Star Trek

Endeavour NX-06

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Tactical Alert, Humanitarian Response

Posted on Saturday September 7th, 2019 @ 9:54pm by Lieutenant JG Nir Giorgiou & Lieutenant Palivericas zh’Tem IMD

Mission: Whatever The Cost May Be
Location: Kuiper Belt: Near Plutoid Designated "Eris"; Starship Reliant; SS Kochi
Timeline: Battle of Sol; December 30th, 2155.

"We've just lost contact with Eris Station. Makemake Listening Array went down three minutes ago. Before then, a massive subspace distortion was detected bearing 073 mark 351. It was moving at faster than light speeds." Communications Officer Lieutenant Commander Kye Souksanh reported, his arms spread to lean on the situation table. "We're not sure but it's pointing toward a massive attack."

Ensign Nir Giorgiou glanced at the senior officers of the Reliant, then at the main screen behind then. Light raced at high speed and in the edges of the port and starboard of the viewscreen, the gunmetal gray hulls of two other starships pressed on.

"Star Fleet is pulling what they can. Starships Poseidon and Intrepid have responded. Yorktown and Challenger shouldn't be far behind." Captain Niraj Booshan folded his arms tightly across his chest. He tugged at his thick black beard, his nearly black eyes surveying his Bridge crew. "Nir," the Sikh turned to the boy with the springs of curly, dark hair. "Make your course for the Eris Gap. We'll make our stand there and hope we can delay the Romulans long enough for Burton and his team to get here."

He nodded, and put his hands behind his back, "Mister Sousankh, contact the Shepard, the DeGrasse and the Seattle. We're going in." He turned to his Vulcan tactical officer, "Go to Tactical Alert, Subcommander T'na." The Vulcan woman arched a stately eyebrow and nodded soundless, moving for her station.

The one the Bridge crew affectionately called "Little Nir," in deference to their Captain sidled into his station forward of the Bridge, joined a moment later by the stoic Vulcan.

"Polarize the hull plating, bring phase cannons and photonic torpedoes online." The Sikh man was not one who enjoyed sitting in his central chair and instead stood between his Helm and Tactical officers. The lighting shifted darker as pulsing red light filled the small Bridge.

"Captain, we have a distress signal bearing 063 mark 043. Automated only, high priority. It's from the SS Kochi."

"Personnel freighter?" The Sikh nodded, "What is the status of the Kochi, T'na?"

The Vulcan's dark eyes skimmed the readings before her, "Their life support is failing, Captain. I am detecting severe disruptions of the EPS grid- likely cascade explosions. It appears they have been subject to Romulan weapons fire. There are plasma isotopes consistent with Romulan weapons discharge. Thirty four life forms are aboard."

"Their course is bearing 151 mark 012. They're adrift at 434 kph. If their course holds, they'll impact Kuiper A6752 in six hours." The Martian boy looked down at his instrument panel, "Three minutes present speed to Eris Station, Captain," Nir Giorgiou reported. "We'll overtake the Kochi in twenty-two seconds."

The Sikh man passed his dark hand across his forehead, sweat leeching into his black turban wrap. "Nir, alter course. Sousankh. Tell the fleet we're making a rescue stop. I need all hands at the gangs. Lets get those people off that ship." He gestured hard toward the turbolift, "Alright, move!" The Captain clapped a hand on Nir's shoulder, "You too, Giorgiou. You have zero-gravity rescue operations training, correct?"

Nir's wide brown eyes cast up to the Captain and he nodded, "Yessir, in the Jupiter Colonial Militia." The Captain jerked a thumb toward the turbolift, "I've got the Helm. You have five minutes to get as many people as you can off that freighter. I can't risk six billion lives for a few dozen."

-------------

"I would very much appreciate it if you didn't kill us all by delaying me further." This seemed like a simple request to Palivericas zh'Tem. It apparently was a very large request to zher panicked traveling companion. This human woman was proving to be as troublesome as a Tellarite. She continued to thrash about in pain and groan dramatically, impeding the Andorian's mission.

Zhe'd had had the situation more or less under control--as under control as a cabin full of panicked, injured mostly-Humans could be--before the gravity plating went out. Most of the passengers had had their crash restraints on. Some of them didn't, and soon found themselves tumbling about the cabin. The inertial compensators clearly overtaxed as well--zhe could feel the tumbling of their transport through space. The human woman, for reasons known only to her gods, had actually unbuckled her restraints to follow Vericas as she pulled herself along towards the transport's control deck.

"I'b dot going do gill us all," the woman insisted around her broken nose. (Palivercas lamented privately that the universal translator couldn't clean up the speech at all). "Bud dou're dot going do fly didth dhip."

Vericas considered kicking the woman in the face so that she would let go of zher belt. It would remove one annoying variable from the equation of getting out of this alive, but it would also be rather unkind. The woman was not acting rationally, and according to medical texts, Humans in shock could sometimes get rather fixated. Unfortunately, this woman had become fixated on zher.

