Part of USS Crazy Horse: Blood For Blood and Bravo Fleet: Blood Dilithium

As Good As I Once Was

Markonian Outpost, Delta Quadrant
November 11, 2400
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Ensign Anthony Talon and Lieutenant Diego Garza entered the Ferengi bar. They were both dressed in civilian clothes figuring they would blend into the normal patrons better.  Anthony wore a pair of tight blue jeans, cowboy boots, a button up Western shirt and a grey Stetson cowboy had.  Diego was dressed in blue jeans with a black leather jacket over a simple white t-shirt.

The little bar could only be described as a “dive”.  It was located in one of the seedier sections of the station. Dark and ran down the owner wasn’t investing much into his establishment.  But, despite it’s flaws the bar was packed with people all looking to unwind.  Off the beaten path from most security patrols things here operated a little bit in the grey. Nothing so as to force station security’s attention so it was safe.

“What can I get you hooman?” the bartender asked as they stepped up the the bar.  Anthony tossed a couple slips of latinum on the the bar, “Pale Ale, and whatever he wants.”

Diego looked at Anthony, smirked, “The same.”

The Ferengi bartender snatched up the slips and shuffled off to get the drinks. and returned a moment later with a pair of pint glasses filled with an amber liquid topped with white foam.

Anthony tipped his hat, “Much obliged.” 

The two men settled onto their stools and turned to face the bar.  The dabo, dom-jot, and tongo tables were packed with patrons from at least three quadrants of the galaxy.  This blood dilithimum had brought with it a surge to people trying to capitalize on the situation.

Sipping his beer Anthony considered the taste for a moment, “Not bad.”

Garza nodded, “I’ve had better, but considering we are in the Delta Quadrant in a Ferengi establishment I can’t complain.”

Anthony chuckled, “I’m sure you could if you wanted to, but no one would listen.”

Garza smirked, “No, I suppose not.  Why did you choose this?”

Anthony shrugged, “It seemed like fun.  I like the the hole in the walls.”

“I like not getting some weird disease.”

Anthony smirked, “Where’s your sense of adventure.”

Garza took a long drag on the beer before speaking.  “I dunno… I guess I lost it when I turned forty kid.”

“I guess when you used to ride broncs fun for most just seems a bit… lame.  Come, I think there’s a poker table in the corner.  Let’s see if we can scare up a game.”

The poker table seemed like almost an after thought.  Shoved in a dark corner with a single lamp wired into station power haphazardly hung from the ceiling casting the players in uneven shadow.  There were three sitting around the round felt topped table.  Two humans who had a rough almost pirate appearance and a Trill.  

“Is this the Alpha Quadrant table?” Anthony asked.

“Call it whatever you want,” one of the rougher looking pirates replied.  He had a bushy black beard that hung down over a leather vest.

“Looking to play?” The Trill asked.

Shrugging Anthony spoke, “If there’s room.”

The Trill just nodded at a pair of empty seats, “Buy in is ten slips.”

“That’s a little too rich for me kid,” Garza announced. “When they get done cleaning you out find me at the bar.”

“Okay Gramps,” Anthony said as he slid into the vacant chair and tossing requisite latinum on the pile with the rest.

Several hours later Anthony stared down at his cards three aces. He had a pile of chips sitting in front of him.  The Trill had already gone  bust long ago and was elsewhere in the bar seeking better luck.   Black Beard was down to only a few chips and his friend was in a similar fate, but had wisely folded and was sitting back sipping his drink watching the outcome of this hand.

Black Beard stared down at his meager chips and then back to his cards before gathering up the needed chips and tossing them onto the pile. “Call,” he said gruffly as he laid out his hand. A pair of kings and fives.

“Three of a kind,” Anthony said laying out his own cards and leaned towards his winnings.

“You’re a damned cheat,” Black Beard shouted and grabbed Anthony by the wrist. 

“Relax,” Anthony said with an attempt at a disarming smile.  “Some nights just go your way.”

“Not like this,” Black Beard drew back his fist and with the force of a shuttle craft he connected with Anthony’s chin and sent him flying.  He bounced off the dom-jot table angering a pair of surly Nausicans who stared down at him.

“Human mess up game!” one of the Nausicans growled.

“Hold on!” Anthony pleaded. “It was him,” he said pointing at Black Beard who was closing in on them fists balled. This prompted Black Beard’s friend to stand up and move towards them.  In a rock and a hard place Anthony braced for the inevitable, “Hey buddy, how about a helping hand!”

