AWD #035: Six Days
Six Days
Summary: Zachary is tormented by a stuffed rabbit.
Date: 12/02/2013 (OOC Date)
Related Logs: Hibernia and Pallas Provide
Zachary 
CAG's Office
12 February 2005

After filing the AAR and getting back to his office, Zachary put on coffee and sat in his chair. He couldn't sleep. Correction, he didn't want to sleep. The images of the recon still weighed heavily on his mind. As he sat there and studied the small stuffed animal in his hands, he went back over the last several weeks.

One thing in paticular came up and hit him and hit hard. He had to dig through his files to find it, but when he did, it confirmed his fears and his heart sank. Thaddeus and Zander had done the recon of Virgon on 13 January. The last log entry from the liner they boarded was 19 January.

Six days. For six days, they sat there. Zachary cursed himself. He should have been firmer in his command. He should have let off the stick and throttled it. He should have let them throw caution to the wind and go down into atomsphere. Why didn't they check Hibernia when they were so close to Virgon? He could see Virgon in the distance when they arrived on Hibernia. When they arrived at where the ships were parked. So neat, so orderly. They had landed and survived. They waited, they hoped for rescue.

And he left them swinging in the wind until gods knows what happened to them. He had hoped, prayed to find camera footage, something, anything that may have let him know the fate of the owner of the toy in his hands. It was still wrapped in plastic, it was unknown if it was contaminated, but he had not taken any chances. It was a little stuffed rabbit. The type him and Eden had seen in stores before and had made jokes about getting for their own children with an inside joke that they had gone at each other like bunnies to make a family.

Bunny.jpg

Had the ship been on its normal cruise when the war started? Zachary wondered to himself. Were they a family on vacation? One? Two children? Had they saved up? Was this a second honeymoon? A family trip? Were they on their first vacation as a family? He and Eden had taken several cruises before, when he had leave, but he knew that some families save up for a lifetime for the trip. Were they happy? Were they excited? In his mind, he could see the vacation video - Eden leaned back against the observation deck. Surfing in the wave pool. Laughter as they danced around the floor. Fond glances over dinner, and that look in her eyes when they were retiring for the evening. Did this family get a chance to make similar memories?

Was his or her father with this child? Was the mother? The diaper bag. Someone was. Were they altogether when they were taken? Forced apart. Did he or she have to watch her parents be taken and could only scream. Or was she.. he decided the child must have been a girl, the diaper bag was neutral color, but he didn't care. Did she scream? Did she go along willingly? Was the diaper bag her younger brother's, or was it hers? Did the Captain of the liner see Thaddeus' Raptor on his DRADIS and try to hail him to no avail?

Zachary set the toy aside, unsure what to do with it. Instead, he curled his hands into fist and hit his desk. "Gods dammit!" he roared. "Why are you forsaking us? Why must you point out my mistakes, my failures, in such clear detail." he cried out. "Six days. If I had pushed harder to the follow up recon, we could have saved them. It's my fault. I made that decision. While we were playing paintball, they were stranded. While we had a party, they sat in the dark. It's all on me." he lets out a slow breath and starts to put himself back together.

As he did, he turned to look at the names on the wall, and scowled. "FRAK YOU, DUKE. WISDOM. WIZARD. FRAK YOU ALL FOR LEAVING ME WITH THIS. YOU ASSHOLES!!" he screamed at the wall of names of the CAGs before him. He had to get it out of his system. He could not become like him. Broken by the war. Lost, doing gods only knows what. He had made his mistake and the gods made sure he paid a price for it. He drew in his breath and let his heart pound in his chest. He focused on that. He imagined he could hear Eden's heart beating in time with his - and then a new beat. Their child. He anchored himself to the thought of them. They were his reason. He would protect them, no matter what.

He would protect his wing. They were his children. But he also knew they were soldiers and they know the risks. "Never again." he swore, and looked towards the stuffed rabbit. "Never again. I'm so sorry I couldn't save your owner." he apologized to the floppy ear creature. "Six days. You waited, and I didn't have someone save you."

And with that, he turned and started to write his proposal for Pallas. His knuckles ached and were going to bruise from his pounding on the desk, but it was a reminder. Never again. He had a job to do, and it was a careful balance that he could not stand to have come off center.

The rabbit stared back at Zachary with its empty button eyes, forever accusatory.

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