|USF Personal Log|
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The transporter left Steven Klein and Gideon Salieri in Sickbay, materializing both of them on the floor. The junior officer’s body had already started turning grey around the puncture wounds, the poison congealing his blood and turning it black in his veins. The chief of security fell back before catching himself, his eyes unfocused though he looked in the direction of his fallen comrade. The half-Betazoid shook his head as the images started playing again in his mind’s eye. Four officers laid motionless on the hard-packed dirt street, their eyes dull and contorted in pain and fear. “Cazzo!” he shouted in anguish as he hid his face in his hands.
“Gideon!” exclaimed nurse Cana Graves as she rounded a scanning console. “What the hell- Steven!” She fell to the floor. “I need help here!” At her call, the newly transported officers were surrounded by nurses and medics. She moved with Gideon, following him as he was led to a biobed. Her fingers reached out for the tricorder and she set to work scanning the security chief.
The hands picking him up and guiding him to a biobed felt like knives on his skin. Gideon squirmed and pulled away, a pathetic murmur on his lips. “Don’t touch me,” he whispered before relaxing on the biobed, his mind shutting down as he accepted his fate. “Sigma, Gamma, Mu. Two four eight seven three.” His head shook and his features pinched in anticipation. “Cazzo, I don’t know,” he whispered as he pulled his hands up to cover his face.
Cana worked quickly and quietly, the tricorder beeping as it worked. As far as she could tell, there was nothing physically wrong with the security chief. Her hand came up to tap at her comm badge. “Graves to Winnetka,” she called out quietly. “Please come to Sickbay.”
“On my way.” Ryan walked quickly down the hallway, his feet barely making a sound. He turned the corner and continued to his destination. A few minutes later, he crossed the threshold. He paused briefly as he looked around the room. The atmosphere was tense and heavy. In the far biobed, a sheet covered a body and the medics avoided the area entirely. His gaze moved through the room and settled on the nurse as she sat near Gideon. He approached and nodded once in her direction. “What happened?”
The nurse looked up and frowned. She nodded in Gideon’s direction and frowned. “I can’t snap him out of it. He keeps repeating his serial number.”
Winnetka frowned and looked at the security chief. His head turned and he stared at the sheet covered body. “Who did we lose?” he asked softly.
Cana glanced back and her eyes dipped in sadness. “Steven.” The nurse shook her head slightly. “There was poison in whatever struck him. We couldn’t do anything. It was too late.”
The Chicago native frowned and looked back to Gideon. “Give me a minute?” When the nurse nodded, Ryan waited a minute before approaching his best friend. “Sal. Do you know where you are?”
“Hell,” he answered in a pained voice from behind his hands. The half-Bajoran had calmed with being left alone for a few minutes and the sounds of Winnetka’s voice had confirmed the vague hope that he wasn’t in a cell. Gideon shifted his fingers up to comb through his hair, his eyes opening as he focused on the ceiling.
“You’re on the USS Aldrin,” Ryan attempted to pull his friend from the depths of his hell. “We beamed you aboard just a few minutes ago. You’re on the USS Aldrin, Sal.”
“They able to do anything for Steve?”
Winnetka shook his head sadly. “No,” he whispered. “Whatever hit him was poisoned with something.” He paused. “You know this isn’t your fault, right?”
He sat up from the biobed, his legs swinging over the side. In the motion, he’d caught the looks from the medical staff and his chin dipped to hide from them. “He was under my-”
“We got another!” screamed one of the medics. The sound of the transporter filled Sickbay and two bodies appeared in the space.
“He got impaled,” Mark Huntsman explained as he assisted one of the medics with putting Jordan Kim on the biobed. He glanced around. “Did you get Ensign Higgs? Where’s Ensign Higgs?!”
A nurse shook her head. “Sorry. They only transported you and Lieutenant Kim.”
Gideon found himself fixated on Jordan’s face, the sight of the twisted visage sending his mind spiralling out of control. The security officer slid down from the biobed, unaware of anything else in his surroundings until Ryan grasped his arm. The touch was like a lightning bolt, the shock jolting him back to the dark and dingy space that had been a prison. “Merda,” he whimpered as he tried to pull away from his friend.
“Hey. Listen to me Sal. You gotta pull yourself together,” Ryan attempted to reach him. “You’re in charge of the ship right now.”
Mark made his way towards the pair when he spotted them. “Hey. Did we get anyone else transported? Is Ellie back?”
“Ellie?” Winnetka blinked. “No? I don’t know. Sal and Steve were the only ones who got transported back. Don’t know if they got anyone else with you and Kim.” The security officer leaned slightly and watched as the medics fussed over the helmsman. “Why isn’t Ellie with you? Weren’t you on her team?”
Gideon had simply listened to them talk back and forth, each mentioning of Marielle’s name tugging harder at his consciousness. His breaths had slowed and the tension melted from his shoulders.
Huntsman frowned, the southern gentleman looked apologetically at his department head. He turned his gaze to Ryan. “She ordered me and Higgs to find as many of the others in the Capital Building. Ellie said she was going to make it to the control room. She thought there was some frequency block that was making it hard to contact the ship. Higgs ran off to help someone who was injured when I got transported.”
His eyes focused suddenly and his chin tilted toward Huntsman. “Get to the deflector array, we need to enhance the transporter locks as much as possible. I’m pulling everyone off that planet.” There wasn’t time for him to be wallowing in guilt with his demons. The mission wasn’t complete and people were still in danger.
Huntsman nodded and ran off without saying a word. He didn’t want to risk being lectured for leaving Marielle alone.
Winnetka glanced at Gideon, surprised but pleased to find him back to himself. “What’s the plan?” He moved with the security chief as he began to make his way out of Sickbay.
His strides were long and purposeful as he headed for the turbolift. “Head to engineering,” he ordered Ryan instead of answering the question. “We need a workaround if there is a frequency block.” Gideon knew he couldn’t make a plan without first getting an update on what was going on from the bridge. For now, his only plan was to start beaming his people off that blasted desert planet. “Sto cominciando a odiare la sabbia, (I’m starting to hate sand.)” he grumbled as he stepped into the turbolift.