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 from_t_battlefield@yahoo.com




Henry Fleming


A large thunder hit, making the ground shake. Dust and shrapnel hit my back. I closed my eyes, hoping that nothing too big would hit me.

"Get some!"

Cooper's voice hit me more than the explosion. It send shivers down my back. I jerked my head up and got up in prone position. Then I fired at the advancing Chigs. "It's getting too hairy! We can't hold them off long!" I yelled to Shane.

Shane looked at me briefly before looking at Hawkes. "Where the hell is air cover?"

I asked myself the same question. Where the hell was air forcer? I reloaded my M590 and fired again. This time I think I got a kill. "We need to fall back! Maybe get them in a cross fire!"

"Make 'em think we have more guns than we do!" Lieutenant Andrea Mello yelled over the noise of enemy fire. She was a relative short Mexican female with sparkling eyes and sharp tongue.

She looked at us. "Nathan, you and Wang try to make it to the hill. Phousse, call the Saratoga. I want to know where the hell air cover is and when we get extraction!"

Damphousse smiled briefly and took the radio. "Okay, Vansen. You want to me quote you on that?"

I grinned and looked at Shane. She was smiling as well. A joke to get the tension away. I met Paul's eyes and we started moving slowly towards the hill. Another explosion. I'll never get use to the whine when it flies through the air. You never know when it hits. And you have to watch the ground as well, because the Chigs have booby trapped the whole damn area. And still command sends out soldiers to fight.

We laid side by side, catching our breath. The air was filled with tension. I was surprised we even made it this far. Paul brought his rifle up to his chest and looked at me. "On the count of three. One…two…"

"Three" I said and took off. Paul was behind me, just a few feet. Then suddenly, I heard a whine. I had an impulse to hit the ground, but in the next moment I was hanging in the air. Then the ground came towards me and then darkness…

I was home. I was standing outside my house, looking in. I saw mom, dad, John, Kylen, Kylen's brother, Kylen's father and the preacher. Mom and Kylen was crying. John looked angry, his eyes an image of my dads. I watched them. Why were they so sad? I walked to the front door and walked inside. "Mom? Dad? John?"

"They can't hear you" a familiar voice said behind me. I turned, meeting the eyes of my brother Neil. He looked at me kindly, still wearing his dirty uniform from Mors.

"Neil" I said and hugged him. God, I had missed my brother. He hugged me back, almost crying. I held him on an arms length, looking into his eyes. "What's going on?"

He looked a bit confused. "You don't know? Man…Nathan. Your life is hanging in a string"

I eyed him before running into the living room. "Mom! Dad!" I yelled. I saw my parents, praying. John wasn't crying, he just had this…expression in his eyes that scared me. Kylen was standing by the fire place, looking at the family photo. Looking at a ten year old picture of me. I walked over to her. God, she was pretty. Her skin looked so soft and her lips were red like cherries. "Kylen. Kylen, I'm here"

Neil came up behind me. "She can't hear you either" he said.

I turned and looked at him desperately. "I can't be dead. I won't accept it. I have a lot to live for"

Neil looked away. "Yeah? So did I. I was 19 years old. But I died. And nothing is gonna change that"

I clenched my fists. Shit, he was right. But that didn't make me feel better. "I wrote home to tell about your death…"

"I know" he looked almost angry as he looked over at John. "Your CO wrote to mom and dad"

I walked away from Kylen and towards my dad's desk. There was a letter there. Handwritten. I tried to take it up, but my hands wouldn't hold it. I sat down, looking at the letter.

"Dear Mr. and Mrs. West.

I regret to inform you that your son, Nathan, was killed in action on February the 5th, 2065. Your son was a good Marine, a good man and will be missed greatly. I had command over him for the last two years and his faith in you, the 58th and Kylen was the spirit of the squadron.

As said, Nathan will be missed. Please accept my deepest condolences.

Colonel TC McQueen"

I looked up, in shock. McQueen wrote that? There was also another letter beside it. I looked at it intensely.

"Dear Mr. and Mrs. West.

Lieutenant Nathan West (KIA) will be post-mortem awarded the Medal of Honor for performing his duties doing above and beyond the call of duty. My deepest condolences for your loss. This world owes a lot to your son.

Secretary General Diane Hayden"

Hayden. It didn't surprise me. To keep my family's mouth shut about this, they awarded me a post-mortem Medal of Honor. They had most likely accepted it.

"I can't believe he is gone" John said calmly. He was taking this good.

