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

This story picks up after the season finale ...



Logan Pearce

…but everything is different now, isn't it? You would not believe what it's like back here now. It's like, everyone feels like they've been betrayed, like the bomb in that conference room was a personal betrayal to every single person on this planet, and they're all offended by it. I don't know, maybe it's cause I've been gone for so long, but to me it just doesn't seem like such a big deal. Yes, the war will go on and it should, they should pay for all they've done to us, but it's not personal. It's in space, it's back on that stinking planet. God Nathan, I want to tell you about it, about it all, but just not here. I feel like I need to tell somebody… but no one is around. I tried to keep in touch with the other colonists, but it just feels… wrong some how. I'm such a mess Nathan, I don't know what to think about anything. Nothing seems right. Not even you and me. Is there even a you and me anymore Nathan? I just wish I could see your face, then I'd know everything is okay. You know, I've even seen you, but somehow I cannot picture you in a Marine uniform, much less the cockpit of a fighter plane, killing Chigs. It just doesn't seem like the Nathan I know… knew. We're all different. This planet is different. I'm different… you're different. I just don't know anymore.
Love, Kylen.

Someone turned the jukebox louder as Nathan West stared over the letter and into the deep gold depths of the drink he hadn't touched. He spinned it round and round in his fingers, staring through it at the floor and the empty seat across from him at the table in the tiny bar in the Saratoga's officer's club. He didn't even look up when Cooper Hawkes pulled the chair out and sat down, legs stretched out away from the table at an odd angle, hands intertwined and resting on his lap, starring at the floor. He didn't say anything, he didn't have to. They hadn't said much to each other since The Betrayal, as the news was calling it, and yet they spent most of their time together.

Without looking out of the glass, Nathan threw the thrice-folded piece of paper at him. "Got another letter from Kylen," he said flatly.

"Yah?" Hawkes said, shifting his weight so his arms rested on the table. Without asking he took the glass and downed some of the drink. Nathan didn't mind. After recovering from the stiff drink, he slammed the half full glass next to Nathan's palm. "What'd she say this time?"

"Same old stuff."


Nathan sighed and finally looked up at Hawkes. "It's like," he struggled for the words. "It's like I had this idea I held on to for so long, and she's not it. This idea, she was perfect, she was exactly like I remembered her, only perfect. This," he threw the letter again. "This is not her."


He sighed again. "I think she thinks the same."

Cooper didn't say anything but stared at the glass. "Look," Nathan said, pointing at the bottom of the handwriting on the old-fashioned letter. "She signed it 'love.' She used to sign it 'ever enduring, most amazing, whatever love', something romantic like that. Not anymore."

He sighed again and downed the rest of the drink. After a few moments of silence, Cooper spoke up.

"You know they're sending out the search and rescue team today."

"Yah I know."

Lt. Col. T.C. McQueen, USMC, lay face up in a hospital bed. What kind of life was this for a Marine. He couldn't stand to sit up, because then he could see the place where the blanket sloped down, revealing the gaping hole where his leg should be.

He saw on the news they were calling it "The Betrayal", in bold capital letters. It was on every channel. He couldn't bear to watch it so he turned it off. Lying in his bed staring at the ceiling, all he could do was listen to the whir of the machines plugged into him, and think. Terrible thing that, he thought. Being alone with his thoughts. He almost went crazy once, being alone for a long time. Then he had craved someone, anyone, he didn't care who, just as long as they had ears and a voice. Now, even when there was someone here, he was still alone. This was worse.

With a sigh he rolled onto the only side he could bear to roll onto (the only side which he could bear the pain of it) and reached for the worn down pencil and legal pad resting on a side table. He scribbled for a long time, then laid the finished work on top of the stack of other hastily scribbled notes lying there.

