USS Triton
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Unto the Breech

Posted on Fri May 8th, 2020 @ 3:39pm by Lieutenant JG T’savo

Mission: Tick-Tock
Location: Starbase 50, Holodeck
Timeline: MD01, 1300

[ON]

“Computer, run program USS Thy’lek Shran Incident one four three alpha two nine tack eight.” T’savo asked, after slipping a data card into the holodeck’s control terminal. She felt the need to revisit some of her memories with the Starfleet Marines.

Butterflies had plagued her stomach since she had learned of her new posting to the USS Triton a week ago, and she wasn’t sure if it was anxiety she felt, or excitement. I’m the Assistant Chief Medical Officer? She thought. Me?

She had expected to start as a medical officer, or just one of the doctors on duty; but to be the second in command of the Triton’s Medical Department? She had just completed her program with Starfleet Medical Academy, but there was still so much she didn’t know, so much she hadn’t seen.

How could she hope to run Medical in the Medical Chief’s absence without any experience in curing pandemics, or making up surgical procedures as she went? Such things were common among the legendary doctors Leonard McCoy and Julian Bashir, and even an emergency medical hologram on a starship that had gotten lost in the Delta Quadrant.

T’savo decided to seek answers in her own past. As the holodeck loaded the program, she found herself looking at the beginning of her first mission as a medic with the Starfleet Marines.



Location: USS Thy’lek Shran, Marine Detachment Company Area

Alarm klaxons wailed while the squadrons of the USS Thy’lek Shran’s Marine Detatchment, Third Platoon equipped themselves for battle. T’Savo slipped her torso armor over her head, and couldn’t help but smile as she grabbed her medkit. Her body was electric, and bursting with anticipation; after months in training, and several more weeks of drills, she was finally going to participate in a real mission. She had started to think this moment would never come.

“Third Platoon,” the voice of Marine officer Lt. Danvers sounded over the Red Alert klaxons. “Report to the transporter bays and prep for boarding operations. Good luck.”

“T’savo!” Bravo Squad leader Tarn barked. “Let’s go!”

“Be right there, sir!” She replied to the young Andorian. She snatched her Type IV phaser off of its rack and scampered to the transporters.



Location: USS Thy’lek Shran, Transporter Bay 5

All of Alpha Squad, and most of Bravo and Charlie Squads had already arrived by the time she got to the correct bay. After waiting a few more seconds for the last stragglers to show up, the Efrosian platoon sergeant addressed the squads. “The lieutenant has already gone over the plan, but here’s a quick recap. Some Breen privateers have taken over the Federation freighter Nona. Remember, Alpha Squad will lead the assault and clear each compartment. Bravo Squad will follow them and secure each area after they have cleared it. Charlie will bring up the rear and watch for any flanking maneuvers.”

T’savo wasn’t surprised that her squad, Bravo, got the safest of the three roles. The squad was made up mostly of fresh recruits, with almost no combat experience among them.

“Sergeant Ra-Gavreii to Transporter Chief. We’re ready. Energize.”



Location: Federation Freighter Nona, Cargo Bay 14

The dark blue walls and light-grey shipping crates hosted a crescendo of orange and green as Alpha Squad’s phasers met Breen disruptor bursts. Slowly, Alpha Squad marched forward to the steady hiss of their phasers, and the occasional blast of a photon grenade. The last of Alpha Squad disappeared through a doorway and around a corner, when she heard Sgt. Gavreii’s voice through her comm. “Bravos and Charlies, advance.”

Five Marines rushed through the center doorway into the next cargo bayand headed down the right. The next five headed left, followed by T’savo and the remaining squad members. The walls and storage containers were scored with phaser and disruptor burn marks, and the bodies of three large humanoids in white suits and masks that resembled the beaked face of one-eyed birds. “So that’s what a Breen looks like,” a squad member said, walking over to one of the corpses. “Taller than I thought they’d be.”

The green flash of a stray disruptor pulse streaked through the air, and struck the Bravo on his right shoulder pauldron, which sent him spinning around as he fell to the deck plating. “Doc!” He howled through clenched teeth.

“Keep your heads down!” Her squad leader barked, then looked at her. “T’savo, take care of it!”

T’savo scurried over to the stricken Bravo and snatched her medical tricorder out of her kit. As she ran the tricorder over his shoulder, the readings indicated that he had suffered a second-degree burn from the impact. Spurred on by his cries of agony, T’savo fumbled through her kit to find her hypospray so that she could stop the pain. After a few seconds of digging, cool sweat gathered on her forehead and her heart bounced around her ribcage. Where is the stupid thing?

