Day 7 – To an ex
This letter required the receiver to be an ex – an ex-lover, ex-boy/girlfriend, ex-partner, basically someone who has went the way of the Dodo in terms of a relationship with the sender was my take on it.
Admittedly, this is one area I don’t particularly dwell on with my characters. I live with my characters, largely in the moment, rather labouring over the finite details of their past. Unless it is an important part of their character or backstory, their past loves don’t really come into it for me.
[pullquote align=”left|center|right” textalign=”left|center|right” width=”45%”]Lacking the patience for Paul’s word games, Molly retorted smartly, “What do you want Paul?”
“Cutting to the chase, Molly. You’ve lost none of your edge.”
“No but I have lost the marriage certificate, so I don’t need to do the whole ‘banter’ thing.”[/pullquote]
That is save for one character – one who is not exactly the warmest or the one you’d associate with a love interest. Step forward Commander Molly Cartwright. Yes, beehive sporting, bee chewing scowl wearing Molly Cartwright has an estranged past love. Actually she has an ex-husband. The details of her being divorced from her husband, Paul, a civilian cargo freighter does indeed crop up in Hunting Grounds.
Their relationship hit the rocks for a number of reasons. Largely Molly’s career and Paul’s cargo running took them in different directions and given Paul’s willingness to just about skirt the law to do business risked them crossing one another’s paths in a bad way. So things went the way they did. I considered writing a letter from one to the other at around that time frame to explore their feelings. And it would indeed be a doozy of a letter from either one to the other. But I’m not going to do that.
Rather than imagine a past letter from one to other however, I am going to present a Kestrel spoiler. Nothing major, fret not, feel free to read on. The letter and the events it pertains to, deal with some of the fallout from Paul’s revelation to Molly about his connections to T’Hos and his attack on the Kestrel. Molly is obviously hurt by Paul’s admission as it brings up some of the issues that blighted their relationship years ago. Worse still, is she knew she would have to bring this news to McGregor and t
hat the captain would take it badly – and boys did he. It resulted in a ding-dong exchange of words between XO and Captain, especially since despite everything, Molly kept Paul’s secret long enough to give the cargo freighter a chance to escape McGregor’s clutches.
Here’s a snippet of McGregor and Molly’s exchange in that particular chapter:
[pullquote align=”center” textalign=”center” width=”80%”]
“Before I go on, I want you to know that I know what Paul did was completely out of line. What I’ve done is also pretty deplorable in only telling you now.”
Adjusting his trousers, the captain shifted on the leather couch hardly paying Molly any mind. “Molly he’s a cargo hauler. I dare say he’s not the first to try to increase his profits margins by running something not quite legal. Gees where do you think me and Eddie get half of our bootleg drinks from?”
“This is a little more serious than that. He didn’t of course at the time – but afterwards he figured it out.”
“Figured what out? If this is the way you’re going to continue your conversation then I would hazard a guess and say that your marriage to Paul collapsed because of communication problems.”
“Damn it McGregor. If you keep interrupting with snide remarks, I’ll get nowhere. You know fine well what went down with Paul and me. And it certainly wasn’t a lack of communication!”
Pushing himself to his feet, McGregor demanded darkly, “Well then spit it out whatever it is. I hate being led on! You’re obviously trying to cover his ass and you’re anticipating that I’m going to go gunning for Paul when this all done and said. I probably will, but let’s spare ourselves the dramatics of beforehand and spit it out Molly!”
“Paul … Paul gave passage to T’Hos and his men to Starbase 49. They used their aliases and holographic disguises so he couldn’t have known any better.”
“Couldn’t have known any better?” McGregor asked innocently before roaring, “Couldn’t have known any better! He smuggles illegal persons onto a Federation station. In what way did he think what he was doing was in any way innocent? It’s one thing to carry bootleg but it’s another to carry illegal immigrants. It’s not a matter of shading, it’s not a matter of degrees of illegality, it’s a matter of being completely and utterly criminal! Slavers, diseased vagrants, fugitives, spies, terrorists. They fit the bill for those seeking secret passage onto a secure Federation post. Not asylum seekers or refugees. Nowhere and in no way could he have thought himself to be doing a noble thing. Nor could he think his actions were innocent or a simple money making exercise!”
