The Right Things
Andrew J. Talon
Disclaimer: I don't own Atomic Betty, nor am I making any profit from this endeavor. For my friend, MikariStar. Damn, you write a lot, girl! Not that that's a bad thing, but wow...
The war was over.
Captain Noah Parker sighed heavily, wiping the sweat from his brow. He smirked slightly at the fact his uniform sleeve remained as clean and pristine as the day he first received it. Of course, that was today, but still…
"Sir?" He froze, then nodded to himself, before turning to the hatch of the office. Standing there pensively was his first officer, Paloma Martinez. He smiled wanly at her tired expression.
"Commander." She smiled slightly back, before stepping over the debris and scattered papers covering the deck. She stopped next to him, standing at ease. She frowned, then followed the captain's gaze to the smashed desk in front of him.
"… Sir? The ceremony…" Noah sighed again. He seemed to be doing that a lot lately.
"You're going to be late," she pressed. Noah smirked.
"Wouldn't that be terrible?"
She trailed off, and stared down at the desk again. Noah took a breath.
"Of all the sights I've seen… For some reason, this seems the saddest," he remarked philosophically. Paloma frowned, and narrowed her eyes in concentration. She shrugged helplessly.
"I… I don't see it, sir."
"This desk… The head of our enemy. The nerve center, as it were," Noah pressed on. He waved a hand over the debris. "The admiral's desk." He shook his head.
"Doesn't seem as intimidating now. And yet…"
"Doesn't seem much of anything now, sir," Paloma suggested. Noah laughed mirthlessly.
"No, it doesn't, does it?" The captain shook his head. "That's the problem."
"I know it's foolish. I know it goes against any kind of sense," Noah grimaced, "but Betty…"
"Betty made her choice," Paloma stated flatly. "As did we, sir."
"We were friends in school. Hell, maybe more than friends, if she could ever pay me a bit more attention," Noah sighed. "She kept this secret for years… And only now, after this… After all this, all that her secret has gotten her is imprisonment."
"She fought against us, sir," Paloma replied. "Turned on her own people, her own world. Lead our enemies, in support of a system that was going to collapse in on itself anyway, one day."
"I know this. And it still doesn't make it any better," Noah murmured quietly. Paloma tentatively took his hand, a comforting gesture.
"You're being given command of the Messiah, sir," Paloma reminded him. "Explorer-class ship. We can leave this all behind… And it will get better, sir."
"Because we were right," Noah nodded. "We won… But I still feel like we lost."
The commander did not answer, only pulling her captain through the hatch, towards the ceremony, the new, beautiful ship that was to be his. And the new future.
Away from the past.
"For over five centuries, the Galactic Guardians patrolled the spaceways, trying to keep the sentient beings of the cosmos safe, and secure," the speech began, as always in Penelope Lang's elegant tone a reassuring and strengthening monologue for anyone who listened.
"Unfortunately, the GG was never able to move past simply stopping the tyrants and evil empires of the galaxy. They let them thrive and grow, allowed them to threaten innocent worlds and end millions of lives. Only when they made a move were they stopped, despite the fact that their mere presence was a threat to peace-loving entities throughout the known universe." She paused in front of the assembly, letting the crowd of humans and aliens take this in.
"At the same time, they enforced ignorance of the rest of the universe on other worlds, maintained a strict watch on planets like Earth, Cirus, and Tar'lakan to make sure they did not advance. They had enough on their plates already without adding more species to patrol," she noted with the right tinge of bitterness. The delegates nodded, murmured agreement to everything she said. And it was true, from a certain point of view.
"It was only after Earth's discovery of starcruiser technology, that the GG attempted to prevent something. Attempted to nip us in the bud, and keep us confined to our little world," she continued. "But we fought back. We moved to the stars, united under one banner, and began to unite more worlds, more peoples who wanted the same things we did. Freedom, security, and peace." She paused.
"We have all lost many people. I myself lost my parents in the war. And I will not lie to you—it is hard, to go on without the ones you love. We all know this. But we must go on; otherwise, their deaths will have been in vain." Penelope hardened her gaze, focusing on every delegate, trying to get this across.
"We cannot turn on eachother now that our mutual enemy has been vanquished. I myself, as the representative of Earth, am in favor for the proposed Alliance of Planets. It would herald a new galaxy under one, just government. In the history of my own planet, the greatest and most prosperous nation ever founded was a democratic-republic. I know that it is a new concept to most of the worlds represented here. I know it will frighten and confuse many, as it did my own people centuries ago. But it can work, if we have the courage to make it so." With her final affirmative nod, the delegates broke into applause, and Penelope stepped back and walked off stage, praying fervently with every step that this would work. That the war had not been in vain.
That the look in Betty's eyes the last time she saw her would no longer haunt her dreams, because she was doing the right thing. They all were…
Betty sighed deeply, collapsing against the tree trunk, her legs aching nearly as much as her head. The twenty-six year old woman would be considered attractive by human standards, a lithe, graceful figure, soft red hair, and almond-shaped green eyes. Her ragged, dirty clothing and haunted expression did not diminish her beauty, but put it in perspective.
"I know you're here, Atomic Betty!" She froze at the voice of her nemesis. Carefully, silently, she stood up, before leaping with feline-agility and stealth into the tree branches above. Her eyes narrowed as her pursuer came into view, wielding a sharpened branch. The feral look of Maximus filled her with rage, rage at her former friends and homeworld, rage at herself for how easily she'd been defeated.
Rage at the possibility of her being wrong. That she deserved to be sent to a backwater world with no hope of ever leaving, trapped on this deserted world with some of her worst enemies. Rage that she was counted among them.
"You can't escape… There's no where to go…" He laughed insanely, the confinement to this world having rattled his already tenuous grasp on reality. His back turned. Betty leapt. Maximus turned back, bringing his improvised spear to bear, but Betty twisted at the last second and tackled the lynx, sending them both tumbling to the ground in a furious whirlwind of blows, kicks, and snarls.
Betty woke up a few minutes later, to the groaning of the lynx. She raised herself up, noting immediately the spear lodged into his ribs, and the blood dripping from the wound. She froze, as he looked at her, tears in his eyes. Cats don't cry…
"… Terrible… Business… Hm, Betty?" He asked, gasping pitifully, but still an air of ridiculous dignity in his eyes. She nodded, not knowing what else she could do.
She reached out and took the spear, pulling it out, before ripping her top off and holding it against the wound. She recalled her first aid training in the GG academy, and for once, didn't know if it was worth it.
(shrug) Random idea I had. What if Earth were running things in the galaxy? Well, that thought grew into how this would happen, and so I decided to write it out. It's a one shot, mind you, just to prove I could do it, but if anyone wants to write along these same lines, go right ahead.