Another green bolt streaked overhead, while her squad mate continued to yell in pain. Seeing her fumbling around, the squad leader crawled over to her. “Stop screwing around and treat him, you bog-headed cat!”

“Yessir!” was the only word T’savo said aloud, but her tail danced like a cobra, communicating a string of colorful replies in the unspoken body language of Caitians. Fortunately, few realized her tail movements were a form of sign language all their own..

She found her hypo after pushing a laser scalpel and an anesthetic canister aside, and set the hypo’s dial to “4” for a painkiller. After using the hypo, she grabbed her dermal regenerator and began working on the man’s shoulder. She was almost halfway done when she heard a woman’s voice in her comm. “Alpha leader to Bravo Squad, several wounded coming your way for first aid. Send five Marines to Alpha, over.”

T’savo took a moment to look through her medkit and memorize where everything was. Her teeth clenched as head radiated off of her forehead and cheeks. Stupid, stupid, stupid! You should have done that before you got here! She wouldn’t make that mistake again.

When she looked up, the five Alpha Squad marines were laid out next to her. The stench of burnt flesh, vaporized armor, and singed hair flooded her nostrils. She fought the urge to gag. Screams of agony hammered through her ears like hot nails. She flattened her ears back hoping to dull the sound, but she couldn’t escape it.

She forced herself to concentrate, scanning the Marines and making a mental checklist. Mild plasma burns to the chest...second-degree burns to the right arm… A pain-filled roar broke her concentration, and she turned to see a human staring up at her with pleading eyes. When he saw the fear in hers, his face crumpled.

She went back to her mental inventory, trying to remember where she had left off. Um...a deep stab wound on his right side, possibly from an ice pick...broken clavicle and broken rib, probably from containers falling on her,...plasma burns on his left leg, caused by a disruptor…

The broken rib caught her attention; one wrong move from the Marine could drive it through her lung. She tore at her kit to retrieve the osteo repair tool. Grabbing her loaded hypo, she gave painkillers to the Marine with the worst burns, and to the one with the broken bones, and started working to secure the broken rib.

She was halfway done when someone patted her helmet. “Doc,” a Bravo Marine interrupted her. “That guy’s coughing up blood.” She looked up to see red fluid gurgling out of the second-closest Marine’s mouth. T’savo dropped the osteo-repair tool, and bolted to the Marine’s side.

Her stomach dropped as she saw the tricorder reading. Right lung has been punctured. Her mouth went dry; if she had paid closer attention to the tricorder reading before, she would have seen that.

She pulled an empty hypo and a dermal regenerator from her kit, and began extracting the loose blood from the lung while repairing the organ’s membranes. There wasn’t enough time to heal the wound completely, two Marines still awaited treatment, and one hadn’t even received painkillers.

Confident that the wound was no longer fatal, T’savo quickly administered painkiller to the one Marine who had been left out, then returned to finish mending the first Marine’s bones.

No sooner had she finished with the rib, Tarn thumped her helmet. “Doc,” he gestured to the three marines with burns. “They aren’t that hurt. Get them up and fighting again!”

“Yessir!”

She hopped over the Marine with the least damage, and began treating his burns.

“Computer, pause program.”

T’savo stared at her holographic self, her lips curling and her brow furrowing. Heat rose in her cheeks as she looked at the medic...no, the lost child who had scurried from one patient to the next with no thought. The girl looked at her tricorder readings, but saw nothing. She fumbled her way through triaging the wounded, and had even let someone with no medical training dictate to her what patients demanded her immediate attention. Was I really that clueless, back then?

“Computer, resume.” Dr. T’savo commanded with an exasperated sigh.

A cool voice cut through the fog of war that had settled in Private T’savo’s brain.

“Do you require assistance, Private?”

She turned to see Charlie Squad’s medic, Private First Class T’ryll. The woman leaned over to get a better look at what T’savo was doing.

“O-of course ma’am! He...” She pointed to a Marine a few meters to her right, “...has a severe stab wound. I’ve stopped the bleeding for now, but it needs more treatment. She...” T’savo said, pointing to a Marine a meter to her left, “...has a broken clavicle that needs mending. The rest have burns.”

“Why are you treating this Marine?” T’ryll asked. “His wounds are not severe enough to require immediate attention.”

“I told her to get him up and fighting again,” Tarn cut in.

