There is a chance that this is going to hit six parts, depending on how the next bit breaks down. I totally suck at short-form fiction.
â€œWhere the hell are you going, Cole?â€ Simon Tate eyed Jamie suspiciously, as the two passed in the hall. â€œLights-out was ten minutes ago.â€
â€œCould ask you the same.â€ Jamie Cole grinned insolently, then winced as an audible gurgle came from his stomache. â€œHeading to the can. Think I might have done Sarah another favor by mistake â€“ pretty sure that shrimp went bad, and I need to take the mother of all craps beforeâ€¦â€
Simon held up his hands quickly. â€œToo much info, man.â€ He frowned, then reluctantly added, â€œIâ€™m going to check on Kien. He wasnâ€™t looking good at dinner.â€
â€œOh. Yeah.â€ Jamie nodded slowly. â€œOkay. You donâ€™t say you saw me, I donâ€™t say I saw you, huh?â€
â€œSure.â€ Simon nodded back, and started to walk on.
â€œHang on.â€ Simon paused, glancing backwards, to find Jamie facing him uncertainly. â€œTell himâ€¦ nah, forget it.â€ Shaking his head, he started to turn around.
â€œTell him what?â€ Simon pressed curiously.
â€œTell himâ€¦ ah, hell, Iâ€™m gonna sound like a total wuss. Just forget it.â€ Jamie waved his arm, then paused. â€œFuck it. Tell him Iâ€™m worried about him, man.â€
â€œYou.â€ Simon stared. â€œAre worried. About someone else.â€
â€œFuck you.â€ Jamie answered. â€œKienâ€™s cool. Too soft for this, but cool.â€ He glared daggers at Simon. â€œYou wanna make something of it?â€
â€œNo, Iâ€™m good.â€ Simon said with a half-smile. â€œDidnâ€™t think you had it in you to care about other people.â€
â€œWhatever, man.â€ Jamie raised his hand as he continued walking. â€œI gotta hit the can or Iâ€™m gonna explode.â€
He walked down the corridor, leaving Simon to turn away with a chuckle. Jamie glared back at the other soldier, then muttered to himself. â€œWorried about him. The hell was I thinking. Damned shrimp making me gassy, not thinking straight.â€
â€œItâ€™s not the shrimp. Turn left here.â€
Jamie leapt halfway out of his skin at the deep male voice echoing in his ears. His knife was halfway out of his boot hoslter as he spun, brandishing it wildly. â€œWho said that?â€
â€œA friend. You need to turn left here. Quickly.â€
Jamie frowned, then the light dawned. â€œYouâ€™re on my goddamn radio. You hacked my goddamn radio frequency? Who the hell is this? I am not in the mood, pal. I will find you, and I willâ€¦â€
â€œYouâ€™ve been poisoned, Jamie. Badly. You need to initiate a total biorelational cycle of your systems, at least a 70% blood transfusion, or you will be dead in ten minutes.â€
Jamie stopped still. â€œNo shit.â€ He looked around, then winced and gritted his teeth as another cramp passed over him. â€œDunno who you are, but if youâ€™re right I need the medlab.â€
â€œItâ€™s too late for the medlab. The poisonâ€™s entered your biotic uplinks. They need to be cycled. Now.â€
â€œI donâ€™t even know who youâ€¦â€ Jamie started.
â€œDo you want to live?â€ Came the reply.
â€œDamn it.â€ Jamie shook his head, staggering to the left towards the bio-cybernetics ward. â€œMust be goddamn crazy to be doing this. Who the hell are you, man?â€
â€œA friend, I hope. Iâ€™ve been watching you, Jamie. I have high hopes for you â€“ but I had to wait until certainâ€¦ other forcesâ€¦ were distracted. Fortunately, I was in time.â€
â€œLovely.â€ Jamie shook his head as he pushed the ward doors open and triggered the lights. â€œSuppose you know how to run a biowhatchallit cycle?â€
The line was silent. â€œYou do not?
â€œIâ€™m a fucking soldier, man!â€ Jamie swore as he staggered forwards. â€œCanâ€™t even pronounce it!â€ He started to blink rapidly. â€œPlus, my eyesightâ€™s going blurry. That ainâ€™t good, right?â€
â€œOh dear.â€ The man on the other end considered. â€œJamie. I can still help you. But I didnâ€™t want to do this until you were lucid.â€
â€œAm I going to die if you donâ€™t?â€ Jamie asked.
â€œWellâ€¦ yes. But the help I intended to offer is rather a permanent arrangement. If you change your mind, you wonâ€™t be able to back out later. I can explainâ€¦â€
â€œWill I die if you help me?â€
â€œThen fucking do it!!â€ Jamie yelled. â€œI donâ€™t fucking care about permanent whatevers, I am not goddamn dying of poisoned shrimp!â€
â€œVery well. This may beâ€¦ disconcerting.â€ The voice went away.
â€œDisconcerting. Right. What, are you going to ohmyfreakingmotherofmercygod!â€ Jamie collapsed to the floor as a high-pitched whine filled his ears. The entire world went white.
â€œFuuuuuuckâ€¦â€ Jamie said slowly. He opened his eyes, staring upwards. â€œAm I better?â€
â€œNo.â€ The voice was followed by another cramp, more painful than ever. â€œI told you. You need to initiate a biorelational cycle of your systems.â€
â€œRight. Biorelational.â€ Jamie pulled himself up. â€œFeels like my headâ€™s on fire, man. The hell was that?â€ Orienting himself, he grabbed one of the uplink consoles, slid out a cable, and expertly attached it to a small point at the base of his spine, as magnets in the cable hooked to the metal there. Turning to the computer, he booted it up.
â€œUpgrades. Iâ€™ll explain while you work.â€ The voice answered. â€œWe donâ€™t have much time. Now, start by aligning your plasma differentials with the Houseman gridâ€¦â€
â€œNo way I canâ€¦â€ Jamie broke off, blinking. â€œHoly crap. I totally know what youâ€™re talking about.â€
â€œI told you. Upgrades. Now get to work.â€
â€œSure thing, man.â€ With a lopsided grin, Jamie started to work. â€œAlways wanted to be my best.â€