Star Trek Hunter
Episode 4: Run To Earth
Scene 9: Casualties
Justice Irons walked into the empty medical office and sat down across from her best friend’s desk. There was nowhere else to be at this moment. Nothing to do but wait. Her crew were doing their jobs. Her job now was to help the crew accept the casualties. She could only hope that this office was empty because there were living crew members being tended to in the two surgeries beyond.
After a very long five minutes, Dr. Tali Shae entered the room from the surgery. Irons could tell by her expression that something was terribly wrong. That and the wash of bitter emotion Tali brought into the room with her. Irons watched as the doctor slowly sat down - grief clear on her face. Irons simply waited.
“The tactical squad was training in the track on deck 5,” Tali Shae started. “They are all recovering. But T’Lok…” the doctor caught her breath.
Irons could feel her face responding with grief, but it felt like something that was happening on the surface of her face - it hadn’t made its way to her heart yet.
“She…” Dr. Shae caught her breath again. “She didn’t make it.”
Irons heard herself saying, “I want an autopsy. I want to know how she died.” Irons hated the coldness she heard in her own voice.
“I’ve already done that, Minerva,” the doctor responded. “She must have been the first exposed to space. As you know, a disruptor, unlike a phaser, carries a heavy radioactive backwash,” The doctor’s voice steadied and she took on a more clinical tone. “It doesn’t last long. From the wounds on T’Lok’s arms and legs, it looks like she spread-eagled on the breach, trying to keep from getting blown out. Her back was exposed to the radiation in backwash of the disrupter beam - it boiled her organs inside her.”
Irons felt the coldness settling in.
“She probably saved Jarrong and Belo Rys. They were ejected behind her, but by the time they hit space the radiation had dissipated. Dr. Jazz is re-attaching Belo Rys’s hand. She should have full use of it by tomorrow.” Tali Shae fell silent, then started to shake.
Irons finally managed to sort out a few words. She was still listening to herself saying them, as if part of her was in another room, listening in. “Tali… I didn’t know… You know, I didn’t realize how much of my hope for the future was invested in that young woman.”
Tali Shae tried to respond, but couldn’t.
Irons heard herself say, “I feel guilty… I can’t stop wishing that it was anyone else. I’ve been a starship captain for nearly eighty years. I’ve lost more crew members than we have serving on this boat. But this one… She should have lived another hundred and fifty years. All the wonders she should have seen… This is one horrible day.” Irons looked down and fell silent.
Dr. Tali Shae found her voice. “I felt the deck plates. I’ve never felt anything like it before. How fast are we traveling?”
“Warp eleven,” Irons responded, not understanding where this came from.
Tali Shae continued, “However you remember this day, Star Fleet will remember this as the first day a starship travelled above warp ten deliberately and under its own power. You’ve broken the biggest speed record. And if that drive works the way it’s supposed to work, you’re not tearing space apart - you’re repairing it.”
Irons laid her head back, staring at the ceiling. “We could have done that tomorrow.”
“Minerva, you’re going to have to tell the crew. I just don’t know how you do that. Everyone loves T’Lok. There is no one on this boat she didn’t comfort or hug or make laugh…”
Irons finally felt her voice as if it were her own again. “This one hurts.” She bit her lip, then managed, “a lot.”
Dr. Tali Shae and Justice Minerva Irons sat in silence for a few moments.
Without looking up, Tali said, “You know, you need to tell them about warp eleven. And the zip drive. And while we lost T’Lok, we saved four others.” Tali Shae looked up. “Minerva, we need to remember this as a good day. Dr. Carrera’s whole life has been about this. That whole engineering department - they’ve been working themselves to death making this happen. And they saved all our lives. We were able to run away.”
Irons felt a bitter laugh escape her. At that moment the communication system came alive, bringing the slightly mechanical voice of the Tactical Medical Hologram, Dr. Kim, into the room. The TMH sounded oddly excited: “Dr. Shae, they’re awake…”