This story was made by Shiyan-Kemosabi and Straif5, also known as Da and Sgt Together to bring show you what The-Leviathan-Crew can do. We joined up together to make something amazing and hopefully, we can have you join as well.
Screaming, the sounds of pain filled the air as the shrikes of agony sang a river of blood down on the ground. The blood seeping into the bricks and staining them with it's fear and sorrow. Voices rang out in disarray and confusion to what the atmosphere is hiding in the shades of the light guarded by shadows. Disoriented, Deryn found herself among the terror of the front lines and in the worse possible condition, Alek was just shot and his blood was now enveloping her like a second skin. Frantic, all she could do in this state was cry, for the man she loved was dying before her, in the one place he felt warm in. Her arms.
She screamed, hoping someone, ANYONE, would hear her. But it was to no avail; panic had gripped everyone around her, and they did not hear her, or if they did they were too busy to help her. Orders were screamed back and forth, and somewhere behind her an artillery gun opened up.
"Stay with me, dammit!" She ordered Alek. "Stay with me, you ninny!"
Groaning in pain, words failed to be let free of his lips. Gun fire clapped in the distance and the shockwaves of explosions rattled the ground under her. The stone wall of which she hid behind was the only thing protecting her from thundering metal that thrashed against it. Overwhelmed with fear, she frantically fought to stop the bleeding that flowed out of Alek's fresh wound.
Perhaps, for once, divine providence smiled upon her. With a scream, a dead soldier toppled down from the top of the wall to land next to her, clothes pre-shredded by a close-range explosion. She didn't have time to see if he was an allie or an enemy. He was dead now, and had no further need for his clothes.
Deryn frantically ripped a large swath of fabric from the man's corpse and shakily bandaged Alek's wound up as best she could. But she was no medic; all she was doing was stopping the bleeding.
"Help! Someone help!" She screamed again.
Storms of bullets pounded at the walls around her. Suddenly, a overwhelming blast rang out from the distance and the gun fire and stopped for just at moment. Screaming again before the thunder had time to strike, a man called out to her plea. "Where are you?!" Foot steps from a group of men flooded the area as a thin man wearing glasses ran into the room where Deryn was. The man saw her in the corner of the room with Alek bleeding in her arms. Blood was mixed with tears as she fought to keep Alek alive.
"Clart. Get a medic over here, STAT!" He shouted over his shoulder. "We have a man down, hes hit bad!"
Deryn didn't hear him, to focused on keeping Alek alive. So far, she'd managed to do that. But he was getting weaker by the second, more blood leaking out around and under her fingers.
"Come on Alek, come on. You have to stay with me." Deryn cried as she held onto his fragile body applying pressure to the wound. The man that ran in rushed to their side when suddenly another wave of bullets were deflected by the wall. Both struggled to keep Alek alive until a medic arrived, which was taking longer than expected
"Damn it, leave that Clanker!" The man shouted over his shoulder. No wonder the medic was taking his time; he was treating the barking enemy!
"I don't care about you're oath, we have a friendly bleeding out here!"
The medic shouted something back, and the man pulled out a pistol of some kind and shot it a couple times.
"There, problem solved! Now get your ass over here!"
The medic ran over to them cursing the man as he left the other man's body to bleed out and water the earth with his pain. "Are you insane?!" The medic yelled, "We could have used him!"
"Who cares, save this man before he dies on us!" the man ordered.
Deryn looked up at the medic, tears and blood covered her face as she stared at him, waiting for answers.
Without another moment to lose the medic began to work on Alek, as he proceeded, he seemed to have lost something of importance.
"Damn it, he's lost an artery. Gonna have to get some biofoam in there. Hold that rag in place."
The medic reached into his uniform and pulled out a large bottle with a pointed tip.
"This is gonna sting," he said. "But is will keep you alive. Okay?"
It took Deryn a moment to realize that he was talking to Alek.
"I...he can't..." She started, words tripping up against each other.
"He's too far gone to care, doc. Do it." The man who'd brought the medic ordered.
The medic nodded, then shoved the tip into Alek and pressed something.
White foam shot into the former prince, and he jerked and coughed, then quieted. No more blood flowed out, and the foam crackled and swelled, filling the gap in his skin..
"This man needs to get back to base camp for real medical attention. He's been wounded too badly for me to operate on him here." The Medic said. Deryn was in shock and couldn't help but keep her eyes glued to Alek.
