USS VINDEX - NCC-2474-A
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Posted on Fri Jan 13th, 2017 @ 4:22am by Lieutenant Elsa Johansson & Commander Akiva ben-Avram & Major Storr Garlake & Lieutenant Commander Cara O'Reilly MD & Lieutenant JG Amber Zuzan & Lieutenant JG Nealey Snowdon & Ensign Ava Foley
Edited on on Fri Jan 13th, 2017 @ 4:55am

Mission: S1E3 - Operation Adrestia
Location: USS Vindex (Deck 11)- Sickbay
Timeline: Mission Day 17: 1830

Cara rushed through the doors of Sickbay and headed straight to the back of the Suite to the Iso Unit. Security had already sent two officers who now stood at either side of the door of Iso-1. A force field barred entrance to the Chamber so Cara had to place her hand on the control pad to be identified. The force field deactivated and she stepped into the small anti-room. As the force field re-activated behind her she began donning an Iso Suit, watching the activity on the other side of the second force field.

PO2 Grindle was slipping in and out of consciousness, the pain was so great. He was dimly aware of the hard, cold surface beneath him and now the bright lights seeming to sear through his squeezed-shut eyelids. Voices faded and got louder at seeming random intervals while his arms and legs thrashed out without his command.

"What have we got?" Cara said as she cleared the second force field and entered the chamber.

"Some sort of para....," the DOD said.

"They're eggs," the nurse assisting him interrupted. She looked at the DOD through her mask and shook her head. She was tired of him trying to call them parasites as if they were your basic run of the mill infection. The objects inside the patient were clearly eggs and they were hatching. She turned the monitor so Cara could see it.

Cara walked over to the monitor to get a better look. "Jesus, Joseph and Mary," she mumbled as she stared at the image. There we ten egg shaped objects attached to Grindle's spleen, liver, both kidneys and his intestines. The puncture wound on his side was acting as a portal and the eggs that were beginning to hatch into larvae approximately 10 centimeters long and 1.5 centimeters in diameter were moving towards the wound. She walked over to the biobed and examined the puncture wound. It was oozing a foul smelling brownish puss-like secretion that could be smelled through her mask.

"I already sent a sample of that to the lab," the DOD reported.

"Do we know who this is and how he got this way?" Cara asked, checking Grindle's vital signs on the biobed's monitors.

""All we know is he is Petty Officer Grindle," the nurse replied. "He hasn't been able to tell us how this happened."

"Well...I guarantee you those," Cara said, pointing to the images of the eggs on the CT monitor, "didn't just get there by immaculate conception. Something planted them in him. Probably whatever caused this puncture wound. We need to know where he's been." She shook her head as her mind raced. "One thing's for sure...we don't want whatever those are to get out and run loose so we need to control their extraction. Put a bandage on the wound to seal it and prepare him for surgery. No one touches him without Iso precautions."

"Yes, Doctor," the nurse said and began preparations to seal the wound.

Cara went to the com-panel on the wall of the chamber and said, "Dr. O'Reilly to Lt. Johannson. Report to Isolation Chamber 1 with a bio-container. We have something for you."

Elsa had been sitting at her desk, reviewing the umpteenth proposal from one of her staff, when she got the call. "On my way, Doctor," she responded. "Can you give me dimensions, please?"

"A five gallon container should do it," Cara replied.

Grindle looked up at the faces of the medical team through their masks. He was terrified. "P...p....please h...help m...me," he stammered. He was shaking now...uncontrollably...and his teeth chattered making it hard for him to form words. As waves of pain engulfed him he would scream out.

Cara walked over to the bed and took Grindle's hand in her gloved hand. Placing her other hand on his forehead. "Grindle...I'm Dr. O'Reilly. I know you are in a lot of pain. But we are going to do our best to help you," she spoke in a soft, consoling voice as her thumb caressed his forehead. "Can you tell me what happened to you? How you got his injury?"

"I...I...it...I....cre....it...," Grindle couldn't get the words out and he gripped the doctor's hand tightly.

"Ok...Ok...It's Ok," Cara tried to console the man.

"Cre...t....ture. C....c...car...cargo....b...b...bay," Grindle finally spit out just as a wave of searing pan overwhelmed him and he screamed and grabbed the doctor, raising up so he was hugging her as if she was a life line.

