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Title: Unprepared
Author: paleogymnast
Beta: calamitycrow
Fandom/Genre: Star Trek XI (aka Reboot), Gen
Characters: OC (central character), mentions of Bones, Spock, Sarek, Kirk, and T'Pau
Spoilers: Spoilers for some key plot elements of Star Trek XI
Rating: PG-13 for medical stuffs and discussion of (large scale) off-screen violence
Word Count: 999
Prompt: Written for a fic challenge at eliteofthefleet, an awesome competetive Star Trek comm (you should run, run to check out enlist_in_fleet now). The prompt was: Because Starfleet history (read: canon) tends to focus primarily on the bridge officers and senior staff, it's often easy to overlook the contributions of the other few hundred crewmembers who also work tirelessly to do their part in daily ship operations and completing missions. Your assignment is, in 300 - 1000 words, to rewrite an event from Star Trek XI from the point of view of a nameless, background Starfleet Cadet or Ensign (redshirt or otherwise).
A/N: This fic didn't win any awards, but I'm actually pleased with it (and shocked that I was able to edit it to under 1K and have it still make sense). Who knew I could write a short fic?
Disclaimer: Not mine; all recognizable characters belong to their respective owners; written for fun, not profit; no copyright enfringment intended.
Summary: Vicki Spool dreamed of being a Starfleet field medic and being a top-notch first responder to away missions gone awry. But nothing at the Academy prepared her for a disaster of this scale on the Federation Flagship.


Cadet—Acting Ensign—Vicki Spool, wearily ran her forearm across her brow, wiping sweat-and-soot-clumped bangs out of her eyes without contaminating her hands, the sleeve of her unfamiliar, blue tunic streaked with soot and the rust-brown tinge of drying blood. Great! she thought sarcastically. Now she could add a bleeding head wound to the interminable list of 'things wrong with today.' It was supposed to be an ordinary day. Graduation was still weeks away. Her practical in advanced emergency field medicine coming up, and she’d actually been looking forward to the shuttle ride and 3-day field test in the Sierra Nevadas.

But first there had been that assembly to deal with Cadet Kirk's cheating, and then the entire graduating class had been called up early and assigned to ships, and then they'd arrived at Vulcan late and—

Vicki looked down at her hands. They were shaking. Now, she was on the Enterprise. The rest of the armada was destroyed, Vulcan was gone, and here she was, in the hall outside the Auxiliary Sickbay because the main sickbay had been opened to space, taking Dr. Puri with it. The auxiliary bay was overflowing, and they were running out of floor space in the halls, people—burned, bleeding, crying, shell-shocked—lined both walls; some standing, most slumped on the floor. It didn't make sense. Four years of training as a field medic with top scores hadn't prepared her for this.

Field medics assisted away teams, rescued people from shuttle crashes, and provided lifesaving care to people stuck awaiting evacuation by medical shuttle. Not this... Not standing on the Federation flagship half in ruins while people moaned and bled around her, and the consoles sparked, and the biobeds’ life support kept crashing, feeling powerless while her friends and lovers from the past four years were either here in harms way alongside her or already dead, reduced to atoms, or maybe quarks and positrons and...

She was hyperventilating, her harsh pants bleeding through the buzz of mental static. Vicki slowed her breaths, steadying. How she wished for a wall to hold her up, but there was no way to even lean against the nearest bulkhead because the patients were two deep in front of it.

Right, patients she needed to treat. Blinking back the moisture—sweat or tears, she couldn’t tell—from her eyes, she dropped to a crouch in front an engineer with a singed tunic, his hands and arms covered with second- and third-degree burns. His console blew up in front of him. What a mess. Vicki suppressed a flinch as her medical tricorder whirred. He needed a day with a large-scale dermal regenerator, but all she could do was sterilize the wounds, run her handheld unit over the worst of the charred blisters, and apply pressure bandages.

Vicki wanted to apologize. It shouldn't be like this, not on the Flagship, not when he could wind up with scarring and permanent nerve damage from an otherwise-treatable injury. But the engineer seemed to understand, and Vicki was thankful.

