Location: In orbit of Jutus
Speed: Standard Orbit
Shields: Nominal
Hull: Nominal
Systems: All Systems Nominal

Before we Begin
Episode 11 - Family Matters
Stardate 73834.3
MD004 1400 hrs

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Posted on Wed Jan 9th, 2019 @ 1:52am by Makeba Brown & Captain Cornelius Tremble
Edited on on Wed Jan 9th, 2019 @ 2:11am

Mission: Episode 5 - It Would Be Their Pleasure
Location: Holo Suite 4 - Mighty Mickey's Gym
Timeline: MD011 1830
2837 words - 6 OF Standard Post Measure

It had been a full day.

Post mission debriefs. After action reports. Personnel file updates. Neil had been wading in digital paperwork since mid-day yesterday and was expecting Malbrooke to want a face to face soon.

He’d been cleared by medical for normal duties and he needed to wind down. Exercise seemed to be in order. Neil had changed and headed for the holo decks, deciding he also might need some time alone with his head.

Post mission degaussing.

Neil stepped off the turbo lift and made his way to a the first open holo-suite and touched the control screen. “Computer, activate program, Tremble. Mighty Mickey’s Gym.”

“Program already in use, Holo-suite 4,” the computer informed him.

He queried the user and was surprised when the computer informed him it was Makeba Brown. He wandered down the corridor and found HS4. Neil paused for a moment, then let curiosity win out and entered. The doors opened into a semi darkened gym atmosphere. The center was, of course, a sparring ring with various bags and apparatus scattered around.

It held the smells and ambient sounds of a normal gym, though muted. He wandered through the shadows to the periphery of a heavy bag which Makeba Brown was working. Neil wasn’t the only one watching. Two security personnel lounged in purposely uncomfortable metal chairs. One began to stand, but Neil waved him back into his seat and Neil dropped his bag near one of the room’s columns.

A shadow moved and then Mickey was standing there, the old man in his characteristic watch cap glowered at him for a moment then looked at Brown. “Been awhile, youngster,” Mickey’s gravelly voice told him, though his eyes were locked on Brown as she moved and struck the bag.

“She’s fighting moody,” the old man critiqued.

“She’s not fighting, she’s just working things out,” Neil told him.

“I know that, you punk. But it’s bottled up in her. If she gets into a real fight, she might make mistakes.”

Neil shrugged, “She been coming her a lot?” he asked the old man.

“Off and on for a couple of weeks before your Op,” the old man told him.

“How’d you know about that,” Neil asked him.

“I don’t think she talks to anyone else, so she was talking to me before hand,” Mickey said. “Not much. She knew this was your gym and mentioned you both were off to do something.” He shrugged then, “She’s pretty close mouthed, that one. I like that in a woman.”

Neil snorted then and laughed a bit, the sound was out of place and he saw Brown stop and look past the bag at him.

Since she arrived on the Pioneer Makeba knew what she wanted out of life, and how to get it. Her presence on the Starfleet vessel frustrated her, what made it worse was that they refused to release her and that blasted XO had won. She let him get to her and that is what had hurt most of all.

In an effort to bide her time and blow off steam while she figured out her next move she decided that she would use the holodeck. She had discovered a boxing gym program that the Marine CO programmed and she started to use that one. The old man Mickey he called himself, who ran the place was actually approachable. He seemed to be the only person on this ship that understood her. So she told him everything and in return he would let her hit the bags until her heart's content. Hell Keebs even picked up some pointers from the old man.

All of that was great, that is until Xoica, until that frakkin mission. Now she was going to be hanging around and Makeba did not know if she liked or hated it. Once more everything that she thought she knew had gotten convoluted. So it was time to take it out on the bag again.

She had not even noticed Temble come in, she was so much into her own world. At least not until he laughed. She punched the bag in combo one more time and ended it with a solid, hard right hook. The punch sent the bag swaying wildly. "I will get out of your way Starfleet." She said with a slight mocking bow to Tremble. "Tweedle Dee, Tweedle Dum come on let's get the frak out of here." She waved to her ever present guards who stood to prepare to leave.

Neil had scooped up wraps and was busy winding his hands in tape as she moved to leave and he smirked, "Running again, Maqui? Oh that's right, not much stomach for a stand up fight. Off to skulk again, staying true to your past."

He slapped his fists together and bounced on his feet, gesturing toward the ring. "Or you can try and teach me a thing or two in the ring, if you've got the stones for it girlie."

