BCH #014: EVENT - Charbroiled
Summary: When grilling goes wrong.
Date: 11 Feb 2041 AE
Related Logs: None
Polaris Tisiphone Stavrian Hawke Laskaris 
Deck 9 — Galley
Behind the two hangar decks, the Cerberus' Galley is the largest room on the ship. Nearly half the size of a football field, the eating area is made up of long lines of stainless steel tables that can be folded up and placed against the wall for larger events. Individual seats are the standard military issue, boring and grey with lowest-bidder padding. The line for food stretches across one of the shorter sides of the room while the kitchen behind works nearly twenty-four hours a day to produce either full meals or overnight snacks and coffee for the late shifts.

It won't be long before Battlestar Cerberus fires up her engines and departs for Picon, and already her corridors are crammed full of crew — and the occasional civilian, of course, selected to come aboard here and not with the main delegation still getting the propaganda spiel from the brass at Fleet HQ. It's therefore not a surprise to see the galley packed full of seventy-odd people, classifiable by relative stages of tired. The guys from third shift are just waking up, gathering up protein bars and the occasional fresh orange before wandering off for their post; the guys from second shift are polishing off a rather late supper, having stayed behind to finish up whatever work they've been doing. And the guys from first shift? Well, those guys are nearly passed out on the shiny steel tables, mugs of coffee and tea dangling loosely from their hands. Long nights and early days: such is the Cerberus way.

Fortunately for everybody, the mess is singing like the mess has never sung. The Quartermaster has had the foresight to bring aboard veritable truckloads of fresh ingredients in preparation for the Grand Civilian Dog-and-Pony Tour of 2041 AE, and the appetizing smell of roasting vegetables and grilling meat wafts up from the buffet tables. There's even a small spread of designer cheeses from pampered Aerilonian cows, placed there in the hope that the QUODEL will be sufficiently impressed that it won't remember that those cheeses were paid for by its members' own cubits. No chicken fingers here. Dig in.

Hawke smiles broadly as he carries the tray from the serving line, looking about for a place to set down and eat grub that would certainly not be the status quo in military life. Real meat? Real Veggies? Not protein paste? After months of Academy food, it was a welcome, welcome change.

Things on sticks. Why not. Stavrian slides his way through the line as quickly as it will let him, arms kept close like a shield to fend off any body checks from the Marines in front and back of him. Plate finally loaded with vegetable sticks and a few pieces of that there cheese, he squeezes past a huge throng of people and finds himself a seat at a relatively unoccupied table, with just a group of CIC mingling at the other end.

Tisiphone is not looking a gift smorgasbord in the mouth. She has no idea how long this bounty will last. It might be hardtack as soon as they leave drydock, for all she knows. She's got a heaping plate of food, heavy on the lentils and vegetables, and a small saucer with a few pieces of grilled meat, along with a large shatterproof plastic mug of milk. Milk. She finds the first spot with an empty seat to either side of her, and sets herself down for her feast.

Laskaris will say one thing for the aforementioned civilian dog-and-pony show; he's never eaten this well serving on a battlestar at any point in his career. He's attacking the contents of his plate with far more enthusiasm than is his usual custom; but then, this sort of food is hardly customary. He looks up in the middle of a large bite of flank steak as Tisiphone sits down across from him. He's not so avaricious that he speaks with his mouth full, though. "Evenin' Ensign," he says after choking the bite down. He nods to his plate. "Y' know, I almost hate t' get used to this."

Glancing around, Hawke notices Stavrian sitting and walks over to the mostly empty table. "Hey there, Jesse. Mind if I join you? Still kinda feel like the new kid on the boat… though I guess no one has been here very long." Putting the tray down, he smiles. "Gotta enjoy this stuff while we have it, right?"

Stavrian has the end of a stick - and, with that, a mushroom - in his mouth as bodies start appearing at the table. His teeth wrestle the grilled fungus off the metal and he briefly blocks his mouth with the back of his hand as he chews it. It's soft, it goes fast. "Sirs." Hawke and Laskaris, presumably. "Ensign." His chin lifts to upnod Hawke at a chair. "Not at all. Being new isn't too bad if this is how they try and reel you in. I might keep forging my 'new' card just to stay in good." The JG's accent is distinctively Sagittarian, both in pronunciation and cadence.

