Title of Series: Busy Living Fandom: The Expanse Challenge: FanFic Summer Olympics Character: James Holden Notes - My muse decided to take a vacation this summer so while I had big plans, I didn't really get to any of them done. I hope to finish even though the deadline will have passed. We'll see what happens. Background primer for James Holden: Spoiler: Open for Holden Primer In canon James Holden grew up the only child of 8 parents, raised to take care of one of the last undeveloped areas in Montana. At one of his mother's insistence he left and joined the United Nations Navy. He spent 7 years there before getting dishonorably discharged for attempting to punch a superior officer (he missed and broke his hand on the bulkhead). Title: Change Direction Characters: Jim Holden - with appearances by Elise Holden and OCs Genre: Angsty angst Prompt: AU Archery - at least a 100 word story set in an alternate universe Notes: The title is a quote from Lao Tzu: “If you do not change direction, you may end up where you are heading.“ There are two separate stories here representing two points where Holden’s life could have changed drastically. I’d planned for three, but I just didn’t make it with the third due to muse vacay. Warning: The second story isn’t graphic, but may be a bit distressing. Nothing worse than what’s in RotS. * * * * * [Stayed on the farm] “Jimmy!” Mother Elise yelled from across the yard. Jim couldn’t do anything but chuckle to himself and shake his head. His other parents had stopped calling him Jimmy years ago, but Mother Elise had held on, said it was her right to call him whatever she wanted since she spent 16 hours in labor. When he was younger it bothered him, but now at forty years old, it made him smile because it made him feel young again. He was on his way home from the Farmer's Trade where they’d exchange their goods with the other farmers from hundreds of miles. Several years ago the government had put a stop to the farmer's markets they ran making it illegal to sell their goods in the hopes of driving the farmers to give up the land. But the people who held on to what little land that remained not covered in concrete and steel found a way to keep going without having to give anything up. It was getting harder and harder by the year. “Jimmy, come quick,” Mother Elise yelled again. Now that he was closer, he could hear a hint of panic in her voice. She wasn’t someone who was prone to get upset about anything minor so it made Jim’s heart start to race. The last time he’d heard that panic was when Father Anton had collapsed in the living room. When he’d been young it had been amazing having eight parents, there was always someone else to ask if he could go do something or have a sweet treat. He’d usually find someone to say yes. When he’d been a teenager it had been annoying, it was eight people watching out for the mischief he made which had not been a negligible amount. In his twenties and thirties, it had been fun to get to know each of his parents as an adult and not through a child’s eyes. To learn who they were as people. He found he appreciated them so much more for what they'd done and been through. Now -while he didn’t let himself think about it often- it was the terror that he’d have to lose all of them eventually. He left his traded goods in his vehicle and ran to the porch of the log cabin to meet his mother. “What is it? What’s going on?” He could now see that she’d been crying and her eyes were filling with tears. “They’ve done it,” she managed to say. “They’ve found a way to take the farm.” “What? How?” She took a deep breath to get control over her emotions. “Some old obscure law that was never taken off the books. Apparently, it’s been ruled that it still applies.” “But we’ve not been under that government in a hundred years, how can their laws apply?” Jim wouldn’t say he was an expert at the history of how the once United States folded into the United Nations government, but he thought he knew enough. “They’ve already seized smaller farms in Dakota. They came to serve us papers while you were out. Tamara has been looking them over, looking for a way out all afternoon.” Jim knew that if anyone could find a way through it Mother Tamara would be the one to find it. Her knowledge of the law was a local legend. If anyone was having issues, they’d come to her for help. Most in their area couldn’t afford to pay much, so they’d often have pies and cookies from their neighbors whom she’d helped with land disputes, contract negotiations, and any other legal issues that arose. He pulled his mother into a hug, “She’ll find a way, she always does.” Elise smiled through her eyes were still wet with tears, “I’ve always loved your optimism, but I’m afraid that’s all it is this time.” ~ ~ ~ ~ 30 days later Jim lay in the yard looking up at the stars. Tonight was the last night they’d have the farm and he couldn’t bear to sleep a minute of it. They’d fought as hard as they could but there was no loophole to be found this time. They’d pooled together resources with farms from so many areas, all being seized under the same law, but they’d all lost. Now as he lay looking at the stars knowing soon enough there would be so much light pollution in the area you wouldn’t be able to see anything, he wondered what his life would have been if he’d gone out into the galaxy. Mother Elise had told him to leave once -when he was just a young man- to run away from the life they’d built, that all of it was a losing battle. It turned out she was right because they’d lost it all, but he just couldn’t imagine what he’d have done besides this. Would he have found a home amongst the stars? [Stayed in the Navy] “Lieutenant Holden, I gave you an order,” Captain Maslow said. His voice was low and sharp, a voice Holden had heard before but generally not in his direction. The Captain of the UNN Zhang Fei was known for being pretty easy going unless you showed him disrespect, and hesitating on an order was pretty close to the top in his hierarchy of disrespect. Generally, Holden really liked this Captain, his seven years in the United Nations Navy had shown him all different personalities, some too strict, some to lax, but Maslow was a good guy, so it was hard for him to disobey, but as First Lieutenant he felt it was his duty to speak up if he thought a mistake was being made. “Sir,” Holden answered, “we’ve had word that there are refugees on board.” “It’s a tactic, you know it, I know it. There are no innocents on board, if there were they would have listened to our orders.” “Not if their communications are out,” Holden continued to argue. He could see everyone else on the command deck was uncomfortable with the situation. A few seemed sympathetic, but most just looked angry he was causing such a commotion, making their Captain angry. “They’ve been given warnings, they are an imminent threat. Do your job, Lieutenant.” “Repulse, change course immediately or you will be fired upon,” Holden tried one more time to get the ship to stop. He couldn’t argue that their trajectory was troublesome, but he didn’t want to fire if they were innocent people who had been running for their lives either. “NOW,” Maslow yelled. Holden closed his eyes and fired the rail gun, his targeting having already been on and locked to the other ship he didn’t especially need to see what was happening. “Good work, everyone,” Maslow said as the guns quieted and the ship was destroyed. “Holden, I want to see you in my office. Now.” ~ ~ ~ ~ Two years later it was all Holden could see when he closed his eyes. It’s all he had been able to see since that moment. People holding babies, children, couples holding hands, all floating in the vacuum of space without a suit on. Their frozen bodies floating amongst the wreckage. He rolled out of bed, sat with his legs to the side, and rubbed his hands over his face. The scruff from his unshaven face was rough on his hands, he thought he should probably shave but that was too much to ask at the moment. His boss didn’t care so long as he showed up and did his job. He’d been drummed out of the Navy six months after the incident. They’d been called into a tribunal to determine if a crime had been committed. While he was being questioned he all but exploded on the examiner yelling about how they’d killed innocents, how he was a monster for firing and the UN were pure evil for ordering him to do it. He was given a psychological discharge with the stipulation that he never speak in public about what had happened. He’d wanted to tell them all to go to hell, but his military-appointed lawyer convinced him otherwise. It was another decision he’d regret for the rest of his life.