But at the back of my Holodeck I always feel...
Written by Mary

Can this count as an entry into the improbable pairing challenge? Warning: Any attempts to make sense out of any of this will make your head blow up. I'm not kidding. Btw, Ensign Ro is a ST:TNG character played by the luminous Michelle Forbes, who played her so well that it for a long time it was difficult seeing her *without* her Bajoran nose. Guess who i paired her up with. Additional warning: This be hetfic (stop laughing, Holli! ;]), so if that isn't your thing, bail out now. You know, considering Mikey isn't one of my favorite characters, it sure looks like i have him on the brain. Feedback muchly appreciated!

Ensign Ro was restless. Heaven help us all from the wrath of a bored Bajoran.She paced the simple floorspace of her quarters, and when that grew too claustrophobic for her, she expanded the pacing to a swift but aimless journey about the Enterprise. It was swathed in dimness, signalling the night shift on board the 1701-D.

*I'm in a rut*, she thought. Nothing would bring her out of it, no journeys to the surface of whatever M-class planet they happened to stroll across,no attempts at educating the witless of the finer points of Bajoran language and culture, no sparring matches with Worf, and certainly no more fuckfests with Commander William T. Riker.

*If I have to look at that barrel-chested bastard one more time*, she gritted her teeth and stopped herself. *It's not entirely him that you're bothered with, is it?*, she thought as she continued her measured, confident stride.
While Riker had no problems whatsoever in knowing exactly what he wanted from his career, it was his indecisiveness in matters personal that rubbed her the wrong way, his reticence to reach out and grab what he truly wanted from a partner. It was all too obvious that he was using her as a poor substitute for the man he really loved. After all, why pass up promotion after promotion to other ships to stay second-in-command on the Enterprise?

Ensign Ro knew the answer to that question, and that answer wasn't Deanna Troi either. There was far too much history between the two of them to ever get back to being the couple that they once were, and Riker seemed to like his partners with a lot less hair these days, for another.

*Ah, well, his angsting is none of my business. It's not like he can talk to the ship's counselor about it, now can he? If he needs someone to point him in the right direction, he'd better speak up. But what about what I desire? What I need, what I need is...something to take my mind off of everything, something frothy and fun, a temporary 180-degree switch to recharge the cells, so to speak.*

A completely different kind of man would be fun, someone blond, blue-eyed,a sweet young thing without all of that hair...Ensign Ro stopped herself again, realizing that she had wandered into Main Engineering. She rolled her eyes to the ceiling and shook her head softly.

*Terrific, it turns out that I just want to get laid, how original.* "Well, I know of one easy solution to that problem", she whispered to herself, and grinned. Between Riker and Geordi, hardly anybody got to usethe damn holodecks these days. *They really should conform to the rules and use the sign-up roster like everyone else*, she thought acidly.

But it was the middle of the night, and even in space, most humaniod life forms conformed to a Circadian pattern,even though the blackness outside the windows rarely changed. Perhaps one of the holodecks was vacant at the moment.
Holodeck One was, and she went in to scan what the ship's idea of a holodeck fantasy man would be. It was pretty dismal selection. For one thing, it looked like whoever programmed these images was a guy that had never asked for a woman's input. Sweaty, bulging creatures with far too much muscle tone and not nearly enough left to the imagination dominated her field of view.

"I'll bet none of them are even programmed to grunt, let alone talk", she muttered as she scanned through all manner of possibilities drawn from all across the quadrants. Ok, now they were starting to get a little interesting, if hardly the type Ensign Ro was looking for. Tentacles and iridescent skin flashed by the monitor.

Ro directed the Computer's search to look for creatures that at least had two arms and two legs and no tails; she didn't want to be too picky. She stopped on one that caught her eye immediately.
"Hel-lo", Ro whistled softly through her teeth. *I like this one.*
Sandy blond hair, bright blue eyes that were just a little too close together, dimples, and a sly grin told her that this was the man she was looking for. This was her lust object of the moment.

