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Crisis #10 | Thermal Springs

Crisis #10 | Thermal Springs [Attn: Lt. JG Sarresh Morali]

Wetting lips as dry as paper, the Cadet could no longer cry.

Lying aboard a large piece of driftwood - formerly the bar counter of the Thermal Springs Lounge - Amikris' head rolled from side to side with the leaden motions of the boiling water. She could not remember how long she had been lying there, but since the there was still sounds of battle in the valley, she supposed that neither the Theurgy nor the Harbinger had managed to take off just yet. Ash and fiery light stung her Ash'reem eyes whenever she tried to open them, yet the nerve endings across her body had grown numb.

She had been diving in the farthest area of the springs after her night shift and failed to hear the battle's commencement. When she did surface, she had not managed to get away in time. The volcano's groundwater system had been set to boil by the eruptions; caught her in her flight from the area. The geysers showering her. Immersion burns from the boiling water had formed on her arms, torso and legs. One geyser must have blown the bar area apart, and she had thrashed wildly to reach the piece of the bar counter that had landed by her. Maddening pain. Screaming her throat raw. Her goggles lost. Almost blinded. She somehow managed to reach it, yet the scalding had already resulted in fourth-degree burns over her multi-coloured skin. She knew this, being a physician, because the burns were now painless. The epidermis and the dermis were destroyed, having led to the complete breakdown of subcutaneous fat. As far as her semi-conscious mind could tell, she had at least managed to keep her head somewhat over the water, but as she lay there, she suspected that the heat had already exposed muscle, leading to breaches in major arteries and veins.

One might think her plight sufficed. It had taken her a few moments to figure out why the driftwood she lay upon was smoking, and why there was a hissing sound coming from all around her. Then she realised, somewhere in her still functioning mind, that the springs had been covered with volcanic ash, making the water contaminated with foul-smelling gases and other sediment. Volcanic gases such as varying dioxides, sulfides, chlorides and fluorides dissolved in the water, giving it the strongly acidic pH value of 0,1. The smell in Amikris' sensitive nose was the damage upon her body and hydrogen sulfide gas, which smelled like rotten eggs. She had learned just how acidic the water had become by lifting one of her hands, which had slipped over the edge of the bar counter. Her mind had already been too traumatised to register the sight beyond the scientific explanation she had gained.

Yet as she lowered her hand, her dim eyes saw movements upon the shore. It was a figure in the toxic mists, and he threw his head about as if he was looking for something. If he said anything, it was hard to make out in detail. The tympanum membranes upon the sides of her head had been damaged, but she believed she could hear...

~ Sarresh... ~ she managed in a dry whistle in her native tongue, raising the thing that was her hand towards him. She swallowed thickly and tried to shout, tears welling in her eyes. It was as if the sight of the other Ash'reem restored some kind of primal survival instinct, and she managed to find the strength to make herself heard. There was not too much coherent thought behind her words, only animal desperation.¨~ Sarresh... I'm... I'm here. ~

Thirty feet of acidic water separated them, with no means to reach her besides wading out to her, and then carrying her back the same way. Not that she cared at that point, but the attempt might still be made at the cost of injury to Sarresh. The scalding water would slowly eat up clothes and skin, but at least he would be able to reach her. Yet she could not make out the fact that there was no combadge upon his chest; no means to be extracted. Why was he not coming out to her? ~ I am so sorry for what I s-said, please... Do not leave me behind! ~

As she wailed in their language where she lay upon the driftwood, which was slowly being eaten by the acid, she could not see how Captain Ives appeared on the opposite shore of the springs. Yet she heard a shouting voice. A commanding emphasis of clear reasoning. There was regret too, despite the uncompromising facts that it laid out.

"We cannot help her, Lieutenant!" called Jien Ives through the swirling white mist, meaning to deter the Temporal Affairs Officer from going to her. The Commanding Officer's shout was muffled, as if he wore a breathing mask. "We cannot reach her and it is too late! We must leave immediately! You are key to this mission! You must come with me! I can have Thea extract us both!"

Over their heads, the battle reached a crescendo, with Valkyries and Reavers fighting. The Habringer moved like a dark shadow against the sky, and shuttles fell like fireballs towards the ground. Magma was pouring down the mountains all around them, and the pyroclastic surges were sweeping in from all directions. In thanks to the shield dome in the sky, they had a minute, perhaps two, before nothing could be alive in the valley any more.

"Step away from the water! That's an order! I am not leaving you behind, Sarresh!"

~ Do not leave me behind, Sarresh... ~ Amikris sobbed where she lay. ~ You cannot leave me... I am begging you... Do not leave me to die... ~

Re: Crisis #10 | Thermal Springs

Reply #1
He'd been supposed to meet her here, eventually. He had tried to set it up. They had fought, the other day. Then again the other night when he had tried on her. They were the only two left. he'd reasoned. They needed each other. He needed her. And he needed her to see he had only been trying to help her. after all, there truly was nothing, nothing that Amikris could have done to save her father. Why should she have suffered trying? He had just wanted to spare her the pain of that site. of his mangled corpse...So he tired to make her understand that. He tried, desperately, to make her see things from his point of view, to see that all he did was out of his need to care for her. And the things she'd called him in turn...burned him to the cartilage that passed for his bones.

But this. This hurt so, so much more. The Calamity had attacked and rained down hell upon the surface of this world, their hiding spot. The heat that rolled off what had once been beautiful hot springs nearly seared Sarresh's flesh as is. The ash in the air stung his exposed skin. He had needed to crawl through debris to get here, to find her. It had left his uniform torn. It covered most of him, but still, there were enough holes to worry him.

He groped at his chest, to call for help, but there was no combadge. It had been lost in his attempt to get to the hot springs, to get to the beautiful, redheaded girl. But he couldn't have abandoned her, no matter how much she hated him, nor how bleak his chances now seemed. He had to find her, even before the Calamity struck. Now though... Excluding, for a moment, her fertility, the potential key to his species survival, there was the fact that he lo--well, lusted at the very least, if he were honest with himself.

