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43 - Living in a dream

Another of those visions came. This time it was so much more real, but it was different.
Sitting on a soft, cushioned couch, in a comfortable room that appeared to be part of a residence, and outside, space was filled with blue light, I had my arm around a young girl with soft, blond hair, inconsolable, heavy in tears. She was leaning up against me, and we were watching a screen that filled half of one wall. The feeling of dread was overwhelming.
I was young too. The boy in my reflection appeared to be a mid-teenager, strongly-built, but with a terrified expression on his face.
On one side of the screen was unfolding camera footage of a drifting field of debris from a destroyed ship. At the center were smoldering sections of it, with small craft traversing the debris, deploying people in space suits, then recovering them with whatever they were gathering. In the background was a fair-sized battle fleet, but all these craft looked far more advanced than the shuttles I've been riding lately or anything I'd seen at any station. They also seemed far more normal to me.
On the other side of the screen came pictures of people in what appeared to be military unforms, with a list of names scrolling beside them. Speaking the names is an old man's somber voice (for some reason it sounds very familiar) . . . "Lieutenant Commander William Ulysses Reynolds, . . . Ensign David Allen Sandlin . . . Ensign Tobias Oskar Schindler Schmul . . . "
The next picture looks almost exactly like Sarah, but all grown-up, in uniform, quite proud of herself, and Sarah completely loses her composure, screaming "NO!! NO!!!! . . over and over again between convulsive sobs and gasps for breath.
It was almost as painful to wait for this name as it was to hear it.
Almost
"Ensign Anastasia Christina Simpson . . . "
The words cut more deeply than any knife ever could. I held my . . sister? . . . she bawled like a wounded woman, beat on my chest, screamed "NO!" and sobbed some more. Deep down, I felt even worse than she was showing. At least she could get it out.
After a while, she turned from me and began clutching a cushion from the couch, continuing to pour out her grief.
That was Anna. I know who she was. She was my foster sister, like Sarah. She was distinguished, musical, uncommonly intelligent. She was a medical officer . . . was . . .
No, now, suddenly, she was gone forever. I would find whoever did this. There would be no mercy.
I went down a corridor into another room, my room, looked around suspiciously and unfolded a small device with a screen on it. The man who appeared on screen looked quite serious.
"Cannon, I -- " I choked on my own words.
"I saw it," he said. "I'm sorry. If you--"
I found my voice, but it was broken and wavering. "I'm in. Let's do this."
"Are you sure you don't--" he started to ask.
"Where and when?" I pushed him.
"Rendezvous at Alpha Niner, zero-three-hundred hours."
What are hours?
Quickly, I closed the device, which looked like a hardback book, just as the doorknob slowly began to turn, accompanied by the soft knock my foster mother usually used to announce herself. They had come home early.
Just as she opened the door and called my name sadly, almost like a question, the whole scene faded away like a mist, into the reality of my rented room at Repose Calme, on Noveau Limoges.
All the emotion was still fresh, but the memory faded quickly. Too soon, I had to dig through my thoughts to find the slightest shred of it.
Biding my time doing easy jobs at the port, I had been heeding my friend's advice in an attempt to get promoted sooner. I can never tell if it's working. I only know I am.
In my "off-time," (I'm always a bit off) I still moonlight at Cafe Nouveau, though I plan to visit Taungoo before heading back to Gadani to finish what I started.
I know I will need to start making more money soon, as this small-task business just doesn't cut it. Two more times, I went out looking for trouble and found familiar faces. Ruins-Rat, who must be their leader (or his clone) did his best to hit me, but I never felt any impact as I blasted him away. Those courses are starting to work out for me.
Chantelle showed up at the port and got onto the Tau Shuttle. Her non-descript friend, absent at our encounter, stayed back and walked toward the residences after seeing her off, but she deliberately made eye contact with me, as though to say 'I saw you.' I wasn't even watching for her. I had been thinking of going to Tau myself.
On my way back to the cafe, where I spend most of my time, sipping that precious commodity, I walked through the art display (most of the station is an art display) and listened to the sweet medleys that were mostly drowned out by other "music."
At the cafe, the accordianist was accompanied by a fellow with a small box he called a harmonica, and they serenaded us all with the sweet, serene, Gaulish tunes I had come to expect here. Reality faded away into daydreams, and I tried to imagine where I would be and what I would be doing this time next year.