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Pat Pong District: Bangkok, Thailand, Earth

The seven ladies were dressed to the nines and entered the front doors of a bar called, The Dragon's Breath. Immediately, they were deluged with flashing lights, techno music, and a crush of patrons from all over the galaxy. The walls were covered with panoramic mirrors that gave the impression the club was far larger than it actually was. In reality, it was barely more than a claustrophobic closet that reeked of cheap beer, sweat, and bad decisions. Crestia and T'les looked around suddenly wondering if this whole expedition was a good idea.

"Perhaps we should find another establishment," T'les said sniffing the air with her sensitive Vulcan nose. "There appears to be many more taverns of nearly identical composition further down the boulevard. Also, perhaps they smell less like humanoid urine."

"Are you kidding? That's part of the local charm and this looks like the place to be!" Zhenia shouted as she raised her hands and started swaying over to the drinks.

"It's past three am here!" Crestia shouted. She could still barely be heard above the music. "Don't these people ever sleep?" she asked.

"This is Bangkok!" Dee said back to her. The pilot was now dressed in a white mini-skirt and black tank top. "The party never stops here!"

"I guess not…" Crestia said shaking her head.

"Why don't you guys get that table?" Dee said to Laria while pointing to a long wooden slab near the bar. "I'll go help Zhenia get the first round."

"Sounds Good," Laria replied gesturing to the others to follow. They shuffled over while Dee headed to join Zhenia.

Alex looked over the heads of the crowd to a raised stage at the far end of the room. Two dancers were writhing to the beat of the current song much to the satisfaction of the mostly male audience. They were dressed solely in white blouses, plaid mini-skirts, and thigh-high stockings.

"A little cosplay…" Alex said with a grin. "I like it!"

"Careful, Babe," Annabeth said leaning over to her wife. "This is Thailand. There's a pretty good chance at least one of them is a man."

"That's too bad," Alex replied. "They're both so hot!" the doctor said waving a hand to the dancers. One of them actually smiled and waved back at her. "This was a great idea. I really needed a night out again!"

"That's the spirit!" Laria said with a grin. "I just missed hanging out with all of you so much."

"What do we do now?" Crestia asked quizzically.

"We take in the atmosphere, we drink, and we enjoy each other's company," Annabeth replied.

"I hope we do not stay in this place for too long," T'les said. "I am not sure how much of this 'atmosphere' I can continue to ingest safely."

Annabeth rubbed her eyes. Alex continued staring at the stage.

"Shake it girl!" Alex yelled at the stage while cupping her hands around her mouth.

"Babe, I am right here," Annabeth muttered.

"Oh calm down, Beth," Alex said indignantly. "For the last month, I've either been at work or at home with the baby. Cut me slack. We're just doing looky, no touchy."

Laria laughed while Annabeth groaned.

At the bar, Zhenia and Dee were collecting seven mugs of beer.

"That's a sweet tattoo," a voice leered at Zhenia. She turned to see a human in his early twenties staring at the Andorian Glikar'ma inked into her blue shoulder. He was tall, burly, and very drunk. A Tellarite man stood next to him and leaned against the bar.

"Thanks," Zhenia said dismissively as she picked up her half of the group's beers.

"Hey Spots," the Tellarite said to Dee. "I'd like to see how far those things go down on you. Then maybe you can go down on me!" The men laughed at his remark.

"Fuck off, Pig Boy," Dee said grabbing her drinks. "Let's go, Z."

"Did you hear what that Trill bitch said to me?" the Tellarite said angrily as the pair walked back to the others.

"Calm down, calm down," the human said to his snouted friend. "She's just a little feisty that's all…"

"What assholes…" Zhenia muttered passing the beers out back at the table. Her antennae curled to match her tone.

"What was that about?" Annabeth asked a bit concerned.

"Don't worry about that," Dee countered. "Just two pricks thinking with their pricks," she said taking a sip of beer.

"Well, they do not appear to be satisfied," T'les said raising an eyebrow. "Also, there are more than two of them."

The human, the Tellarite, and a group of several other males of various species sauntered over from the bar and gathered around their table.

"Chas Ver'chess Nerazh!" Zhenia muttered under her breath angrily. T'les recognized the phrase and was impressed with the young Andorian's fluency in vulgar profanity.

"Please," the human said raising his heads and smiling from ear to ear. "Forgive us. I don't think we gave the right impression at the bar."