"Oh nu-UH!" Cooper yelled as he grabbed a pack lying on the rack near the door in the 58's sleeping quarters. "What the hell is this?" The group of pasty-faced new-comers had been chattering in hushed tones among themselves, but they all turned to see the backlit yelling figure in the hatchway. "Huh?" he demanded in the newfound silence. Nathan stood back in the P-way to watch as his friend stormed in for a little ass-chewing. "See this pack?" he demanded, holding up one of their seabags. "It goes OFF of this rack! This rack is NOT vacant! You see this shit?" he demanded of Nathan, still standing in the P-way, arms folded across his chest. Nathan nodded agreement, the closest thing to a smile on his face he'd had in a while. "This rack belongs to YOUR captain, Shane Vansen, and she is NOT gone for good, she is coming back! Who's pack is this?" The gaggle of green-eyes looked at him in something close to terror before finally a young asian man squeaked out a meager "sir"

"Oh and who the hell are you, huh?" he shouted at him, taking a few steps toward him and making him cower back a bit "Who the hell do you think you are? Look at him!" he said to Nathan. "Thinks he's the next Paul Wang."

"Who?" he asked timidly. Cooper shot him a glare that could kill a small rodent.

"Oh you'll find out who. And I KNOW nobody put that pack on MY rack!" Sure enough a seabag lay on the carefully folded sheets of his rack. "That goes off there right now!" Someone grabbed it and it hit the floor. "This one this one this one this one this one. Taken. The rest you can have."

"Sir," a young woman ventured. "There's not enough."

"Then share!"

They milled about talking quietly to themselves, trying to figure out how they were going to sleep that night without enough racks. Nathan came up behind Cooper.

"Have fun?" he asked.

"You believe those guys? Fresh new recruits think they own the place."

"Yah well you showed 'em."

"Damn right. Look at how young they are. Must be fresh out of flight school. Damn."

"Better let them have that rack too," Nathan said, pointing to the one recently vacated by their friend and fellow marine, KIA. There were still outlines on the bulkhead where his photos had once been.

Hawkes sighed. "Yah I guess so." Nathan told them. The asian kid moved to take the spot. "Not you!" Cooper barked. "Anyone else but you." He turned to Nathan. "I just can't… you know."

"Yah I know."

"Attention on deck!" someone yelled, and everyone snapped to to see Commodore Ross enter the small room. He smiled feebily, obviously as happy to see the new replacements as the two wildcards.

"As you were. Just wanted to let you know your new CO is onboard and has requested a meeting with the 5-8 at 2100."

"Thank you sir," a couple of the new recruits echoed each other. Ross turned to leave the room but was stopped by Nathan.

"Sir," he asked. "Is there any word…?"

He shook his head. "You know I would let you know."

"Yes sir." And he left. Hawkes was already going off on someone new. Nathan smiled slightly and pulled himself into his top rack. He paused at the bulkhead over his pillow. The two pictures of him and Kylen. But mostly he looked at the bigger picture of a young oriental man in a football jersey, running with the ball and screaming with joy, his fist high in air in celebration. Then Nathan really did smile.

The stack of papers seemed a little higher now, but they all said basically the same thing, only slightly different each time. But the ceiling never changed. He didn't even look around when the nurse came in to check on him.

"You're sure you don't want to sit up?" she asked again, like she did every time.

"I'm sure," he said a little more sharply that he would have liked. She really was a nice girl, she just got on his nerves sometimes. Although secretly McQueen thought it might not be just her getting on his nerves when he lashed out at her like this. The worst part was he didn't even know her name.

But this time it was a different person entering the room. Instead of soft-padded nurse's shoes hitting the tile it was the sharp click of high-heeled shoes, and instead of the smell of sterilizing fluid it was the pleasing scent of a woman's perfume, an all too familiar one at that. He heard voices in the doorway.

"…but I don't think he'll respond too much," someone was saying.

"Oh I think he will." The voice was beautifull, like a bird's, he thought. The high heels came closer to the bed now, but she was still out of sight.

"Ty," the lady said, and it all came flooding back. As he pushed the remote on his bed to make it sit up, he felt his heart race like when he was younger, with the old familiar feeling of uncontrollable excitement and anticipation of seeing her face. Once that face, that beautifull face came into view, so did all the old feelings of pain and anger. She stood at the foot of the bed, looking older than he remembered but still very sexy in her smart business suit, her hair combed neatly and tied back in a tight professional, almost military way, her suit matching perfectly with the tone of her skin and making her eyes shine gloriously. She was a sight to look at, always had been. And then she smiled and all of a sudden he couldn't remember what he had been so angry at her for.

