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Part of Starbase Bravo: Sundered Wings and Bravo Fleet: Sundered Wings

All passengers not accounted for

USS Fantail Crash Site
June 2400
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The inky depths of the Fantail‘s lower deck just sucked in what meagre light was brought to bear against it. There was a shaft of light down the ladder from above, but it wasn’t terribly bright to start with and a couple of cadets in the way worked as a decent obstacle to any more light attempting to make its way down. What reflected light there was illuminated dislodged furniture, containers straining against their restraints or which had moved in unrestrained fashion, creating an interesting jungle of obstacles for anyone attempting to move aft through the ship.

“Hello?” Katlyn asked into the dark, shining a torch aft, illuminating a tangle of debris blocking the hallway that led aft and to the more extensive accommodation given over to the Romulan visitors. “Everyone okay down here?”

An ageless and haughty voice of Romulan bearing came from the darkness, beyond the debris.  “I think not,” Noreel said.  His voice was muffled by some form of discomfort, but that no lessened his condescension.  He added, “I’ll live, but I expect I would have received better treatment if I’d remained on Rator, as a victim of the coup.”

Following Katlyn down the ladder, Cadet Parze added the light of her palm beacon to cut through the inky haze.  Between the dark and the debris obstructions, even Parze couldn’t see the Romulans, not even with her enhanced Saurian vision.  “We’re coming to rescue you!” Parze declared, in what she assumed would be a confident timbre.

“Yah, sorry about that,” Katlyn added quietly, her muttering perhaps just a tad too loud to not carry. She moved forward under the guidance of Parze’s light towards the obstruction and found a gap she could look through, but wasn’t about to make out anyone in the limited field of view, even with her own light. “Gap looks big enough for my torch at least,” she said, this time loud enough on purpose. “I’m going to send it through so you’ve at least got a light.”

A flick of a button, a twist and the torch extended slightly to form a passable lantern. Another twist to secure it and Katlyn then reached through the gap as far as she could before dropping the device. “What’s it look like on your side?” she asked as she pulled her arm back, then herself to examine the obstructions and search for a starting point to try clearing the furniture and consoles that formed the barrier.

Through the darkness, the sound of military boots on deck plating approached until the angle and direction of Katlyn’s torch rose from the floor and swept back in the direction of the runabout’s habitat module.  Noreel grasped the torch in such a way to keep himself out of the path of the lightbeam the whole time.  “It looks like your ostentatious display of comfort is little more than a facade,” Noreel said, as the light passed over more overturned and crushed furniture, glassware and art.  “Your starship construction looks better.  I see no hull breaches.”  Very suddenly, Noreel asked, “Were we attacked?”

“Uh…” she stammered, wanting to answer the question, but equally not wanting to. Her grandfather had taught her to be polite and answer questions, her training told her that right now revealing anything might not be for the best. “I’ll let one of the officers explain once we get you and your companion out of there.” She stepped towards the obstacles once more, climbing across some to get at a chair at the top that looked like it could move with some effort. “Actually, can you see your companion? First aid kits should be easy to find if you need one.”

Ignoring Katlyn’s question, Noreel aimed the torch at her face.  He held the torch away from himself, largely remaining out of its pool of illumination.  As Parze yanked away a couple of the chairs that were blocking Noreel in, Noreel swept the light of the torch down to examine the asymmetrical lines of the cadets’ uniforms.  “The officers,” Noreel said, echoing what he’d heard.  “Are you not officers?  What are you?  This ship’s cleaners?”

“We are now,” Katlyn quipped, before stopping herself from going any further. Yah, that wasn’t going to go well was it? “Cadet Mianaai, Cadet Parze,” she indicated to Parze. “Our ship was the closest when you needed a ride and we go where we’re told.” She too was helping clear the debris, waiting for Parze to turn back so they could both shift a particularly bulky piece – a cabinet that had come loose and thrown itself across the room. They didn’t need to move it far, just enough to help clear a big enough path after all.

Noreel took four steps back and swept the light of the torch back in the habitat compartment.  “I can see no sign of my… companion,” Noreel said, careful to use the same language Katlyn had used.  Noreel swung the torch back in the direction of the two cadets and now the light cast by the torch revealed the disruptor in his other hand.  “What have you done with him?!” Noreel demanded.

“Hey hey, no need for that!” Katlyn was quick with her hands in the hair, not moving otherwise. “We haven’t done anything with him, honest! We came down here to make sure everyone was alright, make sure everyone was safe.” She gulped, looking at the disruptor. “You, uh, can point that somewhere else perhaps? Look at us, we’re unarmed cadets for Pete’s sake.” Then she winced. Would the universal translator handle that euphemism or just spit out garbage to both Noreel and Parze?

Parze was stood frozen, by Katlyn’s side, with her hands up and her palms out.  She had accidentally tossed her palm beacon into a bulkhead at first sight of the disruptor.  She further stifled a whimper anytime Noreel’s grip on the disrupter shifted in her direction.  Her assessment of the situation was perhaps not quite as rational as Katlyn’s, because Parze asked of Noreel, “Are you– are you hungry?”

“What?” Noreel snapped back in plain puzzlement, and then he answered with a sharp, “No!”  Without saying anything more, he snapped his arm down in response to Katlyn’s request.  “It’s not like I can steal your ship at this point,” he said in what might have been an angry-jocular manner.  With his disruptor emitter pointed down at the angled deck, Noreel pivoted on his heel.  He stalked back into the compartment where he’d been staying and began searching every corner with the torchlight.

After snatching up her palm beacon and clipping it onto her shoulder, Cadet Parze returned her attention to the cabinet Katlyn had gestured towards a moment earlier.  She took hold of one end of it with both hands and braced herself to lift.  Parze breathed out a, “hup hup,” when she was ready, and they shifted the cabinet further down the corridor.  Upon displacing the cabinet, there was enough of an opening in the debris barricade for them to pass through to the residential compartment – single file at least.

“He was here when we crashed!” Noreel shouted at the overhead.  With the torchlight, he pointed at one of the bunks.  “He was right here.”

“Well, he can’t have gotten too far, unless there’s a breach down here somewhere we haven’t seen yet,” Katlyn said with a shrug, searching around for any sign of the missing Romulan. “Hey Parze, got a tricorder handy? We could just run a scan and right?” She’d moved past, heading for the door to the runabout’s rear equipment compartment, which was half opened and faint light spilling through. “Maybe he’s back…oh shit.” Back against one part of the door, hands on the other, she forced it fully open, revealing the forward half of the compartment, then the jagged edges from where it had ripped clean off the back of the runabout.

Before the cadets, stretching for kilometers, was a swathe of downed trees and small fires from where Fantail had ploughed through the pristine and untouched wilderness of this particular world in its plummet from space, at some point the after compartment having been ripped right off the ship. “Well…any landing you can walk away from, right?”