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.

This storyplot and the additional characters of 'Equal But not identical' are purely fictional and legal property of Wiena Rijstenberg. The story is not open for distribution or sale in either fanzines, ftp-sites or elsewhere without the permission of the author.

A special thanks goes to Jan Trotter and Una Fritz, for helping me write my first story and for all the work they have done.

Comments are always welcome at wiena@daxis.nl

Equal But Not Identical


Wiena Rijstenberg

Saratoga APRIL 2065

Col. McQueen is standing on the docking area of the Saratoga he is observing a group of 4 newcomers arriving with an army APC. The people he is looking at are a group of Aerotech computer technicians. They're here to update the Saratoga's computer virus' scanners system. These civilians really seem to have fun as they are boarding the Saratoga.

Among them is a woman she's laughing out loud, she seems to be really enjoying herself. She wears her hair in a plait, it's long and blonde but what takes his breath away are her eyes, they glitter like sapphires.Not in a hundred years he would forget those eyes or the woman's smile. She is a part of his past, a past he wants to forget after all these years she still makes his heart beat faster.He feels himself pulled back into time.

Flashback Alabama AUGUST 2054

It was a hot summer night and he was sipping his cold beer, minding his own business at the town's biggest bar called the Angels Tavern.

Because he was an InVitro people were ignoring him. Most of the people present here were either from the military base or from the Alabama University. Suddenly he hears a voice and as he turned towards that voice he looked at the bluest eyes he has ever seen.

The voice spoke again, saying: "Hi, you didn't you hear me, are you new here? My name is Megan , I saw you at the other side of the bar and I just had to introduce myself."

He responded to her : "Yes, this is my first duty free weekend I was transferred here 2 months ago. My name is Captain T.C McQueen, I've recently joined the 127th Angry Angels... I am an InVitro," he provocatively added.

"Yeah, I know. I just asked one of the Marines over there, I have no problems with Invitro's ..."

"My parents were members of the InVitro Rights Associations, to me your blood is just as red as mine..."

"They were?" he responded.

"The AI killed them," she quickly changed the subject not feeling very at ease. And she started to talk real fast as if she would be afraid that he would come up with more questions.

"Anyway, welcome to Alabama. I'm a student here at the university I study computer science, let me introduce you to my twin-sister and friends."

"Come with me," she smiled.

She took his hand and led him trough the room, where a group of youngsters were joking around and having fun.

He had only eyes for her, wondering how beautiful she looked and how innocent the look in her eyes still was.

As she grabbed her sister's hand pulling her forward he felt a little shock. He had never seen two people, who looked so much alike he was fascinated.

Only after he had looked at their eyes he could tell the difference. This was his first contact with the Lowe twin, a day he was desperately trying to forget.

As McQueen turns back to reality , he sees the woman approaching him, her face showing her emotions. He can read from her countenance that she wants to flee, her eyes are filled with pain.

But she has to follow her colleagues who are passing McQueen on there way to the Briefing room to meet up with Cdr. Ross.

As she's passing him, she almost whispers "Ty, long time no see." and she walks away from him refusing to have any eye contact with him.

He sighs, suddenly he's 29 again, looking into those beautiful eyes filled with teenage worship.

It was long past midnight two people were strolling along the beach there was a full moon a perfect setting for two lovers.

As they sat down in the soft sand he heard her say "I can't believe that I only know you for 2 weeks now , you make me feel so good."

Gently he caressed her cheeks, looking into her dark sparkling eyes, her face softly touched by moonlight. He saw the surrender in her eyes and with a growl coming deeply from his throat, he passionately took possession of her lips. She felt his warm hands moving from her back onto her breasts and she gasped.

One of her last significant thoughts was "God I love this man". She grabbed his shoulders pulling them both down in the sand, she felt his weight on top of her and welcomed him with all her heart.

He remembers how passionate and willingly she was and he had hoped that he had finally found his match.

After the briefing with Cdr. Ross, Megan can finally take some time off for herself in the privacy of the to her assigned cabin.

She sits down at the bunk putting her face into her hands. She is talking to herself.

"You knew he was here and that you would have to face him, so get a grip on yourself. You have rehearsed this for so many times, just try to stay cool don't show him any of your emotions and how much he has heart you. It has been 11 years ago, just think of Rebekka and avoid him. You don't want him to find out. Oh God he didn't change a bit, just his hair looks gray now."

There's a knocking at her door. Megan's heart is pounding in her throat as she reply's "ENTER". Col McQueen enters her cabin.

Quickly she raises from the bunk. Looking straight into her eyes he says: "I hope everything is at your convenience if there's anything I can do let me know."

"Everything is fine, thank you" Megan reply's with a shivering voice.

She's trying to harden her heart and voice as she has to ask the following question "How is Susy doing and did she made you a dad yet."

She hates herself the moment she asks, but she has to, as if she wants to harden herself even more.

McQueen's face looks like granite as he replies with an icy voice , "We are divorced for several years now and we never had children" after nodding to her he brusquely turns away, leaving her standing with a mouth open full of surprize.

Oh my God they are divorced, but than again it shouldn't surprise me! She never really loved him, she only wanted to get back at me. But it doesn't change anything, I still don't want him to find out. He never cared about me, he just used me and I'll be damned if I ever give him a chance to break my heart again. And I'm sure as hell aren't going to contact Susan again, I hope that one day she gets what she deserves!

"Oh Susan please, will you help me out? I really have to leave, the arrangements for the student exchange were already made before I met him. I wouldn't have signed up if I had known this. He'll be back from the mission next week, just tell him I'll meet him again as soon as I'm back." After her pleading monologue Megan was waiting for a response from her sister.

The two women stood face to face and looked so much alike that it was hard to discern them. Only when you looked into their eyes one could tell the difference. Susan's eyes were blue with a touch of green, Megan's however were a deep blue.