"I know I'm not going to fly the ship. I can't fly anything. I'm just going to see if the pilots need any assistance." Zhe wasn't even bothering to look at her anymore, zhe just kept moving toward the front of the craft. The injured Human followed, again, holding onto zher belt for dear life. She babbled something about aliens doing enough for one day. Vericas felt zher cold blood run hot. This ungrateful, smooth-forehead fool seriously thought that zhe was anything like the Romulans? Enough was enough.

Rather than kicking the human woman in the face like zhe'd wanted to, zhe merely unbuckled zher belt. It slid off immediately, and the Human suddenly found herself fully afloat, without Vericas to stabilize her. She careened through the cabin and smashed her face into a cargo locker with a cry of pain. Zhe felt a little guilty, but not that guilty. Now unburdened, zhe made her way to the front of the cabin without further incident.

The door separating the passenger cabin from the control deck was sealed. When Vericas tried to pull the handle, the heat in the metal caused zher to jerk zher hand back immediately. Whatever was left on the other side of that hatch wasn't going to be of any help. That complicated matters--and simplified them. There wasn't anything zhe could do to save zherself. Zhe wasn't an engineer. Zhe couldn't fix the gravity plating, or the engines, or the hundred other things zhe was sure were wrong. Zhe could only wait for rescue. As if anyone would stop to help a single transport while the invasion of their home system were underw--

The hull reverberated with a double clang, causing another cry of alarm from the Humans. Vericas's pulse doubled in a matter of moments. The transport's airlock was right next to the entrance to the control deck, and through the transparent aluminum of the hatch, zhe could see a pair of grappler cables attached to their hull. The rotation of the transport slowed, the stars stabilizing. A docking collar was moving quickly toward the airlock, and enveloped it. Zhe couldn't see where it came from--her overarching impression of whatever was holding them was that it was grey.

Thus far in the war, the Romulans avoided boarding actions or taking prisoners. Still, there was no time like the conquering of a home system for the taking of hostages. Vericas didn't want to take the chance. Zhe hadn't brought a sidearm with zher on this trip. A quick search of zher uniform's pockets revealed that zhe had, in fact, brought a laser scalpel. This zhe clasped tightly in zher left hand as zhe stabilized zher position just outside the airlock. If whatever came through the airlock didn't seem friendly, zhe thought that zhe could probably give it at least one good stab before it took zher down.

------

"You've done this before right, Little Nir?"

If Nir Giorgiou was honest... he didn't much like his diminutive. He knew it was because his Captain and he shared a name-sound. But Nir was not exactly little. 6'2" wasn't little, even if the rest of him was more like a reed. But as with most things, Nir just glanced at the speak with a smile and a nod. "Yeah, we had to do this one or twice a month when some yacht got too close to Io and Jupiter's plasma exchange." In his hands he was angling a pair of joysticks on a long, maneuverable rods connected to the docking port.

The docking latch blinked blue as Nir chanced a glance behind him. There were a dozen medics and three damage control specialists behind him. Nir turned back, watching the ring in the small instrument panel blink from yellow, to red, to yellow and finally green. As soon as it did, he fired. "It's away," he winced as he felt the concuss through his fingers even through the thick hull.

Outside, a flexible plastic worm on a tight ring was telescoping out of the Delta-class Reliant, latching into the Kochi's docking port. As soon as he got the haptic feed through the joystick, he tapped the instrument panel to enter his authorization code. Reliant flooded the evac tube with breathable atmosphere. Then he stabbed at the opening controls.

The docking port hissed open- and frigid cold stole from the lungs. Nir went in first. He did a quick run start and then flung himself into the tube. It was as close to flying as the Human body would naturally experience. And it was a short run of only a few dozen meters. He got his feet toward the rapidly approaching bulkhead to cushion the touchdown.

Officers were flooding down with him. Nir crouched and tapped in the emergency protocols to open the outer latch. Some engineer decades ago had had quite a sense of humor as the note-call for standard boarding-for-rescue operations. It was the first five notes from Close Encounters of the Third Kind. Nir tapped out the signal so engineers at least on the Freighter might know it was friend at the door and not foe. It sounded in the chamber on the other side of the hatch.

Nir winced and gestured for an Engineer to help him. Together they wrenched down the heavy manual release lever. And with a hiss of atmosphere that smelled of burning plastic and metal, the two ships were connected.

"Don't fire! We're from the starship Reliant!" Nir called into the dark breach of the docking port.

After a long pause, a challenge came forth, spoken in a curious accent. "How many hours is a day on Earth?"

Nir's eyebrows knitted. Interesting question. Interesting accent. "Twenty four," he stated, glancing at the Petty Officer Damage Control Specialist near him. She shrugged at him. "Coming through!" Nir pushed himself down and was surprised when the threshold gravity didn't take him. Two more people came down with him. Then a third. Nir went for his belt and grabbed his flashlight, a Colonial Jupiter model he'd kept. "We got your distress beacon." Nir caught eyes with the nearest person- and he naturally glanced at the trailing blue appendages off her forehead. He hadn't expected that.