"Who is this?", Ro wondered aloud. The bright twinkling sound of the Computer warned her that Ensign Ro would soon find out as much as she could stand about this handsome young man.

"Mike Kellerman of the late 20th century Earth TV program 'Homicide', a drama about the lives of Baltimore, Maryland police detectives. Mike Kellerman played an arson investigator who transferred to the show in the beginning of the program's fourth year. He was an earnest young detective until he was investigated for accepting bribes from the arson unit. He lost his position because of the questionable shooting of Baltimore druglord Luther Mahoney. He lived on board his boat, the "CaseClosed", taking tourists around the harbor city. He partnered with Detective Meldrick Lewis, was divorced from his first wife Annie..."

Ensign Ro was half listening to this patter while the other half of her brain was devising a way to bring the two of them together. *If I wanted tojust go into the Holodeck to hump someone, I would've picked the first man that popped up on the screen*, she thought. No, she wanted her encounter tohave a little more plot than that.

There were a couple of things that stuck in what the Computer was telling her, namely "harbor" and "boat". Visions of a bright blue sky and sparkling green water filled her mind.
*The Computer has an awful lot of information on this TV program; maybe there were admirers of 'Homicide' on board the Enterprise that created all of this backstory for the character*, she thought. It boggled the mind that Computer would have all of this information on hand as a matter of course. It made her wonder what other bits of information were being stored in her memory banks.

And then she saw her while running through images of the show featuring this Mike Kellerman character. The resemblance was uncanny. She looked just like Ro Laren, save for a mole on her cheek, no earring, and lacking the characteristic ridges that made up her Bajoran nose. She watched the imageof this woman who looked so much like herself softly kiss Mike Kellerman in a small yellow room. She could hear the crinkle of the shiny black jacket the woman was wearing, and swore she could even smell the ghost of rich leather prick her nostrils. She heard the sounds of their kissing and it felt like her stomach dropped out from under her.

"Computer," she used her command voice a little too loudly this time, "who's this?"
The Computer stopped its monologue to resume another lengthy discourse."Chief Medical Examiner Dr. Juliana Cox. Dr. Cox was a competent, dedicated coroner that frequently drank too much in her off-duty hours and was often seen in the company of Detective Mike Kellerman..."

"That's enough, Computer." Ro interrupted once more. *It's fate*, she thought. She had no need to hear the history of their lives together. Forall she knew it could go on forever, or have tragic turns that would spoil the fantasy for her. This was too good as it was; it gave her a lot to goon without spending a lot of time tinkering with an original Holodeck program.

A short time later Ro straightened from the Holodeck console, unkinked her stiff neck and shoulders, and addressed the Computer once more.
"Computer, run program Kellerman alpha."

Instantly the grid patterns merged into the harbor of Fells Point and Ro Laren found herself standing on a wooden dock facing rows of white boats of all styles and sizes. The bright blue day stretched over her head and thewater looked lovely, just as she programmed, but there were other subtle touches added into the program that she hadn't thought of- the air, for one.It was humid, but there was a breeze, and it smelled like water tinged with the faintest trace of salt and a clean smell of marine life. Ro breathed in the warm air and felt wonderful, happy to be under the sun and not boxed into the Enterprise, basking in the illusion.

The sun radiated down insoft, warm shafts, not burning at all. Puffy clouds dotted the sky high overhead and over to her left she saw a group of seagulls beating their wings and crying out over scraps of leftover food. A sudden gust of wind blew the birds this way and that, and when they tried to return to their food source they looked like they were standing still against the breeze. A boat horn lowed in the distance.

Ro stood, entranced by the spectaclebefore her.*Well, no time like the present, Ensign Ro. Let's go see where Mike Kellerman hangs out in his off-duty hours.*
Ro stepped off of the wide wooden sidewalk onto the narrow docks that moved under her feet. She found Mike Kellerman sitting on the back of the boat, sun-bleached hair glistening in the bright sun. He was clad only in a white t-shirt and a pair of baggy swim trucks. His bare feet were swinging idly, heels bumping against the "Case Closed" lettering, and he was drinking something out of a metal can.

