By: Theodore 'Blitz' Leung
Author's Note:This fic takes place pretty much right after ZOE. Of course I'm pretty sure ZOE2 deals with the Mars Mission, but, eh, this is a challenge for me. Let's get to it.
Leo slowly let the low gravity pull him back down onto the platform. Celvice looked up at Leo from her bed, wincing in pain from the wound inflicted by Viola. Elena Weinberg and Rock Thunderheart also stood on the platform, analyzing the condition of Jehuty from their viewpoint on the elevator like platform.
"Leo...I'm so glad you're okay..." Celvice told the Jehuty pilot weakly, raising a hand. Leo took the hand in his own two, clutching it tightly.
"Don't speak Celvice...just rest," Leo told the young female teen. She was about to protest, but another wince of pain up her nerves silenced her, getting her to calm down and lie back down on the bed. She nodded lightly, agreeing with the boy's advice.
"ADA, status," Rock asked the artificial intelligence for Jehuty. Leo quickly turned his gaze to the older man, anger flaring. Here Leo was, risking his life, and Celvice's life for that damn Frame, and all Rock could care about is Jehuty, not the two lives at risk.
Elena placed a hand on Leo's shoulder, seeing the anger build up inside the boy. The pilot of Jehuty quickly looked back, noting the caring eyes of Elena. He calmed down quickly, watching, albeit hating it.
"Confrontation with Anubis has damaged Jehuty greatly," ADA reported in her mechanical female voice. "Superiority index dropped 99.98% during the battle. Repairs to bring Jehuty back to fully operational status impossible within time constraints to Mars."
"I see..." Rock muttered, trying to think up a plan. Elena decided not to wait, taking her comlink.
"Begin repairs on Jehuty right away," she told the other side. "We have to bring Jehuty to maximum efficiency, or as close to it as possible." Multiple 'affirmatives' over the system was echoed through the link, then it was shut off. Mechanical arms and machinery began to work, sparks flaring all across Jehuty as repairs began. Elena then turned back to Leo.
"We have two days until we reach Mars, three if we take long routes, but that would put us behind schedule," Elena informed the pilot. Leo nodded, absorbing the information. "You had a long day...we provided a room for you. Please rest." Leo nodded again, still angered, but containing it. He gazed at Celvice, wondering what would happen to her.
"Please take her back to the infirmary," Elena suggested, as though she read Leo's mind. The boy pilot nodded, taking the stretcher by the handle and pushing it off to another elevator platform. The elevator automatically moved, despite the fact Leo didn't input a destination yet. He looked back down at Elena, who was smiling at him then turned back to the work at hand.
* * * * * *
"Leo, what's wrong?" Celvice asked as the boy pushed the stretcher like item forward down the hallway. It was regular gravity unlike the docking bay in the Atlantis. The boy didn't respond, only continued to push the stretcher across one of the many hallways on the Atlantis.
"Leo...please?" Celvice asked, not wanting her friend to bottle up his emotions for all this time. The boy gazed down at Celvice, and although she might not be able to see him in her current condition on the bed, he knew she was 'watching' him.
"It's nothing, Celvice," Leo forced out, not wanting to place all his anger on the wounded girl. He was angered, that was a fact, but he didn't have the heart to bring it against Celvice, but with that thought, he wasn't as full of anger as before.
"It's about Rock, isn't it?" Celvice answered, though not completely sure of it herself. Jehuty's pilot sighed, knowing Celvice was just trying to make it easier by making him admit it.
"Partially...but not completely," Leo responded, stopping in the corridor. "Rock's uncaring nature towards us and towards Jehuty is getting to my nerves...but there's something much worse that bothers me..."
"And what's that?" Celvice asked, hoping to get it out of Leo's system. The boy once again fell silent, this time just unable to say it.
"It's ADA," Leo finally admitted, looking away from the wounded girl. Celvice blinked in confusion, wondering what was so concerning about ADA and Jehuty. "She and Jehuty are going on a suicide run in the Mars Mission..."
"As in..." Celvice asked softly, trying to comprehend, but she thought she got the basic idea.
"As in ADA is going to steer Jehuty inside the enemy base and self-detonate..." Leo explained, albeit it left his lips pretty slowly. Celvice finally understood completely what Leo was going towards.
"And you don't want her to die..." Celvice told the boy, though the answer was clear. Leo nodded, turning back towards Celvice.
"She may be an...emotionless machine...but her purpose isn't to die!" Leo shouted out, now letting the anger boil within.
"Her...purpose?" the wounded female asked.
"During our docking sequence, she told me her mission...and she said it was for an emotionless robot..." Leo explained, sighing and falling onto his bum in the corridor, pulling his legs close to his chest. "She had no regrets...if she could feel regret...I don't know..."
"Can you stop destiny?" Celvice asked, closing her eyes. "If it is ADA's destiny to do such a mission...can you really interfere?"
"Is it even destiny?" Leo retorted, standing back up and placing his hands on the handle of the stretcher. "Celvice...I'm sorry to bother you with this an-"
"Shh...Leo..." Celvice interrupted, silencing the boy. "Don't apologize, I pried it out of you, and I'm sorry to. But please, don't let it discourage you..."
"It's hard not to..." Leo responded bitterly, beginning to push the stretcher again to the infirmary.
* * * * * *
Elena sat in the cockpit of Jehuty, running her hand over the controls. The mechanical arms outside were repairing the damaged Orbital Frame as quickly as possible, but the way it was heading, it didn't seem like it would be enough to bring Jehuty to maximum capacity.
"ADA...report..." Elena asked the artificial intelligence of Jehuty.
"Internal damage of Jehuty being repair, however progress is slow," ADA responded. "Recommend Jehuty's exterior hull to be fully repaired three hours before deployment point."
"Recommended noted," Elena told the machine. The two fell silent once more, before ADA broke the silence.
"Elena...may I ask you a question?" ADA asked, though a bit hesitantly, sort of a surprise for the female engineer.
"Of course..." Elena finally replied after regaining her composure.
"Is life...that precious?" ADA forced out, still a strange change from the normal cool and logical form of ADA that Elena knew.
"Of course it is," Elena answered.
"Why?" ADA asked next, stopping Elena completely.
"Err..." Elena spoke, trying to find the right words to describe it. "Life is important to all of us. It's really hard to explain...but you should look up to Leo for an answer...he might have one..."
"His actions are always illogical," ADA told Elena. "He refuses to take a life and will try to save a life even if the risk involves taking his life. He said being 'wanted' or 'needed' as a reason for this illogical actions."
"Well, then you'll really have to ask him if you want a straight answer," the female engineer told the intelligence.
"Why are there those who take lives?" ADA asked next, as if searching for meaning in her own existence.
"Again...it is really hard to explain..." Elena spoke. "I don't know how to describe it to you...I guess...we all have our emotions..."
"Emotions..." ADA repeated, silencing her for now.
"Getting off topic...we need a name for this operation...and suggestions?" Elena asked the intelligence, though not expecting an answer as soon as that.
"Lion Strike," ADA spoke almost instantly. The engineer was trying to figure why, but then it dawned to her.
"It has to do with him..." Elena spoke softly.
"Very well, Lion Strike it is," Elena spoke, 'patting' ADA. "Thank you for this conversation..." With those words, Elena leaped out of the cockpit using the low gravity, heading towards the upper platform to continue to supervise the repairs to Jehuty.