"We sent a distress beacon?" the blue woman asked. Her antennae curled somberly and her face fell. "The pilots must have sent it--I think they're dead now. Doctor zh'Tem, Andorian Imperial Guard. There's wounded people in the cabin, mostly civilians. We've been shaking--mostly blunt force trauma, nausea, some cuts and burns. A broken nose. Are you here to evacuate us?"

Nir's kind face grimaced, the complexity of the situation wearing on him. Any minute now he expected to hear from his Captain that they were counting minutes. "Ensign Nir Giorgiou, Helmsman. This is Medic Jille Anglais, Specialist Miles Canopi, Engineer." Each nodded at the Andorian, holding back the most obvious question: was was a member of the Andorian Imperial Guard aboard. "You were attacked. I-I'm not exactly sure how much you've been told and we only have a few minutes. Is there a central area you're staging your, um, your triage?"

"Most of the passengers were in the main cabin when it happened." zh'Tem raised her voice so the rescue team could hear her. "I think there may be some in the private cabins near the back of the ship. This is a narrow tube with nacelles--anyone left alive shouldn't be hard to find."

Nir went into motion so the boarding party could start through, pushing along the emergency cables like he was quite adept at zero gravity. He gestured with his head for the Andorian to follow him. His voice was hushed to not cause panic, "We're in a combat zone, Doctor. The intelligence is hazy but we've lost contact with Eris and Makemake. It, um, looks like a Romulan invasion force right now."

"That was my guess. We were hit by a plasma torpedo, I saw it through the viewport." zh'Tem took a deep breath and shook her head. Her antennae didn't seem to know what to do as they traveled along the rescue gangway, disoriented by the zero gravity. "Are--is it--have we lost? Or are we still fighting?"

Nir shook his head, "Reliant, Shepard and Seattle are heading into the Eris Gap as soon as we decide what to do here. The Challenger is leading in a force several other ships. But we're short on time and have to keep the Romulans stalled in the Kuiper Belt so the fleet can rally." His brows rose under his floating, bobbing curls and he smiled reassuringly, "We're not done yet."

Jille Anglais pushed in their direction, "Ensign, we can't bring all these people into a combat zone. They've been through enough."

"Does your ship have gravity? That'll be enough for the civilians." zh'Tem tried to bring herself up to her full height, but actually just wobbled. "I'm Andorian Imperial Guard, and I'm a doctor. If you're going into a combat zone, then you should want me. You do want me."

Nir turned- and floated in the motion- toward the Engineer. He pawed at the bulkhead to turn back, "We can get your gravity back online, and your life support working. Any of these people who want to come with us, can. But..." he grimaced, "We're headed into the fighting. Drifting in a freighter with low power signatures might be safer than a Delta-class on a picket line." Nir looked at the French woman. "We need to decide now though." He glanced at the Doctor. His communicator beeped. Nir pulled it up and flipped it open. "Giorgiou. Go ahead."

"This is T'na, Ensign. The situation at the Eris Gap is deteriorating. The presence of our vessels is required immediately."

zh'Tem frowned, uncertain. Zhe went with her gut. "Let's get the wounded onto your ship, at least! There's no medical bay on the transport. We can't just leave them." Zhe wasn't sure how exactly the chain of command applied in this situation, but zhe knew that advocating for zher patients was zher first duty. "What are we floating around for? Let's do it!"

"You're the Doctor," Nir replied. He pushed off the wall, "Alright, lets get these wounded up to Reliant!" The boy cupped his hands around his mouth to call down the open deck. He flipped open his communicator, "Giorgiou to Bridge."

"Bridge, go ahead Nir.". It was the Captain.

"Sir, we have wounded, we are transporting them up via the emergency gang now."

There was a pause, then the Captain's voice cut through. "You have three minutes and not a second longer. We'll open a triage center in the main cargo bay. I'll get medical teams to the hatch."

Nir nodded, "Understood, Sir." He closed his communicator.

"I'll go to your cargo bay to coordinate with your doctor," zh'Tem said. Zhe'd be able to commandeer whatever medical supplies they had on hand. Zhe felt a pang of regret for zher possessions that zhe wouldn't be able to retrieve from the transport--if there was still a Human species by the end of the day, maybe they'd be able to come back. Before zhe left, zhe took a moment to clasp the tall Human by the arm. "Thank you, Ensign."

Nir nodded to the Andorian, pushing past his usually shy nature at the thanks, "Just glad to be in the neighborhood Ma'am." Their thoughts paralleled one another but stayed unvoiced: if they won the day, they could return- if the battle didn't take so long that the freighter drifted into a Kuiper Belt object. "Our Doctor's part of the Interspecies Medical Exchange here. Her name is Doctor Rhylia Tret."

That name sounded familiar to zh'Tem, but zher thoughts were elsewhere, already running through what zhe remembered of the passengers' injuries and cataloguing them in zher mind. None of them had been on death's door, but a lot could happen in the chaos of combat. "Rhylia Tret," zhe repeated absently. "Fly well, and I'll see you on the other side."

Nir nodded and pushed off the bulkhead. They had precious little time. His thoughts he tried to shield from the idea that there might not be an other side after this.

 

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