"God it's good to see you," he said. It was the first real words he had said to anyone since he arrived here. She walked toward the side of the bed that had his table next to it, as well as a stool for visitors, although no one he cared about had sat in it yet.

"I came as soon as I found out. Especially when I heard how." She sat in the stool and grasped his hand in hers, her eyes looking deep into his. "And it's good to see you too Ty."

He smiled, a little self-consciously now, especially since she could see the gap in the sheets. Seeing her he had actually forgotten for a few moments. But not for long.

"You always were good at getting yourself hurt. That was one of the things I hated about you. It's also a reason I lo…" She stopped and her eyes fell away.

"I'm married now you know." It was not a question.

"I heard."

"We're… we're due to have a baby in six month's time." And there it was, the issue that had driven them apart so many years ago.

"I never stopped loving you," he blurted, the words coming out choked.

"I know," she said as her eyes began to fill. "Damn it," she exclaimed wiping her eyes with the back of her hand. "I told myself I wasn't going to do this." McQueen remained silent, not trusting himself to speak. Suddenly all his emotions of not only the last few weeks but the last few years came welling up, and he felt if he opened his mouth they would all come spilling out and land in a puddle on the floor. An almost uncomfortable silence followed as they both refused to meet each other's eyes.

"What's this?" she asked, picking up the stack of yellow papers.

"You always do that," he said, swallowing whatever he was feeling. "Change the subject like that." She smiled dejectedly.

"Who are these letters too?"

"No one. You wouldn't understand."

"And you always do that." They were silent now. Anything they would say would feel awkward. "I saw this on the news, when they gave you this" She picked up a medal that also sat on the table. The Distinguished Service Medal. She fingered it for a bit before setting it back on the table. She took a deep breath and looked up at him, and it was as if nothing in the world had just happened, and she was just visiting a friend in the hospital.

"So are you going to get a prosthesis then?"

He shrugged as much as he was able. "Probably."

"Will they let you return to space?"

"Probably not." And the conversation was over from that point on as far as he was concerned.

The briefing room on the USS Saratoga had always been too small. With the beefing up of the forces since the bomb, it was now smaller. Nathan always loved how it overlooked the flightline, and for an instant before he sat down he just took in the view.

He and Coop sat in the front row, him on the end, and the next person a good two seats away from Coop. The new replacements stood in the back rather than sit to close to him. He had made an impression. Attention on deck was called when a youngish man, young for Lieutenant Colonel anyway, entered the room. He set his things down on the table in the front of the room and stood in front of it. Nathan couldn't help remembering the first time the 58th met their old CO, the image of Col. McQueen knocking over that very table and everything on it, telling them, "it's okay to be scared." The memory made him chuckle a bit.

"Evening," the Lt. Col. said matter-of-factly as he arranged his things on the desk. "I'm Lt. Col. Mac McKlusky. Obviously I'm your new squadron commander. I know a little history of the 5-8. Heard nothing but praise of your fine war record during your previous engagements. I see most of you here are new. Obviously, due to the events of a few weeks ago, things around here have been stepped up a bit. Also I see the 58th recently lost a few members, including the old CO, which is why I am here. I never met Col. McQueen personally, but I know him to be a good man. It is a shame the Corps had to loose such a fine officer."

Nathan had to speak up. "He isn't dead sir." McKlusky gave Nathan a look to make him think twice about interrupting again.

"No he is not. But I can guarantee we won't see him around any longer. Now, I'd like to get to know each of you, so I'd like to start initial interviews right away, get them done in the next week. Also, I'd like the command to start regular organized PT sessions together starting right away, so get together and figure out when you all can meet at least three times a week. Get it done. Also… there seems to be a lack of rack space in the squadron's quarters…" He looked over some of the paperwork he had. "Nathan West."

"Sir." Nathan said, standing to attention.

"You're the most senior man here. I want you to be my liaison between me and the squadron. Your first job as such is to…"

"Sir," Nathan interrupted again. "Sir that's Captain Vansen's job."

McKlusky peered up from his papers without moving his head, giving Nathan another menacing stare. "Captain Vansen isn't here. Now it's your job." Nathan slowly sat down. "And your first job is to find quarters for these people. Fill up your squad room and find another room for the overflow." This time Hawkes stood up.

