It wasn't the best moment to faint. Their ship was currently under attack and Yondu could practically feel how she was hit on and on with blasters from multiple sides. Kraglin and other pilots were doing everything they could to fight off the attackers – grizzly looking ships from Xandar. The barriers of the main ship were doing fine too, but right before they realized that someone is shooting them, the ship has been hit pretty badly in one of the engines, and was now damaged. It certainly didn't help that they were dangerously close to some nameless desert planet, which's gravity was already pulling the ship towards the ground.
Yondu struggled to stay awake. He really didn't know why he was feeling so dizzy. Few minutes earlier he was fine and suddenly he had problems with standing tall, his vision started to blur and his head was heavy like iron. Sounds of his men and the hell around him were muffled. He could hardly hear anything. His legs were weaker and weaker.
Why was that? What was happening? It wasn't an exhaustion. Even when he was on his feet for fifty hours with no sleep, he wasn't feeling that way. So was he sick? Well, they've visited Knowhere lately and who knows what kind of crap you could get from that hellhole…
Nevertheless, it decided to show up in the worst moment possible. The Ravagers needed a leader, a strong, decisive leader who would get them out of this situation and even win the battle that was going on here. Everyone was looking at him, hoping that his captain will take them out of this mess. But Yondu could barely stand on his own feet and with every second everything seemed to be more and more blurred.
Suddenly the floor and perspective of sleep looked pretty inviting. He was so tired, so, so very tired of this battle that was going on, of responsibility and of this horrible reality he was living in. There was chaos around him, Yondu knew that he need to stay awake for his men, but some part of him really wanted to let himself fall asleep. He was already not responding to voices around him… People were looking at him with concern, even panic.
He could hear Kraglin saying something about… something about…
About ships… enemy ships…
And those ships… those ships… They were retreating…
Why they were retreating? Was this because they've lost too much men and decided that Ravagers were too strong opponents? Probably that was it. But there was something wrong… He could sense that.
It was something with the ship… Everything was telling him, screaming to him that the ship… the ship…
Yondu's body hit the floor. The pain of the fall was the last thing he felt, the sounds of his men rushing to help him was the last thing he heard, and the surface of desert planet getting bigger outside was the last thing he saw, before blackness enveloped him.
"Yondu, you're falling down!" Kraglin screamed through the speaker. "Yondu, are you listening?!"
For a moment there was no response. But Kraglin couldn't say that they were disconnected. The mechanic and Ravager's second in command felt cold sweat on his spine, waiting for any reply from the main ship, while watching as said ship was falling towards the planet.
"Something happened to him!" Someone's voice finally spoke.
"What do you mean?" Kraglin asked but he decided that there is no time for that right now, so he added: "Okay, never mind. You need to land safely first…"
All the good pilots were already in the smaller ships, because Kraglin needed them to fight with attackers. So he had to instruct the guy how to crash land. He flew closer and observed with tension as the main ship was resisting the gravity of the planet and desperately tried to slow down. She did manage to slow down, but not enough to crash on the sandy ground.
"Are you okay?" Kraglin asked, landing near to her (just like other pilots).
"Yes, no one got hurt… But Yondu…" Said the guy from earlier, his voice a bit panicked.
"What's with him?" Kraglin inquired, feeling dread rising in him.
"He's… unconscious." Came in response.
For a moment the mechanic was processing the new information and thinking what to do.
"Wait for me." He said finally.
He ordered the rest of the pilots to stay and wait for his commands. He came out from and ran to the main ship. Others quickly led him to the still unconscious Yondu. The Ravagers' doctor was already kneeling at his captain's side and examining his eyes. When he saw Kraglin, he stood up and explained:
"It's not a head trauma, that's for certain. He seems to be in some kind of coma."
"Coma?!" Kraglin exclaimed.
"Yondu looked like he was dizzy." Someone cut it and everybody gazed at him. "He was swaying on his legs. After some time he seemed to have hard time to hear what was happening. And suddenly he just fainted on the floor."
Kraglin looked at Yondu's face. The Centaurian's mouth was open and his skin had a weird, pale blue shade. Kraglin's gaze moved farer. Everything about Yondu was motionless – his body was relaxed, peaceful even, if you looked at the right angle. Maybe to some people he might have appeared asleep, however, Kraglin couldn't help but think that he was too peaceful. The movement of his chest was barely noticeable so for a one moment Kraglin was afraid that…
He looked at the doctor again.
"Do you know what happened to him?"
"My bets are on some kind of toxin." The physician said. "But I don't recognize the symptoms. There is a space station, so maybe we could call them and ask for help. Yondu needs better medical care than what I have to offer here."
"Well, our ship isn't in shape to fly anywhere." Kraglin replied. "And the rest is too small for two passengers. Can you at least slow the toxin?"
"I can try" The doctor looked serious. "but I don't know how far it progressed."
