JP: 1Lt. Meeks & Lt. Cmdr. DeVeau - “Wild West Christmas” (Part I)

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Amanda Nordstrom

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Feb 19, 2021, 12:26:56 AMFeb 19
to StarBase 118 Ops – UFOP: StarBase 118

OOC: This takes place on Christmas eve, before Sal’s party.

IC:

((Starbase 118 - My Favourite Bar, Holosuite 2))

As the doors parted, heat slammed into the face of the man who had been invited to the holosuite.  Upon entering, a gust of wind scattered sand in his face, and a tumbleweed tossed and turned down a dusty street.  Along the sides were various buildings made of wood, porches on most, offering some shelter from the heat of the sun that blazed overhead.  Women in long dresses that seemed to be torture devices considering the stifling temperature hurried from one place to another, some in, some out and into carriages that would take them to places of safety from the sun and its sweltering touch.  From a saloon a little ways down, music from a piano could be heard wafting through the air along with laughter of those inside enjoying themselves.  

Tony hadn’t known what he was in for, as the invitation simply directed him there. Once he had stepped inside, he couldn’t help but grin at the detail in the program. He paused at the entrance, observing the people moving around and once he had a grip on what their attire was, he returned to the arch and ordered up clothing for the occasion. Within seconds, he had a small pile of laundry and a pair of dirty old boots. Looking around, he saw a small building nearby, approximately 3 feet square. Above the wooden door was a crescent moon cut into the wood header above it. A perfect place to change into his new garb.

Minutes later, he stepped out onto the dusty ground, settling into the leather on his feet. He adjusted the belt around his waist and ensured the salmon colored shirt was tucked in all the way around. He was happy to be out of the smelly shed, but the breeze blew dust into his face that had a whole new odor. Regardless, he was going to have fun. He decided the first stop would be the saloon, not only to see where the fun music was coming from, but to get something to wash down the mouthful of dirt he had. 

Once through the doors, the heat didn’t seem quite so stifling, perhaps the breeze from the open windows and the doors that only filled half of the doorway, leaving the top and bottom open for movement added to the shelter from the rays to bring things down a little.  People filled the room, only a couple of tables and a seat or two at the bar remaining empty.  It was behind that bar a familiar figure stood and as her verdant gaze turned toward the marine, her smile turned upward. Tony crossed the room and stepped up to the bar. He placed one of his booted feet onto a brass rail that was installed about six inches from the floor and leaned his elbows onto the bar surface. Dropping a large coin onto the wood, it spun quickly, then wobbled to a chattering stop. He decided to play along with the character of the holosuite:

Meeks: How ‘bout a drink, barmaid?

One fist jammed against a rose coloured hip, the pink fabric sewn in fashion for the times nad littered with darker pink flowers - roses - that scattered all over the bodice and skirt.  As she stared at him, the woman lifted her chin.  Dark tendrils fell across her brown and over her cheek, but she ignored them.  Remaining in place, that smile reflected in her eyes, along with a hint of amusement.  She knew if anyone was going to play along, it would be Tony. 

DeVeau: What’s yer poison?

Meeks: Whiskey.

As he gave his order, the woman straightened and brought out a glass and the specific drink requested.  Pouring it out, she took a second glass and filled it as well.  After putting away the bottom, she slid one over to him, then lifted her own in a mild salute.  

Meeks: ::Raising the glass:: Ma’am.

Tony put the glass to his lips and tipped it, all at once, to the back of his throat. He felt the cool liquid hit his tongue, and the burn followed as he swallowed. He set the glass onto the bar rather hard, and with a “thunk” he pushed it toward her.

Meeks: How ‘bout I buy you another?

DeVeau: Ya could, but one’s my limit.  I’ll just enjoy this, but yer more than welcome ta get more. I’ll even give it on the house. 

Rose took the glass and poured another shot of whiskey into it.  She started to pass it over, but then drew it back before he could take it.

Rose: On one condition. 

Meeks: And that would be?

Rose: That no good bandit, Aden Grimm.  Stole something - something important.  I aim ta get it back, but I need help.  That’s where you come in. 

Meeks: Okay… What’d this Grimm guy steal that’s got you so fired up?

Tony figured he’d play along. Alora went through a heck of a lot to make this holo-adventure happen, it was the least he could do.

Rose: Something special.  A treasure.  

She wasn’t going to give any more information than that.  

Meeks: You got a plan, darlin’?

Rose: Yes.  I get you to help me get it back.  You can figure out the logistics.  If we succeed, free drinks for a year.

Meeks: A whole year? ::Big Grin:: Deal! Who do I gotta do?

