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Queensbury Tussle

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#1 Lt Damian Coleman

Lt Damian Coleman


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Posted Star Date 22107.08 @ 02:05 (02:05 AM)

== During the New Talax colony building activities – USS Artemis (Closed subplot) ==


=== Deck 14 – Recreation Deck ===


The walls reverberated with shouting and cheering, and the atmosphere was filled with heat, humidity, and a coppery hint of blood. A sea of officers and enlisted alike surrounded a boxing ring, looking like a Departmental rainbow that had only grown over time. The deeper into the crowd though, the louder the decibels, with far more orange highlights on uniforms the closer one got to the ring. The mood was tumultuous and rowdy, with clear sections cheering for different fighters.


“Ayy! Ayy! Breathe Simms, breathe! Don’t lock up,” Coleman shouted from inside the ring, acting as referee, trying to get his words heard over the rooting and jeering.


As part of hand-to-hand training within Security, Damian had settled on having people with expert knowledge of specific martial arts lead sessions. Judo, Karate, Suus Mahna, were a few of the styles with practical close quarters combat applications. However, they also went through some of the more meditative forms, like the Klingon Mok’bara. It was less an exercise in becoming proficient in those forms, but gaining knowledge of those movements for defensive strategies, and encouraging his personnel to pursue styles on their own.


So, when it came time for Coleman to lead sessions, boxing was his obvious go-to. There were quite a few others that had deep boxing backgrounds within the Department, meaning that Damian was willing to go more in-depth with teaching and setting up sparring matches. While anyone with a Security background had some type of hand-to-hand training at the Academy or during Basic, some seemed to focus more on their phaser prowess. While that was important, Coleman knew for a fact that when the chips were down, knowing how to survive close-in was imperative. That, and he felt like boxing provided additional benefits when viewed under the umbrella of fitness as a whole.


“Keb, drop and pivot. I like the aggression, just need some power,” he said to the Bolian who was showing signs of being gassed, and it was only the fourth round.


Weeks before, they had gone through plenty of sparring sessions. And the week prior to the night that was now filled with sweat and blood, Damian had put up a sign-up sheet for actual boxing matches. There were different levels of experience, so Coleman was careful only to match up people in the same skill groups, with the more amateur fighters going first. And slyly, he had also setup a couple of grudge matches between people who seemed to have issues with one another. It was, in Damian’s experience, a good way to get some controlled aggression out. And sometimes, it even created a new positive bond between those who fought.


Then, there were a few others on the ship that Damian had invited, either to watch or participate. He hadn’t intended it to be a huge event. Though as the first few of fighters came and went, the crowd in the rec area had grown larger than he had anticipated. Coleman liked it as the atmosphere grew more competitive, with the fighters taking it even more seriously; cementing their abilities or discovering that they had more in them than they had previously thought.


A flurry of punches came out of Simms, and Damian was impressed with the combinations. Keb was on the ropes, but kept his hands up, blocking most of the other man’s punches. Simms didn’t listen to Damian’s previous advice though, and found himself gulping for air at the exact moment he needed to finish his opponent off. It was just a moment, a split second, where Simms had let up. Keb took the cue, and landed a strong, solid, right hook to Simms jaw. The other man dropped to the mat, completely out. If the noise had been loud before, the sudden clamor neared rock concert levels.


As things continued, and they got to more experienced fighters, the general trend ended up being shorter fights with less and less rounds passing. There was only one match that went the full set, and both fighters were laughing at each other by the end, their arms dead and their bodies languid. As the second last fight neared, something plucked the back of Coleman’s brain. It was an oddity on the sign-up sheet. Something curious, and something that no one could explain. An illusive member of the crew had written Damian’s name at the bottom of the sheet, outside the boxes he had setup. His opponent who had signed him up, only put a singular initial across from him, the letter ‘K’. No one fessed up. And if anything, it became a sort of mystery around the office that a few people tried to solve – with zero results.


The sound of the bell rang out several times as Prassn stood victorious over Lomax, a technical knock-out that drew some heckling from the packed crowd who were looking for a knockout.


“Alright everyone, that’s it! Thanks for coming out!” Damian yelled out, as a couple of nurses entered the ring to check out both warriors. A few more jeers and boos squeaked out, before the tide turned back to clapping and cheering. Then, slowly, the crowd started to disperse.


“Weren’t you supposed to fight someone?” Prassn asked Damian, who shook his head, smiling.


