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Macerr Chapter 26
Posted By: Xvash2, Godzilla2k4, Invaderrizz, Lord, Cocaine, Dan, Bennin<xvash2@sbcglobal.net>
Date: 26 September 2006, 4:53 am

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Chapter 26.This Is No Place For Personal Vendettas

Twenty minutes later... the two M12T1 Warthogs arrive at Blue Base Rho. As they pull into the garage, the soldiers immediately spring into action. They all unload from the Warthogs carrying off their gear, unloading the pieces of armor. Peterson and Kusman are still holding onto Riggs, who is brought out of the Warthog by the two. A stretcher is waiting for Richardson, who is helped off the Hog by Ried. She's put onto the stretcher, and rolled to the Infirmary, which is on the same floor. The rest of the squad surrounds Riggs, an insistence kept by the squad, as they know that the utmost measures must be taken to keep this man detained. The two lead him down into the basement, where the holding cells are located, along with the Server Room and various maintenance access ways. The soldiers put him in the cell, which is then locked. The cell is rather primitive. Its 10 feet by 12, contains little more than 3 concrete walls, a toilet, a small wall-mounted cot, a sink, and a small table and chair. The bars were primitive as well, no less than 30 years old, and obviously, were not up to the time's standards.

Richardson arrived at the infirmary, which was noticeably under-staffed. The only other occupant was squad sergeant Ted Breed. The doctor walked in, as there was a lack of attendants, and dismissed Ried. He walked over to Talitha, gingerly removing the bandages, examining the gash. He pulled out a small pocket light, further examining it.

He stepped back, pulling out a small datapad that most doctors used. He brought up Richardson's profile and examined it. As he scrolled through the profile, he made some rather telltale expressions, signs of the fact that he didn't enjoy his job. He finished up, putting away the datapad. He pulled over a chair to the bed Richardson was on.

"Miss Richardson, I'm Doctor Aidan Ganadan. There's some things I'd like you to know before I get that x-rayed and stitched up. I used to be in the Red Forces also, I was on the Space Platform Leviathan. I got hired down here due to the fact that the Blues have a need for doctors so badly, they contract real ones who have no care for this fight. So, have no worries. Eh? Alright then, let's get started. I'll be back in one moment."

Dr. Ganadan nodded and walked away, most likely going to retrieve supplies.

Talitha sat up as she was rolled into the infirmary, rubbing her wrists, grimacing as the circulation flowed back into them after an hour of being tightly restrained. She barely listened to Ganadan, her mind on one thing. Riggs. As soon as she was left alone, she pushed herself off the stretcher, steadying herself for a second before striding out, feeling a lot better after the trip in the Hog. She headed out into the base, looking for a way down, vaguely remembering the layout from the last time she was here.

Wish I hadn't worn a red tanktop to sleep last night...

Riggs looked about his cell, taking in everything he had to use, everything available to him. He paced slowly, flexing his wrists as he tried to physically pull the flex cuffs the Blues had stuck on him apart. He didn't have the right leverage, a bad angle as well with his hands in the small of his back. He sat down on the floor, pushing his shoulders outward as he sat on his hands. He pulled up, his arms dislocating from his shoulders with a wet pop. It wasn't the first time he'd done this, and it probably wouldn't be the last.-

-He slid back on his hands, getting both hands infront of his legs before shifting his shoulders back. Another pop from each shoulder as the ball joints of his arms relocated into their sockets. He sighed, shrugging off the pain that screamed in his nerves as he looked down at his bonds. Simple flex cuffs, not the hardest thing to escape.-

-Riggs placed his right foot between the inserts for the flex cuffs. He pulled back with his shoulders, his leg pushing forward with all of his strength. He heard a quick "SNAP," judging by the lack of pain he knew he had broken the cuffs and not his wrist. He looked down at the half of each cuff, reaching up to the jade collar around his neck. He unlatched something from the metal plate sandwiched between green jade, a small pick.-

-He pushed the upper ridged edge of the right flex cuff's lock, slipping the rest of it out and dropping it to the floor before doing the same for the left. He placed the pick back into its housing, once again almost invisible, appearing as a solid sheet of rounded metal. He rubbed his wrists, sitting down on his cot.

