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PLOT - JDL | LtCmdr Stacker, Lt Valeese, Ngezzod | "Casualties of War"

Posted on Tue Jul 10th, 2018 @ 7:24pm by Commander Valeese & Lieutenant Commander James Stacker

Mission: Lacuna

Somewhere over the sound of her own heart’s racing beat, Valeese could hear a metallic ‘snick’ followed by two or three ‘clinks’ and the telltale sound of something hard and metal rolling across the ground in her general direction. Her eyes widened, and though she was impossibly snared in the big Orion’s grasp, her nose freshly blooded, she managed to look towards the the source of such a sound. She could see the canister glinting in the half light, shining as a fresh beacon of hope and misery all rolled into one.

Ngezzod shook her, trying to get another rise from her, but the little Vorta’s expression only seemed to brighten as the realization of who had thrown that canister came to light; “JAMES!” She screamed for him, knowing he’d be close. The fight, one that she’d reserved for the sake of letting Si’a go free, returned as she struggled anew to get free of her captor and the source of all of this horror. “JA--”

The sound of the explosion drowned out her second cry roughly about the same time the Orion closed a massive verdant hand around her throat and then came the pressure wave, rolling over them with about the same level of forgiveness and respect a tsunami may have held.


In mere seconds was blind and deaf - save for an incessant high pitched ringing in her ears - peeling away any chance she had at hearing anything from anyone, anywhere. The flash that had preceded the explosion had left her senses swimming to the point it had taken her several seconds to realize the Orion had thrown her to the ground and was now laying a minute distance away. That changed when he rolled in her direction.

Disoriented and in pain Valeese was barely cognizant of the score of people running past hoping to make an escape, many thanks to her instinctive curiosity that had lead her to play peek-a-boo with a flash grenade. Later, when this was all behind them, she’d chide herself for it even though her medical mind would beg to argue that her actions were only natural… What wasn’t natural was the sudden weight of an adult bull Orion against her abdomen and sternum - heavy enough to hinder her breathing.

Through it all, wasn’t sure if she was truly fighting or simply imagining the maelstrom of fists and nails and fingers being wrought across the surprisingly still beast of a man. She couldn’t be sure, really, of much of anything beyond the screaming painful ringing in her head and the inexorable sensation of being crushed beneath one of the worst beings she’d ever crossed paths with. The only thing that she could be sure of was the one word, a name, that she knew couldn’t have been far;


Without being able to hear, she wasn’t sure if it passed her lips audibly, was smothered by her inability to draw a deep enough breath, or was just another pretty thought trying to swim through a sea of undeniable hell… But it comforted her all the same.

The initial scream had rattled his composure. Badly. He had known he was close - had in fact caught sight of her - but had managed until that point to maintain some semblance of internal division that kept him focused and on-mission. But in her voice he heard a number of things. Pain was first and foremost. Some part of him knew that she was scared, and frightened. The last one, in particular, shook him up. It was something he had never heard from her before.

He hoped he would never heard it again.

There was some disconnected piece of his mind that immediately noted, as he took aim from the doorway, that something in the compartment hadn't reacted well to the small pocket-sized maelstrom of light and fury. Smoke was brewing up from somewhere inside, and quickly filling the air. He cursed, finger on the trigger of his rifle, as wafting smoke occluded a target he'd been aiming at. Lips flattened as he realized just how poor of a situation this was going to create; he might even hit her if the smoke grew any denser - which was likely to happen - some distant part of his mind thought as he toggled the helmet's built-in comm set.

"Sergeant, get your men inside the room! Go close-quarters!"

Voices crackled with electronic responses as one man went around the corner, only to fall as a bolt of light stabbed out of the compartment and caught him mid-thigh. The next man, however, shook an arm and produced a telescoping shield that served to diffuse and block the next few shots. Working purely on instinct James put a hand on his shoulder, sidearm out as he toggled the external speaker and cranked up the sound.

"WEAPONS DOWN! NOW!" the tiny speaker positively roared. Even as it blasted out his hand with the weapon was sweeping at a shadow. A shadow with a weapon. The trigger was squeezed and a line of bright orange light erupted. He saw the arms go flinging up and the weapon flying away before the body dropped out of sight. Another few shots stitched through the doorway; he saw black-shrouded bodies moving inside.

Then he saw the moving shapes. One hoisted aloft and struggling. The other standing firm. With the dense smoke in the room it was impossible to tell which was which. A shot might hit one, or the other. He patted the man with the shield. "Moving in!" The back of the helmet nodded in response as the shield swung left, towards another moving shape occluded by smoke. And James found himself sprinting towards the struggling figure, threading his way between several barrels that loomed out of haze so suddenly that he almost tripped and crashed into them.

Smell. That was the second sense to come back on line after such a brutal assault had been made against them. Valeese could smell the acrid scent of burning plastic as much as she could feel the ambient temperature in the room rising. Seconds later she was able to taste it right alongside the iron tang of blood that was no doubt pooling from her bleeding nose, split lip, dealer’s choice.

The next thing she became rather acutely aware of was the fact that the Orion was no longer moving. He was a lifeless hulk of dead weight undoubtedly bleeding out across her. She could feel liquid smearing and running across her belly and over the curve of her hip as it sought the sanctity of the cargo bay floor beneath her. Fuck gravity. The last thing she wanted was any part of the bastard near her, let alone his DNA - even if it came posthumously.