Kylen looked at him, tears running down her cheek. "God…he shouldn't have died. Not now. He…he was going home soon"

I remembered. The Saratoga was due to come back Earthside in just two weeks. I was gonna spend my 10 days of leave with Mom, Dad, John and Kylen. Maybe go to Vegas.

"The 58th are going to be at the funeral" Mom said, wiping her tears away. "He will be buried here, at the Military Cemetery"

Somehow, it felt kinda okay. I was going to be buried at home, with my friends at witnesses. What? I am not dead. I am still breathing. I am feeling okay. Strong. No problem. What the hell is this crap about? Funeral? I AM NOT DEAD!

Neil put a hand on my shoulder. "Do I have to prove it? Come" he walked outside. I followed him. Suddenly we were at Loxley. I was standing by the Hammerheads, just looking over the air strip.

"Hey, Nate. What's up?"

I turned and felt dizzy. Pags…Mike. He was standing in front of me, in his Dress Blues. "Pags. How…?"

"I never got to get into a plane" he said, sounding a bit depressed. "How is Hawkes doing?"

I just looked at him. Michael Pagodini. The first one in the 58th to die. He had been friends with Cooper -or at least being the first to tackle the strong minded In Vitro. "You…you look…not dead" I said after a while.

Pags burst out in laughter. "Yeah. I know. Kinda cool, heh? I am getting annoyed by no one seeing me, but who cares?"

I didn't say anything. A little away I saw Carter. He had flown into an asteroid at the belt. Neil appeared again. "You are dead, Nathan. Face it"

I looked at him and shook my head. "No. I am not dead. I can't be. This is a dream"

Pags and Neil looked at each other. Suddenly we were sitting at a football game. Bears vs. the 49ers. I was sitting beside someone…I turned my head and met the happy eyes of Kelly. "Nathan!" she smiled and laughed.

I looked at her. Winslow. Kelly Anne Winslow, the woman who had brought more dirty thoughts into the 58th than a whole football team of teenagers. I even remembered she, Vanessa and Shane talking about the sex drive of In Vitros. I hate having a good hearing…

"This game is going great. The 49ers are winning!" she yelled over the din. I stared at the field. Joey DeHaven had scored another touch down for the '9ers.

I looked around. Was all this dead Marines? I shook my head. It hurt, damn much. Neil was looking at me, I stood up and followed him. "Where are you taking me?" I asked.

Suddenly, I was standing face to face with Swirco. I remembered him. He had tried to assassinate Chaput. I had stopped him. He was actually smiling to me. "West. Nice to see you join us" he said before laughing in my face.

I smiled and took a swing at him. I hit empty air. Looking at Neil again I asked; "Why are you doing this to me?"

Neil shrugged. "I am proving a point. You are dead, Nathan. Accept it. Let go"

I looked at him. He had more in common with Mom than I did. He was her height and had her eyes. I have dad's. Another thing I have is my stubbornness. "I ain't dead" I said. My voice was different. Lighter, smaller almost. I saw standing by a hospital bed. I remembered this. I was ten years old when my grandfather passed away. He had Cancer. We can cure it now, but it was just took far too help my grandfather.

He was only a shell of the person he had been. I am told that I look a lot like him. He was now looking at me. I heard myself ask. "Does it hurt?"

He looked at me with kind gray eyes. "No, Nathan. It doesn't hurt"

"Do you have to die?"

He smiled sad. "I am afraid so, Nathan. My time has come. I have seen a lot. I was St. Diana getting buried. I saw the first Secretary General being taken in oath. I saw the first manned landing on Mars" he took my hand. "Acceptance is the first step. The second is to let go"

I was suddenly back home, in my room. It looked the same as when I had left it. The posters of the universe on the walls, the TV, the stereo and the pictures of Kylen. I laid down on my bed and felt the softness of the sheet. I had many good memories from this room. Like the first time I make love to Kylen. Suddenly I felt kisses on the back of my neck. I turned my head to see Kylen there. She was smiling. I remembered this…

"I love you" she whispered and kissed me. I smiled back to her and took her face between my palms.

"I love you too, sunshine" I replied and kissed her back, passionate. Suddenly I was alone. Bitterness filled me. So close and yet so far away.

Neil was standing in front of me now. "Come on. We can't be late"

"Late for what?" I asked, standing.

