what characters do you write for?
I write primarily for Max and Felix, but I’m pretty much down for anyone.
Do you take requests ?
Depends on what it is. What’s up?
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Vicar Max x Fem! Captain
Word Count: 1,731
“Wouldn’t you like to get changed for bed?”
The Captain stared at the ceiling of her bunk. Her eyes gazed over the bolts and screws that held all the pieces together to create the bed in her cabin. The mattress was soft underneath her, and offered her muscles relief from all the walking/running she had done on uneven terrain earlier that day. Her right hand and fingers were still rather stiff from where she had gripped her gun and held it close to herself pretty much the entire day.
Gorgon had been heavy on her mind for the last week, and that place was enough to fry anybody’s nerves. The strung out marauders, the massive primals, the overly aggressive canids…it was a bit much for her to handle. Marauders had been an issue from the moment she stepped out of her pod onto Terra 2. At first, she didn’t give them much thought considering that everyone else seemed to be used to them.
But when she found out that there was a serious reason for how marauders came out, it suddenly became very personal.
Truth be told, the Captain wasn’t sure how to feel about the severed arm that was delivered to her ship. Lucky Montoya didn’t exactly sound like someone she would’ve associated herself with pre-hibernation…although, she also never would’ve imagined herself to end up romantically involved with a priest who had a dark past and was significantly older than her.
She wasn’t sure if completing Lucky’s mission was something she wanted to do. She relied heavily on her crew’s insight and input before she made any decisions. After some contemplation, the Captain decided that it was worth their time in the end.
Gorgon was a shit hole of an asteroid. While it was rather stunning from orbit, and the natural resources on it were gorgeous too, it was the manmade things that made it go to waste.
The marauders on Gorgon were nothing like the ones Jade and her crew had encountered on Terra 2 or Monarch. The marauders on Gorgon were either small and insanely quick, or beyond large and could pack a hard punch. The Captain had wasted more bullets trying to put out one giant marauder on Gorgon than she had trying to take out a whole mess of them outside of Edgewater.
It wasn’t long before she discovered that Adrena-Time (a drug that she had admittedly used once or twice), was a key factor and the foundation of this entire mission. Adrena-Time was a project/drug that Spacer’s Choice had poured bucket loads of money into. A drug intended to boost productivity and guarantee success surely was going to make them billions of bits.
It was merely a science project full of failed experiments with lethality and fatal consequences. She would never be able to unsee and unhear the things she had been exposed to. It was beginning to take a toll on her mental health, and everyone had noticed. She now went straight to her quarters when they returned in the evenings, and her crew didn’t see her again until it was time to go again the following morning. All except for Max of course, who was growing more worried about his lover with each day that passed. In the last week, she had seen more sickening sights than she wanted to for a lifetime.
And she wasn’t even halfway through with the job.
The Captain’s disturbing thoughts were interrupted when her door hissed open, only for it to whir shut when her boyfriend entered. Max’s toned upper body and torso was exposed to her, the towel wrapped around his waist being the only barrier keeping her from seeing all of him. His usually neatened hair was damp as it fell in messy tufts on his forehead.
He grinned at his beloved captain who was spread out on her bed, still clad in the clothes she had adventured in all day. She had only gone as far to remove her shoes, since she definitely didn’t want to track whatever the hell she had stepped in onto her clean sheets. She was temporarily distracted, a smirk appearing on her face.
“Do you always walk around my ship practically naked?” She addressed Max.
The low chuckle that vibrated from his chest sent a rush of serotonin through her, her heart leaping at the noise.
“Only when my captain has stolen all of my shirts out of my cabin.” Max joked, referring to the stack of clothes in Jade’s large bin in the corner of her room.
The Captain had a habit of wearing Max’s shirts around the ship. She almost never remembered to return them, which often left Max’s wardrobe confined to her quarters.
“Oops. I’m so sorry, honey. I just-”
“No, no. Don’t apologize,” Max purred as he leaned down to peck her lips, gripping the edge of his towel to keep it from falling; “You look better in my stuff than I do.”
That was one thing that Max had noticed in the last several days. Jade had been very apologetic for menial things, and even things that weren’t her fault. She seemed distant, always lost in thought. Her behavior had been completely different, and Max wished to know why. Her eyes didn’t follow Max the way they usually did when she knew Max was about to change.
She wasn’t a shy person, and she never failed to hungrily rake over her boyfriend’s naked frame when he was getting dressed. But now she just kept her pupils trained on the bed frame above her, her attention only half on Max.
“Hey, love?” Max called to her, stepping into a pair of his clean sweats.
The Captain turned and craned her head to look back at the vicar, her eyes wide with curiosity.
“Wouldn’t you like to get changed for bed?” Max asked; “You look uncomfortable.”
She only nodded, shifting herself so she could stand from her bed. She stripped herself of her jacket, shirt, and pants, leaving her in her tank top and underwear. Max watched as she silently went through her nighttime routine, picking up her boots that had been discarded on the floor and setting them by the door as always. She was doing all the things she normally did, but something was off.
Max approached her and took her hand once she had set her weapon of choice for the day on the desk, forcing her to look at him. She looked up into his light brown eyes, and that’s when he really saw it.
All the hurt, stress, worry, and pressure that she had been holding in was suddenly very clear to him. He wanted her to talk to him. He wanted to be there for her. His large, calloused hand came up to the side of her face, cradling her cheek.
“What’s the matter, darling?” Max hummed out.
She sighed heavily, guilt riddling her gut. She didn’t want to burden him with this. If she was being honest, the Captain felt guilt quite often for dragging her crew through the majority of the things she did. Saving Halcyon had been bestowed onto the Captain, not her crew. She often felt like they were around because they didn’t have a choice.
But for some reason that was unfathomed to her, they were all still around despite everything they had gone through.
Max, though, always seemed to get a heavier load than everyone else. Her relationship with him was different. They adored one another. They loved each other. At the end of every day, Max got to hear the Captain’s side of things. Her train of thought and how her mind worked when she had to make an authoritative decision. Max swore up and down that he never minded listening to her vent, but she couldn’t help but feel bad.
“I’m just tired.” She half-lied turning away from him and crawling back into bed.
She extended her arm, an invitation for him to join her. He obliged, but he didn’t drop the conversation.
“Is that all?” Max prompted, allowing her to snuggle up to him; “I’m here if you want to talk about something else.”
The Captain sighed again. She hated to do this, but Max was stubborn and wouldn’t stop asking until he got it out of her.
“It’s this Gorgon business,” She explained; “It’s bugging me.”
“Understandable. It’s different from any of the other jobs we’ve done.” Max noted, wrapping his arm around her body.
“I just feel like the deeper we get into this, the more complicated and the worse it gets.” The Captain expressed, her voice small.
Max kissed her temple. He could tell she was struggling with this, and he wanted to comfort her as best as he could.
“It’s normal that you’re troubled by this,” Max replied; “Is there something specifically that is unsettling to you?”
The Captain’s shoulders tensed and she buried herself closer to him. She figured as long as he was there, she didn’t have to feel the effects of everything.
“Those labs, Max…” She hushed out; “All the experiments. The drugs. The dead bodies.”
Her voice cracked in a way that he hadn’t heard before. It wasn’t a crack that was like she was on the verge of tears or flooded with fury.
What she had seen today had absolutely haunted her.
“How did something go so wrong? How couldn’t they stop the moment they knew it wasn’t going right?” She continued.
Max sucked in a breath. He was sure that everyone on the crew had asked themselves the same things. But Max knew that his beloved captain took things harder than everyone else.
“I wish I had an answer. This entire colony is…a mess. But what we’re doing…what you’re doing is going to help set things right,” Max responded; “And I’m damn proud of you for it.”
