hahn on the left

anonymous asked:

Why do you like Lise Meitner? You say that science isn't neutral or good or anything and that society always plays a role. Looking from this perspective, she and others (*looks at Einstein and Nobel and Curie*) are responsible for the death of thousands. Unlike Curie who didn't see the full dangerous power of her research and Einstein and Nobel who tried to redeem, she never cared at all. She was brilliant but awfull.

I mean no historical figure, scientist or otherwise, is morally perfect, both because of values dissonance and because of the nature of being human, so I’m not sure that’s reason not to like and admire a brilliant woman who pushed forward her field immeasurable (no matter how problematic the field), despite being displaced from her home and being barred from publishing because of the holocaust. 

Like I’m not going to defend atomic weapons, and I can’t speak to her motivations or anything, but as a woman in science who overcame great odds to do the work she did, and then was screwed over by her male partner (fuck Otto Hahn) and left off the Nobel for what was essentially exclusively her work (which people knew but also she was a Jewish woman in Europe, so they didn’t give a fuck), I do admire her. 

Chapter 26: Turner

Disclaimer: The Starkillers Cycle contains strong language and graphic content. It is not intended for readers under age 18.

As much as Turner hated blue balls, it had been worth it for the information he’d gleaned.

One: For all that Mel definitely hated him, she was still attracted to him. That was useful insight…Though made less useful by the little fact that he was still attracted to her. Like hard-as-a-rock and down-to-fuck the instant she’d put her hand on him. He’d have to get that under control. Immediately.
 
Two: For all that Mel definitely hated him enough to stab and shoot him in the foot, she didn’t hate him enough to kill him. And that information alone made blue balls absolutely fucking worth it.
 
The problem, though—and it was a big one—was him. He was too goddamned nice. It always boiled down to this—family or duty? Protect Harrison or stick it out in flight school? Keep Melnara from self-destructing or graduate with honors? Look out for Daphne or fly one more slaughter-blazing mission on the fringe?
 
Once, when Turner had been six and his parents still alive, his mom had been making her morning coffee and watching the feeds—watching Apollyon the Destroyer’s pilot trumpet about doing her duty and protecting the Fed.
 
“She’s nice,” Turner had said, thinking about how pretty the black-skinned pilot was more than anything else.
 
But his mom had sighed. “There’s no such thing as a nice Destroyer, bud.” Then she’d dropped her usual two synth-sugars into her coffee, and that had been the end of that—for Mom at least. For Turner, it had opened up endless questions.
 
Why weren’t there nice Destroyers? Why couldn’t you do your job and do the right thing at the same time? Why did making one person happy mean you automatically fucked someone else over? It had been a lifetime of whys for Turner, and a lifetime of waffling between them.
 
But Mel wasn’t too far wrong when she’d said Turner finally grown a pair. Too bad that pair had come at such a high price.
 
As Turner sat there, chained to the bannister, he pondered why he was reverting back to Good Behavior after three years of doing just the opposite. If it was really just because Daphne had made that face at him—the face that was supposed to make him feel cold all over. That was supposed to make crawl under a bed and lick his wounds…
 
Well, shit. Maybe his balls weren’t as ironclad as he’d thought. Too fucking nice.
 
He groaned, head lolling back against the bannister, just as Colt Maddox slipped into the hall. He held a banana in one hand, and he looked…Well, ridiculous wasn’t quite the word since a man that jacked could never be truly ridiculous.
 
More like out of place. That’s what Colt was—stiff, separate, and totally lost for what to do.
 
“Banana?” Colt asked.
 
Turner’s head shook once. “Never liked ‘em. Weird texture.”
 
This earned a soft, “You’re a weird texture,” before Colt dropped to a crouch a few steps away. “You unchained yourself earlier, so why not do it again?”
 
“Got nowhere to go, Maddox. Plus, all that stands between me and The Suck are two really pissed-off girls.”
 
Colt’s forehead tightened, his eyes thinning with disbelief as he said drily, “Yeah, they’re a real Fury and Vengeance duo.” He shook his head. “I haven’t been with you long, Hahn, but two ‘pissed-off girls’ doesn’t seem like much trouble. You tricked me into leaving Hatha, no problem.”
 
