Julie Chang, a great soldier of the Earth’s Cyber Corps was in the back, clicking on an old engine that was moments before shutdown. She used pipe that broke off to hammer on to that disfigured metal until the engine sound got a proper tune. I heard her drop that piece of tube, and steps that were approaching. Me lying in bed, covered with a blanket over knees and feet, waited for her return. She was standing on the door that jammed years ago, whipped her hands with a dirty rag, while looking at me, somewhat irritated. She tossed the rag on the floor and sat in a pilot’s chair, leaned all the way back and grabbed the joystick. A hard bash on the control board made the visor open, showing us a dusty planet we were stuck on. There it was, more than a dozen of barracks were tied for the grey territory, trembling on a sharp wind, proudly showing their holes made from the meteorite shower. Somewhere in the distance, instead of the clouds and the sky, the space opened, crawled with stars, nebulas, galaxies and a rainbow of colored mist that stood still like in a painting. To me, a glorious view, but not for the Julie.
She lit the controls, took a sip of water we were collecting for weeks, then she turned to look at me. Her face still held an ill expression, but she then smiled and got back in her chair. Dead silence surrounded us where engine purred like a kitten. If it wasn’t for that engine, we would be left out of oxygen and much needed heat. My eyes were fixed on a visor, right on a busted corner I fixed with a piece of metal I stole from the ship, then I started staring at the Julie. Memories overwhelmed me with emotions, where for a second I forgot where we were.
– We should dance again. – I said.
– How? Your legs are broken. You have over 130 years, and you never knew to dance. – she tossed it over the shoulder.
– Well, you can dance and I’ll watch. – I continued, but she made a pause.
– I have no will to dance anymore. – she said in her chin, then she rose her head, – If I knew that it will end like this, I would never sign up in the military. Look at this wretched place. – she pointed at the trash around us, visor and the galaxy.
– It’s beautiful. – I said it through smile, interrupting her monolog, but she didn’t found that funny.
– Beautiful? You are watching the same ol’ thing forever. – she wanted to say more, but it stopped.
– I was watching at you for the same amount of time, and I still find you beautiful.
– Ah, stop it. – she blushed, – There are many beautiful girls in the other galaxies.
– Yeah, but none like you.
– Oh, my… It must be the lack of oxygen that’s talking to me. – she slowly shook her head, while her eyes glistened brighter than the stars, – Who would love a wrinkled old witch like me?
– An old wrinkled son of a bitch like me. Don’t ever forget that, lady. Love is forever.
– Oh, is it now? I always thought, our thing is temporary, same like this mission. Hundred of calls, thousand of soldiers dead, dozen ships destroyed. What is left for us to do? – she spoke for herself, absently looking the oldest command, marked as FL0001.
On the screen, letters wrote directive to settle here and wait for further instructions, then the second command covered the first saying, our duty is to be available to the passing garrison, a fleet of supersonic annihilators that were headed far into the void, but they never came. We gave report that no army passed our beacons, but no one replied. Later, the command said we should stay put, until we receive another order. And so we wait for a 100 years.
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