Rose: Slow down, cowboy.  I already told you, Aden Grimm.  You gotta get him and get the treasure.

Meeks: Okay, simple enough.

Rose: And you have to let me come with you.

That usually complicated things, but it would be fun. Alora was a hoot to be around, and they were sure to knock this out of the park. 

Meeks: Fair enough. When do we start?

Rose: As soon as possible.  As soon as you’re ready.

Tony tipped back the last glass of whiskey, draining it and standing the glass upside down on the bar top. He stood and stepped back from the bar. 

Meeks: I suppose if I’m going after this lowlife, I probably should get me some guns.

Rose: Sounds about right.  

Guns.  Grimm would have guns, so yes, best be prepared.  

Meeks: Let’s see… ::Thinking:: Probably a Colt Peacemaker in .45 Long Colt and a Winchester .45/70 for my saddle. Those should be period correct arms.

For a moment, Rose simply stared at the man in front of her.  As he rattled off the names and models and whatever else was included in that list of devices, her eyes sort of crossed, then refocused. 

Rose: Right.  I’ll bring my shotgun.

Which was about all she knew of the piece.  That was it.  It was some sort of shotgun and she knew how to point, aim, and shoot. 

Meeks: A scattergun will do the job. 

Rose: Meet me in an hour.

Meeks: I’ll go find some guns and meet you in one hour. ::Tipping his hat:: Until then, ma’am.

Tony set off to the mercantile to pick up his shootin’ irons. He had no idea just how “authentic” the holodeck recreation was, and he really didn’t care because he was having fun. It took a bit to get the guns from the merc, just because the old codger behind the counter told Tony his entire life’s story before Tony could pay the man and get out of the store. Regardless, when he walked out he was strapping the leather belt around his waist and tying down the holster to his thigh. The Peacemaker shined brightly in the sun, with the pearl grips glinting in the light. Tony hefted the Winchester rifle in his left hand, feeling the weight of the cold steel. It had taken most of the hour to get the hardware, so he figured he better git on over to the saloon to meet Alor… um, Rose.

She was waiting for him when he arrived, but much changed.  Rather than a dress, she’d adorned herself with clothing a man might have worn, ready for a long ride and the adventure ahead.  Brown pants were coupled with an off white shirt and a dark brown vest.  A regular belt was joined by a gun belt that encircled her waist - evidently she’d decided to go for more than simply a shotgun.  That shotgun that she had mentioned was slung over her back, and a brown hat topped her head, ready to protect her from the ravages of the sun.  Glancing up from under the brim, she met him at the doors of the saloon, in the shade of the porch and gave him a once over. 

Rose: Ready partner?

Meeks: Yep. Let’s go get us a bad guy.

Rose: Excellent.  

Rose lifted her chin in a direction behind the big man.

Rose: Our mounts are waiting for us. 

Tony looked around, finding a pair of horses tethered to a hitching post nearby. They looked like they were there for the two of them, so he untied them and handed the reins of the paint horse to Alora. Quickly, he mounted the other one and sat in the saddle. 

Meeks: I’ll follow you.

It had been a long time since Alora had ridden a horse.  For the purpose of the adventure, she’d made sure both holographic animals were easy and unlikely to startle.  Which was good, because even though she had some experience, it hadn’t been extensive.  Using the boost from the porch of the saloon, she managed to swing herself into the saddle, then ease the horse into the street.  Onward they went - to catch a bad guy. 

Meeks: So, what’s the plan when we catch this guy? You reckon he’ll put up a fight?

Rose: Oh yes.  He will definitely put up a fight.

She lifted a hand and motioned out onto a wide prairie that stretched beyond the town.  Grass grew tall, waving in the breeze.  Beyond that, the grass died out, leaving a stretch of desert stubbled with cacti and deformed bushes that barley clung to life.  From there, a range of hills, cliffs and valleys that interrupted the wilderness, giving plenty of places for someone like Grimm to hide. 

Rose: If we keep riding toward the Grisholm pass, we'll find him.  Or rather, he’ll probably find us.  I’d be ready for anything.  Hopefully, we can pick up some tracks to aim for the former rather than the latter.  

Meeks: Fair enough. Let’s get this scoundrel!

Tony spurred his horse in the direction Rose had pointed, watching the horizon for any signs of other riders. Thankfully, they hadn’t found anything to indicate there was anybody ahead of them. They rode almost silently for about a half hour before the trail they were on started to show some activity.

Rose: Over there!

Rose slowed down her mount, pointing off the side.  In the dust, a visible lane of hoofprints could be seen, impressions made in the sand, recently enough that the winds which had died down in the heat of the day hadn’t returned to sweep them away.  

