Disclaimer: All characters of his story belong to Glen Morgan and James Wong the creators of Space: Above and Beyond. No offense is intended to anyone in the writing of this story.
This is my first attempt at fan fiction, so be kind!! If you wanna share your feelings of it please (please!) email me on: firstname.lastname@example.org
PG17-rating for language and mild love scenes
Gunfire claimed the silence as both friendly and enemy fire was fired across the large plain. The 58th were positioned in a small trench on the planet Rio Negro, their position had been dominated by the AI's who had ambushed from the North. Their ammo and visibility was low, the five marines were trying their best to hold back the Silicates until reinforcements came, if reinforcements came.
The day's sun had been covered by the large cloud of dust which had been created by the bullets richocheting of the dusty floor adding to the flying dirt created by grenades coming from both sides of the battle pitch.
"I'm almost out of ammo." Nathan shouted as he sunk back into the trench just in time to be missed by a sniper bullet that would have taken his life. "Jesus." He cursed.
"Nathan stay down!" Shane ordered. "Enemy are superior."
"We can't just wait for them to come 'n' kill us!!" Cooper protested as he turned to the young Captain, Shane shook her head. "There's no way we can hold our own here, we either wait for reinforcements or move out and risk being caught."
"Move out." Vanessa prompted nodding her head, she dark woman cocked her gun and sighed as the empty bullet cases fell around her feet. "I'm out."
"Who's got what?" Paul asked looking amongst his friends.
"I've got three rounds." Shane said as she handed one to Vanessa.
"One round." Cooper shook his head.
"I got two." Paul added with little hope.
"Let's go, Shane." Cooper nodded.
"Okay, we all make a run for those rocks on three, ALL of us make it, if one goes down another helps. Nobody is allowed to die today." Shane told them.
"Yes sir." Nathan smiled.
An enemy bomb exploded near them sending blocks of dirt hurtling towards them and ploughing down into their small trench. Instinctively, each one covered themselves, feeling the force of the explosion ripple through the earth and then the weight of the dirt piling down on them. There were coughs and groans.
"Everyone okay?" Shane asked.
"Think so." Moaned Cooper
"Okay, let's move, one at a time, I'll go first and secure the position, Cooper, you cover me, when I get there we'll have the advantage of cover from two areas, I'll try to get a signal to the Saratoga to get us reinforcements or the hell outta here. But it's up to you guys to drag your ass after me, clear?" Shane demanded.
"Clear." They replied in unison.
"I'm moving out, good luck, see you on the other side." She crawled over towards where she would be heading, a small rocky mountain that would give them much better protection.
Her breath ripped at her lungs and her legs begged her to stop, she jumped a small rock and in the last five metres jumped towards the rocks as a grenade exploded behind her. She landed with a forwards roll, her M-590 flying from her hands and clattering against a rock nearby. Static buzzed in her ear as Nathan came into her radio. she just lay there, trying to breath.
"Shane? Shane are you there? Shane answer me?" Nathan's voice was slightly broken up by the bad reception and Shane raised her head slightly.
"Affirmative Nathan, I made it." She smiled sitting up, still panting.
"She made it." Nathan ket out the breath he had been holding druing Shane's run, there were sighs of relief amongst the remaining four, all had seen the grenade explode behind her, none had seen any sign of her making it.
"Thank God." Vanessa whispered. Cooper returned from firing.
"I got four bullets left." He stated to his comrades.
"Shane'll cover us from her position which'll make it easier." Nathan explained. "Vanessa you go next." The woman nodded and readied herself.
"Shane, we're sending 'Phousse." Nathan announced into his mic.
"I'm ready." Shane replied through his ear piece and Nathan nodded to Vanessa who began running. This time Paul covered her alongside Cooper.
Shane watched as her friend struggled along the open plain, her own gun pounding at her shoulder as she released a spree of bullets ontop the advancing enemy, her shots were aimed at the flashes of bullets that came from the dirt mountains about two hundred metres from her position.
Before she knew it, Vanessa had stumbled beside her panting like mad. Shane smiled at her.
"'Phousse is through." Shane told Nathan.
"Alright, Cooper, you take Paul, I don't think he should go on his own with that leg injury." Nathan explained, Cooper nodded. Paul had been on the receiving end of a grenade and a small piece of shrapnel was lodged into the back of his shin, the African-American nodded and turned to Cooper.
"Okay, I'll carry him, dragging him alongside me would only get us killed." Cooper explained.
"Right." Paul agreed.
Cooper tucked the smaller man over his shoulders and began to run before permission was given. Cooper was very fit, the extra weight wouldn't slow him much and so Nathan began covering him along with Vanessa. Shane was trying to radio the Saratoga.
"Saratoga this is Wildcards, come in Saratoga."
"Wildcards this is Queen Six, what's your position?" It was McQueen and Shane closed her eyes and thanked God.
"Queen Six this is Queen Of Diamonds, situation is hostile, enemy is superior, ammo is limited we need to get the hell out of here." She explained desperately.
"Hold tight QOD, what's your position?" He asked.
"Zero-niner-zero, three miles West of deployment position." She told him.
"Roger that, I'll get someone down there in ten mikes, don't do anything stupid, someone goes down you wait for the ISSCV, don't go out after them."
"That's an order, you have valuable information inside your head Vansen, don't go ruining that. Out." And the static waves took over.
Shane sighed, he was right, she had been the one to collect the data they had come down onto this planet to collect.
The mission had been to spy on the AI Control and Data Facility and collect information regarding Operation: Getdown, Shane had been the one to collect the data as ordered, and she wasn't to tell anyone else in the Squadron due to security reasons. Shane turned as Cooper almost tripped over Vanessa with Paul on his shoulders, she quickly stepped in to evade the commotion from occuring and caught Paul from Cooper who was heavily panting.
"Good job Coop." She nodded. "Any...time." He panted as he fell backwards against the rocks and slid onto his backside.
"Nathan." Shane radioed him.
"I'm coming, it's getting too hairy." He cried between communication breaks.
"Roger that." She told him. She looked up and watched his form appear 100 hundred metres away amidst the gunfire. His M-590 was bouncing on his hip, his arms moving in conjunction with his legs, and then, the inevitbale happened. There was a loud hiss and Shane knew what was coming, she stood up and tried to get his attention.
"NATHAN DIVE FOR COVER!" She cried before Vanessa had the chance to pull her down.
"What the hell is..."
A grenade exploded behind Nathan, dust flew up into the air along with Nathan's helpless body.
"NO!" Shane cried as her heart missed a beat.
"Shit." Paul cursed as dust droppped onto the limp body of his comrade. N
athan had felt himself lift up as soon as he had heard Shane's warning, then the noice of the explosion had hit him, almost defeaned him, and he felt like he was flying. The force of the explosion had lifted him faster than he thought possible, and higher. And he felt everything slip away as he landed, pain shooting through his body.
"What do we do?" Cooper asked as he began to panic.
"Cover me Coop." Shane told him, Nathan was about fifty metres away and gunfire was still pouring down around his position.
"Are you crazy?!" Vanessa cried.
"Nope." Shane turned to the In Vitro. "Try and pull the gunfire away from Nathan while I go out. Vanessa, try and radio the Saratoga for an MAPC and that's an order."
"Shane, you can't go out there, they'll..."
"It's Nathan's only chance, we can't wait for back up because there is none." Shane shrugged off the weight of her small backpack .
"Shane, let me go, you've got the information, if anything happens..."
"Nothing's going to happen."
"Ready Coop?" The marine nodded. "Let's rock and roll."
The Captain jumped out from the rock and was all of a sudden the target of AI fire, she began her desperate sprint to her friend and could hear Cooper's fire beginning. Shane was close, she could just make out Nathan's face, he lay supine to the sky, his eyes were open, she couldn't decifer whether that was good or bad.
Paul began his hurried attempt to radio the Saratoga without success, all he could hear was static crackling, then McQueen's voice came in.
"Wildcards to Queen Six come in." Paul said.
"Queen Six to Wildcards, what's wrong?"
"Nathan's gone down, we're gonna need medical attention on the ISSCV."
