Chapter The First.
Once upon a time, in a land far far away, but not so different from our own, there lived a boy and a girl. The boy was bright and intelligent, gifted in sports, and the son of a highly respected ships commander, wealthy and destined for college. The girl was also bright, intelligent and gifted in sports. But she was the daughter of the town drunk and couldnt afford college. So by day she attended the local school with the boy, and by night flew local schlepping runs for the boys family in an attempt to afford the tuition at the local community college."
Jesse and Selene we're inseperable. Best friends. Close competitors. And in love with each other.
Selene was running through her pre-flight check list, clipboard on her knees, helmet sitting precariously on the co-pilots seat, dangerously close to crashing to the deck of the transport, when Jesse came clamboring up the metal steps behind her.
"Have you heard?' he panted, holding onto the railing with one hand, her seat with the other, bent at the waist and sucking wind.
"Heard you from a mile away." she quipped, smiling, never pausing from the routine of the check list in front of her.
"Ha ha. Very funny, smart ass. But that's not what I asked." He caught his breath, scooped up her helmet and flopped in the co-pilots chair. "Have you heard?"
"Heard what?" she asked distractedly, checking off the last few items on the list.
"War. We've declared war on Tauron."
"Tauron? Arent they mostly farmers? Why in the gods' names would we declare war on farmers?"
He turned in the seat, facing her. "I dont know. Maybe they were't getting their food grown fast enough?" he teased her.
Selene bounced her clipboard lightly off his head. "Now who's being the smart ass?" With a grin she reached across the gap between the seats and pulled him into a kiss.
"EWWWWW!" Kara sqealed. "Kissing? Daddy, you said this wouldnt be a gross story!"
He held his spot in the book in one hand and closed the cover over it. "I can stop reading, Buttercup, if thats what you really want. But I promise, it's a good story. One of my favorites." He sat back in his seat and watched her thoughts flit across her face.
Kara thought about it. Kissing? Yuck! But Daddy said it was good. Eventually her fathers words won out. "Keep reading, Daddy. Please?"
Selene pulled back, eyes a bit glazed, a stupid grin upon her face. "Better get a move on, Golden Boy, I've got a run to make and you've got a college to pick."
"Dont remind me!" he groaned, slouching in the seat.
She smacked his shoulder and rescued her helmet from his grip. "Yes, its just so hard to be you. Pick one already, and put us all out of your misery. Now get off my boat, I've got an education to earn."
Jesse stood and gently dropped a kiss on the top of her head. "I love you," he whispered. He felt her stiffen, as she always did when he said those little words to her, then relax against the seat.
"Frackin moron," she whispered back. He smiled, she might not be able to say those three words, but her two said the same thing.
Three weeks later, in the middle of a beautiful spring morning, Selene showed up at Jesse's door, an envelope in her hand and bruises across her knuckles.
"I got drafted," she announced as he opened the door. Jesse stared at her, uncomprehending. She shoved past him and into the house.
"Drafted? As in going to war? As in leaving here? That kind of drafted?"
"As in I'm not going to college yet, so I have no choice, drafted."
"When do you leave?' he asked, pulling her into a hug, her chin on his shoulder.
"Three days," she whispered.
Jesse was there to see her off, her entire life shrunk to the gear bag at her feet. She looked lost and alone and at the same time as if she could take on the entire Tauron army. Her smile was there, but it didnt reach her eyes. Eyes that had dark circles under them from late nights spent getting as much time in with Jesse as she could. They sat shoulder to shoulder on the bench outside her gate holding hands, his thumb running across her knuckles. They didnt speak or move until the final boarding call for her flight went out.
As she shouldered her bag, Jesse reached out and cupped her face with one hand. "I love you."
"Fracking moron," she replied and walked down the hall to the plane.
Jesse stood at the gate, watching out the window until her flight gained the sky, then he drove home in a fog. Not seeing what was passing in front of his eyes, not hearing the radio. All he could think of was how much he missed her, what he could do to be with her again. He didnt really remember the drive, or parking the car, or even getting in the house. But the sight of his mother sitting at the kitchen table, crying, reached through his disinterest.
"Mom? Whats wrong?"
She was sobbing, not able to speak in sentences. "Selene.... transport... attacked. No survivors."
