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Firebird Extinguished [PLOT]

Posted on Thu Oct 25th, 2018 @ 8:42am by Captain Malcom Llwyedd & Lieutenant JG Jackson Smith

Mission: Mission 4: Riding A Pale Horse
Location: Planet ZP0442
Timeline: 12 July, 2394 - 1500 Hours

[ON]

When he regained consciousness, Malcom had no idea where he was. It was dark and the smell of burning plastic hung heavy in the air. There was a stillness about him that felt foreign right down to his bones. He wasn't at home. There were no sounds of the ocean. No warmth of Jenna's body. He wasn't in his quarters or in his stateroom. Where is Kipp? He thought. He put a hand to his face, shocked to find blood on his hand. His eyes found bits of light, specks really, and his memory began to return. Along with memory, came pain. He gasped, clutching at his side.

He knew where he was. The bridge. He tried to roll to his right but found it blocked. Part of the ceiling of the bridge had collapsed. A foot towards him and he would never have woken up at all. He remembered being at the helm and glanced in that direction.

"Jackson?" Malcom croaked, rolling to his right and getting to his knees before the pain intensified.

The smell of fire and ash overwhelmed Jackson. He could feel the hard stone and rubble underneath him. His heart raced as a sense of dread and guilt began to overwhelm him. He slowly pried his blood caked eye-lids open a small crack and lying before him was the broken body of child covered in rubble from the collapsed building. The building he had helped destroy. Then a voice seemed to carry across the devastation. His vision shifted before him. The child vanished, the rocks and debris became the hard plastic and metal of bulkheads and bridge parts. Jackson started to move and the pain was intense, his head throbbed and a burst of bright light lanced across his vision. Slowly, he began to realize where he was and what had happened. A brief moment of panic hit him, the vision he had just seen was part of the implanted memories. Things that were to have been erased thoroughly. His heart raced as he contemplated that for a brief moment and then buried it. It was definitely not something he could worry about right now. He once again heard his mentor call for him. "Over here, Cap!" He croaked out. With what strength he could muster he pushed himself up into a standing position. His side was on fire and burned fiercely each time he took a breath. Jackson spotted his friend all covered in dust and debris, with blood covering the majority of the captains face. "You look like you are having a rough day." He chuckled slightly, which brought an intense pain to his side and he winced.

"It could be worse," Malcom said through his teeth. He grunted and stood, letting the pain wash over him. "To be honest, I don't know how we or the ship survived. Didn't we lose power?" Malcom looked around the bridge. There was some emergency lighting, valiantly trying to do its job. He figured that the batteries had a small bit of juice left, otherwise it would have been as dark as a tomb. His gaze paused on the captain's chair. It had a large chunk of ceiling resting on top of it. He wondered if he would ever sit in a chair like that again.

"We're going to have to get out of here before the lights go out for real. Clearly the turbolift isn't going to work. Looks like the jeffries tubes for us, lieutenant," Malcom said. "Where's Chief Harlan when you need him? He'd probably get us off the ship in about five minutes."

"Heck, I would even settle for Lieutenant Soto at this point." Jackson hesitated a moment, his heart feeling heavy as he considered his friends. Where they ok? He was sure Gantt would jury rig his way out of any problems. What about Emily or Jillian? Where they together? Where they ok? The more he started to think on this the more worried he became for all the crew, his friends, his family. With a slight shake of his head, he dispelled the thoughts. He had to focus on the situation and problems at hand. "Well, jeffries tubes it is. Lead the way, the captain is supposed to know their ship like the back of their hand, right?" Jackson grinned.

"I must have missed that class in the command course," Malcom said. "But I do know there is a jeffries tube in my office. Sometimes I use it to avoid Kipp," Malcom said, wheezing at the end. "Getting old is rough, Jackson." He moved across the bridge, avoiding pieces of the collapsed ceiling and mangled consoles, until he reached his Ready Room door.
"Give me a hand and we will pry this thing open." He braced himself for the pain that was certain to follow. In the dark lighting it was hard to find the place where the two doors sections closed.

