Captain T.E. Lawrence had certainly been in worse situations, but at
the moment, she was hard pressed to think of one. For now, all she could
do was concentrate on keeping it together until she was found. She had
no doubt that at this very moment, her crew was scouring the area for
the lost landing party. More than likely, a certain colonel was
spearheading the operation.
"Just don't… take too. . . long, T.J.," she said in a voice that was
only a weak whisper. She fought to stay awake but Lord, it would feel so
good just to close her eyes and rest for a few minutes. She was so
'Excalibur," she whispered over her EV's communicator again. She had
been trying to make contact ever since she'd gotten trapped beneath
S329's surface. So far, her hails went unanswered, but she continued to
try, if only to keep herself awake.
"Kora? Answer... my damn hail! Bleeding… I'm really... bleeding.
Excalibur? Excalibur?" Her eyes slowly closed.
Captain Donaree didn't realize just how close one of the three
creatures to her right had gotten until one of the Red Dragons beside
her was hooked by it's claws. The marine screamed as the alien's
pinchers cut his body in half. She whirled around to attack, but just at
that moment the creature swung its tail in her direction knocking her to
the ground. Several security officers and Marines immediately surrounded
her, firing their phaser rifles and sending the remaining two aliens to
their death. They picked up the Captain and dragged her to cover behind
some large boulders.
"Thank you," she uttered as she tried to catch her breath. Through
her EV communicator she contacted COL Floss aboard the Saratoga.
"Floss, Donaree here. I need some firepower down here now! There's a
hell of a lot more of these creatures coming up from underground."
"Right away, Captain."
"And Floss, where is McQueen?"
"He's helping dig Lawrence out, sir. They found a tunnel that they
think she's trapped in."
"Excellent! Send the fighters in. Donaree out."
Moments later, Colonel Morrison charged across the clearing with six
of the Blue Devils behind him. They ducked in behind the boulders where
Donaree and her team were once again firing at the oncoming enemy.
Several of the Devils started firing at three of the creatures that
managed to circle around behind their group. After the combined group
took out most of the aliens closest in range, Morrison was finally able
to get the captain's attention.
"We've come to take you to a safer location, sir."
"Thank you, Colonel. I've called for my fighters to lay down some
heavy firepower in the area. I think it would be wise for us to vacate
Captain Donaree and the troops made it back to where a group of the
Excalibur and Saratoga’s crew was trying to dig Captain Lawrence out of
the tunnel. At the present moment, she wasn't communicating at all.
However, when they'd first begun their excavation, sporadic and
progressively incoherent messages had given them a frightening, although
frustratingly limited, picture of Lawrence's condition. Dr. Natevera was
certain of one thing, if they didn't get her out of there soon, she was
afraid Lawrence's chance of survival would be limited. Everyone pitched
in digging, working against time to save their friend. Several more of
the aliens invaded the area and they frequently had to stop digging in
order to defend themselves. McQueen kept a careful watch on his captain
making sure she was safe.
"Captain, can you hear me?" Kora listened, but once again only
silence greeted her. "God, she has to be okay!"
Morrison stepped forward. "Let me try, Doc. Maybe I can get through
"Say anything you want. Just get her talking to us."
"Tanya! You speak up now!" Tyler ordered. His voice boomed through
the tinny mike. "Come on now. I need to know you're okay."
They both listened intently. Suddenly Kora grabbed Morrison's arm.
"Hold on... I think I hear something."
"T ...T...Tyler?" Lawrence's voice was barely a whisper.
"That's right, Tanya. You keep talking to me now."
"Find out her status," Kora quickly told him. She had a death grip on
"Tell me where you're hurt, Red."
"Bad... leg... b...b...bleeding. Bone thr...through skin. Tired. I'm
s... so tired."
Kora turned to Morrison. "She's bleeding out down there, Colonel. You
have to keep her talking. You can't let her fall asleep." She could see
the fear in his eyes when he nodded.
"Hey, Red, you have your nerve just lying around down there while we
do all the work." Morrison couldn't quite keep the stress he was feeling
from his voice.
"Ty...Tyler? I'm so c... cold."
"I know, just hang in for a little bit longer. We'll be there soon.
Just think about how nice and warm you're going to feel when you’re back
aboard the Excalibur. He shut out everyone and everything until his
world consisted of just the two of them.
If he could keep her alive by sheer willpower, he would do it. "You
have to keep awake Red. Do you hear me? You have to hang in there. Can
you do that, Red? Can you hold on for just a little while longer?" His
voice broke as his emotions suddenly overwhelmed him. He looked at the
group working to dig her out and silently implored them to succeed. He
couldn't lose his captain.
"Tyler? If I ... if I don't... you know... ff... If I don't make
"Don't talk like that," he snapped. "You're going to make it. I won't
let anything happen to you."
"I... I… T.J.?" Her voice was so faint now he could barely hear her.
