Star Brink: The Crash

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Jack yawned as he rolled over in the cot, tapping his fingers against the metal sides and humming loudly. He had no idea what time it was as the medical room didn’t have any clock or way to tell time and being in space there was hardly any natural light. That made it difficult for him to determined how many days he had been lying in the medical cot unless he asked the occasional medical personnel that came by, and they were infrequent. Being the only one in them room at that moment he was left to produce ways to pass the time and remain seated. Though the pain he had been feeling since the PDF and Xulon attack was nearly gone he had to remain on the cot with thinking and counting ceiling tiles to pass the time.

It had been two days, by Jack’s guess, since he first woke up aboard the Zordon carrier and very little had happened since then. He had the occasional visits from Fara, Felicity, and Amanda, as well as frequent visits from medical personnel. Other than that, the only event was being moved to a recovery room where he was to remain till the doctors declared him fit to leave. Other than those events Jack had spent the last few days in a room with nothing to pass the time. He couldn’t even move from the bed and as a result he could feel his legs starting to go numb and his rear was becoming sore from lying down and sitting up all day. His boredom had gotten to the point he was cherishing any visitor, even the medical staff, to break his boredom.

“Just like my first couple of stations when I first enlisted.” Jack muttered as he looked up at the ceiling, counting the tiles for what seemed like the hundredth time. “You’d think the Zordons would produce ways to past time, but these rooms don’t even have a TV or any gaming console. Heck, I’d settle for an analog radio at this point.”

Just as Jack finished speaking, he suddenly heard the medial room door slide open and his tiredness and boredom almost immediately left him. Though he was still feeling some minor pain in his back he quickly sat up as he was excited over the thought of finally having some company. He didn’t care who it was as long as it broke his boredom of just lying-in bed. As much as he had hated being around humans, given he was usually a very introverted person, after everything he had experienced being around others broke the monotony, he was currently enduring. Granted, the Zordons he had been associating with were not humans, which explained why he was able to get along with them so well.

Jack was certain of who was coming to visit before he even turned to see who it was. The tapping of a cane on the metal floor confirmed it, bringing a smile to his face, though he quickly hid it. He didn’t need to turn and look to confirm it, but he did, anyway, seeing Fara strut and limp. It surprised him to see her smiling, having rarely seen her genuinely smile since he first met her. Being safe and amongst her people no doubt was the cause of it, and he was quite glad to be able to see her smiling and looking happy. If he weren’t restrained to bed, and fear of getting a claw to his head, he would have tried to hug her. Instead, he sat there and smiled at her as she entered and fumbled with the door.

“Hey Fara, how are you doing?” Jack stated sarcastically with as straight a face as he could muster as Fara shut the door and walked towards him.

Fara spun around and glared at Jack but for once there was no anger in her. “Meh, well enough to be hobbling around, reconnect with family and friends, and be annoyed by the kids.”

Jack softly chuckled. “Ah, so there is still some normalcy.” His chuckling stopped when Fara glared at him and limped over to him. “At least you’re smiling.”

“All thanks to you.” Fara stated as she made it to the chair. “To bad you are still confined to that bed.”

“Only for a couple more days than I’ll be up and ready to move . . . within the boundaries set by your father.” Jack quickly replied. “But I’m not complaining as it makes sense, for the time being at least.”

“True, we do not want an incident, so father is just taking precautions.” Fara shrugged as she rested her hands on the chair and slowly sat down, letting out a pained groan in the process. “Galaxy it, the pain still has not gone away.”

“I see, but at least you seem to be limping around better.” Jack stated with a smirk.

“Yeah, yeah, laugh it up big guy.” Fara groaned as she managed to sit down. “At least we will be healed quickly.” Fara turned to Jack. “But for now, you got time to think, which could be bad, especially in your case.”

“Oh, ha ha, very funny.” Jack chuckled.

“I am just speaking the truth, Jack.” Fara playfully retorted as they both laughed. “So, what you spending your alone time doing?”

“Just reminiscing of the old days when I was serving in the military.” Jack replied with a sarcastic smile. “It’s an old joke that ninety-nine percent of the time is spent trying to find something to do while one percent is spent in action.” Jack chuckled. “Too bad it was true in my case.”

“Huh, that pretty much sums of my combat experience too.” Fara replied with another smirk. “It is especially bad for us pilots.”

