Back to the life - chapter 3
Mike slowly opened his eyes only to find that his vision was too hazy and vague to get more information about the surroundings. At least the smudgy outlines of the buildings and the hum of people voices implied that he was still in the city - most possibly his enemies simply have left him (or his dead body, as they must be thinking) right where theyТve shot him.
Feeling the lack of oxygen he unzipped bulletproof west Ц even such a simple movement caused a new wave of pain Ц he pressed his hand against his chest and felt that the shirt under his palm was totally wet of his own blood. He was losing blood quickly and the lack of oxygen, which he experienced, could indicate that his lung was damaged Ц with such wounds, he would be СluckyТ if he could survive another hour without medical help. And there wasnТt any possibility of it being available for him in the next hourЕ But still, even with no chances to survive, he followed his logic Ц if he was alive, he had to keep on acting while he was conscious - in his own opinion he was far too good to die without any resistance. Mike was sure that he couldnТt do anything to his wounds by himself Ц too complicated for an almost unconscious person, for whom every movement was painful. So the first thing he did Ц he pulled out a knife. He knew, that the majority of the citizens hated Deidrana, and he was dressed in her army uniform, which meant, citizens would be pleased to finish him off. Even with a knife in his hand, he could hardly expect to protect himself, but at least he could try. As the risk to be killed by some citizen was quite high, he tried to look around in search for some shelter to hide in. The door, which was leading inside the building, was just one meter away, but even such a distance was almost insuperable in his state. He mustered his strength and tried to crawl to the door - pain increased, but he managed to get inside the building. Breathing hard, Mike felt a salt smack in his mouth and on his lips and the picture in front of his eyes started to fade Ц he had lost his consciousness again, tightly holding the knife. The last question he had in his head before heТd fainted was Ц will he ever wake up again or itТs the endЕ
Scully was driving the jeep, which he was in charge of, to Drassen Airport. But before choosing the path leading him straight to Drassen, he had one more duty, a kind of moral one. So he drove the car back to the city, where Mike was killed (as he thought). Scully couldnТt leave the body of his friend unburied Ц if it was the only thing he was capable of doing for Mike, then he had to do it. Actually, he knew that he is doing it mostly for himself, just to add a feeling that he has done something in the end.
Being as sulky as he could be, Scully stopped the car not too far from the entrance of the building, where the battle has taken place about an hour ago. He cast a look on the huge building, becoming even more withdrawn Ц everything here reminded him of the past events. He was hoping that no one around here has bothered cleaning up the streets from corpses of DeidranaТs ex-soldiers and heТll find Mikes body right where his friendТs been shot. However, coming closer, he had to admit that his friendТs body wasnТt where it supposed to be. He cursed quietly Ц not that Scully really thought that his departed friend would bother himself about the final abode, but ScullyТs own conscious was nagging life out of him.
Well, if someone of the citizens has taken his friends body away, he had probably burned down the corps already. Scully was just about to turn back to the jeep, when he noticed bloodstains on the ground, which led inside the building. Wondering Scully walked through the door and stopped frozen Ц Mike was lying on the floor, face down, with a knife in his hand. Hardly believing his eyes, Scully kneeled down by his friend, slowly turning him over. MikeТs shirt was completely wet of the blood, he was hardly breathing, but as Scully turned Mike over it caused him pain and Mike opened his eyes, almost losing his consciousness again and with no awareness of who was beside him, he still tried to defend himself Ц slowly raised his arm with a knife, but was easily caught by Scully.
УDamn, Mike, is it possible?!.. How did you managed to survive?Ф
Whispered Scully happily and as he caught Mikes arm with a knife, he added much louder, almost laughing:
УCТmon, buddy, throw down your knife Ц itТs over now, Queen is dead. YouТre no longer on the mission, calm down for a whileЕФ
Of course, Mike could do nothing to Scully, except those useless attempts to cut him with a knife, while he hardly could raise his hand. But Scully knew his friends character perfectly and found it necessarily to prevent him from defending himself, though he was impressed by that desperate effort. After the first joy, Scully could evaluate how seriously his friend was wounded Ц the fact that he survived right after being shot wonТt guarantee that he would survive some hours more before Scully could organize a professional medical help. And to get a medic here will take at least two hoursЕ Impossible. And ScullyТs own skills in medicine surely werenТt good enough to heal such serious wound or at least to help without the risk of making it worse.
Mike at that time did slowly get the idea of who was there. He tried to reply, and his voice, tuneless and muddy, was so low, that Scully could hardly define what he was saying: УScullyЕ Bang on time.Ф
Scully could swear there was irony in his voice Ц even in the state he was in Mike was still talking a bit arrogantly. But Scully, who got used to his best friends manners, could notice also a relief in his voice. Seeing that his friend is between consciousness and unconscious state he tried to decide fast what could be done:
УNow you surely have no right to die Ц if you survived already, then be so kind to stay alive for at least few more years,Ф Scully was speaking in his usual manner, while his mind was searching for a solution that will better fit the situation.