Tisiphone's already knocking back her glass of milk before she finishes sitting down. Mid-gulp, she recognizes Laskaris and hurriedly puts the glass down. "Sir." There's no sign of a salute — perhaps she's getting the hang of this — though there is a milk moustache at either side of her mouth. With a touch of resignation, she says, "This is just for the civilians, then, isn't it, Sir?"

Stavrian gets a glance and a quiet nod, then Laskaris' head turns back to Tisiphone. "Look, Ensign, if this is what they put in front of me, I sure's frak am not going to turn it down. They got plenty t' spare, anyway." He grins between bites. "'Sides, there's gotta be some perks what come with being an officer in the Fleet, eh?" Another bite of steak disappears between his lips, followed by a piece of mushroom and a nibble from a piece of bread. "Just enjoy it while ya can. Soon enough it'll be back t' the same old slop."

The nice thing about military kitchens is that they're closed off from the mess by not one but two hatches — probably on the recommendation of some old and dotty psychologist who figured that the soldiers would be happier if they couldn't see the nasty means by which their food would be produced. Today, though, those hatches are open, and tendrils of smoke curl up and out from the exposed cooking areas despite the best efforts of the ship's ventilation system. The whirring gets louder as it gamely chugs along, sucking up tongues of flame licking the blackened metal of —

By the Lords of Kobol, is that a grill?

No wonder the steak tastes so good.

<FS3> Laskaris rolls Alertness-20: Success.
<FS3> Stavrian rolls Alertness-20: Failure.
<FS3> Tisiphone rolls Alertness-20: Good Success.
<FS3> Hawke rolls Alertness -20: Good Success.

To Laskaris, Tisiphone, and Hawke: No matter what Colony you're from, it's probably fair to say that you've been around a barbecue at least once in your life. And even if you haven't, you probably know that smoke really should be grey and white — which is not the color of the smoke coming from the kitchen. It's actually starting to turn a greasy black as the smell of charring steak carries out to where you're sitting.

Hawke laughs. "Yeah, enjoy it while," his eyes narrow as he looks towards the kitchen. "While we can. Frak, that's not right…" his neck cranes to get a better look. "That is REALLY not right…"

"Hmm?" Stavrian's in the middle of trying to yank a hefty chunk of roasted green pepped off the kebab stick. Both his dark brows go up at Hawke and one hikes higher, eyes and head turning to glance that way. The stick goes with. "What's wrong?"

Laskaris catches it too, even as occupied with his plate as he is, but that's only by virtue of his being seated facing the doors to the kitchen. Even so, it takes him a moment to comprehend the significance of the dark smoke that is now emanating from the kitchen. His nose twitches as the scent of burning meat tickles his nostrils. An alarmed expression on his face, he slowly rises to a half-standing position. "Th' frak…"

There's burning food, and then there's burning stuff. Tisiphone was sneaking another huge gulp of milk while Laskaris was enjoying his steak — she puts it down slowly, pale brows narrowing over pale eyes. "Um. Sir?" After all, Lieutenants know everything. Surely this can be explained as well. Spaceships can't burn, can they?

Hawke is a Doctor, not a fireman, but he knows when something is wrong. "Something is wrong with the grill…" he says, and looks around. "Frak, too many people. Where in the twelve hells is the fire alarm…"

What's wrong is answered very quickly. "Gods damn it," bellows a voice from the kitchen. Enter one (1) very large and very irritated galley chef whose sideways profile is enough to fill three-quarters of the hatchway. His massive jowls quiver as he pokes his head into the galley, drawing in a breath so big it causes his neck to twitch. Then: "Anybody want steak? YOU'LL HAVE TO WAIT." Another massive breath. "CREWMAN DAMON HERE." By now, his cheeks are flushed with exertion, big beads of sweat catching in his thick brown stubble. "Crewman DAMON here burned your food." One last breath; then: "THAT IS ALL."

Stavrian suddenly grimaces, eyes flicking to faces as though he expected half the hall to hear the word 'fire' and start panicking. He twists his back as someone comes out of the galley yelling, his back relaxing just a hair. "Hope Quodel didn't have too much of a…stake in that," he comments drily. His eyes stay on the kitchen though, hackles still raised at the thought of anything being on fire up here.

Tisiphone looks from her saucer of grilled meat to the galley chief and back again. "I guess it's good we got here when we did, Sir." She shifts in her seat, trying to get comfortable again, but keeps flicking looks toward the dispersing clouds of smoke. Stavrian and Hawke remain unaddressed — it's a fair bet she's just trying to keep her head down long enough to finish her meal.

