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[2004: JAN-FEB] Love Under Fire


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During the Earth year 2375, much of the Alpha Quadrant was gripped in a bloody war between the combined Federation, Klingon and Romulan Alliance and the Gamma Quadrant Empire known as the Dominion and their newest members, the Cardassians. Unbeknownst to the Alpha Quadrant alliance, the Dominion had been negotiating in secret, an alliance with the mysterious Breen. Deciding to enter with a bang, the Breen struck a savage blow at the Federation’s heart: Earth. The city of San Francisco was specifically targeted, located there were many key Starfleet facilities including Starfleet Command, Starfleet Medical and Starfleet Academy…

Red Alert Klaxons wailed and the red emergency lighting provided the only illumination in the smoke filled corridor. The two officers and three cadets headed as quickly down the damaged corridor as possible.

With their wrist mounted torches flashing beams of light across the damaged floor and walls, they picked their way through the rubble searching for injured colleagues. One of the officers, a Benzite, stopped and stared at her tricorder.

“Commander, here is someone nearby…” she said, furiously tapping on the controls of the device to pinpoint their location.

The commanding officer of their search party, a terran, turned to her and pointed his torch directly at her tricorder.

“Where?”

He had a dried patch of blood on his forehead and his uniform was torn in a number of places, this was definitely not the type of mission Steven Clay had expected when was assigned to Earth. There had been a number of attempted attacks on what was seen to be the “capital” planet of the Federation but none had been as successful.

“I can’t get a specific reading,” Lieutenant Hyrashi replied, shaking her head a little.

“Well then, we keep doing this the old fashioned way.”

She nodded and placed the device back in its belt holster. He indicated for them to continue down the corridor and the rest of the search team followed him until they came to two doorways. Clay turned to one of the Cadets, a Vulcan named Sorlack who had been acting almost as a living map of the building.

“Cadet?”

“Professor Hillman’s office and the primary weapons locker,” the Vulcan replied.

Clay nodded, he wasn’t a huge fan of Vulcans but this kid was definitely coming in useful.

“Okay, Sorlack, you’re with me. The rest of you take the weapons locker.”

He entered the Professor’s officer with the Vulcan in tow. Hyrashi grabbed one of the double doors to the weapons locker and began pulling; with the power down none of the automated doors were working.

“Kran,” she said as she struggled with the heavy door, “a little help?”

The half-Klingon cadet grabbed the other door and began pulling; the doors opened slowly to reveal the charred remains of the Academy weapons locker. They entered the room and looked around at the mess.

“Okay gentlemen,” Hyrashi said, “you know the drill… spread out, you find anyone stick a transporter tag on them and then beam them out of here.”

The two cadets nodded and began searching the room for any signs of life. Moments later, the Betazoid cadet, Janaar, located an injured woman under a pile of phaser rifles and rubble. Pulling it away from her as best he could with an injured left arm, he recognised her. It was Master Chief Petty Officer Sharon Moss, the Academy weapons quartermaster

“Chief, you are injured hold still,” Janaar said, quietly.

“You cadets really are the best and the brightest, aren’t you?”

“Just hold still,” he said with a roll of his eyes, “we’re going to get you out of here and treated.”

He tagged her with a small transporter tag. As she dematerialised, he stood up and continued searching until he met Hyrashi and Kran on the other side of the room.

“I heard a transporter beam,” the Benzite said, “find someone?”

“Moss, she’s alive but injured.”

“What is that we’re up to now, eighteen injured and three dead?” the half-Klingon said clenching a fist.

The Benzite nodded grimly but tried to remain focused on the task at hand.

“No time to stand around, there are still lots of people in these buildings unaccounted for,” she said

They left the room as Clay and Soron were exiting the room opposite. The five returned to their quick visual search of the corridors. The Benzite moved into position next to the Commander.

“Anyone?” the human asked.

“Moss, injured but beamed out. You?”

“Hillman. He’s dead.”

There was a detachment in his voice that she knew betrayed his emotions. The professor and the Commander had been friends for a long time. She stopped in her tracks and looked at him.

“We can grieve later, Lt. Just now there are still injured people who need us on the ball.”

“Aye, Sir,” she replied. She knew a lot of people would be losing friends and colleagues today; it was up to them to reduce that number by rescuing the injured.

They reached the end of the corridor, where it joined a perpendicular corridor

“Left, takes us out of the building; right is more offices and another turbolift,” Sorlack informed them.

“Then we go right,” Clay replied.

“Commander!” Kran yelled as he leapt across the corridor and began pulling rubble from a pile on the floor. The others joined him in digging through the bricks and dust that had once been a part of the wall. Eventually, they had cleared enough to reveal an injured Andorrian::

“Help me…” the injured Andorrian gasped, “I can’t feel my legs.”

