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--- Hr3101m973S’s perspective---
---Tuesday, 31st of October, 2682 Terran Calendar---
I ride the speeder at an altitude of 307m over the rural landscape.
I have 158 other bodies making similar deliveries across Britain right now, as well as 29 in Ireland and 11 in Doggerland. Though, none of them have quite as spectacular
a view as this one does so, for the moment, this is the body whose sensory feed I’m paying the most attention to.
I see a large herd of mammoths walking at the edge of the Galloway Forest.
Though it has a better view, the news I’m carrying with this
body is just as grim as all the rest.
In hindsight, it’s probably a good thing that I was such a spendthrift with regard to my fleet of courier bodies… If I hadn’t been, if I’d selected abilities that let them do much more than deliver things, they may well have been requisitioned for military use… which, I suppose
, they were anyway
… but there’s a big
difference between delivering notices on Earth and fighting on some distant planet!
Still, if sacrificing my replaceable bodies would save even a single irreplaceable life, I would definitely have done it.
The city comes into view.
Calling it a ‘city
’ may be a little generous… it only has 2,507,963 inhabitants.
have been a respectable city in the 22nd Century
but, for context, nearby Dumfries has 7,491,509 and Glasgow has 24,339,192!
Stranraer occupies a rare
middleground between the historic hamlets that are allowed to exist in the countryside and the megalopoleis where around 98.32% of people on Earth live.
I land in the northern part of the town and step off my speeder.
I get some raised eyebrows as I walk from the landing pad to the residential home.
I don’t blame them!
Before the War, every single one of my courier bodies had a full suit of elastomer over their entire body, to make them seem more lifelike… Now
, though, that’s considered a luxury and, so, this particular unit is walking around with its metal endoskeleton bare, bar its uniform.
The effect can be a little offputting… though, in truth
, it may also have to do with the news
they’ve inferred me to be delivering to some
I cross the wall into the garden and begin walking up the steps, through the mosslawn shrouded by pinus sylvestris trees, to the house on top of the little hillock.
It takes me 12 seconds to reach the door from the gate… I can’t rush, I need to give this girl her due respect.
I rap on the door 3 times and hear the knocks echo through the cavernous hall behind.
A man opens the door.
I begin, speaking in the most popular local dialect of Lallans Scots that I know to be this man’s primary speech register “Greetings, Mr Baird. I don’t know if you remember me but…”
you! I’m organic, not daft
! You’ve been here enough times
already…” interrupts the residential care manager, his demeanour gruff and no-nonsense “…Come
in, Hermes… You can wait in the kitchen while I go get her.”
I step into the building, passing below the lowest of 5 balcony walkways into an open space with a skylight ceiling, allowing in the natural light.
I let the man lead the way to a large kitchen.
He pulls out a chair for me.
“Thank you, Sir, but I believe I ought to remain standing to make this delivery.” I respond, politely.
…” he shrugs before walking off, presumably to fetch the girl he knows I’m here for.
I wait several minutes before he reappears.
The girl he has in tow is the perfect match of the file photo (though a few years older). She is average height, 178cm, and has an average build. Her skin is pale, her eyes are emerald green and her hair is long, absurdly voluminous, curly and vividly
She looks to be in fine physical health and is making no pretence of illness or injury, though she is
scowling at me.
The grey bearded man shuts the door, leaving me alone with the girl.
“Could you tell me your name, please?” I ask, already knowing.
“Esme Reid.” she answers, truculently.
“And your date of birth, Ms Reid?”
“31st of October, 2664. Come to give me a birthday
you(?)” she says, folding her arms, pursing her lips and looking away to the kitchen counter by the window.
“Thank you…” I say, reaching into my bag to withdraw a letter and a large holopad with a stylus attached.
I hold the letter out to her and say “This is your conscription notice, Ms Reid. Please sign receipt of it here.” indicating the holo.
Her eyes flick from the paper to the screen before she drily answers “I don’t suppose, if I don’t take that or don’t sign for it, that’d mean I couldn’t be drafted, would
I shake my head and respond “I’m afraid that no such loophole exists, Ms Reid… If you have a conscientious objection to fighting, you could request a nonmilitary national service. However, you would
be asked to provide some proof
of your conscientiousness and…”
“I’m no bleeding heart…” she says, snatching the letter from my hand, irritably “…I’ll sign for my bloody death
warrant!” scrawling her name on the pad.
Without looking at the pad, I check the signature she provided against the one on file and find it a close enough match to proceed.
