I would also like to thank Golden Earring for the song.
This chapter's title and first quote are from Rush (Geddy, Alex and Neil). The song is "Scars" from the album Presto.
Scars of pain
Make them sensitive again"
"Each emotional injury
Leaves behind it's mark
Sometimes they come tumbling out
Like shadows in the dark" NEP
Ryu saw everything. His hands started turning the ship around before he could speak.
"Ryu. What are you doing?"
Ryu knew Ken was watching the mole tank. He hadn't seen what happened.
"Joe didn't make it."
Ken heard the thickness in Ryu's voice. He focused on his pilot. His head was down and his hands were shaking on the controls. Ken could hear Jun and Jinpei leave their seats to join Ryu and him at the front controls. Ken lifted his eyes to search the screen for his second. It didn't take long. Joe was down about 2 meters from G-2.
Ken turned his eyes from the screen. Ken put all his panic and fear in a box and threw it into the back closet of his mind. He was trained to do this. Retrieve his teammate and access his injuries.
"Already heading towards him Ken."
The commander of the mole tank saw a great opportunity.
"They are headed back for him. Take down the God Phoenix."
The men at the controls were all to happy to oblige. The commander noticed one thing very quickly.
" They are not seeing us! Change course before they ram us!"
Ryu was so focused on Joe that he barely saw the mole tank. Ken saw it at the last minute.
"Watch where your going!"
The God Phoenix and the mole tank were mere meters apart as they passed.
" Get them from behind!" shouted the commander.
The mole tank rose up to bear hug the God Phoenix.
" Look, sir! The sun is rising."
The commander wanted to scream. The KNT was his and he couldn't do anything about it.
" The mole tank can't operate in sunlight. Let them collect the body of the Condor. We just did more than crushing the God Phoenix could ever do. Descend."
With that the mole tank dug under Utoland and disappeared.
Ryu was already looking for a place to land. Ryu tried to set down the God Phoenix twice but the ground started giving way. The ship found solid ground about 20 meters away. The team exited the ship and flew towards Joe. They could all hear the puppy barking and whining at Joe.
The puppy was bumping and licking Joe's beak trying to rouse him. Joe was unresponsive to everything the puppy was doing. The entire team was trained from an early age to handle serious injury to each other. But when your friend/ teammate/ buddy is lying prone on the ground bleeding out sometimes training isn't enough. Jinpei broke the stunned silence.
"Joe ani, is dead."
Ken saw the boy's eyes turn deadly. Jinpei picked up a nice size rock and took a step towards the puppy. This action woke everyone up. Ken grabbed Jinpei around the waist and turned him away from Joe and the puppy. Jun shook herself and headed towards Joe. Ryu turned to help Ken with Jinpei.
"Let me go. That stupid mutt killed Joe. What the hell, Ken?"Jinpei screamed in protest.
" Jinpei is right. If it wasn't for that thing," Ryu's hand swept toward the puppy " Joe wouldn't be..." Ryu's voice trailed off.
Ken turned himself, Ryu and Jinpei around.
" Look at that dog."
Jinpei closed his eyes.
" I said look!" Ken said a bit harsher than he wanted to.
Jinpei saw the puppy shaking in terror. It looked very confused. It was trying to wake Joe and hide under his wing at the same time.
" Why are you blaming the dog?" Ken asked.
" If it wasn't for him Joe wouldn't be lying here." Jinpei said quietly.
Jun had moved in and started looking Joe over. She was the medical expert after all.
" Did you ever think that Joe had a reason to go after the puppy?" Ken asked.
Ken looked to Ryu with a ,"help me", look in his eyes.
" Yes he has to. He has to save things. It's his job."
Ryu sighed. This was going to be a tough explanation for Jinpei.
" Jinpei, Joe would have gone after the puppy even if Hakase told him not to." Ryu said.
Jinpei looked very confused. " But that would get him in trouble."
" Joe looked at the puppy and saw himself. Do you understand?" Ken asked.
" Kind of." Jinpei answered.
Jun was very impressed with the conversation behind her. But she desperately needed help.
" Help, me." Jun said.
All three guys turned around to face her. Jun's hands were covered with blood and so was the puppy.
"His helmet has been pierced by a missile fragment. I can't move his head much to see where it penetrated his skull. He's breathing is very shallow and his pulse rate is dropping. I need a back board, some sort of wide tape and a blood pressure cuff."
The guys just stood there.
" Now! Move!" Jun shouted.
The guys high tailed it back to the ship. Jun had to try to wake Joe up.
" Joe can you hear me?"
Jun's beak was inches from his.
"Joe please answer me."
She was desperately trying not to panic. Joe moaned and then tried to move his head.
" Joe don't move. Can you hear me?"
A very weak "Yes" came from the bloody face in front of her.
"Who am I?"
Jun smiled. He hadn't called her that in a while.
"Who are you?"
" Can you count from one to ten?"
"Because I said too ."
"Ichi, ni, san, yon, go, roku"
At that moment the guys got back.
" He is awake!" Jinpei squealed.