"Give him 4 CCs Merphenolog and start him on a 30% Triptacederine drip," Cara said. Ok, Grindle....shhhh....it's Ok. Shhhh," she whispered.

The nurse prepared the hypospray and injected the strong pain medication into Grindle's neck then started the Infusion drip with the long term pain med.

Grindle began to relax as the medication began to ease some of his pain. He was still terrified. After several minutes he slipped into a drug induced doze and allowed the doctor to let go of him.

Cara went over to the com-panel. "O'Reilly to Commander ben-Avram. We have a situation in Sickbay and a possible intruder in the Cargo Bay.," she said.

Akiva was making his rounds to maintain the continuity of command while Captain Ainscow was off duty when the call came in. =/\="Acknowledged. On my way."=/\=

Fortunately, he was only a few decks away from Sickbay.




When Akiva entered, Sickbay was very near an uproar. He really needed to better familiarize himself with Medical in order to have some sort of context for the flurry of activity. It was unbecoming of the first officer to feel so helpless in a medical emergency.
Clueless as he felt, he wasn't sure who to interrupt for a report. After a moment, he decided to interrupt everyone.
"Can somebody tell me what's going on?" His voice was a little louder that needed, which nearly cracked a falsetto near the end of his question. Collect yourself, he thought.

One of the medics poked his head out of a cubicle and saw the XO. "Anyone call for the XO?" he yelled. No one answered so he figured it must have been those in the Iso Chamber. "Probably, the boss, sir," he said. "She's in Iso," and pointed to the Isolation Unit. But you can't go in, Sir. There's an intercom on the wall next to that security officer."

Akiva gave a nod of thanks and continued to the intercom. "Ben-Avram here," he said, leaning into the intercom. "How bad is it?"

Cara heard the intercom crackle and Akiva's voice. She had just started scrubbing up for the surgery so she called another nurse who had joined the team in Iso-1 over and the nurse pressed the intercom. "Commander...as I stated...we have a situation. Petty Officer Grindle has been infected with the eggs of some sort of creature in the Cargo Bay. The eggs are hatching. We will be attempting to remove them and isolate them so that Elsa can analyze them. You need to find the creature before it infects anyone else. I'll do what I can for Grindle," she said as she shut off the sonic faucet and stepped into the surgical arena where the other nurse helped her into a pair of sterile gloves.

" Ha'Shem ta'ase li tova," Akiva whispered as a shiver went up his spine. He shook his head. "Acknowledged," he replied. "Have someone keep me updated," he added.

Cara simply held up a thumb in reply.

Akva tore away from the Isolation Unit and stormed out of Sickbay.

"Computer, who is the ranking Operations officer on duty?" he asked as he marched toward the nearest turbolift.

"Lieutenant Nealey Snowdon is currently logged into the Operations console on the bridge," the computer replied.

=/\= "Ben-Avram to Snowdon. I need you to immediately lock down both cargo bays. No one gets in or out pending direct orders from myself or Security. Then compile a list of all personnel who have set foot in either bay within the last 72 hours and upload their names to Security and Sickbay."=/\=

Nealey received the call. She immediately locked down the cargo bays as ordered and then responded to the Executive Officer. It had been all change lately on the Vindex and Nealey found herself in charge until Claudia found a more experienced replacement.

=/\="Cargo Bays are locked down sir"=/\= Nealey replied.

=/\= "Meet me outside the Cargo Bays when you're finished. Ben-Avram out."=/\=

Akiva reached the turbolift and ordered it to Deck 12. While he was in transit, he tapped his commbadge again.

=/\= "Ben-Avram to Zuzan. You should be receiving a personnel list from Ops any moment. Every name on that list is on emergency medical quarantine effective immediately. They are either to be confined to their quarters pending a medical evaluation or escorted directly to Sickbay for immediate Bio-Scan.=/\=

=/\="Aye Commander - list is coming in now. "=/\= Amber said.

=/\="Coordinate with Sickbay staff to prevent bottlenecking. Ben-Avram out."=/\=

The turbolift came to a stop and its doors opened on Deck 12. As he stepped into the evacuated corridor, he tapped his commbadge yet again.

=/\= "Ben-Avram to Garlake. Assemble two fire teams and have them converge on the Cargo Bays. I want at least two incendiary weapons at hand. I think those manyak bugs from the freighter have nested down there."=/\=

Having just returned from a very...abbreviated dinner with the CMO, Storr had barely entered his room when his commbadge beeped. His eyes widened as the XO's message came through. *Bekak*...

