“I managed to stop Leon’s bleeding,” Lucy reported. “I’ve got Yuri watching him right now to keep him from getting restless and doing something else stupid.”
Ophelia shook her head. “Only Leon would try taking on a pacifican with his bare hands.”
“You think?” Allison asked. “I’ve seen plenty of net videos of other people who have tried the same thing. Leon may be the one who did the best. There was this one chick who got her head knocked into a guardrail and she just dropped. It was actually pretty funny.”
“The only one on this ship,” Ophelia corrected.
“I do suggest getting there and back as quickly as possible,” Lucy said. “We’ll want Paul to give him a full examination.”
“And off goes all surveillance to medical,” Allison said. “For at least an hour.”
“No need to be crude, Allie,” Lucy stated, wagging her finger.
“We’re already going full speed,” Ophelia stated. “It may not be the wisest move since we’ve got no backup systems right now, but we also don’t have much choice. We’ve confirmed that they’re on to us and it’s only a matter of time before they send pursuit. It behoves us to be done with our errand by the time they reach us.”
“Yuri to Captain Wester, please respond.”
Ophelia switched her communicator on. “What is it, Yuri?”
“Leon requires repairs.” Yuri reported. “I have been monitoring him and I believe his internal systems have been damaged.”
“How certain are you?” Ophelia asked.
“He is displaying symptoms consistent with internal damages to the abdomen,” Yuri reported.
“Keep him comfortable and still,” Ophelia ordered. “We’ll be back to pick up Paul as soon as possible.” She rubbed her temples and glanced at Lucy. “We may have to scrub the mission.”
“Do you think so?” Lucy asked.
“I agree with the captain!” Farah declared. “Leon’s life is more important.”
“You only say that because you know him,” Lucy said. “Realistically, a lot of people are going to die if we don’t get Uhrandra to the outer edge. Would you sacrifice them for one person?”
“That’s…” Farah’s voice trailed off.
“I can’t abandon my crew,” Ophelia said. “Not if there’s any other option. My first duty is always to you guys. We may take risks and go into danger, but it’s always calculated. I simply can’t justify going on when I can save one of my crew by going back.”
“What if it wasn’t a choice of one or the other?” Lucy asked.
“You have a plan,” Ophelia observed.
“If someone were to take Leon back in the shuttle, we could continue on our way,” Lucy stated. “He won’t get back to Ca’urrg as quickly, but it should be fast enough to allow a reasonable margin of safety.”
“And if the shuttle encounters pursuers?” Ophelia asked.
“They won’t even slow down for it,” Lucy stated. “Our opponents are somewhat familiar with me, at least. They’ll suspect a trap of some kind. At the very least, they’ll know that we aren’t sending Uhrandra back the way we came. It would defeat the entire purpose of the mission.”
“That may just work,” Ophelia said. “So, who do we send back with him?”
“I suggest Yuri,” Lucy stated. “She’s got basic emergency training and no life signs. If they scan the shuttle, they’ll see one injured life sign and it will reinforce the idea that it’s a trap. Plus, if they do decide o try boarding it, Yuri stands the best chance of fighting them off.”
“Then let’s do it,” Ophelia ordered. “Have Yuri prep the shuttle with emergency medical equipment immediately and depart.”
Yuri was able to depart quickly, taking all the emergency equipment she was apt to need.
“Good luck,” Allison said. “I’ll miss you.”
“I will only be gone for a short while,” Yuri stated. “However, it would be preferable from my perspective if you were taking this trip with me.”
Allison returned to the bridge and the Cerberus continued on its way.
“You know, Boss,” Allison said “I’m not normally one to question your decisions, but we’re down to about half strength at this point. It’s a bit concerning.”
“I don’t disagree,” Ophelia said. “Let’s just hope things go smoothly from here on out.”
“More bad news, I’m afraid,” Lucy stated. “There’s an ambush up ahead.”
“Where?” Ophelia asked.
“Right here,” Lucy stated, bringing up the sensor readings. You can barely see the displacement from their stealth tech. Either they’re feeding us false readings to try and ambush us in an unexpected way, or this is the ambush.”
Ophelia sighed, heavily. “Farah, Allison, grab Kat and get in the fighters. Be ready to deploy at a moment’s notice.”