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The year is 2126. The concept of space exploration, of reaching out and travelling galaxies beyond our own is no longer a fantasy or restricted to the dreams of those with vivid imaginations.

Technological advancements mean that this is no longer a flight of fancy, it is a reality. The First Wave, a division dedicated to space travel and exploration has reached out to other galaxies and other life forms. Beginning to settle and colonise space, space stations and way points exist now all over the multiverse.

Humanity has not only met, but have formed peace treaties with other species, and are only now beginning to explore the many weird and wonderful planets that comprise the cosmos. Planets of ice, planets of lush, green tropical jungles, desert planets.....planets not unlike our own.

The multiverse is a place of many many wondrous things and unparalleled beauty, and the First has dedicated itself to finding and documenting all of them.

This.....is the tale of two such agents. Two intrepid explorers who will find themselves sent on a mission of a lifetime. They will push themselves to their very limits and in doing so, they will discover the truth of the universe itself and their genesis.

They will face their own darkness within as a threat unlike any they have known threatens them and their very existence.

Most of all, they will discover the truth of who they are.
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”Ensign Kayler. Ensign Kayler.”

The buzz of his personal intercom was as persistent as it was irritating. It would not go away however. He opened his eyes with a groan, shielding them from the red blinking of his personal comm.

”Ensign Kayler, you are late for your briefing,” said the slightly irritating robot woman.

”Whatever,” he raised his hand, clenching it into a fist and bringing it down on top of the stupid blinking light.

It smashed, and the red light was no more. ”And fuck off too,” he moaned again before laying his head back down.

Turning his head to see who was lying next to him, he smirked at the sight of a shock of blonde hair coming out from under the cover. It was then that the memory of last night game to him. He remembered the disco. He remembered the flashing orange lights at the top of the dance floor. He remembered seeing her there, alone. He remembered working his way over to her, placing his arm around her.....

Morgan slid out of bed, casually noting his officers uniform crumpled on the floor. As she lay there, still asleep, he gathered his clothes, smoothing them over before putting them back on. Reaching into his pocket, he drew out a small round metallic object. Bringing it to his lips, he whispered, ”One hundred and fifty four,” into it.

Placing it back into his pocket, he walked over to the mirror and looked into it. Ignoring the sight of his two bloodshot eyes staring back at him, as well as the shadows under them, he reached up, pushing the loose strands of hair back into place. Then glancing back at the sleeping girl, he smirked again.

”Sorry, duty calls. Be seeing you.”

Of course, being asleep, she couldn’t answer as he glided out of her apartment, pushing the door shut behind him.

***


The flight deck was a long, almost cavernous room. On either side of the room, lined up in order next to each other, exploration pods. Small and round aircraft, they were only designed to fit two people per craft. So it was that the exploration teams that were sent out were sent out in groups of two, first to reconnoiter and report back when it came to exploring new planets.

Their ship, the Galacticus, was a cruiser designed to house many such teams. Posted out in a remote area of the universe, inside a quadrant that had never been explored before, it was down to the people on board the Galacticus to discover and explore new frontiers.

Today, it was Morgan’s turn to go out, and his new partner, Beatrice.

They were stood on a metal walkway overlooking the exploration craft. As he came running down the walkway, Morgan noted with a strange sinking sensation in the pit of his stomach that she had already arrived, as had their superior, Major Carver. Morgan was late.

Very late.

”Sir,” Morgan began, running up to them and saluting his superior officer.

A grim, stern faced man, Major Carver did not look like the man to suffer fools gladly. Which could be borne out by the cold expression on his face.

”Ensign Kayler. If you are late again to your briefing, I will suspend both you and your partner for a week without pay,” he said in a voice that lacked any sort of warmth and humour.

”Noted Sir,” Morgan turned to look at his partner.

She was an attractive girl, not far removed from his own age. Her hair was the strangest colours, waves of purple and blue combining to give off a fascinating sheen.

”Hey there,” Morgan whispered with a grin just seconds before Major Carver cut him off.

”Ensign Kayler. Your reputation is almost legendary here on the Galacticus, as are your, uh, habits. The Science Officer, Beatrice, is not to be considered as one of your, ahhh, conquests.”

