Round 19
Adding Insult to Injury

Order: Athena, Emily

Round 19
(or Thena comes back)

Rila stifled a yawn. This battle was almost too easy. But then, she had to think. These were MEN they were fighting against, and what man REALLY knew how to fly, eh?

She flicked a lock of dark hair off her face and swung the ship around a bit. She saw Cal's flyer zoom close by and had to smirk. That guy was such a meathead.

Suddenly an enemy ship swooped out of nowhere and blasted one wing off of Cal's fighter, sending it spinning through space. Rila gasped and hit the comm. "Cal, are you all right?!"

Cal's voice was hard to hear through the static. "Yeah... I'm okay..."

Ari saw the enemy fighter turn around to finish the job. She blasted the guy out of the sky. "Pick on my friends? I don't think so, pal."

Rila's panel started blaring loudly. Her eyes widened. "Cal, you gotta get outta there! Your ships gonna blow!"

Cal's reply wasn't very surprising. "Oh shit..." There was a silence and then al's fighter exploded in a ball of white light.

Ari and Rila shut their eyes and when they opened them, the fighter was in a thousand pieces. Rila's heart flip-flopped in her chest. "No, Cal...no!"

Rila's voice sounded distant on the comm as Cal watched the right wing of his fighter fly off in at least ten different pieces.

"Cal...alright?" He glanced down at his command console, at the same time trying to keep the injured fighter from spinning out of control. Reaching out with one hand, he flicked on the transmission switch, and answered Rila.

"Yeah, I'm okay!" he called into the speaker. He jumped as a loud blaring noise filled the cockpit. Cal glanced down just long enough to see the lights go from green to red. "Oh, crap!" he flipped a couple of switches, trying to cut power to the main thrusters, conjuring up all of his past knowledge of fighting so his engines wouldn't overheat and explode. His mad scrambling to cut the power, however, caused his attention to waver, and in that second of indecision, the wires sparked inside the control console, and the power cells in the main thrusters blew. The fighter shot forward, as if being thrown from a slingshot. Cal was jerked back in his seat, hitting his head on the headrest. The small fighter craft was now completely out of control.

Suddenly, Rila's high-pitched voice came over the comm, interrupted in places with bursts of static.

"Cal...have to...of there!" Cal glanced up, and saw immediately why. An enemy fighter craft was barreling towards him, lasers blazing, and Cal knew that he was done for.

"Oh, shit," he murmured. He had just enough time to pull on his environment helmet, seal it to his flight suit, and hit the ejection button on the side of his console just as the enemy fighter scored a direct hit on the small craft, blowing it into microscopic pieces. Cal was thrown from the fighter into open vacuum, but not without going unharmed. The shockwave from the blast had sent space debris everywhere and a large piece of it collided into Cal, who was still strapped to the pilot's seat. He had just enough time to mumble a silent prayer in his head before collapsing into a deep unconsciousness. His only hope now was for someone to find him before he was blown to pieces.

Rila stared at the spot that Cal's fighter had been only moments before, mouth hanging open in shock, unable to comprehend what had just happened. He can't be dead, she thought to herself. He can't! She felt Ari's comforting hand close on her shoulder, but Rila shrugged it off. She turned to Ari.

"Scan the area!" she snapped. Ari looked at her in surprise.

"Rila, the ship is gone... and so is-" she broke off as Rila pounded her fist into the control board. Ari nodded. "Commencing search." She quickly punched in the scanners, and began observing the readouts. Rila waited tensely. Cal had to be alive...He wasn't some dumb fighter jock pilot who had more muscle than brain. In fact, he was one of the most cunning pilots's that was on Jove's defense squadron, and Rila knew that if Cal were going to get killed, he wouldn't go down without a fight. Not a sitting duck, like he'd been out there. He was smart enough to do something about his situation.

Ari suddenly jerked up right, and keyed on the comm.

"Nalko!" she yelled. "Get to the coordinates right now! I'll be there in a minute!" Rila looked at her anxiously.

"What is it?" Ari looked at her, and grinned.

"I think we may have found our top fighter pilot. Hang on." Without replying,
Rila sat down in the copilot's chair, and let out a huge sigh of relief as the ship rocketed towards the wrecked fighter, and Cal.

*
Six hours later, Cal finally came out of the surgery room aboard the Medbed.
He was taken to a medroom immediately, and was emitted only one visitor at a time. Ari, of course, would have none of it. In the end, she finally gained access to the room with Rila and Nalko. They walked in silently, trying not to disturb Cal, who was lying on his back, arms at his sides, and a multitude of bandages wrapped around his head, covering everything above his nose, including his eyes. Through her haze of tears, Rila had found that the surgeons had had to go in and reconstruct some neural pathways. Apparently, Cal had gotten hit with an ion beam that had been intended for Nalko's in-coming fighter, taking the blast head-on. He had been lucky, the doctor had said. Very lucky. Rila sat up near Cal's head, lightly stroking his bare arm, while Ari and Nalko sat with each other on the other side of the bed, staring down at Cal's motionless form. The doctor suddenly entered, causing everyone in the room to jump. Rila glared at him.

"Thanks for knocking." The doctor rolled his eyes, and turned to face Ari and Nalko.

"I thought you all might like to know what kind of condition your friend over there is in." He beckoned towards Cal. Rila, Ari, and Nalko nodded eagerly.
The doctor sighed, and sat down in a chair. He might as well get it over with.
"Your friend is in very bad condition..."

Edited by Katie
Completed: 11/19/01
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