2238-02-17 - Desperately Seeking Antibiotics

Cate and Gage scout out the town in search of desperately needed antibiotics. It doesn't go well, and neither are happy with the result.

Date: 2238-02-17

Location: Picon

Related Scenes: 2238-02-18 - Snafu

Plot: Operation: Island Lightning

Scene Number: 1652

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The walk from the ranch is largely uneventful -- in large part to the fact that the Tauran barely talks, clearly still in whatever bad mood had him snapping the previous evening. That, or the fact that he barely got any sleep. Back in his tactical vest, Gage appears uncomfortable -- not just for the fact it's been literal weeks since he's had to wear the thing -- but for the relentless cold of the day that's undoubtedly making him miss that fur coat he's been sporting since before they arrived at the warehouse. It's not until they reach the edge of town that he does more than grunt, slowing down as he eyes the mass of buildings, scratching at his unkempt beard. "Your lead, Rhodes. I remember there being a clinic like place on the west side somewhere. Weren't anything useful there, but we were clearing for hostiles, not really looking for anything."

Cate was content to walk in silence, having not gotten much sleep herself. She's wearing her tactical vest over her standard-issue bomber jacket, which is barely adequate for the chill in the air. Tilting back her helmet, she squints at the buildings ahead of them. "May as well start there," she says. "It's closest. The locals said there was a small community hospital, but it's way over on the south side." Which puts a lot of buildings - and the potential for dogs, Cylons, or other hostiles in-between. "You remember how to get there?" she asks, gesturing for him to lead the way if so.

"Aint that old," the Tauran replies, with the kind of sensitivity of someone who's, very very recently just gotten that much older. Shifting his shoulders, Gage steps into the lead. He has a practiced routine to the way he moves that is almost second nature to any marine, moving from building to building, scouting all the approaches for any movement before darting across to the next cover. The town is eerily silent, devoid -- mercifully perhaps -- of any other occupants aside from the occasional bird. He keeps a good pace, and it isn't long before they reach the clinic. Even after clearing the building, he keeps his rifle at the ready, glancing at Cate as if to let her decide where best to look.

Cate snorts. "Wasn't a critique of your faculties," she mumbles dryly, not in the most sunny of moods herself. Cate falls into step behind him, sweeping with the tense but practiced ease of someone who's done this too many times before. One of the aforementioned birds startles her briefly (jumpy much?) but at least she has the self-control not to take a shot at it. "Most likely be in here," she says when they find a dispenser unit in one of the rooms near the front desk. The unit's been smashed open, and her boots crunch on broken glass and plastic and empty boxes littering the floor. They're definitely not the first to have this idea. Still, Cate gets to work sifting through what's left, picking up boxes and glancing at their labels. "High blood pressure meds. That'll be super-useful," she mutters, chucking it back on the shelf.

While the medic rummages through the boxes and shelves, Gage sets up by the entrance, rifle pointed up as if expecting that they'll be set on at any moment -- in other words, standard marine form. His brow lifts at her mutter, shooting a look over his shoulder. "You find any chocolate back there, let me know. Thought it might be nice to bring something back for Nate." Despite his gruffness around the boy, he seems just as protective of the kid as he is of Correa.

Cate glances up briefly from her work, eyebrows arching at the request. "Careful. Somebody might actually get the impression that you give a damn." Cate does pocket a few things into her satchel, the doctor in her unable to pass up things that might be useful at some point in the future. But the grim look on her face is definitely not indicating a triumph. "Damn it," she declares with a frustrated sigh. "No pain meds, no antibiotics. Somebody who knew what they were looking for cleared this place out good."

Shoulders shifting, Gage sounds mildly defensive, but mostly just his usual gruffness: "Kid nearly died, was all alone. Aint right." He scratches at his chin. "Can't exactly bring him a puppy." What with the dog bite and all nearly killing him. His tension is a visible thing when she comes up empty, ruthlessly crushing whatever silent hope might've been in the search. He huffs out a breath, gaze distant for a moment. "Hospital on the far side of town. If they cleared this place they probably hit that first." But the way he shifts his pack and prepares to move out suggests he's ready to take that chance, checking the street to make sure the exit's clear.

