NSS Asp, Crew Lounge, Off Duty Hours
The newly added lounge on the Asp was luxurious, furnished with leather seats, leather couches, wooden tables, a bar, a karaoke machine, and a video screen. Unfortunately, the bar had so far only been stocked with whiskey and vodka from the Admiral's collection but he'd made it open for all to consume.
Bernhard Greer, one of the 4th Fleet Marine medics, was examining the karaoke machine with a glass of whiskey in hand. He'd never seen such a device before. His companion, Laura Romero, dragged him away. "Truth or dare! Now!" she demanded. "Just the two of us? Kinda boring," he replied, looking back at the singing machine.
Walking in looking rather lost was Sawyer, the resident weird guy/flirt. Seeing Laura and Bernhard he walked over to them and said, "Hey you two, how's it going?"
"Swimmingly," Bernhard said sarcastically, pointing to Laura, " She's drunk. After three glasses. And she wants more. And she wants to play truth or dare."
Matteo slowly walked in, massaging his right shoulder; it was horribly sore ever since the last operation. The recoil on the HPAR, even through the suit was harsh, and combine that with firing for extended periods of time, enough to burn through most of the ammo he'd brought along? He wouldn't have been surprised if something was torn either. So, to deal with the pain, he was going for the best thing he could think of; a makeshift painkiller that was humanity's best friend since ancient days. Booze. "Hey guys, don't mind me." he spoke to the others. His better arm grabbed a bottle of whiskey and poured himself something into a crystal tumbler.
"Truth or Dare?" Sawyer said in a somewhat bemused tone. "What precisely is that?" Pointing to the machine in the corner he asked "And what in the flying blue blazes is that contraption?" Regardless of that he headed to the bar and after looking around grabbed a bottle of vodka from the racks and poured some into a glass and filled the rest of it with some Speed energy drink he pulled from one of his pockets. "Well at least this will be a pretty nice time maker then" he muttered as he started drinking.
Laura skipped over to Matteo and pulled him over to the group, "You've got a drink! You can play Truth or Dare with us!"
"That machine's called a Karaoke machine. Something the Admiral said he and his friends used to play with off-duty. Apparently, you sing the lyrics as best you can," Bernhard said to Sawyer.
Upon entering the lounge, Phaedra noticed several of the squad already milling about. To anyone that noticed her enter, Phaedra's hair was not pulled back into a ponytail, as it usually was; her long white hair rested gently on her shoulders, a very different appearance from her usual norm. Slightly awkward at socializing, she headed for the bar and took a seat there.
"Well that sounds pretty interesting to me. I mean I'm not bad at singing but I probably don't know half the songs on there. So what is Laura talking about with truth or dare?" Sawyer asked of Bernhard hoping that the medic had had time to get over his annoyance at the prank that he and Laura had played.
Upon seeing the medic make a beeline for him, the Marine's heartrate spiked. His hand darted out to grab the tumbler full of whiskey and down it before she reached him. "Alright, alright, I'm coming over!" he said, slightly panicked. Her hand clamped down on his bad arm like a hydraulic clamp, making him wince as the pained arm was put under even more stress. Needless to say, he came over, but wasn't quite happy with her antics.
Phaedra grabbed a whiskey bottle and poured herself a shot. She tapped on the shot glass with the metal fingers of her left hand before sliding it over to her right and slamming it down. She poured herself another shot and seemed to stare into space, lost in thought.
"Awesome! The sergeant's here too!" Laura exclaimed, pouring herself another drink of whiskey. "Time for Truth or Dare!"
"Matteo! Truth or Dare!" Laura shouted, pointing at Matteo. Bernhard let out a sigh of relief.
At first, he was annoyed. Which was perfectly justifiable considering the discomfort and pain he was in, but as Laura ordered him to choose something for a silly game, Matteo couldn't help but look at her incredulously in disbelief. You pulled me over for this? he thought sourly to himself. He shrugged. "Fine. Truth." he grumbled. The marine then turned to the sergeant and asked her for something. "Phaedra, if you don't mind, could you pour me a shot? I think I'll need it soon enough."
"Which of the women in the unit would you like to sleep with?" Laura grinned mischievously, throwing back her fourth glass of whiskey.
Phaedra quickly poured a shot for Matteo, and then nearly spilled it when she heard Laura's question.
