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Old February 13 2008, 08:03 PM   #35
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Location: The void between my ears
Re: Writing Challenge- The winning entries.

January 2008 - Officers Behaving Badly
Winner - TheLoneRedshirt

“Shore Patrol!”

Stardate 53575.3 (29 July 2376)
USS Bluefin
Star Station Echo – Berth 14

“Commander Strauss, Commander T’Ser, please have a seat,” said Captain Joseph Akinola, CO of the Border Service cutter, USS Bluefin. Akinola had a bemused expression on his face. Lt. Commander T’Ser and Commander Inga Strauss exchanged wary glances.

“I’m afraid our shore leave plans have been shelved for the moment. Admiral Bateson has assigned us to shore patrol duty on the station for the next 48 hours.”

“Shore patrol?” asked Strauss, a surprised expression on her face. “I thought the station had its own security detail.”

Akinola nodded. “They do, but . . .” He squirmed in his seat with an uncomfortable expression on his face. “It seems that most of the station’s security detail has a case of Orion mega-clap.”

T’Ser winced. Strauss still looked puzzled. “Orion mega-clap? I’ve never heard of it.”

Akinola appeared to struggle with how to phrase his response. T’Ser rescued him. “Orion mega-clap is a highly contagious sexually transmitted disease. It affects Humans, Rigellians, Denobulans, Klingons, Andorians, Ferengi, Cardassians, Bajorans, Betazoids, Gorn, Hortas and Orions – green and red. Vulcans, however, are immune,” she said with a slight air of smugness.

“Hortas?” asked Strauss, amazed.

“You really don’t want to know.” T’Ser continued. “It is characterized by itching, high fever, hair loss, nausea, bad breath, extreme flatulence, blurred vision, running sores, projectile vomiting, hallucinations, temporary hearing loss, heavy nasal discharge, excessive ear wax production, and, in some cases the male genitalia can quite literally shrivel and fall off . . .”

“That’s . . . quite enough information,” said Akinola, a pained expression on his face. “Thank you. The point is, station security has been infected and is out of commission for at least a week until the station’s medical personnel can get a handle . . .”

T’Ser smirked.

“I mean a grip . . .”

Strauss giggled.

“ . . .can treat it,” the Captain concluded. “In the mean time, the Admiral has tasked the three in-port cutters to provide security until the . . . situation has stabilized.”

Strauss and T’Ser smiled innocently at Akinola’s discomfiture.

The Captain then offered a broad smile of his own, which caused the two women’s smiles to fade somewhat.

“With all that in mind, I’m putting the two of you in charge of shore patrol duty.”

T’Ser’s face fell. Strauss looked intrigued.

“Sir, couldn’t Gralt or Lt. Bane head this up? They enjoy playing cop,” protested T’Ser.

“It sounds kind of exciting to me!” piped Inga, enthusiastically.

“You’ve never done it before,” pointed out T’Ser.

“All the more reason for the two of you to head it up. T’Ser, you have the experience and Inga, you need the experience. Of course, you can enlist Senior Chief Brin and Chief Deryx to help. But I expect you both to be a visible deterrent on that station!”

“Can I keep my phaser set on “hide me, please?” muttered T’Ser.

“Oh, T’Ser – this will be fun!” said Strauss.

“It most certainly will,” said Akinola, beaming at his two officers.

“Why don’t you tell Commander Strauss about the last time you handled shore patrol duty, Captain?” challenged T’Ser.

“Oh. That,” said Akinola, sheepishly. “Perhaps some other time. . .”

* * *

Six hours later . . .
Star Station Echo – Deck 16 (Merchant’s Alley)

Lt. Commander T’Ser and Commander Strauss walked through the throng of people in the retail shop area of the station. Both wore dark blue shoulder bands with the letters “SP” emblazoned in gold. Each wore a type-2 phaser and carried stun batons. Inga was twirling her baton and whistling a jaunty tune.

Must you do that?” hissed T’Ser. “People are staring!”

“What?” asked Strauss.

“That incessant whistling and twirling your stun baton like you’re some kind of majorette!”

“I saw it done by a beat cop in an old holo-vid once. It seemed to put the locals at ease.”

“It’s more likely to get us put out an air-lock!” whispered T’Ser as they shouldered past two tall Nausicans. “Let’s just . . . get through this, okay?”

