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Joint Log - Higgs/Deniaud
It had happened so quickly that Marielle was still struggling to come to terms with what had happened. First, it was the sound of rapid fire - the pop-pop-pop-pop pop-pop-pop-pop that was muffled by the doors but made horrendous by screams. The metallic noise had reached her ears, but it was the memory of the last desert planet that had her freezing instead of flinching or even moving. Suddenly, she was back on Malahakir. She was no longer standing in the cavernous ballroom of the Capital Building on Krynor III but near the power station at Drikaana
The bullet hit the sand by her feet, and the engineer jumped back as she ducked. The toolkit was lifted to shield her head. She was sure there was a moment of quiet from that first bullet before it suddenly seemed as if all she could hear was rapid fire. Another bullet ricocheted off the stone. Then another. And another. Marielle stumbled back. “Gideon!”
He’d jumped toward her, pulling her behind him, and then pushing her back against a crumbling wall. They ran between shots, crouching and ducking when there was ample cover.
“Ambush! Two o’clock!” Miller shouted as gunfire rang out. “Take cover!”
“Take cover,” Marielle whispered unknowingly as she stared at the large set of double doors. A phantom ache moved through her hand before her body began to shake. The wooden doors was suddenly the metal sliding door that led to the safety of the power plant.
“Lieutenant Deniaud?” Mark Huntsman, the Southern gentleman who called Atlanta home. The junior security officer stared at the engineer as she seemed to sway back and forth on her feet. “Ellie?” He approached her carefully, leaning forward so he could look at her. The man stood nearly two meters tall and towered over the diminutive woman.
“I- I- I’ll get it open. I have to get it open,” she muttered to herself as she felt him pressed her closer to the metal door, her hands dancing over the panel. Marielle’s head ducked as gunfire ricocheted off the wall beside her, dust flying in her direction. Her body shook as she kept talking to herself, “Simple algorithm. Just a door. I memorized the code. I know this. I know this.”
Gideon stood over her, phaser rifle at the ready as he provided cover fire. “Just concentrate on the door, El,” he whispered between shots. The Betazoid mix winced against a bullet creating fragments in the wall of the building, showering them with plaster fragments.
The engineer heard the locking mechanism release, and her feet scrambled back as she began to pull the door wide open. “I got it!” she yelled out. “We need to get everyone-”
Gideon lowered the phaser rifle, reaching instantly to grab Marielle by the arm and shove her over the threshold. He reached for the handle.
“Gideon! What are you-” She rushed forward, only to stumble back when the security officer pushed her back. Marielle fell onto her behind and skidded on the ground. Her eyes locked with his for a moment. The realization of what he was doing hit her instantly, and her body went cold. There was no hiding the anguish in her voice. “Gideon! I’m not leaving you out there!”
“Find cover! I have to get the others! Contact the Lorelei.”
“Gideon!” she screamed as she rushed for the door. “I’m not leaving you!” Marielle stumbled back, blinking out of the haze of her memories as the double doors swung wide open and Krynorian soldier entered. He brandished a weapon - a silver rifle aimed directly at her head.
“Ellie! Duck!” Huntsman’s hand fell on her shoulder and he pushed her forward and down as he prepared for enemy fire. He reached for the phaser by his waist.
It was the bursting in the room that caused the other woman to cry out, “Please, hold your fire! I am a doctor attempting to work on a patient!”
The security officer didn’t pay the medical officer any mind. Before the Krynorian soldier could demand or cry out, Mark pulled the phaser from it’s holster and pointed it the enemy. His thumb pressed hard into the device as she released a solid burst of energy towards the man who had taken aim at him and the engineer by his side. The beam of light hit its target in the stomach, and the Krynorian collapsed upon himself onto the floor. His body moved on instinct alone, and he jumped to his feet to close the door. “Pack your things. We need to go.”
Riley stared for a moment, looking at the body of the crumpled Krynorian, before looking at the unconscious Lieutenant Kim, and then to the security officer. “Wha-- it jus-- I can’t move him yet! I need a few more seconds at the least to make sure he doesn’t bleed out!”
