Rants tag

Rants, ruminations, and rambling remarks from my mad, muddled, meandering mind.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Starblanket: In the Belly of the Beast

I rediscovered this passage while digging through NaNoWriMo stuff from last year. I never posted it, so here it is. This is a continuation of the STO story "Do the Borg Believe in God?" and "Do the Borg have an Afterlife?" Catchy titles, but not exactly what the stories were actually about. In any event, read those first. Enjoy:

Rowan became aware of an insistent chirping. Trying to stir, she felt a tremendous pain in her side and realized that some of her ribs were broken. Groaning, she pushed herself up into a sitting position. Scanning the chamber. She made out the still forms of the other three members of the away team. The chirping continued, it was her communicator pin. Tapping the badge sent a fresh twinge along her ribs.

“Starblanket here,” she grunted.

Tarah’s voice sounded tinny in the thinning air. “Captain, the Borg wreckage you occupy is on the verge of collapse. We anticipate a hull breech at any moment.”

“Can you lock on to our signals?”

“Negative, Captain. The interference from radiation is too strong at your present location.”

“We’ll move to the other chamber. Keep this channel open.”

“Aye, Captain.”

Corporal Graavel, the Tellarite MACO, was closest to her. She crawled closer to him to assess his condition. Realizing her tricorder had flown out of her hand in the tumble, she gently shook his shoulder. He stirred, groaning.

“Corporal, are you hurt?” Rowan asked, visually examining the MACO.

“I’m alright, Ma’am,” Graavel said with a grunt. He sat up.

“Check on Commander Brasseux. While I check the Major.”

They moved off towards their separate charges. Major Gasira’s left lower leg was bent an unnatural angle, her foot caught under some debris. Rowan cast about for something to split the Major’s leg. Finding a short piece of wreckage, she began ripping the bottom of her own uniform top into strips. Gasira moaned and her eyes fluttered open. Rowan paused to put a hand on her shoulder.

“Shh, hold still, Major. Your leg is broken. I need to set on splint it.”

Gasira just groaned her acknowledgement. The chamber shuddered again as the remaining gravity generator began to fail. The stressed metal structure groaned louder than the Major. Thierry and Graavel made their way over to Rowan and Gasira. Having hit the bulkhead face first, Thierry’s ocular scanner was broken and he was bleeding from his temple where the device had cut him. He had abrasions across his cheek on that side and his nose had swollen, perhaps broken.

“Corporal, help me move this,” Rowan indicated the twisted metal trapping Gasira’s foot. The two tossed the debris aside, freeing the MACO commander’s leg, and Rowan spoke to her.

“Major, I need to set this, then I will split it. Without my medkit I cannot give you a painkiller.”

“I understand, Captain,” Gasira gasped and gritted her teeth. Rowan grasped the broken limb pulled as gently as she could, straightening it and trying to set the bones by feel. The Major cried out in pain.

“There. Corporal, position these strips under her leg above and below the break, here and here, while I lift it.” The MACO did as she asked. Rowan placed the splint along the Major’s leg and tied it in place.

“OK, we need to move out of this chamber or La Gitana cannot beam us out. Thierry, how are you doing?”

“I’ll be alright, sheh.”

“Alright, let’s move. Come on, Major.” Rowan hooked Gasira’s left arm around her own shoulders and lifted the other woman off the deck. The Major stood on her good leg, leaning into the Captain.

“Ready, Captain” she grunted.

“Tarah, monitor our signal. Beam us out as soon as you can.”

“Aye, Captain.”

Thierry leaned on the Tellarite as the chamber lurched again. The deck was now apparently at a steep angle, the exit to the corridor above the debris pile by about a meter and a half. Rowan stepped gingerly over the pile, careful of her footing and her charge. Gasira helped as best she could on her good leg. Thierry and Graavel followed behind. Coming to the bulkhead the passageway was on, Rowan propped up the Major.

“Corporal, can you get up into the corridor?” she asked turning to the Tellarite.

“Heh, of course, Ma’am.” The MACO scrambled up the bulkhead and deck into the opening, poking his head back out.

“OK. Thierry, help me get the major up there.” Rowan said. Gasira leaned on the engineer, as Rowan interlaced her fingers into a stirrup. Lifting her foot into The Captain’s hands, Gasira, heaved herself up and reached for the Corporal’s outstretched hands. Together they lifted her in to the corridor.

“OK, you’re next, Thierry.” Rowan put her hands back down to the engineer’s foot to boost him up, grunting in pain as she hoisted him into the corridor. Following the other away team members into the corridor, Rowan reassessed the situation. The tilted bulkheads and deck would make progress hazardous. The groans of the wreckage had not died down.

“OK, move carefully, but quickly. Corporal, you take the lead. Thierry, you follow. I’ll bring up the rear with the Major.” Rowan clutched her side where her broken ribs ground against each other.

“Sheh, are you alright? Can you support her?” the engineer asked.

“Yes, just get moving.”

The Tellarite moved up the corridor, tremors in the craft making him stumble. Thierry stumbled after, holding onto the bulkheads. Rowan realized that the gravity generator was causing the corridor to tilt uphill, slowing their progress.

“Tarah, are we out of the interference yet?”

“Negative, Captain.” Came the voice of her First Officer. “Another 15 meters, maybe.”

They came upon the animated but brain-dead drone, blocking their path. Corporal Graavel turned back to Rowan. “Orders, Ma’am?”

Rowan sighed, “Shoot it.” The MACO pulled out a hand phaser. Adjusting the settings, he took aim and fired on the drone, disintegrating it. Alarms went off echoing down the passageway.

“Damnit!” Rowan cursed. “Get going!”

Thierry and Graavel scrambled up the corridor with Rowan following as best she could with Gasira in tow. Between the groaning structure and the screaming alarms, Rowan barely heard Tarah’s voice.

“Captain, the structure is beginning to break-up, with multiple stress fractures in the hull.”

“We’re moving as fast as we can. Can you reposition to get us out of here?”

“We are already in the prime position relative to the interference, Captain.”

The deck heaved and they were all lifted off their feet. The horrible sound of metal ripping came up the passageway from the cargo bay. Closely followed by the boom of an explosion. Hot gases rushed past the away team, then suddenly reversed themselves.

“Hull breech! Get going!”

They all crawled the last few meters, Thierry dropping back to help Rowan with Gasira. The rushing wind was deafening, but they still had air for now.

“Tarah, beam out Corporal Graavel as soon as you have a lock on him!” Rowan shouted over the wind.

Tarah’s response was lost to the roar. The plasma fire behind was consuming the air. Soon enough, Rowan saw the telltale glow of the transporter rescuing the MACO about three meters ahead of them.

“Thierry! Go!”

“Not without you and the Major, sheh!”

They made it the last small distance when the wreckage rocked again from the force of another explosion. But the transporter effect had already embraced the three last members of the away team, pulling them to safety as the passageway collapsed around them.

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