OK so we are now getting to the plot. I tried to work out how many chapters this would end up being but kind of gave up after a while. That is not to say I don’t know where this is heading. It just means I don’t know how long it will take to get there. So enjoy the ride.
Uhm spoilers in this chapter…. Dark Angel Series 1 end of, mentioned in passing.
Tay frowned at the comment as she entered the room.
“Some things cannot be rushed,” she said, refusing to sit where she was offered. “And you send me because you know I will not fail you.”
“Your report was very brief.”
“What is there to say?” she queried. “They are dead and I brought them.”
“You were given a longer list.”
“I only have space for six. I picked those most likely to adjust to what has happened to them.”
“You mean you picked those most likely to agree with the choice you gave them.” The voice seemed harsh and spiteful as it spoke to her.
“And do you regret your choice?” Tay asked, glaring at the person who had spoken. Silence answered her. “Then judge not what I do.”
“That was not my intention,” he said. “I merely question that those you chose are the best for the task at hand.”
“And who are we to judge who the land asks for aid? It is not as if we have succeeded so far.”
“Settle down, both of you. We have much to discuss.”
An hour later…
“So this X-5?”
“They needed his heart,” Tay stated. “And you know as well as I do that our replicas aren’t designed for life. It would have failed and where would that have left them.”
“OK and…” he started, indicating the next name on the list.
“He was insane and she had been experimented on too much,” Tay growled, though she knew the latter could have been saved if she had wanted to be. Maybe next time, she sighed. She refrained from telling them that she had not even tried. She was still alive until the question was asked.
“Are you going out again?”
“Is there need?” Tay asked.
“The land is still calling.”
“They haven’t been introduced to it yet.”
“That is just an old tradition.”
“And it works!” Tay exclaimed, throwing down her notes. “I will not go out again until it has been done.”
“We can send another.” The comment was given knowing how Tay would react, how much her going meant to her. This time, however, she kept her cool. She stood, leaning forward on the table.
“Then so be it.”
The looks they gave her told her that their threats had been empty and she smiled grimly at them.
“If you’ll excuse me I will go look after my new charges. Where have they been placed?
“In the east block, near the central hub.”
“Are they locked in?”
“No,” the incredulous reply came.
“And you expect them to still be there?”
“I’ll be damned if I stay in another cell,” Yvonne spat the moment Tasha left her in her ‘designated room’. It was threadbare to say the least and the memories it brought up for her were not pleasant. She stuck her head out into the corridor to find it empty. She noted the number on her door and moved back the way she thought she had come. The first door she passed was closed and, listening briefly at it, she decided to move on. The next was open and she looked in to see Tara seated cross legged on the bed. Her eyes were closed in concentration. Yvonne stepped in and Tara looked over. A brief flicker of disappointment filled her eyes and Yvonne frowned.
“Are you ok?”
Tara shrugged and straightened her legs.
“I keep expecting her to…” she trailed off and hung her head. Yvonne walked over and seated herself on a chair opposite Tara.
“I can’t feel her any more,” Tara breathed.
“Life’s a bitch sometimes,” Yvonne scowled. “You chose to live. You were never promised it would be easy.”
“You seem to find it easy.”
Yvonne looked away, trying hard to hide the pain she felt.
“I spent a lot of time inside, away from them. It’ll be a long while until they realise I’m gone.” The fire in Yvonne’s eyes disturbed Tara, who did not dare ask how she had died.
“Those we leave behind will mourn as much as we.” The words came from the door and they turned to see Janet leaning on the door frame. “You need to do something. Distance yourself until you can deal with it. Time to explore, Doctor’s orders,” she added when they did not move.
“What about the gasbag and the knight in shining armour?”
A small hint of a smile graced Janet’s lips at the names Yvonne gave them.
“Speedle is too busy pacing to be of any help, maybe when he calms down. Théoden needs his rest. After the battle he just came from I’m surprised he didn’t sleep sooner.”
“And Wash?” Tara asked gently. Yvonne stood, moving to the door.
“He needs his privacy,” she said.
It was not much of a shrine he thought, looking at the collection of items he had had in his pockets. The crew probably had done better for him; a nice headstone, his full name on it, hopefully somewhere nice. No, they would not have had just some lousy string, a plastic dinosaur or the broken leaf of a palm tree.
