In this part, we introduce a wonderful writer, Lesley. If anyone follows my other fics, Lesley is 'Ruka, my fellow writer in a few of my fics.
This is the last one for the night, I swear. I only got 10 more to do, but I'm tired.
Order: Katie, Athena, Emily, Lesley
The Doc looked at us before he went on
"He'll live, but his eyes will never be the same. He'll have to wear special contacts, which will improve upon his condition, but it won't be the same.
His reflexes are a bit shaky right now and we won't know for certain if they'll be normal. As of right now...he can probably return to duty, but not as squad commander."
Two languages of cursing happened at the same time, and then Cals voice came up weakly, we hadn't realized that he had woken up while the doc was talking. "What's wrong...why can't I see well? Oh...now it's not a big black blur...it's better, a big white blur."
I had to hold back a giggle. This was too much...I know how he felt, I was blind once myself.
"Hey, Cal it's Rila...your eyes were damaged, and you won't be able to be squad commander, to put it briefly babe."
"But I will be able to fly?"
"If the eyes improve with the contacts." The doctor told him.
"Well, then they will. Anyone got a spell for sore eyes?" He laughed.
"Oh great, he still has his sense of humor." I replied.
I noticed that Nalks was being really quiet, so I said "Well, we better be going, meetings and reports to handle. Cal, I'm glad you'll be okay. Come on
We walked out and once outside MedBed, I asked him what was up.
"I can't imagine having to replace him...no one can do as well is as good as him...who was trained not by a civil patrol, that is. I simply don't know who to promote."
"You can worry about that later...I mean the next round of personal is coming onboard this next week. I think the new Security chief is with them."
"Who...I didn't see that report."
"I know everything. Amanda Riverstall."
Rila watched Nalks and Ari leave and turned back to Cal. She couldn't believe it. Cal was now, in a manner of speaking, disabled! The pilot would never see the same again. How was he feeling...
Rila swallowed thickly. She wasn't used to feeling like this, all caring for someone else and crap like that...
"I must be getting soft..." But she glanced at Cal and felt her heart soften. What was it about this jackass of a meatheaded pilot, anyways!?
Cal was staring at the ground. Suddenly, he glanced her way. "Rila... I don't know how this is going to affect my career..." He laughed bitterly.
"Nalks is gonna have to find a replacement for me. Man, this sucks!" In a fit of anger, he banged a fist down on a nearby table, and it crashed over onto the floor.
Rila grabbed his wrist with both her hands. "Dammit, Cal, stop! We'll get through this, okay?"
He sighed and shook his head, avoiding her eyes. "I just don't know..."
The next day didn't hold much cheer for the four friends. Cal still remained in his hospital room, a bandage now covering the top half of his head after he'd had a nightmare the night before, causing him to fall out of bed and hit his head on the deck plates. He was now sleeping soundly, but every now and then he would mumble something incomprehensible. Ari and Rila had gone out to get a bite to eat, and Nalko had gone down to the docking bays to check out a roster of in-coming fighter pilots. He sat down with a resigned sigh, pulled up the list on the computer terminal next to his desk, and frowned when he saw the simulation scores. Not nearly as good as Cal's had been.
Nalko smiled grimly. 'Greenies' would be the term that Cal would use. Nalko sat back in his chair, and ran a hand through his tousled brown hair. He'd been up for hours the night before, wondering who in the world he was going to replace Cal with. No, not replace, he told himself. Just...just a substitute. Cal will be back in the pilot's seat before he knew it. But Nalko knew it was a pointless hope. He'd seen this kind of accident before, and those who were lucky enough to survive it were now working as ship janitors.
And Nalko didn't want Cal to end up like that. Sure, the guy was a total jerk, with an ego the size of Jupiter, but that still didn't mean that Nalko didn't consider him a friend. A good friend at that. A sudden knock on the door to his office caused him to jump in surprise. A young woman around the age of twenty-five stood in the doorway. She wore the uniform of a security chief, a navy jumpsuit with a high collar. Her black hair was pulled back in a tight bun, and her gray eyes glittered from the overhead lights of Nalko's office. Nalko straightened up.
"Can I help you?" he asked, glancing at her athletic frame. She smiled, and walked into the office.
"Yes," she said, her voice carrying a commanding tone to it. "At least, I hope you can. I was wondering where I could find James Nalko and Arianna Cassidy?" Nalko forced a smile despite his lousy mood.
"Well, you've just found one of the two. I'm James Nalko," he stretched out his hand, and the woman gripped it firmly. "Arianna Cassidy is-"
"Right here," Ari's voice came from the doorway. Nalko looked over the woman's shoulder, and grinned at Ari. She looked over at the woman inquisitively. "I'm Arianna Cassidy." Ari pasted a cheery look on her face and smiled. "How can I help you?" The woman grinned at both Nalko and Ari.
"My name's Amanda Riverstall. I'm the head of security on Jove Station. I heard about Commander Baytes' accident...and I was wondering if you might be looking for a replacement for him?"
Ari paused and looked at the woman curiously. She was tall and miliataristic, with sharp features and a cold aura. Her uniform was spotless and her steel grey eyes took in Nalko and Ari and the surounding enviroment with calm acceptance.
"Amanda Riverstall... I've heard about you," said Nalko. "You caught the
Earth's Light terrorists single handedly four years ago. Made quite a news story."
"I was doing my job," continued Riverstall, "Now can you answer my question. I came to replace Commander Baytes. Do I stay or do I return to duty on Earth?"
Nalko stepped forward and held out his hand. "Of course. Welcome to our station. We need a security chief and with your excellent service record we will be happy to have you take the job."
Riverstall clumsily returned the handshake. She shifted her carry-all to the other shoulder and Ari turned to help her with it.
"I've heard so much about you!" said Ari. "I'm a pilot but I'm also in command of Io's civil defense force so we'll probably be working together a lot. You'll love it here. We're all friends here so anytime you want to talk just contact me..."
Riverstall cringed slightly at the thought of the happy go lucky pilot following her around everywhere. She had never liked people altogether and she worked hard to avoid friendships, especially with her co-workers. And Jove station seemed to be brimming with rogues and mis-deeds and 'adventurers'. Just what she had spent the last five years in service to stop. This was going to be a very long year...
"Thank you, Ms. Cassidy, Commander," said Riverstall, acknowledging the two again. "Right now I would just like to be issued a duty shift and quarters."
"Oh, of course," said Ari, "Just follow me, I'll get you somewhere to stay, and Nalko will deal with your shifts later."
Nalko looked at the young woman again. She was nothing like Cal. Cal had been heroic and willing to take risks... Amanda Riverstall seemed cold and heartless, caring only about duty and regulations. The image of Cal standing there, in that same spot, with a ready smile on his face didn't quite fit anymore. It was replaced by the image of Cal lying in the hospital bed with glazed eyes and monitors surrounding him. Would he ever be the same?
In any case, Riverstall was going to be there for quite a while and he was just going to have to live with her. Besides, she wasn't such a bad pilot herself, if they needed one, although her scores were nothing like Cal's. Like anyone's were. He sighed quietly and took another look at the cold eyes and stark uniform. It was going to be a very long year...
Edited by Katie