Unfortunately it was possible for Cadet Gens, Petty Officer Cruz and LS Tabanta to track the path of the killer team heading to life support by the bodies of their crew mates. Whoever they were, the intruding team ahead of them didn’t believe in leaving a live enemy behind them. The three gunners caught up with them outside the closed blast doors of the life support section and found that their enemy consisted of a combat engineer and two heavy weapons men.
Parthi Gens wanted to swear but instead reported in. “Bridge, this is Gens. We’ve reached life support. The blast doors haven’t yet been penetrated but their combat engineer is using a thermal lance on them. He’s supported by two heavy marines.”
“Gens, this is the captain. Roger that. Do what you have to. Our Marines are en route. Lieutenant Commander Gliffens in life support says he needs three more minutes.”
Parthi looked at the situation. “Roger that. With the amount of door left to go, I think we can do three minutes, sir.” Parthi switched to the local channel, “Right, Cruz and Tabanta, you two stay in cover and give me supporting fire – head shots on the heavies, we might get lucky. I’ll be the crazy one. On my count, one, two, three, now!”
Parthi stepped out into the corridor and fired at where the combat engineer was working. In case that didn’t get the intruders’ attention, she tried her limited and crude Kizmatri out loud, shouting, “Oi, trisbati,” before diving into a combat roll so she wasn’t where the sound had come from anymore. As the left hand heavy marine turned, the first shot of Cruz’ burst grazed the side of his faceplate, but it was too late for him to stop himself and he went kept turning into the burst, then went down, his head a bloody mess. Fortuitously, that was the side Parthi had dived to and she moved again to reach the body, praying that other two would keep the remaining heavy busy and the combat engineer would stay on task for a moment more before either of decided that she was a real risk.
She did manage to reach the dead marine and that was the moment that his comrade decided that she was a bigger threat than her two team mates, but by the time he’d brought his weapon to bear she was prone behind the dead man and his lovely, thick armour. She was also armed with a weapon that she could not only use, but that would do real damage to the enemy.
Of course, it hadn’t gone all Parthi’s way from that point onwards which is why she woke up sometime later in sick bay with a still pink Cadet Kremerskorn hovering in a chair next to her bed. Her first words were, “What are you doing here?”
“They told me to keep an eye on you until you came too,” he answered. “Frankly, I think they wanted to get me out of the way, because things are pretty busy around here. Do you know where you are and why you’re here?” He pushed a buzzer beside him.
“I’m in sick bay because I took a shatter round to the left forearm and they put me under anaesthetic so they could put the bones back together,” answered Parthi. “It was hurting like hell, but they gave me something wonderful for the pain.”
“You sound compos mentis to me,” commented the medical officer who entered the small room at this point. Parthi recognised him from her earlier visit to sick bay to check on Kremerskorn. “Cadet Kremerskorn, you can go back to the nursing station and see what else they have that you can do to make yourself useful.” He waited until they were alone before he started the standard medical examination which he finished with, “And how do you feel, Cadet Gens?”
“Glad that thing hit my arm and not my chest,” Parthi admitted.
He raised an eyebrow and said, “We wouldn’t be having this conversation if it had.”
“Oh, I know that, sir,” Parthi agreed fervently.
“Do you now?” He finished his notes and added, “We’ll keep you in here for another couple of hours and then we’ll move you into the general ward. If you’re medically unadventurous then you can expect to be released from sick bay to restricted duties in approximately twenty four hours.”
“Thank you, sir.” That was, as far as Parthi could tell, a good result.
“You’ve got this buzzer if you need anything,” the medical officer picked it up from where Kremerskorn had been sitting and handed it to Parthi. “That includes going to the head. I don’t want you trying to walk unaided for a couple of hours yet. Just lie back and enjoy the rest and the quiet.”
“I can do that,” Parthi promised.
She did rest, and even napped, until she received surprise visitor. “Captain Niblitz, sir!” She sat bolt upright in the bed and saluted.
“At ease, Cadet Gens.” The captain surveyed her dispassionately and added, “You look a mess.”
“I’d feel like it too, sir,” she admitted, “if it wasn’t for the painkillers.”
He gave her a wry smile and said, “I can believe it. You should know that I’m writing you up for a suitable commendation. The Academy Commandant and I will be talking about it, I can assure you. Now,” he carefully closed the door firmly behind him, “completely off the record, Gens, where did you serve during the war?”
Parthi gave him her own wry smile and asked, “Sir, is anything ever completely off the record?”