5.3

Jerret had fallen asleep, somehow. He woke up to the sound of the cell opening as two men grabbed him roughly, hauling him upright. He could see Calvin by the console at the door and felt his legs buckle as the floor shocked him again. The men holding him seemed unaffected, they’d clearly come prepared.

Calvin’s face was expressionless as they dragged him past. Jerret couldn’t help but wonder if his ten seconds had been somewhere in there.

Outside was violently bright after an eternity in a ship, and he struggled to regain control of his legs, managing to stand up as they reached the door of another ship. One of the men activated the console but the door remained sealed. Jerret could feel them turning to each other and one of them turned to face the other side of the clearing. He got a partial view and as his eyes adjusted he could make out a stocky looking man silhouetted in the light.

“What’s wrong?” The third man asked.

“Door’s not responding.”

“You messing with my ship, boy?” The third man turned back towards Calvin’s ship, but Jerret couldn’t see in that direction.

“I want my money first.”Calvin’s voice sounded odd in the open air.

The man guffawed harshly, “And here I thought you didn’t take after me. Fine, I’ll transfer it now.” He pulled something out of his pocket and Jerret could make out his hands moving. His legs had regained feeling but the men had tight grips on his arms still. He braced his legs subtly, hoping for a moment to bolt away before they got him inside. “It’s done, now unlock my doors and get the other one out here.”

There was a prolonged silence, “Maybe I do take after you…” Calvin was talking softly enough Jerret could barely hear him, “Maybe I don’t mind fucking over family to suit my needs. The girl stays with me, and you’re letting him go.”

There was a silence, and then the third man started laughing again. It was an ugly laugh, harsher than before, and when he stopped nobody made a sound. “You decided to grow a spine now, boy? You think you’ll get anywhere without me? Stop fooling around and bring out the girl, I’ll forget this little joke.”

“I don’t need you, I’ll find work. I’m useful after all. So useful you’re not getting off this rock till I say so.”

There was no laughter this time. The man fiddled with whatever he’d used before and even in silhouette Jerret could see him stiffen.

“You can see I mean it, so let him go or I’ll make you.”

“You can’t make me do anything you ungrateful brat. Unlock my ship now or so help me I’ll make you regret…” The sentence trailed off as the men holding Jerret collapsed to the ground, convulsing. Jerret stared down at them in confusion, not quite comprehending that he was loose.

“Ten seconds!” Calvin shouted, and Jerret snapped out of it, turning on his heels and heading for the ship again at a quick jog. Calvin’s ship was already starting up and hovered about a foot off the ground.

The next few seconds seemed to happen in slow motion, as Jerret turned his head to look at movement off to his side and the blast of a shot made him stumble and stop. He looked from the man to the weapon in his hand, and then back at the shocked look on Calvin’s face. Jerret bolted for the ship as it started to take off, knocking Calvin back before he could fall out of the open doorway.

The door closed automatically as they took off and Jerret thought he heard another shot ping off the edge of the door, but he was more concerned about the amount of blood starting to pool on the front of Calvin’s shirts. Calvin coughed and cried out in pain.

“Guess family really didn’t mean that much to him, huh?” He managed a weak smile.

“Shit, you’re bleeding bad. This is bad.”

“Nah it’s fine… let me bleed to death, it was worth it.”

“I can’t let you die, we need you still.”

“Aww..” Calvin’s head lolled a little as he talked and Jerret could see his eyes getting unfocused, “Does this mean you like me now?”

“It means I can’t fucking fly a ship and the only other person on board is a little kid.”

“Oh… shit… bad plan.” Calvin seemed to focus a bit more for a moment, pulling himself up against the wall.

“No kidding, bad plan. How do I fix you?”

“Um… I need a screen. Control room.” Calvin pointed weakly and Jerret searched the other room, returning with a small screen. Calvin fiddled with it a bit, “Okay, so… the computer can talk you through it, you just need the med kit from the kitchen. Little orange box.”

Jerret was so preoccupied finding the medkit that he didn’t notice Jessie poking her head out of her room, watching him.

“I’m going to pass out around step three or so, but it’s all color-coded, real easy.”

“Um…” Jerret stared down at the box full of colored packets and the screen.

“What?” Calvin coughed again and frowned at Jerret, “What’s wrong?”

“I’m… uh… I’m mostly color-blind.”

“Are you fucking with me?” Calvin closed his eyes and Jerret panicked for a moment, thinking he’d passed out, “Fuck.”

“Is Mr. Calvin okay?” Jessie’s voice startled both of them, although Calvin was already too far gone from pain to do much more than turn to her.

“Can you tell these colors apart?” Jerret showed her the med kit and she nodded, frowning.

“Cool… gonna pass out now.” Calvin swallowed hard and leaned his head back against the wall.

“Just… hand me the ones the screen says to in order and hopefully we can make him okay.” Jerret set the screen against the wall so they could both see and handed her the medkit as she nodded silently, “Which one’s first?”

Calvin was fully unconscious and the two of them worked in a nervous silence as the computer guided them through the procedure.

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