Makeba stopped dead in her tracks and the anger roiled within her. When she shot a look at her guards they both took a tentative step back in a moment of fear. Then they stepped toward her. She composed herself and turned toward the ring. "While I would love to make you a bloody smear on your own gym floor and totally obliterate your jarhead pride. These two lackeys will not let me lay a hand on you. I guess they fear for their precious Marine CO. The Maquis run from no one, never have and never will. If you think that they do perhaps you should tell that to all of the Maquis who died at the hands of the Spoonheads and the Dominion."

As he watched the display Mickey shook his head. "Listen kid you can't fight with emotions. You gotta clear that head and pay attention to the opponent."

Neil started stretching and smiled slightly. He'd goaded her, but it was time to see if she could put up. "Oh, that's an easy remedy Ms. Brown." Glancing over to her guards, he said "Alright you two you can take up your posts outside and wait. No one comes in."

The guards began to argue and Neil stopped. "Obviously you didn't hear me. Clean the crap out of your ears and drag yourselves outside!" He used his CO's voice and his eyes took on a hard glint. The guards glanced at one another then walked from the gym.

He stepped to the ring and climbed in, then moved to continue his stretching and jogged in place. "There, Ms. Brown. All obstacles removed."

Makeba watched as the two guards left and she smirked. She realized that Tremble would not be a pushover, however, if she could knock him out she could use the holodeck to contact her friends. She punched her fists together and jumped into the ring in a single bound. "You know your XO is going to be pissed at you for that. He did not want me out of their sight. I think he is afraid that I will take over your ship single handedly, and do it under your jarhead nose." She worked her footwork in her corner of the ring. "Just ring the bell when you are ready grunt"

Neil watched her, knowing that in her mindset she was going to push hard. "Listen sister, I'll handle the XO and if you can take the ship all by yourself well we're in more trouble than I thought." He moved into a basic ready stance and just followed her with his eyes. "Mik, ring the bell."

The old man had moved up to ringside, glowering at both of them then said "Fine. Ding ding," his gravely voice carrying in the gym's dim interior.

Neil moved at Mikey's voice, throwing a feint toward Makeba with his off hand, taking a short step in then spinning as she counter blocked and slammed his elbow at her head. She blocked as he suspected she would. She was fast, but the impact still caused her to stumble as she was caught cross legged and he let her recover, grinning.

"Common, I'm just a simple gyrene. I can't be a match for such a dangerous traitor."

There was one thing that Makeba had misjudged about Tremble. That was the fact that he hit like a hammer. In the back of her head Keebs heard Mickey's voice as he told her that the misjudgement came from letting her feelings get in the way. She pushed those thoughts away as she quickly regained her footing.

She decided to engage Cornelius in a standard five punch combo. She fired rapidly with her left and right, left body, right body, left jab, right hook, left hand uppercut was the pattern that she employed. She managed to land two of the pattern. Her jab and uppercut found their marks without being blocked. After the pattern was complete she danced two steps back to get out of his range. Makeba knew that while he had power to his advantage she had speed.

Neil took the blows, grunting as the jab found his weakened ribs and the uppercut forcing him to blink back stars. She was fast, but this was his meat and potatoes: as she danced back he closed ground. Getting his hands and forearms up, he pushed her back against the ropes.

Makeba rebounded off the ropes, which acted like a spring right into Neal's combination. She'd moved to block a feint to her head and he drove two punches into her abdomen. When she twisted to the right from the second punch, trying to blade off and scramble back he landed a punch to her face, getting his weight behind it.

She flew back into the corner, caught herself and then dropped back into her fighting stance as he claimed the center of the ring. "Nice punching. Twenty five more kilo's on you and I'd be spitting out teeth and probably have broken ribs."

"You two talk too much," Mik griped from ringside, slapping the canvas.

Makeba simply smirked, after the last onslaught she realized that she was evenly matched at the very lease. Tremble may have her beat, so she had to act fast and figure out a way to get him down. She decided a little stick and move would be best. She stepped in and landed a right hook to his temple, then she took two steps to her left and landed a left to his jaw then she took two steps back.

"You have power but you have become slow working behind a desk." She danced back as she raised her arms in preparation to block.

Neil felt both of her blows up and down his spine and tasted blood. He grinned at her, tilted his head to one side cracking his neck then moved after her tenaciously. He couldn't let her drag this out, really.

