Chapter 02: Making New Memories

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Waking.

It seemed to Greg that his most vivid memories were of waking. If he were forced to answer the question of why this was, he supposed he would say that it was because it reminded him of when his new memories began, of that terrifying origin of his new life. It seemed that it had been at least a year, perhaps eighteen months since he'd awoken in that ruined troop transport vessel, in the middle of a rainy, midnight wasteland.

He had to keep reminding himself that in all actuality it had been a little under two months. So very much had happened in those scant few weeks. He'd gone all over the galaxy, fought on a couple different worlds, become a member of the very organization that he had sworn to take down. How could so much happen so fast?

After Kyra had left, Greg had spent about a day stuck in a miserable depression, recovering from his wounds sustained from the mission. The others came to see him from time to time but he'd been kind of rude to them, pushing them away, just wanting to be alone, experiencing what seemed to be the first real, brutal depression of his new life. When he'd felt up to it, he'd asked Hawkins to replace his arm and put him into a chemically induced coma for a few days to sleep off the misery and the pain. Hawkins had mercifully agreed.

Greg had woken groggy and somewhat less miserable five days later. When he lifted his right arm and found himself looking at an arm, a flesh and blood arm, his arm, his mood improved considerably. It still hurt, but the pain was dull and far away. When he clenched his fist, it clenched perfectly. He moved his fingers, each individually, and found them all functional. It was like he had never lost his arm in the first place. There wasn't even a seam or scar or anything. The only thing that was slightly off was the smoothness of the flesh.

He spent the next two days going through a kind of rehabilitation class. A pair of med-techs, a soft-spoken, middle-aged bald man and a whipcord lean black man with graying hair, took him through several 'courses'. Greg figured out that they were simply running his arm and his brain through a series of tests, making sure all the new neural connections they'd hardwired in were functional and that the arm was up to snuff. He learned later that they'd flash-cloned it, grown in a vat of viscous green liquid on a hyper-accelerated timeline with all sorts of chemicals and hormones that he neither could pronounce nor understand.

What confused him the most about this experience was the fact that whenever he had downtime, Eve would come find him and spend time with him. He quickly found himself intoxicated by her presence. She was fun, flirtatious, and seemed to have no concept of personal space, always hugging him and touching him and walking shoulder to shoulder with him. She would go on walks with him around the Atonement, eat meals with him, lounge around in the observation deck or invite him back to her quarters to watch movies or play games.

It was on the day after his graduation from rehabilitation that it happened. He didn't know what it was, if he was just hurting from his loss of Kyra and looking for someone to fill the sudden void in his life or if she made him feel all right again, high on life after surviving a string of insane incidents, but that night, she'd invited him again to her quarters to watch a movie. They sat together on a couch next to her bed, watching a horror movie, and she'd sat particularly close to him, shoulder to shoulder. He felt a kind of tension rising in his chest and he'd decided to make a move. He put his arm around her and she immediately pressed herself against him.

It wasn't long before they were kissing, then stripping the clothes from each other's bodies, and then they made use of the couch. And then the bed. And then the shower. Each time made Greg feel like he was peeling away some smothering blanket, tossing aside his immense misery and forging a path back to happiness.

They'd made it official the next morning, become a couple.

The next two weeks had flown by. Hawkins wanted him on a few missions. 'Tying up loose ends' he called it. Greg had led Spec Ops squads against former Rogue Ops bases, trying to find more pieces to the ever-expanding puzzle that was the renegade government agency's machinations. He fell into a pattern of existence that was immensely satisfying. He'd fly out to some isolated location, either kick ass if they found Rogue Ops personnel or spend a few days dismantling the base for data if they didn't, then he'd fly back, get two days' downtime where he'd do little more than eat, sleep, shower, and have amazing sex with Eve, then fly back out and do it again.

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