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tagSci-Fi & FantasyAll That Glitters Ch. 17

All That Glitters Ch. 17


All That Glitters -- Ch 17

Pirates! Again, damn it!

Things are coming to a head, no not the navy head, a head of steam.

Because of the amount of abbreviations in this story, I include a glossary. By popular request, this has been moved to the end of the chapter.

There is little attempt to explain the back story, so it is necessary to read previous chapters to fully understand where we are.

As before, I claim sole responsibility for the story line. This story is a fantasy, with no basis in reality. Any similarity that you may perceive to current events, people, or situations real or imaginary is completely unintended. Look no further than the story line for its intent and purpose.

A big shout out to SaddleRidder for all the help she has provided in editing. With her guidance, I'm making fewer and fewer errors, but she still finds them. If you find any errors still left in this chapter, they are mine.

Please rate and comment. But keep your comments respectful. If you rant and rave or are disrespectful in your commentary, it will be deleted.

'Nuff said...enjoy.

Hospital, Liramor-23 Mining Platform, Piscium System, 106 Light Years from Terra

Heyya was having the time of her life. As a senior nurse, she had helped set up medical bays of all types, but she had never had the pleasure of 'owning' the bay she was setting up.

Director Marsh had come through for Heyya and, effectively, for the platform's hospital. She had made Heyya the head of a dedicated trauma ward. The platform had many instances of traumatic injuries but did not have a dedicated trauma bay. This was one issue that Fiona had always wanted to rectify. Now that she had an extra doctor, and one who had teethed on trauma over the years, she decided it was time.

Mining in space was dangerous work and the platform had to deal with at least one life threatening trauma per month. The injuries tended to upset the routine of the hospital as everything had to stop to work on the trauma victim(s). A dedicated space and staff meant that the hospital could continue its work while the trauma was being dealt with.

Dr. Heyya had made requisition after requisition to set up her ward. It had nine beds, all of which could handle miners in full EVA gear. It had both anti-grav lifts and tackle and chains to move miners in the heavy EVA suits around.

Heyya demanded and received three 'jaws-of-life' that could be used to crack open EVA suits as needed. She had multipurpose power saws, and even had simple pry bars to help get the patient out of the EVA suits.

The goal of the trauma ward was simple: get the patient into the ward, strip them out of their EVA suits or other clothing, and begin treating the injuries within five minutes of entering the ward. Once the patient was stabilized, they would be shunted into the Intensive Care Unit until they could be released into the general ward. To do this, the trauma ward was literally a mini-surgery. Everything they needed to work anything from penetration wounds to amputations was available and ready.

It did not take long for the new ward to be needed when a miner's arm was crushed by a lose rock. The miner was wheeled down the corridor towards the new entrance to the trauma ward, the door already opened in anticipation.

As soon as the miner was delivered, two nurses sealed the surgery and began sterilization procedures, while two others began to extract the miner from her EVA suit.

Because the miner's left arm was crushed inside the suit, they couldn't pull it from the damage suit arm, so the suit arm was detached from the suit and left in place until they were ready. The patient was quickly stripped of her clothing and placed under a blanket. She was given plasma and limited pain killers until they could obtain consent from her to proceed with whatever was necessary, up to and including amputation.

Heyya and the senior nurse were looking at holo-images of the damages caused by the crushing, trying to determine if they could save the arm. But several of the larger and secondary arteries in the arm had been completely destroyed. It would be better, in Heyya's estimation, to remove the arm and prep it for regeneration.

Heyya stepped into a small alcove and contacted the CMO.

"Mark, it's bad," Heyya began. "The left arm is crushed from the mid point of the humorous all the way down to the wrist. Crushing has mangled the suit's arm with that of the miner's arm. We can get the pieces out, but that would take eighteen to twenty-four hours to separate suit material, bone, muscle matter, and flesh.

"The entire blood system in the crushed area is almost completely destroyed. Even if we could get the mess sorted, there is nothing to promote healing. Best if we detach the arm above the injury and prep if for regeneration," Heyya finished.

"Right, Heyya," Dr. Mark Ronda replied. "I'll need to go right to Director Marsh on this. I'll get back to you in five."

