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I'm Your Huckleberry Pt. 1

Posted on Tue Oct 12th, 2021 @ 5:24pm by Captain Akiva ben-Avram & Lieutenant JG Jaya Maera Garlake & Ensign Nandi Chakma & Lieutenant Colonel Storr Garlake & Commander Arianna Frost & Calderon Jarsdel

Mission: S1E5: Symphony of Horror
Location: Deep Space 9
Timeline: MD 3

The gang of six made their way out of the state wardroom and into the fray. Most of the shops and establishments in the famous DS9 Promenade were locked down with bodies fallen in what had already proven to be a deadly firefight. Most of the combat seemed isolated around the bend toward Quark's, as evidenced by a shrieking Ferengi who ran toward them with a missing ear. A phaser blast caught him in the back and planted him straight onto his face, never to move again.

"Anybody know which way to the Infirmary?" Akiva asked. "We don't want to head the wrong way."

"I do believe it is on the outer portion of the Promenade's lower level," Nandi offered from behind him, "near Quark's."

Akiva sighed. "Great..."

"There may be another option aside from shooting our way through the thick of the fight." Jaya pointed out to the upper level. "Most stations are equipped with emergency Turbolifts which connect runabout pads and ship berths directly to the station Infirmary. If we can access the medical 'lifts, then maybe we can get to the Infirmary that way?"

An explosion on the level above them followed by what sounded suspiciously like a lift plummeting down a shaft seemed to answer Nandi's question. Screams cemented the vivid scenes that would have been going on behind the bulkhead door.

"Of bloody course..." Arianna muttered as she took cover behind a piece of debris that had been blown out from a nearby shop. "Okay folks, the hard way it is!" She announced. "Cal, I'll need you to call it out as we go, we need to be quick but stay in cover as best we can."

"Wait wait wait," Storr barked before the group could disperse. "Thanks to Jaya I'm not bleeding out and we have other pressing objectives, namely the Admirals. As much as I don't want to admit it, their rescue is the priority here." Looking at the ragtag group, he continued. "We should do a quick LACE check before heading anywhere...don't want to get caught with our pants down halfway to the objective." Garlake even managed to waggle an eyebrow at his wife though somehow even that hurt. While LACES (Liquid, Ammo, Casualty, and Equipment was a basic small unit job, it allowed everyone to "wind their watch" and get their minds out of the immediate issue to do a quick inventory before returning to the task, hopefully with better focus and an ability to concentrate on the problem at hand rather than panicking or zoning in on a small or inconsequential detail.

"I've got no water, 13 charges in my rifle, no reloads, I can somewhat walk, and no comms or sensors. Who's got better?"

Arianna checked the charge on her rifle. "10 charges, no water, no emergency rations and my shots are mediocre at best. I agree that the Admirals are our priority but we can't go after them the way we are either. With respect, Colonel, we're down our best combatant, you" she indicated towards Storr, "and we are endangering Doctor Garlake if we take her with us." Arianna then indicated towards Jaya. "No offense. Go after the Admirals, yes, but not as we are."

"See here," Akiva said, asserting himself. "We need help, Storr. You need help. And we need to get you help so you can help us. The Infirmary is the best place to get you help along with possible reinforcements. I don't see any other option, soldier, so... so move on out..." He trailed off for a moment, then added, "Or... or I'll have you relieved of duty."

The almost absurd awkwardness of the delivered order made Arianna look over her shoulder. "Really? That's what you've got?" She thought, blinking, using all of her willpower not to comment aloud or grimace at it.

Storr's mouth gaped open and shut, like a fish out of water. Never in their long friendship had Akiva pulled rank on the Marine and while the Hebron's thought process wasn't wrong, the way he went about communicating it threw the Afrikaner for a loop and a half. He stayed silent and simply nodded, not wanting to draw out the embarrassing situation.

He'd not spoken while the others traded views and coping strategies. Cal had been performing a search of his own - one of those minds still alive and conscious. He didn't chime in with Storr's request for inventory either, busy stealing the last few dregs of data and insight from the dying and a couple of extra weapons from those within close physical proximity. Hand weapons. A PADD. Images burned into fading brains held more information than his recall of the station layout, and one offered a chance at a diversion route. A back door.

"We go this way," Cal said, matter-of-factly, divvying up any extra weaponry, low on charge as it might be. "But you gotta trust me."

With so many things happening at once and so much at stake, Akiva felt a brief flash of indecision. He looked at Jaya, his oldest confidant, with a silent plea for advice.

"Maybe we should listen to Cal," she said. "His instincts haven't been wrong yet."

Akiva nodded. "Very well. Mister Calderon will take the lead." He slid his arm beneath Storr and took up the man's weight on his own shoulder. The effort took a grunt from him. Though Akiva had always been a man of labor, perhaps these last months had made him a little soft. "We'll assess our next move from the Infirmary."

