Redrock Agency HQ, Freedom Falls, Aite
10:00 AM - 07/10/2185
“I love you.”
Connection failure. Reconnecting…
Unable to reconnect. Terminating call.
Vasquez let out a heavy sigh as she stared at the words on the screen, nothing but static coming out of the speakers of her omni-tool. She wasn’t even sure if her words made it through at all. Because she had felt the need to scold him for nothing. What else could she do? Jason was leading their team on a mission into unexplored space. Protecting a science team. An ExoGeni team. And she couldn’t do anything to help now.
She had double checked all the information as soon as Matriarch Syranis mentioned ExoGeni. Reached out to her old contacts. Everything checked out. No shady corporate directives. No deadly artifacts. And they would be protecting the Matriarch’s people. The pay was good. Very good. They couldn’t afford not to take the job. But despite all that… what if she was wrong? What if she had just sent the man she loved to relive something that haunted them both to this very day?
Would it be any worse than what you have already done to him?
Beaten and bruised Jason is lying on the muddy ground, behind him is the dark abyss he had fought his way through against all odds. Because she asked him to. Because he trusted her. Blood was streaming from the hole in his torso where his shoulder had been. There wasn’t a hardsuit in the galaxy that could hold up to an Eviscerator blast at point blank range. He didn’t look angry. There was just confusion. As if he couldn’t understand what was happening. The blood kept coming. The rain was pouring down, overflowing. But it still wasn’t enough to wash away the blood. She turned her back to him. Started to walk away. Left him to bleed out, broken and betrayed.
I was trying to spare him. It was all I could do. I wasn’t in control.
She didn’t believe herself for a second. She could’ve resisted. If she’d been stronger. If she’d just said no when the voice came in over the radio. Or if she’d just kept the mission from happening in the first place. She’d been so close to telling him. But she couldn’t. She was too weak. And Jason had paid for it. They had all paid. Every time she looked at him, every time she saw the metal limbs bolted onto his body in an attempt to repair the damage she’d caused, she was standing in the rain again, watching him suffer and bleed for her. And every time she talked to the employees of Redrock, the people that trusted her with their lives, she saw the ones that hadn’t made it back. The ones that had died in that dark hole, because she had asked them to.
Vasquez allowed her omni-tool interface to dissipate, putting the device back in her pocket. She was sitting in the base. The place they’d worked so hard to build. At a round table in the rec room. Rarely visited by her. Her gaze fell to her hand as it returned from her pocket, an overwhelming swirl of emotions hit her as her eyes locked onto the ring on her finger. She’d been shocked when he proposed. And happy. Happier than she’d felt in a long, long time. She could see the life she wanted within reach. They could build something on this world. Together.
How long until you hurt him again?
The thought, and the guilt that always followed it, was inevitable. Whenever she thought about the potential for a future together, whenever she started to feel like she just might be able to live happily here, she remembered all the pain she’d caused him. She couldn’t live without him, not after all they’d been through. But she couldn’t stand the thought of hurting him again either.
“Are you ok…?”
Vasquez blinked, only now noticing the wetness of her cheeks as she brings up a hand to wipe away the tears. She looked around until she spotted Li standing next to her, looking up with a frown on her face. The girl couldn’t be more than seven, but there was an odd sense of understanding in her eyes. She’d been through more than any little girl her age should have to. She forced a faint smile at the child and shook her head.
“I’m fine, I’m just-...”
The hug was unexpected, but not unwelcome.
“It’s ok. I get sad too.”