"The only right impression is you and your buddies leaving us the hell alone," Dee said starting at them. Crestia began to look uncomfortable. Laria gritted her teeth.

"Look," the human said innocently holding up his hands. "My name is Craig and this is my friend, Grik. We're all part of the Sigma Sigma Tao fraternity at New Berlin University on the moon and we're just trying to enjoy the weekend on good ole' Earth just like you fine ladies. There are seven of us and seven of you. Some would call that fate."

"Ok Craig," Annabeth said still trying to maintain some semblance of courtesy. "Obviously you and I have very different definitions of fate. Perhaps my companions didn't make it clear, but we don't want your company. So, why don't you and your friends just go back to the bar and leave us alone. You're drunk, young, and stupid right now. Plus, most of us are Starfleet."

"Let us thank you for your service then! C'mon, Sweetie," he said trying to get a little closer to her. "We're a lot of fun when you get to know us."

The hair on the back of Annabeth's neck stood up as she smelled the booze on his breath. She backed up between the men and Alex.

"Why do you persist in your ridiculous attempt for female company?" T'les asked. "It is obvious that your desire for sexual intercourse has overpowered your ability to perceive reality."

"Vulcan chicks are hotter when they don't talk," another human said from the rear of the pack of pathetic suitors.

"Can we just leave?" Crestia whispered to Laria. "I don't like these men. They make me uncomfortable."

"I think that's a good idea," Laria said putting her beer down. "I don't think this is the place for us. Why don't we take T's advice and try another bar."

"Sounds good to me," Alex said glaring at the pack of men.

"Let's book," Dee said taking a final drink from her glass. "Hey Bartender!" she shouted over the frat boys' heads. "You need to throw these assholes out!" she said pointing to them all. "They just cost you some awesome customers."

The women all turned to head for the door, but Craig gritted his teeth, reached out his arm, and forcibly grabbed Zhenia's shoulder.

"Listen skank, we're not done here," he said angrily. Without another word, Zhenia reached up, seized his hand, and then kicked her right leg into Craig's face. His face shattered under her heel as he flew backwards over the bar. His flailing body crashed into the wall of liquor bottles against the back wall. A deluge of glass fell on top of him and shattered into pieces.

"Impressive technique," T'les said dispassionately. "Though I think you might have killed him."

"Naw," Zhenia said cracking her neck from side to side. "The bastard is still twitching."

"Andorian Slut!" Grik the Tellarite shouted as he tried to land a blow on the back of Zhenia's head. Dee was faster than the pig-faced college boy. She grabbed the handle of her mug and swung it right into Grik's porcine face. It broke across his flat nose sending shards of glass right into his eye sockets. He dropped to his knees clutching his shredded face his hands. "I'M BLIND" he roared as blood poured through his fingers.

The remaining five frat boys leapt forward to avenge their fallen comrades. It was a poor decision. A Rigellian picked up a barstool and lifted it over his head. Laria jumped forward and landed a strike to his abdomen. He doubled over and she wrapped an arm around his neck. With a twist of her hips, she slammed his face right into the floor. Another human broke a beer bottle along the edge of the bar and held it up like a shiv. T'les reached over and pinched his neck. He immediately fell into unconsciousness, smashing his head against the bar as he fell.

A kid from Alpha Centauri balled his fist and swung wildly at Annabeth. She dropped down, shifted her weight, and then slammed her fist into his jaw. He stumbled back into the crowd as Alex grabbed Crestia and pulled her towards the door. The last two frat boys: another Tellarite and a Martian held up their hands and backed away in meek surrender. The sound of chirping sirens began filtering in from the street.

"Cops!" Alex screamed, still with a protective arm around Crestia.

"Scheiße!" Annabeth cursed. "Move it! Move it!" she said trying to rally the group.

"We gotta go, Bluebelle!" Dee shouted as she grabbed Zhenia's arm.

"Remember this the next time any of you dumbasses won't take no for an answer! We woulda kicked all their worthless asses!" Zhenia shouted over her shoulder as the women all bolted out the door. The bar remained stunned into silence.

****

"This is definitely the stupidest thing we've ever done!" Alex shouted as they sprinted through the crowded street filled with tourists, food stalls, power scooters, and hover tuk tuks.