Chapter the Second
Years pass. Jesse chooses a college far from his home, far from the memories that lurk around every corner. He excels in academics, graduating top of his class. As the son of a respected admiral, his entrance into the military is assured. He's offered his choice in postings and declines all but the most dangerous. He chooses Vipers. Vipers were Selene's assignment. He feels closer to her when he's among them. As if she's just out of reach, a breath away. He thinks that he sees her in the brief flashes of light when his guns fire and that he can hear her in the quiet static of a dead com link.
The war with Tauron continues. He flies CAPS and combat missions almost daily. His aim is true, his skill in a bird breathtaking in scope. He's racked up more kills than any three pilots combined. He's cold, methodical, perfect. Everything about him is regulation perfect. His rack has perfect corners, his hair trimmed weekly, his reports concise with all the i's dotted and the t's crossed.
Not a person on board has ever seen him smile. He's cold. Empty. Lost. The hole in his soul that Selene's death caused has never healed. The pain of it is his constant companion. It eats at him every waking moment, only fading in those moments when he skates close to the edge, on the verge of death, at the threshold of finding her at last. Always the voice on the comm calls him back, calls him home. He dreads the voice yet holds fast to it. He has things to do before he can shed this mortal flesh and seek solace among the stars. When this war is over, when his skill is no longer what holds the terror of war at bay for the innocent, then he can seek her, find her, join her.
If he was anyone else, the son of anyone else, he would have already been grounded for a psyche eval. But he was Jesse "Osiris" Eden, son of Admiral Lucien Eden the most powerful man in the fleet and the puppet master of the last two administrations. Telling the elder Eden that his son was skating the thin line between true brilliance and absolute madness was tantamount to suicide. So Jesse's escapades in his viper became the things of gossip, then rumor, then finally legend. He awed and scared everyone who crossed his path. And he never missed a flight.
The current CAP was gods awful boring. Nothing anywhere doing anything. Not even a peep from the dradis. Which would have been fine, except the two other pilots on this little trip were chattering back and forth about their latest conquests, and Jesse was not in the mood to hear the dirty little details.
"Cut the chatter," he ordered. Being highest ranking on this particular flight had its advantages. The comm chatter disappeared, and other than a few position checks, Jesse was left to listen to the static and the faint hum of Selene's voice, just out of range. He drifted then, flying on autopilot, lost in the music of the white noise.
Suddenly, a voice cut through his reverie. "... repeat, Osiris this is Triton. Please respond." The petty officer was crisp and professional, and all to used to his non-response the first time or two she would try to raise him.
"This is Osiris, go ahead Triton." So much for being allowed to let the static wash over and through him for a few moments of peace.
"You have an incoming call, priority channel. You are to break formation and return to base. Flyboy and Dipstick are to finish the rotation."
"Copy that Triton, returning to base." He checked his instruments and broke formation. "You heard her boys, I'm out of here." On his way back he shuddered as Flyboy and Dipstick picked up the conversation where they had left off.
The priority call was less than welcome. He was being recalled to Caprica, effective immediately, and was to report upon his arrival to his father's office at Fleet Headquarters. Being removed from the front lines was painful, it was there that he was closest to Selene. What made it nearly unbearable, to the point that he actually considered disobeying the order, was that he was going to have to see his father. For a brief moment the deep well in his soul was filled with a burning rage. Rage at the man who fathered him, but couldnt be bothered to know him. Rage at being called back for what was probably a whim. Rage at being denied that which his soul cried out for. He swallowed the rage and went.
"Married?" he practically screeched. "I'm not getting married. This isn't the dark ages!" Jesse had been on edge about seeing his father, and now he knew he'd had good reason. No sooner had he walked through the door than his father had informed him that a marriage had been arranged, ARRANGED, between Jesse and the young Queen of Tauron. It was a marriage designed to end the war, unite the two planets, and present a united front against the other colonies that were making noises about pulling away from Caprica and the rule it had established.
You WILL do this," his father stated, emphasizing each word. He gestured to the two officers who had been standing outside his office door. "Please escort the Lieutenant to his transport. If he refuses, use whatever means necessary to make sure he arrives alive and relatively unscathed. Dismissed."
Aboard The Fate
"Captain, The Cylon is on the move. Do we intercept?"
"Not yet. Follow him. Hades is up to something big and I want to know what it is."
Hope you enjoy!
