Tunnel of Darkness Section 2

Standard

In the pilot’s nest, clotted blood and torn flesh plastered the seat and control panels in thick, sticky mass that covered everything in a reminiscent of a Jackson Pollock creation. The co-pilot had dragged his captain and friend out of the seat. His place as copilot was behind the driver of the hybrid craft.

Tank treads under a skirt that used hovercraft technology, it was capable of smooth travel along different terrain. The tank tread could be deployed to keep with directional control on slopes, while the hovercraft skirt could let it traverse over marsh, water, broken ground with equal ease.

Throwing blankets over the blood-fouled seat, the backup pilot, using a foaming cleaner, cleared the control surfaces as best he could.

Ducking, projectiles hit all around the pilot dome. The large hole where AP shell had overwhelmed the polycarbonate shield.

The F-wits back at headquarters cost another life.

The Colonel had long recommended that crystallized, transparent aluminum in this area of the field units.

Polycarbonate dome was four fingers thick with a minimal distortion, corundum dome could do the same job with less distortion and be lighter by being thinner, perhaps as thin as a finger-width. Such a dome could stop a fifteen-millimeter exploding round, but the Advanced Med-trauma Rescue corporation deemed it as not cost-effective. Trading credits for lives.

Again.

Shaking his head, he came out of his cynical moment.

“Colonel, we have teams prepared to head out to the scene.” The voice over the radio sounded.

Fifty meters distant, between buildings, he stood and looked out the hole from the pilot’s advantage and sighed. It was between two buildings, they could fit.

But just. No room to maneuver, it was a kill-box if ever there was one.

“MCI treatment protocols are in effect, load and go only. Deploy.” The Safsy said into the radio quietly.

The Chief of Surgery on the Seraph said that when he gave a report and a patient was dying, his voice was as if he was making small talk. Lately inside his soul, he was always in a panic with a hair-trigger temper at home.

Home.

The last time he had been there, his wife acted surprised and a little disappointed that he had not been killed with his current state of mind. In her life, she could not stand knowing if he was going to walk through the door or come home in a box. She would be better off with the insurance money, financially. But, as she told him, she wanted the man that she married, back.

Now, he stood with his pilot in the small control room. Officially it was a one-person closet with a dome that allowed a three-hundred sixty.

“Strapping on.” The ship as the pilots would say. The pilot control was simply he turned the ship with his mind and used hand controls to fine-tune the different systems to keep the surgical, trauma, and rescue teams and their patients, safe.

Safsy saw a silhouette on the roof of a building, instinctively pulled James Cupri, the pilot, down out of the gaping hole as the intruder, while the sniper began shooting.

“Back-back-back!” Safsy yelled. “Our location is untenable.”

“Emergency reverse.” James yelled back. “Distance from team now is seventy-meters.”

“When the team returns with the victims, move us closer, load them up and get us the hell out of here.”

Four of the paramedic trauma-team walked with intent and speed, then breaking into a run when a whine of a particle weapon fractured and melted a large crater in the asphalt ten paces from the team. They followed the first route they took into the area, dragging the victims to the safety of the armored rescue units called ambulances, which was a bit of a misnomer, the true ambulances were fully stocked larger units than these small, heavily armored and speedy strike units.

But the teams were heading back to the hanger, James at the pilot controls watched the approach of the team and was ramping up the power in the engines.

In the lower level, just below the pilot, the Defense System, Radio and Radar operations was the primary job for the “Rear Seat” officer.

Although Safsy was in charge of the overall ship operations and now with two patients, his job was to get them back to the Seraph safely, making him the next up on the chain as the Radio Officer. They would be returning to the hospital ship with everyone.

Safsy took a deep breath of sad resignation. Once more, doomed to disappointment. He needed to speak to the social worker again, a badly wounded pilot that would weigh on his mind. The man would live, but he lost a lung. The report would be filed to answer why they entered into an unsafe scene. No matter the dispatch data stream, it was Safsy’s responsibility for the portable emergency room.

He would once again have the nightmares tonight.

The pilot…

Crap he could not remember the man’s name!

Moments like this he had so much fear building up inside him. Nothing he did could have avoided the pilot’s injuries, the man put the vessel in harm’s way with the information displayed on the screen. Still, reports needed writing and filing regarding all events that led to the wounding of the pilot.

Safsy wondered if there was a large bottle of rum at the Seraph. 

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Sail into the harbor of my soul; tell me your heart

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