Cate talks her way onto a mission to scout the pyramid stadium and find out what happened to the people left behind.
Location: PNAB: Triton, Hyperion, Picon
Scene Number: 290
Siege of Hyperon: Day 21
PNAB: Triton - Clinic
After a harrowing escape from the stadium, Cate and about twenty other survivors (including President Tate) had arrived at PNAB: Triton. The next few weeks had been a whirlwind of stress and uncertainty. With Picon Naval Headquarters at PNB: Amphitrite a smoking ruin across the bay, Triton was the last bastion of organized resistance in the city. And with the planetary comm network down, nobody knew what was happening outside of their little bubble. Not that they really had time to worry about the rest of the planet. They had their hands full just trying to stay alive in a city full of robots trying to kill them.
Up until a few weeks ago, Triton's clinic had just handled sick call. Anything serious was sent across the bay to the hospital at Amphitrite. Now it was a front line field hospital, and its handful of medical personnel struggled to keep up. Cate had gone to work as soon as she’d arrived. Nobody gave her permission, exactly, but they didn’t chase her away either.
Stepping out of an exam room, Cate left her clipboard in the slot by the door, and then spotted a familiar face down the hall. “Major,” she called, walking quickly to catch up with him.
The marine officer turned. There was a flash of recognition on his face, and then a polite smile. “Doctor Rhodes. Hello.”
Cate offered a faint smile in return. “How’s the arm?” Major Lewis had been one of her patients when she arrived, shot in the arm during a skirmish outside the base.
“Can’t complain. How’s Taylor?”
“He’ll be all right. We’ll keep him here tonight for observation.” Hearing the news, Lewis gave an approving nod. Cate then cleared her throat and said, tentatively, “So…I heard you were sending a patrol over to the stadium. That you might be planning a rescue?”
Lewis’ lips turned downward in an unhappy frown. “And just who do I have to thank for that little breach of operational security?”
Cate smirked. “Well, if it's any consolation - I'm not a Cylon spy.” Before she could lose her nerve, she pressed on, “I want to go with them.”
“With them?” The major’s eyebrows shot up briefly, then he chuckled. “You're a civilian, Doctor. That’s out of the question. Now if you’ll excuse me…”
Cate wasn’t giving up that easily. She moved to stay in front of the major when he turned, holding out her hand. “Just hear me out, Major, please.”
The major sighed, looking skeptical, but didn’t try to push past. Taking that as permission, she dropped her hand and took a breath. “Look, I know you’re short of medics. Sergeant Kolker was killed last week, and Corporal Stanten’s still laid up..”
Lewis frowned, knowing she was correct, and also a little impressed that she’d done her research.
Cate continued, “I was an ER doctor in an inner-city hospital. I’ve treated more than my share of gunshot victims - was a first responder at a train crash and a bombing.” Her throat bobbed there; not the most pleasant memories, even if they served her point well. “I can keep my head in a crisis - just ask Captain Cole or anyone who was there when we were escaping from the stadium. I can be useful out there. Please - let me help.”
“You’re already useful here, Doctor Rhodes. And doctors are a hell of a lot harder to train up than medics.”
Cate fought to keep the desperation out of her voice. She needed to convince him. “Major, some of these guys - by the time they get to us, it’s too late. The more we can do for them out there, the better their chances are when they get back here.”
The marine scrutinized her, his mouth twisting in a considering frown. “Why the stadium, in particular?”
For a fleeting instant, she thought about lying to him. But she didn’t. “When we escaped, my friend stayed back there. I just…” She swallowed hard, her throat tight. “I just need to know what happened to her - to all of those people we left behind. Please, Major. All I’m asking for is a chance.”
She held her breath while Lewis chewed it over. Finally the major nodded, but his frown didn’t ease. “All right. One shot. The patrol’s heading out tomorrow at dawn. Find Sergeant Adams over at the armory. He’ll get you set up with some kit and make sure you know how to use it. But for frak’s sake, keep your head down out there. Last thing I need is a dead doctor on my conscience.”
Cate almost laughed in relief, able to breathe again. “Thank you, Major.” She took his hand and shook it with both of hers. “You won’t regret it.”
“I hope you don’t either, Doctor Rhodes.”
Siege of Hyperon: Day 22
The marine sergeant motioned with his hand, and Cate hurried forward, hunched over in an awkward crouching run. She took cover behind a parked car, huffing to catch her breath. The body armor chafed her hip, and it was heavy and hot as hell even in the pleasant spring weather. How these guys tolerated this shit day after day was beyond her.
She had a satchel full of medical supplies slung over one shoulder and a pistol strapped to her leg. The sergeant had been pretty adamant that she was only to use it as a last resort to defend herself. Her job was to heal, not fight. Still, its weight was a comforting presence. Cate may look like a soldier in this get-up, but she sure as hell didn’t feel like one.
Fear was her constant companion as the squad slowly moved through the occupied city, closer and closer to the pyramid stadium. The city was a ghost town - eerily abandoned and looking like a riot had taken place. Burned cars. Smashed windows. Buildings pock-marked with bullet holes. But no bodies. It creeped her out.
They had gotten within a block of the stadium when the point man’s whisper crackled in her earbud. “Sarge, I think you should come up and see this.”
The sergeant scurried forward and Cate followed close behind - sticking to him as she’d been told. They joined the point man behind a row of concrete planters. There was a brief exchange of whispers, and then the sergeant scanned the street ahead with his binoculars. “Frak me,” he murmured.
Cate craned her neck to see. The sergeant took pity on her and handed over the binoculars. She brought them up to her eyes and sucked in a soft gasp.
The courtyard in front of the stadium had been cordoned off with a six-foot-high fence topped with barbed wire. Within the corral, ragged-looking humans milled around like prisoners in a prison yard. Helpless anger tore at Cate’s heart as she watched their frightened faces through the binoculars. They were able to move in and out of the stadium through the front doors, making her wonder how many more people were still alive inside.
Then she saw Deb. Cate almost didn’t recognize her at first. The scraggly hair, the gaunt features. It was the arm splint that caused her to do a double take.
Cate gave the binoculars back to the sergeant with a trembling hand. She couldn’t look any more. She felt sick.
Dimly, she was aware of the sergeant and the point man muttering at each other. “How many do you see?” “Too many. Fifteen just on this side? Plus the patrols. I think that’s an APC down there.” “Frak. Yeah. You’re right.”
They babbled on. Even as a civilian, Cate knew enough to realize that each new detail made a rescue mission sound more and more impossible given Triton's perilous position. Cate tuned them out, sinking down against the planters as she fought back tears.
I’m sorry Deb.