Disclaimer: The characters and situations of 'Space: Above and Beyond' depicted in this story are legal property of Glen Morgan and James Wong, Hard Eight Production and 20th Century Fox Television and have been used without permission. No copyright infringement intended.

Additionally, I used parts of Rupert Brooke's poem 'The Soldier', the poem 'Dreamers' by Siegfried Sassoon and 'What shall you say?' by Joseph Seamus Cotter without permission. Again, no copyright infringement intended. This story and the characters of the number 72 RAF squadron are purely fictional and legal property of the author. This story is not open for distribution or sale in either fanzines, ftp-sites or elsewhere without the permission of the author.

Author's notes: 'Those Who Remain' is not directly linked to the Wild Cards but nevertheless it is part of the 'S:AAB'- universe. It's a prequel to my own 'A Class Of Its Own' where Megan Chambers and mention of her old 'tank' squad, the number 72, first appeared.

Secondly, I have invented two new air/spacecraft for the *Brits*:
STCV - Space Transport Cargo Vehicles; BC-48 - also known as Spitfires or Spitties, they look like hammerheads but without the prominent nose.

Special thanks to my beta-readers Kate K. and Werrf who helped me with their comments & Wiena and Jessica for telling me to finish the story.

Very special thanks to Group Captain Connor 'Con-Man' MacDougal, RAF and his 'the sun shining gently down on Ty's face'.


PG-13 rated, for explicit language and war time violence




Soldiers are citizen's of death's grey land,
Drawing no dividend from time's to-morrows.
In the great hour of destiny they stand,
Each with his feuds, and jealousies, and sorrows.
Soldiers are sworn to action; they must win
Some flaming, fatal climax with their lives.
Soldiers are dreamers; when the guns begin
They think of firelit homes, clean beds and wives.

Siegfried Sassoon, Collected Poems 1908 - 1956; 'Dreamers'

To Connor & all men and women in the armed forces who remained


Earth - Harmsville, Maine 2053

It was a beautiful summer day and Lieutenant T.C. McQueen bent back his silver shot head and closed his eyes, the sun shining gently down onto his face. He listened to the soft twittering of the birds and for once he felt at peace with himself. About three months ago he had been able to escape from the AI-POW camp and ever since he had been haunted by the atrocities he had witnessed and experienced there. He still had to come to terms with what had happened during those seven weeks.

The young man sighed and creased his nose. No-one could understand what it had meant to be an In-Vitro in a silicate POW camp and only the help of his old friend Glenn Ross had kept him sane. Ross had talked him through his crazy fits after the torture sessions of the AIs and his friend's voice and the images which it created in Ty's mind had helped him to keep fighting.

After his release from the hospital, Ross had told him that Ray Chambers, an old friend of both of them, had invited him to stay and despite his uneasiness about how he would act around Chambers' children, the visit had soothed both his troubled thoughts and the pain.

Even now, as he had sneaked out of the comfortable house, he felt peace seeping into his body, not easing but dulling the pain and humiliation he felt. The war seemed far away at this peaceful moment and Ty was determined to keep it that way.

"Uncle Mac!" the voice of a small child carried far through the warm summer air and Ty reluctantly opened his eyes and looked out over the slope of the hill on which he was resting. Despite the disturbance he had to smile as a young girl of ten years scrambled up the slope.

"Take it easy, Meg," he said softly, wondering again why he felt so protective towards this child who wasn't even from his batch. Her father, Lieutenant Colonel Ray Chambers, had been his CO at the beginning of the AI-rebellion and since he had saved Chambers' life during a black Op, they were like brothers. Well, sort of, anyway, considering that both men were In-Vitroes.

The girl had reached him breathlessly and slumped down beside him. It amazed Ty again and again that a child with such an angelic face could be a rascal sometimes, especially when she rounded up her two older brothers.

"Daddy said you needed a rest, so I brought you these books," she gasped and pulled several books from her rucksack. "You lie back and I'll read to you ..."

Ty watched her in awe. Over the last years, when he had been able to visit the Chambers', he had been under the especial care of Meg and he had listened to her tiny voice as she had read children's books to him.