Meeks: ::Pulling to a stop and dismounting:: Looks like a few horses came this way. 

Rose: And not long ago, either.  We should follow.  Carefully.

They were in dangerous territory by that point.  At any moment, Grimm and his men could pop up from behind a boulder or aim at them from one of the high points on the cliffs.  Caution was the name of the game .

Meeks: ::Drawing the lever-action rifle from the saddle scabbard:: We’re in a horrible position.

Rose: Tell me about it.

They were out in the open and exposed.  At best, they could hug along the line of one of the cliffs that arched over them.  That would keep them from being targets on one side, but not on the other.  If they were protected on one side, they weren’t on the other side.  Rose pointed to the tracks that trailed around toward the side.  

Meeks: Our choices are to ride hard for that rock outcropping, or ride slow and watch for trouble. What’s your thoughts?

Rose: Don’t want to stick close to the line of cliffs on this side and hope they aren’t on the other?

Meeks: It’s a flip of the coin really. How lucky you feeling? Let’s go slow until we hit the mouth of that canyon, then we ride like hell until we’re out of the fatal funnel.

Rose: All right.  You would know best.  

Meeks: You’re awfully trusting, Rose.

The dark haired woman turned to level her gaze at her partner.

Rose: I’d trust you with my life.  And there was a moment in time where those words were spoken that it wasn’t simply words, not a script, not a character she was playing.  For a moment, Alora slipped through, the weight of reality heavy upon each syllable. 

Rose: And you’ve given me no reason not to trust you.

Tony gave her a wink then swung himself back into the saddle. He adjusted his seat, making sure his weight was equally distributed and balanced. If they did have to take off in a hurry, he wanted to make sure he stayed with the horse instead of finding himself seated on the dirt. He checked the chamber of the antique style rifle, ensuring there was a round ready if he needed it. Placing the rifle across his lap, he held onto it with his strong hand and held the reins in the other. He glanced over at Alora… erm… Rose, and when she looked ready he gave the horse a little heel and it started forward.  She urged her own after him, listening closely as he gave directions.  

Meeks: Your area of responsibility will be on the right. I have the left.

Rose: All right. 

Hugging the side of the ridge, Rose’s eyes darted to and fro, but always in the direction her guide and partner had indicated.  The horses traveled easily, perhaps grateful that they didn’t have to run in the hot sun that poured down from above them, the shade only cutting through that heat by a slim line.  As she was trying to keep an eye on her side, however, she didn’t quite notice the figures that suddenly stepped in their pathway until her horse half reared and she had to struggle to get the creature under control. 

Grimm: Well now.  Here I was thinking you wouldn’t be so stupid as to come after me.  Guess I was wrong. 

Tony pulled the rifle up to his shoulder and trained the sights onto the center of the man standing on the trail.

Meeks: I’m guessing you wouldn’t be stupid enough to stand out in the open.

He did his best to keep a watch on his periphery, knowing there was more to this encounter than met the eye. 

Grimm: Might wanna lower that there rifle.  You got several guns trained on you.  

Meeks: I don’t see anyone. 

Grimm: Just cause you can’t see them don’t mean they ain’t there. 

Rose: We’ve just come to get what you took and what’s rightfully mine.  Hand it over and we’ll leave you be. 

Grimm: Well now, ain’t that brave of you too.  Not that easy though.

Meeks: How ‘bout I just plug you and we’ll take it anyway. 

Aden grinned, a sardonic expression that was compounded by the squint of his eyes.  Turning out the side, he spit at the ground, then straightened and faced them.  

Grimm: Do that and your bodies will hit the ground before you have time to fire a second shot.  

Meeks: Maybe, but you’ll be just as dead mister. 

Grimm:  Mebbe.  Mebbe not.  Depends on who fires first.  Some of my men got a bit of a trigger finger.  

Rose: Grimm, we don’t want no trouble.  If you’ll just give it to us, we’ll be on our way.

Aden reached up and rubbed at his chin, then scratched it thoughtfully.  His eyes continued to squint at the two mounted upon his horses, and he let out another wad of spit before answering.

Grimm: Tell ya what, I’ll give ya a fighting chance.

Meeks: What are you thinking, Grimm?

Grimm: A little contest.  You two against me and one of mine.  Whoever wins gets the treasure.  

Meeks: ::Chuckles:: That’s all we have to do, huh?

Rose: It’s a trap.

Even though she muttered it, Grimm either heard or her knew what she had said. 

Grimm: Maybe it is, maybe it ain’t, but don’t look like you got much choice. 

