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Part of USS Alita: Liberating Sevury and Bravo Fleet: The Lost Fleet

Lost in the Woods

Surface - Sevury
MD02
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The cold, the pressure, and the pain all threatened to overwhelm Melody as she plunged into the lake. She forced her eyes open in the water, and pressed her fist into her broken ribs with her other arm. The sharp jab of pain was enough to stave of blacking out, and the sudden surge of adrenaline from needing oxygen carried it through. 

Melody looked for the sunlight filtering through the water to make sure she didn’t swim the the wrong way, and kicked off, toward the surface. Her lungs burned as she pushed forward, everything in her mind screaming that she needed to inhale, water be damned. In her head she cursed the waterfall for being high enough to send her sinking like a stone into the icy lake. She had a moment of doubt as to whether or not she’d make it, but finally she burst through the surface. 

As she finally broke above the water, she gasped in a breath of air and a fresh burst of pain causing her to cry out as her lungs expanded. She kept herself above the surface, just barely, shaking the water out of her eyes. She heard splashing around her and finally found the mental clarity to look around and found more heads bobbing up out of the surface trying to find their bearings. She let out a tiny whistle, and saw the heads swivel back toward her, then she motioned everyone to follow her to the shore. 

It took a solid twenty minutes to get everyone to shore and somewhat settled, between exhaustion, cold, and pain, but the finally did it. As soon as she’d done a headcount and made sure everyone was alive, Melody stumbled over to a tree and collapsed against it, clutching her side. Frankie was by her side a few minutes later, “You okay, jefe?” She asked, concerned. 

“Nope. Definitely something broken,” She replied through gritted teeth. With the pain overwhelming and the adrenaline waning, she felt fear. Not the healthy kind either, the kind that made you panic and make mistakes, and that wasn’t going to do anyone any good. She grunted and looked over at Frankie, “Sitrep, Commander.”  

Frankie started her med scan with the tricorder she’d brought over, “You just worry about resting and–”

Melody abruptly clutched her arm and looked her dead in the eye, “Sitrep. Right now. Please.” 

Frankie immediately understood and nodded, “Yes, ma’am. All present and accounted for. Looks like Yang lost her demo kit when she dropped into the lake, but we’ve still got the one in French’s kit, so we should be okay there. All other supplies are accounted for, just water logged, but we can work with that.” 

Melody listened to the report and let her mind focus on the details, the logistics, the strategies, and that set her at ease. She was able to push aside the cold panic and move to a productive adrenaline rush, which was exactly what she needed right them. 

Frankie frowned, looking at the readout, “Yeah, you’re busted Commander. Two broken ribs, six bruised. I’m going to grab the osteoregenerator. Stay put,” She said, running off quickly. 

“Yeah, not planning on going on a hike,” Melody quipped, going back to clutching her side. “Blake! How far off course are we?” She called to the Ops officer, who was already fervently looking over his tricorder trying to figure out that. 

“About three klicks to the east of where we should be, commander,” he replied. 

“Great,” Melody said, grumpily. “How far from here does this cliff face end?” 

“Let me see,” Blake replied, setting to work on his tricorder. A moment later, he frowned, “About forty klicks to the north at the ocean shore and about seventy klicks south at the other shore,” He said, sounding apologetic. “And unfortunately, this is the shortest height as well,” He added. 

“Great, I was hoping I could climb a rock face with broken ribs today,” Melody quipped, letting out a chuckle. “Climbing gear still good?”

“Yes, ma’am,” Blake replied. “It’s all here and accounted for.” 

“Good,” Melody said with a sigh as Frankie returned.

“The break’s bad enough that we’d need a couple hours to get you sorted out, but I think we’ll be able to get you functional in about twenty minutes… it’s still going to hurt, though,” Her XO explained. 

“Hurts I can deal with. Get me functional. Everyone can dry out and get ready to move in the meantime,” Melody replied with a nod. 

“Hey boss?” Blake called. “I think I’ve got an idea,” He said, walking back over as Frankie went to work on her ribs.

“Let’s hear it,” Melody said. 

“There’s a bunch of magma vents around here. It looks like there’s a web of caves from old lava flows. There’s a risk to it, because some of them are still partially active, but looks like there’s a cave entrance near us, and one close the compound, and they’re connected,” He explained. 

“How close?” Melody asked, wincing a bit as the osteoregenerator started to knit her ribs. 

“The one here is about ten meters that way,” he explained, pointing, “And the one at the compound is like, close close,” Blake said, pulling up a holoprojection of the compound with the lava vent highlighted, “It’s about ten meters from the eastern wall of the compound. We’d still have to make our way back around to the maintenance hatch, but I think it’s doable and we don’t have to climb a cliff,” He explained. 

Melody put her hand on Frankie’s arm to stop her for a moment as she looked closer at the holoprojection, “What’s that?” She asked, pointing to a small indent on the compound wall near the vent. 

