This is Chapter 8 of a new mission I'm writing. All the chapters are posted on this Blog.
I enjoyed writing our school mission 'The Children of Perikoi'. I enjoy telling it even more. I've wanted to continue the story and did once several summers ago. The mission was told in the Galileo. It was OK but not what it should have been. I blame myself for that. Not everything you write is good. This is another attempt at a continuation of Perikoi using our own staff and volunteers as characters.
Enjoy and post comments. I'd like to know what you think.
December 22, 2321
Lost, Somewhere in the Galaxy
Continued from Chapter 7.
“Who is it?” Carick asked.
“I honestly don’t know.” Cadet Merryweather responded. “I remember seeing him in the hallways at the Academy but third years and first years don’t really mix,” Merry was focus on a piece of bright yellow cloth that seemed to be welded onto the boy’s burned skin. Using tweezers, he tenderly took the fabric by a corner and slowly pulled back. Meredith reminded him to spray the wound with Regeneration after every few centimers. The young cadet stopped squirming. The pain took him into unconsciousness.
Carick turned and walked across Sick Bay to the dozen or so cadets suffering from less severe wounds. They sat two or three to a bed. Carick questioned each of them about their circumstances. He thanked them for their work and reassured them that they would get home. He asked them to get stitched up and return to work as soon as possible.
“We don’t know where we are. I’ll be honest about that,” he said. “But we are alive and the ship is holding together and for that we can be proud.”
He thought for something else to say. His mind was blank. He’d said everything he thought a real captain would say in their situation. He ruffled the hair of another first year and turned to leave.
“Going so soon,” Payne called out. She just finished putting the last stitch in Rowberry’s arm and was spraying it with Regeneration. “You know I may not be able to send many of them back, right?”
“Do what you can,” Carick answered. I don’t know our current situation so I need anyone that can read and punch buttons working, even if they're all elbows."
“What’s the biggest problem?” Interrupted a second year cadet wearing a baby blue Academy shirt.
Carick turned toward the questioner. “What ‘s your name?” he asked.
“Colin,” the boy answered. He held his swollen wrist up against his chest. His face was a mixture of dried sweat and dirt. His dark hair was dusted with some kind of white powder and his brown eyes were outlined in red from lack of sleep.
“Well Colin, the ship’s main computer is down. That’s the biggest problem if I had to pick just one.”
“I think I can fix that,” the boy struggled to get to his feet. Carick reached out to stabilize him. “I’m top in my class in main frame logic and networking .”
Carick looked at him closely. He knew he recognized his face from somewhere. “Are you the second year cadet that won the Academy programming competition? The little Einstein genius kid that put all the older students to shame?” Carick asked hoping for a positive response.
“That’s me,” Colin beamed with pride. He was happy some of his fellow second yearers were there to see the Cadet Captain of the Academy actually recognized a lowly second year.
“Payne, this boy is next.” Carick took Colin by the shoulder and walked him to Cadet Payne’s table. “I need him on the bridge asap. He might be able to get us back on our feet.”
Shouting was heard down the hall from the Sick Bay’s entrance. It became understandable as it got closer.
“We need some help here.” came the voice of someone Carick knew very well.
“Nuila?” he shouted as he ran from the sick bay toward the sound of Sixth Year Cadet Warren Nuila’s voice. He froze dead in his tracks when he saw the reason for their urgent call. Nuila, accompanied by two other younger cadets, was carrying the lifeless form of a full grown adult. It looked like a man in his mid to late fifties.
“Is that Tex?” Carick asked, afraid of the answer.
“Yes. Help us?” Nuila answered. Carick reached under the lifeless body being held up by six other hands and helped carry it the last fifteen or so steps into the Sick Bay and onto Payne’s Diagnostic Bed. Colin jumped off the bed and stood back to make room for the chieif engineer.
“Sir, I’ll come back later. I can manage with this wrist. Permission to go to the bridge to begin work on the mainframe?” Colin asked.
“Go,” Carick ordered.
“Yes Sir!” Colin responded. He turned to leave.
“Hold it,” Merry grabbed a sling from a supply cabinet and quickly positioned the injured wrist up against the boy's chest. “Go.” he said pushing the young cadet out the door.
“Payne adjusted the body of the Voyager’s Chief Engineer under the scanner and activated the arm. A series of laser lights washed over the body indicating where the scan was working. The scan would take several minutes. Payne stared intently at the screen beside the bed, watching the results as they came in.
“What happened?” Carick asked. Nuila was out of breath. It was obvious it took all their strength to move him from the lowest deck to Sick Bay without the aide of a fully functional turbolift.