=/\= Acknowledged. TOT 10 minutes. =/\=

He looked longingly first towards the shower and then the bed as it had been a long day. Sighing, the marine turned on his heels and made his way to the armory...




Elsa stepped into the entry area of Sickbay from an observation room, making notes on her PADD. She wasn't the most knowledgeable expert of arthropods in the Gamma Quadrant, not by any stretch of the imagination, but Carna had such a nasty reputation that even a nonspecialist like Elsa could recognize them from remotely observing Dr. O'Reilly remove them from Grindle.

And Elsa did have an expert in her department.

=/\= "Ensign Foley" =/\=

=/\= "Ensign Foley here" =/\= The voice that answered Elsa was a mixture of southern Irish and Valley girl, which caused a minor cringe in Elsa's features.

=/\= "Ensign Foley, we have a possible Carna infestation on the Vindex..." =/\=

=/\= "Cool!" =/\= The reply made Elsa cringe a little bit more

=/\= "I need anything and everything you can give me on the Carna. And there will be a number of Carna larvae in sickbay shortly in a secure bio-container." =/\=

=/\= "I'm heading there now, Lieutenant." =/\= Elsa swore she heard a tiny squeal of excitement before Ensign Foley signed off. Shaking her head, she tapped her commbadge again.

=/\= "Commander Avram" =/\=

=/\= "Ben-Avram here. Go ahead.=/\=

=/\= "Commander, the crewman was infested with an arthropod called a Carna. I'm sending you a thumbnail sketch of the Crana now. They are relentless and brutal, and it is almost a certainty we have an infestation on board. Fortunately, we have an arthropodologist on board who probably knows more about them than anyone else in the quadrant. I'm having her report to the sickbay to secure the larvae Dr. O'Reilly is removing from the patient and, with your permission, Commander, I'll join you at the cargo bays to provide technical support." =/\=

=/\="Make it so. I'll see you down here. Ben-Avram out."=/\=




Garlake had to do some quick research on his PADD as Bravo and Charlie teams armed up but what he found was not encouraging. That, and he knew why Akiva had requested the incendiary weapons.

"Roll Call. Bravo Team," Storr called out, moving to the front of the armory. Corporal Vinar moved to the side and addressed his MCO.

"Sir, Sulvik, Duras, and McBroom are armed and ready." the Orion belted out. They still had not replaced Lance Corporal Blake and wouldn't be able to until after they returned to the Alpha Quadrant. Storr noticed that the four Bravo members had black bands around their right biceps, the classic Marine form of marking loss.

"Charlie Team," the MCO called out, looking over to Corporal Johnny Dupont.

"Sir, Malik, Eldoras, and Saraath are armed and ready." Kurtwood Smith, their Efrosian fifth member, was absent thanks to a manning assist and he wouldn't be returning until...who knew. Satisfied, Storr nodded and turned, both additional thigh rigs holding incendiary grenades along with identical loadouts on the fireteam leads.

The walk to the cargo bay was a short one and Storr looked at his watch as he stopped before Lieutenant Commander ben-Avram. *30 seconds...perfect*. Looking down at the XO, he nodded.

"Here as requested, boss." the MCO said. "I'm hoping we won't have to use these," the Marine continued, patting the grenade on his right thigh, "as I'd hate to destroy the very supplies we gave a life for just the other day...but man, those things give me the creeps."

"Agreed," Akiva said. "But we might be losing another life to them in Sickbay as we speak." Akiva's face was grave. "Don't let them take any more, Captain Garlake." He pointed toward cargo bay entrance. "On your lead. I'll hold the door."

Storr nodded. Akiva was right. Making several movements with his hands to Shorinal and Dupont, the two men guided their fireteams into position on both sides of the door. They were preparing for a multi-unit "stack" and entering the cargo bay would be like a well-rehearsed ballet. Except with phaser rifles and incendiary grenades rather than tutus. Garlake chuckled at the thought and then nodded again to the XO.




