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Posted on Tue Mar 31st, 2009 @ 5:09pm by Commander Lorran Vos & Captain Jorvin & Lieutenant Michael Lake

Mission: Echoes of the Damned: Pilot Episode.
Location: West Ridge
Timeline: Present

Cries suddenly went up from the defense line about movement being spotted. Shortly afterward someone with a pair of binoculars spotted Lieutenant Mason and Mr. O'Brien running towards the West Ridge at a full sprint. It seemed like they were being chased, with the gorilla-like alien monsters almost invisible loping through the tall grass behind them. Vos yelled down the line, since the communicators weren't working, to get ready to drop the shields. With marines on the defense line with phaser rifles ready, Vos ran to where Mike and Podi were working on the distress beacon.

"Mr. Lake! We have survivors incoming! We need to drop the shields for five seconds on my mark!" Vos said, skidding to a halt, using a doorway to slow his momentum from the full-out run he'd had from the bridge.

"Aye sir!" Mike exclaimed as he prepared to drop the shields and at the same time, have them going up seconds after they had entered the domain.

Jorvin was on the front line of the defense and spotted Henk and Kristina running towards the West Ridge. "Incoming wounded!" he yelled.

Vos ran out of the West Ridge and jumped a storage container, rolling as he landed, and came up with his sidearm in his hand. He could see bright lances of phaser fire in the dark every few seconds, and just barely make out several figures running toward the West Ridge. He got ready to give the order to drop the shields down a relay line he'd set up on the way out of the ship. "Defense line! Choose your targets carefully and don't hit our people! When the shields drop, fire all weapons!" he called, mostly in Jorvin's direction so that the Marine Captain could make sure it happened.

Having regained her senses Kristina relinquished her grip on Henk and hit the ground running. Hard. Behind her she could hear them narrowing the gap between them with Henry Tenyson leading and continuing to rain phaser fire upon them. Each shot passed them withing inches, it would only be a matter of time before he adjusted his shots accordingly, then she doubted if there would be enough time to scramble back to your feet again before you would be pulled downwards again, smothered by the on coming monsters. She could see the crew moving into position around the West Ridge, and prayed everything wouldn't be in vain.

Henk felt the extra grip of Kristina. He looked at the West Ridge and prayed that they would make it. Suddenly a phaser shot from Tenyson passed close over his shoulder. Close enough for the heat to cause leave burn marks in the wake.
“God damn..” Henk hissed as he struggled to keep on his feet.
Exhausted from the run and dragging Kristina, and even with the new energy burst, Henk legs began to give way. Very slowly Henk began to slow down. He could not maintain his speed.

Feeling Henk begin to pull up Kristina's stride faltered. This was not the time to give in. Hastily she caught his sleeve and pulled it hard shouting as loudly as she could: "Come on! Don't give up now!" there was no way this close to safety she was going to loose someone.

She stole a quick glance over her shoulder to track the advancement of the troops. They were closing so fast she could count the teeth in their grotesque mouths. Quickly she made a decision seizing up her exhausted colleague and threw his arm around her shoulder, and while still covering ground she wrapped her other arm around his waist and tugged him along with as much speed as she could muster. If she had the time she would have lifted him cleanly off the ground, but like Henk she was reaching her limits. It was only the ferocity of her adrenaline that was keeping her going forward, and a little ray of hope that felt like it was dimming with every stride.

"Now!" Vos yelled to the man down the hall, who yelled in turn to several more relay crewmen until finally it got all the way down to Mike and Podi through a young, Bolian ensign. With a single moved wire, thrown switch, or whatever Mike had done to get the shield running in the first place, they flickered for a moment and were gone, allowing the rain and the wind to buffet them once again. He turned to watch the hail of energy that would soon roar out from the defense line to cover Krissy and Henk as they sprinted the last few steps across the finish line.

Mike looked over to Podi, as he let his finger drift above the button that would raise the shields again, his view swapped the the Bolian who would give the order to get them up again "Is Lt Mason there?" he said to the Bolian who jumped around like he did to demonstrate his theory to Podi just before "Yes sir." the blue guy said with a small smile. Relieved, Mike looked back to Podi "Small things to be thankful for, huh."

"Speaking of small things, do your zip up. Sorry, old joke.' Podi casually moved back a step to distance himself further from Mike. 'What are you hangin' round here with an old fella like me for, go on and see how she is, I think I can hold down the fort here as it were."

Exhausted Henk tried to run with Kristina. He looked into the corner of his eye and saw a row of razor sharp teeth. He grabbed a Phaser that was still on his belt and fired at creature in the head. His space was quickly filled with another one, and another. Henk began to fire blindly in a fit of panic as Kristina continued to pull them closer to the West Ridge.
They weren't going to make it!
Then ahead of them the shields dropped and cover fire rained around them keeping the monsters at bay as they staggered closer.

