Chapter 23

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by Phoebe

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by Phoebe

Hooman #A looks
at the children
like his heart is breaking.
I can't burden them
with this tragedy,
so I speak up instead.

We can't;
we need to keep going.

Then we move on
from half-lizardman,
half-human orphans
to a hallway
that leads deeper
into the warehouse's
spiral-stairwelled pit.

We descend
and pretend
we didn't leave
one dark truth
to find answers
to another.

Yet as we enter
the heart of the West Coast base,
Buttercup falters
in her resolve.

What if the lizardmen
are not inherently bad?
What if
one of those children
were raised to be good?
Are we protecting hoomans
from the Banylonians
or from the memes
of violence
that threatens
Proxima Centauri B
as much as it
challenges Earth?

It's good
to extend empathy
to the enemy,
so long as you continue
to fight
for a better future.
We must keep
pressing on.

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