Rebel Squadrons

(44:5:19) FC Narrative Post Script: The Low Ebb

By FA Dave Trebonious-Astoris
Unit: The Rebel Squadrons
Narrative, Oct 11, 2007
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[OOC Note: This is a fun little story that I put together as sort of a conclusion to the run of FC narratives I have written over the past year. It has been a joy to explore Dave's character in these stories and to share them with all of you. This doesn't advance the galactic plot at all, but it does delve into Dave's psyche. This will be the last narrative titled "FC narrative." We'll begin the "GDF Narratives" very soon, which will continue to advance the storyline along with the PBF mini tour.]

-=Fleet Commander's Quarters, Victory II-class Star Destroyer Peril, hyperspace, Cadrel Expanse, 44:5:19,15:53=-

Dave Trebonious-Astoris, the Fleet Commander of the Rebel Squadrons, an experienced war veteran, brilliant tactician and natural starship captain lay upon his bed in his personal quarters, staring blankly at the ceiling above him. He was fully clothed and it was only the middle of the afternoon. His vacant facial expression betrayed little emotion, but the deadened look of his eyes proclaimed that he was elsewhere.

Within himself, Dave felt that his world was rapidly collapsing around him. His reputation, which he had carefully cultivated over the course of careers in three galactic governments spanning more than three decades, was in shambles. The formerly expansive Republic Shield territories were decimated, out of his control, or being contested. His second occupation of the Fleet Commander's chair was an unequivocal disaster. His failures seemed to line up in front of him: the defeat at the Battle of Blerthmore, the defection of the entire Dotani Sector, the abandonment of the Tarla Sector, the destruction of the Halberd, the three separate attempts on his own life, the New Trassk Incident and most recently the secession of the planet Caelum.

The room seemed to be growing smaller around him as shadows encroached all around while he rehashed these disasters one by one. He felt he should stop but he couldn't. He kept analyzing these failures, picking at his decisions, wondering where he had gone wrong. As he did so, his carefully cultivated, aristocratic air of self-confidence imploded around him. He felt very alone.

There was a buzz at his door, but Dave ignored it. He was sure it was not anybody he wanted to see at the moment. There was no second call, so Dave resumed his mental torture. He hadn't moved at all since he had arrived in his quarters and collapsed upon the bed after the disastrous attempt to contact the Caelumites to discuss their secession.

He felt her, rather than saw her. His head seemed fixed in place like glue, and he could not tear his eyes from the ceiling. But he felt the bed shift beneath him, and he knew she was sitting on the bed beside him. He didn't speak, and neither did she.


After what seemed like an eternity, she spoke. "Why are you lying here, Dave?" Her voice was quiet. The fact that she was addressing him by his given name should have alarmed him, but for some reason it didn't. It felt natural.

"I'm assessing the disaster that is my tenure as Fleet Commander," Dave replied. His voice was hollow, deadened.

"And why is it a disaster?" she asked.

This question managed to pierce through Dave's despair and briefly stoked his curiosity. He tore his eyes from the ceiling and looked over to his left at her. It was, as he had known all along, Lieutenant Rebekah Gosling, his Communications Officer. Just his Communications Officer? He didn't know much of anything anymore.

"How could you ask that?" he retorted. "You know what's happened over the last few months." His speech had deteriorated. The use of contractions was disgraceful.

Gosling nodded. Dave liked that. Her auburn-brown hair seemed to shine as she did so. "Yes, I know."

Dave sighed. "You also know it's my fault."

"Hardly," she replied, a challenge in her voice. Her eyes glinted.

"Who else is to blame? I'm the one in charge, it's my responsibility." That was military orthodoxy, after all. The individual in charge was responsible. The captain went down with the ship. All that.

"I see the recent vicissitudes of our situation have broken your sense of reason," Gosling reproved him gently.

Dave felt slightly grumpy at this mild rebuke. "What are you, Lady Philosophy?"

