Episode 7: Into The Fire
Location: The emptiness of space (and my heart)
Timeline: Day 1 at 0500
Floating in space and waiting to be rescued provided many opportunities to think and reconsider actions and how things could have gone different. Unfortunately for Lexa, introspection and quiet were not the ways of the Kongeda and she was steadily going crazy. The escape pod had been broadcasting its emergency signal for hours now and mentally she was ready for the ship to target it being a Borg one that came to ascertain what had happened to its friends. The Sovereign might have gone down but in doing so it had inflicted enough damage on the Borg to at the very least get most Starfleet survivors in the area out.
As she checked on the systems of the escape pod she couldn't help but feel regret about not going down with the ship. Trikru always stayed with their command, to abandon it was to bring dishonour to your name, to your village and to your clan. Deception and desertion were the ways of the ice nation not of the woods clan. The Kongeda had however never faced an enemy like the Borg. While not nearly a match in personal combat for them, their ruthless efficiency and singular purpose meant they could overtake even the most powerful Coalition armies with ease. This new threat had made the choice to leave her people to join Starfleet all the more proper and it also meant that the choice to join the Federation in the first place was only justified further. Jus drein jus daun, blood must have blood, she thought as she considered all the lives that she had lost today. Brothers and sisters in arms, comrades, people she respected. They needed to be avenged. It was this that made her desire to keep going, despite the wide array of injuries internal and external that the final minutes on the Sovereign had inflicted, and if she were to be picked up by the Borg instead of Starfleet. At least she would take some more down with her.
If there was a hell, Aria Winters was certain this may very well be it. Holding position alongside the shell of the Rhode Island, able to watch as explosive decompressions created a field of debris and bodies, the reality of what had befallen her ship and crew began to sink in.
As a child she had often heard the old stories, tales of how the Borg had devastated the El-Aurian people. Events which were burned into the psyche of an entire species who became nomads. Yet there had been hope. A true hope that it was a darkness which would never again fall over the galaxy.
It was taking too long. Turning away from the view, Aria cast her gaze over the jury rigged comms system. While she had diverted additional power - albeit not much as it was burning through relays she did not have to spare - the signal would not travel far very fast. Yet in the last briefing he would ever deliver, Captain Leighton had spoke of a rendezvous with an old friend of his, the captain of the USS Sovereign.
If they hadn't detected the signal, then she needed to reconsider her plan.
Even as the possibility crossed her mind, a chirp from the adjacent console cut through her thoughts. Calling up the data she frowned, her hope of rescue immediately dashed. An escape pod.
Her brow furrowed. The Rhode Island had not launched any escape pods, so where had this one...?
"Oh," she breathed, making a logical leap. She wished she had the means to communicate with whoever was aboard, yet at least the pod seemed to be on a course with her shuttle. Grateful for a distraction she tracked it, while activating the EMH.
"You can't turn me off and on like a light switch!" he protested as he flickered into existence. "Your bleeding again. What use is - "
"Fix it later," she told him, gesturing to the console, "we are about to have company. Whoever it is may need your services, Doctor."
His bluster faded immediately. "I'll clear a space, shall I?"
Aria nodded. "Please."
Watching as the pod moved closer, she played it safe, allowing the distance to close before she activated the transporter. Hoping, as the sound of the transporter filled the air, that whoever was on the lifepod had not mistaken their lack of greeting as a sign of trouble.
Due to the loss of blood Lexa had steadily started to fall in and out on consciousness. As such when about a dozen alert sounds and lights activated they provided just the boost to get her back to focus on the situation at hand. "Well then, let's see if we get to live to fight another die or if today was a good day to die" She said as she entered a few commands on the console to identify the approaching vessel. It became clear soon enough that it was far too small to be Borg but then again it was also too small to be a Federation rescue ship. As the transporter activated and Lexa steadily saw the interior of a Starfleet shuttle before her she felt relief. Only to collapse the very moment mateialization had been completed. The escape pod for all its problems in comfort had exerted enough pressure on the right areas of her body to keep her going despite the loss of blood. With that external pressure removed even standing became impossible. Through tears and holes in the fabric of the uniform, the nature of her injuries would become clear soon to the EMH as the black liquid steadily escaped her body.
Barely holding onto consciousness she looked up at the Officer that had saved her. She looked to be in a pretty bad shape too. "Commander" she spoke respectfully.
“Welcome aboard,” Aria offered with a small smile, giving the EMH room to work. “Do you need anything?”
“A fully equipped sickbay and less questions would be ideal,” came the predictable reply, dripping with sarcasm. In spite of that he worked diligently and efficiently. Muttering to himself about working conditions.
Aria ignored him. “I’m Aria. This is our EMH. Don’t let the attitude fool you, he will patch you up. What’s you name, Commander?”
Despite her body screaming for her to stop, Lexa forced herself to sit mostly upright as the EMH had addressed most of the immediate problems. "Lexa" she replied with a slight smile. "Thank you" she added, aimed at the EMH for the medical help.
“I wouldn’t thank us just yet,” Aria cautioned, “we can save that for after our rescue. For now, sit back and let the doctor work.”
She seamed to take her own advice, dunking back into the seat she had been occupying, touching a control to hide the view outside. Lying to herself that it was for Lexa’s benefit. “If the doctor gives his okay, there are some ration packs if you are hungry.”
"That would be great, my own supplies got destroyed when the escape pod barely got off before the Sovereign detonated. I think I've been out there for almost a day" Lexa replied, opting to accept the advice and slowly lower herself again. "Don't be worried about the radiation in my bloodstream, due to the surface radiation on my homeplanet all of my people have it" she said to the EMH who was probably going to make an issue of it otherwise.
“Hmm,” was the hologram’s only response.
Aria rolled her eyes. “He is not a people person,” she pointed out to Lexa. “I am sorry about your ship. Ours is lost too. This shuttle is all we’ve got. Unfortunately it only has manoeuvring thrusters, and some systems had been stripped out for refit. It’s not much, but for now it’s what we’ve got.”
"Anything is better than that escape pod. I was pretty sure I was going to die in that thing or be retrieved by the Borg." Lexa replied. "What ship were you on?"
“Rhode Island, science ship,” Aria said, gesturing in the general direction of the wreakage. With a rueful smile she added, “we were finally coming home. And then this. They ripped her apart in minutes. And what’s left is tearing itself apart even now. She was a good ship. Replicators never worked right but good all the same.”
Lexa nodded. "Honestly, the Sovereign didn't fare much better. At least we managed to take a few of them in the battle and a final one in the self-destruct but otherwise it was over in less than 30 minutes as well. I don't know how many made it out"
"Guess we are in the same boat.... I might be able to boost sensors and try to extend scanning range," she offered. "But I imagine they've headed in the opposite direction as nothing has appeared on sensors until you showed up."
"Yeah, most of the escape pods should be clear of our sensor range and the Borg now. I made sure to buy them as much time as I could. I'm still not sure how I made it to the escape pod with all the explosions around me" Lexa said before trying to get up so be an actually productive member of the Shuttle's crew but quickly having to lie down again. "I guess mind over body doesn't always work"
"Just stay where you are and rest," Aria told the other woman, ignoring the incredulous look the EMH shot in her direction. "I'm sure someone will pick up our signal soon."
"Yes, sir" Lexa replied jokingly.