April 27, 103 PN
It was hard to tell when Deputy Crosser Morgana was mad, because she always wore the same damn look wherever she went. Her nose scrunched up, that annoying scowl cemented on her face
not to mention her eyes. About ten years ago, a piece of shrapnel from a fight had ruined her right eye to the point where
well, it was bad. After many operations over the course of sixteen months, her eye was replaced with an enhanced eye
from a prototype android. It was about the same size as a human eye and would have passed off as one had they not messed up with the installation. To quote my father, 'She looks like a walking horror monster from the old films'.
I was on my way to visit Gerald when she confronted me in the hallway of the Medical Wing on the base. There was that same look. She didn't even try to hide the distaste in her voice. "Edahsra."
"Deputy Morgana," I replied, trying my best to remain calm. I knew what happened knew what made her hate my father and me. I didn't care. She'd soon be transferred to the West Base near an old Marine Corps camp in California and I wouldn't have to put up with her or her creepy eye.
"I heard your mission last week was a success. Most the Irons have been extracted from Ellis Island."
"Thank you, ma'am, but the praise should go to Gerald Tridal. If it weren't for him, the mission could have failed. I underestimated their numbers." I knew better than to accept praise from her.
Make sure it does not happen again. We cannot afford to lose someone as valuable as Tridal."
ma'am." I fought hard not to clench a fist.
"Good. The last thing you want to taint is the Crosser's reputation." She walked past me and added, "Besides, it's not like you were the one who disrupted the capture of the Hangman."
I bit down on my lip to prevent any words. All I could do was allow her to throw those words my way; it's not like I could talk back to her without risking my badge. No matter what I did, no matter how hard I fought for the Crossers, she always saw me as a failure, a burden to the group. However much I hated to admit it, she was right. I ruined the only chance we had of finally catching the Hangman. My father chose to save me rather than put an end to the Hangman's life. Morgana thought differently.
I slapped the back of my head. Now wasn't the time to think about that. I made my way into Gerald's room and put on a smile, pulling out a small gift I had worked on. Gerald and I had been good friends for years and was by far one of the best Third Rank Crossers I have seen. He had graduated second best out of one hundred initiates, while I was in the top five. I didn't mind; as long as I was able to become a Crosser and fight alongside Gerald and my father, I wouldn't have cared if I was the last to graduate.
Well, maybe a little.
I saw Gerald sitting up in his bed with an old book and an obsolete looking calculator. It was odd to see him doing so few things at once; it wasn't uncommon for him to work on a dozen projects at the same time. After a few moments, he looked up and smiled. "I was wondering when you'd visit me!" He closed the book and pushed it and the calculator aside. "Your father brought me a new helmet the other day; said it'll stop almost any bullet this time." He twirled the screwdriver in his hand and added, "I think that mission was one of our best yet."
"I think you're taking too many painkillers." I walked over and sat down. "Listen, I wanted to apologize for
for what happened on Ellis Island. I should have known better."
"Pfft, what's to be sorry about? I'm still here!" He tapped the screwdriver on his chin. "Don't let Deputy Morgana and the others run you over like that. You're the daughter of Nicholas Edahsra, for crying out loud, and I know better than anyone that you could kick Morgana's frowning face up and down the wastes if you wanted."
I smirked. "Well, you certainly have a point. Oh, that's right!" I placed his gift on his bed. "I made that for you yesterday. It was a bit rushed, but I did my best."
Gerald's smile grew as he unwrapped his present, picking up and looking at the poorly-made wood carving. "It's beautiful, Alice! Er
what is it?"
Oh, I see it now!" Gerald slightly laughed and placed it on the nightstand. "The doctors say I should be out of here by Thursday, but Commander Lancelot wants me to take at least two weeks of leave
He didn't agree with my preferred time."
"You took a bullet to the head, Gerald. Two days won't work."
"You sound like the doctors. It barely pierced the skin!" Gerald slumped back onto his bed and sighed. "You know, maybe if you talked with your father
"Forget it, pal. You know that once Commander Lancelot has made up his mind, nothing will change it, not even my father," I replied, leaning back in the chair.
He crossed his arms. "It's ridiculous. You get to have fun in Maryland tomorrow while I have to suffer. You're breaking my heart, Alice!"
"And you're more dramatic than a girl sometimes. Consider this karma for leaving me alone on the base after I was trapped in a collapsed building." Smirking, I stood and patted him on the head. "Don't worry; you'll be fine while I'm away. You have Roger to keep you company."
"The only thing that dog does is eat anything that doesn't move. Yeah, I'll have fun with that mutt."
I slightly laughed. "I'll be back as soon as possible. Don't give the medical staff too many problems, alright?"
"Good. I'll see you when I get back, Gunner's Promise." And a shake of the hand later, I was back in the hallway. I waved to some Crossers I fairly knew and some I had never seen before; it was a habit. As I turned down a corner, the bulletin board caught my eye. It was covered in wanted posters and lists of men or women wanted alive. There was the leader of the Iron Brigade, Ivanhoe Hellser; ex-Crossers, such as Natasha Barton (she was discharged for drug possession) and Lucas Truss (he was found guilty of murder and arson); William Simpson, the leader of those annoying Ghost Soldiers, and
WANTED FOR THE COUNTLESS DEATHS OF FELLOW CROSSERS AND INNOCENTS
My eyes were glued to his poster alone, the memories of that day crashing back into my mind. He had changed since then; he had grown his hair out to his shoulders, and a scar had ravaged the left side of his face. The eyes
Oh God, those eyes
They remained the same.
I hesitated, then placed my hand on his poster. Fire was swimming through my veins and I shook slightly, my eyes staring at the floor. It was my fault that he was still out there, increasing his number of victims. My father refused to believe it, yet no matter how many times he told me, I still believed it. It would always be my fault.
"Besides, it's not like you were the one who disrupted the capture of the Hangman."
I tore down the poster and crinkled it up in my hand, my eyes blazing from built-up anger. I ignored the stares of my fellow Crossers and continued down the hall, my fists tightening up with each step.
I let that madman get away.
But I would be the one to finish him off.