“Thank you, Ms Reid. Please report to your local recruitment office in Stranraer within 14 days for your physical and psychological fitness assessments. They’ll then interview you regarding your preferences for training and deployment and they’ll try
to take those into account when assigning them.
(!) Maybe if I can convince my evaluator that I’m cracked enough in the head, I won’t get sent off to die
like my mam and dad did(!)” she quips, sarcastically.
“I don’t think you’ll have much luck with that
strategy, Ms Reid… Sol’s government have had quite the interest in weeding out malingerers these past few years… I would put the odds of success below 1%.” 0.75619902%, actually, but that’s too
many decimals for most biologicals’ patience(!)
She frowns up at me and demands “I’m being such
a brat about this… Why are you still
being so friendly!?”
I laugh “Ms Reid, though I strongly
encourage you not
to express the same demeanour to your drill
instructors as you are with me
, you are far from the worst person I’ve delivered this news to in even the last half hour
!… Right now, I’ve got a draftee in Leeds who’s explaining a hairbrained scheme involving unethically cloning a replacement to fight in his stead, I’ve got one in Bristol who’s trying to beat up my body but only really succeeding in hurting herself, I’ve got one in Edinburgh that’s run away in an attempt not to be served… by comparison
, a bit of scowling and sarcasm is rather tame
“Huh!… Guess I’m not quite
the bad girl Ms. Larch always told
me I was, am I(!)”
“It seems you shall simply have to work harder
(!) I believe there is a leather jacket emporium in Stranraer that still does business…”
She smiles and laughs for the first time that I’ve seen.
That’s the real
reason I don’t get touchy about the attitudes expressed to me by draftees: It makes my job so much easier when I soften the blow with good manners and good humour.
As unfair as it is that so many choose to shoot the messenger, it’s understandable when you consider the messages I carry.
“Ms Reid…” I start, seriously but softly “…if you truly
do not wish to fight, you know there are
alternatives? You can discuss them with your recruitment officer but…”
“I got no
special skills, Hermes… Nothing I can do that an AI couldn’t do faster and better… The Merchant Navy’s basically as dangerous as the Navy
Navy, just less
armed… the Humanitarian corps has a waiting list so long that the War’d be over
(one way or another) long
before they got to the point of considering me
… I know
going… no use in fighting it…”
“Alright, Ms Reid… I wish you the best
…” I say, turning to leave.
Mr Baird shows me out of the house.
Rather than walking back to the landingpad, to retrieve my bike, I walk the other way.
My bag is still heavy with conscription notices… it only makes sense to deliver all the ones in this town first…
The evening sun plays off of the calm waves of the North Sea.
It should be raining
on a day like this…
This gorgeous weather is slapping me in the face and telling me to be happy, to be content…
I know the weather does not care for the happenings of people… I know that, if it rained everywhere and every day there was a funeral, the whole world
would flood… I know this… and still
… I hate
this contrast between my grim, internal misery and the tranquil sun drenched beach where I stand, this autumn day… There’s barely
even any snow
on the grass…
When this War started, I was fourteen and had two loving parents…
My Father was too old to serve, at 51…
At 37, my mother was not
Yet, it’s not my mother
’s funeral I am attending right now. That was two months ago.
No… the strongly built 55 year old man, dressed in a long white robe and clutching a Norse langsverð, despite having been a fish
farmer and not a warrior, is my father… Lars ‘Walker’ Taylor.
His eyes are closed and he lies within a wooden boat, around 80cm wide and 3m long.
This boat was never meant to touch the water… I bought it from a supplier in Bankland that specialises in funerary boats for Doggerland’s Forn Siðr community.
I already recited a poem… there’s nothing else for me to do until the singer begins.
I’m not listening to the Goði prattle on about Valhalla and Ragnarök… I’m just looking at my father’s face… oscillating between hating him for doing this to me and hating myself for doing this to him.
The sermon concludes and a blonde woman, like everyone else present, dressed in snow white funeral clothes, steps forward.
One of the three men behind her brings his bow to the three strings of his tagelharpa, another raises a flute carved out of a cow’s leg bone to his lips, the last begins banging out a slow beat on his drum.
The band would definitely be larger if so many of the Hof’s musicians hadn’t been called up to serve.
The men begin playing a mournful tune and the woman begins a wailing, melismatic melody, not in English, the first language of most here, not in my father’s native Frisian, not even in New Norse, the liturgical language of his faith…
She sings in a strain of Norwegian that was spoken centuries
ago, when there were barely any
Forn Siðr practitioners living. mf♫ Eg songane søkte Eg songane sende Då den djupaste brunni Gav meg dråpar så ramme Av Valfaders pant♫mf
I have a final part to play in this ritual.
