So? How’s Frazer? Rains shrugs, food tray in his hands lifting slightly. I gesture for him to join me at my table. What did Oz say?
The usual. He’s doing his best. Frazer’s out of the woods. She’ll be out of the med bay in some days. He sits down and pokes at his dehydrated meal packs. I hand him the hot water can. Nearly ready with my food, I focus on him.
And Decker? Oh, come on. Don’t make that face. I smile at his bitter, angry grimace. After all, you saved his life. He’ll be happy. Rains looks wounded as if I congratulate him on destroying the capital of The United Territories. He turns away, that bitterness grows into something much more unsettling. He’s afraid. Why is Rains, the epitome of hard-boiled recklessness, afraid of Decker, a bland man of many boring virtues? What’s going on? Please don’t tell me, you secretly roofied Decker and made out with him on the surface? Wait! Better don’t tell me. Oh God, please tell me you guys didn’t make out. Rains scoffs. There it is, that dirty humor that keeps us all alive. That and the air, the pressure, the heat, and the food.
He’s doing fine. Still, that sad smile is fishy. I guess. There is more to this, then he lets me in on. I’ll have to pull all suit footage and all transcripts from the mission on Chimon. Maybe I’ll have a chat with Oz too.
To avoid more conversation, Rains digs in. He stuffs his face with cake and that special brand of coffee he is so fond of. Huh, he has dug up his comfort food.
Not a good sign.
I expect you to be the professional, who I know you to be, and tell me about anything that troubles you. My crew’s and my ship’s safety are trump. I look at him sharply, searching his eyes. He understands and knows that I won’t back away till he spills it. This isn’t you, Marius. Tell me what’s bothering you this much. He exhales and nods.
He swallows and opens his mouth to start, but no words come out. His hands cramp into fists. This is bad. I’ve never seen him this rattled.
I need a drink. He shakes his head slightly. Hell, I think you’ll need a drink too. He shrugs. I… Look, I didn’t tell you, right away, cause I’m not sure what really happened, or what I experienced, saw and heard. Decker brought something back, I think. A monster. I can’t find any trace of any kind of anomaly. I already told Oz about it, but he says it was Decker’s delirium. I… Don’t think he’s right. Decker isn’t himself anymore.
What are you talking about, Marius? What exactly happened on Chimon?
Rains tells me everything, and I can barely believe it. He tells me how he messes up the landing, and they both nearly die. The shuttle almost dives into a lava field. He tells me, that Decker’s air reserves go to critical and he knocks himself into a coma. So far so good. Shit happens to everybody. That’s what he tells me after he’s back. That can’t be all of it.
But then, Rains insists that Decker speaks tongues and is possessed. That’s too much. He must be pulling my leg. This is nothing like the Rains I know from the Academy.
Color code: Captain Edward Wong; Lieutenant Marius Rains; Lt. Anatol Decker; MD Oscar (Oz) Wellington; Dr. Samara Frazer; Crewman* Proto Septimus;
Pic: Corona from Magnetic Rose (K. Otomo)