Author's notes: My entry to Phyl's FanFic challenge for the Christmas Holidays. Megan Chambers is my own original character from the Honoris Certamen series and in 2064 she is captured by the AIs and held prisoner, Cooper and she are 'close'.
Cooper Hawkes watched his crew mates as they celebrated Christmas in the Rec Room. A lot reminded him of last year's Christmas like the drab decorations, the drooping fake Christmas tree and the blue moon shine that tasted like after shave. But he also saw the changes. A lot of the faces he had grown used to, even thought about as part of his family, had disappeared.
Kelly Winslow, shot down by Chiggy von Richthofen.
Neil West, Nathan's kid brother, killed by his stupid squad leader.
Megan Chambers ...
Cooper squeezed his eyes shut briefly then made his way out of the rec room as unsuspiciously as possible. Walking down the deserted corridors of the 'Toga, the In-Vitro made his way to the observation deck.
Darkness shrouded the room and it seemed as if the stars shining through the huge Plexiglas windows would go on and reach right into the observation deck's room. Cooper walked over to the favourite spot of his CO, right underneath the bridge where the entire length of the Saratoga spread out in front of him.
Watching the stars silently, he quickly found the familiar constellation that he had come to think of as Meg's Star. Leaning against the frame he drew his leg up, resting it against the cold plexi. Staring out, he let his mind wander.
"Meg," he whispered and stared up at the star, looking up with unseeing eyes. Fumbling with his breast pocket of his khaki 'B' service uniform, he pulled out a worn photograph that had been taken only a year ago but it obviously showed the wear and tear of too many combat missions. Ever since he had gotten the yellow slip, he had taken the photo with him and now, in the soft twinkling light of the stars outside, he squinted and looked at the two people in the picture.
It showed him and Chambers, RAF pilot, comrade, friend, godchild to McQueen and the only love of his life. Gone. Shot down and killed on some Chig forsaken planet. From what he knew from the mission report it must have been swift. One lucky shot and Meg had been gone.
Until he had come to the Marines, he had never much thought about Christmas and what it meant to a lot of humans. He had only known that the streets of Philadelphia had been even more deserted during Christmas but last year, amongst his friends he had realized how important a celebration it was. He had so looked forward to share it with Megan, they had even made plans, but all in vain ...
One Christmas she is there ... and the next ... Cooper thought and squeezed his eyes shut. No tears came though, his eyes too dry, too weary. He watched a bright star, the Plexiglas letting it blink in the vast vacuum of space.
"I wish you a Merry Christmas, Meg!" he whispered, gently tracing her face on the worn picture.
The pain had come suddenly but subsided just as quickly as it had come though Cooper flinched never the less. He looked up again, blinking as he tucked the photograph back into his breastpocket. He just wished that once his own time came it would be as swiftly as Megan's.
The whispered sentence spread throughout the camp and in every language possible on the face of human Earth. Christmas, Feliz Navidad, Weihnachten ...
A young RAF pilot heard the whisperings and she squeezed her eyes shut. Christmas, she thought. Christmas tree, presents, plum pudding ... Cooper ... The young woman shuddered at the thought and shifted her legs uncomfortably. Pain, relentless and inevitable, shot up her spine and Chambers gritted her teeth.
The woman slumped back and stared up at the stars that peaked out of the thick layer of clouds that obscured all view on Icelos III.
For more than three months since she had been captured above Icelos in her Tornado, she had willed herself not to think about her former life. She had tried to get rid of the images her mind had conjured up, images about happier days that haunted her miserable days at the camp, taunting her.
But now, right this minute, where the slow whispers of Christmas had died down, she could not keep those memories away. Memories that were both painful and joyous. She thought back to the days when she had been with her old squadron and how they had celebrated Christmas ... then later when half of them had died, she had vowed never to celebrate it again ... until last year where a huge parcel had arrived weeks late.
Megan had to smile despite herself. Her uncle McQueen had sent it ... with books, and letters and photos of the Wild Cards. They had become friends, even though she had been weary of them. She had not only found the peace of her soul but also the love of her life in one big, good-looking In-vitro, who had given comfort without question, without even thinking twice.
It was inevitable, Megan thought. At first, she had her doubts, had them even shared with McQueen, but as time went by and she was back with her squadron on the HMS Wellington she had found out that her feelings for Cooper Hawkes had run deeper than she had noticed. Then the parcel had arrived and a small, insignificant looking envelope had come with it. The letter that had been inside she had cherished, had it even with her this very minute, hidden away from the AI and Chig wards.
"Cooper," she whispered, trying hard to blink back the tears, that threatened to spill.
Almost angrily, Meg wiped her eyes and stared up into the stars again. Her gaze fixed upon a star that twinkled due to the thick ozone layer of the planet.
Closing her eyes, her mind conjured up images of Cooper Hawkes. She had to smile as she remembered their first kiss. Touching her parched lips softly, she could feel the shy touch of his lips to her own.
"Merry Christmas, Cooper ..." she whispered, sending out her wishes and hopes towards that one star.
In some distant part of the universe, a star collapsed, erupting for the last time, giving off one last, brilliant, white flare of light before dying out, leaving behind a small cold ball of spent helium and neutrons. Just like almost 2060 years before, where a similar star had died - sending three men on a little blue and white fleck called Earth in the vast darkness of space onto a journey to greet a new king...
Have yourself a Merry Christmas, folks and may it be joyous and peaceful, wherever you are.
Semper Fi !