“Nah. It was a joke I think. You’ve got leave for the rest of the night and tomorrow. Head to Sickbay so you can get that eye looked after.


Prassn, left eye swollen, smirked but nodded before turning to head to the stairs. Some of the other security officers stayed behind to help clean up, the room steadily becoming serene compared to the raucousness from before. Though, Prassn’s words stuck in Damian’s head as he checked in with the nurses and Lomax. A conversation happened between the gathered people in the ring. Even though Lomax didn’t look too worse for wear, Nurse Able was adamant that he take a trip to Sickbay as well. When the security officer resisted, Coleman ordered it. As they walked out the ring and down the stairs, Damian stood up and looked out at the now almost eerily empty complex.


“Well, I guess K ain’t gonna show up for his round with the ol’ Super Middleweight champ?” he said to the few left toiling and chuckled.

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#2 Capt Tyra Crawford

Capt Tyra Crawford


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Posted Star Date 22107.13 @ 13:49 (01:49 PM)

Fight Night had been a security tradition for generations or that's what Tyra had been told over post-fight beers through out the years. The gusto, enthusiasm, and general ruthlessness of the participants seemed to ebb and flow with the tides of war but it had always been a healthy, successful tradition that served numerous purposes. Some would say it molded effective fighters, who knew they could withstand a beating. Some would say that it ingrained a gritty resolve in its fighters. Still, some would say it was crucial to morale and the social order of the department. And none of them would be wrong.
Tyra had first encountered fight night as a cadet, brought along as nothing more than a spectator despite already having a strong background as a boxer by that point. The atmosphere had enraptured her, the energy and the passion pumping through her veins like a life force. It didn't matter who was fighting, the crowd still roared as if they were a Golden Glove champion. For all the official matches she'd fought in by that point, she'd never felt the crowd like that, felt that camaraderie and support from strangers. She'd later found out that if being a spectator was magical, there were no words to describe the experience of being a participant in a long anticipated fight.
When she'd become COS on the Getty, Tyra had orchestrated similar fight nights, along with grappling nights, with the requirement that every new officer to her department participate in both boxing and ground fighting at least once. Not only had she wanted each member of the department to feel that rush of magic and camaraderie from fighting in front of their comrades but she wanted all of her officers to know that they could stay in the fight after taking a punch. Matches were a great way to expose them to that without pushing them into a bar brawl.It was almost inevitable that an inexperience boxer would fail to see a punch coming and get blind sided by it, which served the purpose she had in mind perfectly. After all, everyone claimed they could weather a blind side until the time actually came but reality was a different beast altogether.
For instance, Tyra's first encounter with a blind sided bell ring had come well into her boxing career but before she had come to understand that taking a punch in a controlled environment and being blind sided were two different things. She had been a third year cadet filled with gusto and ego, knocking back beers at Murphy's like most security officers did at some point in their career, when things went downhill in a blink of an eye. One second, she had been telling a guy to go screw himself and the next, she was seeing literal stars as her field of vision tunneled in on itself. Her saving grace had been Logan at her elbow delivering a Haymaker to the offending party and giving her the twenty seconds she had needed to get her head back on for the ensuing carnage of orange versus everyone else.
It had been by the grace of the good Almighty that CPO Henderson had been there as Hell broke loose. He'd grabbed Tyra and hoisted her like she weighed nothing more than a small bale of hay before grabbing the other two present cadets by the collars. He'd dragged them out of there, leaving the brawl to the meat heads that were off probation and far enough into their careers that they could survive explaining the carnage to their superiors. She'd fought him for at least a block before he'd set her down and grabbed her by the shoulders. He'd told her she could be madder than a wet hen all she wanted but in a few years, she'd thank him for removing her from a no win. He'd been right,  a point she'd proven as a JG when she'd bought him a drink and thanked him for keeping her career intact before it had truly even begun.
This Fight Night was electric, steadily growing into a sizable crowd with each passing round. She doubted Coleman had anticipated this type of reception to his security focused event but words traveled fast on the Artemis, like it had on the Getty and Avenger before her. Plus, in the middle of the Delta Quadrant, the sources of fresh entertainment were starting to get very thin and worn. At this point, Coleman likely could have staged a good ol' fashioned scorpion fight and people would have treated it like the fight of the century. 
