Goodbye: Part Five

From the Story Arc: Battle Stations: Aftermath

Previous Story in the Arc: Goodbye: Part Four by Bestial Boy (Sunday, April 23, 2006)

Next Story in the Arc: Goodbye: Part SIx by Russian Battler (Sunday, April 23, 2006)

(posted Sunday, April 23, 2006)

Gaia’s Soldier

Gaia's Soldier stood dressed in the CCCP official uniform, watching in silence as the speakers one by one walked to the podium. The words everyone spoke were beautiful and heartfelt, full of wisdom an sorrow. For her, there were no words to say. They failed her, as they so often did before. Today Aura would say goodbye, but it would be in her own way.

She moved behind the row of caskets, stopping first to look upon the Gentle giant Li Lung. A man of great strength, and a gentle heart, Aura knew the family he loved so dearly would mourn his passing in a way many could never understand. She had heard talk that some of his clan even gone missing, and the dark warrior swore, if allowed to, she would do anything in her power to help the family join together again. Closing her eyes to send a prayer to Haniyama-hime, the Japanese goddess of clay and earth to watch over her son, Aura placed a stone bowl engraved with a dragon and filled with chrysanthemums, the sacred flower of Japan in the casket and walked away.

Aura halted again near a woman with pink hair and stone gray skin. Doreen McSweeny, known to her comrades as Free Radical, was a free thinker. Aura had not know her as well as she would have liked, but the tales of her spirit and her often unpopular stand again rules she believed unjust gave Aura a good reason to respect the young hero. Aura slipped a mirror engraved with the image of starflowers, a symbol of Doreen's righteous indignation and the quest for true freedom.

The face of the man Aura looked on next had the recognizable face of the Buddhist monk he had been in life, with a well groomed goatee. He seemed so calm laying there to her, but then he had always been that way. As a farewell to the man so far from home, Aura left for him a Golden Lotus, the flower sacred to Buhdda. Knowing he would be well looked after by those of his order that had gone before him, she nodded her head in respect and moved on.

The red armor gleamed in the sun as Aura paused at the huge man. Iron Curtain was a mountain of a man, his strength equaled only by the hard life he had been forced to lead. But now, finally, in death, he was free of the grip of Portacio. He of all people knew the evil of those that craved power and what lengths they were willing to go to in procuring it. To him she gifts a broken chain of gold, wrapped around the handle of an iron hammer she had used to smash the chain.

Son of the original Hammer and Sickle, Commissar Mojiotok was the symbol to many of what was the core of who the CCCP were. The dark hair and features on "The Hammer" were just as striking now as they ever were, though it saddened her to see a man of such strong determination and ideals pass on, she knew his fire would live on in the hearts of the many people he touched with it. Placing a carefully folded Soviet flag over where his arms rested, she turned to face the last comrade she must say goodbye too.

Aura shook as she saw Heavy Brother's still face, beginning to doubt the resolution to do this. She drew the black stone statue from the woven cloth bag on her shoulder and held it tight to her, hot tears filling Aura's dark eyes. She had to say goodbye. She had to let him go. She closed her eyes, and the tears squeezed themselves though her dark lashes.

She forced herself forward, holding the figure out. Mother watch over him. He is a very good man. Help him find the peace where his journey leads him that he was never allowed here in this place. Aura lay the African King in the casket, her tears wetting the silk shirt Anthony had been placed in for the burial. Without a word or another glance Aura hugged her arms to her chest tightly and walked back to where Criofan stood waiting patiently.

She would stand tall in front of her comrades, being the strength Gaia's Soldier had always worked hard to be for them. And Criofan would be there, giving her his strength, when hers was in short supply. They would get through this, all of them, together.

Sister Hecate

Hecate had known them for some time. She'd been involved in missions with them, lived in the same quarters with them, and had seen them many times since she'd joined the CCCP. But this was different than when the symbiot died. The symbiot simply faded from existence. But her friends...

In some way, they were still there.

With her sight she could still see the spirits of those who had fallen to the Council. And they'd died doing what they had always done. Being heroes.

Hecate felt the hand on her arm and smiled. The kind aura of the one to her left told her that Lewis was there. His left hand wrapped in a cast after the injury he sustained during the defense at the Facility. He gave her a warm hug and kissed her cheek. There were no words exchanged. Nothing needed to be said. His actions alone let her know he was there for her. Always.

And Hecate's situation was a unique one. Because she didn't have just one person who cared deeply for her. Pania wrapped an arm around Hecate's waist and reached up to gently stroke her hair. The pale elf looked up to Hecate and smiled. For some, this was a time to mourn, but for others, it was a time for recollection

The three watched and listened to those who approached the podium to speak. They sat quietly, holding hands and simply being there for each other. This was a new chapter for the Row. A great force had tried to invade, and the heroes who resided here had pushed them back.

For these three, it wasn't just a memorial, but a testament to just how far those in the Row would go to protect their homes.

October Star

Instead of a uniform, or his normal costume, Alexei had decided to wear the costume of the original October Star to the funeral. It was far more somber and formal to him than any other suit of clothing could be. As he stepped the podium, he felt his voice leave him. His eyes met with Althea, and a reassuring nod from his fiancé allowed him to speak.

"Self-sacrifice has always been a part of the CCCP. Even in our beginnings, good men and women gave their lives for what was right. Those who wear the mark of a Crusader and those who stand with them, in both life and death, are a elite brotherhood. A group of people who truly exemplify the word 'hero'." Alexei took a deep breath, steeling himself. "Some of these heroes that we memorialize today were well known to us. Some were not. None of that matters anymore. From this day forward, these men will be indelibly etched into our lives as heroes who made the ultimate act of sacrifice. Men who saw their duty, and did what they must, knowing the cost and disregarding it." October Star paused bringing his fist to his mouth for a moment, looking over the words he had written the night before. "Today, I will mourn these men, but after today, I will mourn no longer. These men are heroes, and we should celebrate their lives, rather than mourn their passing." He paused one last time, a fierce look of pride filling his eyes. "William Burke once said: 'All that is essential for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing.' These men gave all they could. In short, they did something. I can only hope that I have the same courage that they did, should I ever be forced to make the same decision."

Stepping from the podium, Alexei turned and saluted the caskets before returning to Althea's side. She hugged his arm as he sat, and whispered into his ear. "Jedushka Vlada would be proud." Alexei kissed her temple and wrapped an arm around her shoulders. There was nothing more to say.