Battle of the Planets belongs to Sandy Frank Productions. I've borrowed it for fun, not profit.

Thanks to my husband for beta-reading (and for not laughing when I told him what the pile of notebooks under the bed actually contained).

When he's grounded due to injury, Mark is forced into an unfamiliar role. Set during the TV series, before The Sky Is Falling.


Prologue

"G-2, approach on foot. Fuel everywhere. Might explode". Definitely Keyop's voice.

Mark opened his eyes experimentally and instantly wished he hadn't. Most of the visual symptoms of concussion, but even his blurry, doubled vision didn't account for the crazy shape now adopted by the nose of the G-1. He turned his head to see what other damage he'd done to his beloved jet, and the world spun before going black again.

"Mark…..MARK! Talk to me. Come on, Commander, you can do better than this!"

"Jason…" he muttered.

"Full marks. Now stay with me. Where do you hurt?"

"Head…right leg…bad."

"Can you move?"

Mark just groaned. Now he'd come round a little more, it was to a wall of fire running from his right hip down to the foot. It hurt atrociously, and even the thought of moving sent a reflex 'don't' message to every muscle in his body. He had no intention of opening his eyes again.

"Hang in there – we'll get you out. Keyop?" Rapid discussion. Jason insistent that they had to immobilise him and cut him out, Keyop that they had to get him out now, so he could foam the cockpit. Slowly Mark realised what they were worried about. Fuel. Sparks. Not a good combination with him stuck in the middle.

So, was he actually trapped, or just smashed up? Mark tried to ease his right hand down into the footwell of his plane to assess the amount of space still there, but his body still refused to obey any instruction to move. The instrument panel sparked again. And being roasted to death in the G-1's cockpit while his team argued about how best to free him was pretty high on his list of least favourite ways to die.

"Jase?"

His second-in-command put a hand on his shoulder. "Right here."

"Keyop's right. Get me the hell out of here before it blows."

Jason sighed. "Your call. Can you tell how badly you're trapped down there?"

Mark concentrated desperately. He wasn't aware of any obstructions round his legs, then again he wasn't sure he could trust any of his neural impulses right now. "No idea."

"Great." Mark could feel Jason leaning past him into the cockpit. "Can't see anything in the way. It's going to hurt, though – no way to immobilise that leg before we pull you out. Wait a moment. G-5, how long? G-1 needs you, now."

"Three minutes," came over the bracelet. "How bad?"

"Leg's a mess. Ambulance?"

"Ten. Wait for me before you move him, okay?"

Mark had just thought that three minutes wasn't that long when he heard Keyop yell "Jason – fire!" and suddenly it became an age. He felt Jason take hold of him, too fast to be gentle, and the world went black again even as he realised just how bad this was going to be.


"Mark, I'm going to take you out of birdstyle now. I need to check you to see where you're hurt." Tiny, the only member of G-Force with significant medical training. The familiar sharp snap, and a lot more pain in his leg without the birdstyle's support. Tiny was checking him, apparently everywhere except where he actually hurt, and he finally whispered "Tiny, my right leg's bad."

"I've given you something for the pain, but it'll take a while to kick in." Tiny continued to work. "I'm making sure it's not masking any other major injuries. Where's that ambulance?"

"Five minutes. Princess is bringing them round – they had trouble finding a route to take their weight." Jason again, his voice fading in and out. "Did I do much damage getting him out?"

"No way to tell until they get him into surgery. I wish they'd hurry. He's badly concussed. Can you talk to him while I set this up?"

Surgery? Until now, Mark really hadn't appreciated how serious this was. He'd broken bones before, it had hurt like hell, been reset, a week in plaster and he'd been back on his feet. The accelerated healing provided by his cerebonic implants had dealt with everything very efficiently. This was starting to sound rather different.

He was starting to drift until Jason grabbed his hand.

"No, you don't. If I'm to write the report on this mission, I want to know just what you thought you were doing. We have vehicles designed to fire up at a mecha hovering fifty feet from the ground, Mark – I even drive one of them. You fly a plane! I've never seen anything so bloody stupid!"

Try as he might, Mark couldn't remember anything about it – nothing, in fact, since the previous evening. Or what he hoped was the previous evening. "Did I get it?"

"Man, you really are concussed! Yeah. You got it."

Sirens wailing, an ambulance pulled up alongside. Mark listened half-heartedly to Tiny discussing with one paramedic what had been done so far, and to Jason's spiel to the driver on just how bad an idea it would be to talk about their encounter with G-Force this morning. Then he was in the ambulance, the drugs Tiny had given him finally started to take effect, and the pain began to fade.