Morgan scowled at that, raising his eyebrow as the Major began detailing assignment. They’re sending me with a SCIENCE OFFICER of all people? Not a co-pilot, or a gunner? Great....just fucking great.

”Two thousand clicks away, near the edge of the system, our advanced ships caught site of a planet that we have not yet documented. This planet, from what we can see, is an arid desert world. You will have to take the appropriate gear and equipment to cope with the hazards such a desolate place will bring. You are to take the Falcon, fly over to the planet, touch down and document what you find. Do a cursory Investigation of your surroundings but don’t stray too far from your pod. Of key importance to us are signs of life, and an indication of whether the planet is suitable for colonisation?”

Glaring at the two of them, Major Carver then added, ”Any questions?”

@Guardian Angel Haruki
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Beatrice had been up long before anyone else. After doing her exercises and jogging, reading the news, and eating breakfast, she promptly went to meet with Major Carver for her briefing. Turns out she was quite early because she had to wait for Major Carver. Then the both of them had to wait for her partner...for one hour much to her irritation.

During all of that one hour, she stood still and at attention, like a soldier. The only indication that she was alive was the fact that she still blinked her eyes. Whenever she was asked questions to pass the time, she answered them professionally and curtly.

When Major Carver gave the threat to him, Beatrice glared daggers his way. She would be punished if he was late again as well?! That is unacceptable! She took in her partner's appearance, and noted how he seemed to have the physical qualities that would make others consider him as 'attractive'. Beatrice did not answer his whispered greeting. At the mention of his reputation and his conquests, Beatrice was confused at first, but then she remembered what she heard from the rumors floating around the Galacticus. She recalled that Ensign Kayler had the tendency to try and procreate with countless women, like he was a rabbit.

She listened quietly, still at attention. As he briefed the both of them, she made a mental list of what supplies they would need in an arid desert.
When he asked if there were any questions, Beatrice spoke up, her voice professional,

"Yes, Sir. Do you require any samples from our mission, or will documentation suffice?"

She knew that each mission would be different, some would require samples, and others would not. So, she thought it best to ask.
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Major Carver looked at her and nodded.

”Soil samples at the very least. If you can bring me back samples of the local flora and fauna too that would be even better Officer. Do you have any comments of questions Ensign?”

Feeling her eyes bore daggers into him, Morgan smiled slightly. Glancing sideways at her, he gave her a surreptitious wink as he answered, ”None here Major. I will see to it that it is done.”

Nodding his head, Major Carver glared also at Morgan before his glance softened slightly when looking over towards Beatrice.

”Very well. You are to report back with your findings in three days. Dismissed.”

As he turned to leave, walking down the metal walkway, Major Carver’s voice trailed after him.

”Ensign Kayler.” Stopping, Morgan looked back to the Major.

”Once, you were the best. You aced every single course. Every single exam, you were always the best of them all. Its why you’re still here. Its the only reason you’re still here. Don’t let the past destroy everything you once were Ensign. You won’t get another chance than what you have now.”

And with those words, Morgan’s expression went hard. His eyes stared at Major Carver as the seconds drifted by.....seconds that drifted into a minute. Finally, he nodded his head.

”I’ll bear that in mind Major,” he said coldly, all hint of laughter and jokes gone now.

Before more could be said, Morgan went down the metal ramp leading to the floor of the hangar.

”Today we will be going out in the EX-128,” he said without looking back to Beatrice, his tone now professional and business-like.

Arriving at the small pod, he gestured to it. A round, circular space ship, it wasn’t big enough to fit any more than two people inside of it. There was a ramp leading up into the interior of the ship. It was this ramp that Morgan stood in front of.

”The EX-128 is a prototype. It was not built for comfort. It was not built for combat. Its been designed small deliberately,” he ran his hand across the shiny grey metal surface. ”It can travel at greater speeds than the Galacticus, than any ship you’ve likely been on before Officer,” he said looking back to her with a small smirk.

”When we take off, I’d recommend that you belt up and sit back for the ride,” still smirking, he walked up the ramp inside.

