By: Bull Demon "Man it's odd to see you walking so comfortably," Harlan muttered to Radu who, if it wasn't for the open sores and swelling would look like he hadn't been in a fight at all. Harlan had given him his coat to wear earlier, which was quite big. "It's all fake, I know that," the Andromedan replied. Elmira led with Harlan behind her and Forest doing her best to pace Radu. Harlan looked up at all the piping overhead. "Where are we, anyway?" he asked. Elmira had other things on her mind besides Harlan's questions. She hard hear several guards talking when she had stolen the passkeys. Security knew she was missing but not the boys. As long as they didn't look they were home free. "You need to slow down, my dear," Forest said from the back. Radu tried to slow down but he was eager to get off the Khain. He turned to say something when a loud, barring klaxon sounded, forcing him to his knees. "Radu!" Harlan shouted over the noise. "Great.." Elmira muttered. She pulled Harlan up from where he knelt next to his pained crewmate. "We need to go. Now!" "I'll be okay.." Radu said, dragging himself to his feet. "The noise startled me, is all." Forest still looked concerned, and took his wrist in her hand. "Come on!" Elmira said. The alarm was from the prison. They knew they had escaped and the ship would be crawling with Spung in a matter of minutes. The group struggled through the slippery slime until the reached a ladder. Elmira tried to stop running and slid on the muck, landing hard on her knees. Radu broke free of Forest's grasp and dropped at her side. "You okay?" he demanded. "I twisted my ankle. I'll be fine," she replied, trying to stand. Before she could protest, she found herself in the arms of her strong friend. "You can't.." "I can and I will," he told her firmly. Forest was at his side in an instant. "You're stressing yourself dangerously," she hissed but he ignored her and looked up. There was a ladder going up several stories over them. "Harlan, you and Forest up first. I don't want my weight over your head's," Radu said, stepping out of the way. "But.." Harlan protested only to get an exhausted look from Radu. With a sigh, Harlan began to scale the ladder, Forest close behind. "Radu.." Elmira said as he began to climb with her still in his grasp. She could feel his heart thundering against her. "You can't do this. You're hurting yourself more," she whispered. Radu shook his head and somehow made it to the top of the ladder. Harlan reached down to help Elmira up and Forest helped Radu. He sat on the floor, gasping for air. Forest grabbed his wrist and sighed. "I need to get the counteragent in him, now," Forest said, setting her bag on the floor. "In the shuttle, first. We need to leave," Elmira said, pulling open the door and literally pushing Harlan through it. "Whoa! What?" He demanded. "Drive," she said and he nodded, going for the control panel. "Come on." "‘Mira.." Forest pushed. "Now," Elmira said, gently taking Radu by his arm. With the help of Forest, both Spung heave him to his feet. "I'll get the door," Forest said, leaving Radu in Elmira's grasp. "Just hang on," she whispered, holding his weight the best she could. Radu nodded but his mind was on something else. Through the sounds of the powering shuttle, Harlan shouting for them to hurry up, and his own racing heart, there were voices he didn't like the sounds of. "Aim for the pilot!" one deep voice boomed. "I'll hit who I can!" another shouted. Radu turned to look at the doorway. The barrel of a plasma rifle was rested on the sill. After a quick glance, he saw it was aimed for Harlan. As he heard the trigger pulled back, Radu pulled away from Elmira. "Radu!" she shouted, shocked he'd burst away. Radu turned to see if she was going to move just in time to catch the shot in the chest. Its power blew him back into the shuttle and slammed the door shut. Elmira scrambled into the back as the door to the room flew open. "Go! Go!" she shouted to Harlan who hit the button for the doors to open. The Spung that had tried to enter room had leaped out into the safety of the hallway. Harlan pushed the small shuttle into it's highest gear as soon as the doors opened enough for them to escape. He felt himself thrown back on his seat as they left the shuttle bay, heading for the Christa. Elmira hasty got in the co pilot's seat and looked out the view screen. "Take us to 158, y axis," she said. Harlan didn't move. "Earth to Harlan?" "Huh?" he asked. "If we take a 158 degree turn on the y axis, the Khain can't keep up. She's too big," Elmira said, wasting time to explain. "Oh, sure," Harlan muttered, used to Radu's orders on direction. He pulled the small shuttle into the turn and sped for the Christa. He watched Elmira get up and limp into