If you haven't been to my dA profile, you really should check it out—I have got quite a bit of BLoSC stuff up there. More specifically, For Good universe stuff. ;D Plus, for you Beer fans, there is now a Buzz-Mira Fans group on dA, courtesy of yours truly! Please, check it out, do!
To my reviewers:
Kgirl: Thanks very much! Enjoy the bit of Beer in this chapter! =)
Historian1912: True, the chapter did wander. Sorry about that. =( Heh, OCs were barely even an issue until Chapter 10—I guess that whether it's good or bad depends on who you ask. A lot of writers from any given fandom would say that OCs making up half the cast is a bad thing. It was purely unintentional on my part, and I didn't even realize it until you pointed it out! ^_^ Take that bit about "constructive crit" as a good thing—an opportunity to learn is always a good thing! *crickets chirp* Riiiight? ;D *Jeremy Brett voice* And, my dear fellow, you possess the most deplorable proclivity for self-aimed, negative hyperbole! *normal voice* In other words, you kick yourself too hard! The best authors didn't start out as NY Best Sellers right off the bat, and neither did I, so allow yourself the room to mess up and learn from it! I can't tell you how embarrassed I am now about stuff I wrote three years ago! Wow, M-rating? *whistles* That ought to be interesting… God bless!
Ranger-Nova: Hum, one of these years I'll watch Stargate, SG-1 and Atlantis, all the way through… and Babylon 5… and Star Trek:TOS and TNG… *sighs* I will. It could just take some time. Let me know if you can find Granada anywhere! If you have library access, that's one place to look—my own library has one of Granada's feature-length episodes. Also, check yard sales as the weather warms up—last summer, I ended up getting three one-episode videos for $1.50! I was on Cloud Nine! Sherlock is indeed terrific, and Benedict Cumberbatch is awesome… but I do have moral reservations about the show, sadly. Even so, Benny is one of my favorite Holmeses—and, yes, I do know about his being in the next Star Trek film. That's so cool! Now, as far as the actual review goes… ;D So glad you loved this chapter! Oh, if you only knew how badly I wanted to make Buzz and Mira's relationship a Hollywood romance—i.e. more or less overnight! Taking it slow and realistic is practically torture… which is why I've decided to pick Ships 50 back up and maybe play with it on dA. But I'm glad you like the realism! And saying that your favorite parts of the chapter were the Warp parts made me so happy! That flashback was a really old piece that I've waited a long time to reveal, so it was nice that you liked it so much. Also, I'm very, very happy that you like Zomega! If Erin's the OC that I love, Zomega's the one I'm proud of. The story will be continued past the end of this fic—this is only part 1 of For Good, after all! So perk up and smile—there's a lot more to come! God bless!
Truths to Face, Part II
A million roads, a million fears
A million suns, ten million years of uncertainty
I could speak a million lies, a million songs,
A million rights, a million wrongs in this balance of time
But if there was a single truth, a single light
A single thought, a singular touch of grace
Then following this single point , this single flame,
The single haunted memory of your face
—"A Thousand Years," Sting
It was a startling contrast. It wasn't just the very obvious, very basic division of Good and Evil, or human and half-human. It was idealistic youth and cynical experience. It was a child of a planet closer by far to its roots and a child of a culture-blurred galaxy. It was a woman who believed in liberty and a man who worked for the galaxy's most blatant tyrant.
The disparities should have been insurmountable.
Erin E. Frame did not believe in impossibilities.
As she typed out her email, she still was unsure of her feelings. But she wrote from her heart, telling Warp as much as she dared without giving away dangerous information, whether of Star Command or of her uncertain emotions. She finished with an old Irish blessing:
May the road rise to meet you.
May the wind be always at your back.
May the sun shine warm upon your face,
The rains fall soft upon your fields, and,
Until we meet again,
May God hold you in the palm of His hand.
Warp was stunned to receive an email from Erin. He was further stunned to see it written in long, cozy fashion. He sat staring at it for a long time.
Why did this girl bother him like this? It wasn't the infatuation he'd had with other women—he knew well what that felt like, and he didn't care to go through it again. But there was something about Erin Frame that got under his skin and just would not stop bugging him.
