Darkness gives way to flashes of red, blurred forms. The throbbing pain in his head increases. He closes his eyes again. Major Trace Hunter remains motionless hoping the sick feeling in his gut will soon subside. The smell of smoke and ozone from the burned circuits fills his nostrils. The memory of what happened escapes him. He wonders; ‘How much can I move? Should I move?’ He opens his eyes and tries to focus them to no avail. Slowly, he rotates his foot and then the other. ‘So far, so good. Legs? No pain.’ He raises an arm. “AAH!” A stabbing pain rips through his upper chest and shoulders. Pushing back into the seat, he braces himself. His head reels as flashes of light dance in his head. While sucking air through his teeth in an effort to deal with the pain, a burning sensation fills his lungs. A coughing fit brings about dizziness that overtakes him. He closes his eyes once more. His line of thought drifts into disarray.
A familiar voice over his earpiece jolts Hunter awake. Trying to focus his foggy mind, he is not certain what was said. ‘What time is it? Where in blue blazes am I?’ Looking out the cockpit windows, he is greeted with a starless, dark void. A flashing red indicator light on his dashboard illuminates a broken dial. His head and shoulders still hurt, but at least the nausea is gone.
“Blue-7, this is Rescue-2. Do you read?”
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