Beta: The amazing seren_ccd
Warnings: Sex and violence, but only for the deserving.
Word Count: 50000
Disclaimer: Nothing recognisable is mine, and trust me, I'm making nothing from this!
Notes: Written for het_bigbang.
“Coming up on the planet in ninety seconds, Captain,” Sulu reported from the bridge. “Prepare to beam down.”
“Do you have the warbirds on long range sensors?” Kirk asked from his position in the transporter room.
“Aye sir. Sensors report two warbirds in the lower atmosphere. Scans reveal a small number of life signs on each ship; I presume that the majority of the crew are down on the planet itself.”
“The computer shows a large number of human life signs concentrated in the hills surrounding the settlement, captain,” Spock said, looking at the terminal in the wall of the transporter room. “But the hills contain a mineral that disrupts the transporter process. It would be unwise to beam the settlers directly from there.”
“Change of plans, Spock,” Kirk said. “You take a fleet of shuttles and go down there to pick up the settlers. Sulu will lay down cover fire and engage the warbirds. You understand, Mr Sulu?”
“Aye sir,” Sulu reported. “Sensors don’t show much in the way of firepower.”
“They’ve probably used it all up blowing up the plant,” McCoy muttered.
“They likely did not expect armed retaliation,” Spock corrected him. “And not from a starship of our class and armament.”
“Well let’s use some of it to blow the pointy eared bastards out of the sky, shall we?” McCoy said impatiently. “Uh...sorry, Spock,” he said afterwards. “I didn’t mean you.”
“I was in no doubt to that, Doctor,” Spock said.
“Shuttlebay,” Kirk reminded him, and Spock nodded, and left.
“We’re within beaming range,” Scott said from behind the console. “The ore processing plant looks beaten up, but I can detect a small group of human life signs on the surface, surrounded by a large group of Romulans. There’s another group, much further down under the surface of the plant. There’s more Romulans there, too.”
“How many?” Kirk asked, taking his place on the transporter pad along with McCoy and a full contingent of security personnel.
“Twenty surrounding the humans on the surface, another twenty underground. Heat signatures, captain,” Scott said in alarm. “Bombs going off underneath the ground, I think. The life signs down there are disappearing.”
“Get us near the group on top,” Kirk instructed. “Try and find us some cover.”
“Aye sir,” Scott said, frowning.
“Energise,” Kirk ordered, and the transporter room disappeared to reveal the brown gritty dirt of the planet and a few scrubby bushes and trees. The team from the Enterprise and the second security team had been beamed behind an outcrop of rocks, where they could see Starfleet personnel surrounded by a ring of Romulans. The Starfleet officers were bruised and bleeding, and the Enterprise officers saw a defiant looking woman taking a brutal punch to the jaw from one of the Romulans.
“Wait,” Kirk said, grabbing McCoy’s hand as he made to break cover.
“He’s going to kill her, Jim,” McCoy hissed.
“Wait,” Kirk insisted.
Just then, the majestic sight of the Enterprise firing all its phaser banks at the two warbirds passed overhead. The Romulans reacted in astonishment, breaking ranks and staring at the sky.
“Now!” he shouted, and the two groups broke cover from behind the rocks. McCoy let off a few shots, but he didn’t think he hit anybody. He was more concerned about getting to the wounded officers.
“Thank God,” one man wheezed as he ran up to them. “You’ve got to help Simons.”
Simons was a large man with a serious phaser wound in his abdomen.
“You’re going to be fine,” McCoy told the man. “I’m going to get you beamed straight into Sickbay, you’ll be right as rain.”
The pain must have been excruciating, but Simons managed to grab McCoy’s hand. “Family,” he said through gritted teeth. “Down. Section E.”
“We know, and we’re going to get them,” he told him, flipping open his communicator. “McCoy to Enterprise, five to beam to Sickbay, one critical. Inform M’Benga he needs to prep for abdominal surgery, phaser damage, high setting.”
His call was acknowledged and the injured officers disappeared in the transporter’s glow. In the distance he could see a chain of shuttles land in the distant hills, and above him the Enterprise had coaxed the two warbirds up out of the atmosphere and away from the Romulans left on the ground.
Not that the Romulans on this patch of ground would need assistance, because they were all dead. None of them had taken the opportunity to surrender that he’d heard Kirk offer, so he didn’t feel particularly sorry for them.
“Jim,” he called. “We need to get down there. The engineer said section E.”
“Let’s go,” Kirk instructed, and the security guards took the lead as they made their way through the damaged plant.
“Christ, this place really took a beating,” McCoy said, taking in the twisted ceiling props and the missing wall sections.
“It still is,” Kirk said, frowning. “Can’t you feel that?”
The vibrations came through the floor and into the soles of their boots.
“What is it?” McCoy said, as they all picked up their speed as they made their way down flight after flight of stairs.