The Captain laughed appreciatively, kissing his jawline with a soft smile.
“I know this has been hard, but this will be behind us soon. I’ll be here for you through it all,” Max added on; “I love you.”
“I love you, Max.” The Captain returned.
She caught his lips in a searing kiss, the first real kiss they had shared in days. Max hummed under her, his arms coming to find her waist as he praised his captain that he loved so dearly.
“There’s my girl.”
me: it’s okay to quit working on a WIP if you’ve lost your interest! write what you’re excited about!!! <3
also me when I want to switch WIPs: you ABANDON WIP? you abandon WIP like rubbish? oh! oh! jail for writer! jail for writer for One Thousand Years!
Vicar Max x Fem! Captain
Word Count: 2,756
“Captain. You’re better than this.”
“Is she okay?”
“Should we get SAM to break open the door?”
“Damn. No amount of alcohol in the world could drown out what she probably saw.”
“ERROR. Status of Captain’s door…LOCKED.”
Max finally held up a hand to silence the rest babbling crew that was expressing their concern for their Captain from where they sat around the kitchen table. They had known something was wrong the moment that Ellie, Max, and the Captain returned to the ship after they had been out for almost two days. She didn’t say much at all, only offering a brief hello before snatching a drink from the fridge and taking a shower before keeping herself buried away in her quarters.
She was bruised and had minor injuries in various places. Not to mention that she hadn’t slept in almost 48 hours. But it was clear that was the least of things on her mind.
Max had managed to convince her to open the door long enough for him to check on her, which didn’t amount to much considering that she practically yelled at him to get out and leave her alone for a while. Max usually wouldn’t give up so easily, but he could tell that (despite her angry tone) she wasn’t mad.
She was hurt.
She was completely rattled by what they had seen today. An ugly painting of horrific images and gruesome smells that not even the hottest of showers could wash away. It would haunt her for weeks to come, and on top of that, she was worried about how this was affecting her crew.
Thankfully, she had taken Max and Ellie along today, which made her feel a bit better considering they were two of the more thicker skinned of the group. Still, she felt guilty for exposing them to that.
Max and Ellie gave the crew a brief rundown of what had happened. While they were sickened by it, they were more worried about the Captain.
“Come on. We just want to know if she’s okay.” Felix pleaded.
“She’s just seen probably the worst that the colony has to offer,” Ellie huffed; “I’d be worried if she was okay.”
Max sighed heavily. He was beyond concerned. It wasn’t like you at all to shut out the crew like this. It wasn’t like you to shut him out. He was afraid that this had pushed you over the edge.
“She wishes to be by herself,” Max announced; “We should all give her some space and let her work it out.”
“I don’t know if that’s such a good idea, Mr. Vicar.” Parvati replied.
“Yeah, I don’t think she ought to be alone after seeing something as traumatic as you’re saying it was.” Nyoka detested.
Max shook his head.
“I know. But she doesn’t want to talk to us. We don’t need to push her.” Max pointed out.
Felix looked stunned at that, his eyes widening.
“She must be really shaken up if she won’t even talk to Max.” He said, clearly alarmed.
While Felix’s statement had innocent intentions, it caused a sting in Max’s chest. It was true that the Captain always seemed to flock to Max when she needed to talk. It was a mixture of things really. He was a professional when it came to listening to confessions, but he was even more comforting being as he was her boyfriend. She never felt like she couldn’t go to him when she needed him until now.
It was killing him that she was closing herself off to him.
“She’ll be alright. Give her a couple days…or weeks. She’ll feel better when we get this job done.” Ellie stated.
Max sure hoped that Ellie was right. He wasn’t going to be able to stand it if the Captain never got over this. For now, all he could do was keep his arms open to her for when she was ready. Or for when he knew she couldn’t take it anymore.
The crew dispersed reluctantly to finish out their chores to close out the day, the Captain weighing heavily on their minds. Max went to take a shower to wash off the blood (some his and some not his), dirt, and sweat from his body. He took a moment to reflect on what he had seen earlier, realizing that he hadn’t given himself a moment to process everything. He wasn’t quite like Ellie Fenhill who preferred to drink herself into oblivion until her mind was too foggy to remember much of it. He’d rather come to terms with it on his own time.
Max had killed more people that day than he had the entire time he had been traveling with you. The strung out marauders and the doped up test subjects were probably the most terrifying people he had ever encountered. They were basically soul ridden beings with no sense of purpose or morale. They were just blood thirsty, violent animals that were once loving people.
That was the scariest thing imaginable.
Max stood under the stream of water until it threatened to turn cold, prompting his exit. He changed into a pair of clean clothes before leaving the bathroom, debating on what he should do next. By the time he had freshened up, everyone else had turned in for the night. The only sounds were the humming and singing around the ship, as well as Felix’s beloved Tuesday night adventure serial coming from his cabin.
Max eyed his own cabin, the only one with the door open and the lights turned on. Max chuckled to himself as he entered. He couldn’t even remember the last time he had actually spent an extended amount of time in his cabin. Ever since establishing a serious relationship with the Captain, he found himself staying in her room pretty much always. Her cabin was much larger than his, and despite the fact that her bed was exactly the same as his, he was convinced that it was comfier.
Maybe because he always had someone he loved snuggled up to him at the end of every day.
He ran a hand through his damp hair to somewhat even it out. It always seemed to have a mind of its own when water dripped from his graying hair. She had always told him that she liked seeing his hair somewhat out of order, which was why she was likely the only person who had ever seen his hair unkempt.
He wasn’t too keen on the idea of sleeping alone, considering he had gotten so used to having her with him. But if she didn’t want him, then he would respect her desires. He bit the inside of his cheek in disapproval when he tried to stretch out onto his bunk. He sank into the mattress that hadn’t been used in quite some time, but it didn’t feel the same.
His entire cabin just didn’t have the same comfort that hers did. Although, it wasn’t her cabin that he found comfort in.
It was her.
Every other thought was occupied by his Captain. He wondered what she was doing as he lay there awake, worrying himself beyond measure. He was beginning to go against his own word, tempted to go to her even if she had pushed him away. She was struggling right now. She was suffering.
He couldn’t just let the woman he loved be in pain like that.
He got up from his bed, quietly going down the stairs to the Captain’s door. The red light above her door indicated that it was still locked, and he couldn’t get in unless she opened it from inside or ADA unlocked it for him. It was awfully quiet from inside the Captain’s quarters, and he hoped that she was just asleep.
He traveled down to the ship’s computer asking ADA nicely to unlock the Captain’s bedroom. ADA, however, almost always gave Max a run for his money.
“I cannot take orders from anyone other than Captain Hawthorne.” ADA informed the vicar.
“I know, ADA, but I’m worried about her. I just need to get into her room.” Max explained.
He always felt so stupid arguing with a machine. Although, ADA was likely light years smarter than he was.
“I can only take orders from Captain Hawthorne. You are not Captain Hawthorne.” ADA replied.
Max grumbled to himself. He’d have to take a different approach.
“Well…can you at least tell her I want to speak with her?” Max questioned.
“The Captain gave me direct instructions not to converse with her unless there was an emergency. Is this an emergency?” ADA acquired.
“No…” Max responded gruffly. He was a little surprised that the Captain had taken so many steps to avoid anyone from seeing her; “How would I go about unlocking her door myself?”
“Hypothetically, her door would automatically unlock if I entered a rest cycle. But that requires my restart button to be push-”
Suddenly, ADA’s screen went dark as Max put her into a manual rest cycle. The Captain usually ordered ADA to take a rest cycle overnight anyway unless something with the ship went wrong, so Max didn’t feel bad for shutting the computer up for a bit.