"OK" Susan replied. "I'll take care of him and make sure he won't be lonely for as long as you are gone."

"Thanks Susy, I have to run now, see you in 3 weeks."

Col. McQueen Queen enters the TunTavern, he sees the 58th sitting at their regular table.

It looks like they're in for another round of poker. He notices the hopeful look on Hawkes' face but he decides he wants to be alone with his thoughts and takes a seat at the bar. Just as he wants to take a sip of his beer, he sees Megan entering the bar. She's alone and she seems to look for her colleagues. She takes a seat at the end of the bar, intended or not she leaves as much space between them as possible. He can almost feel that she wants to ignore his presence at the other end of the bar. After one or two minutes he hears laughter coming from the table of the 58th. He sees Hawkes leaving the poker game, he is heading for the bar. Hawkes lowers his head so he's at same height with Megan's and starts talking to her. Their voices are low after a few minutes she pats him on his cheek and laughs. As she stands up from the bar and leaves, she can almost feel several eyes burn into her back.

I'm not going to let her break Hawkes' heart if she wants to fool around she should take someone of her own caliber, McQueen angrily thinks.

After having returned from a successful mission Ty was heading for Angels Tavern looking forward to be reunited with Megan again. As he entered the bar he can see Megan's sister and their friends but no sign of Megan.

Susan noticed his presence and approached him, saying " Hi TC, welcome home. How are you doing?"

"Thank you," he replied. "I'm fine, where's Megan?"

"Megan is back to the UNI of New York for the student's exchange program. She's probably having a great time right now with one of her favourite computer wizzos. Didn't she tell you ?"

"Ohh I see!" Ty replied tight-lipped.

"I'm sorry I didn't no you had any feelings for her, I would have kept my big mouth shut otherwise. She's my sister and I love her but she's real flirt."

"Come on lets have a drink, join us we are all invited for a great party tonight."

He remembers waking up with a terrible headache, feeling disorientated. As he looks around the strange room, he noticed that he's in bed with a woman, he thinks it's Megan. The woman opens her eyes getting awake from her sleep.

"Oh my God," he stared into two blue green eyes, it's Susan.

"How the hell did we get here and what happened". TC jumps out of the bed putting on his trousers who were lying down the floor in a mess with the other clothes.

"Damnit answer me!" He grabs Susan by her arms almost pulling her from the bed. He looks into her eyes and sees the tears coming up in her eyes.

"But TC, you insisted on coming with me last night after the party, you were drunk but you seemed to be very well aware of what you were doing!!"

"I'm so sorry but I thought you really wanted me" After that, she starts to cry. He could not look upon the crying woman anymore and pulls her into his arms.

"I'm sorry its OK, please stop crying," he plead. "But I need to know one thing, tell me did we had sex ?"

After leaving the TunTavern Megan feels lonely and decides to go to the communications compartment to make a call home back on earth. After identifying herself she takes a seat in front of the computer and makes the necessary adaptations. The screen opens and a woman's face appears.

"Hi, this is the Lowe residence. Can I help you?"

"Hi Zeb, it's just me. How are you and Rebekka doing? I felt a little lonely so I thought I call you up."

"Hi Megan, we are just fine although Rebekka does miss you a lot."

"Oh my God, Zeb. I wouldn't know what I would have done without you these past ten years. You're always there when I need you."

"Aah, stop it, I'm your friend and I love Rebekka it's a pleasure looking after her when you're away" Zeb replies.

The face of a young child pops up on the screen, pushing Zeb aside.

"Hey, mum is that you? I miss you, please come home soon."

"HI Rebban, it won't take long anymore and I'll be home before you know it." Megan looks into a face that looks a lot like hers, except for the steel blue eyes and the pronounced jaw which she inherited from her father.

"I'll be home before your birthday I think, did you already made up your mind up about a present."

"Yes, mum. I would like to join the military academy next school year. I know its very expensive but I really would love to go there." Rebekka adds with a begging voice.

"OK, just let me think about it," Megan replies and turns towards Zeb.

"Zeb, what do you think?"

"Oh I think she'll make a hell of a good Marine."

"Yes, that's what I'm afraid of...OK, my time is up have to go now, hope to see you both soon."

"OH Susan, it could have been so beautiful, you ruined it for all of us I'm afraid," Megan softly whispers to an empty screen.

"Hey Susan I'm back, where are you girl?" Megan entered the bedroom she shared with her sister.

"Hi sweety I've been looking for ya, why don't you answer? ...Is everything OK?" she asked as she saw her sister's face. Susan started crying covering her face with her hands and Megan rushed over to her sister on the bed.

"What's wrong Susan did something happen? Talk to me please, what's wrong?"

"Don't tell me something happened to TC please" Megan's voice almost begged for an answer.

"Oh Megan " Susan replied. "We didn't mean it to happen but it just did, I'm so sorry we just couldn't help ourselves"

"Help what?" Megan grabs her sister hands pulling them down. She felt a tight knot in her stomach as she was waiting for the answer.

"Me and TC we fell in love it happened so unexpectedly, we just couldn't help it. Oh Megan I know you thought you loved him too and I'm so sorry please forgive me". Susan started another outburst off tears, covering her face with her hands again. Megan could feel her stomach turning inside, with all her might she is tried to get a hold of herself. She told herself "Don't cry now be strong, she is your sister remember". I can't recall her being so upset or it must be the day that our parents died. I must get a hold of my emotions Megan thought.

"Please stop crying Susy ,I'm not angry ...I'm upset that's sure for one thing"

"But I'll get over it I promise after all your my sister and your the only thing that I have left on this world and I want to see you happy" Megan spoke. "So tell me, he really loves you?" Megan asked.

Susan stopped crying her words came out shivering.

"He...he asked me to be his wife".

"Oh my God I have to get out of here before I collapse", Megan stood up from the bed and started walking to the door. Her face looked as pale as the white sheets on the bed. She turned to her sister, her voice sounded like a stranger as she replied:

"Marry him, I wish you both all the best."

