As the brutal onslaught of torpedo's and the full supremacy of the enemy ship's phaser banks continued to hit the Enterprise the crew did their best to simply stay on their feet and stay alive. Decks five through eight had all but been destroyed and in the gaping holes of warped and twisted black metal, where the force fields that prevented people being sucked out into space were activated, they were dangerously close to failing. A lone Ensign stood looking out at the blackness, his eyes glazed with horror. In the expanse of space he could see the figures of his friends, frozen and pained, slowly drifting away to be eventually vaporised by a nearby sun. He was unable to move, even with the men and women running by him, shouting and hollering at each other. The reality of war and death was something he wasn't ready for and he knew he would never be able to rid himself of the visions from his mind.
For most, the loss of life was too much to comprehend in that moment as each and every person set about ensuring all procedures were followed, all systems were operational and no further damage was done. Shouts could be heard from each function, orders were sent from one deck to another. Communications were circulated from the bridge one after the other after the other. The only indication to most of the crew as to whether or not they were winning the battle was the number of direct hits and the lurching to and fro of the ship.
The majority of decisions were carried out by the computers, by artificial intelligence. Human's had realised long ago their own limitations, they knew they couldn't move as fast, think as fast and respond as fast as AI. Still, when it came to it, there was still a Captain of the ship, it was a battle of wills between the hero and the enemy. Captain James T. Kirk didn't believe in no win scenarios, he could read every move of his adversary. He had no qualms with sacrificing the lives of his crew if necessary to triumph. He was also hyper aware of his own hypocrisy, risking his own life for the sake of a single sole on many an occasion.
"Kirk to Meloy." He waited for the response, but it didn't come. "Who else is responsible for the antimatter storage pods Mister Spock?" He threw over his shoulder.
"Lieutenant Lees Captain." Spock answered efficiently.
"Kirk to Lees." He again waited impatiently.
"Yes Captain?" He heard her voice through the system, it was strained and tired.
"He's dead Captain." Kirk didn't have a moment to think, shifting in his chair he refocussed.
"Lees, you've just inherited Meloy's position. I need more power to the inertial dampners and shields!" The ship was struck as he spoke and Kirk had to use all his strength to stay in his seat. "NOW Lees!" He shouted.
"Captain, I strongly advise we go to warp." Spock interrupted.
"No Captain! We can't go to warp! We don't have the power, if we don't stay idle we'll lose the force fields." Corriene's voice echoed around the Bridge, Kirk looked at Spock who simply raised an eyebrow.
"What do you need to do Lees to get me warp power?" Kirk asked.
"The dilithium conduits have been destroyed, I need to repair those before the matter antimatter interaction units can come back on line."
"Do it Lees!" Kirk commanded.
"Aye Captain." Corriene Lees set off in a sprint, her feet skidding across the rubble littered floor she came to the display unit she needed. Her fingers worked at lightning speed as all the people around her carried on with their equally important tasks. Pulling a tool set from the cabinet next to her she started pulling the wall to pieces, ripping out damaged conduit and replacing it with new. Her hands skilfully fused the conduits together, all the while her focus was also on realigning power routes to the dampners and shields.
"Lees, you need to work quicker, we're losing structural integrity on your deck! I'm shutting it down when we reach twenty percent." The Captain's words reverberated through her head, she couldn't help but look around at the people currently unaware of their fate. It was her fate too, the Captain had just told her she was going to die. As she tapped away on the display screens, adjusting one thing, increasing another she shouted over to the person next to her.
"Hey!" The man turned towards her, annoyed at the interruption. Corriene watched him turn away and ignore her. "Hey! You!" She shouted again, this time he stopped what he was doing and stormed over. She started speaking before he had a chance to lay into her. "Get everybody out, they're shutting the deck off." Her tone of voice and the expression on her face told him everything he needed to know. Nodding bluntly he spun and hastily started telling the others, Corriene turned back to her station and continued to divert the energy necessary.
Her eyes darted to the current level, twenty two percent.