"That's all I can wait on, Mark," Heyya replied. "I have to start removing the arm soon or risk problems feeding back into the shoulder. If that occurs, then we could have some real issues."

Mark didn't bother going to Central Command, he contacted Fiona directly on his comp, one of the few people on the platform that could do so.

A 3D image of Fiona's face hovered above his wrist. "What's happening, Mark?" she asked.

"Crushing injury has literally destroyed the left arm," Mark advised her. "We will have to amputate. We will need platform authorization for seeding for regeneration."

"Right, you have my approval to do whatever is necessary to save the miner's life and prep her arm for regeneration. I'll have the CLO and HR write up a contract for the miner immediately for regeneration. I'm sure you're recording this, so give a copy to both the trauma ward and to the patient as confirmation until we get the contract in place."

"Thanks, Fiona," Mark replied. "It will be a couple of hours before we have everything completed. I'll send you a report as soon as she is out of trauma and into ICU." He closed off and called Heyya.

"Heyya, Mark, I'm sending you a copy of my discussion with Dir. Marsh. Use it as legal authority. Written confirmation to follow. Make a copy for the patient's file. Do what you can for her, Heyya."

Heyya flicked the image of the conversation to a holo-monitor so all those in the trauma center could hear and see the exchange. She sent a copy to the patient's file. "Deloris, it's Dr. Heyya. How are you doing?"

"Hurts," the young miner replied.

"I know," Heyya replied. "We have given you something for the pain, but we can't give you anymore until we are ready for surgery. We are going to have to amputate your arm, Deloris. There's nothing left of the blood system to help the healing process."

"You're going to take my arm," a frightened and confused Deloris replied.

"It's OK," Heyya soothed her. "We have no choice, Deloris, but we can make sure you are seeded for regeneration. We are authorized to do that for you. However, we need your consent to proceed.

"Look at your arm, Deloris, see how bad it is. You cannot use it like that, and we cannot fix it. You are going to lose the arm, best if we prepare you for regeneration. Will you allow us to do that, Deloris?" Heyya asked her patient.

"Will I get it back?" Deloris asked, still confused.

"Do you remember Sean Murphy?" Heyya asked. "The miner who lost his legs last year?"

"I remember," Deloris admitted.

"Sean will be back on the platform soon," Heyya told her. "He had both of his legs regenerated and is finishing his physiotherapy to regain all his strength and balance.

"It will take awhile, maybe six months or more, but you will have your arm back, just like Sean now has his legs back." Heyya finished.

"We need your permission to proceed, Deloris. Do we have it?" Heyya asked her gently.

Deloris was looking at her arm, still trapped in the mangled wreckage of her suit. She knew the arm was lost, but she was still confused. The shock, the pain, the medication, and the situation itself was making it difficult for her to think straight, and time was running out. Heyya had to move fast but, because Deloris was still conscious, she needed her permission to proceed. She couldn't wait for Deloris to lose consciousness, as she would be too close to death.

"Deloris, you have to tell us if you want us to proceed," Heyya spoke gently to the frightened woman. "Will you allow us to help you? Will you allow us to do whatever is necessary to save your life, Deloris?"

Deloris nodded her head.

"You have to tell us, Deloris, you have to say it out loud. Do we have your permission to proceed?" Heyya asked again.

"Yes, you have my permission to proceed. Please give me my arm back." Deloris said.

"We'll make sure you are seeded for regeneration. You will get your arm back," Heyya reassured her.

"OK, Deloris, we are going to put you to sleep now," Heyya told her. "We'll speak again soon."

A moment later, the woman was out. The team began to cut the suit arm from around the surgical site, readying her arm for amputation. There was no need to peel the rest of the mangled suit from the crushed arm.

Interplanetary News Services, Planet Hanover, Karen System, Seventy Light Years from Terra

Peter Broaden, news director for Interplanetary News Services on Planet Hanover, was waiting impatiently for Cynthia Stewarts latest news reports. The reporter was a growing star for Interplanetary News. Her reports were insightful, direct, and she had a nose for those items that would pique the interest of many of the viewers.