"But Megan how about you, I don't want to loose my sister" Susan replied.

"You won't but I need some time alone" Megan added.

"Where will you go then" Susan asked.

"I'll go back to New York for a while, the professor asked me to stay anyhow. I'll tell him I changed my mind, and it will give me the time I need".

"See ya soon Susan" Megan rushed out of the room. She picked up her unpacked bag and left the house and she was not able to hold back her tears any longer. She was whispering to herself "Don't loose it now wait, until you're far away from this place".

Back at the Saratoga Megan enters her cabin, she smiles she is thinking of the young InVitro she met in the Tunbar.

"God he is really sweet, a big child though, in a few years he'll be probably breaking a lot of hearts". There's a knock at the door.

Who the hell could that be so late, I hope its not the young man from the bar, Megan thinks. Col. McQueen enters without waiting for an invitation to enter, he approaches Megan.

Just in front off her he stops. His face looks like it was made out of stone.

All of a sudden he blurts out "I don't want you to play games with Hawkes. I don't care if you're a hotshot at Aerotech..."

"I want you to stay away from him. Maybe to you its all a game but an inexperienced InVitro will take this flirting very seriously".

"So how long will you be still working on this program, I want you off this ship as fast as possible" he says.

He looks down on her with his eyes cold as ice and continues his monologue.

"I won't allow you to play your whorey games here at the Saratoga"

THWAP... the sound of the slap she gave him echoes in the cabin. Megan is so angry she can't even find the words to defend herself to this unfair attack. McQueen grabs her at her upperarms and is shaking her.

"Don't you ever raise your hand against me again" he growls.

"Or what" Megan provokes. All of a sudden she feels his lips pressed on hers, she is so astonished that she's all frozen up. He's not gently, she can feel her lips pressing against her teeth, she tastes blood in her mouth. She opens her lips and he immediately plunders her mouth. All of a sudden its over, he pushes her away so hard she almost stumbles. He turns his back on her and rushes out of her cabin leaving her in total confusion.

"It doesn't make any sense, he can't be jealous. He never cared about me so that can't be" she ponders.

She decides to go back to Tuntavern, she definitely needs a drink now.

As Megan answered the PC phone at her room in New York, she froze up the moment she saw her sisters face.

"Hiya Megan I had to call you I didn't here from you in weeks. When are you coming home?" Susan asked.

"Hi Susan, I'm sorry but I'm working on this problem right now and it will take more time then I thought" Megan replied.

"Won't you come home for the wedding then its next week?" Susan asked with an begging voice.

"So soon? Isn't that a little fast?" Megan replied in panic.

"I have a surprize but please don't tell anyone its still so early," Susan replied with a mysterious smile. "We are going to have a baby. TC has to leave on a mission so we want to get married before he leaves" Susan added.

"Oh my God.......,congratulations" her voice sounded shocked. "Sure I'll try to be there. Please give me the date, time and place" Megan said and it felt if somebody else was talking, the voices seemed to come from a long distance. After her sister said goodbye Megan just sat there for a long time not able to move a muscle. She didn't feel anything anymore it was if she was in shock.

Her mind was tumbling, "A baby, oh my God, he gave her a child"

Finally she started to tremble and the tears were runnning down her cheeks.

"I know I'll have to go but I'll probably choke if I have to walk up to them smiling and say congratulations to you both. And a baby... I feel hatred coming up, I never thought I could be that jealous. OH MY GOD, when was my last period?" Megan grabbed for her agenda.

A week later.

"Pull your self together girl and start acting like you never have done that before..."

Megan entered their old house. The house was crowded with students, Marines and friends. She saw several from her old friends going from one room to another.

"Hi Megan, we missed you at church, where were you?" Christine one of her oldest friends asked.

"Oh I was there but I was late I had car problems I'm afraid" she answered. "So I just sat in the back and left early, and I went to a garage to have the flat tire fixed. Where's the happy couple" she asked.

"Susan is upstairs. She's changing her clothes, they'll be leaving soon for a short honeymoon. And TC is somewhere in the crowd I believe. Shall I bring you to him?" Christine replied.

"NO don't bother I'm going to see Susan first". Megan turned away from Christina and went upstairs to see her sister.

"The door is open" Susan answered. Megan went in and saw her sister she was still standing in her wedding gown.

"Hi sis, you looked beautiful," she started to say.

"Why weren't you there?" Susan replied with a shrill voice.

"Oh I was there, I was in the back of the church, I was late had a flat tire, I'm sorry" Megan replied.

"No, you're not" Susan snapped. "Somehow I don't believe you, I think you don't want me to be happy. You're still jealous and you want to ruin what should have been the happiest day of my life. You just didn't' want to face the fact that he preferred me over you".

At this moment Susan was almost screaming, her face looked ugly, there was so much rage in it.

"All my live you have taken people from me but now, now I finally have beat you to it, you couldn't live up with it..." Susan ends her monologue gasping for breath.

Megan stood there all frozen up, not fully understanding of what had been said.

"I-I d-did what? Take people from you, what do you mean?" Megan stuttered.

"First Mum and Dad they always paid more attention to you, they never heard me out. IT was always look at your sister she's so brilliant, so kind, so popular. And i've grown to hate you even more after they died. In school you always made me look silly, with your so called brilliant mind and all the guys always dumped me after they had met you. You always lure them away and telling them lies about me. But now I beat you, I finally did, didn't I?"

"What are you talking about, I always loved you , I've never ever done those things you accused me off" Megan desperately replied.

"He is mine and there nothing you can do to change it" Susan added.

"But you said you really loved him, and what about the baby?" Megan asked.

