A/N: New idea for a sort of miniseries centered around scars. Everyone has at least one, and every scar has a story. So what are the stories of the scars found on each person in Terra Nova? We're going to delve into the back stories here. These are a series of ficlets, and each one is progressively darker. We hit some pretty dark stuff at the end so please be cautious if you're faint of heart. And review, por favor.
Name: Jim Shannon
Scar Location: Back, shoulders, below right ear
Received From: Bomb blast
Summary: The scars only prove how far he's willing to go to protect what he believes in.
He sees the scars every time he steps out of the shower. It's hard not to—they cover a large portion of his upper back, his shoulder, and directly below his right ear. They're pale, but noticeable, and every time he sees them he's transported back to that one moment in time where he was forced to witness everything he had come to know and love about this place become unhinged.
The scars themselves came from the shrapnel of the terminus and all the other debris being thrown about after the blast. He didn't have much time to reflect on them at the time—he saw the chaos, the death, and then he blacked out. It wasn't until three days later that he found out the extent of what occurred.
Every time he sees the scars, he is reminded of a conversation he once had with Taylor—in the brig.
"I would fight. I will fight…"
And he did. And he has the scars to prove it. And given the opportunity, he'd do it again. Because this place is his home now. His family is here, and united, and he'll be damned if he lets anything break that apart. And he believes in Terra Nova's purpose, too, which is why Jim Shannon is willing to take any amount of pain to protect this colony.
Clearing his head, he dons his work attire, kisses his wife goodbye, and leaves the house. He needs to check in at the labs to talk to Malcolm about some new synthetic medications that Commander Taylor has been asking for…
Name: Malcolm Wallace
Scar Location: Hairline
Received From: Lab accident
Summary: Funny how something so painful could inspire such love. But isn't that the trap he always ends up falling for?
The scars are hardly noticeable any longer. They've faded after years of brow-furrowing, frowning in concentration, and creasing in anger or concern. But they're still there, and no matter how hard he may try, they'll always be there.
The story should be comical, really. He put an improper ratio of reagents into a beaker and set it onto a hot plate and the entire glass container burst in his face, sending shards of glass slicing painfully into his forehead. Thankfully, he'd seen fit to wear goggles. In the grand scheme of things, he supposes, they don't really matter. They're flesh wounds—it comes with the job. But these scars are so much more, too. Because without them, he wouldn't have decided to press onward with scientific pursuit. He wouldn't have decided to try to take chemistry and throw back in its face what it threw at him. And he wouldn't have succeeded because he wouldn't have been determined enough. These scars are what made him pursue this field, brought him to where he is today. The job was painful, but it was a love affair.
Which is why, in a way, the scars symbolize much more than just his scientific endeavors. They sum up his life. Because he's always been the type to pursue that which is most painful—scientifically, intellectually, and romantically. No pain, no gain, right? He's no masochist, but the pain is what drives him, makes him more determined to succeed. He hasn't. Not always. And the scars are a painful reminder of that, too. But in the end he's grateful for them. They're always there to remind him that even if he fails now, he'll succeed later and come out the better because of his failures.
His train of thought is lost as Elisabeth Shannon enters the room with a question for him.
Name: Elisabeth Shannon
Scar Location: Abdomen
Received From: Cesarean section delivery
Summary: These scars were given to her as a gift, just like Zoe was. And she'll gladly endure all the pain in the world for her children…
She sees the scars every time she puts on her nightgown or changes her blouse. She sees them when she's in the bath. Everyone else can see them when she puts on her swimsuit. Her husband sees them more often than that. She knows that every mother who's ever delivered a child through a C-section has similar scars, but hers are different.
Because these are the scars left behind after the birth of their third child. There was nothing ordinary about the circumstances of Zoe's birth. She was the third child, essentially contraband. Elisabeth had to give birth to her away from prying eyes. Josh and Maddy had been natural births, and everything had gone smoothly. She was expecting a similar situation with little Zoe.