Inside the ship, a long corridor leading in from the outside came to a single door separating. Pressing a small circular depression outside the door, an arched hatch opened up with a low hiss. Beyond there were two chambers. The one they stood in was an elongated circular chamber. There were two beds on one side of the chamber, and what looked to be a kitchen area on the other side. The beds were covered with simple, and clinical, white sheets, and the kitchen, for what it was, had one counter on it with what appeared to be a fridge and cooker next to it. They were both metallic. The whole room had a metallic look to it. Grey metal shone everywhere, bright in its pristine cleanliness. The only exception to this were the white covered on the bed.

”There are two rooms in the ship. Like I said, it wasn’t built for comfort,” Morgan said as he walked into the first room.

”A combined sleeping and dining quarters. Beyond the door there is the cockpit. That is where I will be flying and you’ll be navigating.”

As his eyes flickered back to her, he nodded his head. ”You do know how to navigate don’t you Officer?”

Without waiting for an answer, Morgan walked next to and flopped on one of the beds. Turning on his side and looking over to her, his smile turned slightly suggestive as he gazed at her with his dark eyes.

”You know, even though we have two beds, it is possible to fit more than one person on a bed....” he patted the space next to him on the white covers.

A space that suggested that there was, indeed, room for another.

”It gets really cold out there,” he said, still looking at her with intent. ”Real cold.”
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Beatrice mentally noted the answer regarding the samples. When they were dismissed, she turned to leave, but she stopped when she heard the Major address her partner. Curious, she stopped and listened as well. She raised an eyebrow at the words. He was the best? What the heck happened that made him like this now? Whatever it was, it's clearly serious as her partner suddenly went cold.

She decided now wasn't the time to ask such questions as he led the way to the Falcon, or the EX-128. As he spoke, Beatrice took in the details, and started calculating the carrying capacity for the supplies they need without hampering the ship's speed. She lifted a small device and started putting in orders for rations, the device beeping rapidly with every button rapidly pressed.

He got her attention once more when he asked if she could navigate. Was he joking? Of course she could! Navigation was one of the essential topics for Exploration Sciences. However, before she could answer as such, he simply flopped on one of the beds, and....proceeded to start trying to initiate procreation with her.

With a deadpan look and narrowed eyes, Beatrice simply did not answer, and tapped on her device before closing the device. Not long after she finished using the device, rations, supplies, sample containers, and a couple pairs of flannel blankets and PJs appeared in the closet. But that wasn't all that warped into this ship.

Apparently, Beatrice has some sense of humor, because numerous bags of ice warped in, on the bed specifically, and they were uncomfortably close to Morgan. If he wasn't cold before, he most certainly is now.

She then added professionally, "I just warped in the supplies needed to last us for three days. According to my calculations, it should not hamper the speed of this space craft. I believe we are ready to head out,"
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Morgan certainly was not prepared for the appearance of the ice, as it piled onto the bed right next to where he was. He rolled off the bed and back to his feet, shivering as he did so.

So it’s like that, is it? She was “one of those types. Never mind, they all thaw eventually.

Raising an eyebrow at the sudden appearance of the supplies, he held his hand on his hips as he shook his head.

”Lets hope that we don’t get delayed then Officer,” he said with the smallest of smiles.

When she spoke, she spoke with what Morgan liked to call “robotic precision”. She was professional, mechanical......devoid of passion or humour. Studying her features, taking in the whole of her, Morgan found himself noting that, while she was certainly extremely pretty, it was the sort of beauty that seemed to be sculpted or manufactured rather than being human. She was, in her manner and demeanour, almost like a robot. He was, for a moment, almost tempted to ask whether or not she was a synth, but finally decided better of it, pushing the thought back again.

Walking the room, taking in its surroundings, Morgan went over to the closet, glancing over the supplies and clothing before nodding his head in an appreciative manner.

”So, Officer, since we’re going to be partnering and travelling for a while together why don’t you tell me a bit about yourself?” Morgan began, flashing her a small smile as he sat down again on the edge of the bed, ignoring the bags of ice as he gazed at her.

”Where are you from Beatrice? Friends, family.....you know the sorts of questions.”