He commuted back to the Captain’s door, the doors whirring open to reveal what appeared to be an empty room. The Captain wasn’t sitting at her desk or laying in her bed, and she appeared to be nowhere to be found. Just as Max went to panic, he heard a sound.
It was a soft noise that he would’ve missed if the room hadn’t been as quiet as it was. He followed the sound of sniffling over to the far corner of the room behind her bunk.
The Captain was backed into the corner, knees huddled up to her chest with her head buried behind them. Her towel from her earlier shower was still wrapped around her naked body, indicating that she hadn’t even gotten dressed afterwards. Her skin was dry now, and her hair was just barely wet as if she had been there the entire time. She raised her head from her knees when she felt his presence, revealing her reddened, watery eyes and blotchy cheeks from her hours of crying.
Max’s heart broke at the sight of his Captain falling to pieces like this. She was hands down the strongest, most confident person that he knew. He always reminded her how proud of her he was for always being the bigger person and doing what was right. Maybe that was his mistake. Perhaps he had made her feel like she had to be at her best all the time.
She looked at him through bleary eyes, a fresh set of tears falling down her cheeks. Her voice cracked as she spoke, her tone thick with sobbing.
“I’m sorry I yelled at you.” She apologized, almost choking on her cries.
Immediately, Max was sitting at her side, her head falling onto his chest as she wailed. He eventually brought her into his lap to hold her close, rubbing her back up and down and kissing her temple. He hushed her, hating the feeling in his gut every time she sobbed out again. Her face was buried into the soft material of his shirt, her tears staining it. Her arms and legs were freezing from being exposed to the cold air of her quarters for so long without clothes, Max’s hands rubbing up and down to provide her some warmth.
“It’s alright, love. I’m here.” He hummed, holding the back of her neck in his hand.
“It was horrible. I’ve never seen anything like that,” She cried; “I don’t know how Spacer’s Choice could ever be capable of something like that.”
“Spacer’s Choice is arguably the most powerful corporation in the colony,” Max spoke; “The stronger the company, the more room there is for catastrophic events.”
The Captain sat up from his chest, leaning against Max’s leg that he had hiked up for her to lean on.
“I fucking hate the Board,” She hissed; “If I have to personally put a bullet in the skull of every single person involved then I swear to Law I’ll do it.”
Max was alarmed by her harsh words, his hands coming to her face to wipe away her tears.
“Captain. You’re better than this,” He remarked; “What’s the number one rule you always tell us? Try to talk it out before pulling the trigger.”
The Captain shook her head. Her tears had dried, but the anger coursing through her was giving her more energy than she had in days.
“It’s becoming obvious that doesn’t always work. I don’t care if I have to wipe out every soul in Byzantium if it means overthrowing the Board.” She growled.
The last thing that Max ever wanted was for the Captain’s heart of gold to be hardened by all the things she had seen. In the beginning, the Captain had the most hope for the colony’s revival. Now though, her hope was diminishing with each new discovery she made.
He didn’t want her to become a lost soul the way that he had been for so long.
“What happened to my darling Captain? This isn’t you.” Max stated.
“I want the Board out of the system. Halcyon’s never going to make it with them around.” She replied in fury, ignoring his question.
“I personally want to throw Sophia Akande out of an airlock.” She went on.
“Listen to me, this isn’t-”
“I’d like to throw her in a cell and pump her full of drugs just like-”
“Stop,” Max cut her off; “This isn’t how you do things. I know this isn’t how you want to do things.”
She finally let her tense shoulders relax for a second. Her eyes falling downward, her hands fiddling with the edge of her towel.
“I know,” She whispered out; “I’m just tired of seeing so many people get hurt. Earth was never like this…not really.”
Max felt relief. Now she was beginning to sound like herself again. He pushed her hair behind her ear to reveal her pretty, but tired face. He caressed her face with his hand, her cheek resting in his palm.
“If you keep doing things the way you have been, taking things day by day…then we’re going to be fine,” Max said; “I believe in you. I believe in us.”
She nodded, his hand falling to her waist and rubbing through her towel.
“What do I do now?” She asked.
Max smiled softly.
“For now, let’s get you in bed. We can figure everything else out in the morning.” Max said, kissing the Captain’s knuckles in a gentle manner.
“Okay.” She replied.
She had to admit, it felt nice to have someone else giving orders for once.
Sleeping the rest of the night away was sounding really good to the Captain right about now. Without really giving it a second thought, the Captain let her towel fall so she could get dressed. She caught the way his eyes lit up at her naked frame, a blush evident on his face as he looked over her. She smirked a little, the first real positive emotion she’d had all day.
“You’re blushing, Vicar.” She teased,
His grin was blinding, as he pulled his leg in more to bring you in closer.
“It’s hard not to,” He purred; “Beautiful…”
She kissed him like she meant it. His hands were warm on her exposed skin as he touched her the way he had dozens of times before. She ran her fingers through his hair, his smirk showing on her lips.
“I’m here for you. I love you.” He rumbled deeply.
“I love you.” She returned.
Max guided her up from the floor, wincing at the way her joints cracked from being uncomfortable for so long. He got her into a shirt to sleep in, bringing her over to her bed and getting her comfortable up against him. It didn’t take her long to fall asleep. The feel of Max next to her and the softness of the mattress under her was enough to send her straight to sleep. Max was tired too, but he wanted to make sure she was okay before he got any sleep.
He knew she wasn’t totally back to normal. It’d be a while before she felt like herself fully again. But he didn’t care how long he had to wait.
He’d always be there for her.
hi there! just wanted to say that im a huge fan of your work on here and ao3. i know youve mentioned your captain and i was wondering if you could tell me a little about her? i love hearing ab other people's captains!
Hey! Thank you SO much! I always appreciate the support! :) And yeah, I can definitely tell you about Jade!
So admittedly, Jade was one of many captains that I came up with. I’ve come up with female and male captains over the last year that I’ve been playing TOW…and sometime’s I even just start the game over with the same captain (I’ve done a LOT of playthroughs). I’ve had three other female captains: Lucille, Alli, Jen. I’ve had two male captains: Marshall and Finn. (More below the cut)
Jade came after Marshall but before Lucille, and she seems to be the one that has stuck with me the most. For the most part, I only write my fics as insert female reader fics, but there have been two or three where I used Jade. When I “designed” Jade (or however you want to say it) I sort of used some of the characteristics from my other female captains and blended them together for Jade.
So now for the part you actually asked for :D
Jade Ashford is in her early 30s (I’ve never given her a definite age) and has bright blonde hair that she keeps just past her shoulders. She has green eyes and PLENTY of freckles across her face. She’s not super tall, but not short by any means. If she can find nail polish, she likes to keep her nails painted because it keeps her nail biting habit at bay since it’s an anxious habit of hers.
Before she was put into hibernation, she was a bartender (I took that detail from Alli) and was thinking about going back to school to get her law degree. One of the reasons she agreed to become a Hope colonist was because she didn’t have any family or real friends outside of her regular customers at the bar.
Her bartending skills stuck with her after the 70 years in stasis and she likes to show them off if presented the opportunity. She almost ALWAYS buys (or snatches, depending on her mood) a bottle of whiskey if she has the chance. She’ll never admit it, but most of the alcohol in Halcyon is better than it was on Earth.
