Mar. 12th, 2010

hallelujahpilot: (I still pray)
Charmaine Walker never liked being alone. She was a good Marine, tough as they came, but she hated being alone. Like Trudy, she’d grown up in an apartment commune, the kids all sleeping together in a single room, all in a big puppy-pile to keep warm in winter. She never liked being alone, so she’s not left in her hospital room with only the quiet beeping of her life-support for company. The Marines make sure of that.

They drift by when they can, talk to her, hold her hand, keep her company. Even Wainfleet ducks in, and says thank you for saving my ass. Trudy’s Frieda, a geologist originally hailing from New Zealand, reads her reports while sitting by Walker’s side; sometimes, she reads them out loud. And Trudy, Trudy does her share.

Hospital-bound by medics she can’t argue with (mostly because they outrank her), Trudy sits by Walker’s side and talks to her. She tells her what causes the bioluminescence and how Geddes’ prank on Lunn turned out. She tells her about the gossip and the jokes; she tells her about Milliways, and all the strange people she’s met there. She tells her of a green boy and a Scottish man with a crossbow, she tells her of a lovely golden retriever who talks, but who is still so much like a dog. She tells her of a glowing squid who speaks with an alarm clock, and she tells Walker that she’d get such a kick out of Milliways, if ever she turned up there.

But Trudy knows that Walker is dying, and one day, for a long time, she can’t say anything at all. Walker’s hand feels cool and light in her own, and the young woman’s face is pale, as if she were already past life but not quite yet dead. Finally, Trudy starts to talk. Softly, her words faltering, she says that she doesn’t know if God is here, not way out here in this strange, alien world. She says she doesn’t know what happens to those who die on Pandora, but she knows that be it the Humans’ Father or the Na’vi’s Mother who takes claim, or even just the lost souls of the humans here, Walker won’t be alone.

She’ll never be alone.
hallelujahpilot: (thou shalt not murder)
Dr Frieda Watson is working late in the GeoLab, which makes the New Zealand geologist easy to find. This suits Trudy just fine. She wheels herself over on a chair, and Frieda blinks, visibly dragging her mind away from her beloved rocks and crystals to this here and this now. Then she catches sight of Trudy’s face.

“Honey, what’s wrong?”

Trudy doesn’t answer straight away, just rubs her thumb along the edge of the armrest. Her expression is oddly tight, mouth pressed shut and jaw clenched. Finally, she says, “Walker’s gone.”

“Oh, Trudy.”

“They were…talkin’ about takin’ her off the life-support anyway, not getting any better, an’ all that. But she…she’s dead. Died anyway. I don’t…” Trudy stops, pressing her thumb along the metal edge of the armrest. “I can’t…I mean, I knew, I knew she was going to die, soon as I saw her after the crash, but…y’kinda…”

“Keeping hoping,” Frieda finishes for her.

“Yeah. Uh, that.”

“C’mere,” Frieda says softly, getting out of her chair only to sit on Trudy’s lap, knees either side of the pilot’s hips. Trudy wraps her arms around the other woman, shutting her eyes and pressing her face against Frieda’s shoulder. Frieda curls her arms around Trudy, and ducks her head to kiss the top of Trudy’s hair. Trudy doesn’t cry, exactly, even though Walker’s dead, Jameson’s dead, everyone except for her and Wainfleet and Ruiz are dead. Ingrid Schmidt is dead, and the pair had known each other so well they could predict each other’s movements. But Trudy doesn’t cry, exactly, just presses her face against her lover’s chest, and clings to her, and tries to keep her breathing steady as the damn tears run down her face.

Frieda doesn’t tell her it’s okay, because it’s not. She doesn’t say anything much except for soft, nonsense things in that lovely, ridiculous accent of hers. Eventually, once Trudy’s breathing has evened out again, Frieda asks, “You want to stay with me tonight?”

And Trudy says, “Please.”
hallelujahpilot: ([f] mi amora)
“Hey,” Frieda says softly sometime later, lifting her head off Trudy’s bare shoulder to look at her face. “Where’s your head at?”

Trudy blinks, frowns a little, still contemplates the ceiling of Frieda’s studio-apartment. “Dark places,” she says at last, fingers tracing patterns on Frieda’s hip.

“The crash?”

Trudy shakes her head. “No. Not really. Earth.” Tibet, Saudi Arabia, Venezuela – it never really mattered where, not really. Another hell-hole to fight and lose friends in. The worst had been Saudi, when Trudy had still been in the infantry. A twenty-two-year-old sergeant in one of the worst gunfights the century had thrown the US, and sometimes, very sometimes, she still woke up choking over the blood and dust her memory retained.

(That was when Trudy decided that if she got out of this alive, fuck being infantry.)

(The smell of death never changes – blood and shit and metal, and the stink of corpses. And half the time it doesn’t even matter on which side the corpses belong – either enemy or friend, you feel personally responsible for all of them.

All of them.)

Frieda watches her for a moment, and then pushes herself up. Sliding her leg over Trudy’s more (and being careful not to knock the cast), she straddles the pilot and grabs her hands, pinning them above Trudy’s head.

“Hey,” Frieda says, tossing her dark curls out of her face to peer at Trudy. “You’re not on Earth. You’re here. Pandora, with me.”

Trudy smirks up at her. “Yeah, I know that.”

(she also knows that Frieda’s going to go, too; go back to Earth in less than eighteen months, and be as gone as any of the dead)

(for a moment – a long, painful moment – Trudy is suddenly very, very aware of that fact)

Frieda sees the darkness pass over Trudy’s face, and leans down to kiss her. Soft and slow, lingering over her lover’s mouth. And Trudy responds in the same way, banishing memories and blood to the back of her mind.

And later, much later, she says, “I love you.”

It takes a long time for Frieda to reply, but when she does, she says, “I love you, too,” and means every word.

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hallelujahpilot: (Default)
Trudy Chacon

November 2011

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