"Wha-What can I do?" She finally managed to force out. The Medic locked his eyes with her and then down at Alek. "We need to get him out of here. There is a group of men that were just shipped here from another branch. If we get him back there, they can escort him out of here."
Deryn watched as Alek began to slow inhale and exhale slowly, thanks to the biofoam. When suddenly another explosion shook the ground more violently. Causing the small wall that they hid behind to shack and chip. The explosions were getting closer
"Get moving!" The man shouted, drawing his pistol again and looking at the wall. "Damn walkers'll be on us any second now!"
Another explosion, and part of the wall collapsed into dust. A head poked through the collapsed section, one wearing the pointed picklehelm of a Clanker soldier.
The man who'd brought the medic raised his pistol and shot the Clanker in the face.
"Go!" He shouted to the medic and Deryn. "Get him out of here! I've got this!"
The medic paused, then snapped a quick salute.
"Yes sir, Lieutenant!" He said. He turned to Deryn.
"Get his legs, but be careful." He said. "Keep them higher than his head. Too much blood goes from his head, he's a gonner."
Deryn nodded numbly and did as she was told. It was too much to take in. She focused on what mattered; Alek would be alright.
The Lieutenant ran to the edge of the wall and peered around it, observing his opponent. There were only a handful of ground troopers and three walkers. They were advancing through the battle grounds quickly and he only had moments to react. Whipping back around pressing his back upon the wall.
"Ready for this?" He said to himself. Then he stepped out into the open and shouted.
"Hey, Clart face!" Using his pistol he fired at the German infantry and killed one and knocked back another. Then hiding behind the wall he heard another man running up. As the German reached the corner where he the Lieutenant was, he was met with a knife to the throat and ripping it across, blood had busted out covering the area.
"Is that all you're made of?!" He shouted. Suddenly three more German charged to him. Inhaling, he waited. Finally they ran around the corner and passed right by him without noticing him. From behind, he shot the third in the head and ran around to the second, locking his body still, the first German opened fire onto a friendly. Using the dead man's gun, he killed the other German who shot his own friend. Dropping the body he then turned to face a opening from where they entered, he saw a walker crouching down and aiming the main cannon in the small room where the Lieutenant stood.
The medic paused in his treatment of Alek, having managed to stabilize him, for the moment. He looked up, hearing gunshots.
"Oh God, the el-tee..." He whispered. He glanced down at Alek, then up at Deryn.
"Go." She said, nodding. "Get you're leifteanant. He won't die if you go, right?"
She indicated Alek, who was looking much better, full of biofoam and hooked up to a strange little pouch that was apparently full of replacement blood. Some fancy new invention that the Americans had brought with them.
The medic nodded.
"Don't move him to much, and give him some water when he asks for it, and he'll live."
"Then go!" Deryn practically ordered. She wasn't sure if she outranked the medic or not, but she put enough force behind her cry to make it sound like she did.
The medic nodded, grabbed his helmet, and ran.
Out of Deryn's line of sight, there was a loud shriek, like some bizarre bird, then a "whump" and a sudden burst of flame, followed by the distinctive sound of tortured metal.
"What was that?" Deryn thought to herself, but at the moment, Alek was the only thing that matter. More strange sounds came from the distance as she sat by his side, it all didn't sound much better being inside a trench that made them plainly exposed.
"I need to get you to some cover."
Deryn search the area to find a good place for him to hide until more help could reach her. The trench was only about 6 feet wide and only 5 feet tall. Off in the distant there was what looked like a opening.
"Alek, I'm going to check on something. Please, don't move." She said then took off running to check what was an opening.
The opened area wasn't very big, it seemed to be an explosion that came from a mortar. There was a few feet of solid rock that was holding it up and a good flat area where she could place Alek. When she had ran back to Alek she saw that there was something Horrid hovering over his body.
The medic ran, coughing at the sudden cloud of dust that had arisen from the trenches.
"El-tee!" He cried. "Lieutenant! Where are you?"
Nothing answered for a moment except the sounds of battle and the cries of the dying and wounded. Then; a cough, and a groan, and finally "Clart."
The medic breathed out in relief, hurrying for the sound.
