Chapter 9:Bloodied, but not broken

Previously: After being asked from NuPlan (a genetics company) and an Alice Unit (an android with near

A/N; Fractured Sanity wrote 98% of this chapter, so ALL HAIL FRACTURED! Also, due to the coming summer, we will be slowing down with the chapters.

sentience) both Samus and Crecy went to save more Alice units and to capture Mr Raleigh (a slave trader). However, after they landed and Samus managed to get inside Mr Raleighs freighter thanks Adam (Samus' ship AI) who, with Crecy, hacked into the freighter. However, the ship took off whenever Samus was being surrounded by guards, both because of Samus ordering Adam to leave her behind if she didn't come back in 20 minutes and something went wrong with the AI.

"Adam, shut up and run a self-diagnostic." Crecy snapped as she tried to use the ships controls. She tried to distract herself from the pain in her hand by tracking their position higher and higher into the atmosphere. At this rate they would sail right over the towers and end up in orbit.

"Diagn-Diagnost-Diagnostic Ru-Run-Running" The distorted voice replied and after a few minutes the ship slowed to a stop, "How may I help you, Mistress Crecy?" it asked after a few moments.

"Report on diagnostic results." She tried the controls again to no avail. Despite the semi-reset the controls were still locked to autopilot. "A virus has been detected and contained"

"Any damage?" Crecy asked before she felt the ship make a quick jerk upwards, "It has taken over the autopilot and disabled the communication system, Mistress, I need you to fix it for I am unable to Mistress."

"God damn it…where is it taking us?"

Adam was silent for a moment, "It's taking us into the nearest star, Mistress." there was a noticeable amount of worry in the AI's voice, however it wasn't for it, but for the only occupant of the ship.

"Okay, okay." Crecy took a deep breath. It looked like she was going to have to plug in whether she liked it or not. "Adam, I'm going to see what I can do about fixing the virus. As soon as you can use the coms, contact NuPlan and give them the code phrase 'cherry picker'. When you have the engines again put us down on the white needle's landing pad. Do you think you can do that?"

"I will try to do that, Mistress," Adam replied, unaware if she would be able to completely eradicate the virus.

Crecy removed her helmet and set it by her side as she uncoiled her jack cable. She took another deep breath as she pulled her hair out of the way of the socket in the back of her neck.

"Well, here goes nothing." she muttered to herself.

When she opened her eyes again the stream of white-hot data painfully assaulting her neurons drew countless white threads of code across her mind's eye. She tried to keep the pain at bay as she drifted through the ship's programming looking for signs of damage. She became increasingly aware of Adam's presence as a mind-numbingly complex latticework of of blue code-threads overhead tied to the ship at key points like some sort of giant ethereal jellyfish.

"You appear to be in pain Mistress. Are you alright?" he asked directly into her brain in a fresh lance of pain.

"Shut up!" she set her eyes on the damage around the coms: a red bulge choking the threads connected to the radio. It was a simple matter to wipe that block away, but merely touching the red virus-code momentarily put a new sharpness to her headache. That had never happened before but she didn't have time to dwell on that. If she didn't repair the navigation soon, she'd go epileptic and the medics would never catch up to them.

She drifted further through the ship with an ever worsening headache before she found the source of the problem. Trapped in a cage of Adam's blue threads was the virus, a prickly red star-shaped…thing that she could swear was looking at her with a predatory menace as she passed by. Not too far away was the virus's handiwork: a tangle of red threads tying control of the engines to another red bulge. She summoned all her concentration and cut through the virus's code while avoiding damage to the ship's original programing. The work took crucial minutes, but she still needed to get rid of that node in case it tried to undo her repairs.

She reached out to brush it away like the other one, but as it disintegrated it seemed to absorb into her and her pain suddenly jumped to an unthinkable burning.

She was barely able to think when she yanked the cable from the back of her skull. Her head was a ball of eye melting agony and she tried to scream in agony through clenched teeth. Her limbs twitched and jerked beyond her control but she was barely conscious of anything besides the unending agony inside her head. Time itself dropped away and it might have been days or years later when she felt a pick in the side of her neck and the sharp edge of the pain was sucked away.

Her eyes managed to focus enough to see a familiar face knotted with focus and concern.

"Doctor Calloway…"

"Hush, hush." the matronly doctor crooned. "It's going to be all right now. Are you okay?"

"Sprawl starport, I have to get back there." Crecy managed to force out through the remaining pain and the haze of medicine.

