Hello mon ami. I hope the fight goes well for you and all the others on the Concordia. I'm about to set out for a covert operation with Admiral Tolwynn. So I'm afraid we might be apart a little longer. But always remember…that um…I love you.

Email message sent from Jeannette "Angel" Devereaux to Christopher "Maverick" Blair, stardate 2669.210

Finding a New Forever

It wasn't that long ago really. Only four years.

Four years ago when she died. Four years ago when the war ended. Four years when he'd declared the Concordia to be a "total loss" on Vespus...a ship that was effectively her tombstone. Certainly it was a world that they'd been able to spend a week of shore leave together, and unlike Kilrah, Vespus still existed. At least he didn't have to seek out her remains.

Among their talk was the ability to fly a ship without having to worry about getting kilrathi in their sights while staying out of theirs. Glancing at his farm's duster, Blair briefly contemplated attaching a mass driver onto the craft for the sake of it. Never mind his farm's impending bankruptcy. Never mind that Angel wasn't still alive to laugh at him. Laughter of a nature far less mocking than Rachel's had been...

In the end, silence was the best medicine.

Maybe that was why he was re-playing the message Jeannette had sent him just before embarking on her final message to Kilrah. The best hologram he could have of her, minus the false promise that hadn't been false at the time-a chance that they could see each other again. Not a vision sent by Thrakkath in a nearly successful attempt to peel off and engage before the score was finally settled above Kilrah.

Hundreds of confirmed ways to kill the cats, Blair bitterly reflected, again diverting his gaze to look at his electronic mail, ranging from "your bills are due" to royalties from Treacherous Hero. But not a single confirmed method of restoring life.

Certainly not on the arid world of Nephele II at least. He couldn't bring life out of its arid soil, and he certainly couldn't bring life out of the flickering hologram of Angel either.

Maybe that was why the kilrathi came so close to winning the war. They didn't worry about lives lost and as a result, they could take them far more easily.

Sighing, Blair rose to his feet, wondering if there was anything he could get out of the fridge, or whether he'd have to go into town to drown away monotony whilst observing via flatscreen the continued monotony of the Confederation-or lack of it, as tensions with the Border Worlds continued to increase. Besides, it would do well to get out of the dome-shaped house, to wander under Nephele's blue skies before entering similar dwellings. He'd spent so many decades in the limelight of the Kirathi War, it was only fitting that he'd spend the rest of them in the gloom of a household, so different from the emptiness of space. At least that emptiness had been broken by pinpricks of light...pinpricks like those he felt filling his own emptiness every time he glanced at Angel's holo.

Silently, Blair switched off the hologram. It would be there when he got back after all. Light would always catch up to the darkness after all.

Now all he had to do was find a new forever.