But Zoe had gone into distress and her friend (bless his heart) had to administer an emergency C-section. The marks on her abdomen clearly show that the cuts were made in desperation. It was dark and they couldn't turn on the interior lights for fear of being spotted. They had been using chem-lights. The stitches she received later were also done quickly, almost haphazardly. But it was okay, because the baby had been delivered safe and sound. And while it may have hurt, and while it may have left scars, Elisabeth will happily endure any amount of pain for any of her children. Such is a mother's love, after all. She scoops Zoe up in her arms and kisses the child's cheek affectionately before carrying the sleepy five-year-old off to bed.
Name: Zoe Shannon
Scar Location: Left temple
Received From: Gashing forehead
Summary: Zoe was a brave girl. She knew when it was time to hide, and not even the gash would make her scream out and endanger her family.
From a young age, Zoe Shannon was always smart. They say it's because she was the third child, and therefore had a natural survival instinct from day one. Whatever the case, she always knew she was different. Her parents never mentioned it. Nor did Josh or Maddy. They treated her like a normal member of the family. But she knew.
She knew because every time the policemen showed up at the house, her mommy would put her in the air vent and tell her to be very quiet because they were playing 'the hiding game.' But even then, Zoe knew that 'the hiding game' was for her own protection, and the protection of every one of her family members too.
On one such occasion of the 'hiding game,' the policemen came dangerously close to the vent where her mother always hid her. She crept back slowly on her hands and knees, well aware that something terrible would happen if she were spotted. Inadvertently, she hit her head on a low-hanging piece of the duct, causing a loud boom to resonate throughout the air shaft. More than that, her head had been gashed open, and, reaching up, she felt the sticky, thick liquid she knew to be blood.
It hurt. It hurt a lot, and under ordinary circumstances she would have cried and asked her mother to put a bandage on it and kiss it better. But she was supposed to be playing the hiding game, and the loud thud had brought the policemen to the air vent. Zoe bit her tongue to keep herself from making noise, even as a pained tear gathered in her eye. The four-year-old resisted the urge to cry, instead crawling around the corner in the duct and out of sight from the population control officers. She heard their voices talking quietly, but then they faded from sound and were gone completely. Her mother came to retrieve her a few moments after, horrified at the sight of the deep wound. But Zoe had been brave. She hadn't screamed. She hadn't cried. Because Zoe Shannon was courageous then, and courageous now.
Her mother lays her down gently in her bed, kissing her temple, right where the scar is. She smiles, brushes some hair out of the girl's face, and bids her a soft goodnight. Zoe lies awake until Maddy comes in to say goodnight and check the closet for vampires.
Name: Maddy Shannon
Scar Location: Back of knee
Received From: Broken glass
Summary: The scar is a permanent reminder of the darkest point in her life, but it's also a reminder that what she's found here will also stay with her forever...
Maddy doesn't like to wear shorts very much. Even if the climate is warm here, shorts expose the most obvious of her many scars. Aside from the surgical incisions in the proximity of her ribcage, which she received during her battle with the palmyra plasia virus, her scars are all derived from a different source. Or sources. Her former classmates.
The scar in question starts at the back of her knee and works its way down her leg. It's long, thin, and curves slightly. Mark questioned her about it once, obviously concerned with how such an injury was sustained. And she told him. He was the first person outside of her family that she ever told the story too. It was painful to relive it all, but this time she had someone to comfort her as she went through it all over again.
They had been shoving her around just outside the school building. It was their source of amusement and she largely tried to ignore them each day. But today, they had gotten fed up with her lack of response and, with a particularly hard shove, sent her sprawling backwards to the ground, right over a glass bottle. It shattered instantly, puncturing her pant leg, the shards painfully embedding themselves in her leg. And as she scooted backwards to avoid any further confrontation, the shards were simply dragged further and further down, marring more and more of her skin. She had needed a good number of stitches to finally close the open wounds she had received.
Every time she wears shorts, she sees the scar and is forced to relive it. So she doesn't wear shorts too often. But what once was a reminder of the unending pain, also reminds her of something else now. She has found a place for herself here in Terra Nova. More than that, she has found people who appreciate her. Her new friends, the people in the labs, Commander Taylor. And then there's Mark, who is her constant source of comfort. He makes her feel special, important. He protects her, he listens to her, he loves her.