His feet stumbled on loose gravel, and he saw that he was in the blast radius of a recently-detonated shark rocket. The target was obvious; the smoking remains of a two-man light combat walker, either a Stahl-Mann or a BlitzWalker. And under it's side;
The Lieutenant coughed, and spat blood out. He was sticking out from under the walker.
"You washout!" He screamed at the medic. "What the clart are you doing here! I told you to get out!"
"Not without you, sir!"
The medic hurried to the Lt. side, checking him over. It looked bad, but he could see that, compared to poor Alek, his superior had a rather good chance of surviving.
"Damn thing's got me pinned...nothing bad, I think," the Lieutenant said. "Just my gear."
"On it." The medic pulled out a scalpel, then set to work cutting off the loot's web gear vest. Thirty seconds later, his CO was free.
"I'm going to have you court ma-AH!"
The Lieutenant collapsed as he tried to stand, clutching at his leg. "Damn walker! I'm gonna-"
"Get on your feet again and lean on me. That leg's sprained at least, if not broken." The medic slung the Lieutenant over his shoulder and started dragging him away from the fire zone.
As he neared where he'd last seen Alek and Sharp, he heard something; a low, baying howl. The Lt. let out a gasp.
"Clart, is that a Reaper?" He asked quietly. "I didn't know they'd deployed those..."
"Yes. And I think it just found Alek..."
The medic sped up, knowing the act for which the Reaper fabrication had been named.
Deryn stood face to face with a creature that she had never seen before. It was massive, strangely, it fit inside the trenches and was able to move fluidly, yet it's back reached greatly over the top of the trench. The beast looked like a Tigeresque but it was more built and wasn't furry. Its face was like a dog's, but wider and its mouth was longer. The Body was incredibly built, for the muscles seemed that they would rip the flesh covering it, making it appear thin. The shoulders were very broad and powerful and the large paws had razor sharp claws on them. On top of his back, starting on the base of the neck was hair, like a horse, but it stood up straight and got taller once it hit a peek about 3 feet and then lowered into the middle of its back. The hind legs were also as muscular as the front legs and had a graceful curse to it and also had the razor sharp claws. Its tail was thin and had a spear of a tip and was about as long as Deryn's body.
Sniffing Alek's body it noticed Deryn frozen in place and locked its eyes with hers. Then looking back down at Alek. "Don't touch him!" Deryn shouted at the beast. The Reaper looked up at her as she walked towards it.
He wont hurt us.." Alek mumbled. Deryn ran to his side and dropped to her knees and placed his head in her lap and held onto him. Raising his hand the beast pressed its nose gently against it and took in a deep inhale. Finally the Reaper looked into Deryn's eyes and then and she saw that it had Silver eyes and noticed that the color slowly changed to a faded pale blue and then it gracefully leaped up onto the surface above the trench and let out a Loud powerful and deep bone rattling roar and then broke into a charge straight to the Clankers.
"DOWN!" The Lieutenant screamed, throwing himself and the medic down to the ground as the Reaper charged straight over them.
"Holy God!" The medic whispered. "I've never seen a Reaper in combat before..."
"Pray you don't." The Lieutenant said quietly. "They're terror weapons, put together by that unit from the Pacific Northwest. Fast, stronger than they look, rapid healing...they're pretty much unstoppable once you get them going."
"And...that one was going, wasn't it, sir?" The medic asked, mouth suddenly dry. "That was the howl we heard, right?"
"Yeah. That thing's bloodmad now." The Lieutenant took a moment to close his eyes and press his hand to his chest. "May Darwin have mercy on the life chains of those that are about to meet it in combat..."
"And may God pity their souls," The medic added. He was what the Darwinists called a Monkey Luddites, and he still believed there was a God.
"Something tells me they won't be meeting a God where they're going..." The Lieutenant muttered, before standing back up. "Come on."
They slogged onwards, hearing the sounds of battle slowly be replaced by screams in Clanker voices and whoops and hollers of Darwinists, mixed in with the roars of fabs and the natter of machine guns from both sides of the battle field.
The medic grunted and slid the Lieutenant off his shoulder, depositing him by Alek and Deryn.
"Got him." He said, with a slight grin. "Two lives saved today. I'll take it. Lets get both of you out of here."
