The atmosphere on the Bridge was becoming decidedly unpleasant. Life support was running out. Quickly. Environmental controls had apparently been damaged too, because the temperature was rising just as fast the oxygen was dropping. It has passed the uncomfortably hot stage five minutes ago. And in ten minutes, when there was no more air to breathe, no one on the Bridge would be alive to care about the excruciating heat.
Harry Kim tried to wipe the sweat off his forehead. It didn't work because his hands were equally if not more slippery then his face. He settled for tossing the wet strands of hair away from his face, which didn't quite work either, because they were plastered to his forehead and wouldn't come off.
Harry gave up. He shifted in his boots, feeling the fabric of his uniform cling to his sticky body. He looked down at his console and wiped away some of the sweat that had dripped down on to it, obscuring the readings. Wiping it didn't help; it simply blurred the readings even more. Not that he needed to see the readings; he knew what they said.
Periodic explosions around the ship, among other things. Not deliberate, but the effect of phaser bolts hitting machinery and computer components, instead of the person they were meant for.
And here he was, with Tuvok, cowering on the Bridge. Well, maybe they weren't cowering. Tuvok certainly wasn't. He was working at his console, hands moving rapidly, although he hadn't had time to explain, in detail, what he was doing. They'd had a quick discussion after Harry had reported the failure of life support.
They hadn't come up with any way to crush the Maquis.
They'd come with many things they couldn't do.
They couldn't erect force fields in areas where there was heavy fighting, not without accidentally trapping any Star Fleet crew with any Maquis.
They couldn't beam the Maquis to a contained area; half of them weren't wearing comm badges.
And they couldn't stay on the Bridge.
Harry glanced at the chronometer to see how much time that they had left before it became hard, and then impossible to breathe.
Nine minutes, fifty-one seconds.
Harry glanced over at Tuvok, who had moved to one of the back Science Stations.
"Nine minutes, Tuvok."
Tuvok didn't reply, hands moving fervently.
"I am locking out Bridge controls," Tuvok said, walking back to his station.
He pressed one final button on his console.
Harry watched as Tuvok's console went dark, followed by his own, and every other station on the Bridge.
"Computer," Tuvok addressed.
There was an audible blip, signifying the computer was ready to receive instructions.
"Do no re-activate stations without authorization from myself, Captain Janeway, or Ensign Kim. Authorization TuvokGamma93Alpha81, mutiny situation.
The computer blipped again.
Tuvok stepped away from his station, walking toward the turbo lift, motioning for Harry to follow.
"We're abandoning the Bridge?" Harry asked, knowing it was coming but still finding the feeling even more distasteful than remaining idle at his station.
"For the moment," Tuvok replied, stepping into the turbo lift.
Harry followed, casting one last glance around the Bridge, eyes lingering on the spot where the Captain had fallen and the spot from which Chakotay had shot her.
It wasn't his last glance, he corrected himself. He would be returning to the Bridge after it was over, after the Maquis had gotten their collective ass kicked and learned that they would pay for what they tried to do.
What Chakotay did, especially.
"Even if the Maquis are able to restore life support to the Bridge, they will not be able to access the computer," Tuvok was saying.
"Good," Harry said distractedly. He watched the Bridge disappear as the doors to the turbo lift slid shut.
"Engineering," Tuvok told the computer.
The turbo lift began it familiar whir, the only sound to indicate its motion.
"Are the Maquis holding Engineering?" Harry asked, his thoughts turning to the aggressive Chief Engineer.
"I don't know," said Tuvok.
Harry took his phaser out of his belt, activating it.
The feelings of leaving the Bridge evaporated to make room for the apprehension that was filling Harry's heart.
He checked the setting of the weapon.
He found himself wondering about Tom. He knew Tom had been in Sickbay, a relatively safe place, when the mutiny had begun. He also knew that several people had tried to invade Sickbay, in the Doctor's words, but had been prevented.
Knowing Tom, he would be trying his damnedest to stay out of the fight and get off the ship.
Wherever he was, Harry hoped Tom was avoiding the fray.
In Sickbay, Tom felt something cold press into his neck.
"Hey," he muttered, trying to bat it away.
It stayed, and the coldness entered his neck, swimming under his skin.
He opened his eyes, seeing the Doc peering down at him.
Tom was feeling rather tired, and absurdly amused.
A helpless giggle escaped his throat.
The Doctor muttered something about lingering side effects, and pressed another hypospray into his neck.
Whatever was in that cleared up his inexplicable mirth and woke him up.
"I require your assistance, Mr. Paris."
"In ending this."
Part 39 | Index page