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Dark Lords: Book One, Shadows, Chapter 35

 

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Chapter Thirty-Five

Wolf’s Shadow

Excalibur Shipyards, Albion System, Realm

 

The engines hummed. Jason could hear the change from resting state to maintenance cycle. He looked at the view screen as the left engine’s aft skirt flew off. It was caught in the wash and vaporized. He raised an eyebrow at the greaser on the bottom left of the screen.

“We’ll fix it.” The man growled. He turned away, muttering curses just before his picture vanished from the screen.

“Wilson, you need—Frack it. Cut the coms.” Jason stood. Who was he fooling? 

Around him the bridge was silent. Nav Ensign, MacDuff was sweating, the scent of her fear flowed about the room stiring up doubt. He couldn’t wait to see how she reacted when they were actually out of drydock. Jason raised an eyebrow. On the left screen, he could see the engine outputs.

“Where’s the rattle?” Jason asked.

“The what?” MacDuff whispered to Ensign Wagner, he shrugged.

The whole ship shuddered. The view port showed the docks tilting madly and Ivy bucked as she came up hard against the restraining cables.

“Okay, so we’re a little out.” Lightyears. Jason had kept his feet, now he helped Kwan and Major Calendri, the computer engineering officer, to theirs. “People, we have restraints for a reason.”

Dr. Carver’s anxious face filled the screen, she was running. “Medical emergency, Captain. I need you in engineering, engine room seven, access hatch fourteen-A.”

“Calendri, bridge!” Jason yelled as he headed past the lift. For him, it was faster to take the currently open bridge maintenance hatch. He ran through Ivy’s schematics in his mind. Jason, yelling for people to get out of the way, darted through two more hatches, down three flights of stairs and into section seven of the main port engine room. The open access hatch number 14-A was surrounded by people. The smell of fear was a wall he pushed through as he did those watching.

“Move! Move!” Jason stopped. Blood, his stomach clenched, mixed with the guttural smell of a ruptured bowel. Jason stopped on the narrow metal maintenance scaffolding that ran down the length of open area above the port engine coupling. Five metres below him, he could see seven people struggling. Under them, wedged in the area between the keel port pipe and the lower coupling was a body. Jason ran a hand through his hair. Then the body moved.

“Shit!” He jumped. Caught a support and dropped lightly onto the pipe that he had crawled through only four hours earlier. He avoided the blood covered areas and scrambled down to the broken body. The legs were all wrong. Spine broken. Two grey loops that Jason wanted to be wiring, but knew were not, rested against one of the smashed legs.

The rough looking greaser, Simon, was laying on the pipe, holding the young man’s hand. Jason covered his mouth with his right hand. Damn! Damn! Damn it! It was the kid! The damn kid who was going to save the fucking universe! Somehow he had managed to wedge himself under the pipe. His welder, was jammed in with him. It had opened him across the stomach.

“Hey, Cap,” Simon looked up at him, “had ourselves a slip.”

“Sorr-ry,” choked Yeoman Dex Weaver. “Did not, have, my … tie.”

“Next time you tie your sorry ass before stepping out, right Yeoman?” Simon’s voice was firm, as if the kid was fine.

Dex coughed. “Yes … yes ma’am.”

Three metres above them a lower hatch swung open. Dr. Carver stuck her head in. “Move it people!”

Jason reached up and helped her down. She started scanning Dex. “Okay, Raife, push in the sarc.”

Above them a new large portable severe-trauma medical unit scraped loudly through the access hatch. The two and half metre white tube would move easily in the new ships, but Ivy’s hatches were a tight fit. He could see shiny metal where the paint was being scrapped off.

The Sarc, short for sarcophagus, the nickname for the self-contained medical sleds that could survive decompression, lowered slowly. It stopped above the tube. Dr. Carver nearly slipped onto her patient. Jason caught her by the arm.

