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I'm Doctor, Not a Veterinarian! [CD]

Posted on Tue Mar 24th, 2020 @ 10:17pm by Zulg & Lieutenant Jamia Kaar & Lieutenant Jackson Smith

Mission: Interlude 4
Location: Underbelly of Empok Nor
Timeline: 23 February, 2394 - 1400 Hours


The phaser shot cut through the air, Jackson felt the air molecules in front of his face sizzle with energy. He ducked back behind the cover of the metallic crates. The sound of multiple shots continued to ripple through the air. He could see some of them leaving scorched marks on the wall in front of him or feel the force of them hitting the crate he had his back to. His breath came slowly back to him, he hadn't even realized he had been holding it in. He looked down at the two repeating phaser pistols he held. Zulg had a way of finding some cool tech. But even they might not be enough, they were surrounded by multiple hitmen. Jackson looked over at Zulg who was fussing over their "cargo". It was some sort of "pet", an amorphous blob that was supposed to be worth way more than its weight in platinum. Jackson raised an eyebrow as the thing started to turn a deep dark red and Zulg grew anxious. Jackson sighed deeply and shrugged his shoulders, nothing that he could worry about right now, he had a job to do. Jackson unconsciously sucked in his breath as he leaped to the side and released a barrage of shots at his opponents. The pistols unleashed a fury of bolts across the gap between the two groups. Two unfortunate individuals caught the brunt of the blasts and flew back, sliding across the floor, where they landed and were still. Jackson swiftly threw himself back into cover as the return fire sliced through the air. He felt a painful burning sensation across his right arm as the blast cut even closer than the previous one.

"Jackson! Stop playing around! This Vulim is... is... well its something bad! I don't know what but I think it might be hurt. Or maybe it ate something it shouldn't have. Either way, I don't like it. This thing cost me a fortune. We need to get out of here and find someone to take care of it," Zulg said. He was standing near the container that held the Vulim, watching as it changed to deep red and then began to show green splotches. He tried to remember what the seller had said about the beast but all he could remember was that it would eat literally anything. That alone had tempted him to keep it for himself. He could use that ability. But he could use the stack of latinum bricks even more.

Jackson cursed silently. Why can't at least one thing go right today? He looked over at the creature as the bolts of energy continued to flash overhead. It definitely looked pretty terrible. If that thing died, the Ex-Landium cartel would rip their limbs from their bodies and spread them across the universe. They were pinned down and unable to get to safety. There was no way he could explain the using the transporters on this black market creature, let alone if it would even survive the transport. Jackson groaned slightly as he came up with an idea. "I have a bad idea, hope this doesn't make things worse." He looked over at Zulg as Zulg eyes got wide.

Jackson tapped his nearly invisible comm under his shirt.

"Jackson to med bay, anyone there? I have a medical emergency! Life or death!" Jackson paused, hoping that someone useful and not very high ranking was in the medical bay.

After a few tense moments of silence, the combadge chirped. "Jackson, this is Dr. Kaar. I've registered your location on Empok Nor and I'm heading for the transporter room now. Have you alerted station personnel for assistance?"

Jackson cursed silently. Why did it have to be Kaar? Well it couldn't be helped now, they needed a doctor's help and he would just have to make it work. "Dr. Kaar, this is a delicate situation. No others need to be notified." A phaser blast slammed into the crate he was pressed against. Jackson did a quick peek over and saw that the men were starting to get a bit more brave and move in. Jackson sprang up and unleashed a barrage of fire striking one in the chest and sending the others scurrying for cover. He dropped quickly to the ground as the return fire blasted over head. He tapped his badge, "Oh and doctor, its probably best if you show up right in front of me squatting with your head down."
Jackson tried his best to sound casual and confident.

"... Acknowledged."

