Bringing some tactical experience
Episode 4: Fires of Arcadia
Location: Reinforced Bar, Promenade Pier, Starbase Arcadia
Timeline: Prior to “I have a Bad Idea”
The simulated sunset cast a orangish-pink glow across the deserted Promenade Pier. Claire Lafayette was on watch, surveying the pier and looking for those who were still wandering. Numerous individuals were still moving about, clearly not certain what was going on after the red alert. However, one man, of very large build, seemed to be approaching their location. Slinking further into the building, to avoid drawing attention by her movement, she searched for the helmsman. Most of the senior staff had gathered with the Captain to discuss next moves, but a few, including Dante, had remained to calm the crowd and watch for threats.
Tapping Dante on the shoulder, she gestured toward the window. “Dante, I think we’ve got incoming. Not sure if he’s one of the parasites or not. But he’s big. Could be a problem if he’s a threat.”
Looking through the window, keeping low to keep from presenting too large of a target, he instantly picked out the bulky man approaching the window. "Too soon to tell, but I don't think he's infected. He's moving far to cautiously. The ones we've come across that have the parasites seem more sure of themselves. I think it's because they are so much stronger...", he said.
"In any case, we should watch him, and we need to scan him as soon as possible. Is he showing up on your tricorder yet?", he asked.
The redhead shook her head. “Nothing yet. He’s a life sign. Displaying as human. But I won’t know if he’s infected until he gets closer.” She looked out at him, hoping Dante was right. “Should I greet him? Might be good to keep you hidden, just in case.”
"That might be a good idea. But I'm not going to be far. I'm not comfortable putting you in that situation without me close enough to actually be of some help.", Dante replied. "I'll take up a position just this side of the door, and I'll have this ready.", he added, holding up the phaser in his left hand.
“Good,” she said with a nervous smile about her little tactic. “I’d prefer to keep you nearby too.”
When the alert sounded, Colby moved quickly towards the bar, hoping to find shelter. He had his phaser with him.
From the doorway, a red headed woman appeared. She was dressed poorly for a crisis. She wore a relatively skimpy blue dress, slightly torn for more mobility. And she was barefoot. Clearly she’d not been planning on a crisis situation taking place. She called out to him in a cautious voice. “You there. Identify yourself. Keep your weapons at your side.”
Colby looked at the red head wearing a skimpy dress. He held his weapon by his side, at the ready. "I'm looking for a safe place to stay...not crazy about being out here in the open. My name is Colby Pierce. I'm an officer on a Federation starship. And you are?" Colby slowly walked towards the wall of the bar, trying to keep some defense between them.
Claire looked at the man cautiously for a moment. She held her tricorder, waiting for its reply. After a moment's pause, it finally read. The man was not infected. She sighed with relief. "Claire Lafayette. I'm a science officer aboard the Defiant. Sorry for the paranoia, but we can't take chances right now. And since you don't have one of those things in your head, you're welcome to get some shelter with us."
"Defiant? I'm assigned to the Defiant. Security officer. Hadn't had time to even report in when this alert happened." Colby starting walking towards the door. "Hey beautiful, your boyfriend hiding behind the door holding a phaser at me....does he know I'm okay?"
Claire looked confused for a second. “Oh!” She knocked on the door. “Dante, he’s clear.” While she waited for her companion to emerge, she looked around the surrounding area. “It’s just you I assume? If anyone else is with you, we’re going to need to verify that they’re not infected with those...things.”
Stepping away from the wall and lowering the phaser Dante nodded. "Sorry about that. Had to be sure.", he said. "Come on in, get out of the doorway, it's not exactly safe there.", he added, motioning the new guy further into the shelter.
Colby walked into the bar and looked around. "How many of us are there in here?"
Claire regarded him skeptically. She knew her tricorder had confirmed he wasn't infected, but she still felt on edge. Another win for the parasites. "Almost the entire senior staff has made it by now. And quite a few civilians." Claire turned to him looking him over. "You said you were assigned to Defiant. Where were you coming from?"
Colby went to the bar and got himself a drink. "My transport arrived about 30 minutes before the alert. I wasn't suppose to report in till morning, so I decided to have a look around. This place is fantastic, I was enjoying myself, and then the alert was sounded. I checked and saw that there were shelters located in key spots, so I headed to here. Came across a dead security officer, so I took his phaser and his extra power packs. Some strange people chased me awhile, but I lost them." He drained his glass then got himself another drink. "What about you?"
The woman was a little surprised by the relaxed nature with which he just pulled out a drink. She'd been a bit too high strung to even consider such a thing. Maybe it would have calmed her down...or dulled her reflexes. She decided against taking part. "We were walking the pier when the alert went off. Saw a firefight break out in the diplomatic pier. Made our way back here and have been holed up ever since. The Captain was actually caught up in that chaos. Had to fight her way out of there."
Dante nodded in agreement from where he stood beside Claire. "So far as we can tell all the excitement seems to be clustered around the diplomatic quarter and the command tower. We haven't seen much this far out.", he replied.
Colby tossed back the last of his drink and placed the glass on the bar. "So the fighting appears to be around the diplomatic area." He looked around the room. "Then may I ask a question? Junior officer to senior officer?"
