Date: Saturday 28 January 2041ce 1800z
Location: CSNA Embassy, Reykjavik, Iceland (0000)
I have most certainly earned this…
Yamada stood before the mirror, examining her Navy dress uniform: The so-dark-as-to-be-black blue fabric, the triple-row of ribbons perfectly placed, the gold bands around her cuffs, and the pristine cover with its newly mounted eagle insignia of the captain’s rank.
It had been officially received just two hours ago, in a small ceremony that included only her team, a few other PSI tactical officers, and members of the embassy staff.
Ambassador Wright, himself a retired Major General, had the honor of bestowing the rank.
And now may never wear it again.
In a few minutes, she would depart for the airport; Once back in Quebec, she would be on leave, but would be fitted for the new uniform.
Her next assignment was within the new Coalition chain of command, and that came with the new uniform.
Sight as-yet unseen.
There was some heart break in that, having obtained the dream of joining the Navy at a very early age and always imagined herself in the uniform she currently wore.
She looked around the private quarters, its pre-Invasion wood furniture and ornate drapery.
Her home for four years, now also becoming a thing of her past.
This assignment did not take me where I imagined.
A knock at the door drew her out of the moment of melancholy.
The door opened, revealing a large form in Navy enlisted office whites.
You’re still on duty until the paper work’s in.
“Car’s ready, Captain.”
That’ll take some getting used to…
“Are you alright, Ma’am?”
“Yes,” Yamada replied. “Can you take this; I’ve got the rest.”
She handed Madsen a garment bag, her office uniforms inside, then hoisted her duffle over-shoulder.
“My packages went out?”
“Three hours ago,” Madsen confirmed. “Probably be there before you are.”
She already knew she’d catch up with her packages after the greater portion of two weeks had passed.
They walked down the hall and into an elevator; The car was running, a guard standing by.
“I don’t think they trust you yet,” Yamada joked.
“Pretty sure I didn’t steal this one,” Madsen said to the armed marine as they passed by.
For his part, the marine remained motionless and stoic.
The bags went into the trunk and they climbed in.
“Did you just hand him a ten, Sergeant?”
“No,” Madsen said, sounding emotionally hurt. Then added, “He wouldn’t take it.”
They drove off.
“Rest of the team ready?” she asked once they were well on the road.
“Bryant is a little sore,” he said. “Hooked on that girl from the flower shop.”
“I’m certain he’s thinking marriage,” Madsen said through a smirk. “Not sure what she’s planning.”
Yamada shook her head.
“Don’t think so,” she said. “He’s known for a year and still debating it.”
“Oddly,” Madsen replied, “that’s kinda how he is about life… One of the reasons why he seems so boring but then has a sudden life change every six months.”
“That… Okay, I see it. Other than that?”
That should drive flower-girl crazy after a few times.
“Everything on schedule. General Hitchens confirmed the Patrol Deployment, February twelfth out of Las Vegas, New Mexico.”
She didn’t show her displeasure; The hike was her idea to begin with.
“Honestly, Captain,” Madsen prodded. “What’s got you down?”
“Plans have changed,” she said with resignation.
“Everything’s changed,” Madsen agreed.
Yamada knew that he understood; They had served together for four years, were together when they gained the knowledge that would forever change the course of human history.
“Also fitting,” she began, “that having finally finished my masters, and have time to truly enjoy being here, we’re relocating to the middle of a desert.”
“I’d say you enjoyed it plenty, Ma’am,” Madsen replied. “Just not quite as well as a resident working one job normally does.”
“I think I might retire here.”
“And I’ve taken a liking to Eire, Ma’am.”
“I thought those bearded Scots were more your style.”
“Nah. Anyone can wear a kilt; They just do it more often.”
That was a style of dress she simply never understood.
“Is everyone up for the hike?”
“They question its necessity,” Madsen answered. “Orders are orders, though.”
The NES Navy didn’t send sailors on patrol, even if they never set foot on a ship.
And her team had been selected and trained to be more surgical in their approach.
She wanted to remind him that they were about to be mixed in with western troopers, and that patrols for them were necessary and vital, but he already knew even if her team complained.
Troop… We’re a troop now, until we join First Army.
Everything seemed to be changing so quickly, but they’d also been stationed in Iceland watching the NES and SWS move towards Reunification from a distance. Now they were moving right into the middle of it.
And into something else entirely.
“Are we doing the right thing?”
It was the question she’d been struggling with, though she’d never voiced it.
Not during any of her meetings with Doctor Scott, and most certainly not while providing Captain Nielson with his read in.
“What do you mean?” Madsen asked.
“The project… The implications.”
“To end the war? Yes, of course. But it reminds me of Prometheus.”
“The Greek fire god?”
“What’s the difference?”
“Well… I guess ‘godly’ is the word then. He created humanity, then gave us the secret of fire.”
“Zeus punished him for it. The ruler of their gods chained him to a rock so that an eagle could eat his liver every day.”
“Have you ever read Frankenstein.”
“Saw the movie.”
“A few, actually; The one with the author’s name in it seemed the best.”
“Yes… Mary Shelley. Good one. The subtitle for the book was The Modern Prometheus.”
Madsen’s eyes squinted, which was his way when thinking something through.
Finally, he said, “I can see how that fits. The story I mean. But I’m not sure where you’re going with this.”
“Are we setting ourselves up to confront a monster of our own creation?”
Madsen shook his head. “I think Doctor Scott will be more selective in his volunteers than Doctor Frankenstein was.”
She looked at him closely for a moment, but then watched his face light up.
“Didn’t Kant refer to Benjamin Franklin by that name?” he asked.
“Huh? Oh! Yes. For experimenting with electricity. Which I think was the connection Shelley drew.”
“Makes sense… Electricity raised the beast. And here’s our exit… Ma’am.”
Entering a public area, he slipped back into rank.
The car turned off the expressway and into the airport’s entrance road.
Captain Yamada continued to study her driver as they approached the military terminal, suddenly aware of something she hadn’t realized before.
Doctor Scott hasn’t told you that you’re a positive match.
She already knew that she wasn’t.