Obsidian Command
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P-P-P-Poker Face

Posted on 24 Sep 2018 @ 8:30am by

Mission: Character Development
Location: Max & Dale's Quarters
Timeline: Six months after 'The Admiral's Daughter'

Max shuffled the cards smoothly and quickly in his hands as his boyish smile spread wide across his lips. “Alright ladies and gentlemen, ante up!”

“Who needs a refill?” Annie came over with her hands full of beers brought back by Phil from his previous business trip. She felt a bit more relaxed, a bit more at ease, these past six months. She had bonded with the officers closer to her age and began feeling like she really had a grasp on who she was and where she was going at this point in her life. She felt like she really did belong with everyone. She didn’t have a need to hide herself anymore.

Dale cracked a smile on his face. “As long as it’s not the Captain’s brothers’ brew I’ll take one.”

Archie sat up as best as she could in her chair without bumping her fully blown stomach against the table. “Hey! That’s Brig duty for a week if you don’t watch that mouth of yours, Buddy!”

Max shook his head as he handed the cards out to the rest of the cops that filled the table. Going clockwise from Max was Dale, Joey, Annie, Archie, and MacKenzie. The weekly poker game had become somewhat of a tradition for the younger officers on the force. And while they loved their better halves more than anything else in their young lives, it was a nice time to break away and bond with the people they fought side by side with.

“Are you sure you should be here, Cap’n?” Dale raised his eyebrow at Archie. “Aren’t you technically a full blown adult now that you’re about to pop out the Commander’s kid?”

Archie let off a scoff as she picked up her cards. “Pfft. Straight out of the womb this kid is gonna be more mature than me.” The rest of the group laughed as they all tossed in their initial bets. “I swear I’ve read every single book about how to not accidentally kill your kid and I know I’m still gonna somehow mess him up.”

“Oh, stop it!” MacKenzie nudged her as she played with her poker chips in front of her. “You and Paul are gonna be amazing parents. At least you grew up with four brothers so at least you know how your boy is gonna be.”

“God, help us,” Archie chuckled. “If he’s anything like me and my brothers this base is going to go up in smoke.”

Annie took a drink from her beer. “T-minus 10 days ‘til the base is filled to the brim in Porters. I still can’t believe you managed to get all four of them to come here at the same time. That had to be some kind of a miracle getting Starfleet to let Andy off on shore leave at the right time.”

Archie gave her a firm nod. “Yeah, I had to sign the kid over to them as collateral.”

The rest of the group laughed, continuing their rather laid back game of Five-Card Poker. Annie and MacKenzie were leading the winnings, followed by Joey, Archie, Dale, and then Max. Max had given up early on in the evening after realizing his ability to wear his heart on his sleeve was not a very good trait to have when trying to gamble.

“No sisters, huh?” Joey jumped in with a slightly disappointed sigh.

Raising her eyebrow at him, Archie shook her head slowly. It was not like Joey to be forthcoming with trying to find a date and get laid. He had been fairly successful recently, though his affairs were often short lived. “Why, you need a recommendation or something?”

Dale looked over at Joey’s sunken face. “Celia’s getting married.”

The girls’ eyes all darted to him, letting out a simultaneous ‘Oh…’ in understanding the heartache he was going through. While Joey and Celia’s relationship was doomed from the start, it was still sad to see how hard Joey at fallen for her during their brief affair.

Trying to shrug off the unwanted pity stares, Joey threw his hand up and waved them off. “It’s fine, you know? She reconnected with an old boyfriend when she got back to Earth… shit happens…” He wasn’t very good at hiding the hurt in his voice or the sadness that hung in his eyes. He had felt a real connection with Celia even if their bond was developed over a shared stressful experience. Even though he knew it was going to be short-lived, the news of her sudden engagement still stung. He let out an awkward ahem to clear out the lump that was forming in his throat and smacked his cards on the table in defeat. “Can we move on, please?”

Dale gave Joey a sympathetic pat on the back as Annie tossed in a few chips to raise the bet. “Alright, how about we talk about Max’s ability to manage getting puked on at least once a month.”

Max let out a quick ‘Ha!’ and pointed his finger at her. “Hey, you can thank me for that. The first time led you to save those women from captivity at the Onyx.”

“Such a bright perspective, Max,” MacKenzie jumped in.

Max gave her a smile. “That’s me, Mr. Sunshine here to brighten your day.”