"By all means, Ensign.", Dante replied, curious to know where the other man was going to go with his question.
"With all due respect, sir, if the fighting is down at the diplomatic area...then why are we here instead of supporting our fellow officers?"
Dante raised an eyebrow at the question, he had to hand it to the guy, he wasn't shy, and he admired that. "I can give you two fairly sound reasons. One, at the time the situation broke out I had absolutely no valid information to go on. Running into a situation like what was going on at that time with only myself, and Ensign Lafayette would have been extremely unwise, and would likely have served no purpose other than to get ourselves captured, injured, or killed.", he said, pausing to let the man consider his words for a moment or two before continuing on.
"And secondly, because that blonde lady over there with the face that tells you she's dealing with what is likely the worst day in her life is our commanding officer, and ordered us to stay where we were until she could reach us.", he added.
Colby straightened up, feeling like he's just been slapped down by a senior officer. "Understood, sir!" He walked over to one of the windows and stood sentry duty. He checked his phaser, checked for his extra power packs, then watched the area.
Giving Claire a confused look Dante glanced after the other man. "I'll be right back.", he told her and followed him.
As he approached he spoke, "Ensign, I'm sorry if what I said was upsetting to you, I didn't mean what I said as a rebuke. I actually like your up front nature. It will serve you well, once you've gotten a little bit more experience. Believe it or not I used to be a lot like you. That being said this is a stressful time for everyone, and I promise you, we are going to do out part to make sure this situation is resolved. Can you trust me on that?", he asked.
"Sir, I was not upset. Nor did I take it as a rebuke. I just wanted to help defend the station against these attacker's." Colby looked at Rawlins. "I never feel stress, sir. And, of course, I trust you sir."
Claire had followed Dante over. She gave him a sympathetic look. “I understand the frustration of being here while others are in danger though. I’m useless in a fight and even I want to help them. But we might be the only crew on the station who know what’s going on. I think the Captain wants our actions to be as deliberate as possible. You can talk with her once she’s out of the meeting.”
Colby nodded at Claire. "Please understand, I don't go looking for fights, but I also will not run from them either. I am a security officer. I know it's my duty to put myself between the crew and danger. If anyone has to die, let it be me. I am not afraid of death."
Dante gave the other man a frown, "Fear of death is what is going to serve you best, Ensign. Not to be too blunt, but false bravado, and a willingness to throw your life away is about as far as you can get from what a security officer needs to accomplish their job. I am not in command here, but I'm going to tell you this much, that woman right there,", he said, pointing to Captain Reynolds, "does not want you throwing your life away needlessly. She is going to give you tasks, and every single one of them is going to be with the thought in mind of you, and all the rest of us making it back alive if at all possible." he finished.
When he was done he turned and walked away before he said anything further. It wasn't his desire to upbraid anyone, especially someone not even in his department, but he'd been in a situation before where he'd seen an officer with the exact same attitude towards their duty give up their life for no reason, and that still haunted him. It had been pointless, senseless, and had devastated the officer in charge of the mission because if she'd just listened to his orders she'd have gone back to the ship along with everyone else. Instead they'd had to bury her on an alien world, alone. It had been more than five years, and it still stung just to think about that shuttle trip back up to the ship with the xo sitting silently in the copilots chair next to him. He hadn't spoken, but the pain was evident. He never wanted to have to see that again, and he'd do whatever it took to try to ensure that.
Claire didn't disagree with Dante's statement, but she figured she could lighten the impact a little. She spoke up softly. "Dante's just trying to look out for you," Claire said. She'd only met the man this afternoon, but he seemed to be going out of his way to keep the crew safe. A lot of us have lost people. There's a good chance we're losing people as we speak. We don't need anyone taking one for the team."
"I don't have a death wish, if he thinks that he's wrong. I want to live until I'm 150, in bed with my 30 year old mistress." He looks at Claire. "I know my job. I have to protect the captain, crew and ship. I know I have to keep everyone out of harm's way. And I know that I may have to take a bullet for the captain. I've made my peace with that."
"I understand," Claire said. "By the way, looks like the Captain is out of her meeting. You may want to go introduce yourself." She gestured across the room at the blonde woman, currently pouring over a layout of the station.
He nodded to Claire. "Thank you." He walked towards the captain, noticed she was an attractive woman. "Captain. Ensign Colby Pierce reporting."
Captain Reynolds looked up from the station layout. “Ensign. I’m sorry to have to meet you in a situation like this. We...uh...we’ve had our hands full. As I’m sure you can tell.” She brushed the hair out of her face and sighed, sitting back for a moment.
"No need for apologies, ma'am. I understand the current situation completely. I just wanted to report in, and if I can be of any help or assistance, I am ready to follow your orders to the letter. I offer tactical as well as security experience. I can support any situation, assault, interdiction as well as sniper."
"Understood," Charlotte said with a nod. "For the time being, I think I need you defending the civilians and noncombat crew. I'll call on you when the time comes."
Colby nodded. "Understood ma'am. You can count on me." He turned and headed back to the windows and took up a position to watch the street.