"Good night, sweet prince, and flights of angels sing thee to thy rest." --Shakespeare, Hamlet, Act 5, Scene 2
Talyn is frightened.
Moya cannot see him behind the doors of the Command Carrier's docking bay, but she knows he is awake. She can feel him reaching out to her.
This is the second time she has said goodbye to her son in less than a weeken. The last time, she believed he would wake with no memory of her or his pilot, or any of their crews. But he is still himself for these last moments. And he has made this decision willingly. This should comfort her, she thinks. But it doesn't.
Crichton spoke of the greater good, the fate of the galaxy, the needs of the many. Less than an arn ago, she and her pilot watched as his module plunged into the blue maw of the wormhole. He has his part to play, to distract the Peacekeepers. And Talyn and Crais have theirs.
There is nothing, now, for her to do but wait, and watch, and pray.
It is a warrior's death, Talyn tells her, trying to convince himself, as much as her. His voice carries clearly over the chatter of the Peacekeeper comms. And I am not alone.
You are not alone.
She hears his pilot's thoughts echoing her own, and she knows Crais is with him. All is ready. The signals flying through the carrier are growing frantic, but the harried order to scramble Prowlers will be too late. It will not be long now.
Moya has spent most of her life a slave, cycles upon cycles locked into rigid formation under the collar and the carrier's guns. She should have learned not to hold anyone too close, or care for anyone too deeply. Her podmates, her mother, her first pilot -- all beloved, all gone. But there was light, too, beyond the darkness. Sometimes she wonders why she escaped, of all the prison convoy. And she wonders how the others fare, still dreaming of free flight and praying to distant gods who do not answer.
She has learned to seize what happiness life gives her, to cherish it while it lasts and never, ever, take it for granted. Never, in all her cycles as a slave, did she imagine the joy her son's life would bring her. Now she struggles to hide her sorrow, sending wordless support, reaching into his mind as deeply as she can, letting him feel only her love and her pride.
"And this time, Scorpius..." Crais' voice comes to her over the open comms channel, and through Talyn's internal sensors, "I am not leaving quietly."
She has known this one for many cycles, watched him walk her halls with captain's bars on his sleeve, long before they both escaped the Peacekeepers. She watched many other Leviathan mothers die for his project, many of them her friends. His order killed her first pilot. He gave her Talyn, and he took him away from her when he was barely a weeken old. He protected Talyn, when she could not.
He loves Talyn.
Docking bay doors are opening, two, three Prowler squadrons emerging from the carrier, thrusters firing in bright flame bursts, polished black hulls reflecting the wormhole's blue radiance. Her sensors pick up pulse cannons charging, orders going back and forth from ship to ship. She pays them no mind. They are waiting for an escape attempt. They know nothing.
Talyn's security cameras show Crais standing in the center of Command, eyes front, back straight, hands clasped behind his back. Through the neural link, he speaks to Talyn, and she hears this, too. Not in words, for he was never skilled at those. There is only his pride in the young ship, pride so deep it hurts, and tenderness such as he once thought he would never feel again.
Talyn clings to his consciousness as tightly as he clings to hers, and through the link she can brush against Crais' mind, gently this time. She is surprised when he does not immediately block her.
Once before she touched his mind, two cycles ago when his link to Talyn was new and he had not yet learned to control it. She reached to him in desperation then, knowing only that he was taking Talyn away, maybe forever, and she could do nothing to stop him.
I'm counting on you to protect him.
Seven words, flung across the vast darkness, a parent's plea for a beloved child. She did not expect him to answer. She certainly did not expect his pain, grief as great as her own reflected back at her -- not from a Peacekeeper, not from this man.
They gave her badly needed hope then, the raw memories that flashed in his mind before he could stop them. She had long known him capable of great cruelty, of fierce anger and ruthless ambition, and callous disregard of others' suffering.