There was a small desk located to the left of all the holding cells. Sitting at it, was Sergeant Venson, who wasn't even paying attention to the guard duty he was supposed to be doing. Instead, he was sitting back, playing games on his datapad, sipping coffee.

A few soldiers gave Richardson odd looks as they passed her by, noticing not only was she wearing a red shirt, but had no shoes on and only one sock. She would pass by a crippled remnant of a blue soldier, who was completely dehabilitated, leaning to one side in a wheelchair. Her face, expressionless, her eyes, glassy, almost as if she wasn't even living, but still was. The man pushing the soldier stopped Richardson.

"E-excuse me, but where's the infirmary? I'm from Alpha, I don't know this place. Supposed to be bringing Sergeant Lehrman here to see the doc."

"Take a left down that hall, then the third door on your right, there's signs."

She felt her jaw clench as she looked down at Lehrman. The war ruined so much... and the Covies were still out there while they were wasting time killing eachother. She snorted, finally finding the stairs leading down to the holding cells, barely pausing as she passed by Venson's desk.

Venson looked up from his datapad. He sighed, not really caring for protocol, but abiding by it anyways.

"ID, please."

She didn't stop, heading down the hallway, peering in each cell, totally ignoring the Blue at the desk. She finally found Riggs', stopping outside and wrapping her hands around the bars.

John... at least he got out of those cuffs...

Talitha knew she couldn't say anything with the Blue right there, but she wanted him to know she hadn't forgotten about him, that she was here to fight for him.

Riggs looked up at Talitha, standing and slowly walking to the bars. He brought his eyes to hers, each one a deep hazel and green as he placed his hands softly on Talitha's. His voice was barely above a whisper, but he held all of the confidence he'd had before he was brought here, before any of this had happened behind it.-

"E muja oui duu, Talitha."

"ID, please." Venson repeated as he failed to pull his eyes from the solitaire game he was playing on his datapad.

"I said, ID please." Venson repeated.

"Damnit..." he muttered as he looked up from his game to see who had entered the holding cell area.

"Miss, whose authorization do you have to be down here?" he said to Richardson has he unlocked the strap from his holster containing an M6D, ready to be drew if he needed it for the occasion.

"E's kuehk du kad oui uid uv rana... E bnuseca..."

She squeezed Riggs' hands slightly, not looking over at the guard, savoring each extra second.

"No one's, I authorized myself."

Bmayca...tuh'd tu yhodrehk nycr......cusadrehk ec fnuhk....cusadrehk pyt ec kuehk du rybbah."

-Riggs gave her a stern look, gripping her hands tightly. He looked over past the bars at the guard, saying nothing more as he kept his eyes locked on the weapon in his hands.

Venson stood up from his desk, pushing the chair back. He drew his firearm, raising it to eye level.

"Ma'am, step back from the bars and put your hands behind your head. Don't make me have to shoot you."

"E'mm pa lynavim... pid pa nayto vun yhodrehk. E'mm pa pylg cuuh."

She squeezed his hands one more time, giving him that confident smile before stepping back, placing her hands on her head like Venson ordered, interlacing her fingers.

"I've already been shot once today, it's kind of an idle threat, sorry."

Venson ignored the statement that Richardson gave, following protocol.

"Get down on the ground, NOW!"

"You know you should talk to someone about your anger instead of just screaming willy nilly at people. It's not really good for your health."

She got down on her knees, rolling down to her stomach slowly, not wanting to do anything to antagonize the Blue despite her bravado.

Venson walked over to Richardson and squatted down.

"Ya know, you shouldn't talk to a person with a gun like that. Bad things might happen."

Venson grabbed Talitha by the arm, dragging her up, and forcing her against the wall.

"Especially when said gun is pointed in your direction."

Venson looked over to the keypad next to her head, which is used to open the cell beside the keypad. He punched in the code to open in , pushing Talitha inside, then closing it, enabling the autolock.