Through the onslaught of pouring rain and phaser fire Kristina kept her eyes fixed on the hull of the West Ridge making out several familiar faces in the strobe lighting. They were so close now she could sense it, that sparkle of hope she had almost lost earlier was returning.
Then, quickly two things happened that caught her breath in her straining lungs. Pain lanced across the right side of her face, burning so fiercely that it bought tears to her eyes. The sounds of the shouting and of the protective fire sounded muffled and one sided, the normally smooth skin upon her cheek seared with agony against the cold night air. Then she could smell over the battle the distinctive smell of signed hair. Who ever had fired was only a millimeter away from killing her dead, instead their fire had grazed her cheek and hit her ear.
Reeling from the pain Henk's sudden addition of weight bought her down, crashing into the long grass. While it appeared she had escaped only with a burn something had floored her comrade, but miraculously they tumbled into the safety in the shadow of the West Ridge.

The moment Henk saw the shields drop it went black with pain. He felt how a phaser round shot trough his shoulder. The last thing that Henk remembered was the feeling of hitting the ground. He rolled on his back and touched his shoulder. It felt wet. Henk looked at his hand and saw blood all over it.
“Not again.” Henk said softly.

Continuing the frenzy of activity, two things happened after Krissy and Henk tumbled past the defense line. The shields flickered back online in a burst of evaporating rainwater, turning the space protected by it into a momentary sauna. Next, Tenyson, his eyes wild with animalistic rage, jumped at the shield. He hung suspended in the air for a moment before his phaser rifle's power cell overloaded. The shield protected the two survivors, but outside the poor security officer and his alien allies were vaporized by the ensuing explosion. Tenyson's alien screaming was still echoing off the hull of the West Ridge as many pairs of hands rushed in to pick Krissy and Henk up off of the ground and pull them to safety.

Commander Lorran hovered over the two of them for a moment in the confusion before disappearing out of view again. His words of "Welcome back, you two. Thought we'd lost you." were nearly lost in the bustle to get them to Doctor Ulonova for treatment in the makeshift sickbay.

Henk almost bite of his tongue in pain when people dragged his to the make shift sickbay. He knew how blood loss worked. First you will lose the feeling in the arm and legs, after that all organs will shut down accept the hart, lungs and brain. He hoped that the shot was not enough to kill him. When he tried to lift up his legs he felt nothing.
“I can’t move my legs.” Henk said softly as he was trying not to panic.

Through the think fog that was hanging over her senses Kristina heard Commander Lorran's confirming that they had indeed made it to safety, or as safe as it could be. However through that damp layer of mist she suddenly recalled the desperate need to speak to Vos.
Shaking off the many hands that were assisting her through the confides of the ship since her limbs had spent all their energy she called out: "Commander can I speak with you?"

"Sure, Lieutenant. Here, sit down. You look like you're going to collapse." Vos replied as they neared the door to the West Ridge interior, waving off the nurse hovering over Krissy and pulling out a cargo container for her to rest on. He maneuvered a similarly sized container around behind him and sat down as well once she was situated. "Go ahead. You must have had an interesting time out there. I'll need you to tell me what it's like out there since we're going to be mounting a rescue party for the Commander and Kathy soon. We were going to look for you as well but it looks like you found us first."

Gratefully she sat and slumped exhausted upon the container still catching her breath back. Abruptly she looked up as he mentioned Beverly and Kathy. "You knew they were missing?" Her hand wrestled into a pocket and she withdrew her friends comm badge. "I found this near to the Temple. That's where we took shelter since we couldn't reach the ship, but we were forced to abandon it. It was after you managed to raise the shields they came rushing towards us in their droves. I think their lair is in the catacombs of the Temple I found tracks and other signs of activity down there.
"The ape like creatures aren't the only things that are out there. There are more, they look more human, but move like shadows, stealthy, deadly and near impossible to see. I'm not sure if they are connected to the others but they work together like a unit, an army even. But there's worse still. Tenyson, you saw what happened to him? He was wounded by one of gorilla types. I can't explain it, but he became someone else. I've known Henry for three years, and never ever have I seen this in him before." she shook head head sadly,

"We know about the infection. We've set up a quarantine area for those who were scratched or bitten during the attack. Mercifully there are very few, and only one has turned so far. A crewman almost killed Dr. Ulonova before he was put down." Vos scowled. "What's worse is that we were planning on using the Commander's comm badge signal to track her. At least we still might be able to track Kathy...and if you can lead us back to where you found this we have a decent starting point. I assume you will want to come? Podi even volunteered, and he's had a good shock from an accident while they were trying to get the shields up. If you'd rather stay I understand, but I figured since it was Beverly...I don't even know why I'm asking." he smiled in a tired way. "I don't know if Mr. O'Brien will want to come with us, but it'd be nice to have him along, too. He knows the terrain and how to avoid these creatures better than anyone."

"Is Ulonova alright?" she asked imaging just how fearful it must have been for her. "Of course I'll come with, although I think it might be best to leave Henk behind, he was bitten by one of the creatures earlier but hasn't shown any strange symptoms."
Unable to recall the last time she sat properly she could feel her body beginning to protest after her sprinting and skirmishes, in particularly the throbbing pain around her ear and cheek. Wearily she rose unsteadily to her feet. "Let me know what time we'll going to leave, I'll be in sickbay if you need me. Unless of course there is anything else?"