From the new Princess Class fast-ships, to the Battle of Liramor-23, she had provided many hours of news for the service. Now, a new large folder had arrived.

Peter opened the folder and noted several clips most of which were several hours long. The shortest were two twenty minute clips. There were no clues as to what the clips were about other than a numbering layout.

Peter sighed. It would be a long day then. He opened one the short clips and watched it for all of five minutes before leaving his chair and shouting down the hallway to his station boss, Producer Frank Cassie.

He queued up the clip again, ready for Frank as he came rushing into Peter's office.

"You're going to want to be seated before I open this," Peter told him.

When Frank was ready, Peter started the clip again.

The pair watched half of the news items some of which were two hours long. They left the longer ones for later.

The look Frank gave Peter told him everything.

"Talk about using a pulse cannon," Peter quipped.

"Peter, this is going to be a Union-wide simulcast," Frank told his news director.

"No shit," Peter returned.

Interplanetary News Services, Terra

Senior producer, Jack Mannen had called his senior producers and directors together for an emergency meeting. That didn't happen very often, so they were all present and anticipating what Jack had to say. They were surprised when they were required to sign a non-disclosure agreement or leave the room.

"I received a series of news articles from Frank Cassie, Senior Producer on Planet Hanover, the station running Cynthia Stewart's news articles," Jack began with no preamble. "He has asked for a simulcast for a series of news items Union Wide. Normally, these kinds of requests are ignored. This one will not be ignored.

"I will play you a twenty minute clip, you will see why the recommendation was made."

Jack played them the twenty minute clip of Raymond Clark's initial brief to Lirmaor-23. No one said a word until the clip ended. Then, pandemonium broke loose.

Conference Room One, Liramor-23, Piscium System

The morning brief was solemn as the news of the loss of a miner's arm was passed along to all.

"What happened?" Fiona asked.

"We're not really sure," David Dent, SOps, admitted. "The ejected rock should never have been moving in that direction. We are trying to look at recordings to see what went wrong. All we know for sure, is that the ejected rock went off on a tangent to where it should have gone, and Miner Deloris Hamlin had her back to it. She never saw it coming. It hit her left arm and crushed it between a mining bot she was repairing. The bot is a write-off. The rock shattered and we have lots of little pieces of debris floating in the cage right now. It has to be cleaned up before we can start mining again.

"Fortunately, there was an ore survey ship on hand to bring her back to the station. Saved us ten minutes for getting something out to her. Probably saved her life." Dent finished.

"Right, priority one," Fiona began. "We need to figure out if this is a one of situation or if this is something that could happen again. No cleanup in that cage until we have all the answers.

"As that cuts into profits, we need those answers quickly. Make sure anything that's floating outside of that cage, is not going to intercept another cage. Get this resolved as fast as you can," Fiona ordered.

"CLO, HR, have we got the contract ready for Miner Hamlin?" Fiona asked.

"Yes, ma'am," the CLO replied. "HR will brief her the day after tomorrow. The contract is ready for your signature, Ms. Marsh."

"Put it in my priority mail list, and I'll send you both a copy once I have signed it," Fiona said. She made a mental note to herself to visit with Miner Hamlin a day or two after she was out of surgery.

"OK, people. The day started off bad, but we have work to do and other people to worry about besides Ms. Hamlin, who is currently receiving the best care we have available. Let's start the daily brief," Fiona finished.

Fiona ran through the sections heads and was pleased to note there were fewer problems of late, most centering around issues with the now twenty-five year old electrical systems.

The Piscium Defence Force was going to stage a small exercise in an outer quadrant of the system. They would be three hours light away during the exercise, but they would leave two ships on or near the platform.

They also had some good news for Fiona. The platform's Mk-48s were getting an upgrade in capability, part of the cost provided by the navy, and part provided by LMC. They would also get an upgrade to the now defunct weapons shield. Having a functioning shield was a priority for Fiona.

Pallanders was sending a ship out with maintenance people and parts to make the upgrades at the end of the week. Her staff was happy to hear that. That allowed Fiona to relax a little. The thought of another potential pirate attack had weighed heavily on her mind of late and any updates in defence capabilities was a big plus for her.