“I’m touched.” Turner splayed a hand to his chest, chains stretching taught. “But the difference between you and those girls—beyond much nicer anatomy—is the fact that I’ve known them way too long to fuck around. If Daph wants me chained here, then I’ll stay chained.”
 
“Daph,” Colt said, almost under his breath. Then, easing onto the bottom step beside Turner, he started peeling the banana—and staring a bit too intently at it. “How long have you known her?”
 
“Most of my life,” Turner admitted. Then, because he could see the sole power piece he dangled over Colt slipping right through his fingers, he added, “She’s like a sister to me.”
 
“Huh.” More banana peeling. More staring into another world. Then: “I wouldn’t let mysister date a Cyrissian.”
 
Ah. So that’s what this little heart-to-heart was about.
 
Turner chuckled softly, sinking back onto the steps. “You have to understand the world Daphne’s trapped in, Maddox. You might’ve noticed her tattoo.”
 
A throat-bobbing swallow indicated the ex-con had, indeed, seen the gypsy mark.
 
“That set her apart in a way that you can’t even begin to understand.”
 
“Am I supposed to feel pity?”
 
“No.” Turner frowned. “In fact, pity is the last thing Daphne Greene would ever want from anyone. Respect—that’s what you should feel. Because despite all the shit that she grew up slogging through, she’s still…Well, you saw her. You know how she turned out despite all that. Which,” he drawled emphatically, “circles me back nicely to what I was saying before. Daphne doesn’t trust anyone—and with good reason—but I need her and Mel to trust me right now. Like, I really fucking need that, so I’m doing my best to earn it in the…oh…” He twirled an idle hand, chains clinking. “Half-hour or so I have.”
 
Colt paused, banana almost to his mouth. “What happens in a half-hour?”
 
“The Cyrissians will find us.”
 
The banana lowered; Colt’s expression smoothed into blankness. “How do you know that?”
 
“It’s a guess,” Turner clarified. “An educated one. The Cyrissians know where we are, but they haven’t cornered us yet. Why? Because they’re calling in Mama.”
 
If anyone could appreciate what the Cyrissians were capable of—the lethal threat that family posed, both in terms of ammo and who controlled that ammo—then it’d be Maddox.
 
Colt swore under his breath. Then, in a burst of movement, he chucked the banana across the hall. It splattered against the wall in a satisfying spray of banana-texture. Sneering now, Colt twisted toward Turner. “Back in my day, the protocol was that media came first. They would get the Axis on their side and offer big rewards to bounty hunters. Mama was only called in when shit was big. Like really fucking big.”
 
“But have you seen anything on the media, Maddox?”
 
Colt’s lips pursed to one side, gaze turning thoughtful. “No. Now that you say it, all the feeds I saw a few minutes ago are covering Shiva.”
 
Turner stiffened. “Same story we saw earlier? About Destroyer stopping the latest uprising?”
 
A headshake from Colt. “Nah. They’re speculating on where he’s taking a vacation.”
 
“Where.” It wasn’t exactly a question. But Harrison never fucking took a vacation. Never.
 
 Colt shrugged. “He didn’t say. Something about going to the place he loves best. Media’s having a riot guessing where to send their reporters.”
 
Now Turner sat up entirely, ice gathering in his gut. “Repeat what Harrioson said. Word for word, Maddox.”
 
Colt’s jaw tightened, but he did as ordered. “He said: ‘I’m taking a few weeks of leave…and, uh…I’ll be spending some time at the place I love best.’ That’s it.”
 
A sigh loosed from Turner’s chest. That was good—really good. Like, for all that Turner and Harrison had some real shit between them, his little brother couldn’t have picked a better time to come riding in, guns blazing.
 
Music exploded from a speaker overhead, swallowing Turner’s words…and devouring his soul.
 
Let’s do it before midnight, make the Axis burn so bright…I want yo’ molten lava core to hyperspeed me through the night.
 
“Fuck. Me.” Turner hated this goddamned song. Sadie from Medical had made him listen to it. On repeat. Every time they went to her place. And Turner could now say with certainty that there was no less arousing song in the entire universe.
 
I don’t even know yo’ name, but why don’t you take off those glass shoes and jump up on meeee, jump up on meee—”
 
PLEASE NOT THIS SONG,” he bellowed up the stairs. But the music didn’t turn off. In fact, it only got louder for ten mind-numbing seconds…
 
Until it tore off abruptly, leaving a resounding hole of silence behind.
 
