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JUL/AUG *WINNER* "Your Lucky Day"


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((Edinburgh, Starfleet Recruitment Stall))

“Sure hun, the Marine Corps will get you off this rock, take you places you’ve never even dreamed of. Make a man out of you.”

The red-haired woman with the understated brow-ridges grinned at him, palms flat on the table that was the centre of the Starfleet recruitment stall, leaning forward in a way that would have given a good view of her admirable assets if she’d been wearing something less modest than a Starfleet uniform with a green collar.

Admittedly the rangy youth she was pushing the uniformed life to wasn’t the most prepossessing prospect for recruitment, but what did they expect when some genius decided that a stall at the Edinburgh Festival was a good idea?

“Oh aye? And wuid ye be one o’ the trainers then lassie?” The young man asked with a grin, placing his knuckles on the table and leaning forward in a stance like her own, bringing him way too close for her comfort.

She could smell the drink on his breath, and he’d not eating enough from the look of him. He was eighteen if he was a day by her reckoning and already a collection of bad habits and bad attitude. If he had the guts to join then the Marine Corps might be the best thing that ever happened to him.

“No honey but there are plenty of other ladies just waiting to whip someone like you into shape.” She assured him. Reaching out she dropped a data stick into his open shirt pocket, then patted his cheek. “There you go sugar, everything you need to know is right there.”

“Like yer number sweets?” He asked, not giving up.

Grow a few muscles and a few brain cells and I might think about it. She mused. About the only thing going for him in her opinion was his striking blue eyes. “Just call the number on the stick hun,” she told him, “it could just be your lucky day.”Dear Kahless, I don’t get paid enough for this, B’Ehlinda mused idly.


To Douglas’s disgust the thing in his pocket wasn’t a personalised photo with a number stored in it’s memory. It was just one of those metal-cased data-chips that uploaded into a PADD or personal computer, and the Starfleet logo printed on it suggested that it would contain nothing more than the usual Starfleet propaganda.

He wasn’t in the mood for that kind of rubbish. Since when had any form of organised establishment ever done anything for him? Left on a doorstep with nothing but a name, he’d struggled through school, run through a string of foster homes and left as soon as he was legally old enough. Just another statistic. He didn’t care, he’d make his own way and his own luck, or die trying.

He hadn’t come out during the Festival for the boring stuff during the day of course, it was the Fringe Festival with its incredible night-life that had drawn him. Two days he’d spent drinking and partying and trying to pick up women; he wasn’t picky about species. He was getting a bit short on cash however, he’d have to do something about that.

((Later that evening in a back-alley pub))

“Deal me in.” Although the luck of the Scots was reputed to be second only to the luck of the Irish, Douglas was hoping to turn a few credits into rather more credits. This was something he was good at. That was the thing about Luck, she was shy and saucy and you had to court her right.

There were three deities in Douglas’s personal pantheon; Fate, Fortune and Old Man Murphy. Fate was what should happen, Fortune was what might happen, and Murphy’s Law said that ‘whatever could go wrong would, at the worst possible moment’. He knew he was Fortune’s son.

He was a gambler and a risk-taker, and Lady Luck loved those who were willing to stake their lives in her name. You had to be prepared to fall before she would catch you; if you were then some days you could fly. As the cards were laid across the table Douglas set a high stake as his sacrifice on Fortune’s altar; today was going to be his lucky day.

((Later that night in a side-alley.))

Fortune was a [...].

She’d failed him, or he’d failed her. But she was like that, fey and fickle, and if you relied on her too heavily she let you down. She couldn’t be trusted, and tonight belonged to Old Man Murphy; and Murphy was a [...]. So was Douglas but only by birth, Murphy was one by the way he screwed you over just when you thought things couldn’t get any worse.

He was broke. No, he was really broke. He couldn’t even afford a drink. It was late now and he was a fair way from the squat he lived in. He had no money for public transport so he had to walk. Just one boot in front of the other through streets littered with rubbish that swirled along in random eddies of air, other drunken figures staggering their way back to their beds – or someone’s bed at any rate – and the wind too lazy to bother going around you, it just cut right through you. His teeth chattered as he walked.

At least he he didn’t have too far to go. He’d described a long, rambling circuit through Edinburgh that night, while the wind howled in the streets and voices raised in song or argument in every pub. Now he was heading back to where he had started, poorer and probably no wiser.

He was taking a short cut, had just stepped from one back alley to another, when he heard the scuff of a boot on the ancient cobbles behind him, and froze. Murphy really hated him.

