Day 1: "But now this room is spinning while I'm trying just to fill in all the gaps."/"How many fingers am I holding up?"

Characters: John, Scott, Francois Lemaire, Madeline Lemaire

Warnings: Medical treatment, bound & gagged

It was a statistical anomaly, John had been heard to remark, that while he lived in space Alan had more space time under his belt than he did.

Hell, even Scott - who'd been perfectly clear growing up that he'd 'leave space to the space-case' - had more space missions under his belt, what with Mars, Halley's Comet, the Calypso and the moon.

John wasn't normally the jealous type…but this was turning out to be no normal mission and his lack of practice at the 'out in space' side of iR was seriously annoying him. Although, if he was being completely honest, his jealousy was more because the two most experienced space men had the easy rescues.

Unlike the man he was currently trying to rescue.

Trying was the word. The idiot - oblivious to the dangers of space to both himself, his wife and his rescuers - was fighting John's every suggestion.

'But why can't you…'

'Mr Lemaire, it doesn't work like that in real life.'


'No. I'm sorry, but we cannot take a side trip for you.'


'No. It is not happening. You and I are returning to Three where Alan and Scott will take you and your wife back to Earth.'


'I beg your pardon?'

'I said no. I have come here for a glorious and I will fulfil that purpose!'

With that Lemaire pushed against John and off him. John, caught unprepared, didn't manage to keep hold of the man. He made to go after him but he couldn't. Instead, John found himself flying at Three. At speed.

With EOS screaming in his ear overlaid with both Alan and Scott's voices there wasn't even time for John to close his eyes before he rag-dolled off Three's hull and knew no more.

Scott in a rage was a sight to behold. As Alan saw to Madeline he watched from the corner of his eye as Scott had first been out to grab John, brought him back and laid him on a cot and, once he was sure John was safe, left for Lemaire.

Currently the Frenchman was sitting on one of the jump seats and handcuffed him to the wall. Scott, in what could only be described as a fit of self-preservation – Lemaire's preservation – had gagged the man.

Didn't stop him from making noise, though.

Once he'd secured Lemaire Scott went straight to John's bedside. Alan could hear Virgil and Grandma murmuring instructions to him as he finished bandaging Madeline's leg. Fortunately her injuries were minor – a broken arm and plenty of lacerations and contusions – and as soon as Alan finished she'd hopped off the bed and came to John's bedside with him. At Scott's start she laid a hand on his forearm.

'I am a qualified nurse, Mr Tracy. Please, let me help. It is the least I can do.'

She ignored her husband's muffled outrage.

It wasn't until Scott stood back that Alan realised his eldest brother's hands were shaking ever so slightly. Alan frowned. Scott was a seasoned rescuer, he could handle anything. And then realisation hit him and Alan found he was shaking too.

Seeing John flying directly at Three had been a shock. The thud of his impact sounded both over the comms and echoed in the infirmary. Yeah, no wonder they were shaking.

Madeline smiled softly and got to work. With a nod to Scott Alan stepped up beside her and with a word to EOS the comms came over the infirmary and both brothers removed their helmets.

Scott ground his teeth and clenched his fists before drawing a breath and centring himself. He strode over and gently nudged Alan aside. Alan looked at his brother and Scott smiled.

'Take us home, Al.'

'FAB, Scott.'

For a moment all that could be heard was Grandma, Virgil and Madeline talking medicalese. Alan paused at the door to watch them for a moment before heading up to take control of Three. EOS had already started the ship homewards, but he knew Scott's request was born from the need for speed. Only Alan could fly Three at her fastest and still keep them safe.

The exosuit was both John's saving grace and the cause of everything.

Lemaire had inadvertently hit the exosuit in such a way it had set off the directional rockets, and his kicking off the shoulder had jammed them open, propelling John at speed into Three's hull. But equally the exosuit bore the brunt of the hit – with the sudden spurt of speed John's head had been thrown back so that his chest – and the exosuit – had hit Three first rather than his head.

But the resultant whiplash had done the damage and knocked John out cold, and while his head had been protected his arms and legs had not, and his reflex had kicked in meaning that he'd had both arms outstretched when he had cannoned into Three. Both arms were broken, the left one a compound fracture that was only contained by the engineering of his suit. The right was fractured but the skin had remained intact. His left leg was likewise broken but not his right.

Scott and Madeline worked together stabilising John from least injured, cutting his suit at the leg and placing an air cast tightly around it. They did the same for John's right arm as Alan's voice came over the comms telling them to hold tight as they re-entered Earth's atmosphere.

Both were seasoned space travellers and all they did was take wider stances and soften their knees and carried on. With how badly his left arm was they left it sealed in his uniform and then turned their attention to John's chest.

The chest plate of the suit had left a nasty imprint that would provide lovely colouring for several days if not at least a week, but his ribs were intact. A sigh of relief escaped Scott. Now to look at John's head.

Scans flagged yellow for torn ligaments and tears in the muscle fibres. One of the small discs in his neck had prolapsed slightly and was distorting the nerves and would require extensive physio. Scott swallowed, hopeful that that was all it would need. If John needed surgery for that disc it would mean the end of his life in space. He put the thought aside and grabbed one of Alan's tin-can cutters, carefully cutting John's helmet into three pieces for easy removal.

They were easing a neck brace into place when Alan instructed them to strap in. The change in orientation for landing could be a problem for novices and while the infirmary section was protected during Three's rotation it would still have some impact on their inner ear.

Scott directly Madeline into a seat and strapped her in before returning to John and making doubly sure he was strapped properly.

He was rewarded with cloudy eyes regarding him in confusion. Scott smiled softly.

'You with me, John?'


'Easy. You've got a nasty concussion.'


'We're about to land, Johnny. Once we land Virgil's gonna fly us to the mainland. Ok?'

'K Scott.'

'Good. You can rest in a minute. I just need to do a quick concussion check, ok?'

'Ugh. Room spinning.'

'I know, Johnny. I know.'

'How many fingers am I holding up?'

'Tha-that's not the right check.'

'Good to have you still with us, Johnny.'

'Don't call me Johnny.'