“Don’t forget the mint,” he said aloud to himself. “Nothing beats a fuzzy old mint.” A tear slipped down the side of his face and he hastily wiped it off, despite the lack of eyes to see his weakness. A knock at his door made him rise. He was surprised to see Théoden standing there. Not sure what to say to him, Wash stepped back to allow him to enter.
“The white flower simbelmyne covers the tombs of my ancestors and there they will mourn me,” Théoden said gently, “though there I will not rest.”
Wash looked at him, curious but unable to muster his usual enthusiasm. He moved back to the altar and rearranged the small trinkets for the fifth time since he has placed them there.
“Somewhere with a sunset,” Wash said, after a few moments. “If they get the chance that is,” he added, remembering the circumstances of his departure.
“The battle draws near. You must mourn them, for though they still live on, you must lay them to rest.”
Wash was silent a long while and the look in his eyes spoke volumes to the pain he felt.
“There is a song that the Rohirrim sing for their fallen warriors. Eowyn sang it for my son,” Théoden offered.
“Zoe would like that,” Wash said. “She and the Captain were always into that comrade-at-arms stuff.”
Théoden nodded and came to stand at his shoulder. His voice as he sang filled the room and Wash allowed himself to feel his grief.
“Bealocwealm hafað fréone frecan forth onsended giedd sculon singan gléomenn sorgiende on Meduselde þæt he ma no wære his dryhtne dyrest and mæga deorost.”
“There are a lot of rooms around here.” Yvonne commented as they opened yet another door, “though nobody seems at home.”
“It does seem a little abandoned,” Janet agreed, though experience told her looks could be deceiving.
“I don’t feel anyone.” Tara said and the other two gave her a sideways glance making her blush slightly. “I mean. Most places you can still feel that something is around.”
“Anything with only three people in it will feel empty after that battery farm.” Yvonne shrugged. She opened another random door and frowned at the jumbled contents. “Storage cupboard I think.”
“This one is another bedroom,” Janet commented.
“This one is locked,” Tara said, turning the handle again just to make sure.
“Locked?” Janet asked surprised. “We’ve tested every door from end to end of this corridor. None of the others are locked.”
Speedle slouched in his chair, trying to decide if he really could be bothered leaving it. Tasha had ignored any queries he had had about the facility, stating that they would be told once Tay returned. His pleas to have explained why they had killed him had only annoyed Tasha.
“You were dead no matter what. Your choices in your life decided that. Not ours. Decide what to do with your future. Don’t live in your past.”
The words held him where he was. His future, in a world he did not understand. What could they want with him? A knock at the door made him pause.
“Tay,” the reply came. “Have you seen the others?”
He fought down his resentment at the girl and moved to open the door.
“No. I’ve been sat here since you left.”
Tay looked at him with a sigh.
“There is a meeting room, third door on your left. I will fetch the others and explain what is going on.”
“You can’t give me a hint?” Speedle asked, leaning over her.
“We’re in the middle of a war,” she said, walking away.
“I don’t suppose either of you knows how to pick a lock,” Yvonne queried. “Not one of the skills I picked up inside. Though, thinking back, it would have come in handy.”
Tara shook her head and Janet followed suit.
“Not exactly high on the list of things for a medic to learn,” Janet explained.
“Well I could just try to break the thing down.” Yvonne considered the door carefully.
“Stop!” The command rang out as she weighed the strength of the door with her foot. They all turned to see Tay running towards them. “Don’t touch that door.”
As she came to a halt, Yvonne folded her arms firmly.
“And why not?” she bristled; having the youngster tell her what she could not do was starting to grate on her.
“That room is forbidden to all. No one must enter there.”
“Not even you?” Janet asked, catching a slight hesitation in Tay’s stance.
“Some doors should never be opened. Not even by me,” she said solemnly. “I need you to come with me so I can explain what is going on here. Sixth door to your right.” She held out her hand in a leading motion. Tara moved past her, quickly followed by Janet and Yvonne, who glared at her. Shrugging it off Tay turned to the door and lay a gentle hand on it, her expression pained.