ANOTHER WAY: PROLOGUE

A single individual sat in a darkened movie theatre and watched images move across a projection screen. The sound of a female voice, the narrator of the film, faded out just as the house lights came on.

A lovely dark-haired female leaned forward and draped her forearms across the backing of the seat directly in front of her. Her slight build only deepened the expectation to be obeyed when she commanded, "Play that part again."

House lights stayed lit, and the images on the screen scrambled as the film was re-wound.

"There. Stop now." Another order was issued. "Freeze it."

An image sharpened and came into focus.

"Go back a little more." A hint of anticipation crept into her voice.

Again, the image on the screen broke up as the film was rewound. This time though, the first image she demanded stayed in focus – a static photo side by side a blur of colour.

"There. That's it." Another image solidified on the screen. Narrowing her eyes, she needed one more form of confirmation before she was completely convinced. "Once more; this time go slow."

Two images, one in black and white and the other in colour stood in sharp relief next to the moment-by-moment rewinding of the film.

A well-pleased smile crept over the dark-haired woman's face. "Stop the film. Isolate that frame and put it up on the screen."

A third image, this time colour, solidified next to the previous two selections.

Slumping back in her seat, the woman slouched down and counted the afternoon a roaring success. Lifting her feet and crossing her ankles over the seat in front of her, the images on the screen were talking to her in a language no Tongue of Man ever crafted.

It was being said in Tongue of Woman – and it took a woman to understand what a woman truly said. That is why she requested a private viewing of the 'documentary' made several months ago. Before, the focus had been on another. But this time, God wanted her to look at the film and truly see the gift He had given them. Not the fact that the pregnant one was still alive or that the foetus was still viable, but the other, greater, gift her pride in her previous accomplishment had prevented her from seeing.

"I have seen enough." Projecting her voice through the empty theatre, she issued one more command. "I want to watch it burn. But play back the audio."

On the screen, scorch marks and pin-prick holes began in and around the images.

Over and over the same question and answer reverberated against the walls of the movie theatre.

"What do you look for…?" The female narrator asked.

"Someone crazy enough to follow me into battle," heavy breathing punctuated her answer as solid thumps of the woman's fists connected with the punching bag.

The image on the far left, of a blonde haired woman giving a reassuring tap on the shoulder to an apparently emotionally and physically tired man as he leaned his palms against his Viper and watched her retreating back, curled in on itself. On the far right, the image of the same man following the same woman, both dressed in flight suits, making eye contact as they darted down a companion way on their way to a hanger deck was obliterated as a hole in the image grew and grew until the frame was destroyed. The middle image, the most resilient of the three frames, was of the same blonde haired woman – sweaty, dishevelled, her fists raised in an aggressive stance and a cocky, endorphin infused smirk spread across her face – as she squared off against a punching bag.

"What do you look for…?" The female narrator asked.

"Someone crazy enough to follow me into battle," heavy breathing punctuated her answer as solid thumps of the woman's fists connected with the punching bag.

A lethal smile pulled the sensual lips of Sharon Valerii tight against her teeth as she watched the last of the image, the woman's eyes and fringe of hair, melt away into nothingness.

Sharon looked heavenward and gave thanks.

To the image that no longer appeared on the projection screen, she gave a jaunty salute – woman to woman.

"Thank you, Starbuck."

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