"Shit." She muttered to herself, word must have spread quickly because the bay had emptied around her. There was nothing they could do anyway, an alarm started ringing. Pulling an equipment harness from the wall she wrapped it round herself as she continued to work, she didn't really believe it would stop her from being sucked out into space or suffocating if life support was lost but if it at least made her feel better for a moment, she was happy to oblige herself in a little self-comfort.
"Lees! Get me that power!" Kirk's voice reverberated around the room.
"Aye Captain!" She shouted back, no level of respect evident in her tone. With her right hand she finished her last calibration and overrode the system preventing her from taking power from a deck that was about to be destroyed to a system that needed it. With her left hand she checked for life signs, there were three.
"Lees?!" Kirk's panicked voice filled her head again, Corriene made the decision not to respond, if she was successful they'd be notified of the power dispatch on the Bridge anyway. She opened up her own comm to the deck.
"Deck shutdown in sixty seconds! Evacuate now!" She shouted over the incessant alarm.
"What are you doing Lees?!" Again, she ignored Kirk, the clock was ticking, she had fifty seconds of work left to do and there was forty seconds until shutdown.
"Come on Damnit!" Out of pure fear and frustration she punched the display with her fist. A green light pinged in her peripheral vision, the power the Enterprise needed had been diverted successfully.
Corriene closed her eyes and took in a deep breath.
Blinking rapidly she smashed her hand into the release switch on the harness and then slammed the side of her body against the panel next to her. To Corrriene it felt like the panel lifted and slid to one side in slow motion, in reality it was matter of seconds. Swinging herself inside the Jeffries tube she held onto the ladder handles as she closed the panel after her. Through the metal she could hear the alarm change volume and tune, denoting imminent shutdown. She looked down, there wasn't a chance in hell she could climb down an entire deck in two seconds.
"Shit! Shit! Shit!" Grabbing the sleeves of her uniform and pulling them over her hands she placed her boots on the outside of the ladder and let herself effectively free fall down the tube. She couldn't help but scream when above her the panel blew out and flames poured into the tube racing towards her, Corriene had no choice but to simply let go of the ladder entirely. Careening towards the Deck centrifuge Corriene let out another cry, she felt her ribs bang against the partition and felt the blast of air against her face as it shut. She'd made it off the deck but she was still hurtling down a Jefferies tube, fast approaching the ground. Grabbing at the walls Corriene tried to slow herself down, her fingers battered against the ladder as she tried to take hold. Her entire body slammed into the steps as she finally stopped plummeting, the air was pushed from her lungs and she struggled to determine which part of her body hurt the least.
Easing herself down the little space left she collapsed onto the ground while catching her breath. The ship had stopped toing and froing and there hadn't seemed to be any enemy hits. Corriene knew she needed to get up, check what was going on but her eyes were refusing to stay open and just like that, she passed out.
"Where are we up to Mister Spock?" Kirk asked as the pair walked briskly down the corridor approximately nine hours after the attack. The whole ship was awash with activity, repairs were being made, and shifts were being rotated round. Kirk nodded supportively at the crew he passed as they carried supplies and materials.
"Level four hazard review has been completed Captain, Security will carry out the final sweep within the next hour."
"How many lost?" Kirk asked the inevitable question.
"Thirty seven Captain." Spock answered severely, Kirk could only swallow the lump in his throat.
"From Deck five through eight?" Spock simply nodded. "What about twelve?" The pair of them stopped in the corridor, Kirk folding his arms and looking to the ground.
"No losses reported from Deck twelve Captain." Kirk's head snapped up to stare at his First Officer in amazement.
"I thought we lost structural integrity on deck twelve?"
"Yes Sir, but the Deck was evacuated."
"I didn't issue that order?" Kirk creased his brow in confusion, it was a decision he had been questioning since the moment he'd made it.
"No Captain, Ensign Patara noted in his report that Lieutenant Lees issued the order." Spock raised his eyebrow an inch.
"Lieutenant Corriene Lees Captain, you promoted her when Lieutenant Meloy was killed. She successfully diverted power as you requested Captain before the Deck was closed off." Kirk waved his hand dismissively in front of Spock's face.
"I know who she is Spock! Never mind. No, hang on! I want to speak to Lees about issuing orders without authority, understood Mister Spock? Send a comm asking her to come to the Bridge." Kirk set off walking again.
