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 Lana Tessler as Nova

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PostSubject: Re: Lana Tessler as Nova   Lana Tessler as Nova - Page 2 Icon_minitimeMon May 10, 2010 9:31 pm

"Nova, are you absolutely sure about this?"

"Mother, it's fine. It's what they call a milk run. Just a standard trip out and I've been out on the ship at least a dozen times since then." She very carefully avoided any though of "and time traveled" around her mother and absolutely did not touch her mother's hand as she passed her daughter another loose cotton gown to pack.

"I'm just worried," she sighed. "You've got three months to go."

"And feeling every minute of it," Nova assured her mother gently "I'll be careful and I'll be fine. Cotton's not going to let anything happen to me or the little one."

Any hesitation that Nova felt over the future of her child, was absolutely dwarfed by a maternal instinct that threatened to make every other emotion in existence fade into the background. When she thought about it, the vague uneasiness of prophecy still unsettled her, made her worry and made Jackson have to soothe her again, but she always seemed to bounce back to the protective love she felt toward the baby growing inside of her. The shift from complete worry to utter fascination and attachment had occurred in the middle of her second trimester, when Fisher assured her brain growth was proceeding at the normal Ghost pace. One day, she'd only had a vague sense of contentment and growth from inside, and then the next there had been actual feeling. Now, more often than not, she was able to get impressions of emotions and direct flashes of want and desire that sometimes overlaid her own needs and sometimes contradicted them; it was like having two minds at once, one much smaller and less complex than her own, but still present. She'd spent half a week simply staring at her gently rounding stomach for that, making Jackson have to call Celeste to snap her out of it.


Nova sighed and reached for a gen-banana out of the dish on the table, peeling it and nibbling slowly as she packed.

"He's hungry?"

"Again. It's amazing how fast he grows," Nova admitted. It was a boy. She'd thought of waiting to find out but the truth was there weren't many secrets between Ghost mothers and their children and even if Fisher hadn't looked in ultrasound, she would have known anyway. Jackson, who would have loved either, was on cloud nine and every time their son grew restless, he made quips about him doing martial arts. Still, just like her, the touch of his hand on her stomach was soothing enough to calm both her and their child and when the somersaults got to be too much, he would spend time quietly soothing both of them. The skin to skin contact with her was as good as a bridge between father and child and they'd spend evenings simply meditating on the flow of thoughts in her mind.

"Talking yet?"

"Impressions, no words."

"Oh just wait for it," Celestine smiled and then tucked hair back behind Nova's ears. "Keep in touch won't you?"

"You know I will."

Her mother folded another cotton gown into the bag, traditional garments for ghost women during pregnancy, embroidered with designs and made with care by the oubliette's inhabitants, and as soft against the skin as Nova could possibly wish for with as much discomfort and swelling and general strangeness that her body was pushing on her. Glowing or not, ecstatic or not, she would have given quite a bit to not have to sprint to the restroom every twenty minutes. Inside, her son did another turn and kicked a foot into her stomach. Nova "oofed" softly and rolled her eyes a little

Hush hush my love, she sang softly in her mind, humming lightly and gently, and was gratified when he settled again.

"I'll stay in touch, mother. I promise."
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PostSubject: When the bough breaks   Lana Tessler as Nova - Page 2 Icon_minitimeSun May 23, 2010 7:26 pm

She never thought she would pick up a weapon willingly and use it for anything other than vague target practice required of her job.

She never thought she could feel that angry, that the unflappable calm of Ghost culture and society could be ripped apart like tissue paper.

She never thought she could be that strong and cruel and vicious, and yet want nothing more than peace.

The Versailles had been found - or what remained. The crew dead, the ship haunted, the Viridian inside silent or gone himself. It was a place of impenetrable sadness and grief and it was driving her little family of the Valdosta crew mad. It was like the Crimson attacks all over again, slowly ramping up to worse and worse mental tortures. They handled it all, as they always did, cracking and bending but ultimately staying strong under what they'd already experience. No matter how real and intense it seemed in the moment, they were able to rein one another in after the fact, to hold one another together.

It was, ultimately, what Nova hoped Avery could see, Avery who was considering leaving her crew and ship and letting the GAF split them apart for all of the GAF's numerous tactical reasons all of which made historical and logical sense; except that the GAF had not fought the Crimson before and had no idea what this was like, these battles and tortures that defied all of the standard procedures. Avery realized her moving on might keep the crew together - but Nova knew that without Avery there was no Valdosta and no crew and that home was not home.

And the Valdosta was home - in all the senses that Nova had struggled to find and maintain over the years. She had grown up a military brat with her father's diplomatic contract with the military and had always loved the travel and adventure. She was an off-world Ghost if there ever was one. but it meant that no place was ever home. When she left Jackson, the oubliette had, for a time, eased that but she was not cut for oubliette life and she knew that too. Alhambra was more home than the oubliette but even that... she so clearly remembered trying to explain to the crew that their fears about human reaction to the viridians was the same fight the Ghosts had been fighting since their inception: when you were different, where did you go? When you fit no mold - even the mold your people set for you - what did you do? She'd had no answer to these questions until Jackson and Avery and the Valdosta and they would have to pry her off that ship with her cold dead hands still clawing at the floor plates. She hoped Avery understood that, that the GAF would accept that while nukes were their best offensive weapon, the best defense was the unity of crew and corps, the understanding of human minds.

And really... aboard the Versailles... it was proven again and again.

None of which was foremost in her mind when it all fell apart.

Parr had been possessed by the Crimson for days - foolish of her to avoid touching him in this case when she may have noticed otherwise. but she had been focused so much on her worries with Avery that she hadn't thought about it, and in that she had failed at her duties. But now that wasn't what she was thinking of. She was thinking of whatever was in Avery at the moment, calling her son the Anti-Christ. She was thinking of the look on her captain's face as her hand shot out to try and strangle her and she lurched backward. And for all of Avery's conviction that her child was fine, Nova wasn't so sure anymore, the rising doubts, the terror, the burden of knowing this child might end life as they understood it.

Simply put, she snapped. A part of her clawed frantically at her to try and stop her own self from damaging anything, but the larger part of her mind, over-burdened by the stress of the day, by the seemingly impending doom of her family being ripped asunder, simply considered the knife and the roundness of her stomach and which angle would suffice to rip the life from her womb. Whatever cold logic had come over her stopped all the saner emotions that would've stopped her.

Sadie caught her. Her hands firmly on her wrists.

"Nova no. It's not worth it," there was urgency in her tone that didn't reach her. Avery was up and over to them.

"No Nova sweetie."

"It's not worth the risk," the ghost replied calmly. Levelly and Sadie's eyes were paniced as she pulled the knife away, cutting her hand in the process.

It was Avery's steel grip that caught her hands next and the captain's eyes went vacant. The voice that came out was not her own, echoing and strange and wise and calm.

"No. The child must live." Nova stared. In the back of her mind, a flicker of alarm and wonder intermingled, and later she would ponder at whatever was in Avery Crane that she was a c conduit for these things, but right now she would simply accept that in the fight for this war, in the fight for their lives and humanity, there were forces playing she did not understand and that her son, yet born and sleeping now, was integral to this.

"Why else would the bad guys want him gone - or claimed so much?" She could hear Jackson's voice in her memory. But what if... what if... what if...

What if prophecy does not mean what you think it means.
What if this is both the end of things and the beginning of others.
What if you have no say in this at all and ending life, that horrible horrible choice, would end any chance of hope?
If it ends all, it ends all, but it will end regardless of your hand and a knife, and one child. If it helps, one child may help.

And when the emotional blankness dissapeared, when Jackson's injuries jarred her out of that blankness, she realized with terror what she had almost done and watched the momentary head-cocked, strange stare of Avery that was not Avery, watching her, and placed a protective hand over her stomach.

I am so sorry, little hunter. I love you. I love you so much and I just don't want to think that loving you could hurt us all. Maybe ... maybe loving you can help us all too. And I will hope for that because I'm afraid I'm yours. All yours. And in return for this she received only the vague sense of her son's happiness and his comfort and the assurance that he was, in fact, wanted.

Which is why when Parr was revealed as Crimson, when the controlled Avery shot at her and Jackson shoved her aside, when the blood was streaming down her leg and the bullet in her hip made walking painful and awful, when they thought Parr was off-ship and she could see him smiling maliciously in the hallway, why she looked to them for comfort...

And none of them believed her. Not even Jackson. Or Avery...

it made her mind simply fall off the cliff and rip and all of the firmly held cultural beliefs and propriety were dashed in favor of one simple thing.

Saving her child.

Every instinct she was not sure she had roared to life. Every defense mechanism was cast aside and she lurched to her feet and scrambled past them all, shoving them aside even with the sedation, movements sluggish and hard but sweet Buddah she had to get away from Parr and the Crimson, had to keep her son away from that energy. Had he already done something? Already touched her child?

The knife was in her hand again, but this time, pointed outward. She staggered down the stairs, almost killing herself in the process, feet slipping and fumbling on the treads as her fingers fought for purchase. They begged her to stop but she was wild-eyed, trying to tell them where Parr was. He followed her, step by slow step.

"Just give me the child and you can leave."

She didn't know why they wanted Orion. She didn't know what power her son had that was keeping her mind clear and momentarily safe. She didn't know if he would end the world or save it.

But she knew she'd die or kill to save him.

So when she stood and faced down a Crimson with a paltry knife in her hand, and the blood from her wound streaming down her leg, she knew something was changing. There was no revulsion for the weapon - she'd been the only one to touch it and she could feel only her own despair and anger off the object. She wouldn't have hesitated to stab Parr - though she hated the thought of hurting the doctor - but to keep Orion safe? When he was possessed by a crimson? All the switches of control had flipped and she knew she must look mad and enraged.

She was relieved when Jackson shot at the doctor and the plasma detonated and they all finally saw what she saw.

And then it flipped their minds, turning them all against her.

Stay strong

"You're an unfit mother," Sadie drawled, looking bored. "Why are we even bothering? Just space her."

I am water.

"Useless. We saved ourselves from the Crimson, not her," Lincoln added.

Vaguely she head Jackson arguing with them but in the end they almost all turned. Even Avery. Even her beloved friend and captain, always her captain - the only person Nova could conceive of ever serving under in the GAF not because she was better or worse than others, less abusive or more, but because she understood that the Valdosta was home.

"You're a danger, Nova." Avery said smoothly.

"Yes, Captain." Nova's voice cracked but she managed to speak at normal pitch. She dragged herself closer to the other woman, knife still in hand and stared evenly at her, tears leaking down her face.

{i}I am water. I am not strong enough. But I am water. And water changes and flows and so will I. Let this pass over me, around me, through me. I am not strong enough{/i]

And yet she stood. And Avery stood. And they stared.

