344: Ballroom Blitz

by TC Blane and Lair Kellyn
Following First Strike
Soundtrack: Ballroom Blitz by Sweet

-=Illusions Lounge, USS Serendipity=-

TC watched the events occurring in the lounge right before his eyes and was shocked by how they unfolded. It was not O'Sullivan's condition that surprised to him, he figured something like this was on the horizon for the big man ever since their impromptu meeting on the holodeck earlier in the day.

It was the actions of Jariel Camen that floored him. Never in all of the time that he had known the Vedek had he ever seen the man react preemptively with violence. Now to suddenly turn and strike a man, a rather large drunken man, was so out of character for Jariel that TC was momentarily stunned.

Apparently Jariel considered that matter settled between O'Sullivan and himself because he made a critical error in bar fighting etiquette; he turned his back on his opponent before he was sure he was out of the fight, and O'Sullivan was far from out of the fight.

TC saw the big man shove Dane to the side and advance on Jariel, his fist raised to strike him from behind. TC reacted swiftly, grabbing the Vedek by his shirt sleeve and pulling him out of the path of Keiran's blow.

Keiran's momentum was gauged with the expectation of his swing connecting on the side of Jariel's skull, but since the man was no longer there the swing hit nothing but air and threw the inebriated security chief off balance. TC took advantage of the situation, and the obvious alcohol involved, and executed a hard shove to Keiran's shoulder as he finished his swing. This forced O'Sullivan's body to continue its momentum, toppling him into a nearby table.

He crashed head first into the table sending the contents tumbling onto the floor, busting it into splintered wood and bent metal, while those seated made a mad dash for cover.

TC took the opportunity to position himself between the Vedek and the now rising O'Sullivan. He wanted Keiran to see him and only him, to focus the man's aggression on only him, so he'd forget about Jariel. O'Sullivan was beyond rational thought at this point and TC knew that Jariel would get hurt.

O'Sullivan rose from the remains of the table and spun around, glaring at TC. His face was flushed red with anger, his fists clenched, his breathing ragged. He took a lurching step forward.

TC stood his ground and returned the stare with his icy blue eyes. "Think about it," he warned in a quiet voice.

O'Sullivan's response was very loud, slurred, and though Blane didn't speak Gaelic and the Universal Translator wasn't programmed for the ancient tongue- he was sure it was very profane.

"Have it your way." TC shrugged, and he and O'Sullivan began to grapple. Another table full of fine food and glassware went flying a moment later- and the noise brought Angus MacDougal running from the kitchen, still in his apron.

"Not the Waterford crystal!" he shouted, as he ran toward the growing disturbance with speed. "It's ANTIQUE!"

Across the room, Lair Kellyn stood from her table. She had seen something a split second earlier that she had never expected to see in all her days- Jariel hit a man without being assaulted first.

Salvek stood as well, but didn't take a step. With his superior Vulcan strength he could have easily taken O'Sullivan down with one tackle, but instead he did the proper thing according to protocol. He called for security- and held his wife fast at his side by her sleeve.

"Salvek!" Lair growled, as she picked up her beer bottle and held it by the neck. "You can't expect me to-"

[We're already on our way, Sir,] Security was replying to Salvek and in the split second of distraction, Kellyn bolted.

Trick London, who was still trying to save the best and most expensive liquor because they were so far from Earth and it'd be impossible to restock, watched as table after table of polished Starfleet officers began behaving like a bunch of drunken Klingons.

"What the hell is going on around here," he knew that this was not common behavior on starships- least of all ships with a Captain like Zanh Liis.

Zanh Liis.

London heard what he thought was her voice and popped his head up over the bar like a prairie dog emerging from its underground abode. His eyes searched the crowd for the Captain- but then he realized the woman he was hearing was actually Lair Kellyn.

Lair was yelling at Dane Cristiane, warning him to put down the barstool he held in his hands. He was poised to hit TC Blane over the head with it, as Blane continued wrestling with Keiran, back and forth across the room.

Salvek sighed, and did what he could while waiting for security to prevent any more people from joining in. One by one he would direct those he passed to the door, giving them a stern look and a strong hand on the shoulder where needed, lest they consider an alternative course of action.

The fight probably consisted of a good fifteen or twenty people already and the last thing he wanted to see was the situation further deteriorating.

