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Aug. 11th, 2007 @ 07:40 pm What's next?
Rays!In!Space! AU Part 7

Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4 | Part 5 | Part 6




Vecchio had refused to stay in his cabin. Frannie had tried to argue him down, even going so far as to pull out the 'What would Ma say?' card, but it did no good. Ray caught the haunted look in Vecchio's eyes and knew only too well that the guy just did not want to be alone right now.

"Hey, hey, hey," Ray had chided. "You gotta hold that card in reserve for when it really matters. You can't be brandishing your Ma about like some all purpose Punishment waiver. Words have got power, see? But you gotta use them right."

Quietly, Ray had taken charge, making sure Vecchio got dressed in some warm clothes, following him up the ladder in case the shaking hands he was trying so hard to conceal made him miss a step, installing him on a seat in the rec room from which he couldn't see the nomad ship.

So now he stood by the cooking facilities, making a cup of hot, sweet chava and watching Frannie cycling through yelling at Vecchio, hugging him fiercely, crying loudly, laughing with an edge of hysteria and then back to the yelling. It was an impressive sight. Not just for the four seasons in point one hour, but because it made it very clear just how much Frannie loved her brother. And how much her brother loved her back. Because despite the shaking hands and the rolled eyes, Vecchio's kiss dropped tenderly on Frannie's head when she clung to him spoke more than words.

Ray stirred another lump of sugar into the chava and was surprised to feel a sting of jealousy as he looked at the two of them, Vecchio's arm wrapped tightly around Frannie as she sobbed and laughed into his chest. Ray hugged himself briefly before picking up the cup and handing it to Vecchio.

"I'll go make the, er, reports," said Ray.

Vecchio nodded.

"Right. I'll do that then." Ray found himself oddly reluctant to leave which was dumb because Frannie was taking care of Vecchio and there was no danger now and anyway Ray might have some respect for the guy but he wasn't sure he actually liked him or anything.

Vecchio nodded again and he pointed up to the hatch and then drew his index finger in a sharp line under his chin.

"I got it," Ray grinned.

Ray felt Vecchio's eyes on him all the way up the ladder.

*

"Stay," Kowalski said to Ian as he stepped into the cockpit.

Ian blanched and sat on his hands which were twitching with nerves. He'd had plenty of time to think and he had this great cover story about the Nav system and its potential infection by nanites picked up from the delivery guy in Lysander but when he opened his mouth Ray just glared at him and he shut it. Ian hadn't known Kowalski long and he'd never seen him mad before. Now he realised what a blessing that had been.

He sat still and listened as Ray called Contingency Maintenance and then COPS-Captain Welsh. He could feel his eyes getting bigger and the knot in his stomach tightening with every detail. He ate them? Kowalski rescued Vecchio with a crowbar? Ian was horrified, but a little part of him was already sorting and storing the information – this was too good a story to miss.

Ray finished what he was doing and swivelled round in his chair.

"Just answer me this one thing," he said, voice conversational. "What exactly were you doing?"

"I-"

"D'you think we could get the real answer without having to go through 'Ian's Primer of Made-up Shit' first?"

Ian was confused. Where had angry Kowalski gone? He told the truth, he couldn't seem to help it. He explained about the information from the Washington Space Station and about his own observations, conveniently leaving out the hacking. He tried to explain about why warp gates were so important but Ray stood up and came to lean on Ian's console, idly picking up one of the figures that adorned it and twisting it in his hands.

"You have to stop with this warp gate thing, Ian. You want to be responsible for the deaths of who knows how many people if these guys get away?"

Ian blinked.

"I hadn't thought of it like that."

"You hadn't really thought at all."

No, Ian, realised, he hadn't. Seventy-two had been reported dead from the hospital explosion. If something similar happened on Titania because Ian had been chasing interstellar fantasies ... He shuddered.

"I'm sorry."

"Try to remember that, Ian. You strike me as the kind of guy that forgets."

And then conversational Kowalski was gone and angry Kowalski was back.

"And if you ever, ever, endanger the lives of any of the crew again," Ray brought the figure up in front of Ian's eyes and then snapped off the head, dropping the pieces on to the console where they rolled and bumped to a stop.

Ian swallowed hard. That had been a near-mint condition OctoFierce. Ray clearly meant business.

"I understand, Ray."

"Good." Ray's mood shifted again, now he was completely professional. Ian was finding it difficult to keep up. "Next thing is to get back after the terrorists and hope to Mother that the trail's still warm. You caused this problem, can you fix it?"

"We can make time."

"How."

"We can max out the boosters. We'll pick up more speed and carry more momentum. Only problem is that it's going to push us to the limit safetywise, but if you want it, you got it."

Ray hit the Com button on the console.

"Frannie, we're going to need you in the engine room, Ian wants to fire boosters on max."

"I'm looking after Ray!" Frannie yelled without the assistance of a microphone.

"No, you're not; you're doing what you're told."

Ian could hear a mini-scuffle and a stifled yelp. He imagined Vecchio had just stopped Frannie demonstrating exactly what she thought of Ray's comment. He stifled a grin.

"I'm going, I'm going!" yelled Frannie, her voice just a couple of degrees above freezing.

"Thank you so much. Vecchio, you may want to hang on to something, this might get interesting." Ray tapped the button again and turned to Ian. "Okay, undock us and let's get the hell out of here."

Ian was only too glad to comply.






Part 8
Current Data
the riviera
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From:nos4a2no9
Date:August 11th, 2007 11:47 pm (UTC)
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Eeee! I don't have time to read this right now (I'm just on my way home) but I coped/pasted all the earlier sections into a .doc and I'm going to try to get a beta on all the sections done and sent back to you by Monday. I hope that's okay! *hugs*
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From:ultracosmicrays
Date:August 12th, 2007 11:18 am (UTC)
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That's more than okay. You = awesome. *hugs*
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From:brynnmck
Date:August 12th, 2007 06:57 am (UTC)
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EEEEEEE, wow. This is AWESOME. So much more intense and detailed than I was expecting! All the characters are just fantastic (OMG IAN!!!) and the ship is the perfect battered beauty and I'm completely fascinated by the whole thing. I utterly fail at imagining AUs of my own, and so to see someone else do it so deftly is incredibly impressive to me. I can't wait to see what happens next!!
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From:ultracosmicrays
Date:August 12th, 2007 11:23 am (UTC)
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YAY! *twirls you*

I'm so glad you're enjoying it. AUs are definitely scary. The only other (finished) one I've done was The Nutcracker and that was already imagined for me.

So much more intense and detailed than I was expecting!

Me too! It's over 10000 words now and a long way from the end. If there is an end. *boggles*