Leon woke up in hospital, Paul fast asleep in a chair at his bedside. Leon moved his hand over to caress Paul’s cheek.
Paul muttered something and slowly opened his eyes.
“Morning,” Leon said.
Paul hugged Leon, tightly. “Idiot. Why do you always have to try so hard to prove yourself? When I saw you… Really, you’re such an idiot.”
Leon wiped Paul’s tears, gently. “Sorry. I guess I screwed up again. Please don’t cry. I’ll make it up to you, I promise.”
“You’d better,” Paul muttered. “And you can start by being more careful.”
Farah towed the Nebula to the Cerberus’ hangar where Lucy was waiting.
“Very good,” Lucy said. “Now go back for Kat, please.”
“Understood,” Farah acknowledged.
Lucy moved over to the Nebula and opened the cockpit. Allison was slumped over the control console, a huge crack in her helmet. Lucy looked her over, noting with relief that she was still breathing.
Lucy dragged her from the cockpit and hurriedly got her out of the flight suit to more thoroughly examine her. She got on her communicator. “Come in, Heart.”
“What is it?” Ophelia’s voice asked.
“Allie’s pretty banged up,” Lucy reported. “I don’t think there’s anything life threatening, but we should have her examined by Paul when we get back to Ca’urrg, just in case.”
“I’m guessing she’s off duty pending that examination,” Ophelia said. She sighed. “Acknowledged.”
Lucy began bandaging Allison’s wounds. She’d wait for Farah to get back and have her assist in moving Allison to medical.
Fortunately for the Cerberus crew, they managed to reach the outer colonies without any further issues and dropped off Uhrandra.
Before setting their return course, Ophelia called a meeting. They met in the medical bay so that Allison would be included.
“Our situation is not very good,” she reported. “We have two ships that are functionally trashed, no backup power and virtually non-existent shields.”
“The positive side,” Lucy chimed in “is that we shouldn’t encounter any more trouble since the mission is complete and there’s no more reason for anyone to risk going after us. So long as I can keep sending false readings that make us look fine, at any rate.”
“But if someone does try their luck, we’re screwed,” Kat stated.
“I’m more worried about what Grace will say when we pick her up,” Allison said. “I’m not reporting the damage to her. I’m already injured. Kat, you do it.”
“Me?” Kat asked. “I nearly died saving you, you know.” She turned to Ophelia. “Captain, we’re all behind you.”
“I couldn’t possibly give the report in person,” Ophelia said. “There’s a lot I need to oversee yet.”
“Farah, we’re counting on you,” Lucy added.
“Me?” Farah asked.
“That’s brilliant!” Allison declared. “Farah’s perfect for this job.”
“She is the only one that Grace won’t punch no matter what,” Kat stated. She pat Farah’s back. “Have courage.”
“Fine,” Farah said. “There’s no need for you all to act like you’re scared, you know. I don’t mind telling her.”
“Yes, pretending…” Allison stated. “That’s what we’re doing.”
The Cerberus managed to make her way to Ca’urrg without incident. They found Yuri and Grace waiting for them.
Kat and Farah disembarked to meet them.
“Where is Allison?” Yuri inquired.
“Medical,” Kat answered. “Nothing serious, as far as we can tell. We’ll have Paul check her over to be sure.”
“May I see her before Paul conducts an analysis?” Yuri asked.
“Go right ahead,” Kat said.
“What happened to my ship?” Grace demanded, turning her wrench around in her hands.
“It took some damage during battle,” Farah reported. “We have no backup power right now. Our shields are barely functional. Main power is down to sixty five percent. The Wyvern and Nebula got heavily damaged and the Simurgh sustained some damages.”
“The Simurgh?” Grace asked. She grabbed Farah’s shoulders and pulled her close. “Are you all right? Does it hurt anywhere?”
“I’m fine,” Farah said. “I only have some minor bruises. The Simurgh kept me pretty safe.”
“That’s good,” Grace said, hugging her close.
Kat was headed back when the wrench flew past her head, narrowly missing her.
“And how the heck did you manage to trash my Wyvern?” Grace asked.
“There’s a full report in Engineering waiting for you,” Kat said.
“It had better be damn good,” Grace muttered.