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Fight or Flight
#1
Fight or flight, it’s a basic survival instinct in all of us. A simple choice really, do we stand and fight risking everything, or run away and live to fight another day?

I’ll say one thing for the corporations, they know how to fight. They put the resources in place so they have the overwhelming edge and then they just wait for some unsuspecting idiot(s) to come along and “Wham!”

They drop on them like a hammer drops on a piece of hot steel at the forge, relentlessly beating it until it bends and then finally………. breaks.

*************************************************************************************

The conditioned air blew steadily through the air vents in the nearly empty halls of the station, crisp and cool in these very early hours of the morning. All unwanted particles and unpleasant odors had long since been scrubbed away in the atmospheric chambers of the processing center where the air was cleaned, re-oxygenated and then re-circulated throughout the station itself.

The slight hum of the fans that circulated that freshly cleaned air was a constant, steady noise in the background of every station, hardly even noticeable to those that lived there, until it wasn’t there, and then it was an odd sort of eerie silence, the silence of death to those oxygen dependent beings that relied on it.

The current orbit of the station was in the “dark phase” of the moon that it orbited, where it was completely isolated from the light of the sun and while the station itself operated twenty four hours a day, in this phase of its orbit the station was in a kind of power saving mode.
 
The normally bright lights that lit up the decks and common areas had been dimmed and the overall power consumption throughout had been reduced, this was the “night time” for the station and its residents, and while most of them still slept, there were those that didn’t and they moved quickly, but quietly, through the hallways or service corridors knowing that potential danger may lie hidden behind every corner or darkened doorway.

In that relative darkness, the neon sign that bore the name “Star Dust” occasionally changed from blazing red, to bright orange and then back to steel blue, following its programmed behavior without fail, a beacon of brightness in the dimly lit expanse of the promenade deck.

Inside “the Dust”, as it was more commonly known among the more regular inhabitants of the station, a number of patrons still enjoyed the spirits and atmosphere of the place, even in these very early morning hours.

Temerian sat alone at the bar, quietly but heavily drinking, as he had been doing for the last few hours. He seemed lost in deep thought and oblivious to all the other patrons around him, contemplating the tall glass of beer and the empty shot glass before him as though they might hold the answer to a yet unspoken question.

The other patrons, at least a specific group of them, were not quite so oblivious to him.

A recently arrived group of three Amarrian thugs sat at a nearby table, all of them drinking heavily as well, their glances occasionally falling upon the capsuleer at the bar while a muttered comment among them caused an outburst of laughter or a flurry of nodding heads and raised mugs clanking together in a make-shift toast.

As the alcohol consumption among this group increased, so did the volume of their voices and the bravado with which they amused themselves.

The bartender, appearing from a backroom behind the counter surveyed the room quickly looking for anyone that might need something, and then approached the ship captain at the bar, “another shot Tem?”

Temerian, aroused from his broken contemplations looked up and nodded, pushing the shot glass closer to the bartender with his hand, “Yes, I believe I will Morag.”

Morag grabbed the bottle of whiskey and poured a heavy shot into the glass, pushing it back toward Temerian, “put it on yer tab?”

Before Temerian could even nod an agreement, one of the larger men at the nearby table, the apparent leader of the group, smashed his empty mug down on the table and stood up, half shouting with an obvious sneer, “Bartender! If you’re done with that bloody capsuleer then get some real men a drink!”

The others at the table roared their agreement with a combination of laughter and yells, pounding their mugs on the table as well. The leader responding to the excitement of the men around him with his own laughter and roars.

Morag looked sharply up at the table and frowned, but still began moving quickly down the counter to gather more drinks for the raucous group.

Temerian deliberately ignored them and lifted his shot glass, taking a moment to hold the slightly brownish liquid up to the dim light and peer through it.

“Liquid gold,” he thought, before putting it to his lips and downing the entire drink, the warmth of it instantly spreading like wild fire down his throat, and through his stomach.

He closed his eyes briefly and bathed in that warmth, letting it flow through him, accepting it as part of himself as it spread through his mid-section, helping to erase all the thoughts in his head.

 “God damn that’s good whiskey,” he whispered quietly to himself.

“Too good for a damned capsuleer!” came a whisper from directly next to him, almost directly in his left ear. The stench of the breath that carried the whisper almost as shocking as the whisper itself.
 
