From another table, Parker watched the events unfold. Mack had picked another fight. However, this time, he actually managed to walk away without much need for medical assistance. Parker picked up her beer mug and slammed it down as she placed the half-smoked cigar back in her mouth. Lining up her shot, she aimed the cue stick at its target and sent the last ball flying into the side corner pocket. She turned to her “guests” and smiled, “Wow,” she giggled, “must be beginners’ luck.” From behind her, she heard the footfalls of her rather large friend and current bodyguard, “What’s the matter, Mack? Get your butt handed to you again,” she asked?
“Little freaking pixy bit..,” he plopped his entire frame into a small chair as he held his nose, “All I wanted was a dance, and the psycho tried to beat me up.”
Parker laughed, “I’ve told you anything horizontal is not a dance.” She smiled at her guests, setting down the cue stick. After a few seconds of careful observation, she grabbed his nose and tweaked it till she heard a pop.
The six-foot-plus man didn’t make a sound until Parker had finished. He looked up from his chair; in a small still voice, he managed to whisper, “ouch….”
“Now, where were we,” she eyed the table, “Oh yes ..,” she picked up the cue stick, tapping a pocket, “8 ball, that pocket,” she fired the ball off, banking it on two sides without even lining up the shot, landing the ball in its desired location.
One of the men sitting at the table nearest them stood up in a hurry, “You lied, you crazy…” he stopped as Mack stood up, cracking his knuckles. “There 275 credits,” the man slammed the credits on the table, “Freakin .., ” he muttered, “I’ll be back.”
Parker picked up the credits as she took a deep breath; the room had suddenly filled with an aroma that she hadn’t smelled in a long time. Tossing Mack a few credits, “Mack, go get us both a beer,” she waited till he left to say anything. Still facing the table, she knew who it was. He still smelled of stale beer, grease, and trouble. “Whatever it is, Saul,” Parker stated, “the answer is no.” She turned and racked up another round of pool. “Not interested!”
“Awww, babe, you haven’t even heard my proposal,” He came up behind her and wrapped his arms around her. Pulling her close, giving her hair a sniff as he held her. “You still smell like whiskey.” Saul looked over his shoulder, “Hey Mack, it’s good to see you again,” he nodded as Mack approached them both. “It involves guns, fun, and the theft of a very sexy starship,” he stated.
Parker grinned, “Ah, Saul, you know how to butter a girl up. You used my favorite words, guns, and..” she stopped, “I can’t afford any more trouble.”
Saul winked as he kissed Parker’s cheek. “I need a Doctor, babe.”
“No,” she simply stated as she pushed him further away. Out of the corner of her eye, she could see the two men return, only this time they had a few more friends.
“Something says those guys didn’t like you lying about your skills,” Saul smiled, “you need some help.”
“I got this,” Parker replied, “thanks, thou.” She smiled as Saul left.
Mack could hear the men shouting behind them; this wouldn’t be pretty. He couldn’t help but ask, “Are you sure about this?”
Parker nodded, “trust me. It will work out.”
=Some time later=
Mack looked up from the bunk he was occupying, “So what now, Miss Trust-Me?”
Parker smirked as she looked at the forcefield. Someone had tipped off the Federation, and things didn’t go as planned. “I’ll get us out of here; I have connections.”
“Your Daddy,” he mocked. “That man isn’t going to bail you out every time you end up in the brig. He’s gotta be running out of favors by now.”
Parker walked over to the bunk and gave Mack a shove as she laid down beside him. Resting her head on his chest, “When have I ever not come through… and Risa doesn’t count.”
“Beredda 3,” Mack asked?
“Hey, how was I supposed to know that….” Parker replied but was cut off.
“…Q’onoS,” Mack laughed.
“Again, not my fault,” Parker snapped. “The Orions,” she slapped his shoulder.
“Risa,” he raised a hand before she could reply, “the second time.”
She gave Mack a hard shove, as hard as she could anyways. She closed her eyes as Mack wrapped an arm around her. “I will work it out, trust me,” she stated again. However, some movement just outside the cell caught her attention. “Well, crap,” she muttered.
Parker looked up at the cell’s field as an older man approached. He looked frail, certainly not imposing at all, yet he had a particular command about him. He was confident. Parker sighed, “Sir,” she commented as she stood up, looking behind him. “Mom with you?”
Gerald looked at her, “no, this was a conversation that would be better off without her.” He looked over at Mack, “Mister Porter.”
Mack stood up, “Sir, I’d just like to say we appreciate….”
“Shut up, Mack,” Gerald Borden snapped without taking his eyes off his daughter. Gerald Borden looked around the cell, definitely not what he imagined for his child when she was little. But she had always been a handful. “Last time, Park, I can’t keep doing this.” He raised a hand before she could speak, “you want out of this cell? Well, this time it comes with some big conditions. Honest job on a starship, steady life, and no more prisons,” he folded his arms, “and better friends. Your mother and I can’t keep doing this, and this is not how we raised you. Clean up your life, stay out of trouble… is it too much to ask?”
“Daddy….” Parker stated but was interrupted.
Gerald raised a hand, “this time,” his voice dripping with disappointment. He straightened his uniform, “next time we speak, if you can’t meet those conditions, “don’t come home. He looked at the guard, who lowered a small section of the field, “your next assignment.”
Parker picked up the padd but didn’t read it, “thanks, Daddy.”
Gerald looked at her, “the USS Galileo has been sent on a special assignment. Starfleet needs particular people, and you might have the skills they need. Although that chip on your shoulder will have to find a new home if you expect the Galileo to work.”
Parker looked at the padd as she raised her voice, “the USS Tin Can, seriously….”
Gerald’s eyes lit up in a fury, “Honest job, steady life, and no more brig, I mean it, Lieutenant.” His voice spoke volumes. He was serious, and she knew it. The Senior Borden said to a nearby Officer. “Wait till I leave the station before you release her. “Goodbye, Parker,” he added.
Parker pleaded, calling out after him, knowing he would stop.
The officer nodded, waiting for the elder Borden to leave before whistling, “… can’t say I envy you,” turning to Parker.
Parker didn’t reply as she picked up the padd, giving it a read-over. Never in a million years did she ever consider that she would be serving on a Steamrunner Class Starship. They were a tin can with an engine. However, her father’s words rang out in her voice, don’t come home. He’d never used those exact words before. Like it or not, she knew this had to work. The consequences were too high if it didn’t.
“Oh great, a Trill,” she mouthed to no one in particular. This was going to be a terrible assignment.