“My guess? They’re trying to blow their way into the section that Chapel and the civilians are in,” Kirk said.
They came down the last flight of stairs and looked in horror at the number of dead and dying Romulans scattered around the entrance to a hidden corridor. The floor was slick with green blood, and the stench was disgusting.
“Looks like Chapel wasn’t giving up easily,” Kirk said, motioning his men on carefully. One of the Romulans grabbed his ankle and tried to say something to him, but all that came from his mouth were some blood-flecked bubbles. He died, still clutching Kirk’s ankle and McCoy leaned down to gently unwrap his fingers.
“We’ve got booby-traps, captain!” called the advance scout. “I can see trip wires and I think...yeah, there are a few mines down here that haven’t been activated yet.”
“Hold back,” Kirk ordered. He went up to the mouth of the door and peered inside to see yet more bodies, and a group of Romulans trapped on a small section of ground between the rubble behind them and a set of blast doors that looked as if they were one explosion away from falling down.
“Gentlemen!” he called cheerily. “On behalf of the United Federation of Planets I’d like to offer you the chance to surrender and...”
He ducked back into the corridor just in time for the volley of phaser fire to miss his head.
“Right boys, sitting ducks,” he said. “Permission to shoot.”
The engagement was over in minutes. There was no cover in the corridor, except for the bodies of those that had died around them.
“Can we get down there?” McCoy asked.
The senior security officer shook his head. “The place’s a death trap,” he said. “I have no way of knowing where the remaining mines are, or how many are left.”
“We could beam in,” another security officer offered.
“Whoever’s down there is probably armed and incredibly paranoid,” Kirk said thoughtfully. “I know I would be. Whoever beamed in would be taken out on sight.”
“Get the ship to beam down a communicator,” McCoy suggested.
“Let’s hope they don’t blow that up too,” Kirk said, flipping his communicator open to establish contact with the ship.
The room had been small to start with, but with nine adults and three children, one of whom needing a diaper change, it felt even smaller. Everyone was tense and on edge, and had been for the six hours that they’d been barricaded in there.
Christine had considered confiscating the suicide pills from the scientists, but she decided not to. If the Romulans did breach the doors, they’d want the scientists. Barnaby had probably been feeding them all of the confidential research they’d done while stationed here, but the scientists would be useful. Perhaps suicide was a better option than torture.
Torture made Christine think of the chip inside her. How dare they not tell her about that? How dare they decide when she should live and when she should die? As soon as they got out of here, she vowed, she was getting that chip out of her and if Admiral Marcus himself got angry with her she’d take that chip and shove it so far up his ass...
A light noise made her turn her head. They’d suffered their way through several waves of Romulans trying to make it down the corridor, but this didn’t sound like heavy boots or muffled explosions or screams of pain. It sounded like a transporter beam.
She was covering the location of the sound with her weapon, as were the others in the room, when the beam coalesced into an object.
“It’s a communicator,” the man closest to the object said.
The communicator was open, and Christine heard a familiar voice through the comm. line.
“Ensign Chapel? This is Captain James Kirk of the Enterprise. Do you read me, Ensign?”
“Oh thank God,” Christine breathed, grabbing the communicator.
“This is Chapel, reading you loud and clear, Captain,” she said. “Nine adults, two children, one infant require immediate extraction. Do not use the corridor, there are mines...”
“I can see that,” Kirk said, amusement in his voice. “We’ll beam you straight to Sickbay. Kirk out.”
“We’re going to be okay,” she told the group, tears forming in her eyes. Some of them were already crying, the others were hugging. The children were confused and the baby was screaming indignantly, but the scientists weren’t part of the group. She turned to find them, only to see them ripping their packets open and swallowing the contents.
“No!” she screamed, but the scientists had started frothing at the mouth, and were making awful retching noises as they clawed at their throats.
The transporter beams hit just as she moved towards them, and she was trapped as she felt the familiar tingle of the transporter start throughout her body.
She appeared in a crowded and busy Sickbay.
“I need a doctor!” she shouted, dropping next to the nearest scientist. “Three adults, two male, one female, all ingested unknown toxin thirty seconds ago. Toxin is lethal.”
She was buffeted out of the way by medical staff who wrestled the limp scientists onto guerneys and away into screened off rooms.
Between the injured officers who had beamed up earlier, the new casualties and the surgery that was taking place on the shot officer, Sickbay was running out of nurses to help the new arrivals.
“Everybody sit down,” Chapel commanded. “You need to be checked over, but let’s get some water in you first. You must all be dehydrated, especially the baby.”
They all sat obediently while she replicated bottles of water with electrolytes in them. They drank the water as they were reunited with their families, who had been beamed up earlier.
“Here’s a bottle,” Christine said, handing an infant bottle to the baby’s mother. “And I found a changing kit with some diapers. No,” she protested, as the mother put down her own water. “I can do this for a second. You finish your water and see your husband.”
