Last One Out, Get the Lights
Posted on 24 Oct 2014 @ 5:41pm by Commander Craig McClintock
Edited on on 24 Oct 2014 @ 5:42pm
Location: U.S.S. August
Escape pods dotted the home system of Outpost Legacy, with all shuttles being launched from the rear of the deserted U.S.S. August as it orbited the colony far below, with the Shepards escorting those runabouts being sent from the surface. The evacuation of the Rhode Island-class ship was in it’s last stages, with only one officer remaining aboard to ensure the hasty operation went smoothly - in a military fashion.
In his first true crisis since his appointment, Commander Craig McClintock found himself in the centre chair, for far longer than he wished to in such a situation. Around him the walls echoed dark blue from the alert; yet it was gratefully quiet, especially with the bridge being devoid of other life, except the various chirping consoles. He was clad - like many of the last officers to leave before he’d ordered them off - in a standard Starfleet environmental suit, the helmet resting in his usual chair. Perhaps he was being cliched, but he had to make sure the all the crew got off safely, and the bridge was always the best place to make that happen.
“Computer, status of ship evacuation.”
“All one-hundred-forty crew members accounted for aboard four shuttles, one runabout and sixty-eight escape pods. One escape pod reserved by command of McClintock, Craig, Executive Officer.”
The man the computer referred to nodded in satisfaction, before the computer interrupted his motion.
“WARNING: Gamma plasma radiation is entering Deck 1. Recommend immediate evacuation.”
Anticipating the inevitable, the Scotsman swiftly donned his helmet and secured it in practiced button-presses on his left arm, bringing the life-support system online while he strode to the Operations console. As he did so he noticed the tell-tale sign of green gas infiltrating every turbolift door on the bridge.
~ “Damn Hynarchian technology. If Lyden were here I’d kick his arse for installing this alien junk..” ~
His thickly-gloved hands moved almost at his normal pace as he entered various commands into the console, and ensuring for the fifth time all escape pods had their course and trajectory locked to just outside the colony. Finally he entered his alpha-numeric command code to authorise his commands. He was satisfied until he realised the turbolifts were no-go areas now. While the EVA suit would protect for a time he couldn’t stand in a turbolift for even a few minutes before the corrosive and toxic plasma would burn through the protective layers of the suit, and then he’d really be screwed. Muttering and cursing poor Commander Lyden under his breath, McClintock clambered into the jefferies tube and deftly placed his feet on the edges of the ladder, allowing gravity to slide his body to the deck below.
Exiting the jefferies junction into the corridor he saw the same radiation seep into the deck.
“Computer, initiate program McClintock-Sierra-Zero-One.”
The moment the computer chirped in confirmation he strode confidently across the deck as various level-ten forcefields flickered to life around him as he moved and shut down just as quickly. When all you have to jog are the same corridors, bulkheads and deck configurations it becomes surprisingly easy to time himself getting from one point to another. While literally parting the green sea of toxicity he remembered how he and Anna make a kind of game of it, testing each other and trying to beat the other’s time during their workouts. It typically ended in a workout of a different nature, so he liked to think they both won, in a way. Knowing she was safe aboard one of the escape pods - according to the report - he wouldn’t be assured of it until he saw her in the flesh. The computer interrupted his thoughts once more.
“Auxiliary power failing, switching to field power.”
Frowning but charging on regardless he made it to his personal quarters and swiftly entered the code with a practiced motion of his gloved fingers. The lights around him dimmed in response to the lack of power, and he imagined non-critical systems were being taken offline - if they already weren’t due to the corrosive radiation. Finding what he sought he slid his prized, worn and frayed paperback tome written by Sun Tzu into a standard Starfleet case, and found it impossible not to reach out and pack his bottle of Glenfiddich, fifteen years. Who knew how long they’d be off the ship? In any case, the encroaching radiation would corrode the not-quite ancient paper into nothing, and McClintock wasn’t about to let that happen - as crazy as it sounded he’d take a phaser strike for Sun Tzu, but he wasn’t about to let that on to anybody.
Exiting his quarters he ordered the computer to restart the program.
“Unable to comply; forcefield generators on this deck are offline.”
Swearing aloud the sickening colour of green swarmed where he stood; yet his training kicked in, breaking into a run and quickly reaching his own maximum speed. Panic would never take hold of this particular marine and Starfleet officer. Setting course for the last remaining escape pod on the ship waiting for him, the adrenaline coursing through his veins almost allowed him to ignore the sensation of burning throughout his body. Unable to even see the ceiling he allowed his memory to guide him, forged by walking, jogging and intense study of the August’s schematics. It gave him something to focus on besides the pain. Time stopped and started in fits and starts. It felt like more than mere minutes before the open escape pod came before him on the outside of the corridor on the bulkhead and dove inside it head first.
The doors slide shut mechanically behind him as McClintock re-arranged himself to the correct vertical position before he realised parts of his suit were literally smoking in reaction to the unadulterated plasma and cast it off himself faster than a Ferengi making a profit, throwing it to the other end of the cramped pod. It had automatically ejected itself from the ship as it sealed the environment and life-support came online. He checked himself over with a medical tricorder, finding little more than black scorch marks across his uniform. Frowning and panting slightly from the exertion of running in an EVA suit across an entire deck, he stowed his precious cargo he almost burnt to a crisp over.
Calling out to the computer once again, he waited for the tell-tale chirp.
“Computer, initiate program McClintock-Alpha-Nine-Five.”
“Voice authorisation required.”
“McClintock, Craig, Commander. Authorisation McClintock-Sierra-Tango-Seven-Two-Nine.”
A few seconds went by as it confirmed his command code, and presumed some lag from being in an escape pod floating in space. It was almost boring, barking commands to a bodiless computer and awaiting a reply.
“Authorisation confirmed. According to program McClintock-Alpha-Nine-Five, all deck bulkheads are opening to space. Ship will enter gray mode in T-minus thirty seconds.”
As the seconds ticked by he cast his eyes out the single window of the escape pod, using the maneuvering thrusters to look toward the U.S.S. August. It shed green from every possible angle as the pesky plasma was finally cast from the ship into open space, so much so the hundred-eighty metre ship became encased in it. When thirty seconds came and went, he lost visual sight of it from the window as it’s exterior lighting, warp core and twin nacelles went offline.
~ “Well done Clint. First time in command and you’re inside a damn escape pod.”~
He sighed deeply to himself; engaged the pre-selected course, and the pod turned towards the green and blue planet below him.