“That’s richt sunshine, turn arood real slow an’ gie us yer credits.” Even as the thug spoke two more seemed to extrude from the shadows and ancient brickwork around him.

Obediently Douglas turned, spreading his hands as he did so. “Ye ken, much as I wuid like tae, I dinna hae ony on me. Why else do ye think I’m walkin’?” He sneered, drink and ego giving him courage he shouldn’t have had. “So why dinna ye jus’ f%$# off and bother abody else, hmm?” He suggested.

It was a bad move. Too late he noticed the manic gleam in the eye of the ruffian demanding his money, and the brighter gleam in his fist. He was high on something stronger than alcohol. Adrenaline kicked in and Douglas’s pulse thundered in his ears.

“Wrong answer.” The man snarled, and lunged at him. The youth flung up his arms to defend himself and there was a momentary confusion of limbs, then a flash, a metallic shriek and a pain the like of which he had never known blossomed in his chest as he staggered back against the wall.

“Hole f%$# Sean, ye werena s’posed tae kill ‘im!” The pain redoubled as the knife was wrenched from him, and then the two supporters hustled their friend off into the night.

He was dying. This was it. In a back alley that stank of [...] and vomit, stabbed by some drug-f%$#ed thug for a few credits he didn’t have. What a way to go. A fitting end for a sad story. What a waste. Dear Lord but it hurt. Why wouldn’t the pain stop?

It hurt too much for him to be dead. He wasn’t dying, at least, not right away. But as the realisation dawned that he hadn’t been killed the pain that stabbed through him with every breath that he took made it obvious that death was still a very real option. He could feel a draw of air inside his chest, and every breath was harder than the last.

Pushing away from the wall Douglas staggered in the direction of the square up ahead. There would be lights, people, help.

((Edinburgh, Starfleet Recruitment Stall))

It was so late it was early, and they were just packing down the recruitment stall when B’Ehlinda saw a figure emerge from a side alley into the square. She recognised the [...]y brat she’d spoken to earlier and rolled her eyes. He swayed uncertainly for a moment before staggering across the cobbles to collapse on the table she had just cleared of leaflets. He was probably drunk out of his skull.

None too kindly she grabbed him by his shirt and turned him over; that’s when she saw the blood.

“Sweet Jesus!” She swore. “Can you hear me hun?” He was still breathing shallowly, but there was nothing so eerie as the way those ice blue eyes looked right through her.

He couldn’t hear her, not through the ringing in his ears. The face he vaguely recognised but he couldn’t think from where. A strange peace was settling over him. In slow motion he watched her hand come up and touch her comm. badge, her lips moving slowly in the ringing silence. A few blue sparkles appeared about her, and then everything went dark.

((Starfleet Academy, Teaching Hospital.))

Blue eyes opened a crack and he muttered something unrepeatable in Gaelic about the brightness of the lights. Blinking he finally cleared his vision, which resolved on the broadest grin he had ever seen. Some pug-ugly alien was standing at the bottom of his bed, so pleased with itself that it was amazing it’s head didn’t fall off. Douglas had never seen a Denobulan before.

“If Heaven’s hirin’ angels like ye then I dinna want tae play.” He muttered.

“Well well well, look who’s awake.” The Denobulan in the blue collar commented, picking up the e-board from the end of his bed and checking his notes. “I’m Doctor Prax. Have you got a name son? I don’t suppose you really are a ‘John Doe’.” He looked at his patient expectantly.

“Douglas.” The young man said. “Douglas Kieran FitzJames.” The smell of industrial disinfectant and the white coats and blue collars gradually brought themselves to his attention. The panelling on the false ceiling was wrong too; this wasn’t the emergency department of the Edinburgh Royal Infirmary. He’d been there often enough to know. “Where am I?”

“The Teaching Hospital at Starfleet Academy son.” Prax told him. “And you were quite a find. It’s not every day that my students get to see a sucking chest wound. Get stabbed did you?” He looked inordinately pleased by the idea.

Douglas just nodded glumly. That meant he was in San Francisco of all places. He looked up as Prax approached the side of his bed and pressed something small, cold and hard into his palm.

“You might want to hang onto that.” The doctor said rather more seriously. “It saved your life.”

Lifting his hand Douglas saw a familiar data stick, a bright gouge across the metal, straight through the Starfleet logo.

Doctor Prax was grinning at him again. “I guess today is your lucky day.”

Edited by Saveron
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For those who wonder how the story ends, this is one of my PNPCs. He does join the Marines, they do make a man out of him and it is the best thing that ever happened to him.

And Starfleet do recruit in Scotland, check out

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