"Oh yes I wanted him because the knowledge that you wanted him made him very desirable" Susan said. "And about the baby, I was just a little late with my period but why enlighten him, wont we. He was just so eager to marry me, he really must love me more than he ever loved you. It was so easy turning him away from you, like a little insecure kid he believed all the lies I told him about ya. God, you should have seen the look up on his face, when I told him all those lies" Susan burst out in a cold hard laugh.

Something snapped in Megan and she smacked her fist right on Susan nose. Blood spattered on her perfectly white wedding dress. Susan started to scream and Megan couldn't move a muscle it was if she was hypnotized by the collar of blood on the dress.

The door opened and McQueen rushed in alarmed as he was by the screaming. He looked upon the situation, then grabbed Megan at her arm, pulled her away from Susan.

"I want you out of the house immediately and never come back".

"How dare you hit your sister like this, you bitch".

"Did you loose your mind, I knew you were capable of a lot but I didn't think it would be this worse" he snaps at Megan.

As he wraps his arms around Susan comforting his now crying bride, he turns his back on Megan saying, "Go I never want to see your face again".

After that everything was fuzzy she couldn't even recollect anymore how she got back to New York again.

Col. McQueen is making his way trough the corridors of the Saratoga pushing aside anyone who's so unfortunate to get in his way. He's pondering of a way to get rid of Megan and regain his calmness. Suddenly there is a loud sound of an explosion. The alarm warnings are to be heard on the Saratoga, people are rushing out of their cabins, putting on their gear getting ready for battle. McQueen turns around and decides to go the bridge to see what's has happened and find out if their under an AI's attack.

"Something is wrong, if this would be an attack why didn't the warning system work. And there was only one explosion to be heard, something else must be going on. Lets find out fast" his head is full of possible causes as he ran into Megan sweeping her almost of her feet. He can just grab her by her arm before she hits the ground.

"God damned woman get back in your cabin and stay there" he growls. "No, on second thought, my cabin is closer". McQueen almost dragging her through the gangways as they arrive at his cabin he opens the door and pushing her in adding to her," Stay here , you'll be safe don't go wandering through the passages ways". With an final nod he leaves Megan behind closing the door.

Megan feels confused, what the hell happened. One moment they were screaming at each other and the next moment he kissed her like his life would depend on it. Then pushing her away and his leaving like the devil was hunting him. And that awful explosion, I just hope its not an AI's attack.

"They can't know that I'm on board, this was fully compartmentalized. Only a few people know that I'm here" Megan ponders as she lets her eyes roam through the cabin.

Its so Spartan, its almost if nobody would live here. Her eyes are holding still at McQueen's bookshelves, automatically she reads the titles. Military history books and a few oriental philosophers are on the shelves. Her eyes wander farther to his desk she notices the photograph on it. As she takes the picture in her hand, she feels the knot in her stomach tighten. It's a wedding picture of McQueen and Susan both smiling, looking so young and happy like nothing could ever break them apart. She feels her stomach rising and she feels panic coming up.

"I've got to get out of here... I can't be here when he returns". Megan turns around and leaves the safety of his cabin in total confusion heading back for her own cabin. In the meantime McQueen runs into West and Vansen, they share the information they have with their CO. West was just returning from the rec. room as he heard the explosion he immediately tried to find out where the explosion came from. He found that it had taken place at the guests cabins and one of the cabins was a total loss. But there were no serious damages to the ship. The explosion must have been very precisely dosed it only wrecked the whole cabin's interior. West and Vansen looked together through the wrecked cabin the were no casualties.

"Whose cabin?" McQueen asks with tight lips as his color turned even paler.

"Ms Lowe sir" Vansen replies "but she wasn't there!"

"What happened sir, do you consider this an accident or a possible attack to kill her?" West added.

"I have no idea, but let's find out...Follow me and watch your sixes there could be intruders on board, the AI might have found a way to sneak aboard undetected. They would love to kill our best Computer Techie." McQueen turned around and hastily set foot for his own cabin followed by West and Vansen.

"Sir" Vansen asked as they tried to keep up with Col. McQueen. "Why is she so important to them that they try to blow her up?"

"I read about a virus she developed, when AI'S get exposed to this their circuits will all crash or something similar. The AI are scared and try to finish her off before she can complete this project. Her coming here was strictly confidential, the joint staff thought it would be safe. Her attendance at this ..... was absolutely necessary, Aerotech wouldn't have let here leave Earth if the job could have been done by others. Back on Earth she is guarded all day, we thought she would be safe here." McQueen ends his monologue as they arrive at his cabin. Without knocking he opens the hatch. Just to find out that there's nobody there.

"Damned woman why can't she listen for once in her life" he cries out. "Vansen, West I want you to spread and find her quickly, lets pray we find her before the AI do".

"Do you think the AI's to be still on board ,sir" Nathan asks

"Yes, after an explosion like this there will be no traffic leaving the Saratoga until this has been cleared. OK let's spread and find her" he adds before he turned away, to start searching for Megan.

Megan comes to her senses as she's realizing that she has no idea to where she is.

"Damned, where am I? I better find someone to point me in the direction to my cabin." She turns back on her way, trying to find some staff members or marines who must be around here somewhere. As she sees somebody walking towards her she feels relieved. "If McQueen finds out that I've been wandering around he's probably going to kill me so I better get back as fast as I can" Megan thinks.

"OH MY GOD" Megan cries out as she recognizes who is coming towards her. She turns away and tries to run as fast she can but the Elroy model is faster and gains on her quickly. She feels the AI grabbing for her shoulder giving here a shove so she falls hard on her knees. The Elroy model is laughing as he turns her around.

"Finally bitch, there's no hiding for you anymore, let me give you what you deserve". He is raising his knife, ready to finish Megan off.

Megan cries out" Ty help me" as she sees Col. McQueen narrowing the distance between them fast. Megan tries to stop the AI stabbing her but he's too strong and she feels the blade sliding through her chest, the blade just missing her heart by an inch. Suddenly she feels the weight lifted off her, but it's almost as if she is watching everything outside here self.

