Devastation of the Zyte Colony - Part 1
Posted on Mon Jan 22nd, 2024 @ 4:57pm by Master Chief Petty Officer Evelyn Bailey & Commander Oscar Vladinchi & Lieutenant Commander Richell Sorenson & Lieutenant Inara Ziro
Edited on on Mon Jan 22nd, 2024 @ 7:19pm
3,564 words; about a 18 minute read
Location: Zyte Colony; On Planet
Tags: 2397, Character Development, Mission Post
"Energize," Oscar said.
The Andorian transporter officer faded as the figures of both Commander Vladinchi and Lieutenant Ziro were engulfed in a blue shimmering light. When it dissipated and reality reappeared, Oscar was not prepared for what he saw. Both the Commander and Lieutenant had been outfitted with standard medical and humanitarian supplies for this venture, per the Commanders request to the Andorian Captain. Oscar realized quickly, however, that they were woefully unequipped for what they saw. Zyte Colony was a burning heap of rubble, flames, and smoke. The Andorian transporter chief had been smart to keep them a distance away, as where they had originally intended to arrive was nothing but a crack in the soil that spanned for what seemed like kilometers.
"Oh my God" muttered Lt. Ziro, borrowing a Terran phrase.
Inara cinched up the strap of her equipment bag and began a broad scan. She'd hardly had time to take inventory of the engineer's field kit she'd requested. It was lucky for her that most of it was hand-me-down Starfleet equipment. A few decades out of date, but still serviceable. Though she doubted their hosts on the Stras felt that way.
They had been transported just beside the main road into Zyte Colony, thinking it was the safest route into the city. However the road was broken and upheaved in sections and would prove a task to traverse. Andorian vehicles were strewn on either side; some vehicles on fire with visible occupants, deceased and burning, while others were in various forms of disfigurement due to damage from crashing or worse. Just a few meters away, however, was the groans of an Andorian civilian, hunched outside her vehicle as flames trickled its hood towards the crew compartment.
"There Lieutenant," Oscar pointed quickly, "We have to start somewhere. Come on."
Inara followed the Commander, switching her tricorder to medical scan. The car's impact was fast enough to break transparent aluminum and crumple the body. Its inertial dampeners had obviously given out in the crash, but it must have been enough to save this Andorian's life, judging by the extensive body damage and the fact they still had bones.
"Concussion..." she said, reading the signs while desperately trying to recall her field triage training. Though that much was apparent by how dazed they were. "Lacerations... Broken ribs... Third lung punctured. We need to get you to a doctor immediately."
Oscar was impressed with Inara's rapid reaction. He didn't show it, but he had grown instantly to appreciate her instincts. He opened his medical field kit and pulled out a emergency medical transponder. He did a quick count of the rest, seeing he had forty-nine left. He gently placed it on the shoulder of the injured Andorian woman and tapped his combadge.
=/\= Commander Vladinchi to the Horizon, I have activated an Andorian emergency medical transponder and will be utilizing these to identify critically injured individuals. One has been activated, we have a severely injured civilian who survived a car crash with extensive lacerations, broken ribs, and a punctured third lung. Transport immediately. Also, to the Captain, the situation on the surface is catastrophic and we will be delayed in our efforts to find the Governor. All inroads to Zyte Colony are practically destroyed and there is devastation everywhere I'm looking. =/\=
=/\=Understood=/\= He turned to the Ensign at operations. "Transport them directly to sickbay"
"Aye sir" the Ensign said. "Energizing."
=/\= In addition, Lieutenant Commander Sorenson and Master Chief Bailey should be joining you shortly on the surface =/\=
Oscar nodded, reassured they wouldn't be alone soon.
=/\= Copy that, Captain. We'll be moving forward from here to attempt to provide aid. Commander Vladinchi, out. =/\=
As the Andorian female shimmered in Starfleets traditional blue transporter shimmer, Oscar patted Inara's shoulder to get her attention to move. "Great work," he said in manner of praise. "Let's keep moving."
Inara's gaze lingered on the spot the woman had just been, taking in the severity of the situation. It wasn't her first crisis, but it was the first since The Blackfish. She nodded to the Commander and pushed herself onto her feet.
The next part of their trek was an difficult one; traversing the remains of what looked like a burnt and destroyed bus and several vehicles. Oscar was careful to examine the interiors, but what he saw didn't give him hope. In most were simply ash and remains of melted metal. The bus in particular was devastated beyond repair, however on the ground just forward of it were several bodies. One moved.