"The doctor's a little shaken up, but she's fine. You should grab an hour or two of rest before we leave. It's unfortunate that Henk was bitten. I'll have Dr. Ulonova treat him and let us know whether or not he should be quarantined with the others. Come on, I'll help you. You look like how I feel, Lieutenant." he chuckled, helping her stand.

She gave him a strange one sided smile as he offered her a supporting arm. "Thanks, just don't pass me a mirror it feels like half my face is missing."

"You look distinguished. You might even want to keep one of these burns on as a scar. Some of the girls in my resistance cell back home kept theirs to make them look tough. They thought it would make the men respect them more." he reminisced as they walked. "They didn't have to, of course. I'd take one of those women at my back over a squad of marines any day. They were some of the best fighters I'd ever seen." he grinned, despite the situation.

"Whoever said women are the weaker sex clearly hadn't met a Bajoran woman," she smirked. "I think I already have enough scars to tell some pretty lengthy tales."

As they entered the makeshift sickbay, Vos helped Mason dump herself onto one of the spare cots they'd put up all over the place. Leaving her in the care of a nurse who had come by with a kit for treating phaser burns and a dermal regenerator, Vos walked over to where the Doctor was treating Henk. "How is he, Doctor? Will he need to be quarantined like the others?" he asked in a low voice so only Leanne would hear.

"Henk, I'll be right back, just relax. If you get injured any more I'm going to give you a frequent visitor to sickbay card. Nurse, please watch Mr. Obrien" Leanne smiled at Henk then motioned for Vos to follow her out of earshot. "He has lost a lot of blood, I've been able to treat him as best as I can but I'm starting to run out of things. I might have to rip up the rest of my uniform for bandages." She looked over at Henk, "I haven't detected the infection in here, he might be lucky, he might have a natural immunity to it. So I don't see a reason to put him in quarantine yet."

Trying to file away the image of Leanne ripping up the rest of her uniform for a more appropriate time, Vos focused on the business at hand. "That's good. I'll see if we can spare enough energy from one of the portable power cells we brought with us to power one of the ship's replicators. You should be able to get some more medical supplies out of that. Do what you can for him and get him on his feet, alright? We may need him to rescue the Commander."

"I'll try and get him ready... under normal situations I would order him to have at least 2 weeks of bed rest. I'm just afraid that he is going to go into shock. He isn't even fully healed from when we picked him up." She looked back over to Henk. "Too much more and he might have some irreparable damage."

Henk produced a soft smile and saw Leanne and Vos walking away. Henk looked outside at the clouds and then around.
“Where is Beverly?” He asked as he suddenly was missing her

Leanne walked back over to Henk and gave him a quick scan, she smiled a little seeing that the infection wasn't present in him. "Beverly is missing at the moment, we are getting a search party together to go and find her." Henk was looking very pale from the loss of blood, Leanne reached down and grabbed a medical case and carefully lifted Henk's legs up and put the case under them to help prevent shock. "How are you feeling?"

"Terrible" Henk said with a soft smile. "You better give me that sickbay card, I have the habit to attract bad things, and get injured."

Meanwhile, Vos had pulled aside another crewman and instructed him to go get one of the spare power cells and then to get one of the engineers to work on getting a replicator online with it. He returned to where Henk lay a moment later. "Mr. O'Brien, I realize how this must sound after all you've been through, but I'd like you with us on the rescue team. Our chances are much better with you along to guide us through these jungles. I'll understand if you want to stay here, however. This rescue is volunteer only." he said, kneeling next to the cot.

"If I can stand and walk, I will go." Henk said. " The best thing to do is to wait until the storm is over. I think that will be around 3 hours. Vos, Beverly might be infected."

"I realize that, but dead, alive, or infected, I have a duty to get her back onto the Genesis. Thank you for your help, Mr. O'Brien." Commander Lorran nodded before standing up.

From her cot Kristina couldn't help but admire Henk's determination. Normally after a evening like the one they had endured would be enough to have the young and ill experienced wailing for mother. However he seemed to want to help as much as possible to those he barely knew.
Personally she would rather charge back into the fray and rescue Beverly immediately but realistically she wouldn't be able to make much headway feeling this exhausted. A few hours rest would be much welcomed, but the possibility of Beverly being infected similar to Tenyson made her put aside her weariness and sent her skidding over to Vos and Henk nearly tripping over the commander in the process.
"Three hours!" she cried rather out of character. "She's been out there most of the night already, if she has been infected its likely by the time the storm has passed there won't be anything left of the woman we knew." She held Vos' eye as he rose back to his feet. She bit her lip suddenly realizing how bizarre her outburst must have sounded and turned slightly away.

''If you want to get of this planet alive you have to wait. I don't like it as much as you do,'' Henk said. ''You saw those creatures. If we go now we are as sure as dead.''

"We're leaving as soon as the tricorders have been modified to track Kathy's combadge. That will be about one and a half or two hours. We can't afford to wait longer than that. End of discussion." Vos said, meeting Krissy's stare without flinching. Then he started walking away. "Be ready, both of you."


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