"Where's Vansen?" McQueen asked biting down the anger he knew would erput if the answer he predicted was the answer he got.
"She went out after him sir, it..."
"Damn it!" Cursed McQueen.
"She had no choice." Paul finalised.
"She's holding extremely valuable information, she had a damn choice. I'll radio the ISSCV, tell them about your situation. Out."
Paul shook his head as he dropped the reciever, Shane was in trouble. Shane skidded down beside Nathan as a bullet pierced her suit and span her left into a hep onto the floor.
"I think Shane's been hit." Cooper cried turning to Vanessa who cocked her gun and began to fire alongside Cooper.
"Shane would never let those bastards hit her." Vanessa reassured him.
She scrambled over to Nathan, her body in between him and the enemy fire. The bullet that had caught her had only skimed her flightsuit and lightly scratched her skin.
"Nathan." She spoke as she looked down onto his face, there was no sign of life and Shane sent out a thousand prayers to anybody listening. Another explosion near them brought up more carnage into the air and Shane quickly covered Nathan's body with her own, placing her hands over his face as the dirt and shrapnel battered her back. She lifted her head, there was no time to help Nathan here. Moving off him she could see the contussion in his thigh that was jarred open by a large piece of metal shrapnel. he had sustained another contussion across his hairline where blood freely flowed from and was probably the result of his unconsciousness. Shane made no hesistation in lifting him into a fireman's lift despite his wounds. She began her death-defying journey back to the others with bullets biting at her ankles.
"She's got him." Vanessa cried.
"I'm out." Cooper withdrew himself from the battle and looked at Paul.
"Any luck with the radio?" He asked.
"None." Paul replied.
Shane stumbled the last few metres, almost falling as she caught her foot on a small rock.
Her balance was maintained by the fact that if she did fall it would probably end her friend's life. Slowly, she placed Nathan onto his back, safely covered from the AI's firing range, all attention was placed on him.
"Is he breathing?" Cooper asked.
"I...I dunno." Shane checked for a pulse. "There's a weak pulse." Shane sighed.
Nathan began to cough, the pain in his head forcing him to keep his eyes closed.
"Nathan?" It was Shane's voice and slowly, he managed to open his eyes to the young Captain looking over him, he smiled briefly.
"You okay?" She asked.
"Bin better." He replied croakily.
"Don't you ever pull that again." She smiled. "Your leg and head are bleeding, an ISSCV should be here any minute."
Nathan merely nodded as more faces looked down at him.
"Hang in there buddy."
"Shane." Vanessa pulled her away from Nathan. "They're gonna have your ass for going out after him, you know that don't you?"
"Whatever, all I care about right now is Nathan okay?" Shane shrugged off her friend and returned to Nathan's side.
"AI's are advancing." Paul commented. "If the ISSCV doesn't get here soon, we're gonna be fried."
A loud rumble over took the tense atmosphere and an ISSCV came into view.
"It's here!" Cooper cried as it landed beside the rocks in a small clearing of dirt.
"I'll get Nathan." Cooper offered, Shane nodded and began to run towards the opening doors of the CV. The AI fire began again, this time more furious, they were beginning to come into sight as a last resort of keeping their information about Operation: Getdown a secret. Shane turned to check on her squadron, they were all safely following her and jumped into the CV with her, Vanessa helping Paul.
"Let's get outta here." Paul cried to the driver and in seconds, they had taken off.
Nathan was placed on a gurney and attended to.
"The rest of the 58th sat watching the medics attend to his leg while Shane went into the front part of the CV.
The Captain brought a small box out of her pocket and tapped a six number digit into it.
McQueen wandered around the bridge, his thoughts on what to do about Captain Vansen, the Commodore had heard the radio transmission, there was no way she could get off lightly.
"Sir, the transmission's coming through." A young man told him.
"Thank you Lt." he nodded and brought a small box form his pocket, similar to the one Shane owned. He watched as a five digit number appeared on the screen and smiled to himself, they knew the AI's next move.
"Thank God that's over." Cooper spoke, breaking the silence.
"Oh don't worry Coop, they'll be hundreds more like that." Paul smiled.
"I'll worry about them when they come, right now all I need is a shower." The In Vitro answered.
Vanessa watched Shane, she knew the Captain was in trouble and yet she displayed no panic, that was why she had been placed Captain.
"58th this is Queen Six, prepare to dock in Saratoga." His voice echoed through the CV from the speakers.
"Is he going to be okay?" Shane asked the doctor.
"He'll be fine, he may need an operation to get the shrapnel out, the bang on his head is just a scratch. Is your arm hurt?" He asked observing the blood on the sleeve of her flight suit.
"It's fine, I'll get it seen to later." She told him leaning her head against the firm wall behind her.
There was a sudden jerk as the CV landed in the docking bay and the doors opened as more doctors stood waiting for the arrival of Nathan. They all seemed to swarm around him as he was lifted down form the CV. The others followed but were stopped by McQueen.
"Captain Vansen, the Commodore would like to speak to you in briefing room 6, immediately." his voice was angry but he showed slight concern for his comrade. Shane merely nodded and walked away.
"Is she in trouble?" Cooper asked.
"She disobeyed a direct order."
"She saved Nathan's life!"
"Anyone of you could've done that, we all know how important that information Shane has is. She risked that information."
"For a friend." Vanessa added.
"And maybe at the expense of winning this war." McQueen added. "Go get showered up and be in the briefing room in ten mikes."
"Can't we see West first?" Paul asked.
"Later, he's going into surgey right now so he's unavailable." McQueen told them, then walked away.
Shane stood before the door of the Commodore, she let out a small, unsteady breath as her hand knocked.
The Captain stepped in, in the small room was the Commodore and two greying men with black suits on, all three were sat down, waiting for her. The room had an oblonge table placed in the middle, it was the same room she had been in when she wa telling the governors about the Chiggy von Righthofen.
"Sir, you asked for me." Shane told him standing at attention.
"At ease Captain, we have to wait for the presence of Colonel McQueen." The Commodore told her.
McQueen slipped in unannouced and nodded his approval to Ross, the Commodore began.
"Captain Vansen, is it true that you disobeyed a direct order from Colonel McQueen?"
"Why's that?" Ross asked.
"Sir, one of my team was down, if I didn't go out he would have died." Shane explained.
"Surely you could have sent out another of your team to retrieve him." One of the dark men spoke, Shane looked at his tag, Henry.
"There was no time to sort out a defense position sirs, Lt.Hawkes was providing cover, Lt.Wang was injured."
Henry shuffled in his chair as he flipped through some papers in his hand. "And Lt.Damphousse?" He asked. Shane gulped, she kenw this would come.
"There was no time." Shane replied.
"I think there was time Captain." McQueen interupted. "But I don't think you trust your squadron with another's life."
Shane span around towards him. "Trust? I'd give my life for anyone of them if needed. I trust my squadron with my life and with the lives back home." She spat out angrily, McQueen held her stare then broke off to look at Ross for the next question.
"Captain, despite the fact that you placed your own life in jeopardy for another, defying direct orders. You also conatined important information that none of the other squadron knew of. If you had died are next counter attack would have been ruined, the war could've been lost."
"But sir I didn't get killed." Shane stated blatantly.
"That's not the point Captain." Henry told her. "The point is, you jeopardised the future of this war."
"Sir, if we are letting people die just because of a counter attack plan then we do not deserve to win this war." Her voice was audacious, not a hint of fear in saying what she thought.
"Captain, your actions today could've killed many more marines."
"We completed the mission, if you're gonna court martial me then fine. But I will not stand and watch anyone die when I can do something about it." During the speech she had walked up towards the desk and prodded her finger onto the table to emphasize her point.
"Court martial has not been considered by any of us for such a good marine like you vital to this war. Demoting you from Captain is what may be neccesary." Ross admitted reluctantly.
"What!" Shane cried. "You're thinking of taking away my squadron because I did what any other marine would do for their friends. Are you telling me you wouldn't have done the same?"
"Captain, as we have said many times, that is not the point of this dicipline." Henry commented.