"Of all the questions to ask..." thought Phaedra. She had to be honest, she never really thought much about relations with the opposite sex. Obviously as a clone she was instructed of such things during her training, but Phaedra was rather innocent when it came to matters of love and sexuality. Suddenly intrigued by this conversation, Phaedra turned her attention towards Laura and Matteo.
"Uhg. That question?" He looked over to Phaedra and picked up the shot of whiskey. "Thanks sarge." he thanked her, downing the drink. "And just when I was putting Avel out of my mind too." Matteo went on, shaking his head. "I dunno, I haven't thought about it all that much, considering the transfer from my old garrison, to the crew of the Acadia, and then here." He shrugged. "I guess - " he looked over everyone that was there, " - most of you girls?" The marine scratched his chin a bit in more thought. "Though, that's just if its for the fun of it. Seriously? None of you."
He looked at them all with a more serious expression now, eyes shifting from one to another. "I know you're all great people, but here's the fact; how long have I been here? And that's pretty much it. I don't know any of the ladies here well enough I think." Matteo finished, shrugging.
"He needs more to drink!" Laura said happily, grabbing a bottle and trying pour him more. "Matteo! Your turn to ask someone, Truth or Dare!"
"Someone stop Laura from drinking anymore..." Bernhard said.
"Huh? What am I supposed to ask?" the marine wondered. He thought for a moment and considered Bernard's pleading. "Ok, ok. Laura, truth or dare?" Matteo asked her.
"Dare!" she cried out happily before drinking from her glass. Bernhard took this opportunity to snatch the bottle out of her hand.
Sawyer stood there off to the side drinking his own concoction holding his glass and the bottle of vodka had the top sticking out of one of his pockets and he was about to pull it back out to fill his drink back up. Setting the glass down he poured about 4 shots into the glass and then poured the remainder of the Speed drink into it.
Matteo rubbed his hands together as though preparing for something, taking in a good breath while he was at it. "I dare you to...Not Drink Alcohol For A Week." the marine answered, a huge smirk on his face. He looked at Laura expectantly with a predatory grin.
"Okay! I'll start next week!" she said, draining her fifth glass of whiskey. "Sergeant, truth or dare!"
"How about now?" Matteo pressed Laura.
"Nope, you didn't dare me to start now! You just said for a week! Didn't say starting now!" Laura replied to Matteo. "Good try. At least next week she'll be sober," Bernhard said.
Arieg was making his way to the ship's lounge, his goal was a bottle of something decently expensive and a glass. In his left hand was a NAM fragmentation grenade, as he walked, he was throwing it back and forth to either hand. This unconcious thinking action ended after the door to the lounge opened revealing the group beyond the threshold, the mercenary merely nodded as he entered and made his way to the bar.
Phaedra heard Laura ask her truth or dare, but considering how easily distracted Laura was currently, she decided to see if she could get out of this one. She slammed back her shot and continued to watch the situation unfold.
"Its the random guy who we never see! Bernie, go make him drunk! Sergeant, truth or dare!" Laura shouted, pointing to Arieg. "I thought alcohol was a depressant... where does she get the energy?" Bernhard wondered, walking over to Arieg.
"She wants you to get drunk. Doctor's orders," he said to the mercenary. Arieg merely quirked an eyebrow before turning his attention back to the bar without a word.
Matteo couldn't do anything but shake his head in disapproval. He then moved over to Phaedra and bummed another shot of whiskey off of her.
Seeing she would not be able to escape from it, Phaedra decided to take the less risky choice.
"Truth," she said. She poured another shot for Matteo from the whiskey bottle.
"Do your metal fingers have a vibrate function?" Laura asked, looking at the metal hand.
"No. Why would they?" replied Phaedra.
"Cos its more fun! I can make the mods if you want! Your turn to ask!" the female medic told her giggling happily.
Matteo brought his palm to his face for a moment before downing the shot Phaedra gave him. Some people...some people shouldn't be drinking at all. But, there was something that was bothering him now. "Wait. Why are we even playing this game? Its not like she's holding us at gunpoint."
"The Admiral said we should bond more!" Laura shouted angrily at Matteo.
Phaedra thought for a moment before she turned toward Arieg. She opened her mouth to speak, but then her gaze narrowed.
"What the hell are you doing with a grenade in your hand, Marine?"
