|Across the Salt
|Replaced, by C. Taylor, PG
|Page 1 of 1|
|Author:||Chris Taylor [ Wed Jul 29, 2009 9:22 pm ]|
|Post subject:||Replaced, by C. Taylor, PG|
by Chris Taylor
Disclaimer: None of these characters or settings are mine. I don't make any money off this.
There was a sharp ‘klang’ as Racetrack’s raptor docked with the Demetrius. The raptor’s hatch opened, and a squad of spacesuited marines poured through it into the dark interior of the disabled sewage ship. Bullet holes riddled the walls and empty shell casings littered the floor of the main crew compartment. Stars shining in the blackness of space were visible through a quarter meter diameter hole punched through the outer hull as if some giant wasp had stung the vessel. There was no crew to be seen and no dead bodies. A severed arm from a Cylon Centurian was the sole inhabitant of the room.
“Sergeant, have a look at this,” one of the marines said as she held the beam of her light on a section of the starboard bulkhead. There was a large splatter of blood on the wall, and directly beneath it was a thick trail of blood smeared along the floor to the pressure door that led to the forward control room.
Sergeant Kingston checked the door, but it was sealed tight by the pressure difference between the two compartments. “Get the inflatable airlock up here,” he ordered. “There’s air on the other side.”
The Sergeant was the first one through the pressure door, and he followed the blood trail to find Sharon’s body slumped over the FTL controls with a large, sticky pool of blood beneath her. “Frack” he said quietly. No one said a word while Kingston removed his right glove and held two fingers along the side of her neck for several seconds.
“Corpsman!” he yelled suddenly. “Get the corpsman up here, she’s still alive!”
“If you’ll give me a chance I know I could do it,” Sharon said. She was in sickbay, with the bed adjusted to help her sit up. Her chest was bandaged tightly and a cocktail of fluids and medicine dripped into her through the IV. Admiral Adama sat next to her bedside and frowned. “A Raptor could carry me close enough to the Cylon fleet tailing us. I can kill myself and re-animate in their Ressurection Ship again. Once inside I can plug into their network to find them and steal a Heavy Raider…”
“No,” Adama said. “It’s too risky. You’ve already pulled that trick once. They won’t fall for it again. “
“Let me try something,” Sharon pleaded. “They’ve got Helo. Do you expect me to just leave him behind? If it was Lee…”
“If it was Lee or anyone else I wouldn’t send more pilots to their death on a rescue with no hope of working,” Adama replied. “Hera needs a mother. You have to think of that. How can you be there for her if you run off and get killed?”
Sharon looked away and said nothing.
“You said the Cylons took them alive, that means they are too valuable to them to kill. Fortunes change all the time in war. Just because we can’t rescue them now doesn’t mean we won’t ever be able to. I promise you that I won’t forget them. I promise you that if there is any real chance of mounting a rescue operation, we will seize that chance. But that time isn’t now. Right now you need to focus on getting better and taking care of your daughter…”
“… and getting back in a Raptor cockpit.” Sharon concluded.
“I don’t need to tell you how short of pilots we are,” Adama said.
Sharon looked into Adama’s eyes and said, “You can count on me, sir.”
“Thank you,” he said.
Sharon swallowed hard and struggled to say something. Finally she said quietly, “No, sir, thank you. For everything.”
“Well, It looks like you’ve got another visitor,” Admiral Adama said as his mood suddenly changed and he pointed to the sickbay door. Sharon turned and saw one of the nurses coming in with Hera in her arms. “I’ll give you two a chance to catch up.” Adama excused himself as the nurse gently slid Hera into Sharon’s waiting arms. Hera balled up her fists and pouted.
Sharon looked across the sickbay at where a young medical tech was sewing up one of Chief Tyrol’s hands… no, she reminded herself… he was Specialist Tyrol now. The rumors about Tyrol’s scandalous outburst at Admiral Adama and his subsequent demotion in the wake of Cally’s death had penetrated all corners of the ship and sickbay was no exception. He had glanced in her direction when he first stepped into sickbay with his hand wrapped in a grease and blood covered shop rag. For a brief moment their eyes had met and then he quickly looked away. Tyrol had not looked at her again since. He just sat there, meters away, looking at anything but her while the trainee cleaned and stitched the gash on his strong calloused hands… The squirming in her lap brought Sharon’s attention back to the child she was holding. She stroked its cheek gently and tried to comfort it. “Shhh… Don’t cry,” Sharon Valerii whispered to Hera, “you’ll get to see your parents again soon.”