Now was not the time to be honest with himself.

A roar of frustration burst from his lips " HOW MUCH MORE DO YOU WANT TO TAKE AWAY FROM ME!?" Who he was shouting at was anyone's guess; Amikris? Ives? The Gods that he didn't believe in? Did it really matter? Someone, somewhere was fucking him over on a grandiose scale He swallowed hard, knowing he should obey Ives.  If he did, he could just blame the cameloid; it would be that amorphous aliens fault that Amikris died alone, out on a log in an acidic lake. Sarresh could blame Ives...but, what about his whole species? Could he condemn them to the slow, painful extinction that Amikris' mutated DNA could possibly cure? A chance to provide fertility to a doomed species? What right did he have, what right did Ives have?

There had never been a choice, he knew. Even if the vibrant, angry woman he'd grown to...desire, need, even if her life could not be saved, Sarresh had to recover her body Before the acid ate what was left of the young Ash'reem. He swallowed hard, the sting of the fumes in the air like needles all down his throat. This was..this was going to hurt, and he knew it. But he was Ash'reem He could get to her in time....maybe even get back to the shore, before the damage was too far gone. Would the goggles survive the acid? And the heat? And he was mostly might buy him those precious seconds.

~What choice do I have?~ he asked the foul air around him in his native tongue. Jien Ives would be displeased, Sarresh knew, as the younger man began to run parallel along the rocky side of the hot springs. He would have to get as close as he could, try to narrow that thirty meter gap. Maybe a running start would be all he'd need? He wished he'd spent more time in the gym; his strengths in the water were considerable; on dry land, he was as awkward as any Ash'reem. His looping gait could almost be considered comical by other humanoids; but there was nothing funny at all when he found his target. Nor when he ran up, planting both feet on the large rock, and pivoting his body His arms knifed out in front of him, his knees bending as foot collided with rock, and he sprung forth, out into the air; the super heated, acidic water rushing up to meet him as he came down from his dive.

Re: Crisis #10 | Thermal Springs

Reply #2
The words of accusation still reverberated in the Captain's soul. The Ash'reem's intent had been quite plain, and Jien had no means to prevent it from happening. If only he had arrived to the area on the right side of the springs, then he might have been able to keep Sarresh from doing it. Now, it was too late.

"No!" he called, cursing when he saw the Temporal Affairs Officer dive into the acidic lake, only for sake of closing the distance more quickly to the driftwood that the mortally wounded Cadet lay upon - swimming across the distance. Yet it did not matter. Jien was no expert, though he knew that they hydrated their bodies with water, absorbing it through skin and hair, and that meant that the water of the springs would seep into Sarresh's body and gradually dissolve it from the inside. Jien's own skin functioned like a human's, like a protective layer, and he might just be able to...

"Sarresh!" A cry of helpless frustration into his breathing mask. He might already be too late. Perhaps it was a lost cause, yet what kind of man would he be if he did not attempt to do something. He could not just stand and watch the two lovers reunite in death out there on the lake. Perhaps Lieutenant Morali counted on his intervention. Perhaps not. Yet it did not matter. The battle may have raged above his head, and the whole planet erupt in fiery anger, but if he could do something for the two crewmembers out there, he would. Chances were that at least Sarresh could be saved in Sickbay from the flesh-eating water he had absorbed, yet it was plain that Amikris was lost.

And with her, the means to save the Ash'reem species from extinction. Sarresh might not have seen it his way - that their mission transcended the survival of one species, yet it also transcended Jien's own life. These were the cold facts that could drive both the Lieutenant and the Captain to brave the acidic and boiling waters. No more thoughts. Only actions counted now. Jien tried to calm himself, yet he could not quite find courage when he let his fears say their prayers. Brave or not, he did what he had to do.

Baring his teeth, he removed his combadge and held it high, not meaning to damage it. Then he stepped down, crying out from the heat that encompassed his leg. The other went down, and he hissed in a strangled way as he forced himself to take a step forward. Then another. The water level rose, climbing his thighs. Tears of pain came immediately, yet his mimicked nervous system began to shut down from the shock by the fifth step. He could not maintain his Chosen Form. The vertigo he felt was his morphogenic matrix destabilising. He shifted... to her female form, trying to maintain control of her slipping physique. The shift bought her another couple of seconds. A few more steps, only the water level was higher when she had this form - reaching to the middle of her torso. She had to scream again. She had to take another step. She did both. She had no choice in either regard.

"Sarresh!" she cried through her teeth anew, reminding herself of the import to reach the driftwood. Hopefully the Lieutenant would do the same. She saw her own free hand before herself as she sifted through the acid, and she noticed her form rippling - as if she was a water-image struck by stone. She had to change again... to his male form, only he did not come out right. It was a melted shape of barely recognisable traits. And yet it stepped forward upon legs that wanted to give out. Another step. Another stumble. Another outlandish cry from a throat not made whole. No longer human.

And it fell forward.

Caught itself on the edge. Regained its balance. Sluggish limbs thrown forth. What may have been a knee rose for sake of leverage against the wood, and with a heaving motion, it rolled forward, ending up on its back. Respiration flawed. Form lost. Hot water shedding. Corrosive liquid fighting to upend its core. Yet the core was strong; the matrix regaining balance by each moment.

And Jien Ives blinked - eyes returned to him. He had lost the combadge, slipped from in his hand when he had lost his form. No means to return to the Theurgy. At that point, he was benumbed to the realisation. Weakly, his texture not yet complete, he looked around, to see if Sarresh had made it across.


Cadet Amikris' withered feet lay above his head, and he swallowed, carefully propping himself up on the floating bar counter. He caught her eye across the expanse of her nigh skinless body. He tried to make his voice heard. "I am sorry, Cadet. I am so sorry." She was so young by her species' standards. This rape-victim who had lost both her parents and still just wanted to do her duty to him. He asked her forgiveness, for he had failed her. "I will not be able to take you home..."

