Starting Over

"Shut yer trap, Brick!" Doc Mizumi snapped from behind his welding mask as sparks flew from his precision cutting torch.

Brick, who was undergoing a popular surgical modification - being retrofitted for construction, grimaced and bit down hard on a chunk of leather. Since the Defense of Stardown there had been a disastrous shortage of medical supplies like anaesthesia. For that matter there had been a shortage of everything. A shortage of food. A shortage of water. A shortage of workers for the work of rebuilding... Many, like Brick, had opted to get the necessary implants without the pain meds.

And boy did it hurt having skeletal welds undone.

But squinting through the pain and the sparks, Brick could look out of Mizumi's reclaimed downtown surgery onto the central plaza of the ruins of Geneva Prime and it almost made him smile. There, a team of Biomade electrical engineers working with their Mechified partners were putting the finishing touches on the new memorial. Where the statue of the idealized Cheldrun had previously stood on the nose of an ancient spaceship, there now towered an unparraleled work of art in bronze and coursing energy. A Sygola tree. Hammered and welded from the rusted metal remains (what little the moths had left behind) of the former Goshi Tower, the trunk twisted high into the sky, splaying it's branches over the opening of the defunct blackrock mine and for several city blocks in every direction. Pulsating beams of light danced in mesmerizing patterns along the limbs of the tree and from each twig hung dozens of crystalline leaves - the shards of glass that were ubiquitous around the city. When the wind blew, they played a musical tune, and if you examined them up close you would see each one contained a name, laser-cut into the glass, of a victim of the war.

A sudden jolt of agony brought him back to himself and he shot a dirty look at Doc Mizumi, who was unsympathetic and shouted at him to stay still.

The Doc was doing good business these days. His shop was littered with old Bullet-Spitter parts, discarded in favor of more utilitarian implants. In what Brick thought of as a defining metaphor, he could even see an old gun-arm half disassembled on a nearby table - its parts being scavenged to make a scoop.

As part of the rebuilding effort, Doc Mizumi refused to accept any payment but food and spare parts, and from friends like Brick, the Doc wouldn't even take those things. So Brick tried hard not to take the pain personally, and he focused his thoughts on that memorial tree...

Up in the highest branches of the tree, Karak was attaching glass leaves to their respective twigs. He paused for each one and read the name it contained aloud. He'd kept a special handful of leaves aside, sorted them from the millions of shards to be the very last ones hung on the tree. No one but him would know he had done this, and he wasn't sure anyone but him would have cared. He heated each setting with his finger torch and carefully slotted each leaf into its place.

Terry the Canary.
Mickey the Mixer.
The Surgeon.
Acetylene Sue.


Doug Hagler said...

Nice. I'm glad we're back here. Thank you.

Paul Wise said...

This post made me smile. I too am glad we're back here. :D