Week five - Dejected
My eyes were burning as I got into the hovercraft, how had something so simple gone so wrong? I hardly noticed as Jenkins got in and the hovercraft ascended. I stared dejectedly at the planet below as it slowly got smaller and smaller. Before long we had passed the planet's atmosphere and were in space again. It didn't make me feel lighter like it always used to do, instead it made the pressing feeling in my chest grow heavier and heavier.
'We'll need to go back for the bodies.'
'Commander, it's not safe.'
'I don't care. They didn't deserve this. He didn't deserve this.'
I swallowed heavily and looked down at my armor clad legs. The light gray was spattered with dark reds. Blood. Their blood. It was supposed to be a routine mission. A simple drop-off and pick-up. Just hours earlier we were all joking in the exact same hovercraft we were in now. It was supposed to be simple. So simple.
'It's not your fault, you know.'
'It is, Jenkins. They were my squad, I was supposed to take care of them. And I couldn't, I failed.'
'We were ambushed there is nothing we could have done.'
'I should have sacrificed myself.'
Jenkins was silent, opting to gaze at the barrel of his assault rifle instead of at me. Tears now spilled over my cheeks. I clicked off my helmet and wiped at my cheeks angrily, I had lost people before but this loss was more heart wrenching than anything I'd ever experienced. Over the past few months this crew had become my family, the only family I'd ever had. Sanders, Sparrow. Lost. Forever.
'I'll lead the recovery squad myself. As soon as I get back I want a team assembled.'
'We don't have enough firepower.'
'We'll find a way.'
'Commander. Jenna. Please. Do not risk any more lives. We need to focus on the living. We'll come back for them, I promise.'
I knew Jenkins was right but I couldn't bring myself to agree with his rationalized argument. I didn't want to. I wanted to rage, I wanted to kill all the enemies left on that godforsaken planet with my bare hands. I wanted them to feel what Sanders and Sparrow had felt in their final moments, as blood gushed out of their wound and the toxic air slowly slipped into their shattered suits. I wanted to...
The hovercraft leveled, and from the window I could see it floating into the docking bay. Pratt was already waiting behind the sealed airlock and Jenkins and I were forced to wait as the bay was decontaminated and filled with breathable air again. Then the hovercraft doors opened and John Seborg appeared from the cockpit of the vehicle. He had heard everything over the intercoms back on the planet. His eyes were bloodshot and his face pale. He'd been crying. Jenkins hauled me up by the shoulders and pushed me towards Pratt.
'Commander, what happened? We lost contact hours ago. The solar storm got particularly bad. Where are the others?'
'We were ambushed.'
Pratt's worried face faded to shock at that, his eyes bulging almost comically. I would have laughed weren't it the most horrible situation I could ever think of. Tears formed in my eyes again but I willed them away, not wanting any more of the crew see me cry.
'Get the whole crew together in the mess hall. They need to know.'
I stomped ahead towards my cabin, a tear escaping from my eye despite all my effort to blink it away.
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