Another brief pause and then the confined area was illuminated with the light of a transporter beam. Jackson's advice had proven wise as two separate blasts soared through the air where Jamia's head would have been had she not crouched like a runner at the starting gate. The weapon fire registered as she materialized, along with strong sensations of aggression, anxiety, and very close to her but hard to pin down, fear and pain. Trying to take in her surroundings she saw Jackson and a cowering Ferengi in the immediate vicinity, but whatever she had been expecting to find it hadn't been a battlefield on friendly territory. Looking over towards her shipmate, she could only manage a confused "What the hell?"

As the Betazoid appeared before Jackson, he instinctively raised his mental shields and stifled his innate hatred for mind readers. Jackson flashed her a smile, "Welcome to my life, doctor."

Zulg raised his hands. "Who are you? Where's the chief medical officer? This situation requires the most talented doctor Starfleet has on hand! This is a purebred Vulim. It isn't a dog or a hu-man child!" Zulg yelled, spittled flying from his teeth. The barrage of phaser fire ceased, leaving a strange ringing in Zulg's ears.

Jamia ignored the Ferengi's hysterics and focused on the wine-dark globule that was apparently her patient. Staying low, she flipped open her medical tricorder and began a generalized scan. "You said this is a Vulim? I'm not familiar with the species... where is it from?" The tricorder was unable to find a match but was providing a clearer picture of the creature's anatomy, which appeared to share many similarities with gastropods found on a variety of planets.

There was a shuffling sound from the other side of their impromptu barrier. Zulg hunched down. "You don't even know what a Vulim is?" He hissed. "Jackson, you've gotten the wrong person!" A raking blast of phaser fire struck the stack of metallic crates. "A Vulim is similar to your hu-man animals that can live in water or on land. It also secretes a fluid that can eat through anything, but only when it is content. This one is not content!"

Jackson heard the movement on the other side and knew he needed to act. He lept up and blasted two individuals daring to get close. Their bodies flew back against a far wall and crumpled lifeless to the floor. "Zulg, I got the exact person that I wanted to get. She is the best! Besides, I don't see you bringing in any reinforcements." Jackson continued to lay down suppressing fire, doing his best to keep the bad guys at a distance. Jackson knew he couldn't keep this up for ever. It was only a matter of time before they started moving in. "Oh, I suppose we could send her back and have your cousin Markinel come and help out?" Jackson flashed Zulg a grin.

Zulg shuddered at the thought of his cousin. He was the worst Ferengi medical professional in the history of Feregninar, at least in Zulg's mind. He'd had an astronomically high number of people die under his care. Zulg eyed the medical doctor again.

"Fine. Can you help the Vulim? It has a high value to me. And before you do anything, how much latinum do you usually charge? I expect a deal since you are a female."

"If I charged for my services, you certainly couldn't afford me," Jamia answered the Ferengi, pulling a set of gloves from her medkit and shuffling closer to the Vulim. Ever so gently she reached out with the fingers of one hand. The creature seemed to ripple upon contact, but after a moment, the doctor felt the flesh relax. She lifted her other hand and there was no reaction, a sign it had accepted her presence. Slowly her hands began a gentle, physical examination. Another volley of blaster fire triggered a second anxious ripple, but the doctor simply paused and maintained contact to reassure her patient.

"Lieutenant, I'm haven't finished the initial exam, but I'm fairly certain there are no external injuries... I believe the Vulim is reacting to the stress of battle. Any chance you can wrap things up on that front?"

Zulg nodded. "Yes, Jackson! Finish off those interlopers and let's get out of here. The nurse says that the Vulim is stressed," Zulg said from his hunched location. "

