“Congratulations on another daring rescue,” Ken said, his voice scathing as he refused to turn around from his console to watch Gale stump back into the lab, still smoking gently.

“Thanks!” Gale said, muffled by the polycarbonate faceplate now that Ken has turned the in-suit mic off, still hopped-up on adrenaline from the fight with the… whatever-they-weres. Ken thought they’d had six heads each, or maybe eight, but there had been a lot of them in kind of a clump it had been hard to see after everybody had figured out they could fly and the news helicopters had gotten the hell out of the way. Time to stop procrastinating on upgrading the external on-suit cameras. Ken tapped away at his console for another few moments, annoyed enough to make Gale wait as he went over the last bits of news footage, annoyed all over again as the marquee “SPACEMAN SAVES THE DAY AGAIN” scrolled along the bottom of the screen under a reporter. He still owed Gale payback for getting caught by a journalist and deciding to name the armor something as stupid as that, even if the attacks that had started around seven months ago did appear to be aliens, and even if the domed helmet did maybe sort of make it look like a spaceship. Ken took another few breaths before the sound of Gale’s trying to bounce on his toes still in the suit with three busted rotors in one of his calves ground down on his nerves sufficiently to force him to turn around and actually survey the damage.