She glances down at the scars as she slips into her nightgown and smiles. They're no longer just a symbol of her former torment. They're a symbol of everything she hopes for in her future. The future she knows she'll have in this better, brighter place. A knock at the door startles her and she glances out the window, spotting Mark, who offers her a sideways smile. She rushes to open the door for him.
Name: Mark Reynolds
Scar Location: Palms
Received From: Breaking up a knife fight
Summary: He's always been the defender of the defenseless. He's always believed it was his duty to help those in need. He doesn't regret the marks on his hands.
He hugs Maddy in greeting as soon as the door opens, offering her the Plex he knew she would be searching for. She had left it behind in the rover by mistake. She needs the Plex—all of her reading material is on it. So he made the special trip to drop it off. She smiles and thanks him, telling him she had completely forgotten. Grabbing him by the hand, she invites him in. Then she spots them.
He knew that she would eventually see them. How couldn't she? He had spotted hers just the other day. Her brow furrows and Mark knows what she's thinking. Sitting down on the couch and urging him to follow suit, she asks where he got them. With a heavy sigh, he answers.
They're from a knife. They're from several knives, actually. He'd gotten them back in 2147, out on the streets. He had been sixteen at the time, walking home from school, when he spotted trouble. It was a fairly regular occurrence in New York. With such overcrowding, everything was at a premium. There was bound to be fighting.
But this one was different. If it had been two street thugs fighting each other over their ill-gotten gains then he probably would have walked on and left them to duke it out. But this was just wrong. Two thugs, rather large in size, ganging up on a middle-aged woman who was clutching a sack close to her. She looked terrified as they approached her, brandishing knives.
Mark was a decent size, well-built and trained in martial arts. He could take them. Or he would die trying because he couldn't just stand idly by and let an ill-looking woman be robbed. Without so much as a shout, he hurled himself at the first assailant, throwing the man to the ground and knocking him out. The other thug cried out in surprise and turned to face him. Mark ordered the woman to run, which she did, eyes wide but full of gratitude.
The thug slashed with the knife and Mark was forced to block the attack with his hands. The knife cut deeply into his palm once, then again as the attacker redoubled his efforts. The fight lasted a few minutes, but Mark was ultimately able to subdue the thieves. Police arrived shortly after. He was seen to by a doctor, who stitched the deep wounds shut. They tried to give him a reward but he turned it down. It was his duty, after all. What able-bodied young man wouldn't? He had to defend her. It was right.
Maddy nods as he finishes the story, absently searching the patterns of scars in his hands. She seizes his right one, her thin finger tracing the lines too. He laughs a bit at the ticklish sensation, which encourages her to increase the pace with which she traces the lines, a smirk tugging at her own lips, too. She calls him a hero, but he refuses to accept the title, only turning his hand over to catch hers beneath his. She holds his gaze steadily for a moment before turning away shyly. He grabs her other hand in his and presses a chaste kiss to her lips, causing her cheeks to tinge a faint shade of red. With that, he excuses himself, bidding her goodnight before she sees him off.
His own home is dark when he finally reaches it. He hasn't been home all day. Tiredly, he heads off to shower, but something stops him in his tracks. It's a framed photo, one of several in the house, this particular one sitting on a side table. It's Wash. But this time he catches something he never noticed before in the photo. Maybe it's the way the light catches the image, but he swears he can see a faint mark beneath her chin.
Name: Alicia Washington
Scar Location: Chin
Received from: Shrapnel from a landmine
Summary: She was never the type to send her men into open combat without first testing the fighting grounds. She could never risk other lives before her own.
For most of her military career, Alicia Washington had the scar. It was faint, hardly noticeable really, but it was there. A jagged line cut diagonally across her chin where something (or some things) had pierced the skin.
It was Somalia, 2137. The African nation was locked in its fourth civil war of the past century, with factions fighting all over. Commander Taylor, then a high-ranking military officer with the United States Army, had been deployed. Which meant Wash was deployed, because they served in the same platoon. More accurately, he led the platoon that she served in. She was his second-in-command.
