Home » The Archives » Chapter 13 » Cold Front
|Re: Cold Front [message #907 is a reply to message #906]
||Wed, 25 July 2012 17:48
"Where did they go this time?"
Vince looked up the steps to where Emily Tracy was herding the youngest children into a side room. It suddenly struck him that these children weren't questioning whether or not their siblings (and parent, since Dr. Tracy had gone) were on a rescue; they just took it in stride. Would Lea? he asked himself. Not for the first time he thought about how different his children's early years had been. He and Lana had gotten married when Aaron was about Lea's age. Before that, he had only seen his son when his career had allowed him to. He wasn't even sure Lea really even remembered her father being in the military.
"They're in Iceland right now, Alex."
"Is it snowing there?" Tyler wanted to know.
"Yes, I believe it is. Why don't we check the weather stations...?" The conversation was cut off by a door sliding shut.
Vince turned to Tin-Tin. "How do they deal with all this?"
Tin-Tin paused on the step. "The children? It depends."
"Depends on what?"
A thoughtful frown creased her brow as she searched for what to say. "Well... it can be very stressful. There have been times during this past year where they've nearly lost one of their parents, and then there was the recent tsunami..."
He started. "That tsunami hit here, too?"
"Yes, it did, but we were lucky. It wasn't as bad as it was elsewhere." Tin-Tin resumed climbing the steps and Vince followed her. "As I said, it can be stressful on the children. I think Tyler in particular has been affected by all the rescues and the touch-and-go situations with his parents. We try hard to make things as normal as possible for them, but it's not easy. That's why we have Mrs. Hanson."
"Mrs. Hanson?" Vince remembered being introduced to the middle-aged lady who had lunched with them. She had been talking a lot to the children, he recalled.
"Yes. She's our counselor. She comes out one day a week to see and talk to whomever needs her services." Tin-Tin pressed a button to open the door to the study. "This life isn't difficult on just the children, but also on the adults, as well."
Vince hesitated inside the study door. "I have another question," he said quietly, "and I'd rather ask it here so I don't disturb Mr. Tracy. Do the children have the opportunity to socialize with others of their own age?"
Tin-Tin stopped, looking thoughtful. "Well, Tyler and Alex have had each other to play with, but recently Cherie has been taking weekly art classes in Christchurch. It's a half-hour flight from here. She seems to be enjoying herself, and I understand she's made some new friends." She smiled a little. "I think I'm next on the roster to take her to class. I'll get in some shopping while she's there."
"But the boys... they don't go off-island for classes or social activities?"
"Not at the moment." She hesitated. "You might want to ask Mr. Tracy during a break in the rescue, or after it's over; he'd know if they have any plans for the boys along those lines."
Vince nodded slowly. "I'll ask when things settle down. Thank you."
They passed through the study and back into the lounge. Jeff looked up briefly and smiled, a tight expression. Vince noticed the tray of half-eaten food on the desk.
"How is it going?" Tin-Tin asked, as she sat down on the sofa again.
"As well as can be expected," Jeff said. "They're cutting into the lodge from the back with oxyhydnite cutters, and Brains has just cleared the front doors with the Laser Truck. Miraculously, they've found some survivors on the slopes. I guess the skiers were well-prepared with breathing gear and location beepers."
"That is a miracle," Tin-Tin said, nodding. "Most skiers wouldn't think of being prepared for avalanches."
"I would guess that the unusual amount of powder they had prompted some extra caution."
Jeff turned back to the portraits, and once again, Vince found himself feeling a little superfluous.
"Base from Thunderbird Five." John appeared in his portrait, a data pad in hand. "I've picked up some comm signals from the World Government agents. They're on their way out of Reykjavik; ETA to Bláfjöll, 15 minutes."
"Any news on whether or not they're going to impede our progress?" Jeff asked, his eyes narrowing.
"None, Dad. They're keeping comm contact to a minimum for the time being. I'll stay on it, though."
"F-A-B, John. Keep me posted. Base out."
Vince cleared his throat, and Jeff turned his attention to his potential team member. "Yes, Vince?"
