The First

Characters: Katia Santiago, Miina Awenata, Dr. Mira Trassano

After leaving the bridge, Chief Engineer Katia Santiago immediately rushed to Engineering and began work on the relays necessary to make the electric current run through the hull of the Phoenix without causing any damage to the systems. It was imperative that they make the necessary alterations immediately, since no one knew when they would be encountering the mysterious force that had damaged Hale’s ship. Katia knew that it wasn’t an if situation, that it would be when they met up with the other ship or whatever it had been, and she wanted to be ready.

She called up to the bridge, and notified them that she estimated the time of completion would be 3.6 hours. Yoshino acknowledged Katia and the Engineers got to work. Now would be the time for Katia to see what Miina was capable of doing. The Chief Engineer had sent the new engineer off with Maenier to get the relays coordinated and Katia worked on the main transmission point in Engineering. All the techs worked furiously to finish the job, knowing it could mean the difference between life and death for them all.

In two hours and 46 minutes exactly, the Engineering Department had the relays ready and the main focal point in Engineering online. The relay teams were just doing some final adjustments on the systems and Katia was in contact with Maenier’s team. It was time to power up the system and make the final adjustments.

She had Yoshino on one end and Maenier’s team on the other when she said, “All right, everyone, I am powering it up!” Once the acknowledgments came in from both ends, Katia flipped the switch and the system started slowly sending the electrical pulses through the hull at a low enough frequency as to not cause any major damage to the self-repair systems or the organic material the hull was constructed out of.

Just as the teams started to congratulate themselves on a job well done, a short somewhere along the line cause sparks to fly from all points along the relay system. Everyone jumped to try and stop the overload, and Katia was just leaning over to shut it down when she heard over her comlink, “In Valen’s name!! Emergency Medical Team to Relay point one! We have one down!”

Katia recognized the voice as Miina’s and hurried to shut down the flow as she queried urgently, “Miina, what is going on down there? What happened?”

“Maenier is down! Not breathing!” The Assistant Engineer called out urgently as she started CPR and tried to restart the Minbari’s breathing and heartbeat.

“What?!? What happened down there?” Katia almost yelled out for clarification.

She heard one of the techs answer over the link, “He was making the final adjustments when all of a sudden the relay exploded and threw him against the far wall…he isn’t breathing!!”

Katia started running out of Main Engineering to the point on deck 6 where she knew the team was working. As she ran, she declared into her link, “I’m on my way!”

The only thing going through her head on the way there was that she didn’t want to lose any of her people, let alone Maenier. He had been the only friend she had had since she had joined to Phoenix and he had been there for her on many occasions, forcing her to find her bed for some much needed rest whenever she was working herself too hard. Her friend…and, he was not breathing…

She dashed into a lift and commanded it to head for Deck 6 and shifted from foot to foot. The hopelessness she felt at that point took her back to the time when she had been exposed by the Corps and she had been taken into custody. The anger at the situation suffused her as she continued to tap her foot, wishing the lift could move faster than it was programmed. The darkness threatened to overtake her again and she fought it with every ounce of her being. She may not be able to do something, but she refused to give into the old feelings again and let them win.

She waited. Time had slowed down to a crawl and she seemed to be moving in a world that was no longer real. Finally, after what felt like an eternity, Katia exited the lift at break-neck speed and made her way towards the far end of the ship where her team was. Where her friend and coworker was down, lying on the ground… not breathing. A vise seemed to grip her heart as she moved as if in a dream, no longer living in the world of the living, but in a trancelike state where nothing seemed real.

Finally, as she neared the chaos around the relay point, Doctor Trassano came rushing in close behind with the medics in her wake. Trassano gently stopped the woman performing CPR, noting to herself that she might be willing to get drafted as an emergency medic. The doctor tried one final last-ditch method, administering a powerful stimulant and then giving the heart a quick jump start. Mira gave the downed Minbari a quick scan and found that both her and the other woman’s attempts had gone for naught.

The world stopped as Katia looked down and realized there was no hope for the one who had been her friend. No way for the good doctor to revive him. The jolt he had taken had been too much for him and he had been killed instantly. It was apparent to all involved that he was dead and would not be coming around again.

When Mira stood and sadly shook her head, Katia received the confirmation she needed. Mira saw the pain in the eyes of the engineer and understood it. She herself had felt a stab of pain as soon as she heard the call. She wished that she could heal hearts as well as she healed the body. Miina had come to stand next to the Chief Engineer, knowing that once she had taken it all in, she would be wanting to know what had happened. So, she stood silently by, waiting to brief her superior that she did not knowwhat had happened, it had all happened so quick.

It wasn’t until a medic came up and started tending to Miina’s burns did she realize she herself had been hurt in the accident and when the medic insisted on Awanata accompanying her to medlab, the Ranger at first refused. Katia looked sharply at her new assistant and back at the medic and quickly nodded. With that silent signal, Miina realized she would be going to Medlab whether she liked it or not. Even if she felt her place was with the Chief to brief her on the situation. And help correct whatever had gone wrong.

A somber sheet of sadness slowly set over the gathered Rangers as they realized they had lost one of their own. As Mira solemnly took the Minbari to Medlab for an autopsy, everyone they passed watched on in silence and despair, knowing he was just the first to die in this suicide mission into the unknown. Mira knew this also, perhaps more than the others. It hurt more than she could bare sometimes to lose a patient. The fact that he had already been lost when she had arrived didn’t signify. All she saw was the countless bloody string of the future dead in the shadows that this one body cast.


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