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Jul. 22nd, 2005

A month has passed and the robot attacks are coming thick and fast. Nobody knosw where they came from or where they go if they're not shot down fast enough.

Nobody expected to be flying so much, but they're fighting a pretty full-time battle just to keep their base from being destroyed. One formation has just come in, a little battered but lucky to have escaped with their lives. Chances are they'll barely have time to refuel before being sent up again.



Stas climbed out of his P-40 and wiped the sweat from his forehead. Another sucessful sortie. He had done this so often that it didn't seem a challenge anymore.

What worried him now was that Comet had been hit.

Since that encounter in Comet's bunk, they had hardly spoken, at least not more than greetings and exchanges about flying conditions. Stas didn't know who was avoiding who. He'd been waiting for things to feel right again.

He looked around quickly, and saw Comet's P-40 standing alone with it's canopy shattered. There was blood on the wing. Stas stopped for a second, nauseous. Then he ran towards the sickroom and pushed his way in at the door.

He could hear Comet yelling as soon as he got in, and he virtually ran in the direction of the noise. he pulled the curtains around the bed aside and pushed past a medic who stood there "Comet!"

Comet was lying on his stomach on the bed. Quickly, Stas checked him over. All limbs present and correct, not a lot of bleeding that he could see...

He realised one of the medics was attacking Comet's bare bottom with a pair of tweezers. A piece of perspex appeared, covered in blood, and was dropped in a cold metal tray with other fragments. Stas turned away for an instant.

Comet yelped and tried to cover up but the medic slapped his hand away

"Say, Stas, do you mind?" But he was grinning despite the awkward situation, "I'll be out in a few minutes."

The other medic got hold of Stas's shoulder and steered him firmly towards the door "You'll have to wait outside. You ought to know the rules by now"

"I... thought it might be something really bad when I saw the blood!" Stas called after him "All over the wing-"

The door of the sickroom was shut firmly behind him.

Comments

drellakowalski
Jul. 22nd, 2005 11:10 am (UTC)
Stas followed Comet back to the officer's quarters, chattering good-naturedly about the days flying.

"I thought we'd finished with them and then it appeared out of nowhere on my tail!" he said, excitedly "And you'd gone and I thought I was going to be next, but we climbed again and shook it off and I banked and got it first time, I've never seen one explode like that!"

"You must have hit it in the right place, and that's hard to do," replied Comet, who seemed in high spirits despite his injury. "Those things,they aren't built like our birds, and every new wave we get are different models. The insides keep shifting around. I don't know what they run on, but it's not gas."

They reached the walled-off cubicle with Comet's nameplate on the door and dived inside. Stas shut the door.

Comet collapsed forward onto the bed "Christ, that stings."

"Comet!" Stas perched beside him, concerned. His face was suddenly pale and drawn, a faint layer of sweat coating his skin. "I thought you said it was only a nick."

"Nick?" Comet said, grimacing "It was more like a stab wound. You should have seen the size of some of those slivers."

"Want me to get a medic?" Stas asked. He should have been feeling panicked, but he wasn't.

Comet shook his head "Lying down might help."

"I'll get you some tea!"said Stas, and dissapeared. He made his way to his own quarters and grabbed the apropriate parts from his locker. Since joining the RAF he had started drinking it in the English way, weak and with plenty of milk and sugar.

"Hanging on in there?" he asked, as he returned to the little cubicle. He put Comet's kettle on and began busying himself with tea leaves, sugar and powdered milk.

Comet groaned "I should have asked for a shot of something. Even though it probably wouldn't work too well."

"Why didn't you ask for one?" Stas asked absently, poaring tea from his little pot into the two cups.

Comet gave him a searching look "You've seen my back haven't you? Don't you think that might have increased my tolerance to the stuff a little bit?"

"Oh course" said Stas, nodding. If he had thought for a moment he would have realised that himself. He offered Comet one of the steaming cups. "Here, drink this."

"Thanks!" Comet said, taking a mouthful.

"We always had it black with lemon," Stas said "And then not all the time. The first time I had it like this in England I thought it was really horrible" he gulped his tea down happily.

"It's fine as long as there's enough sugar," Comet said "This is perfect."

"Good," Stas said "Feeling any better?"

