The Freedom To Choose

Chapter 5 Conviction

"I thought I had destroyed everything. There is redemption - this is what it feels like. I'm free. I'm free!"

Logan watched as Harlock's eyes filled with tears, tears of relief and joy at knowing that his mistakes had not ended in total tragedy. Hope still exists to grow. We can still fix this.

The last few hours had been busy and scary and messy, but throughout it all Logan's mind had been completely calm. He finally knew the truth, the truth about everything, and had made his decision about what he would do.

He was a little upset with himself that it had taken Ezra's betrayal to push him to find the answers himself, that he hadn't been able to trust his gut or found the strength on his own. It was pure chance that had brought Logan down to the Earth's surface and let him see how it was healing. If not for that, he would still be back on Ezra's ship, following the Coalition's orders to destroy the Arcadia and its crew, effectively ending the chances of anyone ever going back home.

The thought that he had been so close to ruining everything with his gullibility made Logan's stomach churn. First he had blindly followed Ezra's orders, then foolishly believed Harlock without finding out all of the answers, and then Ezra again right after having been told he was gullible.

Will I never learn?

Well, he would now. This time he was acting out of his own choice, entirely under his own beliefs, and for the first time since the accident that had taken Nami's body and Ezra's legs, Logan felt his mind calm. As he told Harlock about the earth, showed him that not everything was lost, and that they did not have to start over entirely for there to be redemption, Logan finally realized what Harlock had meant when he had visited the Captain's room.

Come back when you've figured it out.

Harlock's steadiness the first time Logan had pulled a gun on him back in the collapsing canyon finally made sense - he had known from the beginning that Logan was not really there for the reasons he said, that he would betray them. He probably also knew why Logan had gone to see him that night. Because he wanted and it was so obvious, but Harlock did not appreciate disloyalty; the Captain would never have taken him if he knew that Logan was going to betray the crew and leave.

So now he knew, Logan knew that Harlock had known all about him and the chaos inside him from the start, and yet...

He told me to come back. He wanted me to come back. Does he still?

Now was not the time to get the answer to that question, however. They had work to do.

~~~

The rest of the day was a wreck. Julian succeeded in hacking the news feeds and showing everyone the Coalition's lies. The Arcadia had kept the Jovian Accelerator from destroying the Earth. Somehow, Logan and managed to get the ship away from the Gaia armada, bringing everyone to safety lightyears away from danger. Hardly anyone was injured and they were now free to do as they wished while they waited for the day they could return home.

And despite all of that, Logan found himself sitting alone near the ships dark matter core, head bowed in sadness. He was too far away to hear anyone, but he knew the crew was celebrating their victory and making plans for the future. Logan, however, could not get the day's events out of his head.

He was alone. Ezra was dead, Nami was dead. Ezra had tried to kill him, his own brother had wanted him dead. Logan had known that Ezra did not really care about him anymore, but indifference was one thing. Hatred was so much worse.

But now, the last of Logan's family was gone and he was all alone, not even a brother who despised him left. And Harlock had killed him.

Logan had not had an opportunity to react to Harlock shooting Ezra, as the first shot of the Jovian Accelerator had come right at that moment and the day had not really slowed down after that. Right after Ezra had died, Logan had sat in silence for a long time, mourning, but he knew there was more to do. So he had picked himself up off the floor and walked to the ship's helm.

He wasn't surprised that Harlock had held a gun to his head, that he did not entirely trust him yet. He would have done the same thing, so he was not sure why he had pulled his own gun. Maybe he just needed the comfort of knowing that he could shoot the Captain if he wanted to. Maybe he needed to show that he was angry that Harlock had killed his brother, as necessary as it had been. Maybe he just wanted to be Harlock's equal for once, rather than at his mercy or betraying him.

But it was probably that Logan had finally made his decision to follow the Captain and had proven that to be true, but had still been doubted. That had hurt. Logan had come back, just like Harlock wanted, and helped him find redemption, not once showing a desire to harm him or the crew, and yet Harlock had questioned his loyalty, his honesty. What could Logan have gained from lying now, what purpose could it serve? Harlock should know the answer to that, so why had he still threatened to kill him?

I found something else to believe in.

It was the only thing Logan could think of to say that would show his conviction. He had made his decision. He trusted Harlock, he trusted the crew of the Arcadia. He believed in their goal to bring humanity back home. He believed that they were doing the right thing, that Logan was doing the right thing by following them and not just running away because he no longer had a family to return to. He trusted what his gut was telling him, that Harlock was the right person to follow, to stand beside. He believed in the Captain. And he still wanted. He wanted desperately.

Logan had tried to convey all of that in his expression as the two had stood face-to-face, guns at each others' skulls, imploring the Captain to believe in him in return, hoping Harlock would understand and choose to trust him again.

They had stood there for a long moment, just watching each other, before Harlock had huffed slightly, a corner of his lips twitching, and finally spoken.

"About time."

And now Logan sat by himself in the dark room at the center of the ship, mourning the betrayal and hatred and loss of his brother. Mourning Nami's death. Missing home. And yet, more powerful than all of that, he felt something else. Relief. Peace. Happiness. He had found his redemption, had found a way to fix his mistakes, at least the new ones.

He could never make up for what he had done to Ezra and Nami, but he had made up for his betrayal of the Arcadia, for how his foolishness had almost ruined everything. And he had found a new home. The ship's crew had welcomed him back, although there were a few who did so begrudgingly. But he had Harlock's trust, and that was enough for most of them. So he was here on the ship and it had become his home, the crew his family and friends, Harlock his real captain. He had finally decided what he wanted and he had all of it.

Well, most of it. There is still one thing left to take care of.

Logan sat quietly, simply staring blankly at the floor while he thought about it and felt contentment wash over him. But he was also searching within himself for the courage he needed to take the next step. He wanted more out of this new life he would be living, but that required action and boldness he was not sure he possessed. He sat and searched and thought hard. He did not notice Harlock stepping into the room and leaning against a pillar of machinery, arms crossed and watching him. He did not see the small and gentle smile on the Captain's face. But he did hear when the Captain spoke a few minutes later.

"Logan."

Logan looked up.


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