"Do you want to read 'Wind In The Willows' to me again?" he asked in mock dismay. He was sure that he could recite the lines by heart now and despite his more classical preference for books he had grown to like Ratty and Mole.

"No," Megan said and her dark bangs bobbed around her small face when she shook her head vigorously. "I brought you Musaeus. Mum told me you liked his so ... sonnies ..." she screwed up her face when she didn't get it right.

"Sonnets, Meg," Ty helped her out. "But don't you think that it's a bit too difficult for you to read?"

"So what?" Megan asked in a challenging tone. McQueen was at a loss at that. Megan had a way to run straight through his defences, leaving him with no words to explain. Just like her father. Although she was natural born, she had inherited the quick wit of her genetically created father, thus combining the instincts of the In-Vitro with those of a natural born child in her small body and mind. The little girl sighed dramatically and opened the small volume of poetry. As she started reading, calmness enwrapped the Lieutenant and soon he found himself enjoying her efforts to pronounce and intone the poem properly.

After the melancholic ending, Megan closed the book and put it away.

"What a sad ending," Megan whispered, deeply in thoughts. "Do you think that Hero died of heart-break?"

Ty McQueen shrugged his shoulders and rolled onto his stomach. He could still feel the magic power of the Greek poem and her stumbling over the words as she had read them to him had not impaired the beauty of the tale about Hero and her lover Leander.

"It is possible," he replied slowly, watching her intently as she started picking at the daisies. Normally, she did not fidget around when she was with him, so Ty knew she was bothered by something. He sat up and looked at her intently.

"What's wrong, Meg?" he asked softly, gently prying her chin up. Dark-brown eyes, huge as pools, looked at him and he could see tears welling up inside.

"Dad said you'll be going off soon. I don't want you to go, Uncle Mac. I don't want you to go to this war again ..." her voice quivered dangerously and she threw her small arms around his neck. "I don't want you to die ..." Ty tensed for a moment before he relaxed against the small body of the child. He had always been disturbed by the cuddles she and her brothers had demanded of him, but over the years he had grown used to it, even enjoying their trust in him. When he was with Megan and the others of the Chambers' family, he did not feel like a freak. A genetically created monster, a tank, a nippleneck.

"Shh," he said slowly and rocked the child gently but somewhat awkwardly in his arms. "Meg, I'm not going to die. But a lot people will if I stay with you. I'm a Marine, I have to go away now and then!" he tried to argue and to his surprise her sobs died down and she looked up at him. Wiping her nose noisily, she sat back against his chest and sighed.

"Then I'll become a soldier when I grow up," the small girl replied seriously. "And I will look after you and all the other IVs..."

At that moment, Tyrus McQueen had no doubt that she would turn that serious statement into action.

Chapter One

Procyon Sector, 2063
Ten years later

The tavern of the British space craft carrier HMS Wellington was overcrowded by pilots and ground personnel alike who were watching the broadcast of a Rugby game. The young Flight Lieutenant who had entered the bar shook her head as the yelling spectators cheered loudly when their Rugby team had scored a conversion. The dark-haired woman had never fully understood why the Air Force personnel liked the broadcasts of games which had taken place months ago back on Earth but then again she was not a real Brit as some of her flight officers always liked to point out to her. Perhaps they were right, she never had been eager to participate in any sports, although her brothers and also her American father enjoyed a good game of cricket and football either as spectators or players.

Flight Lieutenant Megan Louise Chambers picked up her coke and went over to one of the deserted tables on the far side of the huge TV-screen. More than once she picked up curious glances and snide remarks from the nearby tables but she ignored them.

Being the honcho of an 'all-tank' squadron, she had soon found herself on the receiving end of bar fights and disdainful jokes. But the more she had to put up with, the more she was determined to keep a stiff upper lip. As the child of an In-Vitro and a natural born mother, she had learned early to fight for her rights but sometimes she felt incredibly tired.

About two years ago she had been promoted to Flight Lieutenant of the number 7-2 squadron. At first she had been thrilled for she was the youngest officer promoted to Flight Lieutenant and finding an assignment during peace times was always something precious, especially when one had joined the RAF with the prospect of a career in mind, but soon she had found out why she had been chosen in particular. Many COs had been asked to take command of that particular squadron but many natural borns had refused to work with tanks. Especially these tanks!