Later, the sun was now setting and the battle was still in process. The Medic and Deryn moved the others to the hole that Deryn found and hid in there for a while. Finding the strength, Deryn left them to find a way to get them out of the front lines to somewhere safe. After a minute of running through the trenches she found that the battle was moving in the direction of the others and she needed to find a way to fight back while in search of someone that could help. Blood soaked into the ground as Deryn ran passed making large splashed with every step. Finally she found a squad of men that were pinned down, rushing to them she slid to a stop smashing her back against the walls of the trenches. There, was a man shaking and tearing up from the fear of the front lines.
"Where is the closest transport off the battle grounds?!" She shouted
The man didn't notice her until she rocked his shoulder. "There is no E-vac, they left us here to die, man. They sent out a order saying that we have to die!"
Behind her another man place a hand on her. "Pay no mind to him, he scared beyond anything. But in a way he's right. There is no E-vac because it was shot down and there wont be any for at least 3 to 5 days. There is a small platoon that is sending out a call, if you have anyone wounded, they'll be your best chance." The other man said and then jumped back onto a leveled surface and opened fire. Deryn looked down and then stared at the scared man, placing a hand on his head, "We'll make it out alive, and the only way we can is if you stand up and fight!" With that, she took off running and ran passed bullets and other men and beasts jumping over the trenches. Dodging the obstacles she finally made it back to the others and told them the news.
The medic was checking over Alek again, making sure he hadn't gotten any worse since he'd last treated him. The former prince hadn't and was thankfully getting stronger rapidly.
That was the one good thing about their situation, however. Even before he'd sent Deryn of to check about their situation, the Lieutenant could already tell that they were in bad shape. The fight was slowly moving backwards, with freindlies giving up ground to the approaching Clankers disturbingly steadily.
Deryn hurried back and skidded to a halt, pants legs now soaked with blood.
"Its bad, isn't it." The Lieutenant guessed. Deryn nodded.
"Aye. They're saying we won't have rescue for three to five days. There's a platoon that's moving backwards, where everyone's sending their wounded-"
"Then we join up with them." The Lieutenant stood up and checked something over the wall remain that he was hiding behind, then hit the deck again. He glanced back at the medic, who exchanged a look that said "we can move him" with the man.
"Get ready to go ASAP," The Lieutenant said. "We're getting the hell outta of here, all of us."
Gathering up the team, they forced their way back behind the ranks to reach the safety of the platoon. It was as the Lieutenant feared and already knew what was happening, the troops were loosing hope and needed a boost to push back the Clankers. In arms, Deryn carried Alek with the strange pouch over her shoulder and a rifle that she found. The Lieutenant was doing slightly better, but still needed help when walking.
Catching up to the others, "Leifteanant, have we lost the battle grounds?" Deryn asked. The man stared at her a moment and then looked down moving forwards. Frowning, she carried on behind them while Alek in the place he always wanted to be.
Suddenly there was a shadowy mass that struck the ground before them. It looked from side to side and then spotted them and slowly walked to the group in silence. Lieutenant pulled out a pistol and took aim at the figure in the distance. "Who are you?" he shouted.
"Friendly! Hold your fire, Lieutenant!" The voice that came back sounded American, but, at the same time, not. It was rougher than any American (clart, any HUMAN) that Deryn had ever heard. Not even from the few people she knew who smoked.
The figured approached them, and as he did Deryn could make out the bars of a Captain on his collar. The Lieutenant snapped a salute quickly.
"Apologies, sir!" He called. "Hard to tell nationality in this dust!"
"Understandable. I'm just glad too someone taking this seriously." The Captain said, coming closer. As he did, Deryn noticed how different his uniform looked than the Lieutenant's. It was darker green, and obviously had never encountered the mud of the field.
"What's your destination, Lieutenant?" The Captain asked.
"We've got a wounded man, sir." The Lieutenant explained. "Took a hit on the lines, got torn up pretty bad. He's stable, but we need to get him to a field hospital. We're heading for the extraction point to get picked up with the first recovered group."
"You're wounded too, sir." The medic noted quickly. "Or have you forgotten you're leg?"
"Just a scratch. Annoying but I'll live." The Lieutenant brushed off the medic's note.
The Captain nodded grimly.
"You're going the right way. Another two hundred meters or so and you'll be there. Keep moving, my unit is moving up to help drive these oil-drinking bastards off. You've done you're part; get the hell out of here."
"Yes sir!" The Lieutenant shouted, snapping another salute. The Captain returned it, then turned, drew his rifle, and hurried down the same path that the group had just gone up.
