Warning: This work has been rated 16+ for mature content.
Corporal Stavers eased himself off of his bed, careful to hold onto the rail at the end so as not to fall. He carefully put his weight on his left leg, testing its limits. It held, and he took a few tentative steps forward, easing down to lessen the pain in his leg.
The shot to his leg had caused considerable damage, even more so than a normal shot as the person who shot him knew how to handle a gun. He hobbled around his cordoned off medical room, steadily increasing his speed. The Federation stimulants did well, but he still noticed that he still had a slight limp.
As he finished a circle around his room, Major Ranforth came back into his room. Seeing him, Corporal Stavers jumped to attention and promptly fell back onto his bed from the pain and unsteadiness in his leg.
"Easy there, son," said Ranforth, reaching out to help him as he tried to stand once more. "Don't make a fuss over me, especially not with that leg of yours."
"Thank you, sir," responded Stavers, dropping his salute and easing onto his bed. The two sat in silence for a moment before Stavers decided to break it.
"If you don't mind me asking, sir, what brings you here?"
"Something occured to me, Stavers. Something very odd indeed."
"What would that be, sir?" asked the corporal.
"Well, you had all those men die in your company, yet you lived. Tell me, why are you the only one who sustained a crippling shot rather than a killing one?"
"I wouldn't know, sir. Dumb luck? Poorly calibrated sights?"
"Maybe," said Ranforth. "Or maybe, it was planned?"
"How do you mean, sir?"
"Well," began Ranforth. He got up from his chair and walked over to the makeshift door of Stavers' cordoned off hospital room. He slid the curtain over, closing himself and Stavers in the room. "Oftentimes, when one goes undercover, they have a failsafe in place in case they run into one of their fellow operatives in the field." He turned to look Stavers dead in the eye, his pretense of civility long gone. "Something like a crippling wound rather than a fatal one. Does that ring a bell, Stavers?"
Stavers stared at him, fear beginning to creep up the back of his mind.
"N-no, sir," he said, the fear stuttering his voice.
"Oh, I think it does, Corporal Stavers. I think it rings two bells in fact. One alarm bell in your mind and one much more important alarm bell in the F.P.U headquarters on Beta-Gammertell. Does it not?"
"What?!" exclaimed Stavers. "No sir, I am no rebel."
"Keep your voice down, Stavers, before I rob you of it entirely. I do not need the whole ship to know of your traitorous yellow streak," said Ranforth his voice dripping with venom.
"But sir, I'm not a rebel," said Stavers, almost pleading. Ranforth considered him for a moment before pulling a small syringe out of his breast pocket.
"We'll soon find out, won't we?" asked Ranforth. Stavers' eyes went wide, his now fear morphed into full-fledged terror. He'd never seen if before, but all Federation soldiers knew of The Syringe, as it was called. Their training mentioned it briefly. Soldiers who came into contact with it were never seen or heard from again and they were always traitors.
"Sir, you can't do this to me. I'm a loyal Federation soldier."
"I don't think so, Stavers. I think you've been in cahoots with an old...friend...of mine. And I intend to put a stop to it."
He approached Stavers with the syringe and went to place it against his inner elbow.
"You'll have to catch me, sir." said Stavers. And he cracked his fist across Ranforth's chiseled jawline.
ABOARD THE MOLON LABE
Roughly four hours after he had fallen back asleep, Ed was awoken by the soft, dulcet tones of an Englishman shrieking in his ear.
"Edward! You have to wake up!" screamed Dave. Ed flailed in his bedsheets and then flopped off his hard, metal bunk onto the hard, metal floor.
"What?! What?!" he screamed back.
"There's nobody flying the ship, Ed!" Dave yelled.
"Well, what-," Ed began, before remembering that there was an oh-so convenient autopilot. "Dave," he said, rubbing his eyes to get rid of the sleep. "As my pilot and friend, I want you to put a note somewhere in the cockpit reminding me to reassign you to the position of figurehead."
"Righto, boss," said Dave, giving a quick salute before darting out of the room in a failed attempt to conceal his manic laughter. Ed picked himself up off the floor and donned a shirt and his now-familiar knee-length leather jacket before exiting his bunk through the same stuck door from the night before. He walked into the cockpit and dropped into the co-pilot's seat next to Dave.
"Where're we off to, boss?" asked Dave. Ed shrugged.
"I dunno. We need to drop off these refugees and find some way to get money. I'd better ask my navigator." He turned and yelled out the cockpit doors. "Oi, Kizzvell, c'mere." Kizzvell appeared at the door moments later.
"Yes, what you need?" Kizzvell asked.
"Nearest planet to find work and drop off these refugees. Where would that be?"
"I need navi-holoboard if we are to go anywhere. But, nearby station would be ZNC-4 orbiting gas giant Bromedai. We buy supplies, find work, seedy though may be, and leave refugees there."
"How heavy is the Federation presence?" Ed asked.
"Low. There is small task force there to keep order, like police. But it mostly sits, drinking to pass time. Numbers five sober, at given time."
Ed turned to Dave.
"Set a course for ZNC-4 and bring us there as quickly as possible," he said.
"Yessir, bossman, sir," Dave responded.
"You know how to do that, right Dave?" Ed asked.
"HELL NO!!" replied Dave, as he gunned the throttle.