And bless the little child, for despite her injuries, she smiled to him. "I have a home..." Weak breathing punctuated the rattle. "It was with you. With your crew..." Another pause, filled with the hissing of the wood they lay upon. "With my family. I will be with them."

Her last request was for the impossible. "Don't cry..."

Because the tears of pain had come anew, only they had changed in nature.

Sarresh had arrived, and Jien blinked to try and focus on what he was seeing.

Re: Crisis #10 | Thermal Springs

Reply #3
[Sarresh Morali | hot springs]
Whatever cry Ives uttered was lost on the Ash'reem man. Although his body was designed to function in the water, the temperature was such that a constant rushing noise seemed to fill his ears; a by product of the boiling reaction taking place around the man. He cried out in pain, air bursting out of his lungs as he was submerged. There was no delay, as his agony vibrated through the water, a high pitched wail of frustration and intense, burning discomfort, the like that only a being with enhanced hearing, ears designed to pick up ultra high frequency sounds, could detect.

Beings like Amikris, afloat in the middle of the liquid hell that had been the closest thing the Star fleet crews had had for a resort not 2 hours ago.

If she heard his cries of pain, he didn't know. By the time he reached the plank, 30 feet away, he'd loss most sensation. A blessing, really, considering the unbearable pain he'd suffered through to get to that point. Sarresh had never even considered, as he dove in, just how much it would hurt. He'd hoped his clothing would offer up at least some form of protection. He had been wrong. The fibre's had been eaten way before he'd made it 10 feet from the shore; and considering his jump ate up half of that distance right from the start, that didn't bode well.

Having porous skin didn't help either. He forced himself to blink past the blinding pain - his eyes saved by his goggles, which were able to resist the initial impact of the acid - and stroke, over and over. His boots melted off his feet as the skin melted from his fingers. Soon it was cartilage propelling him through the water, and bits of skin flaking off of his feet behind him. Powerful muscles burned as the acid was absorbed into his bloodstream, starting to eat away at the tendons. The agony was immense, until his body went into shock, the pain receptors starting to shut down.

It should have worried him, but the relief was too great.

His vision began to blur, and tears, tinged with acid rolled down his cheeks "Amikris...I'm here," he whimpered, his vocal cords as damaged as the rest of him. He placed a hand on the floating bar top, and both his skin, and the surface itself was slowly melting away. He ignored the captain, or what passed for the captain, an equally damaged being barely clinging to live and clearly suffering. But Ives didn't matter, to Sarresh, only Amikris did. He had to try and save her, or be there for her or...hell, he could barely think. It was beyond pain now.

The...thing that could only be Jien Ives floated at the other end of the plank of 'driftwood', and Sarresh felt his eyes drift from what was left of Amikris, his beloved Amikris, to a man - woman - thing that he both loathed and respected. It tore at him, to realize that his Captain had swum out here anyway. The man had no obligation to the two Ash'reem. This was to be their final moment. But perhaps he was a way out.

"We have - " he coughed up blood and closed his eyes, body spasming in the acidic pool. When he tried to open them again, the blurry darkness was worse. Not that he could tell, but his optic nerves were slowly being corroded from the inside now. Despite the protective quality of his goggles, enough acid had seeped in through his pores to being to eat through that bundle of image receptors. His vision was swiftly draining away. "we have to get her her..." he coughed again, "Hail the ship...Please!" He wasn't beyond begging, not at this point, not any more.

[Natalie Stark | Bridge | USS Theurgy]

"Lieutenant commander, you should be able to pick up a whole lot more blips on your system if my calculations are correct. I believe this would target every living soul out there with or without combadge."

The science officer had uploaded his new search protocols into the main computer, and the sudden influx of readings caused Natalie to swallow hard. She would swear she could still feel the ships avatar - Thea's - hand on her shoulder, as the hologram - woman - had given her a friendly gesture of strength before vanishing. It was as if the holographic woman was still there at her side, and perhaps she was, in spirit, but it helped her in that moment to swallow down her fear at the sudden rush of data assaulting her console, even as the lights on the bridge seemed to flicker, momentarily.

She sorted through it, tagging bio-signatures for the transporter queue - most of whom would be shunted into the pattern buffers and sorted out later. She prayed, hoping beyond hope, that she would find Rory. She didn't know what, exactly, the bartender meant to her, other then a charming man, but he had been friendly and he had been sweet and every fibre in her body ached to make sure he made it out of here alive, because she needed that kind of nice in her life right about then. She forced herself to recalibrate the transporter targeting sensors towards the coordinates that had been fed to her, where the Captain might have fled to, even as she heard a noncom communications tech call out, "We've lost the captains combadge signal."

Damn you, where are you!? she shouted in her mind. She was tagging up new human signatures all around the ruins of the hot springs - perhaps a slight exaggeration, maybe no more then 10 signatures - when finally she saw her 'official' quarry. "Sir," She called out, checking, then double checking her readings, while trying to bring the XO's attention forward, despite the collapse, and apparent death of Lt. Cooper, " I'm reading one cameliod, and two - no, one, Ash'reem life-sign," she let that hang in the air, the implication clear. The Theurgy had seemingly just lost one of its last two Ash'reem, as well as a brilliant mind in the form of Lt Rennan Cooper. Natalie simply couldn't determine which Ash'reem had died.

"Request authorization to beam directly to sickbay, Commander"

OOC: per Lucan, dragging the last of the bridge thread from Crisis #2 here. IF needed I can cross post

Re: Crisis #10 | Thermal Springs

Reply #4
The door swooshed open to the bridge to reveal a very dishevelled engineer, covered in ash and looking almost ghostly.  Tia stepped out with determination, barely acknowledging anyone on the bridge as she strode past the tactical stations and behind the Captain's chair to where Lin Kae sat at the engineering console.