"You're right on time."
"Excuse me?"
"You're right on time for the day trip into the Bay." Mike leaned over and looked around and flashed Ro a dimpled grin. "Is it just going to be you and me today?"

Ro felt a warmth inside her that had nothing to do with the sun. "Do we need anyone else?" All of a sudden she felt a little awkward.*Pretty pathetic when holographic characters give you butterflies in your stomach, but he just seems so real to me right now I can't tell the fantasy from the reality...So just ride the fantasy and see what happens, Ro Laren...*

"You still with us, Miss?"
"Ro Laren."
"You still with us, Miss Laren?"
"I am properly addressed by my first name. Call me Ro."

Mike shrugged his shoulders and took another swallow from his drink."Whatever floats your boat, lady." He gave her a bemused look. "Are you coming out dressed in that? You look like you're going to a Trekkie convention."

Ro looked down. She didn't understand the reference, but it was obvious that she forgot something.
"Don't worry Ro, I've got some stuff to put on somewhere in the boat. I can't promise that it'll be the spiffiest, but you'll be comfortable at least. You ready to head out?"
"Let's do it."

Mike rummaged around the cabin of the Case Closed and handed some clothes and a sun visor to Ro. "Here, put these on while I take the boat out of the harbor, all right? The bathroom's down there on the left."

Ro slipped out of Starfleet uniform and folded it neatly. The shorts were going to be a loose fit on her; she'll have to ask him for a belt otherwise they'll be puddled around her ankles.*Isn't that the idea, Ro?**Shut up. Oh great, now I'm arguing with myself. I'll end this program if I start arguing with myself and I still lose.

*Even his clothes smelled good. The shorts were made of crisp, thick, cream-colored cotton and they smelled strongly but not unpleasantly of detergent, and the shirt, a plain black tank top, smelled like it had been worn by its owner at least once before Ro got a chance to try it on. It had a musky scent underneath the more powerful smell of stale tobacco.
Ro slipped it over her head and grabbed the front of it, lifted it to herface and inhaled deeply. Adjusting the visor on her head, Ro looked in the tiny bathroom mirror in an equally tiny bathroom and smiled at her reflection.

Stepping out onto the end of the boat once more, Ro felt the boat dip and lift repeatedly as it crossed the wakes made by other engines, kicking fine spray up into her face and arms. She turned to look at her companion who seemed preoccupied with the task of taking them out into the bay.

She moved forward to get a better look at Mike. She admired the strength in his muscled shoulders, but what intrigued her the most was the sight of his hands. She looked at the strong, blunt-tipped fingers absentmindedly going through the motions.There was something so erotic in seeing a lover's, even a potential lover's, body engaged in mundane activities, secretly knowing that the mouth that is speaking to you now was hungrily feeding on your neck only an hour before, the quiet thrill of knowing what the hands that are swiftly moving across a ship's sterile console look like when they're coaxing a moan out of you, how they taste soaked with sex.

As the Case Closed edged farther out into the bay and away from populated areas and the bulk of the boat traffic, Mike cut the throttle down to idle and finally to a dead stop. The lack of sound rang in Ro's ears, replaced by the quiet sound of water slapping against the sides and the creak of the boat rising and falling in its own wake.

Mike turned to Ro Laren, winked at her good-naturedly and began to haul out two fishing poles and long tackle boxes.
"So whaddaya think, Ro? Is this going to be the day you catch the mother of all rockfish or the biggest bastard of a flounder we can haul on board?", he said as he handed a fishing rod to Ro.
"Could you loan me a belt first? These shorts are practically falling off me."

Kellerman moved to stand in front of her and before she knew it, Mike had put his hands on her waist, his thumbs tracing the skin of her belly beneath the tank top. "I like the way they fall off of you", he said, looking up from under his eyelashes, his thumbs sliding underneath the front of her shorts, stroking slowly, surely, sliding lower-Ro lightly wet her lips and smiled at him.

