight area.
"Lieutenant," Ensign Mueller muttered, seeing him. "Are you going for lunch?"
Malcolm noticed a strange glint in his second in command's eyes, but just simply nodded.
"I won't be long," he reassured the man.
He made the short trip to the mess hall, thinking of all the work that he had to do. He didn't even notice two women whispering in the corridor as he walked past. Mal stepped into the mess hall and went straight for the display case. Looking inside, he saw a plate of lasagna that seemed to be edible. Since he wasn't very picky, Malcolm took it out and grabbed a cup. Though he was normally against coffee, he got himself a small cup to keep him awake. The mess hall was fairly empty, so he sat along in the far corner near two crewmembers that were whispering.
Malcolm began to eat, looking over the scans on his pad. He didn't notice that the crewmembers snickered and glanced in his direction.
"May I join you?" Trip asked, setting his plate down without waiting for an answer.
"Of course. How's Hoshi feeling?" Malcolm inquired, putting his work down for a moment.
"Still puking her guts out. I'll have to watch myself when she's feeling better or I'm doomed."
"I believe you are doomed either way."
Trip laughed, eating his pasta and avoiding the obvious. There was something strange about his eyes that Mal couldn't place. They talked about Malcolm's troubles with his system and Trip agreed to look at it later. Mal finished eating and dismissed himself to head back to the Armory. This time he noticed the two others in the room chuckle, giving him a curious glance, but he didn't say anything to them. The gossip would reach him eventually.
Captain Archer sat down at the empty mess hall table, in hearing range of a few of the crew. He was tired of sitting along in his ready room, bored. He needed a distraction and settled for hearing some of the latest ship gossip. He sipped his coffee, thumbing through the paperback book that T'Pol had given him about Surak, not really reading it.
"I don't know how long it's been going on, but long enough."
"I don't believe it. She's not the type and he's definitely not the type. I didn't know what that he was interested in anything other than his work."
"But I heard it this morning when I was eating breakfast. It's all around the ship now."
"How can you be so sure?"
"They were in here playing a game last night and she suddenly knocked his glass on his lap and ran into the corridor. She's got morning sickness. That's why she wasn't on duty today."
"I heard that he was in her quarters last night checking up her."
"Pregnant? I never thought Hoshi would get pregnant. I never thought that someone would sleep with Lieutenant Reed."
Coffee sprayed all over the table and onto the page of his book. Jonathan choked on his coffee, trying to control his shock over the news he just heard. Malcolm and Hoshi… they were pregnant? He felt someone thumping his back as he tried to breathe again. An Ensign was standing next to him, looking concerned.
"Are you okay, Captain?" he inquired.
"Yeah, I'm… fine. Thanks." He faked a smile to convince the man to leave him alone. The two chatty women had noticed Jon's outburst and stopped talking to each other. "Carry on."
Jon picked up his napkin and began to mop up the coffee on the page and the table. It couldn't be true. Malcolm could barely form a coherent conversation about a woman, there was no that he got Hoshi pregnant. Maybe he should have a take with him or Doctor Phlox. Jonathan picked up his book and headed to talk to T'Pol. Maybe she had sensed something between the armory officer and linguist. Trip might know too. He had to find out what the heck was going on.
Once he was finished, Jonathan rushed off to bridge where T'Pol and Trip were working together to modify the scanners to detect a substance in an upcoming nebula. He entered the bridge. Travis and Trip were grinning from ear to ear when they greeted each other. T'Pol remained her normal calm.
"You have coffee on your uniform," T'Pol pointed out. "Did the drink dispenser get angry with you?"
"No, I'm afraid that I heard some interesting rumors that caused me to expel my coffee from my mouth in an ungraceful manner," Jon stated, smiling at her attempt of humor. He turned to look at Travis and Trip. "Did you two have something to do with the new information that I gained today?"
Trip blushed and Travis quickly looked away from him to prevent laughter from spilling out his lips. Jonathan sat down in his chair, trying to give them his best attempt of a fatherly gaze and failing. He sighed, chuckling.