"Talk as much shit as you want now."

Venson returned to his desk, holstering his pistol and playing games.

"Heh, don't know how they can get much worse."

She turned around, threading her hands through the bars and resting herself there, smiling across the hall to John.

"Yldiymmo, drehkc yna bnaddo kuut nekrd huf, ymm drehkc luhcetanat. Yd maycd E lyh caa oui."

"E zicd ruba dryd cdibet pycdynt ujan drana tuach'd ihtancdyht y funt fa cyo. Bnaddo tayt myhkiyka..."

-Riggs shrugged, chuckling as he looked past the bars of his cell to the guard on duty.-

"E tuipd ed. Ra teth'd cyo yhodrehk pavuna. Fa cdemm kuddy pa lynavim druikr - E pad dra pyca AI tuach'd ryja dra cysa bnupmasc."

She tweaked her eyebrows up, frowning slightly. It had been quite a while since she had been a prisoner, and she didn't like the memories it was bringing back.

"Edc hud dra Pmiac E's yvnyet uv.....dnoehk du nasaspan...cusadrehk...cusadrehk runnepma......kut....suna dryh ajan huf E fecr E luimt nasaspan fryd rybbahat frema E fyc dygah..."

-Riggs placed a hand to his head, his eyes squinting as though he was in pain for a moment.

"Famm... tu oui nasaspan yhodrehk yd ymm? Syopa oui lyh cdynd cusafrana yht fung uvv uv dryd...? Yhouha amca... ku drnuikr dryd?"

Talitha frowned even further, hating to put Riggs through remembering what must have been more pain than anyone deserved to go through, but she knew that if what he was worrying about did happen, she sure as hell didn't want to be stuck in this dilapidated cell.

"Alpha....Beta....Gamma.......Alpha....Beta....Gamma....I remember those three....over and over.......I don't know where to start......."

"Well... there was that letter Alpha on your chestplate... so if you're Alpha... then Beta and Gamma are probably running around this universe somewhere. Maybe even here on Macerr."

She kept her voice low, looking over to the guard repeatedly, smirking as she saw him so absorbed in his game.

The door to Lennalli's office slides open and his secretary walks in and quietly takes a seat. The door slides shut behind her. She solemnly tells the lieutenant exactly what happened with extreme detail.

"You did what you had to do. You're sure you're alright?"

"I'm fine, thanks."

"No, you're not."

She sighs. "I don't like what I had to become to get through that. That's not who I really am...I don't wanna have to be that person again. I didn't even know what was really happening til I heard him speak and heard an actual human being. Til I looked in his eyes... I saw more pain in his eyes... More that I even see in yours. Yeah. You hide it well, but I can still tell that there's always something bothering you...I'm sorry. I shouldn't be getting this personal. Would it be OK if I went back to just secretarial work?"

Lennalli drops eye contact for a minute.

"Yeah, yeah... That'll be fine. You're alot more organized than I am and none of my other secretaries couldn't stand working under me. I hope to keep you around for awhile."

She smiles and stands up to go.

"Hey, Samantha. You did what you had to do. Because of what you did, one of the biggest dangers to this army is no longer at large. Don't ever be ashamed of what you had to do in an intense situation."

At that the PFC nods and exits. Lieutenant Lennalli then hits a button on his intercom.

"Venson, get Riggs into an interrogation cell. I want to speak with him. And don't rough the prisoners up. They've been through enough and I don't want Riggs to be in any fouler mood than he's already in when I go to speak with him. I'll be along shortly."

Venson perks up from the game to reply to the message.

"Err, yes sir." Venson sighed, putting down his datapad. He stood up, strolling over to Riggs' cell.

"Chat time's over you two. The Lieutenant wants to have a talk." Venson punched in the code to the keypad, opening the door. He unlatched his gun holster, in case of any emergency. He motioned to Riggs.

"Come on, let's go."

"I just want you to know...if you think that gun protects you from me, you're very mistaken. And don't cuff me. They'll be the last thing you feel around your throat."