УHow dТyou think, could you survive a ride in a car?Ф
Mike, who failed to concentrate his sight on Scully and closed his eyes, answered still in a low, but calm voice:
УPreferably, IТd abstain. But I suppose, there is no choiceЕФ
Scully just wondered again Ц Mike seemed to be as calm and ironical as always, although Scully could perfectly guess, how should he feel now.
УNo, no choice, actually Ц if you want to stay alive. The car Тs just a few feet away, but IТm afraid both your legs are broken.Ф
Mike wasnТt able to say more Ц pain shock was too hard to handle.
Scully, seeing that time is working against them, put MikeТs arm around his shoulder and weighed him up, feeling that Mike has griped his shoulder, trying at least to hold on by himself, if he couldnТt walk. Although Mike had loosen his grip few seconds later as he was deaden fast, Scully was impressed again by the will power of his friend, which he had observed quite often before, but never in such circumstances.
Scully took his friend to the jeep and placed him on the seat next to driver, as the car had only a cabin and an open carosserie with two benches. Seeing that his friend is pale as the death itself he became scared, that Mike wonТt survive the ride and for a second he thought Ц isnТt it too cruel to take him that far, if he had the death-woundsЕ But he had to try Ц if Mike himself had tried to get inside the building before, he wonТt give up that easily.
УI donТt think I should try to deal with your wounds Ц you know my skills in medicine are horribleЕФ
УI hope, I have enough blood remained for another hour.Ф
Wheezed Mike a reply, pausing on every word as he hardly could catch the air.
Still noticing sarcasm in MikeТs words, Scully calmed down a bit. He was already driving the jeep as fast as he could, hoping that the ride will take less than an hour.
УSo, what happened to the Queen?Ф Mike asked ten minutes later.
That question almost made Scully laugh Ц he perfectly understood that Mike wonТt listen to what heТll answer, but still that legendary guy tried to make the impression that he could have a chat. So Scully told the whole story, while he was driving, keeping an eye on his friendТs state.
Mike wasnТt listening at all, also he could hardly understand what Scully was saying, but he needed some sound to keep him awake as an unconscious state was scaring him much more than the pain he had to deal with.
It took them only half of an hour to get to Drassen Airport, but for Mike it was equal to ages. As they were almost there, Mike said quietly:
УStop.Ф Scully sopped the jeep and watched him curiously. Mike continued:
УGo and get a medic. The one who doesnТt talk much. No one should know IТm alive.Ф
Scully waggled his head:
УYouТre damn crazy! You are almost dying here, any doctor should fitЕФ
But Mike interrupted him:
УDo as I say.Ф
Scully cursed but conformed Ц Mike was so self-confident and Scully could not argue with him. After all, that should be Mike's choice. So Scully went to the airport, where some mercs were still waiting for the plane. The one who caught ScullyТs eye was MD Ц the youngest member of AIM, but a professional doctor. As MD had never seen Mike, he couldnТt recognize him so he wonТt tell anybody.
УHey you, yeah I mean you, MDЕ Come here Ц I need to talk to you, in private.Ф
MD, a young man in the age of 23 with brownish hair, smart eyes and a mobile face, was the newest member of AIM Ц he was graduated only some months before joining the organization and was taken on a minimal salary as all his skills excluding medicine were quite low. Being hot blooded and ready to take on the world as a lot of the young people do, he was happy to work in Arulko and very enthusiastic about any order he could get. But mostly he was kept in the rear to help with injuries. After the Arulco mission was over he felt quite disappointed. He joined AIM instead of becoming a normal doctor not to do the same job miles away from the USA. But being an optimistic kind of person he thought that, as he is more experienced now, the next mission will be totally different. At least, sitting there, waiting for the plane to take him home, he was full of new hopes about his future career.
As he heard someone calling him, MD turned his had, facing Scully. Scully was to him a kind of celestial, so he almost jumped up and had to slow down himself to make a more serious impression.
УOh, you called me?..Ф MD hardly prevented himself from adding УsirФ to his question.
УYeah, I did, MD. I need your help as a doctorЕФ Scully started his explanations, trying at the same time not to give away all the information.
УA friend of mine is injured really badlyЕФ
But he was interrupted by a young man.
УIf he needs a medical help, youТd better take me to him Ц you can explain everything while on our way. I am a doctor and itТs my duty to help people.Ф
While saying it, MD couldnТt help exulting, how lucky he was Ц to do a favor to Scully was his ticket to the bright futureЕ
УDid you helped all the DeidranaТs people as well, the follower of the Hippocrates?..Ф Ц Thought Scully, but he found it reasonable to take MD to Mike as quickly as he could. So he showed the direction and they took the path.