Jack shrugged. “True, though that changed quite a bit during the Iranian War I still spent a lot of time on the base either wasting time or getting ready for the next mission. That led to me getting into a lot of trouble.”

Fara grinned deviously. “Are we talking pranks, being lazy . . . messing with commanding officers?”

“All of the above . . . and then some.” Jack replied, giving Fara back a similar smile. “Maybe I’ll tell you someday, though I’m afraid to as I don’t want to give you any ideas.”

“No need to worry, I am a squadron commander, I will not be pulling pranks on anyone.” Fara stated as she gave Jack a wink. “Unless you count my father and step-mother.”

“Uh, with your father being the Fleet Admiral that may not be the best idea.”

“Meh, he usually does not care as long as I do not embarrass him.” Fara grinned. “My step-mother . . . well, I do not give a crap, as you humans call it.”

Jack gave a Fara a nervous look after how easily she was willing to mess with her stepmother. “Okay, you do you and please leave me out of it.”

“I usually do.” Fara confidently stated as she leaned back in her chair.

Fara shook her head as she leaned back into the chair only to let out a loud groan. It caught Jack off guard a little as it sounded more like a discomfort groan then a pained one. He turned his head in her direction slightly confused to see that she really did seem to be uncomfortable. It took him a moment to realize why as she slowly sat back up. The chair she was seated in was little more than metal with a cushion in the seat that didn’t appear to provide any comfort. Compared to what she had been seated in while living with him the chair she currently sat in no wonder she was letting out uncomfortable groans.

“This makes me really wish we had recliners.” Fara mumbled. “It is the one advancement where we are behind with compared to you humans.”

“Ah, I noticed that to, comfort doesn’t seem to be something your people are concerned about.”

“It definitely seems that way compared to how you live. We got very little actual comfort as we have been more focused on our fight with the Xulons.”

“Hm, it makes sense but still sounds annoying. Please tell me your beds are at least comfortable, or better then what I’m stuck on.”

“Oh definitely, our beds are one of the few areas where we focused on comfort. We recognized the importance of a good sleep, especially when it comes to combat.”

“Ah, then I cannot wait to get out of here and onto a real bed.” Jack sighed loudly. “Only a couple more days.”

“Indeed, and we already got quarters for you and Amanda, which is right next to mine.”

“Hm, I figured that was the case, might as well since you’re the only Zordons I know.” Jack leaned back and chuckled. “So, how are the kids doing? I’m assuming they’re still causing problems.”

Fara glared daggers at Jack. “Is there anything else they could be doing?”

“Ah, good point.” Jack chuckled. “I hope you have someone really attentive looking after them.”

“Oh, I certainly do so they will be fine. Right, they are asleep, so we have nothing to worry about.”

“Till they wake up, then chaos will resume.”

“Certainly, so right now we are enjoying the peace.” Fara replied as she sat back, letting out an uncomfortable moan. “Unfortunately, we do have a slight problem.”

“Oh, we have ANOTHER problem.” Jack tilted his head with a sarcastic and curious expression. “What are the kids complaining about?”

Fara playfully growled at Jack in a teasing manner. “It is about Hunter; they are concerned about him.”

Jack couldn’t resist chuckling. “I guess I shouldn’t be surprised given how much they played with him.”

“And how he would usually sleep in the bed with them.” Fara added with a smirk. “Felicity and Amanda have been asking nonstop about him and I think it would calm them down if they at least knew he was safe.” Fara gave Jack a semi-serious look. “Since Hunter was with you, at least as far as I can recall, when the PDF arrived you should at least have an idea.”

Jack couldn’t resist smirking as he recalled the events of the PDF incident. Though he hadn’t thought much of Hunter he certainly had an answer. There hadn’t been much of a reason for him to think of Hunter since he was certain of his current condition. Since he told Hunter to hide in the woods just before the PDF arrived there was no doubt in his mind. He didn’t have a hundred percent certainty since he hadn’t seen Hunter since the incident but knowing how effective the wolfdog was at following orders Hunter was mostly likely simply fine, if not a little bored.

“Yeah, I can give a general answer to that.” Jack said as he shifted positions. “I can assure you Hunter is fine. If anything, he’s waiting for us to pick him up.”

“Hm, that is a big relief and will hopefully silence the kids.” Fara gave Jack a warm smile. “Not to question you but are you certain Hunter’s fine? I am sure you we are telling the truth, but I just want to make certain.”

