“He was a damn fine soldier.”
“Tyler, right. Too bad he had a moral compass.”
I looked at Superior with disgust. “Right, it was his morals that were the problem. Certainly not the dictators we work for, oh no.”
Superior smirked just a little. “I don’t remember promoting you for those backhanded comments, Commander.” He took a sip of his tea.
I sighed. “I think he was trying to get help from our neighbor country.”
Superior laughed. “Them? They’re just a nicer extension of us. He wouldn’t have had a chance if he told them what he did.”
I stayed silent for a few moments, and finished my own tea. Tea was a luxury that only high ranking officers received. Incredible to think that, as it’s only a few herbs in a bag. “I hate this.”
“I hate being unable to make a difference. I’m going to have to do something. We could start a rebellion.”
Superior laughed. “A rebellion? Listen, new recruits are too scared of losing their paycheck, and nearly everyone above them is complacent with what they get.”
I stood up. “And that’s wrong!”
Superior stayed seated, but the rage in his voice was heard. “You think I like to sit around here and kill my own men? No, I don’t. Yet, I’ve been doing it for years. I’ve been killing Officers and civilians alike! No one is safe from our so called “Leaders!” If they were, you and I wouldn’t be sitting here sipping on god damned chamomile!” His voice softened, “I have been making a change. Handing out an extra dollar here and there. Sabotaging missions that take away resources from our city. I’ve done all of it right here, while telling you how to properly lead your men.” He tossed his tea down his throat, then put his cup down. “Here, walk with me, lass.”
I finished my tea, then stood up with him. “Miranda, lass, I know how you feel right now. You were recruited out of the poorest part of the city, the same as I,” He briskly opened a door for me. “The very same slum our parents died in have given us the greatest reason to rebel. You will make a difference.”
I sighed again. “What are the conditions for retiring?”
“Injury or old age. Anything else is considered treason. If you’d like, I could shoot your leg next mission.”
I laughed. He returned it. “I might have to take you up on that.”
“I wouldn’t blame you.”
We stopped, and took off our gear in the locker room.
“I’m retiring soon, you know. About two years from now. Would you really make me find another replacement in that short while?”
I thought about it for a moment. “No, that would be selfish.”
“I’ll be waiting outside for you.” Superior’s footsteps left the room.
Superior never told me what I’d be doing to make the world a better place once I’m in his position. I guess I’d have to learn on the job once again. I took off my belt, and placed it in my locker, and closed it in. I followed Superior’s path outside.
“Do you have any family left, Miranda?”
“Pity. You don’t seem like the type to ever settle down either. Maybe you’ll adopt, and pass your name down that way.”
“I couldn’t afford it even if I wanted to.”
Superior chuckled. “Ay, I’m having the same issue. It’s too bad I won’t be getting any sort of veteran’s bonus after retirement. I’d love to have a daughter.”
I looked at my feet. There was nothing I could say.
“Come closer for a second. I have something to tell you.”
I looked up, and took a step towards him. He hugged me, much to my surprise, and whispered: “My name is Victor.”
I tightened my grip on him, probably out of shock. No one in the force ever learns the name of the men above them. This was a rare circumstance. He’d always just been “Superior” to me, but now he has a name.
He let me go, and I followed suit. “Stay safe, Commander. In god we trust.”
“E,” I stopped myself. “In god we trust, Superior.” He smiled, and turned away.
I watched him walk away.
“E Pluribus Unum, Victor.”