The medic followed him with his eyes as he moved.
"Sir, what that...Captain Squires?" He asked in wonder. "THE Captain Squires? What the hell is he doing here?"
"His job." The Lieutenant said. He took off again, heading once more along the path that they now knew went to their destination.
As the advanced through the trenches the encountered more than just Americans. Other Allied forces began to show up and take root in the trenches and held the line the best they could, but their numbers were thin. Some men were dragging away bodies that blocked the way and began to make a pile of dead.
Alek began to open his eyes a little and saw Deryn's face. "Deryn," he whispered and she quickly looked down. The boy was starting to awake and they were almost at the extraction point where they would be taken to a medical team.
"Shh, don't be daft right now. You need your sleep." She said hoping that the others didn't hear him call her that.
Alek closed his eyes again and then curled closer into her chest. Her muscles were screaming from the burning flame of exhaustion. Yet she pushed forward and fought the pain, the only thought in her mind was Alek and his safety.
"How much further Leifteanant?" She cried.
"Almost there, just a few more minutes and we'll reach it." He shouted. Through the winding turns and twists of the trenches they pushed on, others began to follow in their wounded state as a few men escorted them across the trenches.
Finally, they reached the extraction point.
The men at the E-vac were just medical units. Guarded by massive beasts that acted as a wall to protect the men coming into a large carrier that was being pulled by two Ellatropps, large Elephant type horses, and were plated with metal to deflect any bullets aimed at them. A man grabbed onto Alek and helped him into the carrier and Deryn followed after. The Lieutenant and the medic hopped in along with a few other men inside.
"How's he holding?" Lieutenant asked. The medic switched from his side to Alek's and began to check him over and then looked at Deryn and the Lieutenant Smiling, "He should be fine. We just need to get him out of here."
"That's what's happening now, I'd think." The Lieutenant noted. He glanced over at Deryn, noticing the look of exhaustion on her face.
"Stay strong, lad." He said. "We're almost though this."
"Aye." Deryn replied, mouth dry. She took Alek's hand and patted it. He squeezed it, then let it go, shifting slightly in his rest.
There was a rumble that Deryn more felt than heard, and the carrier began to move.
"Thank God." The medic said, taking off his helmet and muttering a quick prayer. "We're moving. We're finally going to get out of-"
The noise of the carrier moving was suddenly drowned out by the roar of artillery pieces, which were loud enough to rattle Deryn's lungs and guts.
"Barking spiders, the Clanker's opened up again!" She howled.
"Those aren't Clanker guns," The Lieutenant noted. "Wrong firing sound. Those are American bored guns. Close, too. What the hell are they firing at..."
As if in answer, the carrier jolted badly, nearly throwing Deryn from her seat and knocking the medic to his knees. The back of the carrier popped open for a long moment, long enough for Deryn to get a good look at the fight she was leaving behind and the medic's helmet to go sliding out the back.
Illuminated in the flash of innumerable guns was a mass of bodies, a chaotic, whirling maelstrom of combat that Deryn took a moment to process and rationalize as Allied and Clanker troops meeting in hand-to-hand combat. Something flew into the Clanker lines and exploded, throwing bodies like dolls in every direction.
"Blisters." Deryn muttered. The Lieutenant made a grunt.
"I should be there..." He muttered. "I should be fighting these bastards."
"Not with you're leg." The medic warned. "And if you dare and go back, I WILL shoot your other leg and haul you back."
"Whatever happened to "do no harm?" The Lieutenant asked quietly. The medic shrugged.
"You showed me how pointless that idea is in this war when you shot that Clanker." He replied. "Mercy and weakness have no place here."
The Lieutenant didn't say anything, but he grinned broadly.
"Smart lad." He noted.
10 minutes into the hour of a ride back to the medical dome, there was a sudden stop that knocked Deryn off her seat and a few other men that were wounded.
"What the hell stopped us?" the Lieutenant grumbled
The medic poked his head out of the back to see what had stopped them in their tracks.
"What'dya see son?"
"Well, we stopped for sure. But why I don't know yet." The medic said in a cocky voice. Then he jumped out and walked around to the front and saw something that made his legs shake.