She’s very much an extrovert, and doesn’t mind talking to people. She has a motto for herself (and her crew) that basically says to always try to talk things out before pulling the trigger. Remember I mentioned that she wanted to be a lawyer? Yeah, this woman can argue ALL DAY LONG. She’s very levelheaded, and rarely ever loses her cool. But when she does lose her temper, it is NOT a pretty sight. She’s only lost her shit in front of the crew once, and it was when SAM tried to clean her favorite handgun and completely ruined it. That’s when the crew learned to never, under any circumstances, piss off Captain Jade.
With all this being said, you would think that Jade and Max would NEVER get along. But it’s actually just the opposite. Max adores Jade, and she adores him. It’s been that way since day one. It didn’t take long for them to establish a relationship and he can confidently say she’s the best thing that ever happened to him.
He’s not at all annoyed by her like one would probably expect, and he’s actually finds her positive and easy personality refreshing. Max has a bit of a short temper, and even after his big life changing revelation, he still can easily flip his lid.
He’s learned a LOT about patience from Jade, and why getting angry doesn’t usually solve anything. He admires her bravery and the way she handles things. Watching her be a captain is something he enjoys a lot. On the flip side, he makes sure that he’s always a resource for her, because he’s learned that she keeps her feelings to herself about things. Halcyon is not a pretty place, and he’s always worried about how she deals with it. It’s different when you’re raised in Halcyon and when you’re thrown into it.
Jade likes to take Ellie and Nyoka out drinking on the night before their day off. Ellie and Nyoka are the only ones who can keep up with Jade on the every so often occasions that she does drink. But Nyoka can outdrink any of the crew.
Felix and Parvati are always eager to learn from Jade. Felix is the youngest in the crew, and he often makes the most mistakes. Jade is always understanding with him, using his fuck ups as a way for him to learn and grow. That goes for all of the crew. She’s a huge “learn by experience” kind of gal
Just a few more things about Jade: her favorite color is purple, which is why she has a liiiiiittle bit of a soft spot for any of Rizzo’s products. Every once in a while, she’ll luck out and find an Earth movie that she’ll watch with the crew (and answering every single one of Felix’s questions). The Groundbreaker is her favorite place in Halcyon, despite the fact that it smells like a locker room. She likes to cook breakfast for the crew, and often in nothing but her underwear and one of Max’s shirts. She’s been caught more than once with her hair in a bun on her head and sliding around in her socks.
To wrap things up, Jade is about as spicy and sweet as they come. And even though it wasn’t really her choice, she loves her crew and loves being a captain.
Vicar Max x Fem! Captain
Word Count: 1,725
“You’ve been gone for quite some time. We were getting worried.”
She took a long drag of her cigarette, loving and hating the way it burned when the smoke entered her lungs. She was high above the floor of The Groundbreaker, sitting on the edge of one of the balconies that were stationed around the higher levels of the ship. Her feet dangled over the edge, but not so far that she was at risk of falling to the ground.
She wasn’t even sure how she ended up there. She had taken some time to wander around Chief Junlei’s impressive ship, exploring some of the areas that she hadn’t yet had time to see yet. She stopped by Martin’s stand, buying a pack of fresh cigarettes before swinging by The Lost Hope for a bottle of Iceberg Whiskey.
Eventually, she found herself inside of the more isolated parts of the ship, climbing a ladder and sitting out on the ledge to enjoy her smoking habit in peace. She figured if she was going to pick smoking back up again, she might as well wash her guilt down with something as equally toxic. Alcohol in Halcyon was far different than anything that Earth had. Actually, everything in Halcyon was different from Earth. For a colony that was supposed to be modeled after her home planet, she just couldn’t seem to find comfort there.
The Captain had gotten used to Halcyon over the course of her time post-hibernation. She supposed that Mock Apples were close enough to the organic apples that she used to enjoy on warm summer days. She had learned to stomach Saltuna and that it was just as good as the canned, processed fished that she was used to. And the Spacer’s Choice cigarettes curbed her occasional craving just as well as any cigarette brand.
She held the Spacer’s Corona lazily between the index and middle finger of her right hand, watching the trail of smoke that suspended from the end of it as it slowly burned down. She took another drag, one that was less deep than her previous one. Her cheeks hollowed ever so as she let the smoke sit in her chest for a moment before exhaling it through her nostrils. Oddly enough, before she was hibernated for 7 odd decades, The Captain only smoked when she was overly stressed. Back then it was only a couple times a year, but now she could easily go through a pack a day.
She definitely tried not to, considering that she knew all the harm that it was probably doing to her. Although, Phineas had mentioned once in passing that she was pretty much immune to stuff like that now. The Captain somewhat doubted that, but she used it to her advantage whenever she started feeling bad about smoking. The Captain kept the bottle of whiskey close to her, the cool material of the glass being pressed against the side of her thigh.
She had made it through maybe a third of the bottle, and she was feeling the beginnings of a buzz. She would take a few inhales of her cigarette, take a sip, take a few more inhales, take another sip. She had been in this rhythm for a little while as she watched Junlei’s mardets and the occasional travelers walk down the promenade below her. She could see the entire center of the ship from where she sat. She couldn’t help but grin at the sight of the blinking LED signs above the Rest-N-Go and the Medical Bay.
She thought about how she wasn’t exactly the most normal human being. She was the captain of a “borrowed” ship and a crew of pirates and orphans. She was a strange person indeed who was leading an even stranger life. Not to mention that she was romantically involved with one of them. On the surface, the Captain was confident that she wouldn’t want to change a thing about how her life had gone. She liked being a captain and she was grateful for the experiences that it had granted her. But there was one thing that just always bothered her. Something that rested far below what others could see.
She missed being able to enjoy life.
Groundbreaker had become a favorite of the Captain’s over the course of her journey. She had made many friends and allies there, and aside from her own ship, it was the only other place that she felt safe. But even then, she always made sure that her handgun was ready to go at any moment. She hated feeling like she had to be on edge all the time. She didn’t like having to make sure that she was constantly aware of what and who was around her. She couldn’t even sit in a bar to unwind because she was constantly on the lookout for someone who might try to take her or her crew out.
She was an enemy of The Board, and in turn, her crew wasn’t on their good side either. She knew what kind of organization The Board was running. The Captain hated to admit it or even think about it, but she wouldn’t be surprised if she or one of her crew ended up dead at the hands of The Board. She always made sure to lock the ship completely down at the end of every night, no matter where they were. The Board was everywhere…or at least, it felt like they were.
Maybe the Captain’s paranoia was getting the best of her.
Still, she had found ways to take the edge off, even for a short period of time. She had just taken another sip of whiskey when she heard footsteps approach from behind her. Normally, she would’ve scrambled from her resting position with her gun drawn, but these footsteps had a distinct sound that she had learned to trust. The steps were heavy, but graceful and sometimes had a bit of a shuffle depending on the situation. She didn’t even turn her head, continuing to survey the promenade below her.
“Hey, Max,” She greeted, knowing that he’d take that as an invitation to join her.
The Captain had left her crew back on The Unreliable several hours ago, telling them that she’d be back shortly. Time had just slipped away from her once she had found the hidey spot she was in.
“Captain,” He returned, sitting next to his girlfriend, “I believe that you told me that you were quitting.” He remarked, referring to the half-smoked cigarette still in her hand.
She gave him a slight smirk, his dazzling eyes shining with admiration.
“I believe that you told me that you were afraid of heights.” She remarked, glancing downwards to indicate to him that they were indeed far from the ground.
He fought the shiver that threatened to vibrate up his spine. He couldn’t deny that he was timid when it came to being high in the air. It wasn’t a comfortable feeling, but at least where they were now, the only way he could fall would be if he fell forward…so he was okay.
“I’m not a fan of them.” He admitted, eyeing the bottle of whiskey on the other side of her.