On that particular day in mid July, Wash had been sent to lead a small company through a treacherous area in order to reach a small Somali rebel camp. The objective was, quite simply, to capture or kill anything that moved. The rebels had become dangerous, being supplied by Russo-Chinese, Iranian, and Cuban weapons dealers. There was no room for error—one misstep would get them all killed. Her scouts had reported back to her with the grim news that the open field between their position and the rebel camp had been heavily mined. If they picked their way carefully, they could avoid the explosives. But one false step would blow them all straight to hell.
Wash made a decision then and there: she would lead the team through herself. If she stepped on a landmine, she would evacuate everyone and let herself get blown up, praying that the rebel camp would go with her. She would not let any of the others go ahead of her, despite their protests. They were young guys, universally in their early twenties. Most of them had girlfriends, fiancées, or wives back home. Some had kids. She was a woman in her late twenties without so much as a sibling or parent to care for her. If she died, she wouldn't be missed, and she'd have died for a purpose. She wasn't set to be a martyr, but she'd hate to die without reason.
Wash had studied well under Commander Nathaniel Taylor, had heard his every word and taken every lesson to heart. She was determined to be a good soldier, an effective leader. And the most important thing in being an effective leader was leading by example. So she would lead the group through and check carefully for landmines. With a bit of Providence and a whole lot of luck, they'd all make it through, clear the camp out, and be evacuated by helicopter.
She heard her heart pounding in her ears as she led the group through. They were about a quarter of the way in when she heard the ominous click that told her she had made a bad move. Glancing down, she confirmed it. Her foot was atop a mine, and as soon as she relieved the pressure, it would explode. Tensely, she ordered her guys back. They sensed what was wrong, but her forceful direct order overrode their initial instinct to help her figure a way out.
When she knew they were clear, she began to search her surroundings, spotting a large boulder within leaping distance. She'd have to time it right, but she could make it. And she leapt. She dove behind the rock and the blast was loud and right in her ear and she could feel the heat on her. The rock was blown apart and she was thrown backwards, shards of stone and shrapnel puncturing the skin of her chin and forming a jagged line diagonally across it, dripping with her own blood. But she'd made it. The boulder had absorbed most of the impact. When the ordeal was over, she'd required a good many stitches to halt the bleeding, and she'd earned herself a new scar. It faded with time, as all scars do, but it was an ever-present reminder that her duty was to lead by example. She applied it to every single moment of her life, right up until her death she applied it.
And now, a picture of Wash, scar and all, sits not only among the photos of Mark Reynolds, but also on the desk of Commander Nathaniel Taylor, who was the closest friend she'd ever known. His calloused fingers trace the scar through the picture frame and he sits back, sighing and looking out the window at the starry night sky.
Name: Nathaniel Taylor
Scar Location: Side
Received from: Lucas Taylor
Summary: No matter how much Lucas despised him, no matter what the boy did to him, he could never, ever bring himself to hate his own son…
He feels a twinge of pain in his side, as is fairly common these days. The scar is still pink and healing, the marks made by the stitches still obvious whenever he removes one of his trademark black t-shirts. Dr. Shannon told him that they would hurt for some time to come.
Everyone knew where the scar came from—a puncture wound, delivered with the stab of a knife. It should have been fatal. It was meant to be. He supposes it's luck that the blade missed any vitals, or else he would be six feet under right now. He slowly rubs circles into his side, trying to relieve the tightness there.
He should hate Lucas. He should hate him beyond words, because it's Lucas' fault that Wash died, that the colony was destroyed, that everyone here had to suffer. It was Lucas who put that injury in his side. But he also knows that no matter how disappointed he may be in his son's decisions, no matter how angry he might be at Lucas' stubbornness, no matter how remorseful he was for not spending more time with the boy, he could never actually hate his own son.
Lucas did some bad things in his life, but Taylor knew that he had done equally terrible things. And he had spent the remainder of Lucas' childhood trying to make up for what had happened to Ayani. It was the most frustrating thing in the world to watch the boy hold so much anger and pain, constantly blaming him for what had transpired. But he couldn't blame Lucas. He had failed, not his son. He had failed his wife, he had failed their child, he had failed himself. And if he was hard on Lucas, it was because he didn't want to see his son end up like he did. His son was intelligent, perseverant, and rigid in his mindset. He made decisions and stuck by them. He was on his way to being something great, but he was sidetracked.