And… if he read between the lines… she still liked him. As in, liked him. As in, a lot. As in, they were both in serious trouble if he didn't try to put an end to this now.
Knowing what he had to do only made his chest ache.
Mira was strangely restless past midnight Sunday morning, and she was roaming the kitchen and living room aimlessly when her door opened. "Erin!"
The human girl looked up from the keycard slot, startled. "Mira! I'm sorry—I didn't think you'd still be awake." She closed the door and stepped into the kitchen.
Mira pushed a stray strand of strawberry-blonde hair out of her face. "Bad night," she said dryly. "Looks like it's going around. What're you doing here?"
Erin leaned against the counter. "I didn't think I'd get any sleep tonight, so I thought I'd go out wandering. After I flagged down a bus to this side of town, I got out aaand—" she shrugged—"I ended up here." It was the first time Mira had seen her former roommate in two and a half months, and Erin looked as if she was already filling out and hardening up into a woman.
Mira wasn't sure whether she liked that or not.
"Coffee?" she offered.
"Sure, that'd be great."
"Okay. Just a sec." Mira started to fix the coffee. "You're keeping your hair short."
"Oh, yeah." Erin laughed self-consciously, her right hand instinctively raking through the dark mass of curls. "I just don't want to deal with it being long right now."
Mira nodded, switching on the coffee maker. "Good thinking—you have no idea how much my hair got in the way when I was in the Academy." Erin giggled briefly, and Mira turned around to face her, palms spread out behind her on the counter. "So. What's up?"
"Mmm." Erin pushed her long, dark bangs out of her eyes. "Love and war, I guess."
"Awww." Mira pulled a face sympathetically. "And all's not fair."
Erin exhaled explosively. "Nope."
"Yeah." The younger girl shoved her hands into the pockets of her Academy jersey. "I couldn't stop thinking about him, so I sent him kind of a longish email last night—nothing that would give anything important away, y'know, but just letting him know how I was doing. That kind of thing."
Erin looked down at her feet. "Anyway, he sent me an email back this afternoon. It was like a written version of the I-think-we-should-break-up speech, and now I'm trying to figure out if he really meant it or if he just doesn't want to deal with…" She looked up, brushed at her eyes, shook her head.
Mira could definitely understand. "Aw, honey…" She stepped forward and wrapped her arms around Erin.
"It's so crazy," Erin said thickly, her head now resting on Mira's shoulder. "Why'd I have to fall for the galaxy's Most Wanted?"
"I don't think anybody ever said love was sane," Mira said gently, rubbing Erin's back. She pulled back and smiled ruefully. "Look at me. In love with a bounty hunter I hadn't even seen since I was sixteen until a few months ago."
Erin let out a sound that was half a laugh, half a sob. "Anything else you want to admit to, there?"
"Ooo, I just knew you were going to pull that card," Mira growled without genuine irritation. "Okay, fine—uncertain of my feelings for my own captain. Good enough?"
Erin gave a watery grin. "Good enough to keep any Beer shipper hoping."
Mira growled in feigned exasperation and threw up her hands before going to grab two coffee mugs. "You're incorrigible."
"Ain't it the truth?"
Mira felt Erin's smile disappear. "What?" She turned to face her again.
Erin shook her head. "I said I was trying to figure out if Warp really means it or…" She growled at herself. "Why shouldn't he mean it? Doggone it, why can't I accept that he's so different that I'm kidding myself to think otherwise! Opposing moralities aside, we're from two very different times and cultures, and he's twenty years older than me! Craters, why can't I get a life?"
Mira blinked. "M'kay, whoa there, girl—stop kicking yourself. For starters, I hate to encourage your 'shipping' further, but you do realize there's eighteen years between me and Buzz?"
Erin sniffed and brushed at her eyes again, not meeting Mira's gaze. "Yeah," she muttered.
"All right. For another thing, let's say that Warp was back with Star Command, was a good guy again—which, I might add, Buzz seems to think isn't impossible. Why wouldn't he like you?"
Erin's reply was so bitter that Mira could hardly believe this was the same girl she'd lived with for several months: "What's there to like?"
Mira's already-large eyes widened. "You're kidding, right?"
Erin gave her a look.