T’ryll cocked an eyebrow. “I did not realize that you had medical training, Lance Corporal Tarn.”

Tarn’s face flushed. “I don’t, PFC T’ryll.”

“I see,” T’ryll replied, nonplussed by Tarn’s emphasizing her lower rank. “May I suggest that you concern yourself with covering Alpha Squadron’s flank, and leave medical care to those who are certified to give it?”

Tarn puffed himself up, but let it drop. “Watch your tone, Vulcan,” he said as he slinked off to oversee Bravo Squad’s part in the battle.

T’ryll picked up T’savo’s osteo-repair tool and began working on the broken clavicle. “Private, you will run into many squad leaders and commanding officers who will try to micromanage you. Remember that, when it comes to treating your patients, you always have the last word. As far as Starfleet Medical is concerned, your positional authority when you act as a medic or doctor abrogates the chain of command. Do not hesitate to stand up for your patients or your methods, regardless of whether your superiors agree with you.”

“Yes ma’am.”

“I see you already repaired this Marine’s rib.”

“Yes ma’am. Then I stabilized the stab victim.”

T’ryll nodded. “The only attempt at a logical course of action that your are probably capable of under present conditions. I commend you, Private. Next time, do not let a superior’s bluster derail you from what you consider to be the logical way to proceed.”

Irritation at the Vulcan’s back-handed compliment rippled down T’savo’s tail, causing the end to flick to and fro. She couldn’t deny the surge of relief at having the help, though. “Yes ma’am.”

“Administer bicaridine to the burn victims to dull their pain, and finish working on the stab wound.”

“Yes ma’am.”

“Once you finish that, turn your attention toward the plasma burn victim. The reason we are treating them in this order is because...”

“Computer, pause.”

T’savo’s blood cooled as the inner fire faded. Yes she was clueless back then: clueless and overwhelmed and scared. She looked at her younger self with kinder eyes now. You couldn’t help it. You were in over your head here. A faint smile came to her lips as some tensioned eased from her body. But you got through it, didn’t you? Your sister medic T’ryll made sure of that.

“Computer, skip to event index 12.”



Location: Federation Freighter Nona, Crew Quarters Area

Bravo Squad sat in the middle of a junction between the main corridor that ran the length of the ship, a corridor coming from the port-side quarters, and another coming from the starboard quarters. To their backs was Alpha Squad, currently working on securing the freighter’s bridge. In front of them, Charlie Squadron watched the main corridor.

While the distant sounds of battle droned on behind her, T’savo’s ears pricked up; a cascade of thuds resounded from the corridor leading to the port crew quarters. She was about to say something when another Marine, equipped with a scanning kit, approached Tarn. “Sir, my scanner is picking up life signs in the replimat,” the Marine gestured toward the doorway to his right. “Permission to check it out?”

“How many do you read?” Tarn asked.

“Two...maybe three at most. They look like they’re all huddled together. It could be survivors from the crew.”

Tarn licked his lips, then nodded. “Okay. Take Bequillard and Grifka.” He thought another moment. “Better take T’savo, too. If you get in trouble, she can help patch you up. You see anything, you call it in first and then shoot. Understand?”

“Yessir.”

T’savo followed the other three down the corridor for thirty meters, before they came across a mess of storage containers that had been scattered across the corridor. To the right of the containers was an open door that led to a supply closet. “How did these crates get scattered?” The Tellerite Grifka asked. Bequillard examined the closet, then turned to the containers. “The ship would have to buck pretty hard to knock those things into the hall like that.” He looked at his colleagues. “I didn’t feel a thing.”

“Maybe someone knocked them over?”

“Someone hiding in the closet?” Bequillard thought out loud. “Someone who scurried off when they heard footsteps…” He turned to Shrik. “Where are those life signs?”

Shrik shook his head, and thumped the scanner mounted on his arm. “Hard to tell now. We’re in some kind of close-range jamming field.”

T’savo’s grip on her phaser tightened, and her colleagues had similarly positioned their weapons so that they were easier to fire at a moment’s notice. “Sure they aren’t Breen?” Grifka asked, looking around.

“Not sure of anything right now.” Shrik admitted. “But I don’t think the Breen set this up. The jamming field seems...sloppy. Almost like the emitter was jury rigged in a hurry. It’s wide-band jamming, not targeting a precise scanning frequency.”

“As if some crew members wanted to hide from Breen scanners and threw something together at the last minute?” Bequillard concluded.

“That’s my guess.” Shrik admitted, then looked at his scanner again. “Let’s check out the replimat. If someone’s trying to hide in this area, that’s as good a place as any.”

