OOC: This takes place on Christmas eve, before Sal’s party.
((Starbase 118 - My Favourite Bar, Holosuite 2))
Tony slowed his pace, allowing himself to fall back at least a few steps behind Grimm, hoping Rose would take the hint and fall back as well. Once they were a bit behind the outlaw, Tony leaned close to Rose and spoke, almost at a whisper.
Meeks: These things only hold about 200 rounds. We need to keep them on semi to conserve ammo.
Rose: Two hundred? Really?
Rose hadn’t expected to have so much ammunition, but she wasn't going to complain about it either. Regardless, she would have to be careful. In the heat of battle, two hundred rounds would probably go a lot faster than she realised.
Meeks: ::Looking around, Tony found an area where they could get some cover to start with:: We’ll start over here.
Grimm: Your choice then.
Turning, the man stalked off in teh opposite direction, raising his hand to wave, though his back was to them.
Meeks: We’ll be seeing ya.
Tony didn’t wait for a reply, instead he took to a jog toward the rock outcropping he had selected. That would be sufficient to get their bearings and make a plan of attack.
Cradling her rifle closely, Rose hurried after Meeks. A few minutes later, they took up refuge behind a sizable boulder, enjoying the ever so slight relief the shadow brought as it cut out the direct rays of the sun that continued to heat up the day. Even though she’d been riding and hardly exerting herself, sweat dripped down her face, neck, and back. She ignored the salty discomfort, and turned to her partner.
Rose: Got a plan?
Meeks: Yep… We’re going to shoot them… a lot.
Rose: Oh. Great. That’s what I thought.
She couldn’t help but giggle, then shook her head.
Rose: And here I thought you’d have some mastermind strategy.
Meeks: ::Turning the rifle over in his hands:: Bear in mind, these are only going to have an effective range of about fifty yards. The smooth bore won’t stabilize the round in flight, so the accuracy is going to fail pretty quickly.
Rose: So we’re going to have to get personal.
Meeks: Yep. Pretty close. The only bonus is they have the same handicap.
Rose: Anything we can do to give ourselves an advantage?
Meeks: This is your game. I figured you’d have this down.
Rose: I don’t know, you’re the law enforcement. This is supposed to be your forte.
Meeks: My best advice? Don’t get shot. Shoot them first. Keep your head down when you aren’t shooting. Pretty simple, I think.
Rose rolled her eyes, then peered around the edge of the boulder. No one was in sight. Yet. Wait...had they started?
Rose: Remind me to play a game of chess with you.
Meeks: Chess? Why chess?
Rose: Because with your kind of strategy, I might actually win for once.
Tony winked at her and grinned. He took a grip on the pistol grip of the gun and pulled the bolt to the rear. Thumbing off the safety, he leaned around the boulder and stroked the trigger in three quick swipes. The small gun popped three times, sending three green paint-filled balls in the direction of the other team. He watched as the balls travelled at about 300 feet per second across the expanse, gauging the travel time and drop. He was right in his estimation of the effective range of 50 yards. The ball travelled further than that, but at that distance it would be hard to make accurate hits. Once the last of the three balls had struck the ground, he returned to the relative safety of the boulder.
Meeks: The speed of these things make it relatively easy. Anything is going to act as cover, as long as it will block that paintball. Even those little bushes will work to keep you safe.
Rose: Not by much. Can a round cut through them?
Rose thought about peering out again, but decided against it. They’d already given away their position, not that it was a particularly big secret, and she was sure they’d be moving very soon. If their opponents hadn’t started as of yet, she’d have been very surprised.
Meeks: The shell on these balls are designed to break upon impact. If they hit a twig, they are going to pop, spreading the paint onto whatever is around.
Rose: All right then. So are we going to go out together, arms linked, or what?
Of course not linked, Rose knew better than that, but she wanted an idea of what sort of moves they were going to make before just jumping into the line of fire.
Meeks: We’re going to move in a leapfrog. I’ll go first, moving up a bit toward those guys. Once I get set, you move up to a position in front of me, ready to shoot anything that moves. I’ll do the same, once you are set and can cover me. Got it?
Rose: You have the advantage. I don’t think I can jump high enough to get over you.
Tony cocked his head, taking in what she had just said. He tried to envision any situation where actually jumping over someone would be a tactically appropriate action. Then it dawned on him that she was making a joke. He shook his head and smiled.
Meeks: Either way, it could be fun.
Rose: I never said making jokes was a strength of mine. All right, ready when you are.
