Fandom: Blake's 7
Characters: Primarily Tarrant
Gen, c.700 words

[community profile] fandom_stocking fic for [personal profile] fififolle



Heroes


Del Tarrant had always wanted to be a hero. As an Alpha, there had never been any question of his acceptance into the Federation Academy – nor any choice. Not that he had minded. Not back then, with a head filled with tales of swashbuckling space heroes, in fine uniforms and shining boots, laser pistols painting far-flung battle fields with blazing streaks of gold. He couldn't wait to join. To earn his wings as a Federation pilot, to wear the bars of a Federation officer. To see the galaxy, and let the galaxy see him, with his fine uniform and shining boots. The hero of all those boyhood dreams.

And then had come reality. There was no heroism in the Federation. At best he was a paid thug – they all were. Out there, in the sparkling stars of his childhood fancy, there were no rich Earth colonies, but merely rundown, beaten, subjugated encampments, on planets brought to rack and ruin by over-exploitation of resources. People starved. People fought desperate, impossible battles against the Federation, hoping against hope for something better. Something less cruel, less pathetic. All Tarrant's fine dreams of glory had died with his career as an officer scarcely begun. There had been no choice for him then, though it had made him a marked man. A man with a bounty on his head, and a death sentence awaiting him. And in this downtrodden galaxy, where so many were struggling to survive, a bounty was more than a mere temptation. It was more of a certainty. One day the net was sure to fall. It was only a question of whether he would live to face the Federation death squad.

But if the ending was a foregone conclusion, he was damned if he was going to walk quietly towards it. There were still those childhood dreams of glory; still a long lost older brother to emulate, roaming somewhere out among the stars. Still flawless piloting skills, courtesy of the Academy, still a laser pistol strapped to his thigh. There was no uniform now, and his boots had long since ceased to shine, but adventure could nonetheless be his. Smuggling, piracy, illicit races offering prize money enough to buy him a few days respite from the bounty hunters. And if he had not quite become the hero of his childhood dreams; if shades of grey had discoloured his soul, as surely as the space dust had taken the shine off his boots; then he was at least still the hero of his own story. Pragmatism had replaced idealism. A streak of ruthlessness kept him alive, lent an occasional harshness to eyes that were rather older than their years. He could still console himself with the thought that he was not as bad as he could have been. That others had darker souls, and wrestled with more savage demons. No, his life had not gone so badly. There was certainly no shortage of excitement. No lack of opportunities to seek out some kind of glory.

"Are you smiling, Tarrant? You are, aren't you. I always knew you were several tumblers short of a good lock." Doing his best not to get anything too vital shot off, Vila was cowering on the ground, struggling to open the trap door that would get them all to safety. A Federation patrol had them pinned down, three guns to every one of theirs, and the air was hot with laser fire. Taller than any of them, unable to seek proper cover, wild curls slightly singed, Tarrant could not help but smile. Cally was as stoic as ever; Avon was glaring; but Dayna had a smile to match his own. He caught her eye and, as so often, knew that her thoughts were his own. Some sort of distraction seemed in order. It might win the day; save everyone; see the Federation patrol brought to ruin. Or it might not. The odds weren't great, the laser fire was almost thick enough to ignite the air – but the sun was shining. Adventure called. Still smiling – at each other, at the enemy, at life – Tarrant and Dayna dived out of their precarious cover, and came up shooting.

Today was as good a day as any to be a hero.


The End


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