Jackson, despite his wounds and pain, sprang across the bridge towards the door. He was ready to be off the ship and out looking for his friends. His adrenaline began to kick in and it was easy to ignore pain. With the two of the working at the door, it was long before the two of them had opened the door enough to squeeze in. Jackson could see the pain and anguish across his mentor's face. "Come on old man, let's go check out this Jeffrie's tube." Jackson squeezed through the small entrance and looked upon the disaster that used to be the captain's ready room. At the best of times, Kipp had maintained a controlled chaos. But this was...Jackson turned back to see his friend's reaction.

Malcom eased into the remains of his ready room. It made him sad beyond words to see the ship in such a bad shape. The only solace he could take from it was that the entire crew had reached the escape pods, thanks to his and Jackson's efforts. He walked over to the shelf that had held his few mementos. He crouched down, hissing at the pain, and picked up a photo of him and Jenna on the beach near San Francisco. He brushed off some debris and gazed at his wife for a moment before putting the picture on his desk, which was still in one piece. He noticed that, somehow, a pile of PADDS were still waiting for him. Of course he thought and grinned. He stood.

"Alright, Jackson, don't get too far ahead of me. I need you to hold my hand when things get tough," Malcom said. He took one last look at the photo, a speck of hope in the devastation, and crawled into the tube.




"I thought you said we were headed towards the shuttlebay, Jackson?" Malcom asked, staring out the grating into the messhall. They'd been crawling through the ship for hours and were both very dirt, very tired and growing increasingly hot as the environmental controls faded to nothing. The air was getting heavy already and the smell of smoke and dust was crawling up their noses.

Their path had been a winding one as on more than one occasion they had found their way blocked by debris or by the tube simply being crushed. Malcom's knees were hurting and while they had managed to scrounge a medkit from sickbay, along with some emergency rations, he was more than ready to find the shuttlebay.

"Ugh, I knew we should have taken the left branch back there." Jackson growled in frustration. He took a deep breath in to calm himself, and that was a mistake as his ribs sent pain racking through his body and all he did was just breath in more smoke and dust. After a brief coughing fit, Jackson sighed, "Well, might as well check out the messhall, maybe Kalstri left us something wonderful." Jackson grinned, trying to dispel the growing sense of hopelessness and fatigue that threatened to overwhelm him.

Malcom nodded. "Yeah. Food sounds good and anything Kalstri left behind is going to be a thousand times better than these emergency rations. They taste like grass paper," Malcom said. "Lets go back and take your left." The two officers turned around and went back to the fork, turning at their previous point of failure "You know, Jackson, there's a lot of lessons to be learned here," Malcom said, attempting to distract his young officer. "I haven't spent this much time in a jeffries tube in years. Not since back on the Iowa when we were conducting repairs. I hate to admit it but Chief Harlan keeps these things in pretty amazing shape. I think this tube is usually cleaner than my quarters."

The took another left and then a right and the scent of something tasty permeated the tube. Malcom thought it smelled like ham.

Jackson pain in his ribs was getting worse as they continued to crawl through the tubes. As the captain spoke, Jackson glanced around, he hadn't been paying very much attention to the tubes, and they were in good condition. Which is a testament to Harlan, but also meant maybe the ship wasn't as damaged as they originally thought. He glanced back at the captain, "Lessons? So you are thinking we need to spend more time in the tubes... I think you might be right, maybe we could also learn from Emily. A once a week hide and seek game in the jeffry tubes sounds like a great idea. I will mention it to Harlan, I am sure he will love the idea." Jackson grinned at the vision of Harlan's scowl. As the strange smell of ham permeated through the tubes Jackson hesitated, "Did we just circle back to the messhall?"

Malcom sighed. "It seems like we did. I swear there was another ladder here somewhere," Jack said. "But since we are here, lets see what Kalstri left us." Jack pulled on the access hatch and was shocked when sunlight blinded him. "What the heck." He covered his eyes with one hand, peering through the fingers. The messhall was as he remembered it, complete with plates still on tables, somehow, except for the gash in one bulkhead that was leaking sunlight.

"Kalstri is not going to be happy about that," Malcom said. "I guess we don't need to bother with the shuttlebay. Come on."