"Sir, Captain Vansen and Lt. Damphouse are still missing sir. There's a search party out right now, we were saving their racks…"

"I know the situation Lieutenant. For now I want all the racks filled, is that clear?"

"Yes sir." He sat.

McKlusky slapped the folder shut. "Listen. I know what happened to this squadron. In fact I probably know more than you do. For now this is how I want it done. Anything changes, we will adapt and overcome. Some of your are probably thinking I'm a hardass. That is correct. I like things done in a timely, sharp, military manner. But I am not a jackass. This is something you will learn overtime. Dismissed." Slowly the new replacements stood and filled out of the room, talking hurriedly to each other. McKlusky remained reading papers.

"Excuse me sir?" ask a timid young woman behind Hawkes. He turned around. "Did you know Col. McQueen?" Hawkes sighed, looking very annoyed.

"Yes. Why?" he snapped.

"Well, he's a legend. The Angry Angels, the 58th, the peace talks… he was quite a Marine."

"Yah well now he's holed up in some hospital with half a leg stuck behind a desk the rest of his life, so what the hell good did it do him?" He turned and stormed out of the room. Nathan watched McKlusky. He didn't even look up from his papers.

She was so cold she could hardly get the air into her lungs. She curled tighter against Vanessa, whispering to her to keep her awake. From the gray hole that marked the small mouth of the pathetic cave they had found for shelter, she thought she saw movement. Slowly, Shane Vansen reached for the weapon on the ground at her side. It could be anything, another predator (she had skinned two already to use as blankets), or maybe a Chig. They had run into a few Chig encampments already in the few…how long had they been there? days? weeks? more? She had already killed a couple a little while ago. She had been surprised how much of a chig could be used for food…

Vanessa stirred next to her. She tried not to move her, her fever was getting worse. Slowly she edged out from under her, removed her fur blanket and placed it on Vanessa. On her hands and knees she inched towards the edge of the mouth. There was a good ten foot drop on the other side, and she edged as close to it as she dared. Here the sharp wind of the winter storm bit deep into her skin through the thin fraying fabric of her worn out flight suit. It was stupid to leave her blanket behind; if anything, she could use it as cover to hide, pretend to be an animal or something. Plus she felt as if her bare fingers would freeze to the cold of the weapon. Stupid.

She lay prone on the hard cold rock, bringing the weapon under her cheek and arm pit, searching through the scope for any signs of what had made the noise. It hadn't been a noise so much as a feeling; she didn't think she could hear anything over the wind howling. Her matted hair blowing in her face and stinging her skin, she thought she caught sight of some movement through the scope. More than that she thought she might have heard a voice. It was a voice! She searched through the scope for the source, while keeping her ears alert for more sounds. She couldn't be sure, but she thought it might be English.

"Hey Coop, they're showing that video they made of you guys! Look!" Nathan pointed excitedly at the big television screen in the rec room, which lately had been showing nothing but news. One of the news shows had apparently decided to show the video made a while ago about In Vitros in the military, one which had featured him and Col. McQueen rather prominately.

"Hey look at that," he said, sitting down on the couch next to Nathan. He chuckled a bit watching himself on the screen, showing the cameraman around the very room he sat in now. Nathan laughed when he saw Paul yelling at the screen during some football game no one cared about except him. For a moment it was easy to forget everything was different.

A young woman, one of the new guys to the squadron, approached Cooper from the side. "Excuse me, is this seat taken?" She pointed at the seat on the couch next to him. He threw her a dismissive glance that lasted half a second.

"There's a seat over there," he said, indicating the back of the room.

"Do you know my name?" she demanded suddenly, making him jerk his eyes from screen in a start.


"Do you even know my name, 1st Lt. Cooper Hawkes? Like it or not we are here and we have to work together, maybe for a long time." Her voice was quite loud now, and people in the room had stopped to hear what was going on. "I know you guys lost your friends, and I'm sorry. But there's nothing I can do about that, I go where they send me. You know how that goes." She was quieter now. "So since we're all stuck here on this tin can, we might want to get to know each other."

