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Aberrant: Stargate Universe - 'Noted' Conversation [Fin]


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Vinny sat in his office, writing the first mission report as B.B. King tried to soothe his frayed nerves from the iDock. Wistfully typing away, he allowed the emotion-laden music to go through him, letting the tenseness of his muscles relax some.

Hitting 'submit' after the spellcheck was complete and removing some gregarious language, Vinny closed the laptop and let himself listen to the words of the 'Blues Boy'.

Click to reveal..
If I Lost You

You're the greatest thing in my life, baby

Without your love, baby

I don't know just what I would do

Years of loving you, you've been so true

I believe I'd lose my mind if I lost you

I guess I've been lucky to have someone so dear

To talk and laugh and always bring me cheer

After all of these years you've been so true to me, baby

I believe I'd lose my mind if I lost you

After all of the lies I've told you

Just like giving you the stars

And buying you mink coats

Mink coats and diamonds, baby

Money in the bank and each year

Each year two brand new cars

You're the greatest thing in my life, baby

Between me and you I know I've got the best deal

Let me thank you, baby, you've been so true

I'd lose my mind if I lost you

The fuckin' mission report! You goddamned ass-tard.

Opening the laptop and relogging, he quickly found Major Hadley's submission for PK2-776. As he read the short, vague report, the dagger in his chest inched a little deeper. It was so hard to remember a what seemed like a story someone told him years ago, even with the couple vivid illustrations that KT had painted. However, there was enough there for her to figure the basics out, if she would look at it.

Click to reveal.. (PK2-776)
The details of the mission to PK2-776, are short.

It started as a routine investigation of ocean-side ruins, and once a perimeter had been established, a small camp was set up for our extended stay while the research was done. A fair amount of data was gathered the first day, though now gone.

Watch was set the first night, and all seemed routine until at some point during Lieutenant Wright's watch (2nd watch) we were ambushed by the denizens of the planet, who live in the planet's ocean. All save Lieutenant Wright were knocked out quickly, he apparently fought back enough that they seem convinced to leave him behind. Not one to abandon a party, he hitched a ride on a retreating 'squid', risking his life to save the team...again.

Evidently the culture of the race admired his bravery enough that they allowed him to bargain for our release, which he did on terms we have still yet get from him, (we believe that to be part of the agreement.) Repeated questioning did reveal that the experience affected his memory. (He has been thoroughly tested to the best of our means.) Though he did mention once upon leaving the planet that he had bargained for our release for 'Granola', though no shipment was ever made to the planet, we assumed this to be a sarcastic response.

The report goes on and on...and on...and on about the deplorable conditions in which they were forced to 'submit' themselves to while 'guests' of the 'squids'.

Knowing full well she wouldn't read it if he emailed it, he printed it out and stuffed it in a manilla envelope stamped with 'Classified'. Against his better judgement, he pulled Moby - Why Does My Heart Feel So Bad & Eric Clapton - Reconsider Baby from his collection and dumped them onto a flash drive. It joined the field report in the envelope before he sealed it shut and set it on his desk to stare at it.

It was a juvenile thing to do, one step from a mix tape, but if she wouldn't talk to him, he didn't know how to explain himself.

There has to be a fuckin' reason you're in my life again darlin'.

"This time, not lettin' you go without a fuckin' fight. No more mistakes."

A short walk later had the envelope under her door, SG-21 hadn't arrived yet, so she would get it when she got back.

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Olivia was wet and tired. The mission hadn't been that long, but the last part had been nerve-wracking. Worse, she'd had to turn in all her gear and get cleaned in Quarantine before being allowed to go to her room to shower. That'd meant she'd had to shower in her clothing to remove the mud, then strip down and wear borrowed sweats to her room. She'd also had to swung past the quartermasters, who'd griped about the state of her wet gear. Syler had been just as upset about the wet weaponry. And she still had to hit the infirmary and then see the General for the debriefing. Thankfully, neither wanted to see her before she'd fully showered. Just because the possibly contaminated mud was gone didn't mean she was really clean. She stank of her own fear, which wasn't pleasant. Of course, she'd thought a Unas was going to give her a flip top head. It did cause certain fear-based bodily functions in response.