Arieg glanced over for a moment toward the Sergeant and the group, "I'm a Marine now? When did that happen?" He asked in a mock tone.
"Mercenary then. That had better not be live."
"Maybe, maybe not, helps me think either way." Arieg said as if it actually made sense, assuming the exchange was over he turned his attention back to the concoction that he was creating.
Phaedra set down her shot glass, stood, and strode over to where Arieg was standing. She put her hands on her hips and leaned down to meet eyes with him.
"We may be off duty, Arieg, but I need to know if you are putting people's lives at risk. Is that grenade live, or dead?" she said with a serious tone.
"Oh crap, man the lifeboats," Bernhard muttered. "Wait, mercenaries need to think? About what? I thought they were hired to be our meatshields," Laura asked Sawyer.
"Maybe what weapon they feel like wandering around with today. I mean that guy just manages to seemingly pull shit out of nowhere. Or maybe they have to think about what version of whatever camouflage scheme they came up with to wear. I think he has like 3 or 4 different sets so far that I've seen," Sawyer replied. "You know we may pay them but I think they deserve to be seen as maybe a bit more than just a meat shield. I mean we don't know what he may have already done or seen in his time."
"You need to answer me, soldier."
Arieg finished his mixer and downed the contents of the glass in one go, whatever was in it was strong enough to start eating the lacquor off the bar. After setting the glass down he turned toward the Sergeant and picked the offending device off the bar, his eyes had taken on a feral glint.
"Well there is one fun way to find out," he said while moving the grenade's pin around with his thumb.
Laura dismissed Sawyer's reply, not noticing the developments. "A mercenary is someone who couldn't cut it as a regular soldier. We're Nepleslian Marines, we're better than any gun-for-hire."
"You pull that pin and you are gone! You hear me? Remove the grenade from your hand and place it on the bar."
Bernhard rose from his seat and moved to Arieg's side, ready to attack if the Sergeant ordered it.
"Well hell, ain't that just a bit more than anticipated. Hey merc guy, I'm pretty sure none of us want to have a hole blown in the side of the damned ship. I mean yeah we'd all probably die in the initial blast but still pretty sure it would 'suck' for everyone else on board if the air decided to vent from this section." Sawyer said with a surprising calm look on his face for someone watching someone of perhaps questionable stability fiddling with the pin on a grenade.
"Dude if you're gonna go batshit nuts like that Avel chick at least do it with something that won't kill everyone in the damned room." He said. Turning to Laura he said, "Alright hopefully this won't go further but why don't we try to get everyone's minds of the guy with the grenade and maybe keep him from continuing his prank.
Arieg tossed the object toward Bernhard, "Glad to see this little psychological test still works, its a training prop, relax I'm not that crazy but its nice to know people still think of the image of a nutjob."
Phaedra visibly relaxed at the mention that it was a training prop, but she stepped forward and grabbed Arieg by the collar.
"I am glad to hear that you are not crazy, but pull shit like this again and I will have you gone from my unit, understand? Practical jokes of this nature have no place here," said Phaedra. She pulled her hand away from his collar and strode back to her seat. Her brow was furrowed; clearly she was not amused.
Standing for a moment after being released Arieg glanced toward Bernhard, "Can I have that back please?"
Bernhard tossed it back, "Get lost, merc." He spoke with a scowl on his face. The mercenary was an outsider, not a Marine. They were despicable, fighting for money rather than any sense of duty.
"Sergeant! Still your turn! Ask someone, truth or dare!" Laura exclaimed, pointing at Bernhard and Sawyer, the only two who hadn't gone.
Phaedra sighed and massaged her forehead with her hand.
"Bernhard," she said, looking his direction.
"Truth or Dare?"
"Why am I still playing this game?" thought Phaedra.
"Dare, Sergeant," Bernhard replied, still angrily eyeing the Paragon mercenary.
Phaedra thought for a moment, and then remembered why she did not play games like this; she was not the most creative individual.
"Bernhard, I dare you to..." Phaedra trailed off. And then she thought of something. Maybe it was the whiskey, but Phaedra smirked when she thought of it.
"I dare you to give Laura a spanking."
And at that, Matteo perked up. It took not a hand grenade to get his attention, but the idea of Laura getting spanked. "Huh. Nice one Sarge." he commented. "I wouldn't have thought of something like that." he went on appreciatively.