"Yeah, but a hospital's got more places where they store meds. Average looter'll hit the pharmacy, but they might not think to check the ER, ICU, crash carts in the halls..." Not that they're likely to find antibiotics on the crash carts. "We might get lucky." Though she sounds like she's not betting the farm on that. As they start to move out, she glances over. "You know I'm just ribbing you, right? I get attached to them too."

Gage's grunt suggests his hope is about on par with hers. He glances back at her for a moment. "I seen you with them," he allows. "Can't imagine what it's like for them." But it bothers the normally stoic marine enough that he thinks about it, apparently. Again, he leads the way, moving from building to building, cover to cover, overly cautious whenever they cross streets with multiple approaches.

"Yeah. Kids are tough though. More resilient than we usually give them credit for. There was this little girl we found, in Havison. Wouldn't talk, but she hung on every word you said... did everything she needed to..." There's a sad fondness in her tone, but then they're moving out of the clinic and Cate falls quiet. Her SMG at the ready, she scans the side streets and behind them, letting Gage stay in the lead.

Something in the other marine's posture changes -- it's subtle, a kind of increased tension -- when she mentions a little girl and her experience in Havison. One could get the feeling Gage is distinctly glad there's not much need to talk while they're moving, making good progress as they reach the center of the town.

In the end, it doesn't matter how careful or quiet they are. It's just dumb luck that, as they're crossing the street, further up the road a small dog comes out from one of the buildings. Immediately, it starts barking, and moments later, there's responses -- two, three, four -- more! -- coming from further down the street.

"I miss her," is the last thing Cate says on that subject. Though whether that's due to picking up on Gage's increased tension, or the memories getting too tough, or just the necessities of moving quietly through an occupied town - who knows. "Shit," she mumbles, tensing as the dogs appear. "Take that alley," Cate suggests, heading for a path that looks like it might take them around the angry canines. At first it seems that they might have eluded the dogs, their little diversion taking them to the next street over. But as they pass another alley, a scrambling sound draws their attention down another alley on the left. One of the dogs has hopped up onto a dumpster there, snapping and growling. And where there's one...Cate squints and scans for the others.

"Frak," Gage says, exactly as the same time as Cate swears. He keeps his rifle pointed towards the dogs as he backpedals and follows on the medic's heels through the alley. He doesn't get as far as breathing relief before that dog is spotted down a side alley. The dogs appear -- not just the ones chasing them onto the street behind them -- but a couple in front, too. The Tauran grunts, retreating to put his back against Cate's, reversing his rifle as the dogs press in, mangy and hungry and growling, all. "Could try baiting them out with food -- worked last time." Clearly, he's loathe to shoot them -- not just for the noise, but the wasting of bullets. Plus, they're dogs, and the Tauran has a surprising soft spot for them.

Cate's backpack touches the back of his vest, her SMG up at her shoulder. "Yeah, let's try it. I'll toss some, then we'll shift across the street." One-handed, she fishes out a wrapped piece of rabbit meat that they'd brought along for just such an eventuality. "Come on, guys," she talks to the dogs, in that sing-song voice reserved for animals and small children. "Be good dogs like Baka." Then her tone shifts, meant for Gage. "On three. One... two..." On three, she tosses the meat into the alley, past the dumpster. It does get the attention of three of the dogs, who start bickering over it with snaps and growls, but the paltry rabbit is not enough to divert the rest of the pack.

Three... out of far too many. One immediately lunges for Gage even as he's keeping pace with Cate, retreating across the street. He gives a low growl -- it worked last time -- but this time the dog is too hungry, and aggressively snaps for his leg. The Tauran swings the butt of his rifle towards the dog -- earning a crack and a whimpered noise. The dog falls away but there's more -- too many more -- in its place. The marine's "Frak," is one of resignation, as he swings his rifle around, pointing the muzzle at the nearest dog, finger hovering on the trigger. "Don't do it. Don't," he's growling -- pleading. Several of them leap towards the pair of marines at once, and at the same time, the Tauran fires.