Jackson eager to get out of the ship and see where they were, quickly made is way through the rubble of the messhall. He had to work his way up at a slight angle, the ship must be resting on one side. He still felt pain in his side as he moved, but the light of the sun seemed to beckon him, to call him forth and he moved with renewed vigor. After a brief struggle he made it to the opening within the ship, and he crawled out. Jackson was able to stand on the side of the ship and while the sun was extremely bright he could saw for a good distance around them, and there was....nothing. A vast desert sprawled before him. Jackson sighed and yelled back tot he captain, "Better grab some extra grub and water, there is absolutely nothing around us for miles...definitely a desolate wasteland."

Jackson's gaze then turned upon the ship. He was actually amazed, with his untrained eyes it appeared the ship was in far better shape than he could have imagined. He could have sworn there was going to be huge openings and whole sections of the ship missing. While the damage was extensive, it seemed for the most part the ship was intact. Now to all they had to do was find the crew and get this ship, back into shape. He felt a pit in his stomach as he began to worry about his friends. Did they make it? Where they alive? Slowly a fire of determination began to burn inside him, they would find all of them. They had to. With that his gaze once again returned to the skyline, where could they be? As he spun in place, Jackson stopped momentarily...what was that on the horizon? A cloud of dust? Was it approaching? With a little more urgency to his voice, "Captain, you need to get up here."

Malcom found someone's personal bag, it looked like something Desai would use, very sturdy and practical, and began filling it will food supplies both fresh and packaged. He had just grabbed two large water bottles when he heard Jackson call him out. He stuffed the bottles into the sack and hurried to the tear in the hull, trying not to trip in the gloomy interior of the discombobulated messhall. He crawled out onto the exterior plating and stood up next to his protegee. He held up a hand to shield himself from the glare of the sun.

"Yeah I see it," Malcom said. "We probably should have tried to get to the armory. But I wasn't thinking about this kind of scenario." He watched as the dust cloud grew larger and closer, until he could see a rectangle shaped hovercraft approaching. It appeared to be made out of different materials slapped together haphazardly. He could see at least four people on the craft, dressed in long white robes and goggles. He could tell they were bipedal but other than that, he had no idea.

"Sure would have been nice to see some Firebird crew racing to come help us, " Jackson sighed briefly. "Well we should get prepared they will be here in a couple of minutes." Jackson dropped back down into the gap and heading back towards the kitchen. Kalstri should have something useful for him here. Within moments he found a couple of good sharp cutting knives and strapped them around his waist. It was up to him and the captain to defend the ship. He called back out to the captain, "So what do you think our chances are that they are friendly?"

Malcom stayed outside, watching the approaching figures. They were pulling up to the side of the ship, which had landed fairly level but was deeply submerged into the sand. He heard Jackson and replied over his shoulder.

"I'm guessing there are two main reasons why these people are here. They are coming to help or coming to see what they can take. So... fifty-fifty chance?" Malcom said. He watched as the craft settled onto the sand, sending up a large plume of dust. Some kind of hovercraft? Three of the figures jumped down and ran over to the side of the ship. They were a good thirty feet below where Malcom stood, the decking curving away from him. He watched as they touched the ship with... hands. Hands with five fingers. One of the new arrivals turned and yelled something to the sole remaining passenger.

"Well, that is interesting. Jackson, I think these people are human," Malcom said.

Jackson climbed back up to stand beside the captain, feeling a little more prepared to face what was coming. "Humans? Huh, well not sure if that is a good thing or not..." Jackson studied them as they disembarked. The vehicles covered in a variety of part and each person's clothing also made up of a mish-mash of stuff. Jackson stiffened slightly as a chill ran up the back of his neck. On the back of one of the vehicles was a small cage, large enough for a human. "Cap, I don't think this is going to be a friendly encounter, they look to be scavengers." Jackson tensed even more as he watched their movements.

"Looks like you're right," Malcom said. "We need to find some weapons. Well, looks like you found some but I want something a little better. If I try to use a knife, I'll cut myself. You stay here and try to keep them out of the ship. I'm going to go find a weapons locker and bring back some firearms that I hope will work. Otherwise it is cutlery for me. Sound good?"

