I love Dr. Grace...I do. And there was a couple scences in the movie where I could see that she really did care about the little crew they created; when she helps Jake to bed after he fell asleep in front of the video log and when she's making him eat before he goes back to Neytiri. Something about that touched me and so...here you go.
Just so you know, writing Trudy is super fun! There isn't anything that she won't say.
on a side note, thanks for all the love for "Much to See"! I can't believe how many people have favorited it in the last few days!
on another side note, if anything is misspelled, i am sorry. I try to be super careful but this Na'vi language is so not my thing.
Disclaimer: I own nothing at all. All these characters belong to James Cameron.
"Old Coyote's faking sleep/ Not counting sheep on the watch he keeps/ We bring springtime into bloom inside these rooms/ And outside under the moon,"~ The Weepies "Old Coyote"
Sometimes, you just have to stop and recognize the signs; you're old. At first, it's the small things; the eye sight that doesn't quite measure up to what it used to be and the slipping memory. Then it's the big things; the aches, pains and the complete disconnect from the younger generation.
I never thought I would be old; still a hangover from my university years, I guess. For xeno-biology students, we were a wild bunch. We thought taking a few shots of jack on study breaks was the best way to ace a test. We were stupid and crazy but we were young and we didn't know any better. And when you're that young, you don't think anything can stop you and that being old is a disease that you never think you could catch.
If I were good at anything else besides my job, it'd be hide and seek. I should be on the Olympic team; I ran all the way to Pandora to escape my ex-husband. I gave the best excuses; "I want to handle the samples myself,", "Pandora's ecology is totally different from Earth's, I need to be there to see the big picture." Or my personal favorite; "I just need a break." In the end, though (besides the bottom line is often the only one that counts), Robert and I got what we wanted: a fresh start and an entire planet to ourselves. With no children and no other major responsibilities tying us together (he kept the stupid cat), I got my last name back and I haven't looked back since.
But after spending my days surrounded by my "crew", I suppose is the right word, there are some things that even I can't hide from; the silvery grey hairs, my fingers aching in the mornings, my back too. I don't move around as well as I used to without my Avatar body.
"The boys back yet?" Trudy strolls into my lab as I finish my notes. I look up, surprised; my hearing must be on the fritz now too. I didn't even hear her come in. She pokes her head into the link room and sighs when she sees both of them still in their Avatar bodies.
I glance at my watch and shove the samples Norm and I collected yesterday back in the incubator. "Should be anytime now."
"Good, I'm starving." Trudy parks herself on Norm's unofficial stool next to me, as the window fogs a little at the edges. It's been raining all day and our barracks have gotten insanely hot over the last…jeez, four hours that I've been at work.
"Long day?" I wonder as I wash my hands and move into the main room between the lab and link rooms and the tiny main sleeping aread.
"Only if you count listening to Quarith bitch and moan about us moving base of operations all the way up here as tiring." Trudy grins as she follows me, obviously not affected by it.
"I do." I suppress a laugh. "Did you grab those results that Max said he had ready for me?"
Trudy rolls her eyes. "And then Quaritch bitched about that too."
"That bad?" I grin too. Pissing Quaritch off may not be safe but it sure is fun.
"I'm getting fed up to here," she makes a motion with her hand just under her chin. "With all his crap. He whines like my six year old niece."
I'm no mother, (therein lies one of main reasons Robert and I split) but Trudy truly is a girl after my own heart; harsh, brutally honest and knows exactly what she wants. And exactly what I would have loved in a daughter.
There was one night, a few weeks ago when the boys were off in their other bodies, Trudy and I talked. It wasn't very long; Trudy really isn't a talker, but she confided to me that she grew up with three brothers, never knew her mom. After eighteen years with her dad and brothers, the military was like a second home. It's no wonder that she and Jake get along so well; they swap base names like they were common relatives and laugh over collective memories from boot camp.
Trudy smiles. "I may not get the whole body switching thing you guys are fascinated with but it's a whole hell of a lot more calm here than at Hell's Gate." And there in so many words as to why Trudy's here. It's not the money or adventure. I think (I have to speculate because I could never get Trudy to admit her reasoning without torture) Trudy enjoys this setting. It's almost like a family again.
There's the unmistakable sound of one the link chambers opening. We both go quiet as Norm strolls in, stretching out the kinks you get from lying in one place for hours at a time.
"Slim," Trudy greets him. "Where's Jake?"
Norm shrugs. "He's staying later and later," he notes leaning against the wall sleepily.
"We should get the stuff out of my Samson." Trudy gets up. "I had to bribe Mess extra."
"But you got it right?" Norm asks.
"Yeah, come help me carry it in." she motions for him to follow.
"Why me?" He follows her anyway.
"Because I need a big strong man, Slim!" She laughs.
"Don't forget the notes from Max!" I shout after them as they put on the masks and move though the airlock to Trudy's Samson where they unload a few boxes.
Even Norm seems at home here, I realize as I watch him and Trudy laughing about something. I wasn't sure if he had the fortitude to survive in such a harsh environment but…he is flourishing.
When I started looking for candidates for this program, Norm's name kept coming up. His professors told me that I couldn't find anyone as eager or qualified. Norm Spellman was the Second Coming, they said. He was unrivaled with his grasp of the language, and all too ready to spend almost six years of his life in sleep to get the chance to work in the field.
Max used to joke that I would never find someone to carry on my work, that I was too picky, too demanding. Again, this was before I realized I was old and wouldn't live forever. But Norm…he has real potential; he's bright, eager and inventive. In short, all the things that makes a good scientist. I see a lot of myself in Norm, sometimes I worry about that though.
