southernisms: (Destiny)
[personal profile] southernisms
We called it the Traveller. And its arrival changed us forever. Great cities were built on Venus, Mercury became a garden world. Human lifespan tripled. It was a time of miracles. We stared out into the galaxy and knew that it was our destiny to walk in the light of other stars... but the Traveller had an enemy. A Darkness which had hunted it for aeons across the black gulfs of space. Centuries after our Golden Age began, this Darkness found us, and that was the end of everything... But it was also a beginning.
— The Speaker

It was many years following the activation of the Aldnoah Drive by the Empress of Mars, Asseylum Vers Allusia, before humanity attracted attention from well beyond our system. No one knew where it had come from, or how our fumblings with the ancient technology of an alien race of machines had managed to command its attention, but the Traveller brought with it a hope for Earth and Mars that even the end of the last great war had been unable to achieve. Terrans and Martians alike shared equally in its bounty, and for perhaps the first time in decades we were truly united as human beings. Little did we know that only centuries later, it would end for all of us. But at least this much can be said: we did not fall divided.
— Alisande della Libra the Wise, Sunbreaker

Hello? Hello? Hello?
Is there anybody in there?
Just nod if you can hear me
Is there anyone at home?

Patrol was as boring as it always was. The Fallen milling around the compound weren't even worth the time to pick off, though occasionally the Hunter liked to set them on their proverbial toes by sniping the occasional Shank just to prove the point that humanity wasn't going anywhere. Idly, she wondered if Earth was where the alien race sent their cast-offs, the 'problem children' of their apparently militaristic society, the dregs they wanted to be rid of.

Come to think of it, they did call their shock troops 'Dregs', didn't they?

Come on now
I hear you're feeling down
Well I can ease your pain
Get you on your feet again

More importantly, the newer, less-experienced Guardians needed to cut their proverbial teeth in a firefight or two; her only real job here was to make sure they didn't bite off more than they could chew. Or, more often, the former corpse of some newly-resurrected 'KinderGuardian' would be right smack in the middle of territory crawling with Fallen. Then she'd have to go and fish the newbie out if things got too hot. So here she was, perched up on top of what was probably once a radio tower, sitting on her ass with a canister of coffee and her lunch while her Ghost provided some entertainment from his database of classical music. Cayde-6 was going to owe her after this. Something from his extra-special stash, she was thinking. Something expensive.

There is no pain you are receding
A distant ship smoke on the horizon
You are only coming through in waves
Your lips move but I can't hear what you're saying

Phantom pain? That thought made her smile bitterly. Much of her life now was dedicated to burying pain that most Guardians were lucky enough to have forgotten. As much as she tried to pretend it didn't exist, it insisted on surfacing at some very inconvenient moments. Just her luck that when her eyes opened for the first time after she had been revived to the sight of her Ghost, she could recall fragments of a largely unhappy former life. Part of her wished she could have stayed peacefully dead, but this new life wasn't so bad, even with all the aliens who wanted to kill them. That is, at least when she could ignore her past life and the fact that everyone she ever seemed to care about died and left her behind.

Her previous life. Many people would be bitter about becoming a mere soldier from a position of relative privilege, but as far as she was concerned, it had been a damn good trade. Like most Hunters, she valued her independence and freedom, but she was in a rare position to especially appreciate those virtues. And gradually, the pain and bitterness would fade away for a time while she reflected on what she was now and what she could do. The price was becoming numbed to other emotions, but like giving up the privileges of her past life, it had hardly been a sacrifice.

I have become comfortably numb

Maybe. It certainly was pretty comfortable. Just don't think on these things too much.

When I was a child I caught a fleeting glimpse
Out of the corner of my eye
I turned to look but it was gone
I cannot put my finger on it now
The child is grown
The dream is gone

No, she wasn't a child any more, and being given the opportunity to fight a real evil and save all of humankind was the sort of second chance she would have never dreamed of. She'd never had any dreams of her own worth saving, anyway.

I have become comfortably numb

February 2017

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