Carefully, they made their way to the large double doors that led into the replimat, when the faint sound of voices bled through the wall to their right. T’savo couldn’t make out the words, but she heard two different voices whispering in Federation basic.

Grifka activated the doors, then swung around into the room. Bequillard and Shrik followed, and T’savo brought up the rear. An abandoned room bathed in faint blue light greeted the four Marines as they slowly spread out and weaved through the tables and chairs scattered around the room. The whispering grew louder as T’savo made her way toward a doorway in the far left corner of the room. “Is anyone there?” She asked, walking alongside a row of booths. “You can come out. We won’t hurt you.” No response. “We’re here to help.” Still no response. A cold sweat fell over her as she approached the last booth. “If we stay still, maybe they will go away,” she heard one voice say. “But we gotta stay quiet! If they hear us…”

T’savo looked under the table, but saw no one. Confused, she walked around the booth and faced the brightly lit open doorway. A glimmer of light at her knee caught her eye, and she looked down. Disappointment and mild relief surged through her; a PADD was stuck to the back of the booth, playing a holo-drama with two children hiding from a burglar in their house. “Over here,” she called out. “It’s just a PADD playing audio.”

The other Marines headed over to her, as she crouched down to look at the device. She grabbed the PADD to take a closer look. “Why would someone stick this…”

When the PADD came loose, she heard a high pitched beeping. Before she knew it, she was hurling through the air, and down the open doorway. “Concussion charge!” She heard someone yell. T’savo expected an attacker to be on top of her, and wasted no time getting to her feet. She started walking toward the door, but stopped when sparks rained down from the ceiling. A plasma conduit above the doorway blew, and the doorway collapsed into a pile of rubble.



Location: Federation Freighter Nona, Corridor to Replimat

“T’savo, are you there? Come in, T’savo!” Bequillard’s voice boomed through T’savo’s comm.

Winded, T’savo pushed herself up to a crouching position. “T’savo here,” she replied. She eyed the pile of debris that had just collapsed, separating her from the others. “I’m alright.”

“Lucky that trap was meant to knock you over instead of blowing you up. Sit tight; we’ll come to you.” He went quiet for several seconds. “It’s going to be a minute, though. We can’t move this debris ourselves. I’m going to tell Sarge, understand?”

T’savo turned away from the wrecked doorway she had just been pushed through and gazed into the murky darkness of a ruined corridor. She picked up her phaser and looped the shoulder strap over her neck. The sole light source sat right above her head, leaving the rest of the corridor black. She tried to swallow a lump in their throat, but it refused to budge. “Acknowledged.”

“Don’t move. We’ll get to you as soon as we can.”

“Yessir.”

The channel closed, and the ensuing silence spoke volumes. The debris couldn’t have been more than a meter thick, and the walls half that; to T’savo, they spanned lightyears.

She turned to look down the dim corridor and fought to keep her trembling hands still. Her breathing was shallow and frantic, her hair on edge. In through the nose...out through the mouth...in through the nose...out through the mouth…

Any semblance of composure she had regained shattered when her ears picked up a rhythmic, dull thudding sound from somewhere in the darkness. T’savo’s blood froze as they grew louder, the cadence resonating with an air of inevitability: thirty meters away...twenty five...twenty…

Fear clutched her heart and refused to let go. She keyed for squad comms, but static erupted from her headset. She readied her phaser, as her eyes chased shadows. Fifteen meters...ten…

As suddenly as it started, the noise stopped. T’savo steeled herself for attack and listened for any hint of the source in the dark. The void did not answer.

Suddenly, a Breen flew at her, causing her flinch.

She heard her right sleeve tear as a burning pain shot through her arm. The smell of her own blood filled the air.

The Breen jerked back, then came at her again. She noticed the tri-edge dagger in its hand just in time.

She grappled with the Breen, fighting to keep its arms under control. The Breen rammed its helmet into her face, and a warm, copper-tasting liquid exploded in her mouth.

The Breen pinned T’savo against a wall as she fought to control the arm with the dagger. Her legs burned under the Breen’s weight bearing down on her.

She dropped to the floor and threw herself past the Breen. She brought her phaser to bear, and an orange stream pummeled the Breen.

An electronic screech battered her ears, then silence.

She tried her comms again, but the static remained. After a few seconds, she forced herself to look the Breen over, hoping to find the source of the jamming. She only saw the suit, helmet, and a rectangular case on the Breen’s back. Figuring that she had nothing to lose, she blasted the case.