-Riggs looked to Talitha before leaving the cell, nodding to her, even smiling slightly before whispering to her.-

"E muja oui, Talitha."

-With that, Riggs left the cell and stopped infront of the guard.-

"So, where to?"

"Yeah, yeah, I love you too, dollface. Move it." He gestured his hand to a room different than one of the holding cells. It had a door, and reinforced windows, and a one-way mirror. The room was located across the hall from the guard's desk. Venson walked behind Riggs as they went over to the room, three cells down. Venson punched in the code, opening the door, motioning Riggs to enter.

The room was rather Spartan. containing the usual stainless steel table and two stainless steel chairs.

"Wait here for the Lt."

Venson closed the door behind Riggs, enabling the autolock, and returned to his desk to play games once again.

"Hey, no one asked you, bluetard."

Talitha watched them move down the hall as long as she could, smiling to Riggs before he entered the chamber, then moving back to the cot and sitting down in her cell. She stripped her sock off, balling it up and lying back, playing a game of catch with herself to pass the time until Riggs came back.
Riggs didn't take a seat. Instead he began stretching his dry joints, checking the pocked scabs on his knees where he had been shot. It was a necessary blow, to stop him, to control him better then even he could. He was careful on his knees, walking slowly, letting them heal properly before sitting down in one of the chairs. He placed his hands behind his head, leaning back as a strange air of confidence surrounded him.

Lennalli strides into the room, un-armed, wearing an officer's uniform; closes the door and turns to look at the man in the chair.

"So, you're human after all."

He walks forward and takes a seat in the chair across from Riggs.

"I'll start with something you probably won't like: All your weapons and all of your armor is to be destroyed. There's no getting around that, and certainly you can see the logic in it. The good news, Miss Richardson is doing alright, surprisingly alright considering the wound she took. But I'm sure you already knew that. As for your 'crimes', I can hardly justify holding you responsible for something that occurred when you weren't in control. Blue command may see things differently but they don't pay much attention to my area.

Now then, you weren't the only mechanical monster on this planet. Blue base Epsilon is under attack as we speak by some...thing... reportedly with the 'Gamma' symbol on it. If you were alpha that suggests beta is out there somewhere too. I was hoping you would have some idea of how to take these down. I return for your assistance, I'm willing to personally transport you and Talitha where ever you would like to go and Blue command never has to hear about you ever being captured."

"Well, I'll start with something you probably won't like. I've had plenty of time to think, waiting for you in here. I'm Alpha, yes, and Beta and Gamma are out there wreaking havoc. Beta...was supposed to attack the Reds, but that's only the start. Gamma is supposed to attack anything around it that offers resistance. The kicker is if you destroy my armor there's no stopping them. You have my helmet here, which means they have a designated location."

-Riggs brought his feet down, placing his arms on the table as he leaned forward. He stared right into Lenalli's eyes after a brief glance at his hand.-

"Destroying my armor isn't going to stop them from knowing where I am. This is one big ONI experiment. They want to surpass the SPARTAN II program, so they found some lab monkeys to experiment on. I'm on of them. They stimmed me up, slapped some armor on me and sent me out into the world. But I'm not the only one. Were all different, Alpha, Beta, and Gamma. Were all 3 variants, and ONI wants the best to show off. So, primary directives are to destroy anything in their designated areas. Mine was a Blue Base, Beta was a Red Base, and Gamma is a civilian location. Then comes secondary protocol."

-Riggs leaned back, cracking his knuckles as he kept his eyes on his old adversary.-

"Survival of the fittest. Beta and Gamma home in on my location via my helmet. Those horns on the helmet aren't just for beauty. They're transmitters, and they've been transmitting loud and clear. Destroying them won't throw Beta and Gamma off our trail. They have us locked in their sights, and they'll be on their way. So I'll make a deal with you. I can't give you back your hand, but I can save your life. Give me my armor and let me draw them off. Evac this base and get yourself, Talitha and everyone here the hell away. I'll stop Beta and Gamma. You have my word as a soldier I'll stop them. After that, you can do what you want with me. Talitha just wanted to protect me, so don't hold her accountable for any of this. Deal?"

