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Mercury Falling V: Shatner of the Mount

Posted on Sun Sep 16th, 2018 @ 2:32am by Commander Jonathan Mantell & Lieutenant Commander Nolan Marc

Mission: A Misguiding Hand
Location: Planet Brax
Timeline: MD01

He wasn't sure which hurt worse, the wound on his side or seeing the raw destruction wrought on the shuttlecraft. While the cockpit appeared mostly intact, that may have been the only part to survive. The consoles were black and smoldering, wiring hanging dangerously from the ceiling, only rendered harmless due to the lack of a functioning power core. The back hatch was missing, and the last half meter of the shuttle floor had been ground away by the friction of the shuttle sliding across the rough terrain, leaving a swath of upturned dirt, rock and vegetation behind them.

Jack groaned. He had been wrong to be so optimistic. There was no fixing the shuttle now, even if he could get it back to the Vesta at this rate. The engines were surely gone, and even from the inside the engineer could see fractures in the hull, wide enough to let in the gleam of sunlight from outside. The best he could imagine would be a full rebuild, but at that point it was easier to just start from scratch.

He had no idea how long it had been since they crashed. Minutes, or perhaps hours. He tried to stand, letting out a low whimper as he did. The floor was askew, putting him out of balance, and he tried to brace himself on a chair only to pull his hand away with a yelp. The top had been shorn off by something, and the cut edge was sharp to the touch. In the dim light that peered into the craft from the rear, its front view panels were obscured by soil, Jack could make out a piece of fabric hanging off the side of the chair. Looking down, he saw his torn uniform matched up, the place where the fabric had been now covered in dried blood.

Some part of his brain was glad that he wasn't still bleeding. It was a far-off, distant part, and the Miran boy paid little heed to it. Instead, he looked to the rear of the craft, hoping that his companion was in better shape than him or their shuttle.

Nolan had the fortune of staying in his seat long enough to activate the restraint fields. The changes in pressurization, combined with the G-forces interacting with the shuttle, had still caused him to black out, but he was slowly starting to thaw from out of the daze in better condition from Jack, who'd been tossed out of his chair during the tumble through atmosphere.

And given that the restraining field had activated, it was a minute before Nolan could recall just how to disengage the field when he was basically cushioned by fields that inhibited ambulatory movement. When the field had finally released, the Okinawa boy slumped out of the chair with a heavy sigh.

Then he felt something wet and squishy.

And stinky.

Nolan's face suddenly felt red-hot, as his pulse quickened until he felt his heartbeat in his ears. He huddled on the floor in a fetal ball, rocking himself for a minute as his brain just tried to process everything that had just happened.

"Jack?" Nolan asked, his voice little more than a whimper, as tears slipped down either side of his face. "Do... do you think, like, that the replicators... like, that the replicators still work?"

Yes, he was also wanting to know that Jack was okay. He was just having a bit of a personal crisis at the moment.

The soft thud of a small body landing on the floor in the back of the shuttle answered the question about where Nolan was. In another second, the wavering voice confirmed Jack's companion was conscious. But, boy, were his priorities all screwed up. Here they were, crashed on an alien planet, with no way to contact their ship without alerting the same aliens who had shot them down, and Nolan was worried about —Jack drew in a sharp breath of air, and then wrinkled his nose— oh. The boy tried to suppress a giggle at the situation, and just said, "No, everything's dead." Adding, "Sorry," as an afterthought.

Moving to the rear compartment, Jack crouched next to his friend and looked at him for a second. Nolan didn't look hurt, physically anyway. The boy turned back to the seat opposite the rear console, pulling the latch that loosened the bench cushion and let him remove it. Underneath lay several compartments with emergency supplies, and Jack gathered up a handful of utility jumpsuits stored underneath and pulled them out. He stood up, sizing them against himself, until he found the smallest of the bunch. It would have been roomy on Jack, but it would have to do.

"Here," the boy said, crouching again and setting the jumpsuit by the smaller boy. He paused awkwardly for a moment, unsure of what to say to relieve Nolan's embarrassment. Jack couldn't come up with anything, not in their current predicament, so he just said nothing. Rummaging back around in the emergency supplies, he pulled out a tricorder and held it up in explanation. "I'll go figure out if there's anything out here. Anything, you know, useful."