Arianna nodded, "I'll take the rear then. Whatever we decide to do we need to do it sooner rather than later." She said as she moved past Cal, Akiva and Nandi. Much as she hated to think it, they needed to deposit some of the team in a safe spot in order to go after Admirals Tau and Nyel. Jaya, Nandi...and Akiva needed to stay safe whole the rest of them went on the hunt.

What awaited those that would go after the Admirals was just as likely to be a one way street as it was a successful rescue. In fact the odds on the former were at the moment higher.

Frost was a decent combatant, though the longer the range of the target, the higher the chance that she could miss. From what she had read of the incident at Overwatch during the Venus mission, Jarsdel was a formidable, if not vicious opponent should he let his inner Lethean loose. Then again, could they get him contained again if they let him loose?

There was no time to contemplate that nor to test that theory. They barely had time to get to the Infirmary to try and patch Colonel Garlake up. Having him up and running increased their chances a good deal.

Cal didn't waste any time, but shifted forwards and sent out a general sense of Somebody Else's Problem (TM) to all the minds around them.

Then he stalwartly guided the ragtag bunch in a crooked pathway back through the 'Jupiter Mining Corporation' Offices - which only required moving a couple of bodies to the side and the swift application of force to an internal door - then left into 'Milliways' restaurant which was a colourful mess even without the current violence going on around them. A good few well-placed shots aided substantially by high-functioning telepathy, solved a few of their potential opposition problems as they moved, and he relied on Frost to cover their rear. After a few tense moments, some definitely unfair deaths and a guided marksmanship, Cal brought the little troop out into a open, planned mirror walled, brightly lit gymnasium. No one was working out, though some heavy breathing suggested some were using the space as a refuge.

From here they could see the Surgery and Infirmary signs from the opposite side of the concourse from Quarks, but there was still a path across open ground to navigate.

Before they could form any plan of action, though, the battle spilled into the gymnasium from the outer promenade. Blasters long expended, the fighting had devolved into hand-to-hand. Trills and Ferengi were fighting one another with the numbers in favor of the Trills but a large Nausicaan enforcer helping tip the scales back in favor of Quark's Ferengi.

Engaging in the fray, whilst the likely right thing to do, exposed the team to possible further injuries, or worse. They couldn't afford either at the moment. What they needed to do was use the fray to slip by and finally get to Sickbay.

"Cal, we need to go! Now!" Arianna said as she ducked behind a support structure.

But Cal got tackled by the burly Nausicaan who evidently couldn't tell him apart from a Trill.

He hadn't expected that. Psionics didn't protect a soul from every damn thing, and sometimes the randomness of free combat won those moments. Sometimes they just dumped you to the floor hard on your back underneath a weighty brute and hurled the air from your lungs before you could react with cool showmanship. Cal's exhale stopped short at the Nausicaan's upper chest and he reached insode for a mental retaliation....

Storr grunted. Pain was starting to return in firey jabs and he could tell Akiva was becoming weary under the burly man's weight. Now was not the time to dawdle; unholstering his phaser from his leather belt, Garlake took quick aim and fired three rapid bursts into the brawling, ugly mercenary's back. Two meters of flesh spasmed and finally laid still, his rhythmic breathing nearly as loud as the gym's air intakes. Cal didn't seem worse for wear other than needing to shimmy his way out from under the stunned Nausicaan.

"Cal!" Nandi squealed as she broke ranks and rushed to Cal's side to help him back to his feet.

"Uuuuffff," returned Cal gracelessly as his lungs were once again allowed to fully inflate. "Thanks, Nandi. M'okay," he gasped, then, right hand free of Nandi's assistance, he fired discriminately into the fray ahead of them.

"Keep moving," Storr both commanded and pled, the lights of the infirmary glowing brightly and just as quickly dimming in his vision. He needed to stay conscious if he was going to be of any use to them and delays were not to be brokered.

"What he said," agreed Cal. From his recovered mind a clear and simple thought spread swiftly outwards to catch up in any waking minds beyond their own beleaguered little party. One vision. One image. One strong certainty.

In those messy minds, the simplicity grabbed at primal strings of brain matter and screamed to Trill, Ferengi and Nausicaan alike.

THE FLOOR IS LAVA!

Cal shifted to steal Akiva's position in helping Storr, adjusting his own stance so that he and the Marine could both fire as they picked up the pace as fast as their slowest colleague could cover the distance.

"Go! Go! Go!" Arianna called, turning to cover the sides as the group behind them grew busier with whatever Cal had implanted in their mind. Whatever it was it wasn't going to last long and there was still the matter of the gauntlet they needed to cross before they were maybe at a relative safety.