"Lieutenant," she asked, placing a hand on his shoulder, "status update if you would be so kind."

As she turned towards Lt Kae the flickering light from the viewscreen caught her attention.  The blue haze that had once been the shield was finally failing, flickering holes appeared as it tried to maintain its integrity under extreme circumstances.  Finally, with three final full flickers on and off, it failed altogether. 

The pyroclastic flow, moving at possibly hundreds of miles an hour raced towards them.  The dark, cloudy mass of rock and gas, moving like a liquid as it hugged the ground, would incinerate anything organic in its path then set like stone, trapping whatever victims it claimed within its solid mass for eternity.  The bodies would rot away but the holes left in the solid material would remain as a negative image of the creature boiled to death in mere seconds.

Beyond this wave were the rising plumes of volcanic ejecta that would soon also fall, anything that survived the pyroclastic wave of death would be suffocated by the fine ash that drifted slowly down like hellish snow.  Breathing enough of it in would cause the lungs to rip apart or worse, the mixture of water and ash would turn into a form of concrete, drowning the victim.

These images did not appear in Tia's mind, all she thought of was escaping this place, her and everyone else on board this ship.  All she saw was a boiling cloud of death hurtling towards them and no shield to protect them anymore.  She turned back to Kae, lips tight and expectant of a response.

Re: Crisis #10 | Thermal Springs

Reply #5
((OOC: From the looks of things I will have to get all four of my character posted in this next post, so I'd best just jump right in.))

[Edena Rez and Lin Kae - Theurgy Bridge]
Kae found himself with some company at the engineering console, a hand on his shoulder breaking him from his focus on the ship's systems.  With the crew beginning to be brought aboard, there was finally another officer to relieve him of his bridge duties.  He held up with them well enough, but his principle skills were in holography and bleeding edge technology, neither of which held much significance while standing on the bridge.  Stepping aside, he allowed his superior to take his place at the console, while he filled her in on what he had been doing.

"The Commander had me ready to shut power through the systems.  When the last of the transports were complete, I was to begin moving power from the transporters and sensors to the thrusters to allow us to leave orbit."  That time was coming, as the last ones were arriving on the ship now.

Edena oversaw the final crew members beaming aboard, the Captain and one Ash'reem life sign among them.  Natalie requested they be sent the sickbay, and Edena nodded.  "Approved.  See that those who are injured and require site to site transport also be sent there, but do not send more then one at a time.  We have to lower the power consumption of the transporters now.  Engineering, give us thrusters, CONN, take us up.  Hail the Harbinger and let them know we are about to begin ascent."

She had to focus on getting them off that deadly planet, not on the many injured officers awaiting transport to sickbay, not what became of Rennan Cooper.  None of that mattered if the Theurgy was destroyed here and now, and took every one of their lives, as well as doomed the Federation to be overtaken from the inside.  Edena felt that sensation of motion as the ship began to leave the surface of the planet.  Inertial dampers were great, but they could only hide so much of the feeling of vertigo she got when attempting to break from a planet's atmosphere.  It would be finished soon.

[Declan Vasser - Harbinger Bridge]

The hail was received, and Declan breathed a sigh of relief.  "Take us up," he said, giving his own CONN officer the go-ahead to leave Theta Eridani IV.  So much had occurred in just a few moments, from Ravenholm's hidden weapon to Sonja's recapture, thanks to the efforts of Dyan and T'Rena.  He thanked his years of service as a commanding officer for remaining collected enough to not be overwhelmed by all that went on around him.

"Miss Ravenholm, we will have to discuss that weapon at a later date, but for the time being, let's just get off this planet before it kills us."  Time for talk was later, for now, it was about action, now that both Harbinger and Theurgy were finally ready to get the hell off that planet.

[Nathan Isley - Valkyrie]

Another explosion in front of him, another dead Reaver.  Since the shield had come down, the need to keep moving had been even more important.  Luckily, Valkyrie were fast and small, making maneuvering around dangerous obstacles simply a matter of skill, something Nathan had plenty of for tricky movements.  The Harbinger and Theurgy were finally in movement, but with no time to dock their fighters, leaving the squadrons to get out of there on their own and meet up with their ships once they cleared orbit.

"Beginning ascension," Nathan called, taking point on the rise through the clouds, getting a look ahead and give both telemetry and a visual record of what was outside the atmosphere, to relay that information to the other Valkyries and to the ships if there was anything they should have been aware of waiting for them.  I think the best news would be no news at this point, he thought.  The hot springs had been good news, and look how that ended.  Better there be nothing.

Re: Crisis #10 | Thermal Springs

Reply #6
[ USS Theurgy | Main Sickbay | Deck 07 ]

With his ears still ringing from the hoarse cries of Sarresh, this Ash'reem who's whole body was being corroded by acid before Jien's eyes, the Captain could not believe how they were suddenly being enveloped with the flashing lights of a Transporter signal.

He had been shaking his head at the dying Temporal Affairs Officer, telling him he couldn't. That he had lost his combadge. Jien had been about to ask forgiveness, choking on the words because he did not have the right to ask anything from a dying man. Yet when the blinding lights died out, Jien found himself on the floor of Sickbay. Gone were the smell of the acidic lake and the pyroclastic surge that came at them from the mountainside. Sarresh was writhing upon the deck plates too, the stark artificial light making the bubbling and hissing of his iridescent organs and bone-like cartilage even more horrendous to behold. Ash'reem had no teeth, so the wheezing orifice that had been a mouth was just as empty as the eye-sockets.

"Captain?" came an alarmed voice. Shuffle of feet. Dr. Nicander. A woman too. The Harbinger's Chief Medical Officer. Both of them were present. Jien's mind worked while he could not tear his eyes away from Sarresh, who's movements were getting more sluggish by the second.

