Goodbye: Part SIx

From the Story Arc: Battle Stations: Aftermath

Previous Story in the Arc: Goodbye: Part Five by Gaia's Soldier (Sunday, April 23, 2006)

Next Story in the Arc: Goodbye: Part Seven by John Murdock (Sunday, April 23, 2006)

(posted Sunday, April 23, 2006)

Russian Battler

Nicholai, with his perfect hair standing straight up, waited for Shen Lung to finish, and then walked slowly to the podium. His black suit pressed sharply, he moved with a purpose, never taking his eyes off of his destination. He turned to face those assembled before him, and collected his thoughts.

In the past few months he had gone from mere worker to Commissar of the Young Champions. An appointment that he took seriously. So seriously that he scarcely had time for his usual patrols, or for his Katjonok, Tigerbright.

"Some comrades are better suited for speeches...after all, I am dumb jock, nyet? But is no matter. What is important is that we are unbent before foe. We have time and time again proven out strength, our courage and our moral fortitude against those that would do the city harm.

"It is times that I am rememberink some of the lessons I have been learnink from friends...thinks like comeradship, duty, and honor. Those that we have lost are nyet here. They will be missed, but I believe that they are also still with us...guidink us, grantink us their strength when we truly need it.

"If one think I have learned is that always to be countink of friends. And it is those friends, both present and not that grant us our true power." He looked at the assembled heroes, nodded, and stepped away from the podium.

Jason Collier

Jason walked up to the podium once Nicholai was done. He adjusted his suit and, looked out at the assembled crowd. “Sorry If I’m not the best at this, the biggest group I’m used to speaking to is a group of thirty or so Fifteen year olds.”

Jason took a breath. “I know all of us are in mourning for those we lost against the council. Some of us hurt more because some of us knew them better. But no matter how well you knew them, it hurt you, whether you know it or not. They were some of the best people we had to offer to the city.”

He paused and looked at the crowd to find a face he knew in order to keep going as the nerves started to rise up in him he focused on Miranda. “We must remember that the forces of evil will do anything to win. They will come into a city and try to hurt us, no matter what the cost to our surroundings.” He gestured to the rebuilding efforts going on in the Row.

“In closing, I would like to say that I was never prouder then when we worked together and took back the Row, we didn’t let previous arguments or grudges have a bearing on that fact that we needed to get the job done, that there were people in the line of fire that needed to be saved. I hope we can continue this and keep fighting the battle for this city and eventually win outright. Thank you.” He stepped off the podium.

Kyria Shadowdancer

Kyria Shadowdancer stepped out of the line of those waiting to speak. Although she had not known the six fallen, and she was not on any list to speak, something about her demeanor, calm, self-possessed, serene, had kept anyone from questioning her right to be there. As she had known would be the case. She was a very old soul, and she had done this service many thousand times.

She stepped up to the podium, and looked out over the sea of faces.

"'If we die,'" she said, measuring the words of the quotation carefully. "'we want people to accept it. We are in a risky business and we hope that if anything happens to us it will not delay the program. The conquest of space is worth the risk of life.'"

She saw the momentary flicker of startlement in their eyes at the apparent non-sequitor at the end. "The astronaut Gus Grissom said that, three weeks before his death. He knew that death was a risk, a real risk. In a sense, so do we. Perhaps not with the immediacy of a 'mere' human without the accoutrements we take for granted, but...somewhere in the backs of our minds, we know. And as Gus, we know that what we do is too important to permit any delays."

She paused again. "Memorials such as this are not for those who have gone. They are for us, the living. To help us remember, to keep us going on, to push us to continue the work that they have left behind." She looked out over the crowd, meeting as many eyes as she could. "Your memories, your comforts, and your hopes are all within you now, though you may not see them. But I will offer you this, from a poet, rather than a hero, another 'mere' human."

"'And death shall have no dominion.
Dead men naked they shall be one
With the man in the wind and the west moon;
When their bones are picked clean and the clean bones gone,
They shall have stars at elbow and foot;
Though they go mad they shall be sane,
Though they sink through the sea they shall rise again;
Though lovers be lost love shall not;
And death shall have no dominion.'"

She stepped lightly down from the podium, walking, still serene, out into the city, which needed all of them.

Kid Crisis

Stepping forward, he paused uncomfortably. Wearing one of the slick, tailored suits he'd bought while working for Crey had seemed almost offensive, coming here of all places. So he wore the only other suit he had, a tattered tweed sport coat, old khakis, a plaid tie his mother had given him. A pair of black gloves to hide the skeletal mechanics of his cyberarm.

Crisis looked up apologetically. "I... I'm sorry," he said hoarsely. "It's said, sometimes, that there is no greater love than for a man to give his life for his brother. I never... Those were just words for me, until today. How many of us are only here, because of what these people sacrificed? How could I, could any of us, really do that justice? All we can do is live. Live well, and happily and half as bravely as they did. That's the only thanks worthy of what they gave."

Stepping down, he walked slowly away into the crowd, cradling his metal arm close to his body.