The Cairo Saga, Book 2: The Solaris Irregulars
Part 50: A Universe at War

Outbound
Callisto V
Lyran Alliance

It is said that the main purpose of pain is to let you know you're still alive.

Cairo couldn't decide if that was a good thing or a bad thing: his entire left side felt like it was on fire, and his head felt like it was two sizes too small. Every time he breathed, fresh gouts of pain shout across his chest. He slowly opened his eyes, not sure of what view would great him.

"So you've decided to rejoin us then?" Smiled McCoy as he looked down on his commanding officer.

"What happened?" Cairo groaned.

"You caught the side of the canopy when you ejected: busted up you arm, leg and ribs real bad. Doc says you'll heal, but it will take time."

"How long have I been out?"

"Two days: Sinead was here for most of that, but the Doc finally convinced her to get some rest. And before you ask, both her and the baby are fine."

"How are the others?"

"It's not good lad: we lost over half our Mech's and Elementals." McCoy shock his head, "Apart from you, your lance lost Josh and Hawk-that-settles, both killed. Rix lost three of his Elementals, and the rest of the Scout lance have injures: Rebecca came or worst with a fractured hip and a punched lung. The Assault lance got through with just damage to their Mech's, and Rob's in with Rebecca now. Get this: he asked her to marry him and she said yes! Can you believe it?"

"I'm happy for them." Cairo smiled, "What of the others?"

"Cameron's company came of slightly better then yours: only two dead, both from the scout lance, but his Mech's are badly beaten up. We'll probably have to scrap most of them. Kabrinski's came off best: none killed, but several of them where hurt badly. A few may never pilot a Mech again." McCoy's tone was justifiably grave: to any MechWarrior, the possibility of never being able to pilot a Mech again was a crushing blow, but to the Clans, it was worse than a death sentence.

Cairo nodded, "So where are we headed?"

"Tharkad first of all: the Archon wants to pin medals on our chest and parade us around to the media. Then on to Tukayyid, where his brother will no-doubt do the same. Who would have though that we would end up like this huh?"

"True, but not all of us are here to see it."

"True, True. I'll go tell Sinead your up." The old Tech headed for the door, "Oh, and there is one bit of good news for a change: Some inmates as a Wobblies re-education centre on Kittery busted out and have managed to re-take the planet. High-commands is going nuts over this, and have sent an envoy to talk to the leader, some bloke named Devlin Stone."

End of Book 2