Blake spun it and looked more closely, “It’s a drainage duct it looks like,” He explained.

“We go in there, then,” Melody replied. 

Blake gave her a skeptical look, “It’s only about a meter wide, and with all the rain, it will probably be flooded.” 

“We’ll push through,” Melody replied. “Trying to make our way to the maintenance hatch from there is too risky,” She explained. 

Blake nodded and pulled up the schematics, looking over them again, “Looks like there’s a heavy-duty grate about halfway through.” 

Melody pondered that for a minute as Juarez went back to work on her ribs, “Hey! French!” she called. 

The Engineer hopped up and made her way over, “Yes, ma’am?” She asked. 

“Best way to take out that grate?” Melody asked, pointing to the schematics. 

French turned her attention to the schematics that Blake was looking over and took a closer look at the grate. After some hushed conversation with Blake she turned back to Melody, “According to the specs it’s a tritanium alloy. We’d probably want to put some pulse charges on the mounting joints. It’ll be a little bit noisy, but they’d have to be right on top of us to hear it,” She explained.

“Even if they do, we’ll be too far in to stop at that point,” Melody replied with a confident nod. “Sounds like we’ve got a new plan, guys,” She said with a grin. “Get set, get dry, and get ready to get on the move again. As soon as the XO gives the go for me, we’re back on the road,” She said, confidently. 

— –

The trek through the magma vents had been surprisingly uneventful, the Jem’hadar probably not considering them a big enough risk to guard or patrol. Other than a few risky jumps over active lava flows far below, it had been just about a walk in the park. Now, the away team found themselves staring at the compound from the cave entrance near it. There, thirty feet away, stood the drainage duct. It was just as narrow as Blake had said, and just as flooded, but it was doable. 

“Move in quick and low,” Melody said, finally satisfied that there were no shrouded Jem’hadar troops in the vicinity. “Try not to make anymore noise getting through the water there than you have to. There’s not enough room for us to all fit in that tunnel until the grate is blown, so hug the wall until we’re clear, understood?” 

Everyone nodded and one by one started making their way to the wall and pressing up against it. Frankie pulled in next to Melody before she pushed across and put a hand on her shoulder, “You okay?” she asked, seeing the other woman rubbing at her ribs. 

“I will be, just sore right now,” Melody replied with a grin. “Don’t worry about me, just go get into cover.” 

Frankie nodded, and bolted across the short open area, with Melody close on her heels. They pressed in close to the wall and Melody nodded to French who pushed in past the rushing water to get to the grate. The flow was strong enough that Blake had to press his back against French and dig his heels in to help her stay in place. 

There was just enough underbrush at the wall to keep them mostly hidden, which was good. So long as they could avoid detection until the grate was blasted, they’d be fine. 

Everything happened in a blur next: French set that charges on a ten second timer and activated it, she tapped Blake to let her go and get to cover, and he did so. Almost as soon as French was clear, Frankie rapped Melody on the shoulder hard and jabbed a finger back toward the cave they’d just come out off. Another set of hollow rain forms were walking by, not 5 meters away. Melody’s eyes grew wide as she saw it.

“Fuck…” She muttered, just as the charges blew. 

“Get in the duct! Now! MOVE IT!” She barked, already firing on the Jem’hadar troops who’d deshrouded just as the grate came flying out of the drainage duct.

Everyone pushed in, fighting against the rushing water as Frankie and Melody took up the rear, firing wildly on the Jem’hadar soldiers as they fought hard against the rushing drainage water to walk backwards into the aqueducts below the compound. Their cover was blown, but they were in. It wasn’t ideal, but at least they were in. Melody could work with that. 

Jem’hadar disruptor blasts dug into the duracrete walls as they struggled to find a clean firing line with Melody and Frankie firing wildly at them from the tunnel. Finally, they saw the walls of the interior of the aqueducts and pushed the rest of the way through the drain water, and into the relative calm waters of the water control system below the compound. Melody hopped up on one of the raised platforms with a wince and caught her breath as she leaned against the wall. 

“We’re in,” Blake said, grinning. 

“Yeah,” Melody said between pain gasps, “But you can damn well know they’re not going to make it easy now that they know we’re here,” She said, sounding frustrated. 

“What now, ma’am?” Blake asked. 

“Lock and load… We’re running and gunning,” Melody said, grimly sliding her phaserifle up to the maximum setting. 

Comments

  • The post shows some realistic character development as in they are wounded, they are limited and yet their training keep them calm and focus on the goal ahead. I love the creative thinking to use the area to their advantage and how they continue their mission in the condition they are in. Awesome work!

    June 13, 2023
  • I like how we went from being in the water, through regrouping and assessing where they are, and what they need to do next. The whole ‘no plan survives first contact’ shines through well here, but they pull together and move onto a new plan. Then we end with such a cliffhanger. They’re in, but now the Jem’Hadar know they’re there! Can’t wait to see how they react!

    June 13, 2023