Chapter 8: Rumble in the Promenade
After docking procedures were initiated, the Gryphon locked onto the docking ring and came to a full stop, the crew on board happy to get their first taste of liberty.
Captain Seals stood up from his center chair and straightened his grey tunic. "Commander VanEseltine, give me ship-wide audio and video, please."
VanEseltine nodded and pushed a few buttons. "Systems ready, sir."
Seals cleared his throat then spoke. "This is your Captain speaking. We have just docked at Deep Space Nine. Please remember that this is joint facility of Bajor and the Federation, so I expect all my crew to be on their best behavior. We have been granted one extra day of liberty so we will go on a four-shift rotation. Your Department Heads will assign shifts and duties. You performed admirably in combat and I only have one thing to say to you: Liberty Call!"
The crew on the bridge gave a cheer and smiles were abundant. Captain Seals walked over to Lt. j.g. Anderson. "Lieutenant, you have the bridge. I'm taking the command staff over to meet the command staff on the station, can you handle it?"
Anderson stood firm and said, "Yes, sir."
Seals then patted her on the back and walked away. Lt. Col. Smith walked away from a comm panel and met Seals.
"Sir, Captain Sisko has invited you to dinner with him and his son this evening, and would like to speak to you as soon as possible. He has some information for you."
Seals nodded, then asked, "So what are you gonna do, Bill?".
Smith smiled. "Well, I was thinking about taking a walk down to the Promenade and playing a couple games of dabo or play around in the holosuites."
"Good. Keep an eye on the crew down there. I don't want any one getting in trouble."
Smith nodded in agreement. "Yes, sir. I'll take care of it."
"Good. I'm going to be in Ops for the time being. Then I'll try and join you on the Promenade if you are still there when I get there."
"Very well, sir. See you then," said Smith as he walked toward the turbolift.
The station was vast and full of people from all reaches of the galaxy. Bajoran and Federation personnel worked side by side on the station and many Bajorans ran shops on the Promenade. Many crew members were frequenting the shops and restaurants. Some made their way to holosuites. And then there were those who were looking for a good old-fashioned twentieth-century beer.
Smith walked up to the bar and leaned his elbows upon it. He looked over and saw a Ferengi bartender in high-class, if garish, attire. The Ferengi was yelling at another Ferengi who kept nodding and saying, "Yes, brother."
"Yo, barkeep! I'm getting thirsty down here," yelled Smith.
The Ferengi waved for the other Ferengi to leave and walked over to Smith with a big smile. "Welcome to Quark's. I'm Quark. What can I do for you?"
Smith thought about it and then said, "Give me a beer."
Quark looked puzzled. "You mean a root beer?"
Smith shook his head. "No, a beer. Old twentieth-century alcoholic beverage made of malt and hops. Trust me; your replicator will have it."
Quark rolled his eyes and walked away to get Smith his beer. Smith looked around and saw Commander Johnson, Ensign Fitzwater, Chief Marchant, and Chief Urban conversing at a table over drinks. He was happy to see the crew meshing so well. Knowing what was ahead, he knew that getting the crew familiarized with each other could be priceless when their lives were on the line.
Quark walked back with a glass containing a yellow liquid with a frosty head. He shook his head. "You hewmons have strange tastes. That was disgusting. Blah!"
Smith smiled at Quark as he took a sip. "Ah, just like momma's milk."
Smith walked over to the table of Commander Johnson and her friends and set his beer down on the table. "Well, how are you all enjoying liberty?" he asked.
Urban took a swig of his raktajino. "Fine, sir. Care to join us?"
Smith smiled and pulled up a chair. "Don't mind if I do."
He sat next to Commander Johnson and relaxed in his chair, enjoying some peace and relaxation. Johnson took a drink of her Tarkalean tea and set it back down on the table. The table was cluttered with half full glasses of a variety of drinks. She looked over at Smith. "Colonel, what happened back there with the Oklahoma and stuff?"
