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Along Came James

Posted on Fri Apr 18th, 2014 @ 2:18am by Lieutenant Commander James Barnes

Mission: Solid Light
Location: Saloon

ON:

James had made his way through the main part of the town that he had deduced was named Juniper Creek. The town was a bit larger than he had originally anticipated, with some areas deserted while others were decidedly occupied. Ever the hard drinking detective, he had sniffed out a bar that he hoped he'd be able to get some information from. He still wasn't sure if he was in this situation alone - he had woken up in bed, but wasn't sure if he had been beamed out of his quarters overnight or if someone was using the ship-wide holoprojectors to create the program. James stepped up onto the porch and through the door of the bar, looking around for a moment to get a handle on who was there and where they were located. His first priority - to see if he saw anyone from the Shanghai, left him disappointed. No one from the crew he recognized. He took stock of the location of other people in the room. From what he remembered of reading this period of Earth's history, many people in this sort of environment were less than trustworthy. He exchanged glances with a few of the men sitting around, some of them casting him less than friendly stares. He made his way to the bar, being sure to post up in front of the mirror.

"I'll have a.." he began to say to the bartender, who was already in the process of putting a glass on the bar and pulling up a bottle. He filled it up and slid it to James. "This. I'll have this."

"I know what you drink, James," the bartender said in a tone that mixed hostility and sarcasm, "And if you cause anymore fights in here, I'll shoot you myself."

James downed the glass in one gulp and looked across the bar. "I...I really don't remember what happened," he said as the bartender refilled his glass, "I just woke up this morning, no recollection."

"Probably too much of this," the bartender recapped the bottle as James took a sip this time, "You were drunker than Cooter Brown last night. Started a fight with three men over another damned poker game. Broke two of my damned tables," the bartender glared, "If you hadn't given me half of your winnings from the match I'd have tanned your hide myself. Then you left out of here with Jenny.." James toned him out for a moment, thinking things over. Jenny must have been the blonde who he woke up with this morning. He wondered if he would be able to find some further information from her. Probably shouldn't have waved his gun so quickly. 'That phrase has so many meanings' James mused, looking back at the bartender. James finished his drink and extended his glass again, which the bartender graciously refilled. "If you didn't tip so damned well, I wouldn't let you back in here, but it's getting a little ridiculous, James."

"You have my word I won't start anymore fights in the bar," he said, taking a gulp from his drink. He looked down at it for a moment, realizing that this wasn't the typical holodeck synthehol he had come to expect. He raised an eyebrow, shrugged, and made a little 'hmmph' noise before finishing it off and placing the glass on the bar. He motioned with his hand that he didn't need anymore for the time being. James took advantage of the mirror behind the bar to scope out the room, noticing another man enter through the double doors at the front. The mood of the room instantly changed, becoming more tense. James didn't recognize the man outright, but everyone else seemed to, including the bartender. He zeroed in on James as another man entered behind him, the two of them converging on his spot at the bar. James sighed slightly, knowing that this was about to be an unpleasant experience. The men took a position on either side of him, smiling as the bartender laid out two glasses for them.

"Bartholomew," the bartender addressed the larger of the two, who appeared to be the leader, "I assume you will be having your usual?" The man nodded as the bartender went to pour them a drink. "Now, I don't want any trouble y'hear?"

"Leave the bottle," Bartholomew replied, grasping it with a grin that let conveyed he was up to no good. The bartender just nodded and backed away, wiping his hands with a towel. Bartholomew poured a drink for himself, one for his associate, and looked at James. "Would you like a drink, Mr. Barnes?"

"I'm fine. I was actually about to be on my way," James said, placing some money he had found in his room on the counter. He wasn't sure what denomination or how much was appropriate, and frankly he wasn't trying to wait to see if the holodeck safety protocols were working/

"Nonsense!" the second man said, 'patting' James on the shoulder - a move designed to keep him in place. James glanced at him briefly while Bartholomew filled his glass. "Have a drink with us."