"Hang onto it Captain," she managed. "What more can I do? Hang onto it. Please sweet God, hang onto it." Avery hesitated. "Don't!" Nova barked. "DO IT. Whatever the choice is,. make it. Like I promised I'd tell you."

Even if it means my life. Even it means the life of my child. I trust you. Don't hesitate. Make the choice.

And Avery stepped forward and pressed the muzzle of her gun to Nova's rounded stomach and the world froze. They stayed like that, Ghost and Captain for a number of seconds and then the gun clattered to the floor and Avery's arms were pulling her close and she couldn't stop the ragged choking sob that came out of her throat as she clung and thanked whatever Gods were listening for Avery's strength and choice.

"We aren't anyone's pawns, are we baby? Not red or green. Not you or me or anyone inside you."

And all Nova could do was nod and collect the pieces of her mind and try and find herself again in the anger and righteous need to protect her child and the need to show Avery Crane who she was.
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PostSubject: Well okay so it's a little early...   Lana Tessler as Nova - Page 2 Icon_minitimeSun May 23, 2010 8:11 pm

She was two weeks from her due date and Nova had promised her mother, now sitting beside her on the transport, that they'd go back to the oubliette for the birth. Dr. Fisher had concurred, noting that the biopaths and telepaths among the Ghosts were just as suited to birth a baby as she was - probably more so in this case - and had signed all the necessary forms to transfer birthing care to the attending doctor at the oubliette.

The transport was quiet and smooth though she and her mother were both partially meditating in order to keep the rampaging minds of the hundred other people on board from driving them to distraction.

"Nova..." Jackson's voice held an edge of alarm.

"What Jackson?"

"Look down."

She did. Her skirt was wet. reluctantly, she pulled her mind out of the mudhras and wondered if she had finally lost all control of herself and peed her pants but realized that it wasn't, in fact, urine at all. She felt the slow damp down her leg and into her boots and barely had time to process that before her body did what bodies do in this situation and her muscles contracted with so much shocking force that she actually gasped aloud.

"Oh. Mother..."

"I see dear," Celestine replied calmly. considering the situation. She perfunctorily glances at the people sitting nearest and politely asked them to move while Nova continued to stare at her soaked gown. "Jackson, go ask them to-"

"on it!" Jackson strode up front toward the pilot before Celestine could even finish the sentence.

"Are you all right?" her mother asked softly.

"You didn't tell me it would hurt *that* much," Nova laughed a little but her face was pale.

"Well... there's really no words for it," she offered gently. "it's an entirely different sort of pain."

And without another word she simply took her daughter's hand and let her squeeze all she wanted, knowing that the first contractions were simply twinges compared to later but choosing not to vocalize this for now. She glanced down the aisle to where her son-in-law was menacing the pilot with a certain amount of bemusement. Maybe he's not so bad after all.

"Mother, now is NOT the time to pick on Jackson," Nova huffed.

In short order, the shuttle was in fact turned around and Parr was rushing aboard with a hover-chair, which she was summarily deposited into and headed at speeds faster than she would have liked toward Parr's offices and the medical bays towards the top of the station. Her mother, to her credit, kept pace with the marine and the giant of a doctor until Nova was again deposited onto a table, gowned in a hospital robe, and her feet ungraciously placed in stirrups.

Despite the awkwardness of one of the crew now peering between her legs, she knew Parr was a doctor and really with each new contraction there was nothing she could do other than try and breath through it.

"Fisher's on leave for the weekend," Parr muttered, taking a pause to look at the comm boards. "But this isn't my first delivery. Are you all right with this Nova?" He looked worriedly at her.

"Firstly, yes I'm fine with it and secondly, I don't particularly care *who* helps me right now," Nova admitted. Celestine's hand landed on her forehead and wiped her hair back while Jackson hovered in the background. trying to find something to do with himself and his face a mask of frustration at the pain written on his wife's face. She smiled at him easily "Relax, Jackson. It's not as bad as a gun shot and definitely not as bad as Crimson brain freeze." He relaxed a little nodding.

After that was a haze of discomfort and pain and work like she'd never worked before. Thirteen hours of it - like for all the ease of her pregnancy, her son was not going to make the actual birth easy. Jackson kept trying to pass Parr things he needed but failing until the doctor finally gently shoved him aside.

"stop helping daddy," he said firmly, making the commander shuffle uselessly until Celestine's coldness finally shattered and she took Jackson's hand and put it on Nova's forehead, handing him a washcloth.

"Keep her calm and cool," she said gently. "I have to start helping her meditate." It was a cultural practice for the Ghosts, using meditation and mantra to ease the tension of birth and to help the new child enter the world in enlightenment. Nova was too tired and in too much pain to do it by herself at this point and Celestine gently guided her daughter's mind to calmer thoughts. She trusted Parr and she knew, quite simply, that some births just took a long time and her grandson seemed to be no exception. Jackson looked relieved just to have something to do and Nova was past caring.

"What's his name, Nova?" Celestine asked.


There was a quiet pause as celestine smiled.

"Well the little guys' on his way," Parr announced and then grinned a little "C'mon Nova. A few more good hard pushes and you're done. You can do this."

"Ain't no thing," she replied weakly, half of her mind focused elsewhere.

But he wasn't wrong. Another few grunts of pain and exertion, another few pushes and moments of agony, and then orion was free of her - a feeling unusual after nine months of closeness - and everyone was smiling and his strong, disgruntled cry filled the air. She laughed, breathlessly and soft and shoved damp hair from behind her ears and held out her arms. Parr did a few more scans and Parr gently slipped the baby into her grasp and she cradled him close.

my eyes and nose, Jackson's mouth and chin. He's going to be so handsome. Orion waved little fists in the air until the met her fingers and closed around them and he seemed content. Hello my love. Hello. She held him for a few more moments, ignorant of Parr cleaning her up and the medical scans and repairs to her own body, ignorant of the exhaustion until it seized her and Celestine quietly slid Orion out of her grasp and passed him to Jackson while she drifted off.
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PostSubject: Welcoming ritual   Lana Tessler as Nova - Page 2 Icon_minitimeSun May 23, 2010 8:43 pm

While it had taken a few extra days to get back to the Oubliette, Jackson, Nova, and their newborn son, along with Celestine, eventually made it. There had, in the interim, been at least one celebratory gathering in their apartment with the crew stopping by, two surprise visits from Tovar and McFadden, and a lot of paperwork to secure a few weeks of leave for Jackson. by the time they reached the Oubliette, Nova was certain that she was the luckiest mother on the planet as her son quite happily slept for six hour stretches, and that she was more than ready for a few days of the Oubliette's bizarre stillness.

There was, however, ritual to be completed first and so before their arrival had even made a dent in the Oubliette routine, the elders had already gathered most of the residents. Nova dressed in a clean gown, blue and hand-embroidered by her mother, and wrapped Orion in a matching blanket, carrying him out to the meditation gardens that took up one corner of the commune's property. They were all waiting for her and the child, Jackson watching her proudly from beside her mother - the two of them seemed to have laid aside any tension with the arrival of Orion. She reached the gathered inner circle and felt the community close in around her, fighting her own need to fidgit. Jackson had agreed to this because he knew his son was a Ghost and Nova thought it was important that he be allowed to choose which parts of the world he'd belong in. She knew that no Ghost did well without the occasional support of others; they were simply too different - and Orion seemed like he might be more different than most, though other than an occasional inkling of empathy, Nova had gotten no idea of what he could do.

"Do you present this child as one of us?" Abelard, one of the Oubliette elders, intoned.

"I do."

"What is his name?"

"Orion Cotton-Avery Hazard." Jackson blinked at her. She hadn't discussed lengthening the baby's middle name but after Versailles it seemed wrong not to. She didn't think he'd mind. There was a slight ripple in the Ghosts, noting the names in the middle. Most Ghosts would only ever use their first name officially, likely for Orion as well, but it was a quiet homage to the two people who had brought and kept Jackson and Nova together, and who had fought just as hard for Orion to come into the world and stay there.

Abelard, bemused now, simply smiled and nodded.

"The Hunter. I'm told this child has an interesting future ahead." Nova stiffened as she glanced at the other elders. What had they seen?

Nothing child, Celestine's voice echoed But that alone is sometimes interesting. We are as absent of ideas as you are. But you say he is marked for some greatness either terrible or beautiful and we need to see to our duty in that as well. Whatever prophecy you heard may happen or not. But he is still a Ghost.

"He is your son in truth?" He looked both to Nova and Jackson who both nodded. "Then we see him." There was an emphasis on the word "See", encompassing all of the Ghost's miriad abilities. Abelard took Jackson's hand and placed it over Nova's and Orion's tiny fingers. Celestine and Abelard reached out and added their hands, touching the infant. Slowly, every Ghost in the community, from elder to youngest, joined in, touching the person in front of them. For most, it was some of the only touch they would give outside of close family, and for many - who functioned off powers of touch - it created a shimmering, instant current of empathy and telepathy and connection that vibrated right through Nova's body and into the earth below. Jackson blinked dazedly and half-grinned at her and Orion just yawned sleepily in her arms and nuzzled closer.

"Welcome," Abelard intoned. "Welcome Orion."
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PostSubject: Re: Lana Tessler as Nova   Lana Tessler as Nova - Page 2 Icon_minitimeMon May 24, 2010 11:31 am

Orion fussed quietly against her, napping now, but Nova was pacing and the infant picked up on the disquiet in his mother's voice.

"I don't know what happened, mother. She didn't *do* anything. Neither did he. But I'd swear something ...just something. It wasn't a good something. She rushed off after that. Polite timing and all but... something was wrong." She looked exasperated and then worried, deeply worried. It was the same gnawing fear that had turned in her stomach since hearing the words the Ghost has spoken at Misery. It was the same swelling terror that had caused her to nearly end Orion's life before it began. It came back now, clinging to her and she thought of the Crimson and she thought of her child and she wondered again, what had she done?

"Nova, calm down," Celestine sighed. "There's nothing. No premonitions or pre-cogs, no meditations deep enough to tell the future of a child."

"What if there is?" Nova stared at her mother, eyes pleading. Mama, make it better. Please somehow. Make me feel like this is okay again. I love him so much. But she didn't cast the thought to Celestine like she would have months ago. She was a grown woman and there was nothing her mother could do to help.

"No. No I'm tired of being told to calm down!" Nova's voice rose hysterically for a moment and then she stilled, wrapping Orion close to her, stifling a sob in her son's blanket. "It's like every time I think he might be fine, every time I think I've some sort of grip on this, something slips again. Mother, what if it was right? What if...?"

What if he is something special but not in a good way? What if he would change everything in such catastrophic ways that she couldn't understand it? What if what if what if. What if she had failed to stop him when she had the chance, had the chance and let it slip through her grasp on the momentary clutching and comfort of entities she did not know and did not understand? What if she'd had the chance to stop him long before she loved him so much that it hurt? Oh why oh why hadn't Sadie just let her go? Why?