“Yeah, I had him run into the woods to avoid putting him in danger. So, unless something happened while he was unconscious the woods were untouched during the firefight, I’m sure Hunter’s perfectly safe.”

“You told Hunter to hide in the woods?” Fara blurted out.

“Yep, he knows those woods well so there is nothing to worry about.”

Fara sighed loudly. “Well, the woods were the only place that was untouched during the whole thing so if what you said is true then I can see him being alive.”

“Too bad Felicity and Amanda are probably going to bug ya nonstop once you tell them.”

Jack chuckled as he leaned back in his hospital bed. “Well then, we will have to go back and get him.”

“Certainly, maybe then the girls will finally shut up about it.” Fara loudly sighed. “But certainly not immediately.”

Jack looked at Fara a little confused. “Really, how so?”

“Uh, how do you think the girls are going to respond when I tell them your response?”

“That is a good point.” Jack let out a quick laugh. “Guarantee they’ll be boundless balls of energy the instant you tell them?”

“Jack, they are already endless energy.” Fara replied only for a quick gasp to escape her muzzle. “Wait . . . what do you mean when I tell them?”

“Of course, it’ll be you as you see them more than I do . . . for the time being at least. They are staying in your quarters after all, and you’ll see them when you leave.”

“Oh, Galaxy no!” Fara nearly shouted as she sat up. “You are going to be right beside me when WE tell them. There is NO arguing over that.”

Jack smirked as her reaction was exactly what he expected, given her demanding nature. “Okay, I know better than to argue with you. Heck, you definitely wouldn’t hesitate to hit a man while he’s bedridden.”

“Without a second’s hesitation.” Fara answered, gripped her cane to prove her point. “It will take both of us to calm them down when we tell them. AND that is only part of the problem anyway.”

Jack lowered his head and thought for a moment before responding. “Let me guess, the girls are going to be begging us nonstop to go get him once we tell them?”

“Exactly, and that is going to be really difficult to deal with . . . especially the way things are right now.”

“Really, how is that?”

Fara sighed once again as she leaned back. “Everything is on high alert right now, particularly since we do not know where the Xulons are or what they plan on doing. All we know for certain is they want to invade Earth . . . again.”

“Again, how many times have they attempted to invade Earth?”

“Four times since this fleet started protecting the Solar System over three centuries ago . . . by your standards of time.”

Jack’s jaw dropped. “Dang, you’d think they would have learned their lesson by now.”

“Yeah, but they are really determined to have Earth . . . for some reason.”

“Huh, all this time fighting them, and you still don’t know?” Jack asked, a bit shocked.

“No, that has never been clear, even to this day.” Fara answered as she shrugged. “So, that makes it difficult to get Hunter, unfortunately.”

“Ah, I understand, certainly does present us with a problem.” Jack added as he tapped the edge of the bed. “We can’t end either their questioning, or their excitement once we tell them, any time soon.” Jack gave Fara a serious look. “So, what are we going to do?”

Before Fara could answer the door swung open, getting both of their attentions. Jack quickly sat up, wondering who it could possibly be, thinking it was the doctors or nurses at first. Fara thought the same as she turned to glance but that immediately changed when they saw who it was. Entering the room was Fleet Admiral Aslan Quarter dressed in his uniform along with two security personnel. His presence caught both of them off guard though neither moved much. Given their injuries and current condition, neither Jack or Fara were in any state to do much beyond sit up and give him their full attention. The two security personnel stopped at the entrance and remained there as Aslan entered and stepped towards Jack; no one saying a word and the room fell strangely silent with the only sound being his boots on the floor.

“Mr. Grieves, you seem to be doing alright.” Aslan stated that gave off a genuine tone as he approached Jack’s bed, stopping beside Fara who remained seated.

“It certainly feels like I am . . .uh, Fleet Admiral.” Jack replied as stoically as he could, while glancing at Fara who seemed just as surprised as he was at Aslan’s presence. “Sorry, I am still unsure of how to address you. I want to be polite and professional.”

“I understand bur it is unnecessary.” Aslan chuckled with an amused grin. “You are not part of the Zordon military so addressing me as Fleet Admiral is not something you need to worry about. Considering what you have done for my family you can be casual with me . . . so either Aslan or Mr. Quatar works.”

“Okay, if you say so.” Jack nervous replied, unsure if he should take the risk or not, quickly glancing at Fara who gave him a reassuring nod. “That will take some adjusting.”

“Nothing I am sure you are not used to. Just do not address me that way in public, it would not end well.”