All three dropped to their knees to look at Joe's face. His eyes were still closed but his mouth was moving. Ken handed Jun a wet cloth.
"Thanks." with a nod to Ken.
"Joe I need to get some of this blood off of you. Let me move you, ok"
Ken and Ryu snickered behind her. Jun quickly shot her right hand back and caught Ryu in the side.
"Sorry." Ryu grunted.
Jun barely moved Joe's head enough to get under his beak. She carefully wiped his eyes clear of blood and gunk.
" Joe look at me. "
Joe cracked his eyes open and saw Jun smiling at him from behind her beak.
"Can you see me?"
"Is everything blurry?"
" Joe I need you to lie very still. Let us move you. We have to put you on this board and tape you to it. So you don't hurt yourself. Understand."
"Yes I need to keep you still."
" Do you remember what happened?" Jun wanted to keep him talking.
Jun slid the board next to him.
" Ryu, get over on his side and, gently lift him toward you. I'll hold his head. Ken push the board under him." Jun commanded.
Joe felt Ryu grab and lift him as the board went under him. They all gasped as they saw the pool of blood under Joe. Ryu kept the lift slow and steady. Halfway through the lift Joe jerked.
" Puppy. Where is the puppy?"
" Joe don't move!" Jun screamed at him.
Joe held still.
" Where is he?"
Jinpei answered : " Right here Joe."
Ryu lowered Joe back onto the board.
" Let me see him."
Jinpei brought the puppy into Joe's field of vision. Joe gasped.
" He's bleeding. Help him!"
" Tape,now!" Jun demanded.
" Joe don't move. The dog is a girl, not a boy."
Jun began taping his head to the board facing the same way she found him.
" She is covered with your blood Joe. As far as I know she is uninjured."
Jun was now strapping his torso and legs to the board. Once she was sure Joe couldn't move she decided he could be brought to the ship. Ken and Ryu picked up the board with Joe and started towards the ship.
" What Joe?" Asked Jun.
" Puppy, please."
They needed no explanation. The tone of Joe's voice said everything.
" Jinpei please bring her." Ken said with a sigh.
They got Joe on board and taped the board and him to the floor halfway back from the control console. Jun came up behind Ken and Ryu and whispered:
"We have to keep him talking."
Jinpei heard his sis and came up with a great idea.
" Joe what was the song you were going to teach me?"
Joe opened his eyes and said "Huh?"
"Please Joe. Teach it to me. I'll listen." Jinpei did his best sweet little kid voice.
Ken, Ryu and Jun all hoped this would work.
"Ok. I need help. Jun your the guitarists."
Jun laughed and said: " I'm a bit busy. Ryu?"
" I got your back buddy."
Ryu got going towards Cresent Coral.
"Baum, Baum, Baum,. Baum Baum Baum. Baum Baum Baum Baum Baum ...Baum Baum Baum." Ryu started hopeful this was the correct song.
"Very good, Ryu. Ken?" Joe stated.
Ken started carefully pounding the control panel in front of him to lay down a beat.
Just as the boys started playing Jun called Nambu.
" Hakase, Joe's been injured."
" What happened, Jun?"
As Jun filled Nambu in Joe started, weakly.
"I've been drivin' all night, my hand's wet on the wheel
There's a voice in my head, that drives my heal
It's my baby callin', says, " I need you here"
And it's half past four, and I'm shifting gear"
" Jun what is his blood pressure? And what is all that racket?" Nambu's voice called from her bracelet.
Jun checked Joe once again. He was getting into the song and it showed. He was bleeding a bit more but he was awake. That is all that mattered
" 105/68. It is coming up,a bit. That noise is Joe singing to Jinpei with Ken and Ryu backing him up."
Nambu just stopped and laughed. It was totally absurd but it was obviously working.
" Keep this line open Jun. I want to hear everything."
" Hakase, hai!" Jun answered.
Nambu had to get everything ready. He was out of his office and running down the hall. Nambu ran straight to the medical bay. Nambu burst through the doors and breathlessly started barking orders.
" I need a trauma team ready. I need a portable cat scan. "
The head nurse ran over to him.
" What's up doctor? Breathe and tell me." Barbara said.
" Joe's helmet failed and he has a missile fragment somewhere in his head."
Everyone was on their feet.
" Jun has him taped to a back board, face down, to keep his head still."
" Don't need no letter at all
We've got a thing that's called radar love
We've got a line in the sky, radar love" blasted out of Nambu's watch.
Everyone gave Nambu a questioning look.
"Jun's idea to keep him talking."
They all enjoyed a quick laugh as it was evident that they were all singing at the top of their lungs now.
" Did I just hear a dog howl?" Barbara asked.
" Yes a puppy."
" I'll explain later." Nambu said.
They all high tailed it to the God Phoenix's bay. Nambu was up on it's wing even before Ryu finished docking it. It was quite evident to everyone present who had taught the team to fly.
As the team was congratulating each other on their outstanding performance, someone started pounding on the roof. Ryu opened the bubble and lowered Nambu in.
Nambu immediately laid down in front of Joe.
"Hakase, Kon'nichi wa." Joe said with a smile.