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Viva Las Vegas

Posted on 23 Apr 2017 @ 11:15pm by Ensign Kelly Khan & Ensign Quinn Mackie

Mission: Shore Leave
Location: Las Vegas, Earth
Timeline: September 2388

Bright light city gonna set my soul
Gonna set my soul on fire
Got a whole lot of money that's ready to burn,
So get those stakes up higher
There's a thousand pretty women waitin' out there
And they're all livin' devil may care
And I'm just the devil with love to spare
Viva Las Vegas, viva Las Vegas


The music blasted from the hover corvette that Kelly had rented after they had arrived on Earth and thanks to Dani, she had a weekend package for two to Las Vegas. She had invited Quinn along for the trip since it was for two and now as they raced for the city with the music playing, her long brunette hair waving in the wind, there was nothing that could stop them from having a good time. An invite has also been extended to him to visit her family in Oregon, but for the moment, it was time to have fun and cut loose to get the worst of the past few months out of their systems.

"Viva Las Vegas!" Quinn shouted at the top of his lungs as his hair flapped in the wind. He'd ridden in a hovercar once during his freshman year. The experience was incredible, until the freshman Deltan riding shotgun suddenly was overcome by carsickness. Poor Quinn had caught the brunt of it all. He would attest that it took the better part of the week to totally eliminate the smell. "Ever been to Vegas?" he asked Kelly as she piloted the ground vehicle.

"Nope," Kelly responded over the purr of the engine and the roar of the wind whipping past them as she guided the hover vette around a turn and gave it a bit more speed. She relished the clean smell of the open air and sensation of flying while being in a ground vehicle. "Dani gave me a two day vacation package there as a birthday present, so I figured now is as good a time as any. I hear there's enough to do there to leave richer than a Ferengi or without the clothes on your back. Still, there's one gamble that I'm glad I took, Quinn."

"And what's that?" he asked, looking towards her, watching her brunette hair move faster than flames of fire. It was hypnotizing really, each lock of hair separating into individual strands and then reforming into a lock as they waved in the wind.

"You," she said as she glanced over at him with a bright smile before she turned her attention back to the road. "The day I saw you in the cargo bay looking for things when I went to find my vectorboard, I knew that I had to get to know you better. I haven't regretted a single moment of it, either and I never will." Although she did regret the loss of her vectorboard that had been signed by Elisha's brother when the Black Hawk went down, still she was alive and he was, too and that's what mattered the most.

"I'm not that much of a gamble!" Quinn retorted, smiling as he did. "I don't regret a single minute either. Especially since I never thought I'd be riding in a hovercar on Earth heading for Vegas. I guess some good came from fighting the Consortium after all."

"Stick with me, Tiger, and you'll experience a whole lot more," Kelly assured him. "I have many, many tricks yet to reveal and you've only see the top of the iceberg. Since we have a few weeks, did you have anything you want to do other than see your folks?"

Truth be told, Quinn was actually eager to get back out there on a starship, no matter the assignment, just so long as he was close to Kelly. But, since this was a mandated leave due to "undeserved and unmitigated stress" there wasn't much the freshly minted ensign could do about it. "We should check out a few of the core worlds if we can," he replied. "Vulcan, Andor..."

She had to laugh at his choice of worlds. "So you want to go from blazing hot to freezing cold, huh?" she asked him with a grin. "It's a good idea. I'm up for it, though, as long as I see my Papa, Mom, siblings and my cousin Mack who you've already met. They'd never forgive me if I came back to Earth on my first shore leave and didn't go to see them. I think they'll like you, too."

Of course Quinn couldn't forget about Mack. It would be good to see her again. "Are they all up in Oregon, or are they spread out a bit? As for hot and cold... well, it's not so much that as it is... You know. In our brief little tour of the Gamma Quadrant, we didn't see anything at all that we were promised, and saw something else entirely. One of the reasons I joined Starfleet was to see the universe, but if there's no guarantee we'll see the core worlds, might as well guarantee it ourselves."

"My main family is from Oregon. Mack has a massage and salon in San Francisco," Kelly said as she checked her speed and slowed down a bit as the lights of Las Vegas came over the horizon.

"We can go on a planet hopping tour after that, though," she added. "I spent all my time on Earth before I joined Starfleet." She gave a happy little squeak. "I can't believe we're both officers now! Isn't it great?"

"It feels good not to be outranked by everyone," he affirmed. He'd suffered many times in Engineering and Operations as even the recently minted Ensigns shoving more and more onto his plate. Quinn was certainly thankful to be done with all of that. "It's awesome!"

"I hear that!" Kelly agreed wholeheartedly. "Do you know when I first reported to flight that Lieutenant Adan was going to assign me to Engineering? I had to volunteer to clean every shuttle and runabout in the flight deck in order to stay in Flight. I may have a secondary in Engineering, but I'm a pilot!"

She slowed once more as they entered the city limits and tried not to rubberneck at all the bright lights and holograms. "Oh wow," she breathed. "Look at this place!"

Las Vegas was known for many things, and among them was having recreations of major landmarks around the Earth. In the centuries following first contact with the Vulcans, they'd added many recreations from the core worlds. Of course, most of these were giant holograms now, each of them changing every ten minutes or so. Nevertheless, the view was quite impressive. "We might be able to do all of our sightseeing here," he joked. "What's first? Slots, blackjack? The circus?"

"A place called the ARIA Resort and Casino," Kelly said as she reduced speed again and verbally called up a map to overlay on the display...windshield, she reminded herself. "It's where we'll be staying for the weekend. Then we can hit something called The Strip and sample the best of what Las Vegas has to offer. I hope you're a better player than you are a dealer," she said with a chuckle when she remembered the ill-fated game she, Quinn and the others had played on the ship.

"That was just the one time," Quinn said with a smile. He had played a few games since then, and while he didn't leave as a loser, he certainly didn't come back with too many more credits than when he sat at the table. "Just as long as I don't have to play against you, then we should be good."

