Title: Rule Three

Summary: Security Chief Cmdr. Giotto is a 50-something on a ship filled with 20-somethings. And he has to keep them, captain included, out of trouble on shore leave. Fortunately, he's not quite too old for this sh-t.

Rating: T

Disclaimer: I don't own Star Trek. The characters just won't stop invading my imagination.

Cmdr. Sam Giotto narrowly resisted simply laying his head down on the bar. The last several months had been bad. He'd lost people during the Battle of Vulcan, including half of his senior staff when Nero had blasted a hole in the auxiliary command center. Hard as that was, he had coped. That had been war and he was all too familiar with the consequences of battles fought between ships in space. But afterward ...the casualty rates for even routine away missions had been appalling. He'd reviewed the logs; he couldn't blame the new and impossibly young captain. The man might be a cowboy, but one thing he was not was reckless with the lives of his people. In the end he'd had to chalk it up to having a security division staffed almost entirely by rookies. Kids right out of the Academy who hadn't developed the common sense, or more importantly, the sixth sense, that seasoned security officers wore like invisible armor. But knowing that didn't make losing them one iota easier.

What he wanted most right now was to drink until he forgot that he was drinking to forget. He couldn't let himself do that of course. Even if he was on shore leave, he was still the senior officer here with this bunch of barely-graduated recruits, who despite seeing more death and destruction than most 'fleet personnel encountered in a career (if they were lucky), were still far from seasoned officers. Worse yet, they were 20-somethings facing the same urge he was to drink themselves to happy oblivion or let loose in some other manner that might be perfectly okay in one of the bars surrounding the Academy, but might well get them into more trouble than they bargained for here on Rigel.

Normally he would make sure the new people were paired with experienced crew, but the Enterprise had shipped out stuffed to the gills with cadets and a good portion of the seasoned officers had since been promoted and reassigned to replace those lost on other ships when the Empire had tried to take advantage of a perceived weakness in Federation defenses.

He ran a hand through graying hair and looked around again, counting heads. All accounted for and at the moment, all behaving themselves. Just maybe his 'orientation lecture' before they'd left the ship had done some good after all.

That happy thought was violently interrupted by a body flying through the bar window from outside, followed by a cry of "Dammit, Jim!" as the ship's physician came running in. The man who had come through the window was in fact (why wasn't he surprised by this?) the young captain, who was just beginning to right himself and shake the glass out of his hair, as four Uldorans - presumably the parties responsible for the captain's airborne entrance - stalked in clearly looking to continue the fight.

Giotto couldn't help smiling. Had they ever picked the wrong bar window to throw the captain through! He watched that realization dawn on their faces as red-shirted Starfleet personnel converged on them from every corner of the bar. Moving as though they had but one brain between them (a distinct possibility since they'd picked a fight with a 'fleet captain with half his crew ashore), the four began to back slowly out of the bar.

Sam thanked whatever deities were also vacationing on Rigel for a crisis averted by coincidence and a rare eruption of common sense. He had just returned to nursing his drink, when he heard a shout.

"Hey! Where the hell do ya think you're going?"

Margolis. And from the sound of it she'd had more than a few doubles. Combine a crush on the captain with a hot-tempered tendency to go mother wolf on anyone threatening 'her' officers, add lots of Rigellian brandy, and the wiry 19-yr-old (had he ever even been 19?) turned into 1.6 meters of nightmare waiting-to-happened.

Giotto spun around just as he heard others calling out in support of her outburst. He drew himself up and yelled in his best command tone. "AT-TEN-TION!"

It was all he could do to keep a stern visage despite a swell of pride at the response. Following the resounding slap of crew snapping to you could hear a pin drop. Even the Uldorans looked stunned. Unfortunately, that meant they weren't taking advantage of the opportunity for a tactical retreat. He looked to the captain, who made an attempt at rising only to have the doctor push him back down. Catching the look on the doctor's face, Sam spared only the briefest moment to wonder which of the Uldoran's sisters, wives, daughters, or possibly mothers the captain had offended and/or charmed.

