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“It’s all your fault” stammered Gregory clamping the handcuffs firmly around my wrists as he yanked me headlong into the door of the cell. Another bruise reminding me of what I’ve become – a pariah, a traitor, a man condemned. Who am I kidding; I’m responsible for this. I’m a not a victim of it. The system stands built on my intensity and youthful zeal. The new system is built on my ability to kill and destroy. Its built on thousands of soldiers groomed as children to believe that our cause was right and that the ends justify the means. Our sins have consequences and Gregory is a witness of my sins. Overthrowing the system brings repercussions. Changing the system brings repercussions. Changing the way, I hope will bring repercussions as well for those who carry on. Oh, Uncle Eric I heard your words and I think I get your message.
As the electric door slid to the left he entered my cell and commanded me to sit on the bed while he shackled my bare feet. “You and all your talk about another way. Why did they believe you? You’re a fool. The leaders agree that Teleios needs refining and the time is almost upon us. Why don’t you believe that refining comes best from within their stability. Why did they believe you? What did it get them? Nothing! Worse than nothing my brother is dead and my mother can’t leave her house – she has lost everything. Yet even now she asks about you. Can you believe it she asks me to hear you out. I hate you and can’t wait till you’re dead. When you’re gone we can finally find real stability”
Gregory reared back striking me across the face with his baton knocking me over onto my side. The taste of salt feeled my mouth as blood poured out of my nose and mouth. Rolling me onto the floor he kicked me twice. Leaving me there he walked out, shutting the cell door.
Gregory returned with a stunning brunette. Seeing me lying on the floor in a pool of my own blood she gasped and cried out, “Gregory what have you done, release him.”
“He is a prisoner. We shackled him for your protection.” replied Gregory. “You know he won’t hurt me. If he tried you know I can take care of myself” she said stooping over and wiping the blood from my mouth with her hands.
“I won’t release him. He’s dangerous, and a traitor, he’s responsible for what happened to Guillermo and mom. How can you stand to be near him? How can you care about him?” responded Gregory. Exuding complete power and control over the situation she even-handedly said, “Soldier, you know who I am? Are you rejecting a direct order from me? Release the prisoner and leave. When I am ready I will call for you.”
I remember the first time I met Sierra. It was spring and my father had died in the winter before. We were both 16 and had just enlisted in the freedom fight under Teleios. We were assigned to the same training group with her brother Guillermo, Marnie, Malicah, James and Jolene. Sierra had long jet black hair, beautiful soft light olive skin, with the most beautiful piercing brown eyes that were full of passion, power and determination. They danced when she laughed. Her lips were supple, inviting and the most tantalizing shade of red. They curved slightly up when she smiled. She could have been a cheerleader, a model, an actress. There was a naturalness to her beauty. I remember taking an instant liking to her. It was more than just her drop-dead looks.
Sierra was the most complex and contradictory person that I have ever met. She was insanely playful and in the next moment she could become deadly serious. Her mind processed every aspect of a person instantly. She was a quick study of people and knew exactly what others were thinking and how they would behave within moments of meeting them. She would challenge our team as far as they could stretch but always had a knack for knowing when we could go no further. She had a natural kindness that would instantly put people at ease or off their guard if she needed them to be. She was deadly accurate. A tireless planner and innovative thinker missions were planned to perfection and she could work her way out of any trouble. She was a natural killing machine one moment a caring motherly-figure and nurse the next. She could transition from playful flirt to supportive and loyal friend to demanding task master seamlessly and without seeming to do any damage to her soul. She seemed to be made for her work and enjoyed it as much as was possible.
Even as a sixteen year old she exuded the same control and power that had just sent Gregory clamoring to obey her order. She quickly rose as a natural leader in the troop. We were both designated as squad leaders. I consider her my closest friend in the world, the love of my life and I completely trust my life in her hands. Because we were squad leaders we spent a lot of time together and became closer to each other than anyone else. The trust and bond that we formed saved us so many times in danger. Together we were able to build a perfect team of special-ops soldiers. We were given the most dangerous and most covert missions.
After the main war was over she quickly was able to move into leadership and has been a powerful voice of reason, kindness and fairness in the transition to stability. She never lost her ability to transition. Now it was from politician to friend to mission partner. She and James have tirelessly stuck by me while many of the others pulled away and removed to a safe distance from the dangerous rebel and stability criminal I’ve become over the last three years. The two of them have taken up the cause of trying to save my life and even win my freedom if possible.
As Gregory quickly and silently removed my shackles Sierra sat on the floor with my head in her lap putting pressure on the gash in my check and wiping the blood way from my mouth. Gregory without looking up at his sister quickly left the cell and the door shut behind him.