A minute later, she pulled up to the ARIA and parked, setting the hover vette into a idle hover and reached for a bag that was in the back of it. "C'mon, Tiger," she said. "The sooner we get checked in, the sooner we can go out and have fun. Oh, I heard a joke before, too. Want to hear it?"

Quinn grabbed his bag and followed her into the ARIA. His bag was rather small, carrying only a suit (should he need it) and a few changes of clothes. "Sure," he smiled.

"How do you leave Las Vegas with a small fortune?" she asked him.

"Quit while you're ahead?" he asked, hoping that was it. If it was, then it was more than likely a terrible joke.

"Nope," Kelly said. "You come here with a large fortune."

Check in was a quick, painless affair with thumbprint confirmation and their room turned out to be a one bedroom penthouse suite. Kelly dropped her bag off and went to the window which showed a view of the strip. "This is magnificent," she said.

Quinn joined her at the window, taking in the sight just as one of the holographic landmarks changed to the Eiffel Tower. "What should we do first? Hit the casino? Dinner?"

"Casino, then dinner, then a show?" she suggested. "There a million things to do here and I want to get in as much as I can in the two days we have here. I'm going to have to think hard on what to get Dani for when her birthday comes around. Ready to go roll the casino?"

"I'm sure you have time," Quinn suggested, slipping an arm around her waist as they looked out the window. "For now, we have a casino to clear out. Craps? Blackjack? Slots?"

"All of the above," Kelly said as she turned her head and gave him a kiss. "I want to explore everything and win twice as much. Mama needs a new trunk to put chocolate in!"

"How much of your collection survived anyway?" Quinn asked, leading them towards the door. He hadn't the chance to see what she'd salvaged from the wreckage as he wound up spending four days aboard the Cochrane confined to its sickbay.

"I didn't go back," she said as she walked beside of him. "I didn't want the associated memories of the crash to go with it. Everything I had can be replaced. I want to make new memories, Quinn."

She doesn't want to talk about it, he mentally noted. "We've got a whole career ahead of us then." Quinn spotted the elevator, which was closed and would need to be summoned. "Any idea where you'll wind up?"

Kelly walked with him to the turbolift that would take them to the ground floor. "No idea," she said. "You know as well as I do that new officers don't get their pick. Captain Geisler said he wanted to keep me, but he still had a ship at the time. I really hope that we get posted on the same ship when the new orders get cut."

"If not, then we'll always have Vegas." It might have been in poor taste, especially since he had no desire to end this relationship. Plenty of officers before them made the long-distance stuff work, and if they had to, so would they. He tapped the button beside the shaft to call for the car.

A tear spilled out of her right eye and down her cheek at the thought of everything they had lost; it may not have been much, but she recalled the vectorboard that had been signed by Elisha's brother, the huge trunk that had been a gift to her from a friend and the memories she had started to make on the ship. "I feel like I'm cursed," she said quietly.

"What?" he asked, a bit shocked, looking back at her. "Cursed?" he repeated. "Just because your first two ships met bitter ends doesn't have anything to do with you."

"The first two ships on my cadet cruise, Quinn," Kelly said as she wiped the tear away. "I want to be a test pilot one day and they're going to look at the swath of destruction in my record and won't let me near the blueprints for a ship."

"Okay..." Quinn said, folding his arms. "Let's look at the facts." He held up a single finger. "The USS Chimera. A Consortium-controlled starship that was taken down by a single member of the Black Hawk's crew, one whom I'd argue who used her assets to distract plenty an officer aboard. Said ship then engaged a Romulan Valdore and managed to survive. The only reason why she was destroyed was because there was no drydock to take her too and that she was a liability because of it. Is any of that your fault?"

"No, but I was in command of the Chimera and had to issue the auto destruct code," she said. "I know it wasn't my ship and that it couldn't be saved, but I was the one who had to do it with Captain Geisler."

"Then you were just following orders," Quinn argued. "And you've admitted no fault. So... there's no origin of a curse there. Then there's the Black Hawk. Were you at the helm or on the bridge at any time during the battle?"

"No," Kelly mumbled. "I've only sat at the helm once during Alpha shift, but it doesn't change the fact that two ships and a runabout were destroyed on my cadet cruise."

"No, and I'm sure that having a record like that isn't going to bar you from your dreams." At that moment, the elevator arrived. "Besides, have you seen the Captain's record? He was on like a dozen ships during the war, just like most people who went through that timeframe. And that was all before he was a Captain."

"That was during the war," she pointed out as she stepped into the car. "A lot of ships met their end and officers were displaced. Bah. Okay, so it's not my fault, but it doesn't make me feel very optimistic about the future. They say you can predict the future by looking at the past, you know."

"And if you stay in the past, you blind yourself to the future." Quinn stepped inside with her and pressed the button for the ground level. "All I'm saying is, you might think you're cursed. I don't accept it. Besides, we came here to get away from it all. So let's make the most of it."

"I hear they have a poker room here a wide variety of games," Kelly said as she accepted the change in subject. "There's No Limit Hold 'Em, Limit Hold 'Em, Omaha Eight or Better, Pot Limit Omaha, Seven Card Stud, draw games and a variety of mixed games. Or do you want to hit the slots and roulette tables somewhere else first?"

Quinn chuckled at Kelly's android moment, reciting off the various options. "I think we have to get some chips first. You just can't show up at a table without some." He looked around the gaming floor and painfully remembered that he'd never been to a casino before. "Just gotta figure out how to do that first."

"Hey!" she said as she stepped up to one of the gamblers on the floor. "Could you tell me where to get chips?" she asked the man with a sweet smile.

"Sure," the guy said and pointed to a window that said 'Cashier' above it in neon. He picked up two red chips and handed them to her. "Beginner chips for beginner luck," he said with a wink. "When you win big, pass it on."

"Thank you!" Kelly said and moved away from the guy and to Quinn. "That's how you find out where to get chips." She handed him one of the two red chips before she looked at hers and saw it had the word Fifty written on it. "Nice start! The cashier is over there." She pointed at the window she had been directed towards and started that way.

