2. In The Hands Of The Enemy
Prompts: #2 collars, kidnapped #5 rescue #7 support #12 broken bones
Fandom: Star Trek: Picard
"What is the nature of your medical emergency?"
Rios could imagine the EMH flickering into existence beside him, asking his ridiculous question even while looking at the bone sticking out of Cris' arm. Of course, the hologram had been programmed to go through a standard catalogue of inquiries, but after several years of service aboard La Sirena, including a variety of medical emergencies (all of them involving Rios, the only crew member with an actual human body), Cris had a feeling the EMH had stuck to that question only to annoy him.
How he wished he'd annoy him now.
Cradling his broken arm, he gingerly shifted to find a better position leaning against the spiky wall of rock that made up his prison cell. Not that there was a lock or even a door. Not even a force-field. The cave-like structure had a roughly triangular shape, its tip opening to a corridor that disappeared into a right turn. It was mocking Rios to get up and run, but even if the pain in his arm didn't make him gag at the simplest movement, the collar around his neck kept him from even trying.
Oh, he had tried, of course. He'd pushed himself to his feet, breathing through the agony that lit up in his arm, and taken a few unsteady steps to the exit. But, nearing some sort of invisible trigger, he'd felt the thin, cool band around his neck starting to hum in warning. And then the pain had hit him. Not like an electric shock. That was child's play compared to the searing, all-consuming wave that had travelled through his blood and bones - broken or whole - while refusing to grant him the mercy of unconsciousness. All he'd been able to do was drop to the ground and ride it out, waiting for the agony to pass or for death to please please end it.
It had passed, eventually, after seconds or minutes or hours; he couldn't be sure. He'd fallen asleep after, right where he'd dropped, and dragged himself back to the furthest wall of his cell when he'd woken again, shaking and with his arm pounding as he tried not to move it. Whatever technology was behind that fucking collar - he was not going to test it again.
Thus, he'd resorted to waiting. Waiting for his crew (he had a crew now, he reminded himself) to either break him out or get the Hul't'arah what they wanted: six tons of Anthysium, a rare mineral from a small planet in the Delta Quadrant. Rios had no clue what the fuck the Hul't'arah were planning on doing with it - it was mainly used as a medicinal ingredient - and, honestly, he didn't care right now. All he wanted was to get out of here before his arm could fester and fall off.
Stupid enough of him to let himself get captured in the first place. Even more stupid to put up a fight when two hairy, six-eyed, seven-foot tall humanoids with the strength of an ox had you by the arms. He'd paid for his resistance with a casual twist of his wrist that had snapped his ulna and radius like twigs, one jagged bone end sickeningly penetrating his skin. He'd screamed. He'd thrown up. He'd become used to the sight and the pain in the last… what? Two days? Three?
But he had a crew now, he kept telling himself as his stomach churned from hunger and pain and the open wound on his arm wept suspiciously milky fluid onto his dirt-encrusted pants. A crew that consisted mainly of holograms, but with the recent addition of a little blonde doctor who'd stuck around, an old former Star Fleet Admiral who frequently booked him as a pilot and a recovering addict who sometimes came along for the ride.
They weren't exactly the cavalry, but they were on board of the Sirena, and he was pretty certain they would not just let him rot down here.
And they didn't. Later, when he'd curled up into a ball against the onset of fever chills, his arm throbbing with every heartbeat, he was roused from his haze by noises outside his cell. Animalistic grunts. The hiss of phasers being fired. Bodies dropping to the ground.
Two figures stepped into his cell, and in the murky darkness, Rios recognized the wild curls before Raffi squatted down in front of him, Soji at her side.
"Cris, babe, we've got to go. Can you stand?"
Raffi helped him uncurl and flinched at the sight of his arm. It was Soji who hooked him under on his good side and easily, gently pulled him to his feet.
Rios gasped a Spanish curse when a wave of pain rolled over him. His head swam.
"I c-can't get out of here," he stammered. "I can't… the collar." He stretched his neck to display it. "It's tr-triggered when I-"
But Soji was already on it. Her free hand closed around the thin band, and Rios felt a tickling sensation, then heard a crack, like wood splitting in heat, and the collar fell away.