Celestine stepped forward, and having no answer for this, wrapped her daughter in steel-strong arms and held her close, soothing. She knew how much Nova wanted this baby to be normal, just normal, to have that one small thing they could come back to from war, the joys of watching a little one grow and learn. And the truth was also that Celestine had no idea what Orion could do - or would do - no inkling, no hint. No idea if her grandson was the herald of either good tidings or worse endings, or something in between.

"I'm scared," Nova whispered as the older woman smoothed her hair back. Between them, Orion stirred and then yawned sleepily and napped again.

Nova was irrevocably in love with him, had no idea what she would do to keep him safe, and only knew that line ended somewhere with Avery and the Valdosta and if she had to choose...

What would she choose? What would Jackson choose? What could they both forgive one another for? But then the choice was made in their duty. Nova knew that if it was her child or the world, all of humanity, her ship, she knew what the choice was and she hated herself for it, loathed the deepest part of her for logically and coldly giving up on the baby in her arms in that most extreme of circumstances. But what other choice was there if the prophecy were true? What other choice? She could still remember the hatred spilling onto the screen, Avery's hand shooting out to wrap around her throat.


She wanted Jackson back from his meeting now, wanted to hear him say she was being silly and seeing tihngs that weren't there, but knew she couldn't have it and that even then he would never tell her that her perceptions or worries were faulty like that. She wanted so many things. She wanted this to be simple and normal most of all, to just know that she'd given birth and that they'd created life and that they hadn't brought about the end of all things. Crying, silently, she brought Orion to her shoulder and held him close and sang to him in voice and in mind and prayed to whatever gods were listening to spare her son from whatever it was that was looming over all of them.

She was not, however, naive enough to think that she would get her wish.
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PostSubject: Re: Lana Tessler as Nova   Lana Tessler as Nova - Page 2 Icon_minitimeMon May 24, 2010 12:47 pm

"You want to *what*?" MacFadden's bushy eyebrows rose another inch as he stared at the vid-screen and Nova's face. She tried to keep her expression neutral, calm.

"Enlist, General."

"Nova, no other Ghost has ever actually enlisted in the GAF. We have plenty of contractors but..."

"And there's war coming sir. And contractors get canceled." She said firmly. The general stared back at her for a long several minutes and then rubbed at his eyes, looking tired.

"Your son-" Whatever flickered across Nova's face, he recognized the instant mistake of bringing up Orion. Maybe it was the set of her jaw or the way that she should've softened and instead looked steel-hard and grim. Maybe it was that she was contacting him only a few days after Orion's birth, but MacFadden knew that this wasn't a topic Nova wanted to broach.

"Is absolutely fine. With family leave and all of that he'll be perfectly safe in the oubliette and we can come back. The diplocorps fits me - and the chaplains make sense. I qualify for officer training. I've been through basic. And it will let the Admiral Crane request me aboard the Valdosta." It will keep Jackson and I together was the unspoken hanging phrase that she didn't need to say. MacFadden was still chewing over the reaction to her son and waved away her statements for a moment.

"Nova, what's wrong? I don't want to pry - but you went from sunny and rosey to ... well I don't need to be a Ghost to know something's bothering you."

"Nothing, sir," she replied evenly. "Just some small family troubles. Nothing that can't be handled. Do you think the GAF would be a good choice? That's why I called."

"I think it suits you but it's unusual and you're going to cause a stir with some of your people," he admitted. "But if you really feel as dedicated to this line of work and the ship as you seem to be, yes I think it's suitable. I'll see what I can do about helping you with the paperwork. There's not-"

"Much time. I know." She smiled, the warmth returning again. "I really do appreciate the advice, General." MacFadden had, in fact, become something of a surrogate father in terms of professional advice and children - though Nova didn't want to talk about Orion anymore. She didn't even want to think overly about him and tried desperately to keep a rein on the nauseua-inducing terror that accompanied every thought of her son, coupled with a blinding sort of love. She had grown up in a world where Ghost precognitions and powers were simply accepted - she wasn't prepared to dismiss that out of hand and the mounting evidence was...

"Nova?" She realized MacFadden had been talking for several minutes and blinked hard, turning her gaze back to the vid-screen.

"I'm sorry, sir. Yes that will be fine and ..well whatever can be done on the officer school. Jackson will be back soon. If not now, than after." If there is an after

"Well, give the little one a hug for me." But again, he knew it was the wrong thing to say and when she simply nodded, he shut off the feeds with a click and went to see about filing paperwork for the GAF's first official Ghost enlisted member.
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PostSubject: Re: Lana Tessler as Nova   Lana Tessler as Nova - Page 2 Icon_minitimeMon May 24, 2010 6:31 pm

"Nova you absolutely cannot just go off back into training and leave him here this soon!" Celestine stared aghast at her daughter and cradled her grandson close to her. She wished she knew what to say to Nova to calm her down, but in truth she wasn't sure what was real and not in this matter and so any comfort was, at best, shallow and empty. She knew, logically, that Nova was over-reacting, but then she hadn't seen half of what her daughter had seen and she had a suspicion that logic no longer reigned supreme.

"Well if I'm enlisting, I may have to."

"Enlisting?" Celestine simply stared. "You're... what?"

"It would help keep us together, mother," she murmured and Celestine worked through the permutations of that for a moment and then nodded slowly. She wasn't inherently against the idea herself, simply leery of the timing. "Besides, we already knew we'd have to leave Orion here with you when we were out. It's safer."

But it didn't feel safer to Nova. In fact, she'd barely touched Orion at all today, feeding him and changing him and then laying him back in his crib and staring down at him, trying to project love and tenderness to his tiny form and getting nothing in return. He slept, ate, and went through all the newborn infant routines without difficulty and never gave her any reason to believe he was anything other than a ridiculously healthy, happy newborn baby boy Ghost.

But she couldn't shake the momentary pause in Avery's stare. She couldn't shake the series of voices that had accused her child of being both anti-christ and needed.

"But now, Nova? Give it another week or two? Please?" Celestine sounded unusually pleading. "At least wait until Jackson comes back from the review board and talk to him"

"He already knows I was thinking of enlisting"

"I don't think he was thinking of you leaving your son at this precise second." But then Celestine recognized exactly what Nova was doing; she was running. She watched the tremors of terror literally shake through the younger woman's form and her expression softened. "It is... what it is, Nova. You can't run from it. There's no escape." Nova looked stricken at the response and faltered.

"That's not what..."

"Isn't it? He needs his mother Nova. He needs to know you love him, and needs you to teach him."

"And what if I can't!" She cried, tossing hands in the air. "What if *everything* we do for this is nothing? What if all it ends in is a very well trained..." Words failed and she choked on anything else she could say. Destroyer. Dictator. Demon. "There's no indication that anything I do will help," she said softly "and every indication that it won't mean a damned thing at all. That he'll be... whatever it is he's supposed to be." That I'll have to choose between the greater good, between the world, my crew and family, between you... and him. That I'll have to choose the greater but at a cost I can't imagine. At the loss of the only child i"m ever likely to have. I love him so much mother. I love him more than I love air and breathing. I'd have tried to take down that alien to keep him safe - and I still don't know if it was the right choice. And that's why I can't ... I can't... this will kill me. This choice will kill me someday or, just as bad, drive me mad to make it.

The thoughts went to Celestine unbidden and her mother faltered, staring uselessly at her.

"Just...please Nova. Wait until Jackson gets back and talk to him." But Celestine knew that right now at least this was useless. Nova was shutting off - and not that Celestine blamed her - she could see the softness wearing away, her ability to deal with this after everything else - and before whatever else she would have to face - compromised. How did you love something that you were also afraid of? And how could anyone be afraid of a tiny baby? And yet Nova did and was and the push and pull between the two was stretching her so thin that Celestine didn't have any words or comfort for her that could actually help. Maybe Jackson would, but she wasn't certain of that either.

She does love you, little hunter, Celestine thought at the babe in her arms. But I don't think she knows quite yet what to do with that either. Be patient, little love. Not for the first time, she wondered if the baby understood, and if he did was he supposed to? What did she tell her daughter to help her when she herself and the elders had no answers for the weight of Nova's questions and fears? Moreover, how did she help her daughter hold her mind together? Two days of deep meditation had barely restored her, Celestine knew, from whatever brink she had slipped off of on this last mission. Nova hadn't said much about it, only that she'd snapped and for her daughter to even admit that it must have been bad.

"What happened up there Nova?" She murmured.

"I almost killed him," Nova said flatly. She looked over at her mother with her gaze tired and flat and Celestine recoiled marginally. "And then I almost killed for him. And I'm still not sure which was the right choice, which would have spared the most people and the most pain, which would have spared Avery and the crew and you and the Ghosts. I'm still not sure. And I think by the time I know, it will have been far too late to do anything other than die trying to fight it."

Again, there were no words, but when Nova left to go walk in the gardens, Celestine did not stop her and continued to rock her grandson who fussed and whimpered in her arms.
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PostSubject: Re: Lana Tessler as Nova   Lana Tessler as Nova - Page 2 Icon_minitimeTue May 25, 2010 10:57 am

"You still think more loudly than most of the oubliette," Erol's calm voice cut through the static of worried thoughts in her head and Nova whirled suddenly, hands reflexively clenching and then relaxing as she recognized him. His expression turned sad for a moment as he gently held up both hands in a defensive posture.

"My apologies if I bothered you, Elder," she breathed softly and Erol shook his graying head.

"No. You did not. Your mother told me you were out here, but you need to practice shielding your thoughts more with your new abilities," he admitted. Erol sank to sit on one of the large, flat rocks decorating the garden pathways, tucking the hems of the robes he wore up. "Forgive an old man for sitting to talk?"

"Of course. Mother shouldn't have bothered you. I will..."

"Stop, child. It does not take a telepath or empath to see you are upset and completely attempting to carry this on your own. Now... you talked about a prophecy, a terrible one, surrounding Orion. Your crew is aware of it. You wish to enlist - which I incidentally consider commendable, if a bit more brazen than most of us might choose - and your mother thinks you are using the need to train for that as an excuse to run away from your three day old son. Have I summed up the situation?"

Nova grimaced. Erol had a habit of cutting direct to the point and since he lacked anything but the barest traces of touch-oriented telepathy and was one of the oubliette's strongest precognitive receptors, it was annoying to say the least that Nova had been so obvious. She was forced to nod in agreement and crumpled a little as he patted the space next to him.

"Come sit, child. You'll pace a new rut in the path." Erol had known Nova since she was a child and so the reference to her at such didn't rankle so much as comfort. He had been the one that opened the doors for her return and constant acceptance into the oubliette, often soothing the few Elders that took her more adventurous presence - well for a Ghost - as an affront to their ways. He simply always said that someone had to bridge worlds and if Nova could manage to have different kinds of peace within and without, he would commend that in her. Surprising her, Erol reached out and took her hand, an action so taboo without permission here that it startled her into both silence and sitting.

