Spoilers: Parts of Retribution, Part II. AU from near the end of the episode.
Disclaimers: Landmark Entertainment, Gary Goddard and his cohorts. Any time they want them back to remake this show, I'll be glad to give them back.
Author's note: There was a discussion on the CPatSofF Yahoo group about why CPatSotF seems to be immune from the fandom concept of alternate universe during the first season, and many people said that it was because the show was great as it was. But really – was the final episode not worth re-writing itself? And in doing that, how would the show have changed? I'll take a few liberties with the 'assumed' activities in the episode and rewrite what needs to be changed. So here's my idea…
Summary: What if things had gone differently at the end Retribution, Part II?
Die Another Day
They'd pushed the jumpship past its limits to get it back in the air. The hull was loosing bolts and the engines were whining as if they might fall off at any moment. But they were going to get there. They'd bounced through the gate and immediately opened the communications link to the base.
"We're in range," Scout said quickly, his eyes glancing to the Captain's desperate face.
"Pilot. Pilot, do you read me? Come in. Jennifer, come in. Pilot, do you read me? Come in Jennifer," Power called out, his concern nearly tangible to the others in the jumpship.
Inside the base, Jennifer had crawled through the door from where she'd ended up being hit by Blastarr's last two shots, her armor having powered down. She could feel her bones grate against one another in her chest and abdomen, her left arm felt… wrong. When she tried to take a deep breath as she pushed forward to the manual destruct at the power core, she felt her mouth fill with a coppery, wet taste, some of it spilling past her lips and out the side of her mouth.
Still, she forced herself to make it to the panel. Pilot pressed the button there to open the comm. and answer Power.
"Jon?" she replied in a broken voice.
"Jennifer, hold on. Hold on, we're gonna come," said Power, his own voice starting to shake as he listened to her voice.
"No…stay clear, the auto destruct is no good. I have to… I have to blow the power source. It's the only way," Pilot told him, her explanation breaking off several times as she fought to control the pain she was in.
"We're on our way to get you, right now. We're on our… there's another way to do it…" he insisted, his chest starting to tighten in fear as he comprehended what she was planning on doing. He would not let her die. He felt the jumpship somehow throttle faster… Hawk wringing out everything left in the ship to get to the base.
"It's too late… I'm all broken up inside. Stay clear. I'm sorry we never got to finish our talk…" she told him sorrowfully, the pain, fear and longing evident to not just Power, but everyone on the jumpship.
"Jennifer, don't…" Power cried out softly, his throat closing as he said the words; his heart beginning to cry out in alarm.
"I love you Jon… so much…" she said simply, the words reverently slipping past her bloodied lips.
The sounds of Blastarr's guns trying to cut into the door to the room distracted her, and she let herself look back to see the blast doors begin to buckle under the onslaught. That thing would be through any second. And she had to be strong enough to blow the power core before it could reach her… before it could stop her.
On the jumpship, Power sat stunned at her words… he had hoped, prayed that maybe… but to hear her say it now… he couldn't let her die now. They had to get there before she…
Quickly turning back to the console, she focused her thoughts on Jon… there had been so much she had wanted to say… so much she'd wanted with him that now was…
"Goodbye… you think of me sometimes?" she asked plaintively, knowing this was the last moment she'd ever speak to him… hear his voice…
Then with a sudden crash Blastarr was through the door, and Jennifer knew she was out of time. She glanced back to see the massive, shining metal machine advancing on her. Then she flipped back briefly, eyes wide as she realized the moment was upon her and thought of the team… of Jon one more time.
She forced herself upright, unwilling to die on her knees before Dread's monstrosity. One arm wrapped around her abdomen, trying to hold the broken bones in place while the other blindly reached back to find the controls for the destruct sequence. Blastarr rolled in; his glowing gaze pinned on her and the controls behind her. He had his orders – he had to stop her destruction of the base so his Lord could join them and gather the information the base would yield.
"Surrender, by order of Lord Dread," Blastarr intoned, his hand rising to point four barrels of laser fire at the former Dread Youth traitor.
"Go to hell!" she replied angrily, unaware that she'd left the comm. link still open… inadvertently letting the others hear her final confrontation with Blastarr…
Pilot reached behind her, her fingers stretching for the destruct sequencer on the panel… and suddenly the entire section of the console was simply gone; including the rest of the destruct mechanism.
Blastarr had fired – but instead of shooting her, it had blown a hole in the controls and destroyed the self destruct controls. There was now no way to destroy the base… Blastarr would kill or digitize her, Dredd would get the intel and technology the base had… it was a disaster.