The corners of his lips turned up in the slightest of smiles as he added, ”Any significant others I should be wary of?”
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Beatrice stared at him when he mentioned delays, and she answered his comment, "Provided we follow protocol perfectly, we should have no delays," She watched him as he looked around and took in the supplies that she ordered. She noted that he nodded approvingly, as well as he should. Her calculations were correct, and she took everything into account. Or at least she thinks she did...

Before the anxiety could creep in, she turned her attention back to the Ensign. She had noted his physical qualities were attractive, and now that she could see his body language, she could see that he was lackadaisical and was not serious in general. How in the world did someone like him become referred to as the best once?

Beatrice listened as he asked his questions, and her eyes became half-lidded at his last question regarding a significant other. She answered him, "No. I do not have time for such tomfoolery," She then continued as she brought up a holographic star map from her watch and as she started pre-planning a course, she continued answering his question, "I am from London. My father is Dr. Marche Briarwood, and my mother is Dr. Melissa Briarwood. Dr. Tessa Briarwood is my older sister, and Dr. Anthony Briarwood is my older brother,"

It was impossible for anybody to not know those names, as they were big names in the science world and made significant contributions to society.
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”Tomfoolery,” Morgan chuckled at that.

The woman was ice. Pure ice. Looking at her, he would have been hard pressed in that single instant to see if there was any difference between woman and machine. Everything was spoken with a cold detachment, like a block of ice. Or a machine. Maybe she was one of them? One of those lifelike synths that were created to give one the impression of being human, when they were not.

But no, he recognised the names that she spoke. Giving s low wolfwhistle, he jumped back to his feet.

”Impressive, Science Officer Beatrice Briarwood. You are descended from greatness. You must be so proud of yourself. No wonder command thinks highly of you. I consider myself honoured to be in your presence.”

Heading over to the metallic door that was at the far side of the room, Morgan presses the round button. It opened, sliding upwards, revealing a small circular chamber beyond.

”We should get this show on the road, your greatness.”

Going into the round cockpit, there were two seats positioned next to each other. In front of one of the seats was a large console. On the console was a monitor that showed an image of a large green grid. Periodically on the grid, green and red lights blinked on and off in a strange, almost disconcerting pattern.

Next to the other seat was a second console. This one had what seemed to be a series of levers and large buttons. It was this seat that Morgan sat himself down. Reaching up to his top right, he pulled down the seatbelt, strapping himself into the chair as he placed his right hand on one of the levers.

Outside the window in front of the cockpit was a view of the ships hangar. On the ground level people scurried back and forth, going about their business, either going in or out of the other aircraft in the bay, or otherwise seeing to the repairs of said aircraft. One figure stood in front of the Falcon. He had a red anda green flag in his hands as he held his hand up, gesturing to Morgan to bring the ship forwards slowly.

”Buckle yourself in partner,” he said, looking back to Beatrice as he reached up to the large red button just over his head.

”Its going to be a bumpy ride, so don’t get too comfortable,” he chuckled as he placed his finger on the ignition.
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Beatrice's gaze seemed to have become much more detached, lifeless, and robotic after he commented on who her family was. Her mind lingered on the words "You must be so proud of yourself," The words would not just leave her alone, and with those words came memories. Memories that drove her to do better, and to do more, even if it meant not sleeping for days.

In response to his words, she answered coldly, mechanically, and simply, "Why? I've accomplished nothing,"

When he suggested that they get started, she nodded in agreement, before she coldly stated, "Don't call me that," She then stepped forwards into the cockpit and took her seat, already getting to work with the grid right in front of her. She quickly buckled her seat when she had the chance.

After he spoke, and she noticed that his finger was on the ignition, Beatrice stopped preparing the map, and she leaned back against the back rest of the seat, and gripped the arms. She answered seriously, "Ready, Ensign,"
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As his finger hovered over the ignition, Morgan looked back to her. His eyebrow raised slightly at her comment.

”Science Officer Briarwood...” he began as he pressed the button.

Behind them the jets came to life with a loud roar as the Falcon started to inch forwards slowly.

”You’re about to be the first of the human race to set foot on a planet in the Epsilon System.”

The officer waved them forwards. Twisting the flight stick, Morgan maneuvered the ship to the left. In the distance, the hangar bay doors began to open.