"The ones you do not talk about? The green ones?" Nova nodded dumbly, frantically trying to shove what was top-secret knowledge into the bottom of her mind before Erol simply smiled. "Relax. An old man is not going to reveal your secrets, Nova. You've gotten so paranoid," Again the sadness flickered over his face and he patted her hand. "What is the future?"

"The future? It's... what has yet to occur."

"And your professor Jenks says this is one set thing, yes? One point that the past bends to suit. Is this true? He has interesting books, that professor, and Cosmia speaks well of him but I am not so certain on this theory of time."

"He would say that yes, there is one thing that will happen and that even if we were to go back and alter the past, that event will still occur. I think. I ... don't always understand what he's saying to be very honest. Physics and mathematics are not my strong points."

"They never were. You hated it when I had to teach you calculus if I recall." Nova pulled a face and Erol chuckled. "Quite so. Suppose for a moment that our brilliant professor is incorrect. Do you have any evidence that might be so?" She could feel Erol's thoughts, gentle like a feather on water, skimming her mind but not digging. He was seeking for affirmation or rejection, something to help him soothe her.

"Y-yes. A... friend... once told us that we were interesting to her because our paths branched into so many possibilities."

"I see. And your precognitive streaks have never been terribly strong or clear or accurate?"

"No. Embarrassingly muddled at times and not terribly impressive. I have... no control... over it like you do."

"Ah well, your empathic and cyberpathic abilities more than make up for that. It's an irritating ability, if you must know, even controlled."

"Irritating?" Nova faltered, thrown by the change of conversational topic.

"Yes. Because of precisely what you said. Our minds do not interpret time streams very well. Chocolate pudding...?" Erol sounded puzzled at the stray thought from Nova but pressed on. "It is indistinct, often couched in flickers we do not understand, and even for those of us practiced and *powerful*" Nova shuddered a little as the keen awarness behind Erol's gaze landed on her in full force ands he was reminded that the oubliette's council of elders was anything but meek and mild and untalented, "It is an inexect science at best. Do you know why?"

"Well... you mentioned our inability to fully comprehend time."

"In part that. What else?"

"I.. don't know," she sighed in frustration.

"Because there are, as your friend noted, so many possibilities, Nova," Erol replied gently. "Our choices, our actions, they shape things. They alter things. I constantly have flashes of insight - and many of them never come to pass. Now, I would say that Orion most certainly is special and likely quite powerful in ways that will make raising him unique and difficult. However..." Erol released her hand and smoothed her hair back, much like she was his own child. "Every child is its own particular challenge and if you are willing to consider the possibility that he will end the world as that poor wretch in Misery indicated...than you must also consider the possibility that he will not, and will bring great change, but also great good."

"Avery..." she choked on the word, expression tightening as she kept the tears from her eyes.

"Is a good woman, and an excellent captain and a very dear friend," he soothed. "But nor is she a Ghost, and under influences, I think, she may not understand as you yourself have realized already, yes? It would stand to reason that if any crew could help raise your son to a path that will not be destructive, it would be a group of people - including her - that could temper that sort of power and thought pattern."

"I'm not even sure she'll talk about whatever it was that bothered her," Nova admitted.

"Ah!" Erol laughed a little "That's your job, dear. Not mine. Possibilities. Free Will. Our faith does not teach of the power of action and repurcussion for no reason." His tone was a little more stern and she nodded meekly.

"Yes, elder."

"Good. Now... your husband is back. Go inside." He shooed her off, watching her go with a sad smile. "Child, will you never fall on the easy path?" Erol had to shake his head at himself at that; nothing Nova had ever done had been by the rules for their society, simple, or quiet - even when she had not realized it at all.


"Nova, come here." Jackson's voice was gentle, but firm, brooking no argument and she slid into the nursery with hesitant, skittish steps until he drew her over, sandwiching Orion between them in such a way that she had to touch him, had to hold him. Tears slid down her face, the bond she'd been trying to ignore all afternoon raging back in and grabbing hold of her heart. "He needs you to love him, Nova. He needs his mother."


"So we'll fight it," Jackson growled. "We'll fight it together. And with the crew. And with Avery if she'll help. We'll teach him how *not* to be that - and why he shouldn't be - just like your father and the Ghosts teach the other Ghosts. But if you don't love him, you won't have that chance."

"I do love him!" She protested and then proceeded more quietly as Orion startled awake, blinking up at her and reaching one baby fist out of his blanket to wave at her. She caught the tiny hand with one finger and stroked her thumb over the back of his tiny hand. "So much that I can't... I thought I..."

"Then we'll do everything - everything - we can to make sure you don't ever have to make that choice. So neither of us do. But... don't give up on him yet."

Don't give up on me It was almost the refrain of the Valdosta, unspoken between the crew and captain and ship itself, dragged through a dozen battles and the worst mental torture and the prejudices of everyone around them. Home for people who felt no connection anywhere else. Don't give up on me. She looked shyly up at Jackson, hesitant.

"Help me convince her? She's... she's my best friend and..." Nova knew that there were lines and separations between her and Avery and always would be, but it did not change kinship between women even it meant sometimes they set aside friendship for professionalism. If Avery didn't even believe... if whatever flickered across the captain's face the day before was any indication... But she needed Avery to believe. She needed the whole crew to because she needed them to help teach him and maybe... then maybe...

"I'll try," he promised. He passed her Orion, awake and alert now, watching the world with clarity that she knew was maybe precocious.

She took her son in her arms and rocked him gently "Together, Orion? You and me and your father and your extended family. I know you might want to someday do things that would be... wrong. But I'll teach you they're wrong and then maybe you'll choose something else, something that will help you fight for better things, things that will help you change the world in good ways and not because you are selfish or cruel or misguided." She kissed the top of his head, not caring if he understood what she was saying right now, only that he felt safe and cared for and loved, not neglected or resentful. She let her mind touch lightly over his, like a feather brushing water, and tried to show him how much she loved him, and how she would try to keep him safe as best as she could, tried to show him visions and dreams where he cared for people and helped them and used whatever power he had gently and wisely. She felt him shift, whimper a little and kissed him again, kept cuddling him close and when she ran out of things to show him about a bright future - past all the war that loomed - she paraded baby jungle animals in front of him, gamboling and cute, until he slept again.

Watching them quietly, Jackson simply drew her close and back to bed, tucking their son between them as they slept.

Don't give up on me
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PostSubject: Re: Lana Tessler as Nova   Lana Tessler as Nova - Page 2 Icon_minitimeWed May 26, 2010 4:12 pm

"Nova, vid-call." Nova stopped tacking up the pictures of gamboling, cartoonish lions and giraffes around Orion's room and shoved back her damp, sweat-soaked hair.

"Who is it?" Celestine smirked.

"Your new superior officer I would think."

Nova slipped into the back office of the store, attached to her mother's main living compound and slid into the chair. The store's video screen was one of the only ones in the entire oubliette, necessary for ordering supplies and outside communication, but kept carefully tucked away to avoid disrupting the residents' routines.

"General, it's nice to hear from you again." The General visibly relaxed, noting much of the coldness gone from Nova's features and his smile was, for the moment, fatherly, before he slipped into a business mode and straightened his features.

"If you're certain that you want to do this, I've some news for you."

"All right, shoot."

"They'll waive basic since you went through it with the fleet already - though they want brush up in marksmanship."

"I... all right. With?"

"I've volunteered," he proceeded brusquely. "Officer training can be condensed given credentials, but you'll have to make up the full course load upon return. If you can return a week early, the rest can be handled and you'll enlist as an officer, ensign rank, diplo-corps under the chaplains."

"Excellent, can you send the paperwork over?"

"Yes, it's already uploading. Just file it back to my office and we'll process it from there. My secretary offered once she realized the recruiters were getting in a fight over who got to process you."

"A fight?"

"Nova," he said gently "You're the first enlisted Ghost. Ever. There's a certain amount of prestige, though only by reputation, that goes with it." The general looked amused. "besides, it's one of the last real favors I'll be able to do for you once you have a rank."

"I assume lunch is still a possibility, sir?" she said hopefully. "I rather enjoy wednesday afternoons and I think Orion would like the pub."

"he's all right then? You're all right?"

Nova stopped and considered this for a moment and nodded slowly "Not yet... but we will be. I've been convinced that giving up before the fight is a bit self-defeating and I would like my son to know and learn from people that I also respect." The general nodded at this and stared at her from the video feed. "Is there anything else, sir? I'll have this back by nightfall and I'll be certain to apply for the necessary coursework to be scheduled upon return from..."

"War." The general sighed. "You are so like your father sometimes."

"I'm told I'm usually like my mother."

"In spirit. In strength? You're all him, dear." The generals Texan drawl made her smile and the compliment made her blush a bit. "Now, go enlist so I can watch the rest of the brass choke on their coffee at the next meeting."

"I'm surprised they'd even care or notice," she admitted.

"Well... care? That's negligible. Notice?" MacFadden simply grinned that cat and the canary grin and she stifled her laughter. "Between you and me, and before this is official, and with all of your discretion," he gave her that eye for a moment, indicating that she wouldn't of course reveal this, "Watching Grauchen inhale his gen-coffee is always worth the show. Bring the little one by when you can after this is over. And I anticipate that you and your crew won't get in too much trouble, Nova?"

"We'll...try not to break the universe sir, but I believe you'll have to take that up with the admiral. It seems to fall on our heads quite a bit."

"diplomatic mission with four dead bodies? I'd say so."

The uplink of paperwork finished loading and MacFadden gave her a wink before he nodded more formally at her and the feed cut. She had the impression he was still laughing at the universe's odd quirks, however.

"All right Orion," she said quietly, transferring the docs to a transportable board and going back into the nursery "Help your mom fill out paperwork." She settled the infant in her lap and smiled as his tiny hands clutched at the board. "Uhuh... no marines for you. not yet. Playing and fun and school and Ghost training and then maybe some day." The baby shifted, squirmed and then made a burbling sound before snuggling against her and sleeping as she filled out the files that would both alter her life, but keep her with those she knew she needed to be with.
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PostSubject: interim   Lana Tessler as Nova - Page 2 Icon_minitimeWed Jun 02, 2010 9:25 pm

There were only a few scant weeks before she and Jackson both needed to return to Alhambra. She spent every waking minute of that time between with her son, and often when she was not awake at all. It was not always relaxing, though blessedly Orion slept for at least five hour stretches, he was, in many ways an ideal baby with very little fussiness and a curiosity that Nova and Jackson quietly wondered at, save that Nova had seen many ghost babies and most of them were more alert than their non-ghost counterparts; something about the natures of even rudimentary mental powers meant they just seemed more aware.

