Corra looked desperate for an answer.
Unfortunately for her, Leta could not begin to explain what had happened in Goddorra’s office. But she was saved the trouble from trying: suddenly, a flash of movement caught their attention, and their attention snapped forward to see a tall, unsteady red-haired figure staggering up the ramp toward them.
Fiearius. Immediately, Leta exhaled a breath of relief (he’d made it back, how had he made it back?) — but it was short-lived when she saw his wounded arm, drenched in blood. But even worse, was what he did next.
A handful of scattered intruders were on the ramp as the captain of the ship stormed up it. He shoved one backwards. Another less fortunate assailant, in the blink of an eye, took a bullet to the head. Fiearius didn’t even spare the man a passing glance as he lowered his gun back to his side and kept on up the ramp. His manic eyes were directed straight ahead. Until they found Cyrus.
“Get this thing shut,” he ordered sharply, jabbing his thumb toward the still-open door without breaking his stride.
“Working on it,” Cyrus muttered. He was staring at his blood-soaked shoulder in horror. “Are you okay?”
Fiearius stopped suddenly in his tracks and stared back at him with hazy eyes, as if he didn’t recognize his own brother. Behind him, although most of the attackers had gotten the hint that they were now on the losing end of this fight and had backed off, some poor fool had a hit of bravery. Back on the ground, he launched into a final stand, jumping out from behind the cover of the ramp and pointing his gun wildly at the captain’s head. Before anyone could shout a warning, Fiearius raised his arm, a final bang filled the cargo bay and the man crumbled at the base of the ship.
“Yeah,” Fiearius replied at last, a manic smirk twisting the corners of his lips as he did. “I’m fine. Get it shut and get to the engine room. I wanna be off the ground in four minutes.”
At Leta’s side, Corra perked up suddenly, her eyes widening. “What?” breathed. “No,” she went on stronger. “No, wait–”
“Four!” Fiearius shouted again, this time to the entire crew as he finally looked away from Cyrus and started storming away. “Fucking four!”
When he did nothing but continue on into the hallway, Corra edged past Leta and sprinted after him.
Finally, Leta broke from of her sickly shock when she realized what was going to happen next. Fiearius really thought he was about to get the ship off the ground? Pilot this beast? He’d split open a five-inch gash in his arm; the sheer blinding pain of it was preventing him from walking straight. If he thought he was going to fly the ship like that — well, there was no way this crew would make it out alive.
For a moment, Leta considered catching him before he made it to the bridge, but he was already pushing himself unsteadily up the stairs. Thinking fast, she wheeled around and sought out the sanest person she’d met so far on the ship.
He was crouched near in the corner, working through a tangle of wires with the door mechanism. “Cyrus. Your brother is seriously injured.” A dozen explanations ran through her head, but she chose to give him only one urgent question. “Can you fly this thing?”
For a moment, Cyrus’ hands froze. He glanced up at her, shock in his eyes.
“It wouldn’t make — “ he stumbled over his words. “There’s no…There has to be a…” He took a deep breath and said quickly, “No. No I can’t. Once we’re out of atmo, I can put it on course, but I can’t get it off the ground. Not without working the engine. And I can’t be in two places at once.”
Leta wondered: was he in shock, or did he actually not know how to fly the ship? Of course no one wanted to hear that their captain was in distress, especially if you happened to be his younger brother. There was a reason Leta wasn’t pulling the alarms and getting the whole crew informed. But Cyrus was the first mate, this was his job. Just as being a medic was hers.
Leta came forward, her hand finding his shoulder tightly.
“Cyrus. Please,” she said evenly, though her eyes were burning on him. “You have to understand the severity of his injury — I wouldn’t ask you if I didn’t think it was a serious possibility th — “
“He’ll do it,” Cyrus cut her off swiftly, although his heart wasn’t entirely in it. “He’ll do it. He has to. He knows it. So he’ll do it. And if not…” His voice faded off and his frown turned away.
“Look, don’t worry about it,” he told her frankly. “Right now, I need you to do your job and help the wounded.” He looked around at the crew who, at this point in time, all seemed to be watching him intently. Acting captain indeed. Cyrus stood up to his feet.
“Any of you who know how to treat a gunshot wound, help her out. Do what you can,” he ordered loudly. “Anyone who’s not helping with that, prep for takeoff. That means securing the cargo and running manual checks for damage. If there is any failure in the hull, we need to know about it now. Unless you all like not breathing oxygen. Get to it.”
As the crew began to move, Cyrus’ hands started moving again too, reconnecting the wires of the controls frantically until — at last — the ramp let out a mighty creak and started to rise. Diligently, he stood up and made towards the door to move onto his task in the engine room, but not before turning back to Leta.