Author: Lint PM
It's a funny feeling getting your greatest wish in times like these. Seelix.Rated: Fiction T - English - Words: 1,857 - Reviews: 2 - Favs: 2 - Published: 04-17-08 - id: 4203838
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
When her skids hit the deck her skin feels electric
When her skids hit the deck her skin feels electric.
Itching and buzzing underneath her flight suit, the smile on her face so wide she thinks it may crack the glass on her helmet. Taking a few deep breaths, her hands still glued to the stick, she thinks wow, so this is what it's like.
Looking outside her canopy to the plethora of other vipers still crowding around the flight pod, she sees the few stragglers still making their combat landings, watches them having to slam on the reverse thrusters just to avoid everyone.
On her right she sees Sam, Longshot, looking a little rattled in his cockpit eyes wide and unfocused staring straight ahead. She knows he wasn't completely ready for what happened out there, making small mistakes, the comm. button and the gun safeties. She doesn't think herself much better, but even in the heat of battle had never felt so comfortable, never felt more like she was made for it.
Her hand is still on the stick when the crew finally comes in to haul all of them back into line with the correct corresponding platforms. As soon as she feels her viper sinking down, her eyes close, and she feels the rush of the launch tube all over again.
Of all the time she's spent on the hangar deck, she can't recall a single instance of a combat mission coming back plus one. She walks toward the viper as cautiously as everyone else, staying just a half-step behind Racetrack, eyes focused forward on how oddly pristine it looks.
Last time she'd seen one so pretty the worlds had come to an end.
Starbuck hops out, talking like she'd only been gone for hours instead of months, for a moment completely oblivious to all their disbelieving stares. Everyone is thinking toaster, she can feel it in the crowd, feel the own thought surging in her mind. When teaching she preferred to be called God, watching Apollo suddenly rush her, she wonders to herself just which one she could be.
Sam scrambles his way toward her. She really doesn't know how long she's been gone.
She did it? She found Earth?
The skepticism is thick in the air; she can practically feel the beads of sweat dripping down her forehead from it, feel the dissention from pilots and crew alike.
Staring one in the face, she wonders if coming back alive from any mission is going to feel like a miracle.
Realizes yes, it probably will.
Sam comes wandering into the bunkroom a few hours later with a fresh bruise under his eye, looking far worse for the wear than the small injury could account for.
Starbuck is locked away in the brig, that's all he says, and she knows by his clipped tone that he's not going to tell her more than that.
She sits on the edge of her rack, absently playing with her dog tags, watching him search for something in his locker. She thinks that maybe she should be trying to comfort him somehow. Even after she (foolishly looking back at it) thought that there was something happening between them, before the presidents aid somehow came into the picture anyway. They were still friends, still a couple of survivors from the nightmare of New Caprica, still wingmen.
However it's kind of hard to find the right thing to say when your wingman's wife comes back from the dead and everyone thinks she's a cylon. It's hard to find comforting words when she herself is guilty of the same line of thinking.
He gives up looking for whatever it is he can't find, spins on his heel and collapses back into his rack, feet still on the floor, the upper half hidden away.
"Sam," she starts.
"Not now okay Seelix?" he mumbles.
He doesn't want to talk, fine, can't really blame him for that.
Still, she thinks that maybe she should start addressing him by call sign only when he's kind of being a jerk. It always seemed to work for Starbuck and Apollo.
As a specialist she technically wasn't allowed in the pilot's rec room, but that rule had always been skirted around even before the apocalypse. It's still the same place she's spent countless hours in before, but feels completely different when she's got a pair of wings pinned to her chest telling her she belongs.
Drinks are flowing freely, something she's used too regardless of rank, and the mood is enthusiastic despite the fact that it's a going away party. Everyone is laughing, hell even Sam has a smile on his face even though he's been acting like he wants to jump out of his skin lately.
She knows this is how pilots deal with staring death in the face on a daily basis. Don't say a frakking word about what could have happened, just get drunk and have fun. Raising her own glass to her lips, she can deal with that.
Her stomach starts to hurt at the sight of Hot Dog losing his pants to a bad hand, and she wonders between fits of giggling just how he talked Racetrack into playing strip triad with him and Tats.
Someone refills her glass, she's still too busy laughing to see who, but takes a healthy gulp anyway.
Racetrack just lost her shirt, Narcho is trying to get everyone to shut up, and Helo has come back with a mysterious wooden box and a shit-eating grin.