"So what happens now?" Shane asked. "Let me guess, you're gonna execute me right?"
"Captain." McQueen warned her in a very deep tone.
The words 'screw you all ' passed through Shane's mind a couple of times but she remained to just about control her anger.
"Our decision will be reached in two days after consulting the General. Until then you will not participate in any missions with the 58th." Ross told her, he could see the hurt in McQueen's eyes as one of his 'kids' was struck down.
"If the 58th go on a mission, with Nathan out they are down to three people to..."
"Replacements have been arranged." McQueen interrupted.
"Captain Vansen, you are dismissed from duty as from now until a verdict is reached." Henry told her.
"Yes sir." Shane said in an almost whisper.
"Dismissed." Ross nodded.
Shane almost slammed the door behind her but it was stopped by McQueen's hand as he followed her.
"Vansen." He addressed her, she spun around as he grabbed her arm. "There was nothing I could do, it was out of my hands." he explained.
"Maybe, but you could've supported me instead of go against me in there." She replied angrily.
"Vansen, we both know what you did was wrong. Now I don't know why you didn't let Vanessa go, maybe there's something going on with you and West but..."
"What?!" Shane stopped him midsentence. "You think that because I try to save someone I'm having a fling with them?"
"That's not what I said." McQueen protested.
"Well that's sure what it sounded like."
"I did everything I could to get you from Court Martial Vansen."
"What do you think's better McQueen? Fighting the war with strangers, desperately trying not to think about a squadron and their safety who's lives mean everything to you. Or not fighting the war at all?" She argued.
Given a light year, McQueen probably couldn't have argued against that, he released the woman. "I'll do everything I can to try and keep you with the 58th, but that might not be enough. Just because you're pally with some marines, it doesn't matter to the government, all marines are the same, if they do wrong, they're disiplined the same."
"Well thank you for the wonderful insight, but you'll have to excuse me, I'm gonna go and pack my bags now." She cried sarcastically.
"Vansen." McQueen called after her as she walked away.
"Leave me alone."
Nathan woke to see the familiar faces of the 58th, he smiled inertly.
"Hey Nathan, how ya doin'?" asked Cooper.
Nathan was sat up in his bed, a tube flowing uncomfortably into his nose, he could feel the bandage securely around his thigh and another wrapped around his forehead.. "I've felt a hell of a lot better." He smiled.
"Doc says you'll be out in no time." Paul told him, Nathan looked around, there were only three people standing around him.
"Where's Shane?" He asked, the others looked among themselves for the person who would reveal the answer.
Vanessa turned to her friend. "She's been taken to the Commodore's office."
"What?! Why?" Nathan argued angrily.
"When she went out to get you, she disobeyed direct orders from McQueen, s'pose she's paying for it." Vanessa sighed. The door swung open into the hospital room, McQueen entered, he slowly moved across the room towards the 58th not sure of how they would feel about him. He recieved no smiles, just questions.
"What's happened to Shane?" Cooper asked immediately as everyone waited in suspense.
"She's been suspended from duty until the governers have reached a verdict on her situation." McQueen explained.
"What?!" Vanessa protested. "She was just..."
"Captain Vansen was carrying valuable information for the war, we all know that. She jeopardised that and disobeyed direct orders." McQueen shot back stubbornly.
"You agreed to her suspension?" Paul asked.
"I had no choice. It wasn't my decision." McQueen replied.
"Where is she now?" Vanessa asked.
"I don't know, last time I saw her she was headed for the turn tavern."
"I'm gonna go find her." Vanesas told the others, she squeezed Nathan's hand. "I'll be back later." And she left.
"Sir, you could've stopped it." Nathan accused.
"Vansen broke the rules West, it was an important mission." McQueen tried his best to explain but the words wouldn't come out, he had never been the articulate type.
"What did the doctor say?" McQueen asked.
"I'm healing well, the shrapnel'll leave a small scar, my head just needs time to focus." Nathan explained.
Vanessa walked into the suprisingly peaceful atmosphere of the turn tavern, there was hardly anybody there. The woman looked around for her friend and saw her hunched over the table in the corner, drinking alone, her head in her hand. She made her way over, not knowing what kind of reception to accept. Shane hadn't wanted to accept the role of Captain when she had first been given it about a year ago, bnut hse had adapted well and become one of the best squadron leaders there was.
"Shane?" Vanessa asked as she sat opposite the woman. Shane looked up to her friend through the strands of hair that flowed over her face, she wiped them away and smiled, her eyes flicking back onto the half empty glass of wine on the table in front of her. She had changed out of her flight suit and into her grey vest and combats, she bullet burn on her arm could be clearly seen.
"I heard what's happened." She whispered. "I'm sorry."
"Not your fault." Shane replied as she picked her drink up and took a small sip, on placing it back onto the table she looked at her friend.
"How's Nathan?" She asked.
"He's fine, he'll be out soon. Why don't you come and see him?"
"I don't feel like socialising." Shane replied stubbornly.
"Well other than the fact that's he asked for you, I think you should get that cut treated." Vanessa suggested.
Shane looked at her arm, she had completely forgotten about the wound. "S'pose."
"When are you getting the 'verdict'?" Vanessa asked.
"They'll call me in."
"Did they understand why you went out?" Vanessa asked.
"They understood that you could've gone instead of me."
"And I should have."
"No Vanessa, it was my call, I made the decision to go, it has nothing to do with you." She assured her friend.
"What're you gonna do if they reassign you?" Vanessa asked nervously.
"I hadn't considered quitting the Corps up until now." Shane sighed.
"Shane, you can't go just because of this, chances are you'll be okay." Vanessa told her.
"And what if I'm not?" Shane asked in a sigh.
"Cynic." Vanessa smiled bringing a smile to her friend's face.
McQueen sat by Nathan as the others left under doctors orders.
"West, why do you think Vansen came out after and not another?" McQueen asked.
"She's a marine, it's her job." Nathan replied.
"She knew it was wrong."
"You know she'd do it anyway." Nathan told him, he nodded regretfully.
"She could have sent 'Phousse out." McQueen told him.
"Then I don't know." Nathan replied. "Sir, do you think she'll be reassigned?" He asked.
"I have no idea." The older man replied truthfully. Nathan pushed his head back into his pillow and sighed.
McQueen left the young Lt. to his thoughts, he had concluded that, even if neither of them admitted, there was some mutual feeling of more than friendship between Nathan and Shane.
Shane had left Vanessa in the turn tavern after her friend had persuaded her to go and see Nathan, she turned nervously into the Saratoga hospital where they had fussed over the small flesh wound on her arm and eventually bandaged it up and then she had inquired about Nathan's whereabouts. Peering into the room through a large window, she watched Nathan as he read a book. She hadn't known what she had felt when she had seen him go down on that battle field, she did what any marine shouldn't do - let her personal emotions get the better of her.
Pushing the door open, she walked in to catch the attention of Nathan who smiled at her presence. "I thought you might be avoiding me or something." Nathan told her.
"I had to see the Commodore about...something." She had realised Nathan might not have been told.
"You can't hide it Shane, McQueen told me what you did, or shouldn't have done." He said.
"I don't care if that information was for some kind of counter attack against the AI's. That can't compare to a human life, to your life." Shane told him, not realising she had added the last few rods until she had said them.
"What happened to your arm?" He asked.
"Bullet caught me." Shane told him, poking the bandage uncomfortably.
"See? Any more to the left and it could've killed you." Nathan explained.
"You're beginning to sound like McQueen." Shane sighed.
"Anyway, how're you feeling?" She asked trying to evade the subject.
"I'm fine, my leg's healing well. My head's still pounding slightly but doctor's say it should be gone soon. You?"
"I'm fine." Shane told him.
"Really. Look, you should get some rest if you wanna be up and flying soon okay? And I don't wanna get in they way of that." Shane told him.
"Rest." Shane ordered. "I'll see you later, seems I have a lot of time on my hands." Shane smiled then, without a goodbye, turned and left.
Nathan shook his head, he had wanted to talk to her more about why she had come out after him and not Vanessa. He had wanted to ask her about what was going to happen and whether she'd still be his Captain by the time his leg healed.