There, before the carrier, was one of the Reapers that were deployed into the war. It's body was covered in cuts bullet wounds, part of his body seemed to have been burned from an explosion. Blood soaked and stained his fur and it dripped form his open mouth. Deryn wondered what was taking so long and then she took a deep breath and nodded to the Lt that she was going as well.
"Dylan, tell them to hurry up, these men aren't lookin so good."
"Aye, I see what I can do." With a thud, she dropped from the back and regained her balance and walked over to the front. Catching up with the medic, she froze along side him in the horror of what she saw.
"Mother of god
" the medic whimpered. The beast was obviously pushing past its limits and yet fought on. But why did it stop the carrier?
Deryn took a step forward and then the monstrous creature flinched gritting its large fangs at the movement and then relaxed walking towards them.
Gasping for air, the medic tugged onto Deryn's arm, "We need to move
" he stuttered. But Deryn didn't move. She stood firm and then took another step to the Reaper and noticed that there was something on its back. Giving it a hard stare, she saw that it was another man that was clenched and wrapped within the hair on its back. The Reaper had saved a soldier and brought him to us!
"We have a man over here!" Deryn hollered. The medic rushed over in confusion and then saw that it was a familiar face. "Sergeant!" the man called and the pulled the limp body off the beasts back and then carried him away. Deryn watched as the Medic took the man away and then she turned back to the Reaper. Gazing deeply into its eyes, she noticed that it was the same as before, its eyes faded from silver to a faded blue and from there it became alittle darker and then the beast howled and ran back into the war leaving her standing before the Ellatropps. In shock, she stumbled over to the back of the carrier and jumped in and sat down by Alek's side and smiled slightly.
"What was that..." Alek mumbled. "I heard howling...are there wolves here?"
"Sshhh. No. Just a beastie." Deryn brushed a strip of hair out of Alek's eyes. The medic returned, carrying the soldier that he'd pulled from the Reaper's back, the Sergeant he seemed to know.
"Sir, I'm gonna need you to move you're friend," He said kindly to Deryn. "I think he can handle being moved, and the Sarge here needs to lie down, or he's going to die."
"Aye. Hold on!" Deryn reached down and picked Alek up, hauling him up slightly. Alek groaned, but didn't complain, and even helped her move him. The medic nodded and lay the Sergeant down, the soldier groaning and coughing a he did.
The Lieutenant, who until now had been quiet, finally spoke up.
"Sergeant Harkness. How do you feel?"
"Like I got blown up and rode a fab for a couple miles. Sir." Harkness replied with a groan. "I think a couple of my ribs are broken, and I can't feel my right leg..."
"He's in bad shape, but I don't think he'll die now that he's horizontal. No more pressure on his organs and spine." The medic said. "I hope you don't' mind, but I think he'll have to take priority over you're friend here when we get to the hospital."
He directed the comment at Deryn, who nodded. She could see he was right; Alek was getting stronger by the minute, looking less like he was going to die in her arms and more like he'd just taken a bad walker spill.
Harkness, however, looked like he was holding onto life with his bare hands.
"Aye, no worries. I'll keep him company, eh?"
Deryn grinned, a strange sense of relief filling her. Maybe it was because they were so close to where they needed to be. Or maybe it was adrenaline from the fight, or the fact that Alek was going to live. She didn't know. Harkness groaned, then turned.
"Wait...that's...the hell, that bastard's a CLANKER!" he shouted, apparently noticing Alek for the first time.
The Lieutenant reached for the handle of his gun as the other men in the back whispered and watched him shock. "Boy, do you mind telling me why there's a Clanker in our ranks?"
"Aye, he IS a Clanker, but he's on our side. He despises the war and that's why he's with us to help stop it. Please, you must understand." Deryn explained strongly. The Lt held the grip of his pistol and then relaxed crossing his arms and then leaning back into the seat. "You'll have to brief me on this when we get there."
Deryn nodded and then wrapped her arms around Alek in fear of what they'll do to them. Harkness was grumbling to himself about Alek being there and turned his head cursing at him, "What the hell is he even doing on our side, we should just kill him NOW!" he shouted then gritted his teeth in pain from yelling.
"Easy, easy now. We're all friends on here. Right now you need to relax and calm done, with you yelling like that it could hurt you more than you already are." the Medic said calmly. Finally he turned to Deryn, "Why is he on our side anyway?" Deryn smiled a looked down at the man, "Because he's fighting for what we're all fighting for. Even though he's a Clanker, he's fighting to end this god forsaken war and live in peace with the rest of the world."
