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Part of Starbase Bravo: Stormbreaker and Bravo Fleet: The Stormbreaker Campaign

Rumble on the Promenade, Part II

Starbase Bravo, Sector India-Navy, Promenade
January 2400
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“I said no foam!” roared a Betelgeusian medical officer.  Literally seconds earlier, half the customers in the Brew coffee shop heard the Betelgusian thanking the barista profusely for the coffee.  Now he was shouting about the apparent slight and he chucked the coffee cup at the barista’s head.  Given the barista’s holographic body, the coffee cup passed right through the barista’s head and struck another customer in the chest.  

The young Catian woman was wearing an elaborate dress of reflective materials, including a couple of petticoats and sashes.  As soon as the coffee cup exploded all over her dress, the Caitian hissed back, “It’s my special day!”  And she pounced towards the Betelgusian to tackle him.

Out in the main passageway of the promenade, Counselor Elegy Weld heard the shouted words as if he’d been standing in Brew himself.  Hiking the strap of his medi-kit higher on his shoulder, Elegy looked to each of his new security officer friends.  They had been patrolling the promenade, looking for possible victims of Elegy’s patient’s Zanthi fever.  The patient’s telepathy was swinging wildly, out of control, enraging random people who already had anger in their hearts.  “No more guessing,” Elegy said, nervously excited; “I think we know where to start.”

“Oh, boy,” sighed Callahan, though not without sincere apprehension as he regarded the developing mayhem within Brew. He glanced at Thompson. “Stop people from hurting each other first. We can work on calming them all down when they’re not about to commit murder by mocha.”

Sonja wasn’t quite sure what to think. The yelling was not something she had expected to hear “I understand I will make sure to pay attention.” 

He looked at Elegy. “By all means, help us de-escalate, Counsellor. But please don’t get yourself in a situation where you need saving.” It was unclear if this was sincere concern for a fellow officer, or for the sheer practicality that rescuing Elegy would be a distraction.

As they approached the open entrance to Brew on long strides and the situation became clearer, Elegy’s brows furrowed deeper and deeper.  He watched the Caitian body-slam the Betelgusian, and the two of them tumbled into another couple of customers behind them.  “Ahh… yes,” Elegy remarked, entirely unconvincingly.  His eyes widened at the scene and he squared his shoulders.  Through a wince, Elegy said sheepishly, “Perhaps you’d better lead the way?”

“Let us pull people apart first,” Callahan agreed, then gave Thompson a firm nod. “Stick close, we need to be a united front in this if we’ve got to get physical.”

Sonja nodded and stood close to the Lieutenant making sure that she was as firm as he was in her actions and demeanour.

Callahan stomped in first, already tapping his combadge to amplify his voice, bringing it booming through the local systems. “This is Promenade Security! Everyone step back, stand down, and calm down!” The mere presence of Starfleet, the sight of their uniforms, the instruction from a figure of authority, often did a lot of good. It did here, a few figures at the periphery of the growing storm backing off, startled out of any fledgling effect of the telepathic pressure humming through their feelings.

But that was not enough for everyone. The Caitian and Betelgeusian were swinging into a table by now, smacking at each other in an untrained but furious scuffle. The other customers they’d jostled had been knocked into each other and were now rounding on each other, any perceived slight enough to get them in each other’s faces arguing, shouting, Callahan’s words washing over the crowd. It was towards the first pair he had to surge at that point, trying to shove himself between the fighting Caitian and Betelgeusian and pry them apart amid shouting and clawing.

Despite the advice, Elegy didn’t follow in Callahan’s footsteps when he ran into the coffee shop too.  Elegy entered through a side door and kept himself close to the perimeter of the compartment, leaving a wide berth between himself and the entangling crowd.  While Callahan made his declarations to the crowd, Elegy made a beeline for a holographic barista and began a quiet conversation.

Sonja looked at Callahan’s situation and pulled the Caitian away from Callahan and stood her ground making sure that the two fighting each other were separated. She tried to calm down the Caitian with no success. She continued to hold them back as they tried to hit her. This was part of Security even if not the most glamorous side of things. 

Elegy completed his circuit around open-concept shop, approaching Callahan in as non-threatening a posture as he could muster.  From behind Callahan’s shoulder, Elegy proffered a new coffee cup to the Betelgeusian.  “Here!  Lookit here!” Elegy announced in a cartoony voice of excitement.  “I got you a new one,” Elegy declared, reaching the coffee cup even closer to the Betelgeusian.  “No foam either.”

The Betelgeusian had been struggling against Callahan, but paused as Elegy approached, eyes narrowing. As he stopped fighting so hard, Callahan loosened his grip on the seven foot-tall alien, who rolled a shoulder and subsided. “Is that what it takes for service here?” he snapped, and took the drink off Elegy for a deep swig that would have been startling for a human to attempt of a piping hot drink.

