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Friends in Low Places

Posted on May 26, 2014 @ 9:27pm by Lieutenant Russ BaShen & Captain Kassandra Thytos
Edited on on May 26, 2014 @ 10:41pm

Mission: All Our Yesterdays
Tags: Kass, Russ, Drunkenness


“Friends in Low Places”

Con’d from: “Good Spirits”



Stardate: 2.140518.1712

Scene: Deck 7, Gymnasium, Combatives Room

Russ breathed out slowly as he sat still, meditating as Clevan ch'Faila had taught him. It had been a while since Russ had returned to the sparing ring. Following his leaving Maverick’s vessel, Russ had forgone the combat training that Clevan had taught him. But the daily grind of the ship was getting to him, and his interactions with the crew had been dodgy at best. Crichton had been busy at their last stop, working on UFP-855’s computer system; even now, he was busy working on the ship…

Russ sighed. So long out of practice, it was difficult to clear his mind as easily as he had been able to just a few months ago. He inhaled slowly, and then exhaled, trying to empty out his thoughts. *Breathe in the void, breathe out the world,* his Andorian counselor had reminded him constantly. Russ was trying to do so now. Breathe in…

The Captain had taken on a new attitude since the departure of the station. He seemed less icy, though the distance between them remained. The man had a look in his eyes, one that Russ thought he recognized – he saw the same look reflected in the mirror daily. The man was trying to stop seeing ghosts.

Russ’s mind flashed to the letter that Bret had sent him a few weeks ago. [[As for your Captain, Michael Kane is a grade one asshole...]] Maverick had written. [[Certified class 1 piece of shit. The fleet was all the better when he was drummed from the service. Who he got on his knees for to regain his command I would like to know. Ok not really . But please my friend, watch your 6, and keep your phaser on you at all times.]] Bret had always been a little strong in his feelings towards others, so Russ had taken the letter with a grain of salt. Still, it had made Russ wonder to see those ghosts reflected in Kane’s eyes. Had he been responsible for the deaths of his crew? What did it mean that Starfleet Command saw it fit to reinstate him now? Why…

Exasperated, Russ let out his breathe in a huff. He had lost focus… again. He began again… and then jumped in surprise as he heard the door behind him open. He opened his eyes and turned, rising to his feet, to find the female marine Captain that had joined their crew that day. Her sightless eyes were watching him, blue lights blinking from somewhere just beneath the surface of her skin.

“You know that you can do that in your room.” Annoyance rang in her voice. “This room is reserved for hand-to-hand combat training.”

Russ felt color rise to his cheeks. “I was meditating before I began,” he explained. “And I reserved my time here, so I have every right to be in this room doing what I need to do... Ma’am,” he threw the honorific at her forcefully, though maintained his bearing.

She narrowed her eyes at him, and approached him. “Are you trying to be cute, Lieutenant? Do you think that just because I’m a woman, I can’t kick your ass?” She was inches from his face….

Or as close as she could anyway. She was shorter than Russ by a foot, and the effect struck Russ as quite comical as she glared up at him. Russ couldn’t help it. A grin split his face wide open. A moment later, Russ was in tears, laughing. The look on the Marine’s face was incredulous rage, which made Russ double over, uncontrollably shaking with mirth. All the tension and isolation that he had felt seemed to melt away at that moment in that humorous tableau.

Then out of nowhere, pain blossomed near his right cheek, and Russ was stumbling back in surprise. He glanced up in surprise to see the aggravated Marine baring down on him, ready to swing again. Quickly Russ danced out of the way, and settled into the combat stance that his Andorian mentor had taught him, bring his arms up in a blocking position, watching the woman for the next attack.

The attacks were coming swiftly. The enraged Marine seemed driven by fury, throwing punch after punch, kick after kick, sometimes striking with her elbows or shins or knees. Russ felt himself giving towards her superior form. He had not been trained extensively, and he had never quite won a fight against Clevan, who had always seemed more content to beat Russ to a bruised mess than teaching him any counter attacks.

However, Clevan’s training had taught him one thing – how to endure through the blows, and avoid the more critical hits. Russ felt pain throughout his body as the onslaught continued, but remained on his feet, much to the Marine’s frustration. She lunged at him, and he felt her fingers begin to close around his collar.

