"Officer Aeryn Sun, Special Commandos, Icarion Company, Pleisar Regiment." You've been expecting her. The Captain commed a quarter arn ago, told you everything is under control, the saboteur in custody. "I was ordered to report here for reassignment."
You're not sure why, but the whole situation still makes you vaguely uneasy. "As you were, Officer Sun."
She barely relaxes, shoulders slumping only a fraction, white-knuckled fists pressing hard against her thighs. A single touch brings her transfer request to your screen, dated two weekens ago. "Prowler Squadron 14, Senior Officer Tal Verska?"
Her voice is toneless. "Yes, ma'am."
She stands perfectly still, shoulders set in that unconsciously arrogant posture all Prowler pilots have, but you served too long in infantry not to recognize the lines of strain around her mouth. Her file says she was Velorek's transport pilot, but she must have been much more than that if he trusted her enough to speak of desertion and treason.
You can't help wondering, as you key in your authorization code, how much damage he might have done, if it weren't for a few careless words overheard and reported by this junior officer. The Captain is still on board the new Leviathan, where he spent most of the last weeken overseeing the installation of the new Pilot. He trusted you to take care of the day to day tasks of running the carrier, including final approval of all new personnel, and it galls you to learn you cleared a traitor for access to such a high-security project.
The comm buzzes as you hit the switch to print the order. "Lieutenant."
She looks away sharply at his voice, but not before you notice the hollow look in her eyes. Whatever was between her and Velorek, the feelings weren't all one-sided. But she is a born Peacekeeper, like you, and she knows where her first loyalty lies.
Emotional attachments are an unacceptable risk for any Peacekeeper, a dangerous weakness and destructive of unit cohesion and morale. It's a rule that's been pounded into both of you since you were cadets.
"The next watch on the bridge is yours. I'll be interrogating the prisoner."
You ought to be disgusted by her lack of discipline, watching her fragile control crumble as the connection is cut, gray eyes filling with unshed tears and a sudden, unguarded desolation. For a microt she stares at you, then she bows her head, turning a little so you can't see her face. "Forgive me, ma'am."
Instead, you're far more shaken by her obvious pain than you want to admit. You've known for a long time that the real world is never as clear cut as the training exercises make it out to be, and sometimes it can be impossible not to care.
She looks at the Captain and sees only the uniform, but you remember him before he added that fifth bar to his sleeve, when days spent in relative safety aboard a carrier were the exception for both of you, not the norm. You remember firefights on a hundred different planets, and long nights spent huddled in the scant shelter of a hastily-dug trench, cold and filthy and exhausted, leaning against each other for the faint warmth a comrade's body could provide. Real life is nothing like a simulation, and some experiences, once shared, forge a bond that can't be lightly set aside.
But for all you've learned to bend the rules, there are some that can't be broken, some lines that can't be crossed. Velorek is guilty of high treason, by his own words, caught on a surveillance tape.
"You did well, Officer Sun." The words are stiff, and you're as surprised by them as she is, but you know it's the truth. You believe this because it's what you were taught, since before your hands were big enough to grasp a pulse pistol. "It's always hard to understand how one of our own could turn against us, and it's even harder when the traitor is . . . someone close to us. Your actions were entirely correct, and required great courage."
Her hand brushes yours when you hand her the order, and her fingers are ice cold. But she lifts her chin with a warrior's pride, lips pressed together in a thin, hard line. "Thank you, ma'am."
She understands the difference between loyalty to the uniform and loyalty to the man wearing it, and she knows which must come first. Her feelings for him may be inappropriate, but in the end she found the strength to set them aside long enough to do her duty. But the anguish in her eyes haunts you, long after the door closes and her footsteps fade down the corridor. And for the first time in your life, you're no longer certain you could do the same.
Please post a comment on this story.
Title: No Ordinary Peacekeeper
Author: Flora [email] [website]
Details: Standalone | PG | gen | 4k | 04/15/04
Characters: Aeryn, Teeg
Summary: Missing scene for "The Way We Weren't".
Notes: Spoilers for seasons 1 and 2.
Disclaimer/Other: I don't own any of these characters, I'm not making any money off of this, please don't sue.
[top of page]
|Home/QuickSearch + Random + Upload + Search + Contact + GO List|