"Lieutenant Lees is unaccounted for Captain." The Vulcan's words hit Kirk harder than he anticipated, he stopped again and turned slowly.
"Aye Captain." Spock, as ever, showed no sign of emotion.
"I don't understand?" Kirk placed his hands out palms up, as if praying for somebody less 'logical' to come and explain it to him.
"She is missing Captain."
"Affirmative Captain." Kirk was about to lose it with his First Officer.
"Wait a minute Spock, just wait! We know how many souls serve on board this ship; we know how many are still on board. We know where they all are, how can Lieutenant Lees go missing?" From the way Kirk kept his eyes closed as he spoke to the way he pinched the bridge of his nose Spock could deduce very easily Kirk was losing his equanimity.
"We lost scanning capabilities when Deck…" Spock stopped talking when he saw the look appear on Kirk's face. He knew enough of his Captain to know when he didn't actually want the correct answer, or any answer for that matter. "I shall carry out a sweep now Captain." Spock replied, looking down to his PADD and typing as he spoke.
"Thank you Mister Spock." A moment later Spock looked back up to his Captain. "Well?"
"She is on Deck eleven Captain, in Jeffries tube sixteen."
"What the hell is she doing in there?" Kirk set back off walking. "Well come on Spock, we're near there anyway, might as well go ask her now."
"She may be injured Captain?" Spock proposed as they made their way through the corridors, it was an option Kirk hadn't thought about and as soon as he heard the words he felt guilty for only thinking this woman was simply bunking off.
"Why hasn't she comm'd?"
"She may well be unconscious?" Kirk picked up his pace, coming to the Jeffries tube entrance he hit the panel and watched as it slid open.
"Kirk to Bones! Get down here now!" Kirk shouted into his comm badge as he crawled inside and placed his fingers on Corriene's neck. "Lieutenant Lees?!" He shuck her gently, being careful not to aggravate any injuries he was unaware of. Her face was black and blue and her hands looked simply awful the way they lay clumsily in her lap. Corriene began to slowly stir, groaning she tried to shift her sore body. "Easy now, easy!" Kirk put his hands on her shoulders, stopping her from moving. She slowly peeled her eyes open to see that Captain Kirk was knelt down in front of her, feeling sick she tried to sit up.
"Where am I?" She asked, wanting to place her head in her hands but not really being able to move her limbs.
"You're in Jeffries tube sixteen, Deck eleven." Kirk let Corriene rest hear head in the palm of his hand, he could see she was trying to will away the pain of her injuries. "For the past nine hours it seems?" Kirk answered looking to the entryway for Bones to appear.
"Did we win?" Corriene was clearly suffering a concussion because on any day of the week in her right mind she wouldn't have presumed to speak to the Captain that way. Kirk chuckled though and nodded his head.
"Yes we did Lees, thanks to you."
"You're welcome Captain." He couldn't help but laugh even more at her reply, she looked into his eyes and saw his admiration in her, she'd never felt so proud even though the stabbing pain in her ribs was close to unbearable.
"Lees, I didn't order an evacuation." Kirk stated simply, watching her for a response. Corriene didn't hesitate, looking him in the eye as she answered his statement.
"There was nothing those people could do Captain, there was no more time. There was no need for them to die, I'm sorry Captain. I did what I thought was right, I know you'll probably demote me for going against orders and breaching protocol but I wouldn't change it, I would do it again." Her stalwart gaze could only have impressed him more if she hadn't of been slowly passing in and out of consciousness as she spoke.
"Alright Lees, stop talking. We'll worry about all that later." Kirk turned back to the entranceway. "SPOCK! WHERE THE HELL IS BONES!" As if by magic the scowling face of Leonard H. McCoy appeared.
"What the hell is going on Jim?! God damnit, what happened?!" As McCoy scrambled in Kirk sat back and looked at the woman in front of him, she was banged up pretty bad, had been passed out for the past nine hours, had given him sass when he had asked her what the hell she had been thinking and was currently sleeping like she didn't have a care in the world.
Thank you for reading, please let me know what you think LLAP ;-) XOXO