Time seemed to slow. An image came to mind of a distant past, where Russ had grabbed Clevan in almost the exact same manner. With a wry smile, Clevan’s arms had snaked up to trap Russ’s leaving them immobilized – a moment later, a foot sweep had left Russ on the floor gasping for air. The move had been repeated many times in the time Russ had spent with Clevan, and he could mimic the movements from memory now…

As he was doing now. A surprised look was on the Marine’s face, as it was on Russ’s. He had trapped her arms, immobilizing them into a hold. *Foot sweep! Foot sweep!* came the urgent cry in his mind. But too late. Stars suddenly burst into Russ’s vision as pain radiated from his stomach. The Marine’s knee quickly retracted, and came again, knocking the wind out of him and forcing him to release the woman’s arms. He staggered back, now totally defenseless, winded, no longer able to mount a resistance. He braced himself for the next hit as he rapidly tried to regain his breath.

The next hit never came. As Russ slowly recovered, his vision straightened to see a smug Marine standing over him. “You’re not a bad punching bag, flyboy,” she commented offhandedly.

“Thanks,” he managed hoarsely.

She considered him for the moment. “Learned your lesson there, hotshot?”

Russ was able to breathe a little more easily now. He glanced at her and began to mouth a conciliatory response; but something stopped the words in his tracks. As if from another time, a cocky edge crept into his voice, and straightened Russ out slightly. “What type of lessons were those love taps supposed to teach me again, jarhead?” Internally, Russ winced, and braced himself for another attack.

Silence. Then… she was chuckling. Then full blown laughing. It was infectious. Russ began to laugh as well, and soon, they were both sitting on the mat, trying to reign in their mirth. The bruises that she had bestowed on his body ached with every snigger. Finally, she gave him a lopsided grin through her chortles. “Kass. Kass Thytos,” she introduced herself.

Russ nodded whipping tears from his eyes. “Russ BaShen.” His body hurt and his lungs were aching from the exertion. She was quivering with after-effects of their laughter, but managed to extend a hand. Russ shook it.

And that hurt too.


Scene: Deck 14, Lounge

After they had recovered themselves, Kass had taken it upon herself to teach Russ the finer points of self-defense. Russ had acquired a new blanket of bruises on his arms, legs, and stomach. Kass’s fighting style appeared to be a variation of Krav Maga, with plain old backroom brawling thrown in just for kicks. She apparently shared Clevan’s philosophy of ‘physical’ therapy – she seemed to believe that a good beat down was more instructional for Russ rather than showing him any offensive moves. She did, however, explain her actions to him as they went along. One session was not enough for him to learn more than the basics of defense, but by the end, Kass’s unreserved blows were not landing as frequently as they had been.

After a few hours, Kass had finally had enough of abusing Russ, and had directed him rather than invited him to join her in the lounge. They arrived under the ignored protests of Russ. “You drink, Flyboy?” Kass said, leading Russ to the bar. “My treat.”

Russ hesitated. “I… use to. I’m…”

“Use to?!” Kass snorted, and ignored his protestations as she swiftly ordered two Kamikazes. “We’ll just have to get you going easy then,” she laughed, drawing out a cigarette carton from her trouser pockets. She picked one out, and swiftly lit it.

“Excuse me, ma’am, you can’t…” A nearby waiter began.

“Stow it. You have an issue, take it to the Captain,” she growled at him malevolently. Cowed, the man backed away in a hurry, and rushed off to attend to other parts of the lounge.

Russ took a moment to study the Marine. She seemed to sense his inquisitive gaze. “Like what you see, pretty boy?” She scowled flippantly without turning her head in his direction. “We can go waltz one more time if once wasn’t enough.”

Russ raised his eyebrow at the force of her personality. He grinned, dangerously. “If you want to go again, that’s fine. Maybe next time, you won’t take it so easy.” He felt a thrill of defiance in his words, especially in the wake of the dirty look she shot him. Russ sensed he was playing with fire, and it felt good. A warmth flooded into him that he had not felt in a while – a confidence that he had been missing for so long that he had forgotten it was there.

The shots arrived, and Russ’s confidence dipped again as the glass was placed in front of him. Kass’s scowl was replaced with amusement at his trepidation. “Big words, little man,” she taunted. She raised her glass. “I don’t think you can keep up with me if you tried,” she challenged him.

The glass hung there in midair. Russ watched it, and slowly, he grabbed the one in front of him. He raised it, staring into Kass’s unseeing eyes, and clinked the glass against hers. A moment later, both glasses had been downed by their respective owners, and Russ was sputtering, coughing, while Kass roared in amusement.

