Episode 5: Under a Red Sky
Hope lay back in her bunk, her eyes closed, her breathing slowing down as she panted with the dim illumination dancing off of her sweat-soaked skin—as a squadron commander, she had been assigned one of the small (but private) sleeping compartments aboard Scorpia
. But it was private no more. With the press of the refugees upon the internal spaces of the Battlestar—on all of the ships of the small fleet—she had offered to share her space with one of the scientists that had spent the past two years aboard ship.
Rambler hadn’t said a word when she broached the subject, he just nodded and by the end of the day it was done.
She opened her eyes as a shadow crossed over her, and she felt the light touch of her lover’s hair—and then the soft, warm lips. She put her arms around the figure and pulled her down on top of her, holding her close. “Don’t you ever get tired?” Hope asked.
“Not with you,” purred Doctor Irina Toure as she nibbled at Hope’s ear. Hope pulled away and she sat up—Irinia made a moue appear on her face. “You don’t like that? I can think of other things to nibble on?” she asked, tracing a line along Hope’s bare thigh.
“No,” she whispered. “It’s not that.”
“Then what? What’s wrong?” asked Irina as she sat up on one elbow.
Hope licked her lips and she drew in a deep breath—then she slid open the drawer on the extruded metal table next to the small bed and she pulled something out. “Irina,” she said, with a quaver in her voice, as she pressed the single gold band into her lover’s hands. “Will you marry me?”
The dusky-skinned Aerilon scientist blinked—and then Hope’s heart soared as she began to grin wildly. “I thought you were afraid of what your family would think?” Irina asked. “For natives of Scorpia, they seemed rather prudish from your descriptions.”
A tear, mixed from joy and sorrow, traced its way down Hope’s cheek. “They are gone—and I ‘m out there every day—every day I might not come back,” she cried, and Irina sat up and held her tight. “I don’t want us to be apart one more day,” Hope muttered through the tears.
“We won’t,” Irina whispered as she hushed and hugged and held the pilot in her arms, unshed tears in her own eyes. She held Hope at arms length and she nodded. “I do. I will take you to be my wife,” she said with a quiver in her voice, and Hope smiled and jumped—jumped into her arms and kissed her deeply again, sliding the ring onto her finger.
“When can we have the ceremony?” Irina asked when they came up for air.
“I’ll ask the Commander tonight, when I go on dut-. . .,” but her words were cut off as a klaxon began to wail. “This is the XO! Sound General Quarters throughout the ship. Set Condition One in all compartments! This is not a drill!”
Hope rolled out of the bed, grabbing her underwear on the floor and sliding it up over her hips. She pulled on a one-piece cooling garment and then slid into her flight suit. “BOOTS! Grab my boots,” she yelled as she yanked the thick heavy garment on and squeezed her shoulders inside.
Irina held out the boots and Hope stepped into them, seating her heel as she grab her gloves, her helmet, and her sidearm belt from the locker.
“Gotta go, love,” she said, as Irina stood, pulling up the zipper so that Hope’s barely covered bust didn’t hang out.
“I’m here when you get back,” the scientist said—and the two had a brief kiss before Hope bolted into the corridor, and Irina stood there, watching out the hatch as Hope ran off; she shut the hatch, crawled back into the bed and began to sob.