*Too late,* he thought, as he continued to do all that he could according to proper procedures. He nearly left protocol behind in an instant, however, the moment he saw Dane Cristiane take a step closer to his wife.

Dane was now standing directly before Kellyn with the bar stool still in his hands- and a look in his eye that warned he was thinking of taking a swing at Lair with it if she got another inch closer to the battling Blane and O'Sullivan.

Woman or no, everyone on the ship knew that Lair was tough and could hold her own against any aggressor. It was something she proved once again a moment later when she unhesitatingly bashed Dane over the head with her beer bottle, sending glass and liquid showering over him as he sank to his knees on the deck, rendered unconscious.

Salvek nodded with satisfaction. She did not require his assistance.

"Long Live Bajor!" Kellyn shouted, as she pulled up the sleeves of her elegant lace blouse and headed off toward the corner- where she was horrified to see that two crewmen had Jariel pinned against the wall with nowhere to go.

Meanwhile, Keiran and TC were interlocked in opposing arm holds. Keiran growled with anger and was trying to physically subdue the ship's Second Officer with brute strength. His rage continued to pump adrenaline into his body, giving him what seemed to be the strength of a bear. TC was amazed at the man's power and he knew that he could not continue to grapple with such a hulk forever. He needed a secondary plan.

Keiran's strength was finally starting to take its toll on TC’s arms and they began to shake and buckle. Keiran flashed a crooked, drunken grin as he sensed victory was within his grasp. Suddenly TC reversed the direction of his grapple from a pushing motion to a pulling one. O’Sullivan realized what was happening, but with his reactions slowed from the alcohol that he had consumed he was powerless to stop it. TC finally lost his balance, pulling Keiran along with him.

As TC fell backwards he brought up he right leg, planting it into O’Sullivan’s waist. TC hit the ground using his weight as well a Keiran’s to roll backwards and then pushed the big man up, into the air, and over his head.

Keiran silently cursed at himself for being duped so easily as he went flying, inverted, over TC and into another table with a deafening crash.

TC finished the roll and returned to his feet. He turned and dove onto Keiran’s back quickly, pulling the large man into a sleeper hold. He wanted to end this fight quickly now-before someone really got hurt.

-=Across the bar=-

Zanh Liis thought she was ready for whatever awaited her on the other side of the entrance. However, she hadn't quite counted upon this. Her eyes rapidly scanned the room, taking stock of the situation.

In the far corner, Lair Kellyn and Jariel...

*Jariel?* Liis thought, disbelieving what she was seeing. She shook her head, maybe she was hallucinating again. She closed her eyes, opened them again, and then realized that this was no illusion, despite the name of their current location.

She swore.

Kellyn and Camen were both landing punches at a rapid pace upon a couple of Engineering crewmen. Lair looked little worse for the wear, having barely a hair out of place as she reduced no less than three assailants to a pile of bodies on the floor in a matter of seconds.

Jariel (who had apparently been holding out on her when it came to what he knew about self-defense) looked as if he had taken a shot or two but was holding his own. The thing that shocked her more than anything else was the look of absolute rage burning in his eyes as he continued the fight.

Dane Cristiane appeared to be passed out on the floor amidst a pile of broken glass and splintered furniture.

At least a dozen other officers, Ship's Chef Angus MacDougal, half the waitstaff, and several security officers were now battling it out in the center of the room- and that was where Liis found Salvek.

Running up to her XO, she began shouting to be heard above the din of breaking glass and rampant profanity.

"Salvek!" Liis growled, her eyes demanding an explanation.

"Lt. Commander O'Sullivan had a bit too much to drink before I could stop him, it seems."

"YOU THINK?" Liis screamed. "WHY haven't you ended this?"

"I was following protocol, Captain-" Salvek calmly replied, blinking as if surprised she expected anything less.

"Shove protocol. END THIS!" Liis demanded, even as she ran toward the center of the brawl where TC appeared to have somehow wrangled O'Sullivan to the ground like wayward livestock at a rodeo.

"As you wish, Captain." Salvek replied respectfully, though Zanh was already long gone.

He stepped forward and into the fray, and he held out his hand, grasping the neck of any and all of combatants within reach and applying steady pressure. All it took was a instant and the useful technique once again proved its worth- in a mere moment he'd taken at least six people out of the fight.

Trick London saw the Captain approaching and looked up in horror as she ducked quickly to avoid a rather large, flying bottle of Jack Daniels, as it careened over her head and smashed into the decorative mirror behind the bar. London shrieked.