Cate was really hoping that the meat would do the trick, so there's a dismayed noise from the doctor when the dogs start circling them. "Tomak?" she calls, fear creeping into her voice. Cylons are one thing, but this many wild dogs brings on its own brand of fear. She swings her weapon, not sure which one to cover. When Gage smacks the first one to lunge, another leaps at Cate from the side. She doesn't turn fast enough and the force knocks her down. Vicious snarling fills her ear as she uses the SMG like a club to keep the beast's jaws at bay. With her free hand, she fumbles for the pistol on her hip. Her gunshot rings out just a second or two after Gage's, silencing the growling from the nearest one. Scrambling backward, still on the ground, she fires again at one of the others that's stalking towards her.

Gage spins, shooting now whenever one of the dogs gets close enough to him or Cate. It doesn't take long -- minutes maybe, though it feels like forever -- before the noise of the gunfire and the broken, bloodied bodies of several of the dogs cow the rest enough that they retreat. He snarls something in Tauran. Judging by his angry tone alone, it's more likely to be a curse than it is any sort of prayer. "Rhodes?" it's a request for her status, voice tense, alert to any more dogs making another try.

Cate manages to scoot up into a crouch, at least, once the nearest threats are taken out, and stays that way for the rest of the brief fight. As the dogs retreat, she stands her ground with her weapon still ready, not sure whether to trust it. A string of cursing in standard and Celtan is mumbled under her breath. "I'm okay," she replies to his query, breathlessly. "You? So much for flying under the radar."

Her response earns a silent, relieved exhale, though it doesn't lessen the tension in Gage's posture any. "Same," he replies, tersely, grunting an agreement with her words. "Better get moving before they recover their courage." He glances over at her, making sure she's ready to move. His weapon doesn't waver from the nearest of dogs -- further down the street -- still watching them. For a moment, anyway, and then as abruptly as if a switch was flicked, they all retreat, disappearing southwards. "What--?" the Tauran is flatly bemused, but isn't about to pass up a stroke of luck, turning to head for the alley they came down so recently.

Cate gets to her feet, grimacing a little as she holsters her pistol. "Damn shame," she mumbles, eyeing the dogs. She follows after Gage. Just as he's entering the mouth of the alley, there's an alarmed hiss from Cate, "Go go go. Toasters." She ducks behind the wall, peeking back ever-so-briefly. A patrol of three Cylons makes its way around the corner down the street, near where the dogs so recently fled. "Probably what scared them off," she muses.

The Tauran's expression hardens. It's been near enough to weeks since he had any direct confrontation with the cylons -- a lifetime for a Wolf -- but some things are inevitable. By habit, Gage is popping out his magazine, grimacing. "Aint got that many bullets left, you?" He's asking her, by stealth, if she wants to fight or flee. He seems prepared for either, slamming his magazine home as he leans against the wall next to her, watching the other direction.

"That's a losing fight either way," Cate mumbles back, not directly answering the question about her ammo supplies. She waves a hand towards the opposite end of the alley. Better to flee and fight another day.

There's a half a second's pause, before the Tauran nods. He leads the way back into the alley, trading off stealth and speed to try and put some distance between them and the cylons. Near the next street, he pauses to check the approaches are clear. "We can hole up somewhere, wait until they get bored," do cylons get bored? "And leave, then double-back to the hospital." Even a long shot, he still seems determined to try and make that journey.

Cate gives a little headshake. "They'll be combing this area after the gunshots - I don't want to get pinned down. We could swing around to the west, stick to the outskirts and make our way south? Try to avoid the patrols?"

Gage's jaw tightens for a moment as he leans into the wall. "We can't just leave, Rhodes. We haven't found anything." At least, not the thing -- the primary reason -- they came here for.

Cate squints at him in confusion. "I didn't say anything about leaving. I said make our way south - towards the hospital."

