Regret to Inform You
TtH100 Xander/Galactica: Prompt # 76 – Deceit: “Regret to Inform You”
Timeline: “Regret to Inform You” follows a few days after “Lies and Legends”.
Summary: Half of the alien dream team gets bad news.
Spoilers through BSG Season One – “You Can’t Go Home Again”; BtVS Series
Disclaimer: Me no own. You no sue.
Review: Yes, please! Tell me what you think. Leave me a note and guess who she is. Rant and rail. Sing praises. Leave flaming bags of cyber dog poo. (Well, maybe not that.)
Note: Remember the prompt.
She woke up hard. One second she was tossing and thrashing through a sea of blackness, chasing a light that got further and further away until she could barely see it, barely hear it calling her name. She knew this light, knew it and needed it and no matter how close she got… The last moment of her dream was a wail of mourning. There was no sight, no smell, nothing to touch or taste. Just a drawn out howl of anguish and loss that came from her throat and the last glimmer of light.
And then she awoke.
It was a sign of how truly sucky her life could be that she was happier in the grip of her nightmare than she was when her eyes snapped open. She registered the cold first. Her leather pants and vest, so suitable for the cemetery she’d armed herself for, had been replaced by a pair of nurse’s scrubs in a hideous greenish yellow. Her favorite leather boots, including the stake in the sheath built inside the right one and her blessed silver-and-steel knife in the left, were gone. She thought the boots might have been taken by those freaky copper-armored soldiers and their S.W.A.T. buddies for evidence. She’d better get them back; that pair was a gift spelled to resist blood, goo and gore of all kinds by her friendly neighborhood witch. Her cross was gone, just like her silver rings and multiple earrings. God! They’d even taken her underwear! That was just going too far. Her favorite golden-haired sister slayer had shown her the joys of a Victoria’s Secret sale with that matched black lace set (although she was more of a Frederick’s of Hollywood girl, if she had to do undies at all). As soon as she could get her cramped muscles to support the idea of standing up, there would be an ass-whuppin’ in store.
Still, she wasn’t a Slayer for nothin’. Even though her eyes had opened she hadn’t moved another muscle. The spidey sense wasn’t tingling, so she was in no immediate danger, but the slick metal floor had an odd vibration that she didn’t like. It was quieter than a plane or a moving car, but her captors were definitely taking her somewhere. The lingering fog in her head dampened her capacity to figure out where the hell she was, but she could see the recessed lights twenty feet over her head. The air was slightly stuffy and it smelled like… plastic and PineSol? Well, at least it was clean.
The girl rolled smoothly to a sitting position and swung her dark hair over one tanned shoulder. As she’d suspected, she was alone… in a plastic cage? Was it scarier that she had no idea how she’d gotten here or that she had a sudden flashback to Magneto in those X-Men movies? Movies, definitely the movies. She was never Andrew-sitting again, no matter *what* Giles offered.
She paced the room slowly, measuring force and distance and momentum in a subliminal calculation that she couldn’t have put on paper if her life depended on it. Her… cell… was large and barren, but not big enough for her to take a running leap and bust down the plastic barrier that separated her from the only human-sized entrance to the room. The opposite wall looked like it split down the middle and came apart, but the metal was denser than even the inch thick clear plastic and there was nowhere to jam in a crowbar and heave. *If* she had a crowbar, which she didn’t.
Okay, no immediate avenue of escape. What did the transparent box o’ doom have in it? Besides her. Let’s see. A mattress on the floor – covered in scratchy white sheets, puke green wool blanket (also scratchy) but no pillow. An oddly rounded cubicle with a tinted door. Oh my God! Did they really expect her to use that as a bathroom!?! Great, fixtures extruding from the walls. No sharp edges, fine. Polished section of the metal wall for a mirror, whatever. But a plastic door tinted like a gangster’s windshield? No freakin’ way! Not that she was modest - because what was the point of having a body like this if you kept it to yourself - but her admitted exhibitionism had been her idea, not her decorator’s. This was more like being an animal in the zoo. They’d even made sure she couldn’t damage herself on her cage.