Because NT2 asked.
|Author:||Chris Taylor [ Wed Jul 29, 2009 9:24 pm ]|
|Post subject:||Re: Replaced, by C. Taylor, PG|
Helo and Sharon “Athena” Agathon sat on the floor of a large cell deep in a Cylon Basestar with most of the rest of the Demetrius’s crew. Sam Anders stood with his hands wrapped around the bars in a white-knuckle grip and looked out the door where their Cylon captors had taken his wife.
“I wonder which one of us they’ll torture next,” Gaeta asked idly.
“If they separate me from everyone else,” Athena said, “then don’t assume it’s me who comes back until I can give the correct countersign. They might try to replace me with another Eight.”
“You know,” Sam said turning around suddenly, “that might not be a bad idea for all of us to do.”
“No,” Helo said, “If we start giving out recognition codes too frequently then the Cylons will catch on to them and they won’t be any good.”
“Don’t worry,” Sharon added, “The Cylons don’t have the technology to copy a human.”
“Well, I know a thing or two about Cylon tricks myself,” Sam replied curtly, “I don’t think we should take any chances.”
“bitch,” Boomer exclaimed quietly, careful not to wake Hera now that she had finally gone to sleep. Sharon was standing in the cramped quarters of the Agathon family, beside a small metal work-desk. In one hand she held a cardboard cigarette box that she had found in the back of the desk drawer, and in the other hand she held a woman’s gold ring. There was a familiar crest engraved on either side of the ring. In the middle was set a stone that was so dark blue that it almost looked like the blackness of space and the facets glinted like twinkling starlight as Sharon turned the ring over in her hand. Around the setting were three words written in ornate, raised gold letters: COLONIAL NAVAL ACADEMY.
“That thieving bitch!” Sharon repeated, each word louder than the next. She emptied the rest of the contents of the box onto the desktop. There was an Honor’s Society pin, pilot’s wings, an aerial gunnery badge, a campaign ribbon from Operation Urgent Relief, and a unit coin from the Naval Cadet Demonstration Team. They were mementos of effort and achievement, symbols of respect from peers and superiors; they had been earned with toil and sweat and blood and, for one of them, a scar that Sharon no longer had. “These are MINE,” she said angrily at the photograph that was pinned to the corkboard on the wall, “You have no right to these things!”
Hera stirred slightly from the noise as Sharon gathered up the items and wrapped them in a handkerchief. The unit coin for Galactica’s Raptor Squadron was not among the rest of the mementoes. Sharon pulled out the drawer and dumped its contents on the desktop. It was not there. She stepped across the room and examined the items on top of the dresser. Boomer slipped a familiar-looking pair of earrings into her pocket, but there was no coin there either. She began frantically pulling the drawers out of the dresser and dumping their contents onto the floor. Hera began to cry again, but Sharon wasn’t paying attention to her; she was looking at the pile of clothes on the floor. All the clothes looked so threadbare… It made sense, Sharon thought, since the Colonial fleet had been on the run they hadn’t had many resources to spare for making new uniforms. She rushed to the closet and began pulling out uniforms: battle dress, flightsuits, dress greys… Near the back Boomer found a worn leather flight jacket in just her size. There was a Raptor Driver patch on the sleeve and the callsign “Athena” stitched above the left breast. When Sharon Valerii held the jacket up to the light she could see a pattern of tiny holes on either side of nametag where previous stitching had been removed: evidence that the old jacket had once carried a different name.
|Author:||Chris Taylor [ Wed Jul 29, 2009 9:28 pm ]|
|Post subject:||Re: Replaced, by C. Taylor, PG|
“Listen to that,” Boomer said quietly to Specialist Tyrol, as she sat next to him on the edge of her bunk. “I haven’t heard silence in so long I had forgotten what it sounded like.”
“Enjoy it while it lasts,” Tyrol whispered as he looked down at the brightly colored toys scattered around the Agathon quarters, and at Nicky and Hera on the floor sleeping off the exhaustion and sugar rush of their playdate. He stared at his son for a few seconds before continuing, “Nicky has been such a handful since his mother passed.”
“I know what you mean,” Sharon said quietly.
“I guess you do,” Tyrol said as he looked over at the Agathon family portrait pinned to the corkboard nearby. “But at least you’re a mom, so it’s easier right?”
“How do you figure that?” Sharon asked.