Her hands were shaking as she watched Mark close the door. Shaky fingers locked it, and she glanced around for anything to barricade the entrance. Quickly, almost running, Marielle made her way to the soldier and took the weapon from his grasp. “Riley, if you don’t move him, we’ll all die. So do whatever the frak you need to do and move.” The warmth that was normal for the petite human woman was gone, replaced by a chilled demeanor and an icy tone.
Eyes darted back to Kim. He would survive. She’d make sure of it. This was much like one of the simulations at the academy. Combat medicine. The difference was, there were no do-overs. She took a deep breath and calmed herself. “Thirty seconds, not even.” She began to work quickly, pulling bandages from the field pack and hastily wrapping up the limp body of the Lieutenant. The autosuture had sealed the wound, the bandages would add additional support to the fresh procedure.
“He’s gonna feel this in the morning…” she said quietly as she haphazardly threw her supplies back in her bag, and slung it over her shoulder. Her backpack, having extra equipment beyond the medical supplies were more her own utility things. Being on the desert planet during the storm, she learned quickly that her prosthesis could clog up easily in the joints. Sealers, compressed air, various tools and electrical components were lined through various pouches in the backpack. Some of which she’d taken out earlier to quickly remove the rougher stuff from the knee joint so she could remain mobile. Hastily, those things were thrown into that backpack, and strapped to her back.
Bending down to her patient, she lifted an arm over her shoulder from Kim’s body, and lifted, hoisting him over her left shoulder - un-impaled side taking the brunt of his weight - and adjusted a few times to hold him stable.
Marielle had holstered her phaser, the rifle strap resting across her body as the weapon sat on her back. “I’m going to see if there’s another way out of here. Make sure your weapon is at the ready at all times.” She didn’t give the young doctor a chance to respond. She simply ran to a wall and began running along it in hopes of finding a way out of the ballroom.
Huntsman moved a chair under the door handles, propping the top and wedging the chair as far as it would go. Knowing that it wouldn’t be enough, he began piling chairs and whatever was left of the makeshift hospital. It wouldn’t hold anyone out of the room for long, but it’d give them a chance. A bed and a desk joined the pile of furniture.
“I’ll follow you,” she said simply, unholstering Kim’s phaser for use. He couldn’t use it at present, so she’d make good use of it for him.
Her hands moved over the wall, palms flush against the surface. “Come on,” Marielle murmured under her breath. “I know there’s one around here.” Her eyes scanned the ornate detailing, snakes that climbed along the pillars that were flush against the wall. The engineer moved quickly, shuffling to the side as she attempted to find an exit.
“What are you looking for, Ellie?” Mark asked as he joined her along the wall. He turned back to the engineer. “Whatever it is, you better think fast.” His eyes swept over the ballroom. As far as he could tell, there was no real exit beyond the windows and that drop would be insane. “Huntsman to Aldrin.” He frowned when there was only static. “Huntsman to Aldrin.” His frown deepened. “I don’t think they can hear us. Something must be blocking our communication.”
“We’re in a ballroom. There’s got to be a server door somewhere. It’s usually hidden. This way, servers can enter and leave without disturbing the party.” Marielle continued to run along the wall. Her hand paused over a section of the wall. “Wait.” Her palm moved over the surface again. “Panel. I’ve got a panel here.” The engineer worked to remove the holographic shielding that kept the panel out of view, but she could feel it under her fingertips. The glassy surface was just under her touch.
Higgs was occupied by looking more at her surroundings and taking it all in. If it hadn’t been hit by a storm and in wreckage, this place would no doubt have been elaborate and beautiful. As it was, it was more haunting and lonely. “I’m glad you know about these things. Never been to a formal party like that before, myself,” she said out loud to no one in particular. Her eyes danced back to the door - still silent - and back to Marielle and Mark. “I’ve got some pliers in my backpack, if you need them. Longnose. Right side lower pouch,” she commented on seeing Marielle’s attempt on removing the cover.
“It’s a matter of-,” she paused, her eyes remaining on the wall as her hands moved over the panel. “Simple algorithm. Just a door. I memorized the code. I know this. I know this.” Marielle’s forehead tapped on the surface as she growled softly. Her hand turned into a fist and she hit the hidden panel with the fleshy side. Her eyes closed.