A part of him nagged with worry as she called for more shots. But he pushed it to the side as she gave him a fierce grin. “You ain’t exactly a Marine, but you got some balls, BaShen.” Warmth flooded him at the acceptance, and he returned her smile wickedly.

“Like balls, do you?” Russ retorted. “OW!” His arm felt numb with the sudden punch that Kass had delivered to it.

She gazed at him coolly, taking a drag of her cigarette. “Don’t sass me, flyboy.”


Scene: Deck 19, Marine Quarters->Kass’s Quarters

“I can walk my damn self,” Kass was mumbling. At least, that’s what Russ was interpreting from her slurred speech. He was having trouble focusing on her words himself, as the world warbled around him. They were stumbling towards her quarters. Russ was barely holding her upright, her arm around his neck, as he squinted at the room numbers, trying to make them out.

“Little further,” Russ slurred, and staggered forward, with Kass in tow. “You drunk, Kass.”

“Thas CAP… er.. Maj… Major?” She began to laugh drunkenly, apparently finding humor in her inability to remember her own rank. “You the drunk one. I! I..s fine.”

They stumbled into her door, which slid open, depositing them both in a heap on the floor. They laughed, and pushed themselves upright, separating now. Kass moved against the wall, and squinted at Russ, who was trying to get his legs to function correctly.

“Youlook… you look ridiculous, flyboy,” she sniggered.

“Hah,” Russ shot back, managing to stumble to his feet and bracing himself against the opposite wall. “Yourid.. ridiculous.” He counter accused. Then he grinned wide. “Youkn.. you know,” he started, trying to articulate his words through his drunken haze, “Thizis the firs nigh in a whhile Iv had sucha good time.”

She shrugged in response. “You need tuh git out more,” Kass staggered into her seat, and looked contemplative.

“Noreally,” Russ insisted hazily. “Itzbeen… isbeen along time,” Russ managed. He felt the unsteadiness of emotions that he knew came with being drunk. He quickly laughed, wiping at his eyes, hoping she wouldn’t notice the tears forming there. “Uragood friend,” Russ said simply.

“Andyour a sap,” Kass grumbled. Russ noticed the twang in her voice.

“I likeyour accent,” he hiccupped. “Whereyafrom, Kass?”

“Shutup about my accent,” she said gruffly, waving an over-exaggerated hand at him. “Ican still kick yur ass.”

“Heeyy,” he said holding his hand up, and then stumbled to the couch. “Iment no offense. I thought it waz…” he started giggling, suppressing the word *cute* from the sentence. As drunk as she was, he suspected Kass could still make good on her threat. “Interesting,” he finished instead.

She humphed, and seemed mollified. “Least yur not stuckup like the restof them,” she mumbled. “Kanes a freakindick.”

“Hes… I think hes got issuesman,” Russ tried to explain his earlier thoughts to her, but it was too difficult to express. He waved it off, and conceded. “Yeah hes a dick,” he laughed. He glanced up at her when she didn’t respond. He stared at her hard through the muddled world around him, trying to interpret her face. She felt… guilt? “Waz wrong?” He asked, concerned.

Her face contorted in anger. “Nothing. Im not hidinganything. Your beingadick BaShen!” She accused him. “Notfell… feeling gulty! Kanesjust adick, andyour being anass for defendinhim.”

He held up his hands in protest. “Ididnt sayou were,” he slurred, but she interrupted him.

“I’mgettin another drink,” she announced, and staggered upright. She wobbled unsteadily for a moment, and then instead of moving to the kitchen, she stumbled to the couch beside Russ instead, and gave him a drunken punch on his arm. Compared to the many blows she had rained down on him previously, this was nothing. “Quitbeinadick,” she mumbled, apparently mollified. She settled back into the couch, getting comfortable.

“Imsorry,” Russ apologized, rubbing the spot she had hit him. All at once, a wave of exhaustion hit him. “Tired,” he announced. Kass was not responding. “Kasss?” He leaned over, squinting with one eye to examine her face. Her eyes appeared to still be open, but her face was slack, mouth open. A moment later, a loud snore emanated from her.

Russ shook his head, and tried to get up. His legs failed again, and he crashed to the floor. He groaned for a moment, and then the realization hit him – the floor was so soft… the world was spinning around him. He closed his eyes, and knew nothing more.


NPRG: Please make sure that our observers are in your “to” or “cc” line correctly; for some reason, the last e-mail had parsing as, and some e-mails are missing one or the other, or both. Thank you!


Christopher B. Del Gesso


Russ Gerodi BaShen, LtJg

Flight Control Officer



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