Disclaimer: Enterprise is the property of Paramount Pictures.

An Overture

Commander Shran, of the Andorian Imperial Guard, leaned forward in his seat on the bridge of the warship Kumari, his antennae flattened back against his skull in anger, and glared at the ugly swine of an alien on the viewscreen. "You are in violation of Andorian territory, Tellarite," he snapped, tired of this conversation already. Ten minutes ago he'd been in bed, and he'd be there still if the officer in command of the middle watch hadn't called him and urgently requested his presence on the bridge. Shran couldn't say he was surprised that this simple patrol duty had turned up an incursion into Andorian space – the Tellarites, after all, were becoming more and more brazen – but he would have preferred dealing with one of the insufferable people when he was well rested.

"Andoria has never formalized its claim to this system," the Tellarite captain retorted.

"You must think I'm stupid," Shran spat.

"I thought that was obvious," the Tellarite said. "Now stand down, Andorian; or my government will hear of your unwarranted aggression."

"If you don't leave this system immediately, you'll be lucky if I let you limp back to Tellar Prime," Shran said. He glanced towards tactical, where Lieutenant Talas was waiting, poised, and nodded slightly to her. Technically she wasn't on duty now, either, but he'd passed her in the corridor as he'd been shrugging into his uniform, and she'd accompanied him to the bridge. With a few taps of her fingers, she armed the photon torpedoes, and Shran turned back to the viewscreen. "Lieutenant," he said to Talas, glaring at the Tellarite the entire time, "target their warp engines."

"Yes, sir," Talas said crisply.

"Wait, wait!" The Tellarite put his hands up placatingly and Shran gestured to Talas to hold her fire. "Our shields can't possibly hold against your torpedoes!"

Shran's antennae swiveled forward in aggression. "Then I suggest you rethink your course heading."

For a moment, the two of them glared at each other, but then the Tellarite captain barked an order to take his vessel out of the system. "You haven't heard the last of this, Andorian!" he snarled before cutting the comm link.

"I want visuals on that ship maintained until they leave the system," Shran said to the watch officer, who nodded. "If they deviate from that course, let me know immediately." With that, he got to his feet and stalked to his ready room, where he now had to spend further time preparing a report of the incident for the Imperial Guard. He'd be lucky to get any sleep tonight at all.

"Lights," Shran barked as he slammed a hand on the door panel to close the door to his quarters. Against his better judgment, he'd contacted the Imperial Guard about the Tellarites – his reward was to stay out here on patrol duty, since the Guard had been so 'impressed' with his handling of the situation. Cursed Tellarites and their trade routes; there were half a dozen other unaligned systems they could have chosen to send their ships through but they had to pick this—

He halted and his antennae, and eyebrows, shot straight up at the sight that met his eyes. "Lieutenant," he said, his tone only the slightest bit strangled, for lounging in a chair in the middle of his quarters was Lieutenant Talas, wearing…well, wearing very little. And not that he allowed himself to think such things about the officers that served under him, but it was hard not to notice that Talas looked good in a uniform. It was currently impossible not to notice that she looked even better out of one, and it took an immense amount of concentration to make sure that his antennae and eyebrows were the only parts of his anatomy to rise. It was something of a losing battle.

"Hello, Commander," Talas replied, languidly stretching one leg out and crossing it over the other, giving him an uninterrupted view all the way up its shapely length.

For a moment, all he could do was stare, but then he shook himself and forced his eyes to meet hers, trying not to make detours along the way. "How did you get in here?" he asked.

She smirked. "Security override codes."

"Breaking into your commanding officer's quarters," he said, keeping his tone even. "That's a punishable offense."

"I suppose it is," Talas said, sounding unconcerned. There was a low, throaty undercurrent to her voice that was impossible to ignore. "I thought you might want some company after dealing with the Tellarites, and I didn't think you'd be in the mood to let me in if I'd knocked politely."

Taking another step into the cabin, he replied, "That last part is true, at least." The Tellarites – yes, he'd been stewing over that a minute ago, hadn't he? The bare expanses of Talas's skin had driven them straight out of his mind.

She stared at him for a moment, and then she swung her legs around and stood up, approaching him with a certain swing to her hips that Shran knew she didn't employ while on duty. "And by the way, I don't think that's regulation, Lieutenant," Shran said with a nod towards her attire. Pink. In a million years, he never would have imagined that his tactical officer wore pink underwear. Not that he was in the habit of imagining her in her underwear, of course.

"I figured I'd make myself comfortable while I waited," she replied, crossing her arms over her chest and making that part of her body correspondingly difficult to ignore.

"I hope you helped yourself to a drink," he said, torn between annoyance, amusement, and something…else, something that he never let himself think about because he was her superior officer, at least fifteen years her senior, and because a woman like Talas could have anyone she wanted. He had never imagined that he was high on her list of potential mates.

"Don't you want to share one with me?" she asked, arching an eyebrow.

For a second, he was sorely tempted. This was something he'd wanted for some time, and the answer – yes, and more – was on his lips, before he stopped himself. He was her commanding officer. He couldn't get involved with someone under his command. The Kumari was a smoothly-run ship, with a crew that worked seamlessly together, and a commander who had their respect. It was all too possible that introducing a romantic entanglement with an officer could change all of that.

"I think," Shran said, and he didn't miss the hopeful look that flickered across her face – Gods, was he making a mistake? – "that you'd better go."

Talas raised her eyebrows and pursed her lips, though she didn't look as put out as he'd imagined she might. "Do you," she said, without the slightest hint of query.