Her door scraped over something, and Olivia picked it up and looked at the envelope. A report and a flash drive, crammed in an envelope. She didn't have time for it, and she dumped it on her table. Later. I'll deal with it later.

Later was hours later, when she was finally done with her debriefing. Dr. Fraiser had cleared her with the useless offers of painkillers for the minor bruising she'd gotten. She thought about getting in a nap, but the envelope was one of the classified ones, and that meant it was important, too important to leave, no matter how tired she was. Sighing, she dropped into her chair, propped her feet up on the table and pulled over her laptop, plugging in the flash drive. There were two files, music files.

"What the heck?" she mumbled. She fished out the report, which made even less sense. "Someone's lost their frickin' mind," she muttered, a belief that lasted until the end of the third paragraph. Her breath caught in her throat and something from last night finally made sense.

Click to reveal.. (Reliving the Past)
"Granola...?" he whispered, his voice going quiet and withdrawn in the face of her seething anger.

"...wait, Vegas? What do you mean Vegas...and how fuckin' dare you mention that asshole. He was the whole damn problem, not me," Vinny said, his eyes focused far off. "At least if I remember right..." he mumbled.

"You need to let me explain. I do care, or did, or whatthefuck...just let me explain." he said, his eyes tormented.

"Did he give up memories of me for his team?" she whispered, swallowing at this new betrayal-

Only to snap out of that stupid funk almost immediately. For her team, she'd do a lot more than that. They were long over and done; there was no reason for him to keep the memories of a woman who he thought had betrayed him. Not when it would save Hadley, Rea and Eckhart.

Her hands were shaking as she ordered the laptop to play the music. In her dark room, she listened to the songs, absorbed by the lyrics and their meanings - and what they could mean to her, and to them.

Olivia smiled as Moby's 'Why Does My Heart Feel So Bad?' poured out of her speakers, but that smile faded as she put it into context. It was a song about being in pain, without any real reason given for the pain by Moby - it was kinda 'insert pain here'. She bit her lip, wondering if this was a ploy to make her feel sympathy for him. Fine, so you're looking for something to make you happy, Vinny. Got it. She wondered if the next song would offer an answer to the question the first posed. She wasn't as familiar with Clapton, though the title was a hint. She bobbed her head, waiting patient for the first guitar riff to end. The first words made her frown. Am I going somewhere, or are you? What?

She had to remind herself to step back and not take the song completely literally, but to listen to the intent. When she heard the last few lines, she knew that was what he'd really wanted to tell her with this song. He wanted another chance with her, or he thought he did. Would he when he knew the truth about her? Eric Clapton's guitar faded, and Olivia sat in silence, torn. So now what did she do?

Letting him in was opening herself up to hurt. Letting him in meant telling him what she'd been through; she wasn't making the same mistake she'd made with Sean. If she was with Vinny, he'd had to take all of her, not what she wanted him to see. Heck, things had always been brutally honest between them anyway - why change now?

But she still couldn't decide; telling him would change how he saw her. Could he forgive what she'd done? She didn't know which way to go. So let him decide. She grabbed two blank CDs and got to work.


It took her longer than she'd expected; Aradia's arrival for girl-talk had pushed it back. So it was pretty late in the evening when she knocked on Vinny's door. He opened said door, blinking at seeing her there. To her surprise, her heart skipped a beat, making her eyes widen a little at the reaction he'd had on her. She handed him the report, with a post-it note attached. The note simply said, "I'd do the same." When he took the report, she fished two CDs out of her thigh pockets and held them out. Scrawled on one was "RED PILL" while the other said "BLUE PILL". "It's your choice," Olivia said, "but you can't go back, once you've decided." She paused and quickly asked, "You did see this movie, right?"

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Matrix? he thought as he looked over Olivia and then the two choices he had before him.

It seemed obvious which one he should choose; to select the Blue CD would undoubtedly result in the end of whatever relationship he thought they might have as they went back to 'status quo'. For all he knew, the Blue CD could be blank, representing more an option than anything else.

The 'Red Pill' CD however, held potential...it held the truth, or at least that was the implication. How far did the rabbit hole go? Would Wonderland be as tormenting to himself as it was to Alice? Or would choosing this CD have him wake up in a reality ruled by the Replicators? He could worry about consequences later; now he had to make the choice.