Mira's eyebrows shot up. "Wow. You really think you're…" She blinked again and shook her head. "Fine, you wanna be that way? M'kay, look, you're pretty, for one thing. You really are. Brown eyes have gotten a lot rarer in humans since your time, so you have no idea how attractive just your eyes are."
Erin snorted, but Mira held up a finger. "Second, you're talented. Craters, you're so artistic! You can draw and write like a pro, you can play the piano and the guitar really beautifully, and you can sing both soprano and contralto. That's a big deal, and you know it.
"Third, you're just a fun person to hang out with! You're so sweet, and you're funny and smart and knowledgeable and witty…" Mira shook her head. "You've got all that going for you, and you wonder why Warp would like you? Man, girlfriend, you've got some serious identity issues!"
Erin ran both hands through her hair and sighed. "Do you really think that? Everything you just said?"
Mira almost gasped then, because memory struck her like lightning. Another young woman just getting into the Academy, floundering alone in a very foreign world and thinking that all that made her special was her Royal blood and her ghosting powers. She understood very well how Erin felt. "Yes," she said gently. "Yes, I do."
Erin lowered her head again, massaging her neck with both hands. "I don't know what to do," she murmured.
"Maybe… maybe it's time to step back," Mira said slowly, carefully. "I mean… I mean, I know you already did that, but—but apparently it wasn't far enough, y'know? I mean, you emailed him, so…"
Erin held up a hand, effectively cutting off what Mira knew was just the start of a nervous ramble. "I getcha." She sighed again. "I know I should—I really do. I just…" She shook her head and growled. "Doggone it, why is this so hard? I don't want to be in love with the galaxy's Most Wanted!"
Mira smirked, not unkindly. "Hey, kiddo, nobody ever said love was easy. Like I said before, look at me—and you think you've got issues?"
Erin laughed slightly at Mira's bantering tone. "Yeah, I guess I wouldn't want to be in love with two guys at the same time."
Erin threw up her hands and backed away at Mira's murderous glare. "Shee-veesh, I'm glad you don't have Zetan eyes!"
"Yeeaaah, be glad. Be very, very glad."
That set Erin off, her giggles definitely tinged with hysteria. "Sorry!" she gasped between giggles. "I just…"
"'S'okay," Mira assured her, trying not to double over, herself. "Hooo boy."
"I think I'm going crazy," said Erin, half-despairingly.
"I know you are!"
Erin only laughed even harder. Mira was laughing pretty hard herself as she finally poured out the coffee and set it down on the little table. "Wanna pull an all-nighter?"
"Sure." Erin calmed down enough to pick up her mug. "I know an all-night coffee shop near the Academy—they set up there to cater to the cadets. Closer'n Cosmo's, and all that."
"Oh, I know that place! The one with the TV room—it's on Sussex Drive."
"That's the one."
Mira grinned over the rim of her mug. "Sounds like a plan to me."
"So, how was your visit with Mira?"
Erin whirled and planted her hands on her hips. "Rikaena Amata Sunflare!"
"Eesh, don't do that!" Ricki grimaced. "I hate my full name!"
"Well, how did you know I visited Mira?" Erin demanded.
Windy and Ice hung back on the park pathway but watched with interest.
As Ricki took a seat on a nearby bench, she gave Erin a faintly superior look worthy of Sherlock Holmes. "Erin, please. You leave our dorm in the middle of the night and return with a strand of red hair on your jacket—having no friends besides Team Lightyear off-campus, I might add—and you wonder how I know you visited Mira?" The Derriyan girl shook her head and said in a credible impression of Jeremy Brett's ultra-sophisticated British accent: "Watson, you disappoint me."
Erin couldn't help giggling. "How absurdly simple!" she rejoined in an equally credible impression of David Burke's Watson.
Windy groaned. "Aww, man, not Jeremy Brett again!" Then the Southern girl's face changed as if a light bulb had clicked on over her head—Erin had long since learned to beware that expression. "At least Robert Downey, Jr. had some action in his adaptations!"
Ricki's violet eyes went wide, and she shook her head convulsively as she turned to face Windy. "W-w-w-w-w-what? What did you say?"
Windy grinned devilishly and leaned forward. "Robert. Downey. Junior."
