Comrade

From the Story Arc: Battle Stations: Aftermath

Previous Story in the Arc: Counselor by Belladonna Aura (Tuesday, April 11, 2006)

Next Story in the Arc: Motives by Soviet Bear (Tuesday, April 11, 2006)

(posted Tuesday, April 11, 2006)

The fight to retake the Headquarters was over, they had won, but it had cost them dearly. They had paid in blood for every floor, every room.

When it had all ended, the last of the council finally purged from their home, the victorious heroes had moved to the various entrances to make sure the building was secure. As they made their way through what had been the front entryway onto the street, Bella informed the rest of the congress of their success. The fight was over, they had taken back the row.

Ambulances, police cars and fire trucks clogged the street. Emergency personnel buzzed everywhere tending to the injured and securing the area. Vex stood a moment taking in the scene.

A haggard looking EMT approached him carrying an emergency kit.

“Sir, let me have a look at you.”

Vex stared at him and said nothing.
The man set the case down, opened it and pulled out a gauze pad and raised it towards Vex’s head.

“Looks like you have a nasty gash on your forehead.” The man said absently.

Vex stood there, saying nothing. The EMT ran the damp swab over what had been a serious head injury but was now just a scrape, the blood that had crusted over it flaked way.

Vex looked down at the man’s nametag.

“Your name is Richard?” Vex asked.

“Yes sir.” The EMT replied.

“Richard, I’m fine. Go take care of someone else, I don’t need your help.” Vex said as he turned and walked back inside the ruined building.
……………………………………………………

The flickering light from the florescent bulb pulsed in the room like a strobe light. The office area of the second floor was almost beyond recognition. Desks, chairs, filing cabinets, pieces of brick and mortar littered the floor. Vex stumbled through the wreckage in a daze, taking in the devastation. It was all too much.

Absently, he reached what had been his desk. It was twisted and scorched, a testament to what had gone on here. He wasn’t even sure why he had come here. Maybe it was habit, maybe it was a need to find something familiar in this place he no longer recognized, maybe it was shock.

Pushing a ruined office chair off the desk, he pulled the it back into what passed as an upright position. He reached a gloved hand for the top drawer and pulled.

The handle came off in his hand.

Suddenly, a firm hand slapped down on his shoulder. He spun around half expecting to see a council soldier.

Instead, the worn, bruised, grime covered face of Booster Max greeted him.

“ What do ya say, old man?”

“Why, Max?”

“ I just came to make sure you were ok. I saw the smoke all the way from the Skyway gate.”

“ So much destruction, so many comrades lost, for what?”

The impish smirk fell from Booster’s face.

“They’re bad people, Peter. They don’t need a reason.”

Vex’s shoulders fell, his head dropped, tears running down his cheeks.

“What are we going to do now? We’ve lost so much.”

Max braced Vex with a hand on each shoulder and turned him around.

“We keep fighting. We fight for the memory of the people we lost. Never forget what they fought for, what they died for, Peter.”

Vex wavered, his legs were like rubber, he was completely spent. Booster grabbed him in a strong embrace as he melted into a mess of sobbing tears.