by Boadicea

I found it by accident. I don't even know if it's real.

I try not to watch it. It feels wrong; I shouldn't. Sometimes I think of destroying it, but then I find myself nearly shaking with my desire to get back to my quarters and . . .

She comes, crying out, and there are tears on her cheeks, I can see that, the resolution is that good. And then she turns on her side, her body twisted in the sheets. She turns, cries out "Ah," and then what I think is a name. Two syllables. I cannot decipher them. I cannot see her face then, cannot read her lips, and the sound of the sheets . . . I do not know whose name she calls.

It might not be real; it could be someone programming a fantasy. And it may have been put there to trap me. Though that seems like a lot of trouble.

I think, with work, I could discover if it was real. But I don't want to know it isn't. I want to think I have this little thing.

My favorite theory is that the ship's computer is spying on her. That the computer feels about her the way I do. That it wants her and cannot have her, and contents itself with surveillance. They say it cannot achieve sentience, the computer, but I have worked with it for over four years, and I am not sure. Computers with organic components can be like brains, able to get around all sorts of limitations.

It makes me feel less lonely, thinking that the computer and I are so similar, share our voyeurism, our secret, our love. Oh, I have friends. But that's all they are. They don't share my bed and they don't share my secrets.

I should destroy it. But I cannot bear to do so.

She knows my name, could bring it to mind in an official context, or if there is a shipwide party. She knows everyone's name. But she never notices me. I might as well be nameless. Space is a dangerous place for a nameless crewman, even for a blueshirt, what with the way the consoles are always blowing up. And in the Delta Quadrant, there is no real future. Just the present.

So I don't destroy it.

I found it during a routine maintenance of the ship's computer. It was out of place. Now that happens sometimes with bio-organic data storage, and it's nothing to worry about. But it was odd, a large file overlapping a series of smaller files. That isn't usual. So I opened it.

She's in her quarters. I've never seen them of course, so I don't know if this is really the way her bedroom looks. But the plan is right. She's in her bed, under the sheets. She is wearing a regulation grey tank. Nothing under it; I can see her nipples. Her breasts look small, but then that's true of most women when we lie on our backs. Both her hands under the covers. It doesn't take me too long to figure out what she's doing. It's an activity I'm pretty familiar with.

I was shocked, not just to have found the file, but shocked that she masturbates. That's ridiculous, isn't it? I mean, why wouldn't she? But somehow I thought she was above it. Maybe that she had sex with the Commander even; I have a several friends who still think they're an item, or pretend they do. Makes it fun when you're assigned to the bridge and they disappear into her ready room. But it's just a game; I don't think they really believe it.

Maybe it wasn't the masturbating that shocked me so much as the name. I mean, it's a physiological need, right, universal and all? Good for your health. For all I know the Doctor recommends it, if you rank high enough to get his personal advice. No, I think it was the name that shocked me. That she would cry out someone's name. The way anyone would, if there was someone they wanted, someone they didn't have. Someone they thought about as they touched themselves, someone they imagined touching them.

I never really imagined there was anything she would want that she couldn't have.

Of course there's everything in the Alpha Quadrant; none of us have that. They say she had a boyfriend back home, but they also say she got a Dear John letter. Would she still want to imagine him in her bed? Anyway, someone who saw him once when she was security for a Starfleet party said his name was Mark. That's not the name she says; I'm certain it's two syllables. Could be a pet name, though.

Her lips part near the end, and I can hear her breath come in tiny gasps. She looks almost pained, but I guess that's normal, especially when you aren't putting on a show for anyone. Oh, but God she looks beautiful all the same.

As she comes, the gasps become tiny soft cries. She's not very loud, but then probably most people are pretty quiet alone. Certainly I am, but then until this trip I always had a roommate. I love those little cries. I go warm just thinking about them.

And then she says "Ah" and the name. The name I cannot hear.

Perhaps Tuvok is spying on her. Not for kicks (I don't think) but to be sure he knows everything going on on the ship. I could see that.

Or there was an alien once. Nosy person, intrusive. I heard he got caught reading her personal logs. He was all over the place; he could have made the recording.

Or someone could have invented it, holoprogrammed it. For their own amusement, I suppose. But I would think that if someone had been making their own porn, they'd have had her naked, or in something fancy. Not half under the sheets, and not turning away.

And not crying. She's crying, as she turns away. I wonder if that's just normal for her, or if it has anything to do with the name.


I became obsessed with the name.

Finally I decided I needed to know it. I'm a pretty good programmer and I came up with something eventually. Something which would filter the noise of the sheets, the noise of her body turning. It took a long time, but I had a long time, and it became a game. And something to do besides watch it, and become aroused, and feel even more lonely.

After several weeks I broke the audio down to its smallest components, ran it through my filters, put it back together.

I play it now, the new version. The soft gasps are even clearer, the tiny cries. And then just as the orgasm subsides, just as she begins to cry, she says "ah" and then "Nika." That's it. Nika. Nobody I've ever heard of. Not my name.

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