”Your siblings and your parents, for all their achievements haven’t done what you’re about to do. Congratulations Miss Briarwood,” he turned his head to her with a small smile. ”...you’re about to join the list of people that have accomplished something.”

Grinning, Morgan pressed the throttle forward softly, moving the pod forwards. Beyond, the open expanse of space beckoned. A veritable carpet of black punctuated by white glittering stars. The officer outside nodded his head and moved out of the way. On the metal walkway, standing at its head, Major Carver looked over. He held his hand up, signalling to the two of them.

Three days. Don’t be late

Heading towards the end of the hangar, the pod gradually increased pace. The exit came closer, leading to the cavernous, never ending abyss of space beyond.....

Then it was free, and the Falcon was heading out into the great unknown. On either side the blackness of the universe could be seen. There were other aircraft, both heading towards and away from the Galacticus on their own individual missions.

A waystation was hovering near the Galacticus, flashing red and green lights to mark the position of the ship. Several patrol ships circled the perimeter, keeping an eye out for any threats.

Turning his head back to Beatrice, Morgan grinned again.

”Are you ready to make your mark on the universe officer?”

He pressed the button to engage warp speed.
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Beatrice looked to Morgan when he spoke once more. As the jets roared to life, he pointed out that they were about to be the first of the human race to set foot on a planet in the Epsilon System.

...Was he...trying to say otherwise in regards to her earlier statement?

...While it was true that her siblings and parents haven't done anything like this, there was still a part in Beatrice's mind that stated that getting there was one thing, and actually doing something is another.

But she didn't voice that out loud.

Instead, she took in the vast expanses of space as the pod left the Galacticus. It was always a beautiful and somewhat terrifying sight.

When she felt his eyes once her once more, she looked back to him. In response to his question, she nodded and she answered as she prepared the map once more, "Let's do this,"
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Pressing the button, the world around them became a blur. The stars shot by them as they tore their own way through the multiverse. And as they did so, little did they realise that they were heading towards destiny.

The planet they were heading towards had only been seen in passing by the Galacticus's sensors. Noone had been to it, and as far as Morgan knew, they were about to be the first of humanity to set foot on it.

He should have been excited.....but he was not. All he felt inside of him was a barren, nothingness, and it was the nothingness that had consumed him slowly from within. The drink was a balm.....when he was drunk, it numbed the grief that he felt inside of him. But what it could not take away was her face. Her face, her eyes as she looked at him.....looked at him as she fell, begging him to help. That, inasmuch as he tried.....he was too late. It ate away at him, his dreams.....nightmares. The same one every single night, and each night he watched the same terrible vision. He was too slow. He was always too slow.

There was nothing he could do that night.....or was there? Was it his own failure that Vanna was dead? Her corpse nothing but empty vacuum now as it had been shot out into space, the way that she wanted.

Those women.....the women that he took to his bed. They all wore her face. They all had her eyes. And they all looked at him in that same accusing way.

You couldn't save me. You were too slow, and I am dead because of it.

Morgan should have been excited, yet like all things, like his bravado and his manner, it was an empty fake thing. Deep down, he hoped, as he hoped every time, that this mission would be his last.

And every time, every single morning he was disappointed. And every single day, the ghosts continued to follow him. They....she watched him.....and she waited for him to die.

All the sounds becoming distant,
Breathing easy,
As I melt in to the ground,
There is calmness on the water,
Moving slowly,
No darkness hiding here,
A strange kind of comfort,
Maybe this time it's good for me,
Took a while to get there,
So many days of falling apart,


There was a strange kind of comfort.....here in oblivion.

The red flash shook Morgan from his reverie. Eyes blinking in alarm, Morgan glanced over to the console, to the red blinking light warning of an object that had come into close proximity to them.....

"Wha.....an asteroid.....how did it get past your charts.....?"

He moved his hand to the flight stick, trying to twist the pod of its way, out of the collision path that it was on...... But he was too late.

Too late once again Morgan. You're always too late. You couldn't save me, and you couldn't save yourself or your partner.....

