State of Panic
Posted on Mon Jun 22nd, 2020 @ 11:33pm by Cailus Griffin & Lieutenant JG Vecon Fick & Mauricio Arnaldo
Edited on on Fri Jul 10th, 2020 @ 5:14pm
Divided We Fall
Location: Deck 6 - Medical Corridor
A Mission Post by 1st Lieutenant Mauricio Arnaldo & Lieutenant Cailus Griffin & Lieutenant JG Vecon Fick
Mission: Divided We Fall
Location: Deck 6 - Medical Corridor
Mon Oct 1st, 2018 @ 5:31am
There was an urgent panic happening across Deck 6 as the Medical staff desperately searched for their escaped patient. Mauricio Arnaldo had awoken just like the others but he was not at all coping. As soon as he had opened his eyes he was erratic and unnerved, the fear and dread evident across his face. The experience of having the ship open up before him and being sucked out to space had clearly damaged his psyche; he was deathly afraid that it would happen again and he lacked the cognisance to separate the subconscious experience from true reality.
"We're not safe!" He had screamed, jumping up onto the bio bed and kicking the Nurse away. "WE'RE GOING TO DIE!"
The medics had tried to restrain and sedate him but the young Marine was too strong; he had pushed his way past them and disappeared down the corridor. A lockdown of Deck 6 had been initiated, trapping Mauricio in the area, but he was a trained service man in a state of panic and could not be stopped. He had managed to elude the urgent search for him so-far and disappeared somewhere amongst the Medical Labs and offices on this level. Yet no one quite knew what to do if they managed to find him.
Twenty minutes after Mauricio fled the medical staff, a half dozen security officers were gathered in the corridor outside Sickbay, all looking quite grim with their drawn phasers. They were all waiting for their security chief to arrive, but there was no conversation to pass the time, no pre-action chit-chat. None of them liked what they might have to do. They all just wanted to get the extremely unpleasant act over and done with.
Finally the Sickbay doors opened and Lieutenant Griffin stepped through, his own phaser holstered. He too was grim as he looked at the team. "Okay, everyone, we are authorised to stun Lieutenant Arnaldo on minimum setting. The doctor believes that a low stun won't inflict permanent damage so long as we don't stun his head, spine or close to his heart. That means no center of mass shots, people. Hit his arms and legs with precision shots, or don't fire your phaser at all. Confirm your phaser settings now."
The team all collectively slumped as they checked their weapon settings, with one Bajoran crewman looking especially despondent. "The doc can't help bring him in peacefully, sir? Mauricio is a friend, and I don't much like the idea of shooting him. Feels wrong, sir."
Cailus nodded gravely. "I understand, Jann, but if the time comes, don't hesitate. The longer Arnaldo is out there, the more his health is at risk. We may not like it, but this is the job." As the Bajoran crewman sighed, Cailus looked at another security officer, this one a cyan-hued Andorian with a tricorder in her hand. "Has he stopped moving yet?
"No sir, but he's staying in the same approximate area, near the starboard med labs," the ensign said, having been following Arnaldo's lifesigns with the tricorder. "We could erect a forcefield around him, but that's contrary to protocol when recapturing someone in his psychological condition. He's in Meb Lab 4 right now, pacing, I think."
"Alright, move out," Cailus said quietly, and silently, the team set out down the corridor, their phasers drawn and at the ready. The deck was deserted after everyone had been evacuated, save a few volunteers in Sickbay with a couple more security officers, who waited for the ill Marine to be retrieved. Cailus was at the back of the group, as after he had been awoken from stasis recently himself, he was still stiff and awkward, not quite back at his physical peak. He certainly didn't want to be forced to fight Mauricio hand-to-hand; the Marine was better-trained than most of the Pandora's security contingent and would've been a tough proposition at the best of times.
Soon enough they arrived at Mauricio's position, the Marine having moved to a large supply room full of crates. The security officers set up around the door with their phasers, and with reluctance, Cailus gestured for one of them to open it.
"Lieutenant Arnaldo," he called out firmly into the darkened supply closet, hoping that voice of authority would get through to the Marine. "Do you hear me, Marine?"
Mauricio popped his head up just a little from above one of the crates. “Griffin?” He called out confused. “How... No, there’s no time. No estoy listo! No estoy listo! You have to come inside and erect a forcefield over the door. It’s the only way to slow it down!”
Cailus winced. "Lieutenant, we are not in the Bubble anymore. Repeat, we are not in the Bubble anymore. We are on the Pandora, the real Pandora, and we're safe. We are all back home, but I need you to report to Sickbay for medical treatment. That is an order, Marine."
There was silence for a while, only slight mutterings but little other movement. “How did I escape this time?” he finally asked.
That prompted confusion from the security team, who looked at each other questioningly. "El-tee, this is the last time," Cailus called out again. "You're out of the Bubble, you're alive, and you're home. We need you to come with us now, Lieutenant."
“Every time the same thing. What did I do differently?” Mauricio continued rambling. “If I’m here it must mean... Fick. Oh poor Fick. He’s taken my place this time.”
Fick? one of the security officers by the door mouthed in bewilderment, which Cailus shared. Nevertheless he knew an opportunity when he saw it. "Ensign Shellyn," he said quietly, "get Lieutenant Vecon down here, on the double. Escort him from the turbolift to this position."
As the ensign in question nodded and then jogged back down the corridor, talking urgently into his combadge as he went, Cailus turned his attention back to Mauricio. "Okay, Lieutenant, work with me. What is happening right now? Describe your situation."