"With or without her pants on, Sergeant?" Bernhard asked, resigning himself to another episode of suffering. Laura was looking confused
At the mention of this, Phaedra promptly spit out the drink she had just began to ingest.
"Um...uh. With her clothing...on. Lets not get indecent here," said Phaedra, unconsciously blushing.
"And just the one spank?" he asked, making sure he got the details of the dare right.
"And people think I'm crazy." Commented Arieg from his seat at the bar.
"Lets go with how many you think the bad girl needs." Matteo added on helpfully.
Phaedra awkwardly poured herself another drink.
Realizing they were talking about her getting spanked by Bernhard, Laura bent over and presented her butt to Bernhard, who was imploring the ceiling for help. "Spank the bad girl hard, Bernie," the drunk woman said.
"Do it or you're a pussy!" shouted Arieg.
"Sod off, merc!" Bernhard shouted, flexing his hands. He raised his right hand, thinking about how stupid it must have looked, and smacked Laura's butt hard.
With a pneumatic hiss, the door to the crew lounge opened, revealing a statuesque woman in work-out gear standing on the other side. All Rita had been doing since she'd gotten onto the ship was participating in competitive combat simulations with other Nepleslian soldiers. If she were entirely human, she'd probably be panting and covered in sweat; however, she appeared completely unphased, even mentally. Her eyes snapped to Bernhard's hand, one of her eyebrows raising up as a fleshy snap echoed through the room. "Real classy, doc." Rita said, rolling her eyes and stepping forward. She immediately headed for the bar and grabbed an entire bottle of whiskey, opening the top with a pop and chugging down a good half of it before setting it back down. "Tastes good." Rita said to herself, taking a seat beside Arieg. She reaked of alcohol now, and everyone around her could smell it. It was like she'd bathed in a barrel of scotch.
"Just the one? What about all that paperwork I dumped on you?" Laura asked Bernhard. Bernhard was of two minds, smack Laura more or smack her silly. Both seemed like good options. He ignored Rita for the moment and smacked Laura nine more times. "There, Sergeant, I am punished for being a bad girl," Laura giggled drunkenly.
Arieg glanced toward the new arrival, "You know your supposed to do a glass at a time not guzzle the whole bottle like some ten DA vodka label."
"You try getting drunk taking shots with an artificial liver." Rita responded, frowning.
"My turn, Stenton, truth or dare?" Bernhard asked the cyborg.
"Point." Said Arieg before downing another 'mixture'.
"Wait, that's what we're doing? That's a little lame, but okay. Dare, I guess." Rita said, yawning quietly with a hand over her mouth. It was noticeable that Rita had seemed to have very good table manners throughout her stay on the ship.
"I dare you to kiss Arieg for ten seconds," Bernhard grinned widely, eager to see how this played out.
Arieg stared at the medic for moment, "When did I agree to get involved with this little game?"
"You're in the room, you're automatically involved in the activities," Bernhard replied smugly.
"Your name is Arieg?" Rita asked, letting out a mocking, sarcastic laugh. "Doc, maybe give me something tougher next time." She added, grabbing Arieg by the jaw and roughly forcing her lips against his. It was a bit disturbing at first because of the fact that her hand felt like a mechanical vice grip against his jaw, but the synthetic skin was soft, so her lips were close enough to that of a natural human's. After the time limit passed, she pulled away, looking back over to Bernhard with a smirk. "I'm not even drunk yet."
Matteo downed another small tumbler of the whiskey at this point, shaking his head. The spank was...well, it was disappointing, to be honest. Still, at least the ass of a merc was having his mouth handed back to him in pieces.
"Right, next time I'll come up with something more difficult, start slow, eh?" Bernhard said. "Your first spank wasn't very slow," Laura commented beside him. He ignored her.
"Your turn to ask someone truth or dare, Rita!" Laura said, hunting for a bottle of whiskey for her empty glass.
"What ever happened to dinner and movie?" Arieg seemed to ask no one before starting on another 'creation'.
"Hopefully your balls will drop soon." Rita said to Arieg, looking over to Bernhard with a menacing grin. "Truth or dare, Doc."
"Truth, I was doing a dare when you walked in," he replied, crossing his arms. "And how daring he was!" Laura added loudly, adding to Bernhard's chagrin.