"Help," it cried, though it was barely recognizable as anything but a body. The skin had been burnt severely and where there should be antenna, there were none. "Help me," it cried again.
Oscar felt he didn't need to usher Inara forward, instead expecting her to as he moved forward and took out his tricorder. Much like Inara's observations, he too understood the age of the Andorian equipment, though it would be enough for this situation. Turning the tricorder to medical, he came to a surprising conclusion.
"This man is human," he said, then slowly his head turned as he observed several more bodies strewn around.
"Inara, can we stabilize?" he asked as he set down his medical kit and began to look for hypos of any kind, though not even he was sure it was possible with the damage the man had in front of him.
Human... A human face barely recognizable from his burns. Commander Vladinchi's voice seemed muffled and distant for a moment, overshadowed by the beating of her hearts and the red alert klaxon of her old ship.
A sharp inhale. A quick mental inventory of her own body. Her surroundings. She focused on the now and brought the world back into focus.
"..maybe... Yes." She arrived, checking her own tricorder for the most life-threatening symptoms. "His cardiovascular system is severely damaged... Twenty CC's of Lectrazine should start to repair the blood vessels."
It would be a start, anyway. Inara was hardly a medic. Field triage was only a small part of her Security training. If they saved him he would still need major surgery to repair the nerve damage. For once she was grateful to be in a climate chosen by Andorians. The cold was likely what kept him alive. It also meant the shock of getting beamed to a comparatively warm sickbay could trigger cardiac arrest. She held up a hand, searching for a part of this man's body she could touch. She settled on a part of his arm.
"It's okay." The Iotian reassured him, attempting warmth despite the biting air. "We're here to help."
Oscar watched Inara work patiently. He didn't push, budge, or force her faster than necessary. This was an extremely delicate situation with the most absolutely abhorrent conditions. As the Assistant Tactical Officer did her work, the Commander analyzed his medical tricorder and came to the same conclusion that Inara had reached concerning the cold. It was a tough call, but Oscar couldn't allow this person to die here. After Inara injected the Lectrazine, Oscar gave the person a few moments as they seemed to calm and their breathing stabilize - though admittedly, it was a horrific sound still. He gently pulled out an emergency transponder and hesitated, either because he didn't know where to safely put it or he second guessed his decision. The moment of hesitation passed as he placed it on the persons back, tapping his communicator.
=/\= Commander Vladinchi to Horizon, Sickbay we have a severely burned individual whose been stabilized with twenty CC's of Lectrazine. Recommend prepping favorable colder temperatures to ensure patient doesn't enter cardiac arrest. Transponder attached. =/\=
As the transponder blinked on, connecting to the Horizon's system, the man suddenly took Inara's outreached hand before she finished pulling herself up. She caught herself on one knee, not wanting to risk injuring him by pulling away. His grip was weak. She could feel the blisters on his palm, the warm wetness of his blood in its charred crags. His hand shook with pain, but he held it there, locking eyes with her with intensity. Her pupils dilated, instinctively taking it all in, his body language, his expression, his voice.
"Th-thank you." croaked the man, his voice gravely and strained.
Inara's eyes shifted color, but not to match the stranger's. They were a warm amber, the color of sunset on a distant shore that never existed.
When the shock passed, she nodded, wishing him luck as the transponder's blinking light turned solid, indicating imminent transport. He let go of her hand, a sharp inhale as the pain caught up to him.
A moment later, the body shimmered in the blue light. As they gathered their things, Oscar spent a moment with the Iotian as they rose to their feet.
"You did extremely well in what you did," Oscar complemented. Then his tone turned softer, more sympathetic. He had seen her moment of weakness. "That was really difficult for both of us. It's not easy trying to save those who seem far beyond saving. Are you okay with continuing? I won't force you. I can have them beam you back to the Horizon and I will not judge you."
"Thank you, but..." Inara trailed off, assessing herself. She wasn't too proud to take the out if she needed it. Again, she listened to her body. Her breathing. Her hearts beat. She flashed back to the stranger holding her hand, thanking her for stepping in. Only in her mind, it wasn't the stranger. It was someone else. Amber eyes holding her gaze, grateful that she was there.
"I'll be okay." She believed, absently wiping a tear away with her wrist. It left a smear of dried blood on her cheek. "We trained for this, right? Let's keep moving."
