Fleet Battle station Ticonderoga

Medical Bay

Lt. John Rico sat quietly in the medical bay maintaining his bedside vigil. It had been a week since the incident on planet P that had taken the lives of a number of his unit including Lt. Rasczak. It was the same incident that had nearly taken the woman he was now watching over.

Dizzy had spent the first couple of days in the rehab tank in the medical wing having her wounds treated and mended with skin grafts. Once her wounds had been dealt with she had been moved to her current private room while she rested. So far she had remained unconscious the entire time which, the doctors had told Rico, was not uncommon after suffering so many traumatic injuries.

The roughnecks had been granted a week of R&R while the great minds at Military Intelligence were busy coming up with a mission plan for their return trip to planet P in an attempt to capture the so called "brain bug". Over the course of the week Rico had only left med bay to oversee Lt. Rasczak's funeral and to attend his own official promotion ceremony naming him the new Lt. in charge of the Roughnecks.

Johnny looked down at her sleeping form once more thankful that she seemed to be resting comfortably. He remembered how beat up she'd been when he'd gotten her onto the rescue drop shift, at the time, being so sure she was going to die in his arms. Rico shuddered as memories of those terrible moments replayed in his mind.

"Rico! You know what to do!" Rasczak barked as he looked up from where his now missing legs should have been.

Rico hesitated for a moment before glancing at Dizzy and then back at the Lieutenant. After a split second he raised his Morita and fired a single round at near point blank into the Lt's chest.

"Watkins secure the lieutenant! We're not leaving him on this damn rock!" Rico shouted to his nearby squad leader.

Rico and Dizzy hoisted Rasczak's body onto Watkin's shoulder and the three headed for the rescue ship just as the floor where they'd just been standing was destroyed with the arrival of another of the tanker bugs. Rico watched as without hesitation, Dizzy threw one of her hand-grenades landing a perfect throw into the bug's mouth resulting a moment later in its head exploding.

The attack on Dizzy by the arachnid soldier played out in what felt like slow motion. Rico watched helplessly as the bug stabbed through her body armor repeatedly. With Ace's help, Johnny had been able to rescue Dizzy and get her onboard the drop ship.

It had been in the moments following their lift off that Rico had come to realize how much he truly cared for his classmate, friend, and now fellow squad-mate. For as much as he'd thought he'd cared about Carmen and would never be able to get past her, Dizzy had proved to him that the temporary pain had been just that. He had found someone that he knew would always be there for him no matter what for as long as they both lived.

"Johnny is that you?" a strained voice brought him out of his thoughts.

"Yeah Diz I'm here." He replied softy taking her hand gently in his.

"Where are we? What happened?" she replied still obviously groggy.

"Shh. Take it easy Diz. You're safe now. We're back at Ticonderoga, you've been out for a few days recovering." He replied as soothingly as he could.

Rico spent the next few moments bringing her up to speed on what had happened following their evacuation from the outpost. Dizzy lay quietly in her bed holding his hand as she listen to the events that she'd missed.

"So how do you feel?" he asked.

"Still tired and a little sore." She replied.

"Well try and get some more rest. I'll be here when you wake up I promise." He replied softly.

Dizzy had trouble finding the words to express her gratitude for that promise so, she settled for simply smiling back at him.

"By the way I've been meaning to tell you something. I love you too Diz." Rico said as he gently kissed her forehead.

Dizzy could feel the tears forming as she thought back to her confession that night in his tent. It was the first time they'd ever been together and the memory of having finally confessed her true feeling to him and the two making love had brought all those emotions flooding back.

"What's wrong Diz?" he asked seeing the tears running down her cheeks.

"It's just that I've waited a long time to hear you say that. I still can't believe I finally get to be the one to have you." She replied voice a little shaky.

"You'll always have me Diz. I promise." He replied kissing her again. "Now get some more rest. I promise I'll be here." He added.

After watching over her for a few moments as she drifted back to sleep, Rico lay back in his chair thinking about all that had happened to them since graduation. Despite all the pain and tragedy and the fact that they'd had to grow up so fast he wouldn't trade the current moment for anything.

His last thought before drifting off into his own peaceful sleep was that for the first time since he lost his parents to the tragedy in Buenos Aires and Carmen's love to the hands of fate, he was finally at a point of being truly happy.

I love you Dizzy Flores and you will always have me he thought to himself yet again. And in that moment he knew that it was a promise he would die to keep.