Everyone else may hate Lucas Taylor for what he's done to the colony, but deep in his heart, Nathaniel Taylor knows that he will always love his son. Rising slowly from his chair and deciding he needs a drink, he heads for the one place he hates more than anywhere else: Boylan's Bar.
Name: Josh Shannon
Scar Location: Heart
Received from: Experiencing loss
Summary: A piece of him died with her that day...
Josh watches curiously as the Commander seats himself at a stool and waits expectantly. He takes the man's order and hands him the shot glass, filled with the strongest liquor available at the bar. Boylan's taken off early again this evening, leaving Josh to take care of the patrons. As he polishes the glasses and re-stacks them, he studies the commander's face. It looks pained, but not because of the injuries. It's a pain Josh knows all to well. It's the pain of loss. A pang of sadness hits him in the chest.
Everyone in the colony has scars, he knows. His dad's got them all over his back, Maddy has a number of them near her ribcage and one on the back of her knee. Their mother has them on her abdomen and Zoe has one on her forehead. Josh always considered himself lucky not to have any physical scars that he could remember. But now his scar is on the inside, and it cuts far deeper than any surgical blade or shard of glass.
Kara was his first love, a girl so perfect in every way. She was beautiful, bright, and had a great sense of humor, and they're shared love of music brought them even closer together. He promised to get her to Terra Nova. He promised.
As Maddy pointed out to him on a particularly difficult day, he had made good on said promise. He had brought Kara to Terra Nova. But it wasn't enough. They were supposed to be happy together. They were going to live together in the colony, maybe raise a family one day, and things were going to be great. Not anymore.
Maddy's wounds healed quickly, as did Zoe's. His parents' wounds took a bit longer but they too eventually scarred over, leaving nothing but discolored flesh as a token of their presence. But Josh knew his wound wouldn't scar over and heal. It was internal, metaphoric, imaginary. But it wasn't imaginary, because it was real agony that he felt, anguish without relief. She had died because of him, and a piece of him had died with her that day. His heart wouldn't ever fully heal, no matter how much any of the others, like Skye, meant to him now.
He towels the same tumbler dry for the umpteenth time and watches as Taylor slowly rises, eyes bloodshot and tired. The grizzled commander leaves the building without a word, the same heavy sadness still clinging to him. When he's gone, Josh notices the girl standing in the doorway and shoots her a wan smile. She lingers a moment more before coming in and sitting down.
WARNING: DARK, DARK, DARK!
Name: Skye Tate
Scar location: Wrists
Received from: Herself
Summary: Everything that had happened. Everyone who had died. It was her fault. And she hated herself for letting it all go down.
She studies the many, many scars tracing and crisscrossing down her arms like tangled mesh. There's a calculated appearance to them, almost like a series of x's layered one atop the other. But they aren't coincidental scars. She gave them to herself. The knife responsible still sits in her dresser drawer, gleaming and polished and clean and waiting.
It isn't the smartest of ideas, not by a long shot. She knows it's dangerous, and that there are better ways of dealing with her guilt and her grief. But she just hates herself so goddamn much. She wants to peel the skin away from her body and let it blow away in the wind, hopefully carrying with it the shame of her past. But it's impossible, and she's doomed to feel this unclean, impure feeling forever.
So when she takes the blade to her arm, she's releasing the anger, the hate. She's expressing her sorrow, her shame, her anguish. She was being selfish by selling out the colony. She jeopardized her friends' lives. She was endangering the safety of everyone: Max, Hunter, Tasha, Josh, Maddy, Mark, all of them. Any one of them could have died because of something she did. Kara, the girl Josh loved the same way she loved him, died because of her.
The destruction around them was caused by her. If she hadn't gotten herself involved with the Sixers, she never would have met Lucas Taylor. He never would have asked her to take those equations and have them factored. She should have gone for help. Taylor would've understood and forgiven her. He would have found a way to get her mother out of there and back to Terra Nova. Wash didn't have to die. All of it—the homes burnt to the ground, the death, it was her fault. Judgmental looks cast her way. She is the Benedict Arnold of Terra Nova, the greatest traitor of them all. And no amount of sorry will fix it. Her friends don't hold it against her. They understand. But it's a struggle to live with herself every day.
