24th Enarn 1569 M.E.
0945 hours Ship Time
The lights in Medbay were soft and dim for the benefit of its two patients. Against the far wall the small form of Mazzy Fentan slept, shrouded in medical equipment. In the other bed, Jaheira laid sleeping, wires and tubes connected to her good arm. Lights on the display board glowed softly, showing the entire range of her metabolic functions. A sheet was pulled up to her neck, covering the regeneration sleeve over the stump of her left arm.
Next to her bed, Bran sat in a chair he liberated from Aerie’s workstation. A long cooled cup of nearcaf rested next to him and a datapad lay forgotten in his lap. His chin rested on his jumpsuited chest and the occasional light snore escaped his lips.
Medbay slumbered in this peaceful stasis since Bran dozed off an hour ago. But that changed as Jaheira stirred in her bed. Always a light sleeper, Bran’s head snapped up and his eyes blinked blearily as he looked over to Jaheira’s bed. Brown met green as Jaheira’s eyes blinked drowsily.
Bran smiled softly and reached out, resting his hand on her knee. “Hey.”
“Hey,” Jaheira replied very softly. “Thirsty.”
Bran grabbed the pitcher and a cup from the side table and poured her out some water. “Not too much now, Doc’s orders.” He held it up for her and let her drink.
She drank in small but greedy sips. “I am aware. But that is better.”
Bran pulled back the cup. “So, how are you feeling?”
“Battered, bruised and beaten but still very much alive, thank Silvanus,” she said with the slightest hint of a smile.
“Yeah. That one was … a little close.”
“Just a little.”
“But we made it out,” Bran said with a small smile. “We took a pounding, but nothing that can’t be fixed.”
Jaheira nodded, her eyes flicking to her left shoulder. “I thankfully respond to regenerative treatment.” She turned her gaze onto Bran. “How is your leg?”
“Stiff, a little painful, but mending. Aerie fixed it up as soon as she was done with you two.”
“Stable. Aerie fixed the bleeding and set the bones. Pumped her full of fastheal and all the electrolytes and nutrients her system can handle. She’ll be out for a while, but she’ll heal.”
“Good. Good,” she said with a weak nod. She nodded again, as if running down a checklist. “And the ship?”
“You’re supposed to be resting, aren’t you?” Bran asked with a hint of a tease in his voice.
“Do not presume to lecture me on proper medical care,” Jaheira replied with a smile.
“I’m going to remember you said that the next time I’m in the Doc’s for hull work.”
“Not that it will do you any good,” Jaheira replied with an even larger smile. “Now, are you going to tell me what happened to the ship and to our engineer? Or am I going to have to get out of this bed and thrash the answer out of you?”
Bran held up a hand and grinned. “Peace. I’ll talk.”
“I knew you would show wisdom,” Jaheira replied with a triumphant smile.
“According to Nalia, the zeds somehow bypassed the security systems on the gantry. Needless to say, Im hit the roof on that one, and has been tearing through the security protocols to find out how. Well, the vidcam in the gantry had been flaky, so when the net went down, Nalia figured it was a glitch. That’s how they got in.” Bran stroked his chin. “All she’s said to me is that they breached the lock and nearly got her as she tried to fix it. I’m certain there’s more to it, but whatever it is… it’s not good.”
“Considering how they surprised us, this is not surprising.”
“No. It isn’t. And no matter how hard she tries, she’s still not really a field ops type. Well, she got away, but the gantry controls weren’t working. When she tried to blow the gantry, the explosive bolts failed. Turns out there was low level corrosion on the detonator circuits. Never would have found it without field stripping those, and who would?” He shakes his head. “Well, they nearly cut through the lock, so Nalia did what she could. Kicked the drives to full and broke away. She also got tossed into a console, knocked herself out. That’s why we couldn’t reach her. When she came to, she came looking for us.”
“We are lucky she arrived when she did.”
“Yeah. And thankfully she didn’t shoot us.”
“Shoot you?” Jaheira’s eyebrows shot up.
“Well, since she wasn’t armed when she got attacked, she armed herself. She was packing enough heat to scare even Minsc.”
“That… is a large number of weapons,” Jaheira said blinking.
“When Minsc came up to the bridge, what did he say...” He snapped his fingers and did in a quiet but passable impression, “Look Boo! Little Nalia with a hero’s cornucopia of buttkicking!! Minsc is so proud, now we just need to get her own mighty companion like you Boo!” He laughed.
“That sounds like our Minsc,” Jaheira said with a soft chuckle followed by a sharp wince.
“Sorry. Forgot about the ribs,” Bran said contritely.
“It is fine. Better laughter with a little pain than no laughter at all.”
“You know, I think there’s some greater wisdom in that.”
“Maybe, but I would prefer to avoid this method of enlightenment in the future.” She smiled.
“You and me both. You and me both.” He gently stroked her hair.
“Then we are agreed. No more fighting extradimensional beings and their undead armies.”
“Gods above, I hope so. Once in my life is enough,” Bran said with a slightly nervous laugh. “I’ll stick with the usual raft of pirates, mercenaries, jackers, and bounty hunters thank you very much.”
“Speaking of bounty hunters, where are we heading?”
“New Flushing. We need repairs and… you need full med facilities. Jason’s is the only place near enough and friendly enough, especially with people still wanting to talk with us.”
“Never a break, is there?” Jaheira said tiredly.
“No. Never is,” Bran shrugged resignedly before breaking into a lopsided grin. “Keeps life interesting.”
“You know, one can describe being burnt alive as interesting.”
“That’s why the old Terran curse is ‘May you live in interesting times.’” He chuckled. “And considering my life, someone cursed me well and good.”
“Indeed,” she said softly, her eyes slightly downcast. “All of us seem to bear that curse.”
“Seems to come with the territory.” Smiling, he took her hand in both of his and squeezed affectionately. “But we make do.”
She squeezed back. “That we do.”
The doors to Medbay opened and a much refreshed looking Aerie swept in. She scanned the display over the beds and then looked at Bran and Jaheira. “C…captain, Ja… Jaheira needs her rest. She is still recovering from severe tr…trauma.”
“I am well enough,” Jaheira griped. She started to sit up, grimaced and slumped back to the bed.
“Of course. But you st… still need more rest. I would prefer n… not to have to use a sedative.”
Bran couldn’t help the smile on his face. The soft spoken doctor and his hardheaded XO were about to square off. And in this one, the victor was already clear. To help Jaheira save face, he stood, still holding on to Jaheira’s hand. “You should rest. And I could use some food. Plus, I should check on the natives, make sure that we’re not heading for the rock candy mines of Sucre.”
“Making Imoen second officer was not your brightest move,” Jaheira replied with a smile.
“But far from the most foolish,” he grinned back. “I know that, because I’ve got you to remind me of the litany.”
“The least I can do,” she squeezed his hand and looked deep into his eyes. “And I meant it, back on the Helios.”
“I know,” he said with a bright smile. He brought her hand to his lips and kissed the top of it. “So did I.”
A Space Odyssey - Epilogue
No replies to this topic
0 user(s) are reading this topic
0 members, 0 guests, 0 anonymous users