Hawkes sat there stunned for a minute. "So is this seat taken?" she asked again. He just shook his head. Next to him Nathan snickered as she sat down. Hawkes reached over and slapped him on the chest with his forearm.

"What are you laughing at?" He just smiled.

"Amy," the girl said.


"My name. It's Amy." All he could do was nod.

"Hey look," Nathan pointed at the screen. There was Col. McQueen, larger than life on the enormous monitor. He was telling the story about the mines.

Hawkes got up and switched the TV off to the reception of many groans from the audience who had gathered to watch the many forms of entertainment going on around those couches. He strode out of the room, Nathan silently following him.

In the P-way Cooper suddenly let out a frustrated growl and leaned against the bulkhead, pulling his hair down with his fists.

"Can you believe that!" he shouted at Nathan, who just watched him.

"She's right you know." Cooper looked at him as if he had just been betrayed. "We are stuck here and we do have to get to know each other, no matter how much it sucks."

Cooper threw up his hands in disgust. "Oh so now you're on their side huh? I guess the last year has meant nothing!"

"Coop it's not about sides…"

"Bullshit!" He stormed off down the hall.

"Cooper come on!" Nathan shouted after him. "Don't do this." Cooper stopped and turned angrily around as if to say something, but apparently gave up as he couldn't think of anything, and continued storming. Nathan took a deep sigh and then shouted after him.

"They want to make me a captain…" he shouted. Cooper paused and turned around slowly. Nathan pulled a pair of captain bars out of his pocket and showed his friend.

"You're not… gonna take it right?"

Nathan shrugged. "It's stupid for me not to. Only fools turn down promotions…"

"They're promoting you because the last captain in the 58th is gone!"

"I know that. I know why they're doing it. I feel the same way about it as you. But…" He trailed off as a young Navy woman passed them in the P-way. In a more subdued tone he continued. "But it's shooting yourself in the foot to turn down a promotion. You know that. A couple weeks ago I would have killed for it."

"A couple weeks ago they wouldn't have given it to you."

"I know." He sighed as he fingered the two silver bars in his hand. "But I'm going to take it anyway."

"Lt. West, Lt. Hawkes. They're here."

They ran down the many P-ways of the Saratoga behind the young second-class petty officer sent to get them. They reached the loading dock in time to see two stretchers being unloaded from an APC. A swarm of medical personnel and various others had gathered around, and they had to fight their way though to the stretchers, which were being hurried out the door towards medical. They were stopped as they tried to follow by Col. McKlusy and one of the Navy doctors.

"They're fine guys," the doctor said as he held a hand up to Hawkes' chest to keep him from following. "Damphousse has a pretty serious infection, we haven't determined what it is yet but it's nothing a good few months in medical won't fix. Aside from some frostbite and scrapes, they came out pretty lucky." West and Hawkes strained to follow the stretchers down the hall with their eyes, but they were gone.

"Apparently they were surviving in some pretty rough conditions," McKlusky explained. "The rescue team ran into some heavy resistance. That planet is deep in chig territory. We are all lucky everyone made it out alive. One of the Marine's on the rescue team was lost however, to enemy fire. The docs say you guys can see them in a couple of hours."

A couple of hours passed with the two Marines pacing nervously and impatiently around their quarters, waiting desperately for the hour when they could be reunited with two friends they never thought they could let get so close. When McKlusky came to get them it was like the releasing of flood gates.

The room smelled sterile of course, like all hospital rooms do. Nathan had spent his fair share in this particular room of the Saratoga. In two beds next to each other lay two friends as close as sisters whom he had feared until now had been lost. A sob caught in his throat to see them like this; Shane's face red and bloated from extreme cold, Vanessa's even worse, paled from the strain of her infection. Hooked up to wires and machines, he felt like a parent looking down upon his hurt children. Steeling a glance at Cooper, he thought he saw a small puddle forming in the corner of the gruff man's eye. They were told the two were getting much needed rest, and weren't to be disturbed. They probably would not be awake and talking for a while now. Just as soon as they were let in, they were being ushered out again by the Colonel, but those few seconds had meant the whole world to those two.

McKlusky led them into the briefing room again and sat them down. Quietly he explained as much as he knew.