She’d just finished up the bandages and was about to move on to the next patient, when the atmosphere suddenly changed.

A group of people was approaching with Comm—Acting Captain—Spock at the lead accompanied by an older Vulcan man she thought was Ambassador Sarek, his father. She’d heard Spock had rescued some of the Vulcan Elders before... That rumor, along with the news of Vulcan’s destruction, had made their way down to the Auxiliary Sickbay along with the casualties. This must be them, but where was Spock's mo—oh. Oh. She pushed away the realization. Her eyes shifted to take in the rest of the group: Jim Kirk and Lieutenant Sulu both looked like they’d gone 10 rounds with a crowd of angry Romulans, which might be true, if the rumors were accurate; Dr. McCoy, their Acting CMO, was bringing up the rear, helping along a limping, elderly Vulcan woman.

Everyone seemed to freeze, dermal regenerators clicking off, tricorders humming in their owners' distraction; all the patients who were able turned their heads to watch—it wasn’t gawking or staring, more reverent respect, sympathy from one group of grieving people to another, whose grief was so many orders of magnitude greater it defied comprehension. If they could, every being in that hall would stand and bow their heads.

The group was entering Sickbay, and it was like the world snapped out of slow motion—the heat, the acrid stench of singed flesh, the noise of klaxons blaring and people moaning, all came back to Vicki, as suddenly, Dr. McCoy turned to her.

"Ensign Spool, I need you to assist Elder T'Pau," he said grimly. As she stood, he passed the elderly woman into her care.

Vicki reacted instinctively, training kicking in where her conscious mind could not. She vaguely heard Dr. McCoy calling out to someone else as Vicki led the woman—T'Pau—into the Auxiliary Sickbay, the rigidity of the Elder's body belying her composed exterior, hinting at the physical and emotional pain hidden just beneath the surface.

Everything seemed to happen in fast-forward after that. People scattered and scurried out of the way, making room for the newcomers. Somehow, there was a free biobed for T'Pau, and Vicki helped her sit on it, beginning her examination as organized chaos raged in the background. As she ran the dermal regenerator over the abrasions on T'Pau's temple and hands and administered a hypo to ease the swelling in her sprained ankle, Vicki picked up on the action around them—Kirk getting his hand bandaged and Captain Spock pacing deep in contemplation, while Dr. McCoy tended to the more seriously wounded patients.

Her training hadn't prepared her for this, and it never should have happened, but as she met T'Pau's eyes and saw the gratitude there through the Vulcan mask of logic, Vicki realized that prepared or not, she was good enough, and in times like these, that was all that really mattered.

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Comments

( 4 comments — Leave a comment )
tattooedsappho
Mar. 6th, 2010 05:02 pm (UTC)
it made my all weepy the first time, and it did it again. ♥

i hope your happy stories evoke such emotions too hun! ;)
paleogymnast
Mar. 6th, 2010 07:22 pm (UTC)
Aw thanks so much! I'm glad you liked it. There was some really stiff competition in this challenge, so it's good to hear that someone (other than me) liked this. :)

And happy fic? What happy fic? I am not aware of any happy fic I have ever written... *scratches head* Uhh... I have one RPS story set in one long-running 'verse of mine that's not all angst and a few PWP stories that aren't so angsty... I guess they're happy? :D (I kind of write a whole lot of angst.)

Thanks again so much for reading and commenting!! :)

Edited at 2010-03-06 07:23 pm (UTC)
charlietinpants
Apr. 2nd, 2010 07:35 am (UTC)
Hm I actually really really liked this. Ensign Spool is an inspiration to ladies of starfleet everywhere =D

Edited at 2010-04-02 07:35 am (UTC)
paleogymnast
Apr. 2nd, 2010 07:44 am (UTC)
Alas it didn't do very well in the voting. But hey, I wrote something under 1000-words, which takes like divine intervention. Plus it was fun! And I had to work T'Pau in there somehow. Plus there totally needs to be Trek about the normal every day people. Forget normal every day starfleet; for a universe we have so many hundreds of hours of narrative time and BOOKs and reference manuals, we actually know next to nothing about how normal, everyday civilians live.
( 4 comments — Leave a comment )

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