People were running. She could barely make out figures dashing through the fog through eyes that were tearing and blurred - likely suffering trauma both from the smoke and the flash. Light had never been her friend, her eyes were made up of far more cones than human eyes and as such allowed her to see quite well in low light situations - bright phosphorescent flashes of magnesium and the Gods only knew what else? Hell. Bloody Hell. Still… She struggled to free herself before she could perish in what she was certain was a fire. Disoriented though she was, the instinct to survive and flee remained.

And then the Orion moved aside, lifted and rolled and mercilessly deposited in a grotesque heap by a rather imposing figure from above. Low light, mainly orange now as fire most definitely was spreading, savagely illuminated the dark, sterile, imposing faceplate to a helmet attached to a uniform of some kind. Valeese’s eyes strained to take in details, find insignia. Either there weren’t any to be found, or she simply failed to do so - either way she felt the cold surge of adrenaline begin to trickle through her veins at an alarming pace.

“Starf..fleet?” Talking hurt. The smoke stung her throat with various particles of what its fire-mother had claimed and destroyed and she coughed, reaching to rest a hand on her chest as she continued to struggle for breath. Her lungs wanted to fill themselves with great heaping breaths of cold, crisp, refreshing air while there was none to be had and the air offered was toxic. Never-the-less, The question, hung in the heavy air. Either things were going to get better or they were about to become much, much worse.

The helmet gave her a nod, and there was the sound of a muffled voice from inside it as it reached up to key something on its chest. Then it was squatting down. An armored glove and forearm slid under her head while another went behind her knees. And then she was aloft. Being clasped to the stranger who alleged to be Starfleet as he threaded his way back through the barrels, leaving behind the corpse and nightmare. Other shadows were there in the smoke, weapons up, covering the exit. One of them had a shield. The group moved swiftly out into the corridor, voices all around.

"Shut that goddamned door!"

"Down! Put her down!"

The black-suited figure lowered her to the ground, to the cold deckplates and a second waiting body who was kneeling there, holding something faintly transparent in one hand. From behind there was a rumbling noise of metal-on-metal, even as an item was shoved at the stranger. Her head bumped the bulkhead as she was lowered gently to the gritty and ill cared-for corridor floor. The faceplate suddenly became transparent. It was James, kneeling over her. Breathe! he mouthed at her, pushing the mask towards her face. He turned away when a hand fell on his shoulder, looking to one side and up at another of the black-suited figures. Who pointed at his chestplate and a blinking light.

Recognition flared on his face and he keyed the light source. His voice came rumbling back out again, electronically distorted by the small speaker. "Val, breathe for me. You sucked down a lot of those fumes. Please." His hand shoved back under her head, lifting it slightly, hair trapped between armored digits and palm as he cradled her how best he could and pushed an oxygen mask in her direction.

For a moment she was happy she couldn’t hear past the ringing in her delicate ears. It saved her from the shouting and the insanity ensuing all around her. It didn’t save her from the bump to the head - insult to injury if anything - but it saved her from more panic. She couldn’t hear things coming apart around her or the keyed up MACOs. She could only react to other sensations… And the one that stood out most now was the cool promise of fresh air from a mask she’d previously been devoutly pushing away from her face.

Oxygen. Valeese reached to hold the mask, her fingers covering the gloved hand that demanded she use it while her eyes adjusted to the change in light and the figures hovered over her. Though heavily blurred and distorted, she could make out the familiar flash of ginger facial hair and the intense blue-grey eyes that could belong to one person and one person only… “James…” She half choked half sighed out of sheer relief and recognition, the rigidity of her body lessening as she relaxed into his grip. The fight, for now, was over.

Valeese’s fingers tightened on the gloved fingers as both cradled her and coaxed her further away from the gnarled hands of death and pestilence alike, refusing to let her fade. Safe and at least partially secure, the Vorta couldn’t have given a damn less about fires and Orions. The only worry remaining was Si’a - she’d been so adamant that they’d be found and rescued. They would all need to survive now. There was no other option. In order for that to happen, she'd need to pull her shit together. Dying there in that hell hole would give the score to the group that had done their damnedest to separate them.

One of the other black-suited figures pulled him back to reality. No: he didn't want to go back to the fire and chaos, the bodies sprawled in hallways and the stinging. Wait ... stinging? Yes, there was a minor sting in his shoulder. When he moved his arm just right it increased into a throbbing pulse. This was no place to investigate, though. The point was driven home by a back-lit shadow and the sound of renewed weapons fire in the corridor. The source was opposite the way they needed to go, thankfully.

"Sir, we need to -"

"Yeah, I realize that," James growled at the black-suited figure behind him. He looked up at the armor-clad individual on the other side, even as a finger went back to the squarish and blinking device on his armor. "Doc, we're going to move. Campbeltown, this is Stacker, Package Zero-One secured. We are extracting now." Without waiting for an answer he let go of it and slid the hand back under her legs. He was shocked to realize that she had lost weight in the ordeal. It was almost like picking up a feather. Or maybe he'd just forgotten what it was like to hold her this close. A knee scraped the deck as he went to lift her up. "Okay Val. We're getting you out of here now. Sergeant!"

"You heard the man, MACOs. Let's go!"

To Be Continued...

Commander Valeese
Chief Medical Officer
Cold Station Theta

Lieutenant Commander James Stacker
Chief Intelligence Officer
Cold Station Theta


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