"You're in no state to go anywhere. We'll send Cravant to clean up." the doctor said soothingly. She turned and barked to her assistant. "She's still in a stage 4 state, give her another dose of the sedative."

The soft white lights of the tower's hospital wing greeted Crecy when she woke up again. She still had a migraine, but it felt dull and distant behind the fuzzy sensation from whatever was in her veins. She sat up and checked her watch. She hadn't been out long, it was only about four and a half hours since they had started their infiltration at the starport. Then she noticed a brown envelope on the table by her bed, which she immediately opened.

She recognized the precise and curt writing of the company's top sniper anywhere.

Investigated starport. Locked down because of firefight, security cordon around Mission class freighter Volition. Signs of protracted battle with plasma weaponry [see photographs] and several pieces of metal of unknown alloy retrieved from site. [see enclosed]

Aside from the note was a number of photographs. They showed scenes of carnage. Dead bodies, some burned beyond recognition, black scars and craters pocked the scene of the battle, and pools and stains of mysterious fluid across the floor and walls where stray shots had struck important hoses and machinery.

Finally, at the bottom of the envelope was a piece of glossy red metal with a shard of opaque green glass, both were partially blackened by soot. Crecy felt a pinch in her throat as she realized that these pieces were about the right size to be part of a familiar helmet.

Something splashed against the metal in her hands. She blinked in surprise as she realized she was crying.

"Oh good, you're awake!" Dr. Calloway said as she came into the ward. She had a look of relief on her face as she entered but it was quickly replaced with one of concern as she saw Crecy crying. She crossed the room and took a seat next to her and ran a hand through Crecy's pale hair with motherly tenderness. "Are you okay? Why are you crying?"

"I...I don't know." Crecy said quietly as she wiped the tears away.

Dr. Calloway had not seen her react like this since that awful business on S4-21, the last time she had ever worked with a partner. She gently put an arm around her and let the girl rest her head on her shoulder as more tears came to the surface.

However,, the moment ended when the doctors communicator beeped and a male voice yelled, "Doctor, you need to get down here right away!"

She reluctantly stood and raised her communicator. "I'm on my way. What's wrong?"

"There's a woman down here, who's got 2nd degree burns," He stated, before whispering "And she's come wth 8 Alice Units."

Crecy sat bolt upright as she heard that last bit. "Sh-she's alive?!"

The doctor gently eased her back down. "Crecy, you need to rest. The sooner you're better the sooner you can see her. Okay?"

"Okay…" Crecy reluctantly agreed. Dr. Calloway ruffled Crecy's hair and left to attend to the newest patient and her eight bioroids..

They brought Samus up on a stretcher a few minutes later, but she had to look twice to be sure. Her zero suit had been cut, burnt, and ripped to pieces, and what was exposed had been covered in white medical dressings and gels that were slowly turning red. The doctors were muttering to themselves in severe and worried tones. One doctor lifted a bandage from around Samus's face to reveal-

Crecy had to look away. She felt like she'd been punched in the gut. She'd seen her share of mangled bodies, made more than a few too, but that…by god she could see bone!

She kept her eyes shut through the whole process. The only consolation was that she overheard one of the doctors say, "It's a good thing we've already got her DNA on file."

Well, she felt a little less guilty about that little incident anyway.

"Cr...Crecy?" An inhuman voice gasped out, which came from the vicinity of Samus. A shiver ran down Crecy's spine. One of the doctors shushed Samus before saying, "You'll only do yourself more damage." However, the voice forced a raspy sentence out, "I..I am...sorry."

A nurse came in from the next room and spoke to the doctors. "Her tank is ready." They lifted the stretcher up and took it to the extensive care growth tanks, leaving the room ominously silent in their absence.

Some silent minutes passed, but Dr. Calloway returned and sat at the foot of Crecy's bed. "Your friend's going to be all right. In a day or two, she'll come out of that room as good as new." when Crecy said nothing she continued, "They were saying that she dragged herself to the front steps all the way from the rim. That's pretty amazing."

"She's an amazing woman." Crecy agreed quietly. The doctor remained silent before saying, "Crecy, if it helps, she won't have any physical scars...But we won't know how mentally fit she'll be until she's fully healed."

Crecy rolled over and looked at the doctor. She started to say something, then stopped. She looked up at the ceiling and eventually said, "You remember Caen?"

The doctor nodded slowly, a noticeable frown on her face, "Of course I do…" she uttered, softly.

"I'm not going to let that happen again."