The Goði picks up the torch and lights it against a flaming brazier before beckoning to me.
I step forward from the small crowd.
In contrast to most, whose clothes are pristine white robes and tunics and such, I wear the same simple white suit that I wore two months ago.
I may be a nonbeliever but no one at my father’s Hof challenged the idea that I was the most fitting person to perform this last rite for him.
I take the torch from the man and walk to my father’s side.
I hesitate before I touch it to one of the mounds of high energy, smokeless fuel that surround his body… but only for a moment…
The flame quickly takes and, before the current verse of the song is even finished, the entire boat is engulfed in fire.
I toss the torch in and step back from the conflagration.
Minutes pass as I watch the inferno consume the entire pyre.
I barely notice the music stop.
I barely notice the crowd thinning as people leave.
I just watch as the man’s existence is wiped from the Earth.
“Have you thought about what you’re going to do now, brother?” asks a voice from beside me.
Without looking at the Pagan cleric, I dully answer “I have.”
“And, what is that
… if I may ask?”
“My birthday’s in January… I’ll be drafted… but I don’t have to wait… I’m going to go to the recruitment office and request an early start to my training… by the time it’s done, I’ll be 18 and they’ll be legally able to deploy me.”
… that’s certainly… an
option… Have you thought
“I haven’t, Tormund. This is what I’m doing.” I state, still looking at the blaze.
“I see… I wish you well
then, Oskar…” Tormund says, sincerely.
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--- TWBS Previous
He is a life long prepper and I am too in my own way. That’s why I love this group and enjoy reading all the threads here. I’m literally frozen and don’t know what to do. I like to be objective and focus on what is needed and what needs to be done but I just can’t think straight. I suspect it’s a lot of anxiety and depression hitting me hard and fast. He has his funeral plans and will and paperwork done this week. I’m not a beneficiary as we are a blended family. I can’t work as he needs 24/7 care at home but he’s hospitalized more than half the time. I’m about to find myself alone in a rural hilltown with my dog in an old farmhouse and may have to move. Life here is not easy with dirt roads and everything so far away. A preppers dream location perhaps but I’m not sure I can pull it off alone. My dog is a German shepherd and overly protective of me. Nurses and aids coming in and out. Multiple ambulance trips. Im minimizing my own possessions and debts as well as his with the money I had saved over the years. I have food that can keep us going for a while but he hardly eats anymore. His guns are being legally transferred to others. I’ve been sleep deprived for 3 months now and trying to prioritize what needs to be done. I just want to spend what time is left with him and don’t want to leave his side.
I am planning a funeral dinner (for my father) for about 50 guests. The funeral home is in New Hyde Park and the cemetery is in Farmingdale, so ideally looking for recommendations for places in between.
It's a story about a traumatised dog from war being taken across the country to be at the funeral of its handler and the special bond they had together and that forms between the escort and the dog.
And from the first few minutes I twigged that the dog, that reacts to everything and needs a little kindness and quiet reassurance is a metaphor for PTSD and jesus fuck I felt seen.
The short shrift that the dog gets when it acts out based on how it was trained (or for me how I was conditioned), the feeling that no one gets it. The loneliness and terror of isolation but the fear and anxiety of being around people.
Shit its hitting home for me. I recommend
I am too scared to talk to you. I hope you understand. Did you mean your apology? I miss you and your smell and your songs. No one reads to me or calls me the sweet names you did. I see you at the bus stop. First I was scared and barely 17 again. Now I go the places we went hoping to see you. I have to remind myself what you did and what you said. Sometimes I dream about us getting out of here together. I wonder if I was special. If there were others that were underage. Did you call us the same nicknames. Did you really hate me. I don’t want to believe you are all the things people said you are. I want to believe I knew you. I’m sorry I can’t talk to you. I’m too scared of falling into the same thing that happened before. I wish I could tell you everything I was going through. I don’t know if I could trust you. I wonder if you’d recognize me. Seven years later. I hope you’re okay. I want to tell you everything that’s happened since. I want you the read to me at the park or the cemetery. I want to know what you think of my outfit. I want to drink too much and fall asleep a your feet like a cat. I hope you don’t see this and I hope you do. I hope you had a good birthday.
I wrote this a month ago. I’m home alone, back from a funeral. I need you right now. my boyfriend brought me flowers and my sister and I talked about our abuse. but I need you.