It could have been a strange identity crisis imposed on a person, the question of how to identify oneself when born a hermaphrodite, Bel thought. Had been, for a time. Bel had chosen, years ago, to give up dwelling on the matter. Teen angst wouldn't serve much purpose.
In my head, I'm just me. Just Bel Thorne, Capt- stop that thought – just Bel. Doesn't matter if people call me "it" like I'm back on Beta and use the word like an object - why be offended by that? I know I'm not, and they know I'm not. That's all that matters.
Bel'd never said that out loud to anyone but Mother. Sure as hell wasn't about to say it to Miles, not at this stage in things. Of course he was curious - curious about everything except trying the one option Bel wanted him most to explore, sadly, but monosexuality wasn't a big deal.
Letting Miles in that deep? Ah, that would have been.
And now, another change of identity. Captain of the Ariel no longer.
On the cards? Who knew?
Return to Beta Colony was an option, but was a home it might truly have grown out of, through war and time and travel and growth, really a home?
It had to go, though. To find somewhere, anywhere else to go but here; its only true heart's-home, now lost through its own … not stupidity: gullibility, naïveté, idealism...
Outside Beta and a few old Dendarii (who could not, now, have it), Bel couldn't be sure anyone would welcome it home. (And again, not, perhaps, even Beta.)
Where to go?
Too many goodbyes had been forced, yet there were more ahead. Bel knew that.
It's all over, now. You have to go somewhere. You've paid a price. And not only with lives.
What coin will repay that? Ah, that's another story. Again: who knows?
What happens next is up to you. Same as everything else.