She seemingly read his mind, wrapping her hands around the bottle and handing it to him. She scooted closer to him, resting her head on his shoulder as he took a gulp straight from the bottle as she had done. Max wasn’t usually keen on sharing drinks with someone else, but considering that drinking out of the same bottle as her wasn’t much different than kissing, he didn’t mind. He felt a warmth spread over his chest as the liquid burned going down his esophagus, the alcohol pooling in his stomach.
“How’d you find me up here?” The Captain asked.
“Oh, please. I could spot you in a crowd of thousands,” He claimed, pressing his lips to the top of her head, “You’ve been gone for quite some time. We were getting worried.”
The Captain had no idea how long she had been sitting up there. Time always seemed to slip away from her when she was trying to unwind and reflect.
“I’m sorry. I just found my way up here and got comfortable,” She admitted, “Didn’t mean to scare you.”
“That’s alright.” He said simply, not wanting to break her serenity too much, “How are you doing?”
Whenever Max asked her that, she knew that he was really asking about her wellbeing in regards to the mission they were on. Not that he didn’t care about her in a general sense, but he knew the toll that this had taken on her….on all of them.
“I’m doing okay,” She told him, “Just missing home.”
He nodded. He knew all about her story and how she ended up in this position to begin with. She had been holding on to a string of hope that she might get to return to Earth. She said a silent prayer every night that she’d be able to leave Halcyon behind, and maybe even get the chance at a new life with Max…but she was beginning to realize that might not be in the cards for her.
“I understand. Is there anything I can do for you, darling?” He questioned, wanting to comfort her as best as he could.
She shook her head, finishing off the last of her cigarette with an extended exhale.
“No, it’s okay….just stay with me?” She meant to say as a command, but it came out as more of a request.
He shrugged his shoulder to get her to lift her head so he could look at her, pressing a kiss to her lips. He tasted the whiskey, the smoke, and all of her that he had grown to love. He adored his Captain. He couldn’t live without her. It killed him to know that she was in pain and there wasn’t anything he could do. He wanted to take all the bullets for her. He wanted to be the one to bear the burdens that had been thrown on top of her.
He wanted her to be happy.
For now, being in her presence and loving her was going to have to do. But at least it was something he could do with ease and without hesitation.
“Always, my Captain.”
I’ve gone through sooooo many captains in my playthroughs, but Jade is #1 always.
Last Line Tag Game
Thank you @jackalgirl for the tag!
For the “last line of the WIP” game, here’s a line from my werewolf/circus Outer Worlds AU:
“But I gotta say, if you believe in some giant man who lives in the sky I ain’t seein’ any reason you can’t take this news as gospel.”
I think I’m supposed to tag the same number of people as there are words? But 28 is more people than I know who write and a lot of people have been tagged already! So:
Sorry if you’ve already been tagged. And as always, never any pressure to do this.
“And should Dr. Fenhill want to take a look at your ‘rolled ankle?’”
“…tell her to bugger off.”
Thank you so much for the tag! @galaxymermaid214 My last WIP line:
“Well, Captain, if what happened that fateful evening was a mistake, then I say it was a damn beautiful one.”
Vicar Max x Fem! Captain
Warnings: Language. Mentions of death, violence.
Word Count: 5,497
“How could anyone ever get over the fact that the person they loved most was taken from them, and they couldn’t do a damn thing about it?”
This had by far been the worst job the Captain had ever taken. The missions she had dealt with thus far had brought her to rabid canids, stuck-up and brainwashed rich people, and even murderous cannibals living outside the security of Stellar Bay. But this was a totally different kind of uncharted territory.
The Captain would be lying if she said that she wasn’t a little enthralled when a severed arm was delivered on to her ship. She didn’t know the man that she later learned to be Lucky Mantoya (since she wasn’t actually Alex Hawthorne), and the idea of taking the job from a dead freelancer was a bit thrilling. The Captain supposed that she owed Alex in a way, so taking this job was her paying her debt.
It wasn’t until she was too far into the journey on Gorgon that she wished that she had remained indebted to the late captain.
The Captain knew all about Adrena-Time. She saw the ads everywhere and how it was portrayed to be a performance enhancing drug created by Spacer’s Choice. She had never needed or wanted to take it, but it seemed that it was advertised everywhere she went.
It didn’t take long for The Captain and the crew to discover that Adrena-Time had created marauders, and Gorgon was the birthplace for them. Spacer’s Choice had poured endless money into The Gorgon Project, continuing to flood the market with cheap items and giving empty promises to the colony.
The deeper they dug into the mission, the more disturbing it became. The Captain was stuck between a rock and a hard place. It was too late to back out now, but she wasn’t sure how she felt about exposing herself and her crew to the rundown labs and abandoned “volunteer patients” left to die.
The labs were horrifying. The endless traces of failed experiments and suffering people were forever etched into her brain. The smell of all the dead bodies made her nauseous each time she remembered it. The cubes that were made from literal human parts. The worst part of it all was knowing that marauders were created.
It was very clear that the entire project was a cover up. She wanted Spacer’s Choice, The Board, and all the other snot nosed corporations to burn anyways, but now that feeling had tripled.
There were two positives to this mission. One was that (unlike other jobs she had taken) there didn’t seem to be any rush on completing this job. It wouldn’t change the outcome if she decided to move on to other things for a bit. The second upside was that the Captain had met some genuinely wonderful people on Gorgon.
The Sprat Shack had been their safe space during their time on Gorgon, while The Captain preferred that they all stay on the ship for sleeping, she spent the rest of her downtime and breaks at Lex’s bar. The Captain stayed fairly under the radar at first, keeping her head down and ordering her selected crew at the time to do the same. But she slowly began to realize that the people of the small bar meant well. According to Lex, most of them had been forgotten…and the bad ones had made it out of Gorgon instead.
The Captain had met some outstanding people, some of which she even developed friendships with. She wasn’t surprised that some of them needed jobs to be completed for a fee. The side jobs were actually somewhat refreshing, and it kept the Captain on track without leaving the void blasted rock.
But there was one side job that she wished had never been offered to her.
Leonora was a kind woman. She kept to herself and mostly drank the day away. The Captain couldn’t explain the feeling of hurt every time she looked at Leonora. The sense of loss and hopelessness. It all made sense when Leonora asked for a personal favor.
Leonora told the Captain about her lost husband and their Gorgon story. Leonora had no idea where Jerome was or what became of him. But she wanted the one thing that was left of him.
Truth be told, the Captain wasn’t sure that going out of her way to find a beat up flask was worth her time. But after talking with Leonora and hearing how “a broken heart” had brought her back to Gorgon, she couldn’t bring herself to say no. It was supposed to be an easy job. One that would lift everyone’s spirits.
But it ended up hurting the Captain even more.
It had been weighing on her a lot. There was something about the way Leonora’s eyes glassed with tears when she said Jerome’s name that made the Captain feel terribly upset. She could tell that Leonora loved Jerome endlessly, and it made the Captain question a lot about love. How could anyone want to fall in love if there was a possibility of ending up like Leonora?
The Captain worried about it, because it was totally possible that it could happen to her too.
Max meant everything to her. She loved him with everything that she was. She looked forward to waking up with him every morning and going to bed with him at the end of each night. She couldn’t even begin to imagine her life without him.
Max was her comfort in this fucked up colony. She had talked to Max about it, taking advantage of his confessional conversation training. He tried to help her get to the bottom of her feelings, which amounted to the fact that she needed to complete Leonora’s job first.
It turned out that tracking down Jerome’s flask wasn’t as difficult as she originally thought, once The Captain, Max, and Nyoka shot their way through a group of strung out marauders. The apartment was small, but she knew that Jerome had been there.
