OK, thanks for all the reviews. I know it's sad and a shock, but that's partly why I wrote it. If it wasn't so shocking, it wouldn't be the same.
In reply to the review off fuck you (), I know I can't kill Becker, I feel the same. Just give this next chapter a chance. It just might get better.
Hope you all like this better than the last chapter. The tense is different, moving now into normal third person. The other chapter's tense is only used for memories and dreams.
The name in brackets is the person who that section is concentrating on, who we're following round for that little bit.
At the ARC (Lester)
Capt. E. Mattison.
Lester stared at the screen blindly, before sighing. Today was a day for memories, not decisions.
He glanced down at his watch. Standing, he walked out of his office.
"There's a list of three on my desk," he told the receptionist. "Send that to the Minister. I don't really want this decision." He almost sounded human for a moment.
"And be snappy about it," he said, returning to his usual self again.
Leaning on the railing, looking out over the ARC, he sighed again.
Today was going to be difficult.
At Home (Abby)
Running through the flat, Abby searched for her friend. As soon as she entered Jess's room she saw her, sitting on the floor, resting her chin on her knees. Walking over, she sat beside her and hugged her. She was shaking, her make-up ruined by tears.
"Shush," Abby whispered, as if she were with her animals. "It'll be OK. He wouldn't want you to cry like this."
"I can't do it." Jess's voice was faltering. "I can't go."
Abby felt for her. She knew how she must be feeling, remembering Stephen's death only a year ago.
"You have to," she said quietly. "What if there's an anomaly? We need you."
"You can cope without me. I can't face everyone. Not today."
"Look, if you aren't there, who's going to tell us where to go? The only other person who can do that job is Connor, and he's needed on the team now that Becker's not there." Jess gave a loud sob at this. "You have to go in," Abby told her firmly. "If you don't, people could die. That's what Becker hated most. He felt he'd failed if one person died, no matter how many lives he'd saved that day."
Jess sniffed before replying. "If there's an anomaly," she started, pausing for a few seconds, "Ring me."
"Sure thing, Jess," she said. "I've got to go. If you want a lift anywhere, just ring."
Turning, she left the flat. Grabbing her phone on the way, she rang Matt.
"She says she'll come in if there's an anomaly."
"Right. If she takes too long, we'll set up a false alarm. Connor can set one up in a matter of seconds."
"Give her a chance," she told him. "She's hurting."
Putting the phone down, she tucked it back in her pocket and set off.
At the ARC (Matt)
"Connor, can you take over at the detector for the time being? Jess can't come in just yet."
"Course," Connor sniffed, wiping his eyes.
Matt watched him. 'Poor kid,' he thought. 'He really misses him.'
Just then, his phone rang. Fishing it out of his jacket, he glanced at the number. He didn't recognise it.
"Hello, Matt Anderson speaking."
"Mr. Anderson, I believe you know a Capt. Becker who was brought in last night."
"That's right, I do," Matt replied. "Why?"
"I was wondering if you could come down to the hospital. We need to talk."
"OK then." Sliding the phone closed, he considered it for a moment, before chucking it back into his jacket. "I'm going to the hospital," he called over to Connor. "I'll be back as soon as I can."
"Sure," came the reply, Connor already engrossed in his work.
At Home (Jess)
Hearing the phone ringing, Jess quickly turned down the music and walked over to answer it.
"Look, can you come in? Matt's gone to the hospital, Abby's with the animals and Lester wants to talk to the staff. He seems pleased, so it's probably not a raise, but he says it's very important. Are you OK coming in?" Connor sounded worried and she felt sorry for him. He'd known Becker for far longer than she had, yet he was brave enough to get on with his job.
"I'll be twenty minutes." Her voice was quiet, much quieter than her normal self. Though if anyone was normal today, she'd be surprised.
At the ARC (Jess)
Walking in, Jess noticed the silence. No-one was talking, but avoiding eye contact. Becker had been popular at the ARC, with both old and new staff, and would be sorely missed.
When she reached the main room, she stood in the doorway and watched Connor for a minute. Typing away frantically, he was making a new program of some kind.
"Ah, Jess, how wonderful of you to decide to join us," Lester commented as she entered. He did, however, smile at her slightly, almost encouraging her.
"Connor said you wanted a team meeting," she said enquiringly.
"Ah yes. Abby and Matt should be here in a moment."
Sitting down, she waited, her thoughts drifting, as ever, to Becker.
At the ARC (the guy in the shadows of the side doorway)
"All present? Wonderful. I can finally begin, instead of wasting my time waiting for you."
The man in the doorway smiled. Some things never changed. He'd been warned about Lester just over a year ago, and he was certainly living up to it.
"As you all know, we lost a good man, and a friend, yesterday." Lester sounded sombre, an unusual tone for a man where sarcasm was second nature. "The Minister has insisted that he is replaced instantly, for your own protection."
"But it hasn't even been the funeral yet!" Connor protested.
"It was yesterday," Abby said quietly. "Surely this is too soon. In a couple of weeks maybe, but not right now. We're not ready for a new team member yet."
Matt cleared his throat. "I happen to agree with Lester on this one," he said.
The man rolled his eyes.
"The replacement is perfect for the job, and we're fairly sure that everyone will get on very well. Any arguments?"
"Plenty, mate," Connor replied. "Don't we get a say in this? Even if we do get along with this guy, it won't be straight away. Give us some time to adjust to the situation, then dump us with soldier boy."
The man laughed, causing everyone bar Matt and Lester to glance in his direction.
"Who was that?" Jess asked nervously.
"The new member," Matt replied. Walking over, he led the man towards them. "This is the replacement. Can I introduce Captain Becker?" He smiled broadly at them.
Becker smiled at them all. He was limping and was very pale, but otherwise OK.
Jess gasped, then threw herself at him, hugging him hard.
He winced, his hand flickering down to his leg, before hugging her back.
"But... What happened?" Connor asked incredulously. Him and Abby were staring at the soldier like he was a ghost.
"What happened?" Becker replied, not letting go of Jess. "You are shit at taking a pulse. Seriously."
"Sorry guys," Connor muttered, looking sheepish.
"Nah, he's joking," Matt interrupted. "The poison stopped all his organs momentarily."
"I literally died," Becker continued. "But it was a temporary thing, it seems. My heart stopped, but then started again soon after. Unfortunately, I'd already been declared dead and taken to the Morgue. It was only this morning, when I could finally move, the truth was discovered."
"I was called to the hospital, and brought Becker back just in time to stop a replacement being chosen," Matt finished.
"And Connor? Never call me 'soldier boy' again," Becker warned. "That's Danny's name."
"Yes, well, if that's everything, I have a job to do," Lester said dryly, turning to leave.
"That's everything. Except this," Becker whispered. Bending slightly, he kissed Jess on the lips faintly, as if fearing rejection. Closing her eyes, she glowed with happiness.
"I love you," she murmured, snuggling deeper into his chest. He smiled.
Life might not be perfect, but it was good enough for him.
So. I didn't kill him after all. Like I could kill him and not write a get-out clause. He's too awesome to do that. :)
Hope you liked it.