Either way, Tyra appreciated the focus and enthusiasm of the crowd. It was good to see that the hodge podge of hold overs from the Gettysburg -- with a few even from the Avenger -- melding with the newer arrivals. While the "outsider" and "us versus them" mentality had been necessary for survival on the Avenger and even the Gettysburg during the 1st-4th conflict, it was not healthy in a "peace-time" Fleet so it was good to see that instinctive distrust was wearing off.  It also had the added benefit of allowing Tyra to move within the crowd without much notice, her gym attire allowing her to blending in far better than the dark crimson of her uniform would have ever allowed. She couldn't remember the last time she had been able to observe her officers in a casual setting without the nervous looks that came with the uniform and the position it represented; it had honestly probably been before she had become a CO, when she was still an FO and by extension not so terribly removed from the crew. Then again, the Avenger hadn't had the strict command roles other vessels had and there were days she missed that. She didn't miss some of the other hardships that had come with the Avenger but she missed that dynamic of family that was brought on by an instinctive need to survive the worst the universe had to offer.
Under normal circumstances, Tyra wouldn't have intruded on the security event, ever conscious of the effects her presence typically had on the lower ranks of the crew. However, she had developed a vested interest in one of the earlier fights and had wanted to see the fruit of her labor in action. Since Evie's birth almost three years earlier, she had been training with Thorsdottir in the mornings. It had started out as merely power lifting with some running, a good starting point for getting Tyra back to where she had been prior to her pregnancy. As the months had passed and Tyra had reached her goals, the training had evolved to add sparring sessions in a variety of different disciplines. Brid was a very capable grappler whereas Tyra was more gifted in the arts that stayed on their feet. They had always taken turns teaching and guiding the other while also trying to find disciplines that they were both terrible at for a level playing field. As such, Tyra hadn't hesitated when Brid had asked for more targeted boxing lessons leading up to Fight Night. Oh, it hadn't been enough lessons to make Brid an excellent boxer but she had managed to stand her own ground in he ring, ending the fight through a decision in the last round. 
The training sessions had also had the added benefit of re-lighting Tyra's passion for boxing. She'd been an avid boxer most of her life, having first been handed gloves at the very tender but precocious age of 5, but the relationship had its ebbs and flows, like most hobbies did. It had been easier to train when she'd been within the security department and as such, she had been far more dedicated in that training. It had ebbed some during her time with SAR and during her time on the Nova but had picked back up in the wake of Carraya and her husband's near death. It had stayed fairly consistent from that point on, though she had noticed that the quality of fights had gone down with her rise to CO. No one seemed willing to fight the CO with the aggression she needed to stay sharp and as such, had largely gone to relying on holograms until Brid had sneakily suggested a potential alternate possibility, though Tyra wasn't entirely sure.
Tyra had stood with Brid following her fight, speaking quietly with the short blonde about her fight while watching what Tyra would label the marque fights. Some of these fights lived up to that label and some did not. However, the last fight certainly was impressive, even if it didn't end how the crowd had liked with a pure KO. The crowd expressed its displeasure vocally but that dissatisfaction was short lived. By the time the crowd began to break up, the boos had given way to clapping, cheering and laughing. Everything pointed to the night being a roaring success for security, even if there were some bruised egos that would need to be soothed.
With fewer people in the room, it was harder for Tyra to maintain that anonymity but most of those remaining were too busy either cleaning or heckling Coleman regarding his rumored fight to notice their captain among those still remaining. Thorsdottir had suppressed a chuckle at the heckling, sending Tyra a pointed look before volunteering to assist with the clean up. 
It might have been easy to just slip out without saying a thing, no one would know other than Brid, and while Brid would likely heckle her during their next training session, the secret would stay between the two of them. It had seemed like a rather harmless idea when it was first broached with a chuckle and just as harmless when it was scribbled down. However, now, it felt like it might have been a little inconsiderate to Coleman, taunting him to fight someone that he very well might not want to fight. While Brid had pointed out that Coleman was likely to be one of the few, besides Jenny, willing to fight Tyra on equal footing and without pulling punches, doing so in such a public manner might be a little uncomfortable for him. 
Still, she felt she needed to, at least, congratulate him for hosting and coordinating such a successful night. Otherwise, if rumors of her presence began to spread, she didn't want there to be any questions about her support for the concept. 
Coleman was clearly in the process of trying to motivate his fighters to get the medical attention they needed as Tyra caught sight of him again. Like any good security officer, they were resistant but it seemed Coleman had ultimately won as the walking wounded began making their way out.  With that task dealt with, Coleman looked rather satisfied with the success of the event. 
“Well, I guess K ain’t gonna show up for his round with the ol’ Super Middleweight champ?” he said to the clean up crew, earning him chuckles.
By the time Tyra had reached Coleman's location, most of the clean up crew had gone back to their duties, though she didn't miss the way Brid was keeping an eye on her like a hawk. She cleared her throat slightly, not wanting to startle the COS outright but suspecting he had likely sensed her approach at minimum. 
"I don't know, Champ. Can you actually claim the title if you weren't slotted to fight for it?" she asked, eyebrow arched and lips pulling into a grin. "Seems like a sneaky way to permanently keep your title safe, Champ."
Then, she nodded to the room as whole. "Sneaky tactics aside, good job pulling this off and even better job not having it devolve into a full street brawl."