Laskaris falls back into his seat, directing a pained wince in Stavrian's direction. "Didn't anyone ever tell you puns are the lowest form of humor, Doctor?" He shoots another wary glance back towards the kitchen, but seeing as none of the kitchen staff are raising a fire alarm, he relaxes. A few more looks back at where the smoke is coming from, and then Lasher goes back to picking at his plate.

Hawke sits back down, slowly. "Too true, Ensign." He gives Tis a smile… trying to show that he has no hard feelings for her previously expressed views on his profession. Still, though, his eyes look somewhat worried. "Horrific puns aside… that's a lot of black fire for a burned steak." Glancing down, he forks up some more meat.

Stavrian waves the half-eaten stick o' veggies. "Sorry," he tells Laskaris, most insincerely. And the reflex correction: "I'm not a doctor, sir." He pulls a tomato off the stick, having to chew through it to do so, and puts the thing back down to reach for his water glass. A glance kitchenwards again, then back to Hawke. "They do keep extinguishers back there, don't they?"

<FS3> Laskaris rolls Alertness-20: Success.
<FS3> Stavrian rolls Alertness-20: Good Success.
<FS3> Tisiphone rolls Alertness-20: Success.
<FS3> Hawke rolls Alertness -20: Success.

To Laskaris, Stavrian, Tisiphone, and Hawke: This is something everybody has long gotten used to writing off as a battlestar's growing pains, but it's noticeable nonetheless. The lights above you seem to buzz and flicker for the briefest of moments, their filaments glowing as a surge of power thrums through them — and, just as abruptly, stops.

The sound of the chef's voice is somewhat muted as he withdraws back into the kitchen, his hands balled up into meaty fists. Snippets of conversation are audible to anybody who's listening — now, a derogatory comment about Crewman Damon's lack of male primary sexual organs; five seconds later, a rambling description of various sexual techniques possessed by Crewman Damon's mother; fifty-two seconds later, a confirmation that, yes, said techniques were in fact put to the test by a significant proportion of the Cerberus' crew.

It's enough to elicit a few sniggers from a cluster of snipes waiting patiently by the buffet, their trays held out while the next batch of meat is prepared. A few people here and there look up at the lights before returning their attention to their food.

Ah, hell. Now she's got to acknowledge the doctors. Tisiphone seems to stall a long time on a mouthful of lentils before finally managing to swallow. "Sir," she replies to Hawke. She starts fussing with her plates, not so coincidentally starting to move her plate of iron-containing grilled meat toward the side of the tray Hawke would be able to see. The only chance of her maneuver being casual is the distraction of the flickering lights — even she looks up and around, frowning afresh. Another glance to the all-knowing Laskaris.

There's a growly chuckle from Laskaris at the tongue-lashing the unfortunate Crewman Damon recieves. If it's not one thing, it's another. First the burning smoke from the kitchen, and now the lights. Such surges haven't been uncommon on the Cerberus in the short time Lasher's been aboard, but he notices anyway. "Frakkin' hell…" he grumbles. Sorry, Tisiphone, no answers forthcoming on this one. As smart as he may be, he's no snipe.

Hawke's frown returns as the lights flicker. "They had better frakking do something about that. I don't want to be in the middle of surgery and have the lights go crazy." He tries to focus on his food, but keeps glancing up at the fire, watching for excess smoke. Smoke could be lethal in sealed environments, after all. Of course, it isn't all bad. Based on his anatomical knowledge alone, some of the things the crew apparently did to Damon's mom aren't even possible.

Stavrian is one of those people that looks up; his head doesn't move but his eyes do. They then flicker to the cluster of people talkin' bout Damon's momma. "I suppose if the engineers aren't panicking…" Then, hey. A sip of water and he picks up a new kebab. He's probably not one concerned about the steak, given his plate hasn't a shred of meat on it.