“I thought it was, you know, genetic or something. He’d cry and Cally would always seem to know what he needed: food or sleep or to be held. He cries now and I have no clue what to do. I try everything Dr. Cottle said, but…” Tyrol sighed and slumped down as he watched his sleeping child. “Sometimes I am so afraid that I’m going to let him down. He’s counting on me. I don’t know…” His voice trailed off without finishing his sentence.
“I know you, Chief,” Boomer said, patting him on the shoulder. “I know you, and I know how strong you can be. When everything is going wrong on the flight deck, you’re the one who holds people together and makes things work. You can do this. I know you, and I know he’s going to be proud to have you for a father one day.”
“Like Cally was proud of me?” Tyrol said. “Frak lot of good I did for her. Hell, maybe it’s better she died thinking I was cheating on her than to think that…” He shut his eyes tight for a second. When he opened them he asked Sharon, “You know what I told Boomer?”
“I pushed her away. I told her not to touch me. She was hurting and she was right there and I just pushed her away… I told her she wasn’t like me.”
“Gods… I told her she wasn’t like me.” Tyrol’s eyes fell again on Nicky sleeping peacefully on the floor as he continued, “The last thing I said to my father was that he didn’t understand me. He wanted me to muster out when the Galactica retired and go to seminary. He wanted me to be like him. We fought… I… I didn’t want to be like him. The Cylons came and I never got to tell him…”
“It’s okay, Galen.” Boomer told him as she put her left hand on his. “You and Theo argued all the time. Then when you cooled down and called him again, he always acted like nothing had happened and he was just happy to hear from his son. I’m sure it was the same. I’m sure if you could call him again he’d just tell you he was happy to hear from you.” She reached out gently to touch his shoulder and turn his attention back to her. “I don’t know about Cally. But I know Boomer forgave you. I know she still loves you and she’s not gone.”
“She’s not coming back.” Tyrol said. He shook his head and said, “How can she come back? She may not be dead, but she’s gone and probably hates us all… I don’t blame her.”
“But what if she could come back to you?” Boomer asked.
Tyrol didn’t answer, but shut his eyes and shook his head again.
“What if you had a chance to talk to Boomer again? What would you say?” Boomer begged him, “If you could say anything to her again… if you could ask anything of her… Please tell me… I’m right here, Chief.”
Specialist Galen Tyrol opened his eyes. He stared at Sharon’s face and opened his mouth to speak, but no words came out.
“I’m right here,” Sharon Valerii said to her beloved. “Please, just talk to me.”
“I’d say, ‘I’m sorry.’” Tyrol said quietly. “I understand now. I understand what you went through, and I’m sorry I wasn’t there for you like I should have been. I was stupid and afraid. I know how lonely you felt now… Like you’d been hollowed out inside… Like everything you had and everything you ever had was dissolving away and if you could just have one solid thing to hold on to… one real thing to believe in… I should have been there for you, Sharon… I should have been strong for you… If I could just reach back in time and tell you…” Sharon’s heart raced as Galen Tyrol looked deep into her eyes and leaned forward to whisper the words she desperately wanted to hear. “I love you, Boomer. I love you and I know that’s real.”
Boomer opened her mouth to say something. “I… I… ” And then the time for speaking was gone as Tyrol’s lips brushed against her waiting, trembling mouth.
“Oh, Gods! I’m so sorry, Athena!” Tyrol said suddenly as he sat bolt upright. “I didn’t mean…”
“I know, It’s too early…”
“You just look so much like Boomer…”
“Cally just died…”
“… for just a moment I thought you were her…”
“… you’re still grieving.”
“… I didn’t mean to.”
Boomer and Tyrol talked past each other rapidly as he stood up from the edge of the bunk and she wiped her sweating hands on the covers.
“I should be going,” Tyrol stated as he bent down to pick up his groggy, half-awake son.
“It’s getting late.” Sharon agreed as she scooped up several of the toys and quickly stuffed them into the ‘baby bag’ he had brought.
“Thank you,” Tyrol said as she handed him the bag. “Thanks for listening. You’re a good friend, Athena.”
“I…um…” Boomer stumbled over her words for a moment. “Anytime, Chief,” she finally said. “I understand.”
Tyrol nodded as he moved towards the door to leave, but he stopped in the open hatchway and then turned again to face Sharon. They looked into each other’s eyes. “I know this is hard for you right now, Athena,” he said. “I’ve seen how much you and Helo love each other. Helo will move the heavens if that’s what it takes to get back to you. I don’t know how, but he will.”
“I know,” Boomer lied. “Thank you for bringing Nicky over. I’ll see you around, Chief.”