He feinted, she blocked. Neil threw a right, which she dodged tagging him again to the side of the head. He fell back at that and she came after him, trying to seize an advantage.

And he let her.

Her flurry pushed him against the ropes this time, and he used that. As Neil came off the ropes, his left jab sneaked through to her midriff. He followed with a straight, hard blow to her jaw and landed a upper-cut, causing her to stumble backwards, trying to recover her guard.

This time, he followed her.

She saw stars and was in trouble. Deep trouble if she was going to fully admit it. Makeba knew that he was moving in for the kill. It was not worth guarding. She had taken worse punishment some of it at the hands of the spoonheads. This would be no different. Tremble stepped in and the sequence came in sequence, and anticipated sequence. But that did not make it any less painful. This time she saw not only stars but planets as well. A ring of darkness inched in on all sides of her vision. She stumbled and dropped to her knees.

Makeba knew what this meant the knockout had begun. She was willing to take the punishment, but would not allow him to knock her out. She shut her eyes and screamed "Nooooooooo!" With a sheer force of will she had risen back to her feet but the darkness was still there.

Neil felt exhilaration bubble through him as her defenses buckled and he beat her around the ring like a rented mule. Not that she didn't land some blows herself but it didn't matter. The adrenaline was pumping.

He forced himself to rein in when she went to her knees. This was not a life or death fight and he wasn't here to put her down. When she surged back, she caught him by surprise and had to rapidly defend himself from pure, unfiltered rage.

It wasn't rage, but it was the best word he could come up as he decided to let her run out her strength. Which was hard to do: she landed a hard left and a side kick which cracked at least two ribs. Then she rained blows to his head as he stumbled back, blocking only half of her strikes.

"DO IT KEEBS, YOU'RE A WRECKING MACHINE!," Mik's voice carried through the gym.

She finally began to slow, but by then Neal's left eye had swollen shut and his nose had broken. Blood flowed down his chest but he wasn't done just yet. Neil feinted with a front kick, then snapped her head back with a pair of hard rights as he bladed to keep his ribs protected. As she staggered back he coughed and spit blood, his guard up, waiting for her.

"Feel better yet," he slurred through split lips. His right eye was disturbingly bright as he regarded her.

She could barely see and if her internal evaluation was correct she was bleeding out of every part of her face. Yet oddly enough she felt the best she had felt in months maybe even years. Makeba wanted to swing again but she couldn't she was simply too worn out. She took one step toward Tremble and stumbled but did not fall.

"Alright that's enough you both have taken enough punishment. I am callin it." Mick's gravely voice carried in slight echo through the empty, silent gym.

Makeba slouched into a stool in her corner of the ring. "You know what, I think I do but this doesn't mean anything." She spoke through cracked, dry and swollen lips and immediately spat some blood into a bucket. Both her eyes were swollen and she could barely see. However, what she could see was a swollen bleeding Marine across the ring. She laughed heartily. "You know you hit like a hammer, and you drop your left right before you swing. You should really work on that tell." She spoke and spat again. "Are you going to tell your friends about how the big bad Maquis kicked your butt?"

Neal walked slowly in small circles every so often, then slouched into the opposite corner from her, his arms draped over the ropes.

He wasn't really sure he could stand again if he sat.

Mik snickered slightly at Makeba's words. "He's been dropping that right forever. But does he listen to old Mik? Nah."

Spitting carefully, to make sure there weren't any teeth with it, Neal said "What friends?" He grinned in her general direction, looking like a pleased, though badly banged up Odin.

"And when you get riled, Makeba, you drop all but the idea of a defense and open yourself up. So, we both would benefit from some more ring time. If you like, set up your calendar for a weekly sparring session and we'll train."

His split lips grinned, "And I will be letting it float around that you kicked my butt. Though, I'm thinking that your security dates out there will tell the story for us."

With a heavy sigh Makeba stood up and stepped toward the center of the ring. "You know Tremble you would make one hell of a Maquis." She spoke as she extended her glove to bump his. "If Tweedle Dee and Tweedle Dum out there will let me, you have a date... And a friend."

Neil steadied himself and limp - walked out to meet her and raised his glove, touching her glove. "I'll take that as a compliment, Makeba. And I'll square it with the skipper: if you're going to be coming in out of the cold, then the thaw has to start somewhere. Friend it is."

A Joint Post By

Second Lieutenant Cornelius Tremble
Marine Commanding Officer, USS Pioneer

Makeba Brown
Maquis Tactical Officer


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