"Excuse me for asking, but I'm very curious. What exactly does 'F-A-B' stand for?"
Jeff and Tin-Tin exchanged amused glances. "Well, Vince," Jeff began. "It's like this..."
questions, with help from Icarus1982 on Vince's dialog
|Re: Cold Front [message #908 is a reply to message #907]
||Wed, 25 July 2012 17:49
Dominic watched as the stretcher rose up into the air. Immediately he took one end and Cassie took the other, and they began transporting another patient to Thunderbird Seven.|
"It's cold as a witch's elbow here," Dominic said.
"You're not wrong," Cassie replied. Then she added, grinning, "Though it's nothing compared to a New York City winter."
"Never been," Dom said. "So for all I know you're right."
"At least we're not trying to do this in the middle of a blizzard."
They traversed the snow with relative ease, their specialist boots aiding tremendously in the descent. Callie and Gordon passed them as they headed back up the slope. Dominic nodded, and Cassie gave a very brief wave so as not to unbalance the stretcher.
The team made it down the hill in record time, and Dominic stopped briefly to catch his breath as Nikki accepted the patient from them. Cassie slapped him on the back and folded the stretcher back up.
"Let's get back up," she said.
"You're the boss," Dominic said with a wink.
Together, they began their ascent again.
|Re: Cold Front [message #909 is a reply to message #908]
||Wed, 25 July 2012 17:49
Like trying to find a needle in a haystack.|
Elise wasn't sure what had made her think of the old saying, but it sure fit the current situation. Even with the aid of the avalanche beepers, locating the victims hadn't been easy. They still had two people unaccounted for - a member of the ski patrol and the fourth guest. So far, there had been only one fatality - one of the ski lift operators.
"Frankie and Van Gogh from Mobile Control."
"Frankie here. Go ahead Maverick."
"Ski Patrol has located another victim and are requesting help on digging them out. I'm sending you the coordinates."
"FAB," Elise replied. Soon the coordinates appeared on the visor. Elise glanced over at Virgil who, was beside her. He nodded, indicating that he had received the information also. Elise adjusted the course of the hover bike, heading in the direction of the latest victim's coordinates.
Before long, the two IR agents could see two ski patrol members busy shoveling snow in the distance. They took the hover bikes as close as they dared. Virgil and Elise both grabbed a shovel off the back of the hover bikes and hurried over.
"How close are you?" Virgil asked as they reached them.
"Not sure," Leifur replied without looking up, as he tossed another shovelful of snow off to the side.
Elise had taken the thermal imager out of her pack. She switched it on and began scanning the area the ski patrol members were working on. "There are about four more inches of snow covering the victim," she told them.
"Hold up with the shovel," Virgil instructed. The two ski patrol members paused in their work and looked in his direction. "We've got equipment that will melt the snow. Less chance of causing an injury by accidentally hitting them with the shovel," he explained even as Elise handed him a thermal lance from her pack.
Leifur and Jokul took a step back giving Virgil some room to work. Both men were breathing heavily as they watched Virgil go to work. The blowing wind was the only noise that could be heard,as the thermal lance began to melt the snow. Eventually, the orange of a ski patrol jacket could be spotted. The second missing member had been located.
Virgil continued to melt the snow away, exposing more of the victim. When the head and shoulders of his co-worker were exposed, Jokul moved in closer. Kneeling down next to the hole that had been dug, he took off his right glove. Reaching down, he felt for a pulse but couldn't find one.
Jokul looked up at his friend and co-worker, and slowly shook his head. Blinking away tears, the younger ski patrol member looked away.
"I'm sorry," Virgil said, not sure what else to say as Jokul stood up.
Jokul nodded. "We need to finish up here. We've got one last victim trapped somewhere on this mountain," he replied, refusing to let himself think about the loss of his co-worker. There would be time to grieve later.
|Re: Cold Front [message #910 is a reply to message #909]
||Wed, 25 July 2012 17:50
"Mobile Control, from Thunderbird Seven. We have the missing skiers and staff, and are heading to the lodge. ETA is five minutes."|
"F-A-B, Thunderbird Seven. Tynan and Jade are triaging those inside."