Oscar nodded, assured Inara was at least from an outside perspective good to continue. The closer they go towards the city, however, the more devastation they saw. There were more survivors in patches of areas, though most seemed upright and on their feet with just scratches and bruises. The Commander had to make an executive decisions with these groups, whether contact was relevant or not as he understood his objective was to contact the Governor. He would wave down part of the groups, probably a family of five or a group of ten survivors, and the majority of the time they declined assistance. He did, however, reach into his humanitarian pack and hand out rations; packs of food which included three days of nutrition, water, and some survival goodies all neatly packaged. Finally, about thirty minutes forward into their trek, they came across what appeared to be a police vehicle of some kind, as if a command vehicle that gently hovered off the ground. Around it crowds of survivors packed in as groups of Andorians adorned in darkly colored armored uniforms handed out aid.
"I believe, Lieutenant, that is the Andorian Imperial Guard," the Commander said. "Maybe they've made contact with the Governor. Let's go check."
The two Starfleet officers stood out in the crowd of haggard civilians. They parted ways for Oscar and Inara, giving them a clear look at the guardsmen handing out supplies atop the cruiser. Among them, Inara spotted her bunkmate from the Stras. Ensign Tetho had her hair tied back, wiping the sweat off her forehead with a free arm. She had tied her leather uniform jacket around her waist, unbothered by the cold. They had been busy.
As the crowd parted, the Andorian Ensign spotted the not-human she had been forced to languish with for the past week. Her gaze was softer than before. Her frustration with this assignment had given way to a sense of purpose. Across the distance, the two of them exchanged nods, the mission took precedent over this unprecedented moment of understanding.
As they proceeded forward, the crowd - a mixture of Andorians and other Federation races - seemed to be in mostly good spirits. Oscar notated that in this general area at least, the people he saw didn't have extensive injuries. As he got closer, he noticed that behind the command vehicle there had been erected what he presumed to be field medical tents and possibly other facilities; cars and other wreckage had been purposefully moved around the area, as if a protective barrier, with guarded inlets and outlets protected by well armed darkly clad Andorian individuals who, for the most part, acted friendly. Oscar noted they were only half a kilometer away from the city proper at this juncture, so this could very well be a forward operating base of some kind. To their left appeared to be a very large mess tent where the groups of survivors seemed to be being fed. Further nearer the erected walls there also seemed to be tents with cots, which the Commander presumed was temporary housing.
"Halt!" someone said beside Oscar as he felt a hand roughly seize his shoulder. The Commander resisted the urge to fight back as he turned his head quickly. It was a Lieutenant of the Imperial Guard, one hand on a phaser rifle, the other holding Oscar. The Guard seemed to look Inara and Oscar up and down, relaxing a bit.
"Starfleet has come rendering aid." the Guard said, some relief in his voice. "You'll be wanting to see the Commander, then. He's in the command vehicle. Over there."
"Yes, sir," Oscar replied, giving a thankful nod. He even handed the guard a ration pack for which he thanks was a smile and nod. Midway towards the Command Vehicle, Oscar tapped his combadge.
=/\= Commander Vladinchi to the Horizon, we've made contact with what appears to be an Andorian Imperial Guard base. They've set up an extensive area with temporary food, housing, and medical facilities just outside the city. I'm moving to make contact with the Commander to hopefully ascertain the whereabouts of the Governor. This would also be a perfect location for a rendezvous with any further personnel planned. =/\=
== USS Horizon ==
=/\= Understood. I'll notify Commander Sorenson and the Master Chief. Horizon out=/\=
After that, Phoenix tapped a button on his arm rest to open a channel. "Bridge to transporter room three, I am sending you new coordinates to transport Commander Sorenson and Master Chief Bailey down to on the surface."
James closed the channel and tapped his badge. =/\=Bridge to Commander Sorenson and Master Chief Bailey, your transport coordinates have been updated to Commander Vladinchi's location. Please also bring with you an engineering field kit. =/\=
"Understood captain. My team is ready to be beamed to the new coordinates, "Richelle said quickly as she hurried to the transporter room.
Master Chief Bailey was already on her way to the transporter room when she received the Captain's message. "Aye sir" the Chief of Boat said as she continued on her way to the room.
== Back on the Planet ==
It was absolute madness. Within the last hour an influx of over a hundred injured had arrived in a group, led by a few brave Andorians in various states of injury. With them they carried casualties that ranged from mild injuries to severely injured. Whether he wanted to or not, Oscar had been conscripted to help with crowd control. Inara, on the other hand, had been conscripted to help with medical. As the crowds rushed in for aid, Oscar helped distribute the supplies to the arrivals and maintain order. Surprisingly, they were mostly compliant.
He tapped his combadge when he had a quick moment to do so.
