Posted on May 31st, 2002 by T'Kirr and Tempest Rainbird
T’Kirr and Tempest Rainbird
Greeley looked to K’ertahl. “I think there’s a medkit in the shuttle,” he said. “Should have supplies in it to wake her up.” He glanced at the unconscious bodies of the children and civilians. Most were unharmed; the Counselor was the only one who seemed to have taken the full force of the crash. “What about the others?”
K’ertahl, gruff, Klingon, petty officer first class instead of third, grunted in response. “We have no knowledge of how much medicine we will need. They will wake up on their own. The Commander’s guidance is necessary.”
Greeley hauled her into a sitting position, and sat her against the side of the shuttlecraft. The feel of the flannel was thick against his hand, and he figured she’d probably be glad she was wearing jeans and a flannel when the night cold settled. The frippery the Counselor at his last assignment had worn would have been about as much use to her as a Targ. He opened the med kit and looked carefully through its contents – who had bothered with first aid since basic training? – found what he was looking for, and injected it into her arm. The Counselor revived.
“Easy,” he said, anticipating her disorientation. “We landed, everyone’s fine. You just took it hard.”
Tempest blinked blearily and stretched her neck backward. She blinked her eyes, squinting in the alien sun. “Where are the others?”
“We sent a signal,” Greeley said. “Someone should come looking for us. We don’t want to move with all the kids. Lean back… there you go. Maybe we can rig the shuttles up as ground transporters.”
“Pfah,” K’ertahl spat on his boot. “There’s nothing left in that mess.”
“We’ll have to wait then,” said Tempest. She stared down at the prone bodies of the civilians and children, their slack postures in such strange repose they might have been sleeping or corpses. They were bedded down in alien grasses that peeked up next to their legs and between their fingers. It was an eerie site, almost chilling. “They should wake in a couple hours.” The sun was high overhead – mid day. She tried to remember how large this planet was and what it’s daily orbit would be. Would the sun crawl like a worm or race like a gazelle? Would the prone ones wake before nightfall or not? “We can afford to wait one hour for someone to join us, perhaps with better news. Otherwise, we’ll have to revive the adults and use their help to move the children… somewhere.” She scanned the mountainous landscape, wondering what refuge might be afforded in the higher places, or in the shelter of outcroppings. She tried to pull herself to her feet, but her knees were like jelly. She looked to Greeley instead. “Can you go exploring?”
Greeley nodded, and patted his phaser. “I’ll be fine, Counselor.”
“K’ertahl should be able to keep me and the others safe. Go. Find shelter or water or… something.”
Tempest leaned back, nursing her headache, and waited.
Several kilometers away, T’Kirr stirred. The orange grass tickled her nose, but it was better than looking directly up into the sun. She squinted, her inner lids flicking instinctually against the midday rays. She saw several smouldering crafts in the distance across the field, and told herself they had been fortunate to not have
landed in the forest further behind the smoking panorama. People who were able to walk were scurrying around one particular shuttle, making a fuss.
T’Kirr shaded her eyes with her hand and looked up, the broken shuttle door teetering on its hinge as people jumped out. She curled herself up to sit, then almost cried out from the pain it caused. Looking down, she saw the green-tinted grass about her and the dark shine of her uniform. She was bleeding.
“Get the medkits,” one crewman called, as he had apparently just noticed her condition as well. Betraying the pain throbbing from her abdomen, T’Kirr clenched her jaw and attempted to appear fine. The shadow of a medkit crossed over her, and she heard a thunk against the ground behind her.
“Hey, watch it! You could hit someone with that!” The crewman dragged the kit over to her and began scanning her. “We’ll get you fixed up, Lieutenant.”
T’Kirr squinted up at him. He was the same crewman that helped her pry the pod’s door open. “Thank you, but I’m sure I’ll be all right.”
“You sure will, once I stop this bleeding.” He put the scanner away and pulled out a dermal regenerator. “I’m Jake.”
“–T’Kirr, I know. Good flying, by the way.”
She knew he was lying. The pain eased after Jake poked her with a hypospray. Gazing at the hissing pod, she saw a couple of crewmen messing with something inside. “Is the comm working?”
Jake shook his head. “They’re working on it right now. I think most of the crew landed over there,” he said, pointing at the mass of pods some ways away, “but there are probably some pods further out, and we best contact them as soon as we can.”
Tempest’s head swam, and she fought the urge for sleep, wondering whether blood loss or shock was playing havoc with her senses. “We seem to be in a … hotter microclimate than … a bit further on,” she murmured to K’ertahl.
“Neither climate is extreme,” he countered gruffly. He had been standing for the last hour and a quarter in just the same position, surveying the horizon, never seeming tired or initiating conversation. Tempest hated Klingons.
“Do we have a working tricorder?” she asked.
“Can you scan for Greeley’s lifesign then? He should have been back by now.” K’ertahl was content to stare unwaveringly at the horizon dotted by the mountain peaks that rose above the lake that appeared as a blue smudge in the distance, almost a mirage. Tempest’s eyes kept flickering upward, of their own accord, to the forested distance with its bizarre orange foliage where Greeley had vanished from sight an hour ago.
“I do not have the medical knowledge.”
“Then give it to me.”
K’ertahl grudgingly moved and fetched the tricorder for her. She glanced at its shiny paneling, marshalling her vision, and scanned in Greeley’s direction. Frustrated, she snapped it shut again. “I can’t tell,” she groaned. She tried to settle her head against the pod more comfortably, but the metal bit into her scalp no matter how she moved. “Too many lifesigns. I can’t distinguish. Not with this.” She tapped her comm. badge. “Rainbird to Zuriyev.” No response. “Rainbird to Caine.” No response. “Rainbird to Sullivan. Rainbird to Dolan. Rainbird to Bellingham. Rainbird to Ruder. Oh, hell.” She plucked the badge off her chest, and tossed it on the leg of her jeans. “This might as well be nicely painted firewood for all the good it’s going to do us.”