The asteroid smashed into the side of the pod. The impact caused an explosion from behind. Morgan's head jerks forwards, slamming straight into the console. All of a sudden as pain ripped through him, his vision turns red as blood pours from where his head had split open...... Gasping, as white lights suddenly flashed across his eyes, mixed with the blood that dripped over the sparking console, he reaches out, punching buttons into the damaged console desperately.

The pod was spinning, round and round and round and round and round and........

"Beatrice......we have to land......nearest planet......NOW!"

His vision suddenly blacked for the briefest of seconds as he closed his hand on the stick again, trying to pull the Falcon back under control as it went spinning out of control.....

And as he did, he looked up to see her face, looking back at him once more.
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As the ship entered warp speed, Beatrice was hard at work. She was glad that Ensign Kayler had fallen silent, it meant that she could focus on her job. As the data regarding the spot where they were going to drop out of warp speed appeared. As she took in the data, she warned Ensign Kayler, "There are going to be asteroids when we drop out of warp. According to the data, we should be able to avoid them..."

The key word was should, because unfortunately, an asteroid got past the ship's sensors.

When Morgan asked his question, Beatrice answered as she tried to remedy the situation, "I don't know! That shouldn't have been possible!" She immediately got to work in starting the emergency protocol as the red lights flashed within their cabin, immediately having the back up autopilot ready.

Before Morgan could even navigate the pod out of the asteroid's way, the space rock collided with the pod, and Morgan knocked his head against the controls. Beatrice looked to Morgan and after he spoke, she nodded. She called to the computer, "Autopilot! Set course for the closest planet!"

After the computer gave acknowledgement of her command, she immediately hurried over to Morgan. She pulled him away from the controls and lied him down on the floor. He was not in any condition to fly and he needed to have that head wound taken care of. Once he was lying down, she hurried to the supplies amongst the spiraling chaos. As she headed for the supplies, she ducked to avoid sparks of electricity, and held onto any part of the interior that wasn't flying from the spinning chaos.

Once she found the gel pack, she hurried back to Morgan. Once there she called, "Autopilot! Raise interior shield! Brace for impact!" In response to her command, a blue half dome of light appeared around her and Morgan.
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When Beatrice pulled him away from the controls, Morgan's head was hurting badly. His vision was darkened from the blood that spilled out from the open wound in his forehead. As she laid him down, the one thought prevalent in his consciousness was the fact that he no longer had the flight stick.....was no longer in control of what went on on the ship.

Her words went in and out of his ear amidst a cacophony of ringing noise. Trying to rise, he struggled to get to his feet. His head spun, and spun, and spun, and spun......

Outside the cockpit, the darkness of space went, transmogrifying into the blueness of the sky as the pod entered the atmosphere. He felt the temperature rise as the pod continued to hurtle down, coming down, down, down....

"Brace for impact!"

He heard that loud and clear.

"Beatrice...." he gasped, struggling to find the words.

And as he tried to rise unsuccessfully once more, as his exploded into bright light as he slumped back down, Morgan wondered if this time he had pushed it too far, and whether this would be the time that he died. His mouth turned into the slightest of smiles at the thought.... I've earned this.....this rest. I deserve this. Closing his eyes for a second, Morgan lay his head back down, ready to join the ghosts that haunted him.

What is the point in living when you don't feel alive?

Every night since it had happened...... It was always the same. Terrible, terrible dreams that haunted his subconscious like a dark angel hovering over him, bloody scythe in its hand. The dream always took him back to the same place. The place they had met. Yet here, now, in this hollow mockery of a place conjured up by the darkest recesses of his diseased mind, there was nothing. Nothing but an empty wasteland inhabited by ghosts and shadows.

Echoes of what once was, but could never be again. And so he searched. He searched for her, and although his dreaming mind conjured up a hundred or more ghosts, each bearing her face.....her body, they were nothing but empty, decaying husks. And although these spirits looked like her, his Vanna, although they moved like her, spoke like her, told him that she loved him, it was all a whispered lie. She was gone, and Morgan could no longer be sure that it wasn't he who was the husk.

Although these ghostly doppelgängers stole her face and body, they could never be her. Vanna was gone now. Gone forevermore. And Morgan wondered, deep down, why the dark angel's scythe had not fallen upon him.