"F-A-B. Thunderbird Seven to Tynan. What's your status?"
"We're very lucky here, Doc. A couple of concussions, a few fractures or broken bones. Mostly a bunch of very cold people, but they've huddled together and used blankets to keep warm as possible, so it looks like hypothermia and frostbite have been kept to a minimum. We'll be ready when you arrive to transfer the injured to Seven."
When Scott -- who was listening in -- heard that Seven was on the way down, he stepped outside to see it heading toward the lodge. Then he heard the sound of more vehicles heading in their general direction. Looking around, he spotted a large van and two cars. "Heads up, everyone. It looks like the World Government agents are about to arrive." He notified Jeff as the vehicles pulled in.
An agent got out of the car almost before it came to a stop and walked quickly over to Scott. "Are you in charge here?"
"You should be placed under arrest, for..."
The agent looked around. He saw his partner standing in front of the car they were in.
"Agent Soong, this man disobeyed a direct order. We..."
"Agent Cassidy, International Rescue doesn't answer to us, as they reminded us earlier. We have no jurisdiction over them. Besides, what do you think our superiors would do to you if I let you arrest him and it was in the news tomorrow? How would you like to see the headline that said, 'World Government Agents Arrest International Rescue Field Commander'? I know I wouldn't."
Agent Cassidy looked back at Scott. "You're damned lucky I'm not in charge. You'd be in handcuffs by now."
"And you'd be reassigned to some remote post the next day, Agent. I suggest that you head back to your partner and do what you came here to do. I believe you have other people to take into custody. They're still inside the lodge."
As the agent walked back to his partner, Scott noticed several other men heading toward both the front and back doors, determination showing on every face.
I sure hope they know which men inside are the ones they want. I'd hate to find out they took everyone into custody.
|Re: Cold Front [message #911 is a reply to message #910]
||Wed, 25 July 2012 17:51
"Thunderbird Seven from Mobile Control. What's your status?"|
Dianne, who was setting a young man's broken ankle, nodded at Nikki. "Answer him for me, would you?"
"Sure, Doc." Nikki tapped her earpiece. "Angel here. We have three of the missing guests, one lift operator, and one ski patrol member surviving. The last guest is still missing, and one of the lift operators and a patrol member are... dead." She glanced at the young man, who was looking at her intently. I hope he doesn't speak much English. "Doc is setting a broken ankle; we have two more people with broken bones to be set and at least two people with concussions from among the lodge guests."
"That leaves the one skier and two lodge staff members unaccounted for." Scott glanced over at Mr. Andresson, who handed him a list. Scott compared it to the list of names he had of survivors. "Any chance that final skier might survive?"
Nikki glanced over at Dianne, who shook her head. "Doc says no."
Dianne finished her work, smiling at her patient and patting him on the shoulder. "Angel? Would you take Rolfe here to the main cabin and find him a spot?"
"F-A-B, Doc." Nikki helped the young man to stand, and supported him as they left the surgical area.
Dianne shucked her gloves and tapped her earpiece. "Doc here, Maverick. Van Gogh and Frankie are still on the slopes, but the patrol members figure it's more recovery than rescue now."
"Understood, Doc, and thanks. Mobile Control out."
Dianne stepped out into the medical cabin to claim her next patient, an older woman whose arm was splinted and immobilized. "Let's take a look at that, shall we?" she said with a smile. Her words were translated into Norwegian, and the confused look on the woman's face melted. She nodded, and Dianne guided her back into the surgical cabin.
"Hoy, Angel!" Dom brought a woman and her little girl up the ramp. "This wee one had an asthma attack..."
He got no further than that. The woman, who had been scanning the cabin, gave a cry. "Eric!"
She rushed over to one of the beds and grabbed the hand of the man lying there. He stirred, and gave her a weary smile. The little girl followed, calling, "Papa!"
The nurses exchanged glances. "Well, that was unexpected," Dom said, a soft smile on his lips.
"Those are the ones we live for," Nikki murmured.
"Angel?" Dianne called. "I need you in here."