Nova hoped that was all it was but she did a valiant - and usually very good job - of shoving aside her inner fears and like all things, leaped whole-heartedly into the endeavor of loving her son. There was no other choice - it was either commit to this as she'd committed to every other endeavor in the past few years, or risk that her hesitation and fear and the negative impact of that would cause some irrevocable harm.

And so she did mother-type things and found, to her surprise, that it wasn't as hard as she'd feared.

She never received anything other than vague impressions of need and love from Orion and did her best to channel those feelings from herself and Jackson back to him.

Her favorite, however, was walking in the garden with him under the olive trees and through the cultivated paths of the zen garden and into the meadow and the pond beyond. It became morning ritual, carting him on one shoulder or cradling him close, head always supported. She would sit for hours, reading or studying the files that she needed for officer training while he slept, but usually telling him stories she knew he was too young to understand, talking of the grandfather he wouldn't know and the lessons he'd taught her, explaining the history of their culture, digging old folk tales out of her memory to share with him in both speech and gently in mind, lullabies that her mother had passed to her from her mother and her mother before that.

The other Ghosts, as always, respected this distance but even at a few weeks old, people seemed to know that Nova wanted support with Orion and so each trip was often accompanied by one visitor or another at periods. They would chat with her, and with him. It was one of the things she loved about the oubliette and children upon it. Intensely private in everything else, new parents seemed to be a community affair and new children, two days old to twenty, were supported by everyone. Nova quietly suspected Celestine was sending them to assist but she never asked, and never begrudged the visitors, the smiles, and their gentle rocking of her son.

He seemed to like one in particular, and since it quietly touched on the fears she had and soothed them away, she sang it often.

Hear my silent prayer,
heed my quiet call,
when the dark and night surrounds you.

Step into my sight
look inside the light,
you will know that I have found you.

Short and simple, but sweet and soft, her mother had sung it to her when she was most frightened. She remembered hearing it in Celestine's rich, deep voice as Nova had taken her first trip into space and had squalled and fussed all the way from Alhambra. She remembered hearing it when her powers had grown and the empathic awareness of a room full of people had become too much. The song meant "mother" to her. "Peace. Comfort. Goodness. Community."

She hoped it would carry that to him and when he nuzzled sleepily against her when she sang, she felt more hope than before, saw maybe a way out, prayed for it because at this point, she was far too far gone to accept anything else.
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PostSubject: Re: Lana Tessler as Nova   Lana Tessler as Nova - Page 2 Icon_minitimeSun Jun 20, 2010 5:20 pm

Nova shut off the communique from Crane and glanced at Jackson, watching fury and disappointment range over his features. She didn't reach out for his hand, afraid of what she might hear or feel.

She felt no relief, oddly, no anger, no anything except quiet acceptance of what had been in the message.

She felt that because she knew they might fight it - but it probably wouldn't get them anywhere.
She felt that because she knew that no matter what happened, they would be where they needed to be. It was ludicrous to have them pulled from the front lines when they were the only ones with experience. Ludicrous bordering on idiocy, actually. They had to know that. But then...

Her gaze flickered to the communiques still being sent all over regarding the Ghost Chancellor and she frowned faintly. It was an awful lot of change in a very short amount of time and she wasn't sure what to do with the intuition that it was all building toward something. If the GAF wanted them in diplocorps, that was where they would go.

She had a strange feeling, that like all "soft" assignments, it would be no safer than the last several they'd been on and she wondered when the GAF brass would finally put two and two together that the crew and ship of the Valdosta were like a magnet for the larger happenings of the universe in ways she couldn't understand and that no Ghost alive had insight into.

The child must live.

Orion slept soundly, cuddled in her lap while Jackson fumed and paced behind her. She didn't ask if he'd transfer - she knew he wouldn't. She knew none of them would though they might consider it heavily, might stray in that direction, but she knew they would, like an inevitable winding of a clock, end up back aboard and set on the mission they were supposed to run.

Her only remaining question was what happened then

"I'll book passage up to the station," she said quietly. "I need to meet with MacFadden, finish a few classes, and Fisher wants to check Orion." she glanced over at him and shook her head a little, wondering if they would try and fight it and where it would get them. She'd given up any pull she might have for at least a little while, no rank and no civilian ties to call on. They would have to fight this battle of paperwork on their own - if they could fight it at all, which she also doubted.

Jackson's reply was lost in his irritation and she caught his hand, fighting the urge to recoil from the emotions and waited a moment until he calmed before drawing his fingers down to his son's forehead.

"I'm just noting, that regardless if everything moves peacefully or not, it may not be as bad as you think," she said softly. It was hard to tell a soldier that fighting and protection , things they wanted to do, were denied them. "It'll work out." she sighed and he grumbled softly, though she sensed no more irritation from him as he picked Orion up and rocked him gently. "besides... when the hell have we ever done a damned thing quietly?"
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PostSubject: Re: Lana Tessler as Nova   Lana Tessler as Nova - Page 2 Icon_minitimeThu Jul 01, 2010 9:45 pm

The meeting with Avery had been as it always was when the crew was upset, at least for Nova. Wearing in ways she could never anticipate, and still comforting in others. They were very rarely equipped to help one another through any sort of trauma, and yet the nearness helped. This trauma was less danger - which they had become adept at - and more a facing of what Nova had known all along; that the GAF would use their honor and sense of duty as the nearest scapegoat it could when it could in order to preserve the larger ideal that they all fought for. It was expedient for them to name the Valdosta's crew the failures in their missions, rather than seeing the successes. The reporters alone were horrific, most of them called off by Denton no doubt, but the ones that managed to get close asked things so invasive of her privacy that all she could do was blush and push by them, ignoring them as best she could.

She didn't blame the brass for shelving them; like Avery she could see why.
But she worried for them. She was used to being an outsider, like all of her people were. Regular humans had barely begun to trust Ghosts. To throw alien life into the mix... the only thing that really troubled her was that it hurt the crew and had no way of helping that. The thought that she would not be closer to the answer behind the origin of the Ghosts now... that was something she would have to live without.

Still, there was duty. She'd signed up for whatever that was when she made the choice to stay near Avery, the Valdosta, and the crew. Part of that duty was trying to be certain that even though she was not on the front lines with them, that she prepared those going as best she could. The training had been scheduled before she'd enlisted, before the GAF had shelved them, and rather than cancel it, they'd let it stand because like it or not, she had first hand experience as a trauma counselor for a crew against the Crimson; all reports indicated that there would be "traumatic emotional encounter" with the alien race and so Nova was on Alhambra in what for her was dress uniform, waiting. On the other side of the door lay howevermany counselors and Ghosts waiting for her advice.

What she wanted to tell them was "It will be the most horrible thing you ever experience" but she was not certain they would accept that answer. She stepped through the door and stopped, hesitating for just a moment.

The room was full, but there weren't as many as she'd hoped. Several Ghosts - this was a comfort - but most of them normal. Her empathy swept the crowd before her as she stepped up to the podium and adjusted the voice-com.

"Good afternoon, thank you for coming." The pressure of that many eyes was rattling her but she drew her shielding tighter and remained standing straight. "I'm here today to give a briefing on counseling during the potential Crimson encounters most of your ships and crews will experience...." Step by step she outlined the attacks, the way the Crimson systematically approached a dissection of the human mind. the trauma that would cause a crew.

"Forgive me, Counselor, but it sounds like you're saying we need to... hug... our crews?" One of the counselors raised his hand to speak as she was done. Someone else snickered softly.

"No. Not at all," she replied smoothly. "That said, a certain amount of unity and an understanding of your crews mindsets will be invaluable to maintaining their morale. They won't have experienced anything like this before."

"Many of these are veterans of the skirmishes. They've seen plenty of horror!"

"Yes, I understand that, having counseled several marines during that time. That also said, this will be the worst parts of what they experienced, what haunts them the most. It may be very simple memories of violence, or deeper trauma that was not addressed during the skirmishes. They'll pick on the weakest moments of each of the crew - and they'll most certainly and quickly figure out tactical weaknesses such as removal of captains or nav officers that will cripple your vessels."

"Weakest moments?" One of the Ghosts piped up, his brow furrowed in concern.

"Yes," she was simply relieved that they hadn't left yet. "Any interpersonal conflict or personal concern can be magnified. Even recent ones. Anything at all that the Crimson will be able to distract or torment someone with. It is absolutely vital that your crews develop a rapport with you and begin to work through those issues immediately. The more they are able to mentally confront their own neurosis, no matter how subtle, the more power they will have to fight against the mental manipulation..."

"You don't know marines," One of the men growled. "They won't tell us anything like that. You're mad if you think any of this fluff talk will help." Nova eyed the pips on the man's collar, noted the rank above her and simply closed her eyes, expression pained.

"If you feel that way, sir. But with all respect to your rank, that mentality will in fact be self-destructive and it is our duty to try and overcome that. I can assure you that-"

"Your crew hasn't done much better." There was no pinpointing the voice, the small wave of angry and apprehensive rumblings. Only the Ghosts remained silent, watching her. She waited patiently for the rumblings to cease. She knew that the reception to what she had to say would not be entirely warm. She knew that they wouldn't all even believe her. Who could - who even wanted to - believe that an amorphous cloud of electrical impulses could destroy a fragile human mind? Who wanted to believe their worst nightmares could come back to life and that you - and only you - were responsible for diagnosing and treating those ailments that tough, battle hardened men and women did not even want to admit existed?

"Given the amount of time we have before deployment," Nova replied after a long moment, finally opening her eyes again. "I would recommend review of your crew profiles and psychological histories and beginning sessions now. Are there any other questions I can answer?"

No one replied. She'd done what she could. For some, it would work. For others, they would dismiss her cautions as over-board. For many, she knew, this would be the hardest experience of their careers and she did not envy them that. She only hoped it would help. Nodding that she was done, she turned and left them, ignoring the inscrutable looks of the Ghosts and the uncertain mutterings of others. It was time to go back to the oubliette, away from prying reporters and questions she did not have answers for.
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PostSubject: Re: Lana Tessler as Nova   Lana Tessler as Nova - Page 2 Icon_minitimeFri Jul 02, 2010 11:08 am

Nova walked the paths of the circular garden, thinking. Orion lay cuddled against one shoulder, sleeping heavily with his mouth wide open, eyes shut tight, and oblivious to his mother's agitation as she valiantly tried to calm it. Avery's report had been contradictory to what they had written. Had she thought it was too "fluffy"? Too incomprehensible that a knowledge of someone's crew, that a bond between crew mates could be a defense against this? Nova was baffled. The issue with the rogue crimson aside, it had been knowledge of the crew that had allowed them all to continue functioning through the worst of the torture, to haul one another up and keep at it rather than simply give up or remove one another from duty. When it had begun and they'd started hallucinating it was an awareness of one another that had kept each other from simply tossing half the crew in the brig. Nova understood marine logic and tactics, had counseled more people through trauma than she could count and knew that attachment to watching hurt friends was horrific. She knew that a crew that immediately turned on one another would be even less helpful, however.

