Lt. Vanessa Damphousse

They said I was psychic.

When I think back on that, all I can do is smile. Cynically.


If I were truly psychic, I would have been spared all my heartache. I wouldn't have joined the Corps. My ex-boyfriend, he wouldn't have left me. I would have been at his side.

My name's Vanessa Damphousse. Friends used to call me 'Damned Fool'. Maybe that's what I am. A fool. Fool for joining the Marine Corps. Fool for trying to live up to my Dad's illustrious career. A fool.

I'm a First Lieutenant in a flight squadron. We're the 58th. The Wild Cards. I'd like to say that the name strikes terror into the hearts of the others. But that will be presumptious. I'll just settle for envy and admiration.

About being psychic. I was put through some tests. They made me guess stuff, put me through all sorts of weird simulations, and at the end of it, they said I was psychic. That was a revelation I can tell you. It was something I did not want.

Wonder what Colonel McQueen had put in his report after we got back from Daedalus. What was it that prompted Col. Burke to come and investigate me?

Anyway, I got round to thinking about being psychic and what it meant to me and to us, as a team. And I couldn't find the answer. All I could think of was Cooper saying "I don't want nobody telling me when I'm gonna go... and be all spooked till the moment I die" And I have to agree with him.

How can I ever live with the fact that I could 'see' that someone was going to die, but could not do anything to save them?

That time when I 'saw' the light around the others, I totally lost all coherent thought. I did not want to believe that any of my friends were going to die, and I could not save them. It was a sobering thought. It also reminded me that we are mortal. We are at war. And at some point, one of us might die. And I did not want to be around to 'see' that happen.

Life is too short to enjoy.

Why are we here, risking our lives in a senseless war? I don't have the answers to that. I'm not even too sure why I joined the Corps. It just seemed the right thing to do. A place where I might be able to find myself. To find my calling. Though, I wasn't expecting early morning reveille to be the 'calling' I intended to find. And yet, military life seems to suit me. I took to it like the proverbial duck to water, and I found myself a group of friends.

We are close, us in the Five-Eight. We are like family. And sometimes, I believe they are my family. Up here in the endless void of space, on the few hundred tons of steel that is the USS Saratoga, they are my family. I have no one else.

Of course, there's my real family down on Earth. Mom and Dad and all my sisters. They are down there, watching, waiting, praying for my return. And then, there's my other family. One I no longer have.

I thought he and I had an understanding. I was worried about his little girl. My little girl. Would she remember me when I next see her? Would she forget? And then, it didn't really matter anymore, because I got the 'Dear John' letter. Except it should be a 'Dear Jane' shouldn't it? Actually, it was a 'Dear Vanessa'. 12 pages of news and kitchen smells; and he choses to put the most important one at the end.

And I couldn't even read it for myself.

I had to get Paul to read it for me. The time I hurt my eyes. I don't know. Should I have let Paul paraphrase it so I was happy? Or was I right in demanding that he read it to me verbatim. He tried to soften the blow, and for that I'm grateful. But nothing could have. I don't know how i'm ever going to face my ex again. Or Marilyn. Best friend, huh? And I can't even read it for myself now. I left the letter on Memnon. Maybe it's best.

Well, it's been a while since that letter. Things have moved on. I thought there was something there with Paul for a while. Didn't work out. I don't know about him, but it was too much like trying to get involved with your brother for me! It didn't feel right. Just my luck. Paul's really sweet to me though. Maybe that's why I thought I'd found someone. He's too much of family to ever be anything else to me.

Loads of other people on the ship. Finding someone should have been a cinch. Maybe I'm still hung up over him. Paul said something once when I was in hospital. "2064, and they can mend anything, but they still can't put together a broken heart." They thought I was asleep. But I wasn't. And he's right.

But then, I don't think that's top priority anymore. I used to need someone in my life. I was too used to depending on someone else. First my Dad, and then my ex. But now, I have realised that the only person I really need to depend on is myself.

Lessons learnt in the combat zone. Depend on yourself, and then on your team-mates. For if you lose faith in yourself, no one else could save you. And I know my team-mates and friends depend on me as well. It's a good feeling. And I realise that i'm starting to thrive on it.

Maybe this is my calling. Maybe I have achieved my aim in joining the Corps.

This new-found independence and inter-dependence.

Maybe I have finally found myself after all.

The end

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