Chapter Eighty-Eight

Below decks, chaos reigned.  Fires blazed in hallways, pieces of ship structure were splintered and hanging, and just as above souls clung to life in bodies that would not support it any longer.  James and Ssanyu were already on the move, administering what help they could, whatever it meant to the sufferer.  James was a skilled healer, but what Ssanyu lacked in skill she made up for in strength and zeal-even shifting bulkheads herself so that James could rescue those pinned under them.  He pushed himself as fast as he could go, his metal fingers working to their utmost dressing wounds and stanching blood.  When he ran out of supplies his shirt was the first thing to go-torn up to bandage the wounds of his crew.  The system of straps and buckles that held on his arms was coming loose from his back, as he kept putting more strain on them than they could carry.  Eventually Ssanyu grabbed a piece of rope and tied the overstretched straps back together.  He never stopped working though, as he tried to personally make sure that all of his crew were safe.  When he met a poor soul whose spirit was caught in the ruin of its body, a simple injection carried them beyond the door in peace.  James had a surgeon’s skill and a field doctor’s speed.  Ssanyu, in a brief moment to rest, asked him where he learned his craft. 

“I never think about it any more.  No, actually I do.  I lament the fact that I wear instruments of death and captain this ship, instead of dedicate my life to this.  When you think of what you have lost to the Harvest, count this too.  Once I was simply a doctor.  But none can stand by against them.  I have a sinking suspicion that I know what did this.  If I’m right, then this isn’t the beginning of the trouble that we’ll see.”

“What do you mean, not the beginning?”

“Don’t play coy with me.  I saw your stunt with Irian, goading him into showing his strength.  You’re absolutely brilliant, or I wouldn’t have asked for you when we picked you up.  Think, what happened to your cities?  Where are your honored elderly?  Where is your childhood home?  What took them from you?”

Her face grew pale as ash.  He reached out a hand to steady her, one that offered reassurance, and possibly even a slender hope.

“I thought you knew this weapon.  Somewhere close by was struck with Damocles.  We may be next, if I can’t get a crew moving in time to get us out of here.  But Christ as my witness, I’m not going to just give up.”

She nodded, the tears that flowed freely from her eyes cutting twin paths through the dirt and smoke on her face.  She had seen it before.  And she wasn’t about to let it happen to another place.

Published in: on July 28, 2012 at 11:08 pm  Leave a Comment  

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