And an entirely too familiar beep.
 
Maddox knew that sound. His eyes widened, locking on Turner’s. “We got trouble.”
 
Turner just nodded, fingers working to undo the handcuffs. No waiting for Daphne or Mel anymore—Mama had arrived.
 
As he wrestled the simple hinge mechanisms apart, he asked point-blank, “Do you trust me, Maddox?”
 
The convict appraised Turner, brown eyes detached. Expression inscrutable. Then he said, voice low, “You’ve been fair with me so far.”
 
“And things are about to get a whole lot ‘fairer.’ Mel has my IFD, but once I get it back, I’ll disable your blood-tracker. As long you help me get everyone off this ship alive…” Turner’s lips crooked in a sideways grin. “Then you’re free to go. Forever.”
 
Colt’s breath hissed out, shoulders drooping for half a moment—as if the force of what faced him was too much to even comprehend.
 
Maybe it was.
 
“Here’s the deal,” Turner went on, chains clanking and fingers moving. “In about two seconds, Mel will come down and force me to disable a tracker—which is pointless, because the Cyrissians usually put hundreds of trackers in their shit. What I need you to do, Maddox, is to go to the cockpit and blast a single distress message to Shiva the Destroyer—”
 
“The fuck?”
 
“—and tell him to meet me halfway. Say it just like that: ‘Meet me halfway.’ Then get Daphne out of that cockpit and into the Dragos hanger. Tell her whatever you have to get her down there, okay?”
 
Colt nodded slowly, watching as Turner wrangled open the first cuff…Then the second. “What are you going to do, Hahn?”
 
“Well, I’m left with about three minutes to earn Mel’s trust. Somehow, I have to convince her this is our only course of action.”
 
Colt wagged his head and pushed to his feet. “She’s not a fan of reason. Or thinking ahead. Or planning anything. I think she actually gets off on being suicidal.”
 
“That she does—”
 
“TURNER.”
 
“And there’s the lovely Suicidal Queen herself.”
 


Turner and Mel passed doors, each less gilded and less ridiculous than the last, until they finally reached a plain metal one deep in the bowels of the luxury ship. Turner was relieved to see Mel hadn’t bothered with guns or knives this time.
 
Either she was starting to trust Turner a little (unlikely) or she knew how fucked this situation really was.
 
And it really was fucked. But if there was one way to get Mel to resist, it was to push her too fast in a direction she didn’t like. So, face relaxing into disinterest, Turner glanced back at Mel, his eyebrow perking up. “Shall I open the door for you, m’lady?”
 
Her lips pursed—which Turner took as a yes. He shoved inside the mechroom. It was a simple, square room with blinking lights, occasional buttons, and a handful of small monitors. It was as familiar to Turner as his own breath, and he could navigate one of these rooms with his eyes blindfolded.
 
He used to do that sometimes back in flight school. Just for fun.
 
“Where’s the back-up tracker, Turner?”
 
“About that.” Turner’s hands spread open submissively, and he turned to face Mel. In the dim lighting of the mechroom, she looked…tired. Young, even. But the flint in her eyes told Turner she was ready for whatever might hit her next.
 
He hoped it wouldn’t have to be him.
 
“I’m going to tell you how this will play out now, Mel.” He took a single step toward her. “I’m glad you and Daphne had so much fun playing space pirates—”
 
“Fuck you.”
 
“When we’re done.”
 
The slap came so fast, Turner had no time to react. One second she was out of reach. The next, stars were searing across his eyes and his skin was alight with pain.
 
For brief moment he was shocked that Melnara Pamouk would slap him. Nose-breaking was more her style. But…she was standing close now. Close was good. Close poured the power back into Turner’s hands.
 
“I guess I deserved that,” he murmured, cracking his jaw and fighting the urge to rub at the skin.
 
“Yeah, you fucking did.”
 
“But you don’t know the Cyrissians like I do, Mel. Or like Maddox does. They come for their enemies fast and swift. If you want to stay alive, then you have to listen me.”
 
“Oh, because the Fed has done such a good job keeping me safe before?” She scoffed, a harsh sound. “I know what you’ll do to me as soon as we’re off this ship—and I know where you’ll send me. Sorry, but I’d rather die in space than die on Rixion.”
 