Pilot saw Blastarr swing his arm her way again; she continued to cradle her injured left arm around her middle, holding the broken ribs tightly as she kept herself semi-upright and breathed in another rattling breath.
"Surrender!" it demanded again.
"Never!" she spat at it venomously.
The bio-dread fired at her position, and she dove to her left, sliding along the rough floor and then scrambling across it on hands and feet, desperately trying to put some distance between her and the bio-dread who had nothing left to lose.
She kept scrambling, the floor around her spitting up concrete and dust as Blastarr destroyed everything in his path; his only goal to kill her. The dust made her cough, but it partially blinded her pursuer, giving her a slight chance at escape. With a last burst of strength she shoved herself upward and made it through the door to the air ventilation and environmental systems room.
Behind her she heard the clanking treads of Blastarr and fought not to panic. Another series of blaster fire ripped up the floor around her and she slipped on a piece of shattered floor and fell in a heap. She twisted as she fell, needing to look upwards, knowing that the monster was on her and she refused to die without looking the mechanical beast in the eyes.
Then she heard the roar of the jumpship, and felt her heart skip a beat.
They'd ignored her. Instead of keeping a safe distance as she blew the base, they'd instead kept coming and were here…
Blastarr's head raised as the sound echoed through the remnants of the base.
Hawk expertly landed the jumpship in the hangar bay and barely had the engines off before Power was up and heading for the door. He swiftly turned to regard the others.
"Power up. Jennifer's last position was the sub-control room where the power core destruct is housed. We cut our way through anything and anyone between us and that location. Understood?" Power barked out, and everyone nodded, knowing just what hung in the balance.
Four voices intoned the words to activate the power suits that made them a foe not to be trifled with. Power opened the door to the jumpship and was moving out, almost faster than any of the others could keep up with.
They hurriedly made their way through the near ruins of the base, finding the command center in smoldering flames and rerouting. They'd yet to meet any resistance; going down corridor after corridor they found out why… destroyed Dread soldiers littered the floors in clumps. Obviously Pilot had taken them as she'd fought her way through the base.
After what felt like hours and had been more like minutes, they finally reached the sub-basement control room where the destruct sequence for the power core was… and where Pilot had been planning on destroying the base. They saw the doors collapsed inward, scoring from blaster fire across it. Swiftly Scout whipped out his scanner, checking to see what might be on the other side of the ruined doors.
"Captain, I have a lock on two readings in less than 100 yards; one human and one bio-dread," Scout announced before he quickly traded the scanner for his blaster once again.
"We know it's not Soaron," Tank confirmed, recalling their earlier encounter with the flying metal menace.
"That means its Blastarr…" added Hawk, his eyes swinging to Power with concern.
Power had controlled his actions… barely. But the fact that Pilot… that Jennifer was here, injured, maybe dying with Blastarr pursuing her…
"We do what we have to do to get Pilot out safe… even if it's to surrender the base to Dread… I don't care," Power declared tightly, his hand clenching convulsively on his blaster's grip.
"All right… we'll follow your lead," Hawk answered, worry for what they'd find on the other side of the doors before them and what it would do to his friend filling his thoughts.
With that, Power rushed into the room that had housed the self destruct, not truly knowing what to expect, yet frightened of what they might find. When he and the others had made their way inside, they found a mini-battle zone. The console was half destroyed and huge sections of the walls and floor were pocked with indentations.
They quickly swept the room and realized that the emergency door to the left, leading to the ventilation and environment control room was open. Pilot had headed for the doorway, based on the small smears of blood that they found here and there, and she was being followed by tank tread marks that could only belong to Blastarr. They rushed through the door to enter the other room and Power stopped abruptly, causing the rest of the team to skid to a halt. Tank barely kept from knocking over Hawk as they found what Power had prayed they would find instead of Jennifer's dead body.
Blastarr stood there, his right arm with its deadly weaponry pointed towards the team and his left arm and hand holding Pilot aloft, her toes dangling nearly a foot off the ground. His metal fingers gripped her by her uniform collar, but the hold was tight across her throat, securing her in his grasp. Her blond ponytail hung limply, as did her limbs, and fear that they had arrived too late spiked through Power's gut.
"Pilot?" questioned Power quietly, his anxiety palatable to the others in the room.
