The rumors of my demise were highly over speculated. Hello friends, HOLY CRAP! I can't believe how long it's been since I've even touched this project. You realize it was the year 2005 and I was a sophomore in college when I came up with this story while sitting on the beach in Santa Monica with my then girlfriend and now wife? Wow, so many things have changed in the last six years.
But that's not here nor there. All I can say to every single one of you who has stuck around for this adventure is that I'm so sorry. That and a big gigantic thank you for all your wonderful reviews, I just recently came back to writing fan fiction and seeing all your words inspired me to finish this wonderful story. Now I have this story plotted out to the end, but I just need to put this story on the old virtual paper. I'm going to give a serious attempt to complete this story. You won't be disappointed.
Still need a beta reader if anyone's interested. Sorry this chapter isn't nearly as engrossing or long, but I'm getting the rust out. Well without further ado and a three year break, I give you the next chapter.
Chapter 18: Finding Solace in a Wounded Heart
The private medical quarters at the Rebel base are extremely hygienic and sterile. Its walls and floors are a piercing white. The only sounds that were ever heard in the room were the soft beeps and clicks from the medical equipment. This was an area held strictly for VIP's and high ranking military officers. Outside were posted guards with the best and highest levels of training in hand to hand combat and weapon skills. Usually the room was rarely occupied, however today it housed the Rebel's highest ranking officer, General Michael Guerin.
The room was designed to keep its patient in a serene and calm environment. It was failing at its assigned task though as Michael was anything but serene or calm. His head was spinning with questions, with pain, and a desperate desire to return to earth. After everything he had been through, after all the death and destruction it looked like his people might be free from war. They might be at peace. Yet, the only thought running through his head was that he had to get back to Liz. Now that his duty to serve his people was complete he had a duty to Liz to keep his promise. He had to go home.
He had other questions he needed to answer first. Was his family dead or alive? How many of his troops' lives had been sacrificed? How long would he be laid up in this god forsaken bed? The most important question burning holes in his skull though, what was happening back in Roswell?
He had seen his Liz, lying broken on the battlefield. It wasn't a figment of his imagination. She was there, mere feet away and yet she was also light years away. How was that even possible? Then there was the dream, that horrible dream.
He's broken from his thoughts as a panel hidden in the white décor, pushes inwards and then rises upwards to reveal a dirty and tired looking Larek still in his battlefield uniform. He has a large smile on his face at the sight of his friend's open eyes.
"They may knock you down, but they can't kill the great General Guerin. All shall fear his tactical prowess and scraggly beard, which I must say is looking particularly ugly today," Larek states with a large smile as his lanky tall form enters the room breaking the mind numbing silence.
Michael couldn't help the smile that crept on his face at the site of his long time friend's apparently injury free appearance. It meant one last person to check up on before he went home. "No uglier than that sad excuse you call a face old friend."
Larek mimic's pain as he grabs a nearby translucent chair and annoyingly drags in across the pristine white metal floors causing a loud screech to echo out. "Oh you wound me with your butter knife sharp wit my mighty battlefield god."
Michael winces at the harshness of the noise caused by the chair and judging by the look on Larek's face he could tell his tall alien friend was trying to cause this exact reaction. "I'm serious Larek, I can order some of the larger troops to work that face over a bit. It could only make an improvement to it."
Larek sits, his long legs sliding outwards for comfort, "Yeah, yeah. Still get more play in a day then you have in the six years you've been here. And you have the whole alien exotic beauty thing going for you."
The two stare at each other in a comfortable silence before breaking out into deep belly laughs. "I can't believe I was able to say that with a serious expression," Larek blurts out between laughs. "Oh it's good to have you back in the land of the living you tough bastard."
"So it would seem. Touch and go there for a little bit I hear. They dropped a ship on my ass. Guess I still have a few lives stored up after all," Michael replied as his happy mood was quickly beginning to fade as the seriousness of the oncoming conversation began to take hold.
"Did we hold?" Michael asks. Larek nods and smiles proudly, "You trained our men well. They fought bravely and fiercely. You should be proud; they fought in your name."
"My name?" Michael asks
"Well of course, haven't you heard? You're dead?" Larek smiles as he removes a small hand held personal computer. Larek's long fingers danced over the screen less device, which projects a three dimensional image of a casualty report with Michael's name highlighted as KIA. "The men saw the Vortex smash into the ground and explode next to you and some of their Captain's. They assumed you died and fought in your honor. Apparently none of them thought to look to see if you were alive or not."
Michael puffs out a large breath of air, "Fuck me."
"I'm good thanks. Had me scared shitless though when the report came out. Didn't want to have to tell old floppy ears about how the important Royal General was barbeque. I'm sure his face would have turned all red as he demoted me. Thanks for not getting your worthless ass fragged by the way," Larek says with mirth.
"I do my best," was all Michael could say. "My family still kicking?"
Larek nods, "Try as he might, Kivar failed to get the fantastic four."
"Seriously, don't make me regret sharing my comics with you," Michael sighs in relief. Is the family safe? Check. "It's a relief to hear they're alive."
A sudden thought took hold of his brain, "Oh fuck. They think I'm dead don't they?"
Larek sighs, "Probably. We haven't had a chance to get communications backup. As soon as we do, we'll let them know. As for now, they'll have to do without you for a bit."