Cara managed to remove all but two of the eggs and larvae and placed them in the bio-container. But the two remaining eggs...both in the process of hatching...had attached themselves to life threatening locations. One on Grindle's aorta and the other on his spine. The larva emerging from the egg attached to his aorta was already feeding on the blood supply which was resulting in uncontrollable bleeding. No matter how quickly Cara worked she wasn't able to get control of the bleeding and Grindle's heart seized. After a half an hour recitative measures failed and Cara was forced to call time of death. She was angry as she ripped the two remaining larvae from Grindle's body and tossed them, vehemently, into the container. "Get them out of here," she growled and the nurse sealed the container and handed it to Ensign Foley.

The look on Ensign Foley's face as she examined the contents of the bio-container unit in her hands could have been that of a little girl who had finally gotten a pony for her birthday. To give the Irish arthropodologist credit, though, she had enough presence of mind not to gush in front of a sickbay full of medical personnel who were nowhere near as pleased as she was at the presence of the Carna larvae. Instead, she excitedly transported the larvae to her laboratory space.

Cara looked down at Grindle and touched is cheek. "I'm sorry," she whispered. With tears forming in her eyes, she turned, ripped her gloves off and deactivated the force field. Then she tore off her suit and stormed out of the Iso Unit.

Onlookers watched in silence as their boss stormed into her office and the transparent walls went dark and the door shut.




The cargo bay doors opened and the lights began flickering on. Bravo and Charlie fire teams poured into the cavernous room, each member moving along walls or towards cover as rehearsed hundreds of times in order to cover the most area while lessening the possibility of fratricide as much as possible. Storr entered last, just in time to see the mass of black shapes literally covering the floor, supply crates, and half the walls begin shaking. The MCO's jaw dropped, then set.

"Fire at will."

The cargo bay erupted in phaser blasts, chitinous masses vaporizing or blasting into chunks when the crana's were only half exposed. While the shooting seemed to be one-sided, the insects began rousing from their slumber and moving towards the marines. Quickly.

"Bladdy hell...Commander, you're going to have to close the door!" Captain Garlake yelled over the commotion to the XO, the men and women of Bravo and Charlie team backing up rapidly while still firing at the advancing black, writhing mass.

"Negative, Captain!" Akiva shouted back. He had a phaser in hand and began firing. He even managed to hit one.

"Just do it!!" Storr exclaimed, half of the marines already over the threshold, a tactical retreat in full swing. Holes in the mass were created at every blast but immediately replaced by more advancing carnas.

"Quarantine protocol re-engaged!" Akiva planted himself back in the corridor and returned his phaser to his hip. In this retreat he would do more damage than good.

Luckily for Garlake, the large cargo bay doors were slower than regular man-doors and the MCO made sure that he was the last to squeeze through, though not before reaching down and igniting his silica-phosphorous grenades and tossing them into the cargo bay. Reaching back, the doors snapped shut on his phaser rifle that had swung forward from his movement.

"FRAK!" Garlake yelled, carna chittering menacingly as they attempted to press their way through the slim opening created by the not fully shut door. Kicking with all his might, Storr struck the rifle. Twice. The third kick pressed it all the way through and the door snapped shut with a *clang*, his foot barely clear. Yellow carna...fluid soaked the floor where the door seam was.

"You know...maybe we should just jettison it into space and retrieve it with the shuttle." Captain Garlake said with a large exhale, the other marines leaning against the far wall and nodding nearly in unison. "We can then go in and take out the stragglers...what do you think, boss?"

"That may not do the trick, Captain" Elsa told the Marine. The Nordic science officer had arrived on the scene just after the Marines had initially breached the cargo bay. "The Carna are capable of surviving almost any environment, including hard vacuum. In addition, they are tenacious burrowers. Our ship's arthropodologist informs me that a fully mature Carna has two sets of glands, one that releases a particularly potent and painful paralyzing neurotoxic peptide, and the other exudes...not an acid, but a precursor, that bonds with whatever is in the Carna's surroundings that forms a powerful acid. Trying to blast the Carna out into space may actually drive them deeper into the ship."

Captain Garlake slapped his forehead with his palm and slowly ran it down his face. *That,* he thought, *was not exactly what they were going for.*

"What do you suggest?" Akiva asked. He pointedly avoided looking at the yellow splatter.

"Like most creatures of any size, the Carna play host to a number of smaller organisms. One in particular allows the Crana to regulate how they detect heat and secrete the contents of their gland. Hit a Carna with a powerful enough blast in the right range of the electromagnetic spectrum, this organism is killed off, and almost immediately the Carna start ripping themselves up from the inside. I discussed the matter with our arthropodologist on the way down here, and I could rig something up to produce that effect. Unfortunately, it would take two or three hours, during which time I could not guarantee the Carna won't migrate from the cargo bay."

