I wrote this for 10.6, although it's really about season eight. Something actually about 10.6 might come later.

Stage Three

Now we do it our way.

Wash remembers the classroom, the clear white letters spelling out how rampancy worked and what it did to the neurons it infected. In his insulated, self-cooled suit in the burning desert he remembers just a few seconds ago too, maybe half a minute, he can't display the time that accurately on his helmet without a conscious team member to synch with. Maine doesn't count, now: he's just the horse that Sigma and the others are riding. Wash knows what that feels like, but he's beyond that now, and it's the conscious choices rather the ones that you're haunted into that anger him.

When the aliens declare their not-so-tactfully worded desire not to work with humans (peace talks have broken down) ,Wash shoots one in the chest and watches it reel back while he takes aim for another and squeezes the trigger.

It was all about that penultimate stage…

He remembers South, demeaning Theta and Delta by focusing on their constituent mechanical parts instead of their minds. The aliens react with honking sounds and multicolored fire. Doc yelps and practically falls over to get out of the way, but Wash doesn't pay attention. He doesn't give much thought to the Meta, either, when it wades into the fight with him. Wash hits an alien across the chest with his elbow, a move more distraction than power but that nevertheless makes a satisfying smack. The alien shoots him in the heart and his shields flicker. That's satisfying too.

He remembers Connie talking to that man on the screen, the one he didn't really meet until later when they were on opposite sides of a more literal battlefield.

He remembers dreams he had, where -

The alien moves, and in the middle of that move Wash raises his rifle and shoves its mouth against the wrinkly skin on the alien's neck. The alien tries to dodge. Wash shoots it anyway, blue blood and globs of flesh sliding off his visor. The alien falls backwards, nearly taking Wash with it.

dreams he had where -

Instead of going down he steps forward and feels the double jaws break under his foot. Another alien ruses from its hunched posture in front of him and he shoots it in the face before it can straighten up. Another has a sword, and it's coming for him.

He's pretty sure the Meta just bisected one.

-dreams, daydreams really, except you don't usually set out to disappoint yourself with daydreams, or to run yourself through painful scenarios just to see what you will do, how much you can feel, which will maybe provide some sort of instruction - where Connie

and that man

There is a mask buried in the desert fifteen feet away.

You can't separate people from the things they want. The Director is proof of that, and Wash…as much as he tries to hide it, as much as he can set it aside, is part Director still.

He uses that now (mean, ruthless, ability to sacrifice anything. Better aim.)

He grabs the alien's sword arm. It pushes against him, and inside his helmet he growls and pushes back. He steps forward and grinds the nubs at the end of his boot into the space between the alien's toe and its armor, and during the flinch he gets hold of the sword, and plunges it messily into the alien's chest.

Our way

My way