Disclaimer: Not mine.

Rating: R. Violence, sex.

Notes: a series of connected drabbles with Blake, Inga and Ushton.

Spoilers: Everything's fair game.


by Ana Lyssie Cotton


It's amazing what propaganda can do for a man. Tip the rumour-mill with a wink and a nudge and there's a hundred different versions of your life flying the space lanes. Hero, saviour, rebel, traitor, revolutionary, murderer, con artist, saint. The list could go on, the litany of sins and lives he's broken. But he never listens to it. Not now, not even in the dead of night when it's all gone black and still.

Because, it's not really his fault. He only gave them a cause.

That's what he tries to believe.


Fingers and toes and arms and legs and hair tangled up in one hand while the other slid here and there and pushed just--so--arched back, and she's screaming again, soundlessly into the pillow. A smirk, and a slippery sound, and then there's more. Thrusting hard and soft, and she's about to scream again because this is. so. real.

Now, here, Blake.

And they've said he's DEAD.

But she doesn't believe them. NEVER believed them. Can't think of that, because those hands are clawing at her skin.

Then he's screaming into the pillow.


Inga refuses to listen to reason. Her father thinks it's just something she was always good at. She wanted to believe in the past, in the future for the people of Exbar. That the foodstocks they'd gotten into would keep them alive and whole for the years to come. But every society has to have a way of self-sufficiency, a way to support itself without outside help.

And they don't have that. They really don't.

The Federation would never allow it.

But Ushton sees stars in her eyes, and sometimes, he almost asks why.


The explosions manifest like the light of a hundred stars, and then fade away into nothing. And he can feel it, now. The sacrifice just made hurts, but the blockade is open. And he refuses to think further. He won't think further than he can throw the ship he's piloting, or the trust he has in the crew he's running with.

And he knows Jenna never trusted them, but it doesn't matter.

She won't ever see him betray them now.

But he never wanted her to die before he explained Inga in coherent terms.


The informant is all hawk-nosed beak and black diamond eyes. And he tries not to think who she reminds him of. The information exchanges hands, and he finds that her touch doesn't bring him any pleasure.

But it's expected, now. And so he invites her back; watches from outside of his head some place that only Cally ever touched as she learns his body with her hands and whispers sweet nothings in place of the truth.

When he wakes in the morning, his head is pounding with the alcohol, and his mouth tastes like something died inside.


Another cold winter, and Ushton knows that they're losing more people every month. Not a day goes by that someone else doesn't collapse from the sickness raging through the settlement.

He tries to ignore the way Inga has sunk into herself, her arms around her knees as she watches the fire.

The knock on the door feels almost expected, and the haunted eyes of the man on the step almost make him slam the door. But he can't, because Inga is there, and she's laughing and crying, and failing to notice the way Blake simply clings.


She can smell other women on him, can feel the marks they've left in his skin and soul. And there's no jealousy, although she is angry. A deep anger that he doesn't fail to notice. But he also won't meet it, won't talk about it. And so they dance in the shadows and pretend pretend pretend that the silent screams are worth what they don't have anymore.

But she stops believing in him, starts making plans--that don't include a broken-down failed revolutionary with stars in her eyes and clouds in her brain.


He refused to tell her where he was going, and she didn't follow him (or push harder). There were plans to be made, food stores to create, and she has no time anymore to save the universe from tyranny.

It still hurts, though. And she finds herself waiting (again, and didn't she learn from the last time?). Only this time is so very different, because he took her father with him. And she's unhappy about that, but Ushton is a good man, and Blake was a good man.

And maybe things will turn out right in the end.


A hundred different space stations all look the same. The dirt and grime under his fingernails reminds him of the mountain. He misses his daughter, but knows she's safer where she is. This galaxy is not really ready for the kind of revolution Blake once wanted. There has to be blood and passion, not clinical detatchment. And Inga's illusions were already smashed enough.

But he wishes Blake hadn't left him behind, this time. Gauda Prime... even the name stirs something feral within. And he should have gone, because Blake will need someone at his back.


She hears about it after nearly ten months. It was a ripple of rumour here, a whispered secret there. And she doesn't believe it until the Federation storms the power station and destroys the food stores. Until a tall dark-haired woman slaps her with viciousness that seems out of keeping with what she's actually done.

And then she remembers where she saw this woman before. Laughter breaks the silence.

But by then, it's too late. And the soldiers are at least more considerate than Travis's crimmoes ever were.

And Blake is truly dead to her.


Further notes: I have this set of ten random song lyrics I've been using to inspire drabble collections. This was the first one that was connected, however...

1. There's only this one world, I've got to live in it and learn to wear my skin. Jane Wiedlin - Die Now, Pay Later!

2. Don't ask where she's going, don't ask where she's been. Tracy Bonham - Behind Every Good Woman

3. Hey, please, baby, come back. The Cardigans - For What It's Worth

4. You never ever get what you want. Recoil - Bloodlines

5. The first time we made love I wasn't sober. Bif Naked - Lucky

6. But I was so afraid the light began to fade. Nina Gordon - Fade to Black

7. You're bored on apathy, you're burned right out. Hole - Playing Your Song

8. All the white horses are here. Tori Amos - Winter

9. And if you bore him, you're gonna lose your soul. Belly - Gepetto

10. Oh, this uncertainty is taking me over. Portishead - Over