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Boots on the Ground

Posted on Sun May 30th, 2021 @ 12:48pm by Captain Sadie Stanton & Lieutenant Beau Ramaker

Mission: On the Verge
Timeline: Just before/alongside "When It Rains, It Snows..."

On the most strategic places all around the Colony, Security personnel beamed in at about the same time. Each group was accompanied by medical personnel and at least one Engineer. Their phasers were at the ready because you never knew how people in distress would react to newcomers. Especially with communication not working at optimal capacity, they had no way to be sure that their arrived had been announced and was thus expected.

The group that would secure the capital, a significantly larger team than the others, and virtually the only team that could be sure was expected by the people awaiting them, was led by Beau. As the XO didn't want extra security on him, she'd assigned a few officers to stick as close as possible to him, but she hadn't deferred her own presence. She figured she was much more needed here.

'Here' meant a public square pretty close to the command bunker, but yet far enough away that they landed square in the middle of the living neighbourhood. Close to the edge of the square, a group of colonists was gathered around what appeared to be a table. As Beau took her team closer, she could see that someone was outlying a situation on the holo board while everyone else was listening.

It was the person working at the holo-board who noticed the newcomers first. The woman looked worn down, covered in dried blood and soot. She quickly took note of the uniforms, however, and a thin smile curved her lips. "You're our help, I take it," she said, half-statement and half-question.

Beau stepped forward to make it clear she was the one doing the talking in this group, and returned the thin smile with one of her own. "That's right, ma'am. If we could join in your briefing, we could form ourselves a better image of what we're dealing with here. I've got people from all kind of departments with me, so feel free to point us to where you need us most."

The other woman nodded. "Pull up a patch a sand," she said, waving at the free space around the board. "We're happy for all the help we can get." She waited until they had drawn closer before saying, "I'm Sergeant Mason. I'm with colonial police and I'm overseeing ops in this area. We didn't think there had been any in this housing unit at the time of the attack, but it turns out there was. As you can see--" She gestured some ways beyond their position to a rise and an apartment building, partially collapsed, "--they are now trapped and have been for two days. Not the full length of time since the attack as the building was affected by latter issues when the weather system malfunctioned and we had an earthquake in this sector."

"How many?" Beau asked, looking over at the building to get a visual impression before refocusing her attention on the board. It wouldn't be easy to approach the building, and if an earthquake had been the cause, the stability of every path towards it should be questioned as well. "Once we have a visual on them, we can use our transporters, but before we can do so, we need to get a team in there."

"Maybe two dozen," Mason replied, "As best we can ascertain. They had moved into some of the lower apartments in advance of the planned date for it. That's why we didn't know they were in there at first." Mason turned to the holo-board and flicked a few different windows around, showing a schematic of when the building was whole. She gestured. "We expect them to be on these floors toward the north and east sides of the building. The west side seems the hardest hit."

The assumptions that they were on the lower floors made their work at least marginally easier. If the building was that unstable, it would be tricky to reach anyone safely on the higher floors. Of course, the lower floors increased the risk of collapse. She indicated to one of the Engineers to step closer. "This Petty Officer might look young, Sergeant," she spoke once he had gotten within hearing range, "but he's the best we have when it comes to structural engineering. If it's alright with you, I'd like for him to go take a closer look?"

Mason waved toward the building. "By all means," she said. "Most of our own engineers and construction people are half-dead from the past four days. We have one around here..." She trailed off as she looked around before spotting a young woman working on something. She called her over. "This is Angie Olson. She's one of the few who still seems to have some energy. She can go with you."

"Energy is pretty flexible a term," Angie said with a half-smile.

The young Engineer smiled in return. "We'll make it work. If we could just make our way over to the building, we can get it out with."

Beau nodded at the pair of them, also indicating to a couple of her security officers to accompany them. As they walked off, she focused on Mason again. "We also have a few shuttles close by I can summon if necessary. Was there anything else that needs immediate attention?"

"Everything?" Mason said with a rueful smile. "Right now, though, my team is on getting the people out of that building. They've been in there too long already, but we think at least some of them are still alive. We want to get in there so we can keep it that way."

As the senior officers on the scene kept talking, Jason set off with Angie. It didn't take them long to round the obstacles that let them approach the building. "What's the closest you've got?" he asked, looking around the devastation.

Angie pointed to a spot about three meters away--ahead and slightly to the right of them. "On my own? That far," she said. The spot was about another three meters or so away from one edge of the slightly wrecked building. "My scans so far show it's not terribly unstable at the moment for one or two people to get close, but we've been hesitant to bring any machinery close in."

Jason nodded and took out his tricorder to scan for the instabilities that Angie mentioned. "You're right. It should be clear for the two of us to get in closer and take more detailed scans."

He didn't wait for her reply, but started moving forwards cautiously. As he progressed, he pointed out a couple of spots that were seriously weakened and thus should be avoided by the two of them. Eventually, he reached something that looked like an entrance into the building, the hole in the building had once been the open wall that gave the inhabitants a few over the valley that stretched out in front of them.

The colonist followed him, moving just as carefully and scanning along the whole way. "I think we can probably go in through here," she commented. "What information we got from here so far suggested there was at least one apartment close to this wall with people in it, but we've had some sort of interference on checking for life signs."

Suddenly, even as she spoke, she felt a chill race down her spine. She laughed a little awkwardly, thinking she was just freaking out over going into a potentially unstable building, until she realized. "Did it just get really freaking cold?"

Jason shivered involuntarily. He was used to ship board life, life with a very constant temperature. He didn't like the cold, so yes, he could definitely confirm it had just gotten really freaking cold. He nodded in response to her question and rubbed his arms. "Let's get back to the others."

"Shouldn't we get the scans before we go back?" She had been distracted by the cold and not getting the detailed look she knew they were here for.

"Right, right," Jason sighed, getting out his tricorder and activating it. "It should only need a few moments to register the stability and map the surroundings so we can render a holo-version of this location once we're inside-" and warm, he added to himself. A few moments later, the tricorder obliged by beeping its completion. "Ready?"

Angie's teeth were already chattering as she nodded. "Ready," she declared. "Let's get back inside somewhere!"


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