[28th of August, 2740 AD; Eva Bellamy’s house, Admorse, Ameci]
It was a warm morning as Eva yawned. She had just put on her eyepatch while Kirk lay by her side. Ever since the battle of Bel, her life had returned to normal. Only this time, she was not alone. That made her happy, she hoped.
“When you sit up like that with the light behind you,” Kirk said, “I can’t think of anything more beautiful than that.”
“You’re already going off on poetics, it looks like,” she said.
“There’s a lot more I could say,” he replied.
“I’m sure you can,” Eva said. “Your tongue is quite skilled…”
Kirk laughed as he placed his hand on Eva’s back. “That’s still going through your mind, isn’t it?”
“You know just how to press my buttons,” she replied. “It’s a double-edged sword, but when it’s good, I just lose it. You should hope that it stays that way.”
“Indeed,” he said. “Anyway, there was one thing I wanted to talk to you about.”
“When I was in the kitchen last night, I thought I heard you crying,” Kirk said. “Eva, I can’t read your mind, but are you still thinking about what happened six months ago?”
Eva turned away, her back facing him as she sighed.
“You don’t have to answer,” he said. “I care about you, that’s all.”
“No, it’s fine,” she replied. “It just hurts is all. I just hate feeling like I was too weak to stop what happened to him.”
“But you did stop it,” Kirk said. “At least you stopped his killer.”
She shook her head. “That wasn’t even me who did that, you know.”
“Maybe so, but you did deal with that man personally,” he replied. “I couldn’t have done that.”
“Of course you wouldn’t,” Eva said. “That’s just who you are: a strong, kind man who wouldn’t dare take a life.”
Kirk sat up and moved closer towards Eva. He reached from behind and wrapped his arms around her as she accepted his gesture.
“Part of me hates you because of that,” she continued. “No matter what I can do, I’m always going to be known simply as ‘Eva the killer’ and nothing more.”
“It’s just a stupid name.”
“That’s easy for you to say,” she said.
“It doesn’t matter what happened in the past,” Kirk said. “What matters is what happens going forward.”
“Yeah, well I’m sick of it,” she replied. “I wish I could be as optimistic as you, but I can’t. Barely anything phases me anymore.”
“Last night was the first time I cried in forever,” she said. “Belkley was one of the few bright spots in my life and when he was taken out, I could only feel intense fury. Fury that I carried out on the person responsible, and after that… nothing.”
“You know you’re not alone,” Kirk said. “That’s a pain I know all too well.”
“There’s still Sorin,” she replied. “You have him. Right now, all I have is you… If something happened to you, I don’t know if I would have the will to keep on living.”
“That’s not true,” Kirk said. “You have many people who care about you, Eva, myself included. My son thinks very highly of you, as I am sure the others do as well.”
She closed her eye as she rested the back of her head into his chest. “Are you really this stubborn?” Eva asked. “You probably think that you can solve everybody’s problems, don’t you?”
“I just want to see you be happy,” he replied.
“I do too,” she said. “I just wish I remembered how to do it.”
Eva placed her hands on his as he moved his other hand to her head. As she turned sideways, Kirk patted her head and stroked her hair.
“Until I can, please promise me you won’t fight again,” she said. “That’s all I ask of you, Kirk.”
“For you, I promise.”
“Okay,” she replied.
At that point, it was obvious to Eva that she wanted him to be close to her for much longer. The morning started to pass by, but for this instance she just had to be close to him. What had to be done later, though, was something that Kirk had to worry about.
[28th of August, 2740 AD; downtown Admorse – Gardner District]
Kirk strolled into the department store for some groceries. It was the first time he had done so in a while, given what he had been doing for the past few years. With the past behind him, though, Kirk wanted to make something for dinner for him and Eva. She had no desire at all to go with him, so he decided to go it alone. At least he was on his own until he bumped into Tori Randolph at the front of the store.
“Kirk, is that you?” Tori asked.
He chuckled. “You found me.”
“It’s been a while,” she said. “What are you doing here?”
“Oh, just doing the rounds,” Kirk replied. “You know, get food… make it… eat it.”
“Is Eva around? She’s usually by your side,” Tori said.
“She didn’t want to come,” he said. “Had to take care of the house.”
“Well, if you two aren’t busy, perhaps you can join us sometime,” Tori replied. “Henry and I would like to catch up with you two if that’s okay with you.”
Kirk smiled. “I would love to,” he said.
“Then how about tomorrow night?” Tori asked. “We were actually going to have plans with Rohan and his wife Umida, but he had a change of plans.”
“I don’t have anything coming up tomorrow, so why not? I’m sure I can convince Eva to come along.”
“Please do,” she said. “I want to know how you two are doing.”
“Okay, I’ll try.”
“Great!” Tori said. “Then we’ll see you tomorrow night.”
She then said goodbye to Kirk and went on her way while he continued his task of selecting the right ingredients for dinner. Kirk did wonder how Henry was doing now that he was re-enlisted with the Ameci military. Certainly there was a story in there somewhere, though Kirk would have to find out from Henry himself tomorrow.
