Arden shook his head and got up from where he was sitting on his bed. Jahn looked up at him; lids have closed, and mewed an interrogative. Arden chuckled, scratched him behind the ears until Jahn purred."You listen great, Jahn, but you're not much of a conversationalist. I need to talk to someone." Jahn yawned, flicked his tail over his nose, and went back to sleep. Arden chuckled and left his quarters, heading towards Kiera's. Kiera probably could help him figure it out, but knowing her, her answer wouldn’t be the one he wanted. Well, at least that would help him decide what not to do. He paused before Kiera's door, hesitated, and then knocked anyway.
Kiera looked up from her book, shifting from her stomach to roll over to look at the door. "Come in," she called.
Arden opened the door and sticks his head in, "Hey, Kiera? Got a moment?"
Arden is dressed in lime-green exercise shorts and a black t-shirt with the green letters on it saying, "Awful Green Things from Outer Space. This time they're after YOU!” His feet are bare though and his hair is still slightly damp from the shower.
She smiled warmly. "For you, handsome, anytime is you time. Come on in." She rolled to a sitting position and patted herbed. "What's up?"
Finally he says, "So... We're at war. I don’t like it but on the other hand from Rina and Nika's emotions I get the idea that I should be happy. Is there something wrong with them or me?"
Kiera grinned. "You're all nutty." But Arden didn't smile and she raised an eyebrow. "Nika and Rina have old wounds not healed by time, scars from the previous war. The Browncoats were humbled and shamed. You don't ever lose that as a group. That and they've always felt kicked around and beat up by the Core. You and I ain't ever had that, Arden. We don't have that sense of second chance like they do. So, you're not wrong, but neither are they."
"See, I learned how the verse worked from those two. When I first came aboard I was running because someone tried to kill me. I knew nothing of the Rim, the Core, and all that political stuff. I knew of Blue Sun and the other corporations, but not how much influence they had. I had heard of Reavers, but thought they were stories. So what I learned, I learned from them."
"So I don’t know what is bothering me. Shouldn’t I be more like them?"
"No Arden." Kiera held out a hand and taking his, pulled him to sit beside her. "You need to be Arden." She stroked a lock of dark hair, slid a hand down his cheek. "You need to stop being a number. You ever thought of having a last name, Arden? Make your body your own? Not Nika's alternate, not one of a crèche, but Arden" whatchamacallit", Doctor, published author, man who knows who he is and what he wants? You don't need to follow the girls anymore Arden. You've got your own experiences now to make up your mind about?" Leaning over, she kissed him gently. "So who do you want to be?"
"I’m not sure that’s what I was asking," he says with a smile, "More... Well, why? Why all this conflict. It seems rather simple to me; the Rim has what it has, the Core has what it has. The two should be able to trade, not take from the other. But it seems that’s all they want to do.
"The conversations with the Blue Sun agents back at the sheik’s place really brought that home. They couldn’t grasp the fact that the Rim's people were just like them." Arden shakes his head, "They just couldn’t get past it. Why not?"
The redheaded doctor sighed deeply. "Those that have don't understand how little everyone else has. I didn't Arden. Not until I left behind the Core."
"Still, that leaves us in the middle having to pick a side. I don’t like this, I feel like I am being made to make a choice even when I don’t want to make a choice." Rage is evident in his voice, as well as anguish. "I feel as if my best friends have turned away from me, like they really haven’t thought things out. People are going to die, and the way things are its going to be Nika and Rina (with Joshua) dying first!"
Her eyes opened wide as her mouth fell open. "Oh Arden!" she stated softly with sympathy, shaking her head. "Look hon, as doctors we know Death intimately. We know what it is like to fight it. Fight it and win and fight it and lose. We know the cost of this folly. But you can't take away their right to be stupid. You can only stand by and try to mitigate the damage when it happens or leave before they get killed. I know you love them. But loving something also means letting it make its own mistakes. I can't join them. I won't join them. I promised Nika that I would ride as long as I could. And that's the best I can do. You need to come to your own decision about what your Rubicon is."
Arden shakes his head, "Oh I know that. I just know that I don’t want to be here when it happens, but if I’m not here, how will I know if I could stop that disaster from happening? Caught between a rock and the deep blue sea," Arden says. "Not that I understand that, but I definitely feel like I’m there."
"So you're going to be here for the ride then." There was no question in the words, and little emotion; just a quiet acknowledgement of fact. "I am too. But something will make me leave, Arden. Something will call me and I will leave them. I won't fight for the Independents but I'm not certain that I support the Core and its corporations. There is mindless evil there. The pursuit of science without caring about what it does or knowing and desperately justifying the results or ignoring what is done with them. Joshua's mother. My father. They need to fight it out among themselves. But I don't support the Independents because they are doing exactly what the Core is and will become them in time." She sighed."I never could play well with others anyway. Never was a team player.' She grinned sheepishly. "So I don't worry about any desire to join either side."
"How is the Rim like the Core?" Arden asks.
"They will be. In time. No freedom comes without a price." She gave him a sad smile. "You don't think the Rim won't eventually have its Blue Suns, its government central?"
"I guess I could hope, but right now it doesn’t look that way, does it?"
"No." Her face lit with a sad smile."Wanna go find Earth That Was? Start over?"
Arden stands and then paces as much as he can in the small quarters of Kiera's. "Still doesn’t change anything though. Obviously the Rim and the Core are going to have their stupid moment. Rather than helping them be stupid, I would rather try to find a way that they wouldn’t have to stupid anymore." Arden shakes his head again. "I’m not a political genius though. I have no idea on how to go about that."
We don't have the big boys and girls ears, dear. Unless you know something I don't. You can go on speaking tours in the Core. You are known. Famous Dr Arden. They'd listen to you. A force for reason although you'd have to start out talking about Prion disease."
Arden smirks, frustrated, yet amused. "I don’t even get credit for that you know. I’ve seen medical forums where Core researchers and medical research facilities are claiming that they did the work and I am trying to ride their coat tails. Not that I really care though . . .it’s just irritating."
Kiera put her hands akimbo. "You oughta just go there and correct that, Arden," she announced and then got to her feet."Look, maybe you need to sit with everybody and tell them that you aren't on board with the military thing. Let them know you don't want a commission. Maybe your tension is part in that you don't feel like you can talk to them about how you really feel." Her head tilted. "Like you don't wanna rain on their parade even though you want to and it's driving you nuts?"
"Maybe. But that would be a hard thing to do. I can’t even imagine how that would play out," Arden says. Then he grins, "Wow, everyone would be sitting on a bee then."
"Beating the wasp's nest, yes," Kiera agreed, but then a wicked wink. "That's never stopped you before."
"No, a 'bee in their bottom' is what I mean," Arden corrects her.
"Ha!" Kiera cried with a laugh. She caught his eyes, nodding to accent her words. "You still need to tell them, Arden."
Arden shakes his head, lets out a sign. “Maybe. Probably,” he agrees. “But in the spirit of all people forced to make a decision they don’t want to, I’m going to put it off until tomorrow.” Arden smiles wearily, and then sits down next to Kiera on the bed.
“So,” he starts. “Can we have some snuggle time and then some get down and dirty time, followed by snuggle and then sleep time?”Arden winks at her. “Who knows might be able to down and dirty again later.”
An elegant eyebrow rises as she smiles. "Never one to say no to fun," she answered, sliding her hands under his shirt to slide it off. Admiring his rather nice torso a moment later, she leaned in for a kiss. "And the down and dirty. The other girls can wait for tomorrow. You're mine today." With a wicked wink, she growled softly and kissed him with hunger.