The smell was nauseating, especially so with the knowledge where the gore came from in the pilot’s nest. Clotted blood and bits of torn flesh plastered the seat and control panels in thick, sticky mass that covered everything in a pattern reminiscent of a Jackson Pollock creation. The co-pilot dragged the captain of the seat and harms way while the sniper kept up the shooting, aiming it seemed, at the rescue symbol. The copilot’s seat being behind the driver of the hybrid craft allowed him to rapidly extricate his friend and pilot out of harm’s way.
With 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 allowed it to it traverse over marsh, water and 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.
Forced to duck, projectiles once again hit all around the pilot dome and the thumb-sized hole where AP projectile overwhelmed the polycarbonate shield.
“The F-wits back at headquarters cost another life.” The Colonel’s mind was in overdrive of being offended once again.
The Colonel had long recommended that crystallized, transparent aluminum be used in this exposed area of the field units.
Polycarbonate dome was four fingers thick with a minimal distortion, a corundum dome could do the same job with less distortion and be lighter in weight 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.
Shaking his head, he came out of his cynical moment.
“Colonel, we have teams ready 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.” The Safsy said into the radio quietly. Then took a deep breath, let it out slowly. Then committed them all. “Deploy.”
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.
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 newly promoted pilot in the small control room. Officially it was a one-person closet with a dome that allowed a three-hundred sixty degree view of the area.
“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 before 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.” Safsy called with a voice that could have been a conversation about the flavor of toast during a meal.
Four of the paramedic trauma-team walked with intent and speed, then breaking into a run when a crackle of a particle weapon that fractured and melted a large crater in the asphalt ten paces from the team. They followed the route they first 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 rescue 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, about 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 mobile emergency room.
Safsy knew he was in for a restless, terror filled sleep. would once again have the nightmares tonight.
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 who was injured put the vessel in harm’s way with the information displayed on the screen. Still, reports needed writing and filing for all events that led to the wounding of the pilot.
Safsy wondered if there was a large bottle of rum at the Seraph.