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Crisis #04 | Crane Malfunction

Crisis #04 | Crane Malfunction [Attn: Lieutenant Eve Jenkins]

Despite the fact that the enemy had withdrawn, the situation had turned even worse.

Ash and coarser debris from the volcanic eruptions were sweeping across the valley. It was called tephra, a hellish shower composed of fragments of magma or rock that had been blown apart by gas expansion and had begun to bombard the ground. The hot rock and sheets of ash caused the roofs of the modular shelters to collapse, endangering whatever people who tired to escape harm there. It added a thickness to the air, causing respiratory problems and clogging machinery. The detonations far up the mountainsides were even sending massive boulders miles wide of the eruptions.

[Nurse Jenkins, this is Thea, can you hear me?] It was barely that the Ship AI's voice could be heard from the combadge. [One of the cranes on my hull was hit by stone and I cannot bypass its controls remotely to release the docking clamps.] Her first sentence over the comm system was punctuated by another tremor in the ground, which made the entire towering Theurgy-class starship shift on its landing gears. Sheets of ash came down over the area, and more debris from the eruptions crashed into the ground just ahead.

[There are two crew members still up there, but neither will answer my hails, and nor will they release the clamps. I believe they may be injured, but I cannot transport them out of there. Their badges must have been broken as the crane was hit, or they left their shelters without them. You could use yours to extract them if you can get close to them both at the same time.] High above, faint screaming could be heard, and if one might lood up upon the aforementioned crane - which was tilted away from the hull - you could see a tiny arm waving from the smashed cockpit. [Yet unless the crane is detached, we will have a severe hull breach during take-off. As far as I know right now, you are the only Medical Officer available that is not at the collapsed Triage Centre.]

Time was running short. The whole valley would break open soon, the volcanoes would smite them from the mountains, and the Theurgy could not safely take off with the crane still attached to it.

[Please, may I arrange for the site-to-site Transport?]

OOC: Searcher, please leave your post open-ended as to what Eve witnesses up there, if you chose to have Eve command the transport to be energised.

Re: Crisis #04 | Crane Malfunction

Reply #1
There was an old Earth saying ... out of the frying pan and into the fire.  It seemed that was a very apt and quite literal expression at the moment as Eve rushed around sickbay doing her best to keep things running smoothly until Lucan could get back.  The soft voice broke through the din and Eve paused, tapping her badge.  "Lieutenant Jenkins here," she answered immediately as she moved over to a quieter section.

What was reported to her set her heart pounding, the adrenaline in her body taking the tempo up a notch from the already steady but quickened beat.  The scream and waving of an arm was more than enough to have her in motion, grabbing a med kit as well as a mask to help her breathe better.  "Daughtry you're in charge until Dr. Nicander gets back," she ordered the most experienced of the two nurses who had been there to help.

"Thea, I'm getting ready to transport now," she said double checking the kit and then closing it with a loud snap.  "When I get there, I'll stabilize them and then want you to beam them directly to sickbay for further treatment.  Then you'll have to instruct me on what I need to do to see about getting that crane detatched."  She had no idea what she'd be doing or if they could get her some help but the safety of the ship and its crew was paramount.  Her heart seemed to beat even faster as she clutched the med kit.  "Energize."

Re: Crisis #04 | Crane Malfunction

Reply #2
The broken crane in front of Eve came into focus. The winds were fierce upon the edge of the hull, but despite the side-ways ashen showers, she could still make out Cadet Hamburg at the base of the smashed crane. She was trapped below one of the support beams - griviously hurt and needing immediate medical attention. Yet even if she would get help, there was a minimal chance she would survive given extent of her injuries. Her whole pelvic area was crushed, and her trembling lips white.

"Please, you need to release the clamps manually!" cried Ester despite her young years. "I can tell you how to do it..." She had been dusted with an ashen blanket already. If the crane would be detached and fall, it was quite likely the support beam would tear away from the Cadet as well. She was, however, not alone. The crane leaned outwards at an almost horizontal angle, and another woman was seen in the seat of the cockpit - over fifteen yards out from the edge of the hull.