“We were all strapped in. The ship was getting bounced around real bad. Sparks were flying everywhere. Then the decompression alarm went off. He looked at his screen to see if the automatic force fields were engaging. I heard him swear over the twisting metal. He was punching away at his terminal. Whatever he was trying to do wasn’t working. He released his safety harness and tried to get to a set of manual controls on the other side of the room. Then a hugh jolt shook the ship. It threw him into a wall and then down to the floor. He stood up looking really dazed. He made it to the controls and manually shut the bulkhead doors then collapsed to the floor. He never regained consciousness.” Nuila stopped to catch his breath.
“What’s the damage?” Carick asked.
“Are you talking to me?” Payne responded without taking her eyes off the diagnostic readouts.
“No, Nuila,” Carick said. “What’s the damage to the ship?”
“There’s a tear in the hull running along the side of the ship.” Nuila explained by using his hands. “Its just like the Titanic except instead of water leaking in, the Voyager was loosing its atmosphere and temperature. Tex was able to manually close the bulkhead doors but we’ve lost access to large sections of the ship.”
“Well at least the bulkheads are holding,” Carick said looking relieved for s sliver of good news.
“Well, they may not hold for long,” Nuila answered. " As long as we don’t move the ship we should be OK. But, if we have to move, the rupture may grow. Engineering is the next section to decompress. It’s not good at all.”
“Suggestions?” Carick asked.
“Roberts is looking at the situation now. I’ll go back down to help.”
“Roberts?” Carick questioned. “You mean Kevin Roberts?”
“Yes Sir?” Nuila answered.
“I totally forgot he was on board.” Carick was relieved to hear the news. Cadet Roberts was a Sixth Year Cadet, nearly ready to graduate. His position in Starfleet Academy was guaranteed. “ He knows his way around a Starship for sure. Best Sixth Year we have for Engineering. OK, tell Roberts he’s the ship’s new chief engineer. You’re his second. I want a solution to the rupture asap. If we are in enemy space, and I think we may be, we will need to move and fast. Go!”
“Yes Sir,” Nuila said leaving Sick Bay to retrace his steps through twisted metal and down several decks to Main Engineering.
“Update?” Carick turned to Payne. She looked worried.
“His brain is swelling. This is beyond anything I can fix.” She thought for a moment.
“Merry, I need Meredith. Are you good for a bit?” Cadet Merryweather continued to work on his patient.
“Go,” Merry spoke to the Meredith Hologram. It dissolved and reappeared next to Payne.
“How may I assist Cadet?” Meredith asked. The hologram seemed solid yet pixelized enough so one could easily tell it was a high def hologram. She looked to be a woman in her mid 50’s with dark brown hair, a kind face with green eyes. She was dressed in a standard issue medical uniform.
“Meredith, suggestion for treatment on bed 4?” Payne asked.
“Stand By,” Meredith said. Her program was beautiful in design. Even while processing information her hologram stood like a person deep in thought. She had one arm across her chest. The other arm rested on that arm bringing her index finger up against her right cheek.
“Let’s begin by reviewing the data.” Meredith said, sounding like a teacher. “Please tell me your conclusions and the method by which you came to those conclusions.”
“Meredith, override teaching mode. Emergency situation. Activate consulting mode,” Payne knew Tex had very little time. She needed advice and she needed it immediately.
“Working,” Meredith said as she switched from teacher to medical consultant. “Patient is suffering from Brain Edema.. Your treatment suggestions follow. Begin with oxygen therapy. Put the patient on a respirator. Two. Insert an IV. Fluids will keep his blood pressure from dropping too low. This will help to make sure that the body -- including the brain -- is receiving enough blood. Three. His body temperature must be lowered. Lowering his temperature will relieve the swelling and allow the brain to heal. The medicine to place in the IV is listed on your PAD.
If the patient does not improve then a Ventriculostomy would be proper.
A small hole will need to be cut in the skull for the insertion of a plastic drain tube to drain away the Cerebrospinal fluid from inside the brain, helping to relieve the pressure.
“Meredith, I can do everything but the Ventriculcstomy.” Payne said while consulting her PAD for the proper medicine to place in the IV.
“Understood,” Meredith answered. “Then let’s hope it doesn’t come to that.”
“Payne, we need him. Do what you can?” Carick said while placing his hands on her shoulders. “Keep me informed of developments. Send a runner if you need to.” Carick quickly left the Sick Bay and down the hallway toward the turbolift elevator. He stopped short of the lift and entered Biology Lab Two. The room was completely dark. He waited for the door to close then sank down to the floor with his back against the wall. His body shook with spasms of fear at the responsibilities resting on his shoulders. He was only 17 years old. For a precious few minutes he could still be a boy crying alone in the dark. But only for a few minutes. People were waiting for him and he had a ship to command - a ship lost somewhere in the Galaxy.