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Reaching safety, Pt 2

Posted on 19 Oct 2022 @ 5:09pm by Lieutenant Commander Harva Taliborn & Lieutenant Commander Cintia Sha'mer

2,291 words; about a 11 minute read

Mission: A New Frontier
Location: USS Odin, Engineering

She still found herself panting trying to keep up. By now she was more or less running on the remnants of adrenaline, battle mode and pure willpower and there were limits to those things. Still, she knew from experience that she would keep going until the situation was resolved or until something more drastic happened to take her down.

So far, so good. But she still steeled herself when they reached Engineering. It was more than a little annoying that she was unable to sense the intruders, and brought home just how much she relied on those extra senses. "Stand clear of the doors. If there is one of those things inside they might reach out as soon as it opens." She leaned against the wall and raised the rifle so that if something came out, she would have a clear shot.

"Good idea," Harva agreed, sending his two engineers to the other side of the door, in a much less efficient and practised manner than Sha had seen done before, this day. When they were in position he pressed the button to open the door, taking a breath for a moment, then calling out. "It's us! Don't shoot!"

When a reply came he finally stepped around the corner into a busy engineering. "Now, Commander, I'm no medic, but I can take a look at that leg of yours. See if I can't get that thing out and run a dermal regenerator over the wound, if you want me to."

Sha'mer followed the group inside once it was clear that there was no danger and found another bulkhead to lean against, trying to stay out of the way of where people were working. She looked up at Harva. "Dermal regenerators, or actually, any type of regenerators don't work on me, that's why I got stuck with that brace to begin with. But if you could get that tentacle out, that'd be great." Maybe that would solve the numbness too. Over time she had grown used to the pain, sort of. This was a whole new sensation and she didn't like it much.

"I can try," he mused. "If you sit down, leg flat, I'll see what I can do. But I'm also worried about the risk of bleeding - right now that thing is keeping the blood in. If I pull it out I might not only tear tendons or muscles, but also open up a hole for your blood to run out. Most I can do here it put a bandage on, if a dermal regenerator doesn't work," he explained. "But you know yourself better than I do, and I'll follow your recommendation."

"The leg is pretty messed up already, I don't think you can make it much worse," Sha'mer said with perhaps dangerous optimism. Through in truth she didn't care much about the long-term effects. Right now she just wanted to get rid of that obscene thing, there would be plenty of time to worry about the long-term effects later. "Bandage works. Uh…" she looked a bit uncertain. "Could you maybe help me sit down?"

"Sure. Here, hold on to my arm," he offered, helping her down. "Parker, can you get me a good amount of bandages and desinfectants?" he called out, sending another engineer on a quest for materials.

"The sort of advantage is that you don't need any local anasthetics," Sha'mer murmured. She glanced at the piece of metal sticking out of her thigh with disgust. Silver-grey rings stacked on another, or one long spiral, with one frayed end. The grasping appendages were still stuck inside. Dark green splatters of dried blood. She shivered.

Harva gently tested the metal piece, nudging it, trying to twist it - gently at first, then a bit firmer - carefully feeling how stuck it was and gauging her reaction. "I'll once again express concern that pulling it out may just cause more damage," he told her, looking her firmly in the eye.

There was no pain. There was still no pain, there was no sensation whatsoever. It was strange, it allowed her to look at it now with almost clinical detachment, as if the limb in which the tentacle was stuck didn't belong to her at all. Rationally, though, she knew it did, and Harva's warning made sense. Red lights still winked on and off, letting them know that the emergency was far from over. Right now, Sha'mer was, well, not exactly in fighting shape, but at least useful. If Harva did yank it out and it tore through major blood vessels, to name just one bad scenario, it might well take her out altogether. She didn't want that. She couldn't afford to, not until this situation was resolved. "If it's too stuck, do you think you can cut off the bit that's sticking out and leave the rest in until someone in sickbay can get it out?"

"Yeah no, I'm not gonna pull that out by force. It's stuck in there good, it got bone. If I tear that out I'd break your femur," Harva sat back, frowning. "Yeah I can cut away the excess, at least leave you somewhat mobile. How's the brace holding up?" he asked, voice low and sonorous, as he sat about cutting away the uniform around the wound.

"It's locked. I'll be able to keep moving as long as it stays that way." She'd have to keep dragging the leg around like a dead weight but at least she would be able to stand on it.

Sha'mer closed her eyes for a moment and rubbed her face. Post-combat fatigue was trying to set in again, but she wouldn't let it. Not until those red lights stopped winking. Maybe nothing would happen at all, maybe within the next few moments something would try to chew its way through a bulkhead or door to make directly for the warp core – or any of the engineers working here. Harva. "Just do what you can. Once there is time for it, I'm sure someone in Medical can cut out the rest. I'm sure on the triage list it's a very low priority." It was at least on her personal triage list.

"Probably, yeah. Let's hope it doesn't get to the point of triage," he muttered. "Thing is though, I'm not medical. I'm an engineer," Harva rumbled as he set about cleaning the area around the wound, desinfecting it. "That means I solve problems. And right now, this is a problem. We need you mobile again," as he calmly worked, speaking in a somewhat slow, concentrated tone, to keep her mind busy. He noticed the fatigue trying to set in, and wanted her focused.