"Eve!" It was the civilian engineer Rihen Neyah, who Eve knew well from Nimbus III, and she was bleeding heavily from a wound at the base of her neck. She was trying feebly to stem the blood-flow with one hand and using her other to remain inside the cockpit at the same time, since all the reinforced glass-panes along the sides of the cockpit were shattered. It would only take some cloth as a make-shift compression to stem the loss of blood for long enough to get her to Sickbay, full recovery quite possible, yet getting Rihen back to the hull in order to release the clamps would be a hazardous ordeal.

Even worse, doing so would mean that the Cadet would probably die before they returned, and despite how Jenkins might figure out how to do it, there was a risk that there wasn't enough time to release the clamps and make the crane fall off the hull. The two engineers were too far apart for Transporter lock on them both, so if Eve would tend to the Cadet and release the clamps, Rihen would fall down with the crane despite the fact that her death could have been avoided. The Theurgy could not stay in the valley much longer either, since the pyroclastic clouds were rolling down the mountainsides.

While the ground shook and the sheets of ash fell, one might wonder who Eve would try to save.

Re: Crisis #04 | Crane Malfunction

Reply #3
Materalizing on the hull, Eve was buffeted by the wind and leaned to brace herself while she quickly took in the scene which was ... disheartening.  Rushing forward to Ester, she knelt down then opened the med kit and set the hypospray with Tanezumab, one of the more potent pain blockers that would still allow the young woman to remain conscious, giving her the dose immediately.  Hearing her name called, she looked up and saw Rihen who wasn't in as bad condition but still potentially mortal.

No one on the medical staff wanted to be in this position yet Eve found herself looking at the possibility of having to choose between two patients.  The normally unflappable woman found herself wanting to scream in frustration but she couldn't let Ester and Rihen see her fear which was matched only by her desire to save both of them.  "Hold on Rihen!!" she called back to the familiar face and tapped her combadge.  "Thea stand by to transport Rihen to sickbay on my signal."

"Ester, tell me what to do to release the clamps and then I want you to hold on for me okay?  I'm coming back for you, I promise," she said gently, running her fingers through the beautiful blonde hair with a tender expression.  Eve's heart was breaking but at least Ester wasn't in horrible pain right now and she had to give the woman hope.  There was a motherly way about her as she listened to the instructions, the urgency growing by the second.

Re: Crisis #04 | Crane Malfunction

Reply #4
[Acknowledged Lieutenant,] answered Thea over the comm, and the A.I. had likely prepared coordinates and a signal before the static of the combadge had fallen silent.

Ester Hamburg heard the voice, mind drifting a bit from the rush that the hypospray had given her. Suddenly, there was no pain any more. The young woman wondered why only the other engineer was going to Sickbay, but the woman was right there, calling upon her sense of duty to tell her what she had to do. The lack of pain gave her some clarity as to what she had to do. The idea had already been on her mind when she saw the woman appear. The crane had to go, sadly enough, it was the only option. She had been crying in vain to the civilian that she had to get out of the cockpit, yet had been unable to make out the replies.

"You have to," she began, swallowing, feeling ash fall from her throat, "break the glass over there, grab the middle handle and turn it around... clockwise... one full turn. Then, you grab the other two handles, the red ones, on either side of that middle one... and you turn both of them simultaneously. The left turns clockwise, and the right turns counter-clockwise. Sharp twists, a quarter of a turn. Since the crane is b-b-broken, you better get away afterwards. No telling how controlled the decoupling will b-be."

Ester tried to wet lips covered with ash, the foul taste filling her mouth. She did not know what else to say now that there was no need to cry in pain. "Did you get all that? Can you do it? Chief Nolak Kalmil always told me that these cranes had to come off or the hull would tear during take-off. It has to go... It has to..."

