I'll see you in my Dreams
DISCLAIMER: No copyright infringements intended, no money passed by any hands, etc., etc., I just like to bring some of these characters out to visit my playground and promise to put them back when we’ve finished our game.
AUTHOR’S NOTE: Rhade’s unvoiced thoughts are in bold italics. Asterisks are used in place of quotation marks for instances where the formatting didn’t take root.
REVIEWS/FEEDBACK: Yes, please!
Harper flips through his accounts book again, giving me that dubious look again.
“Startin’ to add up, guys,” he says warily.
Beka snorts and tosses her drink back. “Must be,” she comments. “I imagine Rhade's at the point where things are starting to look up.”
** A lot you know, Beka. Nothing’s ever gonna look up while we’re stuck here. If you believe in God or the Divine, they’ve obviously forsaken this place and us along with it. **
Harper casts her a longwise glance. “Actually Rhade's at the point where you're starting to look pretty,” he quipped in that smarmy little voice of his.
** You’re a rude little snot, Harper. You’ve always been annoying, but now you’re just rude. Beka’s pretty, and you’re a bigger fool than I thought if you can’t see it. **
Whether she is wounded by his sarcasm, or just reacting to his annoyance, I can’t tell. She looks at me with some indecipherable expression. “Excuse me,” she snaps and pops Harper in the back of the head with her hand.
** If you had bone blades, you coulda made him really remember that. ** I laugh and take another drink. It’s the worst kind of rotgut Harper has stashed back there. It burns all the way down. Maybe it’ll kill off a few more brain cells if I am lucky.
“Ow!” he protests, grabbing the back of his head as though his self-described genius’ brain might have rolled out of place.
** I only look down. That keeps me from tripping on my own ideals. **
Harper fixes me with an odd look. “Who are you kidding, Rhade, you don't have any ideals.”
** Damn! Did I say that out loud? I must have because I know the little man’s not a telepath. **
Beka leans forward on the counter, sliding around on her barstool, deciding to add her two thrones to the conversation. “Exactly. You're a Nietzschean, all you have is...”
** That’s right. I’m a Nietzschean, a living god, a warrior poet, genetically engineered for perfection. And I’m stuck on Seefra. Go on, Beka, rub it in a little more. What’s another ounce of salt on a gaping wound? On the other hand, pain is good—it reminds you that you’re alive… **
“Mmmm….go on,” I encourage her.
Suddenly the realization seems to make her happy. “That’s right!” she crows. “You really have nothing, do you?”
** That’s right, lady, I got nothing. Nothing but the occasional company of a has-been crew of misfits I once thought were my friends. Nothing but an idealistic former captain who doesn’t have the good sense to realize the sky has fallen and he’s taken us crashing down on this rock with it. Nothing but memories of happier times that are easier to drown in this stinking alcohol than realize I’ll never make memories like that again. Nothing, nothing, nothing. **
I raise my glass in a toast. “Ah, you have been paying attention!”
Harper keeps wiping down the bar. “Don't be so glum. It could all be out there somewhere in one of those other universes, maybe. You could still be living your past, and have everything,” he pipes optimistically.
** Easily said by a man who never had anything, Harper. Tread carefully, little man, I can hear the thin ice beneath your feet beginning to crack… **
Beka decides to join in. “That's right, you could still be an Admiral, on Terazed.”
** That’s it! The last brick in my wall has just been broken. Did you have to speak the name of my home world, Beka? Does it make you happy to remind me of how far I’ve fallen? Do you really want to see me crumble and lie on the dirty floor, broken, useless, and empty? Now you’ve done it, and you have no idea how many years I’ve fought to lay these demons to rest. Carana, I can still feel your touch, and hear the laughter of my beautiful children… **
I toss a big gulp back and don’t look at either of them. “With the wife and three little children,” I mumble.
Beka laughs like it’s another joke. “Yeah. A wife.”
Maybe Harper isn’t as much a cretin as I like to think. His expression morphs from antagonistic to curious. “Children? You don’t have ankle-biters, do you?” he asks suddenly.
** Benjamin, Michael, Christina…each one more incredible than the last. Their bright little smiles could fuel a thousand suns like the one failing this system. **
The disbelief on Beka’s face mirrors my own every time I realize they are lost to me forever. “What?” she asks quickly, her voice rising. “ Rhade, you never mentioned...”
“They're dead,” I tell them, slugging back the last of the whiskey.
The looks on their faces are priceless, expressions I’ve
never seen before when they look at me. Shock. Disbelief.
I lean on my elbows and look at them. “What if we're backwards? Is there another Beka Valentine out there, another Maru, with another Seamus Harper riding shotgun? Or have they been cosmically erased by your arrival here?”
** Yeah, that hurts, huh? Chew on that one a while, friends. Maybe I’m not the only one whose life got screwed beyond measure. Misery loves company and I’m pretty damned miserable. Thanks for the reminder. **
Beka’s eyes are large, the same light color as a perfect sky on Terazed. Her hand is soft as it rests on my arm. Ordinarily, I’d enjoy the contact of skin against skin. Not now. “I'm so sorry, Rhade,” she whispers.
Thankfully, Harper has nothing to say. He stares dumbly at me. I put the empty glass down on the bar. It’s a hollow and empty vessel, just like me.
I push away from the bar. “The party's over,” I announce and wander off alone to my rooms.
The thing I call a bed is disheveled and smells of sweat and sex. I fall into it because it’s closer than the floor.
** Ah, Carana, my love, if I tell that lie often enough, maybe I’ll start to believe it, too. You might as well be dead. I’m dead to you, so shouldn’t that make you dead to me?
They branded me a traitor because of what the Kodiak, Anasazi, did. I was doing what had to be done, just like my ancestor, Gaheris. They eventually called him a traitor, too. Now we have more in common than just our genetics.
I can still see your sad little face in that last comm. Session as you begged me to please take you and the children with me when I found sanctuary on the Andromeda Ascendant. But no. Dylan Hunt, almighty savior of the Commonwealth dream, convinced me that in a very brief time we could overcome the darkness of the Fall, resurrect the Commonwealth. A bright and glorious new day would dawn, and I would be back on Terazed again, my name cleared of the false charges against me. I was an idealistic young fool, Carana.
I said I would follow Dylan Hunt anywhere in the name of his crusade. I’ve followed him straight into hell and there’s no escape now. I once revered him as my captain, my king. I despise him now because I realize that he’s cost me what I could never afford to lose—you, my children.
Forgive me, my love. I’m broken beyond repair. The more I drink, the easier it is to sometimes think that you were just a lovely dream. If you were a dream, then I want to sleep and never wake.
There have been women, many women. They’re only a means to an end, a blind fantasy, poor substitutes for you. They giggle when I cry out your name when they’re filling a vacant physical need. They’re simple creatures who believe it’s a Nietzschean word for pleasure that they imagine they’ve inspired within me.
I miss you. I miss our children. Do you miss me? I love you! Please, still love me, too.
Dylan says that if we got into this place, then we can get out. I’ll apply all my energies into surviving this nightmare to help make that a reality. When I do, there won’t be any power in the universe to keep me from rushing back to your arms.
Good night, my love, I’ll see you in my dreams.
I always do… **