"I was mobile with that thing sticking out, but it will definitely improve when it isn't." If only because the dangling piece of metal was a visible distraction. Sha'mer wasn't directly worried about infections, at least not coming from the tentacle itself. Of course, the fact that the open wound was a direct pathway could be a problem in time, but it certainly wasn't an immediate one. "So cut off what you can, slap a bandage on it, and I'll be good to go for now." Though she could do with a cup of raktajino about now. It wasn't exactly that she would murder for one, just maybe some GBH. Preferably aimed at those tentacle things. If one right now stood between her and a damping mug, the creature wouldn't stand a chance.

"Mmhm. So brave. That's denial speaking," he mused, still concentrating on the job, now that the injury has been desinfected on both sides, he could start bandaging. "I'm gonna do the job as good as I can, and you'll be thankful for it. That's just how it works." Honestly he was just making conversation, giving her something to latch on to. He knew how it felt when adrenaline wore off. "Someone get the commander something to drink!" he called out. "Something warm!"

"Nothing brave about it, just practical. There'll be time enough to worry about it once the cr- current situation is over." She knew from bitter experience just how much time there would be. "And I'm most certainly grateful. For cutting off that thing and for that drink. Preferably something with caffeine in it." Being not quite human, the stuff didn't have the same effect on her as it did on them, but it gave the drink a bit of a bite and it was those little things which helped.

"The whole 'Oh don't worry about me, just do the minimal required and I'm fine' thing is what I meant. That's triage talk. And we're neither in medical nor in triage," Harva muttered, as he continued to bandage her leg. Firm, tight, but not too tight. "Ah, thank you, Parker," as the latter handed Sha a hot double espresso.

"Now for this thing," as the big Sirran indicated the tentacle remnants. He placed a heat resistant pad on the bandage, with the tentacle remnants still sticking out, before pulling out a plasma torch. The torch - a device the size of a thick pen - then activated, a small, thin jet of plasma appearing on the tip, and he started cutting, about an inch above the heat resistant pad. "Now hold still. I don't want to slip while this thing is active."

Sha'mer cradled the cup between her hands, savouring the heat and the smell. Drinking would have to wait until Harva was done cutting. "I would prefer you not to slip as well." The rest of the debate could also wait until he was done. She held still and watched the torch and the large, steady hand which held it.

The cutting didn't take long. But then, if it'd been made from a very resistant material the creature wouldn't have blown up like that. "There we go. All done. I just don't have a lollypop to give you," he winked, rising to his full height and offering her a hand up.

Sha'mer grinned faintly. She took a few sips of espresso first, felt the hot fluid going down and settle in her stomach, where it gave a pleasant glowing feeling. Then she took Harva's hand again and stood. It took a moment or two to regain her balance. "Much better," she murmured when she could stand on her own again. "Thanks. And I preferred the coffee anyway."

"Right. Now that's done, what are you going to do? I don't know who's on tactical on the bridge, but I could remote you in if needed. You're also welcome to stay here for the duration of the red alert, or foraslong as is safe. I don't recommend you go out into the ship by yourself though," Harva's deep sonorous bass rumbled.

"Johnston," Sha'mer answered. "If you can get me an unallocated console, I can patch through and at least get a look of what is going on. I can always tap in if necessary. And I'll try to contact Commander Petrova, maybe she has an update for us." It would be nice to have a console or bulkhead to lean against, but Sha'mer didn't want to display any more weakness. It wasn't just the fatigue creeping up, it was the contradiction of sensations. She couldn't feel her leg, which gave her the feeling she couldn't stand on it either, but she still did. It made her feel off-balance.

Hold it together… She pressed one hand against the brace in an attempt to reassure her mind that everything was holding up like it was supposed to, touched the comm badge with the other. "Sha'mer to Commander Petrova."

"Petrova here!" came the shouted voice of the commander, to the background of intermittent phaser fire and people barking orders. "Kinda busy! What do you need?"

Well, those sounds told her more than anything that the situation was still far from resolved. "Sorry to disturb you, Commander, Sha'mer out." She continued without a break: "Computer. Give me Commander Petrova's location." If she was just around the corner, say within a few decks, that'd mean taking over from Tactical could be more dangerous than just staying here on alert in case anything came in. If those creatures were capable of sensing energy outputs, Engineering would make a prime target.

The computer listed a location several decks away and more towards the outside of the hull than the center, where Engineering was.

"Again, you're welcome to stay here until the situation's resolved, Commander," Harva offered. "I can't really spare anyone to go with you and in your current state would recommend against going out there on your own."

Sha'mer smiled thinly. "Believe me, Commander, I wasn't planning on going anywhere for now. The reason why I asked was to make sure that she's not fighting anything nearby. I would hate to have one of those critters catch us unaware, and I can't sense them. No early warning system. So, if you have a console for me, I can take a look at the situation out there."

"Sure, of course," Harva agreed, leading her over to a console near the back of Engineering. "Here, I'll use my login, that should give you remote access to any console on the ship for your own login for tactical tasks."

"Thanks." Sha'mer leaned against the console. Nimble fingers danced across the sleek surface. "And we're in business," she said. She linked in with the tactical console of the bridge, passive only for now, just enough to use the sensors and get an overview of the situation. The rest of Engineering around her faded away as she saw what was going on outside. "Well, fuck me."

Harva blinked. "What, here?"


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