Markus remembered coming home every day to his father’s favorite chair and waiting in it. Anxiously waiting for hours on end for his father to get home from work. He couldn’t help but wiggle with excitement to see his Daddy. But he never came. Markus woke up late that night curled up on the chair. Completely alone. His father had returned and gone to bed, without even regarding Markus’ existence. A lump welled up in Markus’ throat as he recalled moping to his room and crawling into his bed alone.
Markus’ father always tried to buy his son’s affection. After ignoring him for weeks, he would buy him his favorite toy. When he was in his teens, he would buy him ammo and weapons as the occasional present, but he never showed any affection for Markus. So Markus found affection in other places. Even though Markus had no family other than his father, he was not friend deprived. Markus found comfort in his friends at high school and with various girlfriends until he found his true passion. Shooting. The rest is history.
Sure, Markus didn’t have the best father, but he wasn’t always like that. It was only after his Mom died that his father fell apart. Markus could never pinpoint it, but if he was honest, Markus’ life went from heaven to hell in one person’s death. Markus welded his eyes shut at the thought of his mother. He didn’t need to think of her right now. She was gone, and there was nothing he could do. His father, however, he could do something about. As soon as Markus was able, he was going to gut whoever did it. He was going to kill every last son of a-
Markus’ thoughts were interrupted by the sound of a heavy metal door sliding open. Two pairs of boots propped Markus up and he cracked his eyes open. The light was blinding.
“How you holding up, kid?” asked a rough voice. Markus opened his eyes to see a tall hardy man in a commander’s uniform. Markus clambered to his feet and saluted. “Cut the formalities, son, we have work to do.”
“Where am I?” Markus asked, looking around. He was obviously at a military base. Men in different uniforms ran to and fro with crates and dollies. Some were talking, some were arguing, but the topic was always about something work related. Several “Black Skimmers” lined the walls along with other APC’s and hummers.
“A small military base outside of the city. Due to recent, unfortunate, events, you are being inserted today. Now, to be more specific. Sorry for the inconvenience.”
“Inconvenience? You ripped me out of my home!”
“I saved your life!” The man barked, jabbing a finger at Markus. Markus glanced back at the Black Skimmer to see Ashley climbing off the chopper.
“Ah, Lieutenant Sanders! Excellent work!” The man greeted Ashley with a handshake.
“Commander Smith.” She nodded in acknowledgement.
“You made the front page.” He reported with a short smile, showing her a news pad. On the front page were the letters in bold, ‘Devroy Manufacturing gets hit!’ coupled with a picture of the headquarters with several holes through the side of the building with smoke rising from the occasional shattered window. Ashley quickly snatched the news pad and hit several buttons, deactivating it. She handed it back to the Commander.
“Thank you, Commander, but I am aware of my accomplishments.” She didn’t offer a glance to Markus.
“Wait, can I-“ Markus asked, reaching for the news pad.
“No!” Ashley interjected, grabbing the hand Markus extended and beginning to walk away with it. “We have work to do. Can’t be reading our own press clippings, now can we?” Markus pulled back.
“Why not? You can’t keep this from me forever!”
“No, but I can certainly try.” She insisted, pulling him harder. The commander rolled his eyes and walked away.
“You have your orders, Sanders.”
“Yes sir, right away sir!” She responded, suddenly standing at attention. Markus watched as the commander walked away.
“How long until I find out for myself? How long must I wait in agony, Ashley?” Markus pleaded. Ashley began to walk away and Markus followed. Ashley swore,
“Markus, you can know whenever you want, just..” She stopped and bit her lip. Markus walked in her path and halted her with his hand.
“What? Just what!?” She sighed.
“Let me get off planet before you do.” She walked around Markus and left him in confusion. Markus almost exploded in frustration. He turned around and watched her walk away. Every muscle in his body wanted to tackle her and choke the answer out of her – but he wouldn’t allow himself to move. Markus stood there for several minutes before his self-control ran out. He then walked down the hall she had ventured into until he ran into a man with a strange head set who confronted him.
“You seventy-six Devroy?”
“Devroy, you’re Devroy, right?”
“Yeah, that’s me.” He finally answered.
“I’ve been looking everywhere for you! Here, these are yours. Standard issue.” He handed him a strange fingerless glove and a wire for a headset.
“Latest tech. That Palm-Comm is your key to every door, your guide to the facility and your personal communication devise. It’s also the key to your personal dorms.”
“My personal dorms?” Markus asked, putting on the glove. The simple black glove slipped on comfortably. The only way to tell it was a Palm-Comm was the holographic projector that was activated by pushing a button located on it’s palm. Markus pushed it gently and his hand turned into a weightless computer. The only word Markus could find was, ‘whoa’ He easily navigated to where his dorms were and began his journey after receiving orders from the man to get approved apparel on. Luckily his palm-comm and his headset were connected somehow. As soon as he voice-confirmed his destination, the path to it illuminated in a small visor that fell over his left eye. When he arrived at a wall-like door, it automatically beeped twice before sliding open. A female voice welcomed him home. Markus didn’t know whether it was from his Palm-Comm or his headset. Probably both.
“I could get used to this.” Markus said to himself, tapping his palm to turn off his GPS. For a brief while, all the worries of the world left as Markus stood gawking at his room. The extravagant bed with two hand-crafted night stands. His dresser sat under a window overlooking a large body of water. Markus looked to his left and saw a closet door. He opened it and found several jumpsuits. Devroy Manufactured, of course.
Markus gaped as he then found his way to the bathroom. It was outfitted nicer than the average five star hotel. Markus ventured back to his dresser. He opened it and found several pairs of black T-shirts and cargo pants. Funny, that’s what Markus normally wears when he dresses casually. He pulled out a T-shirt and chuckled at what he found on it. The words printed in bold on the back made it obvious it was Separatist made. It had a snake cut into thirteen pieces and bold letters spelt, “Don’t Tread On Me.” The motto of the Separatists. He shook his head and began undressing. Just when he took off his pants, his visor fell over his left eye claiming he was receiving a message. He tapped his palm and suddenly Commander Smith appeared on his hand.