Windy got the explosion she had obviously been aiming for. "How can you stand that guy? He is not Sherlock Holmes! He's ridiculous! He's not fit to polish Benedict Cumberbatch's boots, and Benedict Cumberbatch did blatant fanservice in Sherlock's second season! You just… he… I… Aaaaargh!" Ricki was holding her head as if it hurt and writhing on the bench.
Ice's and Windy's eyes were wide. "Fascinating," said Ice, totally innocent of quoting Spock.
"Wow," was all Windy could say.
Erin glared at her before moving forward to lift Ricki up. "Okay, Rick, deep breaths."
"Right, deep breaths, ho-kay…"
Erin shook her head. "He's really all that bad?"
"Yes. Craters, I'll take Peter Cushing before I take RDJ!"
"Wo-how," Erin laughed. "That's pretty serious, girlfriend."
"Yeah, well, I'm pretty serious." Ricki relaxed and sighed. "I like Jude Law well enough, but… oooo…" She shuddered.
Windy smirked. "Well, at least we know her… what'd you call it, Erin? Berserk button? To push her into a killing fury? It's Robert Downey, Jr.!"
Ricki pinned the Southern girl with a withering glare of contempt. "Yeah. Say that name again and I'll show you 'killing fury'. Like this." She pantomimed twisting and snapping a person's neck.
Windy eyed her speculatively. "Y'know, I don't think you're strong enough to do that yet."
"Windy Bertha," Ricki said in an even, no-nonsense tone. She mimed zipping her lips together. "Or." She slashed her fingers across her throat.
"You'd best stop, Win," Ice advised, throwing an arm around Windy's shoulders. "I don't want to lose you to Ricki's 'Berserk Button'." She looked up at Erin. "What does 'berserk' mean, anyway?"
Team 95 was watching their partner team from a distance. "Girls," Cody muttered.
"They are odd creatures," Eda-Ji-Kep agreed.
"Wonder what got Ricki so riled?" Clutch mused.
Indy shrugged. "Whatever it is, must've been big. She's not exactly the type to pitch fits, y'know what I mean?"
Cody nodded. "Veridad. She's pretty smart, for a girl."
Indy snorted and turned to his dorm-mate. "She's pretty smart for a person, period," he corrected, his voice heavy with irony. "You do know she's already got her Masters in astrophysics, right?"
Cody shrugged. "Sí. Well, mis amigos, are we going to take on the sims, or are we going to stand around watching las chicas all day?"
Clutch stared at the Spanish boy. "You have such a way with words!"
"One of these days, he's going to say something chauvinistic like that in front of the 'chicas'," Indy added. "And I, mm, am laying odds on Erin or Windy making a crater outta him."
"Ooo, I'd love to see Cody as a crater!" Clutch grinned gleefully.
Eda-Ji-Kep frowned. "How could this process of turning Cody-Ric-Ardo into a crater be accomplished?"
The other boys groaned. "Ice ain't the only alien in our group who needs a heavy dose of galactic culture," Clutch moaned without a trace of irony at his own non-human status.
"Let's just… go get those sims," Indy muttered, hurrying his team away. He cast one last glance over his shoulder, however. Erin and Windy were tussling—between Erin's Scotch-Irish/Spanish-Jewish temper and Windy's tomboy-ness, he wasn't a bit surprised. Yup, those two could definitely make a crater out of Cody.
He almost wished he could see it happen.
Mira yawned and waved half-heartedly at her teammates as she punched in her timecard Monday morning. "Hiya, fellas."
"Morning, Mira!" Booster said brightly.
"Morning, Sleepy Beauty!" XR chirped, giving her a cheesy grin.
Buzz raised an eyebrow. "Trouble sleeping, Ranger Nova?"
"Sort of," Mira admitted. Buzz gestured for the team to leave the lounge, and she explained as they walked to their docking pad. "Recovering from the weekend. Erin and I were super restless Saturday night, so we decided to pull an all-nighter at Ruby's."
"Ruby's?" Buzz echoed.
Mira blushed. "That's right, you weren't, it wasn't… ah, it's only been around for a few years. Coffee shop near the Academy. Nice place."
"You spent some time with Erin?" said Booster. "Aw, I wish I could've been with you! I miss Erin!"