It was no secret that one of the female officers preferred women and that two others were having a steamy affair. Back then Chambers had asked herself if Strike-Command had thought she would fit in there given her family background. At first she had been angry about this decision but after a while she had been determined to make the best out of it, and the In-Vitroes had not let her down.

Like the musketeers, Megan thought. One for all and all for one!

After two years of constant quarrels and bar fights with other squadrons they had formed a tight bond and she was proud to be their commanding officer.

Her head jerked up when she noticed a movement in her peripheral vision and from the commotion in the tavern she knew that her squadron had arrived.

"Ma'am?" Flying Officer Anne Thurston inquired and standing to attention with the rest of the squadron in front of their commanding officer.

"As you were, people," Meg said and waved her hand at the vacant seats. The number 7-2 squadron assembled around their CO, careful not to draw any more attention onto themselves as they already had.

Speaking of which, Megan thought and rolled her eyes towards the ceiling. Every time her squadron made an appearance like that they had everyone's attention immediately. During the AI wars it had been standard procedure that IV squadrons wore black uniforms in the British Forces, distinguishing them immediately from the NBs. Back then it had been a means of humiliating IVs even more but about three years ago they had been banned as standard issue Airforce gear. Her squadron, though, had deliberately chosen the black uniforms and given them a new meaning: They were tanks, they were mean and they were the best and their long list of flown sorties and successful Ops had earned them the nickname Dark Knights.

"I heard rumours about a new assignment, boss," James Woolfe said and ducked his head. He was a tall man, with the perfect physique of a tank created for war-fare. But although his body was that of a twenty-eight year old, he still had the shy attitude of a boy coming to age.

"I still can't understand that a big hulk like you can eavesdrop so easily," Anne Thurston commented and tossed the short bob of her blonde hair. Thurston was Megan's second in command, a good pilot and always ready to make fun of her fellow crewmen.

"Well, I just heard it, alright?!" Woolfe retorted defiantly and received a wide round of grins from his friends. He always fell for Thurston's little ploys of teasing him. "Anyway, rumour's out that we'll be assigned to a transport sortie here in the Procyon sector ..."

"Oh, no!" Andrew Fuller groaned and shook his head. "Instead of giving us such a boring Op, they could keep us grounded for good. We are RAF not some transport personnel ..."

Fuller was a short man, belying the fact that he was a tank as well. But unlike Thurston and Woolfe, he had been genetically designed to be a technician. The House of Commons had given In-Vitroes full first class membership in the Commonwealth in 2058, so after his decanting he had opted to join the Royal Air Force instead of staying on the servitude contract with his gestation facility. More than once Meg had relied on his abilities as a techie but she knew that he was a jet-jockey through and through.

The fourth tank in their group was Patricia Carter, a shy and somewhat introverted woman. Pat, as she was called by her friends, was pretty and some thought of her as the crew mascot but Megan knew that despite her soft, innocent looks she was a good shot and she pitied every idiot who dismissed her as not dangerous.

"Whatever sortie they have assigned us to, it's better than staying grounded," Megan sighed and sipped her drink.

The TV-screen had been switched off after the game had ended and the spectators filed slowly to the bar to get a refill of their glasses. Fuller anxiously eyed the door and moved uncomfortably on his chair. The last time they had been here, the 22nd squadron of the Royal Marines had thought it funny to bash a few heads, especially tank heads. Before Chambers or Woolfe had noticed that Andrew was in trouble he had received several blows to his head and a broken rib.

Pat patted his hand reassuringly when she noticed his nervousness.

"Relax, Shorty," she purred and Andrew flashed her a devilish grin. Woolfe and Chambers exchanged a glance with each other and the big tank rolled his eyes, his face blushing deeply. Thurston on the other hand clucked her tongue and made a cat sound.

It was an open secret that Carter and Fuller were more than just friends but as it wasn't a chain-of-command-thing Megan was determined to keep her mouth shut.

But at the moment she had other things on her mind which demanded her immediate attention. The 22nd squadron RM had taken over a table nearby and from the disdainful, almost challenging looks the young woman knew they were in for a trashing.

