10 December 2011
FWS Flash Fiction: Empty Places Part Seven: "Black and Tan"
“Hey, FNG!” I turned to a large scarred man, handing me an AL-9 laser pistol. “Never be unarmed, newbie, you never known those fuckers will strike.” I took it wearily, as he moved off with some of his mates, snapping every other and laughing. No safety anywhere I guess. Within a few chaotic minutes, the room emptied out, matching my mood. No one seemed as effected by the recent violence as me. They just shrugged off the jarring encounter in the jungle, and moved on the pub to pound some pints, while my hands still shook.
Maya made a face. “You’re from Earth...right?”
I was frankly surprised, “And you’re not? I thought all GIs were from Earth?”
She rolled her big dark eyes, “the colonies got fight too, you know.” She opened a bar holo-menu and ordered two drinks, and never asked me what I wanted. “Sorry, it just that, we colonials don’t want to own anything to Earth if we don’t have too.”
“You know, Maya, we feel the same way.”
She took a double take, “seriously? You’re going to say that after we tried to help you guys?!”
“Help us?!” I fired back, “help us?! When?! I’d reckon to know!” I pointed to my chest, “I grew up in that bloody shithole, watching for raiders, gangs, and alike, and no help came to us in my lifetime!” She watched me speak, as a tablet computer was dug out.
“You’re from Australia, right, judging by the accent?”
“Outside of Tanami Desert.” She tossed her personal computer in front me, playing a video of a riot. I could see people wearing colonial uniforms, others in rags, gunfire, and boxes being tossed.
“But now, you magically show up, to help us again, right?”
“What the fuck do you care?” She spit back, “You’re here, Sandoval, to get off that dump? You not innocent either…more like mercenary, if you ask me.”
“Cease-fire!” Hawksworth commanded from above us just before it got really heated. “Look ground-ppunders, I pulled both your asses from the fire,” she held three fingers; “you own me and my co-pilot, and gunner.” Maya nodded and ordered a round of shots for the November-Witch gunship crew.
There, in the night’s sky, were dark curtain of alien stars and I marveled at my situation, and how empty those unfamiliar stars made me feel now, where they used to fill me with hope. I had been staring at stars since I could remember, wishing for the opportunity that I was now living.
Be careful what you wish for…
I could hold on to one glimmer of hope, one escape route: Elysium. I decided there and then, that Elysium, and its promise of a real world with green and dirt, was my new dream. I had lived out this one, being among the stars, and removed my shitty Earth-side situation. But, what I had done was traded one hell for another. The only real different was now the people I killed deserved it. I shivered, as the ghosts of my victims whirled around my heart as long buried memories of those the victims of people that had something that Zinc’s wanted.I always turned to miss those running vehicles, but when Zinc caught on, he beat the utter hell out of me. Those were truly the empty places of my soul, and I didn’t know if there was a god that could fill those cold dark places, but I wanted to believe that something else more than Courage would help in the forests packed with murderous aliens.
I laughed to no one at the how the sentence sounded, it was more like a poorly written sci-fi novel that the fantasy of my current surroundings! It didn’t really matter, though. I was here, those things were out there, and all I could do was survive through victory. With that profound musing, I promptly passed out in the Hopper.