Quinn stepped up to the cashier window and soon left with a thousand credits converted to chips. Being stuck on starships for a long enough time made it easy for one to accumulate some savings, even though much hadn't hit his account to this point. But, having a few things from graduation gifts and not spending much over his lifetime would hopefully pay off today.

Not that he would be able to do a lot with his winnings, if there were any. They'd probably just stay in his account for the next twenty years... "Off to the tables!" He gave Kelly half the chips he pulled out before leading the way into the poker room where it was already filled with plenty of people. Not caring what he played, he found two empty chairs at a table not far from the entrance.

"Awww, you didn't have to do that, Tiger," she said as she accepted the chips and joined him at a table. She waited until a new hand was announced - Seven Card Stud - and nodded. "Now we know the game," she said as she waited for the cards to be deal.

"Indeed we do," Quinn said, taking a 10-credit chip off of the top of a stack and tossing it into the middle pot to serve as his ante. He checked the other players at the table, a black-eyed Betazoid, a Bolian and a Rigelian. This would be interesting.

Kelly put her ante in as the dealer began passing out cards. "This is going to be fun," she said.

The dealer gave Quinn a Two of Diamonds and a Four of Clubs facedown, and a Queen of Diamonds face up before he moved to Kelly. She got a Four and Seven of Spades facedown and a Seven of Hearts face up. The Betazoid got a Ace of Clubs and Queen of Diamonds facedown and a Three of Spades face up, the Bolian got a Eight of Clubs and Nine of Hearts
face down and an Eight of Hearts face up. Last, the Rigelian received a Seven of Spades and Nine of Spades face down and a King of Spades face up. "Bets, ladies and gents," the dealer said.

Quinn, snatching a glance at the eyes of the Betazoid across the table, peeked at his facedown cards. His options were limited at this point, but it was just a place to start. "Twenty," he said, wanting to bet more on what was facing up than down.

Kelly put her twenty in after looking at her cards and the others matched the bet before the dealer gave Quinn a Three Diamonds He moved to Kelly who was dealt a Nine of Hearts. The Betazoid received a Jack of Diamonds and the Bolian was dealt a Eight of Diamonds before the Rigelian was given a Two of Hearts.

"Bets in, ladies and gentlebeings," the dealer said.

Quinn calculated his odds, a thankful ability for being an engineer. They were not favorable, but he would at least see the next hand. "Twenty," he said again.

Kelly looked at her cards and put in twenty. "Raise twenty," she said.

The Rigellian put in his forty chips and looked at the Betazoid and Bolian.

The Betazoid's black pupils scanned the two humans, and then the other competitors. After a moment of thought, he matched the forty. Next to him, the Bolian quickly picked up the exact amount of ships to call, followed by, "Raise forty."

Quinn winced immediately. He'd wanted to see what happened next, but having to add sixty more credits to the pot to see the next card was too much for him. "Fold," he stated, leaning back into his chair. He then also caught the eye of a waitress and waved a hand to call her over. "Can I get a Heineken?" Looking over to Kelly, he asked her if she wanted anything.

"Rum and coke," Kelly said with a smile.

The dealer continued to deal after the bets were in. The Betazoid received a Ace of Hearts, the Bolian received a Four of Diamonds and the Rigelian received a Queen of Clubs while Kelly got a Four of Spades.

Kelly looked at her cards and the visible cards around the table. "Fold," she said as she pushed back from the table.

Two hours of drinking and gaming later with both losses and wins, Kelly decided to take a break. "I'm up three hundred from where I started. Do you want to hit the slots once more before we get some dinner?"

Quinn wasn't any better off. If anything, he was certainly starting to feel the effects of the alcohol. He looked down at his chips to find himself slightly under where he started. "I think I'm down fifty or so. But I'm feeling lucky, so the slots are a good idea." The slots, unfortunately, required a different sort of coin, preventing the impaired from losing a thousand credits on a single pull. He changed his chips back in, got the tokens for the slot machines and joined Kelly at the slots. "Elvis," he commented, seeing the style on this particular bank of slots. "You think he's dead or alive?"

Kelly stepped up to him after she got her new chips and inserted some into the slot. "Elvis? He went home," she declared firmly. "I would have, too, the way they lived back then. She pulled the handle and grunted. "If these things had any more tension, my right arm would be twice as big as my left."

"That's just the alcohol," Quinn said, smiling as he sat beside her, plopping a chip into the machine. His first few attempts weren't met with success, but then again, he wasn't planning to win anything. "Still, it's a good workout."

On his fifth attempt, Quinn pulled the slot arm on his, the numbers and symbols spun down the face of the machine and slowly came to a stop. Suddenly a song started to play and lights on the machine went off to indicate a jackpot win of two hundred eighty-five thousand five hundred and sixty-seven point eighty-eight credits.

"What!?" Quinn stammered as the music played and the machine in front of him turned into a spectacle of its own. "I can't believe it!" he cheered before turning to embrace Kelly. He'd never won anything in his life, but even in his buzzed stupor, the only thing he wanted to do was celebrate with the woman he loved. "Forget replicated food, we're going to go eat something real and fresh!"

"Sweet baby Klingon!" Kelly exclaimed and got the attention of several Klingons nearby who proclaimed that baby Klingons were in fact, not sweet and she quickly stepped aside and embraced Quinn. "You're rolling in credits, Tiger!"

A casino employee came over to them a moment later with a PADD. "Excuse me, Sir," the Vulcan said. "Could you come with me, please?" He stepped to the machine, put a chip in and pulled the arm again. "To reset it," he explained even though he hadn't been asked.

"S... Sure," Quinn stammered, unsure of why exactly he'd need to follow the Vulcan. He assumed that it would be to collect his winnings, especially since the employee was a Vulcan. The pointed-eared species were known to be an honest and forward bunch. Perhaps it was the alcohol that gave him doubts.

