Dr. Rush was not a hugger. In fact if anyone came near him with any hugging intentions he would back away and try to find a way to escape the area or at least maneuver himself out of the calculated grasping range of any suspected hugger.

Colonel Young being a life-long hugger had noticed immediately that Rush resisted all his best hugging ploys, including the side-by-side backslapping bro-hug that Young had thought worked on everybody. But not on Doctor Nicholas Rush, not only would Dr. Rush not allow Col. Young to hug him, the man even avoiding being touched! Young had even noticed Rush flinch occasionally when someone got close to touching him. If Rush was unfortunate enough to be caught unawares and hugged against his will he did his level best to slither out of it as soon as possible and it appeared he was more than willing to throw a punch if need be. Young knew that from personal experience.

But Colonel Everett Young was determined to change that. You see Young believed in hugging like some people believe in prayer. He was sure that hugs could cure any illness of the mind or spirit and he wasn't entirely sure how medical doctors cured anybody without prescribing copious amounts of hugs to their patients before and after their operations and he was doubly sure that a regular dose of hugs could cure whatever mental illness or social problems Nicholas Rush was displaying.

He didn't know why Rush was a non-hugger, he'd asked Camille and she'd simply told him that some people just weren't huggers, that they were probably just born that way. But what did she know. Young knew the true power of hugs and if Camille Wray didn't believe in them, then he would show her! Young still didn't know why Rush was so anti-hugging/touching. He knew that Rush had had a wife once, so Young assumed they'd at least hugged at some point in their marriage. Or some vague approximation of a hug anyway, so Young was baffled as to why Rush seemed so resistant to what Young considered an essential part of life.

One by one Young had pulled the crew aside and told them his plan. Many were skeptical, some like Dr. Lisa Park were enthusiastic and a sad few intensely opposed to his Hug Therapy plan (he would deal with them later), even Camille agreed to participate in the 'experiment', though Young suspected she was only in it for a laugh at Young (and Rush's) expense.

He had no intention of hiding this from Rush and once the whole crew (more or less) had agreed to participate, he went straight to the apple core room to inform him that he (his commanding officer), Lt. Johansson (ranking medic) and Miss Wray (the civilian authority) had all agreed that he (Dr. Rush) needed to loosen up and had been prescribed an intense hugging regimen wherein Dr. Rush would be receiving hugs, whether he wanted them or not, from every single member of the crew on a daily basis until he (Dr. Rush) stopped being such an anti-social bastard.

As expected Dr. Rush didn't exactly seemed pleased by this arrangement and when Young moved in to give Rush his first hug of the day, Rush retaliated with a right hook that would've connected with Young's jaw his he hadn't been expected it, instead Young bobbed and weaved around the angry scientist like a seasoned prize-fighter until he managed to take Rush down in manner that looked more like a wrestling hold than a hug, but it satisfied his own daily hug requirement to the Colonel's satisfaction so once Rush finally stopped struggling and lay still, accepting Young's 'hug' as it were, Young allowed Rush back on his feet and he smiled saying, "You see how much better you feel already?"

Young walked out of the control interface room whistling cheerily which covered up all but the worst of the cursing that Rush had started spewing the minute he got his breath back.

I mean really. Rush had never even met the Colonel's mother.

(O)

Rush was in Hell. He'd always suspected that Colonel Young had unnatural designs on him, but this was above and beyond anything he'd had to deal with before. The hugging simply never stopped! Every single person he'd met had insisted on hugging him, some even chased him down if he ran! most simply lay in wait to jump him when he came back down the hall. Rush had started taking the long way round whenever he had to be somewhere. He even contemplated getting into one of the spacesuits to do his work in the unpressurized areas of the ship instead, but unfortunately the suits seemed to be guarded by a trio of especially enthusiastic huggers, who appeared to think they should give Rush more than one hug a day, in fact he was sure Lt. James had given him at least six hugs before he was able to escape the storage bay.

Each crew member had their own methods of getting their daily hug.

Greer's 'hugs' were the worst. They would come out of nowhere, Rush would go into a room that looked empty, but as soon as he'd turn his back Greer would come out of nowhere and bodyslam him into a wall in a manner that felt far more like an assault than a hug.

Brody's were the shortest. He seemed to find the whole thing as distasteful as Rush did and he never let it last longer than a split second. More like they'd accidently bumped into each then a hug.

Volker's were the most awkward. For some reason once he'd gotten inside Rush's personal space for the hug, Volker never seemed to want to let go and once he did finally let go he stayed in Rush's personal space trying to engage him in conversation from an uncomfortably close distance.

Park's hugs were Rush's favorite, not that he would've admitted that to her. She always asked permission first, which he appreciated and she had a way of doing it that made Rush feel like she actually cared. Rush wished she'd teach her technic to Volker (so did Volker).

Camille's hugs felt like a business arrangement. They met, they hugged, business concluded.

Young's hugs were always as public as possible. Young loved an audience, it was almost as if he expected Rush to break into tears mid-hug someday and expound to the crew on how the hug therapy had changed his life. Rush would rather die.

After more than a week of constant hugging Rush was being driven insane. He was not a touchy-feely hippy and Colonel Young just needed to deal with that! But how? Young clearly had the power to make this happen, so it would have to be Young that put a stop to it. But how could he convince him that this hug theory of his was a bad idea?

Perhaps what Colonel really needed was a dose of his own medicine.

(O)

Rush waited for the ideal moment. He walked into the mess hall at noon, a time he knew would be the busiest of the day and when Young advanced for his customary public hug, Rush surprised Young by hugging him instead for what the astonished crew seemed like an indecently long time. When Young opened his mouth to ask him something some kind of hippy nonsense about 'feelings' Rush grabbed his head and pulled him in for the biggest sloppiest kiss he could manage while the mess hall fell into mouth-agape silence.

When Rush was finally finished he winked at the Colonel, "checkmate" he whispered to Young, then he turned and walked out leaving deafening silence in his wake.

As Young looked around him at the astonished and now slowly amused crew he felt his entire face going red to the tips of his ears. And then the laughter started.

(O)

Rush couldn't have been more pleased at the results. Now you might think kissing his way out of this hug-conundrum was going a little overboard. But the hugs stopped. And now the crew had something new to talk about.