Shran knew his antennae, pointing towards her in a combination of interest and attraction, were telling a different story, but he still nodded curtly. With a shrug, Talas moved towards the door, but as she reached him, he grabbed her arm. "You're not going to walk around my ship like that, Lieutenant."

One corner of her lips turned upwards. "Another punishable offense?"

"Possibly." He let go of her. She was goading him, and the feeling of her bare arm underneath his hand wasn't helping anything. Anyway, her uniform wasn't in evidence. "We'll talk about this later."

Talas rolled her eyes. "Shran," she said on a sharp exhale, "I'm done talking."

Before he could react, she hooked a foot around his ankle and jerked upwards, sending him sprawling. As he fell, he grabbed for her, closing his fingers around her arm and twisting it so that she went to the floor with him. They landed heavily and Shran rolled so that she was beneath him, then locked his hands around her wrists and forced her arms over her head.

The two of them stayed that way for a moment, both of them breathing a little more heavily than normal, and Shran very aware of the fact that one of his officers – the officer that he'd always been attracted to – was pinned under him in nothing but her underwear, her chest heaving up and down, and that his own arousal was painfully obvious to him, and most likely (though not as painfully) her.

"Are you looking for a court martial, Lieutenant?" he growled.

"No," she replied, bringing her knee up quickly, hitting him in the stomach and forcing him to loosen his grip on her arms. In another second, she was straddling him, her straight white hair hanging around her face as she braced her hands on his shoulders. "Looks like you have two options, Commander," she said in a low tone. "Is arresting me still your top choice?"

His hands found themselves on her bare legs of their own accord, sliding from her thighs upwards, and then he wrapped his fingers around her upper arms and pulled her down, until her face was only centimeters from his. He wanted her. Whatever reservations he'd had couldn't stand up to this sort of prolonged and determined attack. "You know I could charge you with assaulting a superior officer," he said.

She smiled slightly, leaned down a few more centimeters, and brushed her lips over his.

Shran reached up with one hand and twined his fingers in her hair. "I'll let you off with a warning this time, though," he breathed, and then pulled her to him again and crushed his lips against hers.

Talas made a muffled noise of satisfaction and opened her mouth to him, her hands immediately beginning to work him out of his uniform, which she managed in surprisingly short order, while he rid her of the few articles of clothing she was still wearing – which proved that she looked truly incredible with nothing on at all. Then he pulled her to the floor, covering her body with his, while both of them acquainted themselves with the details of each other's anatomy with eager hands, tongues, and antennae. "You, Thy'lek Shran," Talas breathed, in between hungry kisses, "are the most impossible, stubborn man I've ever met."

"Must be part of the attraction," he groaned into her mouth as he slipped a hand between her legs.

Mating with Talas was every bit the fight that it had started out as, their sweat-slicked bodies locked together as one tried to gain dominance over the other; their grappling for control driving their desire to further intensity. In the end she was beneath him, her legs wrapped around his back as he drove into her, her hips thrusting against his, and the universe condensing to a single point of ferocious pleasure.

Afterwards, they remained sprawled on the floor, panting, soaked in sweat, and both of them still gently and slowly touching the other. Luckily, all the furniture was still intact.

Shran shifted and put an arm around her back, drawing her closer, and she kissed his neck lingeringly. "I can't believe I had to do all of that to get your attention," she said with a low laugh, tracing her fingers lightly over his chest.

"It was effective," he replied, "if a bit unorthodox." Turning his head and tilting it so that he could meet her eyes, he raised an eyebrow and added with a hint of a grin, "And erotic. I never knew you had it in you, Lieutenant."

"There's a lot you don't know about me, Commander," she said, kissing him and employing her tongue in a way that he didn't think was quite fair.

"I'm beginning to see that," he murmured when he was next able to.

Talas grinned and put a hand to his chest, and he covered her hand with one of his own. "I've never been very good at his," he admitted. When she raised her eyebrows suggestively, he added, "Not…that. I think I'm all right in that department, though only you could say for sure."

She smiled. "I have no complaints." Then, she laid her head against his shoulder, her antennae brushing the side of his face and neck. Somehow, that gesture of vulnerability felt more intimate than everything that had happened until that point. "I know you don't think you've very good at it," she said, in a soft tone that he was unused to hearing from his tactical officer. "But wouldn't you like to explore the possibility of this working?"

This. A relationship, between him and Talas. He'd given up on this sort of thing long ago, because no woman had ever been equal to the Kumari. Until now. "With you?" Shran wrapped his fingers around hers. "Yes." His concerns about mixing his command with romance still hovered at the back of his mind, but a much stronger feeling told him he'd be a fool to turn down what Talas was offering: no less than her heart. And when a woman like Thira Talas offered her heart, the only thing to do was accept. Amazing sex aside, she was an impressive woman; passionate and smart, loyal and courageous. Beautiful, obviously. She really could have had anyone. That she was choosing him was…incredible, and shocking, and he supposed he'd been blinded to her advances by his own disbelief that she could want him.

He lifted her hand to his mouth and kissed her fingers, feeling her smile against his chest. After a moment more, he got to his feet, pulling her up with him and ultimately towards his berth, where the Andorian propensity for repeated couplings made for a satisfying evening, indeed. It turned out his prediction that he'd be lucky to get any sleep that night was correct – but having Talas in his arms was more than a fair trade. Knowing that she wanted to stay there made him think, with a certain amount of relish, that he might happily never sleep again.