It was painful to watch. Ruins. Ruins everywhere. Carlos’ house. She could just discern an upturned palm in the debris, no bigger than one of her fingers in length, for sure. His kid. She could run, check its vitals, make sure it was dead; but that would be false sentimentalism. There was a roughly 80% chance the hand was severed, judging by the pulp around it. False sentimentality that could get even more killed.
She had to pop a suppression pill. She had to pop a suppression pill now.
She didn’t. ‘Existence is pain’. And she had to exist more than ever right now.
Keeping her face as composed as she’d observed in training, she marched through the silence, trying to uphold a sort of morbid curiosity that was allowed in new recruits, in the event that feelings slipped up. She hadn’t been stationed in Earth harbouring rebellious thoughts and survived till now for nothing. Knowing how to hide compassion had become second nature.
“You. Report,” a displeased voice came behind her. She turned around like a mechanical being, imagining her joints alike mechanical gears.
“Soldier 564-Z. Legion 4F32.”
A pause as the Colonel scrolled through her retina feed. Alsa didn’t know her, but she already despised her very nature.
“The incompetent one that had to be restationed because she couldn’t land a ship successfully?”
And she was right to do so. That was false information, designed to anger her, no less. Tests never ended with their division. “Ma’am, yes, ma’am.” Alsa was moments from gritting her teeth in disapproval, but that would blow her cover.
“How do you find Spain, soldier?” Curiosity? Had Colonels’ allowed feelings been upgraded?
“Irrelevant, ma’am.” Robot. No mind of your own. Make her think she’s superior.
“That’s right. Your training is shining through, the Teachers take care of all.” Alsa never wanted to puke so bad in her life. Well, except that time when little Alma had tried to make paella.
“Why are you still here, soldier?” Suspicion. That was more familiar.
“Awaiting new orders, ma’am,” came the neutral reply, stated simply.
“I don’t mean that… Alsa.” The Colonel’s expression spoke horrors, and Alsa realised it was a mistake to not have taken that blasted numbing pill. Her carefully constructed apathetic mask was about to crack. How could the authorities know the name the locals called her by? She was careful. She’d been careful. She’d filled in reports with the procedures, how all her mannerisms were a constructed ruse she’d thought was implied in the pack of instructions sent to her–
“Soldiers don’t think, ‘Alsa’.” The Colonel spat the name like a curse. “They await orders. They execute those orders. They don’t “read between the lines”,” she accused, disgust eminent in her features. “Your first report was pretty impressive, for a failed recruit,” she continued, mocking praise. “One could almost not see the rebellious thoughts that resided in the lines. But, as always, the Teachers foresee all.”
Nonsense. She just hadn’t been as careful as she should’ve.
“What did you mean then, ma’am?” Alsa inquired, intent on playing her role through the end. She wasn’t sure if it would matter, but if she wanted to keep her position, she would’ve.
“You’ll learn soon enough, rogue; you have a hearing with Them.”
(Alien soldier, part 2 (part 1 here)! This time, Alsa -soldier has a name now- is leaving Earth instead of crashing in it; what does her meeting have in store? If you’d like to know, leave a comment; see you next week!)