"A good phaser will definitely be helpful." Jackson nodded. As the captain disappeared into the ship, Jackson knelt down and watched the strangers dismount from their vehicles and stare at the ship. It was fairly obvious that many of them probably had never seen a ship of this size, which is interesting cause the Firebird is definitely on the smaller side of Starfleet's ships. The group started to split up into pairs and move around the ship. Jackson made a quick judgment call and followed 3 separate pairs that were moving towards the tail end. They were the most likely to find an entrance into the ship, he thought. Jackson scurried across the hull of the ship as best as he could. He kept low and tried to be silent. Once they were toward the back, Jackson perched silently. He had a good vision on each of the three groups as they poked and prodded the ship, trying to see if there was good way in. Jackson kept a close eye on one pair that was working on the shuttle bay doors, the most likely area to let them in.

One of the pairs crouched down at the entrance to the shuttle bay. They apparently had some tools and set to work. The sound of metal on metal was clear across the length of the ship and a slight vibration was discernible. The other pair was standing nearby and one pulled out a dark tube the length of their forearm and held it up to their goggles.

Jackson knelt down, keeping his profile low as he studied the area around. This was not going to be easy to take them out, without raising an alarm. Jackson slowly pulled out one of the knives. He glanced at it briefly, his instincts starting to take over. Silently he moved across the top of the ship, he envisioned his moves. Dropping down on the observant one, with one quick motion slicing his throat and following through....No. Jackson shook his head. He couldn't just kill them. They didn't know anything about these people. Jackson started to reconsider. This would make things much more complicated. Either way he had to work quickly.

The men with the dark tube began pointing and yelling directly at Jackson. The other pair paused from their work on the shuttlebay doors and raced back to get a better view. One of them held up what was clearly a weapon and pointed it in the flight control officer's direction.

"Surrender!" One of the figures bellowed.

"Crap," Jackson whispered. He had been careless and now things were going to get very difficult. Jackson eyed the individual that pointed the weapon at him. The individual's stance was tense and he could slight movements in his arms. Maybe the guy would miss? Jackson decided it was worth a shot...

Jackson slowly stood up, raising his hands then as quick as he could he sprinted across the metal surface of the ship. His feet navigating the crooks and crevices with ease. He saw the individual start to panic, definitely not expecting this maneuver. Jackson judged he could leap from the ship and tackle this guy with relative ease. The man tried his best to steady his gun and fired, the shot going just wide of where Jackson was moments before. With a grin Jackson nimbly avoided several metal protrusions, these guys might be easier to take out than he thought.

Jackson gathered his legs and pressed with all of his might increasing the momentum substantially as he leaped through the air. A movement caught his eye off to the left as he cleared past the ship. He saw an individual in a long brown duster casually flick their arm up, attached to it was some sort of pistol. The ease with which they stood and held their weapon, Jackson knew he was in trouble, but their were no brakes in mid-flight. He heard the distinctive zap of an energy weapon and while it seemed like an eternity it was milliseconds before some sort of shock wave slammed into him. His breath, his vision all vanished, as he hurled into the ground helpless to stop it. Jackson felt the impact reverberate through his body. It was almost like crashing a second time. His mind raced as he tried to lift himself up, his limbs seemed to not want to cooperate. The best he could do was flip himself over on his back. He struggled to open his eyes, with a herculean effort he managed to convince his eyelids to separate. Just in time to look into a set of deep brown eyes, and the flow of golden brown hair framing a beautiful smile. Just as he started to smile, hoping to talk his way out of this. The cold, brutal back end of the pistol smacked him right between the eyes and the darkness fully encompassed him.




Malcom was surprised to find the temperature inside the Firebird already climbing. He shook his head and crawled back into the jeffries tube, once more wishing Harlan was with him. "Let's see. Armory? Come on, Malcom. This is your own ship and it isn't that big. Get with the program." He knew the main armory was up one level and the Marine armory was down one level. Neither seemed particularly easy to reach. But the SCIF was on this level. Surely Yumi had something in her spy cave that he could use as a weapon. His XO was nothing if not prepared. He began crawling, continuing to move in the direction of the SCIF and hoping that Jackson would be fine until he returned.

The SCIF ended up being easier to find than he'd hoped. Being able to stay on one deck, even if it meant crawling under a collapsed ceiling, was a godsend. Malcom was sweating by the time he reached the door and it was about then that he remembered that the SCIF had a special door. A very special door that locked shut when power went out. Unless.