The siren above the 58th quarter's doors beeped, and slowly, the heads of tired marines appeared from out of their blankets. McQueen opened the door.
"Listen up, we have an important mission coming up, suit up and be in the briefing room in ten mikes." McQueen told them, he looked over to Shane's bed, it was empty. He left.
The others woke and did as their CO told them to, ten minutes later they were in the briefing room meeting the replacements of Nathan and Shane. Their mission was to fly into supposedly hot enemy territory and drive away or get rid of any alien existence there so the Saratoga could fly through for the second phase of Operation: Get down.
Shane wandered back into the 58th quarters pretty sure that everyone had gone. She was wearing once again her grey vest and green combat trousers and sat down onto her bed, she felt like crying, butshe was too tired to do anything but sleep, and worry about the rest of her squadron under someone's elses command. And eventually, the previous days events took their toll on her and she fell asleep.
When Nathan woke it was about midday. He hated being in this bed and patience wasn't one of his virtues, his leg was feeling much better and so he decided to stretch it. he gently peeled the blanket from his body, all he wore was his hospital gown, another thing he hated. Letting the cool air flow into his sweaty legs, he swung them over the side of the bed. Hie injury gave him no pain, the doctors had said it would heal fast due to it's position where the skin doesn't stretch much. Taking it slowly, he stood up, putting his full weight on his leg for the first time since the accident, it felt slightly weak but he could change that by walking around on it.
"Lt.West, you know you're not supposed to be walking yet." The nurse entered.
"My leg's fine, it doesn't hurt."
"I had strict orders from Colonel McQueen before he left that you stay in bed." The nurse told him.
"Where's he gone?" Nathan asked.
"On some mission with the 58th."
"How long's he gone for?" Nathan asked.
"He'll be back tomorrow morning. He said about 0900 hours."
"Then he'll never know." Nathan replied walking past the nurse. "If you don't tell him."
"If you're sure it's strong enough." The nurse persisted.
"I could jump hurdles if you gave me some." Nathan told her.
"I'll believe you, but if anything happens, it's not just your neck Colonel McQueen'll be wringing!" The nurse smiled.
"Nothing'll happen, I promise." He assured her.
"Where are you going to go?"
"To my quarters to change into some proper clothes." Nathan smiled.
"Are you sure you wouldn't rather I wheeled you over?" She asked.
"I'll be fine, besides, my leg needs some exercise."
Nathan left the hospital in his hospital gown, luckily he didn't pass anyone in the corridors to his quarters.
He quickly opened the door and shut it behind him. It felt so good to see a room he was familiar with. The sound of light breathing caught his attention and his eyes desperately searched the room until they feel on the sleeping form tucked up neatly on Shane's bed, Nathan shook his head, walking closer he admired her beauty, her soft brown hair was tucked neatly behind her slightly paled face he wished he could just...
'Stop it Nathan! Where the hell did that come from?' His eyes shot around the room as a turned a light crimson colour, Shane was a friend, nothing more. Nathan was about to wake her up, but she jolted her head up and drew out her K-bar into the intruder's neck.
"Shane go easy it's me." Nathan cried, Shane blinked and wiped her eyes.
"Oh, sorry Nathan, thought you were some kind of..."
"Serial killer?" Nathan finished raising his eyebrows.
"Look, I'm tired okay." Shane sighed. "Anyway, what're you doing out of the hospital so soon?" She asked.
"I needed a walk, and a change of clothes." Shane looked down at what he was wearing and began to laugh.
"Hey shut up Shane."
Shane looked at him, the bandage on his head was still on.
"Your head still hurting?" She asked.
"A little bit, not much." He touched the bandage slightly and grimaced. "I'm just gonna grab some clothes, you wanna come down to the turn tavern?"
"Sure, got nothing better to do right now." She smiled as she stretched wearily then sat back down onto her bed, the room was warm and lit brilliantly by the dazzling lights that flooded the ceiling.
Nathan appeared about five minutes later with green combats and white vest on, his dogtags still dangling around his neck.
"Come on then." He smiled.
"Are you sure you're okay to do this?" She asked.
"Not you as well!" He moaned softly.
"Okay, sorry, but if you bust it again, it'll take even longer to heal."
Shane hit him gently on the shoulder and they began their journey towards the turn tavern, Nathan limping slightly.
Hours had passed since they arrived there, they had got through a couple of drinks between them and they were still content with laughter. But Nathan hadn't quite got onto the subject he had wanted to.
"Shane, you still haven't told me why you didn't send Vanessa out after me instead of you." He said seriously, which was immediately followed by a frown on the woman's face.
"Look, there was no time, the AI's fire was heavy, the CV would have been there any minute, there wasn't an hour long debate on who should go. I just went." Shane told him.
"You could've just left me, that information...."
"Was no where near as important as you are Nathan."
"Information to foil an AI attack?" Nathan inquired with his eyebrows raised.
"Yes. No numbers could compare to a human life. Why are we talking about this? I didn't get killed did I?" She sighed. Nathan reached out and gently brushed over her arm, not saying a word.
"That was a lousy mistake, I didn't get to the ground quick enough, we've discussed this Nathan."
"I still don't understand why. Neither does McQueen."
"Nathan, you're a huge part of my life, like family, losing you or Vanessa would destroy me, not to mention the 58th. I had to do it myself to ensure that that didn't happen." Shane explained, Nathan nodded.
"I don't want to hang onto this but they're gonna ask you again when they call you back Shane." Nathan told her, Shane nodded.
"Look, it's getting late." She told him. "Either we should get you back to the hospital or back to the quarters."
"The quarters." Nathan replied quickly.
"Come on then." Shane gently pulled him up and they walked back to the quarters.
"I hope the others are okay." Shane said from her bunk. Nathan agreed as he came back from the small bathroom.
"They'll be fine though." Nathan reassured her as he sat down beside her, his body touched hers and that feeling he had had earlier while she was asleep came back. The woman next to him wasn't just a friend anymore, she meant more to him now. They sat in silence for a few minutes before Shane stood up and stretched, sitting like that next to Nathan wasn't like it used to be, her feelings had grown.
"What's wrong?" Nathan asked.
"Nothing...er...cramp in my shoulder." Shane nodded.
"Let me see, I used to do massages for my brother everytime he buggered his shoulder playing rugby." Nathan smile as he stood up behind Shane.
"It's okay I..." She was about to protest until Nathan placed his hands gently onto her shoulders and slowly massaged them, his thumbs digging into her shoulder blades. Shane closed her eyes as a warm feeling circulated her body, she had to regain composition before she fell backwards into Nathan. She stepped forwards and shrugged Nathan's hands from her shoulders.
"What's wrong?" He repeated.
"Nothing I just..." Shane turned to Nathan and could see the hurt in his eyes, she noticed Nathan's bandage was coming apart.
"Your bandage is coming undone." She told him. Shane stepped forwards without thinking, her body was pressed up against Nathan's, her hands went up to his bandage and she gently tucked it in. Nathan felt if he didn't pull away he'd move closer, but the attraction wouldn't let him pull away.
"Can you take it off?" Nathan asked.
"Sure." Shane began to unravel it from his head, she came to the last bit which was tied around the back of his head. The Captain gulped and then stepped forwards more, leaning her body into Nathan's to try and find the knot. Their bodies were in full contact, their cheeks skimming each other with every movement.
Shane knew it was a mistake to do this as soon as she had leant in, but it had felt too good.
Nathan couldn't hold back anymore, his hands moved onto Shane's hips, who immediately pulled away from his body, though not breeching the contact on her hips. Her hands were still behind his head trying to undo the knot. The minute she moved, the bandage came undone and fell to the floor, they just stood their, staring into each other's eyes, lost in the battle to regain their formality.
Nathan pulled Shane back towards him again, and Shane found herself unable to resist. One of his hands slipped onto her face as she was drawn to him.
Her hands were shaking, she had never been more nervous in her life. Slowly she moved them up into his hair, drawing Nathan's lean body down towards her. Both knew what was going to happen, neither tried to stop it.
