Ficlet: Forward This Generation Triumphantly (Gaila, gen)

Title: Forward This Generation Triumphantly
Rating: PG
Characters: Gaila
Summary: Gaila's sisters do a lot for her.

“You didn't do it right,” Gaila tells her older sister Mila.

She had asked for a picture of Starfleet for her naming day; she had imagined one of the glossy recruiting posters on the stations the Syndicate didn't quite control, but this doesn't even have any people. It's just three colors of glitter with a few stars scattered over the top. Gaila knows they don't have a lot, and usually she does a good job not asking for things they can't afford, but for her naming day...

“Shh. It's not nice not to be grateful.” That's Lyara, her oldest sister.

“But purple isn't a Starfleet color. It's red. And there's barely any green, and Starfleet doesn't have green anyway. It should be gold.”

It's not fair. It's her present; they should have got it right.

Mila bends down on her knees and tucks one of Gaila's curls behind her ear. Nobody knows how Gaila got red hair like this, but it makes her special. She's worth more because of it, and she's going to go to Starfleet. Not because she has red hair, but because she's special in lots more ways than that. The masters don't know that yet though; they just know they can sell her for extra one day. But her sisters do know about Starfleet, and it's a bad omen that they got it wrong.

“I'm sorry, Gaila.” Mila really does look sad. “These colors were all we had. The goddess knows what we mean.”

“And look, the stars are gold,” Lyara says. “Just like the captains.”

“Like you'll be one day.”

Mila looks so happy now that it's scary. Gaila doesn't know as much as her sisters do, but she knows that leaving this planet and going to Starfleet will cost a lot. She isn't scared that it will cost too much for her to go; she's scared that it will cost too much, but her sisters will pay it anyway. Slipping out of her sister's embrace, she scoots forward till she can put her chin on the windowsill right next to her present. A little forcefield buzzes against her nose, and Gaila smiles. Her sisters aren't supposed to know how to make forcefields, but they do. One day they'll teach her.

“Do you like it?” Mila asks. “I was worried that the glitter would blow away if the climate control unit ever came on again.”

Gaila nods and the forcefield flickers against her chin. The colors aren't exactly right, she likes the way they glitter in the starlight.

“Thank you,” she says. Even though she's little, she knows some place deep and dark that she is thanking her sisters for more than these little glittering stars. Things that she can't imagine, things that are awful, things they do willingly to keep her safe.


Eight years later, Gaila switches off the forcefield and sweeps the tiny pile of glitter into her waist pouch. The room is empty. She hasn't seen her sisters in days. With a single fluid motion, she pushes the broken climate control unit away from the heating duct and slips inside.

“Thank you,” she says to the silent air. She hopes her sisters can hear her.

Then, without looking back, she begins her climb to freedom.
This is such a beautiful backstory for Gaila. I love it. Her sisters, the red hair that sets her apart in several different ways, that her sisters will be the ones to pay her way out, the naming ceremony, and the echo of the glitter and air vents later on. Beautifully done!
Oh, this is gorgeous. I forget exactly how I got here, but I'm currently reading my way back. This one just -- really hit. Gaila and her family and how what seemed so important when she was young is almost an afterthought to real freedom later, and augh. It's a small piece but so large in scope.

Brb, reading my way back :) thank you for all of this.
And thank you for your lovely comment! I hope you enjoy the rest of your reading - there's a lot of Gaila here for sure! :)