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#3 Lt Damian Coleman

Lt Damian Coleman


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Posted Star Date 22107.25 @ 18:00 (06:00 PM)

The night had been a rousing success. Even now, Damian found himself basking in the freshest of memories from the evening. Bouts that were won and lost by just one punch, others that were so technical that even he wasn’t sure he got it right. But at the end of it all, it had been spectacle, invigorator, tension buster, and a healthy dose of esprit de corps. Plenty of it reminded him of a time long past for him. A time that wasn’t always filled with good memories. But he remembered that it could have been far worse for him, had he not found boxing. Though, being honest with himself, it was more that Bobby ‘Mittens’ Gaetz found him.


Wonder what the old man would say if he could see me now. Probably would have gave me a good slap upside the head for messing up the cards.


A nostalgic sigh passed Coleman’s lips, with a big dumb smirk still on his face. Though it was muted slightly, as he noted sound and movement towards the ring; most people were moving away, or busied cleaning with odd steps resembling shambling.


"I don't know, Champ. Can you actually claim the title if you weren't slotted to fight for it?"


Instantly recognizing the voice, Damian turned to the side where Captain Crawford’s voice had come from. He couldn’t miss the compelling presence of Thorsdottir either, whom he had long ago learned to have a healthy respect for, and even admiration. In response to Tyra’s light-hearted taunting, however, Damian raised his brow and grinned even more broadly.


"Seems like a sneaky way to permanently keep your title safe, Champ."


Oh, it’s going to be like that, huh? he thought as Crawford motioned to the room in general.


"Sneaky tactics aside, good job pulling this off and even better job not having it devolve into a full street brawl."


“Thanks Cap’n. I inherited a damn fine Department, and I’m really just adding more polish to my predecessor’s work.”


There was a mix of earnestness in his voice, but also something nearly resembling teasing. Damian knew exactly whom he had inherited the Department from, and if he had tried to gush much more than he did, Tyra would grab him by the ear for brownnosing. Though there was a healthy truth to what he said, but he still had to dance on the line. Plus, being in as good a mood as he was, he couldn’t help but be a little playful.


“Honestly, it was all good. I think a lot of the crowd just wanted a good story, and nothin’ more thrillin’ than a pugilist’s narrative. They went to work. And they did work. A lot that impressed me. Had more fight than I think they even knew they had in’em. I am proud of everyone, even the ones that didn’t fight tonight,” the tone and subtext oozed out just slightly, “Never an easy thing to step into the ring, toe-to-toe, uncertain of the outcome.”


There was a pause, as he finally loaded up a full retort to all of Tyra’s heckling.


“Though, might seem easy for someone to just pencil themselves in. Try to get into a match from the shadows, thinking they can just get a title shot without putting in time to pay the dues,” there was another easy grin from Damian as he looked Tyra straight in the eyes now.


“Jokes on them,” he shrugged, “I would’ve fought whoever came to the ring that wanted a little exhibition match. Probably put paid to whatever boxing career they thought they had,” in tone it was an obvious joking arrogance. Not quite the kind that floated around so many weigh-ins and press days, where a fighter had to psyche themselves up, but a more good-humored kind. It brought a youthful grin to the Department Head who had spent too many nights doing paperwork as of late.


Stepping back from the ropes, Damian did a bit of footwork as he moved closer to where Tyra stood.


“Don’t suppose ‘K’ is gonna show up though? Pity. Probably would have drawn an even bigger crowd than all the rest of the fights combined. Cera could have made a killing playing bookie,” the largest impish grin now sat on his face, making it obvious that he being playfully provocative.

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