"Sounds like a load of hippie clart," Harkness said. Then turned his head to the Lieutenant and closed his eyes.
Deryn paid no attention to the man, then placed her head on Alek's at closed her eyes too and held him close. The ride there was going to take a while, might as well rest up until we get there.
For a while, the ride was uneventful. Alek and Deryn drifted in and out of fitful sleep, being shaken from it occasionally by bumps in the road or the loud groan or cry of a wounded man shifting, or the occasional sigh as one in particular pain was given an injection of fabricated morphine.
Deryn glanced over at the Lieutenant, who hadn't gone to sleep the whole ride. His eyes were focused on either Harkness, who was looking paler as time went on, the medic, who was doing his best to keep Harkness in one piece, or Alek, who Deryn guessed the Lieutenant blamed for everything that was happening around him and to his men. He made no move against them, just watched with cold eyes.
"Its not his fault," Deryn said quietly to the Lieutenant. "He's not your enemy any more."
"Maybe." The officer replied, crossing his arms and grimacing as another bump shook his own wounded leg. "But the fact that we're getting nailed to the wall out there makes a lot more sense if we figure in that the Clankers had a man on the inside."
"Alek's not a barking spy!" Deryn cried indignantly, her voice slipping as she said it. She hoped the Lieutenant didn't notice.
He didn't. But the medic did.
"The hell was that?" He asked, glancing up from a Private he was checking over. With his own patients stabilized, he'd moved on to help his fellow medicine men in treating the other wounded.
"What?" Lieutenant asked, glancing down. "Tell me it's not something with Harkness."
"No, he's fine. Its...I swore I heard a girl, for a moment."
The medic paused, then shook his head. "I'm hearing things. Big surprise, how much stress I've been under. Permission to take a really long nap when we get to the hospital, sir?"
"Granted without hesitation." The Lieutenant replied. "In fact, I order you to take a shower and then get some sleep. Anyone gets in your way, shove them out."
"Yes sir." The medic smiled gladly and went back to work. The Lieutenant glanced over at Deryn, suspicion now pointed at her as well.
"You're an odd pair, aren't you." He noted quietly.
"Splicing limey slag..." Harkness muttered from the floor.
Deryn's body tensed up as the suspicion of the men around her rose and an uncomfortable feeling crept around her. Alek grabbed her hand and whispered into her ear, "Don't be afraid, I'm right here beside you." cough. Deryn squeezed his hand and closed her eyes tilting her head down nodding.
"What are you two talking about? Huh? What, you spillin the beans to him about your plan to kill us all?!" The sergeant shouted on the floor of the carrier. The other men watched in surprise of the yelling.
"What are you talking about ye daftie? We're not talking about anything, he just asked for some water. Calm yourself!" Deryn said with frustration.
"NO! I saw you two whispering and you're planning something, I know it!"
"Leifteanant, please, can you calm him down. He's just going to hurt himself more if he keeps yelling like that!" Deryn asked. The Lieutenant reached a hand down to the man and gave him a hard stare before the sergeant finally gave in and dropped his head to the floor of the carrier.
Finally, they reached their destination that they all have been waiting for. Once the carrier stopped a group of men ran out with even more strange fabricated beasts. There beasts where like Apes, about Deryn's height and muscular, they didn't hunch over like most primates did. These walked upright and wore the same outfits and masks. They're legs were straightened, but still had a type of curve to them and they were thinner. Deryn helped Alek out and there wasn't a man, but the Ape picking up his limp body and like a baby it carried Alek away with Deryn not to far behind it. The Medic helped the Lieutenant out and then went about treating the rest of the men that were there. The Lieutenant saw the two off in the distance and he tried to walk on his own, but another Ape, this one seems smaller, like child, and what helping him keep his balance.
"Much thanks little one." the Lieutenant said and in reply he got a clumsy yet joyful smile from the beast. Then they slowly walked into the Large tent and made their was to what they're calling rooms. Which was just a bunch of curtains in boxes making rooms.
Time passed both slowly and rapidly for Deryn, who had become lost in a world of white and steel and alcohol-smelling things. She sat in a chair that one of the orderlies had dragged out of a corner for her, waiting for something to do or some word on Alek's condition. He was going to live, of course, that's what she'd last heard. But that had been hours ago, and she was starting to feel slightly worried.
