Vale looked down at her captain, stunned into silence. Bruises coated his round face, poking out from underneath his facial hair. Mech rested across his chest and torso. It dented and sparked angrily. He looked pale, the natural aura of fight in him was gone. Tears welled up in her eyes. “He’s alive?” She placed a hand over her mouth. “You stubborn, crazy man,” she sobbed.
Wiping her tears away with her fist, she stared down at him in disbelief. “You are full of surprises.”
She gazed at the mech on his chest. The metal was the same as her arm and Dash’s legs. The designs similar. “Who made this?”
Dash shot her a smile. “You are lookin’ at him.”
Vale took a step back. “Mortem made mine?”
Dash crossed his arms. “Clever one isn’t he. Always making things.”
“But I thought he was The Traveler, Master of Traveling the Earth and Sky.”
Dash snorted. “Yeah, he is. But he’s good at everything. Quite irritating actually. He worked with my dad and the others on a few designs. But he loves learning new things and then getting so good he can rub it in your face. Gets him in a lot of trouble.”
Vale crossed her arms, fascinated to learn how familiar Dash was with her captain. “You never thought he was dead did you?”
Dash gave her a mischievous grin. “And have him prove me wrong? Never.” Dash shoved his hands into his pockets. “He’s always cheating death.”
She stared down at Mortem again, relieved and irritated at Mortem for making her think otherwise. “Good to know.” She took in his battered appearance again.
“How long has he been here?”
Dash stood next to her. “We found him floating in the AI ship debris. Apparently, he was held hostage onboard.”
Vale turned to look at Dash. “They keep hostages?”
Dash stared down at Mortem. “They don’t normally. I think he was a special case.”
Vale’s heart dropped. Hostages. The crew. They could be out there. “I need to go help look. My crew-.” Vale turned to leave but stumbled.
Dash caught her around her waist and steadied her. “Normally I’d love your help out there, but you’ve done enough for today. And not being able to stand on your own doesn’t help.” Before Vale could protest, she was up in his arms again. “One of these days, you are going to have to learn to walk around here by yourself.”
“I’ll keep that in mind,” she said with a scoff. But a grin spread across her face. She couldn’t be mad. Not when Mortem was alive. Not when there was a chance the others were too. Dashed moved them to another room. Sky lay on the operating table, Geo, Ace, and several others shouting as they moved around him.
“We don’t have time for that!”
Geo turned to look at Dash, relief coloring her face. “Doc, he needs a kick start. A jolt of some kind. Any ideas?”
Dash was across the room a moment later. He dropped Vale onto a chair and ran for a toolbox. Yanking it off a shelf he ran back, kneeling in front of Vale. “I need you for one last thing,” he said throwing the toolbox open. “I need you to keep your promise and keep him safe. Save Sky.”