Crewman Damon exits, pursued by a bear — or in this case, a bear-sized galley chef who will no doubt make a mess of him somewhere off-stage. A few minutes later and a fresh batch of steak arrives from the still-smoking door, brought out to the waiting masses by a goggle-eyed crewman still giggling at the thought of getting those things done to her by that hunky clerk down in Support. Down into the buffet table goes the tray of meat, when —

Whoosh comes a plume of fire from the grill in the kitchen, spooling out of not one but two open hatches before being sucked back inside with the ventilators' insistent pull. A half-second later and the lights in the hall blink off for good, sparking and fizzling with the sound of several thousand bulbs suddenly crying out in terror — and suddenly silenced. And in the newly-dark room comes forth a light source of an entirely different sort: an explosion of noise and sparks from the buffet table where said goggle-eyed crewman is just now standing, searing her fair features and causing her to fall to the floor as the table itself bursts into flame.

Three ingredients mixed, stirred, and shaken. Behold: instant cacophony.

Lasher glances over to Hawke, his right eyebrow raised slightly. "It's just growing pains, Doctor. Besides… if you're having t' do surgery while we're still in drydock like this, then that means we've got problems far more pressing than a few fritzy lights." And just like that, there suddenly IS a problem more pressing, in the form of a gout of flame. Once again, Laskaris pops to his feet, though there's no hesitation, this time. His eyes blink as he's suddenly buffeted by a blast of heat and air pressure, though thankfully he's not as close to the actual flame as that luckless snipe. He glances at Tisiphone and the doctors(well, doctor and whatever Stavrian is) before scrambling to the nearest wall phone. "Fire, fire, fire!!" he bellows into the receiver, his Aerilon accent as thick as the steak he was eating only moments ago. "Fire in the galley! Away damage control teams!"

Tisiphone pushes herself back from the table with equal parts startlement and panic, hard enough that the chair stutters against the floor, wobbles a moment, and spills over backward. She seems to remember she's a beast of military-honed balance and reflexes about halfway down, for she avoids cracking her skull and takes the fall mostly on her shoulder, clambering back up to her feet before the chair finishes rocking. "Fire detectors?!" she shouts over the erupting chaos. "Extinguishers. I mean extinguishers!"

One moment, Hawke is laughing, enjoying himself, even through the looks received from the superstitious ensign. The next moment; cacophony. Trying to see in the flame from the serving table, the doctor grabs his water and pours it over himself while trying to make his way towards the fallen server, a task made difficult by the bedlam of people all around him. Frak it… we have a crewmember down, get out of my way…

Stavrian feels the searing heat on his face, his arm flying up to shield his cheek and eyes before he even realizes it's moving. The shock numbs him for only a second while his body registers that it's still in one piece, and the moment after that he's on his feet. One good thing about someone on fire; at least you can see where they are. "Borrowing this!" He shouts at some shadowy form in his way, grabbing that person's fatigues jacket off the back of their chair to use as a smothering blanket for the crewman's unfortunate fire accessory.

Laskaris' call does not go unrewarded as sirens begin to wail and whoop, jerking a sleeping pilot awake. Military discipline goes a long way. With the exception of a single civilian scientist screaming for his mother, the crew gets to work, following the directions of the lone CPO gathering up coffee before hitting her shift: ten people to supply the fire crew; skilled personnel to the hoses; everybody else out the hatch. Waves of orange and olive surge out the door, the sound of their boots like a wildebeest stampede.

"You!" One of the snipes by the fallen crewman dashes over to the table where two pilots, a doctor, and a not-quite-doctor were sitting, overturning trays of food and a pair of panicked ensigns in the process. Smoke clings to his uniform as he sprints, spots of burning oil carving painful traces down his skin. He ignores them. "Extinguishers are on the wall! If you don't know how to use them, get us masks or get the frak out!" The fact that he's snapping orders to officers concerns him not in the least.

As for Hawke and Stavrian, they'll find the girl lying face-first on the ground, knocked unconscious from the blast. Blood streaks down her face and neck but she's breathing — sort of. As they get closer, fire illuminates her broken body, revealing bits and pieces of plastic melted into her arms; livid burns cover her hands and arms, the smell of her roasted flesh not unlike that rising from the flank steaks lying like polka dots on the deck beneath.

And still the fires burn.

Wasn't he just doing this shit a few days ago? Well, that was just a drill on the hangar, not an honest-to-frakking-gods inferno. Squinting with his lips drawn tight, Laskaris makes his way to one of the emergency lockers. Yanking it open, the Viper pilot quickly grabs a mask and pulls it over his face before he starts handing out additional masks to any of the fire crew or 'volunteer firefighters' that approach. Not a look is spared for the near-dead girl on the floor; not out of lack of empathy, but simple necessity. The doctors will do their jobs.

