The War in My Head
The firmament, cold and relentless, stretched over his head, a black rainbow riven with ice-white pinpricks. He had come to this far system in the name of familiar duty – and here, in the thin atmosphere of a war-torn moon orbiting an unremarkable ringed planet whose name, a combination of numbers and letters appended to a symbol representing a local God’s name, meant nothing to him beyond its usefulness in a filing system to help make clear where exactly he had rambled, he had once again achieved his goal.
The scene of average, almost anonymous devastation extended in all directions. He stood, hammer still clutched and raised, pulsing almost hysterically in one fist. A laser gauntlet on the opposite hand trembled in mid-air, as if uncertain which direction to slice next. But there was no further need.
It was the wake of another bleak conflagration. Around him were scattered the ruined bodies of a great many foes and their chosen crafts of destruction. The best and brightest assassins and snipers sent by superior civilizations from every quadrant were destined to comprise mere rubble in this lunar wash, to be noted by sharp-eyed future visitors where they now lay. Scattered atop the reef over which they’d only recently flowed, they suggested a tracery of a some significance, a structure of some kind. Something with meaning…
He scoffed bitterly, for no one other than himself, and looked to the sky. The galaxies would continue to expand, the enemies would flow forth from them. He would meet them and dispatch them, as he had always done. When then, would the stinging surprise abate, when he found himself alone again?
His chest lept with the action of a sob. The battle fury had passed. And then he heard the sound. That rider, not as dead as he’d thought when he’d dispatched him five minutes before. At the sound of the rattling, he turned to face this creature he’d never defeated. It was no use. He couldn’t summon the feeling again so soon afterward. This was his fatal flaw, and it was only a matter of time before it was located….