"Get me a belt."*Mike certainly had the smartass expression down pat*, she thought.
"Yes, ma'am, I'll see what I can scrounge up." Mike returned a minute later with a long thin brown leather belt that cinched at the last notch was still too wide, but it was better than before. "You've been fishing before, Ro?"
"I've been on trips with friends."
"Anywhere around here?"
"No, nothing local."
"Want me to bait your hook for you?"
"I can take care of it."
"Ok, just make sure that you let the line hit the bottom, but don't let out any more line after that-"
"I know."
"-and watch where you cast the line, a guy a couple of months ago got a fishook through the eye because-"
"Look Mike, I promise I won't poke out your eye for at least ten minutes, alright?"
"Fine by me. You want a beer?"

The minutes stretched as Ro lost herself in the contemplation of light on the water and of the bobber, making sure the dips that it made were true bites and not merely a strong wave washing over it. Ro and Mike sat side-by-side, occasionally reeling in the line to check to make sure that the bait was still there, rebait if necessary, then release the catch to send the line whirring to the bottom again.

"So fishing's your passion, Mike?"
"Oh yeah, it's a wonderful way to relax. If my job is kicking my ass, I know I can come out here and not think of anything. I can just sit here, knock back a beer and catch dinner if I get lucky. Or I can bring tourists out here and do the same thing and get paid for it. Sometimes I wonder if I missed my calling, that I should turn my hobby into a living."
"Why don't you?"
"For just that reason. I know if I had to depend on my hobby to survive, I'd learn to hate it for sure. Besides, my job keeps me grounded, it gives me a sense of purpose. I don't know what I'd do without it, even with the long hours, no sleep, and looking at stiffs day after day." He took another swallow and smiled with an inside joke. "And trust me, my partner looks like hell before he's put his makeup on, lemme tell you. Yeah, I'd rather fish than anything." He looked her up and down.

"Anything?", Ro asked. Mike laughed.
"Well, almost anything." More silence. The sidelong glances between the pair increased in frequency and duration around pulls on their beer.

Ro watched as Mike wrapped his lips around the mouth of the bottle, tilted it higher and drank. She unselfconsciously watched Mike's throat work around the liquid, saw a stray drop of beer lazily make its way from his chin down a neck shiny by sweat. Mike caught her gaze, swallowed and smiled.

"You're going to burn to a crisp in the sun. Let me put some sunscreen on you."
"What about your line? You could be letting go of the catch of a lifetime while you engage in this little act of altruism."

Mike finished off his beer and set it down with a loud thump. "Fuck it." Mike squirted some white cream onto his palm and rubbed it between his hands before placing them on her neck and shoulders, kneading deeply, slowly, firmly. Ro closed her eyes and sighed, revelling in the tingles created by Mike's touch that radiated from the base of her neck to her face, her arms, down to the small of her back. Mike's fingers left her neck and skimmed over the back of her tank top and hovered over the edge and hesitated. Ro felt the tips of Mike's fingers brush her skin, felt the heat of his breath against the back of her neck as he moved in closer.

*This feels so real...*"Do it", she whispered. Behind her, Ro heard the sound of cloth slipping against skin, felt Mike's hands slip underneath the shirt to caress the smooth skin of her lower back. He started to raise the top slowly to reveal the skin up to her shoulders. Ro raised her arms to let Mike free her from her clothing. Mike took a step forward and Ro felt the skin of his chest flush againsther, felt his arms snake around her middle and hold her tight.

*He feels so good, so warm and alive, so beautiful*, Ro thought dreamily.She felt like she was underwater, swimming in air as she leaned her head against his shoulder, her lips seeking what skin she could reach. Mike lowered his head to meet her lips. Ro turned in his arms to get a better angle and they spent a long moment simply exploring each other's mouths, slow, soft, languid kisses.