"Your funeral"

I was standing at the cemetery. Three other West's were buried here. Lt. Jackson West was a Marine pilot during WWII. He was shot down. Sergeant Peter West served in Vietnam and was killed in Action by Da Nang. Charles West, my uncle, was killed in the AI Rebellion. Now, I was standing beside Shane. She was weeping openly. I had never seen her like this. A broken woman…Coop looked confused. Very confused as he watched. Paul was holding back his tears. Vanessa looked at the tombstone as if she was dreaming. Even McQueen was on the wedge of tears. I shook my head. I was surprised to see Sergeant Bougus there. I can still remembering his cadences.

Bury my body six foot down, 'till you hear it hit the ground. When it hits the bottom you will hear me say: I wanna be a Drill Instructor.

Shane and Cooper took and folded the flag. McQueen took it and gave it to mom. She looked at him as if she was going to slap him. After a tense moment she accepted the flag. Looking up in the sky I saw a small squadron of Hammerheads flying over. Rookies, most likely. The real jocks were out.

I heard McQueen's voice. "Detail. Ten-HUT!"

The small row of Marines straightened. I did so as well, out of habit.

"Ready. Aim. Fire"

Four Marines fired. Once. Twice. Four times. McQueen looked at them, his eyes distanced. They saluted the grave as they played the last post. I was looking at my own funeral and yet it seemed so…not real. As I watched McQueen dismiss the others, Neil appeared again. He didn't say anything. I saw Shane walk to the grave. "Nathan…I wish we had more time. And I wish you were here now. I am gonna miss you, you big stupid farm boy" she cried and walked slowly away.

Cooper walked forward, his hands in his pockets. "I…I never had a family. But if I had, you would have been my brother" he get that lost puppy dog look and followed Shane.

Paul approached the grave. My grave. "Nate. You showed me a few things about myself. You believed in me when even I had doubts. Thanks, For everything"

Phousse walked beside him and smiled. "Au revoir, Nathan. May God be with you"

After the others had left, I saw McQueen slowly approach. "West. I…" he looked around and knelt down. "I know I was hard on you. But you were a good Marine. You had potential. You just had a damn big heart and a stubborn mind. I hope you…damn" he stood up and walked away.

I closed my eyes, feeling tears down my cheeks. I took a shallow breath, feeling my legs give up on me. I sunk down beside the grave, crying.

Neil looked at me. "You are dead. Accept it. Let go"

I looked at him before standing up. "Let go? Why? Why do you say that?" Suddenly I realized it. All this…all this talk about accepting things…it hit me. "I ain't dead. I am still alive. You are asking me to give up?" he looked at him before backing away. "You aren't Neil"

Neil held out his hand to me and suddenly he changed. He changed into a shadow. I stared at it. "I am not dead. I am not giving up. Dying ain't much of a living for the young"

I was choking. I couldn't breathe. My chest felt as if I had stone on it. I tried to scream, but not a word would come out. And darkness overcome me again…

"Fight, boy. Fight!" I heard a voice yell.

"I can't feel a pulse!"

"Damnit! Try again! More adrenaline!"

"I've got a pulse!"

"Respiration is getting back to normal. Pulse 50 over 85"

I opened my eyes slowly, looking up at the blurred forms of three people. I tried to speak, but found it impossible. My chest was hurting.

"Okay. Get him to the OR. Now!"

"Hey. He is waking up"

I opened my eyes again. This time my vision was surprisingly clear. Shane, Coop, Paul and Vanessa was looking at me with big smiles. "You scared the shit outta us" Shane said.

"Well…" I said, my voice nothing more than a reedy rasp. Phousse gave me some water through a straw. "You know me"

"I was scared" Coop whispered. "I was afraid we had lost you"

You almost did, I thought. "How many weeks have I been out?"

"Weeks?" Shane asked, laughing. "Days. Two days. Nothing more. Doctors says you'll be up and walking in two weeks"

"And two days after that we are having 10 days of R&R on Earth" Paul added happily. "For you to spend with Kylen."

"Not that you'll be able to do much…" Phousse said with a smile.

"You will be total dependant on her to bring you food, drinks…" Shane added and grinned. "Not to mention the fact that your back will hurt"

"Most likely you can't got out of bed in those days"

The girls giggled. Paul looked at me. "Man, I wish I was in your shoes" he said.

I tried to laugh, but it hurt too much. "Guys…I think I was dead for a while. And in hell"

"How's that?" Paul asked.

I looked at him. I didn't say anything about being able to see how much my friends and family suffered. "Cause the 49ers won Super Bowl"

Paul looked at me shocked. "My God. You went to hell!"

I chuckled. But he was right. Death almost took me. And to make me give up it tried most tricks. But there were small things that made me hold on. One of them was my friends in the 58th. I love them. I would never let them go. Not for anything…

The End

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