Pausing only briefly as he weighed his decision when the discs were offered, he silently reached for the disc marked 'Red Pill', watching Olivia with hopeful and curious eyes as he did.

She released a large breath that she had been holding once the choice was made, a small nagging doubt as to which path he would choose having plagued her until that moment. She stood quietly as he looked at her, before he turned and headed back into his room, leaving the door open as a subtle invitation that he hoped was accepted.

As he sat down in his office chair and looked back at the door, she was gone, seemingly content to let the disc speak for itself now that he had made his choice. Popping the tray on his laptop, he 'swallowed' the Red Pill and waited for the 'truth' to present itself.


I want to

I feel

He pulled up the properties of the files to find the artist and song title as they played, searching on Google to find any relevant information on them he could.

The first song had him slightly confused. The song was apparently about an abortion, at least the underlying theme was. Did that mean she had one? Or was she trying to imply that he was somehow dragging her down and she wanted to stop the relationship before it ever really started. She must have meant it metaphorically, what would be the point of telling him she had an abortion? The last two were more or less what he had expected as far as a reaction from her, though in conjunction with the first, it seemed to imply to leave her alone and that she wasn't worth it.

If this is the fuckin' Red Pill, what was the fuckin' Blue Pill?

Frustrated, but not quite willing to give up yet, he reflexively reached for his flash drive, only to realize that it was still in her possession. "Now that's just fuckin' rude."

A short search through his things dug up a blank disc and he set about to burning Jimmy's Chicken Shack - 30 Days & Vertical Horizon - Everything You Want. Admittedly these were songs not frequently listened to, they were remnants of the mp3 player that he listened to on the shit hole that he was stuck on with Dana.

Content with his choices, he walked back to Liv's room, knocked once firmly, and stepped back.

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It didn't take him very long. Olivia had hoped it would take longer. But when the knock came, she was still deep in her writing. She hated to admit it, but the book was starting to thrive under her fingertips; it was starting to take shape. It was fiction, which she'd always felt was beneath her - she'd dreamed of writing literature, but didn't seem to have the knack. But now she could at least spin a good yarn, if nothing else. And she was sure that someday, she could achieve more than fiction - she could be listed among the greats. For now, this book was coming along so well that she had to decide what to do with it now.

The knock on the door was a distraction, but Olivia wasn't sure it was a welcome one. Still, she pushed the laptop closed and answered, seeing exactly who she expected to see. "Vinny," she said, reminding herself to not bite her lip.

"Liv," he replied as he offers up a plain, unadorned disc.

She flinched inside at the identity she hadn't worn in years. "Livy, or Olivia," she muttered as she took the disc.

He nodded in understanding, but didn't appear to be leaving. Olivia swallowed as she sensed that he was waiting for something, and likely would loiter in her hall if she didn't let him in. "Come on, then," she said, aware that she was already in her pajamas, that it was late. But she knew the truth of what she'd said to Aradia earlier: Vinny wasn't Bill, and he'd only let her be hurt over his dead body.

She opened up her laptop and ordered it to start printing the document. As the first page came off, she passed it to Vinny and said nervously, "Your idea, so you're my first victim. I'm going to want your opinion."

Without waiting for a response, she took her laptop to her bed and sat down there. A quick search yielded her headphones and she plugged them in for a modicum of privacy. Tensely, she listened to his two selections, a little confused by the first but pretty sure that she got the second. So... are you saying that you're scared of being with me? Of being in a relationship with me? Good call, Vin... And I don't care about you despite you playing things right? Easy to see why you'd feel that way. Fine.

She thought for a bit, then sighed. There was one song that came really close. She wasn't sure how accurate it was, and she spun it up for a play. No, not perfect... but something in her gut said it was the next choice. His thumb drive was still there and she loaded I Will Remember You on it. She hestated, then added Un-break My Heart. Again, she wasn't sure that the song was one hundred percent right but it was close enough.

