|Salt and Faith
Author: The Abbot of Beregost PM
A little story about doubt, faith, and duty set just before the Battle of New Caprica, featuring Gunny Sims and Racetrack.Rated: Fiction T - English - Romance - Chapters: 3 - Words: 2,332 - Reviews: 2 - Updated: 01-06-08 - Published: 01-05-08 - Status: Complete - id: 3992852
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
Gunny Sims rested his head against the battered bulkhead of the liner.
"How's he doing, Tommy?"
"Well enough. I think he'll live. That Quik-Clot stuff is a miracle in a can."
"Y'hear that, troop?"
"Yessir. Felt like salt in the wounds, sir."
"Well, it stopped the bleeding, private."
The glum marine, shot in both legs, continued to mope as he lay on the floor of one of the civilian ships.
"Ah, quit complaining. I got three caps in one leg, and I'm still running you all into the ground, aren't I?"
Sims removed his helmet, leaned his head back. He closed his eyes, remembering the battle back on New Caprica. Calling in a 'shake and bake' fire mission on the power plant. Clearing aside Centurion resistance with help from the Resistance. The smell of cordite and white phosphorus and human blood. The sound of a chrome job going offline, the screams of the wounded, the calm of Racetrack's voice as she alternately pounded their target with high explosives and white phosphorus. He could hear the tension in her voice, something he wasn't used to. Hearing her curse as she pounded cannon fire and missiles into mobs of centurions cutting down every human they saw. The screams of a skin job as she burnt alive. Dragging one of his men to cover, gutshot. Leaving a dozen more behind, sacrificed for the freedom of others.
I can't believe I made it through that, he thought to himself. His vest had stopped a pair of rounds, inexplicably. It had caught plenty of shrapnel as well, but not so much as his skin had. He had led his black-clad men on an assault on the prison, blowing a hole in with Viper support. He had seen the cages, the torture rooms. He had quietly knifed a traitor. It seemed like another lifetime ago, a blur of motion that hardly seemed real. But it was.
"Jannos, can you raise her?"
Jannos sat up, shuffled over.
"The frak's on the go, Gunny?"
"Get me Racetrack, now."
"Not understand the word, Ted?"
"Alright…Racetrack, this is Tango Two Niner, over."
"Tango Two Niner, this is Racetrack, over."
"Tango Two Niner Actual wants a word."
"Put him on."
There's relief in her voice. It innervates Sims. It's like a fresh drink of water after a long march.
"Tango Two Niner actual. Y'alright, Racetrack?"
"Fine. You alright?"
"A bit banged up, nothing out of the ordinary."
"Two Niner, every other time I've seen you, you've had holes in you."
"That's unfair, Racetrack. Seriously, nothing outside a little shrapnel. Was wondering, though, you have any idea if you can ferry one of my guys to the sickbay as soon as we get back? He's hurting pretty bad."
"Can I pick him up now?"
"Ask the skipper of the Chiron. Be appreciated, though."
"Wilco, Tango Two Niner. Out."
Sims grinned at the young private.
"See, you're now a priority. You'll be on Galactica in a half hour."
Sims wasn't smiling because his troop was getting treatment, though that helped. He was smiling because it wasn't Racetrack he had watched get knocked out of the air. Racetrack was okay, and she had given him a certain strength. He didn't know how to explain it. He had always been indifferent towards her- sure, card games and plenty of time spent together had left them close, but there was always a gap between them. Now, it felt like that had evaporated. Sims thought about it.
Racetrack was always the last to see them before a mission, first to see them when they got back. She got them there, rescued their sorry asses. She was often in as much danger, with them so often that she may as well have been a marine. But how, he wondered, had she developed those kinds of feelings for him? He didn't know. He didn't want to know. He had lost a lot of good men over the years, didn't want to feel the hurt that came with losing another brother of battle or sister of war. But he felt bonded to her in a way he couldn't explain since the Salt Line ceremony and the incident in the shrine. He didn't know what to do.
So, when the Raptor landed aboard the Chiron, he was the one who bore the young private to it. It was Gunny Sims who loaded him aboard, reassured him, and then turned to Racetrack. She looked up at him questioningly, and he put one bloodstained, gloved hand on the back of her head and held her a moment. He couldn't have done anything else.
"You were right."
"You were right. We came through it. I lost a lot of good men, but I had a little faith in everyone."
"You know I couldn't have left you behind, Gunny."
He nodded. Gunny Sergeant Craig Sims had felt something he hadn't felt with Cally. Not with Jean, either. She had prepared him for battle with a few words and a kiss on the forehead in a way no amount of berserkergang or speeches could have. Men have known its power since the beginning of time, and Sims felt it that day. They parted, Sims standing with his men and watching her go.
Faith and salt can go a long way on a battlefield.
A/N: 'Shake and bake' is a contemporary term for Racetrack's missile strike. Thanks for reading, by the by.