Kelly took his hand and followed after the Vulcan casino employee who led them past the cashiers office and through a small door marked Employees Only. "What's back here?" she asked.

"The office so the young man can collect his winnings," the Vulcan said as he led them into a larger office full of terminals with a dozen beings of various races watched monitors which covered every part of the casino. He led them past it and into another office that only had one terminal, a desk with a chair behind it and two chairs in front of it. "Please, have a seat. Do you have your ID?" he asked Quinn.

Quinn checked his pockets and found his Starfleet identification in his left pocket. "Here you go," Quinn said, handing over the card. Rather than sit down, his eyes wandered the monitors, noting all of the different species and activities in the casino. "Are you the one who usually watches these?" he asked.

The Vulcan took it and scanned it, examining the information and cross-referenced it with a database. "My name is Strak and I'm the Manager in charge of Winning Distributions, Mister Mackie," he said. He worked the terminal, then held a PADD out for Quinn. "Please press your thumb to the PADD." The area on the PADD for the thumbprint was highlighted.

Quinn turned back towards the Vulcan. "This is simple enough," he remarked, before affixing his thumbprint on the PADD.

Strak took the PADD back and filled out a few fields, then went to the terminal and transferred the information. Finally, he moved to another machine and entered a series of numbers on it and waited for a chip to come out of a slot in it. When it did, he handed it to Quinn. "Congratulations again, Mister Mackie. Would you care to have your picture taken for the Casino as one of our big winners?"

"Did I win that big?" Quinn asked, a bit surprised. "Surely you have people at the poker and craps tables that win bigger than I did."

"For the slot machines, Mister Mackie, that is a very large payout," Strak said. "We have not had one that large in nearly a year."

He blinked, surprised at the fact. "Well," he said with a smile. "Who am I to refuse? Can my girlfriend be in it?" The vacation package was a gift for her and Quinn didn't want to take any more attention away from her than they'd already had.

"Of course," Strak said as he went to get the holoimager and directed them to stand in under a sign that read "The Big Winner" on the opposite wall.

Kelly moved over beside of Quinn and put arm arm around his waist. "You've always been my Big Winner, Tiger," she said with a warm smile.

"And you, mine," he told her, smiling as he drew her close. "Too bad these credits aren't enough to start our own R and D facility." He kissed the woman on the cheek before looking back to the Vulcan who seemed uncharacteristically anxious to take the photo.

Kelly gave a big smile for the Vulcan as he snapped a few images and transferred them to the terminal. "If you wish, Sir, I can have a few printouts sent to you. Are you staying at our hotel?"

"We are, sir," Quinn replied, trying to remember the room number. "It's, uh, one of the penthouse suites. The room's in Kelly's name, not mine."

She got her ID out and handed it to the Vulcan who scanned it, then nodded before he handed it back. "Thank you," he said. "The images will be in your account soon. Is there anything else you desire, Sir?"

Quinn thought for a moment. "Yeah, actually. Are there any good steakhouses around?" Quinn wasn't sure of the Vulcan's response, knowing their diet was mostly vegetarian in nature.

Strak brought up a directory in response to the human's question and searched for a moment. "Yes," he said. "Two blocks down to the right once you exit the hotel's main entrance. The Last Steak Standing is the name."

Poetic, thought Quinn. "Sounds like we could use a good stroll anyway. Thank you, Mister Strak." To Kelly, he asked, "You ready for a walk?"

"You are welcome," Strak said.

Kelly took his hand and headed out of the offices with him. "I can't believe you won almost three hundred thousand credits," she said. "That's like a Fleet Admiral's salary for a year or more. What are you going to do besides buy dinner with it and shower me with chocolate?" she winked at the last part as they headed for the main doors of the hotel.

"I have a few ideas," Quinn said with a smile as they crossed the casino floor. "Since I can't spring for a full-size R and D, I was thinking about a scale model with some futuristic craft inside. You know, something to experiment with." He smiled at her, hoping she knew he was joking.

"Babe," she said as she walked side by side with him. "You could do whatever you wanted with it and I'd be happy for you. Now if you really want to get into something like that, you should check out Daystrom's latest models in a holodeck. Well, if you can get clearance for it. They have some old models they retired, but man....the wait list is insane even for something that's declassified."

Kelly stepped outside the doors and took a deep breath. "The most important thing is that you are happy and I will make it my job to make sure you are."

Quinn tried not to laugh, but he could not stop the smile that formed on his face. "That's a two-way street you know," he told her with a smile, slipping an arm around her waist and pulling her close as they ventured out to the sidewalk. There was no way he'd let anyone snatch her away. "It's my job to make sure you're happy too." In fact, he thought about something in particular he knew Kelly lost aboard the Black Hawk. Affording one was not the question, storing it was. Perhaps they needed to wait to know what their orders were before he tried to get one...

"But, for now," he said with a triumphant smile. "We go eat steak!"

"Real, delicious, formerly mooing meat!" she exclaimed. "I'm up for a last stand, how about you?" she asked him. "I am happy, Tiger. I have you. I have chocolate, and I have a life I love." She turned right and headed down the sidewalk. "It's an amazing one with an amazing man and people who I know will be there through thick and thin."

"As long as I've got you by my side," he declared as they sauntered down the block, "I know life will never be boring." He chuckled. "Now, onward to defeating the steak!"

As they arrived at the entrance to The Last Steak Standing, Kelly spied a sign which declared the place had a seventy-two ounce steak challenge for seventy-two credits. She looked at it and saw it included a Shrimp Cocktail, baked potato, salad, with roll and butter which had to be consumed in under an hour by no more than two people, except Klingons. Her stomach rumbled and she gave a giggle before she looked at Quinn. "I think we've been challenged," she said. "Even if we don't win, that's four and a half pounds of delicious meat to devour! If we win, it's a free meal."

"Well, I am on a bit of a streak," Quinn remarked, feeling the euphoria granted by the earlier drinks and the thrill of winning actually waning. "If we don't win, I'm buying. I can afford to splurge now and again."

