My definition of treasure is probably different from yours…

I have found treasure lost in my files! This was another Facebook Post that I realized should be on my blog after I started writing it. Mainly because it was extremely long.

Warning: This post has a ton of profanity because it is a missing scene from Other Systems. Pheobe and Harden argue then Mark and Harden argue. For readers of the book, you already understand. If you haven’t read Other Systems, Harden has a potty mouth. Mark sometimes does. He especially does when he wants his elder brother to listen.

Treasure_Chest

It all started because though I have denied it, my humors are misaligned and I have too much phlegm in my chest. By will alone, I made it through ECCC. Even afterwards I kept calling it a cold, but there can be no doubt now, I have the flu. Don’t worry, I am over the hump, I will make it.

The symptoms, of course, suck, but really my biggest problem is just how bored I am when I am not sleeping. I can’t focus on my writing, I am too weak to do any real housework, and other than a quick walk for the dogs, I won’t head out into the world to infect others. I can’t even read anything longer than a few paragraphs.

So I started looking though my author notes hoping to find something interesting….and I did. I found Harden and Phoebe’s divorce which coincides with Mark’s ultimatum. Seriously, it was just a few sentences between Abby and Harden in Other Systems:

The thin atmosphere and seventy percent gravity made it difficult to keep up with Harden’s long strides until he stopped at a machine and slipped in a bill. He hit a button and a pack of three cigarettes fell behind a door. He pulled out a lighter and made an electric spark. 

He took a long drag and looked at her. “Don’t tell Mark I’ve been smoking.”

“I didn’t know you smoked.”

Harden slowed as he enjoyed his cigarette. “I quit after the Revelation was put into service.It’s easy not to smoke aboard, but on Argent… anyway I made this deal with Mark. I quit and he’ll be my–or Dad’s–doctor.”

“He wasn’t always gonna be?”

“He talked about going planetside after his GE, then again when he finished pre-med. Helen and Phoebe talked him into staying.” Harden’s eyes swam as he enjoyed the tobacco high. “After these, I’ll give it up until the next time we’re planetside. Did you want to try? It’s extremely addictive, but ultimately has its pleasures.” 

End_NebulaAnd I found the whole scene in Harden’s file about this. Crazy. I am going to post it on my deleted scenes on the website, though technically it was never in the book. I like it.  It’s like finding treasure. My favorite part is Harden thinks that his fleet shares (which are extremely valuable) would make people want to be with him. Notice he tries to give them away twice. I admit the scene is not completely edited to perfection.  It was in my author notes after all. Enjoy!

Harden knocked on Phoebe’s billet. He didn’t want to, but Helen kept pestering him until he got the nerve to actually do it. He might be captain, but he wasn’t dumb enough to think he was actually in charge. As long as he did the paperwork, Helen kept everything else running smoothly. He even had done Phoebe’s transfer paperwork to the Polaris though it hurt him to do so. Yet this morning his sister had a direct command. He tried to pleading, explaining and finally ordering her out of his way, she just laughed off his irritation. Helen reminded him that minimally they had to discuss the separation of their assets. He had been putting it off, but the possibility of warping space time was much more interesting. 

His wife said “come in” and he did.

Looking over her head, he could see her billet was unpainted and unadorned. Or maybe she wanted the walls gray. He realized he didn’t even know her favorite color. Maybe it is gray. Brian knows Helen’s favorite color is green. How does a husband not know his wife’s favorite color? he thought and realized he never asked her.

“Do you need something?” she asked looking down at her tablet. It wasn’t a question. It wasn’t even a loving statement of a wife to a husband, it was professional statement from a doctor to her patient. Perhaps that was for the best, after all he was here as the Revelation’s captain.

“I know I wasn’t a very good husband.” He tried to touch her shoulder; she slipped herself out of his reach. “But you knew how I was, when you married me.”

She did not answer him.

“But I will try to be a good captain, so what can I do to make this transition easier? I did the paperwork you requested.”

Phoebe said, “Put me is stasis until I can leave. Mark can wake me up if there is a problem, but I doubt it will come to that. He’s a good doctor.”

A lump caught in Harden’s throat. “I-I would have you available for emergencies and Helen told me Becky and Pat still go to you for advice.”

“Then why are you here, Harden?”

He looked down at her face. She was so beautiful. He wondered how his marriage had failed… he hadn’t changed. Had she? He couldn’t remember the last time they had made love, though he did remember that she asked and he declined. He remembered declining a lot. Then he remembered her asking, “don’t you still find me attractive.” He said yes, hadn’t he? Hadn’t he told her how beautiful she was, but the numbers fascinated him.

Phoebe said, “If you need forgiveness, you have it. I don’t blame you for my mistakes. Other than getting on with my life, I don’t need anything from you. The job on the Polaris sounds like it will help a lot of people in the Flotilla and I’ll still have a lab for medical research. Mark can step into my place—and it will be good for him to do so.”

 “You can have my fleet shares! You can have everything. Take it all.”

The sound that erupted from her throat was not a true laugh, more an insane cackle. “You think I want money? I did not marry you for money, and I certainly won’t divorce you for it. Just my share from our joint account, my personal things have already been removed from your quarters. Is there something you want from what I took?”

A baby. Phoebe wants a baby. “We can adopt a baby…today if you want.”

