Disclaimer: The characters and situations of the TV-Programme 'Space: Above And Beyond' depicted in this story are legal property of Glen Morgan and James Wong, Hard Eight Production and 20th Century Fox Broadcasting and have been used without permission. No copyright infringement intended.

Comments are always welcome at anne_of_the_norther_lands@yahoo.com


Blaze of Glory


Anne Celina



"No bastard ever won a war by dying for his country. He won it by making the other poor dumb bastard die for his country."
- General George S. Patton, Jr


"Sir. I cannot believe you are sending me to the 58th Squadron" the young captain said, her voice putting pressure on the number.

Commodore Glen van Ross winced. A few weeks ago, this young woman would be thrilled for an assignment with the Wild Cards. Now she sounded like she would rather stay going SAR duty. He eyed the woman. Hell, she looked the part. She looked stubborn too but her real strength was in her eyes. She could kill someone with that unnerved stare. "Captain Wolders, you will go wherever I send you. And it just happens that the Wild Cards need replacements"

Captain Anne Wolders clenched her fists in anger. After a while she spoke up. "Sir. They should be charged with an Article 104" she said coldly.

Ross stood up -feeling a bit hotheaded himself. "Article 104? I am glad you aren't a lawyer, lieutenant. Because if my memory is correct, the 58th did not aid the enemy"

She eyed him, her grey eyes like ice. "Sir, this whole ship knows the 58th are traitors. I'd rather stay on my SAR duty than fly with them, sir"

Ross sat down and opened a file. He flipped through it. "Bronze star. Purple Heart. Distinguished Flying Cross… You know to whom these medals belong to?" he asked coldly.

Wolders nodded. "Yes, sir. They are mine, sir" she replied, her voice low. She wasn't sure she was following him.

"You are a good Marine. And the 58th are the best Marines I have now, no matter what. They need a replacement and you are the most likely candidate for the job. And you won't be alone. 1st lieutenant Joseph Ryan will join you" Ross pointed out. "You will report to the 58th squadron at 16:00 hours. That leaves you one hour to pack your stuff and get moving. Dismissed!"

Wolders straightened. "Aye aye, sir!" she said before turning in a perfect left face. Then she walked out.

Ross sank back in his chair. Damn, that was a whole new can of worms. The kid couldn't have hated the 58th more if she tired. He picked up the phone. "Get me Colonel Thomas here, ASAP"

West dragged himself out of the Hammerhead. Another milk run, of course. He doubted that the Wild Cards would ever get a new assignment. Milk runs for the rest of their tour of duty, until they died or killed themselves. He looked over at Vansen, who looked just as defeated as he felt.

"Hey, Nathan. What time is it?" Vanessa asked.

Nathan turned, looking at her. Her beautiful face was scarred on the left side. Luckily the only souvenir she picked up on 2063Y. "18:47" he replied and turned away. It still hurt him to see his friends scarred like that. It reminded him of Paul…

Shane walked to the hatch and the rest followed her. It was always like this. Easy and simple as always. She looked over at Hawkes, who was actually the one who didn't look tired. She opened the hatch and stood there, looking at the woman in the room.

Nathan looked over her shoulder, his eyes meeting the new arrived squadron member. "Captain?" he asked, mot sure what to do. Usually, McQueen introduced them to new members. But McQueen wasn't there either.

The woman, who Nathan found looking strangely young, met their eyes. "Captain Wolders" she said flatly. "And you are the famous Wild Cards" the words fell form her lips. It sounded more like a curse than anything did.

"Wolders…" Damphousse pushed her way past Nathan and Shane. "I am Vanessa Damphousse. You can call me Phousse. The guy over there is Nathan West, she is Shane Vansen and-" she smiled. "That handsome devil over there is Cooper Hawkes or GI Gequeed"

Wolders nodded to the 58th, a curt nod that was more or less forced. She sat down on a rack. "I was told to be here at 19:00"

Nathan walked in and sat down. "Yeah? So were we. I wonder why"

Coop looked at his wristwatch. "Let's find out" he muttered as the Commodore entered. "Ten-HUT!"

"At ease" The commodore said. The Wild Cards…Ty's kids. The thought made him sad. They looked all so tried. "5-8. As you know, your Commanding Officer is on sick leave. Chances are that he will not return" he gave himself a moment to relax. He met the eyes of Hawkes. The In Vitro looked sad now. Hell, they all did. "Therefore, Colonel Thomas will take over the command of the 58th"

A man entered. He was about McQueen's height with blond hair and blue eyes. Rather handsome, actually. Shane looked at him. He looked young. He had to be one of those jet-promoters. A guy who can get from lieutenant to Colonel in two years. "Hi" the colonel said, rather informal. "My name is Norbert Thomas. My rank is colonel, but I guess you can see that" he grinned. "I must say I have heard a lot about you. I won't hold your past against you. Just do your best and get trough this war and I am pleased. Also, Lieutenant Ryan here-" he stepped back and a young man entered. "-Used to be with the 61st. He just came here from Earth. And don't let the fact that he is an ex JAG officer hold you back"

Ryan grinned, his reddish hair made his face look even younger. Died, most likely. "I owe a lot to the 58th. You…you kinda saved my ass on Cer. After they rescued you they took a good look at the other LZ and found me and my buddy Johnny Franco"

Wolders looked towards the newbie. "Great. A JAG in debt…" she muttered.