MacKenzie rolled her eyes as she tossed in chips to meet Annie’s raise. “Yeah, something like that...” Her sentence trailed off in a chuckle as she took a drink from her bottle. “Annie, make sure to thank Phil for us for the beer. I’m sure Sam appreciates the extra mix-up on his taps.”

Annie smiled proudly. One of the many things she loved about Phil was his generosity to small businesses and love of getting her friends drunk on his dime. “I will when he gets back from this trip.” She was a little disappointed that he was gone since she didn’t realize how often he was going away recently. At least she had her own place and her friends to keep her company, as this weekly poker game had been a saving grace for her. She began feeling the loneliness churn inside her and felt a strong desire to once again change the topic. “You guys sure know how to put a damper on conversation.”

MacKenzie looked over at Annie’s slightly disappointed face. “What? He’ll be back tomorrow, Annie…”

“Max,” Annie jumped in. “You and your young love, I’m sure, can dry up this incredibly depressing table talk.”

Max, distracted with his own merry thoughts about Caroline to the point of missing the comment, looked up from the deck he was playing with in his hand after feeling the eyes move over to him. “...What?”

Dale smiled as he looked at Annie. “You know he’s afraid of talking about her in front of you guys, right?”

Annie raised her eyebrow at him. “Why? What’s the big deal?” She looked over at MacKenzie and Archie who shrugged their shoulders.

Max kept his mouth shut, feeling the building pressure on his shoulders.

Dale shook his head in amusement as he pointed to her. “You’re married to her adoptive brother.” He then gestured to Archie, “And you’re married to one of her adoptive uncles,” and then he gestured towards MacKenzie, “and you’re engaged to the other. Talk about being in the middle of a double decker shit sandwich.”

Annie and MacKenzie scoffed as Archie threw her crumpled-up napkin that landed right on Dale’s nose. “We’re not that bad!” She yelled out in retaliation. “If anything we’re the cool aunts who don’t judge her and her sister for bad decisions. Believe me, we’ve been there.”

“At least twice each,” MacKenzie snickered. “We’re not exactly the poster children for angelic behavior.”

“To say the least,” Dale retorted, tossing the napkin back across the table to Archie.

Max gave the women his best boyish smile. “Ladies, I have been nothing but a perfect gentleman to Caroline. Along with her being an incredibly awesome chick, I am too young to die.”

The betting ended with MacKenzie as the people still in the game traded in their cards to Max who dealt out fresh ones for the next round. “So, Captain, who’s taking over your spot while you’re off playing mom?”

Achie adjusted herself to try to get into a more comfortable position, which was no easy feat being 9 months pregnant and just about due. “Matt’s gonna be the official go-to unless you assholes decide to make his job a lot harder than it needs to be.” She let out a chuckle as she took a drink from her water. “I think Annie and Steve, as much as they love to get into shenanigans themselves, don’t really need babysitters.”

“Where is Steve anyway?” Joey took a drink from his own beer. “Figured he’d be up for swinging by at least?”

MacKenzie eyed Annie who kept her mouth shut for the moment. “He’s probably with Ivy.”

The guys all looked at each other with knowing looks. It was their turn to simultaneously moan out “Oh…”

Annie placed her hand up to quiet the little hens down before they clucked too much. “Look, he is an adult. He can date whoever he wants. Just because I’m his partner doesn’t mean I get to dictate that.”

“Yeah but she blamed you for that Penumbra guy’s death,” Dale pointed out. “Along with a few other things…”

Annie shook her head, refusing to go down that road. “He knows how I feel so there is no use rubbing salt into the wound.”

Dale scoffed and shook his head as Annie stuck her tongue out at him, “Well, you’re no fun, Captain Buzzkill. That wedding ring have fun kryptonite built in it?”

The woman retorted with a firm stretch of her middle finger in his direction which he retorted gracefully with a raise of his beer bottle and an air kiss.

“Just put in your goddamn bet, Dale!” Annie chuckled with a bit of sarcasm mixed in.

Dale chewed on his lower lip as he peeked at his new cards. His eyebrows furrowed in defeat as he realized he had dumped shitty cards for even more shitty cards. “Damnit I’m out,” he stated in defeat as he tossed his useless cards on the table in front of him.

The cops’ laughter filled the room at Dale’s expense as they continued their reelings and dealings late into the night with some ending up luckier than others. There had been a change in the air around the starbase, giving the officers a cold chill whenever they were on duty. Something was going to happen and, with their luck, they knew they had little to no time to waste.

 

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