Nikki shrugged and went off to help. Dom smiled again, and shuffled back down the ramp.
"So, where do you think these two lodge workers might be?" Scott asked.
Mr. Andresson looked uncomfortable. "I have consulted with the rest of the staff and discovered that these two were... intimate with each other. During their work breaks. It is assumed that they had gone to..." His words trailed off.
One of Scott's eyebrows rose. "Intimate, huh? Does anyone on the staff know just where these two lovebirds usually had their trysts?"
"There is a storage building, right there." Mr. Andresson pointed at a spot on the map. "We keep spare mattresses and roll-away beds there." He let out a frustrated breath, and shook his head. "It was difficult to get this information from my staff. I hope they are still alive... so I can fire them."
Scott resisted the urge to snort. "I hope they're alive, too. I'll send one of my people out with a thermal imager, then we can decide which is the best way of digging them out... if it's realistic and feasible. The building may have collapsed..." He stopped when he saw the stricken look on Mr. Andresson's face. "We'll get right on it." Changing frequencies, he called, "Firefly from Mobile Control; come in, Firefly."
Alan had scooped Callie up as his partner on this new errand. "We're going to plow our way over to this storage building and see if there's anyone alive in there."
"I'll turn on the imager..." Callie said, reaching for a control. She scanned the control panel, and glanced over at Alan. "There's no built in thermal imager?"
Shaking his head, Alan smiled at her. "Nope. This baby usually works in high temperature situations. Finding the heat signature of a human in that kind of heat is nigh on impossible. However..." He reached behind him and pulled out a box. "We do have one of the portable ones. How about you climb on top and use it when we get to our destination?"
"Hmm." Callie considered the prospect for the moment. "Gonna be kinda slippery, but... okay. I'm game."
They rumbled along, pushing the snow to one side. The blade had been temporarily angled with this in mind, but it didn't have the scooping edge of a regular snowplow, and as a result, large clumps of snow would fall over the top of the blade. It didn't matter much; the Firefly's caterpillar tracks kept them moving. But Callie and Alan both took turns trying to figure out when the building snow wall would crest and fall.
Finally, they reached the storage building. "Time to get out," Alan said as he opened the hatch and unbuckled his safety harness.
"You're getting out, too?"
"Yup. I need to shine a light on this building and see if the roof has collapsed or anything. While I'm doing that, you can use the imager and get a reading."
Callie found her footing only a little bit slippery; the snow boots she wore made it easy to balance on the top of the Firefly's roof, just behind the warning klaxon. Alan was a little further back, perched atop the X-shaped hose gantry. He shone one of the high powered floodlights on the building, as Callie scanned slowly with the thermal imager.
"Mobile Control from Firefly," Alan said as he moved the light slowly across.
"Mobile Control here; go ahead." Scott's voice sounded in Alan's earpiece.
"We're at the storage building. The roof looks intact... no sign of collapse." He glanced over at Callie. "Anything?"
"Not yet..." She continued to scan along the building. "Wait... I think... yes! I have two hits, very close together. Not as strong as they should be, but indications are that they're still alive."
"Ursa says there are two people alive inside," Alan told Scott. "How do you want to handle this?"
Back at Mobile Control, Scott rubbed his chin, not speaking. Finally, he said, "What I want you to do is clear as much snow from around the building as you can. I'm sending Einstein out with the Laser Truck; it will probably be faster than the Excavator." He glanced at Mr. Andresson. "He'll bring a schematic of the building with him, and I'll send Jade out, too, for triage."
"F-A-B. Firefly out." Alan motioned to Callie to climb back inside. When he'd joined her in the cockpit, he explained the plan. "So, let's get this place cleared out so we can pull those two out of there."
As Alan put the Firefly into gear again, Callie sighed thoughtfully. "Wonder what those two were doing out here in the storage area?"
Alan shrugged. "Probably pulling out something needed in the lodge or something like that."
She nodded. "You're probably right. Still, it's a miracle they're alive in there."
"So, let's tell them the miracle is on its way." Alan reached to sound off the klaxon, but Callie grabbed his hand. When he frowned at her, she pointed a thumb to the mountain.
