The large room modeled itself on an old saloon, complete with round tables seating 10 people, sawdust on the floor and waitresses in long skirts. A country rock group pounded out song after song that all sounded the same to the uninitiated. But eventually every person in the bar nodded and tapped along with the beat as they talked or danced. The music got into your head and worked its way to your feet and soul.
The Captain and his Team occupied the table of honor on the slightly raised V.I.P. platform just off to the side of the band. While the Captain was regularly invited to join whatever group occupied the table, the owner had, after a quick call from the Captain, reserved it solely for his Team.
“OK, watch this moment, check his eyes,” yelled Sergeant Price over the bass beat.
Every seat at the table had a personalized, holographic view of the of the Chase action and each of the ten views now showed the runner’s eyes as his hopes rose, widened in shock and faded into death.
“Fokking awesome,” yelled Mallory. “Great timing Captain, you nailed that one perfectly.”
The Captain merely nodded. He’d seen it over and over in his mind ever since he’d pulled the trigger. Between his upbringing and his conditioning during training, killing wasn’t supposed to bother him but now and then, when the moment was this real and this dramatic, the act slipped through his defenses. But he couldn’t let his biometrics show that of course, so he took a deep breath and forced out a laugh good enough to fool those around the table.
“Do not mess with the First Team,” he yelled to an enthusiastic, table pounding response from his men.
“Mr. Mallory, do you have ambitions to be like our Captain,” asked Beck.
“Sir James, I do indeed strive to be a Captain some day,” said Mallory. “Then I could ride your sorry ass until you got good enough with your pistol to be able to hit anything, something other than your own foot.”
“Fok you!” said Beck to much laughter. He continued, “My objective however is to be as good a shot as our Mr. Adams. I understand he’s re-qualified as ‘Master Expert’ with his pistol. Now if he can only learn to hit the damned urinal with his other pistol, we’ll all be much safer.”
“Yeah, but that one only shoots blanks and is still rated as a “training unit”,” said Mallory.
Adams smiled, turned to Mallory and said, “But at least it shoots which, I hear, is more than yours does.”
Their chorus of laughter drowned out the music and others in the bar turned to see if there was any action to accompany the laughs. All they saw were ten men around a table laughing and pointing at each other as they, too, sent to private notes back and forth.
A few brave, or very drunk, souls tried to intercept the messages. They failed and Security logs noted their actions.
The Captain leaned back in his chair and surveyed the room. He met sub-Lieutenant Chamber’s eye from across the room where the young man was sitting with a group of friends, nodded briefly and smiled. A thought formed in the back of his mind about the young Lieutenant and holding the young man’s gaze, he nodded again, more definitely this time. He smiled as the thought emerged, laughed and turned back to his men.
Tonight was a night for partying and enjoying life. His thought would hold for a few days.