“Protect,” I heard Jake order Kayo, as I was coming around. I could hear the dar-dolf's nails on the extended ramp from the pod as he left.
“I don’t know what happened,” Arr was saying. “I couldn’t raise them,” he apologized.
“Are you sure about what you heard onboard ship?” Jake asked in an frustrated voice.
He sounded very close. I felt someone ease my head back. It felt like it was going to come off in their hands.
“Whoever they were, they were expecting us? They knew who we were?”
“Absolutely,” Arr confirmed. “There wasn’t anything unusual about any of it,” Arr assured his partner. “It was supposed to be an easy gig. What happened?” Arr asked.
“I don’t know,” Jake confessed. “But, if they wanted us that bad, they won’t stop until they get to the ship and make sure we’re dead. Get out there and keep watch with Kayo. Signal if you see or hear anything.”
I thought I heard Arr leave, but my head was throbbing so hard it may have been the beat of the throb rather than the sound of footsteps.
“3su? Can you hear me?” Jake asked softly.
I slowly opened my eyes. It actually hurt to do it. Jake was standing over me with a bloody shop rag in his hand. “Are you hurt?” I asked, looking at the rag.
“No babe, you are,” Jake answered. His eyes drifted over to the huge branch sticking through the window right in front of me. “Iron wood,” he said. “Good thing we didn’t slide any further or it would have taken your hear off.”
“It didn’t?” I asked sarcastically.
Jake smiled in spite of himself. “Where’s your first aid kit?” Jake asked.
“Under the NAV chair,” I closed my eyes and tried to will the room to stop spinning.
I heard Jake unbuckle the straps on the kit and felt him apply a pad to my brow. He lifted my head up and wrapped a stretch bandage around it to hold the pad in place. It hurt worse than the time I was kicked by the malfit calf when I was a kid.
Jake was rummaging around in the kit. “Here,” he said. “Have a chew of this.”
I opened my eyes. He had found the pain stick and broken off one measured dosage. He held it between his fingers. I reached up to take it and wished I hadn’t. My chest felt like that same malfit calf had used it for a trampoline.
“Oh SHIT!” I said.
Jake pressed the piece of pain medication against my clinched teeth. “Chew this,” he repeated.
I took it and chewed, but it was going to take a lot more than a simple piece of pain sticks to ease this ache. I looked down at my lap. An action that did nothing for my aching head except make it feel like it might explode on my shoulders. The control panel that had been sitting a good foot away from my lap was sitting on my chest. The kill engine lever was crushed into my left side.
“We can’t wait for the pain meds to take effect,” Jake explained. “We need to get out of here. Whoever shot us down is going to come checking up on their accuracy.”
“Can you get me out?” I asked.
“I think so, but it’s going to hurt like hell,” Jake apologized in advance.
I nodded in agreement. “Well, let’s get it over with.”
Jake reached under the panel to unlock my shoulder harness. As it retracted it hit my left side. I’m afraid I let out a scream before I could clinch my teeth shut again.
“I’m going to puke,” I warned Jake.
He had just enough time to pull a bag from behind my chair and hold it under my chin before I lost my breakfast. It felt like I was ripping my left side apart when I was retching. I closed my eyes and laid my head back against the seat again. I wanted to take a deep breath, but that hurt too much.
“There’s some water pouches in the storage panel to the right of the door,” I told him. “I sure could use a drink.”
Jake retrieved a pouch. He stuck the straw in and offered it to me. I swished it around in my mouth and spat it out on the floor to the other side of my chair. Jake gave me another swig and then wet down a cloth for my face. I rubbed it around a bit with my right hand. I couldn’t raise my left.
“Let’s see how bad this is,” Jake said. He unzipped my suit down to my belly button and reached his hand in to feel my left side.
“You know, if you wanted to feel me up, you could have just asked,” I said with as much of a smile as I could muster. “You didn’t have to get us shot down.”
Jake smiled back and withdrew his hand. No blood, thank the Gods. “Feels like they’re cracked, but not through the skin anyway. I’m going to recline your chair back and slip you out of there,” Jake said.
“Let her down easy or you may have me puking on your shoes again,” I warned.
Jake released the seat back and eased it down slowly. I really did think that I was going to throw up again, but I held it in.
“Don’t pass out, 3su. I’ll need your legs pushing to get you out from under there,” Jake said. He grabbed hold of the fabric of my suit on either side of my hips. “On three you push and I’ll pull.”
“Wait,” I said and grabbed his arm with my right hand. “If I pass out, my emergency kit is in the panel with the water by the door. It has enough food and supplies for us for maybe three days. Always thought I would get marooned by myself. Didn’t plan on three and a dar-dolf.” I smiled up at him.
He nodded. “On three. One – two – three.”
I pushed hard with my feet against the bulkhead and then promptly passed out.