The first Nausican picked up Anthony and threw him several feet across the bar, and he crashed into a table breaking it and sending cups and plates flying. The Hirogen stood up.  With their helmets removed their faces clearly displayed the fire in their eyes.

“We have never hunted a Nausican before,” one of them said and drew a blade.

Meanwhile Garza was helping Anthony to his feet, “What did you say to them?”

“Nothing! I’m just a better poker player than he is.”

With the Nausicans occupied with the Hirogen the pirates closed in on Anthony and Garza, “Your friend here is a damned card cheat,” Black Beard accused.

“Really? That doesn’t sound like him,” Garza said and coldcocked the pirate with an uppercut to the chin that sent the pirate stumbling. Meanwhile, Anthony was busy getting pummeled by the pirate friend which sent him crashing into another table.  This time unoccupied. 

As the noisy order of the bar devolved into chaos the bar’s bouncers leaped into action.  Several hired Klingons and even a couple of armed Ferengi pushed their way through the fight breaking it up.  A phaser set on stun hit Garza. Anthony started to protest through a bloodied face when the bartender turned his phaser on him and fired. 

 

Anthony woke on his back.  He had a splitting headache and he had no idea where he was.  It was clean, well lit, and the walls painted in grey.  Groaning he rolled over and sat up in the bunk taking in his surroundings.  

Garza was coming to as well, “Oh, I hurt. I am too old for this. Where are we?”

“Looks like the brig on the Crazy Horse,” Anthony observed.  

“The captain isn’t going to be happy,” Garza groaned, “I think that fight breaks that agreement on the Outpost.”

“That’s correct,” A feminine voice announced from the cell door. “On both accounts Lieutenant.” The two wayward officers stood and snapped to attention with the arrival of their captain. “Luckily Grom handled the fight in-house and his bouncers dumped you two idiots off at the airlock. Station authorities hopefully will never have to know about your little adventure.”

Anthony glanced at Garza before turning his attention back to his captain, “I’m sorry ma’am, but it was just a misunderstanding.”

“So, I guess your face didn’t get used as a punching bag?”

“Uh…” the swollen lip and only one open eye told that story.  “It did, but I was accused of cheating.”

“Were you?”

“No ma’am.”

“Lieutenant Garza I am not surprised with a young kid like Talon here gets into trouble, but I expected more from you.  What’s your excuse?”

“None ma’am.”

Órlaith sighed looking at her officers.  In reality other than a few bruised egos their little escapade had done no real harm.  But, she also couldn’t just let her people brawl on the Outpost either.  They were the Federation and supposed to be enlightened after all, and by her estimation a common fist fight was not at all enlightening. “Okay gentlemen I am confining you to quarters while off duty for thirty days. In addition you two are never to set foot on the Markonian Outpost while under my command.”

With that the captain turned and walked out of the brig.  Anthony and Garza glanced at each other and spoke an unison as she hadn’t given the order to lower the force field. “Ma’am!”

Their pleas went unanswered as the outer doors slid shut.

Comments

  • Got to love a good bar fight. I really appreciated how the scene was set combing species from both the alpha/beta quadrants and then the delta quadrant. I would be very interested to see how the fight between the Hirogen and Nausican turned out. As for Anthony and Garza I am not sure what they expected given the crowd in there! Cannot wait to see where this goes.

    November 22, 2022
  • Thank you!

    November 22, 2022
  • I always enjoy the way you set a mood with your writing. Your characters are so clearly drawn: Garza and Talon come across as a two-hander for the ages. I really had to chuckle at the "I can't complain" / "I'm sure you could" exchange. Similarly, you filled the dive bar with a nefarious cast of characters that clearly articulated the crew isn't in Kansas anymore. The floor felt sticky just from reading your prose. This is the damned delta quadrant! That Garza and Talon ended up in the brig before the mission even began doesn't bode terribly well. How will the crew hold up through their blood dilithium mining escapades??

    November 24, 2022
  • This gives a perfect view of how life is on Markonian Outpost. Getting into a bar, and into trouble is a classic and I love how you did describe the whole scene. Of course they are getting bounce out and their Captain have their sorry ass for their behavior. I wonder what both Talon and Garza will do when facing with the blood dilithium. Keep it up!

    November 24, 2022