"Not even in my top three!" Dee laughed back at her. Crestia looked around nervously as she did her best to stay next to Laria. The sensory deluge added to the confusion and adrenaline gripping the group. It seemed like a million voices in just as many languages had crowded into this tiny Bangkok enclave. Pounding music poured out from the open doors of the restaurants and bars still in full swing towards the early hours of the morning. The sounds mixed with flashing lights and the pungent aromas of spices, meats, and produce emanating from the food vendors. Not to mention, there was the ever present, oppressive heat. It might have been mid-Janurary, but it was still well over thirty degrees centigrade with nearly a hundred percent humidity.

"Maybe we should go back and explain things to the police," the tiny Elohsian said nearly out of breath as she looked over her shoulder at the blue lights gathering around the entrance to The Dragon's Breath. "I mean if we just tell them that those guys were hassling us, I'm sure they'll understand." She barely had time to squeeze past a pair of Bolian tourists attempting to negotiate the purchase of sticky rice crepes from a Thai woman operating a food cart.

"Are you kidding?" Zhenia replied. "It doesn't matter what those guys were doing. All the cops are going to care about is that there's not a scratch on us and those assholes look like they just got fed through a wood chipper."

"So, we're going to be punished because we can defend ourselves?" Crestia asked in shock. "I thought the Federation was supposed to be enlightened?"

"The only people who really think that are naïve old men in wood paneled offices!" Dee said. "People are never gonna stop being motivated by sex, booze, and violence. It's freakin' humanoid nature no matter what century you in," she explained as she dodged a speeding scooter that cut over the sidewalk in front of them and sped between two glowing food stalls serving some kind of seafood stir fry. "Ooo, that's smells good," Dee added. "Maybe we should stop and get something?"

"Maybe you all should shut the hell up and stop yelling!" Annabeth said frustrated. "It's kinda hard to escape and evade when half our group is screaming the details!"

"Beth…" Alex grumbled. "Why don't we all remain calm?"

"We can remain calm once we get out of here," Annabeth said leading them towards a side alley off the main street. "I really don't want to explain to the commander currently babysitting my son that I need him to come and bail me out of a Thai jail for cold-cocking a bunch of sexed-up civvies."

Once they were away from the largest part of the crowd, they stopped running.

"Ok," Laria said checking a guidebook pulled from her handbag. "There's a public transporter station two blocks ahead on Rama IV road. All we have to do is make it there, and we can literally disappear."

"Of course you have a pocket guide of Thailand in your purse," Dee said shaking her head.

"What?" Laria asked defensively. "I always carry one when I'm in an unfamiliar city. It's Federation Diplomatic Corps Travel Tip Number Five on their holonet site."

Dee shook her head and muttered:

"Nerd…"

Laria grumbled.

"If that book gets us back home," Annabeth said looking around as she led the group through the narrow streets, "I'll personally write the Diplomatic Corps a thank you note."

"See?" Laria said glaring at Dee.

"You're still a pretty big nerd," Zhenia said.

"The empirical evidence does suggest that," T'les added. Laria groaned.

As they came out of an alley onto the massive thoroughfare that was Rama IV Road, the women looked past a few hundred pedestrians and saw the public transporter station under an awning a hundred meters away.

"Awesome," Alex said. "Let's get out of here."

"I second that," Crestia said. The women began to push their way against the crowded sidewalk until they were almost home free. However, as they approached the turnstiles, they noticed a police officer standing watch just outside the entrance.

"Scheiße," Annabeth cursed again. "Ok," she said turning back to the group. "Just be cool. They don't know our names, so just act natural and walk right past him. Hopefully, they haven't sent out a description from the bar."

"What happens if he asks us who we are or where we came from?" Alex asked nervously.

"I have no idea," Annabeth said. "We'll figure that out when we have to. Just be cool."

"Be cool," Laria said with a deep breath. "I can do that."

"We're boned," Zhenia muttered.

"Shut up! Both of you!" Annabeth said as she started casually walking towards the transporter station entrance.

Annabeth pulled out her FedTransport Card and confidently approached the nearest turnstile. The others shuffled along behind her. The police officer looked over to her and Annabeth flashed him a friendly smile. He smiled back. She was just about to swipe her card to enter the station when he spoke:

"Excuse me, Ladies," he said holding out an arm. "I'm sorry, but may I ask you a few quick questions?"

"Questions?" Annabeth said suddenly turning back to him. "Questions about what? It's very late and we're just trying to get back home."