"Do you want to spank her again?" Rita asked, pointing to Laura. The implication behind the question was probably a bit more loaded.
"With something other than my hand, yes. I leave it to your imagination what I want to spank her with," Bernhard replied, watching Laura pretend to faint from fear.
"Ha ha ha! Now that's a manly answer." Rita replied, lurching forward to brofist Bernhard before leaning back again. "Your turn then."
Bernhard tapped his fist to Rita's. "Arieg, truth or dare?"
"Aw fuck it at this rate I won't remember this, dare." Somehow Arieg knew he was going to regret this.
"I dare you dress in a pink dress for the next week," Bernhard said. "Ooh, I'm sure the drones have some stored away! I heard the Admiral complaining about all the weird stuff Admiral Wazu stored on the ship!" Laura interjected.
"Bernhard, do you enjoy having a head?" The tone was flat but the threat was there, the dare was one step to far for the Mercenary.
"Would you prefer me or Laura treating your wounds? Oh fine, twenty-four hours then. Starting tomorrow at 0800," Bernhard conceded.
And there it was again. Matteo's interest was roused, and he looked up from his drinks to see and listen to exactly what was happening. By now though, he was a little tipsy, but fortunately less so than Laura. "Sssucks to be youuu maan." he spoke to the mercenary, slurring his words a little.
"I'll take gangreen." Responded Arieg before downing his third concoction for the night.
"Right, then you have the honour of being the first to chicken out on a dare in 4th Fleet!" Laura declared loudly. "Who doesn't want to wear pink dresses!"
"The Mershenary doesn't have to follow our shtandards of dress. He could wear a dressh all the time for all I care," said Phaedra, sounding considerably more buzzed than moments earlier.
"Pussy." Rita said, almost spat, at Arieg, before standing up and finishing the second half of the bottle of whiskey she'd been drinking from. Now she was starting to feel a bit drunk, and accordingly, she sat down against the wall and leaned into it, looking up. "Hmmm... I haven't had a buzz this nice for a damn long time. Gotta love the free booze. Thanks, Admiral." Rita said, toasting with an invisible glass.
"Well since he chickened out, Bernie, go again! Aha!" Laura shouted, discovering another bottle of whiskey.
Bernhard groaned, now Laura would be drunk beyond recall. "Sergeant, truth or dare?"
Phaedra did not answer. She had apparently fallen asleep at the bar, with her head resting on one arm, and her left hand holding a shot glass.
"Well, that's her out for the night, I guess. Rita? Truth or dare?"" Bernhard turned to the cyborg.
"Truth, since you did that one last time." Rita responded, picking up a second bottle of whiskey at the bar before returning to her spot. This would definitely finish her off for the night, though she heavily prefered painkillers to alcohol.
"Would you rather have sex without drugs and alcohol or with them?" Bernhard asked, sitting down next a quickly fading Laura. At the mention of sex, drugs and alcohol, she sat up and said, "With drugs and alcohol!"
Even though he was quite drunk, Matteo managed to muster up a facepalm before shaking his head back and forward in disapproval. "Disagain..." he sighed. What was up with the sexy questions? Wasn't a normal truth or dare thing supposed to be something other than that? Of course, it wasn't as if Matteo actually knew.
Bernhard looked over to Rita, she too had fallen asleep from the alcohol. In fact, everyone else had seemed to have passed out. "We've had the alcohol, you've got drugs in your room, so let's go get some of that!" Laura said weakly. "Bed for you," Bernhard replied sternly. He had only taken two shots of whiskey and was probably the only one not soaked in alcohol.
Laura stood unsteadily, "Only if its your bed!" she giggled. "You're drunk, I could dump you on the floor and you'd think it was a bed," Bernhard replied, standing up and steadying her.
As they walked out, bickering over who was drunk, Bernhard looked longingly at the karaoke machine. He had really wanted to try it out. Maybe next time.
Arieg stood and looked over the room as his cybernetic implants cleared his blood. "Time to leave." He muttered before making his way out the door, his destination unknown.
The only other spectator to this whole event was Drei, the ships's AI. She made a note not to ever let the Admiral find out what had happened to all the alcohol. A copy of the security video was made and sent to the private datajockeys of all crew members involved. The main archival record was deleted. Discretion was the better part of valour, after all.