Click to reveal.. (Ice Cream Confessions)
She got off the bed and started to pace. "The really awful thing about this whole thing is that had Vinny stuck around, it wouldn't have happened." The words were tumbling out of her, as Olivia struggled to work up to the awful moment when Aradia's view of her would change forever. "It was Bill, being with Bill was a mistake, the biggest mistake ever. He wasn't who I thought he was... he was a coward. Vinny would fight for me. He did fight for me, once. Vinny would have fought them all, and they would have gotten me only over his dead body."

She stopped and shook her head. "I should have swallowed my pride and chased him to the ends of the earth," she muttered, raking her hands through her dark hair. "I should have had faith in what I felt in Kuwait and tried to find him, to make him look me in the eyes and tell me to go away... we could have had it out, I could have told him about the baby and we'd have worked this all out." There was a sad expression on her face as she paused. "For all that he's a jerk sometimes, he wouldn't have done what Bill did."

His absence had caused her so much pain, unintentional pain. She didn't know if he could fix it, but who could? He'd have to help her patch it as best she could. Olivia closed her eyes. It was hard to think that way. If he helped her, would she be able to manage if he went away? He had once, and it'd been so bad.

All she knew is that she couldn't repeat what she'd done with Sean. Vinny didn't have nearly his patience, so she couldn't coast on that. She had to come clean.

Standing, she handed Vinny his flash drive. "You can keep the writing," she said. "Lemme know what you think."

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"Alright." he said, taking the flash drive from her and turning to leave. This is it, she's ending it. This fuckin' sucks.

He left and returned to his room, fully intent on skipping his workouts in lieu of listening to music all night.

He plopped into his chair and stuck the flash drive in his laptop and played the songs. By the time the first one ended, he was thoroughly convinced it was over, but as he listened to the second he became confused.

"So she wants me? This woman is driving me fuckin' crazy. One more, then I'm fuckin' done I swear."

He pulled Edwyn Collins - A Girl Like You & Journey - Open Arms and dumped them on the drive.

"Fuckin' sappy ass-tard."

Not wanting to delay the 'discussion' further, he walked back to her room, Fuck the hour and knocked once, as before, and waited.

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Two a.m. In two hours, she'd be in the throes of the nightmare about the Unas; in two and a half, she'd be facing her living nightmare of Hatchins. She'd been asleep only a couple of hours. She knew who it would be, and she sighed before getting up and opening the door. "Vinny, it's two in the morning," she said, looking at him with bleary eyes and sleep-tousled hair. "Unlike you, I still need some rest."

He handed her the flash drive, which she took. "I'll have a reply tomorrow," she said, leaning on her door, her fingers curling around the drive. "Ok?"

"Alright." he replied with a nod before turning to leave.

"Night, Vinny," she said softly and shut her door. Yawning, she plugged in the drive and started it playing, but she was asleep before Edwyn was done crooning.

With all that happened the next day, it was late before she got back to it. She listened to both songs, taking them at face value. Yesterday, she probably would have tossed a hopeful love song at him but Hatchins had shaken her to the core. And she was scared. Time to find out if he can handle this. Find out if he'll see me as spoiled goods.

She knocked on his door after dinner, looking as tired as he did when he opened the door. Soft blues music played behind him, and she smiled a little at the soothing music. "Here you go," she said, offering him the bandied-about flash drive, which now held her two selections: Me and a Gun and Fear and Love.

He took it and moved to the desk, leaving the door open in invitation. Drawing a breath to fortify herself, she followed him in. He took the seat at the desk, so she moved to the bed. She knew that she shouldn't, but she was so tired that she immediately went horizontal, curling on her side. The blankets were warm and smelled of him, and when Olivia closed her eyes, she was back in the tiny Kuwaiti house where they had spent the blissful week. It had been the start of her current mess, in a way.

The first notes of 'Me and a Gun' rang out, and Olivia lifted her head in shock. He was playing it outloud? Embarrassed, she tried to sink into the bed; finally, she just put her hands over her ears and tried not to listen. She hadn't wanted to be here when he heard that. He'd moved past the abortion - his reply with 30 Days had made that clear. Could he look past this, too?

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  • 3 weeks later...

Surprised that she stuck around, he listened to the Tori Amos weep out the song as he searched for it on Google, quickly finding the meaning of the song.