Just as they come back through the airlock, I can hear the other link opening up and a few seconds later, Jake wheels himself into the main room just as Trudy and Norm came back in. My God, he's gotten thin….his shoulders poke out against his t-shirt which hangs off him.
"Sleepin' Beauty!" Trudy hails Jake. "Finally awake!"
"Sorry, guys," Jake yawns and runs a tired hand down his face. "Neytiri was giving me some last minute advice."
"Ooohhh…" Norm and Trudy chorus exchanging meaningful looks.
"Shut up!" Jake is at the perfect height to jab Norm right in the kidney. He does so with a wide grin as Norm stumbles into the nearest wall.
"Okay, okay children!" I gently whack Jake in the head as I pass. "Let's get some food."
"Burritos?" Jake and Norm ask Trudy hopefully.
"Only the very best provided by the United States Armed Forces." Trudy tosses a few in the microwave.
"And…" Norm shakes one box and there is the unmistakable tinkle of glass bottles. "Beer!" He tosses one to Jake who catches it deftly.
Jake is a funny one. He wasn't what I wanted, but it turns out, he's the one I needed. I had been looking forward to having Tom aboard. Someone who knew what the hell he was doing. Instead I got a paralyzed ex-marine who had a serious complex about his non-working legs. Tom always said that he would find a way to give his brother his legs back. I guess in a way he has. Life is funny like that.
Since I've gotten Jake away from Quarich, he's different. He listens to his Na'vi guide, learns. Granted, Neytiri is a hard teacher and is just as pigheaded stubborn as him. If she were a person, I wouldn't hesitate to call her a "pistol" and imagine that she and Trudy would either get along or be at each other's throats. Sometimes there's room for one alpha female at the top.
As he's constantly done through our time together, Jake surprises me. He's taken to the Na'vi and the Na'vi have taken to him as well. Lately, I've heard some of the Omaticaya admire his tenacity and his endurance. They will call him a warrior soon and it's where he belongs. Jake likes the challenge Neytiri gives him. But he's treading on dangerous ground with her. I've seen it with my Avatar's eyes and they don't miss a thing.
Norm hands me a burrito, an already open beer and the notes from Max. I smile and get up to leave them in the lab. It can wait until tomorrow. As I walk back into the main room, the rest of the crew holds their beers up in cheers.
"To burritos!" Norm calls.
"To beer!" Trudy snorts.
"To friends!" Jake glances at us.
"To Pandora!" I laugh.
We clink beers and take nice long pulls.
"God, that's good," Jake praises. "How much did you bribe Mess again?"
Trudy rolls her eyes. "Okay, so….Sergeant Mills was on duty and…" Sergeant Mills had been notorious for making eyes at Trudy when we were all at Hell's Gate. "I had to kiss him…on the cheek!" She glowers at us as we all snort into our palms, trying not to spit out our beer. "Jesus H. Christ, you dirty-minded sons of bitches!"
"To dirty minded sons of bitches!" Norm holds up his bottle again when he's contained himself.
"To pretty Avatar drivers named Amanda who asked after Norm!" Trudy counters with a smirk. Alpha female mode activated.
"She asked about me?!" Is Norm's incredulous reply.
"To Norm!" Jake calls.
"To professionalism!" I say pointedly looking at Norm and Trudy.
Trudy whoops and we take another long pull.
"So what's the special occasion?" Jake wants to know. "Why the beer and all?"
"Well tomorrow-" I begin but Trudy leans across the tiny table, laughing. "You'll be risking life and limb to impress your nine foot tall alien chick," Trudy throws in.
"We thought we'd make it a good night," I smile, shoving Trudy out of the way. "For good luck."
"To Jake," Trudy's serious now.
"To Jake!" Norm and I chorus.
"You guys didn't have to," Jake fiddles with the beer bottle label when we all set down our beers again.
"You're going on a bitch of a hike tomorrow," Trudy laughs. "And then you've gotta try and ride one of those dragon-"
"Ikran." Norm, Jake and I correct her.
Trudy rolls her eyes. "Fine, you've gotta ride one of those ikran things and they are seriously scary."
Norm grins. "Our whole project is rest on this-"
"What he means is," I laugh. "No pressure."
Jake nods, smiling. "Thanks guys…thanks a lot. But you didn't have to, really."
"But we wanted to and we did." Norm replies.
Trudy holds her half full beer up. "To this crazy-ass world we're living in!"
Norm holds his up to. "To courage!
"To the Doc," he nods at me. "For giving me a chance."
People always say that family are the ones you choose. I glance around my motley crew, and it's enough to make me want to cry. I don't, of course but I think about it for a split second. "To…family."
They all grin at each other and me. Norm's cheeks are red from even the little bit of alcohol he's had. Trudy swipes her loose bangs off her forehead, hiding her face. Jake doesn't hide; his smile is the broadest of all.
Inevitably, tomorrow will come. Tomorrow, I'll be a day older. Tomorrow, Jake will be an Omaticayan warrior. Tomorrow, Trudy will cheer the loudest. Tomorrow, Norm will ask all sorts of invasive questions. Tomorrow and every day after ward, I will think about tonight and I'll remember what it's like to have a family again.
so, what did you guys think?
On a side note, I have a one shot that's been bouncing around in my head since I wrote "Much to See". It won't be a sequel, more of a companion piece. Except it will all be from Jake's POV and post movie. Any thoughts?
Read and Review, please!