Posted on Thu Jan 24th, 2019 @ 9:23am by Captain Charlotte Reynolds
Episode 4: Fires of Arcadia
Location: Residential Pier, Starbase Arcadia
Timeline: After "I Have a Bad Plan"
Phaser fire rained down on her position, slowly breaking away the stone barrier she was hiding behind. Charlotte Reynolds took a deep breath. She hadn't been expecting so much resistance in the Residential Area of the Station. She knew the infected officers had to be somewhere, but corralling the civilians seemed like a lower priority than catching the missing Starfleet Officers. Or maybe there were just a lot more infected officers than they'd thought...
This was going to be difficult, if not impossible. She was slightly regretting not bringing back up, but having more of her officers here would have only endangered more lives. She pulled out her communicator and flipped it open in her left hand. “Reynolds to Defiant. Emergency Command Override. Authorization Code: Reynolds-Sigma-Delta-9-9-4-1!” A passing bolt ripped through the stone and nearly struck her as she crouched lower. She was running out of time.
There was a harrowing moment’s pause, where she feared the system may not kick in, but the computer’s voice finally replied. “Authorization received. Please state your command, Captain?”
Another shower of stone indicated that her shelter had just about had enough. Charlotte broke from cover, firing wildly as she sprinted to the next bit of cover. “I need immediate evac. Activate Emergency Site to Site Transport.” Stone sprayed around her and she barely closed her eyes in time to keep the powder from obscuring her vision. She wasn't sure if her command would be successful. It would entirely depend on the team taking down the Transporter Jammer, or the baryon sweep for that matter. Communications were down again and she was only speaking to the computer through local connections.
The computer provided a flat reply. “Unable to comply. Station systems are interfering with a sensor lock. Under current conditions, you must close to within 300 meters to be targetable remotely.”
300 meters? She wasn’t sure she’d survive that. “Defiant, I’m not sure if I can make that distance, so I’m going to need a little help. Ok?”
“Affirmative. Please state how I may assist you?” the computer replied in a simulated helpful voice.
'How indeed', Charlotte thought. She risked her safety for a moment, peaking ahead. The terrain she had to cross lacked much in the way of cover. And if she did, she'd still need to get into the lower levels of the station to get close enough for transport. And in those corridors she wouldn't last long. There was no way she could cover that distance. Unless...
Her gaze returned to an elabortate bridge crossing the pool along the length of the pier. 'Apparently, today is just full of bad ideas', Charlotte thought to herself. "Defiant, is the baryon field still active?"
The computer took a moment to reply. "Negative, Captain. The emitter is still running, but it is no longer having the desired effect. The ship is safe for organic matter."
So she'd survive boarding the ship then. There wasn't a lot of time to consider alternatives then. "Ok. Defiant, there's a good chance I'm not going to be able to use my communicator for your tracking. I need you to keep a lock on my life sign. As soon as I am in transporter range, beam me aboard. Don't wait for my command. I won't be able to provide it."
Charlotte half expected a confused reply before she remembered this was a computer she was talking to. Instead, the voice replied calmly. "Affirmative. Automated transporter lock active."
'Now for the fun part.' Charlotte wasn't going to make the trek to the corridors. But she might just survive the trip to that bridge. It wasn't the whole distance, but she had an idea for that.
"Oh, and computer? I'm going to need you to balance the nitrogen levels in my blood when you beam me back." Charlotte flipped the device closed, pulling out just her phaser. It was now or never.
Leaping to the side, she sprinted along a small decorative wall, using it to absorb some of the weapons fire. She could do this. Just a few hundred meters and she'd be safe. Her feet barely touched the ground between strides. It had been years since she'd tried to run this fast. A stray phaser bolt singed its way past her head, catching a mall bit of her hair along the way. The smell of burnt hair only spurred her onward faster. She could do this.
The barricade wall transitioned into a small knee high shelter, but she had crossed a good amount of the terrain. Her own phaser fired rarely, but with purpose. Several targets dropped and didn't rise back to their feet.
There were perhaps 60 meters left before her destination when suddenly a searing pain exploded across her left arm, staggering her. It was worse than a mere grazing hit. She'd nearly taken a decent portion of the blast from the phaser. It thankfully hadn't been set to full kill, but it hurt like hell and had sheered right through her shirt leaving a badly burnt stretch of skin.
