All Your Dreams Dismantled 1/1
by Meredith Bronwen Mallory
He's started dreaming about her again.
In the first few months after Adama ordered him to end the affair, Chief Petty Officer Tyrol dreamed of her almost nightly. Little things, broken images. Her hair, lacquered cherry against her neck and shoulders; the cadence of her voice murmuring, dulcet windchimes next to his ear; the tiny, lopsided tilt to her lips when she had a good hand at cards. He dreamt of these things and wanted, just as badly as he had ever longed for home, or for the faces eased so swiftly, wholesale, by the Cyclons. He wanted still, but it was an ache that had become accustomed to shivering, burrowing down somewhere in his ribs. Like an man resigned to arthritis and old age, he thought it should be more noteworthy if he woke one day to feel it not at all.
His dreams are not the dreams he once had-- no sense memory of his fingers against each knot of her spine, no touch of her full breasts against his back. He dreams her to places she's never been, to landscapes of his childhood, of his nightmares, where she stands stark and jewel-toned against the monochrome sky. He wakes in time to bite his tongue but, somewhere, in the back of his mind, his voice goes on shouting her name.
Boomer, they called her, though the intricacy of this odd baptism escaped him. In the first year of his career, he said the names constantly in his head, confused by this duality. Kara, Starbuck. Lee, Apollo. Roger, Crashdown. Which was more intimate-- which was veneer, and what did it hide? Was Captain Adama Apollo in the cockpit, and Lee outside? He didn't understand it, not until the day he caught the voice in his own head, describing himself as The Chief. It wasn't a switch that you could turn on or off; you were what you were, simultaneously, sometimes contradictorily, and people named you for the flashes they sometimes saw inside. Sharon called him Chief, Tyrol, even Galen, seemingly without rhyme or reason, without preference for one or the other. She could easily say "Come play cards, Tyrol" as she could "I missed you, Chief".
He seems to remember though that, at that single blinding moment, at the pinnacle, she would dig her small, moon shaped nails into his back and call him by his given name.
Galen was some sort of wizard, she said, in the stories. Not religion, not the scrolls-- just the stories, particular to each colony, evolving over time. She read that somewhere.
Where? he'd asked.
Just somewhere. She said she didn't remember. He remembers though-- remembers that she was perched on the locker room bench, shining her boots, and that the bright, uncompromising lights turned her dark hair the color of overripe berries. Her remembers that she frowned a little, scuffing at her boots, as if chasing that tiny, glowing fish of memory somewhere she could not follow.
When it's dayshift and he's sober, he's pretty sure he added that part in.
She grew up in an orphanage on Arilon, he knew that much. She didn't talk about her childhood, or tell him stories, though she seemed to genuinely enjoy his. Nothing particularly interesting or noteworthy seemed to happen to her until she started flight-school and university. She did extra studies in navigation-- she liked the stars, liked the hidden promise, the tiny lights, flaring in the darkness of space. Parents? She didn't remember. Siblings? None that lived.
Well, he'd tried, what did you do at the orphanage?
Slept. Ate. Learned not to be a burden on the system. She'd laughed at that last part, but he'd thought it wasn't a very good joke.
She had one memory from childhood-- one that she told him, anyway-- and he remembers it clearly because it was so rare. She wasn't one for deep conversations without prompting. Other guys complained-- "she makes me *talk*", "she won't shut up", their girlfriends always probing, trying to figure them out. The only person he knows more tightlipped than Sharon is Starbuck, and he's pretty sure it's not for the same reason.
They were laying in an empty med-lab bunk, back when Galactica was just a Battlestar about to be decommissioned, and the rules were pliable. Lose.
"I remember," she said, thin, competent fingers tracing strange patterns on his chest, "just a little something, about my mother." He'd rolled a little, so he could lean on his elbow and hold her-- he'd wanted to listen, to have every little crumb, to somehow puzzle her out. Red wire here, blue wire there; like the engines he worked on daily. Lords, the irony is fracking sickening, now. "Not her face," Sharon continued, "not her voice."
Just her hands, Sharon said, lying there beside him. It was sunset, the hills were green and gold with it, and she was sitting on a little swing next to the porch. Where? When? She doesn't remember-- just that she was very small, that she had to haul herself up into the seat, and that her bare feet dangled above the grass. Her mother had an apple, offered it to her in one dusty, graceful hand. Long fingers, square palm, painted nails. Amber, Sharon said, and smiled, far away. The apple was so ripe, red as blood. A perfect weight in her two small hands-- she held it, wiped it on her tiny sundress, and bit rapturously in.
Now, staring aimlessly up from his nondescript bunk, he clings to that image. Tiny Boomer, barefoot in the summer grass. Her hair in flyway, delicate wisps around her babyish face.
It was Sharon's hands that Tyrol noticed first. Long fingered, as she said her mother's were, but deep-palmed, as well. Her nails were trimmed just to regulation, no paint, but it was the movements that caught his eye. The little pat she gave her Raptor as she climbed down after a run. He remembers her juggling game chips-- it seems so inane now-- laughing at Apollo, saying the chips are down. The way she handled her weapon on the practice range, left and right moving in concert. Accidental weapons discharge? He could have laughed-- a sick and hollow sound-- when he saw her laying there, smooth cheek bandaged, gauze seeping red. Her dark eyes had been so strange, so full of things he could not grasp or name. Doe's eyes, and he'd stare at her when they made love-- couldn't help it. She actually blushed all the way through the first time; his scrutiny made her nervous, she said.
She was never a hotshot pilot, like Starbuck. She was never gifted, like Apollo. She was just *good*, like the concert pianist who can play anything you sit in front of them, but could never come up with notes on their own. She just landed heavy was all-- partly because she always followed the same formula, never seeming to realize that one sometimes had to factor in other things. But her maneuvers were flawless, her flight-checks angle perfect. Each figure, each turn like the other, without fail. Regulated, almost mechanical.
He wonders if he should read something into that, now.
He loved her. It used to be something he could say easily, coaxed effortlessly from his lips as he smoothed back her hair, kissed her shoulder. He doesn't think he'll ever be able to say it again-- not out loud. She was Sharon, Lieutenant Valleri, Boomer; she was warm and brave and strange and everything, anything but a machine.
Except she was.
He tried to tell himself this. His bones don't know it, his dreams don't know it-- that clenching lump of muscle in his chest doesn't know it.
In his dreams, she lies still on the autopsy table, battered, mutilated, and so unrelentingly beautiful it hurts him to look at her. Or she's standing somewhere, just behind his shoulder, dressed in the white funeral robes of The Time Before. She's sitting on his bed, when he's six and the worst storm in history blew over the city, and he laid there all night too afraid to sleep and too brash to admit he was afraid. In the maze of a deserted city, in the quiet of the Galactica walkways, in the heart of the next Cylon raider Adama shoots out of the sky-- she's there, she's there, and Tyrol is pretty sure he's going crazy.
I love you, she said, bleeding on the polished deck, slumped over in his arms.
Did you love her? Adama asked.
Of course, said his bones. Madly, said his dreams. Hopelessly, says his heart.
He hates the Cyclons with every jittering atom of his being. Hates their games, their artifice, *hates* until he remembers how he struck her, and it all came tumbling down.
There are others, other Sharons. 'Copies', Adama said. Somewhere, breathing, laughing, dreaming, shitting.
She's out there, unknown, undefined.
She just not... here.
Feed the muse, please? ^__^