Chapter the Third
Jesse groaned as he regained conciousness. His head felt as if three vipers were trying to blast their way out. He tried to reach up, to keep his head from exploding, only to discover his hands secured behind his back. The lack of movement out of his arms startled him, his eyes flying open, another viper trying to launch itself from his skull. He struggled into a sitting position, trying to figure out where he was. The room was small. Just a shelf jutting out from a wall, which he was now sitting on, and a bare bulb screwed into the ceiling. He struggled to his feet, staggered to the door, only to find that it was locked and there was no handle on his side.
He collapsed back on the shelf. How had he ended up here? He wracked his brain for the information, wandered through memory back to meeting with his father and his escort to the waiting transport. He'd gone, if not willingly, at least under his own power. They had escorted him across the base, up the stairs, even put him in the seat between them as the transport left. All had been smooth, if not pleasant, for the first two hours of the flight. He was escorted to the head, where did they think he would go in the middle of OUTER SPACE, he had wondered. They let him eat, even offered him a nice ale to relax with.
And then things had gone wrong. The ship had been hit by fire, he'd felt it shudder. A ship that large, shaking like a viper with an engine missing, was a hard thing to miss. It had all gone so quickly after that. The pilots, like all pilots he had known, reporting a ship on dradis, the loss of first one engine and then the other. Their disbelief when they heard that they were to be boarded. The sound of another ship making a soft seal with his own. His escort had roughly shoved him to the back of the ship, unceremoniously dumped him in the head and taken up positions outside. He hadnt seen a thing, only heard the gun fire, the screaming, the thud of his gaurds slamming into the door and wall before him. Then quiet.
Jesse tried to process what had been going on around him. They had been boarded, violently. He knew that for sure. What they were after, he had no idea. He was stuck in the head, with no weapon, no orders and an unknown situation just inches away. There was no manuevering room in the small cubicle, so he readied himself for what could come through the door. He bounced lightly on the balls of his feet, hands wiggling in loose fists, elbows bent but relaxed. The man who opened the door never knew what hit him, Jesse laid him out flat with a quick right to the jaw. The big man standing behind him had no such problem. He reached over the downed man, grabbed Jesse by the collar and hauled him bodily out of the head. Jesse struggled in his grip, but his feet were a good six inches off the deck and the man's fist in his jacket was the only thing holding him up.
"That wasn't very nice." The big man said in the ponderously slow voice of a man with lots of brawn but very little brains. "He wasn't going to hurt you." Jesse looked up at the man in disbelief. Was he really that slow as to think that Jesse would just open the door and welcome the man in?
"Helios!" A small smarmy man approached them. "Put him down!"
"Sure boss." Jesse was sat upon his feet in front of the man that Helios called "boss". Helios then preceded to "pat" Jesse on his head with enough force to make his knees give way and send him sprawling to the the deck. "Oops, sorry." He shrugged apologetically.
"What happened to Thumper?" the smaller man asked as he flipped his well coiffed hair from his face.
"He opened the door. Kid knocked him out."
"I can see that." the man answered impatiently. "Why didn't you open the door first?" He shook his mane of hair and repositioned his glasses to a smarter point on his nose.
"Thumper got there first."
The small man sighed, muttering to himself about the lack of good help. Thumper began to stir, sat up rubbing his jaw.
"Kid, you've got a good right, Ive gotta give you that. But I'd appreciate it if you'd keep it away from my face. I rather like how pretty the girls think it is." He levered himself to his feet, reholstered his gun and joined the little group.
"Well," whined the small man, "since we all seem to have regained conciousness, can we please get back to the ship?" he turned and headed to the blasted hole in the ships side. "Bring him." he waved superciliously in the direction of Jesse.
"Hey, wait. I'm not going anywhere with you," Jesse protested.
"Helios." the small man threw over his shoulder.
"Sure, boss." Jesse saw the big man's fist moving toward him, and then it all went dark.
Which brought him right back to his current situation. Bound and locked in what amounted to a cell. It wasn't much longer than the shelf he sat on, and he could touch the opposite wall with his foot. He didn't know how long he sat there. His arms had long gone numb. The throbbing in his head had lessened, but not gone away. He heard a brief humming in the direction of the door, and then it quietly slid open. On the other side stood the short man, not a hair out of place, a condescending smirk on his face.
"Ah," he cooed. "I see you're awake." He rubbed his hands together. "I truly hope that Helios didn't do any permanent damage. We do so need you alive and your charming self when we arrive."
Jesse just stared at him. Who WAS this fool?
"Come, come. Why so quiet?"
"What the hell is going on here?" Jesse burst out. "Who the frak are you? And why in the god's names am I being held prisoner?"