Their lips touched lightly and Nathan pulled her body more towards him as the kiss became deep and passionate.
Their bodies sunk into each other, Shane's hands slipped onto Nathan's cheeks and Nathan pulled her in even closer.
Shane pulled away, almost breathless and refusing to look Nathan in the eye.
"What is it?" He whispered, lifting her face slowly.
"The reason I couldn't..." She shook her head, tears forming in her eyes. "The reason I couldn't let Vanessa go out after you is because I couldn't bear the thought of you not being in my life. Because I am in love with you." The last words came out as a soft croak.
"I love you too Shane." He replied, at this Shane looked up into his eyes. His thumb wiped away the tear that trailed down her face and he slowly leant down again, pulling her body next to his once more, this time with more passionate and more certainty that this was what the other wanted.
Nathan's hand slipped inside of Shane's vest and slowly massaged the soft skin of her back, she moaned quietly in response as his warm hands pressed against her flesh. His hand moved upwards, revealing her naked flesh to the warm air.
Shane's hands slid onto the muscular torso that she knew was hiding underneath the T-shirt he wore. With their lips still locked she slid her hands under his T-shirt and gently peeled it off his skin and up his body, her hands brushing past every muscle. Nathan's breathing became heavier as he threw his T-shirt to the floor and began again to kiss Shane, his naked torso pushing against her chest. It was Nathan's turn as he grabbed the bottom of Shane's vest and peeled it up her slim body and over her head. Neither spoke words, just actions, which was enough for both of them.
They rejoined again, both shuddering as flesh touched flesh. Nathan's hands wrapped around her small waist and pulled her into him. Shane's hands went up to his face and pulled him down to her mouth, the passionate kiss continued.
Both moved over to Shane's bunk which was nearest and they slowly sunk down onto it. Nathan lay on top of Shane, lowering his kisses to her neck. Shane's hands ruffled through his hair as she suddenly felt alive, different sensations vaulting through her body.
They made love throughout the night, experiencing pleasures they never thought existed. Morning came, and silence was broken by the morning shifts of the marines on board the Saratoga.
The Wildcards' quarters were silent, nothing moved in the dull light. Two bodies lay hugged up next to each other in the old fashioned spoon shape. Nathan behind Shane, his knees tucked protectively into hers, one arm under her neck and the other tucked over her body, his fingers intwined with hers. Both wore no clothes, the blanket covering them both up to their armpits. Shane stirred slightly, her eyes flicking open, she moved slightly and realised she couldn't. Suddenly reality struck her and last night came flooding back to her, she smiled.
"Nathan." She whispered turning on the spot, her hand releasing his as he woke. They stared into each others eyes for a couple of long seconds before either of them spoke.
"We should move, the others'll be back soon." Shane told him. Nathan was enjoying the warmth of Shane's skin against his, moving meant they would break contact, he had to disagree.
"I've waited a long time for this, a few more minutes isn't gonna make any difference." His eyes were begging for her to stay. He turned onto his back and stared at the bottom of the bunk above them trying to think of what to say, what he was feeling. Shane slid her hand onto his muscualr torso as she rested her head on one elbow.
"Dollar for your thoughts." She whispered, he turned his head and smiled sadly at her.
"This isn't going to happen again is it?" Nathan asked despondently. Shane's eyes fell onto the sheet beneath her.
"It can't continue if I stay."
"And it can't continue if you go." Nathan finished off painfully. Shane placed her head onto Nathan's chest and sighed, his arm wrapped around her and pulled her closer, stroking her thick brown hair. They remained like that for about ten minutes, mezmorizing each other's breath, scent and skin.
"What's the time?" Nathan asked suddenly. Shane reached out to the small table beside her bed and grabbed her watch. " 8.45!" She sat up, regardless of the fact that she was still naked. Nathan soon joined her.
"Oh shit! McQueen'll be back any minute!" He cried.
Shane quickly grabbed Nathan's clothes from the floor and threw them at him then quickly collected hers. They both began desperately to get dressed.
It took about five minutes to get dressed, both scrambling around, occasionally kissing, and pulling their clothes on.
When they were done they both stood up looking like they'd been dragged backwards through a bush, and burst into laughter.
"That was quick." Nathan smiled as he straightened Shane's vest.
"Hm." Shane agreed.
"Is this it?" Shane asked shakily.
"No, it'll never end, no matter what happens." Nathan replied seriously. "I'll still lov..." Before he could say the heart wrenching words Shane placed a finger over his mouth.
"Don't say it." She whispered. "That'll just make it worse." She told him. In response Nathan bent down and tenderly kissed her.
The door clicked as it opened from the other side and the two lovers broke contact immediately, again staring into each others eyes until it registered to them to get apart from each other. Shane quickly sat on her bed and pulled out a book, Nathan jumped onto his bunk and pulled out a magazine. Cooper entered.
"Shane!" He smiled, his face was covered in camouflage and his flight suit was almost black, the other two entered.
"You're both here!" Vanessa smiled.
"How'd the mission go? We were worried about you." Shane asked as she slammed her book shut and stood up.
"It went well considering." Paul nodded. "We gotta shower."
"What did you two get up to?" Cooper asked mischeviously.
Shane slapped his shoulder. "Cooper!" She cried playfully.
"Well, you never know." He shrugged.
"It's good to see you out of hospital Nath." Paul told him, he nodded.
McQueen entered, his eyes scanned the room for Shane, when he found her, their eyes didn't meet.
"Captain Vansen, the Commodore would like to speak to you." He told her, she nodded and the others watched her as she left wordlessly. Nathan's face turning into a desperate plead to God.
The CO led the woman down a few corridors and into the same briefing room they had been in before. More men were sat around the table and suddenly she felt very doubtful about whether she'd still be the Captain of the 58th.
"Captain Vansen." Ross nodded.
The procession began.
"I wonder what they'll do to Shane." Cooper asked after having a shower.
"What're you talking about, she'll be fine." Replied Nathan.
"Nathan's right, they can't transfer her can they?"
"Those bastards can do anything." Cooper muttered.
"What'll we do?" Paul asked.
"Hey, McQueen did say this war would end if Operation: GetDown went to plan." Cooper added.
"So?" Nathan asked.
"So, we'll all be going home soon."
Shane's nerves were on edge, the man took long enough to announce the verdict, any longer and she would have used her balck opts on him.
"Captain Shane Vansen, you are to be transferred to the USS Lincoln where you will be Captain of the 92nd, contact with the 58th will be terminated and only on missions will you be able to return to the Saratoga." He finished without a tone and Shane almost threw herself at him.
"What?! She cried. "You can't do this to me." Her voie was raised and McQueen restrained her as she tried to leap forwrads towards the man.
"Vansen! Calm down." McQueen cried.
"Calm down! Calm down! I've just be reassigned and you want me to calm down?!" She pulled away from McQueen so she could turn to him. "Obviously you underestimated the bond between the 58th, we are a team. I cannot Captain strangers, it's not possible." Tears were hanging from her eyelashes as her fate was sealed.
"Captain Vansen, please calm down or else we'll have to restrain you." Ross told her. Shane spun around.
"This mission, Operation: GetDown, it's more important to you than the life of a marine, shame on you, sir. If you're in charge of this ship then I'll be glad to get the hell off it!" Her voice had raised against all the shouting that tried to calm her down.
"Captain Vansen!" McQueen shouted in order to regain control. He grabbed Shane by the elbows from behind her and restricted her lashing out. "Vansen! This'll get you nowhere." He screamed, and steadily, she stopped. Stray hairs falling over her face.
"Let go of me." She muttered pulling away from him almost in disgust.
"Captain Vansen, we thought more of you, and due to your actions you'll be transported from the Saratoga this morning. You have half an hour to collect your stuff and say goodbye." The man stood up angrily and for a second Shane thought he might hit her.
"Yes sir." Shane stood to a lazy attention and left without permission, McQueen followed.
"What the hell were you trying to do in there Vansen?" He cried grabbing her elbow and spinning her around.