He was rewarded with her head moving upwards ever so slightly and her hands reached up and pulled on the metal arm nearly choking her. The way Blastarr held her, he couldn't see her face… but the fact that she had moved at the sound of his voice was enough to give him hope.
"Captain Power," Blastarr began, the metallic twang to his voice filling the room. "Your base has been discovered… I have your team mate. You will surrender yourself or I will break the traitor's neck."
"We can negotiate this Blastarr…" Power started, his hand with his blaster lowering in a conciliatory gesture to keep the metal monster focused on him.
Power's words spurred Pilot into fighting against Blastarr's grip once again, wrenching enough of the fabric from its grip to turn her head slightly, hoping to turn enough to see Power…
"Jon, don't…" Pilot struggled to get out before the metal fingers holding her uniform at her throat closed in tighter, forcing her into silence once again as she simply fought for air.
"Stop it!" Power yelled desperately, unable to bear seeing Pilot strangled to death before him.
"Do you surrender?" spat back the electronic words of the bio-dread holding Pilot.
Power stood there, his blaster hanging loosely from his hand at his side as he pondered what options he had left. Surrender meant not only Jennifer being captured, maybe killed, but the rest of his team. And with them, the resistance would be crippled.
But what choice did he have?
He holstered his weapon and raised his arms, his palms horizontal to his chest in a placating move.
Behind him, Hawk and Tank had been standing closest to Power, leaving Scout somewhat concealed behind the other two. Having seen what the situation was and knowing that they needed a split second distraction to save Pilot and maybe all of them, he chanced a ploy that he'd used before… he figured it wouldn't work for more than a few moments, but it might be enough to give the others a shot at bringing down Blastarr and getting Pilot free.
"Blastarr, report," said a familiar voice, and the Power team turned to see Lord Dread standing there.
And no Scout.
Suddenly they all realized their covert ops member had made a gamble to help them all. Surreptitiously, Power moved back, away from 'Dread' as if he believed it to the real thing. Of course, in doing so, he moved closer to the confused bio-dread holding his pilot.
"My Lord?" Blastarr asked, puzzled by the appearance of his master.
Power slowly slipped his right hand along his side, his fingers wrapping around the laser charged blade sheathed there. Tank and Hawk had not moved, making Blastarr split his focus between them, Power and "Dread".
When the surprised bio-dread finally scanned the room, he realized the deception and growled, raising his arm to blast at the imposter. And as he did so, Power leapt back towards him, blade before him as he drove it into the wrist of the hand holding Pilot. Sparks flew and an agonized scream resonated from the machine, the metal splitting under the strength and energy of the blade ripping the metal in two.
Pilot suddenly was free, her body falling to the floor in a heavy thud. Power quickly fell to the floor, covering her with his own armored body as Scout, Hawk and Tank all fired at the bio-dread.
Blaster fire, Tank's bazooka and a final, desperate thermal grenade took the mechanical monstrosity down for good.
"Captain? Pilot?" called out Hawk as he rushed to where Power and Pilot were huddled on the floor, mere feet from the incapacitated bio-dread.
Power's suit had powered down with the last blast from the grenade, but it had been there long enough to shield him and Pilot from the onslaught against Blastarr. He eased himself away from Jennifer, remembering her comment about being broken up inside, and reached down to wrap an arm under her shoulders and turned her over. The rest of her comments… those he had shoved down deep until he could deal with them.
"I told you… to stay back," she said in a rough tone, the sound of which seemed obvious considering how her throat was covered with dark bruises.
"And I'm the captain. I get to pull rank, remember?" Jon replied casually, reminding her of her complaint to him many months past.
The small curve of her lips lightened Jon's heart before she started coughing, and blood oozed past her lips once again, spilling down her cheek and prompting both Jon and Matt to anxiously focus on her.
"How you doin' kid?" Hawk asked in a rush, his hands moving quickly to her side, noting the scorch marks on her uniform.
"Could really… use… a doctor," Jennifer replied with a hiss as Hawk's hands inadvertently pressed against the broken ribs.
"Shit… Jon, we need to get her to the Passages. They're the only people who we know have the equipment to deal with internal injuries."
Power dipped his head in acknowledgement. He would do everything in his power to save her… but there was so much more at stake than just her life and their…feelings…
"What about the base? And Blastarr? We can't just leave it here and have Dread get it all," Scout said abruptly, reminding them of the bigger problem they had.
That brought Jon up short. With the auto destruct not working, Jennifer had planned to do it manually.
"We need to destroy the base," Power quickly said… hating the fact that it had come to this, but seeing no alternative.
