Chapter 39

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Runt's heads up display chirped.

Destination reached.

He didn't bother looking at the surroundings. He just barged in, Quixxa in his arms, heart pounding, eyes wide. He could feel Quixxa's muscles through his suit and hers as she squirmed, much more alert now, but not active yet. She seemed to be reeling from the last aftershock.

It'd hit hard just after they'd gotten through the airlocks. The ship's acceleration had started and induced artificial gravity, as well as a severe reaction from Quix's heart.

The door slid open as he neared it, and revealed a flurry of panicked activity. Nurses attended to several Obsidian employees who were sitting in the lobby, while the sounds of medical-grade panic echoed in from the back offices. There were plenty of wounded. And some weren't from the Rust.

Runt took in a breath. Frantic activity. Not a good environment for him.

"Hey! I've got a wounded person here, move back!"

He was surprised at how much more confident his voice sounded through his suit.

One or two of the nurses looked at Runt, then Quix, and abandoned the minor scrapes of those waiting in the lobby. They stopped Runt and began to hurl questions at him as he looked for a way around them, towards the back offices and better help.

"Sir, what's the emergency? What happened?"

"Severe shock!" he said, looking at Quixxa. She managed to make eye contact with his helmet, but her head bobbed wildly. She was on the verge of losing conciseness.

"She needs a doctor now."

The nurses glanced at each other, and one turned.

"Wait here." She said, pointing to the row of chairs. "I'll get a room."

Runt started to object.

"But she-"

"Wait. We need a clear room."

Runt's instincts urged him on, but he held his ground. He glanced at the seats, and down at Quix. She made weak eye contact with him, nodding her approval.

Runt looked back at the remaining nurse as the first disappeared into the hall.

"Ok. Please hurry."

The human simple turned and went back to tending the others.

Runt's jaw hardened.

Couldn't they see she was hurt?

Runt felt a tug on his shoulder. Quix.

He looked back down at his best friend, curled up in his arms and panting under the weight of an uninflated exosuit.

"Runt," She panted for a moment, her head bobbing back and forth. "I can't breathe. Help. The suit..."

Runt relented. He took two steps, and laid her on the row of seats.

"Here, arms up." He said, starting to uncouple her suit.

Quix panted and squirmed as he helped her take the heavy, vacuum proof suit off. His heart broke as he watched her eyes water and her chest pound while he dropped the suit on the floor in a heap, helping her strip down to street clothes as she took in gasping breaths and grabbed for his hand.

"It... hurts..." She said, showing her teeth as her back arched again.

Runt felt a pang in his chest as he took her hand, squeezing it.

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