"Yes, James, have a drink," Bartholomew smiled, missing one of his front teeth. He took a drink from his glass. "We need to have a discussion anyway. You seem to always have money for whiskey and hookers, but never to pay me back. It's starting to get frustratin, you know?"

James stood. "Look, Bartholomew," he paused, "That is your name right?" The two men looked at him like he was crazy. "I'm having a bit of a memory problem right now, but I'm sure if I owed you money I'd have paid you back already...."

"Are you trying to be funny, boy?" the man stood up, his glass hitting the bar with enough force to slosh some of the liquor out of it. He leaned in towards James, his remarkably bad breath and tobacco spittle filling the air between them. James turned to face him slightly, planning to make a break for it if he needed to. He would occasionally glance sideways into the bar mirror to keep tabs on the man standing behind him. He had the revolver on his belt, true, but James was skilled in the use of Federation and other 24th century hand weapons, but ancient Earth technology. He knew how to use it, but he wasn't a quick draw by any stretch of the imagination. "Your gambling debts are done racking up, and it's high time to pay up. Now, I know you like to spend time with that lovely blonde....What's here name?"

"Jenny, Bart," the errand boy replied from behind James. James narrowed his eyes slightly.

"Yes, Jenny. I imagine you've probably paid her a fair amount. Maybe I could just get my money from her, and have a little fun on the side?" Bartholomew grinned, almost totally in James's face now. James steeled his expression, thinking through things. He was isolated from the rest of the crew, to the best of his knowledge, and the buzz he had from the alcohol lent him to believe the holodeck safety and isolation protocols were not functioning properly. Plus, this slim blonde hologram he had run into earlier bore a striking resemblance to Christine, and he certainly couldn't run the risk of this man mistaking the two while rampaging through the holodeck. That being said, James certainly didn't want to run the risk of a confrontation under such unfavorable circumstances. Despite rapidly assessing the situation, James found himself in a rare form - namely, his mouth was already running faster than his mind.

"Now you just wait a damned minute, Bartholo..." he got a glint of light in the mirror and was able to identify a knife being pulled behind him. He made a decision to deal with the more immediate threat, thinking it was better to run the risk of getting hit a few times by Bartholomew from behind. James caught the other man's hand, using an old Starfleet self-defense tactic to disarm him before using him strength to break the man's wrist. He staggered backward, yelling for a second. 'Good', James thought, 'Now on to bigger and better targets.' He spun around and felt his stomach practically sink through the floor when he realized what he was seeing. 'Not the bottle...' he thought right as Bartholomew smashed the whiskey bottle alongside his head. James crumbled to the floor, feeling the blood running from cuts near his brow and upper lip. He fought with all of his strength to try to push himself up, but he had to contend with the fuzzy blackness that kept threatening to overtake his vision.

"Now, you've gone and broken Billy's wrist," Bartholomew yelled before swiftly kicking James in his stomach. It instantly knocked the wind out of him and James was pretty sure he felt one of his rib's break. Bartholomew kneeled down next to him and whispered in his ear. "You got exactly one day to get me my money or I'm going to make you watch while I take it from your pretty little lady." Standing, he kicked James again, crumbling him back to the floor in a heap. James watched the two men start to walk out, his vision blurry. He could vaguely make out the bartender yelling in the background. He forced himself up, clutching a bar stool to regain his balance. His vision had begun to clear and he wiped the blood off of his face. He expected a bruise tomorrow.

"WHAT DID I SAY ABOUT FIGHTS, JAMES?!" The bartender had since turned his anger towards James. He turned, extending the middle finger on his left hand in a gesture he had seen from Human historical films.

"Go to hell," James said, staggering out of the door. Balancing himself on the rail, he took a deep breath, which hurt him to draw. He had to go find the blonde he had woken up with. He had no idea where she would be. The option was to either find her, or Christine first. Before the bottle-wielding hologram did. He sighed. The closest brothel would have to be the best place to start....


OFF:

Lt. Commander James Barnes
Chief Intelligence & Poor Choices Officer
USS Shanghai-A


 

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