"Does Lieutenant Reed know yet?" he asked, raising one eyebrow a la T'Pol.
Trip shook his head laughing out loud and causing T'Pol to look up with curiosity behind her dark eyes. Jonathan sighed again, not wanting to break the news to Malcolm if he didn't have to.
"Is anyone going to tell him of your practical joke? I know from Doctor Phlox that Hoshi has food poisoning."
Travis shook his head as tears of joy rolled down his face as he failed to control his laughter and pleasure at the thought of Jonathan telling Malcolm he was going to be a father. Jon stood up and looked at Trip.
"T'Pol has the bridge. I'm off to see a certain armory officer. If he hasn't figured it out yet, someone has to tell him before Hoshi gets any more along in her pregnancy." Jon smiled at the two conspirators. "He'll know it was you. I'm just glad that I won't have to be blamed. I'll let you know how he responds."
Jonathan stepped into the turbo-lift and let it slide shut before he burst out laughing.
Malcolm wished for a shower as he sat down at his desk. He also wished that people would stop whispering and do more working. Ensign Mueller had given him several strange looks and even patted him on the back once. Everyone was off their rocker today. He sighed, putting his face in his hands, not bothering to look up when the door to the Armory opened. Captain Archer came over to him, grinning.
"Is there something wrong, Lieutenant?"
Mal looked up and quickly stood, almost knocking over his chair.
"No sir. Everything is going fine. I've just been doing a lot of working on the weapons systems today."
"Nothing else interesting has happened?" Jon asked, looking around to find that he was alone with Malcolm in the Armory for the moment.
"Sir? The crew has seemed distracted today, but nothing more."
Jonathan put a hand over his mouth to hide his smile. Mal gave him a puzzled glance.
"There's been some interesting gossip going around the ship today," he started. "I didn't quite believe it myself, but it could be true."
"What kind of gossip?" Malcolm desired to know, hoping that he didn't have toilet paper stuck to his shoe or such.
"Well…" Jon paused. He put his hand on Malcolm's desk, looking down. Jonathan stood up straight and looked Mal in the eyes. "I heard that Hoshi's pregnant with your baby."
Dead silence filled the Armory.
Malcolm felt his heart skip a few beats. It wasn't possible. He thought. He'd never… done anything like that with Hoshi. He could admit to having a serious crush on her, but he'd never pursued it. The room started to spin and his knees buckled. Jonathan noticed and led him over to his chair to sit down. His commanding officer was smiling, not angry.
"Sir…" Malcolm discovered his voice was slightly hoarse. "I never… Hoshi and I… we've… I've never…"
Jonathan chuckled, putting a hand on his shoulder. Mal felt his face grow hot as he blushed in embarrassment. He tried to control the shock in his shallow breathing. Malcolm was glad he was sitting or he would have fainted and felt worse about showing too much in front of his superior officer.
"It's only gossip," Jon piped up.
Malcolm attempted to keep his mouth open and not let it fall open in shock. Knowing it was rude Mal stood up and moved towards the Armory door.
"Sir, I have something to do. I apologize," he muttered, quickly leaving a smiling Jonathan behind.
Hoshi rolled over in her bed, finally feeling relaxed and much better. Her stomach had stopped heaving a few hours ago and she'd been able to get some well deserved rest. Commander Tucker had come to visit her a few minutes before, asking about a prank he was pulling on Lieutenant Reed. She had playfully hit him a few times for the food poisoning due to his peach before she let him talk. He hadn't wanted to give up the details,
but she had talked him into it. The rumor was that she was pregnant with Malcolm's baby. Trip had helped her concoct a fake story that Mal would believe about him not remembering the incident that led to the pregnancy. Jonathan had been the one to inform Malcolm of the fantastic news that he would soon be a father. It would only be a few moments until Mal arrived.
The door chimed. Malcolm was on time. Hoshi slipped out of the blankets, adjusting her pajamas over her stomach. Putting on a bogus sleepy face, she pressed the button that would let her door swish open. Lieutenant Reed stood in her doorway, clearly looking uncomfortable and on edge. He attempted to smile when he saw her, but failed.