Jackson rolled his eyes, "Really? What do you think I am trying to do?" He looked over the crates and laser blasts flew right over his head as he ducked down. They had moved closer. Jackson closed his eyes, this was going to get ugly. This was always the tough part, killing. But, hey, that was what he was trained to do, right? That was why SFI had wanted him. He could feel a coldness come over him as he steeled himself for the job at hand. "Fine, here we go..." Jackson, keeping his head down, backed up a bit and then took a quick few steps and sprang up into the air, both pistols firing every which direction. Jackson planted one foot on the crate and pushed himself further into air and forward. The shots came firing underneath him. One phaser shot lanced through the air and clipped him in the shoulder. He spun through the air. His graceful leap through the air turned into a belly flop as he slammed into the ground sliding across the ground. Jackson grunted as the pain shot through his whole body. He rolled to his back and his reflexes fighting through the pain kept him alive as he fired shots off in both directions taking out multiple foes now that he was behind the enemy lines. Jackson continued with his sliding motion and rolled backward up to his feet and ducked behind another crate. Jackson holstered the pistols and pulled out his knives from their hidden sheaths. Jackson's eyes narrowed and determination flowed through him. It was time to get close and personal.

Zulg winced as his employee was struck by phaser fire. He had no immediate replacement for Jackson's skill set. The thought of replacing him terrified Zulg. Jackson didn't work for latinum and he was unlikely to find another employee who was that poor of a businessman. Zulg patted the Vulum half-heartedly. "Be careful, Jackson!" Zulg yelled, thoughts of latinum bars disappearing from his account at the forefront of his thoughts. He looked over at the doctor to see what she was doing.

Kneeling near the Vulim, Jamia found herself struggling to focus. It hadn't been a concern during the initial chaos when she beamed in, but now she couldn't shake the dark thoughts and feelings that she felt pressing down on her mind, seeking access. It was taking all of her skill to fight back, and that was even more confusing as her own mental discipline was impressive. She had often found herself in high-stress situations and had always been able to maintain her empathic composure. What was different now?

The Ferengi's shout at her fellow officer helped bring her back to the present moment. The battle was getting intense but her job was the helpless creature in front of her. No injuries, definite stress, but how could she calm it? The unknown amphibious physiology made her wary to attempt any of the limited medicines in her kit... but maybe the solution to the problem wasn't going to be complicated at all.

"You, um, Zulg is it? You'd said the Vulim can survive on land or water. Do we have access to any water nearby?" Even as she asked, the doctor's own eyes darted about their cover, looking for anything that might be able to serve as a large container.

"Water?" Zulg said. "Yeesssss. I could provide access to sufficient water if you two could transport us there. It would be a way to save this poor creature's life."

Jackson's body busted through a crate causing a loud crash to echo through the chamber and throwing thousands of wooden projectiles through the air. Jackson sled to a stop just in front of the barricade protecting Zulg and the doctor. Jackson pulled his battered body up and stood staring at the massive hulk of a creature that had just thrown him through the crates. He spit out some blood and was that a tooth? He had just caught the last part of Zulg's comment. A little wobly he turned towards them, "You can't use a Starfleet transporter, that thing will set off so many alarms, that even I won't be able to cover up the mess." Jackson shook his head, clearing away the fog that threatened to encompass him. "I've got this." Once again the dark cold started to encompass him, to push away all the pain that threatened to overwhelm him. Jackson's eyes hardened as he pulled out two more knives from seemingly nowhere, he started to move towards the creature, increasing his speed as he went. Nearly sprinting towards the end, Jackson lept into the air, his knives flashing before him, threatening to dice the massive hulk to pieces. As he came down upon the creature, it swatted Jackson aside with one massive arm, sending Jackson flailing through the air and vanishing behind other crates. The creature turned towards Jackson intent on finishing off his foe, it also vanished behind the crates. From somewhere in that direction Zulg and the doctor here a pained yell, "I've still go this!"

The doctor grimaced in Jackson's direction; she had the overwhelming instinct to join him in battle but was aware enough of her patient's condition to remember that wasn't her priority. Not that she wouldn't be willing to help a colleague, but the feeling was different, almost like a thirst for battle. And that certainly wasn't her - were these thoughts coming from Jackson? A mystery for another time, as she had to take her fellow officer at his word and get this Vulim to safety.

