Episode 4: Fires of Arcadia
Location: Water's Edge, Promenade Pier
Timeline: After "I Have a Bad Idea"
The stretch of pier ahead of them was shockingly quiet. Amelia was beginning to worry what all the parasites were up to if they weren't trying to consolidate control over Promenade Pier. Sure they'd run into a few guards. But the rest seemed oddly absent. The continuing phaser fire in the distance was a good indication that all was not quiet everywhere, but she still felt weirded out by their absence here.
She slithered back down off her perch, slinking to where the civilians and other Defiant officers had made it to. It was a large group, noticeable from a distance, and very exposed. They'd been moving from building to building so far, to avoid being outside for too long. But they'd reached a point where they'd have to cross a long open area. There were trees and other plants for cover, but nothing like the shops they'd been relying on. She didn't like having so many of them out in the open. But the Captain had been right. The only efficient enough transporter was on the Diplomatic Pier.
She snuck back behind the building with the rest of them, reporting to Lieutenant Lindholm. "Sir, it looks clear up ahead. But I can't know for certain. It's a long stretch of open area that we'll need to cross."
Elias nodded and pulled out his tricorder to scan the area. He couldn’t detect anything, but he didn’t fully trust the readings. He looked back at Amelia, “Any spots for cover?”
Amelia shook her head. “Not a lot. If stay close to the inner barrier, we’ll be harder to spot. But not much in the way of shelter. We’ll need to do this quickly.” She turned to the two medical officers. “How fast do you think we can move this group? I know we have some injuries.”
"How long is a piece of string?" Niamh answered, her smile sombre. She detached herself from the woman she'd been helping walk, made sure someone else would take her place, then made her way to the where Amelia and Elias were stood.
"I've given the most anxious a mild sedative to help keep them focussed, but those with physical injury are much more difficult to treat outside the sickbay. With our emergency medical kits, we can treat minor injury, but we're struggling to deal with the fractures and burns beyond pain management" the counsellor explained, feeling a tad out of her depth. She turned to Sheffield hoping she'd have a solution.
"If we had control over the transporters, I'd be using them to beam people into the Defiants medical bay," Andie said softly. "I believe though that we move them all together as much as possible. Splitting them up is not going to work. I will replicate bandages and splints for the broken bones and the like. This is a bar so, whiskey for the pain.. and as for burns, old fashioned Aloe Vera, also able to be replicated. Those who can walk will help us carry those who cannot. We will make stretchers and such."
Amelia nodded. “I’m happy to assist in any way possible.”
Elias nodded. He knew that tactically it would be better to go in small groups, but he also knew that the sooner these civilians could get to the Defiant's sickbay the safer they would be. He kept his phaser at the low ready while he re-checked the exterior of the bar, "Well, now is as good a time as any to get ready. Hopefully, they will have the transporter jammers down soon." He then looked to Dr. Sheffield, "How long do you need?"
She considered it. "20 or so"
The group was approaching the diplomatic pier but their progress had been very slow. Stretchers, crutches, and other tools ensured that it was a slow and uneasy voyage. But they were getting there. Amelia just worried they weren’t moving enough.
She’d just received word from Ensign Lafayette that they were approaching the transporter jammer, but it could still be some time before they actually could use the transporters. She’d heard nothing whatsoever from the captain, which worried her.
A glint of light along the distance caught her eye. After a moment’s surveying of the location through her binoculars, she reacted with alarm. “Shit!”
She slid back down and rejoined the group, approaching the higher officers to speak quietly and avoid a panic. “Lt. Lindholm, we potentially have incoming. I just spotted numerous station guards exiting an access tunnel and heading our way.”
Elias immediately turned to the column and signalled a halt. He motioned for everyone to find the nearest cover, then turned to Amelia, "How many and where?"
Amelia gestured in the direction they’d come from. “I didn’t get an exact count, but I’d estimate at least 8. Back along our path from Promenade Pier. We have a head start, but not a big one.”
