Part of USS Resolute: Chasing Shadows

8 – Outstayed their welcome

Resolute
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“Holy… freaking… cow!” Tav blinked as Norman Smith threw himself over the grenade. 

Everyone in sickbay froze, Tav’s shoulder’s creeping up to his ears as he waited for the room to be redecorated in multiple shades of intestinal red with accents of skeletal white. 

But… nothing. 

Before Tav had registered that seconds had ticked by and the grenade hadn’t gone off, the captain was barking orders. 

“Rennox, take this and one of the nurses. Secure those doors.” Tav’d barely half turned and his arms were full of the captain’s rifle, the man himself already on the floor next to Norman, who was sweating and shaking, as surprised as the rest of them at his sudden display of bravery. 

“Okay, Norman… it’s Norman, isn’t it?” the captain asked, making sure the quaking operations officer made eye contact with him as Tav moved past. “Okay Norman, I’m going to need you to stay really still for me, okay? You’re going to get out of this, don’t worry. I got you.” 

Tav wanted to stop, reassured by the captain’s deep voice. How did he do that? Go from as scary-as-hell to having you hanging on his every word, absolutely trusting him with your life?

“The doors, kid,” came the growl and Tav hopped to it, handing one of the rifles off to the male nurse. When he went pale and looked at it like it was a snake about to strike, Tav shook his head and took it back. 

“Godsdammit, you’ll shoot your own foot off like that. Go help the captain and the CMO,” he ordered, doing his best to imitate the captain’s commanding growl. It came out a little squeaky and hurt his throat, but the nurse bolted across sickbay at the order and Tav turned to the female nurse that was left. 

She was tiny, and pretty. A flush mounted on his cheeks as he looked down at her, a feeling of protectiveness washing over him. 

“Errr, are you sure you know how to use one of these?” he asked as he handed it over. 

With a grin, she took it from him then checked it over with quick, efficient gestures that made him gape. When she saw his expression she giggled. “My uncle is an armourer. I grew up playing with these as a kid.”

“Ohhh…” A girl that was good with guns. He didn’t know whether to be scared or impressed. Or both. “I’m Tav… Tavik Rennox.”

She smiled, revealing dimples. “Elaria. Elaira Kane.”

“DOORS!” 

Tav jumped, smiling at Elaria as they took places either side of the doors. His amusement fell away at movement on the other side of the doors, just visible through the frosted glass.

The doors started to open, and then Tav didn’t have time to think as he was shoved into the first real fire-fight of his career. 

 

Meanwhile, Raan lay on his side, with a ticking timebomb, literally, under what had to be the most nervous operations officer in the history of nervous officers.

“Doing good, Norman,” he murmured in an undertone as he lifted the guy’s tunic. 

“No… don’t move. I’m going to need you to stay really still for me,” he ordered, reaching out with his free hand. Micheals, who was obviously a mindreader, put a small surgical clamp in his hand. With a small nod, he pinned Norman’s tunic out of the way. 

“Mason to the bridge. Give me a sitrep on the pirates,” he said, frowning as he moved closer to the floor to see what they were dealing with. Fortunately Norman was skinny to the point he needed about a week’s square meals to even reach normal weight so the grenade was wedged between the floor and his ribcage. It couldn’t be comfortable for Norman, but at least it gave Mason a clear view. 

His eyes narrowed. “Okay, we’re looking at a KT-17 Mark… four I think,” he murmured to Aida, his mind already flipping through schematics and measuring what the blast radius would be. 

She nodded. “The KT series are un—“

“Probably about the most commonly used grenades in current use,” he said quickly, cutting her off. He knew and she knew that the KT’s were as unstable as fuck. Norman, however, did not need to know that. He was already freaking out, they did not need him to become a runner to add to that. 

Why the hell had he decided to play the hero?

“Which…” he flashed Norman a reassuring smile. “Means that pretty much anyone who’s even looked sideways at ground troops is generally trained in how to disarm them.”

“Yeah?” Norman’s smile was tremulous. 

“Hell yeah, of course. Nothing to it!” Raan grinned as the sound of phaser fire sounded behind him from the direction of the door. 

The skin between his shoulder blades crawled, like it was trying to get to the dubious cover at the front of his body. He was out of cover and given he was the biggest person in the room, his back made for a real big target. 

Don’t let me down, kid, he thought as he studied the grenade again. Luckily the fascia plate that covered the internal mechanism was toward him. 

“Micheals, I need a scalpel, tweezers and a hypospray loaded with Izerpretamole-five,” he said in a low voice. 

“Yessir,” she replied immediately, moving away from his side. “James! You heard the captain, get scalpel and tweezers. Now!” 

“Bridge to the captain. We’re making progress. Gunnar has the shuttlebay secured and between members of the bridge crew and the beta security detail, we have the pirates up here contained.”

“Excellent,” he replied, nodding to James as the nurse put a tray down where he could reach it with a scalpel and tweezers on it, on a little green napkin. His lips quirked. They hadn’t really needed to ensure the tools were sterile but he couldn’t argue with the guy’s training, even under pressure. “Thank you, James. Now, I need you to head to decon, please.” 

“Sir?” He sounded confused, but the last thing Raan needed right now was for him to argue. He just needed as many people out of here as possible, without alerting Norman.

Aida dropped down next to Raan, placing the hypospray down next to him. “Decon, James, hop to it. The last cycle ran with errors, go do it again.” 

“Yes ma’am.” Obviously Micheals was way more scary to her staff than he was, because James was off like a rabbit. 