Well that makes a fuckin' lot more sense now about the abortion. Gonna fuckin' rip the guy in half. But now is not the time to get angry, revenge later, Liv now.

Swallowing his raging desire for violent justice, he started the second song, not allowing Amos to finish, not really wanting to hear it anymore.

Olivia peeked her head out at the sudden succession of the first song, but kept quiet on the bed as he listened to the much more melodic follow-up as he looked it up as well.

Very jazzy, nice choice. Get the fear darlin', fuckin' walked on your ass, but clearly, after the Q, you'd think that would be enough. Let's end this 'Song Tag' now.

As the sultry voice of the lead singer of Morcheeba faded out, Vin put on a selection, his final ploy, a song he found fitting to their 'odd' relationship (and that's putting it mildly.) As the first line of El Scorcho emitted from the tiny speakers of the iDock, Vin swiveled his chair and stared into her eyes, singing the song to her with his eyes, anticipating her, (hopefully spoken) reply.

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Olivia wasn't sure what was happening when he killed the first song. Nervously, she lifted her head as 'Fear and Love' started to play. They listened to it together - Morcheeba was her favorite band, or they had been until Paul and Ross Godfrey had asked Skye Edwards to leave the group.

When his song started, and he swung around, Olivia had the odd sense of being trapped where she was - and not really minding. The trap was in her mind, she'd made it herself and it didn't have much to do with the man in front of her. Trust was a trap, but she had to start trusting some men again. Caine, Declan, Gwyn and even Daniel had reminded her that there were good guys out there, and learning who Vinny had been and the truth of why he had left her had put him in the good guys category.

He was waiting for something - no, she knew what he wanted. He wanted an answer. Sitting up, she closed her eyes and nodded, then realized it was the coward's way out. Olivia forced herself to look at him and speak. "I'd like to... to try." She sounded like an idiot, but this was foreign to her. "Oh, and here," she added, digging another CD out of her thigh pocket. "These might help you remember what was lost on PK2-776. I had them scanned, and if you didn't reject me tonight, I thought you might want them."

The four pictures from Kuwait; their only memento of their time together. She'd thought about printing them, or even framing them, but had decided that would be a bit much. Hopefully, these would be enough.

As he took the CD from her, she asked, "What should I wear on our date? I mean... what kind of clothing should I wear?" She realized she was jumping around a lot, but she was exhausted and her mind kept thinking of relevant points to bring up. Right now, though, it was telling her to shut up and let him catch up to her.

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He smiled as she agreed to give them at least a second go around. It was the answer he wanted to hear, and a wash of pure unadulterated joy came over him at her words.

It was odd that she was the one saying that he would be denying her, when all the song choices and her behavior indicated that she was the one that seemed most likely to do the rejecting. The thought was quickly banished though as he took the CD, wondering what could possibly be on it that would remind him of their past together.

"Thanks." he said quickly in the lull as she asked him about her clothing options for the date.

He opened his laptop and put in the cd, the folder of pictures auto-opening and displaying the young couple arm-in-arm posing in the bleak landscape of a place that was a world away. Too bad he couldn't remember a lick of it. Despite this though, Vinny was clearly stricken with emotional turmoil as he turned back to Liv, the anger and sadness at not being able to remember the recent and pivotal event in his life played across his face.

"Whatever ya want to wear darlin'. Keep it sensible, we may be movin' 'round a bit."

Better figure out what the fuck we're doin'.

"Why don't we talk 'bout this tomorrow, been a long day for both of us."

And you look like shit.

"Yeah, sure Vinny...tomorrow." Olivia said through a yawn as her body started to realize it was on a surface used for sleeping and was seriously considering collapsing right then and there, despite the consequences later.

Vinny helped her up as she reached a hand out, stifling yet another yawn with the other.

"Get get some sleep darlin'. Don't need you callin' off our fuckin' date cuz your narcoleptic ass couldn't get outta bed."

He pulled her into a hug that immediately caused her body to stiffen, but after a moment, relaxed, and she hugged him back. Vinny wanted, but didn't hold her too long and pulled away and opened the door for her as she walked out.


"Goodnight Vinny."

Now to find that fuckin' ass-tard that raped her and skin 'em.

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