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~ The Limits of Love and Friendship ~

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Geo stared speechlessly out the hatch that the FTO had just departed. Eagle was going into battle with the intentions of dying. Geo wished he could respect Eagle's wishes, or even better yet, change Eagle's mind, but since he could do neither, he was rendered helpless.

And he hated being helpless.

Geo stood from the docking ramp and stormed past Zazu. He couldn't just sit back and do nothing. His friend, his best friend, was heading into battle with a terrible disease, and it was almost if Eagle was setting himself to get killed. He said he didn't want to die on account of his illness, but if he was busy coughing when the enemy attacked, he would.

If what Geo had to do was to defend Eagle during that critical time to make sure that Eagle received the death he wanted, Geo had no choice but to do just that.

"Zazu," said Geo, putting authority into his voice. "Get the GTO ready for launch."

Zazu gawked at Geo. "Are you crazy? First of all, you can't just take off without the commander's--"

"I am the commander now, remember?"

The chief mechanic shook his head. "You have a point there," he admitted, "but the GTO is damaged. You don't stand a chance, and it's against--"

"I don't care," Geo hissed. "Get your subordinates away from my mecha because I'm going to help Eagle."

"But the mil--"

"I don't care about military procedure, just do it!"

Zazu stared at Geo in shock, and Geo knew that he would have to apologize for that later. He always kept his temper in line around Zazu, but now, with Eagle out there...

Zazu sighed. "All right. I'll do it," he said defeatedly. "It'll be ready in five minutes at the most."

Five minutes was not good enough.

"If you fail to get it ready in two minutes, just give me a normal mecha," said Geo, extinguishing the frustration in his voice. "But please. I need to do this."

"Roger," said Zazu. He gave Geo a thumbs-up, and Geo mustered a small grin as an apology for being so harsh. Zazu gave orders to the other mechanics to finish whatever they were doing and get back indoors. Then, turning back to Geo, he reported, "If we can get the GTO, you'll be launching from Pad R1. If not, then Pad L3."

Geo nodded. "Thank you," he said softly.

Two minutes was the most he had to wait. It would be three minutes since Eagle left, but this was better than six minutes that Zazu had initially estimated. Of course, he could forget about the GTO and leave in one of the normal, soldier mecha. That would make things quicker and easier, but Geo needed the GTO's strength. It was the only way he could insure his security and Eagle's at least temporarily.

He would protect Eagle as long as the illness manifested. Eagle can die a soldier's death, but not as long as Geo felt that he could be of some help.

***