A/N: *shows up to the Starship fandom 7 year late with Starbucks* Hey guys... No but really am I too late did I miss it is this ship totally dead does anyone other than me read/write TUp anymore...? Well anyway this is my first fic ever so I'd definitely appreciate any (kind) feedback you guys have! And without further ado…
"They're going to kill us, aren't they?"
The newly promoted Commander Up looked over at his newly graduated private, who was looking back at him with more intensity than he'd ever seen in those eyes before – and that was saying something.
The "simple lookout mission" their team had been assigned had turned out to not be so simple after all. After a robot base had been discovered only a few stars away from where they were stationed, his crew had been sent to scope out the base (from a safe distance), analyze their strength, and report immediately back to headquarters. It was a mission so "simple" the G.L.E.E. had felt confident enough to send out a small crew including but not limited to a first time commander who had spent the past three years as a mentor back at the academy, and an 18-year-old private fresh out of the academy herself, on her very first mission as a starship ranger. Things had gone south however when a robot enemy ambush took them by surprise, and what was meant to be an easy assignment quickly turned into a full-on battle in a matter of minutes: man vs machine. Unfortunately because they hadn't been anticipating a battle, the rangers weren't exactly well-equipped with the weapons they needed to properly defend themselves, and so their commander, who fortunately worked well under pressure, immediately ordered a full retreat.
But he wasn't stupid; he knew that without a distraction his crew wouldn't have a prayer of making it back to their ship in one piece. And so having given orders to fall back and not wait for him, he charged straight into the heart of the enemy. What he didn't know was that one certain insubordinate ranger had run in after him, refusing to leave him to fight alone.
And that is how Commander Up and Private Taz ended up being captured by a robot battalion, brought back to the base, interrogated and beaten for good measure, and imprisoned in the cold concrete cell they now found themselves in.
Now, having been faced with a question he honestly hadn't been prepared to be asked he found himself somehow at a loss for an answer. The truth was that yes, he was almost certain they would end up being killed – and if they were lucky it'd be quick and painless, though he somehow doubted that too. But he couldn't bring himself to tell her that. His best friend, all he's really had these past few years, the annoyingly stubborn yet surprisingly tough ranger he'd been stuck with three years ago and hadn't been able to shake since and still yet, his best friend. How was he supposed to tell her they didn't have a prayer, that her life was about to be cut far too short. Dead god she was still so young, she had such a long and incredible career ahead of her, he just knew it. It just wasn't fair to her.
"Don't lie to me Up," she cut him off, as if sensing his hesitation. Who was he kidding. She knew him better than anyone else alive.
He paused for a moment, willing himself to meet her gaze. "Yeah. Probably."
She didn't give much of a reaction to this answer. She simply looked down, bit her lip, and nodded her head. He had a feeling she'd known the answer, and he had just voiced aloud what she'd been hesitant to accept as true. "Well…that sucks," she finally said bluntly, crossing her arms and leaning back against the stone cold wall.
"That's one way to put it," he agreed as he followed her lead and sat against the wall beside her. "Sorry your first mission turned out so bad."
He had meant it earnestly, so he was a little surprised when she started laughing. Only a small laugh, and it sounded more bitter than genuine, but it was still a laugh. "My first mission turned out to be my only mission. That's gotta be some kind of record or something."
"Probably," he agreed again.
"Is it weird I'm mostly just pissed off that I spent three fucking years at that maldito academy for nothing?"
He looked over at her and shook his head, and much to his surprise a small smirk appeared on his face. "Nah, I think I'd feel the same."
She gave a short chuckle and let her head fall on his shoulder, feeling the exhaustion from the day's events beginning to weigh her down. She hadn't slept in over 24 hours, and the lack of sleep in addition to the hours of fighting without sufficient weapons before being tied to a chair and beaten black and blue made keeping her eyes open suddenly the hardest task in the world. But now with this new awareness of her own fragile mortality, she couldn't let herself give into the exhaustion. She'd be treasuring every minute she had left in this life for as long as she could.
Up looked down at her and instinctively wrapped a protective arm around her, the feeling of her head on his shoulder acting as his own sort of comfort in this bleak situation. He'd felt it there numerous times before in all their years of friendship, usually in his room when they'd be watching a movie and she'd fall asleep halfway through, a longstanding bad habit of hers. He'd grown used to it to the point where it now brought him a sort of feeling of peace.