" 'Your word as a soldier'? You're a mercenary. In any case, The helmet isn't here. I left it with someone I can trust. He's in Kalaa...

Shit, There'll be far too much collateral damage there. Alright, I don't have the leisure of trusting you. You'll find the armor in the garage. I'll be your transport there. And believe me; Mr. Harold has plenty of tech at his disposal to stop even you if it comes to it. Unfortunately, not enough for two of you, so we're gonna haul ass."

The lieutenant stands and offers a metal handshake and a steely glare to his old nemesis.

Technically, I never left the Red Army. Like our commanders before us, we join forces for the common good of mankind."

-Riggs took the metal hand in his, applying as much force as if he were still suited up for combat. The mercenary monster nodded to the blue commander, a smile lighting his face.-

"Just get Talitha out of that cell, and tell her I'll be back soon. Got some unfinished business to settle with Oni."

"Already done. Follow."

Lennalli turns and walks out the door, expecting that Riggs is right behind him. He briskly walks up and out of the prison and makes his way to the garage. There's a bit of a commotion as they make their way to a modified warthog. Before hopping into the driver's seat he points to one of the busy-looking privates.

"You there, Where'd the droid go to?"

"I don't know sir. He ran off a few minutes ago. Towards the city. Private Phillips said something about some text scrolling across his visor. Something about a distress call."

Probably already on his way...

"We gotta get the hell to the city."

Riggs had followed Lennalli to the garage but made a B-line right for his armor as he spotted it on a work bench. He suited up from his boots to his chestplate, shoulder pads followed by elbow pads. Next came the forearm guards, then his gloves. Every piece of his armor locked into each other via mesh-like interfaces covering each joint. The last thing to lock in place were the large block-like retractable blade housings, the primary weapons at Riggs's disposal.-

-His mechanical tail began to curl in the air, realigning itself as crimson and gold markings and lights blinked into existence. The comm-mod on his back, between the rising spines clicked twice and whirred, falling silently as it power flooded its systems. Riggs raised his arms, closing his eyes before throwing his arms out and down towards the ground. Each 3 foot blade, 2 running parallel from each forearm exploded from their housings, hooks angling towards Lennalli as Riggs gave him a grin.-

-The hooked claws retracted into their housings, the sensors and lights across Riggs's black and gray armor dimming as he looked himself over. Its tail hovered inches above the ground, its blade wavering slightly as he ran towards the hog, seemingly revitalized by being in his armor once again. He leapt into the passenger seat, his tail curling around his waist as he looked to Lennalli.-

"Come on. We've got a city to save."

Her head lifted as she heard the door to the interrogation cell open, immediately moving to the bars, trying to see something, anything. Talitha watched Lennalli leave first, moving with a purpose, and she couldn't stop a sigh from escaping her lips as she saw Riggs heading for the surface behind him.

At least he's getting out of here... please stay safe... I wonder what happened in there...

She waited for a few more seconds, then turned back and sat down on the cot, trying to think and ignore her grumbling stomach. She stood back up after a couple of minutes, unsuccessful at both. Talitha rapped her knuckles against the bars, wincing as that metallic noise reverberated through her skull, but she called out to Venson at the desk.

"Hey Blue! What's a girl got to do for some food around here?"

Venson was consumed in his personal tasks, he didn't even bother to come up with a serious reply, but rather just a joke.

"Food eh? To get food, get on your knees."

Venson chuckled, continuing his menial tasks.
What the fuck?!

"Hah, you must think I'm pretty desperate. What, someone let the air out of your girlfriend?"

"Oh yeah, wow, that one hurt. At least I'm not so desperate I get with lizards."

"Hey, lizards don't live out in the desert and survive for weeks without water without having great stamina. Plus they don't ask for much, do their own work instead of sitting around and playing with a datapad all day."

"Right, right. My bad. Robot lizard."

God, am I really that bored that I'm insulting a Blue?

"What's wrong with robot lizards?"