"Stasis unit!" he ordered and lurched up on his feet, and while his form had been restored, he was imbalanced since his morphogenic matrix wasn't stable. "Now, doctor! It's sulphuric acid, so give him something! It's spreading deeper!"

"No, listen to me, Captain, there is naug-" Lucan, looking like he had been through hell himself, spoke calmly, trying to reason with him. Jien would have none of it.

"I gave you an order, Commander!" hissed Jien between his teeth and moved to grab Sarresh from behind and below his arms, to lift him. To drag him wherever was needed. Cold desperation cut his thoughts clean from all else but the absolute need to preserve Sarresh's life. To preserve his mind, at least.

"Nurse Jenkins and Daughtry, bring a stasis unit, hurry. Yet Captain, there is no hope for him. We cannot treat him. Let him go. You are hurting him."

"Do something about the acid!" rasped Jien as he held the dying Ash'reem, his oaken eyes daring the Câroon to do otherwise. "Where is that stasis unit?"

"Dr. Duv, a sedative, please, and try mixing it with 7 ccs of a base bicarbonate solution," Dr. Nicander looked around after speaking to the Habringer doctor, meanwhile producing his medical tricorder. "He needs hydration too. Water, yes. Nurse Maal, bring bottled water from the med supplies. As much as you can carry. Run! Pour it all over his head and torso, quickly!"

The short-haired Klingon youth came over and broke the plastic containers in his fists, making the water cascade all over Sarresh and Jien. The water and sulphur reacted, making Sarresh jolt in Jien's embrace, yet it rinsed the acid too, making it pour off the skinless thing that had become of the Ash'reem. It probably diluted the acid that had gotten inside the body too. "More water! Has anyone seen Cadet Amikris?"

"She is dead," said Jien tightly, and there was thankfully no more questions about her. The focus was entirely upon Sarresh. In the end, the cryogenic stasis unit got there, and Jien personally hoisted Sarresh into the thing, getting help with the withered legs from someone. Jien yanked it close and punched in the commands, and with a hiss, the glass clouded over. His breathing was heavy from the ordeal. He was wet from head to toe, feeling the vertigo of not being properly balanced yet, though he wasted no time in rounding on the assembled medics - his gaze utterly uncompromising.

"In two hours, I want to know how he can get back on his feet. I want all available resources pooled to restore this man. Is that understood?"

"Captain, you are asking for the impossible." Lucan looked towards Eve Jenkins and Amelya Duv, and he spread his tattooed hands. "We are not in a proper Starbase Infirmary. Even with the help from whatever is in the Harbinger's storages, he would..."

"I don't care what our limitations are. In two hours, the three of you will present a solution. This man cannot be in this stasis unit. He needs to be on the Bridge the next time the Calamity appears. He needs to see. He needs to hear and he needs to speak, and warn us. Tell us how to fight the enemy."

"Jien, please, listen to me now," said Lucan and stepped closer. He gestured towards the horrifying countenance behind the glass, "Look at him. This man has no eyes. He has no tympanic membranes left. My scans showed that he has no vocal cords either. I cannot even guarantee that his brain was unaffected, even if he still showed activity in my readings. The Ash'reem physique is highly unique, and I do not think there is any Federation doctor that knows it well enough to reconstruct him with his DNA."

Next to Jien Ives lay a woman that he vaguely recognised. She was obviously dead, riddled with phaser burns - most likely from a Reaver. What caught his attention was her eyes. "Who is this?"

"Dr. Miko Dauntless, Captain," said Lucan, glancing towards Dr. Duv. "She was the Harbinger's Chief Surgeon."

"It would appear she can still treat one more patient," said Jien, gesturing towards the woman's ocular implants.

"Captain, you are being unreasonable. This is beyond ethics. I cannot simply take..."

"Our mission demands it. I am sure she would not have had it any other way."

"Than to remove her eyes? By the winds..." Lucan sucked in a breath and was clearly getting frustrated. "As Chief Medical Officer of this ship, I refuse to go through with this... this madness. What kind of life do you expect us to restore him to? The Ash'reem's skin is the most vital organ to them barring the heart and brain! They have a life-span of hundreds of years because they can revitalise each other with the ducts in their hands! He has lost those too! He cannot even secrete his pheromones any more! You said Amikris Neotin is dead? She was not only the chance to save their species, she was also his mate! In her, he did not just loose the hope for his people, but the only shred of light in this century that we trapped him in! These remains of a body... that once was a man... has lost everything! Have some bloody mercy, Captain!"

Jien did not look away from the pale grey eyes of his Chief Medical Officer - as if they had locked horns in battle. Eventually, his breathing somewhat returned to normal, he pursed his lips to speak. "We did not trap him here. He volunteered to help us, and he knew that he had to do so... for he had seen the time-stream."

This merely caused Lucan to throw up his hands and walk away, seething. Yet Jien Ives was not done. "All that has transpired today. Everything  that happened to us, he once knew about it. He underwent Memory Engram Manipulation in order to preserve the timestream from the repercussions of bringing his knowledge to this century," said Jien, face carved in stone, "Yet he was also made to be a weapon against the enemy. Whenever there is a temporal incursion, selected memories are restored to him in order to help us thwart the threat. This is an extreme measure to deal with the extreme threat of an enemy that is this powerful. Therefore, it is not only my call that we must restore Sarresh Morali. It is the imperative need of the whole Galaxy that he is."

The silence lingered, before Jien addressed the whole room. He even saw Cameron Henshaw there, and he found a measure of strength in the fact that she had made it. "I am no doctor..." he said to them, "so I am sorry, but I must leave it to you people to give him a worthy life after he leaves this stasis unit. I ask of you to please do all that you can to make him more than a breathing voice of wisdom in the most dire times ahead. Two hours, Dr. Nicander."

And then he left through the sliding doors, hoping they would understand even if he hated himself for what command forced him to do.