Her thoughts were jumbled, and her eyes began to drift... seeing two Reavers fly by overhead - phasers firing against them.

Only they were saved by the Theurgy's shields, the shots abating in power as the field shimmered in blue. It has been far too close, and the shields might not cover the whole length of the crane...

"Has to come off... Has to..."

Re: Crisis #04 | Crane Malfunction

Reply #5
Eve listened to the instructions, still doing her best to soothe the young engineer and nodded with each task noted.  "Shit," she muttered as she saw Reavers fly above and fire down, the impact on the shield creating flashes of light.  "Yes, I got all that and once I can get it unattached, I can get you to sickbay.  I'm not strong enough to get this beam off of you," she said apologetically.

Giving Ester a kiss on the forehead, she promised her again she'd be back and hurried over to the crane.  Securing the med kit, she climbed up and tried to ignore the fact that she was climbing out over the valley ... a very long way down.  The wind was too great and with the earth tremoring away beneath the hip, she stayed low and crawled as quickly as possible along the arm.

Eve had never been too afraid of heights before though she had experienced some vertigo a few times during some academy training exercises.  She felt that slight tilting sensation again as her peripheral vision let her know she was definitely out over open space.  Her heart was now slamming in her chest and her teeth chattered lightly as she fought the fear, focusing instead on getting closer to Rihen.

It was taking her longer than she liked though likely it hadn't been long at all.  Still when she judged herself to be within range, she clung to the handholds.  Her eyes were locked with Rihen's, her own fear evident in her eyes but she gave a nod to the injured woman.  "Thea I should be close enough ... energize!" she called out over the howling wind.

Re: Crisis #04 | Crane Malfunction

Reply #6
[Transporter lock confirmed. Energising.] Thea's voice was barely heard over the wind far out there on the lattices of the crane. Yet the simmer that blossomed in the cockpit of the crane was clearly seen, and Rihen Neyah seemed to mouth 'thank you' with her white lips - her hand still pressed against her neck - until she was gone. Her fate now laid in the hands of the people in Sickbay that would be attending to her.

Eve's fate - however - lay in a Reaver's sights as it hovered down right next to her.

The first volley came immediately, phasers searing through the metallic framework of the lattice boom right behind Eve. Crane screeching inhumanly in protest, the surviving beams of the construction's frame bent sharply because of the heavy weight of the main and extension jibbs. Luffing and lifting cables snapped like whips in the fiery air. It was unclear as to whether or not the Reaver had missed intentionally, but it effectively left Eve hanging vertically from the partially severed boom, yet the shriek of the titanium gantry back at the edge of the Theurgy's hull made it clear that at least some cables were keeping the severed section from plummeting into the valley.

The Reaver, however, was still there - strafing sideways with no intention to leave.

Engines stuttering from clogging ash and its grey hull blackened by volcanic fire, it seemed to be staring at Eve despite the fact that is had no reinforced glass canopy over its cockpit. It was as if the metallic beast had no face; its faceless and effective nature as void of emotion as the A.I. that had deployed it. The hologram pilot that manned it likely relied upon a TVD-system, seeing through the hull with its visor. It must have looked at her with programmed apathy as it armed its phasers for a close-proximity barrage. With a hellish flare, it activated its laser sighting, and thick red beams flickered to life in the ashen rain - centering on Eve.

The ringing noise of the phaser strips as they lit overrode the wind, and it might have been the last thing Lieutenant Jenkins heard.

Unless a purple blast had not connected with the aft of the Reaver, sending its sights wide of target. Orange phaser fire rid the world of all other colour, searing energy coughing against the close proximity of the Theurgy's shield. Another purple blast hit it, and while the shields protected it, the atmospheric detonations sent it spinning a full turn, having trouble adjusting its altitude with its failing thrusters.

