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Right Place, Right Time

Posted on Wed Jun 27th, 2018 @ 3:52pm by Lieutenant Jason Eldridge

Mission: Traitorous Endeavours
Location: Near The Solaria Fleet
Timeline: MD 18 - 11:00

Their ship was small, so Jace had held little hope of them being found by another Colonial vessel. They had jumped several times in their attempt to evade Cylon detection, but with each FTL trip the ship's structural integrity deteriorated. He knew it wouldn't be long until he and his handful of fellow survivors would either be blown to oblivion when found by the enemy, or succumb to the harsh vacuum of space once life support failed, or if the bulkheads around them decided to fail completely.

But they were in luck. DRADIS was only just functioning and had picked up the signal of a large fleet of ships, barely recognising their Colonial signatures. If there was anything to convince Jace that the gods certainly do exist, this was it. The other indication was the day he found out he'd passed his final specialist exams, which had been a mere eight months ago.

It was soon apparent to himself and the very few surviving crew of the Panacea that the fleet's lead vessel was the massive Battlestar, bearing the name Solaria. The IFF transponder confirmation process seemed to take forever, but eventually a Raptor was sent to retrieve them. But for their most critically injured crew member, the rescue may have arrived too late.

"I'll squeeze the first unit through. Tighten that pelvic binder another notch."

It was a small group of rescuers - two Marines and two paramedics, all heavily-geared. All efforts were focused on the one casualty, a man in his thirties who'd lost footing at the second level of the cargo hold during one of their escape jumps. Both legs broken, the jagged end of bones sticking out from open wounds. Presumably the three metre fall had trashed his pelvis as well, the cause of significant internal bleeding. Ruptured bulkheads made access to the Panacea's sickbay impossible, and so there was nowhere to go.

"You're a doctor, yeah?"

"What? Yeah... yes, I am," Jace nodded.

"You gonna be okay to lead this?" the medic asked.

He gave it some thought. He'd just been asked to take over command of the situation - a fair expectation from the young medic, whose name was James, or Jamie, or something rather... As an emergency physician, he was the most medically skilled person in the room.

"I..." he hesitated, wondering for a moment whether he was in the right frame of mind to lead the team. He finally gave a nod. "Yeah, can do. I'll take over airway. If one of you can put in a second large-bore line and run another litre through, we'll try to keep his GCS high enough until we reach your sickbay. You guys have got a functioning sickbay, yeah?"

"We sure do."

There'd been little time to allow for proper medical evac procedure and protocol. Much of it was maintaining their patient's airway, ventilation and hemodynamics, pushing the gurney into the Raptor cabin, and making a run for it. There were only five survivors, and the Panacea was damaged well beyond salvation. This was a one-way trip. No turning back.

The trip to the Solaria's sickbay felt unnecessarily long. Perhaps it was a warped perception of time Jace experienced whilst on the Raptor, brought forth by a flurry of emotions - shock, relief, anxiety and (still) fear. The rest seemed to move by quickly - the hangar bay, flight deck staff, the well-lit corridors.

Solaria's medical team took over, a small crowd of people all wearing isolation gowns and gloves. A nurse, or at least someone he presumed to be a nurse, gently led him away from the frenzied scene that began to play out within the resuscitation bay. The kind of scene he'd spent years training to command and control, yet now he felt completely numb and unable to help.

"I'm Chief Cannava. I'll be your corpsman today. Have a seat, sir. Are you okay?"

Jace's mind was in a whirlwind. First came the nuclear attacks. Everyone he knew and loved from Virgon and beyond, gone in an instant. Then their ship's frantic attempt to escape Cylon interceptors, the damage they'd sustained, casualties mounting. And then two weeks of unending evasion tactics - countless FTL jumps, sensor sweeps, hiding within debris fields of metal wreckage and frozen bodies.

"Can you tell me your name, sir?"

"Jace," he finally said, almost in a cough. "Jason Eldridge."

She pulled the dark blue privacy curtains around them. A pair of trauma shears began cutting away at the fabric of his grimy shirt. "Just gonna take this off so we can examine you properly, okay?" she said, her voice somewhat monotone yet soothing at the same time. "Are you in any pain? Anywhere?"

He looked down at himself, inspecting his own body. "Umm..." Streaks of dried blood stained over his hands and forearms. More of it was soaked within the dark trousers he'd been wearing the past two weeks. "I'm all right," he said, three words that seemed to take all the effort he had in him to utter.

"Are you sure? You don't look all right."

"I'm... I'm fine," he said. "Just a headache."

She began inspecting his face, both her gloved hands reaching out to turn his head so she could get a better look. She made several reports of her findings to the petty officer working alongside her, who was documenting everything. A few cuts and grazes that Jace knew about. Nothing serious.

"Were you the only civilian on board the Panacea, or were there others?"

"I'm... a Lieutenant. A doctor with the Fleet Reserve," he said, although he presumed the Reserves were no longer. He knew the devastated Twelve Colonies were now at war, without needing to hear any official declaration from Caprica. Everyone would now be considered active personnel.

She stiffened up a little. "My apologies, sir. I didn't know."

"It's fine..." he said, voice trailing off. His civilian clothing was the result of having been invited as a speaker for a medical education seminar on the Panacea before the attack. It was a joint Fleet and civilian program where he'd been asked to provide a presentation on behalf of the hospital he worked at, the Royal Boskirk. Little did he expect the invitation to have saved his life.

"Look, you should probably help out in there instead," he suggested, pointing roughly in the direction of the resus bay he'd just been taken past. "Honestly, I'm okay."

But she did not budge. "Sir, you've got a decent laceration over your eyebrow here," she tapped gently over his head with a finger. "Our trauma team is doing just fine without me at the moment, so my job right now is to make sure you're taken care of, sir. At least let me have a look at this cut, irrigate it and decide if it'll need sutures. Okay?"

The petty officer had been silent this whole time, and reached out to clip a probe over Jace's finger. "Just gonna grab a set of vitals, sir."

He sat quietly as the two medics worked around him. Poking and prodding gently, and a few more questions. All the while he listened to the tense voices across the hall. Strained reports of a falling blood pressure, and a faltering cardiac rhythm. He heard orders for more transfusions, and the names of medications reserved only for the sickest patients.

"Sir, look at me." Chief Cannava grabbed his attention again, briefly placing her hands on both sides of his face. "Focus on your breathing. Try to calm down. You're safe now, and we're here to help you. Just want you to lie down over the bed now, carefully..."

He nodded. "All right, okay."

An overwhelming fatigue began to wash over him. He'd not been given any medications, but rather it was the toll of the past few weeks finally catching up. Closing his eyes, he finally felt safe enough to dose off, letting go an immense burden of worry as the corpsman quietly attended to his injuries.

Dr Jason Eldridge
Emergency Physician
Colonial Fleet


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