Now it was Ross' turn to look concerned. But he kept quiet about it. "Well…I'll leave you then" he said and walked out.

The original members of the 58th looked at each other confused. The Colonel left as well, leaving the room quiet. After a while, Cooper broke the silence. "First we lose McQueen and now we get this guy" he marked dourly as he sat down on his rack.

Ryan grinned. "Thomas is a good Marine. Hell, some say that he'll be General by the time this war is over"

Nathan looked over at Wolders. She wasn't looking. Nathan moved towards Cooper. "And that ain't all of it"

Hawkes knew that Nathan knew something else. But as long Wolders was in the room he would not say anything. Anne eyed Nathan for a moment before walking to her rack, grabbing her book and exiting the room.

Nathan let out a tight breath. "Anne Wolders" he said and sat down. "1st Lieutenant. She is a good pilot, a bit wild on the stick. Call sign Dutch. Third Generation US Marine -A Semper Psycho- also the only survivor from the 78th. A loner. What bothers me is that no one knows anything about her"

Shane combed her hair thoughtfully. "She doesn't seem to like us. And she might be dangerous. I don't like people without a past"

Ryan looked at them, a frown showing up on his face. "I know a little about her. Except from what you have said, of course" he said to West. "She has been trough a lot. And she has gotten rewarded for it…and rumors has it that she has a husband on Earth"

"No wonder she is pissed" Nathan said, sounding a bit guilty.

"Don't fire until you can see the whites of their eyes."
- Major Devereux (the battle of Wake Island, 1941)


Wolders put her book down after a while. It didn't help to read when your mind was in a whole different place. God, she didn't want to be in the 58th. Why her? What had she done? She swore as she almost spilled her cold coffee. This was seriously screwing her mind up.

"Hey! Dutch! Who did you piss off to get transferred to the 58th?" a voice asked.

Wolders turned and looked at the man. Jack Needles of the 36th Squadron. A real smart-ass with an attitude, if you asked for her opinion. "I dunno. But I'm just wondering which way I'll fire in combat"

Needles grinned and sat down beside her. "I'd say you aim for the Chigs. Don't want a court martial on your hands"

She took her book and was about to leave when he grabbed her arm. "Let me go, Needles" she said tiredly.

"C'mon. I won't hurt ya…if you don't want me to" he said with a sleazy grin.

She smiled back and grabbed his collar. "If you ever touch me again, I will rip off your head and spit down your throat. Do you understand?" she said in a calm voice.

He laughed at first, but one look into her eyes and he grew seriously. It was something scary about those eyes. They seemed to catch everything. "Okay. If you want it like that…"

She let him go and walked out of the mess. She hated guys like that. She walked to the Wild Cards' quarters, feeling pissed. It was actually quiet there. No wonder, consider the fact that it was 23:00 hours. She stripped down to her underwear and crawled into her bunk.

"This is a map over the planet 5869R, Or as the Brits like to call it, 'Mata Hari'. She is a hostile planet. The Chigs own her," the Colonel said as he showed the 58th pictures of a planet. A planet with snow, that was. The 58th sighed. They had seen many planets, but the worse were those who were extra cold. "The temperature is roughly around minus ten degrees Celsius. The planet has breathable O2. There are three Chig bases. Two of them contains about 200 Chigs and AIs"

"Demolition duty" West muttered. The rest agreed with a simple nod.

Thomas waited until they fell into silence. Then he continued. "The third base is to be avoided"

Wolders spoke up. "Sir, may I ask why, sir?"

Thomas smiled a smile that made Shane shudder. A Commanding Officer should be serious at all times -especially in times of war. "Well, lieutenant. If I knew that I would inform you. But it seems like the brass won't let us know why. Only that we are to avoid it" he looked at them. "I only want you back alive. Don't take any risks. Your mothers don't need medals, they need their sons and daughters"

The expression startled Hawkes. Actually, it made him feel sick. No one else reacted, just him. He frowned and sunk lower in his chair.

"It takes twenty years or more of peace to make a man; it takes only twenty seconds of war to destroy him."
- Baudouin I, King of Belgium


"So…where did you graduate from?" West asked Wolders as they packed their gear. Nathan looked at the winter uniform. He had never used it. It looked brand new.

Wolders took out her winter uniform. It was getting a bit greyish. Nathan realized she had most likely been on a ground Op similar to this. "Parris Island, 5th of June, 2058" Wolders looked at him with that unnerved stare.

"Joined before the war" Vanessa smiled as she took on her thermo suit. It would constant keep a temperature of 23 degrees Celsius, no matter what.

"As soon as I finished High School. I always wanted to join the Corps" she confessed, rather uncomfortable about her present situation.

Hawkes looked over at West. "Take your jock warmer with ya"

Nathan grinned and held it up. "No problem, Coop. Got your snowboard?"

