Van reacts to the Picon briefing packet.
Location: Ready Room, Cutter //Vanguard//
Related Scenes: None
Scene Number: 564
Gray eyes stare at the printouts blindly, octagonal pages limp in the pilot's hands. A cigarette smolders forgotten in the ashtray built into the arm of the chair in the ready room, forgotten. Van can feel his heartbeat in his neck, hear it in his ears, fast, unsteady.
How could this have happened? This wasn't the Picon he left to join the Colonial Forces. Was it? Were they just keeping him out of the loop when he was recovering? Papers rattle, and Van quickly sets them down atop the fold-out desk. A pilot with shaking hands is no good to anyone.
Smoothing down the printout, he continues to stare through it. Why hadn't Mother told him how bad it had gotten? Why hadn't his Dad -- anyone in the family. Why hadn't his friends back in the Fleet? Blowing out a breath, Van shakes his head. Because they were too busy, of course. Mother and Father were undoubtedly reassuring the people of Cape Bismark, and his friends in the Fleet....
Van looked down, blinking hard against a sudden wet blurriness in his vision. If the reports were right, most of them were probably dead by now. Bramer, Stick, Riptide, Sweet-tooth, Cosmo... even Captain Goff. And he had been up here. Fighting over Tauron and Canceron and... on the beach. Eating barbecue and drinking.
What would he have done though?
What could he do? Request a transfer back to the Picon Navy? Leave behind Izzy and 'Bite and Razor and the rest of the squadron? No... he couldn't do that. Wouldn't do that.
Drawing in a shuddering breath, Van presses the heels of his hands to his eyes. Another breath, in and out, slow and steady, and other. And then he reaches down to pick up the briefing papers again, the panic attack pushed back, tamped down. There was only one thing to do. Make sure that it didn't get worse. Make sure it didn't fall like Aquaria. He wouldn't let that happen. Not his Picon.