Alan had the good grace to look sheepish.
The injuries from within the lodge itself had almost been dealt with when there was a message from the search team. "Thunderbird Seven from Frankie."
"Seven here," Dianne said as she tucked a blanket around one of her patients. "Go ahead."
Elise's tone was sober. "We've found the last skier. We're bringing her down now."
"What condition is she in?" The doctor already knew from Elise's tone, but wanted to make sure.
"We'll meet you at the morgue," was the reply.
Dianne sighed, and headed to the cockpit. "F-A-B. I'll be there in a minute."
She crooked a finger at Dom, and indicated that Nikki should take the monitoring station. Dom followed her into the cabin, where she grabbed her jacket, hat and warm gloves.
"The morgue?" Dom asked as he donned his own cold-weather gear again.
"Yes. They found the last skier." Dianne sighed, then climbed down from the cockpit. The light from the hoverbikes was visible as they made their way down the mountain, the anti-grav stretcher in tow.
"Open it up for me, Dom?" Dianne asked. Dom nodded, and shuffled off through the snow.
Elise passed Dianne by, riding slowly towards the lighted area where Dom stood waiting. Virgil came to a stop by his stepmother.
"We're lucky we found her at all," he said, his breath misting before his face. "Her avalanche beacon was very faint... perhaps if we'd detected it first..."
She put a hand on his shoulder. "Must have been like finding a needle in a haystack up there. I'm sure her family will be glad to know she was found."
"Yeah." Virgil sighed. "I'm sure they will be." He handed over a ski pass. "You'll want to let Scott know."
"I will." Dianne smoothed her hand across Virgil's windburned cheek and kissed him there. "Go get some rest and warm up. You and Elise have put in yeoman's work tonight."
Virgil indicated that Dianne should get on the hoverbike and he drove her the length of Thunderbird Seven. "Let's do this," she said to Dom, who had already disentangled the stretcher from Elise's hoverbike. They brought the stretcher up to the level of the open morgue slot, and moved the body-bagged figure over and in. Then Dom brought down the sliding door and locked it.
"C'mon, Elise." Virgil motioned to his partner. "We're just about through here, and I need to get Thunderbird Two warmed up."
"F-A-B," Elise said, her voice weary.
Together, they floated off on their hoverbikes. Dianne and Dom watched them go, then Dianne sighed and tapped her earpiece.
"Mobile Control from Thunderbird Seven. The last skier is accounted for."
"F-A-B, Thunderbird Seven. We have two more possible patients for you. I'll give you the coordinates so you can bring Seven to them."
Dianne stepped through the cockpit door, followed closely by Dom. "F-A-B, Mobile Control. We're on it."
|Re: Cold Front [message #912 is a reply to message #911]
||Wed, 25 July 2012 17:51
"Excuse me, but one of the people we came for isn't with the others. We've been told he is probably among the injured, in your medical vehicle."|
Scott looked up at the agent who had entered the tent. He was the one Cassidy had referred to as Soong. "And you are telling me this because...?"
"We want to send one of our agents along, just in case. If he's faking, he could attempt to take control of your vehicle. If not, we still..."
"Sir? Agent Cassidy is heading toward the medical vehicle. He decided he should be the one to 'accompany' the terrorist leader."
Soong groaned. "Why me? Why did they have to assign him to me?" he muttered. "Thank you, agent. I'll handle it." He turned back to Scott. "I'm sorry. This was supposed to be a simple arrest and transport job."
Scott couldn't help it. He started to laugh. "I think you may get an agent back with an attitude adjustment. You don't know our medical personnel."
Gun drawn, Cassidy entered Thunderbird Seven. Dianne straightened up and looked around at him. "Who are you?"
"I am Agent Cassidy from the WGSD. You are harboring a criminal. I've come to locate and arrest him."
"What do you mean I'm harboring a criminal? The only people in this vehicle are the injured and my staff -- and yourself, of course."
"Are you the doctor here?"
"Ah am." The man's attitude and tone of voice were getting to her.
"I'm here to arrest one of your patients. I'll show his picture to you and you can point him out to me. If you don't cooperate, I'll have to take you into custody."