Not if I can help it, Megan thought and drowned the last of her coke.

"Hey, there's our tank-brat with her brood," one of the Marines said loud enough for everyone else to hear. "Stratton, do you think they're doing each other after lights out?"

"Yeah, Clive," the man called Stratton replied. "They're probably doing orgies all through the night with Chambers being shagged by both the dyke and the big tank ..."

Wolf whistles were heard from the rest of the 22nd squadron and Megan could feel Woolfe and Thurston tensing at her side.

"I learned at school that tanks are well-equipped, it wouldn't be any fun to have a screw with any of the women ..."

Megan shook her head when Thurston wanted to charge against the drunken Marines. Slowly, she stood up and before she walked over to the table of the Marines, she put a hand on Woolfe's shoulder.

"Be prepared, in case I need you!" She whispered and greeted the Marines with a brilliant smile. Anne began to chuckle despite the more than derogatory remarks and hid her grin behind her hands. Every time their CO smiled like that she knew the recipient was in deep trouble.

"Interesting," Chambers commented, giving the Marines a thorough once over. "And I learned at school that scum like you hadn't even the brains to utter guttural sounds ..."

"You stupid tank bitch!" The man called Clive sneered and waved her away dismissively. But Megan did not let it go at that. She was used to derogatory remarks about herself but every time one of her tanks was insulted, she really was riled up. She grabbed the man's shoulder and yanked him around in his seat.

"Listen, SOB, I don't care what you call me because I've heard more names than you can ever come up with. But if you ever breathe as much as a word against my squadron I'll kick the shit outta ya. UNDERSTOOD?" she hissed coldly in the widest American drawl she had ever learned from her father. Clive watched her for a moment then grinned.

"Yeah, you and who else, YANK?" he inquired arrogantly and was received with laughter from his friends. Supported thus he even tried to push his luck harder. "You know, Chambers, when you get all hot and flustered like this it gets a man thinking ... Perhaps we should find a nice, quiet place just for the two of us ..."

Megan actually laughed at that, shaking her head. It seemed as if she wanted to end the discussion and turned halfway away from the table and Clive was receiving loud congratulations from his friends, when Megan turned around in a flash and kicked his chair away. The Marine landed flat on his backside. The Marine closest to Chambers made a grab at her and she dodged the incoming fist directed at her face and landed a good punch into the man's stomach.

But, to Megan's surprise, the Marine didn't so much as flinch. When he stood up she almost gaped at him. This guy was about six feet eight, as far as she dared to estimate.

Oh no, she thought, fighting the urge to close her eyes. Now she was in for a beating. The Marine grinned at her.

"You want to try one of us for a good screw?" he asked and when Megan snorted at that he backhanded her across the face which sent her flying into another table.

"You bastard!" Woolfe growled and threw his almost two hundred pounds solid against the smirking Marine. They toppled over and Megan jumped to her feet to avoid being crushed beneath them.

"You alright, boss?" Fuller asked breathlessly. He had Stratton in a deadly choke hold and Megan had to laugh at his concerned voice.

"Aye!" she shouted as she high kicked into a smaller Marine who was holding Pat to the ground. The Marine turned and wanted to charge her but he hesitated for a moment. To have a fight with a lower ranking tank officer was one thing, but starting a brawl with an equal another different matter. Megan on the other hand had no such scruples.

"Quit gaping, Captain," Meg said and landed her fist dead center onto the jaw of Captain Jamieson of the 22nd Royal Marines Squadron. The man toppled over and she helped Pat to her feet.

"Ta, boss," Patty said and both women ran over to Thurston who was being manhandled by Clive.

"C'mon, tank, you'll like to have us," the Marine grunted and tackled Thurston from behind, squeezing her breasts by doing so.

"Get your blasted hands off, you nitwit!" Anne yelled and with a sudden jab of her arm she sent the man flying over her shoulder. The Marine crashed into a table nearby and soon he was received with another series of punches from objective bystanders. To tackle a woman to get his hands on her, even if that woman was a dyke, was against the principles of the RAF Corps.

As Chambers and Thurston were doing a high-five, Megan was intercepted by a punch into her kidneys and she almost jack-knifed to her knees. She swung her small fist around and caught the female Marine unawares, flooring her with a perfect left.