The tradition is not one she's familiar with, but she cheers just as loud as everyone else when Apollo dedicates every shot.
This is what she imagined every time she applied for pilot training.
Gods she loves this.
Loves being able to trade stories with all of them, even though she only has the one, loves all their call signs.
Helo, Hot Dog, Racetrack, Narcho, Skulls, Showboat, Hex, Red Devil, Fuzzy, Two Times, Chopper, Hiccup, Snitch, Sever, Feline, Tailgate, and so many others she's memorized.
Mainly she loves being referred to by hers.
Sam's looking at her as if her enthusiasm is radiating off in waves. He lifts his glass, and she lifts hers.
"Not a bad day to be a pilot eh Longshot?" she asks with a grin.
He looks around before nodding in agreement.
"Not at all Hardball," he replies, lifting his glass to her.
She laughs, he smiles.
Knuckle draggers never wore dress grays.
So at first she's a little unsure of just how firm and pressed she's supposed to look. That and the last time she'd worn a sash was in Colonial Girl Scouts when she was seven. Sam holds his own sash at arms length in front of him looking equally unsure of how to proceed.
Racetrack pokes her head through the hatch, "Admiral said nineteen-hundred!" She shouts, before stepping in all the way, seeing that they're both not ready.
"Is this seriously the first time you've worn your grays?"
They both don't answer.
"Oh for frak's sake," she mutters, moving to snatch Sam's sash right out of his hand before telling him to lean forward and tossing it over his shoulder.
"Ensign Seelix," she continues, still straightening out the sash. "Let's get a look at you."
Diana stands at attention while Racetrack tugs at wrinkles, smoothes out creases, and pulls her belt one loop tighter.
"Where's your pin?" she asks.
Her hand goes straight for the spot on the lapel where it's supposed to be, does a quick half-turn to her rack, and lets out a sigh of relief to see it laying there on top her sheets. Once it's pinned properly Racetrack gives a nod of approval.
"Now you both look like officers."
She catches sight of herself in the mirror across the way.
She feels like one.
Eyes forward, hands at your side, back straight.
One of the first things you learn in boot camp is how to stand at attention.
Elbow out, arm straight, hand flat.
The second thing you learn is how to salute a superior officer.
To say Apollo looks overwhelmed by all the ceremony would be an understatement. He drops his bag and salutes, all of which she has to watch from the corner of her eye because: eyes forward, hands at your side, back straight.
Applause breaks out, smiles and hugs all around, cheering.
Apollo! Apollo! Apollo!
She imagines that maybe someday, her retirement party could be the same.
First CAP isn't nearly as exciting as first combat, but the thrill of shooting out of the launch tube is the same. As is flying though open space with your hand on the stick. It's a freedom she's never felt before, and without the cylons threatening to blow her ass out of the sky, she can actually appreciate it a little more.
The freedom is short lived when Hot Dog tells her to fall back into formation, which she does with ease. Since they're still rookies, CAP is a bit inflated with both she and Sam flying point, Hot Dog in the lead, and Athena taking up the rear in her Raptor.
She'd been on a few shuttle runs here and there, parts swapping missions mostly, and always preferred to sit in the co-pilots seat so she could see the fleet as it was. Being a passenger doesn't hold a candle to being to driver. Swooping in-between and around the ships, flying in a perfect diamond with your wingmen, stars streaming past.
The constant chatter to keep from getting bored is a plus. Hot Dog won't shut up about how strip triad is the best game ever invented. Athena talks about Hera, leaving the stray though of someday to cross her mind. Longshot rattles off old pyramid locker room stories that have them laughing far more than they should when on patrol.
The hours fly by a lot faster than she thought they would, that rook enthusiasm still shining through, and can't help but feel a little sad that the ride is over when the LSO calls them in.
"Viper oh-one-fiver, Galactica, you are cleared for approach, speed one six two, checkers green, call the ball."
It's a funny feeling getting your greatest wish in times like these. Feeling so frakking grateful for every second she gets to spend in a cockpit even though she knows she's earned it. Her fingers move briefly to the pins on her neck, green to gold, Specialist to Ensign, nugget to rookie. If she survives, she dreams of these two little diamonds adding more stripes. And if her dreams keep coming true, maybe one day she'll be CAG.
"Copy Galactica," she replies. "I have the ball."