"You're still a marine, no matter what squadron you command I expect you to act like one." He told her tightening his grip on her. "No I don't what kind of stunt you were trying to pull in there, but if you wanna remain a Captain then I suggest you never do that again."
"Yeah, because your opinon really matters to me now." She muttered once again pulling herself from his grip.
"I did all I could to get you this far."
"Oh, and alot of good that's done. Colonel McQueen did I see you even argue for me in that room? Did I see you raise your voice aginst their verdict or even god damn object to it?! No I did not." She spat angrily.
"I'm not gonna argue with you. I pulled every rope I knew to keep you a Captain, I thought that you'd at least appreciate that." He whispered through clenched teeth. Shane sighed, the man in front of her was not the cause of this. It was the thing that her friends had constantly warned her about in school, love.
"I'm sorry sir, I never meant to..."
"Forget it Vansen, I know how you feel, In Vitroes were always being transferred." He recalled.
"I'm sorry sir, I must be a real pain in the..."
"Nonsense. On the field you did exactly what anyone would have done, and I know I never said it, but I'm proud of you. I know I told you not to, but in a way I knew you were going to if you had to. And I was never angry at you for it, I was angry at the Governors for making it an issue." He explained.
"I take back everything I said. I'm proud of you too sir, for believing in me." At this they both smiled.
"Truce?" McQueen stuck out his hand.
"Truce." She shook his hand and then sighed as he let go.
"Now's the tough bit." She bit her lip.
"You want me to do it?" he asked.
"No, I gotta say goodbye to them. Sir?"
"Will West replace me?" She asked.
"Probably." "Good." She smiled and then left towards the 58th's quarters, dreading her following speech. She entered the quarter's cautiously, close to tears having thought about the future thoroughly. All eyes were on her and they suddenly all knew the turn out.
"They're transferring me to the USS Lincoln, I'm leaving in two hours, I'm forbidden to enter the Saratoga unless under orders." She had paused mid sentence to steady herself.
"What?!" Nathan jumped from his bunk and the others followed him to stand in front of her.
"They can't do this!" He cried.
"They're transferring you?!" Cooper screamed angrily. "We'll see about that." He muttered heading towards the door. Shane managed to grab his bicep as he pushed past her.
"Don't make it any worse than it already is." She whispered.
"It can't get any worse!" Vanessa disagreed. "Shane they can't do this to you, you're the best." Shane smiled, on the edge of tears.
"No way Shane." Paul disagreed.
The door opened and McQueen entered, Shane stared at him and sighed. "Get ready to leave Captain." He regretted his words and made it obvious he didn't want to say them.
Nathan rammed passed Cooper who stood between the CO and himself and McQueen found himself pinned up against the wall.
"How could you do this to her?" He muttered.
"Nathan!" Shane cried. Cooper pulled the mad marine from their CO and held him back as he struggled against the In Vitroes grip.
"It wasn't his fault." Shane told Nathan.
"You could've prevented this." Nathan pointed to McQueen accusingly.
"I did everything I could to get her from Court Martial." McQueen snarled back, readjusting himself.
"Sir, is there nothing you can do?" Vanessa asked trying to hide the pain that slipped out in her voice, she could feel herself begin to lose control, begin to lose her best friend.
"McQueen's done everything he can." Shane told them holding her hands up to prevent them from asking him anything else.
"I'll be in the Docking Bay Vansen." McQueen whispered and left.
"I have about twenty minutes left before I have to go, please don't make it bad." Shane pleaded, Vanessa shook her head and quickly caught Shane into a tight embrace.
"I can't believe this is happening." She whispered.
"I'll be back to see you soon." Shane replied uncertainly. They both pulled away and Shane wiped the remnant of a tear from her cheek.
"We're gonna miss you." Cooper whispered.
"Don't, you're making me cry." Shane shook her head and made her way to her bed to hide the new tears forming in her eyes. The anger she felt towards the bastards that were making her do this was endless. She grabbed her navy bag and began to pack all the clothes stacked under her bed into it. She paused as she came to the pictures only then realising that the room was silent, she turned to them.
"Look, guys. It's not the end of the world." Shane tried to cheer up the atmosphere, she failed.
"The 58th isn't anything without you." Cooper told her.
"You'll be fine." Shane reassured them. Having packed she dropped her head.
"I have to go to the Docking Bay right now." She told them.
"Now? Why can't you leave tommorow, or next week, or not at all?" Nathan asked with despair in his voice.
"Because I have to."
McQueen watched as Shane entered the Docking Bay, she was in her flight suit now with the rest of the 58th right behind her, none of them looked happy and he didn't balme them, he felt the same way.
"I guess this is it." Shane smiled quickly. Cooper stepped out and tried to speak but nothing came out, Shane smiled, she grabbed his cheeks and gently pulled him down towards her then planted a soft kiss on his cheek. "Thank you Cooper, for being there." She whispered as they hugged.
"You can't leave." He replied, he didn't know what exactly he was feeling, he knew it ws pain, but there was something else, something that he couldn't get over and he knew he probably never would.
Shane turned to Nathan with uncertainty and they both dived into a tight embrace.
"Don't forget me." He whispered.
"Never." She replied, tears falling from her puffy red eyes.
Paul was next and finally her best friend Vanessa.
"Don't forget to write to us."
"I couldn't if I tried." She smiled.
"I love you all, don't forget that, we'll be together again soon." She told them.
"Captain." A man walked to her side, she nodded and he led her off.
McQueen stepped in front of her. "I wish this wasn't happening." He whispered and held out his hand. "Good luck Shane." He smiled, Shane shook generously and realsied it was the first time McQueen had used her first name.
"You'll be missed dearly." He told her and she boarded the CV, he navy bag slung over her shoulder.
Nathan lunged forwards but was restricted by McQueen who had now joined them. "Don't make it any harder for her." He told him.
"Semper fi my friends." Shane called as the doors shut.
"Always faithful." Cooper added as the CV took off, Paul held Vanessa as tears fell down her cheeks.
Nathan walked away confused, he managed to find an empty room. Looking around to check there was no one there he began to cry, he kicked a chair beside him then over turned a table and threw a few more chairs before hitting the wall behind him and sunk to the floor in a heap of wracking sobs.
Cooper left the others to be on his own, to sort out the feelings he didn't know what to do with.
"You okay 'Phousse?" Paul asked as she lifted her head from his shoulder. "I will be." She sighed wiping away the tears.
"Come on, we'd better get back to the quarters."
Shane sat down, the past few days taking their toll as she burst into tears and dropped her head into her hands. She was no longer a part of the 58th and she would never be again. McQueen entered Ross' quarters.
"Why have I just come from saying goodbye to one of the best pilots in the war?" He asked sinking into a hcair opposite the Commodore.
"Ty, don't take this bad."
"It's not me I'm worried about it's the others, and Vansen. Where are they going to be without each other? The 58th were the best." He grunted angrily.
"They still are." Ross corrected him.
"There's no way they'll be the same Glen. Isn't there anything you could've done?" He asked.
"I tried everything I could, don't you think I regret this?" Ross asked. "Hell Ty, she's the best, I don't get rid of the best on purpose." Ross shook his head taking a sip of his scotch before offering a shot to McQueen who declined.
"Ty, with Operation: GetDown in progress the Government hopes the war'll be over soon." Ross explained.
"With the information Captain Vansen told us we were able to guess the chigs home planet and enter into their database. Now we know everything about their whereabouts we can either offer them an ambush or peace."
"Pray for peace." McQueen shook his head.
"If it's all going to be over soon then why is the transfer necessary?" McQueen asked.
"We don't know for certain, and besides, she did disobey direct orders, we can't accept that whoever she is." Ross explained.
"Maybe, but I gotta answer to these kids for the rest of my life, it's not going to be easy getting over such a great loss."
"Maybe not. Let's just hope Operation: GetDown goes as plans."
It had been two months since Shane had departed from the 58th, she had not smiled since. Her knew squadron was a bunch of rookies with little experience and although she had her own quarters, she pondered on whether it could get any worse. The next morning, it did.