“Just focus on the door, Chief,” Higgs said quietly.
The engineer looked panicked as she glanced back at the large doors. The barricade would only last so long. Eventually, the Krynorian soldiers would blast their way into the space. Her eyes returned to the hidden panel, fingers working off memory alone. “‘Just concentrate on the door, El,’” she quoted the memory, her words barely muttered above a whisper. Marielle’s eyes narrowed as she focused on the space, eyes moving over the hidden panel. Soon, the holographic projection shimmered away to reveal the panel.
Beyond the doors, the sounds of soldiers grew louder and more intense. Their conversation was punctuated with the soft hisses of their language, the universe translator losing ability with some of the words. The doors rattled as the Krynorians attempted to break into the ballroom.
Time was growing short. How much could they accomplish if anything got through the barricade that was set up? Riley looked around the room for anything. The engineer side of her brain was active, trying to figure out possibilities. No amount of wiring or fabrication could be done in the time they had. Her eyes looked at switches, panels, the chandeliers above-- and an idea hit. But it was too late.
“Got it.” Her eyes swept to the side, watching as the doors slid open. Marielle motioned for Huntsman and Higgs, with Kim, to move into the small narrow doorway. The stairs were barely lit, the walls narrow and the steps shallow. “Get in.” As Huntsman assisted Riley with Kim, Marielle’s hands moved over the panel. The doors began to slide closed and she jumped over the threshold before she was locked on the outside. The chief engineer released a quiet breath. “Okay. We need to pick a direction. We have to find a control room of sorts. See if we can contact the Aldrin- Anyone,” she whispered as she made her way down the stairs. “This should lead us to the kitchen.”
A different idea hit Riley as they passed through the doorway. “I have an idea. Before we go any further. It’ll take a few seconds. Mark, in my backpack, central pouch, you’ll find injector vials. Two pouches down, a vial of potassium chlorate. Lastly, next pouch over, a field ration. Should be a drink powder in it. Mix both in the vial and give it to the Chief.”
The security officer reached within the pack. It took several minutes to do as he was told.
“Chief, Battery from my left outermost pouch and some frayed wire or something metal from anywhere. Basic catalyst. Place it on the ground gently by the door. If anyone so much as knocks it over, it’ll explode. Homemade jet fuel. In a container, primitive grenade.” She grinned. “I’d do this, but, carrying a Lieutenant.”
Marielle raised a brow at the medical officer. ‘For an ensign, she’s oddly calm under pressure. Pretty sure we just walked into a war situation.’ She shook her head at the thought and carried the small canister carefully as they made their way down the small stairway. “You could pass him to Mark.” She paused as she glanced at both sides of the fork as the stairway branched into two. “This way.”
“I would, but with all due respect, ma’am, being security, he’s likely more effective in combat if something arises.”
She was going on instinct alone, her thoughts focused on the Krynorian who had entered the ballroom. Something must have gone wrong, though there was no way of knowing. She could only think of the last desert planet, when another natural relief effort had gone terribly wrong. “Je déteste les planètes du désert (I frakking hate desert planets),” Marielle grumbled under her breath. “Two for two.”
On the other end of the trio, Higgs was pleased with herself for considering the things she had, and could at the very least provide something of an early warning system via sound and concussion. It might not be enough to outright kill an intruder, but the blast should be enough to take out a limb or two. Shifting Kim on her shoulder again, she took a moment to check on him and make sure he was still breathing. He was, though it was weak.
A few minutes later, they found their way to the kitchen. Four Krynorian cooks were hiding in the corner, knives held tightly in their shaking hands.
Marielle shook her head at Mark when he attempted to push in front of her. “Stay back, ensign. Your duty is to keep watch of Ensign Higgs and Lieutenant Kim-”
“You know I can’t do that. Sal will-”
“I swear to the gods that if the lot of you don’t stop with this whole ‘Sal will blank,’ I will make your life a living hell.” The engineer smirked as Mark hesitated for a moment and she used it to her advantage. She motioned for them to remain in the stairwell. She moved into the kitchen carefully, the phaser in hand. She caught the eye of one of the cooks and aimed her phaser at them. “I don’t want to hurt you-”
“Starfleet!” hissed one cook, his voice filled with relief as he stood up and placed the knife on the counter. His hands came up in peace. “Please. We are not the ones who have done this- One of our leaders, Coled Wrinn, has returned. His men are everywhere.”