Something eases, immediately, in Gage's posture, and he breathes out. "Okay." With a roll of his shoulders, he takes another peek out, and then leads the way across the street to the safety of the next building. He seems focused on the task, moving further away from where they encountered the patrol and towards the outskirts of the town.

Cate nods once, and then they're off again. Even more tense than before, if such a thing were possible, they creep through the streets. It goes okay for awhile... until it doesn't. There's no warning, no telltale clanking to alert them to the Cylons' presence, just a sudden hail of gunfire from a storefront as they're crossing the street. Cate goes down with a pained oof, but there's no blood visible. Must've hit her battered vest.

The 'ping' of a bullet whizzing close to his ear has Gage turning, instinctively, towards the source. One bullet slices across his upper arm -- a flesh wound, but enough that he grunts in pain and staggers back a step. When Cate goes down, he flicks to burst and sprays suppressing fire towards the storefront, trying to reach down a hand to help haul her up. "Go, go, go!" He barely gets a chance to get that out before his rifle clicks empty with a dreaded finality.

Once again Cate's scrambling to her feet, holding a hand to her chest where the bullets impacted. Grimacing and winded, she stagger-runs the rest of the way across the street, taking up cover behind a parked car. "I'll cover you." The yell is strained, and she fires back with controlled but quick shots. Trying to make every bullet count.

While Cate fires, Gage hightails it across the street, feet thudding against the ground but barely heard under the chatter of gunfire. He's breathing hard by the time he hauls up next to the medic, leaning against the car as he shoulders his rifle. He doesn't have his pistol -- that's sitting with a certain kid's father back at the ranch. "I'm out," he growls. "We need to get hold of some more ammo." Somehow. Even though the only ones with ammo are the cylons.

"From where?" is Cate's incredulous reply. She ducks down as another burst of fire rakes across the car, shattering the windows above them. She has a pistol, but she doesn't give it to him. Too afraid he'll just charge the Cylons or something maybe. "We have to go. This place'll be crawling with reinforcements any minute." She looks around frantically. "There - what about through that office building. There's gotta be a back door."

She has a point. She has it, and Gage knows it, even if it makes his brows draw downwards and an inevitable scowl appear. He ducks his head as glass shatters all over them. "There's gotta be a way, Rhodes," he says, frustration evident. When she points out the office building, he tenses, and pushes up. "On three. One, two," and he's already moving as 'three' comes out, headed for the office and diving through the doorway to make room for her. There isn't any caution now, no intent to clear the building. Right now, speed and distance is paramount, moving deeper into the building in search of a back door.

Cate takes a few more quick shots when Gage gets to three, covering him and then sprinting after him. They weave their way through the office, and do find a back door leading out from what looks to have been a break room. Cate leans heavily against a cabinet while Gage checks the door. "Tomak, I don't want to bail any more than you do," she says between ragged breaths. "But we stay here, we're frakked. You know that. We're not gonna do Kes or Nate any good by getting ourselves killed."

Gage knows it, to judge by the way his jaw tightens. Knowing it, and admitting it, conceding defeat, is a different thing. For a moment, he focuses on checking out their way out, fingers clenched to white-knuckles against the door knob. The wound on his shoulder is bleeding, but not heavily, and he glances at it like it's an irritant, while he stews for a few more heartbeats. "We'll come back," he says, finally, seeking her gaze -- maybe her agreement, too. It's the only way he can live with it. "Coast is clear."

"We'll come back," is Cate's relieved but solemn agreement. Once he checks the door, she's following him through it, glancing back briefly to check behind them.

Maybe he believes her, but he probably doesn't, to judge by the anger that lines tension through the Tauran's posture as they move. At least running precludes discussion. They have one close call in the woods -- a group of cylons sweeping southwards, probably looking for them -- but they manage to circle north and away. It makes the trip back to the ranch take far longer than it should, and by the time they get there, Gage is about exhausted, going to curl up on the floor of Nate's room once he has his arm tended to.


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