Ophelia sighed, heavily. Lucy moved behind her and hugged her. “Still got tears to let go of, Love?”
“Almost certainly,” Ophelia answered. “Right now… right now I’m just tired. Contacting Allison’s family was…”
“I know,” Lucy said, hugging her more tightly. “You really should let me be the one to talk to parents.”
“I can’t do that,” Ophelia said. “I’m the Captain. It’s my responsibility. Now… now I’ve got to go in front of the crew, try to say something comforting and play her holo.”
“After that I’ll talk to Yuri,” Lucy said. “We should offer to take her off of active duty… be prepared to drop her off somewhere if she wishes.”
Ophelia nodded. “Agreed. What do you think the chances of her wanting to leave are?”
“No idea,” Lucy answered. “With Damian I knew that he would right away. I could tell. Yuri… she doesn’t show her emotions very readily. I have trouble reading her. ”
“All right,” Ophelia said. “Let’s go talk with the crew.”
The Cerberus Crew was gathered in the conference room. Dressed in dark suits.
Ophelia and Lucy walked in, slowly. Ophelia stood in front of the group. “This is never easy,” she stated. “Not for this crew. Because we’re more than associates. More than comrades. Our crew has, for a long time, been more close knit than that. We’re a family. Chosen by everyone here. Sustained by everyone here. In many ways, that’s a good thing. It gives us strength. It brings all of us joy. Then, something like this comes along and we’re forced to remember that it can also bring us great sorrow.”
She paused for a moment and collected herself before continuing. “For most of us, Allison was a mischievous little sister. For one of us,” she glanced at Yuri “she was the love of her life. Lovable, endearing and always up to something. She made us laugh and helped lift our spirits with a little humour whenever things looked grim. The void her passing leaves us with is significant. It will take time and support from one another to even begin mending it. we have Allison’s holo ready to play. We’ll hear what she wanted to say to all of us and, hopefully, that will give us some closure.”
Lucy flipped the switch and a three dimensional image of Allison appeared.
“Hey, Ladies, Doctor and Leon, what’s the good word?” Allison’s voice said. “You all look down. What is this, a funeral?” she shrugged. “Guess so, huh? Do me a favour and stand in front of me when I say your name so it’ll look like I’m talking to you. Wouldn’t want the other holograms thinking I’m crazy. I’m not really good at this kind of thing, so I guess I’ll just go. ”
“Ophelia,” the hologram paused. Ophelia moved forward to stand in front of it. “You’re the only authority figure I’ve had with a sense of humour. And the only one I respected. You weren’t just a boss. You were my friend. Sure, I started following you because I had nowhere else to go. I mean, look at me. I couldn’t make it as a Mafia enforcer. I’m too smiley and bubbly, Damn it. But, you know, I liked you pretty much immediately. I guess what I want to say is that I’m grateful to you for giving me a home and for being my friend. If I had to do it all again, I’d only change the thing that killed me. I wouldn’t change anything about our relationship because I love you more than my own relatives.”
“Lucy,” the hologram paused. Lucy traded places with Ophelia. “I won’t lie, it took me a while to warm up to you. You have that eyes closed stare that can just send shivers everywhere. At first, I thought you just hated me for no reason. But then I realised something. You keep aloof from the newbies because you’re sizing them up. The Cerberus crew is a family and you don’t want anyone you can’t trust in that family. So, when you stopped giving me the stink closed eye I knew that it was because you like me. Lucy and Allison, besties. I’m sure you’re totally bummed now that it’s the end. Seriously though, you taught me so much. Sure, it was mostly practical, boring stuff, but that time together gave us a bond. I’m sorry that I caused you hardships and I want you to know, I loved you too.”
“Kat,” Kat noticed tears falling from Lucy’s eyes as she moved away. “Kat, you’re probably the most fun person to tease and I know I’ve given you a lot of trouble because of that. I just hope you know, it was never because I didn’t like you. Quite the contrary, I always respected your smarts and your ability to kick some serious butt while barely reaching most people’s ankles. I just hope that I was never a nuisance or a bad friend to someone I love and respect as much as you.”
“Leon,” Leon stepped forward. “I know you’re the big, fierce protective type, even if you do the whole poetry thing. and I know that you gave whatever killed me hell and did your damnedest to protect me. Don’t feel bad. I know it wasn’t your fault. Sometimes shit happens. To me, you were like a protective big brother. Sure, you were fun to tease, almost as much fun as Kat. but you were also always there when I needed you. So, I guess I should say, love you, Bro. Keep protecting everyone, for me.”
Leon moved away, muttering “Dammit” and covering his eyes.
“Paul,” Paul moved forward to face the hologram. “This is very important. I want you to listen to me carefully. Look into my eyes and don’t you dare look away, even for a second. I don’t care if the Cerberus is boarded by space dragons or something less awesome. Are you looking? Good. This wasn’t your fault!” The hologram shouted those words. “I know you, Doc, you take everything on your own shoulders. Someone dies on your watch, you think it’s because you failed in some way. That’s a load of garbage. You didn’t fail. You know how I know? Because you take your work very seriously. You never give it less than everything you have to give. I know you fought tooth and nail to make me pull through.” Paul was openly bawling at that point. “You know something else I know for an absolute fact? If you couldn’t save me, no one could have. Because you, Sir, are the best. Not just because of your skill and dedication, but because of your gentle, kind heart. If Leon is my protective brother, you’re my kind, doting brother in law. I was going to say brother, but it seems weird given the whole you two sleeping together thing. I love you, Doc and I hope you never lose that heart.”
“Grace,” Grace moved forward. “If you want to throw a wrench at my hologram for old times’ sake, wait until after the ceremony when you’re replaying it and don’t you dare hit my face. You know, to the untrained eye we probably didn’t seem to get along. Hell, trained eyes probably had trouble sometimes. But you and I know what was going on. Well, and Lucy because her eyes somehow miss nothing in spite of only being open five percent of the time. Any way, for us it was a grand game. A great back and forth for the ages. I know you’ll miss that just like I would if something had happened to you. I loved you, My friendly rival.”
“Farah,” Farah stepped forward. Grace briefly hugged her on her way back. “I knew the moment you came on the ship that you would be trouble. Immediately stealing two hearts like that. Not that I can lame them. You’re sweet, gentle and kind of naive. I was always afraid to tease you much because you might start crying and then Grace would actually hit me with a wrench. But you’re also a total sweetheart and your drawings are amazing. In fact, you should memorialise me with a drawing of me riding a feathery T-rex in space. just to show future generations how I lived. I’m kidding. You don’t have to do that. Seriously, though, you were like my sweet little sister and I loved you a great deal.”
“Yuri,” Yuri moved silently forward and watched the hologram. “I’m so sorry, Yuri. I wanted to stay with you for a long, long time. I wanted to do so much with you. And now, I’ve gone and blown it. I just hope you’ll treasure our time together as much as I did. You may be an android, but you’re the best damn person I ever knew. Wherever you go, whatever you do, please remember that. I know you’ve got a long time ahead of you and you may even love again. I’m just glad that I was your first love and I hope that I was halfway good enough for you. I truly, deeply loved you, Yuri and a part of me will always be with you.”
“Everyone,” The hologram looked around. “It was an honour to serve with all of you. This is Allison Aiza, signing off for the last time. There’s gotta be a better way to end this thing than that. Guess I’ll go in and revise it later.” The hologram shut off.