ep-i-GAM-ik \ , adjective; Attracting the opposite sex.
Jake had never had any problems with women. Getting them, that is. Keeping them for any real length of time..that was a continuous problem for him. It was one of the great things about Leeza. She was there when he needed her, he was there when she needed him, and that helped make them a great team on their flights. When they got back to base, they could go troll where they wanted, with whoever, and once a job came in, they clicked again..and again..and…
no more. He floated in a recovery tank, hooked up, tagged in, injected and pumped in and out, and Jake was aware most of the time. He was so full of pain suppressors that he floated much more then he as actually floating in the healing fluids. Jake knew one thing, remembered one key thing: Leeza would no longer be his partner, in any way. He didn’t get to keep Leeza anymore.
The Epigamic was almost blown to hell when the star blast went off. The only thing that was lucky was that the ship was on the other side of the Collector, the side away from the nuke induced Nova. The Collector ate the majority of the energy blast, but enough of the residual shock sent the ship into spasms, crushing part of the Epigamic, shearing off any external parts.
The hull was breached in a number of places. His ship..their ship immediately kicked in the LifeFoam(c) Suspension, injecting both of them first with sleep inducing comaphine. The LifeFoam enveloped the two of them, protecting as best as it can.
It was too late for Leeza. The blast blasted a hole next to her head, into and out of her head, and she was gone before anything happened in the pit. Jake was gone into that no dream land, suffering damages as well before it all kicked in. The damages were extensive, but fixable. He lost his left eye. They grew one back for him. The fingers on his hands had been roasted, the skin peeled away to the bone. They grew new skin for him. Whatever was punctured, or broken, or missing, was not that way by the time Jake was allowed to leave the tank and take to a bed in the ICU ward. Everything was back to normal, that is, except for how guilty he felt. He never felt guilty..not like this.
The crippled ship was pulled back by the recovery team that went after the Collector. He was more out then in, but he heard the accusations, heard about Leeza, heard about the damage to the Epigamic. Jake also heard a voice that no one else heard: “You killed her, you bastard. You killed Leeza,” he went over and over in his mind.
He could rebuild the Epigamic with the credit he’d get from the Energy Control. Jake and Leeza always pulled in good solid rads, and this was no exception, so he could rebuild the ship, his credit, himself physically. He could not rebuild the one thing, he realized with more sickening to himself truth, that meant more then he ever would have admitted to himself before.
“I’m sorry,” he said staring up at the ceiling when any of the Meds came to talk to him. The staff began to call him that instead of Jake, or Captain Todd, or Patient #56902.
Two weeks after he was out of the tank, a visitor came to see Jake. “Oh, you want I’m Sorry,” the duty nurse said with a smirk. “He’s in the third room on the left, second bed in.” Jake’s visitor gave the nurse a confused then dark look and continued down the hall, into the room and stopped at the second bed, looking down on Jake.
“Wake up, you son of a bitch,” Mr. Waymahr said, kicking the bed frame. Jake, already awake, opened his eyes and looked at Leeza’s father, who was glaring at him. “Good. You’re getting out of here soon, Jake. I’ve got a job for you as soon as the repairs on the damned ship of yours is ready to go. You’re not going to like this one little bit, and I don’t give a rats ass. You understand me?”
Jake just shook his head yes, then said “I’m sorry.”
“You bet whatever nine lives you’ve already used up you’re going to be sorry!” he murmured, then turned and left without looking back.
Jake took in a deep rush of air, and let it out slowly, hoping to deflate himself in the process. “I’m sorry,” he said again, and “Shit!”