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Lt. Cade Whitman (PNPC): Don't Mess with Texas

Sedrin Belasi

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((The Runabout Bar, Deep Space 6))

::He had nothing in his hands except some mismatched cards, but without hesitating for even so much as a second, Cade Whitman pushed all of his chips towards the center of the table and leaned back in his chair like a man who had already won the pot.::

Cade: ::smugly:: All in, gentlemen.

::There was a ripple of surprise around the table, but Cade was only looking at the Ferengi sitting across from him. The expression on his grotesque face, so confident a moment earlier, had morphed into one of worried panic. He looked back down at his cards, then at the chips between them, then up at Cade.::

::Years of playing Texas Hold 'Em had taught Cade that now was the perfect moment to grin. His legendary smile, which had gotten him out of as much trouble as it had gotten him into, was enough to make the Ferengi throw down his cards.::

Rek: I fold, Human.

::The uproar that Cade caused when he revealed his hand was just as much of a reward for him as collecting the large pot of money. Poker was never about luck. For Cade, it was all about subterfuge. A good thing, considering how little luck he'd had lately.::

::There had only been that one bit of good fortune a few months back.::

::After ensuring that his winnings were transferred to his credit line, Cade briefly considered a celebratory trip to one of the bar's holosuites, but ultimately decided against it. He had never had to resort to holographic sex, a fact in which he took great pride, and he refused to sink that low just because he couldn't get one particular woman out of his head.::

::Not even the gorgeous half-Orion barmaid who had served him all night long had managed to drive that one woman out of his thoughts. Taking the waitress up on her unspoken offer would have been so easy, but Cade had just shaken his head and stopped ordering drinks. He had spent years settling for replicated meat product, but having tasted corn-fed beef once again, he didn't know if he'd ever be able to go back.::

::Not that women were cattle. Far from it. Cade didn't figure there was a man in Starfleet with a greater appreciation of women than him, but he had known enough of them biblically to know the difference between someone who would be fun for one night and someone who would keep him interested.::

::So far, he'd only met one of the latter.::

::DS6 was light years away from rural Texas, both literally and figuratively. Cade strolled the promenade, hands in the pockets of his dark parks, taking in the sights, sounds and smells. Everyone back home, at least those who had never been off-planet, always asked him to describe everything, but how did you explain the overwhelming odor of a Klingon or the painful sweetness of a jumja stick to someone who had never experienced them? It was as difficult as describing a Texas summer to an Andorian.::

::Cade had only been on the station for a few days, but he was already eager for his next assignment to begin. The USS Vigilant might have been a step down from the Washington, but it wasn't as if he'd been reassigned to a relay station. And he couldn't say that a fresh start wasn't exactly what he needed. Even with a permanent black mark on his records, he could build a new reputation on the Vigilant, a reputation that would take him all the way to his ultimate goal.::

::He really should have expected to find the Ferengi Rek waiting for him outside his temporary quarters, but the problem with fake confidence was that in tricking others, it often tricked him, too. What was the first lesson he'd learned at the Academy? "A Ferengi and his profit are not easily parted."::

::And this Ferengi had friends.::

Rek: ::snarling:: You tricked me, Human.

::Cade folded his arms as casually as possible.::

Cade: I can't deny that any more than you can deny that you let yourself be tricked.

::Rek and his posse bristled at this. Frankly, Cade was surprised his logic hadn't merely sailed over their bald heads.::

Rek: I demand a rematch!!

Cade: ::shaking his head:: So sorry, gentlemen, but the game is over. If you'll excuse me...

::Of course they wouldn't. That he had expected, so when the first punch was thrown, he was prepared. One Ferengi opponent would have made for a boring win. Four, however, was a real fight.::

::There were several moments, usually when a fist connected with his flesh, that Cade considered tapping his comm badge and calling for security, but he had never been one to wuss out of a conflict, physical or otherwise. Rek needed to learn that Starfleet officers weren't pushover peacekeepers and apparently it had fallen to Cade to school him.::

::Rek's friends eventually fled when it became clear that they had messed with the wrong Human, but Rek was dumber and it was his profit in question. He held out until Cade had him up against the wall by the collar of his shirt.::

::Nearly breathless, but pumped full of adrenaline, Cade pressed his other arm against the little alien's throat.::

Cade: You lost. ::He increased the pressure enough to make Rek gasp for air.:: Walk away.

::It was only when Rek nodded that he let go. The Ferengi scrambled to get away, leaving Cade battered, but triumphant in the corridor.::

::In his room, Cade cataloged his injuries. Nothing serious he figured, although his ribs ached as if one of them was fractured. His knuckles were bloody and he was pretty sure one of his toes had been broken when Rek's friend had tried to kick his feet out from underneath him. They would heal on their own in time. No sense in bothering a medic.::

::Besides, there was only one doctor he wanted to see...and that desire had nothing to do with her medical skills.::

::Easing himself onto his bed with a bucket of ice for his hand, Cade cursed under his breath. There had to be a way to get Velana out of his head. He just hadn't figured it out yet.::

::Until then, he would just have to enjoy his memories.::

Lt. Cade Whitman
Ops Officer
USS Vigilant

as played by
Lt. Commander Velana
Medical Officer
USS Vigilant

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