During that brief interim of respite, the abating blue shimmer of the Thuergy's shields revealed the shooter. It was the ship's own avatar, Thea, dark hair whipping around her head by the wind where she stood upon her hull. She was wearing her yellow chameleon body-suit and her countenance was grim. She had to be using Lin Kae's portable emitter in order to be projected where she stood, and she was shouldering a heavy isomagnetic disintegrator - its wide muzzle smoking from the two discharges. She glanced out from its sights to make eye-contact with Eve.

"Get back behind the shield!" she called over the wind, "I will cover you!"

The Reaver had swung about, beginning a shootout with the Ship A.I. Both of them moving sideways as Thea distanced herself from the base of the crane. The hologram's emitter was protected by her activated shields while she walked and fired at the same time, and the Reaver had its own shields. The fiery exchange was deafening, yet it might have provided Eve the time to climb up the severed section of the boom and release the docking clamps of the crane.

Yet she was now completely on her own, since her combadge had been lost in the commotion. Probably lying on the valley floor - far below.

OOC: Please leave your post open-ended from the point where she released the docking clamps and take cover. Cadet Ester Hamburg is already dead by the time Eve returns to the hull.

*Update* Given First Officer Rez's orders in Crisis #2, Thea is the one coming to Eve's aid instead of Ida.

Re: Crisis #04 | Crane Malfunction

Reply #7
A moment of relief washed over Eve as she saw Rihen being teleported to sickbay but it was a very short-lived feeling as a Reaver dropped down and seemed to view her as a tasty morsel.  She didn't even have time to try to move as it sent a volley, obviously like a cat playing with a mouse though the mouse's shriek was covered by the sound of metal bending and breaking.  Somehow she managed to hold on, arms and legs wrapping around parts of the latticework.

Her breathing restarted with a huge gasp, fear gripping her more tightly than she'd ever known in her life.  Turning her head, she saw it shift its position and this time she knew that volley was coming at her and in the moment she thought she was dead, she uttered one word.  "Lucan."  It was the barest of whispers and only a single word but it held every emotion she had in that moment; love for a man who couldn't seem to love himself, anguish that she had to leave him, and fear for him and the crew.

Orange light burst forth and she shut her eyes, certain her life was over, when a deafening explosion and purple haze made her open them and realize she wasn't dead yet.  Looking wildly about, she saw Thea and heard the order.  Her body wanted to rebel, arms and legs feeling like jelly for a couple of heartbeats before she found her courage as Thea led the Reaver away to climb as quickly as possible up the dangling arm and to what some would consider a little safer position.

She was shaking and drenched with sweat by the time she reached the hull again, only then able to realize why Thea didn't just beam her to safety.  Her combadge was gone!  "Oh for the love of ..." she groaned, still trembling but making her way to the clamp controls.  Though she wanted to fall apart, she focused on what the young engineer had told her and followed her directions to the letter, praying to hear the sound of clamps releasing so at least the ship would be able to take off now.

Re: Crisis #04 | Crane Malfunction

Reply #8
While Eve Jenkins was breaking the glass to the manual decoupling controls, Ester Hamburg was staring into the distance where she lay at the base of the crane.

Her face no longer held any colour, and it had nothing to do with the coating of ash that lay upon her prone form. She had bled her life out underneath the support beam while the Reaver appeared; a sanguine flow along the hull plating - dripping off the edge and into the valley. She would never know if Eve managed to release the crane's docking clamps. Nor would she know if the Theurgy managed to get out of the valley in time. Not even twenty years old, the fourth year Cadet would never become an Ensign. Just as little as she would return to her parents in Athens Greece. They had been opposed to having their innocent virgin girl join Starfleet, probably distraught to hear that she had been branded a traitor in the Federation's eyes, yet thankfully, they were ignorant of how she had been violated during the Niga incident. They would never know, for their little girl had been taken away from them forever.

When Eve twisted the last handle a full turn, there was a metallic reverberation felt in the hull plating as the full weight of the destroyed crane settled on the edge. Three repeated warning signals resounded in the thick air, and then the crane came loose - tearing over the edge and into the sheer drop. The damaged support beams screeched and grounded against the plating in the commotion as they came loose, and the lifeless body of Ester Hamburg was flung into the swarthy air. The jagged support beam had hooked her crushed pelvis, an the massive forces at play had tossed her wide off the hull - making her vanish in the ashen rain.