“True, that would get you some negative attention to say the least, Jack.” Fara added. “Considering how professional we are addressing my father by anything other than Fleet Admiral would probably result in any Zordon within hearing range to try and skin you.”

“Point taken.” Jack let out a nervous chuckle. “Thankfully, I am confined to a limited area so that should not be an issue.”

“For the time being at least.” Aslan stated. “Though how things are going right now with the Xulon’s being an inevitable threat that could change.” Aslan sighed loudly as he focused solely on Jack. “But that is not your concern right now, getting better and taken care of your daughter should be.”

Fara shook her head. “Why are you always so direct?”

“That is required to be a commander, you should know that being a squadron commander.” Aslan sternly replied but his expression quickly changed to sarcastic. “And you inherited it from me, so you are kind of screwed.”

“Uh, I kind of got to agree with your father on that one Fara.” Jack added, immediately regretting his words as Fara turned and glared daggers at him.

“You are lucky to be bedridden Jack, or I would take my cane and shove it where the sun does not shine.” Fara growled.

Aslan seemed to restrain himself from laughing as Jack scooted back. “That she definitely gets from her mother.”

“One thing I am VERY glad to have gotten from her.” Fara exclaimed as she spun around to face Aslan. “And before I start reenacting her rage, please explain what it is you are doing here?”

What happened next took Jack completely off guard. Aslan simply shrugged as if Fara’s outburst had no effect on him, something he didn’t think was possible. Given how potent Fara’s rage could be he was surprised there was a single person that could stand up to her. Somehow Aslan was not only able to but to just shrug it off as if it were nothing. Considering how they spoke of Fara’s mother Jack had to assume she was just as bad as Fara, if not worse. That explained to him how Aslan was able to stand against Fara’s outburst, he was probably used to it having been on the receiving end of their outburst’s countless times. Jack made a mental note to speak to Aslan later for tips, assuming they made it out of the room in one piece.

Aslan gave Fara a warm smile as he looked back and forth between her and Jack. “Well, I came to check up and Jack and to see where he was on the question, I gave him previously.”

Fara titled her head Ina confused manner that to Jack was adorable. “What question is that?”

“Simple, to see what he wanted as a reward.” Aslan casually answered before turning to Jack. “So, Jack, I’ve been meaning to give you a reward for saving my daughter and granddaughter. I owe you for that and it would not be right if I did not repay you.”

Jack was a bit taken back by Aslan’s answer but still managed to respond. “Uh, I have been hesitant to suggest anything since it didn’t feel appropriate.”

Aslan gave Jack a blank expression. “You are joking right? You almost died to keep my daughter and granddaughter safe when you did not have to. You could have just walked away or simply turned them into the PDF, but you did not. Instead, you risked your life, and everything you had, and lost all of it, except for your daughter, in the process.” Aslan starred at Jack sternly. “I would definitely say that earns you the right to a reward.”

Jack opened his mouth to speak but Fara sternly interrupted him. “Just agree with its Jack and accept what my father gives you. Do not of it as a reward but as an opportunity, which is something you REALLY need right now.”

Jack chuckled and rolled his eyes, for once glad Fara was the stern voice of reason. “Alright, just give me a moment.”

Jack lowered his head and started contemplating his options. He had nothing but time to think since he first woke up, beyond the frequent visits from Fara, Felicity, Amanda, and the medical staff. Most of the time he had to himself had been contemplating over his future, which didn’t have many options when he considered recent events. Since the PDF knew about his involvement with the Zordons, no doubt Alex had filled them in before coming to arrest him, that meant returning to earth was a monumental risk. They would search for him till the end of time, particularly since they certainly knew he was with the Zordons. They would want all the information he had on them since he was the first known human to be on one of them ships. On top of that they would try to use Amanda to get to him and that was something he was not willing to risk. Combine all that and it was a certainty returning to Earth was simply not worth the risk. To Jack, that left remaining among the Zordons his and Amanda’s only safe option. But that had some risks too as the Zordons would probably not accept them given they were currently outsiders. He was sure there was an option that would satisfy everyone but believed it wouldn’t be an easy one. Whatever happened, he was certain things were only going to get complicated for everyone, but the way he saw it there was no other option.

“Hm, I got an answer, though I’m not sure if it can be fulfilled.” Jack gave Aslan a serious look and spoke confidently. “Admiral Quatar, I’d like to join the Zordon military.”

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