Allan Gray sat in a booth at a diner on a planet he hadn't ever been to before and tried hard to keep the butterflies in his stomach from getting the best of him. A burger and some fries lay half-eaten on a plate in front of him. He knew that he couldn't just come in and sit down. Unfortunately, he was so freaking nervous that he'd hardly been able to do little more than pick at his meal. At least it didn't really feel like a waste of money: Hawkins had given him a credit chip and told him to go crazy. Allan chuckled at that memory.
It led to other memories and, while he waited, he let himself get lost in the past, if only to distract him from the present and possible future.
They'd killed Rogue Operations. Put them down once and for all. After he'd woken up onboard the speedship from the bullets Enzo had put into him, Callie had been there, telling him that he was going to be okay, that they were heading back to link up with Hawkins. By the time they'd actually arrived, Hawkins gave them the good news: Greg and his crew had also succeeded and largely survived. He spent the next three days recovering and filling in a bunch of nosy investigators on all the crap he'd done and had to put up with since Lindholm.
When it was over, at least the part that actually involved his personal attention, Hawkins had come through on his promise and sent them all to Mezzanine. That had been great. Two solid weeks of not having to worry about ungodly horrors and isolated locations and guys with guns coming for him. Not that he'd actually been able to stop looking over his shoulder. He didn't think he'd ever really get rid of the notion that he was living on borrowed time and that death was hunting him with ill intent. But he enjoyed his vacation.
He and Callie had spent most of the time either poolside, lying on a beach, or in their room. They'd decided to get serious. Callie said that they had done it, they had survived, and they'd spent the first night on vacation talking about a real relationship. They weren't exactly getting married, but now they had fully committed to each other and had agreed to become a paired unit, relying on each other, consulting each other, trusting each other.
A real couple.
How long had it been since Allan had dated a woman he really, genuinely felt he could trust? Too long, honestly. Allan turned away from that thought. He didn't want to come back to reality, not just yet. He smiled as he remembered Mezzanine. He'd had some fun times with Greg and the others, but honestly, he'd just wanted to hole up, to hide from the world, to rest and recover, emotionally, physically, spiritually, mentally. Callie had helped with that, and he had helped her, too. They'd helped each other.
It seemed like it was over in a flash, though, and their two weeks were up. They'd all gotten onto a transport with slightly heavy hearts and started coming back to see Hawkins. Nobody knew what was going to happen. It was all still up in the air. They could get cut loose, or given a job offer, or thrown in prison or...hell, they could all be killed in an 'accident'. It was more than possible. They knew too much. They knew a lot.
But they'd gone to see Hawkins and he had basically shrugged and said that the government was still trying to figure out what to do with them, so he'd given them another two weeks leave. Greg and Eve, and Drake had all left immediately, off on some personal business. Allan guessed that Greg might be going to meet his parents. He'd brought it up once or twice during their stay on Mezzanine. In fact, that's what got Allan thinking about...
Where he was, here and now.
Allan was feeling a lot better after having gone into his own mind to face down his insanity. He could get out of his armor without any problem and he was having less nightmares. He still had mood swings and insomnia from time to time, but the cocktail of psych meds he was taking helped keep his symptoms manageable. Which was pretty nice. Having an understanding girlfriend helped a lot, too. Unfortunately, Allan couldn't quite get past his uncovered memory. He had tried to kill himself and forgotten about it.
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Laid To Rest (A Shadow Wars Companion)Short Story
A companion short set between the last chapter and the epilogue of Countdown. In the wake of taking down Rogue Operations once and for all, the survivors find themselves with some time to kill. Allan Gray wants to feel better, to be better. He's bee...