"This is bullshit," Enzo said.
Allan picked up the complaint over his headset, which the woman...what had been her name? K...Kyra, yes. She had fixed it. He ignored the mercenary's grating voice. Neither of the other two, Colin or Callie, responded. Allan was still focusing on his momentary lapse in sanity. When he'd awoken in that escape pod, tasting his own blood, as he'd bit his cheek in all the chaos, and realized that someone had taken his helmet off...he'd begun to see red. Literally. Red had actually started to creep into his vision.
He didn't think that was an actual thing that happened. Allan had always passed it off as just an expression people said. Not only that, but he felt control slipping away from him. He'd had to sit on the abruptly overwhelming urge to reach up, grab Bishop's neck and squeeze it until his head popped off. He didn't have anything at all against the man, and he wasn't violent by nature, at least when the situation didn't call for it.
And this situation certainly hadn't.
So what was his problem? Allan felt fear steal into his soul as he considered the matter from several different angles. What if he was going insane? It seemed possible, given all of the emotional trauma he'd endured over the past...how long had the events on Lindholm lasted? He felt sure it couldn't be more than a few days, but sometimes it seemed like his campaign against the armored killer had gone on for weeks, almost as though it was a timeless event, that it was still going on, would go on forever...
So what did it take to drive a man insane? Right now, he still felt in control. His head was clear. His senses were speaking to him, telling him that he was marooned on a miserable frozen planet, walking into a dangerous situation. Allan never thought he'd miss the dry desert dirt of Lindholm, but here he was, missing it. That thought made his mind quiver slightly as he recalled the fact that he'd killed an entire planets' worth of people. How was he ever going to balance the books? How was he ever going to live with this?
There was a good chance, almost a certain chance, that he couldn't.
Allan realized someone was getting close to him. He glanced over and saw that it was the Spec Ops warrior here looking for blood and vengeance for her lost squad, Callie. Up ahead, he could see Enzo and Colin, leading the way to the excavation site. She reached up and tapped the side of her helmet, it took Allan a moment to get it, but he realized what she meant: she wanted him to turn on the extremely short-wave function for his radio, so their conversation wouldn't get picked up. He did, leaving the receiver open so that he could hear anyone else that tried to get into contact with him, but they wouldn't be able to hear him.
"Hi," he said. He was disappointed with how rusty his voice sounded.
"Hello," she said. "I was thinking, about what you had to do on Lindholm...I looked over your report, after we all met. It was a really tough call." Callie sounded slightly awkward, like she'd forgotten how to have a conversation.
He supposed that made two of them.
"Yeah, it was," he said quietly.
"I've had to make a few of those myself," Callie continued. "It doesn't get any easier, choosing between lives and the mission, sacrifice ten people here so a thousand people over there can live...I know how it feels."
"Thanks," Allan murmured, keeping his gaze straight ahead.
A few moments passed, their only company the blowing winds.
"Your file said you grew up on Frontier," Callie said finally. "I've been there a few times. It's kind of a nasty, old world...no offense."
Allan snorted unexpectedly. "None taken. I fucking hate that planet. I worked with SI there for years...it was a real hellhole."
YOU ARE READING
The seventh novel in The Shadow Wars. In an isolated region of space, four survivors of brutal conflicts meet and are once again forced to fight for their lives... On the pleasure planet known as Mezzanine, a pair of mercenaries on the run from the...