Coop smiled and held up the board. Shane rolled her eyes. "I give it up. They are impossible"

Ryan burst out in laughter. "Well, the best are impossible"

Wolders did not smile. She just eyed them for a moment before leaving. Cooper looked after her. "Maybe we should call her Lady MacBeth?"

"More like Iron Bitch" West said under his breath. The girls did not respond.

Wolders looked at the pictures of the planet. Mata Hari…a dangerous planet. Actually, from what she had heard, some parts of Himalayan were more pleasant. She took off her glasses and rested her head on the pillow. They were on their way to the planet. Their ETA was about 12 hours. And she was not sleepy.

It was dark in the ISSCV. She looked up in the upper bunk, trying not to think. But an old song kept popping into her head, just like the zit in her left nostril never left. Shot down in a blaze of glory. Take me out, but know the truth. I never drew first but I drew first blood. I'm the devil's son. They call me a young gun.

Vansen wasn't sleepy either. She kept hanging over the shoulder to the Com. officer. Ryan was soundly asleep, snoring lightly. Nathan and Phousse were talking. "She's like Butts" Phousse said, not finding a better word for it.

"No…Butts you could trust a bit. She acts like she'd rather shoot us than the Chigs" Nathan marked seriously. "For all we know, she is crazy"

"Look. I don't like it either. She is not Wang. No one is. And she is…I don't know… hard. It's like she must be hard or else she…" Phousse shook her head and stood up. "I'm hitting the rack. Good night"

Nathan smiled weakly before climbing up in his own bunk.

"Goddamn it, you'll never get the Purple Heart hiding in a foxhole! Follow me!"
- Captain Henry P. "Jim" Crowe (Guadalcanal, January 13, 1943

"Snow" Hawkes said, stating the obvious.

The 58th watched as the ISSCV left with a roar. Shane frowned. "It's cold"

Wolders threw them a look. "Suck it up. It's warm for us Marines" she said, almost with a sneer.

Vanessa met Nathan's eyes and she mouthed. Butts. Nathan grinned and loaded his M590. "The First base is actually only over that mountain. That is roughly about one hour walk"

Wolders took the lead as if she was the honcho. Vansen did not comment this, not really wanting to be in charge anyway. Besides, Wolders seemed to know what she was doing. They walked in silence, not really finding anything to say. Shane had to admit that after losing Wang, something had changed. "There it is" Wolders whispered.

Shane and the rest quickly went down beside her. "Four guards, Chigs. The rest must be inside"

"Hell of a lot inside" Hawkes muttered.

Wolders turned, facing the Wild Cards. "Okay. We need to get in. Hawkes, you are with me. The rest spread out and divide cover"

Cooper grabbed one of the bags with explosives. "'Kay"

Wolders looked at the snowboard and took it. She looked into Hawkes' eyes. "You know how to use it?" she asked,

"Yeah...I mean...it's like surfin', right?" Cooper looked at the board.

"Jesus Christ" Ryan muttered with a grin. No doubt where he was from…California.

Wolders opened her own pack, taking out a small board of her own. Then she lay down on it. Hawkes did the same thing. "Let's give 'em a small surprise" she whispered as she pushed herself off the edge. Hawkes did the same and together they raced down. Anne grabbed one of the smart grenades and threw it in the direction of the Chigs. It hit a few moments later. She took her rifle, rolled of the board and started firing. Hawkes rolled off too, with the bag of the demolition equipment.

"Hawkes! Set out the bombs and time set 'em!" she yelled to him. In that moment, the rest of the Wild Cards started firing at the exiting Chigs and AIs.

Cooper moved, taking out the bombs. He had heard they were quite powerful despite their size. He fastened it to the wall, then moved to the other wall. He kept looking over his shoulder, afraid that some motherfuckin' AI would come up behind him and blow his ass to kingdom come.

Timer...where was the timer? He couldn't find it. "Houston! We have a little problem here!"

Wolders was on his side now, her breath in his air. "What is it, Coop? It better not be that you have wet your pants"

"The Timer is gone!"

She turned, her eyes widening. "Fuck!" she swore and met Hawkes' eyes. "We have to do it manual"

"Wh...What the hell is manual?" he yelled back. Now he was spooked.

"It means that on the count of three, you run your ass off towards cover. One. Two. Three!" She yelled. Hawkes started running. She pushed the red button and ran. She ran to Hawkes and jumped on him, pressing his body down to the ground. Moments later she heard the load thunder of the explosion. The ground shook and debris fell down from the sky. She covered his body with hers, pressing her face against his back. They lay like that for a while, until Hawkes started moving.

Anne sat up and shook the snow and dust off her hair. She turned to see the building burning. No one could have survived that. She stood up, helping Hawkes. His body was slack and she quickly groped him, feeling for any wounds. "What now?" she said, looking at him

"I bit my tongue" Cooper muttered sourly.

Wolders eyed him for a moment, her eyes narrowing. Cooper thought he had seen something in her eyes for a moment. Was it fear?

To be continued....

Next : Chapter Two - The discovery

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