He brushed her hair back, frowning at a particularly large bruise forming just above her temple. The robots' little inquisition had been…unpleasant to say the least, and for whatever reason they'd decided to focus more of the beatings on Taz – HIS Taz – most likely because they figured due to her size she'd be easy to break. But boy were they wrong, and the thought of it brought a small swell of pride in his chest. Still, that hadn't made watching his best friend take the worst of the torture any easier for him, and it had taken every ounce of his strength and willpower not to break down and tell them what they wanted to know, just to get them away from her. But he knew better; not only would that have made him a traitor – and he despised traitors – but it wouldn't have saved them anyway. They were dead either way.
Without thinking he pressed a gentle kiss to her temple, just grateful she was as strong as she was. His heart inexplicably swelled when he saw the small smile this brought to her face. He couldn't be more proud to call her his best friend.
"Now don't go thinking I've just forgotten about your little mutiny earlier, going against direct orders," he looked down at her disapprovingly. "I told the whole crew to retreat, and last I checked you were a part of the crew. You know if we weren't in this mess I'd report you."
"No you wouldn't," she smirked, not even lifting her head. And he knew she was right, the cocky bastard.
"Alright, probably not," he caved. And then he looked at her again and saw just how beaten she looked. She had dark bruises forming all over her body, a bloody lip, a cut on her cheek, and a bloodstain on her shirt he wasn't even sure he wanted to know the cause of. All because he'd been careless and didn't even notice her running in after him. Dead god dammit if she'd just followed orders for once in her life she'd be back on the ship right now, safe. Dead god he needed her safe.
"Taz," he said, all joking in his voice now gone. She must've sensed the change in tone because she finally removed her head from his shoulder and met his gaze full-on.
"This is really important," he continued, lifting her chin so she couldn't look anywhere but his eyes. "You can't just go off doing whatever you want like that." He could see her begin to protest but he shook his head. "Taz listen to me. Do you trust me?"
She eyed him, but answered without hesitation. "Yes."
"Then you gotta trust that I know what's best for my crew, including you. I know I'm new at this whole commander thing but hell I've got enough years of field experience under my belt. One of the most important things a ranger can learn is to trust his commanding officers. And I know following orders ain't exactly your specialty but you'll learn." He sighed. "My biggest priority as commander is protecting my crew, including you." A pause. "Especially you."
There was a short silence but this time she didn't try to speak.
When he spoke again it was softer, and his hand moved from her chin to her cheek. "I… I can't lose ya, Taz. I can't. You're too important to me now. That's why you just gotta trust me. And when I tell you to do something you gotta know it's not for nothing, it's cause I'm gonna do whatever it takes to keep you, and the whole crew, safe." He sighed and dropped his hand back to his side, choosing now to look at the opposite wall rather than her. "But now look at you. Now we're both probably gonna get killed when it could've been only one of us. Damn it Taz why couldn't you just listen to me?"
"And what?" she challenged, her eyes now full of fire. "Watch the only thing I got left in this world go off and get himself killed? How is that fair to me, ese?"
When he looked back at her he was a little caught off guard by her changed expression, firm and defiant.
"How is that fair?" she repeated, her voice rising with her temper. "Yeah I trust you Up, but what about me? Don't you trust me, doesn't it go both ways? You can lecture me all you want about following orders and all that mierda but the fact is that I'm gonna keep acting on my gut feeling. Hell, it's gotten me this far!"
"And look where it's landed you," Up mumbled, glancing around at their maximum-security prison cell.
Her glare faltered for just a brief second before she punched him weakly in the arm. "Don't make jokes when I'm mad at you," she grumbled, and then took a steadying breath. "Say what you will," she said slowly, "but if I could I'd do it again. You're stuck with me, hombre. After all, a crew needs to be loyal to their commander, no?" she offered smugly.
Up just looked at her for a minute before shaking his head in defeat. "Smart ass," he remarked ruefully before gathering her in his arms again and resting his chin affectionately on her head. She clung to his shirt and buried her face, grateful to have someone as solid and strong as him with her. And he had to admit, that despite the situation they were in and the grim outlook of it all, there was no one else he'd rather have there with him along for the ride.
So, first fic, whatcha think? I'd really appreciate any comments or feedback, if nothing else then just to let me know I'm not the only one still in this fandom anymore lol
I've written more fics that have just been sitting in the notes of my phone for months now so let me know if you'd be interested in me posting more! K bye!