"Me, too," XR chimed. "She was my partner in… uh…" His voice trailed off at The Look Buzz was giving him. "My partner in creating conspiracy theories! Yeah!"
"Why doesn't that surprise me?" Buzz muttered.
Booster frowned. "But, XR, I thought you called Erin your partner in—" here XR growled and kicked Booster in the leg—"crime."
Buzz merely traded a weary glance with Mira.
It was at the end of the day when Buzz finally asked Mira about Saturday night. Booster had shuffled off with a wave and XR had wheeled off to the Science Bay muttering something about calling a girl, and the captain and 2IC of Team Lightyear were left alone in the lounge. "So, what was wrong with Erin?" Buzz asked without preamble.
Mira should've known that was coming. "Oh. Just—just, y'know, nerves and…"
Buzz gave her the "yeah, sure" look.
Mira dropped her gaze. "Okay, so, it was more than that." She sighed. "I think Erin's going through some major self-doubt right now, for one thing."
"Self-doubt?" Buzz laughed incredulously. "I've seen her grades—she's magnificent!"
Mira's head shot up with a frown. "It's not just that, Buzz!" She raked a hand through her two-toned red hair. "She doesn't see herself as being worth very much as a person!"
Buzz blinked. "You're… kidding. …Erin? We're talking about the same Erin, right? The incorrigible kid who likes to con me into stuff and makes me end up enjoying it? That Erin?"
Mira sighed again. "Yes, Buzz, that Erin." She shook her head. "I know how she feels—I went through pretty much the same thing in the Academy. I guess we just have to hope that her friends help her ride it out."
"Yeah. Huh." Buzz shook his head as if to clear it. "Well, was that all? I mean, self-doubt doesn't seem like it's so big a deal that you can't go to sleep over it."
Mira bit her lip, wondering if she should say.
Craters. "Buzz… it's kind of private."
"Private? I'm her brother, for star's sakes." His blue eyes studied her face. "It was Warp, wasn't it?" Heh, let nobody say the man was entirely unperceptive.
Mira looked down again. "Yeah, it was Warp," she murmured. "I think she's really torn-up over him right now." She glanced back up—Buzz was looking sad and thoughtful and totally sympathetic. "Buzz, do you think there's a chance? Of Warp coming back, I mean?"
Buzz exhaled explosively and rubbed the back of his neck. "Craters, I don't know that I'm the best person to be asked that question, Mira. I'd like to say 'yes,' but I'm biased. I just don't know." He glanced aside. "Maybe… maybe if Warp had a really big reason to come back… a really strong pull… he could do it. Maybe."
Mira nodded slowly. "Figured you'd say something like that."
Buzz grinned tiredly at her. "Am I that predictable?"
Mira grinned back. "You really are, mon capitan. Well, I'd better hit the starlanes. G'night, Buzz."
He nodded. "See you tomorrow, Mira."
Yes, the "make a crater out of" was a homage to Toy Story. I've always loved this: "Buzz, I would love to see you try. 'Course, I'd love to see you as a crater."
Basically, the back-to-back scenes with the two teams are just for character-building. For one thing, I thought it was about time we saw Ricki lose her cool—for another thing, we need to see a bit more of Indy, Cody, Clutch, and Eda-Ji-Kep. When you get right down to it, this entire chapter was character development. Warp and Erin and their relationship, seeing Erin through Mira's eyes, Mira's own romantic issues, Mira and Buzz, and the cadets. It was fun.
Which reminds me—the whole Ricki-losing-it thing was inspired by my watching, for the first time, said RDJ film about two weeks ago. I actually enjoyed it… once I'd gotten over RDJ and decided that I wasn't going to regard the film as being Sherlock Holmes. Once I was watching purely as an action movie in its own right, I could enjoy it. But some of the things Ricki said were some of the comments I made to my mom. ;D (For that matter, Erin's enormous self-doubt was inspired by current emotional upheavals in the life of yours truly.)
I really loved writing Team Lightyear again, even if only briefly—it's been such a long time! And I really loved writing the little conversation between Buzz and Mira. It was just fun.
No idea when I'll be updating again. I have a vague idea about approaching the holiday season, but we'll see. In the meantime, please check my profile for a brand-new crossover between BLoSC and Sherlock Holmes in the 22nd Century!