"The Fate's Captain" for Spanky. Love rushie!
Chapter the Prologue
Kara stopped before her locker, hesitant. She pulled it open, taking a glance at herself in the mirror. The newly short hair didnt look too bad, she'd still have to make a run through it with scissors at some point, but for now it was okay. Dropping to her knees she rummaged through the bottom of her locker. Her hoodie went flying to her rack, a pair of wadded up running shorts following it. Eventually she reached the two cloth wrapped bundles at the bottom. Buried beneath the daily flotsam of her life, they were protected from the wandering eyes of her fellow bunkmates.
The idols she left in their wrappings, transferring them with a gentle hand to her rack. She reached back for the second bundle, larger and more rectangular in shape. This she held protectively to her chest with one hand while she stood and slammed the locker shut with the other. She shoved the miscellany of things on her rack into a corner, crawled in and closed the curtain.
She sat cross legged on her rack, laying the bundle in front of her with a reverance few would believe she possessed. She unwrapped the bundle as if it was the most holy of relics. Staring up at her was a battered book; leather bound, gold embossed, dog-eared from many readings. It was dented and dinged, there was grime ground into the spine and a red stain along the edge of the pages that were showing. Kara ran a gentle finger over the title, tracing the letters...."The Fate's Captain". She lifted the book, placing it gently on her lap. She opened the cover, breathed in the old book smell, and let the memories wash over her.
She was six and in the hospital, again. Her fingers were taped to little boards and then wrapped to 10 times their normal size. She couldnt wiggle them, couldnt move them, and they ITCHED. The tv was on some obnoxious talk show that only adults liked and she couldnt press the little buttons on the remote to change the channel. Couldnt even pick up the remote, actually. She was bored, she was lonely and she wanted out. She wiggled in her bed, but only succeeded in getting her hospital gown to ride up, and since her hands were useless, she was stuck with the gown all twisted in an uncomfortable way.
Kara smiled at the memory. It was actually a fairly good one. Her father had shown up, to check on her, to keep her company, to read to her. How he had known she was there she had never figured out. He'd left a few weeks before and she hadnt heard anything from him. And there he was, a smile on his face, a book in his hand. He had hugged her til she squeaked, kissed her forehead, and (thankfully) pulled her gown back into a more comfortable arrangement.
"How's my girl?' he smiled at her, running a hand down the back of her head.
"I'm good Daddy!" She chirped back. She'd never let her Daddy know she was anything else. His smile was worth more than any amount of pain she was in.
"I brought you something." He held up the book. "My father used to read it to me when I was stuck in bed."
"Why would he read to you when you were stuck in bed? Where was grandma?"
Her father smiled. "This was something that my father did just for me. It was our time. He'd come in after work and shoo grandma downstairs. Tell her to relax. Then he'd pull this from my book shelf, drag my desk chair over to the bed and read to me." Her father ran a loving finger across the gold embossed letters.
"Do you like the book, Daddy?"
"I love the book."
"More than candy?" she teased.
"More than candy."
"More than music."
He thought for a minute, finger tapping against his cheek. "Yes, more than music."
She looked down at her wrapped fingers and thought about how they'd come to be that way. "More than me?" she asked in a small voice.
"No, never! I could never love anything as much as I love you, Kara." He reached over the railing on the bed to cup her face. "You're my little buttercup and you always will be."
Kara smiled brightly at him. Truly happy for the first time since before he left.
He settled back into his chair and opened the book.
"Once upon a time, in a land far far away-"
"Daddy! Its a fairy tale. Im too OLD for fairy tales!" Kara grumped.
"Give it a chance, Kara. The first time my father read it to me, I almost didnt listen. That would have been a big mistake. Trust me, it gets better."
She looked at him as if she couldnt believe what he was saying. "All right." she said skeptically.
He began again. "Once upon a time, in a land far far away, but not so different from our own, there lived a boy and a girl. The boy was bright and intelligent, gifted in sports, and the son of a highly respected ships commander, wealthy and destined for college. The girl was also bright, intelligent and gifted in sports. But she was the daughter of the town drunk and couldnt afford college. So by day she attended the local school with the boy, and by night flew local schlepping runs for the boys family in an attempt to afford the tuition at the local community college."
"Jesse and Selene we're inseperable. Best friends. Close competitors. And in love with each other."
Kara interrupted. "Daddy,"she whined, "is this going to be a gross story?"
"Just listen," he replied