“I tried that before,” growled K’ertahl, and Tempest wondered how long he’d been waiting for his warrior’s ‘I told you so.’
“Well, fine then. Third time’s the charm.” She laughed bitterly. “But next time, let’s use a signal slightly more powerful than a buzzing gnat. Take me by the shoulder please. Yes, there. No, I can walk now. We’re going to get the comm. system in the shuttle online, and you’re going to help me.”
K’ertahl grunted. It wasn’t exactly ‘yes ma’am!’ but she wasn’t going to press the issue.
T’Kirr was standing now, her wound mended, but clothes still stained. As soon as she got her bearings, she would go inside the pod and help repair the comm. system. She had sent a capable ensign over to the main wreckage area until it was fixed. Scanning the terrain, she spotted someone coming from the other direction.
“Who is that?” Jake asked, following her line of sight. He had a habit of popping something in right when she was about to speak, and it was beginning to annoy her.
“I don’t know. Perhaps we should use a scanner.”
Jake smirked at her obvious mockery and sauntered over to the pile of goods salvaged from the pod. He picked up a tricorder, and T’Kirr approached behind him. Seeing her, he handed it to her and looked back out towards the ant trudging toward them.
Shading the scanner with her hand to keep the sun’s reflection from blinding her, T’Kirr read its beeping results.
“It’s Petty officer Greeley. He must have come >from a distant pod.” T’Kirr snapped the scanner shut and shoved it into her belt. It was always a comfort to have one in its place on her side. “Come with me. And bring some water.” Jake picked up a hydropack and followed T’Kirr out into the field.
As T’Kirr and Jake approached Greeley, the man slumped over and held his knees, breathing hard.
“Are you all right, Mr. Greeley?”
“Sure, I’m… fine,” he panted between breaths, “I’m just not… used to such a distance… living on a starship… and all.” Jake handed him the hydropack, and he immediately opened it and took a swig, dripping water all over him.
T’Kirr eyed him disdainfully, but knew he must have had a long journey, as the craft must have come from was nowhere in sight. “You came from a pod?”
Greeley nodded with a mouthful of water and pointed behind him at the expanse. He swallowed, then choked, “About 20 kilometers in that direction.” He waved his tricorder in one hand.
T’Kirr was impressed with the man. Humans could be quite durable. Nevertheless, he was clearly not ready for a trip back. “Are there injured?”
Greeley inhaled a deep breath of alien air. “Yes, but only a few, including the Counselor.”
“Tempest? I must go to her.” She turned to Jake, feeling a slight twinge >from her wound as she twisted, then realized she didn’t know Jake’s surname. “Crewman Jake and I will hike to your pod,” she announced, ignoring the horrified look on Jake’s face. “Walk the rest of the way to our pod and let Ensign Wright know the situation of the distant craft. He is relaying information between our shuttle and the main crash site.”
Jake stammered, “W-wait,” then, glancing to the side, as if an idea came to him, “You’re in no condition to go crossing that kind of distance. You’re injured!”
She gave him a cold look. “I’m fine, thanks to your excellent treatment. Perhaps I should relay your competence to Dr. Spark. In the meantime, I need your skill in to aid the Counselor and other injured, as their craft is quite a distance from the rest. Understood?”
“Clear as crystal,” Jake mumbled.
Tempest threw a coil of wires down at her feet. “I don’t know what that’s for,” she said. “So I don’t care. The shuttlecraft will probably fly backwards when we start it up again, but that’s OK, because by that time, we’d better have found an engineer.”
K’ertahl glowered at her from the corner. About half an hour ago he’d rumbled like a volcano and informed her they would accomplish more without her chit chat. When she’d been in the Maquis and each moment seemed like an epic struggle, she probably would have suggested something similar herself. Five years ago he might have cowed her. Today she’d savored the amusement of his posturing, complimented him on the fine timbre of his growl, and asked him who polished his bat’leth.
“Rainbird to Zuriyev,” she said into the equipment. “Rainbird to Axelalexa. Rainbird to T’Kirr. Rainbird to that big orange tree outside. Rainbird to the ice caps of the planet Pluto. Rainbird -“
“This is Lieutenant T’Kirr. Crewman Jake and I are on our way to your position.”
“Greeley made it to you?” Tempest asked.
“Affirmative. We are currently six kilometers to the south, over the mountain range.”
“We’ll meet you halfway,” Tempest said, “And save everyone the trip. The only thing working here is the communications array in the shuttlecraft. I assume you have equipment at camp?”
“Comm. badges are currently down,” T’Kirr answered. “I believe crewmen are in the process of activating other communications arrays.”
“We’ll seal the shuttle here, then,” Tempest said. “And if we have to come back here, we can. This microclimate doesn’t seem hospitable though. We have many children who need to be moved somewhere safe for the coming night. If we wake all the adults, I think we can make it to your position by dusk, and maybe get everyone back safely by nightfall. We’ll be on our way, Lieutenant.” Tempest wanted to add a million enthusiastic thank yous, but knew T’Kirr wouldn’t appreciate them, so she held back for the moment.
“Acceptable. We are continuing in your direction. T’Kirr out.”
Tempest dug underneath the pilot’s console for the emergency med kit and tossed it to K’ertahl. “Time to play reveille. The stims should be marked.” On her way out the door, she expressed her jubilance by planting a large, wet kiss on K’ertahl’s cheek.