"Sounds good," she said as she entered the restaurant with his hand in hers. "And I'll remember that," she said with a wink.

A Bolian hostess came up to them and led them to a table where a PADD with the menu was built into the side of it and asked if they'd like drinks and appetizers before they placed their order.

"I'll have a Pattern Buffer," Kelly requested, deciding to forego the appetizer since they were going for the steak challenge. She looked at Quinn. "What about you, Tiger?"

Quinn didn't pick up the menu either. "Oh..." Quinn said, trying to think of a drink he might have wanted. "You know, something sweet and sour. Also, we're going to take on the challenge."

"A Pattern Buffer for the lady and something sweet and sour for the gentleman," the hostess responded, then reached over to touch the PADD for the challenge. "Your waitress will be right over with the drinks and your steak will be prepared. How do you wish it to be cooked?"

Kelly looked over at Quinn. "You decide as long as it isn't blue and ready to crawl off the plate," she suggested.

"Medium well," Quinn immediately replied. He didn't like it crispy or well done, as it contained no flavor, no matter how much it was seasoned. Nor was he a fan of gagh or anything that swam in his stomach as it was digested.

"Medium well it'll be," the Bolian woman said before she headed off. A minute later, a human male approached with their drinks. "One Pattern Buffer for the lady and a Absolut Passion for the gentleman. If you need anything else, just let me know." With a smile, he headed off.

Kelly looked at Quinn as she took a sip of her drink. "Just the way I like it," she said. "The steak, that is. The drink is nice and strong, too. I think I may move here when I get out of Starfleet if I don't get a place back home. What do you think of it so far?"

Quinn sampled his drink as well, finding that it hit the spot perfectly, enabling him to start finding that sense of euphoria once more. "Perfect," he said, referring to the drink in his hand. "I have a feeling the steak will soak a lot of this up though."

"There's a cure for that, Tiger," she said as she took another sip of hers. "We're on shore leave and that means the sky is the limit. I, for one, plan to take full advantage of that and you."

"Playing in the casino is certainly out of the question," Quinn said with a smile, just imagining the things they could take advantage of. "Don't want to tarnish my winning streak."

"There's concerts, plays, lounges, pools, theaters and more," Kelly said as their waiter showed up with their meal and put a timer down.

"You can cut it up but the moment you take a bite, the timer starts," the waiter told them. "You don't have to eat the fat, either, but everything else has to be consumed in one hour. Good luck!"

Kelly eyed the steak like it was a first contact and reached for the knife and fork. "Thank you," she said. "This is going to be glorious!"

Quinn instantly laughed, thinking for a moment there that one of her parents was a Klingon and somehow her graceful body avoided adopting their rugged typical features. "We should cut it up," Quinn suggested, his mathematical mind taking a analytical look at the feast before them as he picked up his own knife and fork. He'd never attempted to eat this much before, save for a pizza buffet he and his classmates once frequented. He had put away at least a whole pizza away back then, but it wasn't steak. This was much, much more filling. Quinn sliced the steak down the middle and slid half onto a spare plate. He would have been willing to cut into it at the same time Kelly was, but the look in her eyes... she seemed like she was out for blood. Probably even the blood that would be spilt the moment her knife accidentally found his fingers.

Kelly looked at the part that Quinn put on the spare plate and pulled it over to her. "Oh, you're going to get it! Yes, you are," she told it as she started to cut into it like it owed her latinum, each slice of the knife going all the way through it like a chef with a grudge. With every slice that she cut, she cut it into three smaller pieces and soon a small mountain of meat formed on the plate. "I hope this doesn't get too cold while we cut it. We should start eating it because cold meat isn't as good or juicy as warm meat is," she said.

"We should coordinate," Quinn also suggested, agreeing with her idea as he stabbed a piece of meat and held it in the air. "On three," he told her. "One. Two. Three!" Immediately, he stuck the first bite in his mouth and slapped the clock to start it.

She stabbed a piece of meat and held it up as if it were a trophy. "ngoQ veb, vaj Do'moH 'oH SoHvaD jaj! maHvaD je' SoH!" she declared, the Universal Translator interpreting as 'You will serve a higher purpose this day! You will feed us!' and with that, she popped it in her mouth and began to chew.

Now Quinn was absolutely certain there was some sort of non-human blood in her veins. Maybe she had a blood transfusion at some point in life with a Klingon donor. He stuck the piece of steak in his mouth and found that he wanted to savor it. The flavor, the texture... it was perfect. Glancing at the timer, he could sense that this hour would quickly pass them by, so he stopped trying to enjoy and focused on eating quickly.

"This is absolutely delicious!" Kelly said as she paused and reached for a shrimp to dip and ate it in two bites. "Man, I'm going to explode when we get done. Either that or..." She leaned over to whisper something in his ear that would make an Orion blush before she took a sip of her drink. "Which one do you vote for?" she asked before she speared another piece of steak.

Quinn waggled his eyebrows at the very thought. "Certainly not for the explosion," he joked, chewing as he talked. Time was precious when two people tried to devour a meal like this. "I'm not ready to pick out bits of Kelly from my hair."

She had to take a drink to keep from choking in laughter before she got herself under control. "Oh, that would be a sight, wouldn't it?" she asked as she reached for more steak. "Don't forget that we have to eat everything, Tiger," she pointed to the shrimp, potato, salad and rolls.

He hadn't forgotten. In fact, he tried to slip in a bite of salad here and there. As he ate, he couldn't help but notice how much more sober he was becoming. Whatever in his stomach seemed to soak up more and more of the alcohol. He'd ask for another drink, but that space was becoming more valuable with each bite.

Kelly eyed the remaining steak on her plate and wondered if her eyes were bigger than her stomach, then wondered what a Klingon would do. With that thought still in mind, she leaned back and took a deep breath before she let out a thunderous belch. "Ahhhh...now I have more room," she said as she wiped her mouth with a napkin and took a bite of the baked potato. "You should try that. It really helps to release air from your stomach and make more room. Excuse me, by the way."