Smith rested his chin in his hand and looked dimly at Johnson. "Well it doesn't seem like were getting the whole truth here. Something is going on but I just haven't pinned it down yet. But I will. I really don't know what anyone would have to gain from attacking a training vessel."
Fitzwater chimed in. "Well, was there something on board that the enemy wanted? Maybe there was someone they wanted."
Smith shook his head and took another drag from his drink. "Not sure, Eric. From my point of view, I think that the Oklahoma was a small piece in a very big puzzle."
Chief Marchant got up from her chair and slid it back when it bumped into a person who was trying to walk behind her. The person was surprised and the drinks he was carrying spilled all over the people sitting at the table behind Marchant. There were six people sitting at the table, all Starfleet personnel. Two of the people at the table got drenched with ale and raktajino and did not look too happy about it. One of them stood up. He was wearing a grey tunic with a red Command turtle neck. He wore the rank of Commander and immediately faced Marchant. "Watch what the hell you're doing, woman!"
Marchant adjusted her glasses and gave him the look of death. She put her hands on her hips and looked squarely at the man in front of her, his brown hair all wet and sticky looking. He was probably in his thirties and stood about five foot nine. His face was red with anger, mostly from embarrassment. "Look, Commander. I didn't mean it. It was an accident. Kinda like what your parents had when they conceived you."
Smith started laughing loudly, joined by the rest at his table and those at the mad Commander's table as well. The Commander's face turned beet red. He grabbed Marchant by her shoulders and shook her. "Look here, girl. You're gonna pay for that comment!"
He didn't have time to make any more statements because Colonel Smith's beer flew through the air and crashed on the Commander's head. As the mug bounced off his head, he released Marchant, stumbling backward. In an instant, Smith was on the Commander and the rest at the Commander's table leapt from their seats.
A small melee resulted, with Smith, Johnson, Marchant, Fitzwater, and Urban in the middle of it. Johnson jumped across the table, tackled an opponent, and knocked him to the floor. They both got up and Johnson hit him square in the jaw with a right cross. The crewman stumbled back and bumped into one of his friends, who tripped over a chair and went sprawling to the floor. The crewman with the now sore jaw fired a short jab at Johnson which she blocked and followed with a quick front kick into his stomach, causing him to double over. Then she dropped a hard elbow down across his neck and shoulders, sending him to the floor in a small heap.
Marchant was locked with one of the Commander's female crewmates. They both grappled with each other, no one getting the upper hand. Thinking quickly, Marchant gave a stunning head butt to the aggressor. Marchant blinked and saw that she had bloodied her opponent. Her opponent was dazed from the surprise head butt and wobbled around, trying to lean on the table for support. Marchant quickly jumped on the advantage by taking an empty tray from a waitress and smashing it down upon the head of her foe, breaking the tray in two. The woman fell unconscious at Marchant's feet. Marchant shrieked a little, dropped the two pieces of tray, and moved away.
The fight was raging, the whole bar watching the two tables go at it. Fitzwater was hit in the stomach with an upward punch which knocked him back a few steps. He recovered in time to dodge a downward cross; it missed him by inches. Johnson was surprised to see usually laid-back Eric's face take on a look of rage. Fitzwater smartly stomped his heel down on his opponent's foot causing the Commander's crewmate to bend over in pain. This gave Fitzwater the opening he needed. He leaned down, brought his arm back, and rocked the crewman with a massive upper cut squarely to his chin, the force of the blow knocking him backward and sprawling onto the table, knocking it over in the process.
Urban, the Gryphon''s Chief of Security, had his hands full. His rival was a tall Trill who also wore the yellow turtleneck of Security. The two exchanged equal blows, the last one a hard right-hand chop across the neck of the Trill that sent him staggering. Urban was in a close fighting stance, his right fist clenched down by his side and his left arm up in a defensive posture. The Trill smiled and came back with a left-handed crescent stroke that came down hard upon Urban's head. Urban tried to avoid the blow, but the Trill was fast, stunning Urban a little as he tried to regroup. The two of them moved around in a circle like two cats waiting for the other to pounce . . . when the Trill did.