Meeks: ::Taking in a deep breath:: Okay. I’ll move up, maybe 10 yards or so. When I stop, you go.
Without waiting for her to acknowledge him, Tony raised the paintball gun to his shoulder and moved out. He stared down the barrel, keeping his eyes up and using the gun to guide him. He strode forward, finger ready to press the trigger and release a hail of green death (or paint as it would be). The distance between the boulder and a large sagebrush was about ten or so yards, and he didn’t see anything to shoot during the movement. He kept his weapon trained forward, searching with the barrel for any sign of their opponents. Once he was stopped, he stood, frozen in place waiting for Rose to pass him.
Taking a deep breath, Rose exhaled then quickly hurried around the edge of the boulder. Getting down as low as she could to make herself a smaller target, but without compromising her ability to move, she scurried forward, coming alongside him and then quickly passing him. How far had he said to move? Resisting the urge to look behind her and make herself a sitting duck, Rose finally decided to stop at a low bush, crouching down and keeping her eyes peeled in front of her.
As soon as Rose had stopped, Tony started to move forward. One step in front of the other, he strode forward behind Rose. Within a few steps, he was next to her and preparing to move to the next point on their path. He stepped ahead and the tell-tale “pop-pop-pop” came to his ears. Three blue balls zipped past him, zinging in the air as they sped by. From the speed, he was sure the shooter was within the 50 yard effective zone and he was a sitting duck out in the open. Quickly, he released a volley of several balls in the direction the hostile fire came from.
Meeks: CONTACT!!! ::Backing quickly ant taking cover behind a nearby rock::
As soon as Meeks called out, Rose lowered herself further behind the bush. Glancing over in the direction where he’d barely managed to take cover, she heard another set of shots.
The rock Tony was crouching behind was barely large enough to shield his body from the neck down, but it took a lot of crouching to get his melon behind it. The sound of paintballs splatting against the surface of the rock was sharp and there was a fine blue spray from the bursting bubbles. The onslaught was relatively steady, not giving him an opportunity to return fire.
Rose attempted to count the shots fired, but there was no way she could keep up with the rattle of plunks and splats that continued to volley at them. Instead, she hunkered down, waiting. For the moment, it seemed their attention was on the boulder that sheltered Meeks, and she couldn't help but wonder why they were waiting so much ammo. Then it hit her.
Rose: Tony! Check the other side! This might be a distraction!
Meeks: Of course it is! ::Still pinned down:: Can you move?
Rose: Um. Yeah. But where? If I come in your direction, I’m going to get slammed.
Meeks: Go that way… ::Waving the other direction:: See if you can get an angle on this guy. When it breaks, I’ll go this way!
Rose: Are you sure about that?
Meeks: We need to draw them out.
Tony waited until there was a brief pause in the incoming rounds. He quickly popped up and released a pair of paintballs down range. He quickly returned to the safety of the small rock, barely avoiding getting hit by more paint.
Rose waited a moment, took a deep breath, then as soon as Tony darted up to send out a few more shots, she heaved up and darted over. Aiming for another smaller boulder, she almost made it before she felt something whiz past her. Diving, she rolled behind the protective cover of the boulder. Taking a moment to catch her breath, she pushed herself up, then peered ever so carefully over the edge. She couldn’t stand, that particular rock too small, but if she stayed low, she’d be covered. As she attempted to catch sight of her opponent, another volley of ammunition whipped past. One landed off a ways behind her, bright yellow staining the deeper hue of the sand. While waiting for the volley to subside, she readied her gun, then stuck up and sent out a bunch of shots of her own. Purple splattered on a bush and a rock and scattered over the ground, but even as she quickly ducked back down, she realised she hadn’t managed to strike true.
Rose: Got any other ideas?
She called out to her fellow teammate.
Meeks: Yeah! ::Popping up and unleashing a volley of bright green balls:: When he comes up, shoot him!
Well that was helpful. Rose rolled her eyes, then eased over the side to try and get a look at her opponent. There was a flicker of movement from a larger bush to a boulder. So what was she going to do? If she attempted to get a shot, she’d likely get pelted.
Tony stood and started moving to his right. He kept the gun up and fired several more balls toward where he thought the bad guy was. He had only taken a few steps when paintballs started coming at him from his left flank. He knew that wasn’t the guy who had been shooting at him before. He didn’t turn toward that direction though, instead choosing to move hard toward a nearby tree he could use as cover. Thankfully, the paintballs weren’t very accurate and missed him as he ran. Paint also came from the original direction, placing Tony in a cross-fire.
