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Straight Talk

Posted on Mon Nov 9th, 2020 @ 5:33pm by Patricia Crow

Mission: To The Rescue
Location: Shuttle on way back to Merc

Banks rested comfortably with the aid of the pain killers Chance had given her. In her mind's eye she saw an urban setting, all too familiar with her past. Turning the corners of the alleys she remembered the smells and the sights. How the graffiti stained the glimmering corporate highrises left behind by dissidents and your random bored teenager.

As she rounded the bend she caught sight of a girl leaning up against a garbage container. Her face was mostly obscured except a few brunette curls as she took a long drag off her cigarette. She looked to be about thirteen, no fourteen, she reminded herself. The jacket the girl wore had been a birthday present. She also recognized the day of her memory. About an hour after this private moment she would be arrested for theft. Her father, having been frustrated beyond his means by her behavior would use what little influence he had to arrange for her to be accepted into the Shadow Youth instead of being sent to 'rehabilitation'. It was there she showed the right amount of attitude and fight that she attracted the eyes of two people: The top trainer and agent for the intelligence division and the heir apparent to the empire changing her life forever.

She watched the girl before walking up to her and asking for a smoke. The girl complied, offering a light without being asked. They both stood in silence for a few moments before the girl spoke.

"Was it worth it?"

Banks thought for a minute. "At the time I thought so, and then I wasn't sure but I wouldn't be who I am and where I am now if I hadn't done it."

"The wedding ring surprises me."

Banks chuckled as she exhaled a thin line of smoke. "You and me both. But I'm very lucky."

"He's a good man."

"He's the best, way better than I deserve."

"And the kid."

Banks could only nod.

"Then why are you such a bitch?"

The question caught her off guard. "What?"

"He loves you, he puts up with all your shit and you just keep piling it on thinking everything is okay. You could have gotten youself killed and it would have broke him and the kid. You could have gotten Millie killed. You could have been stranded in that jungle for the rest of your life because you....don't....think...about....anyone but yourself."

Banks wanted to argue but could she? "What am I supposed to do? It's my job."

"You job is to wear that ring and raise that boy. Raise him so he doesn't grow up in a hellhole like this. That's your job."

"You act like it's easy to change who you are."

"You did it once, didn't you?"

Again her response was silence but the girl spoke again.

"Would you die for them?"

"Yes." She answered without missing a beat.

The girl turned to look at her. "Then there's your answer."

Banks sat up blinking away the formation of tears before slowly laying back down. She stayed awake for awhile but when she fell back asleep there were no more dreams.

Patricia Banks
Chief Intelligence Officer, USS Mercutio


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