None of the combatants had noticed that Air Commodore H.C. Coulthard had entered the tavern, paying one of his rare visits. Seeing the Marines fighting with the tank squadron again, he went for the nearest fighters immediately. Yanking the tall Marine off Woolfe's back and sending him to the floor with so much as the flick of his hand, he reached out to restrain the tank.

"Woolfe!" Anne yelled as she witnessed the In Vitro raising his fist against their Commodore.

Alerted by the shout, Megan threw herself between the two men. Woolfe's fist, intended to flag his alleged attacker, crashed onto the side of her temple and the young woman went down to the floor. For a split second Woolfe stared at her, at the Commodore and then back at his CO.

"Shit, boss!" Woolfe said and squatted down beside Megan. Carefully, those big hands examined the woman's head and touched the rapidly swelling bruise at her temple. Two MPs came in and the Commodore directed them towards the Marines.

"Take them to the brigs!" he bellowed and squatted beside the big In-Vitro and the still unconscious Flight Lieutenant.

"Sir, she'll be alright?" Woolfe asked and Coulthard's head snapped up.

"This blow could have killed her ..." he hissed but stopped abruptly. It was no good to put a heavy guilt trip onto this boy. Casualties always happened in bar-fights. The Commodore looked up and saw three anxious looking faces and as always Coulthard wondered why Strike-Command had agreed to establish an 'all-tank' squadron.

They were just kids, he thought. Kids in grown-up bodies.

"Get her up!" the Commodore bellowed and the remaining four rushed to help their honcho to her feet. Chambers groaned but she didn't open her eyes.

"Steady, Meg!" Anne said and put an arm around her hip. The Commodore watched as the number 7-2 looked after their CO. He shook his head when he saw that they wanted to walk her to their quarters.

"Tanks," he muttered beneath his breath. Put them into a combat sit and they knew exactly what they had to do but as soon as they were confronted with an unconscious woman they behaved like a fish out of water.

"Woolfe, you pick her up and get her to the infirmary. NOW!" he ordered quickly, then turned around to the rest of the number 7-2. "YOU STAY PUT!"

Still shaking his head when he watched Woolfe as he scurried Chambers off to the infirmary, he scratched his bald head beneath the cap.

Lord, if the fist of the tank had hit its intended target, he would be unconscious like Chambers. Coulthard shook his head again and turned to the remaining members of the number 7-2 squadron.

"Anybody who wants to enlighten me on this one?" the Commodore bellowed and the Flying Officers stood to attention in front of him. He waited and slowly, he walked down their line-up.

"Sir," Fuller started, eyeing the Commodore nervously. "We were forced to defend the honour of the RAF, Sir!"

"Defending the honour of the RAF by attacking ROYAL MARINES, Flying Officer Fuller?" Coulthard yelled, a vein protruding from his forehead.

"Sir, one Flying Officer overheard a derogatory remark made by one of the Marines, Sir," Carter said. "We did what every RAF officer would have done when the Airforce is belittled, Sir!"

Coulthard almost smiled at that - almost. But he had to admit that Chambers had done a good job. Instead of shoving the codex of the RAF down their throats she had let them figure out for themselves what it meant to wear the wings of the RAF.

"You should be grounded for that one, pilots," the Commodore said. "But you have an Op to execute. Briefing is at 0700 hours tomorrow morning. DISMISSED!"

He watched as the pilots hurriedly left the tavern and he let off a small chuckle.

Defending the honour of the RAF indeed, he thought. Chambers had probably defended the honour of her tanks again! This woman could be as ferocious as a lioness when her squadron was concerned.

Dr. Thomas sighed and shook her head. Ever since the number 7-2 had invaded her infirmary, she had to keep from laughing. Watching the sheepish looking faces of those seasoned pilots as her staff had taken care of their bruises and split lips, she had to admit that they looked more like children than RAF pilots. But when they had started arguing with her how to treat their CO, she had become more than a little annoyed with these brats.

Enough was enough, she thought.