“Micheals, go help Rennox,” he ordered. “Move beds to give yourself cover.” 

“Mason to engineering,” he said as he lay on his side, getting into position. “Bennett, sitrep.” 

He reached into the gap between Norman’s ribcage and the floor with the scalpel and tweezers. He’d never done a disarm like this in quite such cramped quarters. It was like keyhole surgery. 

“Bennett to the captain,” Bennett’s deep voice answered a moment later. There was the sound of phaser fire in the background, but Bennett sounded chipper. “Engineering secure, we just have a runner we’re chasing down.”

“Excellent,” Mason replied, easing the fascia panel off the grenade with a steady hand. As it moved, he grabbed the edge with the tweezers, lifting it free with the delicacy of a master jeweler. If it touched any of the wiring, that would initiate the trigger sequence. “When you’re done there, double back and give Rennox a hand please. He has a team defending sickbay.”

The kid?” Bennett’s voice was filled with curiosity but he didn’t ask questions, just replied, “Aye, sir. On my way.” 

“You’re doing great, Norman,” Mason said. “You’re making this so easy for me.”

“Yeah? Happy to help, sir,” Norman muttered, beads of sweat running down the sides of his face. 

“Absolutely.” Mason tilted his head as the internal mechanism of the grenade was really. Relief washed over him. Not only was it a mark four, but it was a lower payload model. If it went off, he and Norman were still toast, but the rest of sickbay would probably survive with just serious injury. 

“Talk to me Norman. What’s your poison? Me… I like a good spiced rum.” 

“I like whiskey, sir.”

“Whiskey? That’s a good solid drink. Straight or on the rocks?”

He kept up a stream of patter, talking anything and nothing with Norman as he worked on disarming the grenade while the firefight raged at the doors behind him. 

A distinctive whummmp-whummmp-whummmp filled the air, followed by screams. 

“What on earth is that?” Norman flinched and Mason shot a hand out, slamming it down on his shoulder to keep him in place. 

“That would be the cavalry with Big Bertha,” he grunted as he sprayed the inside of the grenade with I-5, the corrosive substance instantly attacking the wirings and connectors. “Our chief engineer’s personal weapon of choice. It’s the bastard lovechild of a triple-barrelled shotgun and an anti-tank gun I believe,” he said, holding his breath as the I-5 went to work. There was the outside chance it wouldn’t work quickly enough and the grenade would go off. Sweat rolled down the hollow of his spine, but there was nothing he could do. It was in the hands of the gods of fate now. 

“That is… quite a thought,” Norman said, and Raan released a breath of relief as the internals of the grenade turned to acidic mush. Dropping the hypospray, he held the grenade steady with his free hand, lifting his other from Norman’s shoulder. 

“Okay… Norman, you need to listen to me carefully and do exactly what I say. I’m going to need you to lift up now,” he said. “But straight up. Get your hands and feet under you and lift up in the plank position. Do you know what the plank position is?”

Norman nodded, and did as he was told without argument. Which was perfect, since Mason was holding a sphere filled with acid that could eat through his skin and intestines in seconds. There was the sound of voices behind him and he heard Bennett’s voice. 

“Someone get me an enviro-waste container,” he called out over his shoulder as Norman lifted up. But halfway up, his arms started to shake. 

“Shit!” Mason hissed, managing to wedge his arm under the terrified and exhausted ops officer before he could land on the disarmed but still dangerous grenade. 

“I got ‘im,” Bennett rumbled and a second later Norman was lifted bodily into the air. 

“Container here,” Micheals said to Mason’s left and he twisted as he sat up, keeping the grenade level as he lifted it and dropped it into the waste container. A drop splashed up as Micheals snapped it shut, drawing a line of fire over the back of his hand. He hissed, drawing his hand into a tight fist against the pain. 

A second later he was on his feet. “Micheals, dispose of that. Bennett, update,” he ordered, dropping a big hand on Norman’s shoulder as he sat on the edge of a biobed. “You did good, Norman. Real good. We’ll grab a drink in the lounge later, okay? I think we’ve earned it.”

“Yes sir, thank you sir,” Norman managed a weak smile, but then one of the nurses was there to look after him and Mason turned his attention to Bennett. 

The big engineer stood there, grinning like a loon, still with Big Bertha’s rig attached to his shoulder, but the weapon herself in the upright, locked position. He looked like he was a one-winged angel of death or something. 

“Engineering secured. All the pirates on this level are in custody or conversing with their gods.”

Mason nodded, taking a deep breath. “Casualties?”

“Us? None,” a new voice announced, and they both turned to see Burton walk through the door. Blood streamed down the side of his face, and he was helping Ensign Callahan, who held a hand to her side. There was blood on her uniform. “Them? Twenty-four dead, the rest are in custody.” 

Raan nodded. “Okay. Bennett, get back to engineering, get me an update on any damage we’ve sustained. Burton, get yourself checked out and then meet me back on the bridge.” He looked past Burton to where Rennox stood by the door, pleased to see the young yeoman hadn’t managed to get himself killed. 

“Rennox, you’re with me,” he said, walking past and collecting his rifle from the young nurse with a small murmur of thanks. “Walk and talk. We’re going to need work details to get the bodies collected and moved to the shuttlebay. And we’re going to need to report this.”

“Yes sir, of course sir.” Rennox said quickly, running after him. “Sir?”

“Yes, kid?”

“Big Bertha, sir… Is that… can I get—“

“NO!”