Farewell

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"He's waking up," Sergeant Van den Berg said.

Lieutenant Figueroa got up from the small bench that lined the back wall of the Atlas' infirmary and walked towards the bed in which First Lieutenant Osondu was laying. She rested a hand gently on his shoulder, just as he opened his eyes. She smiled as her pilot and friend regained consciousness, while a brief sigh escaped from her mouth. Figueroa shuddered, thinking back to yesterday's events.

It had been a close call, and Osondu had almost not made it back.

Van den Berg, standing on the other side of the bed, grinned profusely while he waited for the pilot to be completely awake. Once Osondu's eyes had regained focus, the Sergeant said, "Please don't ever do that again!" he gestured towards Figueroa, adding, "You have no idea what it's like when she's in your seat!" his face contorted in a fake grimace.

Osondu laughed loudly. Due to his dry throat, the laugh quickly turned into a cough. Figueroa handed him a fluid pack, which he quickly grabbed from her hand and began drinking immediately. Once his thirst was quenched, he sat up in the infirmary bed and took in the scenery.

Hospital beds, complete with monitoring equipment and diagnostic scanners lined both sides of the rectangular room. All of them were occupied, which was not a surprise, considering that the freighter had just seen combat. No one else currently had visitors though. Indirect lighting reflected off the metallic ceiling, bathing the infirmary in gleaming light.

"So," Osondu began, "is anyone going to tell me what the hell happened?"

Figueroa and Van den Berg looked at each other. The navigator nodded and began to explain, "Well... after you were hit, Van reeled you in and secured you in the cargo hold. I got into your seat, rebooted the propulsion system and pointed us towards the freighter," she paused for a moment, "with half the manoeuvring thrusters gone, that was quite the act."

"Yeah, I almost threw up in my suit thanks to her," Van den Berg interjected.

"Anyway;" Figueroa continued, shooting a glance at the Sergeant, making him stop in his tracks, "I started thrusting towards the Atlas. Once we got closer, I saw that they were badly hit, sections open to space and all. At some point, not sure when, they called me via comm. They guided me in and I somehow managed to dock the ship without scraping too much paint."

She laughed briefly, then spoke again, "You were still out at that time. We got you to the infirmary, where they pried you out of your suit and patched you up."

At that moment, the ship's doctor, Major Aarav Hangloo, walked in. Figueroa and Van den Berg stood to attention, but Hangloo just waved them off, "At ease, at ease. Don't be so formal, we're not on a battlecruiser," he stopped at the foot of Osondu's bed, "how are you feeling, Lieutenant?"

"Good, I suppose," the pilot shrugged, "not surprising, considering I don't even remember being hurt."

"Do you feel any pain at all?" the doctor wanted to know, checking the setting on the medicine-dispenser placed on Osondu's left upper arm.

"No, Sir. None at all," he confirmed, smiling as he said it. All things considered, it could have been a lot worse.

"How is your foot?" Major Hangloo asked, moving towards the bottom end of the bed.

"My foot?" Osondu returned the question. He frowned and his mouth hanging slightly open.

"Yes, Lieutenant, your foot. Specifically, the new one we gave you."

The pilot's gaze remained blank, while he silently wondered what was going on. His mind finally catching up with the conversation, he pulled the thin white bed sheet towards him, revealing his feet. His right foot looked like it always had, calluses and all, his toenails in dire need of some care. The left foot, however, looked completely out of place.

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