"So weird, I didn't feel a thing, did he stab me? I feel so tired, where's Ty?" and Megan's thoughts get misty as she sees McQueen's face above here, talking to her.

"If she could only hear what he said" Megan is loosing her consciousness, not hearing the panic in the man's voice above her.

"Megan stay with me, don't you dear die on me, you hear" McQueen doesn't notice the approach of Vansen and West. Vansen and West heard there CO screaming and found him holding Megan in his arms. Both are covered with blood. The AI Elroy lays beside them his eyes are staring, his neck is at a strange angle.

"Sir Sir , are you all right? What happened?" Vansen cries out.

"I'm all right it's Megan" McQueen turns his pale face at them, his eyes desperate. "I was too late". West sits down next to them and he puts his hand on Megan's neck.

"Sir", "I think I feel a heartbeat still, put her down sir. We must get medical help real fast." McQueen gently puts Megan to the floor starting to look for something he's scared not to find.

Suddenly he looks up "What are you waiting for let's go, on the double"

Megan was back in New York still 18 years old, she felt lonely and so sad. Lying on her bed she looked like a baby all curled up trying to keep herself warm.

"How will I ever go on from here. I never can go home again and I must avoid all my old friends and make sure nobody ever is going to find out about the baby. I still have enough insurance money from our parents so I don't have to worry about that...But what should I tell the outside world of my pregnancy. I can't abort this baby, it's not its fault after all. I have to come up with a good story that rules out all questions about the father". Suddenly there was a knocking on the door.

"Megan let me in , I know you're in there. What's wrong why don't ya answer me. You know I'm your friend let me in, maybe I can help".

The door opened and Megan replied "I don't think so Zeb...I'm in deep shit and I don't know what to do".

"C'mon "Zeb replied "Tell me everything".

Back at the Saratoga Megan slowly awakes trying to remember what has happened.

"My chest hurts , where am I? Oh my God the AI... Am I dead? No I wouldn't feel so much pain I think but what is with all this light it hurts my eyes".

"Col. sir", the nurse calls out for McQueen ,"She is awake". McQueen bends over Megan looking at her eyes , seeing the pain in them.

"I'm glad your sticking around a bit longer , you had us all worried for a few minutes. The Old Man would have wanted our ashes if we would have lost you. You'll be up in a few days , the doctor said you 've been very lucky he missed your heart by an inch". McQueen sighs "Next time if you're ordered to stay where you are, obey".

"Why the hell did you leave my cabin?" He pauses his lecture as he sees the tear running from Megan's now closed eyes.

"Sir" the nurse is approaching McQueen , "Ms Lowe has to rest now , you can continue the rest of the interrogation another time"

"Ok, go to sleep Megan we will finish this conversation in a few days , before you're shipped back to earth" McQueen adds with a velvet voice. And Megan is just glad that he finally leaves her bedside. She can no longer keep herself awake and she feels herself pulled back into sleep.

A few days later Megan is packing for her return to Earth. She only feels a little discomfort from her chest still but she's glad to go home. And of course it also means away from McQueen back to safety. Suddenly there's a knock on her hatch, Megan freezes as she thinks "please don't let it be him , I hope I don't have to face him again".

But she's not that lucky. McQueen enters her cabin not awaiting her response.

"You and me, we still have a little matter to settle" he starts . He's crossing the room and stops right in front of Megan forcing her to look into his eyes. His eyes are blue as steel and there's no spark of warmth in them. Megan finds it hard to look into his eyes knowing that every emotion in hers will be noticed and punished. She looks away and bends over to pick up a piece of clothes as she folds it up she feels the blouse ripped out of her fingers.

" You can finish packing later, we're still have some unfinished business " he snaps. "Why the hell did you leave my cabin, the premises was not secured ... And you know damned good that you put yourself in danger leaving that room" he hissed at her.

Megan's legs tremble and she feels panic coming up she wants to flee away from this man. But there was no escape and she looses her nerves.

She snaps at him "Don't you get it Tank, I didn't wanted to be in your room, I almost choked in there, because there's nothing more I hate in this life than you" Her eyes are filled with anger and hate as she finally looks into his stormy blue eyes, she's gasping for breath.

His voice is low and filled with sarcasm as he responces "I remember something different, I remember a night where you told me ,you would love me till the day you died" With an for Megan unexpected fast move he grabs her wrists pulling her against his chest. His mouth is plundering the soft skin of her neck... making his way up to her lips. She tries to pull away from him but his arms are as steel clamps. With his lips he forces her to open her mouth . She opens her lips to avoid the pain she remembered from their last encounter. His tongue hungrily searches for Megan's. Megan's thoughts come to an abrupt stop as she feels the passion so long concealed in her, making its way out. Deep into her throat she starts to moan as she pushes her body forwards to meet the subject of her desire. She can feel from his hardness that he's equally aroused. He lets go of her hands to pull her even closer and not for a moment their lips part as he starts to undress her. Softly he touches her breasts taking care that he doesn't touch the still painful area on her chest. His head lowers to follow the path that his hands just were. His tongue warm and wet covers her nipple and Megan can just keep in a cry. He gently forces her down to her bunk and he starts to unzip his flight suit. They're eyes never part, both are filled with red hot passion. As she feels his warmth on her body she shivers and passionately she growls at him "Damn you Ty".

There's no place for words or thoughts anymore as he reunites them after all these years. Quickly McQueen covers her lips with his, as she cries out desperately and needy. Not longer able to withhold his own orgasm any longer he joins her with an animal growl coming deep from his throat. Only seconds afterward he stands up already getting back into his flight suit. He look down on Megan who still lays on the bunk naked. The first words he adds to Megan have a deceiving soft tone.

"So your hatred didn't mean much after all did it, you lying little whore. After all these years you still haven't changed. At the first strike you still go down for any man pushing his luck are you." With these words he leaves and Megan still can't believe what just happened. The meaning of his words only struck her a few seconds later.