The crane was gone, and at the cost of one young life, the Theurgy would be able to take off safely.

Thea herself had reduced the Reaver to a smoking heap of rubble that somehow still maintained its hovering path and returned fire. She aligned her Disintegrator to finish it off, yet she did not make the shot in time. Four grey Mk II Valkyries screeched past the Theurgy's hull, and all four of the Harbinger's attack fighters discharged their pulse canons against the Reaver as they passed it by. By the fourth and final barrage, the Reaver never got to crash against the valley floor, instead exploding and casting plasma and shrapnel in all directions.

Yet Thea's shields protected both Eve Jenkins and her, leaving them standing upon the A.I.s hull in the blue shimmer of the protecting energy field. Between them glistened the pool of the Cadet's blood, and in the sky, the dome finally reappeared. Whoever had gone to the Engineering Outpost in order to raise it anew had been successful, and it would give them all a couple of more minutes to live.

"Well done, Nurse Jenkins. There was nothing else you could have done" said Thea solemnly as she walked up to Eve with her nearly over-heated weapon in her hands. Despite the winds, the hologram did not have to blink as she met the woman's eyes - dark hair whipping back and forth around her head. "Do you require medical attention? I can alert Sickbay before I beam you back there."

Yet perhaps there was no remedy to be found there, at least not for wounds upon the soul.

Re: Crisis #04 | Crane Malfunction

Reply #9
At one point, Eve was able to look over to where Ester lay on the hull and reaching out with her mind she felt nothing from the young woman anymore.  The color alone was enough to tell her but that absence of emotion or any thoughts tore at her heart.  She didn't even feel the cut on the top of her hand as she broke the glass and strained to turn the handle, tears leaving tracks through the ashes on her cheeks.

The groaning and buckling sent her scurrying out of the way though she ran toward Ester, hoping to retrieve her body.  Again fate would taunt her, flinging the body away before she could get anywhere near it and this time she dropped to her knees and then hands.  "Dammit!" she cried out and slammed her fist down on the hull, leaving already bloody knuckles now quite bruised.  She'd known she couldn't save her but it still ate at her soul.

She'd barely stood again, the Reaver forgotten in her pain and anguish, when Thea approached her.  Desperate to keep herself together, she nodded to Thea as if accepting the knowledge there was nothing more she could have done and then she looked at her hand.  "I'll take care of myself once you get me to sickbay," she replied.  "Hopefully I have time to clean up to take care of the more seriously injured."  For now she had to shove her own feelings aside and focus on the living, to make sure they continued to live.

Re: Crisis #04 | Crane Malfunction

Reply #10
"Of course," said Thea and stepped closer to Eve, close enough for including her in the Transport signal she established through her remote link to her systems. The portable emitter inside her projection held its own communications relay, so she needn't burden Natalie Stark or Lin Kae on the Main Bridge to get them inside her hull. "Energizing."

Moments later, the Theurgy's hull was vacated from personnel, only blood and scratches upon the hull remaining in memory of what had transpired.

[ Moments Later | Sickbay ]

When Eve Jenkins materialised in Sickbay, Daughtry acknowledged her return with worried eyes. With reason, given the state of appearance of the Head Nurse. She was greeted with a quick report, entailing that there were more injured incoming, yet there was some fortunate news as well, among other things that Rihen Neyah's bleeding had been stopped and that she would be making a full recovery.

"Dr. Nicander has yet to arrive... Reports says that he has left the collapsed Triage Centre after having overseen the evacuation. Yet the shuttles are being fired upon by Reavers that were caught under the shield, so there is no telling how many will make it back."

- Fin

OOC: Upon my cue, the scene in Sickbay continues in Crisis 07:

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