South is three minutes older than North.
Neither of them knew until the Counselor mentioned it offhand during a post mission briefing, and it turns out that because of some dumbass clerical error at the hospital where they were born North was labeled as the elder sibling.
Even though the doctor’s report clearly states that the girl definitely came out first. Probably an orderly's mistake.
So first there’s the stunned silence shared by all.
Then South gets this big ass grin on her face.
Then York, Wyoming, Niner, and CT start cracking up in the back, Carolina and Wash are in the front struggling to keep it together in front of the Director, and nobody notices that Maine has discreetly muted his helmet.
And North is just sitting there thinking: "oh. Oh, no."
He was right to.
This is probably a good thing for the recently strained sibling relationship overall? But in the short term, he knows he’s screwed.
(He calls Mama Dakota that night. Turns out it's hard to tell the gender of your kid right after giving birth to two screaming demons.
"So Nathan, I'm SO SORRY THAT THE HORRENDOUS PAIN OF PUSHING YOU OUT OF MY BODY MADE ME FORGET WHO CAME FIRST. IF THE REPORT SAYS YOU CAME FIRST I WASN'T ABOUT TO DISAGREE!"
She's usually the more level headed parent, honest.)
And so it begins. Little things at first.
“South, your little brother was giving us lip on that last drop!”
“GOD NORTH, RESPECT YOUR ELDERS! DON’T DISHONOR THE FAMILY. GEEZ.”
North is still older than literally everyone else on that mission.
Them it escalates. South ordering “How To Be A Supportive Older Sibling” books (waste of money, North had a stack under his bed she could’ve used, but he never mentioned them for some reason? Weird), then reading out and demonstrating her favourite tips DURING FIREFIGHTS.
York nearly dies because he was laughing instead of shooting. Niner almost crashed the Pelican during South’s motivational speech.
Escalates again and things really start changing.
“Sir I have to insist that I get the Bubble Shield. I NEED TO PROTECT MY DEFENCELESS BABY BROTHER!”
“South, set your goddamn trackers!”
“Set your goddamn trackers…what?”
“Well since you asked nicely.”
Carolina didn’t need to leave the Pelican for that mission.
“Agent South will take point on the suitcase extraction.”
The Dakotas, not Tex, are the ones to hand the codes to the Director. They both get wasted in the ship bar which certainly doesn’t exist, Niner certainly doesn’t supply and Florida certainly doesn’t tend.
It gets sappy. Wash cries. Maine mutes his helmet again. He’s a loud drunk what with that deep voice which he didn’t lose on a speeding highway.
CT still leaves, because the Dear Director is still a bastard sending them against alliedn targets. CT still dies in their enemy’s arms because of Tex in an escape pod. The Twins mourn but without biting comments. Anything's an improvement.
North still gets Theta. South asks him to spell swears with fireworks. North tries to stop it. Theta thinks she’s funny.
South is happy to “finally have a youngster around here that shows respect to his elders! You could learn a thing or two from the kid, North. No no Theta, this is how you board- WASH GIMME YOUR BOARD.”
Carolina is assigned Sigma. Having been as key to the retrieval of the Sarcophagus as Tex, their rivalry is much less…
Vitriolic? They get along a little better anyway.
Then Sigma starts making his move…which is quickly cut short by Maine and York’s loud discussion about the merits of the Brute Shot over Delta.
"Alien grenade launcher."
"That's the only argument you have?!"
"Only argument I need."
“I literally have my own Spock, Maine. Maine, look at me. My own Spock."
“Hmpf. Be better off with Data.”
“DON’T START WITH ME ON TOS VS TNG AGAIN DUDE.”
Sigma never gets far with the Meta idea. Not when Carolina pulls him between missions so she can snark "Niner, Pelican was a lil' choppy last drop!", or play chess with Maine (she never beats him but it's the principle of the thing, and certainly not a competitive edge that she needs an outlet for, shut up Reggie) or just talk about her bullshit dad or her dumbass team or anything else with York (with Delta’s dry commentary).
