I couldn't resist laying on an emotional/happy ending after all the excitement and violence...
...Here's to their future...whatever it will be.
In the command module section Kano and Tanya nursed Eagle 1 back to where it belonged; to an elevated cross shaped pad on the moon.
For, Tanya, Alpha's more quiet Deputy Controller who always worked more in the background of her Main Mission chief, Paul, being back in the command seat of an Eagle again was like re-familiarizing herself with a bicycle. The flight deck was laid-out somewhat differently from what she had learned on in her early days as a young Russian cosmonaut. But she had been proficiently trained and checked-out to fly Eagles, so she slid back easily into the role of commanding the spacecraft. She flipped switches, maintained a grasp on the control grips with at least one hand, and adjusted the instrumentation with relative nimbleness. To the right of her Kano tactfully coerced a greater degree of engine performance out of the on-board flight computer. The stars slid across their front windscreen, and the beautiful white moon settled in the center, right off the Eagle's nose cone.
"Check that pressurization is green and stable," Tanya called out softly, reading from a display checklist.
Kano looked up and placed his finger on a digital gauge that was on his side of the cockpit and then read the numbers that were lit in a calming LED green.
"Pressure is in the green and holding…check." Kano replied.
"Okay. Post orbital check list complete." Tanya announced efficiently in her noticeable but not heavy accent. She looked over hopefully at Kano. "Do you think there is any way he will decide to Exodus finally, David? Could there be a way to talk to them and survive down there, David? They were so hostile."
"Possibly," Kano replied non-committaly as he typed in data and wrote down output on a pad. "Maybe Computer can find some place down there that isn't inhabited or barely so. Maybe an island in one of their seas, or a desert somewhere. Then we could buy time to work things out…maybe."
"Yes? I hope so." Tanya pushed a button to give guidance control to the flight computer and released her grip on the controls. For the first time she sat back fully and relaxed her body. She loosened her control straps and gave a sigh. It had all been so much, so fast. She gave Kano a look-over again, marveling at the fact that he was still alive.
"By the way," Kano said looking up suddenly. "Thank you very much for saving my clumsy arse." They both laughed as much out of tension relief as for the humor in his words. David smiled and continued on more thoughtfully, "You know you were very good down there. You should go on more of their little landing parties."
Tanya laughed at his ironic compliment. Despite his seriousness about Computer on Alpha, Kano otherwise had an easy-going manner that often made her feel brighter when he was around. And brightness was a valuable commodity in their situation on Alpha.
"Spasiba…umm, 'thank you'. But, of course, you are welcome to the life saving, moya-Dava," Tanya said, shortening his name to an affectionate Russian form she used on him from time-to-time. She reached out her hand to him across the aisle. "I had to do it. You are our best computer personnel!"
"Ha!" Kano grinned broadly. He put down his pen and extended his hand to hers. He winced strongly from the pain at his side until the electronic anesthetic shunt adjusted for the increased output of pain signals from his nervous system. "Ow… " he said still grateful to be alive to be able to feel the pain. "Thank you…ummm I mean 'spaciba', Tanya." He relaxed and grasped her hand.
"Oh," Tanya clucked sympathetically at his suffering, but then smiled tenderly when she realized he was no longer hurting. "You are so welcome."
John regarded Helena as she helped Alan strap in for the rest of the ride back to Alpha. When she finally came and sat down next to him he asked her:
"So what do you think?"
"I think I am going to operate on you as soon as we get back," she answered
"That'll have to wait," he said flatly. "And, I meant, 'what do you think about Exodus'?".
"No, I will have to operate right away, John. It can't wait." Helena insisted ignoring his question.
"Doctor…" John intoned frustratedly.
"Commander…" Helena countered with a tone of equal intransigence.
The brief stand-off was broken when they both began to smile at their mutual stubbornness.
"Look…um, thanks for looking after me and getting me back to the Eagle, Helena," John said more softly. "I don't know how you managed that…with all that was happening. You are stronger than you look."
"I don't know either," Helena agreed shaking her head and joking softly. "Did you know that you are not an easy person to drag along the ground, John Koenig? I nearly had a heart attack!" They both laughed with released tension at this observation. Helena noted John's burdened expression as it gradually returned to his face. She placed a comforting hand on his rugged shoulder. "You are welcome anyway, John"
"This is a tough one," John sighed. "Whichever way we go…it's a tough future."
"Yes," Helena agreed. "But it will be okay…and I am with you one hundred percent…whatever you decide."
A few seats back Sandra wiped Paul's face with a cloth and watched him carefully as the medications slowly brought him back from his venom induced narcosis. He shivered slightly under a silvery emergency blanket that covered and warmed him as his mind slowly regained a level of clarity. In the haziness of his clearing vision he could blurrily make out Sandra's elfin and slightly soiled face blinking at him concernedly. Through the chemical impairment his mind formed fuzzy words that his mouth haltingly tried to speak.
"Nake…u…shanra." Paul managed to get out. A retarded smile curled from his lips.
"Oh, it's all right." Sandra said modestly while still wiping at him and keeping him from drooling all over the place. "You are welcome. But please don't do anything like that again. You had me scared half to death."
"Wuhf…fat?" Paul asked trying to point at the substance that still covered Sandra in parts.
"'That'," she explained minutely as she flattened his moustache with her wiping fingertips. "is alien chunks, Paul. You don't remember? You didn't see when that alien exploded? That alien that had Alan's leg. You didn't see me get splattered all in alien goop?"
After a long pause of probably not remembering, Paul tried to speak again.
"What?" Sandra asked, squinting with incomprehension.
"My mnuhhhh nyooo," Paul tried again with effort, extending the slurred endings of his words.
Sandra smiled and covered her mouth as she laughed politely. She then blushed a little red.
"Ohhhhh. Okay….shhhhhh. Yes. I love you too, Paul" she whispered.