Strauss shook her head sadly. “Do you know what your problem is?”

“I wasn’t aware . . .” Both of their comm badges came to life, interrupting them.

“Echo Control to team one, acknowledge.”

Strauss tapped her comm badge, “Team one, go ahead.”

“Be advised, we have a report of a fight at Sloopy’s Saloon. A group of Federation Marines are trashing the place. Back-up’s en route, but you’re the closest team available.”

“Acknowledged, we’ll handle it, Control. Team one, out.” Strauss began to move in the direction of the altercation. T’Ser grabbed her arm.

“Whoa! What are you doing?” asked T’Ser, incredulously.

Inga frowned. “You heard the call. There’s a fight – we need to go break it up.”

“Inga those are Federation Marines! They’re trained to break things and hurt people. And they’re good at it! We need to wait on back-up!”

Strauss gave her a side-long glance. “We’re Starfleet officers, T’Ser. And we’ve been tasked to provide security for this station! Now, I for one, take my responsibility seriously. I’m sure, once we get there and explain things to these Marines that they’ll see the error of their ways and stand down.”

T’Ser blinked. “You’re certifiable, you know.”

Inga started trotting in the direction of the Saloon. “Last one there is a mangy Targ!” she said with obvious glee.

T’Ser sighed and trotted after Inga. “We’re going to die . . .”

* * *

Three minutes later . . .
Star Station Echo - Sloopy’s Saloon – Deck 16

“WHAAAAAAAA-HOOOOO!” shouted Marine Lance Corporal Bobby Joe Lee as he twirled the howling Bajoran over his head and tossed him across the bar into a rather expensive looking mirror.

About a dozen burly Marines were involved in altercations throughout Sloopy’s bar. Sloopy himself was hunkered down behind his bar, loading stun rounds into his pulse rifle, and muttering to himself about retirement on Risa. Taking a deep breath, the portly Human stood from behind the bar in an effort to restore order. Before he could fire off a round, a burly Tellarite PFC grabbed the rifle and Sloopy’s collar, dragging him across the bar, across two tables and out the double doors of the establishment. He found himself looking at two pairs of boots. Looking up, he was surprised to see two Starfleet officers – a Vulcan woman and a petite human woman.

“I would say this is the place,” said the Vulcan. Sloopy could swear he detected sarcasm in her voice.

“Right!” said the smaller woman. “Let’s go in and put a stop to this!” Her pretty face beamed with excitement.

The Vulcan sighed and muttered, “Riiiight behind ya . . .” Her voice trailed off as she followed the other woman.

Sloopy stood, brushed himself off, tossed the pulse rifle aside, and strode toward the nearest travel agent’s office.

“Alright, everyone! Shore Patrol! Everyone just settle down and we . . .” Strauss found herself being tugged down roughly by T’Ser as a chair flew overhead and crashed against the front wall.

“Hey!” shouted Strauss, incensed. T’Ser grabbed her by the shoulder and stared into her eyes.

“Inga – these Marines are drunk. And they’re in a mood to fight – which tends to make them dangerous!”

“We’ve got a job to do, T’Ser. Now, are you going to help or not?”

T’Ser closed her eyes and began counting to ten. She could feel a vein pulse in her temple. Inga popped back up, jumped on a table and stuck two fingers in her mouth.

“PHWEEEEEEEEETT!!!” Inga’s shrill whistle caused everyone to freeze. Some were in mid-punch, or breaking bottles. In one corner, a Marine was holding a Ferengi by the ears. They all stared at Inga.

“Thank you!” said Inga, reasonably, “Now that I have your . . .”

The pause was only momentary as the melee’ broke out with even greater intensity. T’Ser came up from under the table in time to see a Centauran gunnery sergeant grab Inga by the waist and throw her over his shoulder. T’Ser pulled her phaser pistol, only to have it knocked away by a stray bottle. Shaking her bruised hand, T’Ser watched helplessly as the Marine carried Inga off like a duffle bag.

T’Ser tapped her comm. badge. “Echo Control, Unit one. We need reinforcements here and we need them NOW!”

* * *

“Put me down! PUT ME DOWN!” demanded Inga as the Centauran moved back into the fray, pushing aside and punching patrons and fellow Marines alike.

“Sure thing, short-cake,” slurred the inebriated Marine with a leer on his face. He placed her in the middle of the floor, giving her tush a pinch as he did so.