"After all these years nothing has changed we still are where we left off years ago. But he's right, my love for him always was bigger than the hatred I found towards him " she realizes with an shock. "Fool, will you never learn, just get dressed and get the hell off this ship. You'll probably never have to see him again, just be glad that you never told him about Rebekka ".

Megan sadly rises from the bunk feeling cold, so damned cold. As Megan goes aboard the ACP she doesn't notice the lonely figure watching her leave. She's glad that it is finally over, going home not having to worrying anymore to have to face him every day. She's pondering about a way to make sure that she doesn't have to meet with him again in the future.

After landing at the base there's an Aerotech security team waiting to get her home. The limo stopped for her house she saw the front door opened and her daughter running towards the car. Quickly Megan opened the door just in time to catch her daughter in her arms.

"Oh Mum, are you OK? You said it would be safe to go to the Saratoga and that only a few people knew that you were going".

"Sshhh hush Rebekka. I'm fine lets go inside and we talk about it."

Zeb approaches Megan and Rebekka . She hugs Megan tightly.

"Hi Megan, glad to see that your still alive let me help you with that luggage" As soon as the women are alone a storm of questions comes down on Megan. She tries to answer them as honestly as possible but she also notices the unasked question in Zeb eyes. She finally exudes her self telling them that she has to contact headoffice of Aerotech because she still has to find out what went wrong and who was responsibly. Alone in her study she makes contact to her "Boss" at Aerotech only to find that there are still no answers and that she not allowed to go anywhere anymore without a proper escort. After the phonecall she closes her eyes for a moment, she's not looking forward about tonight after Rebban has gone to bed. She saw the look on Zeb's face as she mentioned McQueen's name and Zeb would most certainly ask questions she didn't want to answer.

That night Megan brought her daughter to bed. Sitting at her bedside Megan had to tell again about her close rescue by the 58th. Megan had made sure never to mention McQueen's name more than occasionally. She was afraid that her daughter a fine preceptor that she is would notice the look in her eyes or the tone in her voice.

"Mum, did you actually talk to the 58th, how were they?"

"Are they really as good as the journalists say they are" Rebekka pleads for more information on the by her so much adored 58th Wild Cards.

"Mum, I really want to go to the academy, I want to be a fighter pilot just like them" she adds.

"I know Rebban, tomorrow I make an appointment at the academy and just wait and see what happens ok" Megan gives in with a sigh. "But now you go to sleep you hear and tomorrow we will have another talk I promise. Good night sweety sweet dreams"

As Megan walks down the stairs she thinks, her obsession with the Corps is probably in her genes.

In the kitchen Zeb is waiting. And as soon as she closes the door, Zeb's first question is fired at her.

"How did you feel seeing him again after so many years" Megan sighs and sits down, preparing for a long talk with her friend.

"Rebban, go with Sgt. Hunter; he'll show you the flight simulator here at the academy, I will join you in a minute but first a have to fill in these application forms," Megan adds to her daughter. In the principal's office Megan fills in the forms for her daughter. Suddenly she hears a voice and she shivers as someone walked over her grave.

" Megan, I heard you were here. I just wanted to check on you and let you know we found who blow the whistle about you" McQueen starts as soon as he enters the office.

Megan feels the her heart pounding in here throat. She tries to get a grip on herself as she answers: "How the hell did you find me here, the security at A- tech really sucks if they tell anyone who wants to know where I am".

Icily calm he answers "I'm not everybody and I'm here on official business so calm down and lower your voice".

"As you can see I'm in a perfect condition so tell me who talked!" Megan's brain is working on top speed she has to find a way to get rid of him fast.

"One of the APC crew had recognized you from a magazine picture and he just talked too much " McQueen answers. "What's going to happen to him"

Megan turns her back on him quickly collecting all the forms on the desk. Suddenly they hear a voice "Mum I forget my visitors badge, is it still here?" Rebekka enters to office and Megan turns around nervously looking in her daughters eyes.

Rebekka turns towards the man, standing next to her mother.

"Hello Sir, I'm Rebekka Lowe and you..." In the middle of the sentence she hesitates. She stands there frozen looking at the familiar blue eyes instantly knowing who the man is she's looking at. The man in front of her looks likes he's in a shock and not a very pleasant one. Megan feels panic coming up as she watches father and daughter finally meet up. First she sees the disbelief on his face but immediately afterwards the knowledge that this child he's looking at, is his . Then she sees the rage coming in to his eyes. Instantly she moves towards Rebekka taking her in her arms trying to protect her from so much anger. On his face she can see his struggle to get a hold of him self. She hears him taking a deep breath.

Suddenly he snaps at her "Make sure your home tonight, we have a lot to talk about and don't you try to leave because if I'll have to find you I'm going to break every bone in your body, did you hear me Megan".

Megan gasps for breath as she answers "I'll be there".

Brusquely he turns away, leaving Megan and Rebekka still in shock about what turned their lives up side down so fast. Finally Rebekka moves out of her mothers arms looking straight into her eyes asking " That was my father, wasn't he. I could feel it mum".

"He's the CO of the 58th, isn't he?" The questions kept coming out of Rebbeka's mouth desperately searching for answers from her mother and Megan realizes that its finally time to tell her the whole truth.

"Yes, Rebban this was your father, his full name is Col. Tyrus Cassius McQueen."

In the limousine on their way back Megan starts answering all the questions that still come on in her daughters mind.

"Do you think I could talk to him tonight , Mum...and what if he doesn't want to know me" Megan tries to put her daughter at ease.

"Rebban, I'm sure he would love to meet you but give him some time, he needs time to adjust that he has a child. You know that Invitro's have troubles with their emotions so be patient honey. He has probably no idea , how to act towards a child and your his so he's probably all shacken up now"

"But mum , doesn't he already have other children with aunt Susan?" Rebekka replies.

