DISCLAIMER: Babylon 5 and its characters are the property of JMS. Battlestar Galactica is the property of Glen A. Larson, Sci-Fi Channel, R & D TV, Sky and NBC Universal.
AUTHOR'S NOTE: the tense was really hard since past becomes present….struggled mightily. I never write in first person. Ivonova is on leave on New Caprica. Like any 3rd World, they are building resorts for the galaxy’s gentry. I should be doing my taxes. I did this instead.
ARCHIVING: Only with the permission of the author.
I whispered my goodbye to the sunset makers. All three of them set within moments of each other. That's what I loved about being on a planet, any planet, even a poor one like New Caprica. I love having light blazing and burning my skin, cream colored from my many years in the service of Earthforce, a dark tan. Sometimes I wonder why I chose this profession, in space, in perpetual darkness. It makes me want another drink, but then everything makes me want another drink.
"Hey, barkeep, another."
He smiles crookedly. No doubt, his mother told him it was cute. Maybe it was when he was ten. As an adult, hitting on a woman in a bar, it's a little pathetic. I survey the room. I was so focused on watching the suns set that I hadn't noticed that it had filled up mostly with conventioneers, a truly weird bunch of humanity. They always looked guilty, like they were being really bad and were hoping to be caught. Military types are scattered about being rowdy. Not many seem to be regulars. This planet specializes in resorts, catering to the almighty credit. That is why I am here, for the r&r; I'd rather eat dinner with a Pakmara than go to lectures this week. As for as I am concerned, I'm here to take hot showers, drink real coffee, and get laid. But I'd been here for two days now and there wasn't one bleeding attraction that I'd want to ride.
I'm distracted by a loud obnoxious group of flyboys and girls flying a virtual starfury. Bets are placed and a blonde is climbing into the cockpit. Cocky. But I think she can back it up. I take another drink of fire; I might go for that. Nah, too young. She wouldn't know what to do with me.
It is then that I notice the brunette in the tailored suit. She looks like a banker's wife but more interesting. What is that look? She's watching the betting almost as if she were the chaperone at a teenagers' party. I catch the blonde stealing glances at her. They know each other. There is a bit of a smirk as the high scorer light flashes. The bets are collected and the blonde makes an announcement, a challenge to the room. I think that maybe she needs to be taken down a peg or two and maybe I'll get the attention of Ms. CEO.
"I'll take that. Ten credits say I can beat that score." I have my poker face on. Tonight, I don't look like a pilot, or an officer, hell, I don't' look like I work for a living. I have the hair down, my sexiest red dress on, and heels that make me taller than Sheridan. I enjoy the initial slack jawed reaction from the group that evolves into roars of laughter. Good. They are a bunch of egotistical pricks. I'll enjoy taking them. I give a demure smile.
"I really am quite good at these games."
"Sure you are, Honey," The handsome butch lights a cigar. "I'll give you 20 if you come within 2 levels of my score."
I notice the sparks lighting in CEO's eyes. She's paying attention.
"I have 30 credits that says that she'll take it two levels higher than Starbuck." She returns a demure smile to me; I swear the crinkles at the corners of her eyes tighten with barely contained amusement.
There is a tremendous clamor as bets are placed. Again, CEO smiles knowingly at me. She knows my secret. But how can she? I slide into the cockpit and feign unfamiliarity for an instant. Starbuck blows smoke out the side of her mouth. She'll be blowing smoke out her ass when I get through with her.
I hitch my dress up to get more comfortable, The blonde now has a touch of surprise as I let myself sink into the leather chair, like I belong to it, like it's an old lover. I place the virtual goggles on and the screen bursts onto the wall. I am propelled into the blackness of space. Shards of light sharpen into focus as the movement of bodies in space start its dance. That's why I chose this life, for this incredible dance.
It's better than sex sometimes, flying- being in a dogfight. It's not real, here in a bar sim but it is the next best thing. I meld into the action. I see the field and anticipate each boogey. I am cool. I am efficient. I am death incarnate. God, I miss it, the taste of victory. The machine finally stops. There are no other levels to go to. I take the goggles off, shake my mane, and take in the mute stares of the group.
"I told you that I've done this before. So who's going to buy me a drink?"
"I've never seen anything like it." The blonde murmurs as her cigar threatens to fall out the side of her lips.
CEO walks up and collects her winnings and holds out her hand. "I have you to thank for this windfall, I'll buy you that drink and, perhaps, take you to dinner as repayment?"
As I leave with her, she continues, "It is a sincere pleasure to met you, Captain Ivanova. I must say that your display of skill far exceeded your reputation."
"How did you know who I was?"
"Well, I do watch interstellar news and I teach history so I suppose that I took unfair advantage of the situation. Although, I must say, you look a little different out of uniform."
"I confess that you look familiar to me but I don't know any teachers in any galaxy."
"Laura, Laura Roslin. "
"Well I'll be damned, President Roslin of the lost colonies?"
"Former. So what did you think, librarian, housewife?"
"I took to calling you CEO in my head."
"That's a sight better than what most military types think of me on first meeting. I think that we are going to have a delightful dinner."
Light filters into the window of the hotel room. I blink to greet the rays building up in threes as the suns peak over the mountains. I glance back at the form hidden by rumpled bed sheets. It was supposed to be one night and already it's the day after.
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