NCC - 86105
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What's Your Poison?

Posted on Wed Jun 26th, 2013 @ 12:54am by Lieutenant Horatio Hawke & Lieutenant Ciaran McIntyre

Mission: Remnant Part 1
Location: Ship's Lounge
Timeline: MD01 2315hrs


Horatio was on the edge of his seat. The clock was ticking and there wasn't much time left. He had just been given a fresh drink and his eyes were glued to the screen above the bar.

"Yes!" he shouted then clutched at his hair as his joy turned to frustration, "No! Why would you do that?"

He took a drink and realised some of the others in the lounge were looking at him as though he were making a scene. Maybe he was, but this was an important game. Elysium had to win this game against Xanthe otherwise they were out of contention for the Martian League Championship!

They just didn't understand.

"Elysium fan, eh?" A Scottish brogue drifted across the bar, cutting the tension which hung between Hawke and the screen like a malevolent fog.

Horatio turned to see the gold-collared lieutenant down the bar. He hadn't seen him before, but the accent was unmistakable. "To the death. They don't make it easy sometimes."

McIntyre attracted the attention of the barman and made a series of perplexing hand movements that seemed to have meaning only to him and their intended target. "What's the score?"

Looking back up at the screen, Hawke watched his beloved men-in-white concede a penalty just on their side of halfway. "Bah!" he scoffed. "One a piece with about ten to go. If we don't score again, we're out of the race."

The Lieutenant sucked in air through his teeth and slid a glass, quarter full with amber liquid, down the bar towards his frustrated counterpart. "You'd best get that down yer neck then."

Horatio caught the glass and examined the contents with a dubious expression. "Scotch? I may need a few more of these soon."

"Not just scotch, Lieutenant." The Scot said, sidling along the bar towards him. "This is the closest replication I can find to Justerini & Brooks' 'J&B' blend. First thing to do on any assignment or sequester? Get a bottle behind the nearest bar."

The pilot considered that a moment and looked into the amber fluid, tilting the glass this way and that, watching the light from above the bar bounce through it. "I haven't had one of these since my Academy days," he said before lifting the glass in salute. "To the men in white!"

McIntyre raised his glass before tilting the contents of the glass down his throat. It was rude not to drink to a toast, even if one didn't happen to sympathise with the message.

Horatio sipped and felt the J&B warm down his throat. "That takes me back," he said.

"Ciaran McIntyre, by the way," the gold-collared Lieutenant offered, realising that he hadn't introduced himself to his new drinking buddy- a terrible lapse in drinking etiquette.

Horatio nodded, "Yes, we spoke over the comm. I was on watch when your shuttle arrived. Horatio Hawke. Pleased to meet you in person, Mister McIntyre."

Suddenly the crowd on the screen erupted in cheers and Horatio spun back to face the screen, the rest of the bar suddenly forgotten as he watched one of the men in white make an outstanding break and streak down the sideline into opposition territory. "Yes!" he shouted in the time-honoured tradition of yelling at a screen when knowing perfectly well that doing so could not possibly assist. Particularly when this was a recorded match.

"Get it to Darcy!" Horatio shouted a second before the midfielder on the screen lofted a kick across field to Jefferson Darcy, Elysium's most deadly striker, who timed his kick perfectly sending the ball shooting past the keeper's outstretched hand and into the back of the net.

"You beauty!" Horatio shouted, jumping up off his stool and pumping his fist in the air. "Darcy you're a dead set legend!"

McIntyre kept his mouth firmly shut as Hawke celebrated. He couldn't deny that Darcy's goal was a spectacular effort but where was the left back? He had three opportunities to get across on the midfielder who had set Darcy up and had stood there like a statue as the flash git had thrown a couple of step-overs and blasted past him.

The Chief Flight Control Officer realised a moment later that the entire lounge was watching him. Some of them wondering what was going one, others thought he was crazy, but most of them just seemed amused. He smiled and addressed them all, "Sorry folks. Trust me, if you were Elysium fans, you'd know how big a deal that was."

He turned back to McIntyre and sat down on his stool. "Sorry, Lieutenant," he said. "Do you know football?"

"Oh, yes." McIntyre offered, almost under his breath. Since the merger of the Martian League and the failing Terran Premiership, his club had gone from the zenith of the division to scrabbling around mid-table adrift from clubs like Xanthe who had latinum streaming out of every orifice.

No-one liked Xanthe. Not even most Xanthe fans.

They had been purchased by a Ferengi who had seen the opportunity to turn a tidy profit from dominating the league, year in and year out. He bought the best players from leagues around the galaxy and paid them wages which had to be transported to their banks in specialised cargo convoys.

Historians of the sport had seen it all before with the collapse of the game in the mid-21st Century and Virk's ownership model set off alarm bells in their- admittedly small- community.

He followed his simple up with an equally simple clarification, "For my sins."

Horatio grinned, "There's over eight hundred people in this ship and it's about bloody time one of them understood. Do you follow a team?" He paused and looked sideways at the security chief before adding in a cautious tone, "You're not a Xanthe fan are you?"

"Good god, man." McIntyre retorted, feigning hurt feelings, "what do you take me for?" He had grown up watching a small team in his regional league, one that his Grandfather had insisted that they cross to the mainland to see as often as possible. They weren't up to much, truth be told and he had found himself drawn to making the short shuttle jump from Starfleet Academy in Marseilles to Spain every few weeks. "I follow Real Madrid myself."