He rested his hand against the security access panel and was shocked when it glowed green and the door opened. Inside the lighting was set to the lowest level and tinged with red. That made it extremely hard for Malcom to see. He stepped inside, thanking the engineers that had installed and independent power source in the intelligence center. He began searching for something, anything that would be useful. Of course, his hopes of a ready phaser were dashed at once. Someone must have either taken them or forgotten to restock them. He began pawing through the office, trying not to make it more of a mess than it had been. He finally spotted a weird wristband and vaguely remembered Yumi talking about some paralysis weapon. He picked the mechanisms up and saw tiny darts disguised as jewelry. Better than nothing he thought and snapped them on. He'd left Jackson alone for too long.

By the time Malcom made it back to the damaged messhall, he was exhausted and completely soaked with sweat. He made a vow to never take climate controls for granted again. A small pile of sand had already blown into the messhall, swirling in an eddy of hot wind. He could see blue sky outside.

"Jackson?" Malcom said. He moved around, looking for his wayward officer. He poked his head outside and never saw the attack coming. The blow slammed his head against the edge of the hull, cutting a long gash into his face. He staggered backwards and a figure, silhouetted against the sun and sky, followed him in, attacking with a long stick. He tried to dodge but felt woozy and managed to take the second blow on his shoulder. But the third was another strike to the head, just as he was raising Yumi's paralysis weapon and it put him down. As he slid into unconsciousness, Malcom hoped his crew was surviving better than he was.

[OFF]

Captain Malcom Llwyedd
Commanding Officer
USS Firebird NCC-88298



Lieutenant Junior Grade Jackson Smith
Chief Flight Control Officer/Covert Operations Specialist
USS Firebird NCC-88298



 

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Comments (5)

By Petty Officer 3rd Class Kaya on Tue Oct 30th, 2018 @ 10:45am

Cliffhanger! Always exciting. Both writers in this scene did a nice job of showing us the inside of the wrecked ship in contrast to how it is in its usual habitat. It's a real show of narrative to skill to help readers keep track of where you are in an environment.

By Petty Officer 3rd Class Gianna Djokovic on Wed Oct 31st, 2018 @ 5:23am

DUN. DUN. DUUUUUNNN. Can't wait to find out what happens to Jackson and Llwyedd! I liked the storytelling here with the introduction of the scavengers and getting temporarily lost inside the ship. You gave us a more clear picture of what kind of damage the ship has taken. Nice work! -Liam

By Lieutenant JG Soto Gantt on Thu Nov 1st, 2018 @ 5:37pm

I wanted this to go so much better for the captain and Jackson. A great way to bring in the scavengers, though, and show how capable they can be, too. I look forward to seeing how this turns out, and hoping that you both get a better chance to show the rascals who they're dealing with. Go Firebird!

By Warrant Officer Arlan Harlan on Fri Nov 2nd, 2018 @ 9:19am

Some intense stuff! Who's captured them? What's the ship look like planet-side? Should Harlan host a Jeffry Tube seminar when everyone is together again?? Stay tuned!!!

By Lieutenant JG Murril Na on Sat Nov 3rd, 2018 @ 1:39am

Favorite line: "But I do know there is a jeffries tube in my office. Sometimes I use it to avoid Kipp,"

This episode's writing comes across as pleasantly organic, and that's not a term I usually get to use when describing writing. Also, I appreciated how both characters were comfortably recognizable as themselves in terms of continuity; there was no sense that a new director came in and revamped the characters into unrecognizable personalities. (Both Malcom and Jackson seem like yes, they were definitely written and directed by the same folks as in previous stories featuring either character.)

Most of all, though, what I liked was how naturally it seemed that each section of the ship wasn't just a collection of functions, specs, and square footage. Each section of the ship had a person who came easily to the protagonists' minds. It was clear, without it seeming hamhanded, that Malcom and Jackson think of the Firebird in terms of its people.

(In contrast, imagine this same episode being told by any of the newer crew members who had been aboard merely a few days prior to the New Maquis attack. None of the color about Harlan keeping the Jeffries' Tubes spotless would be present. There wouldn't be anything regarding how Yumi stays a step ahead or how Desai is utilitarian. There would just be a bunch of blah corridors.)