Sharon shut the pressure door as he walked away and spun the wheel hard to seal it tight. She stood there, leaning against the door for support and breathing heavily. Finally, she turned away from the door, took a deep breath, closed her eyes, balled her fists tight, and said, “Aaaaaaaaaghhhhhhhhh!!!!!!!” She screamed one long incoherent syllable until she had no more breath. She leaned her back against the doorframe. Her knees were too weak to support her and she slid down the wall to rest sitting on the floor. When she had caught her breath she pounded the side of her right fist into the deck plating again and again until the pain reminded her to stop. Hera sat in the middle of the floor, wiping the sleep out of her eyes and watching Boomer’s strange actions.
Sharon looked into the space in front of her and spoke as if she was speaking with someone who was not there. “I’m Boomer,” she said. She held her trembling hands out and quietly repeated, “I’m Boomer.” She practiced it again and again, a little different each time, “I’M boomer. I’m BOOMER. I’m… Boomer…” Hera stood and, dragging her small blanket behind her, walked over to where Boomer was sitting. “I’m Boomer,” Sharon turned and said to Hera. Then she looked at the floor between her feet and added, “and if I said those words then the next thing I might as well say is ‘Do you want to throw me out the airlock now, or torture me a bit first?’” Boomer sighed and asked Hera “You have no clue what I’m talking about do you?”
“Booper,” Hera answered.
“No, Boomer,” Sharon said.
“No, it’s Boomer. Can you say ‘Boomer’?”
“Boober,” Hera said smiling. Then, happy with her new vocabulary, Hera danced in an awkward, tight, circle and repeated “Boober, boober, boober.”
“Fra…” Boomer started to say, but then noticed the intent expression with which her niece was watching and concluded “…ctals”
|Author:||Chris Taylor [ Wed Jul 29, 2009 9:29 pm ]|
|Post subject:||Re: Replaced, by C. Taylor, PG|
“Can’t your crew at least keep my attitude thrusters calibrated?” Boomer yells angrily as she steps into the hanger deck tool room and throws her flight gloves down on ground.
“The thrusters aren’t the problem. It’s the pilot,” Chief Tyrol yells back as he follows her into the tool room, and slams the door shut behind him.
Sharon spins, throws herself into Chief Tyrol’s arms, and kisses him passionately. He pulls her to him and kisses her back with equal vigor, his tongue tasting her mouth. She pulls her lips away from his and looks hungrily into his eyes. “Frak me,” she orders, “Frak me now.”
“By your command,” Chief Tyrol answers. His hands are already at work, helping her unbuckle and unlatch the seals of her flightsuit in well-practiced motions. A flightsuit and coveralls join her gloves on the floor as his strong arms lift her effortlessly to sit on a waist-high storage chest. Boomer wraps her legs around him.
“I love you, Chief,” Boomer confesses.
“I love you, Athena,” Chief Tyrol says, “I love you and I know that’s real.”
“Nooooo!” Sharon Valerii screamed as she awoke from her nightmare and sat bolt upright in Sharon Agathon’s bed. “Frak me,” she said under her breath as she sat sweating in the dark room. The Agathon family portrait on the corkboard was barely visible in the light of Hera’s nightlight. “Frak you, too,” Boomer added, looking at the picture of her duplicate.
Sharon swung her legs over the side of the bed and leaned forward. Hera was still sound asleep. The Galactica hummed quietly in the background as Sharon Valerii considered her options. “I’ve got to get off this ship,” Boomer thought to herself. “I’ve got to get off right now. I’m back on flight status. I’ll just take the Hera down to the flight deck, get into one of the stand-by Raptors somehow, and get the frak off this boat tonight.”
Her decision made, Boomer stood and went to the closet. She pulled out her old leather flight jacket and threw it onto the bed. Her usual flight bag was too small, she decided, but she had a similar, medium-sized duffle bag for long-duration mission supplies that looked to be the right size. She carried the duffle bag over to Hera’s bed and checked to make sure it would be large enough, and then unzipped it and sat it open on the floor. She crossed over to the work desk, opened the drawer, and pulled out a thick roll of industrial tape and the small cigarette box with her recovered mementoes in it. She poured the contents of the box onto the desktop and examined the few remaining physical objects that she had to connect her to a different life, to remind her of her friendships, and to commemorate her service to the Colonies. She still had not found her Raptor Squadron unit coin, but she didn’t have any more time to look for it. Sharon Valerii left the handful of trinkets from her past on the desk and carried the tape over to the bed where Hera was sleeping.