УNow IТll explain you a few things Ц my friend was a soldier in the Queen army, but as the war is over now, I thought I had to help him. He was injured in one of the battlesЕФ
They came straight to the jeep. Mike was unconscious Ц he's spent all his strength and his face was now even paler than before. MD after inspecting his state, told Scully in a low voice:
УHeТs wounds are far too serious to heal not being in the hospital. I could try to pick out the bullets and bandage him, but I wonТt be able to do more hereЕ He needs to be taken to the hospital, ifЕФ He paused for a few seconds then added:
УIf he survives the flight.Ф
Scully opened his mouth to argue, but then said only:
УAlright. Do what youТre able to do.Ф
MD did everything quickly and professional Ц he was real good at what he was doing, especially for such a young man. Mike was still unconscious when MD had finished, which was for his own good.
УNowЕ We have to take him to the plane.Ф
УNope, itТs impossible,Ф Scully grumbled, as he remembered what Mike had told him. УWe have to wait for another plane.Ф
MD looked at him with a silent question written in his eyes.
УBut thatТs crazyЕ He lost so much blood, his chances to surviveЕФ
Scully interrupted the young doctor:
УI know. But take it as it is Ц we canТt go now.Ф
MD was clever enough not to argue. He stayed with the patient, while Scully went back to see when they could take the plane. Half an hour later, they were able to leave. Scully paid quite a big amount of money to the pilot, who agreed to take them on board.
When the plane took off the ground, Mike regained consciousness and opened his eyes. MD, who was beside him as a doctor, said in a low voice.
УNow, take it easy. I am a doctor and we are on our way to US. Try to relax.Ф
Mike had only raised his eyebrow and looked at Scully. His friend came closer with a smile:
УHow dТ you feel after all?Ф
УHappy to be alive.Ф
Mike answered and looked at MD once more. Scully understood what he wants and addressed himself to MD:
УCould you give me the seat? IТll stay beside him.Ф
MD, feeling that there is much more in this story than Scully had told him, gave him his seat and took a seat some feet away from them, but so that he could hear them talking.
УNow, whoТs that guy?Ф
Asked Mike so quietly, that MD could not recognize a word.
УA new one at AIM. He doesnТt know who you are, donТt worry.Ф
Scully answered in the same manner.
УAlright,Ф Mike said it, as if he was checking how Scully had done his job and was satisfied with the results. Then he added:
УGive me your pistol. I hate being unarmed.Ф
Scully looked at him a bit wondering but then smiled, giving Mike his gun:
УYou are damn crazy, buddy.Ф
Answered Mike calmly, as if he didnТt mind being so.
УNow, whom do you want to kill with that stuff Ц there are no enemies in this plane.Ф
Scully added, laughing.
УYou never know,Ф Mike answered, while observing MD, who was watching sky through the window.
УCТmon, MikeЕФ Scully didnТt finish his phrase as his eyes met eyes of Mike, which were flashing fire. Scully made a huge mistake calling Mike by his name.
MD looked at Mike with his eyes wide open:
УOh, arenТt you the famous Mike?! I know, I heard, you and Scully were friends, I mean, you are friends as I see! Good Gosh, I never thought that I would ever meet you personally!Ф
MD even stood up and came closer.
УNow I see why you took another plane!Ф
УScully, remind me to cut off your tongue, when we are back to US.Ф Said Mike gloomily.
Scully looked guiltily at his friend.
But MD couldnТt stop talking:
УItТs such an honor to help you! I heard so much about you Ц you are a real living-legend!Ф
MD was the one who had never dealt with MikeТs moody character, but heard a lot about his deeds.
УMaybe you could share some professional secrets with me? OrЕ Just tell something about your past? And what about your name? Should you have some name in your passport at least! Oh, and is it true that you had killed J. F. Kennedy?..Ф
Mike by that time was observing the young Doctor with unblinking eyes. This Doc of Medicine beats even Scully in being goddamn talkative, made Mike a conclusion. After MDТs last phrase, he stopped him:
УAre you kidding me? Or do you truly believe that I willЕ Ah, come here!Ф
With those words Mike caught the young doctor by the collar with his arm pressing the muzzle of his pistol towards MDТs forehead. It was made so fast and unpredictable that MD didnТt have any chances to defense at all.
УNow you listen Ц one more question, one more exclamation or one more phrase containing the name СMikeТ and you will find a hole in your head. Did you get it?Ф
MD nodded, being scared and enrapt at the same time.
Mike continued, holding MD in his iron grasp with a gun facing the young man.
УEveryone thinks IТm dead. And I want to remain so for some time. So forget everything you had seen here, and if someone learned anything about me from you, youТll regret that you was born at all. Did you understand everything that IТve said?Ф
MD was a clever boy so he nodded and answered:
УYes, sir. If I have a choice between the death and doing something good to you, IТd prefer to be useful for you. No one would learn anything about what happened from me.Ф
Mike looked at MDТs face for some more seconds, as if he was thinking whether to believe him or to shot him right here.
УAlright, boy. Remember that what IТve told you.Ф
He set MD free and hid the gun away.
MD stepped back, rubbing his neck. He took his seat, keeping silence ever since and looking into the window with a totally innocent expression of his face.
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