"They were found in a small cave on planet, a couple miles away from the crash site of their APC cockpit. The crash was not too bad, the chutes worked well, they rolled a bit, but no major damage was incurred from the wreck. There was a chig encampment in the opposite direction, so no doubt that's why they chose to move that way. Vansen had a small wound on her right calf, the doctor says is from a chig weapon, so they saw a bit of action on the way. They were forced to take refuge when the ice storm began, dropping the temperatures dramatically and bringing about Damphouse's sickness. It was lucky anyone found them with the storm. Vansen had left small pieces of her flight suit along the way, giving rescuers a chance to follow. She's a good officer, without that they never would have been found." McKlusky stood up from where he had leaned against the table. "That's all we know for now, we'll find out more when they have recovered a bit more." He had apparently meant that to be the end of the conversation, but he had to push when none of them appeared ready to leave. "That's all." They shuffled to the door.

The trumpet sounded clear above the bowed heads of the company in attendance. All adorned in their dress blues, both Navy and Marine alike, listened to the words of the chaplain as he sent the two souls to rest. Shane and Vanessa sat in two small wheel chairs, Nathan and Cooper behind, the rest of the 58th behind them. Nathan sported two small silver bars on either shoulder, matching the ones Shane wore in front of him. Two coffins sat in front of the congregation, one containing the Marine killed retrieving the two, the other containing the body of their friend and companion, Paul Wang. Nathan and Cooper had been insistent that the funeral be postponed until Shane and Vanessa had returned, either so that they could be here to watch, or that they could lie next him, whichever had been the case. This ceremony was merely formal for the ship's company, the bodies were to be sent home for a true burial as per their families wishes. Nathan enjoyed the thought of Paul's ashes being spread over Wrigley field back home in Chicago. The flag on each casket was folded to be sent to their mothers, to lie draped over their casket back home on the cool green grass of Earth.

When the ceremony had concluded, Shane and Vanessa were wheeled back to medical, and not a person from the original 58 had a dry eye.

On Earth McQueen glanced up from the doctor to stare out the window at the stars. He couldn't explain it, but at that moment he felt the pain of their loss so much greater, and it overwhelmed him for a moment. The doctor glanced up from what he was doing. "Are you alright Colonel?"

He nodded. "Well," the doctor continued. "This seems to have healed quite nicely. We'll get started right away getting you fitted for a prosthetic. I want you to remain here through tomorrow, and as long as you take all your meds properly and come in regularly for bandage changes, you'll be free to go, with crutches of course. How does that sound?" McQueen closed his eyes and didn't say a word.

Nathan closed his eyes as he laughed. He felt that he had never laughed so hard in his life, or that such a laugh had never been so satisfying before. Shane was laughing just as hard beside him, although neither really knew or cared what they were laughing about. In fact, in the hour or so they had spent together, neither could recall anything they had talked about. It just wasn't as important.

Vanessa dozed next to them, very sick from fighting the infection. Except for the effects of the extreme cold Shane was fine, and she kept insisting to the doctors intent on imprisoning her here that she was. She had been very sad to hear that they had not heard anything from McQueen, inspire of the letters they had sent. She had been looking forward to talking with him in person, or on the phone. Just as she was remarking to Nathan that she had seen much more of him than of Cooper, he stuck his head through the steel swinging doors. He looked in timidly and started to back out when he saw Nathan, but Nathan stopped him.

"I was just about to leave anyway," he announced, and smiled at Shane as he left through the same doors. Shane smiled warmly at Cooper as he made his way over to her hospital bed.

"I was wondering when you'd come," she said. He smiled a little, sitting on the edge of the bed that Nathan had just vacated.

"Shane," he started, but his voice broke a little and he stopped. He tried to avoid her eyes. "I thought…" She smiled.

"I know." She watched him as he returned the smile very shyly. "So tell me about these guys they got to replace us?" she asked suddenly, changing the subject. Cooper sat up and smiled, pleased at the subject change, then launched into a recounting of the events in the squadron room, and in the rec room as well. Shane couldn't help but laugh as he told her about the hard time he gave them, although she agreed with Nathan on his assessment of events in the rec room. It was a little easier for him to hear, however, coming from her.

Back : To General Fiction