“I think that’s it, Cap.” Nyoka stated, motioning towards the metal flask sitting on the bed.
The Captain looked at the engraving on the flask, letting her know that it was the one she had been searching for.
“Yep. I think so too,” The Captain said, “I’m going to take a second to read his journal now that we’re not being shot at.”
Max and Nyoka offered light chuckles at the Captain’s joke, continuing to look around the room for anything they could pocket before they left. The Captain had found Jerome’s journal earlier, but hadn’t had a chance to read it since they had been under attack.
Now she wished she had never allowed herself to read what Jerome had written.
She smiled faintly when she read the sweet things that he had written about Leonora. But that feeling didn’t last long for the Captain. The fuzzy warmth was washed away with a cold gut drop when she read that he had taken Adrena-Time. Her heart ached as she read on to see his slow descent into marauder madness. It made her feel a sense of dread at knowing that she likely had just killed him within the group of marauders just a few moments before.
“Oh, God…” The Captain groaned, handing the journal to Max and Nyoka so they could skim over it too.
A wave of nausea filtered through the Captain’s senses, but not the kind usually brought on by rotting canids on Monarch. As much as the Captain wished that she had more control over her feelings, sometimes they still smacked her in the face.
Max and Nyoka went through the same emotions the Captain did as they read. They knew what the Captain was feeling, and they didn’t want her to blame herself for something that she couldn’t help.
“It’s not your fault, Cap. We had to kill them.” Nyoka said.
Max seconded Nyoka’s statement, approaching the Captain and resting a hand on her shoulder to soothe his distressed girlfriend.
“She’s right. There was nothing else that could be done.” Max’s voice rumbled low in the Captain’s ear.
The pad of his thumb stroked her shoulder through the hard material of her Rizzo’s SugarOps armor. It was something he always did when he knew she was uptight, but it didn’t always offer her consolation.
“What am I even going to say to Leonora? How am I supposed to tell her what happened to Jerome?” The Captain asked rhetorically, but she had hoped they’d give her an answer.
The Captain already had a feeling as to what they thought. Nyoka and Max were very honest people, believing that the truth was always best. The Captain mostly agreed, but she knew how damn bad the truth could hurt sometimes.
“Cap, I hate influencing decisions. Just…go with your gut.” Nyoka offered, which wasn’t exactly helpful.
“Whatever you find to be best, Captain.” Max echoed.
The Captain sighed, dejected that their advice didn’t help at all. The Captain tucked the flask into the pocket of Max’s jacket, assuring that it’d be safe with him until they made it back to The Sprat Shack. The trek back through the ruins to the saloon felt far too quick. Even if she had all the time in the world, the Captain was confident she’d never fully settle on how to handle this.
These were the moments that she hated about being a captain. The moments where all authority and responsibility fell to her, and when her crew couldn’t back her up. As horrible of a thought as it was, the Captain was tempted to not even return to Leonora. Leonora would never even know that the Captain had indeed carried out her task. But the Captain knew that was probably the worst thing she could do.
She fished the flask from Max’s pocket once they were out of harm’s way, her dirtied fingers trailed over the engraving once more. She hated everything about this entire Gorgon mission. Every side job that she took seemed to be making the main objective worse. Gorgon was by far the worst of the colony.
And it only further cemented the Captain’s hate for The Board.
They entered the building, the dread in the Captain’s abdomen growing more and more as the elevator descended them down to the lower levels. She looked at Nyoka and Max again, her usually confident and determined eyes suddenly filled with uncertainty.
“I don’t know what I’m going to tell her.” She admitted, her usual boldness being chipped away more and more the longer she thought about this.
Nyoka and Max both wished they could’ve been more helpful. Unfortunately, this was just one of those moments where their assistance wasn’t making the job easier.
Max adored the Captain. Their relationship had given his life a whole new purpose and meaning. He loved her endlessly, and seeing her this upset hurt him personally. If he could bear her burdens, then he would without a second thought.
But she was the Captain, not him.
“Maybe she won’t even ask, Cap.” Nyoka suggested the likely best case scenario.
“If nothing else, at least returning the flask will partly offer her closure.” Max tagged on.
That helped marginally, but it barely made a dent in the Captain’s feeling of impending sadness. The Captain led the way into the room where Leonora was sitting, rummaging through a bin of her belongings that amounted to practically nothing.
For a split second, life returned to Leonora’s eyes when she saw the Captain. However, the life left them again just as fast as it had come. It was as if Leonora had hoped that Jerome would’ve been with them. The Captain couldn’t even imagine Leonora’s pain.
“Hi, Leonora.” The Captain greeted in as neutral of a tone as possible.
Max and Nyoka stood back a ways, wanting to give Leonora plenty of space for whenever the Captain broke the news to her.
“Find anything out there?” Leonora asked in her serene voice.
The Captain nodded, revealing the metal object to her.
“I found Jerome’s flask.” The Captain stated simply, passing it to her with slightly trembling fingers.
A genuine, yet sad smile appeared on Leonora’s face as she looked over it. The Captain could see a whole parade of memories flood over Leonora. The Captain refused to cry, but it was taking a lot from her to stop the tears.
“That’s it, all right! Law…still smells like whiskey, his cigarettes, and that awful cologne he bathed in every morning.” Leonora said, but more as a testament to herself than the Captain.
The Captain refused Leonora’s payment when she offered the bits. The Captain was glad Ellie wasn’t there, because she would’ve surely bitched at the Captain for turning down payment. The Captain had this overwhelming sense to leave now while Leonora wasn’t asking questions. The Captain figured she could bid her farewell and good luck and dash out, but Leonora spoke again before the Captain could try.
“You didn’t happen to find anything else out there…did you?” Leonora questioned, very clearly wanting the answer she’d been waiting all these years for.
The Captain felt like she could’ve broken out into a sweat. This was exactly what she was afraid of. Her observant ears heard the uncomfortable shifting of Nyoka’s feet behind her, and she could practically see Max’s lowered head as a show of respect for Jerome.
The Captain’s hesitation was probably not a good sign to Leonora. The Captain knew that she couldn’t completely avoid answering Leonora. The Captain had two very clear paths in front of her. She could tell Leonora the truth and risk breaking Leonora’s heart further, or she could lie and offer Leonora some solid comfort…even if it wasn’t real.
The Captain didn’t want to do this. She wished that she had better options at this moment. But she had to choose what was dealt to her and what was best for Leonora in her eyes. So, the Captain made the best decision that she could.
So she lied.
“I found Jerome. It looks like he died peacefully.” The Captain told Leonora.
The energy from Max and Nyoka changed. They both were a bit stunned that the Captain fibbed. Just as before, a flash of a look of relief crossed Leonora’s features. She didn’t want Jerome dead, but thinking he died comfortably brought her great consolation.
“Good…good. I should’ve been there for him, but I suppose he wanted to be alone in the end,” Leonora said solemnly, “Thank you for the flask. Jerome and I were supposed to live and die together, but sometimes fate has other plans.”
The Captain didn’t hear Leonora’s goodbye due to the ringing of her last sentence.
Fate has other plans.
The Captain felt a million times worse now. She thought about all the plans she had with Max. All the things about their future that they had talked about. They were supposed to live and die together…but what if that didn’t turn out to be the case?
The Captain only gave Leonora a nod for a farewell, leaving her to wallow in a broken lie as an attempt at moving on. It was the end of the night, and the Captain just wanted to get the hell back on The Unreliable. They left The Sprat Shack, the Captain’s solitary question giving Nyoka an invitation to speak once they were en route to exit the establishment.
“Did I do the right thing?” The Captain asked for the first time ever, tears brimming her eyes.