"I'm sorry to disturb you," Mal apologized.
Hoshi feigned a yawn and smiled. "It's not problem. Is there something I can help you with?"
Malcolm blushed. "Would it be alright if I came in?"
"Of course, come on in."
He stepped into her quarters, keeping his hands locked tight behind his back. Hoshi walked around him and sat on her bed, feeling weak from lack of energy all day and little food. Malcolm didn't speak for a long while. He seemed to be very uncomfortable. Hoshi hid her amusement at the situation.
"I heard a rumor today from Captain Archer and I'm not sure where he heard it. But… the rumor is…"
"Is what?" Hoshi inquired innocently.
"The gossip is you are pregnant with my baby. And I've never, ever done anything with you that is less than professional."
Silence. Hoshi hadn't quite planned out how to word the next sentence.
Malcolm stumbled into her desk chair; his face turning pale and flushed.
"We've never…" he tried to say.
"I wouldn't expect you to remember. It was two months ago. You were on your way back to your quarters on New Year's Eve. You and Trip had been drinking a lot to celebrate the New Year. Well, we'd both been drinking and things happened."
Silence again. Hoshi watched at Malcolm's breathing picked up and he placed a hand on his heart. It was abnormal behavior for the pristine man. He didn't handle practical jokes very well. She was tempted to ruin the joke for Trip and blurt out the truth, but she didn't have a chance. Mal got to his feet and moved towards her door, but he did not make it. He collapsed in a dead faint. Hoshi burst out laughing and knelt beside him. Malcolm was still breathing and his heart was fluttering quickly. She pressed the comm button and hailed Trip.
"Commander, you are needed in my quarters. Malcolm fainted," Hoshi said, laughing at the situation.
A few minutes later, Trip was in Hoshi's quarters helping a shocked armory officer to sit up after he dumped a glass of cold water on him. Malcolm was stunned. He mumbled something about never drinking again and post-natal responsibilities. Trip helped him to sit on Hoshi's bed, which caused him to turn a deep red. It was almost too much now. He needed to be let off of the hook, but she didn't want to do it in case he didn't find it funny. Trip couldn't stop grinning from ear to ear, a grin that made Phlox's smile look normal. Mal didn't say anything.
"Are you okay?" Hoshi inquired.
He couldn't look her in the eyes.
"Trip, tell him the truth."
"Malcolm, it's a practical joke," Hoshi declared causing her friend to glance up. "Trip thought it up and passed it around the ship. I'm not pregnant. I had food poisoning from Trip's peach. You didn't get me pregnant."
"What?" Malcolm asked, unsure of the truth. "This is all a joke."
"Yep," Trip responded, shaking his shoulder gently. "I can't believe you fell for it. You had it coming after that practice drill at 3 am last week."
Malcolm studied his friend's face and laughed softly, realizing they were telling the truth. He couldn't believe it himself. He had stood right next to Hoshi when Phlox said that it was food poisoning, not morning sickness. Phlox would have made some big congratulations if she was pregnant and they ask if he could watch next time they had a sexual encounter. He put his face in his hands, letting the laughter take over. Hoshi joined in, her musical laugh filling the room.
"Commander… you are gonna get it," Malcolm teased once he was able to speak.
"I'm counting on it," Trip replied, smiling.
"Let's just make sure that I'm not pregnant anymore and you can keep your bad peaches to yourself," Hoshi added.
The three laughed together, all smiling. Trip put a hand on both of his friends' shoulders.
"Does anyone wanna finish that game of Uno? I believe Malcolm was losing," he commented.
"Not anymore," Malcolm interrupted. "I am going to beat you."
"Ten minutes. We'll meet in the mess hall and replay. I'll beat you."
"Not a chance."
Hoshi shoved the two of her quarters to change and picked up the Uno cards from her drawer. It all started with that game and it was fitting that they end it that way. Throwing on a pair of civvies, she headed to the mess hall to beat the pants off of three goofy men. This time… she would avoid any food from Trip and try not to spill Malcolm's glass on his pants. But… it might start a good rumor.