Ragnar sits up on the bridge at nights, his blue eyes wide in the reflected light of the supernova, star maps and battle plans scattered across the floor, the control panels, taped up to the window in overlaying patterns.
‘I’m fine,’ he growls without turning. Lagertha’s boot scrapes against the metal as she prowls around behind him. She is restless; has been restless ever since they started drifting, the fire in her blood high from the raid on the Alliance planet.
‘You are not fine,’ she says, in her clipped, dangerous voice, ‘You smell.’
He turns his head back over his shoulder and smiles his wolf smile for her, settling back on the palms of his hands. ‘You going to wash me, wife?’
Lagertha drums her fingers across the gun strapped to her thigh, but ignores him, stepping over his outstretched legs to stare out through the glass, her eyes tracing over the etchings he’s made.
‘Floki is torturing your new pet priest, love. You know you’ve been holed up here for days. The poor man is still screaming at night. He thinks we’re reavers.’
Ragnar grabs at her hand, sees the dry Alliance blood still flaking off his wrists. They had bathed in it; painted the sleek metal corridors of power with it, laughed as they fought with steel knives long after the bullets had run out. They are the revolution, they will have their world returned to them, and many more beyond that, if Ragnar has his way. She just likes the fight; the flight; the glory; there is already the myth of the Shieldmaiden exploding through the underground computer networks.
She looks down at him, unsmiling, expectant. He grins wider. They don’t need to talk about it; they never do.
‘I thought Floki was teaching the priest to overcome his faith through m-theory.’ He says.
‘Yes,’ she smiles now. ‘Like I said, torture.’
He pulls her down to him, bites blood into her mouth, kisses her before the void; the black wild spaces they have made their own.
Below them, his fleet spreads out like a cloud, shining and ramshackle, their prows slung with bones and the carved out metal names of the Alliance ships they have slaughtered.