Tisiphone's just spent the last six years learning how to follow orders, and here's someone telling her to Do Things Right The Hells Now. Perhaps later the trivialities of rank and file will filter in — for now, those colt-like legs are powering her in Laskaris's direction, toward the nearest extinguishers. Her question is muffled as she starts pulling a mask on: "The- kitchen?" She's performed a fire drill before, or fakes it well; she unholsters an extinguisher from its wall-mount in short order.

"She's breathing… pulse is there but weak…" Hawke says to the Physician's assistant at his side. "We need to get her out of here but I don't want her trampled. Can we at least move her out of the firefighters way?" He looks around and points to a relatively clear area of the room, away from the burning. "Come on, let's move…"

Stavrian tosses the jacket aside when it's clear there's no fire on her to put out, sinking to his knees and coughing. "Hephaestus' mercy. She needs fresh air, sir; the smoke will kill her if her lungs are singed. You get her legs, I'll get under her arms." Already crouched, he's digging his hands underneath her armpits. There's no way to do this cleanly - priority is GTFO injured.

<FS3> Hawke rolls Firstaid: Good Success.
<FS3> Stavrian rolls Firstaid: Good Success.

"FRAK the foam!" shouts the CPO, her close-shaven head whipping back from the hatch as she shuts it behind her. A clear mask is pulled over her own face before she sprints to tear an extinguisher similar to that Tisiphone has just grabbed from the hands of an unfortunate specialist. "Drop that shit and get the HFP — " The heptafluoropropane, because inquiring minds must know. "And for the sake of all the godsdamn gods, don't link the hoses to water!" And just like that, brown hoses, switched to the right dial, begin threading through the room, their serpents' bodies swelling with pressurized gas. One mask for each man, Laskaris — and they're not going for you. They're going for the kitchen, running directly towards the fire as badly-burned crewmen run out for the door.

As for Tisiphone, her source of instruction has suddenly vanished, running off to grab an extinguisher of his own. It's a bit bigger than the one she's gotten, and of a different color — yellow instead of red, not that it's easy to tell in the darkened room. He steps around the doctors moving the body away from smoke, leaping over the girl's sagging form until he's at the buffet table once more. A spray of dry powder bursts forward in a hiss, slashing into the leaping flames.

And the girl herself? Her skin is dreadfully warm to the touch as she's dragged to safety, and bits of charring clothes slough off as they're dragged against the ground to reveal her shrapnel-studded abdomen.

And still the fires burn.

After a moment's hesitation, Lasher grabs an armload of masks and dashes in the same direction as the fire crew — into the fire. One by one, he shoves a mask at each of the enlisted damage control people, until his arms are empty. Finding a yellow extinguisher of his own, he joins the loud CPO near the buffet; fumbling with the extinguisher for a moment, he curses as he tries to remember how to activate the thing. Thank goodness he actually paid attention to his last emergency procedures refresher, though; it all comes back to him like riding a bicycle, and after a second, another burst of the flame-killing powder attacks the flames.

Maybe Tisiphone was some sort of conscientious pyromaniac, growing up — preparing the extinguisher for action seems very familiar to her. Latch, HERE. Locking pin, THERE. She's about to bring it to bear when the CPO's roar freezes her in her tracks. Type A extinguisher on a Type B fire? That'll go over well. She can compare deep tissue damage with the Lieutenant while they spent the next four months together in sick bay. The red extinguisher is dropped, kicked toward the wall, and she's scrambling for the nearest yellow one.

Hawke nods. "Right… someone get me one of those masks!" Grabbing one from one of the scurrying deck crew, Hawke tosses it to Stavrian, who is at her upper body. "Get that on her and then let's get her to sickbay…"

Stavrian grabs the mask and pulls the string tight, slipping it onto the girl's face and over the dome of her head. "There are going to be other injured in here, sir," He has to shout above the din, voice already hoarse. "I have to go back and I need an EMT team up here. Tell Sickbay to prep for the incoming." And let's hope that recovery ward has a sterile burn unit.

Four heavy-duty hoses hiss like the snakes they are, their brass fangs bared, advancing forward as eleven men and women direct them towards the galley. The paint on the bulkheads is melting from the heat, its fumes thankfully redirected from the DC folks' faces by Laskaris' distributed masks. None of soldiers them thank him; none of them so much as acknowledge him. Faces grim, they angle those hoses at the still-smoking grill that sits like a broken hulk in the doorway.