Callahan kept his hands up, ready to grab the Betelgeusian if the big alien tried something more, but gave a small sigh of relief. “Good thinking, Counsellor -”

This isn’t the limited edition Colombian blend!” the Betelgeusian thundered. Then slammed the mug into the side of Callahan’s head in a sucker punch which sent the security officer down at once, clutching at his face, moving but knocked off his feet.

Unprepared for that, Elegy audibly gasped and jumped back from Callahan and the Betelgeusian.  Elegy dropped his eyes to make certain Callahan was still conscious, but even his medical training wouldn’t allow Elegy to do much more than that.  Elegy had to care for himself first, because the Betelgeusian looked to carry twice the body mass of Elegy’s narrow frame.  Quickly glancing over his shoulder to see if the Caitain had got the better of Sonja, Elegy took that time to suck in a deep breath.  By the time Elegy faced the Betelgeusian again, his expression had rounded to his practiced I’m-listening counselor-face.

“You’re right, it’s natural to feel that way,” Elegy said with, somewhat, exaggerated compassion.  With each word, he took a slow and steady step back from the Betelgeusian.  “If you asked a hundred people, they would all say it’s intolerable to start a shift without ritual, without the right coffee blend.”  Practicing the tone he’d heard from servers in mess halls a hundred times, Elegy proposed, “Are you sure I can’t get you one more of the limited edition Columbian blend?  Maybe even a second cup for the road?  Perhaps a house-baked scone?”

Sonja had been in a battle with the Caitian since pulling them away. The whole situation was ridiculous, but she held her composure and even her strength. She looked at Callahan and Elegy who were seemingly to now hold their own. She decided to speak up “Someone want to give me some…” As she was about to finish she was slugged by the Caitian, which made her stagger back losing her grip on them. She quickly recovered to see the Caitain about to punch her again. She took a deep breath ready to defend herself.

Perhaps Elegy’s efforts were working to calm the Betelgeusian, perhaps the Caitian seemed to be a much more clear and present danger, perhaps she was just closer. But when Callahan rose, unbloodied by the mug but at least scalded and battered, it was her that he body-checked to send her flying back, a slam that was more improvised rugby tackle than professional crowd control technique. The Caitian hit one of the high café tables, staggered, and did not immediately rejoin the fray.

This was perhaps for the best, as for a heartbeat Callahan faced her, fists now raised, chest heaving – and then he turned on the rest of the crowd. “You pack of bloody idiots!” he roared. “There is a real crisis out there! People are dying, people are losing their homes, people are losing their families, and you cause this chaos – you waste our goddamn time over spats about coffee?” His breathing was ragged from brewing rage as much as exertion, his hair mussed from the scuffle, his eyes wild and furious, nothing about his normally cultivated appearance controlled any more. “If anyone wants to put a foot out of line again, you’re going to be lucky if you make it to custody!” This implied threat of Starfleet brutality was followed with a sweeping glare in particular for the Betelgeusian and the Caitian, their pacification already on a knife-edge.

Perhaps it was a reaction to ancient, genetic memory, but the Caitian visibly lost the will to fight.  Callahan’s show of dominance had reached something deep within her, and her body language curled in on herself.  She was already leaning on a café table for support and she gripped the tabletop more tightly.  Her eyes were on the down, gently picking at the stain on her dress.

The Betelgeusian, meanwhile, shook his snout at Callahan in an expression of incredulity, as if Callahan’s behaviour was shocking.  “What do they put in the coffee here?” the Betelgusian asked, disoriented, and he rubbed at the side of his head.  He asserted, “I gotta quit.  Cold turkey.”

“I support you whole-heartedly,” Elegy effused, anything to make the chaos end.  “We can provide plenty of twelve-step programs in counseling.”

Sonja recovered and went over to the Caitian and tried to be a reassurance to them regardless of what happened. She looked at the other two and took a sigh of relief it seemed as though the effects had worn off and things were turning back to normal.

Callahan had squared up as the Betelgeusian moved, but then the alien stood down, and the Caitian backed off. For a moment, the security officer looked almost indignant at that, shoulders tensing like this was a fresh insult to be answered – then he sagged, the fight and surging anger fading from him, and his expression folded down into a troubled scowl. “I, uh…” His gaze again swept across the café. “…carry on, everyone.” Then he turned on his heel to walk quickly for the door.

“That was – well handled, Ensigns,” he said a little falteringly once they were back on the Promenade. “I should, ah, get to the Infirmary. Get this checked out.” He gestured to the spot on his brow where he’d been clobbered, but there was only the hint of a bruise arising, the explanation a fairly transparent lie. Since the sudden collapse of his burst of temper, a guarded and slightly furtive glint had entered his eye.

“Thank you, Lieutenant,” Elegy said, a little vaguely.  As a doctor first, his eyes were drawn to Callahan’s bruising and neurological responses.  He knew he shouldn’t leave Callahan alone until he was in the care of another medic.  Blithely, Elegy offered, “I’ll walk to you back.  We’ll get you patched up and back on the promenade in no time at all.”