Word Count: 1,047
"So we're just drifting then?" Mel looked up as Captain Bates said the words, with just a little bit more than a quivering of fear in his words. She had never really liked the man, who had suggested more than once with a sick smile that she could get paid more if she would put more of an appearance in his quarters. Sick bastard was getting it in the gut now.
"Unless you have a better idea, yeah we're just drifting." Mel looked out at the rubble that was once one of the largest merchant stations in Colonial space. Now it was an air bleeding wreck surrounded by hundreds of air bleeding wrecks of ships. "The Cylon's are putting a missile, most of them nuclear in anything that moves. I haven't seen any of them in the last hour so I'm pretty sure that they don't know they missed us."
"We should jump out of here." If Captain Bates was a bloated, greedy, sick pig of a man, his first officer Jon Searks was a weasel. A cowardly one at that, Mel, for not the first time, was wondering just why she had ever signed on to this ship. Sure she had needed a job, but going on less for a bit longer would have been welcome now. At least she would be facing her end with a crew she actually respected.
"And go where exactly? You've heard the emergency channels as much as I have. The Cylons are bleeding everywhere. Either we stay put and hope the fleet regroups enough to shove off this attack, or we jump out of here and die. Unless you two know of someplace say, less than completely lawful?" Mel looked from one to the other, and their gaze shifted before hers. They knew she had been a Colonial officer before she had lost her legs, and Mel had noticed that they were particular about not speaking about certain parts of their past, and current cargoes in her presence. At best smugglers, at worst they were actively running for the `Illegals', and either way she would have ratted them out the instant she had solid proof.
"We'll stay here." There was even more fear in Bates' voice now, and Mel could not help a small predatory smile that crossed her face. Sooner or later that man would trip up, and she might end up looking at a ship of her own. A small consolation for not being able to do what she truly loved anymore. "At least until we have proof that we are truly losing this battle or otherwise."
Mel had been sitting in the pilot's pit of the freighter for far too long. Her eyes had grown hair long ago from a constant intake of caffine in the form of spacers sludge. The ever present coffee form that seemed to always be present on the third rate ships she had served on. She would really welcome the chance to use facilities other than those provided by her suit, for they were uncomfortable at the best of times, and were far beyond that now.
The view in front of her on the freighters viewscreens, had it not meant thousands, no millions of dead, would have been eerily beautiful. The sunlight streamed through vented air and frozen liquids creating the god of all rainbows. Hard to believe that the Judgement her father had always preached was coming would be so majestic. Such a gorgeous thing this death was, so terrible at the same time, that she could no say whether the tears were from grief or wonder.
The debris pinging off the hull sounded like nothing more than rain pounding on a tin roof, and Mel could imagine that she was sitting back home under the Leonid sky. A spring storm, the sun streaming through the clouds as rain fell all around her. Her mother would have dry clothes and hot cocoa waiting inside, and her father, well he would not be mad or haunted for the first time in a long time. Mel would stand by his side looking up at the sky as the rain washed the sin off them, feeling the love that was in the Lords' tears.
"Freighter pinging IFF Alpha-Bravo-Three-Three-Five-Delta- Seven, this is Raptor flight one, Boomer speaking come in please." Mel jolted out of her half asleep daydream, sorry to leave it behind, and yet not. Reality was what truly mattered, not dreams and fantasies, not anymore.
"Boomer, this is the Pixy's Folly, go ahead."
"Are your jump engines functioning correctly Folly?"
"Affirmative Boomer, green and ready to go."
"Sending coordinates for a regroup rendezvous now. Acknowledge receipt and readiness for countdown to jump." Mel watched the status indicators as the Folly's ancient jump computers churned at the figures. First one, then two, and finally a third green light came on. She ignored the single amber as the figures on the other three matched completely, her hand moved of its own accord flipping off the protective cover and starting the jump sirens even as she replied to Boomer.
This was going to be the third jump in the last eight hours, and she had been awake for more than a day and a half now. Things were not lining up correctly, which was why she had set the navigational system to give her an audible ping when the correct coordinates were reached. Mel was numb now, and she knew that sooner or later that numbness would melt, and she would feel all the pain she had ignored in the past hours. Now though, she had to survive, had to survive for the men and women who were shielding their jump in the Galactica, had to survive for the pilots that were fighting an dying alone out there, so that she might live. She longed to join them, but had long since lost the ability to do so. Mel knew that would eat at her soul for long days ahead. Such was Fate though, that it would snatch away hopes, lives like a wind among the trees, and like the wind, sometimes deposit them back in reach, so that a person might stoop down and try to pick them up.