“Rixion?” Turner’s head coiled back. “Even if I wanted you back in prison—which I don’t,” he rushed to add, “Rixion isn’t where you’d end up.”
 
Her lips parted with a soft “o” of genuine surprise. “Do you really not know?”
 
Turner’s eyes narrowed. “Know what?”
 
“Why I’m here. In all your little debriefings and prisoner files, there was no reference towhy I might’ve bailed on Hatha?” When Turner held his silence, Mel just smiled—an exhausted thing with no amusement in her eyes. “Someone tried to kill me back on Hatha, Turner. The shit-head failed, obviously, but not before I slit his mother-fucking throat. And you that means?”
 
“Ten strikes,” he breathed. Understanding swept through him, and he had the sickening sense that this information spun everything upside-down. Puzzle pieces he’d thought he understood no longer fit together.
 
“Ten,” Mel confirmed, and her tone now oozed with its usual bitterness. The one that Turner’d never been able to fix.
 
Turner wet his lips, pushing in closer. Not caring that he invaded her space or caged her in. This was too important to fuck with. “So whoever hired your assassin knew you’d get death in the end no matter what. So who was it, Mel? Who wants you dead that badly?”
 
“Why do you ask when you know the answer?”
 
“Because I don’t know the answer, Mel. Not the why of it.” He flung a hand toward the door.  “What can you possibly have on them? They’re a fucking multi-galaxy corporation, Mel, so how can one woman—a woman who’s been locked away for a third of her life—be a threat?”
 
Mel’s only response was to clench her jaw.
 
But fine. She didn’t want to talk now? There’d be plenty of time for that once they were off this goddamned ship.
 
“We’re leaving the trackers. There’s too many to disable anyway.” Turner spun on his heel, aiming for the door and certain a pissed-off Mel would follow. “There are two Dragos in the hangar. They’re for shits and giggles, but we’re going to use them to get out of this mess. We leave the SubWolff, and we take our chances outside.”
 
“Or you fucking crazy?” Mel shot forward, and before Turner’s hand hit the knob, she shoved herself in his way. “Dragos are short-range. One plutonium-core each. Even Iknow that won’t get us anywhere.”
 
“It’ll get us out of the line of fire, and if we’re lucky—which, no thanks to you, we have been so far—then I’ve got a ride slinging by. Now move. We need to suit up.”
 
Mel’s hand snapped up, pressing onto Turner’s chest. Her cheeks were flushed, her dark eyes round and glittering.
 
It was intimate—wildly so. And though Turner doubted she felt the same—doubted she remembered making this exact same movement on the day of her arrest six years ago—it didn’t change what he remembered.
 
He licked his lips, and he didn’t think he imagined it when Mel’s eyes followed that movement.
 
“Who’s giving us a ride?” she asked, voice deceptively flat. “And why should I follow? Last time I saw you, Turner, I was being carried off in chains. Last time I did this”—her fingers curled in, gripping his shirt—“you turned me over to the Fed five minutes later.”
 
So she did remember after all.
“Because, Mel.” Turner laid his fingers over hers, relieved when she tensed—but didn’t pull away. “The Fed wants you dead. The Cyrissians want you dead. P.G.E. really wants you dead. And as far as I can tell, I’m the only one trying to keep you alive.”
 
Her eyes stayed rooted on his mouth. His lips, and her brow drew tight as if she were fighting some violent inner debate. Then her gaze flicked up to meet his. “You told me something similar six years ago.”
 
“I did.” His free hand lifted, knuckles curving in to brush along the line of her jaw…Her breath caught. “And look at you now, Mel. Still alive.”
 
For two heartbeats, she just stared at him. Then a laugh broke from her lips—a sputtering, shocked sort of thing—and she towed back her hand. “If I didn’t know better, I’d think you were taking credit for my current living status.”
 
He forced a smile, though he wasn’t joking. Not even a little bit.
 
“Alright, Turner. We’ll play this your way, but don’t think that once we’re out of this death-storm, I’m listening to you ever again. You’re not my goddamn friend.”
 
Another forced smile—this one harder to summon. There was a tightness in Turner throat he didn’t really want to think about right now. Or ever. “I wouldn’t dare make that assumption, Melnara Pamouk. Now if you’ll excuse me.” He pushed past her, opening the door with a bit more force than necessary. “I have an entire crime syndicate to deal with, and you need to get suited up for deep space.”