Chapter 1
The Beginning. The End.
Memories Intruding
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:: Starbase 120

Jesa left the restaurant quietly, only a few minutes after Terah and Ethan did. She knew what Terah, her sister, wanted to speak to him about. Everything she couldn't have answered at this point. Her steps were slow and wavering, wandering wherever her feet led her. She watched the people, as if through another point of view. In a moment in which time stood still. Nothing seemed the same again.

Then she stopped, looking down at a café that she had been to before. There was a table there, and two officers were sitting. In her mind, it was her, and Buck; engrossed in some conversation of long ago. She watched for a long moment, her memory coinciding with the reality of that moment.

"So, are you looking forward to boarding?" the ghost of Buck's form asked, his voice echoing in her mind.

"Oh, so-so," Jesa teased with a slight grin "Alright... honestly, yes, but... feeling a bit nervous, of course. You?"

"I'm not nervous at all." He said, letting his eyes drift away from Jesa.

She laughed loudly. "I believe THAT one!" she said, drawing a lop-sided grin from him.

"Alright... I'll admit to some... anxious anticipation of the events to follow."

The memory of Jesa grinned and shook her head. "You just can't say it, can you?"

She watched them from outside of herself, reality that wasn't there anymore. Her eyes teared up slightly, but somehow she couldn't pull herself away from the memory... she couldn't tear her eyes from the scene. "Sir. Excuse me, sir." A voice called, causing her to jolt slightly in surprise. A young ensign dressed in science blues smiled at her. "I'm sorry, sir, I'd just like to get by." She said, her smile remaining whole.

Jesa nodded reflexively. "Oh, I'm sorry, of course." She said, realizing she was blocking a doorway. She looked back quickly to the table quickly, but there was no one there. The commander drew a deep breath and tried to rid herself of the feeling... 'Wait, how did that woman know I'm a commander?' Jesa wondered, looking around for the Ensign. But she was long gone... it didn't really matter.

She continued on, her pace slow and steady, then she stopped again. Looking up, her eyes caught two figures on the balcony, herself, and... him. The memory of Jesa had reached out and placed her hand in Buck's arm, and he held it gently with his hand. Jesa could see the elation in his face, how happy he was just to be near her. How that had puzzled her before... before she had finally learned to accept it.

The emotion of that moment welled up in her, and she found she had to close her eyes for a moment to be able to look at it. She remembered her thoughts from that time, her simple joy of being with him, near him... just basking in his love. The people around her vanished, and she, herself, became the only silent observer of the memory. They walked along slowly until they came to a corner of a crossover and the outer railing.

He stopped and just leaned against the safety rail, gazing off into nothingness. Jesa, or rather the ghost of her in the memory, looked at him, watching his face closely in some unknown need. The silence between them was not an uncomfortable one, but simply one of full enjoyment. Jesa's lips curled upward in a smile.

"Penny for your thoughts?" she asked, with a great deal of gentleness in her voice. Then he looked into her eyes, his expression still extremely sober. Jesa waited patiently for him to speak, knowing it best to let him compose his thoughts in private, and not to rush him. Finally, he spoke.

"I've always been a scientist... I've never really shown emotion before. Father believes that you can measure character by how well a man hides his true feelings... But I can't hide my feelings from you." He intoned, the emotion seeping into his voice and affecting Jesa like a wave. "You make me feel affection, warmth, desire and a hundred other feelings I've never felt before... You make me feel like I could fly-"

But in that moment, everything changed, reality and memory mixed to one. His voice turned into a yell as the balcony buckled beneath him. In that instant, Gear's life flashed before his eyes. And in that second, a realization hit him---he knew he was going to die. He felt himself thrown forward, Jesa only left to watching. And as he fell, he called to her. "Jesa!!!"

Jesa winced painfully in the memory, as the events unfolded in her mind without the aid of her eyes. Whispering, she spoke as the clamor of the base returned to her senses. "Oh Buck... I saved you then... why couldn't I have saved you now?" and then she looked around, the base felt so empty, so cold... hundreds of strangers moved past her, engulfing her in a wave that she had no control over. Her heart beat in her throat, as she felt that familiar pain.

Her eyes darted about, seeking refuge from this. A dark nook between shops and behind a support pole caught her eye, and she speedily moved over there, snuggly wedging her body into the space, which opened into a small crevice. She scooted down onto the cold floor and wrapped her arms around her legs. And there, alone in the darkness, she wept bitterly, her mind calling out his name over and over again, as if somehow, he could hear her... and he would come back.

Hours later, the exhausted form of a woman emerged from the darkness. The shops were just beginning to close, so she knew the time was about oh one hundred, or later; the only things that stayed open longer than that were the casinos and bars, and the occasional restaurant, which attracted visitors all around the clock. She walked slowly; almost limping from a wound that was not physical. It had been a very long day, from Ethan barging into her quarters, to her orders, to the Admiral and Captain Devar, to Ethan's impromptu dinner, to Terah, to these memories, these so very real memories... they all weighed heavily on her. She found herself walking with what was the last of her emotional strength, much more dangerous than physical exhaustion, for this was the exhaustion of will.

It took her almost an hour to make her way back to the Isannah, and fifteen more minutes to get back aboard, and make the decision to go to her quarters... She figured at least she should look at her messages. As Jesa slowly lowered herself into the chair in front of her desk, she felt the extent of her weariness. Her limbs felt like lead weights, and even thinking seemed burdensome. She argued to herself that she should at least look.

Jesa tapped the console, her eyes drifting down the column of messages. Most of them were simply ship's business, and much of which were simply administration work---she could ignore those. A few were complaints, and although she was sure she'd get a kick out of them later---they too, could be set aside. Then, a curious one came up from Faulk. A furrow crossed her brow and she played it.

Faulk's troubled face came on the screen, and his manner seemed a little uncomfortable and careful. This is what she could tell from the first second of the recording, before he even said anything. Then he spoke. "Callen...It's hard for me to express my feelings in time of grief. After my grandfather's death I have found a shoulder to cry on... My wife's shoulder. That has meant a great deal for me. Something I needed more than I thought at that point... Therefore I want to offer you my shoulder in rough times... Take care."

The changeling sat back and closed her eyes, trying to gain composure. It was a very sweet gesture, and she wondered why it hit so many nerves. She sat straighter and licked her dry lips, trying to come up with a response. She didn't trust her own voice so she simply tapped in the following message. "Thank you, Joseph... that was very nice of you." She wanted to say something else, but it... didn't seem to matter, so she left that very short message as it was. Maybe, just maybe, Ethan was right... she did have some friends here.

Loaded: 03.10.2004

¤ Reload Frames ¤

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