(( Interior. U.S.S. Arrow, outside Cargo Bay 1. ))
(( Timeline note: before Dau beams aboard. Almost caught up! ))
A chirp from her combadge finally pulled her out of her stupor.
Alvarez: =/\= Alvarez here. That's excellent news gentlemen. Thank you. I've had... a bit of a delay. Stand by, I'll authorize the release as soon as I get to the manual bypass. =/\=
Alvarez: =/\= Maybe get medical down here... Things aren't pretty. I'll see you soon. Alvarez out. =/\=
Maria peeked around the debris she'd found herself behind, and saw there was still movement in the corridor. She had one play left, then this could be over. If only she could convince her body to get up one more time.
Alvarez: Computer, create program alpha-nine-epsilon - scan for all corridors with unauthorized personnel, and seal them. Isolate those regions and flood with anesthizine on my authorization at program execution. Vent after thirty seconds.
Computer: Acknowledged. Program ready.
Maria sighed heavily, then finally stood.
Her body complained about every movement of it but her mind was set to the task, consequences be damned. The more she moved, the less it hurt, even though it probably wasn't good for her. She saw a blown out bulkhead - there wouldn't be any help coming from that direction any time soon. Down the hallway, she saw the environmental controls panel - that had been her objective. In between it and her, a green, oversized gremlin of a woman that had put her on the ground in the first place. Ghant was squated above Lieutenant Wilde, who'd been grotesquely disfigured by a vicious-looking blade in her hand. It wasn't clear if he was conscious or not, but he certainly wasn't present mentally any longer - there was no sign of recognition or presentness in his expression. Most likely, he had no idea Maria was back on her feet. Maria could barely stand to look at the carnage. She bravely proclaimed her resurgence to the pirate queen, who no doubt was moments away from turning disfigurement into killing.
Alvarez: You're right, you know.
Maria cautiously closed the distance this time, the change in behavior either borne of idiotic recklessness or a dangerous new approach to the fight. Her voice was steady, in contrast to her usual banter. Her focus sanded down to a point. She imagined her movements backed by a horn solo that heralded the finale of a massive orchestra work for all the grace they bore.
Alvarez: We are alike aren't we? Two people that gave everything away to a whole other life. Our hearts, our souls, our bodies. Two people stripped down to nothing. The difference is what you found at your core was hate and cynicism. What a dark world you must live in - where you refuse to see the mind-boggling beauty and complexity right in front of us every day. Where we're different is you've decided to destroy everything around you, no matter how precious. Riches and infamy mean nothing if you've lost yourself. I believe in something more than that. That's who I am. Call me an idealist, but it's true. Starfleet is definitely imperfect, but at their heart they believe there's something more too. Can you say the same?
That dangerous blade whizzed through the air at Maria, but she was already simply gone from the space she'd just occupied. Maria knew it was going to be coming. Her elegant movement was orchestrated by the growing symphony she imagined in her mind's eye. Orion women's prowess with a blade was nearly legendary, their ability to defend themselves with deadly viciousness proven many times in history. Still, the attack seemed so obvious, so brazen and filled with bloodlust as to be predictable. Ghant's movement had triggered something almost autonomic in Maria, like a response programmed in - something she'd practiced hundreds, if not thousands of times. It finally clicked what that nagging familiarity about Ghant had been. Her lessons on Orion courtier dances flooded to the forefront of her mind from the recesses of her memory for the first time in many years.
Alvarez: You were wrong about something else, though. This is a dance. I can't believe I didn't notice earlier with your reverence... you prefer the late 22nd century style courtly dances, don't you? That hasn't been in fashion for a while. Amazing you've held onto it despite having fought your way out.
Maria weaved simply out of the way, avoiding another hate-fueled exchange. It was a surreal moment to her, as if she was passively observing her body perform without more than a suggestion of what to do. Her mental orchestra swept her into motion, motivating each move as if it was always meant to be. Maybe it was the lack of sleep? Or the fact her body had been terribly abused affecting her prefrontal cortex? No, that was just a made up piece of anatomy. She spoke like a woman possessed, as much for herself as her opponent.
Alvarez: You see? Point, put, pivot, ball-change, forward pitch, so forth... with the thrust on the changes in momentum. Easy. :: Her whole face lit up in a stupid grin. ::
Maria's forearm intercepted the knife's trajectory towards her with aplomb, redirecting the energy away from her body. She finally returned the favor after Ghant's overly aggressive attack opened her center and hips. Maria's heel connected at full force with the side Ghant had been avoiding, sending the Orion wheeling back in apparent pain. The ensign had somehow, almost impossibly, wrested control of the situation, and Ghant had to know it too. Maria's universe seemed to contract down to a spotlight on herself and adversary, scored by thunderous instrumentation. A slight smile graced her face again as she shook her head, as if disbelieving how this was unfolding.