the back. Elmira had to put a hand over her mouth to keep from crying out. The was blood dripping off the walls and pooling on the floor. She looked in the small passenger area to see Forest working in haste. "What happened?!" she cried. Forest didn't look up from her work. "I could use an extra hand here, ‘Mira," she said, handing her a thick cloth. "Like this," she told her, guiding her hand down to put pressure on her friend's newly bleeding wound. She looked at his face and felt a tear slip down. There was blood covering his mouth and nose and the whip mark on his neck had reopened. The plasma bullet had burnt right through Harlan's jacket which was lay smoldering on the floor. Forest muttered something that she couldn't make out and watched as she took a vial from her bag and drew it out into a thick syringe. She positioned herself at the boy's side. "Hang on, ladies! Evasive maneuvers!" Harlan shouted, just before the shuttle bucked and jerked to the left. Elmira grunted as she was thrown against a seat but she quickly regained herself. "Careless.." Forest muttered, briskly cleaning off Radu's wrist and bending it back. "Don't look, ‘Mira," she warned and the young Spung looked away. Radu groaned suddenly and Elmira looked back to see Forest with the syringe point deep in his wrist. "Oh..." she uttered, seeing how much it must have hurt. "Not much longer, Radu," Forest told him and finished administering the substance. "How far to the ship, Harlanband?" "Five minutes as long as we stay on course," he replied. Forest sighed and disposed of the needle. She turned back when Radu coughed. "Sounds like he's choking," Elmira told her. Forest could hear his fluid filled lungs and knew what she had to do but hated to at their hasty speed. "Attention Spung Pod 00843," came over the load speaker. At first the shuttle went silent. "You there, Harlan?" "Bova! Yeah, we're here!" Harlan shouted, overjoyed to hear his voice. "We're going to snag you in our tractor beam. Hold on," Catalina said from somewhere in the background. The small pod suddenly leached forward and their speed greatly increased. "We'll be on board in less then a minute," Harlan told the others. "Thank goodness.." Forest muttered, gathering her materials up. As soon as she zipped her bag shut, the back doors to the shuttle flew open and a there was the welcoming warmth of a friendly ship. "Come on, we have a lift," Commander Goddard said, crawling into help get Radu out. Goddard and Forest lifted him onto a flat bed cart made for hauling fuel. Someone had draped a blanket over it to cover the soot. "‘Mira, get these people out of here safely," Forest said. She nodded and grabbed the dazed Harlan, taking off down the hallway. "He..her.. Fo-foot.." Radu tried to get out was failing miserably. "She'll be fine, my dear," Forest said, checking his heart rate again. It had thankfully dropped but was still raging faster then it should have been. "You okay?" Goddard asked, looking down at his very sick officer but not slowing his pace. "Yeah..." Radu muttered. "I-I'm ho-home now." Goddard checked his pace once they reached the correct hallway. Rosie and Davenport stood waiting in the door way, both pale in anticipation. "You ready?" Forest called to Rosie. "I hope so," she replied. "Oh..." she muttered upon seeing what she had before her. "TJ," Goddard said, tossing her Forest's bag. The pale woman caught it and stepped out of the way as he and Forest lifted Radu into well lit room. "You need help?" "Just get us out of here," Forest said and Goddard nodded, turning to leave. He paused and returned to his officer's side. The boy was somewhat awake now and beginning to get nervous. "You'll be okay, all right?" Radu nodded and Goddard left the room. Rosie handed Forest a smock to wear and watched as the Spung went right to work. She pulled a greenish blue sheet from the table and spread it over him, setting the two corners by his head one small hooks to raise it slightly. "How you doing?" Davenport asked, coming over so he wouldn't be alone. Radu opened his swelled eyes to see her. "Tired," he replied. She nodded. "You have a nice nap coming," she promised and moved out of the way. Forest handed her a pair of scissors and Davenport sighed. "Hi, my dear," Forest said, a syringe in her hand. "You want to sleep?" He nodded and she smiled. "You'll feel a big stick and then get really tired," she said before disappearing out of sight. Radu jumped slightly at the pinch in his left arm but quickly forgot it as he began to feel very tired. He looked up to see a blurry pink figure overhead. She had something shinney in her hands. "Just sleep, Radu," she whispered. He nodded, the last thing he felt was the dull side of scissors against his leg. Go to part 6!!