Burning in the Void – Chapter 12

we are alike _Captain

I’m really not terribly different from you, Sera. That’s part of why I chose you.

Both of us grew up in highly religious families, in lands watched over by rulers who worked with the priests to ensure both civil and religious order was maintained. Unfortunately, the one key difference in our childhoods is that my family did not follow the same religion as the leaders of our nation. I can still remember the mockery of my classmates whenever I spoke of what I had learned from our priest.

That was so long ago.

When I was eleven my family moved from their home in… well, the name would mean nothing to you. It is a nation that no longer exists, on a world that we have left far behind. Even the faiths that we fought over have been left tens of thousands of kilometers behind us. Think of the distance, both in space and in culture, between where you grew up in the Kingdom of Humanity and the Melders, or the Sybarites. We moved farther than that, in distance at least. Thousands of kilometers to another land where my family could live in peace.

Or so my parents thought.

I’m told that wars were once confined to single valleys, countries, continents. That they were fought with swords, arrows, guns, cannons.

We lived in peace for nearly ten years. I grew up. I moved out of my parents’ home and studied microgravity engineering, then took my first contract with an orbital construction firm. I planned to travel home once a year to visit my family for the holidays, then return to my berth on the orbital and continue designing asteroid mining equipment. I had a dream of one day moving up in the company and supervising the design of a colony ship.

None of that happened.

I still remember the day the war started. I was standing in the simulation projector with my project manager, discussing stress tolerances on a grapple arm when both of our hand terminals chirped an emergency tone.

My home was gone.

My family was dead.

Half a city was gone, obliterated in an instant by the impact of a kinetic weapon dropped from low orbit.

The war had begun.