"Leave your CO some air to breathe," Thomas said. "Time's up anyway. You have been taken care of and your CO needs some rest from your hollering! Tomorrow morning she'll be alive and kicking again but now it's lights out for Flight Lieutenant Chambers."

"We'll be really quiet, ma'am," Anne Thurston said, still reluctant to leave Chambers but Dr. Thomas shook her head.

"Your CO needs a rest. And if you don't leave her now, I'll keep her grounded here for the rest of the night!" Dr. Thomas stated firmly but she fell silent when the woman on the bed groaned.

The infirmary was cast in blinding lights or so Chambers thought as she opened her eyes. Four faces were hovering on either side of her and for a moment she didn't know what had happened to her. Then she remembered the bar fight.

"Uh, uh, what happened?" Megan asked confused.

"Oh, Woolfe floored you," Andrew said, flashing the big IV a mocking look. "He thought you sporting a black eye would increase your way with men ..."

Meg threw him a stern look, then turned to look at Woolfe who avoided her eyes.

"Sorry," he murmured sheepishly, his voice blurred. His upper lip had been split and was swollen.

After she had given all of her pilots a good once over, she tried to smile. All of them looked beaten and torn but their wide grins on their faces told her that they had won.

"Do I look as bad as you?" she asked.

"Nay," Patricia said and flinched when she moved awkwardly towards the bed. "The Marines look even worse than us ..."

"That's good!" Megan replied and grinned.

Dr. Thomas shook her head again and stepped forward.

"Time's up!" she ordered and half leading, half pushing the pilots, she escorted them out of the infirmary.

It was dark in the bunk room as Woolfe slowly slipped off his bunk. Chambers was sleeping on her bed, a faint night-light glowing above her head. Careful not to wake the others the young man lowered his tall body onto the floor beside her bunk and rested his cheek against the sheets.

All through the evening he had had to keep up with the stupid but friendly remarks of his crew-mates but he still felt bad about hitting Chambers.

The young man closed his eyes.

The Commodore had been right. His fist could have killed Chambers, he thought. If he hadn't been warned by Thurston's yell, he would have put much more force behind his blow, probably smashing her skull to smithereens and thinking about it made him sick. Chambers was something like a mother to him, always there when he needed her and thinking that he might have killed her because he could not control his strength made him mad.

Ever since she had become the honcho of the number 7-2 he had looked up to her, or rather down as he was head and shoulders taller than Chambers but nevertheless she had a way to make him feel like a small child when she yelled at him every time he had screwed up again.

The young tank was so deeply engrossed in his thoughts that he almost missed the soft caress of a hand going through his short hair and when he looked up he saw Chambers' bent head above him.

"What are you doing here, Woolfe? You should be in bed," she chided him softly.

"I wanted to make sure, you're alright," Woolfe whispered and rubbed his cheek against her outstretched palm and Megan caressed him.

He's a child, she reminded herself. A child in a big body, a child who had seen more atrocities in his ten years of living than she could ever fathom. Soon after she had become his commanding officer she had looked through his file and those of the others and what she had discovered about his life before he had joined the RAF had made her sick to the stomach.

James Woolfe, gene-pool 17D, Gamma 4743, had been decanted at a military gestation facility in the north of London in 2053. It had been one of those short peacetime interludes and the military had not needed a genetically created killer and he had been released from the facility to indentured servitude at the Sellafield Nuclear Plant. There, the real tragedy had begun. The few natural born workers had treated the tanks like scum and the young man had been their toy boy for a long time. When he had finally joined the Airforce after he had been able to buy himself off the contract with the nuke plant, he had had nightmares about this awful time and it had been Megan who had held him, comforted him when he had woken up, crying like a small child, his comrades staring at them helplessly.

"I'm alright," she said softly.

"Chambers?" he asked and Megan mumbled in reply.

"I'm sorry that I hit you, you know I wouldn't do that on purpose ..."

"I know, James. I would be pretty daft if I thought otherwise, wouldn't I? Go, get some sleep!"

He knew that she used his first name only on rare occasions and tonight was one of them. He looked up and ducked his head slightly. Megan had closed her eyes again and he knew he was dismissed.

"Good night," he said as he stood up.

"Good night," Megan replied and she gave him a pat to send him on his way to his bunk.

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