Orion huffed a small sigh and Nova shifted him in her arms, smiling for a moment in wonderment at her son's tiny, sleeping features. She kissed the top of his head gently and shifted him into her arms as he stirred at the touch. Dark eyes fluttered open - her eyes and not Jackson but the rest of his features were his father's - and he babbled softly at her as she stroked a finger down his face.

Jackson was theorizing that maybe there was something left of the Crimson in Avery from her ordeal, some residual something that recognized the threat in Orion. He wanted to talk to Parr and last night it had sounded possible. But now, in the light of day, all of it seemed far away and useless and... utterly hopeless. A crazy, improbably theory. Her throat closed and she smiled valiantly at her son who was still too little to smile back. She wanted to talk to Avery and tell her how much she needed her help with this, needed her to help teach Orion how to be good and different and better than that grim future, but she couldn't find the words or, in reality, the courage to even broach the topic. How did you ask your closest friend to help teach your son when it was so vibrantly clear that she didn't even want to consider the possibility? Part of Nova clung to the idea that Jackson was right, that there was some bizarre connection to Avery and these beings that had caused whatever look the Captain had given that day. Most of her was just terrified to even consider it however. Avery was Avery. Whatever spoke through her that day in the kitchen had hopefully been benevolent. Whatever had controlled the captain when she had tried to strangle Nova, tried to shoot her - had not been. Whatever motivations she had now... part of Nova desperately wished there was something else, just so it made some sense. Even just half a thought in there, somewhere, that was spurring all of them toward this horrific conclusion and if they could figure it out and find it, they could somehow hop the track and find another way.

Was it the crimson that wanted her son? Wanted them to think he was horrible and evil so they could nab him up? Was he supposed to be something wonderful and so they wanted them to turn him into something awful? Was he supposed to be none of these things and this was all a twisting maze of blinds and double blinds to turn them against one another?

She rubbed her eyes, exhausted, up late with Jackson discussing Estee's clairvoyance and how that may have played into their new assignment, discussing whether or not Avery was all right. But underneath it all, Nova had been unable to shake the ever-gnawing terror over Orion. None of Jackson's words soothed her. None of his usual rock-solid comfort helped. She could barely stand to listen to Parr or the others joke about Orion's as-yet-unknown powers. Her fear was all wrapped up so much in an unbearably painful love that refused to let go of hope and irrational thoughts of sacrifice and whatever she would need to do to be certain her son wouldn't follow that destructive path.

But she felt like she was fighting the fight alone and didn't want to. Jackson was so convinced that just loving him was enough but wouldn't they do that anyway? And who else was there to talk to? The Elders who simply patted her hand and told her all paths were possible? Her mother who had no motherly advice for this? She felt on the verge of screaming or crying half the time and had finally written to Fisher this morning to ask for a mild sedative so she could sleep, even deep meditation unable to eradicate the chaos in her mind.

"Starting to look like just you and me on this one," she whispered to her son, making a funny face as his eyes tracked her features and the starts of a smile - or at least what would turn into one - began. "Love you, little hunter." She turned another spiral of the garden path and turned him so he could see the birds as she pointed at them and told him the names.
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PostSubject: Re: Lana Tessler as Nova   Lana Tessler as Nova - Page 2 Icon_minitimeWed Jul 14, 2010 7:42 pm

She enjoyed the movie more than she thought she would, mostly because she enjoyed the level waves of happiness and relaxation the crew put out while they were enjoying what was, clearly, a classic favorite. The movie itself unnerved her at points, but only because she had not watched many movies; Jackson often called it culturally inept though he was always teasing. Popular classic film was simply not part of most Ghost's lives and even having lived off-oubliette most of her life, her parents had raised her to pursue the arts and reading, closer to the principles of her culture. Horror movies of any sort were an even rarer occurance.

"I can't believe you've never seen this," Jackson laughed.

"Neither have I!" Sadie piped up.

"She's not a marine!" She wasn't, later on, if it was Parr or Jackson or Lincoln that said it. It could have been any of them. She waited a moment, hoping Jackson would correct them. He didn't. The feeling of contentment, of belonging, slowly slipped away as her focus turned from the movie to the people around her, eyeing them.

It hadn't been the news of the century but they didn't even remember? They didn't look at the tags around her neck?

She reigned her initial irritation in and stopped to consider why this upset her. The comment was made again a few more times, though they consoled Sadie that she obviously was a marine. Nova gnawed on her lip, ignoring the Alien fighting Ripley. She had seen almost everything this crew had seen - true she had never piloted a ship or issued commands but she had put together the minds of soldiers broken from the skirmishes, counseled officers, endured the terror of not knowing whether the transport they were guarding would make it through. She had watched her father be shot and fall from where she stood at the station-lander's window. She had been with this crew through everything they had been through - and born the uncertain brunt of all the issues with Orion as best she could. Had she failed in any of that? Shown some streak that was not up the toughness of the marine corps?

Or was it simply that she didn't breathe it like most of them did? That she had enlisted to stay close to them and while she certainly felt loyalty to the cause and to the Global Administration and understood the need for military structure, she didn't bleed rank and grunt and the camaraderie they all seemed to have running in their veins?

Suddenly, she wanted nothing more than to be home with Orion, pouring her energy into trying to prevent some hideous future and feeling connected at least to him.

When it came down to it, that was what bothered her. The pregnancy had somehow set her apart and then the prophecy hanging over Orion's head had changed relationships between her and Avery and maybe some of the others as well. Enlisting, she had hoped, would start to help to bridge some of it back; she needed them to help her understand what was giong on, to cope with it, to maybe help Orion, but she didn't know how to do that. She did not belong in the Oubliette. She did not belong off-world. She had thought she belonged here, at least, with them. But sometimes, even then, she felt like an outsider, the one Ghost amidst the Marines and those who best understood them. There were times that wasn't true - and other times, like tonight, when she wondered if she was simply deceiving herself. Nova's head ached, once again feeling like the hum of the Valdosta and her engines was so much easier to feel and understand than all of these people.

"What's wrong?" Jackson asked as they were leaving, their laughter behind her jarring and making her head hurt more.

"You figure it out," she snapped and stalked toward the hover-car, leaving him staring behind her in shock as she closed the door and headed home.
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PostSubject: Re: Lana Tessler as Nova   Lana Tessler as Nova - Page 2 Icon_minitimeSun Aug 29, 2010 8:37 pm

She had absolutely no idea what Jackson had been thinking getting her a marine bomber style jacket. The leather was soft and supple and smelled good, but Nova wasn't accustomed to the heavy weight of the jacket or the catch of the patches beneath her fingers. Still, he had been proud of it, and it was warm. The patch by the collar even had her name on it and the rest were proud proclamations of their missions and membership in the GAF. It was important to him and his love resonated off the garment and so she wore it in the cold desert nights when she would walk back from her mother's home to the one she and Jackson and Orion shared. She had received more than a few odd looks from it, such an odd contrast to the flowing garments of the Ghosts but no one seemed to mind.

The stab of suspicion and hatred and loathing hit her like a shard of ice in summer and she stopped dead on the path, looking around wildly in the oubliette's subtle lighting, trying to find the source in the darkness. The emotions were in her range to sense, but no one was visible in the darkness. Suddenly nervous, she drew the jacket close around her like a shield, scanning the darkness for signs of anyone there and unable to locate a specific person or resonance that seemed familiar. Just that suspicion and dislike.

"Hello?" Her voice sounded timid in the darkness and she became irritated with herself. She had faced worse things than one upset person and yet... it was simply so unlike Ghosts to feel that way, to direct any sort of negative emotion at another that it made the world seem to spin.

Hesitating, she took another few steps on the gravel path back toward her home, hurrying now and wanting to be away from whomever she'd made angry. The impact on her back made her cry out and turn. No pain. Not a gunshot. Slowly, she took the jacket off, frowning in distaste at the remains of the tomato that dripped off the back, slowly running down to the ground. She wiped it off with one hand, still scanning the darkness and finding no one visible.

She didn't need to see them. The remains of the smashed fruit said it clearly enough. Traitor to our ways. You don't belong. What have you done. Ghosts were human still, not immune to base human instincts and emotions, to fear, jealousy, and hatred. Nova knew she represented something that many of the community would, in no uncertain terms, find to be a traitor to true oubliette Ghosts.

Nova's footsteps were quick and hurried back to the house and she did not tell Jackson what had happened, just suggested that it may be time for them to consider returning to Alhambra sooner rather than later since he seemed so pent up here. When she went out the next night, she did not bring the jacket and hid the marine dog tags carefully beneath her dress. There was very little point in making a fuss.

Ghosts were used to being outsiders.
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PostSubject: Re: Lana Tessler as Nova   Lana Tessler as Nova - Page 2 Icon_minitimeWed Nov 10, 2010 8:16 pm

"And you'll send a comm if anything goes wrong?" Nova fretted while Celestine nodded patiently. Orion fussed in his mother's arms, picking up her agitation and Nova held him close to her shoulder, supporting his head with one hand. In the few weeks she'd had, she'd managed to take Jim and Sadie's advice and forget about the prophecies possibly surrounding her son. Instead she focused on the way he was starting to learn to smile, how his eyes tracked her and the soft, tiny noises he made when he slept. She loved the feeling of his hand curled around her finger and his head nestled just so into the crook of her neck.

But a few weeks wasn't much time and the Valdosta was set to go out again, to avoid the war, to be sent on a diplomatic mission that rankled the crew even though she was quietly and silently relieved herself. She didn't want to be gone from him for long and even Jackson hesitated this time though normally he was chewing through the walls to get back star-side.

"It will be all right, Nova," Celestine soothed. "He'll be fine." Celestine had accompanied both of them up to Alhambra this time, though if the mission was extended she hoped to take Orion back to the quiet of the oubliette where Nova and Jackson could meet them later. Without knowing his abilities, Celestine was loathe to leave the infant around too many people. STill, he seemed settled and calm, waving tiny hands in the air at his mother. Nova herself couldn't decide where he'd be safer or more comfortable but common sense that her mother had quite successfully raised her, kicked in and made her realize she could leave the decision to Orion's grandmother.

She clung tightly to the infant for one more moment before reluctantly handing him to Celestine. Surprised by the shift in movement, Orion squalled momentarily until Celestine soothed him. Nova blinked back tears, touching his face gently and bending to kiss his forehead.

"Be good, dear heart," she murmured. "We'll be back soon." Jackson placed another kiss on Orion's forehead, murmuring something gruffly, too soft for her to hear but Nova could feel the sharp twinge of sadness in her husband's normally calm demeanor. Knowing she would hesitate, Jackson took Nova's hand and gently guided her onto the shuttle transport and toward the Valdosta.