Ah'd like to see him try!
"What do you mean by bargin' in heah!? Get out of mah vehicle this instant! Ah will not have you disturbin' mah patients!"
"One of your patients is a terrorist, lady. I'm not leaving. You will be allowed to take him along with the others to a hospital, but I'm going with you." He held a tablet out to her, showing her the wanted man's picture. "Isn't it possible he's faking a concussion, to get away?"
"Ah'd know it if he tried." She glanced at the picture. "Ah recognize him. He's in that bed, there. But..."
Cassidy moved over to the bed. "Then I'll be right here, guarding him until we reach the hospital and another agent can relieve me."
"No. You'll have to sit in one of..."
"No, ma'am. I'm staying right where I am."
"Sit down! I will not have another patient on mah hands simply because he was bein'..." She fought to find a more appropriate word than the one she was thinking of. "... stubborn!"
"Now listen here!"
"No, you listen. You are heah undah mah suff'rance, suh. So park it, and zip it. And put that firearm away."
The two of them glared at each other for a full minute, while Nikki and Dom watched, trying hard to keep from laughing. Finally the agent holstered his gun, moved over to the nearest chair and sat down. He glanced up at Dianne briefly, then fixed his gaze on his "prisoner".
"Tynan," Dianne said, satisfied, "would you please strap the patient down? He's been going in and out of consciousness. I don't believe he'll try to get up, but it's better to be safe."
"Right away, Doc."
"How dare you arrest me! Don't you know who I am?"
"You were with the men we know to be terrorist organization leaders. You claimed to be friendly with them. Therefore you are suspected to be in league with them."
"Nonsense! I am Jacques Hightower, president of Stellar Innovations. I am friendly with people from all over the world. It's for my business only. I am not a terrorist."
The voices carried some distance and Scott's head snapped up when he heard the name. He quickly stepped outside to see four people in handcuffs being escorted toward the van. Within moments it became clear which one was Hightower.
"I'll have your badge for this! You'll be hearing from my solicitors. I am not accustomed to being treated like this. Do you hear me? If you don't release me this instant, you'll regret this day for the rest of your life."
"I hear you, sir. In fact, everyone in the area can hear you. Keep shouting like that and you could start another avalanche." They reached the van. "Now step up and watch your head."
As Scott watched Jacques enter the van, his shoulders shook slightly. I can't wait to tell Lena about this. She'll love it. He looked around and saw a few of the others watching, too. Better get back to work -- and I'd better tell Dad about this.
He went back into the tent and opened communications. "Base from Mobile Control."
"Base here. What's your status, Maverick?"
"Boss, you're not going to believe this..."
Thanks to Tikatu for Doc's reactions.
|Re: Cold Front [message #913 is a reply to message #912]
||Wed, 25 July 2012 17:52
Dominic pulled off one of his gloves and stretched his fingers out, working away mild stiffness and feeling cool air circulate around his digits. He glanced around the now-empty bays in Thunderbird Seven. There were small blood spatters in places, and used swabs and bandages on the floor, but overall there wasn't too much damage. Dom rubbed his face and dropped his chin to his chest. He sighed.|
Dianne came up to Dominic's side and placed a hand on his shoulder. Dominic opened his mouth, but closed it again. A lump had formed in his throat.
Dianne patted his shoulder and squeezed.
"We'll talk when we get back."
Dom tried to say something more, but dropped his head again. His heart...hurt.
"C'mon," Dianne said, and headed for the cockpit.
"Calling International Rescue!"
John's head snapped around to the control panel.
"Uh oh," he said.
"Calling International Rescue!"
"International Rescue here, receiving you strength five."
"International Rescue! Thank God! We need your help!"
John pushed his earbud a little further into his hear and frowned. This isn't good. The crew will already be tired...
"Who am I speaking to?" he asked.
"This is Viktorya Tarasov from the Mirny zinc mine! There has been an earthquake in our vicinity that has affected our ventilation and transport, and there are men trapped! We need your help!"
John's brow furrowed and he reached for the comm. panel. Thunderbirds are go...again!
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