"No Rebban , I found out at the Saratoga that they're divorced several years ago and they never had kids. So that makes you his only child , you see. I might as well tell you that your father was the one who saved me at the "Toga" if he would have been a second later than I wouldn't be here sitting next to you".

"Oh Mum, please tell" Rebekka pleads.

At the same time McQueen is sitting in his car, he's staring out of the windshield. He feels confused and tries to figure out what happened so long ago.

"What went wrong and why the hell didn't she tell? Was she scared or didn't she want anybody to know that she had a tank baby? Did Susan know and was that the reason they fought?" The question just keep coming up in his mind and its frustrating him that he can't come up with some real logic answers. Suddenly he realizes that the one person who can give him some answers lives nearby.

He starts the car, trying to figure out a way to get some answers without revealing himself. That evening Megan tries to get some work done for Aerotech but her mind keeps wandering off to things yet to come. She's glad that Zeb finally left the house , she knows that all the advises given to her are well meant but sometimes she wished to have Zeb's optimistic nature. Rebban is upstairs waiting impatiently for things to come. She's glad that she allowed Rebekka to talk to him first , so if its all ending up in a fight she at least had some time with him. Megan stops typing at her keyboard and a very determined look appears on her face.

"This time I'm not going to back out, I'll will tell him all the things I wanted to tell him long ago. If he thinks he can blame things on me, BOY he's going to get things coming at him"

Suddenly she hears a car coming up the drive way, from her window she can see that her personal guards are checking the car . Her PC phone rings and one of the guards is asking if a Col. TC McQueen has an appointment.

"Yes ,I'm expecting him let him through please " Megan answers, she feels her heart beat in her throat. Megan isn't able to move a muscle as she hears the doorbell and her daughter running off the stairs.

"HI come in , we were expecting you" Rebekka starts.

McQueen enters the hall not sure what to say to this young child in front of him. But Rebekka again takes the word, she is talking fast . McQueen can see that she's real nervous.

"Sir, my mother said that I could talk to you first for a few minutes, do you mind? She said that I better talk to you before you and Mum start to fight. Your not going to hurt her, are you, Sir?" Rebekka ends her monologue.

Megan can hear the kitchen door close so she can't his response to his daughter but she's glad that he at least takes the time to talk to his child. She only can pray for Rebekka that everything works out fine. What looks like an hour later Megan can hear the kitchen door open again. She hears her daughter saying goodnight to her father and then footsteps on the stairs.

The study door opens and Megan brazes herself for the things to come. She stands up from her chair walking towards the man who's standing in the middle of the room. His face shows no expression his icy blue are freezing up the blood in her genes. But Megan tells herself "not this time , I'm not looking away, I can do what you can I'm not 18 anymore.

The silence lasts for a minute than he bursts out.

"What right did had you concealing from me that you got my child. You should have told me I had every right to know, that child is just as much mine as it is yours. Of all the things you pulled on me this one beats them all ...I would love to kill you for this"

"Were you so much ashamed of having a Tank baby that you wanted to coffer it up for the rest off the world? Or were you just not sure of who the father was in the beginning? Did you really thought things like this wouldn't come out".

He stops to take a breath and Megan sees her chance. Before he can add more insults towards her she turns things around.

"You pompous ass, I wasn't the one who lay in bed with another. I was only away for a few weeks but you couldn't wait could you? I thought what we had was special but obviously it didn't mean a thing to you. You probably thought banging one sister or the other who cares they look the same. For God's sake she was my sister! Have you got any idea how I felt when I came back?" Megan feels the tears of anger running over her cheeks but she's ignoring them. She trembles on her legs but she is determined to say all the things that should have been said long ago.

"You broke my heart, you basterd, you simply believed all the lies that little egoistic bitch told you. You could have asked me, you should just had given me a chance. But no, you choose to believe them all and you choose my sister so I let you go. I thought you were a perfect match, so I decided to live my own life and there was no place for you in it. And I still don't regret it for minute and I'm not going to apology for anything!"

Megan finally ends, looking at McQueen with an challenging expression on her face. McQueen is looking faccinated at her face and then he answers on a mild tone.

"You're right about one thing, I should have asked. I failed you big time back then, I can only say that I was very insecure in those days about relating to woman. I couldn't understand why a natural born woman gave her self to me , a tank. I thought it was all too beautiful to be true and when your sister started working on me she touched me on a sore spot. I believed every word she said. I got so drunk that night that I can't even remember anymore how I ended up in your sister bed. But because I did , I decided to stick with my *second choice* hoping it would be a good one."

Megan interrupts him "What happened, have you known all these years about the lies?"

"No, I visited Susan after I left the Academy. She lives only an hour driving away from here. I wanted some answers and I knew that if I would pressure her hard she would give me the answers I needed. But that still doesn't excuse you for not telling me that I had become a father...Have you got any idea how important it is for an InVitro to have a child from their own blood? Finally your not alone anymore. I can't have any more children, Rebekka's the only child that I'll ever have and you took that away from me".

Megan watches the emotions on his face as he is trying to explain the emotions that he feels so deep inside of him. She sees the pain in his eyes and she realizes that he has just suffered as much as she did. It feels like a cold shower. She feels all the anger fleeting from her, as she admits to herself that she should have given him a chance as well. Maybe not in the beginning but later on she could have contacted him , she never did. He may have not trusted her but she on her turn never trusted him, maybe they had both been just too young.

Megan looks at his eyes and raises her hand. She gently strokes his face. And with a voice that is hard to recognize as hers she tells him:

"You're right that was wrong, I should have given you a chance but I was just as scared and insecure as you were. Natural born or not " She wraps her arms around his neck and let her head rest on his shoulder.

