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The End of the Beginning

Posted on Sun Apr 5th, 2015 @ 2:21am by Private William McDouglas & Staff Sergeant Wyatt McRaven & Private 1st Class Val Borova

Mission: Trouble on the frontier

It had been a long day, and Captain Harrison made it an even longer day. Cashard decided that the best way to deal with this upcoming mission was quickly. He tapped his commbadge. "Computer, locate Sergeant McRaven."

"Sergeant McRaven is currently in the Ringside Tavern on Deck 3. Would you like to speak with him?"

"No, I'll go to his location."


Ringside Tavern

Cashard walked into the bar. A smoky haze that filled the room. It smelled of blood, sweat and cheap cigars, just the sort of place to look for some marines. Cashard was surprised that this sort of establishment was even allowed on a Starbase, at least on one owned by Starfleet.

"Lessten Here, ya scunner!" He heard from the bar, "I weel huv yoo, Jimmy!"

A large black haired mane in Marine uniform was standing over a small Ferrengi who was leering at him.

Cashard raised an eyebrow. It looked like a barroom brawl in the making. He made his way around the confrontation over to a corner table where a Marine sergeant and several others were sitting. He sat down in an empty chair.

"Now, Now, McDouglas," the Ferrengi countered dismissively, "I was expecting this since last time. And I have taken out insurance."

At a gesture two large Nausicans stepped away from the wall and stood one in front and one behind the Marine.

The Human smiled, "Ach, and I thot you didn't ken how to entertain."

There was a sudden movement as the Marines head fired backwards into the face of the bouncer behind him, followed by a headbut forward into the other. The Marine then swung one arm which now appeared to be holding a bar stool, collecting both Nauscians across the temple and dropping them to the floor.

The entire fight was over so fast that the Ferrengi didn't even get a chance to run before the Marine had stepped past the Nausican, who was sliding off the bar, and picked up the struggling publican in one meaty fist.

There was a yell from behind as the second Nausican finally collapsed into the laps of a pair of dock hands, spilling their drinks. They both leapt up and yelled at the Scottsman.

He looked over at them, "Cun you no weet yer tern?"

The first dockworker threw his empty mug at the man who ducked. The second swung a wide punch which McDouglas tried to block with the screaming Ferrengi still in his hand.

A shrill whistle cut through the noise of the brawl itself and the cheers of the onlookers. At the doorway stood a burly man in Security yellow. He surveyed the scene before him with evident distaste.

McDouglas looked disappointed, "Ach. It's the Pold. Just when we were getting to know each other."

“You!” the Security officer yelled. “Put the Ferengi down.

McDouglas remembered the struggling Ferrengi in his hand.

“Gently, if you don’t mind, McDouglas,” the officer remembered to add.

The Scotsman placed him carefully to the floor.

“And you,” the officer said, turning his attention to the dock workers. “Sit!” It was barked like a command which might be given to a dog.

“Now, what’s this all about?”

A babble of voices broke out. “One at a time, if you please. Might as well start with you, McDouglas. I could do with some light entertainment and your version of events is always good for a laugh.”

The large Scott spread his arms to encompass the whole Bar, "Ensign Stewart, ye huv the wrong impression. No one here is looking for trouble. We waz just dancing, weren't we fellas?"

There were a couple of reluctant nods from the dock workers who were due back on shift in half an hour and didn't want to spend that time in a cell. Security Ensign Stewart gestured to the Ferengi, now brushing himself off, "Is that the story you want to go with?"

The Ferengi barkeep looked around. Nothing but a couple of glasses broken, and the Scottsman was a regular client who paid for a great deal of drink. He did some quick profit and loss calculations in his mind.

"Yes?" he hazarded.

McDouglas flashed a look around the room and his eyes caught Cashard sitting in his booth. A flash of mischief crossed his face.

"You see," he gestured to the officer, "Lieutenant Cashard was here. He saw the whole thing, ya ken. He'll tell you."