Gratefully, the woman sagged back against the biobed and held onto her husband’s hand as Christine found a spare surface to lay the baby on to change its diaper. She ran her hands under the steriliser and was shocked to see the colour of her skin as the dirt disappeared.
“I think I need a change too, kid,” she said as she manoeuvred the child out of the dirty diaper and began to clean her.
The child stopped grizzling as her bottom became clean, and went so far to grace Christine with a smile when she had a new diaper. Christine handed the baby and the bottle to her mother and started to run diagnostic scans on the rescued civilians as they sipped their water and relaxed in the safety of Sickbay.
“There you are,” boomed a loud voice, and Christine turned in time to see McCoy stalk across the room to her.
“I don’t see you for a year and then you turn up in my Sickbay looking like you’ve been in a fight, taking over the place!” he accused, before sweeping her up into a crushing hug.
The feeling of safety and security came crashing over Christine, and her tears finally came.
“I’m so glad you came,” she sobbed.
“I know, sweetheart,” McCoy said, guiding her over to a small room.
“No,” she said, struggling out of his arms. “You’ve got three people with poison to see. And the rest of the...”
“Shut up,” McCoy said firmly, catching his arm underneath her legs and sweeping her off her feet.
Shocked, Christine stayed silent as McCoy carried her into the small room and placed her gently on the bed. She tried to sit up, but he pushed her back down as he stared intently at the read-out above her head.
“Your vitals are good,” he said at last. “You’re filthy, your cuts need cleaning and you’ve got some minor burns, but you’ll survive until I get back. Do. Not. Move,” he warned her, poking her with his finger. “I’ll be back soon.”
She nodded, and he left, looking backwards over his shoulder at her as he did, as if he couldn’t quite believe she was there.
Christine laid back and closed her eyes, not quite believing that her day had been as eventful as it had. Her eyes popped open again almost immediately. The chip. She had to find the chip.
The small room was well stocked, and she found a tricorder in a cupboard. She scanned herself as thoroughly as she could, but the machine didn’t register anything out of the ordinary.
“Well, it wouldn’t, would it?” she muttered to herself. “It would be found in any medical screening if it was that easy.”
The room was equipped with a portable mediscanner, which was able to see a lot more than the medical tricorder could. She programmed it to search for any elements or compounds not normally found in the human body, and lay under it, waiting for the scan to complete. The arm of the machine moved slowly along her body as it completed the programme, and it was almost done when McCoy came back into the room, followed by Kirk.
“I told you not to move,” McCoy said immediately. “I believe that instruction implied ‘do not run complicated medical tests upon yourself’.”
“I just thought that I’d err on the side of caution,” Christine said airily, while frantically miming the writing gesture.
“Are you alright?” McCoy asked dubiously as Christine pointed at the PADD under Kirk’s arm and gestured again.
“You tell me!” she said brightly. “You’re the one who can see the scanner!”
Again, she pointed at the PADD, which Kirk hesitantly gave her.
CHIP LODGED SOMEWHERE IN BODY, she typed. REMOTE ACTIVATION. WILL KILL ME.
“So, Ensign, you look like you’ve had a busy day,” Kirk said jovially as he took back the PADD and typed WHERE? WHO? WHY?
“It’s been an adventure, sir,” she said. “Just cuts and bruises and a few burns though, I think. Are the others alright?”
She grabbed the PADD and typed SECTION 31, SECRET DEPARTMENT. ADMIRAL MARCUS.
“Dehydration and hunger for the most part,” McCoy said slowly, looking at Kirk. “Some nasty injuries to the ones that the Romulans got their hands on, but nothing we can’t fix in time. Surgery is going well, so M’Benga will keep going on that.”
MARCUS DEAD, Kirk typed on the PADD.
Christine’s eyebrows zoomed to her hairline.
“That is good news,” she managed to say, while typing SECTION 31 STILL ACTIVE. DON’T DISCUSS NEAR ME. MUST GET CHIP OUT ASAP.
She’d underlined the ‘must’ three times with the stylus.
“I don’t like the look of some of these burns, Ensign,” McCoy said. “I’m going to have to run a dermal regenerator over you, and that’s going to be painful. I’m going to give you a sedative, and when you wake up you’ll be as good as new. I promise.”
He grabbed her hand and squeezed it, emphasising his words.
“I hope so,” she said, squeezing back.
PROBABLY IN MY BRAIN, she typed. DESIGNED TO ACTIVATE IF THEY THINK I’M BEING TORTURED OR WILL GIVE UP SECRETS. SCIENTISTS SECTION 31. SUICIDE PILLS.
“Don’t you worry about anything,” Kirk stressed, taking the PADD from her. “You’re safe here, Christine.”
McCoy put a hypospray to her neck, and the world went black.