Kraglin suddenly felt on himself hundreds of stares. Since Yondu was out of order, the command fell on him. All the trust and hopes were now directed on him and Kraglin knew that if anything bad happen from now on, it will be his fault, first and foremost. It was a weird, uncomfortable feeling, as the weight of responsibility crashed on him.
They had to take Yondu to the hospital and Kraglin didn't even have to look for it very far, but they couldn't transport the body, unless they will repair the main ship quickly or call for help. The second solution seemed to be more reasonable. They couldn't wait very long. Thankfully, most space stations were under regulations that obliged them to take care of injured people in their quadrant.
So Kraglin opened the communication device and started the call, hoping it will reach the space station.
It so happened that in said space station was resting Peter and his crew. They've just escorted a cargo with rare medicines and now they were sitting with some of the station's residents in cantina. Rocket was telling people some story from his bounty hunter days, Drax was cutting in from time to time to raccoon's annoyance, and Groot and Gamora were just sitting at the table and drinking their liquors in silence.
However, Star-Lord himself wasn't in the cantina. He was walking casually on the corridor, listening to Awesome Mix Vol. 2. From time to time he was eyeing some lady officer and smiling to her. Some of space station personnel was stopping and asking him about various Guardians-related things. Thankfully, Peter's headphones' volume wasn't set very high, so he could hear what was said to him. Still, his responses were short and brief. He really would like to tell people more, but space station commander once spotted him talking with a young private with some important documents that were supposed to be delivered a half an hour ago, and Peter was asked to not disturb people in their work, anymore.
Peter was passing the closed door of command room, when suddenly he heard someone saying:
"Sir, there is a distress call on the line."
Peter stopped abruptly and raised his eyebrows. Then he turned his walkman off and let himself in. Nobody minded him, even the commander only glanced at him and returned to the transmission screen. For a few seconds there was only static, but then the contact was made and Peter could see a familiar face.
"Hello, I'm Kraglin of Ravagers. We had been attacked by Xandarian ships. We've managed to fight them off, but crashed on the unknown planet. Our main ship is severely damaged…" He cut to take a deep breath. He looked gravely serious, but when he noticed Peter, he only raised his eyebrows. After giving a sigh, he continued: "And it seems that our captain, Yondu Udonta, has been poisoned."
Peter was stunned. Yondu was poisoned, so his life was in danger… How? He was the most careful guy in galaxy! This didn't look good. Actually, it looked pretty shitty.
The space station commander came closer to the microphone and asked:
"Can you give us your coordinates?"
"Yes." Kraglin said and gave him the line of numbers.
"Thank you." The commander smiled, when Kraglin finished. "We will send help as soon as possible."
Peter decided to speak up:
"Kraglin, what about Yondu? How's he hanging on?"
Everybody looked at him with interest, but his eyes was focused on screen. Kraglin was observing him too, as he said:
"He's unconscious. Our doctor tries to keep the poison away from spreading, but we need a better equipment."
"I can bring someone, who is capable of sucking out the poison." Peter smiled. "Don't worry, it will be fine."
"O no, Quill!" Kraglin exclaimed. "You're the last person we need right now, so stay away from us. At least until we get into the space station."
"I'm afraid I cannot let you in here." The commander cut in.
"What?!" Kraglin cried. "But… the regulations…"
"The regulations mention that we have to treat wounds of your injured members, however, they say nothing about the healthy ones. Therefore, I am obliged to take your captain but not you, especially, since Ravagers don't have a very good reputation."
"But it's their captain! They have a right to visit him!" Peter cried out. "Besides, haven't you heard, sir? Their main ship is destroyed! And I know, for a fact, that they don't have enough smaller ships to take all of the Ravagers anywhere. Do you want to leave them to die?"
"Well then, there is also another solution." The commander turned to Kraglin. "We have to contain you all in our prison cells. For the safety purposes."
Kraglin was silent. His face showed expression of displeasure. He turned for a moment to watch something in the back, and looked again at his interlocutors. Peter could see that he was thinking about the possible way out of this situation.
Star-Lord was going to give it to him.
"Sir." He turned to the commander. "I know them and I can assure you that Ravagers are, all in all, men of honor. I give you my word that they won't make any trouble."
The commander looked at him suspiciously.
"I want to believe you, Star-Lord, but I have a different experience with the likes of them."
"They helped me fight with Ronan. They saved Xandar. Commander, please."
For the moment the man was silently observing Peter, before he slowly turned to Kraglin.
"The help is on its way to you." He moved his eyes back on Peter, then again on Kraglin. "We will discuss the matter, when we get to you. But I warn you." He raised his finger. "If you attack us, you will be sent to prison, no matter what."
"I understand." Kraglin said quietly, but everybody could hear him.
They disconnected. The commander gave the order to send medical help and military force under command of colonel Olmah. Peter, on the other hand, called his crew and explained him the situation.
At first I was planning to make it a sequel to "Thief's shame", but this time with Peter trying to save Yondu, however, right now I don't know how it is going to turn out.
Also I need a better title.