Part 32

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Tom discovered the Jeffrey's Tubes were not the greatest place to be. Worse, perhaps, than the battlefield in the corridors. Some of the crew-both Maquis and Star Fleet-had decided not to brave the open spaces of the corridors, and instead take the fight into tight spaces where there was quite literally no place to hide and very little space to move in. Some were probably caught accidentally, like Tom, trying to find a safer route through the ship. The others were trying to shoot those people, who were defending themselves with vigor. It all worked out because the crew crawling through the tubes was trying to get to other parts of the ship and shoot the people there, anyway.

In the corridors, you could run.

In the narrow Jeffrey's Tubes, all Tom could do was hug the floor and hear the phaser bolts sizzle as they struck the walls and ceiling over his head. On the upside, in the Jeffrey's Tubes it was incredibly hard to hit a target when your victim crawled around the corner and was heard to be climbing onto the next deck.

Hard, not impossible.

Tom had to climb over one such unlucky person.

Very unlucky, he thought.

Until that person opened his eyes and brought his phaser to bear right in front of Tom's face.

It was only Tom's good fortune that being in shock significantly slows a person's reflexes, so that the crewman wasn't even aware he'd been relieved of his weapon until he was staring down the barrel of it.

Tom kept the weapon trained until he'd climbed completely over the injured man.

Tom had started to continue to the next deck, when he stopped and turned back.

"Hey, Grimes. Sickbay is two lefts and a right back. I left the hatch open."

The slurred response didn't sound much like a thank you, but Grimes started dragging himself slowly in the opposite direction.

The next deck was much quieter. Tom could hear weapons fire, but it wasn't in close vicinity. He was tempted to stay put.

He lost that idea immediately when he heard someone, an armed someone, begin to crawl towards him

"Alpha?" The person asked.

Tom held the phaser liberated from the injured Grimes, and backed away from the woman's voice.

"Alpha." It was a prompt.

A prompt for a code that the Star Fleet crew or Maquis crew had decided upon to identify friends in the Jeffrey's Tubes, where you definitely couldn't see the other person to decide if they were friend or foe.

"Alpha." Her tone was decidedly unsatisfied with his unresponsiveness.

Tom grabbed hold of the ladder to the next deck. Maybe he could make it up before she rounded the corner.

He made it up and half way through the hatch.

Then the woman below him fired.

Part 33 | Index page