514: The Luck of the Irish

by Dane Cristiane
Concurrent with Going Down

-=Inside "The Farm"=-

Dane gasped for air as he ducked into a darkened room to hide.

He had been running so far, so fast, he didn't even have any idea anymore where he was relative to where he'd begun.

He had managed to easily escape the much older, and slower, man who had been pursuing him at the outset.

Escaping the security patrols that the man had called to continue the chase was something else again.

He thought back on all the things that he'd been taught in his two years of training at the Department of Temporal Investigations, but sadly most of their recommended escape methods involved technology that Dane currently had no access to.

He pondered the fact that he'd learned more useful tactical tricks from Keiran O'Sullivan in months than all that the system had taught him in years.

Rapidly running out of options, he cringed as he considered the only one he had left.

*Gut up, and go for it.* He admonished himself. He moved toward the nearest bed, and climbed in beside an emaciated looking man. "Sorry, pal." Dane whispered.

The man was unconscious, or so Dane hoped, and so didn't object when Cristiane ducked down beneath the covers and hid beside him.

The smell of antiseptic and unbathed human flesh filled his lungs, and Dane tried to take in as little air as he possibly could. *I deserve nothing less than this,* he thought to himself, when he once again recalled his betrayal of Zanh Liis. *She's right. Karma can be a bitch.*

A single security guard broke free of the patrol group and shined a flashlight into the room. He directed the beam onto the face of the man in the bed.

He knew he should go in for a closer inspection, but the truth was this place gave him chills, and he had no desire to go any further into any of the rooms than the threshold of the doorway.

"Clear." He called, before quickly moving on.

Dane released a slow hissing sigh, and finally after all the footfalls had retreated, he climbed out from under the covers. "Sorry, man." he told the guy in the bed. "I'll do my best to send somebody back for you. I promise." Dane looked up at the wall and made a mental note of the bed number and room location, then moved on.

The emergency alarms had stopped some time ago and now the emergency lights that had kicked on when the power was lost due to whatever was going on outside the building were replaced by full illumination from the overhead fixtures.

Great for searching, Dane thought, not so great for hiding.

He heard another patrol group coming from the opposite end of the corridor and felt panic rising in him. They were, quite simply, everywhere.

He disappeared into another room and hid behind the door. The guards were approaching too quickly to allow him to climb into another bed, something which he was personally grateful for even if he did end up getting shot.

"Hey, in here," A voice spoke up from the bed that was situated in the far corner, behind a drawn curtain.

"Somebody get me outta here, willya yeah?"

Dane breathed in as far as he could and pressed himself flat against the wall behind the door. One of the guards stuck his head into the room to see if he could determine the source of the yelling. "Quiet, you. I'll send a nurse." The guard barked.

"No more bloody nurses, this place is a goddamn freak show." The voice behind the curtain complained.

"His medication has worn off," the guard said to someone who was also standing on the other side of the door, a breath away from Dane.

"Doesn't matter. He's next to go to Harvesting," The nurse replied. "Would have gone already if not for the alarms going off..."

*Harvesting?* Dane thought, his stomach lurching. *That does not sound like a good time, whatever it means...*

"Then his troubles will be over soon." The guard remarked, laughing as he moved away. "If you see anyone who's not supposed to be down here, just holler. We're going bed by bed now."

"Will do." The nurse now hurried into the room, passing Dane by entirely in her rush to get to her patient. "You're making quite a spectacle of yourself, 71282. You just keep on waking up."

"I don't even know how I got here, I'm tellin' ya," The voice from behind the curtain raised in volume now, and Dane's lips parted in shock. He would know that accent anywhere.

He'd found Carrick.

"Just close your eyes now and go to sleep," the woman said, preparing to administer another hypo. "This is the last time we'll have to give you any medication. You'll be going home soon."

Dane jolted, and hurried toward the curtain. He knew that if he allowed that woman to give Carrick that 'last dose' of medication, it would indeed be his last...everything.

Dane burst through the curtain and before the woman could scream, he clamped his hand down upon her mouth.

He grabbed the nearest thing he could find, a towel, and shoved it between her lips. "Not a sound," he warned. Then he looked around desperately for something to use to tie her up.

With the quick motion of his free hand he unhitched his belt, and used it to secure her wrists. He then took the hypo and held it up to her. "How about we give this to you instead of him."

The look in her eyes said it all.

Dane had been right, and whatever was in the syringe would prove fatal to anyone who absorbed it.

"Okay, another way then." Dane dragged her toward the empty bed beside Carrick's and tied her down to it. He took some adhesive bandage tape from the bedside table and secured the towel so she couldn't dislodge it. "Good luck."

Dane hurried over to O'Sullivan, who frankly, looked as near to death as anyone Dane had ever seen who was still breathing. "Come on, we're getting out of here."

Carrick strained to focus on the face of the man who was speaking. His vision was blurred and doubled, and he thought that he very well could be having another hallucination. "No one gets out of here," he slurred, still under the influence of heavy sedatives. "Not alive."

"You're going to." Dane began to untie Carrick's hands and feet from the restraints. Before attempting to raise him from the bed, Dane tucked the poison hypo into his belt, just in case it was needed as a weapon later.

Suddenly, Carrick slipped into another drug-induced delusion and tried to take a swing at Dane.

"Whoa, cowboy, give it a rest." Dane easily dodged Carrick's flailing arm, and stopped the boy from slipping off the bed from the momentum of his own motion.

"How do I know you're not just another one of them, right?"

Dane considered the best way to haul O'Sullivan out, and chose his words carefully. It would be a lot easier if he could convince Carrick to go along willingly.

"Your father sent me."

Carrick laughed bitterly. "My father doesn't give a damn about me or he'd have come himself."

"He would have. But he is stuck somewhere. You have to trust me, we have to get out of here now."

"How do I know?" Carrick demanded, still fighting as Dane tried to wrestle his dead weight from the mattress. "...that you know him."

"An Lámh Fhoisteanach Abú." Dane said, knowing he was slaughtering the pronunciation, but doing his best.

Carrick gasped. "What did ya say, man?"

"The Steady Hand to Victory." Dane replied. "Your father is my friend, and we have got to go."

Carrick went completely limp, and Dane was unsure if he'd passed out from the shock of hearing those words, or if he'd been given some manner of medication that was making him continually sicker.

He could only hope that it was the former as he braced himself, hefted Carrick up over his shoulder, and carried him out.

Ensign Dane Cristiane
Communications Officer
USS Serendipity NCC-2012