With Tony providing a distraction, Rose took advantage of the situation. Popping up, she aimed her rifle and rest it against the boulder, but waited. She had to make the shot count. If she just kept shooting, she’d miss and then they’d be warned of her intent. Finger hovering on the trigger, she held back. Suddenly, another round of fire aimed toward Tony, but to do so, one of them had to expose at least part of himself. For the briefest of seconds, she aimed, then pressed the trigger, sending a multitude of balls toward. Another flash of movement warned her that the second was on to her and started to shoot at her, but she dropped down just before the paint could mark her as its prey.
Tony saw Rose’s paint hit the mark, stitching three distinct splatters of green paint on the chest of the hinchman. With a glimmer, the outlaw disappeared, leaving one more to go… Grimm. The problem was, Grimm had them both in a bad spot.
Meeks: Nice shot! One left!
Rose:Yeah. The harder one!
Meeks: Do me a favor! Don’t miss!
Tony had made up his mind. They were in a spot, and if his calculations were correct, Grimm would have them both without cover in a few seconds. Because of this, Tony knew what needed to be done. He gave the paintball gun a shake, feeling the balls rattle in the hopper. He had enough to do what he had to do. He turned and ran in the direction the flanking paintballs had come from. His gun was up and he fired a steady stream of paint in the direction he ran… then the pain came back. Yellow orbs flew at him, striking the rocks and bushes near him. Tony caught sight of Grimm who had stood to deliver the onslaught. Tony fired, but the paint coming at him found its mark. Five successive splats appeared on Tony’s chest, abdomen, and arms. He skidded to a stop and raised his arms and his gun, signaling his defeat. The ploy had worked though and Grimm was exposed to Rose.
Immediately, Rose took her chance. Rose rose to the occasion and aimed, then fired, sending a spray of those round bullets. She held that trigger down, unrelenting in her assault. Spray after spray after spray ached toward Grimm and he was covered in a layer of purple paint. Finally, she released the trigger and crouched down, then eased back up when she realised she had been successful.
Lifting both hands into the air, fists jutted toward the sun in triumph and Rose danced a little, hopping from one side to the other.
Meeks: Nice shootin’ Tex!!!
Tony dropped the paintball gun and trotted to where Rose stood. He held up a hand and gave her a high-five for the win. She had done very well.
She returned it, slapping his palm with a force far stronger than someone of her stature would possess. Attempting to twirl the gun, she managed to get it around twice before her hands refused to cooperate and she dropped it, the device clattering to the ground.
Meeks: ::Trying to stifle a laugh:: way to go butter fingers. Now, let’s go get your domahicky.
Rose giggled, then turned to Grimm. Stepping out fully into view, she faced him, fists now pressed against her hips.
Rose: All right Grimm, give it up. We won fair and square!
For a moment, the man simply stood there, as if he were trying to somehow will the paint to disappear. Instead, it slid over his face and dripped from his chin and body, fully coated with the stuff she had so mercilessly lobbied at him. Spitting, he managed to get some out of his mouth before her answered.
Grimm: I done reckon that’s so. There was a quick motion of his hand and a moment later, one of the henchmen who had remained hidden til that point appeared with a dark brown box. Handing it over to Rose, Grimm spat again and flung his hands in attempt to rid himself of more paint.
Grim: Git before I change my mind.
Rose: You don’t have to tell me twice! Come on!
Grinning, Rose made for the horses, hands clutching the box.
The ride seemed to take far less time, and before the two knew it, they were returned to the saloon. No one seemed to miss the bartender, but it was only a program after all . Rose triumphantly circled around to take up her previous place behind the bar, box still in hand .
Rose: Thanks for the help, sheriff.
Meeks: ::tipping his hat:: My pleasure, darlin’. So, what’s in the box?
Smiling, Rose took the box and lifted it down and under the bar, hiding it from view.
Rose: That’s for me to know. Did you enjoy yourself?
Meeks: I had fun. I was a bit worried when we started, but you did good. Did you enjoy it?
DeVeau/Rose: I did. I’m glad. Wanted to do something special, so was happy when you were available.
He looked down at his shirt, seeing the drying paint on the cloth. He knew he probably had a couple of welts under the covering, and it was worth every bit.
Meeks: How ‘bout a whiskey, since yer back there?
Alora laughed and shook her head.
DeVeau: Another one? I just gave you a drink.