Stewart was not about to be distracted quite so easily. Nor was he about to let McDouglas appeal to some vague shared Scottish heritage to lead him astray; another of McDouglas’ favoured ploys.

“I thought Nausicans were better dancers than that,” he commented dryly. He walked over to one, bent over and inspected him. “Looks like the dancing was up close and personal,” he said, noting the bruise starting to colour the Nausican’s skin. Yellow was showing in livid blotches against dark skin. “The music in here isn’t usually that subtle. Are you trying to attract a new clientele?” he asked, turning back to the Ferengi.”

The Ferengi had decided that what it wanted most of all was not to lose business or money.

"Well, you know, Officer," he oiled, "New management, new location; you try and accommodate as many people as you can. If there is a lack of dancing facilities, then I would be happy to provide them until another competitor is able to take up the mantle. My establishment has a reputation for being accommodating and safe. You should see for yourself. Why don't you come back when you are off duty and you will see how hospitable and agreeable the venue is? Station security are given their first drink at a reduced rate!"

“Accommodating....” Stewart said skeptically. “Yes, I am sure you accommodate a lot of things. Safe.... That I am not so sure about.”

He was getting nowhere here and he knew it. He could verbally batter heads with McDouglas until the cows came home and still not get a straight answer. As for the Ferengi.... Straight didn’t even enter into his vocabulary; the best Stewart could hope for was a vague approximation to the truth. “Ensign Stewart to Lieutenant Svardberg. I need your support up in the Ringside Bar.”

“As for that attempted bribe, I’ll ignore it. Mainly because I know that reduced rate only means you’ll charge only slightly more that what the drink’s really worth rather than your usual highly inflated prices.”

It was a couple of minutes before Svardberg was able to make it to the Ringside Bar, but she walked up her eyes sharply taking in the damage. "Ensign Stewart, report, please? It looks like someone here has been tapdancing on people's faces."

"Aye!" McDouglas agreed, "Dancin'. Like I said. A bit o' tha Highland Fling, ya ken?"

"Bit o' that Highland Flinging people cross the room, more like." Tori said, imitating the man's accent at first. "Bit of a brawl is what it looks like. So, spill the beans. And the truth, please, no pleasant exaggerations as amusing at they tend to be."

“Lieutenant, if I may,” Stewart said before McDouglas could reply. “This is par for the course in this bar. Most nights it’s boisterous but not physical but get a few freighter jockeys on board and boisterous can become...let us say spirited.”

"Then why did you bother calling me down here? If it's just a bit of a brawl and spirited, and no one's pressing charges against anyone." She looked at McDouglas with a severe look that said she disproved of the brawling. "Why bother me?"

“With respect, Ma’am, back on the old station we used to let these situations play themselves out. We kept an eye on them to make sure no-one got seriously injured; no knives, no disruptors, that sort of thing. The reasoning was that if we confined the exuberance to here, then we didn’t have to put out any fires elsewhere on the station.”

"That is what holodecks are for, Mr. Stewart. Not bars. Our good barkeep here has a considerable financial interest in keeping this place intact."

“The bribe? I think most everyone in this bar has tried to bribe me at one point or another. If they haven’t, they probably will. It’s not the attempt I’m concerned about. If one of my team accepts a bribe then I’ll act. I don’t care how petty it is; believe me, I’ll act.”

Tori was silent for the count of several seconds. She had to have misheard that. "What bribe? I said financial inter-oh for the love of all things pure and holy! You know what." She pointed a finger at Stewart. "You, I want to see you in my office in 20 minutes. You, Marine, you want to break heads, you do it in the holodeck. Be prepared to pay reparations for any damages to the bar. And you, Ferengi, I'm sorry, I missed getting your name at some point. Try to bribe me, or anyone in my staff again, and I will personally have your establishment barred and your orange hind-quarters sitting nicely in the smallest cell I can get my hands on. Alright? This is not the type of games I intend to play on this station, fast and loose with the law."

 

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