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Miles To Go Before I Sleep

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Emma didn’t know why she was standing in Kadara Port, the last place she should be, staring at the massive ship. The Tempest was emblazoned in large letters on the side of the ship. She scoffed. Such a large name with such a tiny person in charge of it. Emma hadn’t been able to keep her curiosity at bay and she had flitted through the shadows of Sloane’s territory to learn about Scott Ryder. The name tugged at her and it bothered her. She knew Alec had children, but she never knew them personally.

She had just watched Scott and his team board the ship after a few days running around Kadara. Now or never. Before she could think better of it, Emma made for the ramp, trying to draw as little attention to herself as possible. Her footsteps were quiet as she boarded the ship, disappearing into the cargo hold. She never once noticed the man standing behind her, the bottom half of his mouth covered with a handkerchief, speaking into an omnitool.

~

Scott and the rest of the crew gathered around the table. Vetra had taken to telling the crew about the person who had saved his ass from the remnants. They had all been shocked and impressed by her speed and agility. Not to mention he hadn’t known anyone who would bother using a bow of all things in space. He said so out loud, earning a few chuckles from his crewmates.

“What’s wrong with a bow?” The same voice from the other day, the one that had warned him to be careful, sounded from behind him.

The crew turned, all of them reaching for their weapons, whether or not they were strapped was another matter entirely. Scott held his arm out to stop them as he stared at the person that had not only snuck into the ship, but managed to move through it without being noticed. The bow in question was strapped to their back and a pistol was secured to their thigh. Yet they reached for neither as the Tempest crew prepared for a fight. It was hard to discern any sort of expression through the scavenger helmet.

“Pathfinder, the Tempest has been boarded.” SAM pinged from the omnitool.

“Yeah, a little late with that SAM.” Scott retorted.

“Apologies. She is faster than even I anticipated.” SAM answered, not sounding the least bit apologetic.

“Ryder?” Vetra whispered, “What are we going to do?”

The stranger cocked their head slightly, seemingly taking them all in just as much as they were.

“How about we just talk?” Scott moved towards them slowly, his arms held out from his sides, “Names would be a good start yeah? I’m Pathfinder Scott Ryder, and you are?”

“Where is Alec Ryder?” They didn’t answer his question.

Scott leaned back and crossed his arms over his chest, “My father. He died, back on Habitat 7,” his voice was low and tinged with sadness, “did you know him?”

The stranger was silent for a moment, hands curling and uncurling into fists, “How?” Their voice faltered.

“He turned on the remnant vault and we were blown off a cliff. My helmet was broken, he gave me his so I would live.” Scott rubbed the back of his neck wishing they would talk about anything else. It was a moment he relived often, almost every night when he slept.

Another moment of silence filled the air before the person turned on their heel and walked back down to ramp to the cargo hold.

“Hey! Wait!” He called after them and followed, his team close on his heels.

~

Emma hurried down the ramp not wanting to hear anymore. Her breaths were shallow and panicked, fogging up the inside of her helmet making it difficult to see. She felt as she if she were asphyxiating to death. He couldn’t be dead. He was supposed to come for me. He had promised. He wasn’t dead. Emma tried to blink back the hot tears that filled her eyes. This was not happening. She ignored Scott as he called after her. He was just a ghost of his father.

She was so close to the loading ramp. A little further and she disappear back to the Wasteland. Disappear back into her little hovel above the club with Hedrak and sleep and drink and pretend that Alec Ryder was still there, floating around in his ship still asleep. She would rather he had forgotten her than died.

“Emma.” A name, her name, sounded from the ship’s coms, making her stop.

The many feet that followed her stopped when she did.

“Emma?” Scott echoed, his brow furrowing.

“I would advise against disembarking Emma. Your presence was noted in Kadara Port. Bounty hunters are preparing to board the Tempest.” SAM continued.

“Why would bounty hunters be after you?” A woman, blonde, stepped forward, her pistol drawn and ready.

Another question she elected not to answer earning a frustrated grunt from the woman, “I vote we hand her over.”

A cacophony of agreements and even a few “I vote we don’t” were thrown in, surprising her. After a minute Scott raised his hand to silence his crew. Maybe he had more Alec in him than she thought.

“You helped me Emma, I’d like to return the favor.” Scott stepped towards her once more, trying to make a connection she did not want to give.

Emma peeled off her gloves and tossed them on top of the nearest crate, the movement stopping Scott Ryder from coming any closer. She reached up and pulled her helmet to suck in a breath of cool air. Wisps of her hair, orange at the roots and transitioning to a sky blue. Her eyes matched, orange around the pupil, bleeding into the same blue as her hair. It unnerved others and she could never explain exactly why she had these colors. At the point, she just chalked it up as a side effect of the experiments she underwent as a child. She reached up and pulled her ponytail tight to keep it from coming loose and levelled her gaze at the Tempest crew.

“I do not need your help Scott Ryder.” Her voice was cool and level, not at all betraying the overwhelming anger and grief she felt.

“You can’t face bounty hunters by yourself Emma.” He lowered his voice trying to appeal to her.

Her lip curled slightly, “I have before.”

Neither of them moved or flinched. Scott met her gaze, not once backing down. She had to admit, she could respect that. The sound of movement behind her did not surprise her. She listened and counted. 1,2,3,4…5…Sloane went all out. I guess she really didn’t appreciate the broken nose.

“This is an Initiative ship, you are not allowed on here.” The blonde stepped in front of Scott, her gun aimed at the intruders. A few of the others had followed suit, prepared to defend the ship and their Pathfinder.

“We won’t cause you any trouble Pathfinder, if you hand her over.”

“And if we don’t?” The cat-thing spoke up, the challenge in his tone was clear.

“We have permission to tear this ship apart.”

“Jesus, Em what did you do?” Scott murmured.

Emma narrowed her eyes at the casual shortening of her name. She wasn’t sure how she felt about it.

“Nothing that concerns you, or them for that matter. They’re just paid lackeys, not too bright, don’t ask questions.” She gestured behind her.

“We’ll see how cocky you are when we put a bullet in ya.” One of them spit after he spoke and aimed at her.

Emma turned her head to look at him, the side of her mouth curling into a smirk. She hadn’t anticipated a fight today, but it seems she would get one regardless.

“Let’s see you try.”