[29th of August, 2740 AD; Ameci Military Headquarters, Admorse, Ameci]
It had been another day of rigorous training for Henry Randolph as he struck the punching bag with punch after punch. The sound of his bare fists hitting the black leather could be heard all across the gym as Henry proceeded to follow up by delivering a roundhouse kick to the bag. After he got the punching bag to move a decent amount, Henry saw it fit to take a brief intermission from his training and sat down on the wooden bench nearby.
Henry had only just been re-enlisted just over a month ago, thanks to his friend Rohan Fercewend being generous enough to find him a spot within the military as a junior lieutenant. There were some opposed to the motion, but many of the soldiers accepted Henry back into the ranks.
Right now, Henry could only think of what he wanted to do after his training was finished. That was when Rohan entered the gym.
“Randolph, I take it you’re faring well in your rounds?” Fercewend asked.
“You know me well,” Henry said. “It’s been quite a long time, so I’ve had a lot of catching up to do.”
Fercewend laughed a deep laugh as he took a seat next to Henry. “That’s good to hear,” he said. “Some of these new recruits could learn a thing or two from you.”
“I’m flattered,” Henry said. “Sadly I’m not nearly as great a leader as you are, general.”
“Come now,” Fercewend replied, “Rank doesn’t matter between friends. Call me Rohan.”
“Very well,” Henry said. “What brings you here, Rohan? Is it something important?”
“You could say that,” he said. “There is a matter that the Ameci government must attend to in Iiayikohn, so I have been invited along.”
Henry could only guess that it had to do with what had happened in Maeitakohn back in April. Namely the matter of Rodik Mahrk, the new president that took over after the previous president, Rhodes, died.
“I know very little about this new president of Maeitakohn,” Fercewend said. “All I know was that he was the vice president for only a year.”
“So I assume that you will be meeting with him?” Henry asked.
“That’s the plan, it seems,” Fercewend replied. “Hasker stated that it was important for our militaries to cooperate with one another if another ‘incident’ were to happen again.”
“Apparently, the princess from the Royal Kingdom of Thekohn is supposed to attend as well,” Fercewend said. “It was a while since I last stepped foot into that country, but I am glad to see that they too are deciding to come forward.”
“The Thedam princess,” Henry said. “I thought that they didn’t involve themselves in prominent international affairs, though.”
“Looks like it’s different this time.”
“I can see that,” Henry replied.
“They say she’s quite a skilled orator, even at her age,” Fercewend said. “I look forward to hearing from her myself.”
“I wish you luck,” Henry said, “But I assume that this wasn’t why you wanted to me. So what is it that you want from me, then?”
“What I ask from you is to attend this meeting with me,” Fercewend answered. “You’re someone I can trust, so that is why I am asking you specifically to join my side. In addition, there is something else I must ask of you.”
“And that is?”
“An Ameci soldier has gone missing,” Fercewend said. “A young man by the name of Johan Kuu… For a time, he was an excellent spy, but no one has heard from him for a month now.”
“Do you know what happened to him?” Henry asked.
“Kuu was last seen when we were in Ahnlikohn,” he replied. “I don’t know where he has gone, but I am worried that there is more than meets the eye with his disappearance.”
“There has been a bit of a conflict between Hasker and Chancellor Harring,” Fercewend said. “I am hoping that what happened to Kuu doesn’t become something more between our two nations.
“The chancellor is an understanding man,” Henry said.
“That is true, Henry,” Fercewend replied. “What I’m worried about, however, is how this will go over should the royal family of Ahnlikohn get involved.”
“I’m sure that you and Hasker will handle it if that road is crossed.”
Fercewend smirked. “Oh, don’t worry about me,” he said. “Now, my mission for you is simple: I want you to lead a rescue operation into Ahnlikohn. I have no idea if he is still there, but your search for Johan Kuu begins there.”
“I assume that it’ll not be easy,” Henry said. “You chose quite a tough mission for someone who’s only just been re-enlisted.”
“If I didn’t believe in my men, what would would that say about my ability as general?” Fercewend asked. “Better yet: if I didn’t believe in you, how could I ever call myself your friend?”
Henry clenched his fist and grinned as he looked at Rohan. “I wouldn’t expect you to say anything else,” he replied. “Of course I will carry out this mission. I will find Mr. Kuu, that I promise you.”
“I’m glad to hear that, Henry.”
Fercewend stood up and turned towards the door. The sunlight was pouring through the glass as it slowly turned to the evening.
“Now, the ship leaves tomorrow,” he said. “You’ve proven yourself in this gym today, so I would suggest that you go home and get some rest.”
Rohan left the gym as Henry chuckled. It was true, he thought, because there was nothing more that he needed to prove against an opponent that could not move. No, Henry needed to prove his newfound worth out in the field. It was funny since only a few months ago, Henry felt hopeless about the future, but now everything was looking good for him. He found a place back where he once was, he married Tori and had a family to go home to each night. Perhaps it was luck favoring him, but also perhaps it was because Henry had good friends that had supported him when things were at their worst.
“I should get going,” he said. “I promised her that I’d only train for an hour…”
To be continued…