Re: Crisis #10 | Thermal Springs

Reply #7
Listening closely to what the captain of the Theurgy had ordered them to do, Amelya gazed at the man as he breezed in discussion with Nicander. She had no time or opportunity to reply to what both men were bickering about. As Maal broke the water over the body of what used to be Sarresh, Amelya had prepared the sedative and inoculated the poor creature. She was careful not to make any contact with his skin as the acidic substances would most likely eat away her own skin. She looked down at the floor now and saw the corrosion affecting the sickbay as well. She could only hope that the stasis tank would nullify the acidic effects of the acid or that enough of it had been saturated by crushing water over it. She looked for a bit of information while the two men continued to argue about wether or not to save the temporal officer. Amelya found no real data about the normal blood values of an Ash'reem so she quickly took some data in from her own tricorder to estimate how much acid had been in the system of the young man. She did some quick calculations and before Sarresh got placed into stasis she gave him another shot with a higher dose of a strong basal product. If anything it would halt the acidic process in a whole, buying them more time to think.

Once Jien had left she looked at Lucan for a second before she spoke to Maal on a soft and friendly tone "Nurse Maal, right?" She started off and smiled "We need to clean up the acidic fluids from the floor and table before we bring other patients in. Else we'll have more work on our hands due to corrosion. I'm not familiar with where you keep everything so if you go and find me everything I'll help you out so we can start treating the injured quickly." She said on a soft and calm tone. Once Maal was gone she turned to Lucan and Eve Jenkins. "Doctor Nicander.. Even though we've gotten the order to find a... Solution for the temporal officer, I think we should prioritize... We have presumably hundreds of injured, some of them in really bad shape. I suggest that nurse Jenkins and I can split up in the battle sick bays while you maintain your role here. We can do Triage there and stabilise the patients that need urgent medical attention. In the meantime we can try to come up with solutions for the Ash'reem and meet back here in an hour and a half to see what we've come up with?" She suggested and rested her eyes on Lucan. She had looked at Eve and Lucan while she was talking to see if Eve would back up with her plan or not, yet they didn't really have a great start when Lucan got in from the Harbinger.

Re: Crisis #10 | Thermal Springs

Reply #8
U.S.S Harbinger Bridge

The Cardassian looked behind her towards the Captain. "Yes sir!  I'll be glad to leave this hell behind us; place makes the Badlands look like resort sector."  she said plotting a course towards the thick layer of ashen clouds that were beginning to cover the planets upper atmosphere.

"Understood captain" the modified human said looking back to her panel.  By the way if its any consolation the damage our enemy has caused to the planet does not appear to have as bad of an affect on the planet as it could have.  If the scans are any indication this planet was in a period of geologic activity anyways.  It appears the calamity provided simply a push towards a geologic cataclysm that would have faced this planet within the next millennium anyways.  Scans show mass geologic disturbances over nearly every major fault.  In short Earth's seen worse in its geologic history.  Suffice it to say life will go on here but we wont if we aren't prepared for good knows what waits for us up there.

The Cardassian at the conn nodded, "Commander, I'm ready to send tactical controls back over to you when you are ready.  I have a bad feeling we will need everything this ship can throw to take on what I fear is up there."

S.C.O. Miles Renard: Valkyrie Wolf 01

Miles adjusted his headings as he sent orders for the Squadron to form up around the Theurgy.  finding the time to finally gain some info on the situation he opened a hail to the Theurgy.  "Wolf One to Bridge.  looks like the skies are clear of reavers up here...What's the situation there?"

Re: Crisis #10 | Thermal Springs

Reply #9
Character Name: {Tessa [007]} Location: {Fighter Assault Bay Deck 15| Heading to the Battlefield} Tag: {Evelyn [Ranger]}

['I can read you loud and clear. You are clear for take-off and do come back Tessa.'] A female voice said over the com-link.  Tessa smiled as she saw the gate open and she thrust forward through the gate. She had already seen Ranger took off which means she may had already lost the bet.

She looked around as it seemed her Weapons were on line which made her smile, ['Let kick some tail feathers!']  She talked over the com-link to Ranger. Tessa pulled out and got to Ranger taking to her right side of her ship, as they headed upward toward the battle together. 

Tessa took a deep breath putting on her battle face on, didn't mean she was going to let this battle get to her and turn her sprite dark. She knew there was going to be death there because a life is a life. She knew that she was not some kind of God to choose such things of who should be killed but she knew that she had no choose as it was them or her and the other Lone Wolves. She was choosing her family over strangers. 

Her family that has lost too much already this year, Tessa was not going to sit back and allow more bad things happened to them.  Just losing the ones they had was enough no more lost that was all she wanted. She wanted to get this done and head to the bar for a round of drinks for kicking ass not for the loss of someone they cared about.
['Hey Ranger, what do you say after this we get a drink?'] She asked Evelyn over the com-link as she smiled as she turned on her shields to break into space.

Re: Crisis #10 | Thermal Springs

Reply #10
[Rory Callahan]

When things merrily went to hell, or hell came to them, whichever way it was, Rory had rushed out to the springs to retrieve as much of the inventory as possible.  Some might call him a fool but any good Irish man would never leave behind a good drink.  Not without a good fight at least and that's what seemed to be going on as well though his opponent was the damned land and air themselves.

By the time he'd retrieved several bottles and put them in a box, the ash was falling so thick he could barely see.  He was covered in the mess, sticking to his clothes and skin that were equally soaked from the atrocious heat and he felt his lungs just might be seared if he didn't get back to the ship ... which he had no idea of its whereabouts anymore as he'd blindly tromped around off the beaten path.

"Shit!"  The blonde was frustrated and parched to boot.  Every time he turned around it seemed like something was trying to shoot him out of the sky and now the damn land was even tossing things around him.  Dragging out a bottle, he pulled the cork out with his teeth and spit it away from him so he could take a long pull and tried to orient himself.  Three fourths of a bottle later, he still had no luck.