"Just great," Michael sighs.
A comfortable silence captures the room until Michael breaks it, "What were our losses?"
The smile drops from Lareks face, "Twelve percent wounded, forty five percent killed."
"Fuck," Michael grunts as he wipes his hands across his face. "How did we manage a win with that high a loss?"
Larek sighs and slides down the chair a little as he looks at his ally, "Kivar's men suffered a seventy percent loss. The rest were willingly taken prisoner."
Sighing again Michael can only let the information sink in, "What a huge waste of life. Both armies decimated by one psychopath's inability to play nice. I really hate my job."
"You and me both brother," Larek states with a hint of exhaustion. "It's over now though. Kivar's army has waved the white flag. They are sending a General to your brother as we speak to sign their declaration of peace. Kivar has been removed from power by the council and is on the run."
A smile creeps over both their faces at a similar thought only Michael needs to hear it out loud, "It's done. The war's over?"
"I believe that's what happens when an army surrenders or did you forget that when the Vortex landed on your thick skull," He pauses to take in his friends reaction before starting again. "The announcement will be made shortly," Larek says with a grin.
Michael nods, "How long will I be laid up?"
Larek swipes his device over Michael's bed and it beeps loudly as it projects Michael's medical chart, "Says here they will be releasing you in an hour or so. Looks like they had to replace the metal rod in your leg from the time you got it blown off on Tarnosa. Remember that? Your first time leading men into battle, still all green under the gills. What a fucking disaster," Larek laughs out as he reads on. In truth, it had been the closets Michael had been to death until today.
He continues to listen as Larek moves on, "Seems the concussion from the explosion bent it. Luckily for you that's an easy fix. Remove the rod, put in a new one and let the machines sow you up. A little healing energy never hurts of course and then you're as good as new. Probably going to be sore for awhile though. They are going to be transporting us to the capital shortly thereafter."
Michael unconsciously moves his leg and grimaces in pain. He then looks at his reflection on the polished white metal wall next to him taking notice of the ugly gash on his face, a gift from Nicholas. It was going to be another scar to remind him of his sacrifices. "Couldn't heal the scar?"
Larek shakes his head, "Afraid not scarface. Healing energy is pretty limited here with all the walking wounded. Figured you'd rather they saved your leg then your face. Besides, were you not the same man who told me to let the men having the healing first?"
Michael nods, "I wasn't questioning you, just wanted to know."
Larek nods and a comfortable silence envelopes them again.
"I can't believe it. Six years. Six years and then it's all done. Just like that?" Michael asks not expecting a response as he stares at the piercing white ceiling. Larek remains still for a moment, taking in his friend's features, he then leans forward and lays his large long hand on the smaller man's shoulder.
"You done good sir. I'm proud to have served with you," Larek say's with an honest and emotionally filled smile.
Michael looks over and nods, tears brimming in his eyelids. He was so happy and so tired that he couldn't stop them from spilling over. Some many lives altered, so many futures snuffed out. No more endless days on bloodied battlefields. No more sending men to their deaths. No more killing. He could finally feel peace and with that he let his tears fall silently.
Larek could only smile sadly as he padded his friend on the shoulder.
The panel that had previously opened for Larek, pushes in again and rises upward to reveal Michael's doctor, a tiny blue man in a skin tight white lab suit. His short legs move quickly as he walks towards Michael. His face is devoid of emotion, "General, good to see you awake."
The small doctor runs his three fingered blue skinned hand across the beds foot rest. The bed beeps and projects Michael's vitals. He moves his tiny fingers across it and presses three different images before all the machinery shuts down, "You are healed. You are free to go. No rigorous movements and lots of rest. Contact me if any issues arise."
The doctor turns quickly and exits the room without another word. Michael turns to look at Larek, "I see Doc Ratchet still has his glowing bedside manner."
Larek laughs as he helps Michael to a sitting position. "And he's the caring one. Got to love those Karianton's."
As Michael tests his leg, Larek moves across the room towards the far wall. He runs his palm across it causing it to open to reveal Michael's affects. He reaches in and removes Michael's tattered uniform. He turns and walks back to his friend and hands him his clothes.
"Better get dressed. We have a ship to catch," Larek states as Michael rummages through his jacket. "I'm sorry Michael, but most of your effects were lost on the field including your helmet and energy blade."
Michael nods with a slight look of panic as he continues to rummage through his clothes only to relax and release a large puff of air in relief as he see's Liz's beautiful face looking back at him between his fingers.
"Figured you'd be happy about seeing your girl again," Larek says with a smile.
"You have no idea. It's like a breath of fresh air my friend," Michael says with such honesty it causes him to shiver at the warmth her image brought to his heart. He was also surprised by his lack of sadness of losing Maria's picture. He had long since realized that his love for Maria was more out of habit than anything else, most of the time Michael didn't think about her until he removed her image from his helmet before every battle. Whereas with Liz, he found she encompassed his thoughts every second of everyday. Silently he slid his pants over his legs, wincing in pain slightly. He looked up towards Larek.
"Do me a favor Larek?" Michaels asks.
"Anything my friend," Larek responds.
"When you retell this tale to people of the time we won the war, leave out the part where I cried like a little girl?" Michael asks with a smile.
"Oh, but that was going to be the best part," Larek laughs out.