"Ok, Zulg, you heard the man - transport is not an option. But I'm willing to bet you know our surroundings fairly well." She winced from sudden phantom pain and tried to redouble her own mental shields. "We have to move the Vulim out of here now. Which direction is our best bet?"

Zulg's eyes darted from side to side. He was fairly familiar with the layout of the Down Below but he usually wasn't herding a large animal. He pointed towards a large oval-shaped hole in a nearby wall. They would have to dodge around a number of cargo containers and risk one open space, but anything was better than letting his asset get shot or stolen.

"Over there!" Zulg yelled and nudged the Vulum with his shoe. The beast let out a low moan and began to move slowly.

"Okay," Jamia confirmed, lifting up the broken lid from a nearby crate that she hoped would serve as cover as they moved. "Stay low and keep moving."

After dealing with the attackers, Jackson followed the trail of slime that the creature left behind. His whole body ached and he could feel the adrenaline wearing off. He came to a door, it seemed the others were probably hiding out on the other side. He hesitated for a brief moment as the faces of the lives he took flashed before him and a deep sorrow started surface that Jackson quickly quashed. He had to do what needed to be done, what others could not. This was what he was trained for from an early age, and what Starfleet needed from him. Jackson allowed a coldness to envelop him as he continued to brush aside the emotions that pushed from all sides, threatening to overwhelm him. With a deep breath, Jackson opened the door. He was relieved to see all three seemed to be safe. It was at that point that the adrenaline completely left his system and was replaced with exhaustion. His left leg gave out from the pain of the blaster and stab wounds.
Jackson reached out to the crate near him, to catch himself. Only it was not balanced well on the crate below it and Jackson and the crate came crashing to the floor. He pushed himself up and realized he was face to face with the Vulum. It had deepened red and looked like it was expanding, and then with a surprise belch it vomited a green slime all over Jackson. With a deeper sigh, Jackson finished pushing himself up. His whole head was covered and most of his clothing. He turned to the doctor as he wiped the slime from his face. "I see that you kept the thing alive." At this point, he realized the stench, since it was all he could breathe. It was truly horrendous and Jackson fought to keep any contents of his stomach where it belonged. Before either of his allies could speak Jackson said, "This mission is highly classified, not a word of this to anyone. Got it?!?" Jackson did his best to look stern as the goo dripped from his matted hair.

Zulg held up a hand. "Not a word," he said, thinking about how his reputation would suffer if any of this got out. "I am grateful to both of you for assisting with this matter. I'm happy to discuss your fee in my establishment. Half price drinks for you both!"

Jackson chuckled slightly, "Half off? So generous..." Jackson felt the slime slowly sliding down his face, "First shower and then we can talk." He looked over at the doctor, "Thanks for coming to our rescue, you are welcome to join us back at Zulg's." Jackson offered tentatively. He wasn't sure how much he could trust this doctor yet.

"Thanks for the offer, but I'll pass," Jamia answered, not sure what to make of everything they'd just gone through. "We can catch up in sickbay when you get back to the ship. Just try not to get into any other scrapes before then." She got up to leave, nodded to Zulg, and took another look at the slime dripping from her colleague. "And, um, I'd make that a long, HOT shower if I were you."


Lieutenant Jackson Smith
Chief Intelligence Officer
USS Firebird NCC-88298

Lieutenant Jamia Kaar
Chief Medical Officer
USS Firebird NCC-88298

Ferengi Businessman
Empok Nor
(NPC by Llwyedd)


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Comments (1)

By Lieutenant JG Soto Gantt on Fri Apr 3rd, 2020 @ 8:55am

Is there a better introduction to the Firebird than, "Looking over towards her shipmate, she could only manage a confused "What the hell?" Jackson in action is always a great read, and I appreciated that in the middle of combat he's worried how to cover up the situation. His instructions to Jamia show his calm in the face of extreme situations. The addition of Kaar's care for the Vulim while struggling with "empathic composure" added intriguing layers to the character. I wonder how their next conversation would go.