Death Of A Soldier

Posted on November 21, 2011 by Tiffany KW.
Categories: Uncategorized.

Once I understood that Theseus was going to be overrun by Scramblers, I realized that I was going to be dead.  Again.  I had no time to process, not now — the defensive bots were awaiting thoughts.  Protect the cabin’s integrity, first priority.  Once we were breached — and we would be breached, the numbers were irrefutable — their priority would shift to defense of any remaining personnel.  I craved the weight of a gun in my hands, instead of this cold machinery in my head.  With my multiple views of the ship, inside and out, I saw the aliens approaching.  They had some kind of weapon.  Defense, I thoughtFind targets, fire at willContinue firing until there are no targets.  Here and there, some of my eyes on the battle closed.  Others retreated slightly, changed perspective.  I realized Siri was still standing in front of me.

“How far?” he asked.

“Far?” I repeated, smiling at his ignorance.  Retreat inside the hatches, I thought, block entrances, continue firing.  “They’re already on the hull, Siri.  We’re engaging.”

“What do I do?  What do I do?”  He looked like he was going to vomit.  I would have told him to grow a pair and stand with us.  But Sarasti floated up behind him, a caricature of the word vampire.  The Captain had reanimated his body, was still using Sarasti to carry out its orders.  I understood immediately.  At the risk of repeating every bad TwenCen apocalypse-is-coming movie, the fate of humanity depended on Siri getting back to Earth.  The poor bastards had no idea what was going on out here, safe in their invented Heavens.

“Go with him,” I said as gently as I could manage.  The bots were fewer in number than a minute ago.  Defend remaining personnel, continue firing, I thought.

“What—” he began.  This idiot would probably want to have everything explained to him, to gauge my reaction to the shit going down.  All so he could tell the powers-that-be about how scared we all were right before we died.

Now.  That’s an order.”  I turned my back on him, facing the threat.  “We’ll cover you.”

“You too.”  Now he wanted to be friends?  I didn’t have time to hold his hand.

“No.”  How could I convince someone who could read the tiniest expressions on my face that it was better for me to stay?  That going back to Earth was unacceptable?  Dishonorable.

“Why not?  They can fight better without you, you said that yourself!  What’s the point?”  Now he was simply being petulant.  Niceties needed to end.

“Can’t leave yourself a back door, Keeton.  Defeats the whole purpose.”  I would have said more, but my eyes inside the ship told me I was out of time.  “They’ve breached.  Go.”

I thought, weld the hatch shut, and wished for the Captain to already have jettisoned Siri.  I saw the arms first.  Then the space inside Theseus crawled with Scramblers.  I felt my limbs being pulled off my body.  I screamed over the alarms.

*****

For my blog post, I definitely wanted to write from Bates’ point of view.  Her character intrigued me because she seemed to encompass the mannerisms of a “good soldier” without being a stereotype.  Since we don’t see her death, I felt compelled to portray it in my revamped narrative.  Not to mention, her final scene is one of the better ones in the book.

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