Quinn laughed as clearly as he could with a full mouth. While he always appreciated her boldness, Quinn not only was nowhere near a belching stage, but he could not make himself do it if he tried. Perhaps a better approach for him was to focus on the sides for a little bit as the taste of the steak had disappeared a while ago. "This is so much!"

She reached for the bottle of steak sauce and added it to a bit of the steak, then took a bite. She made a face a moment later and set her fork down. "I see why people don't win these challenges," she muttered. "It's just too much and it starts to get cold, then the flavor either vanishes or your taste buds die. Still, it was worth a try. I'm throwing the flag in, but I'll pay half on this monster. Also, if I ever heard you tell someone that I threw the flag in on anything, I'll hunt you from one end of the galaxy to the other," she said, but it wasn't clear if the last part was a joke or not.

"Hmm..." Quinn said, pushing himself through another bite. "That would imply that I'd have to leave you behind." He shook his head. "Unless I did something really, really stupid, I just don't see that happening." He finished his bite and set down the fork. "And, no. You're not paying for any fraction of this." He smiling, knowing that he could very much afford what they attempted to consume. Were it not for Kelly receiving a belated birthday present, they wouldn't have been in Vegas at all.

"I know you wouldn't leave me behind, Tiger and it's not like I don't have credits. When the wormhole opened up, I got the transfer that my family had been sending me every month. I just didn't have access to it in the Gamma Quadrant when it was blockaded by the Consortium," Kelly said. "I have a ton of shopping to do, too, and before you object, I have something in mind for you, too. Now let's take care of the bill and go find a place to have a few drinks while everyone around us wonders which one of us is the pregnant one."

Quinn's eyes widened immediately. Of course he couldn't take her literally at that remark, but if there was one thing he hadn't thought about, it was children. "Waiter!" he called in an unusually shrill voice. A few moments later, the bill was settled -- Quinn paid for the whole meal anyway -- and they were back out on the strip. "I feel like I ate a shuttlecraft," Quinn remarked.

She laughed at his reaction to what she had said, suspecting which part had made him a bit shrill, but chose not to say anything about it. She took his hand as they headed back down the strip at a sedate pace and she took a deep breath. "What type?" she asked. "I feel like I have a Type Eleven sitting in my stomach at the moment. I don't even want to think about eating dessert."

"What's the one with the dune buggy?" he asked. "I feel like I ate it and the shuttle it came in."

"The Argos, I think," Kelly said. "I never got to fly one, but I've seen one. If you ate one of those and the dune buggy, you'd look like you were having triplets." She looked up at saw a sign that advertised a place called the Howl at the Moon Saloon. "Now this place looks like fun," she said. A rowdy crowd could be heard singing along at key points with a male voice singing a rather bawdy song and she laughed.

"Tri... tr..." he started to stammer, taking a while to register the sign she pointed out. "That does look like fun," he replied, getting on board with the changed subject. "Reminds me a bit of that karaoke night in Talons."

She looked at him sideways when he started stuttering but shrugged it off as she walked inside with him. The interior had a large stage at the far wall with tabled in a semi-circle spreading out from it, a well stocked bar that ran the length of the right wall and a few booths for privacy on the left wall. "Look at this place," she said. "Man, if we had something like this on the ship, I'd never want to leave. Where do you want to sit, bar, table or booth?"

He looked around, taking in the surroundings for a bit. "That table over there looks good," he said, pointing to an area near the stage. He liked the idea of having some privacy, but he knew Kelly wouldn't have gone for anything too private. "Head on over, I'll bring the drinks."

"Okay, Tiger," Kelly said. "If they have any of the blue stuff, get some of that. Other than that, I'll trust your judgement," she said as she headed over to the indicated table and took a seat. She watched him and a smile crossed her lips as an idea crossed her mind; oh, she was sure to get in trouble, but she thought it would be worth it.

Quinn figured the blue stuff wouldn't be a possibility, considering just possession of it was a felony. The last thing he wanted to do while on shore leave was wind up incarcerated. It would have been the first mark on his career as an Ensign, and that was before even receiving his first assignment. He picked up two Warp Core Breaches and joined Kelly at the table. He saw her smile, finding it completely contagious.

"What have we got..." She paused in her question as she recognized the fishbowl glass and 'smoke' coming off of it. "Ohhhh....Warp Core Breach!" she exclaimed happily as she reached for hers and took a sip. "I'm surprised they didn't sound off the red alert klaxon when you ordered it. They did at a bar on the waterfront in San Francisco when I was at the Academy, but I couldn't order one at the time. I hope you like rum. These things are packed with five different kinds and some other liquor."

"It's going to be an adventure!" he cheered as he raised his glass, somehow managing to balance it with one hand. "Unto the breach!"

Kelly raised her glass with both hands as well and touched it to his. "Into the breach!" she declared before she took a deep drink of the potent mixed drink. In her head the alarm klaxon went off and she had to steady herself as she set it back on the table. "I think Engineering just got evacuated," she said with a giggle.

"Wow!" Quinn said in admiration as he set his own glass back down on the table. "What'd they do? Put a couple whole bottles in here? There's enough antimatter to power a fleet!"

She laughed and looked at him. "I told you what was in it," she giggled. "It's called a Warp Core Breach for a reason, Tiger. You aren't going to explode, are you?"

"Just warn me if smoke comes out of my ears," he said before taking another drink. He was almost loose enough to find some of the blue stuff to see the most excellent Conga story come to life. Of course, he'd vowed to save that for a private show only, never to embarrass her like that in public. "But if I do, you'll have to pick out pieces of Quinn from your hair."

"If smoke starts coming out of your ears, you'll know by the trail of wreckage I leave behind me by running the other way," Kelly said with a laugh before she took another drink. "My hair is too nice to mess up with pieces of Quinn. Of course, I'd miss you terribly, but I'm not that good of an Engineer to keep you from going critical."