Venson set the Datapad down, turning it off.

Damnit, she just won't shut up. Guess I'll have to do that.

Venson got up from his desk, walking down to the cell containing Talitha. He punched in the key-code, opening the cell. He drew his eyes on Talitha, and drew his M6C.

"I hate this assignment more than anything. Hardly anyone is ever down here. And when there are people down here, the last thing I need is something with an attitude. So just keep talking shit. You'll get what's coming to ya."

"Do you solve everything by pointing that at people?"

She didn't seem entirely impressed, crossing her arms on her chest.

There was a whoosh of something passing infront of Venson from his waist up to above his hair. Roughly a second later the barrel of the M6C and half of the loaded bullet in the weapon clattered to the ground, the object that had cleanly split the gun into sections slithering up into sight. It was about a foot long, black plates holding a gray blade to a segmented spiked tail. It pointed right between Venson's eyes before someone grabbed his shoulders, physically lifting the man and placing him 5 ft to the left.-

-Riggs reached a gloved black hand in for Talitha, the tail remaining pointed at the face of the Blue soldier as Riggs smiled.-

"Lennalli says you're free."

Venson backed off, step back towards his desk.

"Whoa, man, take her, you freak."

"Heh, nice entrance. Later bluetard."

She took his gloved hand, squeezing it.

"What happened in there with you and Lennalli?"

Oh you know, the usual. He shot me in the arm so I bit off his other hand. Lizard stuff. Listen...Talitha...I have to go...it won't be for long...I'll be back, I promise you I will. I just have something I need to finish...I have to do this alone. Everyone is in danger, and I need to stop it...wait for me here, ok?"

-The edges of Riggs's eyes were actually tearing up, moisture apparent through the sincerity, through the confidence. He squeezed her hand before slowly drawing her to his chest, wrapping his arms around her. He was careful in the suit, its armor warm to the touch as he hugged her, staring down into her eyes.

"But... I can help... maybe the Blues fixed my Ghost... I'll get the rocket launcher they gave me... they brought Tuono over..."

Her voice trailed off hopefully, looking up into his eyes and wiping away the tears. She chuckled a bit, trying to get him to smile.

"Besides, I'm a mercenary now. Hell, you don't even have to pay me to come with you."

Talitha...I want you to be safe...this is something I have to finish..I hope you understand."

-Riggs wanted to hold her and never let go. He had tried not to let go the last time, but he wasn't strong enough to stay. Now he had her in his arms, she knew how he felt about her. He just stared into her eyes, hoping she'd be able to come to terms with what he was asking her to do.

"No... I can't let you walk away... I walked away last time... I left you and Melissa and everyone else there alone... I'm gonna be there to help you this time."

He's really huge in that armor... maybe he doesn't need my help... but why would he be getting emotional if he wasn't worried...?

"Please Talitha....please...stay here....no...head home...I'll meet you there, ok? I'll see you at home...I just want you to be safe.."

-Riggs looked down as he held her, unable to keep his eyes on hers. It was bad enough he had been taken on Cairn. Now he couldn't even dream of losing Talitha. Moisture became small tears that streaked his cheeks, running down his neck into the jade collar around his throat.


If hearing the defeat in his voice before they were taken hit her hard, actually seeing the tears hurt that much more. She rose up on her tiptoes, kissing each of his cheeks where the tears had streaked down.

"Okay... I'll head home... for you... but if you're not back tomorrow, I'm coming after you."

"That's fine...you'll know where to find me. Just tune your radio to channel 83 Alpha and wait a few seconds. My comm-mod will pick up and you'll be able to follow the signal right to me....I love you Talitha...thank you.."

-The tears trickled down to little more than built up moisture, a smile returning to his lips as he stroked her cheek with his thumb.

"There it is... now, go do what you have to do."

She squeezed his midsection, hoping he could feel it beneath the armor, before reaching for his hand and starting to lead him back towards the garage.