Apparently the drunk and emboldened “leader” of the Amarr had thought this a good opportunity to carefully sneak up beside the capsuleer and whisper the mild threat to him as a way of further antagonizing him.

Under normal circumstances this would have been difficult, if not impossible, but because of Temerian’s overall drunkenness and the general background noise of the tavern itself, he had been an easy target.

Temerian’s reaction was swift even though dulled by alcohol, he swung the hand with the glass in it hard in the direction of the voice and smashed the shot glass into the face of the Amarr who was leaning slightly over toward him.

The Amarr leader, drunk and slightly off balance to begin with, tumbled over onto his back, screaming and cursing as he rolled on the floor, his hand covering his face where the glass had shattered, blood already seeping from underneath.

The reaction from the table of his drunken compatriots was quick, with the remaining two men clearly stunned by what had just happened, nonetheless both of them standing up as quickly as possible to offer assistance, adding their cries and yelling to that of their now wounded leader.

Temerian rolled clumsily, drunkenly, off of his bar stool into a crouched position on the floor and fumbled to pull his knife from his pocket, preparing himself for the worst. But before he had a chance to do anything a strong arm grabbed him from behind the collar and lifted him up hard, drawing him away from the wounded man on the floor and literally dragging him towards the door.

Temerian twisted his head back to see what this new threat might be, and saw the large square-headed face of Brogan staring straight back at him.


Brogan was the bouncer for the Star Dust. A huge chunk of a man standing well over 6 feet tall, and probably weighing in at close to three hundred pounds, with not a shred of fat on him, only pure unadulterated muscle.
 
Temerian had never caused any problems in “the Dust” and had consequently never had any physical run-ins with the man, but he had seen the bouncer in action before when a customer would get out of hand, or a fight would break out, and didn’t want to ever be on the receiving end of his type of specialty.

The man had all the personality of a steel beam and the sense of humor of a pack of hungry wolves.

“Brogan! Let me go! I haven’t done anything!”

Brogan strutted effortlessly towards the door, half carrying, half dragging the drunken captain with him, “You’re leaving before you do.” Was his only reply.

Behind them the commotion was growing louder as the group of Amarrian men gathered themselves together to seek retribution for the wounding of their leader.

Just as Brogan reached the door, Temerian loudly exclaimed, “Why me? It was their fault!”

The bouncer stopped at the door and brought Temerian around to face him, lifting him up so they were looking at each other face to face. Brogan’s cold blue eyes stared at him unforgivingly and Temerian could feel his hot breath as the bouncer snorted and replied, “You’re a regular here and I like you, so I’m just gonna throw you out.”

And then a moment later, “I don’t like them,” he cocked his head back toward the noise behind him, “I’m gonna beat the living shit out of them.”

Temerian thought he briefly caught sight of a smile developing on the face of the warrior just before he was forcefully thrown from the doorway out onto the promenade deck.

Landing unceremoniously in a heap some fifteen yards from the doorway, he turned so he could look back but saw nothing but the closed door of the bar.

Kneeling in the dim light of the early morning hours, slightly drunk, Temerian considered going back in but then quickly reconsidered after thinking about what Brogan had said, but even more importantly, the way he had said it.

It had been a statement of fact, not a question, not even a concern. The bouncer had decided that they were going to get their asses kicked and so, in his mind, that’s what was going to happen. After considering it for a moment longer, Temerian thought Brogan was probably right and since he had no intention of having “the shit beat out of him” tonight, he wasn’t going back in.


Instead he chose to leave quickly before Concord showed up and decided he was somehow to blame for the entire incident, or before the Amarr leader and his friends came out after him, although he considered that last idea very unlikely, all things considered.

Standing up and dusting himself off, he melted into the shadows of a side corridor and began to quickly put some distance between himself and this place.

The conditioned air continued to blow throughout the station, the steady hum of the fans that pushed it recycling and refreshing, but this time it carried more with it than just renewed oxygen, this time if you listened closely you might hear the screams of men as they were being beaten.

*************************************************************************************


If you’re going to run, then run fast, and run far.

And if you’re going to fight, be prepared. Know where and know when, but most importantly know how, because you only get one chance to survive and when that chance is gone, it’s all over.
Temerian Andedare

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Fight or Flight - by Temerian Andedare - 03-08-2016, 03:52 PM



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