A New Captain Scarlet story for Christmas
By Cat 2
Miriam Ad Bann – better known in Spectrum as Lieutenant Almond – stood, looking out of the observation lounge window.
Skybase always floated 18,288 m above Sea level.
She had contacted Lieutentant Silver a few moments ago to ask for their current position exactly. The Australian had been surprised, but had answered. 0.75m west of The Syrian Sea.
That made her 18,200m from her home. That was closer than she’d been in... a long time.
Down there, it would be Christmas Eve, as they called it here. They would be celebrating the Maca, eating the food that the men had made. It was disgusting, but fun.
As midnight approached, they would head to the tents and light the first candle. Then they would carry it out into the desert, to their sacred places. Then the prayers would start. A song as old as the hills, dating back to at least the Middle Ages, and probably older than that.
Each day had its own rituals; some for the women, and some for the men and of course Epiphany was for the children.
It was very different from here. There was little enough greenery in the desert, and they would have never thought to bring any of it into their homes.
Christmas was for fasting, but here, she had learned it wasn’t the same, when she had heard several officers here gleefully describing the food they were expecting tomorrow.
“Hey.” She jumped, her hand automatically going for her weapon. Scarlet flung his hands up. “Sorry. Didn’t mean to scare you.”
“You didn’t,” she replied automatically, her eyes returning to the window.
“Thought you’d be gone. Adam left nearly three hours ago.”
“After Last year, Mrs. Svenson made it very clear that this year the invitation was ‘just for family’.”
Paul was forced to smile.
“Well unmasking your future brother-in-law’s girlfriend as a religious fanatic planning to sacrifice him does tend to put a damper on things,” Scarlet said, attempting to make a joke. Miriam either ignored the joke or didn’t understand.
“He was grateful!” she said, angrily. “She didn’t like me anyway.” She turned to look at him. “What about you?” she asked. “I thought you’d have left.”
Paul shrugged, moving over the deserted couch.
“You heard from your brother Ardeth?”
“No. And don’t try and change the subject.”
Paul shook his head. “I’m not.”
Miriam sighed. “You heard about the D’Garys?”
Paul nodded. The D’Garys had been heavily involved in the movement to help Hiran men and women defect, as Miriam had done. Their bodies had been found pegged out in the desert two days ago.
“The house is still on radio silence in case they talked.” She sighed. “It will be hard for everyone.” She paused and continued delicately, “Adam heard you tell Carrie you were visiting Destiny. I admit I was surprised.”
Paul sighed. “Do you know what her reaction was when I told her what happened? ‘I told you so’. Just that. ‘I told you so’.”
Miriam sighed. “I highly doubt she accurately predicted what happened. Black returning to Mysteron Control and Destiny being manipulated by him surprised everyone, including me.” she said. “Anyway, sisters are required to hate their brother’s girlfriends. I detested all the women my brothers married, admittedly with reason.” She shook her head and wandered back over to the window, well aware of Paul’s eyes following her.
“I’m literally the middle child. Three older, three younger. Ardeth’s ten months younger than me, then there’s Madlagen.” She shook her head. “She’s always been the rebel. Always came in filthy from fighting with the boys, couldn’t sew to save her life, deliberately said the wrong words in prayers.” She was smiling, though tears could be seen in her eyes. “When I left, she’d just got married. In fact, I left amidst the feasting for her wedding. And when I last spoke to Ardeth, he told me she was pregnant.”
She turned to face him.
“In the desert, a woman has a one in ten chance of dying, bearing her first child. The risk doubles if her husband cares more for the child than its mother. I should be down there. I should be holding her hand and wiping her brow and telling her it’s going to be all right. I’d give almost anything to be there. To be with my family.”
She turned away from him, her eyes closed to stop the tears leaking out.
“But you can’t go back.”
Silence reigned in the deserted lounge for a few seconds, before Miriam spoke again: “There’s a plane leaving in twenty minutes. If you hurry, you can catch it.”
Paul nodded. Getting to his feet, he rested a hand on her shoulder. “We’ll get you home, one day.”
Miriam nodded, as he left, like she believed the lie. She watched as he headed for the plane that would take him to Carrie’s.
Moving over to the table, she poured herself a mug of Green Tea, the traditional drink before the fasting began.
With a small sad smile, she lifted the glass and drank the age old toast.
“Next year in Zion.”
Next year in Zion means, next year in the homeland. It’s kind of a wistful toast, which I admit I borrowed from Jewish Tradisions. It seemed right for Miriam at this kind of year to be longing to be with her family. For more information on what happened to Destiny, please see Five Years Gone, presently on Fanfiction.net, but which will be published in 2009 on this wonderful site. Thanks to Chris and her team who have been so patient with me.
Season’s Greetings to you all.