Perth Basin - Raxito`acarol
10 Bamx 2228 – 0230 Hours
The barrel of a gun, a spark of heat, a pinch of pain, and then darkness.
‘You are going to be okay, Fuzodox.’
Fuzo heard the voice and opened her eyes.
“Dox?” Vek Wog stood over her, thick periwinkle streaks flushed with excitement. “I think she’s awake!”
Donmat R’il Zex appeared beside her in the sleeveless jumper of a Sword Operator, her red and teal arms still thick as they’d been in her youth. Pelarag Xan and Pibo Kalig stepped into the huddle, their Fleeter whites blurring together in the room’s overhead lights.
“Dox, can you see us?” asked Xan, her evergreen hide mottled by tiny red webs.
Kalig teased, “She got shot in the brains, not in the eyes.” A bruiser whose single-color sheen was a dull blue, Kalig was popular the night of Orta Attack.
“They’ve been coming here every day during my shift,” Pita Ubil appeared in a medic’s blue uniform, her brown-spotted cheeks looming close as she adjusted Fuzo’s pillow.
Xan chimed in, “We wanted you to wake up with your Brood.”
Fuzo hadn’t seen most of them since their Final Trial.
“Shot between the poles,” Zex said with a grin.
“That scar’s wicked icy,” said Wog.
Kalig, about to speak up, lost her smile and came to attention.
“Promad Kilvx in the room!”
Instantly, everyone came to attention.
“Stand easy,” Kilvx entered. “Welcome back, Dox.”
“Thank you, Promad,” she whispered.
Doctor Uym entered after Kilvx.
“I know you’re all happy to see Dox awake,” said the older bizak. “Now we need privacy. Dokomad Ubil, you’ll remain with me.”
“Yes, Doctor Uym,” said Ubil.
Fuzo wondered why Uym was aboard the Orcinus.
‘Doctor Fyla Uym partakes in diving excursions.’
Fuzo was startled at the makodonic voice in her head.
“Did you hear that?” she asked.
“I didn’t hear anything,” Ubi stated.
Kilvx whispered to Uym. “Is her head messed up?”
“Connie,” Uym spoke to the ceiling. “I need you to gamma-four disengage,”
“Doctor Uym,” the voice from Fuzo’s mind now filled the room. “Gamma-Four Protocol will break the synaptic link with my citizen.”
“Aw, Connie,” Uym laughed. “You don’t have a Citizen.”
“That is your opinion, Doctor,”
“Connie, I’m sorry to ask such a delicate thing of you,” said Uym. “I know what I’m asking is very difficult, but for the patient to utilize her new tissue growth, she must make it her own.”
After a long pause, Connie relented.
“I understand, Doctor Uym.”
Pressure attacked Fuzo’s sinuses.
“Ceasing all synaptic contact with the implanted cells,”
Uym appeared over her. “Got a headache?”
“Something like that,” Fuzo said, wincing.
“Connie’s no longer stopping the pain,” Uym said. “Let’s give you a sedative so you can sleep it off.”
“I’ve been hearing her,” Fuzo whispered.
“You won’t anymore,” said Ubil, checking Fuzo’s vitals.
Uym added, “She feels responsible for you.”
“Thank you, Connie,” said Fuzo.
“For what, Citizen Dox?”
Fuzo tried to sit up. “Saving my life,”
“It is my duty,” said Connie. “However, I appreciate your sentiment.”
Ubil took the pillow out from behind her head, giving Fuzo a look at the black and red doily pattern stained on her scalp; its center light blue indicated her medical assignment.
“Where’s the Komad?”
Doctor Uym seemed concerned.
“Kul got called to a mission,” said Kilvx.
“A mission?” Fuzo fought the throbbing in her head. “This soon after extracting Ambassador…wait, where’s Ilo Cux?”
Uym drifted closer. “I need you to relax,”
“You don’t understand,” Fuzo tried to move off the cot. “The Slavs have energy weapons,”
“Dox,” Kilvx barked. “You’re aboard the Orcinus.”
“Sofita’s on her way back,” Uym said quickly. “We’ll be rendezvousing with her when you’re feeling up to it.”
“Nothing to worry about, Dox,” Ubil assured, glancing sidelong at the Doctor.
Kilvx stepped to the bed and stared down at Fuzo.
“Citizen Cux succumbed to her injuries, Dox.”
Fuzo’s stomach turned.
“You got shot protecting her life,” Kilvx said, stern. “Ambassador Wram wanted me to thank you for your service.”
Tears burned Fuzo’s eyes.
“They weren’t supposed to have energy weapons,”
Kilvx nodded. “You performed above and beyond, Dokomad.”
“Dokomad?” Fuzo shook her head. “I failed to protect Ilo!”
“She lived long enough to say goodbye to her partner. Do you know how important that is for a waxamist?” Kilvx thumped Fuzo’s chest with her finger. “Answer me, Dokomad!”
Fuzo nodded; of that, she was sure.
“Do you know what that time meant to Velto Wram?” asked Kilvx.
“Yes, Promad,” Fuzo whispered, watching Uym stick a sedative patch to her thigh.
“You did what you needed to when you were needed.” Kilvx reiterated. “Velto Wram wants to see you when you’re on your feet.”
“Understood,” Fuzo whispered, the pain fading. “Still…failed…”
“That’s where you’re wrong,” the Promad insisted. “Komad Kul fucked up, keeping your weapons stowed on the Ornith.”
Fuzo struggled to keep her eyes open.
“Where is the Komad?”
“She’s removing some tharspin from a bridge,” Kilvx said.
Uym snickered as Fuzo’s eyes slipped shut.
“They’re finally taking out the Bass Plain?”
“Shouldn’t they have done that, like, eight years ago?” Ubil tucked Fuzo’s sheet around her legs.
“We’re talking about the Ninth-Gen Committee,” Uym’s voice faded. “Destroying it is no fun until the helovx have almost finished it.”