Dr. Hitron, was pleased to announce that the linguists had made a major breakthrough in translating the Piscium language in large part due to their version of a children's network. They estimated they could have a working translator in a couple of months.

Fiona was happy to hear that, especially after she virtually threatened the Dean of Faculty of Malton University on Terra. You want people to take notice? Hit them where it matters, in the bank account.

Zilina Smeldt, the head of the new mini-campus, was in the brief. She informed Fiona that the classrooms were ready and set up in accordance with the professor's specialties: sciences, health, math, communications, administration, literature, engineering, and technology.

"The professors are specialists within their fields," Zilina advised, "but have enough general knowledge in their fields to help any student that has problems with any portion of their online courses. We can also get the assistance of other professors back at Malton University to answer any questions our professors cannot. Your new FTL comms probes will allow us to receive an answer to most problems within a day, versus several days or a week previously.

"The Lirmaor-23 campus is ready for students," Zilina said with a smile.

"Good to hear that," Fiona said, smiling in return.

"Cynthia Stewart?" Fiona looked at the reporter.

"The news items on the aliens are set to be released today all over the Union," Cynthia told the briefing. "It should be interesting to see what happens. I have set inquiries to go through the navy at Folden Naval Station and through Liramor Holdings at Liramor Prime. I have also indicated in the stories that the scientific inquiry is at a delicate and sensitive nature at this time. Hopefully, that will give us a little freedom from the idiots but probably not the zealots.

"The story is being released with a news clip on the PV Scarlet Woman incident, now that they have gone through the court system on Liramor Prime. That should limit people trying to get into the system, but you know there will be fallout from this," she finished with a smile.

"Right, we have our day cut out for us," Fiona said, with a smile of her own. "We'll see what the fallout is. I want the Defence Force on ready standby starting twenty-four hours from now until the end of the week. I'm sure some idiot will ignore the advice of the experts. Have a good day people."

The Pollard, Pirate Flagship, Unnamed Star System, Sixty-Two Light Years from Terra

Adm. Maxwell Kittering was pissed, and his crew knew it. The drills meant to show that the fleet was ready for their new venture were breaking down left, right, and center. Instead of showing their readiness, the exercise was showing just how poorly prepared they were.

The Pollard's crew was now paying more attention to appeasing the admiral than to doing their jobs, as Kittering was known to kill people he was unhappy with, the downside of being a pirate.

Kittering was fuming at the obvious lack of coordination between his fleet. Mind, they were pirate vessels and pirate captains were a pretty independent lot, but they were going against a large target, and they needed to get it together. He brought his ships close to each other and opened a conference call between his captains.

"Well, that was pretty fucking shitty," he opened bluntly. "We are only going to get one shot at taking this platform. If we cannot coordinate better between our ships, we will not be able to do it and you, and I, will be replaced," he warned them.

Being replaced was a euphemism, as they only way pirate captains were replaced was when they died or were killed, sometimes by those who wanted to become the captain. Few pirate captains got to retire, all of them had to watch their backs.

"There are two known warships at the platform. We need to take them out and knock out the platform's electrical systems in order for us to prevent any kind of organized resistance by the platform's staff. Not that they would make much of a resistance for us, but I would rather they surrender with as little damage to them as possible. Healthy, undamaged slaves are worth more in the long run.

"That platform has over 8,000 staff. We have eight supply ships that can carry 500 each, plus loot. Our warships can carry a couple hundred more, each. That means we could have 5,600 slaves in our holds when we leave IF we take the platform without an issue.

"But right now, it's more likely that we won't even be able to open the fucking door to the privy!

"I give you a day to drill your ship's crews. If you haven't got it together by the next exercise, I'll replace the captains that fail." And with that, Kittering closed the link.

He had vented some, and it made him feel a little better. But now he needed something to take the tensions away. He snapped at his internal comms link.

"Bring me some slaves!" he shouted.

His staff moved quickly. They knew what he wanted. He wanted to vent his spleen. They would have three female slaves ready for him shortly. Despite the hardened nature of being a pirate, they pitted the women that would be chosen. If they were lucky, they would live. Or maybe that was the other way around...

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