“Wake up Hera,” Boomer said as she gently shook her niece. “It’s time for you to go be with mommy and daddy.” Sharon picked up the sleepy child, carried her to the middle of the room, and sat her down beside the open duffle bag. Hera rubbed her eyes and pouted quietly. “You want to go see mommy don’t you?”
“Mommy,” Hera answered weakly.
“Okay,” Boomer said. “Before you can see mommy, you’re going to have to play a hiding game with Auntie Boomer. You’re going to have to hide in this bag for a few minutes while I take you to my spaceship and then I’ll fly you away to see mommy and daddy.” Boomer pulled a tenth of a meter of tape off of the roll. “But Auntie Boomer is going to have to put some tape on you just to make sure.” Hera recoiled with fright when Boomer brought the tape up to cover Hera’s mouth, but Sharon held the child firmly with her other hand. “It’s okay,” Sharon said, trying to sound reassuring while tears welled up in her niece’s eyes. “It’s just a game, see.” Sharon pulled the tape back from Hera and momentarily covered her own mouth with it, then lowered the tape to reveal a toothy smile. “See? It’s not going to hurt. Now hold still for just a minute for Auntie Boomer. Stop crying. You want to see your mother, don’t you? Damnit, hold still. It’s not going to hurt.”
A loud knock at the door suddenly reverberated through the room. Sharon looked at the clock and then yelled out “Who is it?”
“It’s Racetrack. I need a favor.”
“Frac…tals”, Boomer said under her breath, then loudly added, “Give me a second.” She let go of Hera, and quickly pushed the bag and tape under the workdesk. Hera crawled away from Sharon for a few strides, then stood, walked to her bed, and grabbed at her small blanket.
“What do you need?” Boomer asked as she opened the pressure door.
“I was wondering…” Racetrack started to say, then when she noticed how Sharon was dressed asked, “Were you asleep?”
“I was supposed to be,” Sharon said as she opened the door wider and motioned for Margaret to come in. “Doc Cottle cleared me for flights but not combat status, so I was going to take over some of the 3rd shift supply-runs next week. But, don’t worry about it. Hera was keeping me up anyway. What’d you need?”
“I was going to ask you if you could fly my shift this afternoon. It’s just a milk-run to Colonial One, and I needed…”
“I’ll do it.” Boomer said without even waiting for Margaret to finish. “I’ve been itching to get back in the cockpit.” It was perfect, Boomer thought. She needed an excuse to get access to a Raptor, and Racetrack had just handed her one on a silver platter. Now all she had to do was stuff the kid in the duffle bag, walk down to the hanger, and fly back to civilization.
“Great,” Margaret said, “I can take Hera to daycare for you if you want.”
“No, that won’t be necessary.” Sharon said, “I’ve got to go right by there anyway on my way to the hanger.”
“Well then, I’ll just stay and keep her entertained while you suit up,” Margaret said. Then she knelt down and waved at Hera, saying “Why… who’s the cute little girl hiding under that blanket? Is that you Hera?”
“No, really, you don’t have to do that,” Sharon said. “I’m sure you have other things to do.”
“Oh, it’s no trouble. I’d actually like to get to spend a few minutes with her.”
Boomer thought, “Well, if I can’t get rid of Racetrack one way I’ll have to do it another.” She shut the pressure door with one hand, and closed her other hand around the heavy tubular flashlight that the Agathons kept by the door. She thought, “One swift blow with the flashlight should cave in Margaret’s skull, and I’ll be long gone with Hera before anyone finds the body.”
Margaret was kneeling down in the center of the room with her back to Sharon, making cute faces at Hera as the toddler peered out from under her blanket. Sharon tightened her grip on the handle of the flashlight. “Just bash her head in and then you can get out of here,” Boomer told herself.
Hera pointed behind Margaret and exclaimed, “Boober!”
“What’s that, Hera?” Margaret asked.
“Come on,” Boomer thought as she concentrated on one spot on the back of Margaret’s head, “Just one swing and it’ll all be over.”
“I think she’s trying to say ‘Boomer,’” Margaret said.
Boomer sighed, sat the flashlight down in its place beside the door, and rubbed her forehead. “Frak me,” she whispered under her breath, then louder added , “Yeah, I was telling her some stories about her Aunt Boomer just before you showed up. Watch her while I get suited up.”