Right. Escape Plans R Us. There were no obvious weapons, so she’d just have to find a stealthy one. They’d have to feed her, right? Unless they were doing the ‘humiliate the prisoner’ thing, and there were arguments on both sides for that, they’d have to give her utensils. Eventually, someone would screw up and she’d be able to keep a knife or a fork. Hell, even a sharpened spoon would be better than nothing. Because there was no way she was going to spend the next few weeks of her life as the Slayer exhibit in the intergalactic zoo.
Suddenly, the odd-shaped metal door covering the only human sized exit from the room swung open. She kept her posture deliberately loose and relaxed, although her eyes tracked the lone visitor like the predator she was. Her head cocked slowly to the side as she checked out the shemale on the other side of the plastic. The jailer was just her height, with equally dark hair swept into a ruthless low pony-tail stuck to the nape of her neck. The woman’s face was alright, but she wore no makeup or jewelry to distract from the squareness of her jaw and the pugnacious set of her chin. Clothes? Well, tan soldier fatigues worked for some people, but this girl needed another outfit. *Stat*. The combat boots didn’t really help her image, either. Of course, maybe she liked the ‘women behind bars movie’ look.
“I am Sergeant Hadrian. I will be in charge of your stay here.” The woman didn’t so much speak as announce. “You have been separated from the fleet for attacking and injuring three pilots and seven Marines. If you cooperate and provide answers to our questions, you may eventually be allowed certain privileges. If you do not, your incarceration will become solitary confinement until you do cooperate. Do you have any questions?”
Oh, *so* many responses jostled through her head. Most were unprintable and anatomically difficult if not impossible. There was the inevitable ‘butch’ topic, but she really didn’t want to give Sergeant Hades ideas. More than half her brain chimed in with a vote for ‘f*ck ___’. Maybe ‘off’, maybe ‘you’, add a little ‘and die’… the possibilities were endless. Unfortunately, she did have one burning question and the answer was even more important than her irrepressible attitude.
“Yeah.” Her voice had gone huskier than usual, as if from disuse. How long had she been out, anyway? “The guy you picked up with me. How is he?”
The sergeant’s face barely moved, but the faint quirk of her lips could’ve been the beginning of a triumphant smirk. Or a grimace. Hard to tell with the staring contest going on. “Information is a privilege. Privileges are earned through cooperation.”
She snorted – like some crude brainwashing shtick was gonna get her to spill her guts. “Yeah, well, questions are a privilege, too. You gotta give if you wanna get. It’s no one way street.”
“I think you fail to appreciate your position here. You are the prisoner. You are in my custody. That means you give to me if you want to get *anything*. That’s how it works.”
“Listen, babe.” Her condescending tone had been honed on authority figures as far back as kindergarten and she could see the faint flush of exasperation creeping up the sergeant’s neck. Score. “I’ve taken more from bigger and badder than you could ever be. If you want any hope of me answering your questions, you better bring it.”
The sergeant’s eyebrows drew down in confusion. “You’re in no position to ask for ‘it’ anything.”
The dark-haired girl rolled her eyes and plunked her hand on her hip in her best Cordy Chase imitation. “Hello? It’s an expression, nimrod!”
The sergeant wasn’t impressed. “If this guy of yours means so much to you, you’d do better to can the attitude and ask nicely. Then maybe, just *maybe* I’d be inclined to give you an answer. To start the process rolling.”
The prisoner pursed her lips and measured her opponent. This was probably a bad precedent, but… “Fine.” She took her hand off her hip and stood straight in front of Sergeant Hades. “How. Is. He?”
“I take it he’s a friend?” The dour woman didn’t even look curious. “Well, sorry then.”
A sudden roaring in her ears almost made the brunette stumble back from the plastic wall. She could just barely make out, “regret to inform you… head injury… irreversible coma… didn’t make it.”
It was enough.