“I’ve changed it somehow.” Mauricio rambled. “It used to be the same. Always the same. The corridor started to collapse, I’d push Fick to safety and then...” he cried out in pain. “It hurts. It hurts so bad. I can feel the air squeezing out of my lungs, my body freezing over. It’s seconds, really, but it feels like forever.” The young man sobbed into his hands for a moment, letting his hands catch his tears. He recovered enough to speak again, “Then a tingling sensation, like I’m passing through sand. Suddenly, I’m back in the corridor. And... it happens again. It just keeps happening.”
Fick was pretty easy to find. He had been spending his time mostly in his quarters, since he woken up. When Ensign Shellyn called him over the com and sort of explained what was going on, he got up immedately and quickly made his way to deck five, where he agreed to meet the ensign and they would go to med deck together.
There wasn't much in the way of conversation on the short turbolift ride from deck five to deck six. Fick himself, was still recovering from what had gone on in the Bubble universe, coupled with the shock of "coming home", but there was no question in his mind that he was going to do his best to help the Marine. The fact that either he or Mauricio were alive at all was still a miracle to Fick. He carefully stepped off the turbolift with Ensign Shellyn and eyed the people in the hallway. "So... what's going on?" he asked softly.
"Best if the lieutenant explains, sir," Shellyn said grimly as she escorted the helmsman up the corridor. The security team were still as they had been, set up around the open door, and Cailus waved Fick over.
"Lieutenant Arnaldo had a bad reaction to waking up," he said quietly. "He has asked for you. We need to return him to Sickbay, but given his fragile mental state, I'd rather not take him out of there by force. Even the transporter may agitate him further." Glancing with concern at the dark room where the Marine was hiding, Cailus sighed. "Do you know Lieutenant Arnaldo particularly well? I know that you were with him when he died."
Fick nodded. "Oh yeah. I know him really well... I guess a lot more than you even realized," he said to Cailus. "Stay here. I'll handle this." He stepped past Cailus and into the room quickly. "Hey Mauricio! It's Fick!" he announced into the dark room. "You remember me, right?" He didn't continue to move quickly. This was Mauricio and he was still a Marine, despite Fick's feelings of an intimate relationship. "Better remember me cause I'm totally unforgettable!"
Again, a little bit of Mauricio’s head popped above the crates as the Marine stared at the man in front of him for a few moments. “Impossible,” he muttered. He dove back down for a minute, then looked again at Fick, before suddenly leaping to his feet. “CLOSE THE DOOR!” he suddenly screamed.
"Hey Mauricio! We're not gonna get sucked out into space anymore... maybe if you come out of there and calm down we can have lunch in Medbay. How's that sound?" Fick asked, leaning casually, just inside the doorway. "You're scaring the straights... Come on, man. You're okay. We're all okay. I missed you," he admitted.
Mauricio rubbed his face, his mind trying to comprehend what these people was saying to him while at the same time his survival instincts were telling him to prepare for the worst. He wondered if there wasn’t a third possibility, a reason he was now seeing his friends after suffering for so long. “I’ve been... released? My soul has crossed over! Dame la bienvenida a la Virgen María!”
"Nobody crossed over Mauricio! I mean except to leave the bubble... Remember? Before the bubble? Before the picnics and stuff... like back on the Pandora where we came from? Come on man... you can't have forgotten the picnics. Remember when all we had was rations, but we'd pretend it was other stuff? Right? You remember that..." Fick hadn't moved. He knew better than to jump at the already anxious Marine.
“Not the picnics.” Mauricio whimpered, a tear falling down his cheek. “I always die at the picnics.” He shuffled forward a little closer, trying to ignore the collection of Security officers holding their weapons. “We have to get out of here before -“ Unbeknownst to him, Mauricio had knocked one of the crates as he passed and it suddenly crashed to the ground with a loud bang. The Marine’s eyes filled with fear. “It’s happening!” He cried as he lunged for Fick.
"OH CRAP!" Fick yelled as the Marine dived towards him.
It all happened in a flash. One moment Mauricio lunged at Fick, then a high-pitched whine sounded and the Marine was suddenly on the deck with two security officers on top of him, keeping him restrained. Meanwhile Fick was on the deck as well with Cailus on top of him, the security chief having tackled the smaller man to safety.
"Are you alright, Fick?" Cailus asked Fick with a disgruntled scowl, not seeming to care at how awkwardly intimate their position was.
"I was fine, until you landed on me. Now... some things are hurting... and this is starting to get a little awkward..." Fick grinned. "I mean... you are sort of on me and all."
At that, Cailus got to his feet stiffly. "Where did you hit him, Shellyn?"
The Betazoid crewman looked sick to her stomach with the phaser in her hand, still directed at Mauricio on the deck even as two other security officers put handcuffs on him. The Marine was still conscious, if groggy at the low-intensity stun. "Left hip, sir, short burst."
"Good," Cailus said gruffly. "Get him to Sickbay." He glanced at Fick impassively, then waved at Mauricio as he was stood up by his guards to indicate that Fick was free to talk to the Marine.
Fick picked himself up and eyed Mauricio with a long, heavy sigh. "Hey man. It's okay. Look... no one died for real. Not you, not me... We were trapped in the damn transporter. It was..." Fick paused for a moment, trying to find the right words. "... It was like a dream. Sort of."
"A... dream?" Mauricio murmured as he was being carried back to Sickbay, his tone soft but groggy from the stunning. "But it felt... so real..."
There was nothing much left to say as the Marine passed out in unconsciousness. The Medics gave him a heavy sedative so that he would sleep deeply and heavily for the first time since the wave hit. They could only hope he would no longer dream of being dragged out into space and dying a cold and lonely death, but they couldn't guarantee it. When he woke again he would be restrained, and a counsellor would be on-call to help him adjust back to reality. The true hope was that the young man wasn't too damaged mentally after his experience; or else the Bubble would continue entrap Mauricio's mind for the rest of his real life too.