As Margaret stood she saw the awards and the empty cigarette box laying on top of the desk. “Oh, you were showing her Boomer’s old things,” Margaret said. She picked up the campaign ribbon from Operation Urgent Relief and smiled. “I sure hope you didn’t tell her what Boomer and I did the night after we got these, because that story’s not safe for tender ears!”
A wide smile crept onto Boomer’s face as well, as she said “Oh… I remember.” Then, in response to a quizzical look from Racetrack she pointed to her head and quickly added, “Because… you know… I’ve got her memories.”
“Yeah, right,” Margaret said. “That was a hell of a night. I still wonder how Kara got all those swim team guys back off the base without the Shore Patrol finding out about it.”
“Kara probably wonders how she did it, too. She was so drunk that night...”
“Heck, she was still drunk at parade the next morning…”
Boomer burst out in giggles and shook her head as Racetrack studied the small ribbon in her hand and turned to face away from Sharon.
“You shouldn’t have Boomer’s stuff out like this,” Margaret said suddenly with a strange edge on her voice. “It’s not good to have this stuff out.” Margaret began picking up the awards and stuffing them, one after the other, back into the cigarette box. Boomer’s class ring slipped out of her hand and Margaret struggled for a moment to catch it again in her trembling hand.
“Maggie, are you alright?” Boomer asked.
When Margaret turned to look at Boomer again her eyes were red and there were tears streaming down her face.
“Maggie, what’s wrong?”
For a second, Margaret didn’t answer. She just stood there holding Boomer’s class ring in her hand and crying.
“I thought she was my friend,” Margaret finally managed to say. “...I thought…”
Before Racetrack could say anything more Boomer was upon her and embraced her old friend. “I…” Boomer began to say, but instead of finishing her sentence she just closed her eyes and hugged Margaret tighter as Margaret sobbed.
After Margaret caught her breath Sharon led her to the bunk, sat down beside her, and gave her a handkerchief to wipe her face with. Hera stood, and walked over with her blanket dragging behind her. She stood by where Margaret was sitting, reached out with her hand, and quietly patted Margaret’s knee. Margaret regained enough composure to speak, and turned to Sharon to say, “We were Rooks together. When the senior pilots were hazing us, we’d look out for each other… we hung out together… we were… I didn’t know she was a spy. All that time she was infiltrating Galactica and sabotaging us…” Margaret looked down at the floor and shook her head. “Stupid old Racetrack… all along I thought she was my friend. I really thought…” Margaret didn’t finish her sentence and struggled to catch her breath.
“I’m sure she was your friend, Maggie” Boomer said.
“She was a Cylon spy. She betrayed us all.”
“No, no.” Boomer said. “Boomer didn’t know she was a spy. It was something inside her that she didn’t know about. She really was your friend and she would have rather died than to have let the Cylons use her like that.”
“But what about New Caprica?” Margaret asked. “She knew what she was then. She was one of the ringleaders. They tortured and killed people and she was right there with the rest of them.”
“I’m sure that Boomer was arguing and voting against that every day in the Cylon meetings. No matter how poorly people treated her on the street, how many times they hurt her… I’m sure she was arguing for their best interests.”
“Voting?” Margaret said with disgust. “You don’t have a debate club meeting when people are dying. You save them. You wouldn’t have put up with that, Athena. You wouldn’t have just stood by and let the other Cylons kill people. You’d have picked up a gun and done something about it. She didn’t. She just let those people die.”
Boomer looked away from Margaret and stared past the wall on the other side of the room. “Yeah,” she said. “If it were me, I’d have done something about it. I wouldn’t just stand by while innocent people died. I’d have given my life for a chance to save theirs… But it wasn’t me. It was Boomer.” Sharon turned to look back at Margaret. “Don’t judge her so harshly, Margaret. Haven’t we all done things we’re ashamed of? Haven’t we all had moments when we’re afraid or weak, and we make the wrong choices? But you don’t want your friends to remember you for when you failed, you want them to remember the good in you. I’m sure Boomer would want you to remember her for the people that she saved, for all the good things she did for the Fleet… for the Colonies… for her friends.”
Margaret looked down at the child standing next to her, put her hand on Hera’s and said, “Sharon, you’re awfully forgiving of someone who threatened to kill your daughter.”
