Looking for Mr. Big Stuff
I suppose you could say I asked for it. I never thought I'd find myself on the holodeck that night, certainly not in Tom's old Sandrine's program. But it had been a long day, and I needed the distraction.
I missed Kes. I missed her naive blend of wisdom and passion. I missed her perkiness and optimism.
Frankly, I missed the sex.
Now, please don't get me wrong. It wasn't that kind of relationship. I loved Kes dearly. It just so happens that I also loved the sex. Not that I've had much experience in that area lately. I throw myself into my duties as morale officer, pouring all that frustration into cooking and brainstorming and providing a cheery respite for the good people of this ship.
But the night I walked into Sandrine's, I would have traded all that productivity for one good roll in the shak'zris.
I ordered a beer. I'm ashamed to admit it, but I am really beginning to like that swill. Tom drinks the German stuff, but I like the good old watery American varieties. I'm told this makes me a philistine, whatever that is. Some kids were playing pool in the back of the bar, with Sandrine keeping them in stitches between shots.
I hated to admit it, but all this fun was depressing the hell out of me. I watched Sandrine as she leaned over to placed the scratched cue ball behind the line for the taller of the boys. Her dress was tight and low-cut, and left very little to the imagination. I could feel myself getting more and more depressed by the moment.
"Computer, pause program," I said. This was ridiculous. Who goes to a bar alone to cheer themselves up? I had the holodeck for another forty-five minutes, but I wasn't going to waste it drowning my sorrows in cheap beer. What to do, what to do?
"Computer, switch program to..." I have to admit, I didn't know what to say. I ran through all of my favorite programs, but they all seemed either dull or depressing. "Computer, select random program from program library. Something fun," I added.
Immediately, the scene switched from a dingy French saloon to a dingy Earth detective agency. I walked through the heavy wooden door to see a great-looking blonde human seated behind a desk.
"Hiya, Dix," she said, never taking her attention from the all-consuming job of filing her nails. "You're back early. Bad day at the track?"
I winced. Great Wickla's Ghost! That voice could cut through the hull a Borg ship and still be sharp enough to slice a tomato! "Computer, pause program. Discontinue." I couldn't imagine what sort of psycho would find that program enjoyable.
It was ridiculous. I could try to distract myself with holoprograms and fabricated adventures, but it wouldn't change the real reason I was here.
I was lonely.
"Computer, I need somebody to talk to," I said.
Please specify parameters.
Parameters? I hated this. Part of me wanted to just call it a night, go back to the mess, and drown my sorrows in Alduvian fudge. But I found myself saying, "I need some advice. I want to talk to another guy. Somebody who knows a thing or two about women."
Searching database for specified parameters.
That's when he showed up. A human in his mid- to late-30s, reddish-blond hair, sporting a Starfleet command uniform from about eighty years ago. He had a kind face, devilish grin, and sparkling hazel eyes. I knew immediately I could get to like this guy.
"You wanted some advice? Here I am," he said, looking around at the black and yellow hologrid. "Of course, I'm not exactly sure where here is. Can we go someplace a little more relaxing?"
Relaxing? Uh, sure. I immediately instructed the computer to create a little piano bar, complete with white wicker furniture, plants, and patio lighting. "I'm sorry," I said. "I didn't catch your name."
"Jim. My name is Jim."
"Jim! Your name is Jim! I knew your name was Jim! Jim Kirk, captain of the Enterprise!"
"In the flesh," he grinned, then looked down at his arm. "Or should I say, in the photons? I'm assuming I'm some sort of holographic projection?"
"You know that?"
"I'm here, aren't I? And since you are obviously from a race I've never encountered, and the holographic technology on this ship is far superior to what I knew when I'm alive, it only seems logical that..." He stopped, getting this odd look on his face. Then he started to laugh. "That cinches it, Mr...."
"Neelix," I said.
"Neelix. If I'm spouting off the word logical like some sort of Vulcan accountant, I know this can't be real." He looked around the bar, then said, "So what does a hologram have to do to get a drink around here, anyway?"