“All this I know and explained to Paul!”
McGregor hurled his tumbler at the bulkhead, narrowly missing Molly as he did. It exploded in shards of glass one grazing Molly’s cheek bringing a thin line of blood to the surface as McGregor hollered, “You should have explained it to him in a brig!“
Kestrel: Hunting Grounds; chapter: Second Chances [/pullquote]
[important]Here, then, is the letter and the spoiler revealing something to come in Kestrel.[/important]
Words can not… I mean … I find the words are hard to come by. That’s not even true. I’ve many, many words I want to say to you. I’ve hundreds of words. Lots of angry words. Lots of really angry, mad, frustrated and aggrieved words. I just want to scream them at you. To holler at the top of my lungs. Oh it would be bliss. It would be sublime to rant and rave into your face. I’d slap you silly and shout until I was red in the face. Literally, red in the face. You stupid, stupid man.
I’d love to shout at you – but I can’t. I’d love to slap that face of yours I once so loved – but I can’t. No more. You got yourself killed Paul. You went and got tangled up with T’Hos and his murky world. I think we both kinda knew that this was the fateful end of that stupid mistake. T’Hos was always going to hunt you down and get his own back. You ended up double crossing him and turned informant. But it was all too little and all too late. What did that do in the end? It merely confirmed many of McGregor’s notions. He lends your information more credit than I believe it warrants or deserves. I think he did that to prepare for the news of your death, to try and buy you some credit with me ahead of the news coming inevitably. McGregor too knew that your card was marked. Heck, I think that’s the only reason McGregor allowed you to run, once he discovered your part in the attack by T’Hos on the Kestrel. McGregor knew that T’Hos and his network of operatives would ferret you out and eliminate you.
I’m angry – so angry at you. I know I should direct my anger at T’Hos and his agents but no, it’s you I’m angry at. And McGregor. And Judy, and T’Vel, and the whole god dammed bloody lot. You took a gamble. You thought you saw a quick way to make money. You knew dealing with T’Hos, even before Starbase 49 was illegal and dangerous and more than stupid. You knew it and yet you risked it. You knew the type of villain T’Hos is but you were willing to do business with him. It’s like I don’t even know who you are. Were.
I knew you do be something of a rogue. I expect that of cargo freighters. It’s a tough life and you make it work by making it work. But I never ever imagined you’d collaborate with the ilk of T’Hos. You know – knew – that any business with him, no matter how superficial, mundane or even legal it might have been, only endorsed his ugly true business. Did making a quick buck mean that much to you? I can’t believe it did. I don’t want to believe it did, because I could never have loved a man who did think that, who’d willingly do that.
We were stupid, passionate, in love and probably thought there was something dangerous and exciting about falling in love and being on opposite sides of the fence – me a Border Dog back then starting out on a promising career and you and young upstart, hotshot independent trader freighter. Huh. How much more naive could we possibly have been? I guess that’s what being in the throes of love or what you felt were the throes of love does to your brain.
That’s, that’s disingenuous. I did love you. I loved you once and yes I felt an obligation and a loyalty to you enough to give you the breathing space needed to escape McGregor. Oh how I wish you could have escaped T’Hos too. Despite my anger, despite my burning rage, I did love you. And I will mourn you – in time in a more appropriate manner. But for now, I have to worry what McGregor will do. You’re one more score he has to settle with T’Hos. Ahab has his whale to catch. But you tangled with T’Hos and died despite fleeing across the quadrant. McGregor intends to chase and hunt T’Hos down. What will come of us all then?
If there’s an afterlife and you’re not getting too toasty in the fires of hell Paul, hells I’m sure married life to me was a purgatory, say a prayer for us all. I fear we will need all the prayers we can get. I’ll miss you, Paul.