Feb. 28th, 2010

hallelujahpilot: (had hoped to avoid martyrdom)
Sergeant Charmaine L. Walker is dying.

She’s the baby of the barracks at twenty-four; a vet like all of them, but the baby, the little sister with the big gun. Trudy knows a lot of things about her. She knows how she likes her coffee, the music she listens to, how she wears her hair when going to the bar, and the fact that you don’t mock her accent. Trudy knows that the L stands for Louise, and she knows that there is nothing she can do except watch Walker die.

The jungle isn’t silent. The Viperwolves are still there, gorging themselves on the dead Thantor. There are calls and strange laughter echoing through the dark, things that fly overhead and other things that rustle the leaves.

And there is the sound of Walker’s breathing, shallow and slow.

Trudy really, really hopes she’s not going to hear the sound when she sleeps.

(she has enough nightmare-fodder, thank you very much)

--

“You guys should see it.”

“What?” Ruiz asks Walker, bending down close to hear her.

“The jungle. It’s….it’s all like coral, all lit up and pretty.”

“Bioluminescence.”

“Whatever. It looks nice. Gotta ask the Ph.Ds how it works.”

Ruiz doesn’t answer, can’t answer, so Trudy makes her voice work. “And then you’ll explain to us, yeah?”

“ ‘Course, Chief. But you should see it.”

Trudy hesitates, and then slips her night-vision off. It takes a little while for her eyes to adjust to the darkness, (and she can hear Ruiz talking, ordering Walker to hang on, she can’t die, she’s not allowed to) but when it does, Trudy just gasps.

She’d seen images of it on the vids, of course, seen it in photos, and she suspects that it’s even more spectacular to those not relying on human vision, but-

But it’s beautiful.

Even now, as she lies there surrounded by the dead bodies of her comrades, the moon that killed them is beautiful.

(and it’s this she remembers later, than anything else;
the jungle lit up like coral under the sea
)


--

Without meaning to, Trudy drifts off.

Shock, pain, and blood-loss will do that, even to those used to it.

--

She comes to at the sound of rotating blades and engines but she’s exhausted. When she hears a noise in the Samson itself, she grabs her rifle with the bayonet firmly attached, and bares her teeth with a snarl.

”Easy there, tiger,” the medic says, holding up his hands.

Trudy blinks. “Sir?”

“That’s right, you can relax now, Chacon.”

”Yes, sir,” she says, letting her body slump back against the dirt. But the movement twists her fractured leg, and Trudy twists over, scrambling to pull her mask off before she throws up and asphyxiates.

Instead, as her stomach heaves, she counts down the seconds with her right hand. Twenty without the mask, and she’ll pass out, but she pulls the mask back in time. “Get me the fuck out of here, would ya?” She asks, shutting her eyes.

This time when the medic moves her, she screams, and blacks out.

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Trudy Chacon

November 2011

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