It should have ended right there. Jim and I had a grand time together, laughing and drinking and swapping adventures. I began feeling better and better about myself every time we got together. I did a little research on the real James T. Kirk, and there was no one I could think of more qualified to help me with my problems.
In truth, by all rights, I should have women crawling all over me. I have everything a woman says she wants. I'm sensitive, a good listener, funny, honest, great with kids, and creative. I'm a prize.
"So, why am I spending every night with my spatula for company" was what I asked Jim on that fateful night.
"That sound rather personal, Neelix," he joked. I laughed. But it wasn't funny. Why did women always say they wanted a nice guy, when nice guys always wind up sleeping alone?
"According to you, I should have more women than two centuries of the Kennedy family combined." Jim and I were sitting at our favorite booth at the Oasis Piano Bar, sipping Manhattans and discussing the universe. Or at least, my version of the universe. "I mean, I'm doing everything I can think of. What's wrong with me?"
"Maybe you're limiting your options," Jim said.
That should have been the clincher. That should have been the precise moment where I stood up, shut down the holodeck, and went back to refining my recipe for Tanqui flan. But I didn't do that. Instead, I asked, "What do you mean?" Four simple words. Very complicated answer.
"You've limited yourself to only about 52% of the population, Neelix. You're setting yourself up to fail."
At that point, Jim put his hand over mine, looking me straight in the eye, and said, "Have you ever considered alternative options?"
"Alternative options? Alternative OPTIONS?" At this point, I didn't get it. "Jimmy, I have made use of every alternative option in the seven galaxies, and I'm still randier than a pack of salivating mud-jumpers. I don't think...alternative options...are going to help me at this point. I need a real woman, thank you."
'Have you every considered a male partner?"
That shut me up. Had I ever considered a male partner? Of course I hadn't. Talaxians don't have any form of homosexuality. I'd never even heard of such a thing before joining the Voyager crew. Granted, I had no problem with those crewmen who lived such a lifestyle, but had never before considered it an option for myself. "Um, actually, no."
"Well, because..." And at that point, I had to admit I had no good reason for not considering it. There were several males aboard the ship with whom I had great relationships. I was a little fuzzy on the physical aspect of it, but adding men to the equation certainly increased my chances of getting laid. "Well, I suppose..."
"Have you ever been with a man?" Jim was staring at me now. I didn't know what to say. Of course I hadn't been with a man before. Had he?
What was I thinking? This was a hologram. A fictional character loosely based on a historic record, adjusting its programming to match my specific psychological needs. I could end this with a simple command.
"Um, no. I haven't," was all I managed to say. Oh, by Tsarka's Hand, what else could I say?
"Is it an option you might find acceptable?" He continued to stare at me. It was as if the computer were monitoring my every reaction through those sparkling hazel eyes.
"Well..." I didn't have time to finish, because at that moment he leaned over and kissed me hard on the mouth. I could feel it in the soles of my feet.
I suppose I could have ended the program at that point, but I was really very horny. And it felt good to be touched. And Jim certainly knew his way around a kiss.
So I kissed him back.
That was the end. We were in bed and exploring strange new worlds in a matter of minutes.
It was good. It was more than good. It was intoxicating. It was lascivious and euphoric and mind-boggling.
And it was over in about ten minutes. Not because we wanted it that way, but because my allotted holodeck time was up.
It was short, but sweet. And I suddenly found myself with a new hobby.
So here I am. Back where I started, only worse off than before.
You see, the shift following my encounter with Jim's Inner Stud, the ship encountered a massive subspace anomaly which left us drifting helpless for several hours. It also knocked out several of the memory storage units, including one of the holodeck modules. About 10% of the holodeck programming was lost.
I tried recreating the program from historical records, but it just wasn't the same. So, within one standard day of discovering this new craving of mine, I lost my most reliable supplier.
And I was wrong. Bisexuality doesn't double your chance of being laid. But it sure as heck doubles your shot at rejection.
I'm going back to my quarters and spend some quality time with my spatula.
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