Heat — incandescent heat — greets Tisiphone and her now-silent friend, as first his and hers and then Laskaris' extinguishers do their work. Thick powder settles over rapidly pooling grease, whose steady advancement forces them ever backwards, ever backwards — until at last the tide is turned, and at last their retreat is reversed.

Stavrian and Hawke have their hands full too. The girl remains unresponsive as she's manhandled away from immediate danger, crimson blood gurgling up from metal-studded skin. And indeed, the former is soon proven correct — for even before he's finished his sentence the cries of "Corpsman! Somebody!" come from the four chefs staggering out past the smoke. One falls to the ground in agony; his other fellows move to assist, though they don't look to be in any condition to do so, despite being ambulatory. "Help!"

And still the fires burn.

Laskaris' head twitches to the side as he hears the cry for help. The CPO and her fire crew are quite occupied, and the luckless chefs aren't exactly in a position to help themselves, it seems. After spraying one last jet of the powder at the flames, he tosses the extinguisher to one side; with a shake of his head and a deep breath, the blond lieutenant dashes towards the embattled galley crew, the prone cook in particular. Grabbing for the fallen man's body, he bellows at the other three. "Go!"

Tisiphone is trying to make her around the charred remains of the buffet tables, working inward toward the kitchen now that the grease fire has stopped spreading. It's not going so well — the heat is roiling out in waves against her fatigues, and her mask isn't meant for full-scale firefighting. She's attacking what look like remaining hotspots, though, attempting to make sure a retreat route is clear for the firecrew entering the kitchen. Every few moments she's looking around, trying to keep track of the doctors and Laskaris.

As they get the girl out into the hallway, Hawke looks back in… no additional medical help, yet. Frak. "We need her in surgery ASAP," he snarls at her. Grabbing a phone, he punches up the intercom. "I need medevac units with stretchers to the galley NOW, and prep Sickbay for multiple burn victims." The likelihood of this scenario having a happy ending was incredibly low. "Put her down out here, let's get those others out of there." His head spins on a swivel. "YOU!" Soldier? Civillian? He didn't care. "Watch her! If she starts vomiting, you get that mask off of her head, you hear me?"

"Have them bring cold compresses. Don't remove her clothes!" That last, Stavrian shouts at the one Hawke's got tending to the girl. Her treatment now is in the doctor's hands; the medic's got evac to do. He turns on his heel once she's settled and heads back into the room at a run, for where the cook has collapsed near the galley. If he has to elbow people in the face to get there so be it; a bruise will heal before third degree burns do.

<FS3> Tisiphone rolls Reactive: Good Success.

The seconds pass with agonizing slowness, ticked off by sporadic clangs from the hoses' feeding units on the wall as one canister of gas is drained and replaced by another. At least that automated mechanism hasn't broken down, for if it did, well — that would be, as Triad players say, the game. But ever so surely, the DC crew proceeds into the kitchen, their boots popping swelling bits of paint that had bubbled up from the floor from the blaze. And just as surely, the flames retreat, though not before claiming one less careful man for itself. Four hoses suddenly become three as the man's leg catches fire, forcing him to drop and roll — onto the scalding-hot ground.

The nice things about echoing hallways? Even Stavrian can hear the piercing scream as it resonates in the corridor, and then, as one: "MEDIC!"

Meanwhile, at Laskaris' instructions, the surviving galley crew takes off, stumbling towards the hatch after having been elbowed in the face. They're met, surprisingly enough, by a medevac team that had been running up from Sickbay the moment Laskaris' first call went through. They're hustled out by a blank-faced nurse as the others move in with a stretcher, looking for bodies. Stretcher, singular.

And as regards Tisiphone and the snipe? Luck saves her, but not him, for even as he congratulates her for mopping up so well, going so far as to pluck a bit of Aerilonian cheese from the tray on the deck, a second blaze explodes from the buffet table near where the two of them are standing. Happy fortune stops her from being peppered with little bits of metal, lighting only her sweats on fire; he, on the other hand, staggers backwards, bleeding from face and an eye.

And still the fires burn.