*He even has his own taste, beer and something else, and his *smell*, musky and smoky, how did the Computer know to do that?*

Mike broke from her lips to plant kisses on her cheeks, her eyelids. He moved up to press a kiss onto the center of her forehead, then snaked his tongue out to lick along the ridges of her nose. He lingered there, licking each individual crease followed by open minded kisses between her eyes.

"I never knew my nose was an erogenous zone before, Mike Kellerman."
More kisses. "When you're with the right person, you're whole body is an erogenous zone. Mike licked up the bridge once more. "I think you have a really sexy nose, Ro Laren.", Mike whispered hoarsely.
"You are so perverse..." Ro sought the stubbled flesh of his cheek and chin. "I think I like it..."

Behind her she heard a whirring sound that could only mean one thing. Mike opened his eyes at the sound and broke the kiss.
"Holy shit, Ro, grab it! Let's reel that bastard in!" Right now she felt like throwing the pole overboard, (*Even holodeck men are easily distractible*, Ro noted), but an insane thought hit her-*-Never done the topless fishing thing before, it could end up in the bookof Holodeck life experiences-*

But now she had to act quickly before the fish lost the bait, and right now catching a fish, even a holographic one, was seen as a gauntlet thrown down waiting for Ro to pick up. Somewhere Ro was sure the trickster sprites that invaded the Holodeck's programming were clapping their hands and jumping up and down with glee, of that she had no doubt. It was quite simply a challenge that was too silly and too fun to refuse.

Ro grabbed the pole and began to steadily pull and reel in the line while Mike offered thinly disguised suggestions over her shoulder. In his excitement he was nearly a hair's breath away from taking the pole from her, but Ro was damned if she was going to let that happen. This was her fight now.

"Don't reel it in so fast- watch how you pull on the line...not so hard, you're gonna lose 'im-"
"I know what I'm doing", Ro gritted through her teeth and worked furiously to bring whatever she had snagged on the line. In one part of her mind, Ro began to wonder what kind of fish she had on the end of this thing. Was it a ray? A shark? A Rizian sand eel? A stone tablet from the Bajoran elders?A monster with ten rows of teeth capable of tearing the both of us to shreds? Ro knew that the safety mechanism was in place, but who knew what would happen to her holographic mate?

*You should've seen it guys, it looked like an abbatoir in there, put me right off my mood...*

In the end it was merely a run of the mill Terran flounder, but impressive in size. Ro hauled it in and Mike was there to catch it with the net in case they lost it at the last moment. The fish flopped this way and that, slapping against the floor of the boat and moving uncontrollably around, gasping mindlessly.

Ro stared at the fish, fascinated with its eye placement. *What would it feel like to have your eyes on one side of your face? To have one on your cheek? Would you see things differently if you were alwayson the bottom looking up, never seeing anything sneaking up from beneath you?*

"Wow, Ro, he's huge! Let me go get the measure to see how big it is!"
Ro thought with a small smile of the amount of tacky jokes that were being wasted in the time it took Mike to plop the fish onto the measurer.
"Nice job Ro, a thirty inch flounder is a terrific catch in this part of the bay. Not as good as I would have pulled in-"
"-As we can see from the ocean's total disinterest in what you have to offer.", Ro finished for him.
"Ah, she's cocky now, she thinks I've lost my touch, haven't you?" Mike seemed to realize what activity they were engaged in before Ro caught the flounder, as well as her present state of undress.

Ro unbuckled the belt holding up her shorts and stepped free of them. Mike divested himself of his own swim trucks with lightning efficiency, never taking his eyes off the Bajoran. Ro sat on the edge of the boat and pushed herself into the water, relishing in its warm glide across her skin, feeling it enter her and brush across every hair of her body. She dipped her head underneath the water and turned to see Mike dive into the water beside her. Ro saw him below the surface of the water, moving smoothly towards her.

As soon as she felt him touch her legs Ro reached above her to grab the edge of the boat for support. She felt lips and the scrape of teeth along the insides of her thighs to settle between her legs, his tongue seeking out the inner folds of her body.