=/\= Commander Vladinchi to Lieutenant Ziro. How are you holding up, Inara? =/\=
"Got it!" Inara told the doctor beside her. Though, after looking around, she had no clear path forward.
The Imperial Guard's informal distribution spot had evolved into a full Aid Station. The nearest hospital, a few miles into the city had partially collapsed. Luckily, it had been evacuated with time to spare, along with as much of their equipment they could carry. With doctors and surgeons barking orders at anyone who could read a medical tricorder, Lieutenant Ziro had found herself running around, delivering hyposprays and keeping the battered equipment running. Her engineering was rusty and she was hardly a nurse, but suddenly she had to be both. At least she wasn't alone.
Despite their differences, Inara and Tetho were the first two people to step forward with any triage training and found they actually worked quite well together. Of course, they were both now stuck carrying a very heavy patient while waiting for a mobile biobed's scanning arm to retract before they could put him down. And then the bed's generator, the same one she'd fixed twenty minutes ago, fizzled again, causing the arm to stop. And then the Commander called. And then the doctor asked her to fix it again. And of course she can't because she's carrying a patient. And then-
"You gonna answer that?" Ensign Tetho interrupted her introspection from across the stretcher, not quite able to hide her amusement. So she does have a sense of humor!
=/\= Y-yes Commander. We're doing fine here. I was thinking- No, just- just kick it. Left side, halfway up. I was thinking if the Andorian Commander and the hospital director don't mind sharing, we can- Yeah, it's a loose contact wire. Not too hard. Just a quick- thud Yeah, like that... there we go! I was thinking we could go ahead and set up our forward base from here? There's enough generators and spare parts at this point. =/\=
Vladinchi squinted as he heard the background noise, but didn't ask. It was clearly busy over on Ziro's side of things.
=/\= Acknowledged, Inara. Things have calmed down here at the southern checkpoint, so I'm going to find whoever is in charge here and finish my objective. I suggest we hunker down for a bit though so we both can finish our duties. Commander Vladinchi, out. =/\
The last half of the comment was directed toward Inara being busy, clearly due to her shared audio. Oscar began to distribute supplies again, helping a few more refugee additions before he began to contemplate just how to contact leadership here.
"Aye sir" Inara said after the comm ended. She and Tetho struggled to get their patient safely to his bed, but just managed it before the doctor had intervened. It seemed like things were calming down over there as well. A few patients were still in critical condition, but most of the doctors and volunteers had started sweeping and sanitizing as much as they could, getting ready for the next inevitable wave of casualties.
"So much for your escape plan" the Andorian chided. Inara was quite familiar with that look of disapproval. It had grown to feel very natural on her own face over the past few days.
"Not an escape plan." She assured her. "The sooner we get a base set up, the better chance we have of coordinating with the other settlements. That's the mission."
"This is the mission." Tetho said flatly.
Inara considered this. She thought she was trying to do the most good. Maybe she was missing the point. Interfacing directly with all these people. It's what she wanted out of this career. But after all the pain she'd seen today, all she could think about was the big picture. To tune out the faces.
"Starfleet!" One of the Andorian nurses, a burly gentleman by the name of Sybir who seemed to take particular pleasure in bossing her around, interrupted her crisis of conscience. "Think your away team's about to arrive, finally. Help me clear the beam-in spot for 'em."
"On my way." She turned to Tetho, who avoided meeting her eyes. As if afraid to see herself in them. "You coming?"
"I.." The ensign paused. "I think I'll stick around here. The doctors look exhausted. I better help sweep up."
Without waiting for a response, Inara's former jailor left her side. She waited for a moment, wondering if she should go after her, but was interrupted by another call from Sybir.
Right. The mission.
== USS Horizon - Transporter Room ==
Richelle stood on the transporter pad waiting for the others to arrive. She could feel the emotions from the planet as they were intense at the moment.
Evelyn entered the transporter room and nodded to the Transporter Chief and Commander Sorenson. "Morning Ma'am, morning Chief" she greeted as she made a beeline for the pad and stood next to the Chief Engineer.
== Zyte Colony ==
Oscar found relief to his position as an Andorian Imperial Guardsman approached. They exchanged brief introductions and relayed events before the Commander was relieved. Having the moment, he began towards the main mobile Headquarters to find the Andorian Guard Commander.
Commander Oscar Vladinchi
Lt. Cmdr. Richelle Sorenson ze
Chief Engineering Officer
Lt. Inara Ziro
Assistant Chief Security and Tactical Officer
Master Chief Petty Officer Evelyn Bailey (NPC)
Chief of Boat