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Lunacy: Trauma

11/15/13

  09:33:00 am, by Nic Wilson   , 1235 words  
Categories: Lunacy

Lunacy: Trauma

?Oh God, oh God oh fuck oh God,? Levy said, though he was so out of breath it came out a whisper. His lungs burned, and his muscles ached. But he kept pumping his legs. Her body was heavy, but it felt like a part of himself in his arms.

He knew he should call out over the comms for Clod to meet him in the med lab, but he also knew nothing was going to come out if he queued it up. And she and Martin were supposed to be there already, holed up and waiting.

He was so out of breath he was dizzy, and nearly ran the both of them into the wall by the med lab, just to the side of the door. He leaned against the doorway to push them inside. Paul was occupying the permanent bed. The moment Clod saw him she leapt to her feet, and pulled a second bed out of the wall. Martin helped him lower Alisa down onto the bed.

?What's her injury?? Clod asked, moving Alisa's clothing around trying to find the site.

?Torso,? Levy said quietly. ?A burn.?

?What happened, Levy?? Martin asked, but there was no mistaking the accusation in his tone.

?I, I,? he closed his eyes, and forced himself to say the words, ?I shot her,? quietly.

?Jesus,? Martin said. Clod was ignoring him. She used a pair of shears to cut away her uniform.

?Rica was there, too,? Levy said.

?The Bradbury?? Martin asked, his patience thin.

Levy made a show of patting his pockets. His shoulders shrunk. ?I dropped it.?

?Fucking hell, Levy,? Martin said. ?You were worried I'd fuck things up??

?I,? he wanted to defend himself, but he recognized there wasn't anything he could say, and that he needed to man up. ?I'll show you where they are.?

?First fucking thing you've done right,? Martin said.

Martin grabbed a tablet off the wall as they were walking. He hit a few buttons. ?Fuck,? he said, when his check of the locators turned up empty.

?The storage areas don't all have sensors,? Levy told him. ?That's where I figured Alisa and Rica had to be. That or... well, I guess you already know about the excess botanical storage, don't you?? Martin nodded. ?All the secrecy seems like more than it's been worth.?

?Well, in all fairness, this is the first mission to be, I don't know, haunted? Invaded??

?Secrecy creates the potential for these kinds of conflicts. Need to know creates this possibility that those who decide who needs to know won't know who all really needed to know.?

They reached the entrance into the storage area. ?You stay here,? Martin said.

?No. You stay. This was my thing,? Levy said. ?I dropped the weapon. I shot our crewmate. Let me undo my fuck-up.?

?You aren't trained to fight. If there's anything in there-?

?Come in swinging; with any luck it'll be preoccupied with me to see the haymaker coming. And turned on your light, point it down the center of the room. That'll help, too.?

The extra light didn't help as much as he'd hoped, because his back blocked most of what would have been more useful. But he remembered where he'd been attacked- or at least, where he'd thought he was being attacked.

He played through the moment in his mind, turning his head. He noted that the place on the floor he'd seen a body earlier was empty. He pivoted his body, and for an instant in the darkness he saw the beast, fur, and moist breath, and eyes that caught the reflection off his light and threw it back at him. And teeth- so many teeth- it was like looking into a shark's mouth. But it was only darkness, playing with his mind.

He lifted his empty hand, and pretended to fire the Bradbury.

The body hit him, hard. He worried he'd fired too late, that he'd missed, and that beast of hair and fangs knocked him to the ground, and he was going to be helpless.

Only it wasn't moving. It was just laying on top of him, motionless. Bodies are heavy things. He struggled for a moment to move it off of him. Then he saw, rather than fur, the slightly torn and bloodied uniform of one of his crewmates.

He didn't waste any time pushing himself off the ground and picking her up. Then he was running.

But the Bradbury. He had it in his hand when he was knocked down. He dropped it before he hit, a partially-conscious decision, intended to keep him from smashing it with his weight. He threw himself at the ground.

?You okay?? Martin asked from the door.

?Recreating the moment,? Levy called from the floor. He reached out his right hand, and found it, still warm and sweaty from his palm. ?Got it,? he said.

And then he had that same feeling, eyes on him. He wanted to point the Bradbury into the shadows, at whatever was watching him. But he no longer trusted himself. ?You should come down here. I'm too jumpy to be using a pistol.?

Martin jogged the length of the storage pod. Levy thought he caught a glimpse of movement at the end.

?Here,? he said, handing Martin the Bradbury. He put his thumb on the safety, and his finger to the trigger, then initialized the weapon with his other hand. There was a practiced efficiency to his movements, and Levy envied him, just a little.

?Where's Rica??

?She was there,? Levy said, pointing to the empty spot on the ground. ?But that's why I want you to have the pistol. I think she might be here, moving around.?

?Rica?? Martin yelled out.

?Why didn't I think of that?? There wasn't a response. ?Okay, so now that the obvious has failed, I don't feel so stupid for neglecting it.? He leaned in closer, and whispered, ?But I thought I saw something, beyond that last palette.?

?Put your hand on my back,? Martin said, ?so you know how far ahead I am, and don't run into me. You're in charge of our sides.?

?But there's two of them, and only one of me.?

?Improvise,? Martin said.

They passed the beginning of the last row of crates. A figure ran from their left, through Martin's light, then disappeared behind the crates on their right. He raised the Bradbury and nearly fired. ?Jesus. Maybe you should have kept it.?

?The only difference between you and me is you're a little bit faster,? Levy said.

?Exactly; that last half-second could be the difference.?

?Unless the half-second is the part where you realize you shouldn't fire,? Levy said.

?Point taken. You ready??

?Got my fists balled and my bladder ready to empty itself.?

Martin stepped around the container. He didn't see anything, but moved his light over. He saw boots, that looked to be the kind crewmembers wore. He tilted his body up, so that the light shown over the woman's face. It was Rica.

She was terrified, and sweating. A small lightning bolt of blood struck down from her hairline. Martin tensed. He'd seen that frenzied look before, shell-shocked civilians as likely to attack you as be grateful for a rescue. She sighed, and a calm returned in her eyes. ?Thank God, it's you two.? She started to fall over, but Martin caught her.

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