"You alright there?" A voice asked quietly. Deryn jumped and looked back over her shoulder to find the Lieutenant standing by her. His leg was wrapped in some kind of beastie, a gelatinous blob like an octopus that kept it in place. Deryn shivered, remembering her own experience with the compress on her leg months back.
"I'm...alright, I think." She replied. "Just shaken."
"Not use to battle, then. Good. Leave the fighting to old men like me." The Lieutenant chuckled, which turned into a cough.
"It's not the fighting..." Deryn muttered. The officer's laugh died away.
"Walk with me." He said quietly. Deryn, lacking anything better to do, stood and followed him. The Lieutenant hobbled out of the tent, the compress on his leg making it unable to bend. Deryn slowed to keep pace with him, something the officer pretended not to notice.
They reached a small hill just outside the hospital, and the Lieutenant stood on it, looking out at the sunset. Or was it sunrise? Deryn couldn't remember.
The officer sighed and put his hands behind his back.
"What's you're name, soldier? And don't lie to me. I know about you're gender."
Deryn opened her mouth, then shut it again, then took a deep breath and answered "Sharp, sir. Deryn Sharp."
"Huhn." The Lieutenant grumbled. It wasn't a bad grumble, but the one of a person who had finally managed to nail down one solid thing about the crazy world around them. "And that boy you were with...he's actually a Clanker?"
"Aye. But he's not-"
"He's not an enemy, I know." The Lieutenant nodded. "Only Sergeant Harkness thought that. Poor man's been through hell. We all have. Aside from me, Harkness, and Medic Richards, our whole unit died out there."
He sighed. "I wanted to thank you, Sharp. You and you're Clanker boy. If you hadn't called me over, I would have died out there too."
He turned, then stuck his hand out. "You're a damn good fighter. Good head on your shoulders. Especially for a woman. When we're done here, can you do something for me?"
"A-aye. Depends on what it is." Deryn replied slowly. The Lieutenant smiled again.
"Get the hell out of here and live your life. Take your boyfriend-no, don't look surprised, I figured you loved him the moment I saw you over his body- and get to safety."
"I...I can do that." Deryn nodded, feeling suddenly numb. "What about you? Are you going to leave too?"
"I don't think I can. I'm a soldier, Sharp. This is what I do." He smiled sadly and looked out towards where they had come from, where the sunrise (Deryn could see it was coming up, not going down) was being mixed with the light of artillery fire again.
"They'll let me heal up, then send me back out. And if I'm lucky enough to make it through that fight, they'll send me back out again."
There was no pity for himself in his voice, no resignation. Just the tones of a man who had orders he knew needed to be done, and was willing to do them. No matter what the cost.
Deryn's breath hitched as she realized something.
"What if you didn't have to fight any more?" She said. "I work for the Royal Zoological Society, maybe I could-"
"Get me into a desk job? You can try.." The Lieutenant turned and began walking back towards the tent. "Doubt it will happen though."
"I'll still try." Deryn said, putting some force behind her words. "I owe you, I guess. For saving me and Alek."
The Lieutenant stopped and glanced at her.
"You don't owe me anything. I'd do the same thing for anyone." He said. But there was a glint in his eye, one that said he didn't really believe entirely what he'd said earlier. "But, if you want to go ahead-"
"I will go ahead," Deryn said. "And you WILL get off the front lines."
She stopped, realizing something. "I never heard your name." She said finally. "Just you're rank."
The Lieutenant laughed. "No, no you didn't."
He stuck out his hand for her to shake. "Just call me...Christopher."
"Aye. Well, Lieutenant Christopher, it's been an honor to serve beside you, and I'll see you at the RZS very soon." Deryn took Christopher's hand and shook it firmly.
"The honor is all mine, Miss Sharp." Christopher nodded, then gave Deryn a quick salute and moved off to go check on the two other survivors from his unit.
Deryn watched him go, memorizing his features. She was going to make good on her promise, she said to herself. Lieutenant Christopher was going to come off the front lines if it was the last thing she did. He was going to be coming home.
With that, she turned and headed back for the tent to check on Alek. Who at the time was asleep when she returned, but that didn't stop her from sitting by his side, holding his hand until he would wake up and the two would go home to see everyone. Including the last 3 survivors of the 131st USMC battalion.