But these images told another story -- two children, impossibly young, dwarfed by the black-armored recruiter and clutching each other's hands. Dark eyes that were too old for a child's face held fear, confusion, but determination, too -- and yes, love.
None of this could ease her aching loneliness, standing by as Talyn made his first starburst. But her fear for him was lessened, if only a little. At least she knew her son's pilot was more than the cold Peacekeeper she had thought him to be.
He tries to hide it from Talyn now, the hard, hopeless rage that tells him all his reassurances are futile, and once again he has failed. His instincts are a warrior's, to guard Talyn, to destroy what would harm him. Without a weapon, he is lost, trapped, worse than useless.
She has moved past anger; it has never helped her, and she no longer has the strength for it, against all the injustices the universe has given her. Talyn's cameras show her the uniform and the face of one who kept her in chains. But the mind touching hers is that of another orphan far from home, one more sentient being forced into service against his will, groping blindly for the last faint shred of hope that still eludes his grasp. Once again his anguish mirrors her own, and she would offer him some comfort if she could, but she has none.
Even the Builders do not see all things. You did all anyone could do, and more than I ever hoped.
Surprise flickers through the link, remorse and confusion answering her wordless gratitude.
You gave him what I could not; you gave him freedom.
Her sensors register an energy source gaining strength, and she knows Talyn's engines are almost fully charged before the flurry of comms traffic confirms it. She reaches to both of them now, pushing the pain to one side. She will have a lifetime to grieve; now she pours all her love and all her desperate prayers through this link, enfolding them both.
May the arms of the Builders receive you, may you find peace with those you love who have gone before you...
Crais answers Talyn's frightened, questioning thought with instant reassurance. He does not believe as she does. Peacekeepers have taught him nothing waits for him on the other side of this life, no happy reunion with the brother he lost or the brother he has adopted. But for Talyn's sake, he will pretend.
Leviathans will pray for you, and sing your names to the stars, generations after I am dust.
Talyn is struggling to hide his fear with no success, but still his resolve never wavers.
You will be remembered with love and with honor.
Crais closes his eyes.
Farewell, my sons.
Massive energy readings flood her sensors, flames bursting from the carrier's hull, and they are gone. Blindly, she calls to her pilot, focusing on his voice over the sudden storm of Peacekeeper signals, emergency sirens wailing on all frequencies.
"Yes, Moya, I see it."
The carrier's outer hulls are collapsing, shredded metal and clouds of debris shooting outward.
"I see it."
Escaping gases cloud her vision, and she cannot see Talyn, cannot sense him anywhere. Is it possible he is elsewhere, alive, escaped into starburst before the power built up enough to kill him? Or did the overload of energy destroy him so completely that no recognizable fragments are left? She can no longer hear their voices.
Small ships are pouring from the docking bays now, life pods, Prowlers, Marauders, some badly singed, emerging from hatches wreathed with fire. The comms chatter is louder, disoriented, fragmented, overlapping in frightened bursts. She turns her sensors away, away from the crumbling carrier, the orange flames and the blue-water brilliance of the wormhole, out toward open space and the quiet stars.
Far below the Peacekeeper comms frequencies, a long note sounds, building to a crescendo, a lone voice keening her loss. She will sing their names until she finds them again or until she dies, she will tell their stories to anyone who will listen, she will pray for them until she has no voice left, and the void echoes with her songs.
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Title: Flights of Angels
Author: Flora [email] [website]
Details: Standalone | PG | gen | 8k | 09/18/04
Characters: Moya, Talyn, Crais
Summary: Moya watches. Set during "Into the Lion's Den".
Notes: Spoilers through the end of season three
Disclaimer/Other: I wrote this a while ago, for a challenge on the Crais' Cohorts board. The challenge was to write something inspired by the line in "Family Ties" "There is much in life that is unfair. We are all proof of that." Any comments, suggestions or criticism are very much appreciated. Thanks so much to CraisIsMine for betaing this.
I don't own any of these characters. I'm not making any money off of this, please don't sue.
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