A/n:'Ello all! It's been a looooong time. It's finals week and I now have time to start working on this again. Life has been hectic like crazy….whoa. but…enjoy!

Chapter 9

"What the hell is happening out there, Major?!"

"We were in a bit of a situation, but everything is fine at the moment. Brooks and Dr. Iris were injured but are alive and moving…but sir…we lost Jergin." Gene told the General.

"What do you mean "lost?"

"He's dead, but we can't find his body."

There was a long pause of silence from the general then he said, "Right, well, Major, get back to the ship immediately and we'll assess the situation here, understood?"

"Yes, sir."

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It was night by the time they reached just before the half-way point between the city and the ship. The team assembled camp and built a fire, Lackley checked on Janice and Cassie's wounds.

"How am I doing now, doc?" Cassie asked. Lackley smiled at the "Doc" comment, and then said, "You are looking great. You seem to be a fast healer."

"Only in body though," Cassie replied. Lackley just sighed, and then went to check Janice.

Gene stared at Cassie from across the fire. His eyes were gentle and filled with warmth. She sighed and tried to think of the last time he looked at her like that. They both smiled a half-smile then Gene stood up and made his way over to her. She was suddenly reminded of the first time they met.

He sat down. "Hey."

"Hey."

"H-how's your wound?"

"Fine, I'm a quick healer."

"Good…good. I was really worried about you Cass. I-I heard the gun-shots and feared the worst. I'm really glad that you are alright."

She smiled and said, "Weren't you mad and not talking to me this morning?"

"Heh, I suppose so. Though things change when a crisis appears."

"Yeah, I suppose so. Well I'm going to bed, doctor's orders to get plenty of bed rest, you know."

"Yeah. Sleep well Cass." He said, then kissed her forehead and went to his own tent.

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"Um, Sandra?"

Sandra Anselie looked up from her chemical concoction only to stare at Dr. Stellar's angry green eyes.

"Yes, James?"

"W-where is Cassie?" he pointed around the room as if she would pop up from behind something.

"She's….she's at home, sick. Caught a random cold bug the other day and wasn't well enough to come in."

"Oh. So she called in to you saying she was sick?"

"Uh…yes…why? Did you need her for something?"

"Um, no, not really. It wasn't important."

"Well, I could tell her for you if you'd like…"

He shook his head, "No, no Sandra that wont be necessary. I'll just stop by and talk to her later."

"Uh huh, have a nice day." She said as he left the room.

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James Stellar pulled into a narrow parking space in front of an apartment complex. He sighed. He got out of his car and locked it, then made his way up a flight of stairs to the fourth floor.

He stood outside of room 410 with flowers in his hand. He sighed again and knocked.

After waiting three minutes he tried again. No one seemed to be answering the door. He tried the handle. It was unlocked. He walked in quietly.

"Cassie?" he announced his presence. No answer. He walked around calling her name.

"You left your door unlocked?" Still nothing. He searched the kitchen for something to use as a vase to put the flowers in. He found a tall glass and filled it with water, then placed the flowers inside.

He found a note pad and left a note.

"Cassie, You left your door unlocked so I let myself in, I hope you don't mind too much. I left you flowers in hopes that your cold or illness with subside soon. Lo---My best, James Stellar."

He turned the lock so that the door would lock when he left. It did. He got in his car and drove to his own apartment, and wondered where Cassie was.

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"Ow, Ow, Ow!" Janice said as the doctor on board removed her splint.

"Whoa, Janice this is some nasty break. How'd you get it?"

"Heh, it's a long story, and I don't really remember."

"Uh huh, let me just fix you up some and let you go get some sleep."

She lay back on the table and sighed. "Sleep would be nice."

The doctor pressed on. "But, what really happened out there. The comm.-links were out of commission half the time."

Janice closed her eyes. She couldn't really remember. "I'm not sure really. Cassie, David and I were just browsing an old hotel. Cassie found traces of mercury so we put our helmets on. Then just as the major was checking in this thing just fell out of the ceiling. We had no idea what it was then just started shooting." Her voice quivered and quickened in the excitement. "It made one swift movement with its arm and knocked Cassie against the wall. David and I continued to fire at it and it turned away, not being affected. It grabbed David and ripped him apart, into pieces. Cassie had returned when that happened. She fired as well then it threw her again through the wall and she was knocked out. Then it came after me and threw me through three rooms and I crashed through the floor and passed out. Then I woke up when Veronica snapped my leg back in place and I was on the ground. It doesn't make any sense to me."

The doctor had stopped working while he listened to her story. "Does the Major know this or the general?"

Janice shook her head. "I don't even know if Cassie remembers. You're the only one that knows."

The doctor contemplated her story. "At least talk to Cassie first, then the Major. You should probably tell the general, but he might make you all go back out there to look for it. He's been acting strange lately."

"You've noticed too? This whole mission doesn't make any sense. It's complete suicide."

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Gene entered the cabin that he and Cassie shared.

Cassie jumped when he came in. "God Gene, you scare me every time you come in."

He smirked. "Sorry. I don't mean to."

She pulled off her shirt the best she could, cringing a few times when she twisted.

"Ow." She whispered. Gene got up from his bed to help her.

"Here, let me help." He pulled her shirt gently off of her. Their gazes met as the shirt came off. They blushed a little and looked away smiling.

"Thanks." She said taking her shirt back.

"How are you feeling?" he wondered, staring at her as she laid the shirt on her bed.

"Better, it still stings a lot. I'm going to see the doctor in about an hour for a check up." She smiled. "Stop staring at me like you've seen me naked."

He laughed. "But I have."

She threw her head back and laughed. He rested his arm on the top bunk of his bed and laughed with her.

"Ow. Ow. Gene please don't make me laugh." She tried to say.

"You're the one who's laughing, I haven't done anything…" he snickered.

She sat down on her bed and started to control her giggles. She leaned back gently against the wall. "Oh man. I needed that. Thanks Gene."

He peeked down, looking at her. "My pleasure." He flashed her a smile of grinning teeth.

She chuckled lightly.

He sat down on his bed across from her, never taking his eyes off of her face.

"So, I guess we're okay now? I mean, after our disagreement?"

He sighed and leaned against the wall.

"Yeah, I guess we're good now. I supposed I was just stressed and got emotional. I'm sorry for being so rough."

She looked at him curiously. "So if I didn't get hurt…would you still be mad?"

He hesitated then answered. "Truthfully, I probably would."

She nodded and looked away. "I thought so."

They sat in silence for a while, then she spoke. "I should go to my appointment." She stood up slowly and grabbed a new shirt out of the dresser. Without speaking or looking at each other, she left the room.

She walked down the hallway to the Infirmary. Just as she rounded the corner the ship jolted, sending her flying back into the wall…