"We could always cut it!" Quinn suggested, not at all serious. "That way there would be a lot less cleanup when one of us explodes."

"Hmm....cut it?" she mused as she looked over the rim of her glass at him. "That may be an idea." She took another drink from the fishbowl and hiccuped, then took another drink for good measure."

Just as he finished a rather large gulp, Quinn leaned back in the chair. As he did, the room seemed to sway a bit as the warp core breach wrecked havoc on his internal systems. "Wow! I don't think I've had this much in a long time. Can you imagine if we'd had one of these during that seven card stud?"

"I probably would have bet you," Kelly said as his features blurred and came back into shape. "Stop that or people are going to think you're a Changeling," she whispered as she leaned across the table towards him and felt his face. "Odd. Now you're solid."

"I drink you're thinking too fast," Quinn said, not realizing at all that he'd juxtaposed a couple words.

She giggled and booped his nose before she leaned back. "I'm not as think as you drunk I am," she insisted as she reached for the goldfish-like glass and took another healthy swallow of it. "Whatsamattah, can't handle your booze?"

"I can handle it," he replied with a brash smile. "I bet I can handle it better than you." He then consumed two generous gulps. He flinched a bit, though he barely felt the burn on the back of his throat now.

"So that's how it's gonna be, huh?" Kelly asked as she narrowed her eyes. "Last one to finish dresses like a French maid in our quarters off duty for a week," she said as she threw the proverbial gauntlet on the table. With that, she picked up the drink and with only half of it gone, she started to chug it.

Quinn gulped, but not with a drink this time. As emboldened the rum helped him to be, Quinn realized in an instant he was outmatched. Perhaps it was his years of going so long without large quantities of alcohol, likely due to the many projects and research assignments he had to complete in the academy.

Then again, if there was anyone that shouldn't be in a French maid's outfit, it was him. Quinn, desperate to win this last wager and maintain his winning streak, lifted his drink and began to guzzle.

Kelly's eyes gleamed as she watched Quinn, the potent mix of rums pouring down her throat. She desperately wanted to come up for air, but now it was a matter of pride. She tilted the fishbowl up more and it started to slosh and she wished that she had a bigger mouth, but managed to contain most of the liquid in her mouth. With one last gulp, she finished the contents of the Warp Core Breach and barely managed to set the glass on one of the three tables in front of her now and looked to the left of Quinn with a drunken smile. "Oooh la la, Frenchie!" she declared before she belched and face planted into the bowl.

Quinn hadn't even made it halfway down the bowl. Actually, he was starting to feel just the slightest bit queasy. Still, he could not help but laugh at Kelly's expense. "Oui, oui!" he exclaimed. Even in his present stupor, he understood the gravity of the situation. Thankfully, they had some time before that.

She rested there for a moment with her face in the bowl, then moved an arm to the back of her head and lifted herself out of the bowl with a drunken grin. "Owl le wet ta gin till Imma all wet ta..." and burst into a fit of giggles when she pictured him as a French maid.

Quinn unleashed the biggest belly laugh he could muster, especially since he didn't understand a single word she spoke. In fact, he even tried to stand up to help her, only to collapse back into his chair. There was no chance he'd be going anywhere anytime soon.

This made Kelly laugh even harder as she leaned back in her chair and looked over at him. "This...this," she wheezed between bouts of laughter. "Is the best vacation I've ever had!"

"Me too!" Quinn said, raising his glass for a toast. Only after he raised it did he realize that Kelly didn't have anything to toast with. So, he kindly gave her a generous refill before shouting, "To the best vacation we've ever had!"

She lifted her glass to take a drink and all but missed her mouth, causing some of the liquid to spill down her shirt which made her laugh even more. "Unexpected wet t-shirt contest!" she declared before she set the bowl down and squeezed her arms together on either side of her chest. "Who wins?"

Quinn waggled his eyebrows and laughed again. "I do! We all do!" It wasn't a false statement. After all, there were at least forty other patrons in the bar, many of whom were a bit excited for unexpected sight.

A Ferengi approached the table and went up to Kelly. "How are you at Oo-max?" he asked as he displayed several strips of gold pressed latinum.

Kelly blinked and looked at the short, big eared Ferengi. "Boy, you don't have the lobes for how good I am," she said, feeling emboldened by the alcohol. "Not that I'd finger those ears. Didn't your Mama tell you to wash them good?"

The Ferengi sputtered and hissed at her. "My Moogie has nothing to do with this!" he declared and shoved his latinum in a pocket. "And you...wearing clothes like that in public! Shame on you!"

"I'll pass your message along to the Grand Nagus," she said before she giggled again.

The Ferengi harrumphed and stomped off while people laughed.

Kelly giggled and looked around. "Now that's the way to win a lady's heart!" she said. "Treat 'em like a hooker!"

Quinn laughed, staggering to his feet. "She's with me!" he boasted. "Ensign Kelly Khan is with me!" Struggling to stay on his own two feet, he extended a hand to Kelly, hoping he could help her up. Some small part of him still had a filter, and that part knew that whatever they could do next, they couldn't do it here.

Kelly accepted his hand and nearly pulled him into her lap before she wobbled unsteadily on her feet and finally came to a stop. "I had no hiccup idea that this restaurant moved in circles," she said. "I like it!"

"It's like a G-Force simulator," Quinn admitted, wrapping an arm around her waist and moved towards the exit, hoping that they could keep each other upright. "Except without the G-Forces."

She staggered along with him. "Gee, that's a force," she said with a giggle. "Imagine if we really had it going on. It's not enough that you make my heart spin, but I think my clothes would spin off if they haven't already."

"That would be fun," Quinn said. "It'd be better if you had your hair dyed like the rainbow again. Then, it'd be like a psychedelic spin."

"You liked that, did you, Tiger?" Kelly asked as they staggered and stumbled out of the bar. "If you want, I'll dye all of me like that for your eyes alone while spinning, but you have to let me do something to you."