"Wh-Where th' hell are yooo?!" he screamed out but heard nothing back.  Tossing down the last of that bottle, he opened another and guzzled quite a bit.  Wiping his mouth with his sleeve, he started spitting and sputtering as he found the ash quite disgusting.  With his thumb covering the hole of this bottle, he started to stagger in a new direction, hoping he'd find his way to the ship but losing what little hope he had.

"Fookin' h-hell!" he hiccupped and blinked as he looked into the sky.  "Wha' I do to dessserve this?  Wazzit th' frog down Aunt Nellie's bra?  The lacshative in th' choc-late cupcakes?" he slurred.  "I'm sorry!  Sorry 'kay?!"  He drew in a shuddering breath and coughed out against the ash.  "There's a sweet lady name o' Natalie up there.  Not sure if she'd ever want me but dammit at least gimme a chance!" he pleaded with the Powers That Be.

He was in midstride when something felt off and when he blinked again he was in a transporter room but was drunk enough to not realize it until it was too late.  "Right then," he said and kept on walking until suddenly there was no floor underneath, sending him careening downward but like a cat he twisted in mid-air.  The bottles in the box clanked loudly but not a drop was even spilled.

"Watch tha' las' step ... sheeeeee's a doozie!" he groaned and lurched to his feet.  There was a little bit of limp, probably one that would be worse when he was sober, but he went through the hissing doors and tromped down the corridor trying to get someone's help.  "Ummm, 'scuze me ... pardon ... Sir?  Ma'am?" he continued for some time without success until he finally bellowed in frustration.  "G'dammit will someone schtop jus' a fookin' minute an' tell me where th' bar is?!"

Re: Crisis #10 | Thermal Springs

Reply #11
[Eve Jenkins - Sickbay]

There had been some bad injuries come into sickbay but when the light shimmered and suddenly the captain and Sarresh were there, Eve had to pause at the sheer magnitude of bodily destruction.  She snapped out of it though and grabbed Daughtry just as Ives commanded them, hurrying to get a stasis unit for the almost-and-probably-should-be-dead Ash'reem.

What happened next was unthinkable and some would say unforgiveable as Captain Ives ordered them to restore Sarresh to a functional level.  It was her tender nature that wanted to side with Lucan, to say that it was completely unethical and cruel and yet today she had already had to sacrifice one for the many.  This was just another of those cases if they were to have any chance.

"Captain you should have your injuries seen to!" she called out to him but the doors shut and there was a  pregnant pause as everyone tried to digest what was happening.  Then Dr. Duv spoke and Eve felt relief as she addressed Nurse Maal with a softer and gentler voice, making the order seem more like a request.  It was a change in the woman's demeanor from before, one Eve welcomed.

Catching Duv's eyes on her, Eve simply nodded.  "It's the best thing we can do right now so I agree.  Splitting up and covering all three areas is the best and Lucan," she said his name gently to get his attention.  "This may not be Starfleet Headquarters Medical Center but it's damn better than what I had to work with on Nimbus III.  You're the most brilliant doctor I've ever known so don't give up hope."

Re: Crisis #10 | Thermal Springs

Reply #12
[ USS Theurgy | Sickbay | Deck 07 ]

Having walked off to lean against a biobed with his hands, clearly signalling his discontent with the orders given by Captain Ives, Lucan listened to the two doctors as they spoke behind his back.

In truth, it was not the order that ruffled his feathers. Not at all. It was the fact that the righteous bloody shape-shifter had prevented an oh, so convenient death of the last Ash'reem aboard the ship. Sure, his kin wanted Sarresh gone because of the facts about the Temporal Affairs Officer that had just been publicly revealed, but Dr. Nicander wanted the Ash'reem eradicated because - despite his precautions to hide his secret in Surgical Suite 02 - they might just be able to sense something behind the bulkhead. He could not risk it, and therefore he saw it as most fortunate that the mother of the abomination had met her end there on Theta Eridani IV. Without his direct involvement, even. Amikris had been delectable, and quite resourceful too, yet Lucan would have killed her himself at the first given opportunity.

Yet the voice of Eve Jenkins was like a serrated blade, making his heart bleed for the cattle. To empathise with their needs. Her words made him regret his thoughts, and infuriated the parasite inside him. When she spoke, he became two persons in one, and he knew not who he was anymore. "Thank you, Eve. Though I fear that Captain Ives is asking for the impossible. It would take too long to restore him regardless of method," he said quietly and turned around, his opaque grey irises moving from Eve to Dr. Duv. He had to look away. The sight of Eve's bedraggled state made his chest tighten for some odd reason. "Sound idea. Let us split up for the time being, and please, make sure to take full use the EMH doctors in the Battle Sickbays."

Perhaps... there was a way to avoid killing Sarresh on the operation table if they were to attempt restoring him. Perhaps... Sarresh would not have to keep his Ash'reem abilities any more, and the need for his death... postponed. Part of him desired Sarresh to die in order to forestall the ways in which he may  thwart his kin in the long run. Yet the other part only wanted to deal with the short-term risk of having him sense things in Sickbay that he shouldn't.

"Captain Ives wanted a rapport in two hours, and he will get one. In writing, on his computer console, because if he wants to speak with me in person, he will have to go down here, or drag me away by force." Lucan put his tattooed hands in his lab coat's pockets, still not wearing an undershirt underneath it since there had been no time to amend his appearance. "I will spend a minimal amount of time to compile our accumulated suggestions in writing and send it to him after we meet in one and a half hours. We have patients to attend to. Let's get to work."

If the good Captain wanted to pursue this further, Lucan might just decide to call for a vote of confidence at the next staff meeting. Something which he stood to gain by if he managed to sway the rest of the Senior Staff...

