Posted by Civilian Michael ‘Big Mike’ McKenzie (Bartender - Mike’s Place) in Tomorrow, 2000, Holodeck 3. Dress warm. XOXO, Mike
Mike said “Ok, but no cracks about the program name.” and he looked up and said =/\= Computer, run program ‘McKenzie Tonight’s The Night’ =/\= and the scene froze and then shifted. The two of them were standing in a single room log cabin or lodge. A large stone fireplace was set into one wall and a roaring fire cast light and shadows around the room. Outside, a snow storm blew against the glass of the windows, barely visible in the deep night gloom. In front of the fire was a pile of blankets and pillows on the floor, laid out to form a cushioned and comfortable pallet. The mead appeared at the head of the ‘bed’.
“C’mon. Coats and cloaks off. Get comfortable and lay down.” and he helped her off with her heavy outergarmets and shoes. Shedding the same himself, he helped her to the pile of blankets and settled her in so she was comfortable. He then sat down, cross-legged, facing her.
“Better?” he asked and picked up her mug and held it out to her.
Revna literally bit her tongue. The name was comical but she had a feeling this program was no more cliche than the other program was. She let him take the coat she was wearing and then settled back against the pillows and blankets, draping one across herself. He was caring and attentive and it had been a very long time since someone treated her like that, instead of the other way ‘round. She waited several minutes for her hands to warm before taking the gloves off, and then took the mug from him. The strain he saw on her face wasn’t gone but had eased significantly, her breath no deeper but easier. “Much better, thank you.” She slipped the mead, “It’s actually really good. So is Mike’s place your first bar? If not where was your favorite bar that you worked, owned, what have you?”
“It’s pretty unfair that you get to ask all the questions and I don’t.” Mike replied and smiled at her. “No, it’s not my only bar. Mike’s Place is a kind of ‘experience’, not just a bar. There are fourteen of them. This is the first one on a Star Fleet ship, though. My all time favorite bar was this little dive bar in New York City. McSorely’s Pub it’s called. Oldest continually operated bar in the Federation. Opened its doors in 1888. Been open ever since. They serve two kinds of beer: dark and light. And they make a mean burger.” and he looked at her, something in his eyes that seemed to be a brightness that maybe hadn’t been there before. “You should let me take you there, sometime.”
“I’d love to go there. Somewhere that has been around that long has to be unlike anything else anywhere. Go see some of your other locations too.” She slipped the mug, small sips, making it last. “Ask away Mike. I’m an open book.”
Mike smiled and said “Okay. That’ll be the next date on the schedule.” and he winked at her. “So tell me about you. I know you grew up on the island, have a twin sister… but you are by far the better looking of the two, were engaged… and I’m really sorry, Rev. He musta been someone really special for you.” and he took her hand and squeezed it before letting it go. “And I know you are hurt. But outside of that, I may need you to read some of the pages of that book.”
She resisted the urge to laugh, but she smiled. “We’re identical twins, we’re the same, mostly. But I’ll let you have that one, just don’t tell my sister.” Her answers came slowly, measured. Sometimes stopping to just breathe others it seemed she needed a deeper breath but didn’t or couldn’t take one. “I can shoot just about anything, phaser, bow, sling shot, black powder guns.” She returned the squeeze, “He was. Shauwn was…always there, from my earliest memories till the day he died. For a long time I didn’t know how to be by myself. But now with a lot of life to guide me, I can say I miss him, at times, but I am not in mourning for him. I got my first degree in pediatric psychology and joined Star Fleet thinking I would serve on a ship like Atlantis. But instead I was assigned to a hospital MASH ship. Totally unqualified and inexperienced. But discovered I had a knack for working with trauma patients. And I’m very good.” It wasn’t a boast just truth. “I was injured when a patient had a psychotic break with reality. He was going to stab another patient who was stuck in a chair.” One hand reached up and rubbed at the unseen scars on her chest. They didn’t really bother her in that exact moment, the reaction was psychosomatic, but she reacted anyway.
Mike listened and slowly moved closer. “I’m guessing you got in the way, didn’t you?” and he shook his head slowly, but he smiled. “Hang on.” He turned around and moved so he was next to her. He leaned her up slowly, put an arm under her slowly laid her back. Now they were stretched out next to each other and she was supported an bit more by his arm. “I mean, its no yawn and stretch my arm so that I happen to ‘accidentally’ put it around you, but I think I managed ok. Now please… continue.”
“No, that was much smoother than a yawn and stretch.” She adjusted just slightly and relaxed back against his arm. It was an intensely intimate moment, stretched out next to each other on a make shift bed, snowed in, but Revna wasn’t upset or uneasy about it. “We were equipped to help patients like Walker. I don’t know why he was in the mess hall if he was so uneasy, but he was. I assume he took the knife from the kitchen.” She paused and he could feel the measured rhythm of her breaths. “He was screaming, the other patients were screaming, pushing shoving, trying to find a way to get to him, or his attention. It was like trying to force my way through a mosh pit. I don’t know where the rest of the staff was. Usually there were several of us. I managed to get between them. I tried to talk to him, figure out where he thought he was, but” she spread her hands palms up. “He attacked me instead.” She was quiet, a twitch, a grimace, but that was all. “I should have had 2 new lungs, but there were three of us at that moment that needed them, and we only had two, and my lungs were the most salvageable.”
Mike was looking at the ceiling and he scowled… hard. “Salvageable? What the hell did they think you are, a god$#@n Buick? And why couldn’t they get you artificial ones before now? Seems like somebody dropped the ball, and that dropped ball was you. This is why I hate bureaucracy and government. Good people suffer needlessly.”
She turned her head to look at him. It was sweet, he was so upset over it, but it was misplaced. “Mike, don’t be angry with them. They’ve had them, for awhile. I refused.” She met his gaze, and he would see the fear, the uncertainty, the shame, and her chagrin at her own behavior. “At first it was a matter of waiting, my body wasn’t recovered enough operate again. By the time I was, I didn’t want go be cut open again. I didn’t want to deal with it. I know, I’m one of the best trauma counselors in the fleet, that doesn’t I should be counseling myself. When I kept refusing he transferred me, hoping a stranger would get through to me. I’m stubborn, it took them awhile. So if you want to be angry at someone, be angry at me.”
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