Chapter 01: Charon

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Eve tried to clear her head as she waited for the airlock to finish its cycle. Behind her, her gear, stored in a solidly packed silver crate, rested on a gently rising and falling hover-dolly. She'd thought taking this job would help blast all her worried thoughts and anxieties from her mind, but it had done little to make her feel any better.

She'd known something was wrong as soon as Greg had woken from his medically induced coma. She could see it in his eyes, read it in his face. There was a fear there, an expression she'd never before seen on his face. She'd spent weeks trying to both help him recover and convince herself that she was imagining things, that this was going to be just like any other time he'd had a close call. But as the days went by and became weeks, it just became more obvious that something was different. Greg was a mess. Physically, he'd recovered, but emotionally...

And now he was leaving.

They'd argued about it for days and Eve felt particularly shitty about that for all sorts of reasons. The main one being that she actually completely understood where he was coming from. Wanting to quit after enduring something like he wasn't unreasonable. Rationally, she actually accepted his decision. Emotionally on the other hand...well, it hurt. A lot. Despite all the little things she'd done to try and keep at least a little bit of distance between him and her, to keep from becoming too involved with him, to keep from falling in love with him, it still hurt more than she thought it would. And that was ultimately the problem.

There had been a lot of bad times in her life.

Everything from bad breakups, to cheating, to having her partner die. After that had happened and she signed on to take out Dark Operations or die trying, and she'd actually not only succeeded in taking them out but came out the other end still alive and intact, she'd been at a loose end. A big one. Because she really didn't have anything to go back to. Anomalous Operations and Greg looked pretty good in comparison to anything else she might conceivably do. And she'd promised herself that she would be careful in regards to both.

She supposed that was one of the big problems with human nature. Things tended to sneak up on you when you got comfortable.

So here she was, cycling through an airlock on another potentially dangerous mission, broken up with while Greg quit and went off to look for his ex-girlfriend. And there was such a fucking disconnect in her brain. Again, rationally, she didn't blame him and something like this was what she had prepared for. Even as much as she had used certain buffers to keep a subtle distance between them, she also knew and accepted that one possibility would be that Greg would want something more, something she couldn't or wouldn't give him, and he would leave her to find someone who could give him that, and that wouldn't be wrong of him to do at all, because that was the risk of having a relationship like this.

She knew and accepted all of this.

Unfortunately, her emotions had other ideas and she was angry, lonely and, loathe though she was to admit it even to herself, bitter and jealous.

The airlock finished its cycle. Eve sighed and shook her head, then rubbed at her eyes. She was tired. She hadn't been sleeping right and the fights she'd had with Greg had left her spent. He'd been batting the idea around for several days but today, not long after Allan and Callie had gone on their mission, he'd seemed to abruptly come to a decision. He'd packed his things, said goodbye and had Hawkins drop him off at the nearest port.

And he was just gone.

The airlock door opened up. Eve forced herself to focus. If there was one thing she'd gotten pretty good at, it was acting professional when she felt anything but. A bald, black man that seemed to be made of squat, blocky muscle waited for her on the other side. His hands clasped behind his back, he had all the cool, calm competence of a seasoned professional. He wore a black-and-silver uniform that pegged him as Spec Ops.

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