by Peanut

Wow, I'm really on a roll! Thanks to E13 for implanting the idea in my head that became this story. Enjoy!

Lieutenant Dwayne Hunter sat with his feet propped up on one of the control desks at Quark.

He had just started to nod off when a voice startled him awake.

"Hey. Bored?" Doctor Erika Slate had managed to sneak up and stood right next to him.

"Yeah," Dwayne sighed, settling back into the chair. "No alien sightings for a week and the Big Guy is in perfect condition. Even the Pit Crew has taken off for the day."

"So, do you want to get out for a while?" There was a devilish glint in her eyes that he found fascinating.

He raised an eyebrow. "What did you have in mind?"

She paused for dramatic effect, "Bowling."

Dwayne stood up and stretched. "Why not? I've got a couple of hours to spare. Get it?"

Erika rolled her eyes.

"Bowling? What's that?" Rusty poked his head around the corner. "Can I come? Please, Doctor Slate?" he pleaded.

Erika glanced at Dwayne and smiled, leaving the decision up to him. He kneeled down and put a hand on Rusty's shoulder. "Sure, kid. The more the merrier."

The bowling alley was almost empty when they arrived. Dwayne and Erika chose a lane at the end of the building and picked out their bowling balls. Rusty, in an effort to declare his independence, had insisted on his own lane. Erika had slyly made sure it was next to theirs to keep a careful eye on him.

Dwayne methodically rolled up his shirt sleeves. "Ladies first," he smiled, indicating the lane.

"Actually, I've never done this before. I was hoping you could give me some pointers."

"Sure. I'll go first. I've got perfect form." he bragged.

You've got that right. Erika thought to herself, admiring his well-muscled figure when he turned away from her to get his ball.

"So, are you any good at this?" she asked him as he stepped up to the lane.

"Good?" he said in shock, looking back at her. "What do you think I did for fun while they were ironing out the Big Guy project?"

"Tried on women's clothing?" she asked innocently.

"Shows what you know," he retorted, reminding himself to have a little chat with Jo about what stories should stay private. "There was a bowling lane on the base. I spent a lot of time there."

"Uh huh," Erika said, unimpressed. "Let's see what you've got."

"Prepare to be amazed!" Dwayne lined up with the alley, leaned back, and let the ball fly. It veered straight into the gutter.

Embarrassed, he rubbed the back of his neck. "Must be a faulty ball." He glanced back and saw Erika biting her lip to keep from laughing.

"Well, prepare to be amazed by my second try," Dwayne said with less gusto. He managed to hit a few pins this time, but the damage was already done. He sheepishly shrugged his shoulders at Erika.

"And the world depends on your aim?" she smirked.

Dwayne crossed his arms, feigning insult. "Hey, so I'm a little rusty."

Rusty looked over from the bowling ball rack. "Did you call me?"

"Nah, kid."

Rusty shrugged and grabbed a ball from the rack.

Dwayne turned back to Erika. "Okay, Doc, your turn."

"Excuse me," she said, playfully nudging him out of the way. After a minute of concentration, she gracefully rolled the ball down the lane and knocked over all the pins. She turned back to see Dwayne shaking his head and grinning.

"Never done this before, huh?"

"Nope. Looks like Big Gal might make a comeback," she teased.

He opened his mouth to retort and was interrupted by a loud crash in the lane next to him. Rusty had hurled the bowling ball directly at the pins, violently crashing them into the back of the lane.

"Woo-hoo! Strike! This game is easy!" Rusty crowed triumphantly.

"Rusty, hon', you're supposed to roll the ball at the pins." Erika said.

"Aw, that's no fun," Rusty said.

"For the love of Mike," Dwayne sighed.

Rusty turned around and eyed him suspiciously. "Hey, that's odd. Big Guy says that all the time."

"Uh, that's right." Dwayne stammered, thinking fast. "We talk all the time when I'm fixing him." Rusty grinned, the explanation apparently enough for him. He grabbed his ball and returned his full attention to the new set of pins in his lane.

Dwayne let out a sigh of relief. He turned around and ran straight into Erika.

"Close call," she said, poking him in the ribs. "You are one lucky guy."

"Of course. I'm here with you," he smiled.

She was at a loss for words.

Another crash interrupted them. They looked over and saw a large, smoking hole at the end of Rusty's alley.

"Heh," Rusty said meekly, "Sorry."

"Rusty!" Erika admonished. "I told you to roll the ball!"

"I did! I...guess I used too much power on that one."

Dwayne noted that the owner of the bowling alley had turned bright red and was audibly grinding his teeth. "Looks like it's time to go."

"But I just got started!" Rusty protested.

"Sorry, Rusty. We'll have to play again later." Erika said as she gently guided him toward the exit. She stopped at the desk and handed a credit chip to the owner. "Here. This should take care of all the damages," she told him. The owner looked rather relieved and nodded politely as they walked outside.

Rusty flew on ahead and landed solidly in the back seat of Dwayne's convertible. Dwayne winced at the sound as he strolled next to Erika.

"Doc, I'm wondering," he asked, "how did you bowl a strike on your first try?"

"Easy," she said nonchalantly, "I just estimated the proper speed and angles in my head. It's really not that difficult."

"Yeah, if you're a genius." he snorted. Realizing he had paid her a compliment, he smiled at her. "Doc, you truly are amazing." He opened the car door for her. She winked at him as she got in.

"I'm bored," Rusty proclaimed from the back seat. "What are we going to do now?"

"Well, there's a batting cage nearby that should be still open," Erika suggested.

"Did I tell you there was also a batting cage on the base?" Dwayne said, grinning evilly.


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