Shane woke with a headache and suddenly found herself leaning over the toilet throwing up for no reason at all, until it suddenly dawned on her, the night with Nathan. How could she be so stupid not to wear protection?
"Shit." was all she could come out with as she threw up again. Her next trip would be to the doctors to find out.
The 58th had been called out on two routine missions since the departure of their Captain. Nathan had substituted the position unwillingly. The missions went without problems and almost without speaking. As they sat in their quarters in silence, Vanessa decided it couldn't go on like this.
"Anymore silence and you're gonna find me gone to." She spoke over the silence, Nathan turned to her and gently smiled at ehr attempt of humour and conversation.
"Vanessa's right." Paul added. "Shane wouldn't have wanted this would she? We're still the 58th, we're still the best and so is Shane, she always will be. But if we're gonna keep our reputation in honour of our Captain we'd better start talking instead of drowning in misery." He explained.
"You have a point there mate." Cooper smiled.
"Y'know, I bet right now she mouthing off to all these poor bastards that don't know what's hit them." Vanessa laughed and the others soon joined in.
"I wonder how she's doing?" Nathan asked, more himself thent he others. He missed he the most, he knew that for a fact, no matter how much the others loved her as family, he loved her with his heart and soul.
"I'll bet she's forgotten all about us and is kicking the chigs ass at this moment." Vanessa smiled.
"Hooyah." Cooper added.
"Do you really think the war could end soon?" Paul asked curiously after their discussion with McQueen about Operation: GetDown.
"I'm not getting my hopes up after last time." Cooper shook his head.
"Yeah, but this is more, the first attempt was sabotaged by rebel chigs, this time we're dealing with the real chigs." Nathan explained.
"And what's to say the rebel chigs don't muck it up this time?" Cooper asked.
"Those Chigs are long gone. Word has it that the chigs themselves tracked them down and executed them." Paul explained.
"Sounds good already." The In Vitro smiled.
"So you think it's real?" Vanessa asked.
"I hope it's real."
"But what would happen to us?"
"We've discussed this before, no matter what, we'll keep in touch right?" Paul asked.
"No doubt about it." Cooper and Nathan replied in unity, then burst out into laughter.
"I'm staying in the Corps. I know it sounds kinda heavy, but this is my life now, I don't think anywhere else would except me." Cooper told them.
"Me too." Nathan added, that was the shocking confession that made everyone turn to him.
"What about...Kylen?" Vanessa asked.
"We've both changed, I think we both knew that when I saw her before she went back to Earth. She wants different things from me. I mean I know I joined the Corps because of her but it's become my life now. I couldn't imagine anything else." He sighed.
"I've been thinking the same." Paul added. "I mean it'd still be the Corps except we'd be back on Earth."
"Yeah." Cooper agreed.
Shane turned a deep pale colour. True, she'd been expecting it since this morning, but when the doctor told her it to her face, she just couldn't absorb it."
"Pregnant?" She repeated it a hoarse voice.
"Yes ma'am." The doctor nodded, she could see that the marine was having a hard time facing it.
"It wasn't planned?" She asked.,
"I'm a marine, these things aren't meant to happen." Shane shook her head.
"You're also a human and these things do happen." Doctor Marsden told her. "Have you thought about your options?"
"What do you mean?" Shane looked up towards the docotr with a puzzled look still on her face.
"Whether or not you want to keep it?"
"I'm not getting rid of it, I do enough of that in my job."
The doctor smiled lightly, she shifted in her seat as she prepared herself for the next question. "Do you know who the father is?"
"Yes, but I can't tell him, it'd destroy him." Shane sighed thinking of Nathan.
"Then I can't see any other option than to..."
"Return to Earth on maternity leave?" Shane finished.
"Looks like your only hope." Marsden shrugged.
"If I go, can I keep it confidential?" She asked.
"Only the Commodore of Lincoln and myself would know, if that's the way you want it." Marsden explained.
"So how would you explain it to people who asked?" Shane asked.
"It's usually been that they were injured or had personal problems they needed to resolve at home."
"For nine months?" She asked uncertainly.
"It's believable." She smiled. "There is always the possibility of you resigning from the Corps altogether."
"I've thought of that but it just doesn't make sense if I can get maternity leave."
"But what would you do when the baby was born Captain?" Marsden asked. "Leave her on Earth?"
"I could leave her with my sister, but then I don't think I could leave her." Shane shook her head and sighed. Why'd this have to happen to her?
"Captain, you're a fully informed marine, I've heard that Operation: GetDown is a plan to end the war."
"A plan, nothing more. I suppose I could stay on Earth, still in the Corps, they accomodate marines with families don't they?"
"They do, but could you leave all the action behind Captain?" She asked.
"I could for my child." Shane told her.
"Then you've made your decision?" Marsden nodded.
"I have." Shane replied. "So what do I do to get outta here?" She asked smiling.
"I have to speak to Commodore Dixon before I can release you, and seeing as you've just transferred here I think he'll agree to it." She smiled.
"Thanks." Shane stood from her seat and shook the doctor's hand.
"Good luck Captain Vansen." The doctor told her as she left, Shane mearly smiled.
For the first time in years she felt afraid of her future and of the child she was carrying's future. How would she tell the 58th that she was leaving without explaining why?
Shane was relieved of duty the following day by the Commodore under classified conditions, she hadn't had a chance to phone the 58th because of all the paperwork. And now she stood once more in the Docking Bay with her navy bag over her shoulder once again re-adjusting her life completely, she shook her head and entered the CV that would take her back to Earth, back home.
McQueen received the news early the same morning Shane left. He couldn't understand why the Captain would just up and leave. When he had demanded an explanation they had told her she had had family problems and had returned to Earth immediately to sort them out. While there she would work on Earth as oppose to space. He turned into the corridor that would take him to the 58th's quarters, dreading more bad news to tell them.
Nathan jumped from his bunk as he picked up the book he had dropped from the bunk, he turned to see McQueen entering with that same look he had had when he'd asked Shane to come with him, and suddenly fear encapsulated him.
"It's Shane, isn't it?" He asked before his CO could speak. At the Captain's name everyone turned silent and looked at McQueen. The CO stared at Nathan for a moment and wondered how he'd given it away.
"What's happened to Shane?" Vanessa asked jumping form her bunk.
"The Captain's fine."
"Then what is it?" Cooper asked as he joined the others alongside Paul.
"She's been transferred from the Lincoln." McQueen watched for their reactions.
"What?!" Nathan shook his head in misunderstanding. "Where to?"
"Back to Earth." McQueen stated.
"Why?" Vanessa asked.
"The Commodore informed me she had 'problems' back home nad had to see to it right away." McQueen explained.
"That doesn't make sense." Nathan argued.
"Hey, I'm as much in the dark as you are right now."
"Is there any way we can contact Shane right now?" Vanessa asked.
"We don't know where she is, it's her call to contact us."
Shane watched as space flew right by her and she entered the Earth's atmosphere, plummeting down until the US came into view. She gasped at the sight that she had not seen for over two years and shook her head once again asking herself why she was doing this.
"CV 5 now entering into Alabama USMC Docking Bay 7." The flight crew announced. Shane wasn't alone, she was travelling with about six other people who all kept to themselves. The doors opened into a darkish room and Shane stepped out, suddenly panicking about what she would do now.
A young marine entered the room. "Captain Shane Vansen." He called her name and Shane looked at him.
"Would you come with me please." He told her, she followed slightly suspicious of what was going on. She was glad to see Sgt.Bogus sat in his desk as she entered a small office.
"So now you're a Captain." He said shaking his head. "Congratulations ma'am." He stood up and took his hat off, offering his hand as a welcome. She took it gladly.
"Thank you sir."
"Have a seat." He held out his hand to a soft brown chair that sat opposite his desk.
"So, you're taking leave from the Corps. I'm not gonna ask you why because I know it's none of my business. Do you know how long for?" He asked.
"At least ten months." Shane replied quietly.
"Well! That's one hell of a long time, no trouble though we're pulling in new marines like fish in a net." He smiled.
She began to feel nervous around her ex-mentor.