A switch flipped somewhere in Inga’s brain. Her eyes narrowed and she twisted the power setting on her stun baton to maximum.

“What . . . did . . . you . . . call me?” she asked, her face a mask of fury.

The huge Centauran leaned forward, his breath reeking. “I called you short-cake, little sweet-ass.” He turned from her roaring in laughter. His fellow Marines joined in with him with hoots, whistles and cat-calls.

Inga nodded. “That’s what I thought you said!” as she jammed the charged baton into the posterior of the Centauran with all her might.

Everyone in the Saloon froze. A chorus of “oooOOOooHHHH!” rose from the horrified Marines. Even T’Ser winced.

Through gritted teeth and a red haze clouding her vision, Strauss hissed, “Don’t . . . call . . . me . . . SHORT!”

Senior Chief Brin and six armed security crewmen rushed in just in time to witness the awful sight. Brin shuddered. “Aw, that’s not right!” he said in a shaky voice.

* * *

Two hours later . . .
USS Bluefin – Star Station Echo – Berth 14
Captain’s Ready Room

Captain Akinola had a habit of rubbing the bridge of his nose when under stress. He had been rubbing his nose for five minutes as he read Commander Strauss’ and Lt. Commander T’Ser’s after-action report. Both Inga and T’Ser stood at attention in front of his desk.

Finally Akinola stopped rubbing his nose and looked at the two women with an incredulous expression.

“So. There was a fight at Sloopy’s?” he asked quietly.

“Yes sir,” they replied in unison.

“Station control dispatched you to check it out.”

“Yes sir.”

“There were Marines fighting in there.”

They nodded.

Akinola also nodded, albeit very slowly. He pursed his lips and picked up the padd. “You attempted to break up the fight.”

Again, Strauss and T’Ser nodded and offered verbal agreement.

The Captain tossed the padd on his desk and folded his hands before looking at them. He cleared his throat and spoke softly and slowly.

“And at what point, Commander Strauss, did you shove your fully charged stun baton up the gunnery sergeant’s ass?”

Strauss blushed and maintained her focus on a point about eighteen inches above Akinola’s head. “Well sir, we were in the heat of a pitched battle and out-numbered. Lt. Commander T'Ser had saved me from serious injury by pulling me from the path of a flying chair before she herself was disarmed and injured. The gunnery sergeant acted in a threatening manner, so I felt justified in using extreme, but non-lethal force against a larger, stronger opponent. . . Sir.”

Akinola continued to nod slowly. “Is that what happened, Lt. Commander T’Ser?”

T’Ser’s left eye had developed a slight twitch. “Yes sir. Just like that.”

“Ah,” said Akinola. “Very well then. You might be glad to know that the Chief Medical Officer on the USS Tarawa believes that Gunnery Sergeant Krovecki should recover nicely, following surgery to remove the baton from his . . . body. In fact . . .” Akinola reached beneath his desk and produced a stun baton which he tossed to Strauss. She caught it, regarding it as if someone had tossed her a dead hamster. “The doctor was kind enough to return it to you, Commander.”

Strauss held the baton gingerly. “Yes sir. Thank you. Eww.” She looked slightly ill.

“One more thing. In light of today’s . . . incident, I’ve decided to relieve you two of shore patrol duty. Commander Gralt and Lt. Bane will take your places.”

Inga’s face fell in disappointment. T’Ser’s mood lightened considerably. She positively beamed.

“Now Commander Strauss – about the way you charged in today . . .” began Akinola.

“Rigel IV . . . Stardate 49832.6 . . . Th’rev’s Tavern,” T’Ser said softly, by way of reminder.

Akinola frowned at T’Ser, but did not complete his sentence. “Um, as I was saying, it was a new experience for you. I hoped you learned the importance of waiting for back-up to arrive.” He maintained his glare at T’Ser who was intently studying some of Akinola’s wood carvings.

“Alright. Dismissed, both of you.” Strauss and T’Ser quickly exited the ready room. "And for God's sake - stay out of trouble!" he called after them.

Akinola picked up the padd and re-read Strauss’ and T’Ser’s report. Soon, his features softened and he began to chuckle. The more he read, the harder he laughed. By the time he finished, he was laughing so hard that tears were streaming down his face.
"You are beginning to damage my calm." - Jayne Cobb
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