Raffi kicked its broken halves aside and carefully slung her arm around Rios' other side. In spite of the women's support, he felt his knees threatening to buckle.
He shook his head.
"I can't w-walk."
"You don't have to, babe."
Raffi plucked something rectangular from her belt and attached it to Rios' chest like a com badge.
A flickering pillar erupted above their heads.
"Channel established! Three ready for transport!" She spoke loudly, locking eyes with Soji.
"Aye, Raffi," Picard's voice, distorted, sounded from a distance. "Hold on tight."
Picard's warning was justified. This transport was a rough ride that had nothing to do with the seamless blink-of-an-eye relocation of molecules Rios was used to. As Raffi and Soji held him by his belt and around his back, he felt a wrenching sensation travelling through his body. They had to be breaking through some kind of force field. He wasn't sure if he screamed - there seemed to be no air in his lungs, in the spray of pixels that was his lungs as his body was dissolved and then reassembled in a dizzying whoosh. Every cell in his body burned when he landed on a hard surface, eyes closed against the pain. Hands were on him immediately, and then he finally heard it:
"What is the nature of your- oh, bloody hell!"
It was the permission Rios needed to sink into unconsciousness.
He woke to the smell of very clean surfaces, humidified oxygen and Agnes. Her hand was at his cheek when he opened his eyes. Her face - tired worry lighting up - appeared above him, haloed by circular ceiling lights.
"Hey," Agnes said softly, mouth widening into a grin.
"Hey." Dios, he sounded awful.
"How are you feeling?"
Rios swallowed, looking down at himself. Most of his body was covered by a medical blanket, but he could see - even if not feel - his injured arm. It was encased in a holographic ossifier that was blinking and whirring away as it knit his bones back together. Underneath the blanket, he felt his skin prickle where the biobed's micro-injectors fed medication into his system. An oxygen clip tingled under his nose. There was no actual pain, but his whole body felt heavy and flattened to the bed as if coming out from under a serious illness.
"I guess- " He had to clear his throat. "I guess I'll be al- "
"You will be perfectly fine, Captain Rios," the EMH chimed in, materialising by the bed. "Now that the sepsis is abating and the compound fracture in your arm is fusing. Although we did have a bit of a close call when your kidneys were attempting to shut down - a process, which, quite fortunately, I was able to reverse in time."
Rios rolled his eyes at the hologram's self-indulgent gloating. Agnes chuckled.
Weakly, Rios lifted his good hand and waved it at the EMH. "Deactiv-"
"THAT won't work," the hologram said with barely covered smugness. "Not until your body functions have returned to a satisfactory level. Remember?" He pointed at himself with a tricorder that had appeared in his hand out of thin air. "Emergency hologram. Self-activates until the emergent situation has been fully resolved. It hasn't."
He fucking smirked. Rios felt his head beginning to ache.
Frowning convincingly, the EMH looked at Rios' vitals projected against the wall of the cubicle.
"Your blood pressure and cortisol output are elevated," the hologram observed, immediately wielding the tricorder to point it at Rios. "Are you experiencing any kind of discomfort?"
Yes, Rios thought, it's called 'annoyance'.
"No," he said as firmly as possible, when Agnes looked at him with new worry. "I'm fine."
"Still," The EMH replied, checking the tricorder's readings with exaggerated concentration. "I would like you to get more rest. Your body has been through a serious trauma and needs to repose."
Rios would have liked to roll his eyes again, but it hurt his head too much, so instead he merely sighed while Agnes, instinctively, stroked his forehead.
"He's right," she said gently. "You should sleep. You look exhausted. And you're not missing out on anything. Picard, Enoch and Emmett have things under control."
The old man, his Irish fanboy and the tattoed narcoleptic.
Rios' headache intensified. He closed his eyes with a groan.
"Rightt, that's enough."
Something beeped and, alarmed, Rios tore his eyes back open.
"Oye! You're not going to inject me with-"
He heard the hiss of the hypo spray and felt its cool contents permeate the skin of his neck. The last thing he registered before sleep took him was the EMH's sorrowful remark:
"He really doesn't get any nicer."