Akiva drilled her with an intense stare, but allowed her to continue.

"However," Elsa continued, "According to the manifest of the cargo containers currently in the cargo bay, there is a device labeled 'Bio-sterilizer' that has the capability of performing this task. The box looks to be approximately ten meters on the other side of the door. From the description, if I could get just one minute with it, I could get it operational."

"Captain Garlake," Akiva said, "do you think that detonation would have left the bio-sterilizer intact as well as clear enough space to reach it?"

Storr knitted his brow as he thought. Starfleet cargo container strength, the incendiary blast radius/energy/thermal shock, the number of bugs that he saw...all these thoughts and more went into his tactical considerations. Standing, the MCO removed his Type-II phaser from his waist holster and nodded. "We can do it. Lieutenant," he said gruffly, looking down at the blonde haired, blue eyed science officer, "don't frak up."

Elsa returned the gaze of the slightly taller Marine captain, raising one eyebrow slightly, but otherwise made no reply, instead silently following the Marines back into the cargo bay.

The door opened and the Marines of 2/5 again poured in again, their phasers at wide dispersal, damage at maximum stun, and battle cry at its peak to clear a path for the Third Officer. Screams from injured marines, the sharp, acrid odor of ozone, and the sound of crackling chitin filled the air. Lieutenant Johansson successfully managed to engage the bio-sterilizer and initiate a two-minute timer. The group collapsed back in on itself and through the doors, protecting Elsa in the middle, repeating their earlier near-escape. Breathing heavily, everyone caught their breath collectively as the corridor shook and a muffled *thooom* emanated from the cargo bay.

Elsa produced a tricorder, scanning the bay on the other side of the bulkhead. "I believe we were successful," she reported. Turning to Storr, her voice solemn, she told Storr, "Thank you, Captain. Marines," she added with a curt nod to the rest of Storr's combat team.

Storr returned Elsa's nod. Looking around and cursing under his breath for not having medical standing by, he directed three marines to buddy with three other injured members to escort them to sickbay. Luckily, they were all ambulatory and none had succumbed to a carna's bite. Turning to Akiva, he holstered his weapon.

"I think...we're done here, Commander." the MCO said, allowing a pregnant pause for Akiva to respond before turning and rallying his marines. "Marines, 'hot wash' in 10, Team Room. First Round's on me." With that, Captain Garlake led Bravo and Charlie fire teams down to hall and around the corner back to "Marine Country" and rest.

"Good work," Akiva said to their backs.

"I may have to start liking Marines again," Elsa deadpanned, her eyes never looking up from her tricorder.




Amber and Nealey arrived at the exact same time having bumped into each other in the turbolift. They both entered the room and it was Nealey who reacted to the rather unpleasant surprise sat there in front of them.

"What the hell is that?" Nealey asked.

"Had you gotten here sooner," Akiva replied to Nealey, his eyes as scolding as his tone, "you would have known."

"Oh I would have been here straight away Commander but I had to make sure everyone got the message about the cargo bays rather than about three people - and then I had to wait for an officer to relieve me on the bridge. I can't be in two different places at once so forgive me if I was late for the party - sir" Nealey replied.

Nealey wasn't afraid to speak her mind - although sometimes it did get her into trouble. Claudia knew Nealey could be a bit hot headed but in reality she did her best and her outbursts had started to become less frequent.

Akiva's eyes narrowed at the upstart lieutenant. "Noted."

His disposition softened somewhat as he turned to Amber. "I trust your teams have detained the at-risk personnel?"

"Yes Commander. All confined to decon pending further instruction from yourself, Doctor O'Reilly or the Captain" Amber replied.

"Commander," Elsa interrupted, "If you have no objections, I could use some assistance when I do a walk through the cargo bay to verify the ship's internal scanner and my own readings," she explained, lifting her tricorder. "I could use a couple set of eyes to watch my back while doing so."

"Very well." Akiva looked back to the late-comers. "You two. Let's go." He opened the door. "After you, Lieutenant Johansson."

"Aye sir" Amber replied.

Nealey shrugged and followed Akiva and Amber at a distance. She was already in a foul mood so this had compounded it.

 

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