StarFox Fan Fiction ❯ A New Enemy ❯ Chapter V: Life or Death? ( Chapter 5 )

[ T - Teen: Not suitable for readers under 13 ]
Fox, Peppy, and Taylor burst into the medicenter, greeted by outbursts of shock and surprise. Brian Lihar, the CMD, strode up to Taylor and demanded to know what was going on.
"We have a serious emergency here, Brian," Taylor replied. "This girl needs help!"
Brian turned to Fox, who was cradling Krystal in his arms. Fox had been looking at Krystal, but he now looked up, his green eyes rimmed with tears. The medic nodded grimly. "All right. Follow me!" The Altairian led Fox and company through the medicenter into the Intensive Care Ward. They entered a room, and Fox gently laid Krystal down on a cot. As if on cue, several other medics entered the room and hooked Krystal up to several monitors, a Breathing Assistance Unit, and an IV. Then, one of the medics turned to Fox and Peppy. "Any non-essential persons must now exit. I'm sorry, but you have to leave."
Peppy turned compliantly, but Fox shook his head firmly. "Anything that happens to Krystal concerns me," he said sternly.
"Sir, you have to--"
"I'm staying!" insisted Fox.
The medic seemed to be about to continue his protestations, when Taylor laid a hand on his shoulder. "Fox and Peppy stay," he said, using a tone that meant there was to be no further discussion on the matter.
"All right," Brian said. "Let's see what we can do for her."
As he began to converse with the other medics on the best treatment option for the unusual case they had before them, Fox began to notice something was off. 'There's something strange about these doctors,' he mused. 'I know! They're not 'morphs! But...I didn't think there could be a non-'morphed species...' Fox had no more time to consider this interesting revelation, for at that moment Krystal moaned softly. Fox was instantly at her side. "I'm here, Krys," he said, but she was still unconscious.
Suddenly her eyes snapped open, and she snarled venomously. "No! Leave me alone!" Krystal shouted, and began to thrash wildly on the cot.
"Restrain her!" Brian shouted. "She's going to hurt herself if she keeps that up!" Two medics instantly leapt for her arms, and another pair pinned her ankles to the cot.
Fox gasped in shock, and tried to rush to Krystal, but Taylor blocked his path. "What are you doing?" Fox demanded. "Let me by!"
"Look at her!" Taylor shot back. "She's still unconscious! You'd just end up gashed."
Fox did look at Krystal, and saw that though her eyes were open, they were unfocused. His shoulders slumped in resignation. "But..."
Taylor instantly picked up on Fox's mood. He wanted to help her, but had no idea how to. Taylor slowly walked over to the cot and waved the medics aside. He gently placed a hand on Krystal's forehead, and she instantly calmed, and her eyes closed again.
"Wow..." Fox breathed. He looked up at Taylor. "You've saved Krystal twice--" he murmured. "How can I ever repay you?"
Taylor couldn't believe his ears. 'One of the greatest heroes in the galaxy is saying that he is indebted to me?' Taylor smiled slightly. "You don't have to do anything, Fox," Taylor replied. "I'm just glad I could help."
But their problems were far from over. A medic walked up and whispered something in Taylor's ear, and his black fur faded to gray, he was that shocked. "No," he breathed. "Show me." The medic led Taylor over to a device around which several other doctors were huddled. The device in question was measuring Krystal's brainwave activity. Taylor looked at the graphing lines, and his shock worsened. The four lines measuring alpha, beta, gamma, and delta waves were falling rapidly, and there was no improvement in sight. "What's happening?" Taylor whispered tersely, so as not to alert Fox. He didn't really want to keep Fox in the dark, but this news would be nearly impossible for him to bear.
"We don't know," Brian replied. "All of a sudden, her delta waves went nuts, then this started happening."
"Wait." Taylor held up a hand. "What did you say about her delta waves?"
"About three minutes ago, they started going crazy, and then everything started flatlining."
"I've only heard of one thing that could attack minds like this--" Taylor murmured under his breath. Then he raised his voice. "Medics! Out! Now!" Brian had heard this tone before in his commander. He was on to something, it wasn't good, and he hoped he was wrong. Once the medics had left, Taylor turned to Fox and Peppy. "I have some--very bad news..." he began, taking a deep breath.
Fox steeled himself. 'Please, just let Krystal live...' he begged. "What is it?" he asked.
"While she was fighting Adek...he used a psionic attack known only as Ha'lar Marai, which means "Insidious Presence." It only affects other psions. The effects are simple, but effective: Little by little, Krystal's brain is shutting down."
"No!" Fox cried. "There has to be something you can do!"
Taylor shook his head. "I'm sorry...I can't."
"Why?" Fox demanded, tears now streaming down his face. "I saw you calm her earlier! You have healing powers!"
"I can't, because if I try to enter Krystal's mind, I will be subject to the same attack. I can't do anything. I'd be in the same condition as Krystal in seconds," Taylor sighed.
Fox looked down, now realizing the truth. Krystal would die, and there was nothing he could do about it. " much time does she have left?"
Taylor sighed. "I'm not sure. I've only seen one other victim of this, and she didn't survive long...only about two days."
"No! Krys..." Fox sobbed, his breath ragged.
Taylor looked down, and a tear trickled down his cheek. "I'm so sorry."
Fox forced himself to smile slightly. "You--you tried. There was nothing else you could do..."
Taylor only could nod grimly. He seemed to be about to speak, then he turned and walked slowly out of the medicenter. The last sounds he heard were Fox's choked, muffled sobs as he buried his face into the cot on which Krystal lay.