There was half a team left from Station Security caught in a firefight with entrenched TLA guerillas. The Ferengi had been a useful distraction, but they were glorified bouncers for Quark's bar--they lacked the battlefield training to keep them from being spread thin and whittled away by attrition.

The Senior Chief in gold took one look at the huddle of officers, ranging from Ensign to Captain, and eyed the wounded colonel in particular. Obviously, they were headed to the Infirmary.

"We got another batch!" the chief called out to his two remaining squadmates. "Lay down covering fire!"

Without another word, the three Security officers changed their shots from slow and precise to wide and suppressive. The Trill rebels took cover.

"Let's go!" Akiva ordered, not wanting to waste the opportunity.

Weaving through the phaser fire seemed like a fool's errand but they had little choice; the security team was laying down as much suppressing and covering fire as they could so this was their chance. Garlake nodded to Akiva and leaned forward, half walking, half falling, half propelling his assistants towards the sanctuary ahead of them. He only hoped it would be enough.

The doors of the Infirmary let out a whoosh of air as it hissed by them. Pressurization ensured the room's air was clean from the stench of warfare that had begun to fill the Promenade. Two Security non-rates lowered their weapons when they saw the Starfleet uniforms.

"We need a medic!" Akiva shouted to the crowd of people. "Colonel Garlake suffered a wound that..." He trailed off as he realized he lacked the specific details.

Jaya piped up. "I applied a tourniquet and cauterized a nick in his right femoral artery with his combadge and a phaser. The object needs to be removed and the arterial wound properly staunched."

"Damn, that's some crafty fieldwork," Came a distinct southern drawl from an older, sandy haired male who carried the rank of Lieutenant Commander, decked in a teal uniform with a teal overcoat. "Doctor Hunley, I'm from the Apache that's stranded outside. Got stuck in here when the FUBAR started. Let's get the big guy on a biobed and see what we can do, anyone else need attention?" he asked as he and a nurse walked over to take Storr over to the biobed with Jaya in tow.

Cal waited his turn, then as the Colonel's weight was removed from his care, winced and looked over his left shoulder for confirmation. Yup - charred and as painful as it looked - someone had got lucky. "If you just check me out, think I took a hit to my back," Cal told the Doc, an ashamed look on his face at that fact, but if by way of some consolation, if he'd moved then that hit would have been taken by Storr. "Nothing serious..." he added on an exhale, hoping that was more accurate than the rabble's marksmanship.

"Get him on bio bed three and get Shesok in here!" Hunley instructed the two medics as he and a burlier med tech helped Storr.

"I am here, Doctor Hunley." The Vulcan Shesok appeared out of the crowd to assist Cal. "This way."

"I...I think I could use a seat," Nandi said breathlessly. Two nurses took her by the arms and helped her to one of the few vacant chairs and began confirming her vitals.

Arianna meanwhile stepped over to one of the non rated security officers. "What's the situation?"

"We don't know, sir. The Chief just told us to guard the door, that's what we've done," said the taller of the non rates.

Frost sighed. "Thanks. Keep up the good work boys."

"Yes, Commander!" the two replied in unison and resumed their focus.

"Captain, a word?" Frost then stepped over to Akiva, pulling him to the side a little by the elbow. "While the Colonel is being tended to we need to get a beat on the situation and locate the Admirals. The Senior Chief is securing point outside, I'll go talk to him, you're an Engineer, what do you suggest we do in lieu of comms or sensors?"

This was definitely not how she wanted to have a word with the man. Nor the visit she had in mind when they'd talked weeks ago now. She also knew she was teetering on overstepping the boundaries of respect and authority between a Commander and Captain, however at the moment, the two of them were the unburdened and clear headed ones...mostly.

Running a hand over his hair which then gripped the back of his neck, Akiva surveyed the Infirmary and did his best to make an assessment. This was not his duty station. He knew next to nothing about it. Even after 20 years of Bajoran possession of Deep Space 9, the infrastructure and internal construction was still decidedly Cardassian. While Akiva could theoretically figure out a number of passthroughs and workarounds on a Nor-class Cardassian station that had been retrofitted with Federation technology, it would take the one resource they did not have. Time.

"Well, I was never an Engineer per se," Akiva began, "at least not in the classical sense. But power transfer systems and communication arrays all generally follow the same principles with a few exceptions. I suppose while you debrief what's left of station security in this section I can peruse a terminal and get the lay of the land."

Arianna nodded, "we should see if we can identify other pockets of resistance as well, connect with them to form a coordinated defense and maybe a retake of the station. But Admirals and that spotted witch first."

She pulled her rifle up and quickly checked its power coil. "Alright, see you soon." With a small nod to Akiva, she stepped back to the door, rifle ready.

As she doubled back toward the Security team who'd given them cover, Akiva's eyes lingered just a little too long on her back before he shook his head. "Hey," he called out to the doctor, "do any these consoles contain technical schematics for the station?"

 

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