“We have a metre lift people,” Dr. Carver said as she knelt down. Lieutenant Raife was climbing down, an equipment bag over his shoulder. Dr. Carver called to him, “Jon, we need full boards. Captain, I need you to support Yeoman Weaver until we have him fully hooked up.”

“What?” Jason looked from Dex to Carver. “What do you mean, support him?”

Carver looked up at Jason as Lieutenant Raife, with the greasers’ help, started putting compression bandages on Dex.

Jason was having trouble breathing. He looked at Dex, the boy was dying, would die as soon as they pulled him out from the pipe, if they could pull him out.

“Guess I should have kissed Gwen,” Dex said softly.

“Captain?” Carver stood, stepping away from Dex. She took his arm and lead him a few metres down the pipe. “Jason?”

“You have a girlfriend, Dex?” Raife asked.

“What are you talking about?” Jason looked back. The silent heart monitor was flashing erratically. Raife had slapped on more shock packs. “I do not—”

“No, never kissed …” Dex’s voice was fading.

“He will not survive being lifted without your support. A biological link?” Carver blinked, suddenly incredulous. “Oh, shit, you have no idea what I am talking about.”

“Don’t you worry, Dex. You’ll get to do more than kiss a girl.” Simon said with a smile.

“Tell me what to do! Tell me and I will do it.” Jason looked from Dex back to Carver. She was shaking her head.

“What level of training do you have?” Carver asked quietly.

“I did not complete high school, Doc.” Jason’s voice was quiet. Dex wanted his mother, wanted a message sent to his family.

Carver put her hand on Jason’s arm, her face turned back to Dex. “Maybe if we amputate … if we can seal his trunk above the broken spine—”

“No.” Jason’s stomach twisted. He tapped his comm. “Kwan, I need you down here, now.”

A few minutes later an out of breath Grace Kwan looked down from the hatch. “My, a, Captain?”

“Down here, Kwan.”

Jason looked up as Kwan nodded and jumped.

“Shit!” Jason leaped. He caught her before she could hit the sarc. His left elbow cracked against it’s hard surface.

“Are you crazy?” Jason held her as he landed less than elegantly next to Carver.

“I trust you, my Captain.” Grace looked over at Dex and paled. She looked suddenly ill.

“I need to support Dex. To get him into the sarc.”

“A bio link?” Grace looked from Carver back to Jason. “Have you ever done one?”

“No.”

“Me neither.”

“That is it then. Raife, we are going to—”

“No!” Both Jason and Carver looked at Grace Kwan. She took a deep breath. “Every minute counts. Doctor, we each use the neural venom. A three way link. If you don’t fight us, then the Doctor can direct and I can guide you.”

“Okay. But if I bite you—”

Grace shook her head. “No. Just neural. Open your mouth.”

Jason did as she said, he braced for the pain, leaning in to her if as if for a kiss. Her lips found his and her tongue slid into his mouth, finding his left fang. He let them drop. She pushed delicately, then hesitated. Using her right thumb she held it on his right fang, not allowing the venom to leak out.

Both Grace and Jason shivered at the same moment. The link was strong. She was in his head. Jason blinked. No intensity. The sensation that had run through his core had been like a shiver but there had been no pain.

Doctor Carver leaned in and ran her tongue on his right fang. Immediately, Jason realized that they were losing Dex. She was not even sure in this would work.

Leaning down next to Dex, Jason reached out his left hand and slid it between the wall of the chamber and Dex’s chest. He could feel broken ribs. Good! Stop!

He knew that if he mixed his blood with Dex’s, the boy would die instantly. Only the nervous system and lymphatics! Be ready to break connection if we lose him!

The shock packs were pumping oxygenated fluids into Dex at a high rate.

Jason blinked. Grace Kwan had not trained with a specialist but had studied everything about Vampyres she could. Jason extended his claws, except, not. They were tubes, growing into him and out into Dex. The pain was incredible as they cut along his tissue and hooked up to his lymph system and nervous system. Both Grace and Carver were shuddering. Carver hit Jason with a pain killer, it only dulled the pain of his hands shredding internally.