He jerked up sharply at impact. Yet he did not die. They did not die. In fact there was no impact. Blinking, trying to ignore the pain flashing in his head, he looked out the cockpit......to see water. Lots of water.

"Beatrice," he whispered. "We're underwater...."
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Once the interior shield was up, and Beatrice was sure that they would be protected as the pod crashes to the planet, she quickly got to work tending to Morgan. It wasn't long after he spoke and passed out, that she wrapped his head in the gel pack's wrapping, before she injected the orange and blue syringes at the same time. The orange and blue liquid spilled into the clear liquid of the pack and the chemical reactions got to work in repairing any neural damage that Morgan may have received from slamming his head into the controls, and speed up the healing process for his cranial wound. Thankfully, the process didn't take too long and by the time they crashed into something, Morgan was completely healed.

She looked towards the window that showed the outside of the pod, just as Morgan gasped and sat up awake and alert, and saw that they had crashed into the water and it was now sinking. She swore quietly. She knew that they can't stay in the pod. If they were in an ocean, then there would be a chance that they wouldn't escape due to the pressure if they waited too long.

She lowered the shield and quickly packed the essentials and prepared the gear that would provide them oxygen, and as she gathered these supplies she told him, "I know. We can't stay in the pod. We'll have to get to land before the pod sinks too deep,"

She tossed him a bag of supplies and his gear and she told him "I hope you're ready for a swim."
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As Beatrice attended to his wound, Morgan glanced at her. As she worked over him, the way she moved....the way she acted, a memory surfaced within him.

***


"Stay still now. You'll make it worse."

The girl gazed at him with eyes of clearest blue, as her golden locks fell to her shoulders. Trying to stand, Morgan was felt with the resistance of a hand as she pushed him back down.

"They say you're the best huh?"7

Her tone was none too impressed as she looked down at him, lying there with a bandage over his head.

"Is that how you got that head wound sparring with your crewmates, or was it just typical laddish boisterousness?"

Lying back down, Morgan laughed, turning his head around to face her.

"Who bit you this morning? Are you always in this much of a bad mood?"

The sound of her sigh was the sort of sound that one would make when they were tired of dealing with complete and utter imbeciles. "I suggest physical activity to make sure your cognitive faculties, lacking though they are, are not damaged from the blow you took. I suggest the pool."

Picking up a bag of supplies, the girl threw them over at him. "I hope you're ready for a swim."

Catching the supplies, Morgan grinned, still looking to her. "I still got it," he stuck out his tongue as he glanced down to the bag he held. "What's your name?"

The blonde girl turned around, looking at him, her blue eyes glinting from the hint of curiosity.

"Vanna. My name is Vanna."

***


She tossed him a bag of supplies and his gear and she told him "I hope you're ready for a swim."

Catching the supplies, Morgan grinned, still looking to her. "I still got it," he said, looking down to the bag he held.

Beginning to stick out his tongue at her, he suddenly paused..... His face drained of colour and his blood turned to ice.

"V.....Vanna?"

The sound of his voice....there, for a second, it was broken.....smashed like a glass dropped to the floor. But of course, the woman standing before him wasn't Vanna. Vanna had died in his arms. Nor was it anything more than the ghost of a memory that simply would not let him go. Shaken, Morgan turned away from her. Opening the bag with trembling hands, he looked inside to see the gear that she had put inside it. Nodding his head in approval, Morgan kept his face turned away from her. Zipping the bag back up, he went over to a storage container to the back of the cockpit. Opening it, he took out two wetsuits. Throwing one to Beatrice while still keeping his face away from her, Morgan quickly donned the second one.

As Beatrice put on the other wetsuit, Morgan strapped the oxygen canister to his back, and placed the mask over his face.

Walking over to the console, he glanced out of the window as the Falcon continued to sink. The underwater world passed them by on the outside. On the odd occasion he could see shadowy shapes flitting in and out of view as they plummeted down.....still further down. Yet there was no choice, irrespective of the danger. This was something that they had to do.

Finally looking back to Beatrice, he simply nodded to see that she was ready.

Then he flipped the switch to open the pod.
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