For once, the only "what if" in Nova's head was when she would see her child again and as the shuttle slid to a smooth start, she buried her face momentarily in Jackson's shoulder.

"He'll be fine," Jackson soothed. "We all will be."
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PostSubject: Re: Lana Tessler as Nova   Lana Tessler as Nova - Page 2 Icon_minitimeSun Nov 14, 2010 4:50 pm

It wasn't the deaths of six thousand people which were mercifully out of range, or the presence of Ghosts aboard the Alhambra, abusing their powers. It wasn't the sideways looks after it that said 'thank goodness you're too controlled to do that.' It wasn't the death of people she cared for and knew, or the loss of their apartment and home, or the fact that the attack had clearly occurred after Orion left.

It wasn't the death of Gull, though that hurt more than she could fathom, and the depression and anger and shock of the crew. All of that was painful but honest and clean and normal and the expected outcome of death in a military vessel and she had felt all of that before.

It was not killing a man for the first time, though the blood pouring onto her and the sickening spatter of the bullet into his face were nauseating and violated every tenet of Ghost belief she held.

It was not the continued stress of the myriad problems that cropped up, the emotional reaction from the time flash backs they encountered, or the strain of thinking that Avery would no longer be their captain soon.

It was not the Viridian, seemingly lost and obliterated by the Crimson before they could even reach the escaping Sadie Hart. It was, in the end, incomprehensible that the entire race had been destroyed in under an hour.

It was not the thought that she had possibly been infected by Crimson taint before Orion was even conceived and that even now her infant son might be full of that evil, or that they didn't understand anything at all.

What pushed Nova over the edge, in the end, was the image of Orion's face filled with hatred on the view screen, ricocheting around her mind with the smiling beautiful face of her infant son. She could not get the two images to match. It was her best friend ordering her off the ship and the effort it took to move each foot to reach the escape pod knowing that she had caused this. And it was the sound of the guttural, soul-wrenching scream of when Avery lost the Valdosta. These things, Nova could not avoid and they ripped through the now fragile shields worn through by the barrage of emotions and strain from the rest of the crew. they obliterated any ability to think, awash in agony and confusion that left her numb. She knew she could not let anyone touch her because she would pull them into this mental spiral and so she lashed out at all of them when they tried. She couldn't afford to pull them in with her.

And still she could not escape the loop. Orion smiling over Jackson's shoulder. Orion staring from the view screen. Avery on the deck of the ship telling her to go so that her son would still have a mother. Knowing that if she had not pushed the matter with jackson, none of this would even be happening. And finally,that sound and the pain.

When they miraculously got aboard the Baxter, Nova had no idea how they had gotten there. Weeks had passed in and out of hypersleep. They had gotten through the gate in less time than should have been possible. It was another miracle of them limping wounded and hurt to safety and Nova didn't understand or even know any of it. She only felt that the Baxter was not the Valdosta and refused to touch the ship. She only felt the aching, empty pain in Avery and the weariness of the crew and the endless, endless loop of Orion's face and Avery's scream.

She set up a temporary alter in the room that should have been hers and Jackson's. The standard issue vase that seemed to be in every couple's quarters in GAF ships. The marble coaster. The rock she had taken. Orion's stuffed dog. A bit of the ribbon from his naming ceremony. The twist of wire from the Valdosta. She took off the medallion and the dog tags, staring at both of them in her hands, unable to decide who or what she had failed more - the marines and the crew or the Ghost community. Hesitantly, she laid both down, unable to identify which she belonged to or where she belonged.

Orion's face. Avery's scream.

Her hands twisted her hair back into a tight knot at the nape of her neck, a symbol of mourning and loss. She longed to go talk to Avery but stared at the dog tags. How could she expect to comfort a woman she had caused so much pain for? No Orion, no child, no pain, no lost ship, no broken crew, no war, no crimson. Everything they had faced together and at this crucial point, because of her selfishness and her own desire, she had made a choice and had cost them so much. When Avery spoke of poor choices, Nova understood this because she had done the same.

Orion's face. Avery's scream.

She stared at the Captain's quarters door and did not enter, terrified of what she would find. If Avery said what Nova expected she might say, she would simply cease being. Nova was certain of this and so she did not go in and do her job. She failed the captain and crew again.

Orion's face. Avery's scream.

They tried to convince her she was part of them, belonged with them. But she knew Lincoln never stepped forward, saw the recrimination in his look.

The amulet. She could put that back on - the necklace from her mother and father.

But then what sort of Ghost was she that had killed a man? That had put her desires for a family before the well being of everyone? Parr had thanked her for her restraint but she had failed to uphold the needs of her community, both on ship and off, and that was a cardinal crime of morality for Ghosts. She had brought danger and attention to the oubliette. She should be with her son but she wasn't and she wasn't sure where the line in the sand was that turned her child from the sweet, smiling infant he was to the cruel man on the screen. She had tried to kill him and herself before he was born. What sort of mother - what sort of Ghost - did that?

And so she left everything except for Jackson's rings on the altar to consider them, sure only that he had not abandoned her, but not of where she stood or who she was.

Orion's face. Avery's scream.

And even the next morning, even when Avery had wrapped her in a solid hug and they decided to go out to the black to find the ship, to be listed as MIA, the cryptic poem sent to her mother to tell her it was all right, even then it was all she could do to stop the loop, to bring back up the tatters of her mental shields and let Jackson put both dog tags and medallion back on, for her to breathe again past the pain of her child and the emptiness in her best friend. Should she leave? Should she stay? She'd follow Avery anywhere - but where was the line between Ghost and Marine? Mother and friend? Where did time stop mattering and when did it start?

She didn't have any answers. She didn't even know if she was still *welcome* and so she knocked hesitantly on the door of Avery's quarters before Harding could leave, in case the answer had to be "go home" despite not knowing where that was.

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PostSubject: Re: Lana Tessler as Nova   Lana Tessler as Nova - Page 2 Icon_minitimeMon Nov 15, 2010 5:29 pm

Nova had forgotten the core principles that guided her life.

In the skirmishes, Nova had been a talented counselor, able to use her empathy to gently string Marines and their civilian counter-parts through post-traumatic-stress syndrome and back towards stability. She had talked to men who had lost limbs, men and women who had lost nothing and never been scratched while the troops near them had been obliterated, back to sanity and away from madness. She had been young but she had watched her father's smooth and easy diplomatic negotiations and applied the same sense of gentle remove and guidance to her patients as an intern. She had comforted people through nightmares and horrors and the brutality of war. It was the part of her job that always felt most useful for her. Her cyberpathy was useful for sensing issues but not for diagnosing or fixing them - her inability to explain what she felt outside of humanizing the machines she touched made it difficult to tell a mechanic or engineer what precisely she meant.

She knew Lincoln didn't trust her. She did not understand why, had missed some piece of code or tradition, just like visitors to the Oubliette missed the nuances of oubliette life. The entire crew had moments of weakness at points, moments where mistakes were made, apologies offered, bonds reaffirmed. They seemed to move to a dance she never understood no matter how long she spent around them. She knew the captain cared if she could do her job and cared for her, but their personal relationship could not figure into the ship and crew's working. Jackson never should have approached Lincoln - and in fact the only reason she knew he had was the seething, roiling anger as he had returned to their quarters. Personal was personal and somewhere over the last year, Nova had let those two worlds blur.

But in the end it came back to having forgotten who and what she was and this was a painful lesson of that choice.

I will not kill, I will not become violent. All life is reverential. But she had killed, and while she knew that Ghost tenets lent themselves to variation in times of need, she had purposefully chosen a path that would put her in a line of duty to cause death and she had. There was no excuse for this, only acceptance of the moral implications and the betrayal of a lifestyle that while she often struggled to adhere to it, was a deep rooted part of her. She hadn't been raised an Oubliette Ghost, but her father and mother had instilled those zen ideals very deeply within her, as part of her culture.

I will be conscious in and of my relationships. I will not give way to passion. But she had given way to passion. She had striven for a personal goal, a sense of being a mother, a sense of belonging and intimacy with a crew of people who could often not understand her. She had chosen a family that no matter how close she might get to them, would never fully understands the walls and burdens that carried. There was no blame for them - she couldn't even muster a mild irritation at it. It was trying to explain to them a few centuries of ingrained distance that were the hallmarks of self-preservation and sanity. She had forgotten that, gotten deeply attached to people outside of Jackson and her direct relatives when she should not have, when her culture and her job indicated a need for compassionate understanding but also tempered removal from the situation.

I will exercise proper care of my body and mind. There must be peace within my mind to have peace without. I will not violate the bodies or minds of others. Parr thanked her for her restraint but her restraint had meant nothing in the face of the trauma of the crew, of Avery, and of her own mind. When she should have shut her personal reactions away, she had given into them and the lack of stability in her own mind had threatened others. No peace within and no peace without.

There can be peace within, or peace without, but never both. Of all of them, this was the thing she had most violated. Years ago, Nova would not have been able to note that she agreed or disagreed with this philosophy. She had only known that the oubliette had been too calm, too silent and still for any peace for her. She could have said that the outside world was more akin to her needs, but that the lack of understanding and acceptance had always been difficult to deal with. She had told Sadie once that watching the Ghosts develop over centuries was like watching a culture develop because it was true. Jenks and scientists continued to try and study them to figure out how they "worked" but there was still that separation and distance. To Nova, Ghosts were humans. To most regular people, Ghosts were "other." Nova was not certain which world she belonged to - if she belonged to either fully. She was simply certain that the two didn't balance and that the tenet, after years of contemplation held true.

The only resolution she could find, since Avery said she was fit for duty and since she had promised to remain and help her regain the Valdosta, since she had signed on for duty even if she did not feel the passion for it that Jackson and Lincoln and Avery did, was to push through it. She stacked her mental and emotional walls high this time, drawing her sense of self in deep where passionate emotions wouldn't destabilize her and where the emotional impressions of the crew would remain impressions rather than tangible things that battered and bruised her from close friends and loved ones. They needed her ability to function through that more than vividness of passion and compassion. Avery had once said that Nova could feel, could display what Avery herself could not, but Nova didn't' feel like she could do that anymore. She felt wrung out and beaten after the last few days - and the only things she knew for certain were Jackson's love, the tenets of her people, and the promise she had made to serve that meant this ridiculous display of emotion and falling to passion was irrevocably harmful. She had only to look at the insane Ghosts destroying Alhambra or Orion's calculated cruelty to see what happened when Ghosts lost their restraint.

She did not go to tell Harding that she would leave with him because she had promised, though she suspected that when her tour of duty was up, they would ask her not to re-enlist and she would be separated from ship and Jackson and crew. Like Avery's constantly hovering promotion, she did not truly belong here but she'd tried because it had seemed that trying to adhere to the loyalty and ideals and uphold them like the people she had come to love was a form of honor for those ideals. But that hardly seemed to matter anymore with all that had changed. They were off radar right now anyway.