Despite that, she pulled out a bottle and poured another. It was replicated, so anything she gave him wouldn’t cause any sort of reaction, so he could have as much as he wanted.
Meeks: So, what’s the occasion?
Alora, aka Rose, sipped at the liquid which sent a warm trail down the back of her throat. From over the rim, her eyes watched him, that amusement still far too visible.
DeVeau: Who said there’s an occasion?
Meeks: There doesn’t need to be an occasion.
DeVeau: Except there might be an occasion.
Meeks: You are an enigma, aren’t you? ::Lifts the glass::
DeVeau: Am I?
Alora took another swig of her drink, then clapped the glass on the bar. Once more, fist went to hip and she eyed the man.
DeVeau: It’s barely past lunch time. Best not to get drunk so soon. Besides, if ya get drunk and get into trouble, it might cost ya.
Not that it would actually work considering the replicator didn’t really replicate the alcohol to the point where it had the same effects.
Meeks: ::Draining the glass: Yes, Ma’am.
Without a word, Alora reached below the bar and removed a package, then set it in front of the marine. Green with a silver bow, it was carefully wrapped, and shone even in the dimmer light the saloon afforded.
DeVeau: Merry Christmas, Sheriff.
Meeks: You didn’t have to do this. ::The “in character” act no longer in his voice::
Surprise filled Tony’s eyes, as well as a little tear. He hadn’t expected anything from his friend and usual dance partner. He had gotten her a little gift, but he hadn’t expected anything from her.
DeVeau: Whatever. Just open it.
Meeks: Is this what this was about? ::Looking around the room:: You went through a lot of trouble for me.
DeVeau: I like doing stuff for people. Thought we could play for a while. Didn’t want to just gift and run. I did that with some people, but not others. Some people required gifting in person.
Which included Ashley. Wyn had been in person too, though that had been a shift from he original plans. When she couldn’t get anything really concrete, she’d decided on spending time with him and doing a special run with fries and popcorn. It had been really nice, and a great way to start a day of gift giving. The captain was next - the last one on Christmas eve. His was particularly special.
Meeks: What is it?
DeVeau: Are you going to open it?
Meeks: Well, I guess I am. ::Laughing::
Tony slid the ribbon off then slowly slipped his finger under the tape. The paper was exquisite, and underneath he found the packaging just as perfect. The wooden box was old, probably several hundred years old, but the condition of it was absolutely beautiful. There were no markings on the wood, and the small metal latch on the side glistened in the flickering lamplight of the saloon. Tony flicked up the latch and pulled the hinged lid open, revealing red velvet with an incredible sight inlaid into it. Tony recognized the Bowie Knife as soon as he saw it. It was polished to an incredible sheen, with an ebony inlay handle pinned with real brass. From the age of the knife, and the light patina on the blade, it was possible the knife could have been an original James Black designed and crafted Bowie Knife. Tony wanted to take it from the box, but he stopped himself. He lay the box on the bar, leaving the lid open.
Meeks: Um… Alora… ::Looking up at her:: This is really too much.
DeVeau: Too much? Too much for what?
Meeks: This gift. ::Marveling at it:: It’s too much.
DeVeau: No it’s not.
Meeks: But, Alora, this had to have cost you a pretty penny. I honestly can’t take this.
DeVeau: Tony, if you try to give that back, I’m going to smack you. Don’t think I won’t. Don’t think I can’t. Take the knife. I bought it for you, it’s yours, and I’m not taking it back.
The problem was, he knew she’d do it too. He slowly closed the box, pulling it gently toward himself.
Meeks: I love it, Alora. Thank you.
DeVeau: Good. I’m glad.
Meeks: If I’d have known this was our gift exchange, I would have brought yours. I didn’t though.
Alora flicked her hand in a dismissive gesture. She didn’t give gifts just so she could get some return. She gave gifts because she enjoyed making people happy, even if it was just for a moment. Finding something that resonated with them, that they appreciated gave her a sense of satisfaction.
Tony stood up and walked around the bar, and when he reached Alora he hugged her.
Meeks: Thank you.
Smiling, Alora hugged the big bear of a man in return, grateful for the gesture. Hugs were a luxury as of late, and honestly, she could do with a lot more of them.
DeVeau: You’re welcome.
She offered the words softly, then with a happy sigh, repeated -
DeVeau: Merry Christmas.
1Lt. Anthony Meeks
1/292nd TMR D Co.
Starbase 118 Ops/USS Narendra
Lt. Cmdr. Alora DeVeau
Chief Science Officer
Starbase 118 Ops