One should not jerk his hand, advised the Wolf.
Avon said with dry criticism, "Are you leading me or trying to dislocate my arm?"
Argus scowled. He had his own dislocated shoulder to contend with. The last thing he needed was to be nagged by Avon and the Wolf in his head. He snapped, "I'm trying."
"I did tell you to let the Wolf do this."
One would be glad to help, volunteered the Wolf.
"I just got my body back, I'm not about to give it up again," Argus said in a grumpy tone. "Just tell me what you need."
"Arriving in the medical unit with fully functional limbs would be a start."
"Did you just growl at me?"
"No, I didn't."
One did growl.
You're not helping.
Avon said, "Let go of my arm." When his arm was free, he felt beside him until he encountered Argus's bare shoulder.
"Ow." Argus flinched away, holding his injured arm to his side.
"You're hurt," remarked Avon clinically.
"I told you I was. What are you trying to do?"
"Nothing censorable, I assure you," Avon said flatly.
"I certainly hope not. I already have enough to deal with."
“How does it feel having an imaginary creature in your head?” Avon asked curiously, as Argus put the hand on his other shoulder and led the way to the medical unit again.
One is not imaginary, huffed the Wolf.
“What’s that sound you’re making?” asked Avon.
“Perhaps, I imagined it,” said Avon dryly.
Argus grimaced. “The Wolf borrows parts of me occasionally. When it wants to express something.”
“What was it trying to express?”
“It said it’s not imaginary.”
“Of course it would. To the Wolf, it’s real.”
“I thought...” Argus hesitated.
“Always a bad idea.”
“You’re doing it again.” There was a faint smirk on Avon's face. This was ridiculously easy.
“I do not growl. The Wolf does.”
One did growl, said the Wolf.
Argus complained, “You’re both ganging up on me.”
“You also appear to have developed paranoia,” said Avon.
“I am not paranoid.”
“You also said you don’t growl, but the evidence refutes that.”
“Grrr.” Argus’s eyes widened. “Ahhh!” He slapped his palm to his forehead. “I did growl.”
“I did tell you.”
“It must be a residual effect of having the Wolf inside me.”
“You are acknowledging its existence?”
One is grateful.
“We’re there,” Argus said as they passed through the open doors of the medical unit.
"I'm fine," said Cally as the sole doctor - no one knew where the other ones were - examined her.
Dr. Sun said, "Humour me, Cally. This will not take long." His almond eyes were kind but his voice was firm.
"Just let him examine you," said Jenna, not believing Cally one bit. A woman, who had been groaning in pain just minutes ago, couldn't possibly be fine.
Cally suddenly bolted upright, a relieved smile on her face and eyes full of emotion. "Avon."
The sound of Cally's voice filled Avon with relief and other emotions he would prefer not to acknowledge in front of the others. With a completely inexpressive face and a voice to match, Avon said, "Cally. How are you feeling?" Argus led him over to the bed.
* You can't fool me, Avon * Cally projected. * I can sense what you're feeling. *
There was a quick flash of irritation and consternation as Avon remembered how well she could read him. * It has been quiet without your voice in my mind. *
Cally touched his arm and projected the image of herself with a teasing smile on her face, * I miss you too, Avon. *
Argus coughed discreetly into his hand. Avon and Cally were silent, but from their body language and looks on their faces, it was obvious something private was occurring. He looked at Jenna meaningfully. "We should leave them alone."
Jenna nodded. "Four's a crowd."
The fascinated Wolf asked, Are they about to mate?
Argus choked and winced at the stab of pain in his shoulder.
Dr. Sun, who had been discreetly continuing his examination of Cally, looked up and said, "Your shoulder appears injured."
"I'll live," said Argus. "It doesn't hurt."
The doctor stared at him and there was a single twitch at the corner of his mouth, as if he was on the verge of challenging that statement.
Argus added hastily, "Not much. I'll come back later. I promise."
The doctor said gravely, "Be sure you do."
Argus and Jenna left the medical unit together.
"Where are we going?" she asked, trying to catch up.
"Going to find Reya and the others." He charged on. "I didn't see the Admiral. He was on the flight deck the last time I saw him."
"Oh." Jenna stopped. "Well…"
Argus turned to her with a sense of foreboding and a growing pain in his head just behind the eyes. Would this day never end? "Tell me."
"You'd better come with me," said Jenna as she led the way to the flight deck.
Kirsten's eyes were unfocused as she looked off into the distance.
Sester was admiring the line of her jaw when he asked, "What are you thinking?"
"I…" She turned to him, blinking as if she had just remembered he was sitting next to her on the couch. "Were you serious when you said the Thaarn had done something to the minds of the people on the ship?"
A concentrated effort, using mental exercises learned at the Guild, was returning Sester to his old self. He craved sharp interactions to continue his progress. "Yes." His eyes were understanding. "Did you want to talk about something?"
"You mean besides my wanting to jump you several times in the past few hours?"
An impish smile touched his lips. "We could start with that."
"That wasn't me," said Sester.
Argus and Jenna came down the steps. Jenna said, "Kirsten, we'd better let him out."
"I forgot!" Kirsten jumped up and they both went to a side panel. Argus was trying not to look pained. It had nothing to do with his shoulder.
The two women slid open a recessed storage panel and Admiral Tarkov rolled out and landed with a thud and an outraged, "Mmmm!"
Jenna quickly removed his gag as Kirsten untied him. They tried to help him up but he shrugged them off and stiffly got up on his own. "Commander!"
Argus snapped to attention, his jaw clenching as another stab of pain shot through his shoulder. "I'm sorry, sir. It was…" He felt like a junior officer facing an irate superior. "…a mistake."
"I do not appreciate being trussed up and tossed away in a cupboard!" The Admiral stomped around, trying to bring the circulation back to his limbs.
"It was the Thaarn, sir."
"Who the hell is the Thaarn? And what does he have to do with this!" The Admiral was a good bellower when he was angry.
Argus winced. He had not seen the Admiral this angry since…well, that was a different lifetime ago. "He was the one wreaking havoc with the ships. He's the invisible anomaly you were tracking. We destroyed him."
At that, the Admiral began to cool down. "That's good. I want to hear what happened."
"You will receive a full report, Admiral."
Tarkov was staring at him, a none-too-pleased look on his face. "I am not impressed with the lack of discipline on your ship, Commander."
"Jenna and Kirsten…"
"I'm not talking about that," said the Admiral. "Why are you naked again? And why do you look as if you've been drinking blood?"
Argus looked to a spot in the ceiling, looking for patience and the last vestiges of his sanity. "That will be in the report, sir."
The clothes itched one, said the Wolf.
I don't think that'll help.
"If you would lend a hand, Admiral. I believe some of your people are on my ship. They're fighting with my crew."
"Then we'd better stop them," said the Admiral.
A beautiful Avon and Wolf pic courtesy of darrowsgirl
Sester as a red shirt.