*oh my...oh fuck he feels so good...how long can holograms hold their breath, anyway?**Maybe I should get him a breathing tube...*

Mike came to the surface in a rush, sucking in air greedily and shaking water vigorously from his face. His eyes found hers and darkened; he moved closer to her. She could feel the panting breath brush her lips, and felt something in the depths of mind start to tickle her. Something was vying for Ro's attention and she pushed it away firmly.

"Kiss me", she whispered, keeping the voice at bay. Mike was only too happy to oblige, feeding on her lips greedily, kissing her face, her neck, dipping under the water to suck at her nipples, pulling them into hard points. Ro felt one finger, then another slip inside her, scissoring her open gently, slowly, his thumb reaching out to rub against her clitoris with firm steady pressure.

"You're so wet, so beautiful, I want you so much", he husked out over and over between kisses. Ro felt his hardness rub insistently against her thigh.
"That feels so good, Mike, I'm so close..." Ro was panting now.*It feels so real...*

"Come on baby, come for me, let me hear you..."
Ro let out a sigh, then an prolonged moan, then a strangled scream as Mike rubbed her faster and faster. She threw her head back and came, eyes open but unable to see as Mike entered her with one fluid motion and began to rock against her.
"You're so wet, baby..."

Ro's post-coital veil was lifting all too soon, the peace she sought for her restlessness was slipping through her fingers as she was thrust against the hull of the boat. The intent in his eyes was took on a look of blankness that unnerved her.

*He feels so real...*Ro tried to dispel the disquieting thoughts by leaning forward to kiss him. She so desperately wanted to enjoy this, to go back to that peaceful center she had just a few moments ago.
Mike was grunting louder now, breathing raggedly, whispering mindless endearments over and over in her ear. He winced, froze, and moved into a jerking, uncontrolled frenzy. Ro felt another warm wetness trickle into her.*But not real enough...*

"I love you..." Mike leaned forward so that their foreheads touched. Ro was close to tears.
"Don't say that", she said around the lump in her throat. *All a fantasy, no life, no breath, no warmth...*
"I love you love you love you..."
"Computer, end program."

As soon as it had appeared, it was all gone, no wind, no water, no sun, just Ensign Ro sitting on the floor of the Holodeck. Her Starfleet uniform fell to the floor a few feet from her.Ro lay on the floor, put an arm across her eyes and took deep breaths to try to compose herself.

She became aware of the stillness and silence of the real ship she was travelling on, the one she'd left prison for, a silence broken only by the quiet roar that so quickly became part of the background.She lifted her arm from across her eyes and stared upward at the grid patterns in the ceiling. She felt like she was being watched suddenly, that the floor underneath her naked body was a living thing and was now rising up to meet her, licking its lips, tasting her.

Ro jumped up like she was on fire, threw on her uniform, and rushed out of the Holodeck, hoping to shut inside what had been opened. She hoped that she wouldn't run into anyone from the third rotation on the way to her quarters. She didn't know how much time passed while she was on the Holodeck, the lights were still dim, but it was probably time for the third shift to end.

She let out an audible sigh of relief as the doors to her quarters clicked behind her. There was no trace of the journey on her skin, no damp strands of hair, no beer on her breath, no smell of fish underneath her fingers.But his touch still lingered. The only thing that could survive outside the confines of the Holodeck was the pressure of his kisses, the phantom sensation of his penetration between her legs. She wondered at the feeling,of the knowledge that the Holodeck could leave any trace of itself behind.

*It'll be a while before I set foot in one again, that's a promise.*

Ro walked to her quarter's window and looked out at stars streaking past.The movement was hypnotic, and she thought of the motion it took to propel her this far into space, so far away from home. She realized that she was still compensating for a ship that was buoyed on water, and not empty space.

She shook her head to break the spell and headed into the bathroom. Insomnia had done a number on her once more; now that she was exhausted, it would soon be time to report to duty, and she needed a shower to replenish her. Ensign Ro turned on the water as hot as she could stand it, stood under the spray, and began to scrub.

The End.