[ Wolf-06 | Evelyn Rawley | Lone Wolves Squadron ]

As one of the pilots in the swarm of attack fighters that climbed the fiery heavens, Evelyn Rawley felt good being back in the seat of a Valkyre again. The Reaver had been fun, but too... alien. To hard to predict. Over time, one might get used to the controls, but this was certainly not a time for practice flying.

[Hey Ranger, what do you say after this we get a drink?]

"Are you asking me out, Lance?" retorted Evelyn with a grin, ignoring the taste of blood in her mouth. Her torso hurt too, but she had rerouted power to her inertial dampeners to minimise the strain upon herself in the cockpit. Miles thought she could do this, and she was not about to argue against leaving med rehab early.

"If we make it through this, I am buying a round of drinks for the whole squadron. You hear me, wolves?"

Nightmare replied over the comm-channel with a characteristic howl, and it made Rawley grin all the wider. The ground of the planet had vanished from sight long ago, and it was time to throttle up their engines. Space awaited just beyond their sensor range.

[ USS Theurgy | Main Bridge | Deck 01 ]

As she ascended towards the darkened atmospehere, Thea projected herself unto the Bridge.

She materialised behind Edena Rez' shoulder while the Commander was sitting in the Captain's chair, and the holographic projection took a quick glance around the Bridge. She met Kae's eyes where he stood next to Tatiana Marlowe and Thea smiled briefly to him, inclining her head. A wordless signal that she was fine, and that she had been successful in assisting with the hull crane by using her new emitter. She also noted that Lieutenant Sjaandin Fedd had taken over the tactical station after Rennan Cooper fell. She hoped the emergency transport to Sickbay that the Captain's Yeoman had ordered would result in the human's resuscitation, yet her internal sensors still did not show the man's life-sign. If only her internal surveillance system had been repaired, she might have been able to follow the development.

As it were, her optical sensors saw the ashen atmosphere on the view screen, and as she ascended, new readings were finally coming to her via long range sensors. Momentarily, she would be able to detect what awaited them outside orbit of the erupting planet.

"Captain on the Bridge," said Deputy ThanIda zh'Wann, stepping in ahead of Captain Ives. The Andorian had a phaser by her hip and her uniform was torn and dirty, while the Commanding Officer - in her female form - seemed to have been showered in water after coming aboard. Her hair hung in wet tresses around her unsmiling face, and there was something odd with how her texture seemed to fluctuate minutely with each step.

"At ease," said Ives and inclined her head to Edena Rez, and then she looked towards Simon Tovarek by the science station. "I hear you are responsible for giving Commander Stark the ability to beam up the life-signs still left in the valley. Well done, Lieutenant." Then, the Captain turned her weary brown eyes to Thea, and the Ship A.I. folded her hands behind her back and squared her shoulders, ready for the expected question.

"How many did not make it?" It was the question that no one had dared ask yet.

"Before the attack, we had a complement of five-hundred and fifty-seven crew members, the Harbinger Crew included. Thirty people died in the first attack wave after the shield dome was lost, where the Reavers destroyed the planet-side Transport Centre. Cadet Ester Hamburg died before the hull crane could be released, yet the civilian engineer in the crane was safely beamed to Sickbay. On the Harbinger, Ensign Sonja Acreth managed to escape the Brig and killed ten security officers. She has now been apprehended and returned to her holding cell. Five more people died on a volcano's mountainside when it erupted, but Dr. O'Connor managed to extract Ensign Cir'Cie before she was lost too. Chief Engineer Alexander Rosek was killed in action in the attempt to get the shield dome up again, yet Consultant Cinsaj and Lieutenant Tatiana - obviously - made it back."

Thea inclined her head towards the woman by the Engineering Station before continuing. "I calculate that the quick way in which the dome was raised might have saved a minimum of hundred lives on the ground and in the shuttles. During the shuttle extractions, ten more people on the ground were killed by Reavers. Among them, Chief of Security Ben Vessery." This left Deputy zh'Wann as the only ranking Security Officer for both the crews, and the Andorian - standing at the back - seemed almost as weary as the Captain. Thea continued. "Seven out of twenty shuttles were shot down on their way to dock with me, resulting in eighty casualties. Without the assistance from Tactical Conn, none would have made it. While many were injured when the Thermal Springs erupted, there was only one casualty: Cadet Amikris Neotin."

Captain Ives blinked slowly where she stood at the mentioning of the Cadet, arms folded under her chest. Looking away, Thea supplied the summary in a crestfallen voice. "This amounts to one-hundred-thirty-eight casualties so far, and one-hundred and seven injured undergoing treatment in Sickbay. There is no telling how many are yet to die by their wounds. Including the injured, my current crew complement is three-hundred eighty-eight personnel, whereas the the USS Harbinger still maintains a skeleton crew of thirty-one people, including the Dor'GhItlh Squadron."

The two starship and the swarm of Valkyries were achieving orbital speed - about to challenge the gravitational pull. It happened in silence, where the Bridge crew most likely considered the immense loss of lives they had suffered on Theta Eridani IV. Thea had said that it might have been far worse, and they had done all they could, yet to some people, it probably felt insufficient.

"Exiting the planet's atmosphere," said Winterbourne by the helm, and the Theurgy shot through the final layer - breaching the exosphere and meeting the sight of starlit space on the viewscreen. "Entering orbit. The Harbinger and the Valkyries are joining us. Should I lay in a new course, Captain?"

"Hold." Jien clenched her jaws and put her hands on her hips. "Thea?"

"Scanning of the sector, complete." Thea swallowed, and her digital mind tried to find a way to say what she had to say. "Twenty-four starships detected. They have already entered the Acamar System. Starfleet signatures. Bearing Alpha-Niner-Two-Six."

Jien Ives walked forth, and it was as if the screams of their wounded could be heard in the interim. "On screen."

The screen lit up, "Jesus Christ," said Winterbourne, blue eyes wide. "We are dead..."

Thea saw how the silhouette of Captain Ives made fists by her sides while she stared upon the viewscreen.


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