“Yeah, I guess so.” Boomer said. She looked away again. This time her eyes fell on the family portrait posted on the corkboard… on the picture of the smiling woman with her face… a Model Eight Cylon who called herself Sharon, wore the Colonial Uniform, and was surrounded by a loving family. “But you know how the saying goes,” Boomer said. “But for the grace of God, that could have been me.”
|Author:||Chris Taylor [ Wed Jul 29, 2009 9:30 pm ]|
|Post subject:||Re: Replaced, by C. Taylor, PG|
The emergency medical team arrived at Athena's Raptor before Boomer had even finished shutting the engines down. One of her new passengers had burns to his face and arms, but was able to climb out of the Raptor without assistance. Another of them came forward to speak with Sharon as she and her ECO, Hamish "Skulls" McCall, were unbuckling themselves from their seats.
"You're that Cylon pilot aren't you?" the passenger asked.
"That's right," Boomer answered.
"I never understood why the Admiral made you an officer. I figured the only good Cylon was a dead Cylon." He paused and extended his hand to her as he continued. "I was wrong about you," he said simply. "I want to apologize for that, and thank you for saving me and my men."
"Apology accepted," Boomer said as she smiled and shook his hand. "Any Raptor pilot would have done the same. I just happened to be the one in the wrong place at the right time."
Boomer and Skulls were the last to exit the Raptor. Sharon's first thought was that there seemed to be an awful lot of deck crew around her spacecraft. Then they broke out into applause. Skulls slid off the wing into a sea of outstretched arms. Sharon grabbed the offered hand of a marine to help her down. She didn't know half the people who were slapping her on the back and shaking her hand in congratulations.
"Hell of a stunt..."
"Way to go Sharon!"
A group of other ECOs slipped behind Skulls, and before he knew what had happened they had him hoisted up onto their shoulders and were yelling their unit motto at the top of their lungs. Sharon burst out laughing at their antics until she felt several hands grab her from behind and the floor fell away to the cry "Raptors rule!" Steadying herself on her comrades shoulders with left hand, Boomer held her right fist high in the air, let out a whoop, and then loudly echoed her unit’s battle cry.
Amidst the celebration a voice cried out "Admiral on the deck!" Sharon's feet were on the ground again as crew and officers scrambled hastily to attention. She looked up to see Admiral Adama striding directly towards her, and she reflexively snapped a salute and stiffened her backbone. The Admiral was frowning as he curtly responded.
"Lieutenant Agathon," he bellowed. "Didn't you hear Traffic Control's orders for all ships to move clear of Pluto's Pride immediately?"
"Yes, sir," Sharon answered.
"Did you follow Traffic Control's orders, Lieutenant?"
"N... No, Sir," Sharon admitted.
"Instead of moving clear as ordered, you flew straight for the burning Tyllium tanker and docked with it... Is that right?"
"You risked your life, and your ECO’s life, and an irreplaceable fighter. Why?" Adama demanded.
"Sir, I thought that I was close enough to the Pluto's Pride to evacuate her crew before the fire reached her fuel tanks. I... I couldn't just stand by and let innocent people die if I had a chance to save them," Boomer admitted.
"You thought you could get away in time? You thought? Based on what could you possibly have thought that? You got lucky this time. What if you'd been wrong, Lieutenant? ”
“Well, sir…” Boomer started to answer. What could she say? She certainly couldn’t tell him the truth, she realized. She wasn’t even sure that she understood why she had done it. It was a stupid, risky gamble to board a burning fuel tanker that could explode any moment. All Sharon Valerii knew was that at that instant, when Galactica’s Traffic Controller was ordering all ships to clear the area and the handful of stranded survivors from Pluto’s Pride were on the emergency channel begging for someone to come back and rescue them, that she would have rather died coming to their aid than to have abandoned them and lived. It was a far easier thing to turn her Raptor and fly it into an inferno than it would have been to stay on course and just turn down the volume knob that would silence the cries for help from those doomed men. She would rather have been incinerated in a giant fireball outside the range of any Resurrection Ship than to live a hundred lifetimes knowing she had followed the rules and done the safe thing while people died... again. She could not stand to have any more demons haunting her nightmares. How could she ever explain that to Admiral Adama?
“Sometimes you just have to roll the hard six,” Boomer said.
Adama’s frown vanished, to be replaced by a wide grin. His eyes seemed to shine with new life as his expression changed suddenly. “Spoken like a true fighter pilot!” Admiral Bill “Husker” Adama announced loudly. “You made the right call in a tough situation. I just wanted to make sure you didn’t make it for the wrong reasons. Congratulations on one hell of a piece of flying.” Still smiling, Bill Adama extended his hand toward Sharon Valerii.