Straddling Dex, Jason put his right hand behind the back of Dex’s neck and head. Again he forced his claws to grow out and in. They were around him. Raife, a medical grad student—lucky we got him!

Winnie was counting. “On three!”

Dex was coming apart! Jason could feel it! Could feel the boy’s body separating!   His hips—Dex’s hips! 

Focus! 

Another set of hands—Grace’s hands! Had Dex. Simon slapped two more shock pack onto Dex’s back. Then she was helping lift. Not just synth blood, but nannites as well. Jason was slipping! The blood on the tube! 

“Got you! Lift!” His Master Chief had him, physically lifting him, pulling him back onto the tube. Have to climb on top.

Jason scrambled backwards, his knees on the open lid of the sarc. Then Jon Raife, Grace and Winnie were hooking Dex up even as the auto systems took over.

“Not stable! Stay with him.” They were moving now, Dex and he. The sarc was filling with med gel. The nanites and gross trauma robotics working quickly. Up they went to the main access shaft.

“Shut that door!” was yelled from below.

Gage’s voice echoed in Jason’s head. He looked up. The maintenance hatch was too small with the sarc’s lid open. The group of dirty coveralls and pale faces vanished as they slammed it closed. The auto system took the next fastest route and they went through the main doors right into the med bay.

Lieutenant Todd was there, but she just stood aside as the unit plugged itself in.

Jason looked at her. The level two Lieutenant was saying something to him.

“Stable!” Debra Todd shook Jason. “Disengage, Captain!”

How? Jason tried to talk but his mouth was dry. He was getting cold, freezing in fact. Everyone was so far away. Except there was one voice and it was getting louder.

“…chondra! A bunch of babies! Who the hell fills a ship with—by the Black!” Gage’s large hands grabbed his and twisted them. Jason felt the snaps as his not claws broke free of Dex. Each one a searing pain as his hands leaked. He fell to the floor. Inside him, the other end of his claws broke apart like glass throughout the flesh of his hands. He curled around the pain.

Gage was beside him.

“Captain?”

Grace was sobbing somewhere, holding her hands, crying uncontrollably.

“Give him this now!” Raife pushed a hypodermic against Jason’s neck. The pain in his hands lessoned.

“What is wrong with him?” Gage asked.

“He has not fed recently.” Winnie Carver shook her head. “You need to feed! Now, Jason. We have overstrained your system. You have gone into shock.”

Jason curled around his hands. He just needed to sleep, that’s all. He had synth blood in his room. A shot was all he needed. 

Winnie was holding him up. Gage had his arm in front of Jason’s face. Jason turned away. No! No! They would not force him! He would never be forced again!

“Captain! Jason!”

Jason blinked. He was in the Ivy’s main med bay. Gage had an elbow around his throat, strangling him. He eased up. “Captain Malwas! Captain! Captain!”

Jason gulped air, he had pushed them away. Winnie was on her ass, being helped up by Raife. Grace and Todd were getting up. Grace’s eye was swelling. Jason was shaking. I did that … I hit them.

“Captain! We need you! Sir!” Gage yelled, spoke?

“Dex?” Jason could not get his legs working. His hands throbbed.

“Stable.” Winnie said, stepping closer. “You need to feed, Jason. Now.”

“Synth.” Jason said. The connection was breaking down into a grey spots.

“No.”

“Your orders, Captain?” Gage had his arm in front of Jason’s face. The Master Chief looked like he was going to swear again. 

I need to talk to him about his mouth—You are one to talk! Grace’s voice snarled in his head.

Jason focused, Grace was glaring at him.

“On my desk, the command codes, our orders. You are in charge, Master Chief.” Jason swallowed, it was hard to talk. Winnie tore open Gage’s left sleeve. Jason leaned forward. His teeth broke skin and there was no pain. The rush came even as he relaxed into the warm darkness.

 

 

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