She stumbled but her race for the bridge continued, each stride causing a lance of pain to shoot through her arm. 'Hang in there, Charley!'
She might actually make this. A second hit grazed her right side just above her waste, but she powered through.
Their fire was getting closer and closer. One blast shot a hole through the loose jacket but avoided hitting her person. Another singed the edges of her boot. She felt the heat of one whiz past her hand, but it left no mark.
Charlotte fired, taking out a man who had been on the bridge, sending his body tumbling into the pool below.
She saw it coming, but there was no time to avoid it. A blazing red bolt of phaser fire came out of one of the surrounding buildings and struck her left leg, midway through the thigh. Her mind comprehended the hit in a flash, giving her the unpleasant reality of feeling the bolt pass clean through her leg in excruciating accuracy. With a cry of pain, she collapsed to the ground, unable to stay standing. The small decorative wall caught a blast that undoubtably would have finished her off.
For a moment, she could do nothing other than writhe in pain. The blast had at least grazed the bone. She knew that based on the horrific signals the leg was sending to her brain. But if she stayed here any longer, she'd be killed for sure. She felt the anger surge into her. She wasn't about to let these things win. With a furious determination, she crawled forward, each movement causing a bolt of pain from one of her various wounds. But she pushed forward.
She crossed the threshold onto the bridge, sending a red bolt into the face of a guard who'd been waiting there. Forcing herself to her feet, she leaned against the wall of the bridge, using it to scoot herself toward the middle. The phaser fire seemed to stop briefly as they repositioned. She took down two as the rounded to try and enter the bridge from behind her. After several excruciating moments of movement, she made it to the halfway point of the bridge. Several guards had taken positions at the bottom of the bridge where she couldn't hit them. Others were peppering the bridge with fire from the two banks of the pool.
The effort was draining her fast. She wasn't going to be able to keep going like this. But she didn't need to. In front of her, stood a large United Federation of Planets emblem, carved from the same concrete they'd construted the bridge from. "You'll need to forgive me for this," she said to the logo with a look of regret.
A few phaser blasts struck the base, causing the large stone emblem to begin to teeter. One final blast eroded its base enough for gravity to do the rest.
As the large stone emblem collapsed, it took out a portion of the wall with it, clearing a path off the bridge. In front of her was a stretch of open air, the pool visible even through the fractured concrete wall. Charlotte launched herself forward, every bit of control harnessed to keep her leg from collapsing. Her foot met the base of the emblem statue, then the emblem itself, and then she launched herself forward over the edge. Only the water was visible below her, with phaser fire erupting behind her.
Her arms spread to the side before bringing them into a point as she pencil dived into the water below. The roaring phaser fire was suddenly consumed by the rushing sound of water as she shot into it from meters into the air, piercing lower and lower. She propelled herself forward with her arms, decending deeper. Her lungs screamed. The water above her was a torrent of bright red. There was no other path. Even as the pressure built, she kicked with the leg that hadn't given out and pushed herself deeper. 'Come on, Defiant!'
Her body convulsed, desperate for air, and it took all she could to not succumb to the urge. She drifted deeper, deeper. Her eyes couldn't stay open any longer. She clasped her hands to her mouth and nose to keep her body from drowning itself. And that's where she remained for what felt like ages. Her mind understood that it was likely mere seconds, but it felt like days. Consciousness slipped from her grasp and she felt her hands slide away with it as she was surrounded in the warm, bright embrace of unconsciousness.
The warm bright and surprisingly noisy embrace of unconsciousness. And drier than she expected. It was the impact of her head against something hard and metallic that really woke her from her stupor.
She rolled over, coughing up a ton of water onto the transporter pad, blinking desperately to clear her vision. The room was only at partial power, due to the state of the vessel, but it was unmistakable. She was home.
She gave herself a moment to rest, groaning audibly at the roaring pain throughout her body. But it was honestly so intense, her mind couldn't really comprehend it and it felt oddly numb. She staggered over to the transporter terminal, pulling herself into the chair. It was time to bring her people home too. Preferably including some medical staff.