Max didn’t say anything, knowing she’d talk to him more later. Nyoka sighed, clearly torn at what had just happened with Leonora.
“I don’t know, Cap. I hope she’ll find some peace in this, but…sometimes it’s better to know the truth and deal with it.” Nyoka said honestly.
“I just couldn’t tell her. She’s been holding on to a sliver of hope for years and if she knew that he had turned into a marauder…” The Captain stopped briefly, “It might’ve killed her.”
The Captain wasn’t known for theatrics or delivering dramatic lines after an intense moment (no, they left that up to Felix). But her words couldn’t have been more true.
Max hates seeing the Captain so unsure of herself. She usually never thought twice about a decision she had made. She had lied her way out of situations before, but never in that context.
“I’m sure you did the rightest thing you could, Cap. It’ll be fine, you’ll see.” Nyoka added on after realizing that her opinion had made it worse.
“Yeah. Maybe.” The Captain said as they walked up the ramp of the landing pad.
The ship was fairly quiet as they entered, only a few distant sounds could be heard over the hum of the engine. Ellie and Parvati had gone to bed, Felix was raiding the fridge in the kitchen, and SAM was probably cleaning ADA’s units for the millionth time that day.
The Captain wanted to get the hell off of Gorgon, even if it was just for a day or two. But she was afraid that she wouldn’t be able to stop thinking about it until the job was finished. She just wanted to get this over with so she could get on with her life.
Her mind was reeling with thoughts and replaying the day’s events over and over again. She couldn’t tell what was bugging her more. The fact that she was responsible for the death of Jerome or that she had lied to Leonora. It was probably a horrible thought, but it offered the Captain some peace knowing that Jerome never would’ve been with Leonora again, due to his marauder transformation and all.
But she subconsciously knew that there was much more to her discomfort than what was on the surface.
Nyoka, Max, and the Captain silently stashed their things away into the lockers at the front of the ship, the sounds of their weapons and whatever they had stashed in their pockets clinking and making other noises. Usually, the Captain took inventory at the end of the day, but she was too tired and honestly couldn’t have cared less.
The Captain’s gear had been stashed away until their next adventure, her head craning from one side to the other as she attempted to adhere to her achy muscles and tired bones. Nyoka didn’t say much else, knowing the Captain needed to be alone. Nyoka snatched a few bottles of Spectrum Vodka from the kitchen before holding herself in her room, not nearly as bothered as the Captain was.
Max had hardly taken his eyes off of the Captain the entire time. He studied her and watched her to see what she was feeling without her actually saying it. The Captain and Max had an interesting dynamic like that. He could read her and she could read him.
He just wished she wouldn’t beat herself up so much about this.
“[Y/N], darling,” He hushed out, his voice like smooth silk in her ear, “Please, don’t dwell on this too much.”
The Captain only shook her head, her eyes stinging with tears again and her throat heavy with the struggle to hold down that first sob.
“I’m going to shower. I just want to go to bed.” She stated, managing to conceal the quaver in her voice from him.
To anyone else, the Captain’s behavior would’ve been coming off as cold and hateful. But Max knew her too well for that. He knew she was hurt and upset with herself. She turned around the walk away from him, knowing that he understood where she was mentally right now.
He instinctively let his hand find her waist, keeping her from straying away from him. He looked into her bleary eyes, seeing the toll that this was taking on her.
“Okay, my love. Whatever you want.” He smiled softly, trying his best to reassure her.
Now, he went to walk away, taking the Captain’s statement to mean that she wanted to be alone. But her frantic grab for him told him he was wrong. He could see the desperation in her eyes, the plain and simple fact that she did not want him to be away from her right now. Even more so, he heard it in her voice. The gentle request that came out as a crack of a whisper.
Almost as if he’d disappear if she spoke too boldly.
“Please don’t go.” She pleaded to her beloved priest.
A singular tear slid down her left cheek, creating a wet line through the layer of dirt caked on the Captain’s face. She wouldn’t let herself completely fall apart. Not yet anyway. She refused to let the emotion show on her features past the tears.
She was supposed to be the strong, blazing captain of The Unreliable. She was supposed to be the one person who never let things get in the way of things that needed to be done. Independent captains were supposed to keep their feelings stored away on a shelf, safe from all the horrible things that they had to see.
But what the Captain was beginning to realize was that all of those other captains had become that way BECAUSE they didn’t allow themselves to feel.
They had ruined themselves by trying so hard not to ruin themselves.
“Oh, Captain…oh, my darling,” Max said quietly and lowly, not to draw any attention in the event that someone was lingering around, “I’m here for you. I always have been and always will be.”
His hand slipped into hers, intertwining his fingers with hers. He brought the back of her hand to his lips and left a gentle kiss, bringing her to the shower of the ship. The water was hot and heavenly on the Captain’s skin, already washing away the dirt and grime she had collected during the day.
Silent tears were still streaming from her eyes as they stood together under the flow of water. He wiped away the tears as best as he could, his heart breaking with each new set of soundless tears that told the loudest story. She didn’t have to say that she needed comfort; he could see it and feel it.
“You’re so wonderful. You’re so incredible in so many ways,” Max said as he began to wash her hair, his hands massaging at her scalp, “Law only knows how you ended up in my life.”
Even through her tears, she managed a smile, along with a saddened and amused laugh.
“Did an outlaw, happenstance captain really change your life so much?” She asked him in a purely joking manner.
“You’ll never understand the half of it.” Max replied as seriously as ever.
Max made sure she was clean first, before getting himself clean as well. He continued to tell her sweet nothings. He continued to love her in the ways that he knew she responded well to. He couldn’t undo everything that had happened, and he couldn’t do much about the Captain’s worry. But he could be there for her through all her tribulations.
She took her usual place on the inside of the bunk once they were dressed for bed and back in her quarters. Max had slipped one of his shirts over her body, kissing her gently and carefully. His lips were met with her quivering ones, her final attempt at not completely breaking down in front of him.
She was pressed between the adjacent wall and Max’s body. She snuggled up next to him like she always did, but it wasn’t in the giddy way that she normally did when she was eager for cuddles. No, this was more of a slow pull of herself flush to him. Her head against his left pectoral and her hands reaching for one of his to play with. She was needy for comfort, rather than her usual nightly snuggles.
The trace scents of Max’s cologne filled her nose as she formed herself into his side. It was a smell that always grounded her. It brought her a sense of care. A sense of direction when she didn’t know where to go. A feeling of all the answers in a world of so many unanswered questions.
It made her feel a sense of home.
“Max?” She called out, not hiding the tremble in her voice this time.
He could feel the glass about to break. The glass underneath her that was protecting her bottled up feelings was beginning to crack and was on the verge of shattering and causing her to fall.
But he’d be there to catch her safely.
“Let it go, Captain,” He persuaded softly, holding her a little tighter in preparation for her inevitable meltdown, “I’m here.”
And then she did indeed let go.
The first real sob was a gut wrenching one. She felt it all the way from the bottom of her lungs to the tips of her toes. It was an overwhelming reaction, one so intense that even Max was a bit taken aback. She buried her face into the soft material of his shirt, muffling her pathetic cries in an attempt not to disturb anyone on the ship.
“I lied to her, Max.” The Captain sputtered, each word being thick with distress.
“You did what you simply had to do. Your decision wasn’t out of disrespect.” Max answered, his hand caressing her damp hair.
“It was her husband. I killed her husband, and I didn’t even have the guts to tell her that.” The Captain drawled, her tears seeping through Max’s shirt.
