Life can be managed freely

Life can be managed freely

you must fly freee like a bird in order to survive

Lex Talionis · 4 minute read

I had a dream that we were being hunted. [the first half of this dream has been redacted]

“give the talented just enough of a path not to revolt”

I joined the milady special opps a few months back, initially just hitching along from the refugee camp out of curiosity. Now I find myself out on a mission, with a group of seasoned fighters. We’re out at sea. We hide on the bottom rim of the ship, a couple levels down from the main deck in a room with floor-to-ceiling sliding glass doors that lead to a private deck.

On the horizon, we see a giant airship roughly in the shape of a decorated pistol, equipped with a barrel. The clouds seem to just barely caress the engineering marvel, as if meaning to highlight and frame its sheer scale. The Russians had outdone themselves. They were quickly catching up.

The airship fires a single thundering shot from its barrel, silent from where we stood. But it’s clear from the violent movement of clouds that the shockwaves are on their way. The recoil sends the airship reeling upwards and backwards, much like the trajectory of a pistol in-hand. It’s.. falling. Into the ocean? Interesting.

A spectacle of a failed engineering, imploding before us. But we’re interrupted in our appreciation by the hum of a sizable motorboat front-running the airship’s shockwaves. Mercenaries. And they’re closing in fast. From the equipment on board and lack of a friendly signal, they’re not on our side. They’re here to take us out.

I fire a shot with the miniature rocket launcher in hand. The recoil is powerful. It sends me rolling back on the deck, but the explosion tells me all I need to know. The shot landed. I stand up and quickly assess the battleground. A direct shot to the interior, based on the mangled testament to my object permanence. But where are the mercenaries?

They’ve dispersed. And they’re scaling the ship as if endowed with anime superpowers. I square up for another shot just as one of them cartwheels midair from the wall onto the deck, slicing down my spine while landing directly behind me. Pain. I’m quickly yanked off the battlefield by a teammate who understands this battle has no place for a mere trainee. Thankfully the cut isn’t too deep, a close call as they seem to have been aiming to leave me permanently paralyzed.

A rupturing shockwave passes through the ship, and the clanging of combat weapons fall silent. The sound of the airship has finally reached us, catching the attention of everyone. The head of the mercenaries pauses, now privy to the state of the Russian military as we were just a minute ago. With an exchange of looks, it’s clear. He has no interest in fighting. It seems whoever hired him was aboard the airship, now replaced by specks of burning debris floating atop the ocean in the far distance. A reliable truce, if I’d ever seen one.

We need to report this information to whoever’s in charge. We decide to leave our station and venture into the ship as any threats to its passengers have been supposedly neutralized. The interior is surprisingly luxurious, considering the top deck is equipped with cannons rivaling the destructive force of the Russian airship that managed to commit suicide on its own recoil. But I guess it’s not all that surprising. This ship was made to protect the American oligarchs after all. The “important” billionaires of the Western front.

We exit the hallway to the top of an imperial staircase, dressed in a red velvet carpet with gold embellishments. Below us are a handful of the esteemed guests sipping red wine around a fireplace. They look at us curiously, and I recognize a face amongst the crowd.

It’s my grandmother.

“The adventure is over. The mission now is to get home safe,” she asserts. And I can’t tell if it’s meant to console me. I’m still in shock. I need to go home.

What war are we fighting? For what and for whom? Why are we here?