Comet laughed, but it sounded forced. "Sure. Remind me to ask you that when you've taken a trip through the infirmary sometime. Bloody medics."
(Deleted comment)
drellakowalski
Jul. 29th, 2005 12:28 pm (UTC)
Hesitantly, Stas lifted his hand from Comet's shoulder, reaching across to rest it on his flaming hair. His fingers quivered as he waited from Comet to pull away, look accusingly at him, shout at him perhaps. But it didn't happen.

He stroked Comet's hair, more obviously this time, and though his face was half hidden to Stas, he could make out a hint of a smile there.

Stas leaned closer. After so many months of painful isolation it was almost an unknown feeling to be so intimate with somebody. He felt overtaken suddenly by a wave of affection for his new-found friend, and he bent to kiss Comet's cheek. Comet winked mischievously and, as he did so, quickly turned his head so that the tentative kiss fell along the corner of his mouth. Stas jerked away, startled.

Comet reached over and touched Stas's neck in the same way that Stas had touched him. Stas shivered a little. He pressed closer and their lips met for a moment or two. It felt right and Stas knew he wouldn't have to worry about it.

When he opened his eyes, Comet's met his and there was laughter in them. Stas smiled. He felt perfectly at ease now, all the tension gone.

"Hey, don't just sit there, distract me. Play cards, or tell me dirty jokes, or something. You look like like I'm dead and it's creepy."

"I've only been injured once" Stas said, quietly "And that was a stupid injury. It didn't even matter on it's own, it was what went with it."

"Dare I ask?" said Comet, but his tone was encouraging.

"You know I worked in a factory making those things" Stas began. he felt somehow calm, as if he was telling someone else's story and not his own. "The robots. Not worked, anyway, it was slave labour. Some of us decided we were gonna mess it up by making them faulty but some people thought they could save their own asses if they gave us away. It was only me who was given away though and one of the guards got me up on this platform that he gave orders from and told everyone and smacked me in the face with his gun. My nose was bleeding but that's all. They took me out into the woods to shoot me and I just ran and ran"

Comet's silence said more to Stas than any words he could have used. A little more uneasily this time, he continued.

"I went to England to fly with the RAF, but god the things they put me through to check I wasn't some kind of spy, and then all the retraining I had to do. I got up in the air and I was good. One day we were waiting for the signal to scramble and someone had a paper so I looked through it and there was a report about the factory being destroyed..."

He trailed off now, fighting against tears despite his best intentions.
drellakowalski
Jul. 29th, 2005 12:29 pm (UTC)
Comet had been listening with interest "They called those bombings 'strategic,' but hell. I know there's no way Bomber Command got surgical strikes into some of those towns."

Stas just glared at him for a moment. He opened his mouth but a shouted reply died on his tounge. "Look, everyone worked there" He finally said "My family, everyone I knew. The whole town was taken over. I know they had to blow it up but I just couldn't seem to work with the RAF after that. Even though I know they were right"

He jumped to his feet and began to pace around the tiny cubicle, breathing heavily "How did you think I ended up here? It wasn't because I wasn't good enough for the RAF. That's what you thought isn't it? You thought I ran away with my tail between my legs!"

He looked to see how Comet was taking this. His eyes were half-closed. He looked just like all the other self-satisfied pilots Stas had tangled with in the RAF, and the anger he had hoped would be soothed rose inside him.

"But you did" something inside him kept saying. "You ran from Moravia, and then from England, and you hadn't been with the Legion a month before you thought you'd run from that too"

"No!" Stas yelled, out loud. He lashed out at the wall in his anger and frustration, punching a clean hole through the plaster.

He froze to the spot and looked at Comet's shocked, incredulous face. Then he looked back at the hole and the hall which was visible through it.

"Great, another hole to patch!" Comet said "As if this place wasn't in a bad enough state as it is"

Stas left the cubicle and, remembering to shut the door which stood between his stunned friend and the hallway, made his way out of quarters as quickly as he could. He realised he'd left his book beside Comet's bed, and as there was no way he was going in there again to get it back, he went to his usual haunt behind the hangar without it.

He stayed there until just before lights out, when he returned to his own quarters, feeling guilty and suspicious every time he moved. Sleep barely came to him at all that night, every time he closed his eyes he could see Comet's face there, smiling at him.

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