Boomer blinked once and looks around the bridge of the Galacitca. Commander Adama is proudly offering to shake her hand while his son stands in the back of the room in handcuffs. Why is Lee in handcuffs? What happened while she was onboard that basestar? She steps forward to accept the gratitude of her commanding officer, but there is a pistol in her hand and her right arm seems to have a life of its own.
Boomer is not on the bridge of the Galactica, she is in the hanger deck. Adama is an Admiral now, and his son is on the Qurom. But still, Bill Adama stands there with his hand outstretched toward her. She feels dizzy and cold and sick at her stomach. She wants to scream, but she seems to have forgotten how. Boomer looked down at her right hand and was surprised to see that it was empty. She balled her right hand into a fist, then flexed it out again; her hand obeyed her will instantly. Sharon Valerii looked back at Admiral Adama with an ecstatic grin on her face. “I was just making sure,” she said as she reached out and took hold of his hand.
If Adama thought that the comment was inappropriate he gave no outward indication. Instead, he and everyone else on the hanger deck laughed at Athena’s joke. Everyone except Col. Tigh.
“What the frak happened here?” Specialist Redford yelled. “Look at the divot on this deckplate!”
Specialist Galen Tyrol ignored him and continued trying to work a small shard of sheet metal out from between two of the landing strip deckplates on the starboard landing bay.
Specialist Sanchez put down his tools nearby and walked over to see what Redford is working on. “Holy frak,” he said when he saw the damage Redford had found. “It’s going to take a lot of pounding to get that deckplate straight again. What happened?”
Tyrol pulled the small triangle of metal loose and added it to a bucket of other debris that he had collected while inspecting his assigned section of the landing strip. Then he moved on to the next deckplate and checked the edges without bothering to look at his chattering colleagues.
“I think that’s where Athena landed last shift when she pulled those guys out of that tanker explosion.”
Specialist Tyrol sat down his tools and looked over at the other side of the landing strip where Redford and Sanchez were chatting.
“Athena? Are you sure it wasn’t some rook viper jock? Athena’s got the smoothest landings of the whole fleet. You could put Colonial One in that divot. I’ve never seen one that big before… even from a nugget.” Redford said.
“Maybe she was coming in hot. I hear some of those tanker crew were burned up pretty bad. Athena may have been in a hurry to get them to the medics.”
“Fraking pilots never seem to worry about how much work we have to put in fixing everything they break. She should have to come down here and pound this out.”
“What do you think, Chief?” Sanchez asked Specialist Tyrol as he walked up to them.
For several seconds Galen Tyrol just stood there rubbing the back of his shaved head with his left hand and looking down at the familiar, sharp dent just to the right of center on the end of the landing strip. Finally he looked at Sanchez and said, “She wasn’t coming in hot. She came in with her nose too high and then over-rotated.” He shook his head and continued. “You’ll never get the divot out of that plate here. Just pull it and put a spare in. I’ll take it back to the shop and put the torch on it for a few minutes. That’ll soften it up enough that we can get it straight again.” He sighed and then added, “We need to tell someone to check the front landing gear strut on Sharon’s Raptor. I have a feeling that we’re going to find some yielded main springs.”
To be continued... as soon as I have time.
|Author:||rebelliousrose [ Wed Jul 29, 2009 10:14 pm ]|
|Post subject:||Re: Replaced, by C. Taylor, PG|
I've read some of this before, I know I have- did you post this at Kindreds, too?
And for god's sake, keep writing!!!! You left my favorites all being tortured by the Cylons!!
|Author:||weissman [ Fri Jul 31, 2009 3:06 pm ]|
|Post subject:||Re: Replaced, by C. Taylor, PG|
I wish he would finish this one also!! It is so good
|Author:||Pierre [ Fri Jul 31, 2009 3:37 pm ]|
|Post subject:||Re: Replaced, by C. Taylor, PG|
Forgot to comment...
Yes, I liked this very much. I hope we'll be able to "live" the rest of the story soon enough. But take your time, don't rush anything.
PS: Don't forget HomeWorld or Alternate Tin Soldier !
PPS: I want the entire (not yet written I guess) Look Homeward Angel !!!
|Author:||Jack Raby [ Mon Aug 24, 2009 11:15 am ]|
|Post subject:||Re: Replaced, by C. Taylor, PG|
Yet another cliffhanger. And the last episode left me pining for the rest of the story.
|Author:||weissman [ Mon Aug 24, 2009 2:50 pm ]|
|Post subject:||Re: Replaced, by C. Taylor, PG|
|Page 1 of 1||All times are UTC|
|Powered by phpBB © 2000, 2002, 2005, 2007 phpBB Group