With the DC crew starting to beat back the fire, Laskaris is able to heave the injured cook to his feet and limp the rest of the way out of the firey kitchen with only a slightly singed uniform and a few burnt hairs for his trouble. He slowly guides the wounded man to the hatch, leaving him to the care of medical personnel; the crisis isn't over yet, though, as he hears the popping sound of another buffet table going up. He looks on with horror as he sees the specialist go down and flame licking at the sweats on Tisiphone's legs. Back towards the flames he goes, making for the Viper ensign and the staggering specialist aside her.

Tisiphone screams some sort of horrible, bubbling, shrieky scream that sounds like it's being pulled all the way from her toes. The sort of scream of someone who thinks they've just been turned into a half-raw, half-charred mess of a girl like the one the doctors hauled out. It takes a half-dozen stumbling backsteps and several wild, waving slaps of her upper body before she realizes (1) she still has a face, but (2) she's about to have no legs. "OhfrakFrakFRAKFRA-A-ACK-!" A little less panicked than a second ago, but no where near calm, she turns her fire extinguisher on her pants with extreme prejudice.

Hawke closes his eyes for a second. Too much going on. Finally, he spins and runs to the guys with the stretcher, all but dragging the one to where the girl is bleeding out. "SHE is your priority. I need her in sickbay in as close to a clean surgery as we can manage." He then spins to the phone. "I need every available medevac unit at the galley now! Multiple serious injuries!" Slamming it down, he points to Stavrian. "You run the teams! Get them up to sickbay as fast as you can, I have to start surgery now!" Yeah, dude is gonna have NO voice tomorrow.

One stretcher? REALLY? The back of Stavrian's mind is already cursing whoever drilled the Cerberus' medics in the weeks past. The front of it is trying to work out this logstics nightmare. He nearly gets slammed by the snipe with half his face ripped off. "PO!" he shouts. Grabbing for the man's hand, he whips around and snags a fleeing crewman by the shoulder, mashing their hands together like a crosswalk guard from hell. "Lead him OUT of here, he can't see. Go." He doesn't have much time for people who are still walking, not while still basically on his own. "Lieutenant Hawke! Tell the teams to go straight for the galley!" As Laskaris runs for Tisiphone he sprints deeper into the galley, following the sounds of the pained screams. "Colonial medic, call out!" He calls out into the semi-dark. "If you can walk, get the hell out! Shout if you have someone down." The smoke is horrid, making him cough hard as he fights his way back in.

Remember what they told you in school, Tisiphone? Stop, Drop, and Roll? She should have listened — for as she flails and jerks about like a Gemenese chicken with its head cut off, she only fans the flames further, sending gouts of it spiraling out from her pants and up to her torso. And the extinguisher she's got in her hands? Burning clothes are cloth, and the yellow one is for flammable liquids and gas…

In the meantime, the fire in the galley has gone out by the time Stavrian gets there, and it's ten wooden-faced people who become visible as Stavrian pushes into the small room. The eleventh is nowhere to be seen. Fortunately, the fire in there wasn't as serious as it looked, having claimed only the chef's precious grill as its prize — well, the grill and the ventilation system above it, which sucks and wheezes and breathes and swallows no more. "Here," comes a weak, fading cry. "Here."

And out goes Hawke with the stretcher team, which starts to call in the girl's vitals the moment they're received at the door by the rest of the initial response team. Two more corpsmen pat the surgeon on the shoulder before they too run instead, sprinting towards the fleeing crewman and the blinded snipe.

Laskaris, in the meantime, is standing right in front of a merry blaze, which crackles and spits little gobs of oil from the roasted kebabs inside. Fortunately, Cerberus' backup DC teams have finally arrived, cursing the broken sprinklers as they bring extinguishers to bear. The pilot is shoved backwards so they can do their thing. "Jump her!" one shouts, pointing to the ensign. "Get her the FRAK to the ground!"

And still the fires burn.

There's an object lesson in blind reflex going awry. Bad time for Tisiphone to show the same sort of thoroughness an arachnophobe might show in stomping a spider, then wadding it in tissue before setting the wad alight and flushing it all down the toilet. She tries to recoil away from herself as the flames lick everywhere, shoving the extinguisher away as it's obviously All Its Fault, slapping frantically at her clothes. This must be what it's like to be the spider.

Laskaris grunts as he's suddenly pushed to one side by the arrival of the backup DC teams. For a moment, he just stands, frozen, but then the shout of the DC tech registers. His breathing heavy by this point, he nevertheless charges towards the flaming ensign. With the flames spreading, and Tisiphone flailing madly, there's no time for gentleness; he extends an arm out from his side, clotheslining the woman and knocking her to the ground. The tall pilot uses himself as an impromptu fire blanket, grabbing her in an iron embrace as he rolls their entwined forms across the deck to extinguish the flames.