"How? Every single control to do that remotely and from inside the base is toast," Scout complained.
"I don't know… we just have to," countered Power wearily. He didn't have time to argue with Robert – he had to get Jennifer to the Passages if she was going to live.
"Do we?" asked Hawk, his voice a mixture of curiosity and hope.
"What do you mean?" Power nearly snapped, his control starting to shred.
"Are we sure Dread knows the location of the base?" Hawk replied, eyebrows raised as he mentally digested the situation.
"Blastarr and the ship with all the clickers got here, didn't it?" Scout reminded him anxiously.
"But did they relay the location back, or did they just come through? If all Dread has is the frequency for the gate… we could blow the one here, and hide the base."
"It's possible… They went right through the gate when we opened it, then followed Pilot here. For all we know, Blastarr and his team never relayed the exact location of the base… all they had was the gate frequency. If that's what happened, we could reconfigure the other gate security frequencies so they can't use them either," said Scout excitedly.
"How can we find out if Blastarr sent back the coordinates?" asked Power anxiously, the notion a sudden ray of light seeming to burst from the tunnel of despair that had fallen on them. "Jennifer?"
"I don't know…" she breathed, her chest barely rising as she fought off the pain and weariness. "I heard him… report, but… didn't hear… coordinates."
"I can download the memory chip from one of the clickers… it should say what squadron's last actions were," Scout assured the Captain.
"And Blastarr? We can't let him regenerate and report back in," Hawk added quickly to the growing list of things they had to worry about.
"I have an idea," Tank started, moving next to the downed bio-dread. "We have lots of live electrical wires currently expending power. That power, if properly harnessed could disrupt Blastarr's regeneration… perhaps indefinitely."
The idea was stunning in its simplicity – keep Blastarr from regenerating and transmitting. If they could find a way to do it long-term… they could remove the bio-dread from the playing field forever.
"Scout, Hawk, help Tank move Blastarr somewhere and hook him up to whatever electrical conduits you can spare. I want him monitored at all times while you're working on seeing if we can hide the base and reconfigure the gates," Power stated quickly, looking to his people in total trust. "Hawk, as soon as that's done, check to see if the base emergency extinguishers kicked in on any of the floors. I'm sure the place is a mess, but if we can salvage anything…"
Hawk nodded, and looked down at the young woman still cradled in Power's arms. Her eyes had closed and in a moment of panic, he began to reach forward to assure himself she was still alive when he saw her chest rise and fall in a slow, arrhythmic pattern.
"Jon…" Matt began, looking from his friend and commanding officer to his team mate and the woman that loved him.
"I know. I'm taking Pilot to the Passages on the jumpship as soon as we finish this discussion…" Jon stated determinedly.
"Will it be able to get there and back?" asked Tank worriedly.
"I'll make it get me there," Power said darkly, making everyone in the room remember just how important saving Pilot's life was to the Captain.
"Get going… we'll deal with everything here," Hawk assured Power, resting a hand on the younger man's shoulder and giving voice to all of his friend's unasked questions. "I promise, if we have to evacuate, we will. But if we can save the base… just concentrate on saving her."
Power gave a tight but sincere smile in reply. Hawk and the others would do what they could here… and right now, Jennifer was his priority. He knelt down to scoop Pilot up into his arms, and then gave a final command, "let me know as soon as you know something."
"Same to you Captain," Scout replied, noting at the woman in the Captain's arms as he said it.
Sparing the others with a momentary grateful glance, Jon turned and rushed out the door, the slight burden of Jennifer Chase's body in his arms. He'd get her on the ship and chance the gate to get to the Passages. If Dredd came for them… well he'd be sure that he remembered the fight.
It wasn't long before Jon had Jennifer strapped into the medical bunk of the jumpship and he had the engines flaring to life. The ship was airborne in moments and Jon pushed the ship towards the gate, keying the code that probably couldn't be used after this last occurrence; in effect he was almost cutting himself and Jennifer off from backup, but he had to trust that Hawk, Tank and Scout could pull off some kind of miracle… similar to the kind he needed from the doctors in the Passages.
The sound of the jumpship taking off spurred Hawk into action, leaning over to kick Blastarr's motionless body with a resounding thud.
"Alright guys, let's make sure the Captain and Pilot have someplace to come back to," stated Hawk authoritatively as he sent off a prayer in his team mates direction that they both came back whole.
So… does this AU suck? Is it worth continuing/exploring? Any thoughts are appreciated. Thanks!