"DO YOU HAVE ANY IDEA HOW EXPENSIVE THAT IS?" He finally hopped the bar, grabbed Liis by the arm, and pulled her down and under the nearest unscathed table.

"Let go! I am going to put a stop to this right now!"

"You're going to get hurt, Captain,"

"You're going to get hurt first if you don't let go of my arm."

London let go.

Zanh rose and hoisted herself up onto the surface of the bar. She struggled not to slip on the broken glass and spilled spirits as she inhaled deeply, filling her lungs with air. Raising her voice to its absolute maximum volume, she addressed her assembled crew.

She put two fingers to her lips and exhaled sharply, starting with a loud, clear whistle to get their attention. This caused some to startle and look up momentarily- which allowed their opponents the chance to get in one good last lick as it appeared the party was almost over.


The Captain’s exclamation came just as Keiran blacked out from the lack of oxygen and the pressure of his own blood in his head. He finally stopped struggling under TC’s weight on his back and fell silent. Even then, TC only barely released his hold on the man's burly neck, wanting to be sure that he was indeed unconscious.

Satisfied that the security chief was no longer a threat, he stood wearily up and glanced around at the clamor and chaos. He straightened his uniform tunic and began to try and help the captain restore order.

He grabbed two combatants by the collar and pulled them apart. “ATTENTION ON DECK!” He yelled as he managed to separate them. Then he turned back to the rest of the room, his voice booming. “ATTENTION ON DECK!” he repeated, glancing back at the captain.

"Thank you, Commander Blane," Zanh said, as the noise finally died down. Suddenly you could have heard a pin drop, and Zanh cringed as the last shard of cracked mirror hanging behind the bar fell and crashed down, driving home without a word what an unmitigated disaster the once opulent dining room now was.

TC moved forward and offered Zanh Liis a hand to steady her. She gratefully accepted and jumped down from the bar. She charged to the center of the room, surveying the wreckage.

"I want to know one thing and I want to know it now." She bellowed. "Who threw the first punch?"

"Captain," Blane knew she was not ready for the answer to that question, and so he tried to soften the blow, "Words were exchanged, and,"

"I don't care who called whose mother what." Zanh hissed slowly, "Who threw the first punch?"

All eyes turned toward the silent man clad all in black who now stood gently dabbing blood from his lower lip with the back of his hand.

"Well?" Zanh pressed.

[[I did.]] Jariel signed without hesitation, stepping forward and looking Liis in the eye. For a split second she thought that he was throwing himself under the bus and taking the blame to protect someone...who? Lair? Cristiane? If Zanh was a betting woman she would have imagined either of those two could be capable of starting such a fracas.

She knew, somehow that he wouldn't step up to protect Keiran if...


Jariel's eyes flashed anger as he saw the way Liis was looking at O'Sullivan, and he only wished at this point that he'd taken the opportunity to hit the man more than once when he had the chance.

Zanh stared down at O'Sullivan's still form and she gestured to Salvek and Blane. "He needs medical treatment. Computer, activate Long-term medical hologram."

There was no response. Salvek stepped forward to explain. "We were forced to take the LMH offline, Captain, for his own safety, four hours ago. The malfunctions in the computer core were threatening the integrity of his program."

“He will be alright.” TC offered. “He’ll have a headache from the booze and sore neck from the choke hold but he’ll keep his childhood memories.”

Zanh gave a forceful, irritated sigh and tapped her badge again. "Zanh to Breaux, bring a triage team to Illusions Lounge, immediately. Bring a gurney. Zanh out." She didn't wait for a response from Avery before continuing.

"Those of you who can still see straight are to help Mr. London clean up this mess as soon as your statements have been made." Zanh commanded. "Since our Chief of Security is indisposed at the moment, I'm going to ask Commander Blane to see to the Security department until this is all sorted out." Zanh eyed the carnage, and the guilty faces of her crew.

"I'll be considering my disciplinary options as I await Mr. Blane's final report. I'm..." Zanh's eyes were as the crew had never seen them before.

She was addressing them all, but her eyes focused on one man in particular as she spoke her final remarks; Vedek Jariel.

"I'm very disappointed in you."

Commander TC Blane
Second Officer
USS Serendipity NCC-2012


Commander Lair Kellyn
Engineering Research and Development
The Alchemy Project
Assigned to the USS Serendipity