Stavrian bangs a hip against a counter that he can't really make out in the sooty darkness, biting back a grunt of pain. "Keep talking, I hear you." He heads for the sound, using fingertips to guide him along the edge of things. "Rest of you, get out of here. You." He reaches out, tagging the nearest galley worker's shoulder. "Responsible for headcount. If you don't have ten when you get out there, give the missing name to a medic. Now, go." He can taste the smoke by now, from both outside and in here, coating his throat and tongue with a nauseating, acrid stink. Kneeling down on the floor by the one calling out, he skids up close, trying to get a look at the severity of the injury. "Tell me your name." Long as they're talking, they're conscious.

To say that the tangled mess of bodies that is Laskaris and Tisiphone is hot would not be a wholly inaccurate statement. Between the bulky male pilot and the unyielding ground, the fire is rapidly starved of oxygen, and when the two of them are done — it says something about Lasher that the act is finished in thirty seconds — only the faint smell of charring clothes remains.

Stavrian finds, too, that the crisis has passed. Oily smoke cuts into his nostrils as he bends to recover the burnt fellow inside, whose nose and lips peel and flake as he's moved. The young man's clothes are no longer burning, though the sickening stink of burnt hair covers even the reek of chemicals and paint. And look: he's no longer talking.

Outside, the CPO leads the headcount, clasping each man or woman on the neck as she murmurs a benediction, and the sound of extinguishers gradually diminishes until at last the final flame winks out.

Tisiphone was warned about Lieutenants trying to take advantage of impressionable young Ensigns, but she's fairly confident this isn't how it was supposed to happen. She'll just sort of lay there, doing her best sack of Grade A Potatoes impression, dazed, confused and slightly smouldering. And then, at long last, after a series of wracking coughs, "…Sir?" She's looking forward to the answer to THIS one.

Noticing the flames are finally gone, Laskaris releases his grip on Tisiphone, flopping over onto his back with a series of heaving breaths. He suddenly notices his heart is pounding like an entire symphony's worth of drums in his chest; Lasher coughs as, exhausted from his job, he lays limply on the deck. Tisiphone says something to him, but it takes him a moment to answer; finally, his head lolls to the side, looking over at the woman lying next to him. "Yeah?" he replies, his voice even raspier and scratchier than usual.

Normally, a medic would use a face mask and a hand pump to get oxygen into an unconscious body. Stavrian doesn't have the luxury of the equipment - another mental note made about the Cerberus' equipment SNAFUs - and so does the PA handle this the hard way. He pushes his fingers against the carotid artery, checking for pulse while his other hand stays at the man's mouth and nose, still for ten seconds. No breath. He tilts the man's chin up, sweeping his sooty fingers once through his mouth to clear it, and delivers air by mouth, straight onto peeling, blistered lips. One breath every five seconds, chest rise, chest fall, fingers monitoring pulse. And does it work? (Don't say 'hold your breath'.)

<FS3> Stavrian rolls Firstaid: Good Success.

"I think you broke my rib." Tisiphone makes some sort of rasping, croaking noise that could be either a laugh or a sob, before starting to struggle back up to her feet. There's some reflex left in there to save herself, no matter how much it's been smoked, singed, or Lieutenant death-rolled out of her.

Hands slam into sternum as Stavrian goes to work, until at last a puff of life-giving air escapes from the wounded man's mouth. A faint groan is audible before it dies away entirely — and then, finally, the man's lungs start working of their own volition, rising and falling in time to the count in the corpsman's head. He'll survive: and this, in case Jesse keeps track of such things, is the first Cerberus life saved by his timely intercession.

Outside, the damage control teams are taking stock of the situation; indeed, the chief in command is already writing up a report for the ChEng. The ten volunteer firefighters are slumped by the ground, masks dangling about their necks as they struggle for breath, already leaning against each other: nascent comradeship forged in the crucible of adversity. The faint sweet smell of citrus drifts over from one particularly exhausted pair — a uniformed captain peeling a fallen orange for the enlisted man beside.

The final count? Four minutes and forty-nine seconds; one kitchen; one grill; two hundred and thirty-seven broken bulbs; eight casualties; zero deaths —

And the fires burn no more.

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