"I see," Horatio said nodding. Of the ten Terran teams in the League, he didn't mind Real Madrid; especially when they came up against that smug Xanthe outfit. "So you meant those other men in white when you toasted just now? They haven't had the worst season this year."

The note of the whisky caused McIntyre's teeth to draw together, just as he was attempting a smile. "Something like that," He replied, placing the glass on the bar, "I've not seen us have a 'good season' by our standard since we lost Taan Venis."

Venis had been Los Cul├ęs' star midfielder and was widely regarded as one of the finest passers in the modern game. He was also regarded as one of the biggest turncoats, having moved to Xanthe four seasons previously.

Horatio finished the rest of his drink and tilted his head up to the screen, "You'd be pleased to know that Venis went off in the first half with a concussion. Clashed heads with Weston and went down like a sack of potatoes."

A wry smile spread across McIntyre's face as he too polished off his refreshment. "Couldn't happen to a nicer guy." He signalled to the bartender and two more drinks appeared in front of them.

Horatio couldn't help but smile as he lifted his glass to toast. "To Blaise Weston - for having a thicker skull than Taan Venis."

"May he remain discombobulated." McIntyre echoed as he made the nectar disappear.

Once again the scotch went down the hatch. Horatio sucked in a breath as felt it warming him from the inside. "That's good scotch, my friend. But I have to warn you, if we're going to go drink for drink you may be in for a long night."

"My Grandfather had a saying," McIntyre began trying to remember the exact words the old man had used when summing up what it meant to be a football fan, "if you lose; it's a great excuse to get pissed. If you win... it's a great excuse to get pissed! Two more please, barkeep."

"A wise man, your Grandfather," Horatio said as the drinks arrived. He lifted his glass and held it for a moment as a memory flashed into his mind. "Last time I went to an Elysium match was last year, while I was off on medical leave. There's this fantastic pub, just down the street from Russell Field. Me and a couple of mates went there after the match - which, being Elysium last year, we of course lost - and put your Grandfather's saying into practice. We threw back quite a lot that night, I can tell you."

Horatio paused as an echo of a feeling tickled through his jaw. "I don't remember who threw the first punch, but there was this obnoxious Bradbury fan who had been rubbing our noses in off and on all night. You know, he'd pass us going up the bar and say things like 'Nearly got there, Elysium! Only needed three or four more goals!' A real piece of work, he was.

"Anyway, on one of his trips back from the bar ..." Horatio chuckled as he remembered, "he somehow got himself tangled up in my mate Bram's foot and went face down on the floor, his drinks went everywhere!"

McIntyre clapped suddenly and threw his head back in laughter. "Of course he just happened to walk into his foot!"

"Oh, it was hilarious!" Horatio continued. "We cracked up, and this guy looked an absolute idiot. I reckon he would have cried, but, of course, he had mates too. About nine of them. So there we were, three Elysium boys, and there they were, nine Bradbury fellas. Except they weren't just Bradbury fellas, no. Turns out this bloke had a couple of Klingon mates and he was showing them what a football game was."

McIntyre's eyes widened. Klingons intimidated him but the idea of a Klingon filled with adrenaline from a competitive sport put the fear of the deity into him.

Horatio laughed. "Like I said, I don't remember who threw the first punch, but I know a little later I woke up with a broken jaw and shattered knuckles." He downed his drink. "Fortunately, my fancy new legs came through unscathed."

"Your fancy new legs?" McIntyre asked incredulously, trying to stifle the remainder of his laughter through a swig of his drink.

Horatio nodded and tapped his right leg. "Yep, these things are sixty-five percent synthetic. That's why I was on leave at the time; had to get used to them. They itch like crazy sometimes, but otherwise good as new. And bar fight resistant!"

"I'm assuming you can't take them off and use them as a rudimentary shillelagh?" McIntyre asked with a chuckle.

The pilot laughed and signaled the barman for two more drinks. "Alas, no. They work just like real legs. Don't even give me super speed or the ability to leap tall buildings!"

McIntyre snorted dismissively. "Centuries of incredible medical advances and they can't even get you a decent pair of legs."

Just then their attention was arrested by a flare of white on the screen as the Elysium players streamed forward, leaving them five against three and bearing down on the Xanthe defence. The crowd on the screen was suddenly audible over the din of polite conversation in the bar. The anticipation was tangible. The ball appeared in the air as the attacking midfielder flicked it beyond the tracking defenders.

McIntyre watched as Hawke began to rise from his chair, all the colour draining from his face as he did so.

"Yes!" Horatio muttered, rising without realising to a standing position, his drink forgotten and his right hand suspended in a half-formed fist in the air near his shoulder.

On the screen, Darcy seemed to appear out of nowhere, completely unmarked and perfectly positioned. Xanthe had nothing, but Darcy seemed to have all the time in the world to set himself. His strike was perfectly timed and sent the ball arcing through the air to the top left corner of the goal, past the keeper's outstretched hand and into the net.

Horatio's fist shot into the air as he cried out, "Darcy you freak of nature!" He turned back to McIntyre, "Did you see that?"

His companion merely nodded approvingly.

The Elysium players piled on top of the hero of the hour. It was in the last minute of injury time and the referee blew the game over. Elysium defeated Xanthe 3-1 in the end and ensured they were still alive in the premiership race.

"They'll be dancing in Elysium tonight, that's for damn sure!" Horatio exclaimed, sitting down again and reaching for his drink.

END

-------
Lieutenant Horatio Hawke
Chief Flight Control Officer
USS Endeavour

&

Lieutenant Ciaran McIntyre
Chief Security/Tactical Officer
USS Endeavour

 

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