Marielle sighed in frustration and she turned to look at her hidden crewmates. “Safe. Come on out.” She turned her attention to the cooks. “Where are our crew? Do you know?” She could feel her frustration growing when they only shook their heads. “We’re going to hide here with you. We have injured.”
Gently, Riley laid Kim on the large food preparation table, moving things out of the way as needed. “Just don’t go up those stairs,” she said simply, looking at Kim. Her pack came off and slumped to the floor, and she resumed working on a very pale Lieutenant.
She spent some time speaking the cooks before she moved towards Riley, Kim, and Mark. Her eyes fell to the slumbering officer. “How is he?”
Higgs had only just managed to pull out her tricorder to take another reading. “He’s holding stable. Weak, but stable. I’m still trying to figure out why the painkillers didn’t do hardly anything for him…” she said as she filled another injector with a clear solution. “This should get his body to start reproduction of red blood cells at a higher rate...He’ll need to hydrate too. With any luck, he should come to and drink his own water. When we get out of this he’s going to need a lot of rest. No duty for a few days, minimum.”
The engineer shrugged. She’d taken the basic medical training courses, but she wasn’t about to assume knowing. Marielle glanced around. “I think we can stay here for a bit until he’s a bit more stable, but we need to find our crew. I’d use my communicator, but I don’t want to risk giving away their position if they’re hiding.”
Huntsman leaned forward and gripped the edge of the table. “I can’t get ahold of the Aldrin.”
“There may be some sort of scrambling frequency or a protection grid that won’t allow our communication to-”
“Didn’t one of the cooks say something about a fellow called Coldrin or something?”
“Coled Wrinn. Apparently he’s the other leader.” Marielle frowned. It seemed as if they’d walked into another civil war without knowing it. She could only hope that the Krynorians were nothing like the Teitekians and the Tarkeerians. Sighing, she pinched the bridge of her nose as she considered their next course of action. “Alright. Riley, you do what you need to do to get Kim stable. I think we’ll be able to hide here for awhile. Once he’s stable, we’ve got to get moving-”
“He’s already stable. He’s just unconscious. At this point, only rest and time will fully restore him.
“Okay. Then, you, Kim, and Mark will find some place to hide-”
“I’m not leaving you alone, Ellie.” Huntsman shook his head as he straightened. “Whatever you’re planning, I have to join you. If I don’t, Sal will-” The security officer bit his tongue as the engineer shot at heated glare in his direction.
The engineer turned her attention to Riley. “I need you and Mark to get Kim somewhere safe and to find as many of our people while you’re doing it. If we go as a group, Kim will only slow us down.”
“Aye ma’am. For the record though, anyone who plays any kind of co-op group oriented games knows it’s frowned upon to split the party.”
“This isn’t a game, Riley. I’m smaller and faster. I can hide in places that you can’t. So just move and find as many people as possible. I need to find my way to a control room and see if I can contact the Aldrin. Just make sure to keep your comms open and on you at all times.”
The tall amazonian woman fought the urge to say she knew it wasn’t a game, that it was a metaphor. Instead she simply pursed her lips and nodded. “Yes ma’am. If you die, I claim your coffee stash.”
Marielle laughed softly. “You may need to fight a Wolfen for it.” She shook her head as she smiled at the memory.
A blank stare was given for a moment. “Not sure what you mean by that ma’am, but tell me later. Mister Mark, let’s go.”
With that, she gathered her things, backpack and satchel, phaser and one unconscious lieutenant over her shoulders. Both she and the security officer left through the other side of the kitchen. Footsteps echoed loudly at first as they moved, but over a short time, Marielle would find herself alone with the cooks in the kitchen. Riley was on a mission beyond the recovery operation it began as. Now, it was a mission of survival, and to re-establish contact with either the Aldrin, or any of the crew.