She shut herself in the room she shared temporarily with Jackson for three hours, stacking the walls higher, soothing her spirit into something tempered, shoving the passion and the deepest, strongest emotions into something that was cooler, calmer, and safer for all of them, including her own sanity. The abiding deep companionship with Parr. Sadie's exuberance. Gull's reluctant trust. Denton's gentle, steady support. Avery's fiery, steely resolve, and Jenks companionable bitterness. All of it, including Lincoln's acrimony, Macree's barely restrained mistrust and bitterness, she shielded herself against, stepped away from. The ties she felt to Jackson, she left but she would not let her marriage to him ruin his career or his ideals and so even that she put at mental distance in some ways; she couldn't trust herself to rely on him for matters with the crew and ship. She did not excise feeling or emotion - that was impossible and unhealthy. But the walls from the first day she had stepped aboard the ship, she set solidly back in place. She had been foolish to let them down, to become so free with touch and passion both, rather than using her abilities as the restrained tools she needed to do her work. It was not becoming less human, but an ability to better control her reactions and to remove herself from the boil of emotions and relationships that threatened to subsume her and destroy her. It was, she felt, necessary if she were to be of any use to herself or the coming mission.

And if nothing else, then at least she would not so keenly feel the sting of being outside both worlds.
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PostSubject: Re: Lana Tessler as Nova   Lana Tessler as Nova - Page 2 Icon_minitimeSun Jan 09, 2011 5:50 pm

The walls didn't stop the flood of tension.

Every day it began anew - the captain's worry that they wouldn't succeed or that she'd chosen the wrong course and then the resolve to see it through was like morning coffee. Jenks dove into his theories and studies. Denton wrote and wrote but said little. Parr remained uncertain what to say, picking up on the tension as much as any non-empath could and casting odd looks to her that she did not bother to decipher.

Then there was the more hostile feelings that followed coffee like breakfast. Lincoln danced away from her in anything other than the most simple interactions. Sadie hated that they were out here for the ship and not for Hunter, inexplicably aware that the crew was half searching for home and half betraying their ideals in one fell swoop. Jackson seethed under his inability to reconcile them being AWOL with his trust for the captain and the crew, with his irritation at Lincoln for what had transpired over her.

Of all of them, she could really only not read Gull, and it was often because Gull simply was Gull. She found herself hovering around engineering when she had nothing else to do, taking comfort in the fact that he simply did what he found necessary and didn't seem to hold much issue with anyone.

She, herself, stood apart from it as much as she could. She was quiet these days and she knew it, but she was terrified of what she would say or do, what other path she would start down and betray, if she became too involved. She watched the card games impassively, taking refuge in her book. She bantered only lightly, smiling and laughing when needed but not sharing in the jokes as she once did. She did not drink often, not liking the effect of alcohol on her thought process.

Above all, she did not return to her duties as counselor in official capacity, not because she was not capable, but because she was not officially needed and knew it. Avery had told her this in no uncertain terms - that a counselor aboard a marine vessel was a luxury and not a necessity. Further, and more importantly, it would cause more damage than was actually necessary. The crew was licking wounds, and she could feel it in each breath, each scattered emotion of anxiety and anger that they concealed on the surface but that roiled behind their eyes. She wondered if any of them knew that she could possibly help - but knew that few of them trusted her to do that now, either for her own incompetence, or for their own fear in voicing their actual feelings. Marines did not feel they needed counselors and so she did not voice the acidic thought that they had, most of them, avoided severe instances of post-traumatic stress syndrome and other mental break downs due to her abilities to at least shove them in the correct direction. A counselor was a luxury - and she had put herself in the position of being one and so she said nothing.

Instead, she tried to support Gull, who didn't need her support - and which was inherantly useless as she hated touching the Baxley unless necessary. It was not the Valdosta, did not feel the same, did not resonate the same, and felt foreign and cold to her. She was not certain how much of that was Avery's emotions bleeding into her empathy, or her own perception. She was certain, only, that her cyberpathy and empathy were deemed "useful" in that regard as a marine. She found this somewhat insulting but did not say this, because she had no control over these powers - they were born to her like someone with good eyesight or exceptional physical ability or brown hair. They were. They were a part of her but her "use" was relegated to these parts of her. She knew they viewed it as skill - and she viewed it as part of her. She understood why so many Ghosts had rejected enlistment now. The Marine mentality did not allow for humanization and with their perceptive abilities, Nova was keenly aware of the human quotiant in all of this.

She did not voice what terrified her most: that she feared the division would be the end of them, would kill them against a foe they barely understood, would split them after when one of them inevitably would cave to the brass' questioning. She woke in the night with dreams of Jackson court marshalled and imprisoned, with the entire crew cast to the winds and never reassigned again, with Orion mocking her as he grew for their failures as his parents. She did not scream or cry. Simply woke and would lay for hours watching the ceiling of her quarters, hoping that Avery had something to pull them back together, hoping that Jackson's anger and tension would abate, hoping that Lincoln would someday understand or that Gull would provide some kind word that might make her feel better, or that Sadie would decide this family was important as well . She hoped that she herself would lie when asked what had happened - but she wasn't even certain of that. This felt so wrong... but she could not pinpoint if that was the tension of the crew or the reasons behind what they were doing. SHe knew they *had* to be out here, had to stop this.

Sometimes she just hoped to hold Orion again, her Orion and not the thing they were chasing, and kiss him once more before she died. She hoped her mother would forgive her. She hoped for some sense of balance between herself as a Ghost and as a marine, but then knew that was improbable to the extreme. She would lay there hoping to hold her son and her husband, to have her family back when they seemed intent on casting one another away because this was the only place she'd ever felt at home and comfortable.

It was those nights she stayed awake the longest, unable to find an answer but at least, when they were sleeping, free of the press of their emotions and anxiety.

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PostSubject: Re: Lana Tessler as Nova   Lana Tessler as Nova - Page 2 Icon_minitimeWed Jan 19, 2011 9:53 pm

In the past several weeks she had served as a repair person on computers in three separate colonies. She had helped one freighter ascertain an engine problem. She had pretended that these discoveries were Gull's, unsure of how far out the rumors of her cyberpathy had circulated, not wishing to reveal the crew.

In the past several weeks she had watched the tension rise and Jackson fret and had put the walls back up around her mind and her inner self.

"Please take this to him," She murmured and Jim took the battered stuffed dog and nodded. "It has... good memories. Good resonance." She knew he could feel it, all the love and thoughts and far away moments of longing and hope for her son that she had embedded in the well-loved toy, making certain that no matter what happened out here, her son would have some sort of positive thing to remember or feel or have near. "It's his favorite," she said weakly and while she barely would let anyone touch her, while she wore gloves to avoid picking up on too much now, she let Jim hug her before he climbed back on the Gina Lee and headed back into the sky.

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PostSubject: Re: Lana Tessler as Nova   Lana Tessler as Nova - Page 2 Icon_minitimeSun Jan 23, 2011 10:11 pm

The bed was soft and comfortable and Jackson groaned beside her. She'd been awake for fifteen minutes, staring at the ceiling and trying to make sense of the fact that she was alive, awake, and from the placard by the phone, at a very expensive hotel in Paris.

"What the hell..." he muttered.

"No idea," she croaked softly, though the hoarseness was from sleep, deep and rejuvenating. Somehow, against odds again, they were alive and back on Earth. Another few minutes passed as they absorbed this and then Jackson stumbled out of the warm sheets and comforter and shuffled with a paper by the door, passing it over to her once he was done reading.

"We work for them now?" Nova quirked an eyebrow at her husband. The shift in career was subtle the time, and hardly the most rocking news they'd received on the journey. The Nobel Peace Prize having been awarded was still surreal. The discovery that their son wouldn't destroy the world but was in fact a plant to stop the crimson was a piece of job and pride belittled only by the thought of giving him up - though she knew she and Jackson both still harbored the quiet hope that their actions had changed that need, that they wouldn't need to pitch their son forward and back in time, that fifteen short years would be all they had.

"Nova?" He touched her hair gently and she looked tearfully up at him, overwhelmed at the sound of a young man grown on the com recording they'd received aboard the Baxley, at the thought of regaining him in spirit just to lose him again. Denton had pegged it precisely "I would tell you that it's a long time away, but I know it's never enough. Enjoy the days you do have." The unspoken maybe still hung there, that what they had done and would do would mean it would not need to be done again. Nova barely understood the time travel theories and equations, the subtleties of all of it. " them," Jackson said, exasperated but gently so, before she could get too mired in what-ifs and deep thought.

The polite voice of the concierge at the desk on the other end connected her call quickly.


"Oh thank God, you're awake," Celestine exhaled in a rush on the other end.

"We're in Par-"

"Yes, yes. I received a call yesterday that they'd found you. It's all over the feeds but you're in quarantine and all that rot," Celestine's tone indicated no appreciation or observance of such things.

"Mother please..." Nova choked. The need to see Orion was so great it made it hard to breathe.

There was a knock on the hotel room door. Jackson swung it open and stepped aside before he could get flattened by the force of nature that was Celestine.

"Hush. I was just up the hall," the older woman murmured into her daughter's hair, passing Orion to her and sweeping her up in her own fierce hug before Nova could comprehend anything at all, really. Orion burbled happily and curled fists in her hair and she clung to him, sobbing as her mother clung to her and Jackson, finally, wheedled his way into the tangle of arm and tearful women so that he could touch his son's face. For his part, Orion endured the fuss quietly and without complaint, cuddled and coddled and sheltered in his mother's arms as she begged forgiveness in caresses and quiet thoughts and tiny, telepathic lullabies.

"Mom and dad, thank you for teaching me how to be a hero."

The recording's last line had nearly made both of them crumple, their minds turning the tiny, innocent face into a man grown and wise and cognicant of the choice and sacrifice he made, making both of them so proud and yet the grief etched so plainly that none of the crew had even dared to really look at them. They would teach him what they could, continue down this path, hoping that fifteen years later would bring some other option than sending him away, that Sadie's theories were correct and that because it had already been done, the time line had altered. There was no real knowing, only hope, and the chance to enjoy this time free of worrying if he was some hidden trick of an alien species or some turn coat, and instead knowing he would grow proud and strong and able and oh so very brave. It was enough to have him pull at her hair and for Jackson to kiss tiny fingers and for her mother to hold all of them, to know the crew would be back together again soon and that Lincoln and Macree would fuss and yell and Avery would bear them all with an amused grin and that Cotton would forgive, Sadie would hope, Jenks would theorize and Denton and Gull would ground them all in reality.

"A Nobel peace prize?" her mother said after a bit.

"Don't look at us," Nova replied. "We weren't expecting it either."

Nova extricated herself from the tangled hug and took Orion to the window to watch the hover-cars and people pass below, singing softly to him in the afternoon sun.

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