With a forward move, the Trill launched a low front kick toward Urban who parried it with a downward sweep block. Then Urban followed up with a right-footed round kick which the Trill ducked. This left Urban unbalanced and the Trill caught him with a strong right jab. Urban winced as the blow hit him; his opponent smiled and laughed, baiting him on. Urban smiled, moved in with his right foot and feinted a right cross. The Trill tried to block the punch that didn't come, exposing himself for a short second. Urban used that second to send a two-finger poke into the temple area of the Trill. The shot immediately dropped the Trill to his knees with blurred vision. Urban then gave his formidable opponent a swift sweep kick, crashing his boot across the chin of the Trill, knocking him unconscious.
A loud cheer came from the crew of the Gryphon. On the other side of the battle, things were not looking so good for Smith. Smith dropped a crewman with an overhand right to the jaw but got hit over the head with a bottle, sending shards of glass all around. Smith staggered backwards into the arms of an attacking crewman. He grabbed Smith's arms, pinning them behind his back allowing the Commander to move in and catch Smith with a swift right cross to his chin. Smith grimaced a little and looked forward as the attacker in front of him sent a punch into his stomach. Smith tightened his muscles to absorb most of the blow but it still partially knocked the breath out of him.
"You should never have stepped in, Marine. Now you're goin down!" yelled the Commander.
He reared back for a large blow when Smith launched a forward thrust kick up in between the Commanders legs and into his groin. The Commander doubled over and Smith seized the moment, ramming his head backward solidly upon the nose of the man holding him, causing him to release Smith. Smith wiped the bloody trickle from his lip and brought a hard boot down upon the knee of the opponent restraining him. The man instantly dropped to the floor clutching his knee. Smith then grabbed his head with his fingerless-gloved hands and drove his knee up into the man's face breaking his nose and snapping his opponent's head back. The Commander managed to stagger up and take a swing at the Colonel who easily parried the punch and performed a riposte maneuver, turning the block into a quick strike, landing a short left shot to the side of the Commanders face.
The Commander was dazed but still fought on. He took another straight punch at Smith who quickly picked up a glass and used it to block the punch. The attacker's fist crashed heavily into it. Clutching his damaged hand, the Commander did not see Smith follow his defense with a strong offensive combination. Smith swung a right cross, catching the Commander flush on the cheek, then sent another left-handed shot into his opponent's diaphragm, knocking the wind out of him. Backpedaling, the Commander looked up to see Smith drive a fierce upward palm strike under the Commander's chin, forcing his head back. Smith then quickly grabbed his opponent's right arm, turned his hip into the Commander, performed a quick hip lock, and tossed his dazed foe onto a table, which collapsed under his weight. Smith then moved over and gripped the Commander's uniform top and pinned him down to the floor with one knee and yelled, "Don't you ever touch one of my crew again or you'll find out what it's like when I use lethal combat on you. Now you take your sorry ass crew and go back to your ship, because the Gryphon rules this nest!"
With that shout from their Executive Officer, the Gryphon crew let out a loud "Hoorah!" Smith then reared his fist back and crashed it down upon the nose of the Commander, knocking him out cold.
The whole fight lasted only minutes. As the fight was ending, Station Security was making its way through the crowd. Sensing this, Smith tapped his comm badge and said, "Smith to Gryphon. Five to beam aboard, now!" Smith, Johnson, Fitzwater, Urban, and Marchant dematerialized from sight.
Station Security arrived to find the Commander and his people laid out and groaning and arrested them for destruction of property. For some reason, no one remembered exactly who the other participants of the brawl were except the Commander and his crew. Being guests of honor at the recent fist party, they were in no condition to do any talking.
So much for staying out of trouble.
|• Honor Among Warriors: The
Gryphon Story, © 1997 by William D. Smith, is reproduced from
the September 1997 issue of Gryphon Trek
Gazette with permission.|
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