“Don’t move… you’ll be in hospital in a second,” Clay said as he placed his hand onto the man’s blue forehead and tagged him

The Andorrian dematerialised and the human smiled a little.

“Okay, people keep moving.”

“Commander,” Sorlack began, “I have been witnessing instability in the building’s structure. The logical course of action would be to evacuate.”

The human officer turned to the Cadet, his face black with dust and his eyes blazing with disgust.

“And who evacuates the injured? Without the transporter tags we have no way of beaming them out.”

The Benzite stepped forward “Steve…”

“No, Hyrashi, I want the Vulcan to explain to me why it’s logical to leave all the people in this building to die”

He stared the calm Vulcan in the eye

“I apologise, Commander, my words were… ill-advised,” the Vulcan conceded.

The Benzite placed her hand on her colleagues shoulder and gave it a reassuring squeeze

“No-one’s saying leave them to die,” she said quietly, “but let’s do this thing as quickly as possible in case this building does collapse.”

“Okay, we split up. Sorlack, you and I will stay down here and clear this floor; you three go upstairs and make a start on that floor,” Clay ordered.

“Understood,” she said and then leaned in to whisper to Clay, “go easy on the kid, okay?”

He nodded and moved into one of the rooms as Hyrashi, Kran and Janaar headed to the emergency ladder. The Betazoid trailing a little, his head was swimming due to the blood-loss from his arm injury and the worry he was feeling.

Really, he was in no position to join the search party, he should have reported to the medical facility to get his injury treated but he had insisted. She was in this building when the attack came and he had to help find her.

Kran: I don’t understand how the Dominion slipped through the Earth defence perimeter.

The Lieutenant indicated for him to start climbing the ladder

“We don’t any details yet, Cadet,” she said, as he began to climb, “This might indicate that the Dominion has developed some new technology.”

“They are without honour”

“You’ll get no argument from me on that one,” She replied as she started climbing.

She looked down at Cadet Janaar who was slowly struggling up the ladder below her

“You okay, Janaar?”

“I’ll make it,” he said as he pulled himself up with his good arm.

“Don’t worry, Cadet. We’ll find her.”

He stopped climbing for a moment.

“I hope so, Sir; I hope so.”

Kran reached the top of the ladder and immediately began looking around the new corridor. A moment later, Hyrashi joined him on the upper floor of the building and she then helped an injured Janaar off the ladder

“Its ever worse up here than downstairs,” the half-Klingon reported.

“That was to be expected,” Hyrashi replied, dusting her uniform down, “Okay gentlemen, let’s go.”

The second floor of the building was far more damaged than the first. Typical of damage from an orbital bombardment, parts of the ceiling were gone and sunlight poured in. The floor was almost completely covered in rubble.

The three quickly picked their way across the damage and searched each of the rooms in turn. After almost fifteen minutes, twenty-one injured people beamed out, two dead and a lot of blood-loss by Janaar later, they came to the last few rooms on the floor. By this time, Sorlack and Clay had finished on their floor and joined them

“Okay,” Commander Clay said with an exhausted voice, “let’s clear these rooms and get out of here.”

They all entered a room each and began their searches. Janaar looked through a badly damaged office, it only took a few moments to realise that it was empty. He entered one of the larger rooms where Cadet Kran was searching.

“Anyone?”

His friend shook his ridged head, “No.”

“She was meant to be in this building”

“We’ve searched every room, Akino.” Kran said, “Maybe she…”

He was interrupted by Clay’s voice calling from the next room

“Janaar, get in here… I’ve found her.”

The Betazoid’s blood ran cold, his pulse quickened and his mouth was filled with the bitter taste of adrenaline as he ran into the room. There on the floor next to the human was his girlfriend

Janaar: Oh hell, Tealla.

He kneeled down beside her and looked at her, she was pretty badly injured. Clay was scanning her with a tricorder, he looked into the worried eyes of the young cadet.

“She’s coming in and out of consciousness…” he said, “we have to beam her out now.”

He placed a transporter tag onto Tealla’s arm and then one onto Janaar’s.

“Stay with her, and get that arm looked at. We’re done here anyway.”

Janaar nodded and moments later they dematerialised…

The medical facility had, by some miracle, remained mostly undamaged in the attack. The hallways were full of walking wounded and busy medics. All Starfleet and civilian medical personnel in the area had been brought in for the emergency. Despite this, they were still being stretched trying to deal with all the casualties being brought in

Janaar rematerialised in the transporter room and was immediately approached by a nurse with a medical tricorder. He scanned Tealla then turned to a med-tech next to him::

“She needs surgery immediately,” the nurse said, “move her to level three”

The Betazoid could see and feel the concern of the Nurse: he obviously felt Tealla was badly injured. Perhaps more than Janaar realised.

