knightsfalling: ([DW] Adelaide Brooke [WoM])
[personal profile] knightsfalling
Title: Explosions in the Sky
Author: [ profile] redknightalex
Rating: PG
Warnings: Character Death
Pairing/Characters: Ed Gold, Adelaide Brooke
Setting: Series 4 Specials - “The Waters of Mars”
Genre: Character Introspection
Word Count: 1,330
Disclaimer: Own nothing, once again, I'm just playing around with characters I felt were worthy of a bit more study than what the BBC had decided upon.
Summary: Ed Gold had always been fiercely loyal to his captain, the one who had chosen him to explore the stars with. But then one day came, an explosion in Cargo Bay 13, that changed their relationship forever, and he would never forgive himself for letting it happen. Nor would she.

Author's Note: I've always wondered how the relationship between Ed Gold and Adelaide Brooke developed into the one on-screen and, to be honest, I doubt it had anything to do with a romantic fling. That would be too simple for a woman like Adelaide and too low for a man like Ed. Something else must have happened. This was what my brain came up with during a massive heat wave where I live. Commentary will probably be coming at some point as a bunch of the details had to be gleamed off of the TARDIS wiki, which had much more detailed information regarding the Internet posts in the episode than I could gather.

Written for the ficathon at [ profile] who_like_giants.

Sleeping in space was a hard thing to do. Particularly on this patch-worked piece of space debris he was currently riding on. He wasn't really complaining however, he was in space and that was all that mattered. At times there were moments when he realised how fragile their ship was. Built with great haste and by a dozen separate nations, Apollo 34 truly was a piece of junk and yet a testament to the collective will of the human species -- to make themselves better and, most important of all, to survive.

Ed Gold pressed further back into his upright sleeping bag. Things floated around him and, with a practiced ease of having lived in space for over a year, he ignored them. Things hadn't changed much from the original Space Shuttle or Apollo times: no gravity, no beds, poor food, and hardly any personal space. And to think that this was what he had yearned for since he was a young kid. He remembered looking up at the stars, wondering, searching, whispering to them as if they were little playmates. He would dream of them at night, using it almost as a meditative way to get some sleep, and as he started thinking of them now, of how he was traveling amongst them, around them, just passing by them on his way to Mars with two others, he suddenly felt everything shake.

His eyes opened immediately, the sound of warning klaxons ringing throughout the confined space. With an ease that came only from panic, he unbuckled himself from his sleeping bag, and took off in search of the command centre. Using rods and other hand-grips along the way, he stopped just short of the command centre when he found Captain Adelaide Brooke looking out of a port. Stopping to glance around her and through the view port, he saw the problem.

What would later be known as a preventable failure, the release hatches on Bay 13 sparked and melted away, leaving the doors susceptible to air pressures on both side of the bay doors. Eventually, over the course of a standard week, the bay door collapsed and were forced open by the atmospheric nothingness of space. Emergency systems kicked in, the inner bay doors were shut, and all contents were expelled with last particles of oxygen still left inside. All of it was gone.

He watched Adelaide look out the window. Her eyes were hollow as she watched the precious cargo from Bay 13 float out into space. There was nothing that could be done now, only things that could have prevented it, and he knew that she was beating herself up over it. He knew her too well to not notice the hardening in her eyes, the clench of her fist, and the inward dialog she was having with herself.

They had worked together for so long that they knew each other's thoughts, knew what each other was thinking, understood even what they themselves could not comprehend. Adelaide, he knew, would forever push herself and her crew to the ends of the universe, searching for something he would never dream of guessing, but she was no cruel mistresses. She worked hard and expected the same from her crew, from those both with her and those traveling behind. Yet she was never harsh, never held a grudge, or placed blame where it was not warranted. In fact, she had more of a tendency to blame herself than anyone that may have been responsible, no matter what her command's moral code may say. It was just in her nature.

And yet, sometimes, she needed someone to keep her steady when she lost her way.

Ed reached out a hand to her, touching her shoulder gently, and quickly wrenched it away as if burned as she turned to him, eyes as cold as the space beyond their thin walls.

“I lost it,” Adelaide stated plainly, “I lost that whole cargo bay.”

Ed looked out of the port again, still feeling the heat and scorn of her stare upon him, and saw the equipment float quickly away and into the ether. He racked his mind to remember what was in Bay 13. Even in his confused state of mind, he remembered the contents of each bay, like an exercise rehearsed one too many times, and then he realised why she was so worried.

“The nuclear warheads,” he whispered softly. The ramifications of having lost that, of all the items they still had, was easily recognised. Not only would they have no means of setting them up underneath the base once they had arrived on Mars, but ground control would have a fit, something neither he nor Adelaide were prone to having to receive. Except for base operations, if they ever got there, and control aside, they had just let fly nuclear warheads into the midst of space. The damage they could produce if they were, somehow, detonated would be powerful, deadly, and, in some ways, magnificent. A thousand more stars to wonder at.

He knew, or rather guessed from the machinations that ran the central government these days, that it would take a year for the contents to be replaced, sent on the second ship that would bring the remainder of their Mars crew to the base named Bowie Base One. For now, that base was just a crater of red dust and they without any option of last resort to build. Truth be told, he could live without the latter.

“This is all my fault,” Ed heard beside him. When he returned to look at Adelaide, she was still starting at him, yet the daggers held there, barely contained beneath the surface, terrified him. The thing was, they weren't aimed at him; they were pointed inwards. She was tearing herself up inside for not being the perfect captain, for losing goods, for failing. He should have known then that, at that moment, everything between not only them, but also the crew in general, would change forever.

I lost the warheads,” she repeated.

“Adelaide,” Ed said softly, trying again to touch her shoulder, to comfort her at losing such a valuable piece of equipment, but she only turned away once more from his touch.

“It's Captain, I do believe,” she replied, her voice now distant and hollow, “and you shall address me as such. Further malfunctions of this type will not be tolerated. Understood?”

“Yes, Captain,” First Officer Gold said, gliding back and grasping a hand-hold to keep him steady.

“I want a full investigation. Systems checks, communications, hardware, software – everything, twice over.”

“Understood, Captain.”

Without further delay, Gold turned to move away, fearing his captain for the first time. Nothing was ever the same afterward and he would try his hardest, from then on, to make her proud of him once more.

Years Later....

Ed's palm hovered over the switch that would light up the spacecraft like a huge candle, destroying most of the structure around him. The water that covered his body felt like it was burning him, scorching his mind and erasing all thoughts, all memories, all motivations other than those of the infestation.

In hindsight, at the moment of his death, he suddenly realised what had happened that day -- the day they had lost the cargo in Bay 13 -- and he was forever sorry for the events that had happened, for what had changed in Adelaide Brooke.

Had she never seen that all he had ever wanted to do for her was to impress her? To help her out? To be the First Officer that she deserved?

Obviously, in her eyes, he never was.

“Sorry,” Ed confessed over the mic, wishing that with one word she would understand it all, understand his regret, his anguish, and his enthusiasm that often brought harsh words from her mouth.

With a push of the button, the shuttle exploded, and he lit up the dark side of the planet with a thousand more stars.
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