Phoebe seemed to soften for just a moment and then her eyes grew cold and hard. “That’s easy to say since we are in deep space,” she paused and chose her words carefully, “but I will no longer have you parent my child. You’re worse than a fuck on an Outpost, because you are here!  I certainly won’t allow my child to grow up with a father than does not love her!”

“I’ll give you anything.”Aistiu_space

“You can’t give me what I want.”

He gently touched her shoulders and pulled her into his chest, but she didn’t return the embrace. He whispered, “Just tell me.”

She took a step back. “I want a husband who loves me more than his ship and puzzles” Her voice was deadly calm, but there was no malice. He remembered when his mother’s voice became like that with his father.

“I can change! If you stay, I will love you.”

“I have heard that static before.” Her voice was still calm, but hard. “How long from when I moved out of our old quarters did it take for you to notice I no longer lived there? Be honest now.”

Honestly Harden couldn’t say, because he wasn’t sure how much time had passed at all.

A few more words were spoken, but now Harden had to face it really was over. In a daze, he went down to the shuttle bay and sat in Chi. Harden did not blame Phoebe for leaving. Everything she said was true. He had been a terrible husband. He was interrupted from these thoughts when Mark entered the shuttle. He did not want his brother’s company. “What the fuck do you want?”

“I am formally giving you, mine and Pat’s resignation.”

“You can’t leave.”  Mark was his brother, not hers. “Why would you leave? Why does Pat want to go?”

“I’m the one who wants to go. Pat and I decided we want to stay together.”

“So you two are going to make the same fucking mistake I did? You’re too young to be married.”

“We aren’t kids anymore,” Mark said.

“Then why do you still fuck around so much?”

“We haven’t really fucked around for two years,” Mark said.

Had it been two years? It didn’t seem like that. It seemed like just yesterday that these two “borrowed” a shuttle and took two other boys out to a nebula. He began trying to think.

Mark was in his face again. “Listen to me, I am leaving because I want to help people, you fucking idiot, not nurse you because you smoke too much and live on coffee. Now that you are not going planet side, you’ve stopped exercising. You’ve lost 15% muscle mass. You look like shit.

“Phoebe is an excellent doctor from what I saw she seemed like a good wife, yet you refuse to listen to her in either capacity…”

Harden interrupted him. “Did you just say capacity?” That wasn’t his little brother talking, but a grown man. Looking up at Mark, he did seem bigger. More filled out in the shoulders than he had been. Maybe his brain had finished developing? “Did time dilation occur on my own ship?”

“Harden, shut the fuck up and listen. There is no reason for me to stay here.”

“But you’re my brother…”

“I’m also a medical doctor; Pat is a qualified pilot and we’re both biologists and there are better fucking jobs than this one. You still think of us as kids and we aren’t.”

“Okay, you’re not kids. I don’t want you to go. Helen doesn’t want you to go either.”

“We’ve discussed it with Helen…she understands.”

“Why didn’t anyone tell me?”

“Hel, Pat, and I been trying for a solid month, you haven’t been listening. Plus she’s really busy trying to do the job of both the XO as well as the Captain while you are doing whatever the fuck you do…”

“I don’t want anyone to go, but I fucked that up so badly Phoebe won’t even listen anymore. She sounds like Mom did when it was over with Dad,” he said. “I didn’t know I fucked it up…I never wanted it to be like that. I tried to give her my shares she wouldn’t take them. I told her I’d adopt a baby like she wanted, but she’s leaving and I can’t stop her. If you would have heard her voice…it was just like Mom’s after she gave up arguing with Dad. Like she witnessed a death.”

Mark nodded. “I don’t remember that. I don’t even remember her really. Only an old face on the COM.”

“If you go, we won’t know each other anymore. One of us will be an old face on the COM, ” he trailed off, “What do I have to do to make you stay? Do you want my fleet shares? That’s all I have, you can have them.”

Mark sighed. “I don’t want your fleet shares, you idiot. I want you to start eating meals with the crew, exercise every day. Dad’s already agreed to quit smoking and so will you.”

Harden agreed to it and Mark finished, “And you will take at least an hour of each day to talk to the crew. Maybe at dinner since you will now be there.”

“The whole crew?” Harden began pulling at his fingers. “All at once? What will we talk about?”

Mark sat down beside him and slid an arm around his shoulder. It felt odd, the last time they shared any affection his little brother was seven, maybe eight years old. Still a wave of relief rolled through his chest and a lump grew in his throat.

 “Seriously, why are you freaking out? This has probably been the most amicable divorce in human history.”

“What if I fuck it up worse?” He pressed his palm in his eye to brush away tears before they came. 

“That would pretty much be impossible,” Mark said, “Listen, Phoebe will be gone soon, then there are only six of us and three of us are your own relatives. Hel and I will help you, but it can’t be like it has been.”

 “It won’t be, but are you sure time dilation hasn’t occurred on the ship? Phoebe leaves in two weeks and you have grown-up, but I’m the same.”

 “No, you are thirty-nine, your last birthday was March 7th. You and I have never been on separate timelines.”

“What is the date?”

“December 3rd

“Are you sure?”

“Positive.”

“Where did the time go?”

“For you, it was just lost. Let’s accept that fact and move on.”

 

I hope you liked it. Please comment and let me know…

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