"I'm very sorry," he said kindly. "But there was just a large fight in a bar a few blocks away. Apparently, a group of women beat up a group of stupid young men pretty badly."

"That sounds terrible," Laria said with an exaggerated shake of her head. Annabeth gritted her teeth.

"Unfortunately, it's more common in Bangkok than you might think. Some people cannot hold their alcohol."

"Very true," Dee said agreeing with him.

"Anyways, these boys want to press charges for assault, so we have to detain the women and you match the description the men and bartender gave. May I see some identification?"

"Oh, we would never do such a horrible thing!" Alex said shaking her head. "We're Canadian and we respect the law."

"You're Canadian?" the police officer said skeptically.

"Absolutely," Alex said as she began panicking inside. "All of us!"

Annabeth's eyes grew wide. The others looked over at Alex in total exasperation. The doctor looked back at them as her eyes begged forgiveness. The police officer looked at the Bajoran, Andorian, Trill, Vulcan, and Elohsian members of the group and furrowed his brow.

"You're…all Canadian?" he asked even more skeptically.

"Oh, you betcha!" Dee said throwing on a fake North American accent. "Just cause I got spots don't mean I'm not Canuck through and through. We're all orphans, don't cha know? We were adopted by the most lovely family from Montreal."

"I loved growing up there," Zhenia added. "Lots of snow and ice, eh? Ice hockey is my favorite sport!" she said grinning as her antenna shot straight up.

"I am not from Canada and I am not an orphan," T'les said without any emotion.

"Yes you are…" Annabeth said through gritted teeth.

"No, I am not," T'les reiterated as the cop dropped his chin.

"It's so sad," Laria said shaking her head. "Her biological parents were killed in a terrible hovercar accident when she was four." Laria leaned towards the cop and whispered. "She was in the car. Terribly traumatic experience. Sometimes she slips into these fugue states where she doesn't remember who she is."

"That is false," T'les said.

"See what I mean?" Laria whispered. The other woman all nodded their head in agreement, but the police officer looked like he wasn't buying it.

"Well," he said. "If you are all from Canada, your IDs should confirm that, right?"

"Oh, je suis désolé!" Crestia suddenly shouted out in perfect French. "Mais j'ai oublié ma carte dans mon autre sac à main. Cependant, la Thaïlande est si belle."

The other women all turned to her in shock and her language ability seemed to mollify the cop a bit.

"See?" Alex said smiling. "We're all from Montreal!"

"I apologize," the police officer said. "I'm sure this is just a misunderstanding, but I have to check. Let me just make a call to confirm the description of the suspects." He turned his back and activated his comm unit.

Annabeth frantically waved her hands and silently gestured for them to disappear back into the crowd. Without a word, the seven of them walked backward and were soon lost again in the sea of pedestrians.

"Apologies, Ladies, but my sergeant still wants me to check…" he froze when he realized he was alone again. He immediately spoke into his comm unit again.

When the women were a block away, they slipped back into another alley and started running again.

"Verdammt!" Annabeth said to her wife. "Canadian, Alex? Really?"

"I'm sorry!" she said. "I AM Canadian and I never lied to a cop before. I panicked!"

"I said be cool! We coulda talked our way past him. Now, they know where we are and they'll be watching all the transporter stations! We have to find another way out of this city!" Annabeth said.

"I'm looking!" Laria said fishing out the guidebook again.

"Great, our fate is now in the hands of the geek and her replicated copy of Frommer's Having Fun in Bangkok: Twelfth Edition!" Dee said.

"Hey, it's the Thirteenth Edition," Laria replied trying to flip pages while also running at full speed.

"Also, T'les!?" Dee continued "What the hell was that? You NARCed out your own crew?"

"I am Vulcan," she said calmly. "I cannot lie."

"That doesn't mean that you can't keep your green lips shut!" Dee spit back at her.

"Forget the Vulcan wet blanket," Zhenia said chuckling. "I'm more impressed with Crestia pulling out the parlez-vous Français"

"What?" Crestia replied. "Georgetown has a language requirement for undergrads. I already spoke Romulan, so I picked French."

"I'm just glad you didn't pick Tholian," Annabeth said. "I don't think we all could have pulled off being silicon based lifeforms…"

They all laughed as they disappeared deeper into Bangkok's urban sprawl.


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