"The Corps can provide you with work's pay for six months leave and then find you a job if that's what you want. And when you come back - you come back!" He shrugged. "The Corps can also help you find a place to stay during the leave if you rquire it, and if the pay's not enough then we can find you a job right now." He explained.
"Thank you but I'll be staying with my sister and I don't think I'll be needing work just now." She told him.
"Your choice." He nodded his head. "Well, that's about it, you signed all the papers on the USS Lincoln. I'll look forward to seeing you in ten months or so."He smiled standing.
"Thank you sir." She smiled and quickly left before the fear in her eyes showed. Maybe she should have accepted the job and accomodation, it wasn't as if her sister would take her in for sure. Too late now.
She walked out into the blazing sun and watched as more new recruits were yelled at out on the yard. She smiled at the memory and began her journey towards the bus that would take her away from her life for almost a year.
Nathan sat in his bed thinking.
"I don't get it." He shook his head. "Why would she leave? it can't have been that bad." Nathan told the others.
"Maybe there was some kind of family problem." Vanessa shrugged.
"She's not even that close to her sisters though, and for nearly a year?" He shook his head.
"We'll have to wait and hear from her." Paul sighed.
"With this Operation thing maybe we can all go back to Earth and find out."
Shane jumped off the bus thanking the driver over her shoulder. She couldn't believe the humidity of Earth, it was almost unbearable seeing as it was summer. She began to wander down the slightly familiar room and began to wonder how her sister would react to seeing her after two years. turning into a drive she stopped and stared at the house that she had spent alot of time argueing with Anne, her sister. And now her sister had married Ed and then been blessed with a child they had named Marion in memory of the Vansen's mother, even though it was Shane who had wanted to call her baby that ever since she was five. She shook her head and headed towards the door. The house was a mansion with a large gardena ndthe view was just intense. In a way she envied Anne for what Shane had so badly wanted, but she had chosen instead of settling down, to go it all alone and join the Corp for her parents. Now look at her.
She knocked on the door, her heart pounding, would they want to see her? The door opened and Shane was face to face with her sister Anne, the y looked almost identical except Anne had blonde hair.
"Shane? Is that you?" She asked in shock.
"Anne I..." Shane began to explain but found herself in the middle of a fierce embrace with her sister, something she hadn't planned for.
"Oh my god! You're here!" Anne whispered as she rested her head onto her older sister's shoulder. Pushing Shane back she inspected her at arms length.
"It's really you, in the skin. I've missed you." She smiled then pulled her into another hug, Shane could get used to this.
"Anne." Shane pulled away and looked at her sister. "I'm sorry for leaving you back then, I never meant to le..."
"Bygons Shane, you're here now." Anne smiled gently pulling her sister into the house. "Ed's taken Marion out so we're alone in the house, like old times hey Shane?" Anne nudged her sister.
"This place is beautiful, you're so lucky." Shane whispered looking around at the tall yellow walls with the marble floor and huge staircase.
"Ed did it up after you left, he's really good at that kinda thing." Anne explained.
"It shows." Shane told her.
"So, I haven't seen you in four years, well, only when I was having Marion and that wasn't in person. What have you been upto?" Anne asked interestedly.
"The usual thing, fighting, crawling up to my neck in mud." Shane laughed.
"Damn Shane it's so good to see you." Anne whispered looking at her sister. "You look tired though."
"Goes with how I feel then." Shane sighed.
"Sit down." They both sat back onto the black leather settee and Anne leaned over to Shane.
"I don't know why you left the marines, I don't know if you want to tell me, but you've always got a place to stay here." Anne placed an hand onto her sister's shoulder. Shane placed her hand over Anne's and smiled.
"It's hard to explain, I know I had to leave because of what's happened, and I may still go back. But after all I've seen and done, I don't know if I could." Shane shook her head.
"We've heard so much about you through the tabloids, the 58th this, the 58th that...you really made a name for yourself! And you know what? I know mom and dad would be very proud of you right now Shane." Anne smiled nervously.
"Thanks, means alot to me." Shane whispered.
"How long are you staying?" Anne asked.
"I don't want to intrude, I think I'll just find some kinda motel nearby and..."
"Nonsense Shane, I mean, if you don't feel comfortable about staying with Ed and I we've always got the chalet next door you could stay in. Ed's renovating it so we could lease it out but he's been so busy at work that he hasn't got very far so it'd be perfect for you to stay in for as long as you want." Anne explained.
"Are you sure?"
"Have...have you heard from Amy?" Shane knew Amy was the rebel of the family, also the youngest, last she'd seen Amy had been expelled from school and almost arrested.
"Amy's settled down now, she's in school, that's where she'll be staying until she graduates. She's met someone, a good man, not her usually slobby type."
"Really?" Shane said suprisedly.
"Uh huh." Anne nodded.
"She's the beautifullest of God's creation, she doesn't keep us up at night at all anymore, she's walking and talking." Anne explained excitedly.
"Anne, there's something I should tell you that I think you should know. The reason I left the Corps." Shane bowed her head.
"I don't know how the hell I let this happen but...I'm pregnant."
"Pregnant." she muttered before it registered. "Pregnant!" She cried. "Well...wow...that's...wow...really!" Shane had never seen her sister speechless so she was debating whether it was good or bad.
"Congratulations!" Anne smiled throwing her arms around her sister.
"It's a little more complicated." Shane began. "The father, he's a marine, he doesn't know, and I probably won't tell him unless he finds out, but it means bringing the baby up on my own." Shane told her.
"Well so? We'll help, oh! It'll be great just like a little sister or brother for Marion right?"
"Anne do you mind if I use your email? I have to let the others know I'm okay."
"I can't wait any longer." Nathan scruffled up his hair. "She's been gone from the Saratoga for what? Two months now with no word, not letter and now she's back on Earth?"
"Maybe her family were having problems." Vanesas cut in.
"Big problems." Cooper added.
"Maybe, but it's not like her to not write."
McQueen entered almost ezcited. he looked up to Nathan and handed him a small white envelope.
"A letter, from Earth." He smiled and then left.
"Shane?" Vanessa asked as Nathan hopped down from his bunk, inspecting the letter like he'd never seen one before.
"Well open it before I turn 80 already." Cooper nudged his friend and Nathan tore the envelope open and ripped the letter out.
"58th." He read out. "I know it's been a long time since I contacted you and I apologise profusably,as you may have guessed things haven't been going to smoothly since I left you. I had been meaning to contact you the second I boarded the Lincoln but their Commodore wouldn't allow it and then for the next few weeks their phones were out of use. Sorry.
Shane sat staring into the screen of the computer, she had sent the message about five minutes ago and hadn't moved since.
"Shane, are you okay?" Anne asked as she walked in with two cups of coffee.
"Yeah I'm fine." She took the coffee and sat beside her sister on the settee once more.
"When was the last time you saw Amy?" Shane asked.
"About a week ago, she visits every Saturday to see us and Marion, she'll be here tomorrow. I can't wait to see the look on her face when she sees you." Anne smiled.
"I don't think it'll be happy families Anne, we spilt on a bad note about school." Shane sighed.
"Oh yeah." Anne realised.
"But that was two years ago, she was just 16, now she's a mature adultish woman." Anne laughed.
"What time does she get here?" Shane asked.
The door opened and Ed entered, looking at the guest and then suddenly realising who it was. "Shane!" He cried, Shane stood up and greeted his embrace with the same.
"Good to see you Ed." Shane told him as she smiled at his handsome face. Her eyes fell onto the small child that sat beside him in a pushchair. Shane could feel herself begin to cry as she bent down. "Is this...?" Her voice broke, Anne was beside her and placed a hand on her sister's shoulder to steady her.
"She has..." Shane began.
"Mother's eyes." Anne finished.
"She's beautiful." The Captain whispered.
"Thanks, you wanna hold her?"
"You kidding, that's one of the things I've been waiting to do for a year." Shane smiled as Anne handed Marion over to Shane, Shane took her nervously and began to gently rock her.
"Marion, this is your Auntie Shane." Ed smiled as the small baby grabbed her father's finger in her fist.
Next: Part 2 of True Feelings