APAGear II Archives Volume 2, Number 1 February, 2000


How I Spent My (Terranovan) Winter Vacation

By ?

(Janne Kemppi)

It had all started like a nightmare. I had been in Queen Maud's Land in arctic survival training, when accident had hit me like train wreck. I had stepped into unexploded hand grenade. Perhaps it had been left behind in some earlier exercise. It had been sleeping under the snow for the next spring and new batch of trainees when I happened to step on it and blow myself up to sky high.

It took months to put me back together. I got synthetic flesh and sinew, plastic reinforcement of now brittle bones and lots of new skin. Next step was slow, painful and agonizing course to learn to walk again. Not that I had been alone. Casualties happen all the time with some of them from missions and others from training. Force was a busy unit. I have never liked to sit in bed and watch videos. After I could walk I started to move around. I used to stay close to the hospital but as my strength recovered, so did my walking trips got longer and longer. Finally the doctors gave me permission to get back to home for a rest.

Resting at home felt like a prison and I didn't feel myself yet ready for training. Doctors didn't like it either and I got my convalescence and annual leave all branded together for a one big leave. Force always had good pay and thus money was no problem. Having no one close I decided to travel around the world, which I did by moving without any kind of planning. In two months I traveled through some dozen cities. Sightseeing was fun at first but after a certain time the cities blur together. Nightclubs and bars lost their attraction and everything became single gleaming neon sign. I wanted out.

I met her in a supermarket where I was trying to figure out which of the hundred or so beverages had best effect to price ratio. My problem was that everything was written in language, which name I couldn't back then even figure out. Money was no problem by itself. I could have chosen them according to taste or even by price but I had been flat broke all my youth and old habits die hard with me. So I asked the first supermarket janitor I saw about these prices. She smiled to me and before I even noticed we had chatted until her work shift was over. It was the very beginning of the happiest time in my life.

I was with her every day. Coming to think of it afterwards, we are always together. I rented a small apartment for us so we could be even more together. She showed me the city and we went through all kinds of places, most of which I couldn't care less as long as my eyes were fixed on her and her happy smile. I also tried mountain of different dishes, trying to eat something new every day as we went through the hundred or so restaurants through the nights. She cared me and I pampered her the best I could. I bought her expensive lingerie, which she at times wore before I sweetly talked her to take off for me. Sex was pure heaven with her.

With my profession, I never had time to think for family. Some are married but I never got myself into that thing. We were hugging each other in bed and were looking at the roof painting and talking of all kinds of stupid things lovers do from children to house furniture and such. Of course we were not meaning, not at least aloud. Like all good things, it didn't last. New Year came next. We were together counting the end of the bad old year and beginning of a brave new one. I knew better. My leave was going to end.

The last few weeks went like a flash through my eyes. I was happier than ever but also feeling a sting of things ending in the end. We said good byes to each other and she waved her tiny hand, as I looked her through windows of the passenger jet. I knew I was going to propose to her when my next leave would start. In the meanwhile, the messages should carry what my heart had inside to prepare her my request.

I left my heart and vacation behind as I read the messages in my receiver in the next morning in my own home. I felt cold knife hitting through my spine as I read the official communication. It had arrived the vary day my work was supposed to start. Force was going to a war unlike anything else before. My brigade was supposed to be in first wave. I knew spearheading an attack is an endeavor only few survive to tell the tale. I deleted my halfwritten marriage proposal from my screen. I knew it better.

I just knew.

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APAGear II Volume 2, Number 1 February, 2000