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Steiner: Saturday Night's alright for fighting

Posted on 05 Apr 2022 @ 3:56pm by Chief Deputy Marshal: Ridge Steiner - FMS & An-Hank-Atha - Hanks Casino

Mission: M3 - Into the Deep
Location: Promenade - Hanks Casino & Bar
Timeline: MD 2 21.15hrs
2202 words - 4.4 OF Standard Post Measure

After a couple of shifts working with the Security specialists on the Command and Control level Steiner was ready for a night off. He got a couple of suggestions from some of the operators and a place called Hanks sounded worth a visit.

Steiner found it in the entertainment section of the Promenade. The entrance was impressive, lots of smoked mirrors, blue neon lighting and chrome, he looked up, an illuminated sign announced Hanks – Casino Bar Restaurant & Holosuites

The doors slid aside as he entered, along with a few other people, the foyer matched the entrance, smoked mirrored walls and ceiling, more blue neon, plush multicolored carpeting, some greenery in pots, a reception and concierge desk with a pretty, female, receptionist in a shiny blue dress.

There were two other occupants of the foyer, two large and impressive looking Gorn. What was a little incongruent was that both were wearing pink waistcoats and matching bow ties. They also sported jewelry, one had several eyebrow piercings, with what appears to be ruby studs, the other had a gold nose ring through one nostril.

Hank’s bouncers? Steiner figured, it was unlikely they had many problems if that was the case

The pair eyed Steiner over and the one with the nose ring parted its lips and gave him a thin grin, at least he trusted that baring your teeth like that was what passed for a Gorn grin.

Moving forward, the foyer opened up into a large room with two floors, the upper one with a balcony over-looking the lower. On this level, to the left, was a long bar with a line of tall bar stools; the rest of the room was filled with various gambling and games activities. There were roulette tables, card tables, dabo tables, ranks of slot machines and some games and tables he had not seen before.

The place was packed and noisy, throngs of customers were busy at the gaming tables, the general sound of people having a good time, interspersed with the bings, bongs, bells and chimes of various electronic games.

A large shiny chrome staircase wound its way around two sides of the room up to the second level. In the reflection form the mirrors on the ceiling he could see a cocktail bar up there, people sat at dining tables and what appeared to be a band complete with a grand piano and a singer. Although he couldn’t make out the music from down here. Another illuminated sign up there announced the presence of holosuites.

The décor throughout looked expensive and classy. From the number of customers, even early in the evening, clearly the place was doing well.

Threading his way around the busy gamblers he made his way over to the bar, found an empty stool and sat down. The bar top was transparent aluminum, underneath it, laid out on blue velvet, were coins, credit pieces, roulette chips, hundreds of different types from tens of planets across the galaxy. What they all had in common was value. They all looked to be made of precious metal; gold silver, latinum, platinum. Some recognized, others were unknown. He even spotted what looked like some old Earth coins, gold and silver Dollars, gold Sovereigns, Doubloons, Marks and Dinars. Whatever the place made in profit, there was a small fortune laid out under the bar.

A barmaid came up to him, she looked Risian. Like the girl at the reception desk, she wore a shiny blue dress, close fitting, short, some kind of standard for the staff but like the rest of the place stylish and classy.

She gave him a wide smile, held up a small device hanging around her neck, pointed it at him and pressed a button on it, a second later she looked at it and said “All Human right? And your first time visiting with us! Welcome to Hanks!”

“Er yeah” Steiner replied, she’d obviously just scanned him

“Ok, what would you like to drink?“ She asked “You can have anything but those marked with Orange or Yellow stars, couple of those will put you in medical. Or if you’re feeling adventurous you could try the Purple stars, but you might regret it in the morning”

“You always scan your customers?” Steiner asked intrigued

“Sure do, Hank doesn’t like if we poison somebody, that’s bad for business” The girl replied. “And you look like a nice guy, having you puking on the carpet isn’t good either” She ginned.

He couldn’t argue with that. “Got any Scotch, single malt, twelve years or more?”

“Glenlivit, Glenmorangie, Laphroaig or Macallan? Single or double, straight, on the rocks, water or soda?” She shot back with a smile

Steiner was impressed, that was quite the selection. “Laphroiag, double, couple of rocks and a dash of water”

The bartender nodded, pulled down a bottle, a real bottle, not replicated, with the familiar white label, she found a glass, added two ice cubes, poured in a double measure of the whiskey and slid it over along with a small jug of water. “Large twenty year old Laiphroaig, couple of rocks and water. What’s the first name for your tab?”

“Ridge” Steiner replied

“Nice to meet you Ridge, I’m Fletin“ She tapped it into the device she had scanned him with. “Let me know when you want a refill” She gave him a smile and went off to serve other customers.

That was slick he thought to himself, scan your customers so you don’t poison them, then link the scan to their tab. Unlikely anyone ever tried to claim they had not ordered something on the bill with that setup. People probably didn’t leave without paying either, not with the two Gorn on the door.

Steiner added a dash of water from the jug to his scotch and gave it a swirl before raising it to his lips for a sip. It certainly was the real thing, not replicated or synthahol. He savored the taste and looked around, quietly enjoying the atmosphere.

He worked his way through the scotch and another one after that. Then figured he should have something to eat.

“Go on up” Feltin told him clearing away his glass. She tapped her device “I’ll let them know you’re coming and they’ll give you the right menu, unless you like Gagh?”