Quinn chuckled, holding onto his girlfriend for dear life. "Whatever you want," he told her.

"Where to now?" she asked him as they managed to get onto the sidewalk without it attacking them, though she kept a wary eye on it. "And will this moving sidewalk take us there?"

"We're the ones moving," he said, looking down at the concrete as they stumbled. "At least, I think it's us. Back to the hotel we go!"

"Hi ho, hi ho, to the hotel we go," Kelly started to sing. "When we're there, I'll shave your hair, hi ho, hi ho, hi ho! The clippers will go buzz, buzz, buzz until we see fuzz, fuzz, fuzz, hi ho, hi ho, hi ho!"

"Clippers?" Quinn asked in not-so-nervous laughter. "What are those and what are you going to do with them?"

Kelly stopped and pulled him close both for her balance and to give him a kiss. "Make you magical!" she said with a big grin before she spun away again and nearly fell over. Luckily, she still had a hold on him and the sidewalk was denied a victim.

"Easy there," he said, trying to help her up, which was nearly impossible thanks to the inebriation. "No falling and going boom now."

She managed to get straightened up and gave him a sultry look. "You're the only person to ever make me go boom, Tiger," she told him with a look in her eyes that the alcohol refused to hide.

"Then onward to boomtown!" Quinn declared, spotting the hotel ahead. It wouldn't be long until they were back in their hotel room. All in all, the day had been a fantastic start to their shore leave, and he'd enjoyed every minute, even the ones he probably wouldn't remember in the morning.

It was a stumbling, bumbling, fumbling trip back to the Aria Resort and Casino but they managed to make it there without being arrested for any number of reasons. It took a few more attempts to key the code into their door and Kelly half fell into the room laughing at a joke he had told. Before she fell, she grabbed the edge of the table and stared at a black gift box hand-tied with rope at on the table with a card that said it was from Dani with the words "Happy birthday, Kel. Hope you enjoy the fleshy jink of the mommy/daddy dance. Make good use of the handcuffs. - Dani"

"Wazzat?" she asked Quinn as her eyes went in and out of focus for a moment. "Can you check it, Tiger?" she asked.

Quinn staggered over to the package and did his best to carefully unwrap it. Of course, in this state, carefully meant yanking and tugging with strength he did not normally know. Within moments, it was open, more or less.

Inside was Camille Beckman midnight monarch jasmine scented bubble bath, chrome-plated metal double lock handcuffs with key, hair ties, shea butter lip balm, a masquerade eye mask, hot tamales "untamed love" theater size box, twizzlers strawberry twists, blooms berry "I love U" all natural premium milk chocolate , Ghirardelli pink heart gift box filled with assorted chocolate squares, east shore specialty dipping pretzel rods, twinning's English breakfast tea, and Too Good gourmet cinnamon English tea cookies.

"It's a feast!" Quinn shouted, not really noticing the other items. He tore open the box of tea cookies and began to sample the contents.

Meanwhile, Kelly had managed to get her hands on the card and succeeded in reading it, then looked at all the items one by one. She smiled when she saw the handcuffs and rope, an idea forming in her head. "If you let me tie you up, I'll feed it to you, Tiger," she said. She knew there was a device for removing hair in the bathroom even if she couldn't remember the name of it at the moment and she fully planned to see about getting him a new haircut even if she couldn't remember why.

"Kinky," Quinn said with a smile, the alcohol really settling in now. Kelly, in his mind, seemed to undergo spontaneous mitosis, splitting in two in front of his blurred vision. "Double trouble..." he muttered happily, he sat in a chair and waited for the girls to tie him up.

She giggled and got the rope and tied his feet to the chair first, then she got the handcuffs and managed to cuff his hands behind his back. "Now stay right there, Tiger and I'll be rigggggght back," she said before she leaned in to give him a kiss and skipped for the bathroom.

He watched her disappear into the bathroom and heard sounds of rummaging. Though he had no reason too, Quinn tested the strength of the rope around his ankles and then the metal that held his hands close enough together that he was unable to move. Not that he wanted to anyway...

Kelly came out of the bathroom with something behind her back and made her way behind him. A clatter of something was heard before she came around and picked up a chocolate square to offer him. "Do you love me, Tiger?" she asked him as she straddled his lap and sat down.

"Awww..." he blurted out as Kelly rejoined him in the bedroom. The two Kellys had somehow merged themselves back together. Or, maybe one was behind the other. Without being able to embrace her, he'd never know. "You bet I love you," he grinned.

She smiled and popped the chocolate square in his mouth and giggled. "I love you, too," she said before she got off of his lap and moved behind him. A gentle humming sound was heard and then the sensation of air brushed against the right side of his scalp followed by another giggle.

In his drunken condition, Quinn hadn't been able to feel much. The cold steel of the device she held, and the cold air against his nearly bare scalp were the first two sensations he'd been able to record in an hour. "What... Is that...?"

Kelly leaned down to kiss his right earlobe before she nipped it lightly. "A present!" she declared before she moved behind him. A minute later, the same sensation happened to the left side of his head followed by another giggle.

Quinn looked down as a lock of hair fell in his lap. "But... But I already have hair."

"Had," she giggled before she moved her fingers through his hair, which was now in the middle of his head. She spread something foamy into it and slicked it back, then came from behind him with a mirror for him to see himself. "Isn't it great?!"

"Wow!" he gasped, barely recognizing himself in the mirror. Of course, it was starting to split, just as his vision did before. "There's two of me. And we're missing hair!"

She laughed and set the mirror down. "You are and you look amazing!" she said before she went behind him to uncuff him, then came back around to untie the rope around his legs. "Now, Tiger," she said with a gleam in her eyes. "We can do things that no one will ever know about, because what happens in Vegas....stays in Vegas."

Part of Quinn didn't want to be liberated, but he was now free to do as he pleased, and to break in his new haircut. "Then we shouldn't waste any more time," he suggested before embracing and kissing her. So far, this Shore Leave had become unforgettable. Quinn planned to keep it that way.

 

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