Riggs didn't immediately let go of Talitha. Instead when she squeezed his midsection her drew her up slightly, bending his neck down to place his lips upon hers. It was something he always dreamed of, and knowing what he was going into made him want to experience holding her lips with his at least once. He held her tightly, but not tight enough to make his armor uncomfortable on her. He could feel her squeezing his sides, smiling as he kissed her for the first time, and for the first time in an eternity he was truly happy again.

She let out a small yelp of surprise as she was lifted off her feet, smiling as she saw him close his eyes and bend his neck down. She wrapped her arms around his shoulders, lifting herself further off the ground to bring her lips even tighter to his. She could feel, for a split second, just how happy this was making him, and that tiny little connection made her love for him that much deeper, that much stronger. Memories of before were surfacing... but she pushed them away, hugging John's armored shoulders even tighter.

He held her lips so tightly with his for what he hoped was forever, only to have reality hit him like a Pelican on cruise control. He set her down slowly, his lips leaving hers as he stared down into her eyes once more. The moisture was gone from his eyes, now filled with a new determination, a fire that hadn't blazed in him since his days fighting alongside the Reds. He had a mission to do, and he'd be damned if he didn't do it.-

"I love you Talitha. I'll see you soon...at home..I promise."

-He smiled at that last part before releasing her, shooting a snarling glare at Venson as he passed the man. His black armored frame bolted through the halls back to the Garage and right into the exact same seat he had been in, ready to go.-

"Its go time."

Talitha couldn't stop smiling. She watched Riggs run with a surprising amount of grace for the amount of armor he was wearing, licking her lips a bit to savor his taste. She ducked back into her cell and grabbed her sock, shoving it into a pocket in the loose, cotton cargo pants she habitually wore to bed. Her head was spinning... not just from the gash on her head, either... and she sat down to think, her grin far from fading from her face.

Venson spoke up one more time, before taking his attention back to meaningless gaming.

"Next time, you two should get a room."

"Yeah, well... kinda hard to do that when you're locked in a jail cell."

Talitha stood up, heading for the stairs out of the detainment area. Just before she was out of sight, she flipped Venson off, hoping he'd see and maybe try and stop her with that ridiculous squirt gun again. She could use the laugh. She took a left down the hall, one, two, three doors. Talitha smiled and nodded to Ganadan before sitting down on the stretcher she left just over an hour ago.

"Sorry about that, that Blue downstairs was a complete jackass."

Ganadan chuckled. "I'd wondered where you had gone. Anways, let's take a look at that."

Aidan gingerly removed the temporary bandages that had been previously applied. They revealed the large gash that the 12.7x48mm round had created. He took a cotton swab, dipping it in antiseptic.

"This may sting a little."

He moved some of the hair away, running the cotton swab up and down the gash multiple times. It washed away the dried blood and pieces of scalp. He picked up a small device, used to flash clone skin and replace it rather quickly, an autografter.

"This is going to feel like filling a wound with biofoam, so try and take it easy."

He ran the heated device down the cut, which copied skin, created new skin, and fused it into the cut. A few more passes, and the healing was complete. He set the device aside, wiping away what remnants were left with a small cloth.

"All done. You're free to go."
Talitha only winced twice, while the autografter was working through her scalp, feeling the minute pinpricks as it copied her DNA and grafted on the skin with a hiss of steam. She rubbed a finger down the top of her head, tracing out the bald stripe of skin left where her part normally sat, amazed at the speed of the autografter.

"Thanks doc. Don't let the job get ya down, alright?"

"Yeah, now get on outta here before you get into any more trouble."

Ganadan gathered the items on the table, placing them on a tray and carrying them back into the storage room, then back to more menial tasks.

The warthog speeds off towards Kalaa at speeds a little above what's safe.

"What took you so long? Our combat droid went off some time ago because of a distress signal so your friends have most likely already arrived at Jack's house. If I know Jack like I think I do, He's got himself quite safe in some hidey-hole, keeping them busy with all manner of mechanics. Once we arrive I'm not entirely sure how we'll acquire the helmet, but I'm sure Jack will think of someway to get it to us without putting himself in too much danger. You'll be able to locate it won't you?"