Meeks: There’s always a choice, Amigo. ::Thumbing the hammer back on the rifle:: See… here’s a choice. I could choose to do you right now. See, I know you got somebody with me in their sights, and I know I won’t make it out of this if I do that, but you’re just as dead as me. I’m thinkin, win-win.

Grimm: Is that so?  

Grimm nodded toward the woman who was at Meeks’ side. 

Grimm: What about her?  

Rose scowled, then looked away, not allowing her gaze to fall on either of the men. Tony stared over the barrel of the rifle, the muzzle trained unfalteringly on the chest of the scruffy scoundrel standing so smugly in their path. He didn’t take his eyes off of the hoodlum’s eyes, staring into their abyss. 

Tony knew the man was right. If Tony took Grimm out, one of Grimm’s men would likely take Tony. That would leave Rose vulnerable as well, and she would likely fall to the men in waiting. She was more than capable of taking care of herself, but there was no way she’d make it out of this situation if it came to a gunfight. Tony didn’t lower the rifle, instead he talked over it.

Meeks: Name the game, mister. 

Grimm: Like I said, you and your little lady, me and one of mine.  I choose the weapons.  Three hits each, the last team with a member not out wins.

Rose cast a sidelong glance to her partner and sighed. 

Rose: I don’t think we have much choice.

Meeks: We win and we get what we’re after. What do you get if we lose?

Aden grinned, then turned to spit at the ground.  Looking back up at them, his expression didn’t change. 

Grimm: Does it really matter?

Meeks: Just want to know the stakes. I never gamble on a pretty lady’s life without good reason. 

Grimm: You win, you get your treasure, you get to live.  You lose.  Well, I think you know the answer to that.  You don’t play, well I think you know what will happen then too. 

Meeks: I win, you die. Pure and simple, Grimm. I am going to win too.

Tony had developed a severe dislike for the outlaw and he would like nothing more than to smash the grin right off the man’s face.

Grimm: I suppose that sounds fair enough.  How about you, little lady?

Rose leveled her gaze at the man whose smug expression said that he absolutely refused to believe anything other than the fact that he was going to win the crazy game they were about to play.  Well.  He had another think coming.

Rose: You’re on.  

Grimm: All right.  If you two will just dismount, we’ll get this show on the road. 

The game set, Tony lowered the rifle and de-cocked it. Sliding from his horse, he slipped the rifle into the scabbard and backed away from the steed.  

Meeks: What’re the rules?

Grimm: Hold your horses.  First thing’s first.  The weapons.  Turning Aden motioned to someone who was unseen.  A moment later, another man appeared with four rifles, two slung on each arm.  Unlike the one Meeks used, however, these were sleek, more modern pieces, and automatic instead of manual. 

Grimm: These are the weapons.  You two choose which ones you wanna use, we’ll take the other two.  Get hit three times, you’re out.  Last man standing, that team wins.

Rose cast a glance at Meeks, then stepped forward to approach the man with the guns.  She took one from one arm, studied it, then stepped back, evidently satisfied with her weapon.  Looking to her partner, she jerked her head in the direction of the weapons. 

Tony picked up one of the guns, turning it in his hands. The design was very out of place in the era of the story, but that no longer mattered. He opened the action of the weapon and looked into the breach. The large bore was clean and smooth. Taking the hopper from the weapon, he hefted it and heard the rattle of the ammunition inside. Opening the lid, he saw the hopper was full to the top with .68 caliber green balls. The fire selector indicated the weapon would fire in either semi or full-automatic, and likely had a fairly high cyclic rate of fire. 

Meeks: Now we’re talking. I’ll take this one. Do we get reloads?

Aden chuckled as she accepted one of the remaining guns then slung it over his own shoulder.  Shaking his head, he tipped his hat.

Grimm: No reloads, so make every shot count.

Rose: Don’t you worry, we will. 

Mimicking the motion of the outlaw, Rose slung her rifle around, then turned to Meeks. 

Rose: Ready?

Meeks: Let’s do this. ::Hefting the gun::

Grimm: Now now, we gotta get to where we’re going to do this.  Come with me.

Turning, Grimm made his way toward the other edge of the ridge that flanked them.  With a slight hesitation, Rose followed, and the group set forth.  Coming out of the shadow of the ridge, they were greeted with a flat area pocked with dry bushes, a few scraggly trees and a plethora of rocks and boulders, allowing for a semblance of cover.  

Grimm: Choose your starting point. 

*****************

 

1Lt. Anthony Meeks

Company Commander

1/292nd TMR D Co.

Starbase 118 Ops/USS Narendra

R238801IG0

 &

 

Lt. Cmdr. Alora DeVeau

Chief Science Officer

Starbase 118 Ops

M239008AD0


  
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