Disclaimer: Not mine. Rating: 18+ Violence.
Notes: Um. Wow. Not sure where this came from. I mean, I know, partially, that it was splashed across my brain on the way home from work. RSR has been asking for Cally and explosions. I'm not really sure this fits the bill. Title from A Perfect Circle's 'The Noose'
Spoilers: Everything up through 'Blake'.
Halo Slipping Down
by ALC Punk!
Cally sees the little blonde girl on Caledon on her way to broker a weapons deal. She doesn't have time to do more than stare at her laughing with the large group of kids before she continues on.
It's not that Cally likes kids, much. In fact, she finds them distractions and potential dangers. Losing the only sister you know tends to make you cold. That's her excuse, anyway. She doesn't mention the nightmares of seeing them used against her.
Something about the child is compelling enough to make her look into the matter.
Probably a foundling, she decides, at one point.
Too long on the planet, and she knows she's over-stayed her welcome, but after ten years of running she figures she's earned a breathing space.
Or maybe she's just picked up Blake's old habit of obsession.
The little girl lives with her mother. And she's not a foundling.
"You're supposed to be dead."
The house is small, but comfortable. The furnishings are spartan and worn enough to be completely comfortable.
"So are you."
Cally breaks it first. "Why here?"
"Why anywhere?" Jenna Stannis shrugs, then glances down at her hands. They're care-worn and two fingers are still oddly bent.
"You were a smuggler, Jenna, a fighter. Why settle down to..." She doesn't want to call it mediocrity. That would be far too insulting to the woman before her.
"Blake is dead. Killed twice." And Jenna laughs, but there's nothing humorous in the sound.
"It wasn't him, you know." Jenna says, "On Gauda Prime. Avon didn't kill Blake. He killed a clone with delusions of grandeur." Her fingers stroke each other gently.
Cally doesn't want to think about that. Not yet. "Did he know?"
"No. He was..." and Jenna shakes her head. "Blown anything up, recently?"
Change of subject, and Cally goes with it, answering lightly. "A Federation depot here and there."
"For old times' sake?"
Impasse again, and Cally tries to remember how to talk to someone who knew her when.
They speak at the same time, words over-lapping.
Jenna's mouth snaps closed, then opens. "Yes. She's Blake's."
"You need to leave, Jenna." Cally's voice is abrupt, harsh, "Get off Caledon and don't look back."
"It's not that simple."
"She, I can't make her live the way we did, Cally. Hand to mouth, never knowing if the Federation--"
"Not the Federation." Cally shivers. "The Terra Nostra. There's going to be a war, Jenna. If things go right, they'll annihilate each other."
"Then no place is safe."
Jenna stands and moves away, hands restlessly picking up cups and saucers. Dishes drying, and it's so domestically incongruous Cally wonders that the room doesn't shatter. "I won't accept your charity, Cally."
"It's the colony. The Auranar who survived Servalan's massacre. You'll be safe there. You'll both be safe."
The silence is something Cally is beginning to hate. She wants to hear the city sounds, to feel the vibrations of destruction under her bones. But that's for later. This is now.
"You'll need to take transport." Cally sets down the data card. "Everything's here."
Jenna looks at it, then carefully picks it up and nods. Some of her old fire comes back as she meets Cally's eyes. "How many will you kill?"
"I'm glad Blake is dead."
Ash floats through the air of the city as fire rages through half of it. The ships in orbit stopped firing hours ago, but it doesn't matter, the ground troops are happily destroying what they can.
Cally flits from here to there, setting charges. She comes across dying people and turns a blind eye until she finds the children huddled in shelter. One glance tells her the radiation poisoning they have no protection against will kill them slowly.
One more building becomes a monument to the dead.
"It was the clone." Jenna says as she finishes packing another bag. "He had a bond-slave with him, a girl. I don't remember why we ran across each other. It was just after Jevron. She was so... bright, and he was so idealistic, raring to step into Blake's shoes."
Cally has no clue how to pack the child's clothing Jenna pointed her at, but she's making a go at it. "I remember... During the IMIPAK fallout. The clone masters, wasn't it?"
"They revere life."
"My mission woud have been suicide, and we all knew it. And I was beginning to show at that point. He insisted she go."
"And you quietly disappeared."
Jenna pauses, voice stilted. "Yes. Inga was born, and then..."
"You heard about the Liberator."
"Everyone heard about it. We all knew, you know, that if there was ever a ship to inspire hope or despair--" Jenna almost seems to smile as she glances at Cally.
Cally tries for something non-sarcastic. "We were a beacon."
"I think that's why... why Gauda Prime. He was looking for absolution."
"Blake was always rather..." pathetic isn't the exact word, but Cally can't think of another.
They share a smile. And for a moment, eleven years is gone and they're both on the flight deck, listening to Blake spin plans of resistance and rebellion. Then the moment is gone as a blonde little girl careens into the room, pigtails flying.
"Mama!" She doesn't stop when she sees Cally. "There are soldiers in the street."
Cally stiffens, then nods. "I'll--you should go."
"Hey, Inga." Jenna's fingers touch the crown of the child's head and then she looks at Cally. "Will I see you again?"
"I really can't say."
Jenna's words filter through her mind as she's taking the transport to Earth with the refugees. There's more work to be done there (there always is). Veron's cabal have a strike planned soon--one that will hopefully fare better than the one that killed Veron's second in command.
"I'm glad Blake is dead." Said with such perfect clarity and calm. As if she'd suddenly seen everything the universe had become. A universe where Blake's tactics and idealism would have been ground into so much blood and dust. He would have seen millions die in agony when a batch of Pylene-50 went south. Planets turned to wastelands, drugs, destruction...
So is Cally.