Flashback: Night on the Helix
Posted on Sat Sep 28th, 2019 @ 2:19pm by Alden Loxley
Timeline: A month ago.
Location: Crew Cabin on the Helix
Her face often came to mind in those early hours of the morning, the part of the day when good people should be sleeping, but when busy minds worked their way into waking. It wasn’t fair, but, well, nothing about that situation had been.
She’d been older, eight to ten years, Alden wasn’t sure. Women lied about those kind of numbers, and her age really hadn’t mattered to him that deeply. She was complicated, and on the other side of the damn war, but she’d been invested in him for some reason he’d never truly understood. Just an inexplicable attraction that the universe decreed would be interesting to explore at exactly the wrong moment in time.
Given his opposing loyalties, he hadn’t found her uniform particularly attractive, but she hadn’t made him look at it for long either. She’d both thrown him in, and out of, the brig on that Alliance ship many a time and there’d been no sense in fighting that dynamic. She was in charge, in more ways than one, Captain of the gorram enemy ship, and capable of holding his… heart.
It hadn’t started that way. Mutual. He’d been more than happy to endure the wanton needs and carnal pleasure she’d enforced, yes. But it hadn’t been love at first sight for him. It had been harsh words, tightly gifted cuffs and far too much brutal foreplay for the benefit of those watching or listening. Light torture. Long verbal interrogations. She’d acted the part, needing to get her desired information, who he was carrying cargo to and from, any contacts he had, Independent trade routes and pick-up points. The usual.
Until they were alone.
Things had gotten dirtier from there. Way dirtier.
Her initial interest, her determination and attention to detail, her continued desire, they’d worn him down. Not enough to confess anything that would harm any of his contacts, hell no. She’d taken his pride, his freedom, his ship and his livelihood after all. But more than enough to see the woman behind the Captain and to learn a few new tricks. Enough good time to fall for her harder than he had ever wanted or expected. He’d been young, barely 22, when she’d married him. That love, born in an unlikely place in the depth of war had saved him and condemned her.
Serenity Valley. A mess of agonising death and horrific casualties, and a whole plethora of emotional destruction. That had been their fast-found ending, an ending sealed in blood and fire at an unwelcome distance. Out of either’s control. Faraway and yet intimately personal and horribly close.
It had never felt right to take that folded Alliance flag for his dead wife, not while mourning both her and a great many others on the opposite side. Friends, allies and folk who were too young, too good and just too damn bright to die.
He’d burned it, that material symbol of their differences. He’d said his pretty words and left both those ashes and his wedding ring on the military gravestone. He’d moved on, slowly and painfully, but with a grim determination to not be dragged down into hell. Fly. Keep flying. Find other people. Forge new connections.
Sometimes though, when dead of night turned into the sleepless moments still too far from dawn, Alden could still see her face, feel her breath in his ear as she whispered to him. Sweet promises of pain and perfect pleasure, stupid little phrases that would always be hers. Theirs.
Eight years later now and that wandering ghost was a rarity. Other fleeting relationships had come and gone, but nothing was ever truly forgotten.
Alden turned in his bunk, pulled the cover over his naked form and pushed his head under the light pillow. Physical motion didn’t cease the mental voices though. Sleep stuck two rude fingers up at him still, and he relented to inevitability after only a few more pointless minutes.
Rising up, pulling on a pair of shorts, he grabbed the battered acoustic guitar from its place up on the wall and sat back down on the edge of his bunk. A slow tune of an old song translated from his mind to his fingers as the strings obeyed his unspoken commands and, alone in the absolute darkness of his room, Alden lost himself in that musical representation of a familiar friend. Music never cheated him, never left him alone or died, it simply responded to his need and enveloped him in its sonic embrace.