Gosling smiled at the reference to an ancient philosopher's attempt to find consolation before his execution by discussion with the embodiment of philosophy. She had been a philosophy major at the Academy and wondered whether he knew that. Probably, she decided.

"Not quite," she replied, "but I think the accusation is fair."

"How so?"

"You've clearly forgotten the distinction between accountability and culpability," she stated matter-of-factly.

"I'm aware of the distinction," Dave replied. He was coming alive slowly as Gosling prodded his mind into action. Dave continued. "Accountability means I have obligation to respond to what occurs under my rule, while culpability means I am personally responsible for what occurs."

"Quite right," Gosling said. "Clearly definition is not your deficiency."

"Hence the reason for my despair. I am both accountable and culpable for the current state of our fleet."

Gosling's eyes flashed momentarily. "Here is the problem. You are accountable but not culpable."

"How can the two be separated?" Dave queried.

Gosling answered him with another question. "Did you command the attack that battered us at Blerthmore? Did you order the Caelumites to secede? Did you personally blow up the Halberd?"

Dave remained silent.

Gosling continued. "To believe that you're culpable requires even more ego than you have." She smiled gently at him at this. "To believe that you're culpable for everything that has happened here means that there are no other active agents in the galaxy but you. Which is absurd. Others of us having feelings and are able to initiate action."

The last vestiges of shadows in the room seemed to have been chased away. Dave felt a calm and serenity returning to him. And a deep sense of gratitude. He looked up at Gosling, who was watching him intently with evident concern. He looked into her eyes and saw nothing but approval. That helped just as much as her words.

"You're right, Gosling. I can't have been culpable for everything that's happened to us. I can be accountable, though. I can do everything I am capable of to improve the situation." Saying the words was cathartic, cleansing. Dave felt confidence returning as he acknowledged this fact and discarded his own complex of guilt.

"You can," she said. "And you should." She reached a hand to his side and took his hand in hers. "And I'm more than just Gosling, you know."

Dave flinched slightly, not from surprise, necessarily. He had known this kind of moment might be coming for awhile. He flinched because he didn't know what else to do. He wasn't used to such attentions. Gosling was beautiful. Not beautiful like a supermodel, but beautiful in a more comfortable, girl next door in sweats kind of way. She was more beautiful than he really knew what to do with. And so for a moment he lay there, paralyzed with uncertainty.

Her eyes betrayed a bit of disappointment and resignation. "Too soon, huh?" she asked. She began to stand up and pull away.

The panic at the thought of her departure shocked Dave out of his uncertainty. He held onto her hand firmly, arresting her attempt to leave. He looked at her tentatively.

"Don't leave, Rebekah." That was all that he could manage for now, verbally.

He pulled her down to him...


BGN Gavin Starseeker - Sat Oct 13 2007, 5:21am
Not his own clearly.....

And for once use the contractions! Don't fight them! Crikey, you sound like a right snob, even when you're down!

RA Harley Quinn - Sun Oct 14 2007, 3:49am
And Dave finally gets the Gosling. Now if he could just show his face around his squadron once in awhile, we'd all be happy :P
FA Sienn "The Rot" Sconn - Tue Oct 16 2007, 4:00pm
/me cues the porno music.

Heh. Dave's character's gonna get some. Heh.
RA Harley Quinn - Tue Oct 16 2007, 11:08pm
Assuming the old coot can remember where he left his bottle of Viagra :P
FA Dave Trebonious-Astoris - Thu Oct 18 2007, 11:06pm
FA Danny "David Lee Japan" Qatar - Mon Oct 22 2007, 8:38am
bout time you finally hit that..... Did the peanut gallery have any influence in you turning her into a romantic interest, or what it your plan all along?
FA Dave Trebonious-Astoris - Mon Oct 22 2007, 9:38am
Oh, it was the plan all along. I just wanted to start it subtly enough to keep people guessing as to my true intentions.