Maine gets Iota. They get along great. Iota’s very supportive of alien grenade launchers and all their applications.
South gets Eta. Eta can’t do fireworks, which is a bummer at first, until they figure out that he can hack the intercom. And does an amazing Director impressions. Somehow.
Wash gets Epsilon. Nothing changes. It's awful. Except that his friends are there when he wakes up. D'aww.
Tex finds Connie's message. Tex gets mad. Tex recruits York and Delta. Tex, York and D break out, then break in, like normally.
York fights Wyoming, but he still has Gamma. York hits him with a locker regardless. It’s still great.
The Director sends the Twins after Tex. North is not cool with this. And South-
“Well...Tex is a bitch, buuuut. The book says that you should support your baby sibling in causes they passionately believe in. Or some shit. SO ETA," she says, holding that hilariously oversized rocket launcher, "WANNA CRASH A FUCKING SPACESHIP?!”
York meets Carolina in the elevator. Things go awfully. Actually I’m not a dick, so this time things go great! He tells her everything. Delta tells her everything in a way that isn’t rambling, overly emotional, melodramatic gibberish. They go find daddy Dearest. …the Director does not have a good time.
The ship still crashes even though no one's having am epic fight. South and Eta refuse to apologize for art. At least it's not in a freezing mountain range this time?
Iota is very impressed by his twins work. Maine is less impressed. Wash is least impressed. Niner is straight up pissed. But she was in the medbay playing cards with Wash, Maine and Florida. "Cappy" guilted her into it. So nothing awful happened to her that would mean she theoritically can’t fly anymore. Because that hypothetically would be terrible.
Tex finds Alpha. He’s not doing so hot. But she can stay with him as he gets better this time. Or, she could steal him and run off to take shelter in a shitty box canyon while the Freelancers deal with the legal shit. There's only one person at the Blue Base and three at the Red Base so Tex is totally a Blue sent by Command to help you, Private Tucker.
"Fight the Reds? Nah. My rank? I’m a captain. Captain Allison Church. This is my AI Leo-nerd. He bitches a lot too, you'll get along great. Dibs on the tank. You deal with the Rookie. I’m gonna go bury my other asshole AI in the caves."
The other Freelancers end up living together again. Hearings. More hearings. An asshole named Hargrove. And their AIs?
“Destroyed by an Emp when the ship crashed sir.”
“Carolina means an E.M.P. sir.”
“No I don’t. Shut up Wash.”
Tex has them. For now. Sigma's not allowed to talk to the others. Epsilon and Alpha don't get along. Their arguments are loud and high pitched. Theta and Delta get along great with the Rookie though. Omega got loose...for about 20 minutes. Tex found him with the Reds. It's actually the best place for him, to be honest. Conquering the galaxy requires motivation, and Private Dexter Grif was born to take it easy.
Wyoming took Gamma. He’s making a living. Guess how. He and Flor- Captain Flowers work together frequently. For some reason no one on the Oversight Committee wondered what happened to Florida.
Eventually (after many, MANY hearings), the team is released. The Director and the Counselor aren’t. They’re put on a ship home to Earth. Tex snuck aboard with her new Crew and the AIs (not that either team will admit to being one unit, gotta keep up appearances). But, for some reason the Hand of Merope ends up crashing on a shitty colony in the middle of nowhere. Simmons maintains that its better than the Vegas Quadrant.
Dunno how. But South DID spill beer on that console in Engineering…
Caboose WAS staring at that mech down in Hanger 4...
And Wash DID trip over that cable next to a power core.
And no, maybe Niner SHOULDN'T have flirted with that cute pilot, but c'mon, she was ridiculously hot! So what exactly were YOU doing with York in that empty room by Maintenance, Boss?
But, they can all always agree on one thing, as a team, and as an awful, awful family.