Alvarez: Ironic really - you're about to be finished by your own history, and me saved by mine. :: Her face softened. :: It's not too late. You can still stop this.
Maria pounced on Ghant's rush, producing a confusing tangle of blows. The fight between the two women devolved into an ugly, sloppy struggle. In the muddling mess, Maria finally captured Ghant's knife hand in wrist lock, having imagined that it would have ended the fight. It did not. Ghant's ill-advised attempt at wriggling free ended in her arm broken, and a loose knife still in play. It wasn't clear how to Maria, but the knife made its way into her hands. In the mad rush to control it, the blade was suddenly embedded to the hilt in Maria's attacker. The fight stopped as abruptly as it had begun. The no longer fresh-faced ensign from ops stepped back, surprised. Her eyes met with Ghant's - it wasn't a look she'd forget any time soon.
Alvarez: :: Breathing heavily. :: Maybe starfleet isn't all the same, eh?
Maria watched as the Orion woman came to an end she hadn't really imagined. It wasn't that she didn't know this could happen, or wasn't capable of dealing with it, but it was still shocking in every sense of the word. She knelt and paid her respects, remembering an appropriate verse of High Orion she'd learnt a lifetime ago. Her own exhaustion started accelerating rapidly, and she still had one more thing to do.
She rose back to her feet, every step feeling ten times harder than it should have. Her eyes locked on the environmental controls panel she'd came down here for, still much further down the hallway than she'd like. Somewhere along the way, she stumbled, and caught herself on the wall. Her side hurt something fierce. She absentmindedly touched it, to find her own blood drawn from a nasty wound there. She must have not realized she'd been sliced in the heat of the moment. She smiled darkly and slightly deliriously.
Alvarez: Well, that's not good... What about my dance tomorrow?
She moved on, paying the wound no attention. Her long fingers finally grasped on to the manual release, and she turned. The locking mechanism creaked as it pivoted, finally locking and hissing into place. She crowed her success right before her knees gave from under her. Finally.
Alvarez: Computer, run program
Computer: Program executed.
It was an anticlimactic end to be sure, but effective. All over the ship, the remaining pirates would be put to sleep, and wake up for a nice stay in a Federation prison somewhere. Maria grimaced as she propped herself up against the wall. Her body finally just quit on her - she wasn't going anywhere. She was tired beyond belief. Her hand went to hold on to her wound to slow the bleeding.
Maria's attention was drawn back to the end of the corridor, with a massive strapping man clearing the bulkhead. He knelt down and attended to Wilde, examining the slain pirate barely a meter from away as well. Maria simply listened in, hoping to hear the Lieutenant was okay.
Serinus: =/\= Security Chief to all hands. I need a medical
team, and an emergency repair team to Deck 2 section Two-Bravo A.S.A.P.
Serinus: =/\= Serinus to Captain Shayne. =/\=
Shayne: =/\= response =/\=
Serinus: =/\= Sir, Eru Ghant has died. Wilde is injured, and we have at least two blown bulkheads down here. =/\=
Shayne: =/\= response =/\=
Serinus: =/\= She certainly seems dead. And I think he'll pull through. But I'm a security officer, not a doctor Captain. =/\=
Maria breathed a heavy sigh of relief. At least her deadly duet hadn't been for nothing.
Shayne: =/\= response =/\=
Serinus: =/\= Aye, Captain. Serinus out. =/\=
Maria struggled for a moment, thinking she might be able to stand again and rejoin the security chief, but it wasn't to be. She summoned the strength to call out.
Alvarez: Name's Maria Alvarez. You said you're Serinus, right? Security?
Alvarez: Fantastic to meet you, L-T. I'll just be over here if you need anything, okay?
She grinned and chuckled, then winced from the pain. Irrepressible to the last.
The Lieutenant's words seemed awfully far away. Maria was fully ready to be done with the present, and process everything another day.
Alvarez: Oh, I'll be fine. Take care of Wilde. I'll just take a nap if that's good with you. It's been a long day...
Maria closed her eyes, the bliss of the darkness her eyelids brought a sort of comfort to her, quickly slipping her brain further and further towards unconsciousness. Her speech was anything but lucid.
Alvarez: Come on, just a few minutes! It won't kill me...
Maria was already asleep by the time the security chief finished talking, dreams filled with imaginings of some other faraway land. Her time awake, clocked in just over 54 hours, finally came to an end.
(Tags: Brom/Nakada, Ghant, Serinus)
Ensign Maria Alvarez
Ops Officer, USS Arrow