He sighed inwardly. Lying there looking hurt was probably the best diplomatic move the captain could make right now. Regretfully abandoning his drink, Giotto strode toward the aliens. "If I might make a suggestion, gentlemen: now would be a good time to leave."

The one nominally forming point in the group narrowed his eyes. "There is a matter of honor to be settled." he hissed, shooting a venomous look at Kirk.

Right. So whatever the captain had done extended a ways beyond flirting or an inappropriately placed hand. Next time he would make sure the captain was included for the orientation lecture. In fact, he might give it to him personally. "Whatever the matter, it will not be settled here." Giotto replied coolly. "Again, I suggest you leave."

The Uldoran, suddenly seeing an opportunity to save face, eyed the surrounding Enterprise crew disdainfully. "Or what? You will sick these pups on us?"

Derisive laughter from the other Uldorans was met by a near growl from the direction of the captain, followed by a gruffly whispered "Shut up, Jim."

God bless the doctor. Starfleet needed to start recruiting more people like him - people with a little life experience. Still, these were Uldorans. They needed to save face, but he couldn't let them create a fiction that might, under the influence of enough liquid courage, lead to a less manageable challenge. He looked the Uldoran in the eye. "Strength lies in discipline. These 'pups' have shown the strength to stand down from an unnecessary fight. Are you strong enough to do the same?"

"Discipline." The Uldoran sneered. "It sounds like the earther excuse for cowardice."

Giotto heard movement in the ranks. "Hold your positions." he barked.

When he was sure of the response, he stepped forward, getting right into the speaker's face. He was getting seriously tired of this Uldoran's attitude. "That's a strange observation coming from someone who needed three others to attack a single earther." His tone was low and steady. Commander Spock could hardly have said it more evenly, although Mr. Spock almost certainly wouldn't have allowed the hint of contempt in his voice.

The Uldoran glared. "These are my brothers. It is not only my honor that has been offended."

Frak. The captain had pissed off an entire family and from the now evident smell of the Uldoran's breath, this one was probably lubricated beyond the point of working things out rationally (not that that was necessarily an option with a sober Uldoran depending on exactly what, or more precisely whom, the captain had done).

Giotto took a deep breath, forcing himself to make one last try. "Gentlemen, you can contact the ship's diplomatic officer later to work out acceptable compensation. Until then I suggest that you and your honor go sober up."

"Or what?" The lead Uldoran shoved Giotto.

There was movement from Margolis' direction and he hit her with a glare that promised cleaning the waste disposal converters with her bare hands if she so much as blinked. The ensign wasn't quite drunk or angry enough to miss that and instantly transformed into a statue.

The Uldoran on the other hand seemed to be under the impression that self-control was a sign of weakness and shoved Giotto again. "Or what, human?"

Sam narrowed his eyes. Rule one was to avoid a fight. But his patience was at its limit and if they were determined to fight, he'd be all too glad to take some of his frustration out on teaching them that humans were anything but weak. "Or I will personally kick your asses."

They looked at each other and laughed. "You, old man?"

Rule two was that if you had to fight, you made it quick and decisive. Giotto hit the leader with a fast, hard upper cut that sent him flying backwards, slammed an elbow into the second Uldoran's neck and finished the third with a side kick. The fourth, after stumbling out from under the first's unconscious form, took one look at Giotto's face, decided honor wasn't necessarily all it was cracked up to be and ran.

Giotto smirked as a murmured cheer of 'Go Pop!' went up from the ranks. Unofficially, rule three was that no one got away with thinking gray hair meant that he couldn't hold his own.

AN: I always thought the security chief ought to have been given a bit more of a roll considering how many of his redshirts Kirk goes through on away missions. Cmdr. Giotto is identified as the head of security in the TOS episode The Devil in the Dark. I have a soft spot for the redshirts and Giotto has taken on a bit of a life of his own in my imagination. He is one of the few TOS characters with nearly all gray hair and I since I've been noticing some myself, I got to thinking about what it would be like for him in the AU serving on a ship full of newbies, including a very young version of Kirk.

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