"Damn you, Megan" and finally he wraps his arms around Megan waist pulling her even closer. And so they stand there, comforting each other for minutes not saying a word just enjoying each others present and trying to sort things out for them selves. Megan sees from, her edge of the perception that the door off the study is open and she looks straight into her daughters eyes. She clears her throat.

"Rebekka, are you eavesdropping or what?" She smiles at her daughter as she sees her turn red. "Why don't you come in."

"I'm sorry mum but one minute I could hear you scream at each other and the other minute there was total silence... I got real scared" Rebekka adds looking at her feet.

"Maybe you thought I was strangling your mother and you wanted to help her" McQueen adds with a twinkle in his eye. Rebekka blushes deeply but still sees the chance to ask a new question.

"Is everything OK now; are you not mad at each other anymore?". Walking towards his daughter and taking her hand into his he replies.

"Rebekka your mother and I still have to work a lot of things out. Our biggest mistake was that we never really talked to each other never learned to trust on one and other. We're not going to make those mistakes again and we'll need time to get to know each other again"

"We have hurt each other very much and only time can tell if we can let this behind us". Megan joins father and daughter putting her hand on theirs.

She adds "But from now on you can see your father when ever it's possible and you can always write to him if you would like to " Megan sees all the tension slip from their faces.

"But now it's time for you to go to sleep young lady...Say good night to your father Rebban" she smiles.

Rebekka looks pleadingly at her father. "Will I see you again tomorrow?"

"I don't think so Rebekka , tomorrow there will be an official family day at the base, i'll have to attend." he answers.

"But can't we go there as well?" she pleads.

"Rebekka, listen up, if you and your mother join me there and people are going to see us together they are going to see that your my child. And believe me , you have no idea what is coming for you , people will start treat you different because all of a sudden your going to be THAT TANK BRAT or tank bastard. Your mother's protection has always secured you from that and maybe we should consider leaving it that way."

McQueen looks upon Megan for some help and she adds to it, "Rebban, we talked about this before, I think you should really give a few night sleeps ,now go upstairs we'll talk about it in the morning."

Rebekka finally gives in and a few minutes later they are alone again. McQueen looks at Megan and tells her that he has to go as well , he still has some duty's to attend.

"Ty , I want you to know that I have never been ashamed of you or our child and that I don't care what people say". Megan looks at him and puts her hand on his chest.

"Do you really want us to try to get know each other again? Do believe there's still a chance for us" McQueen sighs

"I don't know Megan , but lets take one step at a time". He bows his head and his lips softly touches Megan's. Brusquely he turns away , walking towards the door. Looking over his shoulder he adds: "I'll look both of you up before the Saratoga leaves" and with a nod of his head he leaves.

Megan can't believe what happened the last hour and she decides she definitely needs a drink, she feels scared and exited at the same time. The next morning Rebekka enters her mother's study

"Mum, I just talked to Zeb, she's going to be back tomorrow, she can't wait to hear what happened."

Megan smiles at Rebekka "Did you finish your homework already, I told you no chatting before your work is done".

"I know , but I've already finished...You can check it if you like" Rebekka adds with a naughty smile. Rebekka takes a seat at one of the chairs at her mother's desk, looking at all the machine's that her mother is working with.

"Mum, could you stop for a while, I need to talk to you"

"Sure honey, what's up" Megan prepares herself for what she thinks is coming.

"Mum, I have always known my father was a tank and I have never been ashamed of it and I'm not going to start now".

"I know Rebban but your father is right things will change for your if this gets in the open"

"But Mum, how about you will things then not change for you "

"Yes honey but that's not the same I'm an adult I can defend myself, and I have a very unique position at Aerotech. People will think twice before offending me ! Imagine what would happen if you go to the Academy , I can't help you there you would be completely on your own" Megan ends.

"I know and I'm not scared , I have no need for friends or people who will be so short minded. I would like to ask him if he would consider to give me his name" she shyly adds. "That means if you don't mind mum " she looks at her mother with an begging expression on her face.

"No , I don't mind, you're his child , after all you look so much like him that sometimes you really scare me." Megan answers.

And she realizes that this is what her daughter really craved for. Getting a public acknowledgement from her father. Showing the world she has a father and that she's damned proud of him.

So she stands up from her chair looking at her daughter, "Come, let's go upstairs and let's get changed we have an appointment this afternoon."

As the limo stops at the base she takes her special Aerotech badge and puts it on her blue silk dress. As she gets out off the car she feels all the looks of the passing people on their way to the officer's mess. She can almost hear them think.

"Who's that gorgeous woman with that beautiful child on her side".

It makes her smile and she has no idea of the perfect picture they make as they enter the ball room.

Nervously Rebekka asks her mother "Do I look all right , maybe I shouldn't have chosen a dress that looks so much like yours".

"Just relax, you look beautiful." Megan tells her daughter.

"Have you already seen him?" Megan asks.

"Yes there he is mum , he stands there all alone across the room at the bar do you see him."

"Doesn't he look wonderful in his uniform?"

Megan searches the other end off the room and then she spots him as well.

She takes Rebekka's hand and whispers to her "C'mon, it's show time".

Rebekka whispers back: "Do you think he will be angry at us for this. Not at you honey but he's definitely is going to strangle me this time" She looks at her daughters eyes who are so much like his. And they have to laugh out loud , many heads are turned towards the beautiful sound of their voices.

McQueen feels the little hair on his neck rise as he realizing who's laughing there. He turns towards the sound and sees both woman only a view passes away and he knows there's no turning back.

For a few seconds nobody moves. McQueen stands there his face shows no expression at all. Megan feels herself getting nervous.

Than Rebekka grabs for her fathers hand, looking straight at him she tells him "I would be very proud if you would introduce me to everybody as your daughter". The look on his face softens.

"I already thought what kept you both so long but I must say you were both worth the waiting for he ironical adds.

And with a smile that only shines in his eyes he reaches for Megan's hand pulling her towards him.

The End

Wiena 1997

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