I was back up to Main Dock, still a little pissed. It was for a good cause I guessed but, still. “What you got for me Ash?”
“Two birds ready to go and uprated. Summer and my bird’s are gonna take a little work. We are on schedule for Dancer and the parts for the Dora are on your bird. As well as detailed Instructions for the Drive work I might add.”
I just had to laugh, “I will never claim I know more about the Drive than the “Mad Whackos’, Are all the Weapons parts cross-loaded?”
“Yep,” Ash grinned, “what do you want us to do?”
“Load all those Emergency rations on-board Jan’s Bus and when you and Summer are ready to fly; fly cover for the Bus back down. How long do you think that will take?”
Ash thought for a moment, “We can get you down early morning of A+3, we can be down mid-afternoon of A+3, best we can do.”
“Good enough, BREAK.
“Capt. Monroe, Stuart: I can not give you Orders Sir but, can I highly suggest you keep the Mayflower hidden here in the Belt as a SAR base and put your efforts into the Lancer II project.”
“Andy, Larry: That sounds smart for all concerned. Be advised it is under serious advisement, as in that’s what we are going to do! One question, Lancer II is not what you and Glen were really going to call her, is it?”
“No Larry. Get her flying and christen her the RJ Hamilton. You have seen her Guns!”
“Uh, yeah Andy, that I have!”
“Gabe, Kat and Marina; Let’s go Home!”
Five Hours Later at the Lab
I walked into the Triage from Hell, the first thing I saw was some asshole in a Goonie Uniform praying over what I thought was one of ours in really bad shape. I went there first thing.
“Get out of my way Boy!” I saw him rear up and suddenly see the light.
“Y’hay shlomo rabba min sh’maya . . ..” Ari turned, tensing for an instant at the imposition. Quickly his eyes scanned the intruder. While his face remained mostly impassive, the movement of his eyes betrayed his checklist. Non-UNWG Trooper, check. Armed, check. Not physically threatening, check. Officer, check. High ranking, check. Banned US. Special Forces patch, check. Female . . . interesting. “Na’Aam?”
“Don’t ‘Ma’am’ me, just get out of the way and let me look at him.” Mariana bent over the burnt form, the called out “Chris, Sally, clear some space – this one’s still with us.” Simultaneous “Yes, Doctor,” and “Yes, Colonel,” came from across the room. Still focused on her patient, she questioned the troop in front of her. “You; did you put this blanket on him?”
“Good thinking, even if you were giving him last rights. Linda, get me three shots of that new Regen Compound. If there has ever been a better test case, we’ll never see it. He’s gonna die without it. Whoever you are, grab that blanket and heave on three. We are going to the open operating table.”
Ari moved to the other side of the bed, and grabbed the blanket. “Ready, Ma’am.”
“We lift on three. One, Two …”
“Zanek!” Ari muttered. Mariana started at that; as a result the lift was rocky. The body moaned at the indignity and the pain it caused. “Gottenu, at least he’s with us,” he continued. They moved the rest of the way to the operating table in silence.
As the body was placed on the table more gently than it was listed, Mariana caught Ari’s attention. “Sorry Tzair, I only fly with pro’s. You don’t cut it Rookie!”
Ari paused, letting the meaning sink in. Then he drew himself to attention rendering one of the few proper salutes during his military career. “Ariel Samal Meir al-Yaram al-Bedu, at your service, Colonel.”