From Soyez To Now

Q. Who are the people you have loved?

Tch. A bitter question, but it rings against the inside of my skull lounder than the tinnitus. People. Fah. Go one better, the person I’ve loved, right? That’s what these reports are about. the fucking bullshitting word counting-

No I am not growing agitated.

This is not an undue amount of aggression! For fuck’s sake. It’s easier to write when you’re not fucking looking over my fucking SHOULDER

I am calm.

You’re not letting me out of here until the report is done, right? So we’re going to do this, and we’re going to do this as slowly as possible.

Alright. Who IS the PERSON that I have loved? This pen’s a bit shit. Okay, okay, here I go. Sorry, I get cranky when I’m stubbly, and I haven’t been able to change these socks since the op. Oh come on now, if you’re still reading over my shoulder try to hide it better.

FUCK FUCK FUCK SHITTING FUCKS THE WALLS ARE BLEEDING

Okay, guess you’re not reading any more. Good. That’s a start. Hate when you’re trying to grade the report on how it gets made. It’s like when the passwords started noticing how quickly you typed them in and started to react. ‘Are you feeling concerned about something?’ Ugh.

Let’s call her Rachael. A rare spelling of a common name. Painted nails and a dyed green streak in her hair. Never handled a weapon in her life, never so much as spit a cruel word. She’s in the files, I’m pretty sure. Some old historical point of reference about me, some reminder of ‘That Issue.’ Yeah, I know you’re not okay with it, but that’s what you get when you want uniformity in your military machine. You find you can’t get it.

Rachael and I were together for about six years, five of which before the Context. Her parents didn’t like me, and given the way she kept following me around between training outposts as my career kept going, that resentment wasn’t unfounded. I mean, we were training for something pre-Context, but it was still pulling their little girl further and further away from them for what THEY thought was just a passing fancy. I didn’t make it easier either – I mean, when I saw them some part of the dumb jock attitude just became real. I know I pissed off her dad so much.

Remembering the day I came back from the quad with my uniform jacket still on, and the wrinkled way he looked at me, nose tight, lip curled, that snarl in his throat and I know he just wanted to say it, wanted to say it so badly. He wanted to say you shouldn’t be wearing that. Weird thing was, he wasn’t even ex-corps. Just some fuck with strong views.

Anyway…

Rachael was so beautiful it made stereotypes ache. I mean, yeah, glasses, coloured hair, painted nails, big smile, butterfly nets, loved to cook, loved to talk. I remember when the Federation referendum came up, and I just assumed how I’d vote. She made me stay up all night explaining my vote to her, because. And when I told her eventually, she told me she’d vote the other way, cancelling it out. I didn’t get any sleep that night. I thought it was just some regulation piece of voting but because she didn’t agree with me, I argued and raged all night. Like… seven in the morning, she gives me this little smile, takes my hand and kisses me, saying that she thinks I’m right – now – but she didn’t know. Said if it was worth voting, it was worth knowing why.

I kinda wanted to vomit on myself that day. Like I’d just made my girlfriend play out some scene from a bullshit movie where she was just part of my character arc and yes I know what that means. After the vote went through, after Federation, she changed majors and jumped ship on the arts. She started on astronomy, on fucking physics. I mean, part of me loved that I’d been dating a painter and I was all big and tough. Kinda a stereotypical image but I really liked it, y’know? Thing is, it wasn’t, to her a big deal. She’d been interested in both. Federation meant more space, more space meant more opportunities. She could paint in her spare time, and she kept reminding me that the Quads wouldn’t always want me. Hell, one bad day and I’m on pension.

Kinda chilling to remember her saying it like that. I kinda hated the idea that I’d have to rely on her, but I also kinda loved her for even thinking of it. Really, really chilling.

Rachael got a job at the Mt Soyez Forward Astronomical Targeting system the day I got deployed to the cable.

This enough words yet?

No?

Fuck.

Fine. Rachael was there on the day of the First Strike. The planet drop that blew up Mt Soyez FATS.

There.

I’m ten tours past retirement, I’ve got all the credits I need to go home and raise, I dunno, Whippets or buy a log cabin or something, and I’m here, filling out these random psych eval reports to ensure I can continue going back out there and shooting back at things. And I know how banal that is, but fucking hell what do you want from me? You want to know about the people I loved?

I loved Rachael. I loved Rachael, the only woman to ever love me.

Even myself.

Am I done yet?

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