“You didn’t kill him. He was dead long before you ever pulled the trigger,” Max reminded her, referring to how Adrena-Time pretty much had sucked any life out of him beforehand, “Leonora and Jerome never would’ve ended up happily together again. Even if we had managed to get away with not killing him.”
The Captain seemed to be understanding that. It registered well in her head, but there was one part she was still so hung up on.
“It wasn’t that I didn’t want to tell her that I killed him. I just couldn’t tell her that he had turned into a marauder. How could anyone come to terms with their lover becoming a fucking maniac?” She wept, “How could anyone ever get over the fact that the person they loved most was taken from them, and they couldn’t do a damn thing about it?”
Max was intrigued by the Captain’s specific choice of wording…but he sensed that there was a deeper issue that was causing her to fall apart like this. Max was doing absolutely everything he could to make her feel better. Unfortunately, she had just seen and dealt with too much since taking this Gorgon job. She was exhausted in every regard: emotionally, physically, mentally. He just wished that there was more that he could do beyond talking things out.
“It’s so overused to say, but life is unpredictably cruel sometimes. There was a reason for the way that things turned out.” Max said, kissing the crown of her head.
The Captain dwindled down into a series of sniffles and hiccuping cries, her head too rattled to say anything for the time being. Max caressed her skin, kissed her, touched her, and loved her. Anything he could do to remind her that he was there for her.
“Max?” She called again after a few more silent moments.
“Yes, my love?” He answered, letting his hand relax so she could fidget with it easier.
“I love you.” She declared, wiping at her tears fruitlessly.
Max and the Captain had exchanged “I love yous” before this moment. Surprisingly, Max had been the first to say it. He and the Captain had found themselves sitting alone together on Groundbreaker, sharing a bottle of Iceberg Whiskey and drowning out the day’s terrors. He had leaned over to press a kiss to her temple, when he whispered it lowly in her ear. She had returned the endearment, and not a day had passed where the two of them hadn’t said it at least once a day.
Even when they had been fighting or arguing over something meaningless, they never let the other go to bed angry. He could be past the point of enraged at her, and he would still tell her how he felt before they fell asleep. They were connected in the most beautiful way.
It felt so different to hear her say it in this kind of situation.
“I love you, Captain. I love you so much.” He drawled, suddenly interlacing his fingers with hers once again.
“When Leonora was telling her story…I couldn’t help but think about us.” The Captain admitted, her tears beginning to slow.
Max’s brows knitted together in both confusion and curiosity.
“What do you mean?” He questioned, leaving yet another kiss on her head.
“They traveled the colony together…ended up at the wrong place at the wrong time,” The Captain explained, “Max, that could easily happen to us.”
The Captain sat up from where she was laying next to him, her cheeks wet with tears and her eyes puffy. She wanted him to understand her worries and why this was bugging her so much.
She wanted him to see that she was afraid for them.
“Oh, darling, I assure you that’s nothing to concern yourself with. We’ve seen what Adrena-Time can do and it’s the reason for marauders, I’d never even give taking it a second thought.” Max assured her.
“I don’t mean with Adrena-Time. I just mean in general. This colony is so messed up. Literally anything could happen and if I lost you…” She trailed off, not even daring to finish the thought.
The vicar’s eyes softened even more than they already had. Although he knew better than to say this to her right now, he knew that they could realistically lose one another at any given moment. He wasn’t kidding when he said that life was cruel. It was always an open possibility…and not just for them.
“It could happen. I won’t deny that to you, but I find that it’s more important to savor and cherish the moments that we are blessed with…preferably while they’re still here,” Max said, knowing that probably wasn’t offering her any kind of resolve.
“Easier said than done.” The Captain grumbled.
“I know it’s not a great answer,” He confessed, a grin appearing on his face, “But for what it’s worth, I enjoy every single moment with you. I’ll spend every moment loving you.”
The Captain gave a light laugh, amused by his words.
“Even when I’m a crying mess and hysterical?” She tried to joke.
Max cupped her face, swiping more tears from her face as he answered with full seriousness.
The Captain took a few seconds to try and collect herself. Talking had helped some, but this was something she’d have to allow herself to work through. In time, The Captain would come to terms with what she had told Leonora. While she’d never know how Leonora came to terms with it, the Captain would rest easy knowing that she’d done what she thought was right.
Max gave her time to bask in the quiet, continuing to rub her leg that was peeking out from under the sheet. He kept his sights on her, watching her as she dazed out the window in front of her desk. He was proud of her for letting herself release her feelings out into the open. He knew that she kept things to herself more than he wanted her to, but as long as she knew that he was a resource for her, then he was okay.
“Come here.” He said when her gaze returned to him.
She crawled back into his open arms, falling into his frame for the millionth and certainly not the last time. He showered her with love for the rest of the night, wiping any tears that slipped down her face. He felt relief when she finally fell asleep, because he knew how badly she needed rest.
He stayed up long after she fell into a snooze, keeping her close in case she woke up again in a meltdown. He was sure that she was releasing lots of emotions that had been building up for quite some time, so he expected her to not fully be herself for a few days.
He’d be there for her until she felt better. Until she was back to being the woman that he had grown to love…but he loved her just as much even when she wasn’t feeling completely normal. While he hoped that he and his captain had lots of more adventures to go on and endeavors to discover, he was content with his happily ever after that he knew to be her. Because she had shown him love. She had shown him HOW to love.
She was his forever.
“You’re shaking. Here, come closer.” (soft sentence starters) please!
This one came in a fit and dragged me out of bed. Spoilers for Peril on Gorgon.
Bleary and dazed, Lore groped along the floor until her fingers grasped fabric. She picked up a shirt blindly as she rose gingerly from the bed. She draped it over herself, turning to look at Max still fast asleep in the small bunk. A smile flickered along her lips at the sight of him.
She made her way to the cart in the far corner of the room and took a long slug from a jug of water. She couldn’t recall the details of the dream, same as always, but this one felt different. Usually, Max’s presence alone was enough to chase the nightmares away.
But not tonight.
She hugged her arms around herself and realized the shirt was several sizes too large for her. Max’s, then. She clutched it tighter to herself, blinking her eyes shut for a moment, taking in a deep breath, inhaling the lingering scent of him from the fabric. Desperate for the comfort of him to be enough.
She turned to look out of the wide glass windows. Gorgon hung high in the sky, luminous and looming. She shivered, then it became a quiver. Her whole body began vibrating as she stared out at the asteroid. She couldn’t stop. Not the movement of her body, nor the transfixed gaze upon Gorgon, with all its terrible secrets below.
She registered sound behind her. Rustling, a few soft grunts. She didn’t react. She couldn’t. She’d lost all sense or control; she was awash with the memories, the horrors, the pounding, terrible thoughts. It was all she could do to contain them.
She felt him standing beside her, though she couldn’t turn her head to look at him. She felt him, and it should have been enough.
“You’re shaking.” It was a statement, brimming with concern and agitation. “Here, come closer.” His arms wrapped around her as he pressed her backward against his chest. She leaned into him instinctively. His arms were tight as iron as he enveloped her in his embrace.
Tears that had been pricking at the backs of her eyes now streamed forward, sobs wracking their way free of her throat. She turned her head at last, pressing it against his shoulder as she cried. “They were people, Max. I… I didn’t… I couldn’t recognize it, didn’t want to, I… but… those cubes… that’s what they were, weren’t they?”
He tugged on her to roll her against his chest until she was facing him. She buried her face into his bare chest, grateful for the power she felt in his muscles, the slight tickle from his chest hairs, the pure, radiating warmth of him. She breathed deep of him: whiskey, gunpowder, expensive soap, and beneath it all, him. She curled herself as small as she could, pressing in tight, as though if she tried hard enough she could disappear into his skin.