Steiner laughed, “Yeah only if its fresh”. He had tried the Klingon delicacy with Stex, the taste was ok, it was just the wriggling that was hard to stomach.

“Oh it’s fresh, we get quite a few Klingons through here and Hank has twice weekly shipments” Fletin explained.

“I’ll pass today, more in the mood for a steak”

“We’ve got those too, aged rib eye and strips, weekly shipments”

“Real scotch and real steak, I’m impressed Steiner admitted

“Good, we like our customers to be happy, enjoy your meal Ridge”

Steiner made his way across the gaming floor, there was a large group around one of the Dabo wheel tables and he had to gently push past a couple of Markalians.

As he passed, one of them turned and watched him leave, the dark eyes in the scaled faced followed Steiner, watching him climb the staircase. The Markalian leaned over and pointed Steiner out to his companion, who also now watched as Steiner made his way up to the restaurant. The pair had a whispered conversation, then left the Dabo table, making their way to the staircase, they started up.

A waitress showed Steiner to a table in the back and brought him a menu, after scanning him she asked “I’m Telvo, your waitress, would you like another Laiphroiag while you read the menu, Mister Ridge?”

“Just a beer please, light beer or lager will be fine” He decided, two doubles of genuine scotch was enough. “So, you do steaks?”

“I’ll get you a Lowenbrau” She replied “And yes we do! The steaks are excellent, prime beef, well aged, chargrilled to your liking, we have a full choice of sides, we can do you a surf n turf with jumbo mollusk too if you like?.” She pointed out the section on the menu “I’ll fetch your drink and let you decide.”

She returned with his beer and Steiner ordered a beef rib eye, rare, with fried potatoes and salad. He sat quietly sipping his beer, listening to the band which was running through a medley of old jazz classics.

Unknown to Steiner, at the cocktail bar, the two Markalians were glaring over at him, muttering comments between themselves. After some discussion they started over.

The first Steiner knew was when the two Markalians sat themselves at his table. “You owe us fourteen bars of latinum!” One hissed, laying a meaty clawed hand on Steiner’s arm.

Steiner shook his arm loose. Damn who were these two and how had he dropped his guard like that so they could walk up on him! One too many Laiphroiag’s he realized with annoyance.

Markalians… he had dealt with several groups of them over the years, they were notorious smugglers and he’d arrested more than few. He was not really sure if they looked familiar, with those scaley faces it was hard to tell them apart.

“I think you’re mistaken” He tried “I don’t kno-“

“You are Granger! Of the Leopard!” One interrupted him “You owe us fourteen bars of latinun, or two cases of disrupters!”

Now he knew them. Granger was an undercover identity, and the Leopard was an old freighter the Marshal’s Service had used for a sting operation to target the Thirty-Four gang. Steiner had done business with a

Markalain smuggling group as Granger, buying some illegal arms from them to build up his identity as a smuggler himself.

He had not met these two in person, only over communications channels, so he tried to bluff them off, doubting they could be really sure it was him.

“I’m not Granger and I don’t know anything about a lion” He tried, “You guys must be mistaken, I’m just trying to have dinner” Wishing he’d brought his weapon, something he didn’t normally do when drinking.

“You are Granger! And it is the freighter Leopard not Lion!” One of then snapped back, raising his voice. His outburst attracting attention from other diners.

Steiner switched tactics and stood up, playing the innocent diner and raising his own voice. ‘Look guys I don’t know what you want but you’re making a big mistake here. You guys trying to rob me or something?” Hoping making a scene would cause the pair to back off. Other diners went quiet and turned to watch.

The waitress came over. “Something up Mister Ridge?” She looked warily between the three of them.

“Yeah Telvo, these two guys have a made a mistake, they have me mixed up with somebody else, can you call a manager” Steiner said

The Markalians jumped to their feet, one got in Steiner’s face. “You are Granger! You owe us!” He tired to grab Steiner’s shirt.

Steiner pushed him off, sending him staggering back. The other one swung at him. He saw it coming, tried to dodge but the man was faster than he looked and Steiner still caught a glancing blow on the chin, with enough force to snap his head over.

He ducked, keeping his head low, planted his feet, turned left to face the assailant and delivered a low punch right into the Markalian’s belly. The alien folded over, winded. Steiner swung to his right knowing the other one would be coming back and sure enough he was. Steiner slammed out a right-handed jab and caught the Markalian right on the nose.

The was a sharp pain in his knuckles where he’d landed the blow on one of the Markalina’s facial barbs, but the man’s nose spilt open, and frothy brownish blood flowed.

The other one was back and careened into Steiner, grappling him around the waist. They collided with the table and everything went flying, with both of them landing on the floor. The waitress was knocked over in the process.

Steiner managed to get to his feet first and kicked the Markalian in the chest as he was getting up, there was satisfying crunch as a couple of ribs snapped and the kick sent the Markalian careening backwards into the dessert trolley.

There was scream from the waitress behind him and Steiner whirled around. The other Markalian, face covered in blood from his ruined nose, was swinging a chair directly at Steiner’s head. He threw his arm up to try and take some of the impact, expecting to get it broken in the process.

There was a flash from his right side and the Markalian crumpled, his hands still clamped tight around the chair, which then landed on top of him.

Steiner swung to his right, to be confronted by the business end of a weapon...

 

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