She eyes the scars wearily as she downs the last of the weak drink Josh poured for her out of sympathy, obviously aware that she was upset. It's not nearly as strong as she would prefer, but she'll take it. The scars are various shades, some old and starting to fade, and some new and fresh and pink. She knows Josh has spotted them when his eyes widen but she just shakes her head sadly and he backs off, asking her to speak to him when she's ready. And she appreciates it, because she isn't ready to talk right now. She needs space. And she's given up with the knife, because no amount of her own blood will repay the debts she's incurred by doing what she did. She'll find another outlet. Like Josh. And one thing's for certain: she won't ever betray this colony, her home to Lucas, Mira, and the others again.
WARNING: VERY DARK HERE!
Scar location: inner thigh
Received from: rape
Summary: The most tragic moment of her life turned into the best…
They're pale against her dark skin, ugly scars that mar her inner thighs, a region of her body that no one should be familiar with without her consent. And yet, there they are, plain as day. Only she can see them, of course. No one knows.
It was dark, almost midnight, many, many years ago. She was still relatively young, working for a security company, protecting a bank, when a shadow approached. She had swung her gun around to shoot but was knocked off her feet before she had the chance. The man wore a mask. She couldn't see him but he was quite large and very burly. And he was holding some sort of weapon, a sharp one. She could feel it slice painfully into the pants of her uniform and the tears began to sting her eyes because this shouldn't be happening. Not to a woman like her, who was so proudly independent. The man had his way with her, leaving her abandoned on the sidewalk in a pool of her own blood, tears, and other unspeakable things. She didn't know what to do. She would be judged, preyed upon. She could do nothing. So she simply resigned her post and looked for employment elsewhere. When she couldn't find any, she resorted to stealing to get by, which earned her a place in prison.
She soon learned she was pregnant. It shocked her to her core. Only one man could be the father, and she knew this fact, too. The doctors offered to abort the baby for her, but somehow Mira found herself refusing vehemently. This child that was growing in her—it wasn't its fault that she had been victimized. The baby was as much a victim as she was. If she took that life, what good would it do? It would wrack her conscience forever. So she vowed to bring the child to term and care for it as if nothing had ever gone wrong.
Few places were looking to hire a pregnant woman, though, and she didn't have the skill set to join the professional workforce. Further, who would hire an ex-con? So she took to being a hired gun, wearing heavy armor over her torso to protect the life within her, saving every hard-earned penny for the ultimate arrival of her daughter. The girl was named Sienna, and she had several birth defects due to the circumstances of her conception. She was premature and had learning disabilities. She was very ill. But still, Mira loved that little baby girl, because she was the only bright spot in the woman's otherwise bleak existence.
The medical bills added up after a while, and soon Mira was left without any alternative but to accept the lucrative offer she received—to go back in time to Terra Nova and steal secrets of the colony. To pass them along to people on the other side. They would arrange for Sienna's care and out of desperation she believed them.
Now, sitting down slowly, the tears stinging at her eyes because she doesn't even know if this little girl, her only real joy, is still alive, she realizes that she's trapped here in the past. And all she wants to do is see her little girl and know she's alright.
They all have scars, every single one of them. And every single scar tells a story. Some of them tell stories of heroism and bravery, others of perseverance and strength. Some are scars of a hard life, of unfairness. Others are sad reminders of past events. But they all tell a story, and these were just some of theirs.
A/N: Much longer than anticipated, but I'm pretty happy with it. What do you think? Please leave a review! (And hopefully the Skye and Mira ones weren't too dark. Mira fascinated me and I wondered about her back story. I thought that the whole rape thing would go well with her character because she's very aloof and untrusting). Anyway, like I said: review, please! And this was a oneshot, so please don't ask for more. Well, you can ask. It doesn't mean ye shall receive...but then again, you never know. There's plenty of other characters here in Terra Nova that I haven't covered yet. And I'm sure they've got back stories...maybe it won't be a oneshot after all ;)