Once again he turned toward the group that was digging the tunnel to
"You have to work faster! Dig faster!"
Several minutes later one of the crew yelled out, "I can see her!
She's in a very small area... Oh God!"
"What? What is it?" Kit yelled.
"One of the creatures is tunneling in from the other side! I can see
its head poking through!" It was one of his men in the hole.
"Can you get a good shot?" This came from McQueen.
"NO! There isn't enough room for me to get my rifle up. Oh Mary,
Mother of God!"
Kit quickly looked at the officers and marines standing around her
She spotted one woman who was much smaller than the rest. She pointed to
her and beckoned for her to come forward.
"What's your name, Commander?"
"Travis... Kate Travis, sir."
"Travis, you're the smallest crew member here. Crawl in that hole and
take out that bastard in there before it gets to Lawrence. Do you think
you can do it?"
"I'll do my best, sir."
Kit turned to the dug out hole and ordered the marine to come out
pronto. Kate started her crawl into the small tunnel holding the phaser
rifle in front of her. When she reached the area where Captain Lawrence
was lying, her mouth went dry as she stared in shock at the sight before
her. The creature had tunneled through enough to have one of its
pinchers on the captain's facemask. If she didn't make the shot right
away, the captain would be dead in seconds. She took aim and fired at
the alien's eye first. The creature let out an ungodly screech and
jerked back out of sight. Kate was ready when he moved into the hole
again. She fired off at least five shots in deadly succession. She knew
it was definitely overkill but she wasn't about to take any chances with
the captain lying there helpless.
Hearing the repeated phaser fire inside the tunnel, Morrison
panicked. He couldn't take not knowing what the hell was going on
anymore. He broke from the crowd and ran toward the hole. It took both
McQueen and Nighthunter to hold him back.
"Sir, you can’t do anything right now but stay out of the way. Kate's
an expert shot. She'll get the job done," Nighthunter assured him.
Morrison continued to struggle to get free. "She fired six rounds so
far," he snarled as he finally managed to shove Nighthunter out of the
way. "The damn thing's obviously not going down!"
"Stand down, Morrison," Kit yelled when he moved toward the hole.
"There's not a damn thing any of us can do until Travis gets back up
"He can give me a hand up," came Travis' muffled request.
Morrison reached down and grabbed hold of Kate's feet and hauled out
of the hole. She grinned up at him and pointed a grubby thumb in the air
to show victory. A cheer filled the air and as she stood up, several of
the crew surrounded her. Then it was back to business digging the hole
larger so Kora Natevera could get to Lawrence and prepare her for beam
"I need to get meds down there to T. E. right away," Kora told
Donaree and a very anxious Morrison. "I have to stabilize her before we
can bring her out."
"Do what you have to, Doc. And tell her I'm waiting up here for her,"
he added quietly.
"Will do, Colonel. I'm sure she will be glad to hear it."
Dr. Natevera hummed tunelessly as she took another long look at the
"Kora, will you stop hovering," T.E. grumbled. "I'm fine. Go do
something else to keep yourself busy."
"Listen missy, you may be the Commanding Officer of this ship but at
the moment you're in my personal little domain. I'm in charge around
here. Now settle down and get some sleep."
"How can anyone sleep with all the yakking going on?" Morrison was
stretched out on the bed across the aisle from the Captain's. He had a
deep cut on his forehead and his left arm was bandaged.
Natevera turned around to face him. "That goes for you too, Colonel.
I gave in and put your beds close by, but let me warn you, I can just as
easily have them moved."
"You better be quiet Tyler," T.E. said with a laugh. "She has the
temper of a Denedian slime devil."
Kora couldn't help but smile. "OK, I'll leave you two alone. Please,
try and get some sleep." She headed for her office on the other side of
The night nurse was in Natevera's office looking over the med doses
when the doctor came in.
"ENS Sinclair, I'm going to turn in now. If you need me you know
where I'll be."
"Of course, Dr. Natevera, but things have pretty much quieted down
now. You've been up for almost twenty hours straight. You have to get
some sleep before you end up in one of your own beds out there," Selina
said with a warm smile.
"I would make a terrible patient," Kora laughed.
"Not any worse than our two star patients," Selina said with a nod
toward Lawrence and Morrison. "If I didn't think I might end up in the
Brig, I'd put both of them in stasis for the night."
Kora was still laughing at the picture Selina conjured up as she
walked out of Sickbay.
Tyler was restless. He moved his legs several times and then sighed.
"What's the matter?" T. E. whispered.
"I can't sleep," he grumbled
"Me either. Hey," she said after a moment. "Do you want to blow this
Tyler sat up. "Are you serious?"
"Tanya Elizabeth Lawrence, I love your style." He was grinning as he
quietly got out of bed. He helped T.E. get up and led her out of
Sickbay. They were quite a sight with him holding her with his good arm
and her hopping on one leg.
"Isn't this fun?" T.E. giggled as they slowly made their way down the