Elias looked through the binoculars. He watched as the guards moved steadily towards their position, but they were still hidden. Elias cursed slightly as he looked around at their position. They were fairly exposed and would be better to be in a more defensible position. He looked at Amelia, "Have they disabled the transporter jammers yet?"
The young security officer shook her head. “Not yet, sir. They’re just moving into position now. It’ll likely be some time before we can use the transporters.”
While Amelia had briefed Elias, Niamh shamelessly eavesdropped, diverting her attention from the splint she was fashioning for one of the civilians. It didn't take her long to drop what she was doing and make her way over to the pair.
"Forgive me, I'm aware you're both much more qualified to plan our response, but I can't help thinking about how vulnerable we'll be should they find us" she observed. The only phasers within reach were secured firmly into the hands of the Starfleet personnel, and melee weapons would offer them no advantage so arming the able-bodied civilians was out of the question.
"We could provide cover for Doctor Sheffield?" The counsellor suggested, "set our phasers to maximum and barrage the heck out of their position with cover file whilst the Doctor guides them to the transporter pad..." she expected to be shot down, yet she couldn't help but feel that it was now, or never. She offered a tight smile to Amelia once she finished talking.
Amelia cocked her head. "Honestly, I'm not seeing a lot of alternatives. They'll catch us if we just keep running. Our best bet might be having those who are armed stay behind to keep the guards busy. If we're lucky, the Defiant team might be able to get us out of here before we're blown to hell. If not...well, we'll get a grand final stand." She looked at the medical officer. "Are you sure you want to stay with us though? I think you have a fair argument sticking with the crew."
"I have an even bigger one for sticking with the fireteam" Niamh replied, her tone absent of anything other than gratitude. It was hard to be accepted when it was clear Amelia was giving the counsellor a pass, " I'm Starfleet first, and our best shot of getting the civilians to safety is to provide as much coverage as we can, we can't do that if I'm playing sheepdog," she was dead set, she wouldn't be able to look herself in the mirror if the pair died covering her back.
Amelia laughed a little, though only at the stress of their potential sacrifice. She patted Niamh on the back. "You're pretty badass for a counsellor." She paused awkwardly. "...not that counsellors aren't inherently badass. I just meant..."
Niamh let out a genuine chuckle, "I know what you mean, Amelia. Thank you, but I'm afraid it pales in comparison to the pair of you," she replied, gesturing to Amelia and Elias, "This is a much more frequent dilemma for the pair of you"
Elias nodded as he took it in. He knew their situation wasn't the best, but he'd rather go out fighting rather than running. He looked back at the group of officers. "Well, I think I'm feeling a little 'Defiant' today," he said as he looked at his shipmates with a faint smile on his face. Elias liked to inject a little humour into tense situations. "So, our best chance is to head to the transporter room. Hopefully, by the time, we get there the jammers are disabled. Amelia, you go with the Doctor and make sure the transporter is clear, Niamh and I will stay behind here to hold them off. Contact us once you arrive and we will fall back. Hopefully, the transporters are working and we can beam away. If not, it's a good thing the transporter room only has one way in."
Amelia looked around for a moment. She was being told to leave the last stand that her new friend had just talked herself into. She did not like the idea of that, but an order was an order. "Uh...," she hesitated for a moment. "Yes, sir. I'll make sure they get to safety. Doctor Sheffield, if you're ready, we should head out."
Niamh felt a brief flash of anxiety at the thought of being separated from Amelia, she'd drawn comfort from the fact the pair had remained together and had made it this far together without dying. The mission came first though, so she tucked it away.
She simply nodded as Elias spoke to Andiem fiddling with her phaser to look busy.
Elias watched the group leave then returned his attention to the approaching guards. He knew that whoever fired first in a firefight more often than not was the victor. He also knew that the infected guards didn't stick to traditional tactics. If they were quick enough, Elias and Niamh could even the odds in their favor. He looked at the counselor for a moment, "So, if the firing gets heavy just stay down. If we can hold them off for just a little bit, we will soon be back aboard the ship."