“T’savo to Bequillard.”

“T’savo!” He answered. “We’ve been trying to reach you! What happened?”

“I was...attacked. It’s...it’s gone now.”

“You too?” She heard him utter a groan. “A Breen jumped us after we lost contact with you. It got Shrik. Grifka’s alive, but I don’t know how long. Listen, Sarge is on his way. Just sit tight.”



Location: Federation Freighter Nona, Corridor to Replimat

T’savo looked at the Breen’s corpse at her feet. The contents of her stomach threatened to rise up, and she clapped a hand over her mouth. Her knees buckled, and she fell to the ground, her eyes glued to the dead body. The throbbing pain in her arm served a chilling reminder that she had come within centimeters of taking the Breen’s place on the cold deck plating.

Relief hit her like a tidal wave crashing upon a seaside cliff; she bathed in the joy of knowing she had survived, yet the fact that she felt relief over killing another being shook her to her core.

A faint red glow filling the corridor, and she turned to see a hole appear in the wall to her right. A Horta crawled through, followed by a handful of Marines and Sgt. Gavreii. The Efrosian took a quick look around before his eyes settled on T’savo. “Check for hostiles, and secure the area,” he said to the Marines, and they headed down the corridor. “Are you hurt, T’savo?”

T’savo couldn’t answer. He walked up to her and gently guided her to her feet. “T’savo,” he asked, his voice soft, but resolute. “Look at me. What happened?”

She forced herself to look away from the corpse and gaze up at his Klingon-esque face. “I killed it,” T’savo replied, but the words felt like they came from someone else. “It came down the corridor and attacked me and…and I killed it.”

Sgt. Gavreii looked at the Breen’s corpse before locking eyes with her again. “As well you should have,” he said flatly. His voice held no triumph, no celebratory tone. “It would have killed you, and others too, if you hadn’t.”

T’savo stared at the body, the worlds not registering. Gavreii gave her a gentle shake. “Understand me, Private T’savo?” He said calmly. “It was you or the Breen. You did exactly what you were supposed to do, and probably saved some of your Marine brothers and sisters.”

“Of course sir,” T’savo said woodenly, the odd mix of relief and guilt billowing within her.

Gavreii looked at the Breen again. “Your first kill.”

T’savo nodded.

A pause fell over the two, and Gavreii stepped away from her to look down the corridor. T’savo broke the silence. “Is this how you felt when you killed your first being?”

“How do you feel?” He asked, not turning around.

Where did she begin? The euphoria of adrenaline, the relief of surviving, the guilt of killing, the thrill of having triumphed over a superior adversary, the horror of realizing that death had almost taken her...they all crashed into each other like poorly coordinated runabouts trying to fly into the same shuttle bay. One feeling in the pit of her stomach prevailed, however.

“I want to throw up.”

Gavreii considered that a moment. “You have to be alive to feel that.”

The Marines came back down the corridor. “No other hostiles on the freighter, sir. If there were any other Breen, they’ve gone back to their ship and fled.”

“That’s it, then.” Gavreii said. “Sgt. Gavreii to Lt. Danvers; the ship is clear. Security and technicians can come aboard to transfer the cargo to the Shran.” He changed to Platoon comms “Third Platoon, head to the beam-out site. Debrief begins in one hour.”

“Computer, end program.” T’savo commanded. She didn’t need to see the debrief; the parts of the mission that mattered had already played out.

As the images faded and T’savo found herself in the present again, she took a moment to digest what the mission had shown her. It wasn’t the best day of her life. It showed how unprepared she was for the life she had chosen then.

Gavreii’s words echoed in her mind. “You have to be alive to feel that…”

Despite her fumbling to keep her head above water, despite the fact that another medic had to step in to rescue her from her own inexperience, she was alive when the dust settled.

It wasn’t the answer she was hoping to get from past, but it was as good an answer as she could hope for; she had survived then, and she would survive now. She didnt’ understand why she was made the deputy chief, nor was she certain she had what it took to do the job.

But she realized, that didn’t matter. She’d handle whatever the job threw at her; her new crew would help see to that, just as she would make sure none of them failed.

“Program terminated,” the holodeck terminal announced. Private T’savo and the others faded away before her eyes. Grabbing a data card from the computer terminal, Dr. T’savo stepped out of the holodeck, and left to report for her new assignment.

[OFF]

Lt. JG T’savo
Ass’t Chief Medical Officer
USS Triton

 

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