“Is your arm injured, Cadet?”

“Its just a scratch, I want to go with her.”

“Okay, but make sure you get that checked, eventually,” the nurse said and moved off to examine someone else.

“I will.”

He held his injured arm against his chest and placed his hand on Tealla’s forehead as she was placed on an anti-grav bed and moved down the hallway

They entered a turbolift with another two beds and 6 people

“Level Three,” the Med-Tech said.

The lift ascended to its destination and for the first time since the attack began, Janaar was in a silent room.

That changed as they reached one of the surgical floors and the doors slid opened to reveal a large hallway that was almost as busy as the ground floor. The med-tech moved Tealla’s bed to one side of the hallway

“Wait here a moment, the surgeon is on his way along.”

“Thank you.”

He looked down at his injured girlfriend.

“You are going to be okay, Tealla.

She had drifted back out of consciousness and didn’t reply. Next to them a pale ensign, her faced covered in dust and her hair half in its ponytail and half out of it, turned to him.

“Were you at one of the Academy buildings?”

“Yes, Sir.”

“I was in the basement of the Astrophysics Research Facility… I was [...]ed lucky. Luckier than the Breen, we destroyed all their ships. Not quick enough though.”

“The Breen?” he said with more than a hint of surprise in his voice, “I just assumed it would be Jem’Hadar”

“We all did,” she said, “but it seems the Breen wanted to enter the War with a bang.”

“They sure as hell did that. Any casualty list been posted yet?”

“The number keeps rising all the time,” she said with a little shake of her head, “but I doubt we’ll get an official casualty list until things calm down. Everyone down here is busy pulling people out of buildings and treating them.”

Janaar nodded grimly and looked around at the injured people around them.

“Yeah, I was on one of the campus search parties.”

“How’s it look over there?”

“Bad, Sir,” the Betazoid said, shaking his head, “Pretty bad.”

Tealla began moving slightly.

“Akino…?”

He looked down at her and smiled a weak smile.

“Hey you”

“How bad is it?

“You’re going to be fine.”

She laughed a little and then winced in pain.

“You are a terrible liar,” she said through gritted teeth, “and I am a telepath.”

“You are going in for surgery in a minute.”

She began coughing, held her side and squeezed her eyes closed.

“It hurts,” she croaked

“I know it does,” he said, leaned down, took her hand and kissed it

Her eyes began to close; she was losing consciousness again.

“Tealla, stay with me. Please.”

“I’m tired, Akino”

“I know but you have to stay with me. I love you, Tealla. And I kinda wish I had said that to you for the first time before now”

“I love you too…” She coughed again, “but your timing stinks.”

He laughed a little and tried to fight back the tears that were filling his eyes

Janaar: I’ll work on it, okay?… just… just don’t leave me…

The med-tech came back down the corridor.

“Okay,” he said, “I have to take her into surgery now.”

“How long will she be,” the Betazoid asked.

“A few hours at least, get that arm looked after and come back up. We’ll find somewhere for you to wait until she’s done.”

“Thank you.”

Janaar watched as Tealla’s bed was moved down the corridor and into surgery. Never in his life had he felt so helpless or for that matter so worried. There was nothing he could do now except wait. Wait and hope…

In that first few moments after waking, the things that burden the consciousness are often not at the front of ones mind. Akino Janaar blinked his eyes open, feeling refreshed and a little disorientated. He wasn’t in his own quarters, he wasn’t even in a bed, he was in a chair in a strange room.

And then the memory of what had happened struck him, like a swift blow to the stomach that knocked the wind out of him. He jumped to his feet and looked around, there in a bed next to him was a sleeping Tealla. She looked so peaceful and beautiful that immediately he calmed down and sat back on the chair looking at her.

A nurse entered the room with a tricorder and clipboard.

“So you’re awake now, Cadet, thought you were going to sleep all day”

“I didn't mean to fall asleep, must have just dozed off,” he said with a stretch.

“Well, it was a tough day yesterday, I’ll bet you needed it.”

She began examining Tealla and looking at the monitors around her biobed.

“How is she?” Janaar asked.

“She’s a little battered and bumped but she is going to be fine,” the Nurse said, “She’s a strong one, is our Cadet Morin.”

“She is,” he said with a smile.

“She will be sleeping for most of the day, you should go home and get some rest.”

“No,” he said, placing his hand on Tealla’s forehead, “I want to be here when she wakes up.”

The nurse smiled.

“That’s sweet, you must really love her.”

He looked up and returned her smile.

“I do. She’s my everything.”

The Nurse nodded and as she left the room, Akino took Tealla's hand and held it in silence as she slept.

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