Large, faun brown eyes gazed up at the other Miran boy with a look that was surprisingly vulnerable. From where he had been clutching his legs against his chest, Nolan reached up to accept the offered jumpsuit that might have been sized for a Bynar or a Ferengi.

As he did, he noticed the tears and stairs on Jack's uniform. "Are you okay?" Nolan asked, now holding the jumpsuit against his knees.

Jack followed the other boy's gaze and looked down gain. Closer to the light, he could see it better, but he was no doctor to judge. He looked back to Nolan and shrugged, "Probably? I don't know." He pressed his hand to his side, and it came away wet. Funny, he thought, it had been dry earlier. The boy wiped it on his pants, and gave Nolan a grin anyway, "I'll be fine."

He stood and strode out of the shuttle into the bright sun. It looked about mid-afternoon, although it was always hard to tell on alien worlds. They appeared to be in some kind of meadowland just on the edge of a forest, a fact that gave Jack pause as he considered how close they came to true disaster. Outside of the shuttle's path of destruction, wildflowers grew and insects danced lazily on their petals. No other life could be seen in the area, including whatever native sentient species made this planet their home. His mind was relieved on two fronts now with regards to their crash, with any luck it hadn't been detected by whatever sensor systems the planet employed. Or worse, the aliens who had shot them down in the first place.

With that in mind, Jack raised the tricorder and turned it on, setting its scanner on wide beam to get as much information as they could. As he was thumbing through the output, a sudden weakness came over the boy, and he clutched his knees to avoid doubling over. Winded, Jack's chest heaved as he tried to catch his breath, his hand instinctively going to his side.

Inside the shuttle wreckage, Nolan rose up to his feet as he started stripping from out of his uniform. As he did, he paced back and forth to rummage through the various cabinets and recesses where emergency and field supplies were usually intended to be stored. Cleaning himself as best he could with what was on hand, the Okinawa boy donned the jumpsuit. It hung off his slight frame, being intended for a stockier humanoid frame, but otherwise met the intent.

Moving forward, the small boy knelt down underneath the console near the pilot chair. It was a bit of a struggle, but the panel finally released to reveal the shuttle's armory storage. Pulling out the two hand phasers, Nolan added those to the supplies going into the survival kit.

He was still fidgeting with the kit as he stepped out of the wreck. "Should we get away from the crash site?" the boy began, as he looked up and realized that he didn't see Jack.

Nolan's heart skipped a beat for a moment, before he realized that the boy was kneeling down in the tall grass.

Rushing over beside the other boy, Nolan unslung the survival kit and let it fall to the ground. Reaching out with his arm, the young science officer swiped the tricorder from out of Jack's hand and began re-tuning it.

A medical tricorder, it wasn't. But this was what they were working with.

Examining the results for a moment, Nolan snapped the tricorder shut and set it aside. Then, he turned and began sorting through the survival kit until he came up with the first aid supplies. Taking hold of a dermal regenerator, Nolan lifted Jack's arm out of the way so that he could access the wound and began working to clean and suture the wound.

The boy offered no protests as Nolan did his work, his thoughts feeling distant from the blood loss. A soft groan escaped his lips as his body made him feel the full impact of the pain. He had been wrong to be so optimistic for the second time that day. He gave himself a smirk at that thought, the amusement overpowering the pain for the moment. As Jack felt the wound close, he began to feel better, even though his distant mind told him rationally that shouldn't be so. It was a few moments after the cold metal of the hypospray hissed against his skin that he felt his thoughts returning to him and the pain receding.

"Thanks," he offered to Nolan, looking down at his side again. He used the sleeve of his uniform to wipe away some more of the blood, and inspected the smooth skin in place of his wound. The boy took a breath painlessly, and tried to stand again, only to return to his knees a second later. "Give me a hand here?"

"Stay there," Nolan remarked, as he turned and started shuffling through the survival kit again. Returning the dermal regenerator, he instead pulled out the hypospray kit. One of these was a hemoglobin booster...

Pulling the small vial out, the Miran loaded the hypospray and turned back to Jack. "You should stay still for a bit," Nolan remarked, extending out the injector toward the other boy's neck. That, of course, answered Nolan's earlier question. They'd be camping here. For the time being anyway. "I'll make up a camp for us."


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