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10.07.2012 , 07:20 PM |
with a possible side of potential Sacrifice. Trooper Vierce, 600 words, no spoilers.
I woke up in the makeshift hospital the resistance ran outside West Ford City. It had been thirty-five Imperials, give or take, since Illyris had been arrested and disappeared into the big Imperial prison in town. I wasn't counting days just then. If I concentrated I could still feel her hair brushing my face, the back of my hand.
What is there to say? She was a student, brilliant, fearless. A resistance sympathizer and occasional combat support, one who could place a blaster bolt with the best of 'em. She had this fine long hair, like white aurodium that'd flirted with gold just enough to keep the people who were truly dead to poetry from calling it colorless. There've been other girls, but never one quite like her. She wasn't the one who should've been taken when the op went wrong.
Thirty-five Imperials later, give or take, and this op went wrong, too, and here I was, unable to feel half my face.
I blinked a bit with the eye that wasn't bandaged. There was somebody sitting by my cot.
"Mama?" I said. "You shouldn’t be here."
"I got approval," she said sternly. She always did have a way of giving orders fifty times her size. "Lie back, Vierce."
"How'd the rest of us make out?"
"Kino and old Greggs died in that blast. Imperial losses at eight or more in addition to some equipment. The rest of our people got out…though I'm told they had to drag you away. You were going about half blind, putting blaster fire into any Imperial helmet you saw, whether it was moving or not."
The space where Illyris wasn't burned at me. People didn't leave the prison she'd gone into. We could only hope that when the occupation was gone we could sort out the…what was left. If I had been there in the team that got taken…but I wasn't.
"In fact, Vierce, they had to knock you out." Mama pushed her graying hair back. "It makes no sense to fight your own people like that."
"They were holding me back." I did remember that much.
"That's not the way these matters get solved."
"They get solved by me going out and fixing it, Mama."
She patted my hand softly, but there was nothing of gentleness on her face. "When your father died I wanted to avenge him. It ate at me night and day. I wanted to set it right, or at least hurt anyone who had ever had anything to do with it. But I couldn't. They were too big, I was too small. To try would have done nothing except get me killed."
I didn't answer that.
“Kirsk is gone," she said. "He left no word, I've no way of knowing if he's ever coming back to this planet. And your father is long dead. You’re all I have, Vierce."
"But I don't…she isn't…I won't even know what day she died on. Maybe I can't make all of them pay, but I have to do something."
"You'll do what you have to. I expect no less from my boy. But you listen to me.” She gripped my hand harder and leaned in, driving each new word with a force I hadn’t known her capable of. “You do not have to die.”
I guess the look on her face then is what got me through the rest of it.
"You never did tell me how you got so pretty," Jorgan said. We were doing a last rifle check before we went out on the hunt.
I raised a hand to the burn scars that stretched from temple to jaw on one side of my face. "Roadside bomb," I told him. That's what I tell everyone.
It would seem my mind is stuck on "depressing as all hell" mode this weekend. I need to go wash my brain out with happy puppies or something.
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