Fragment: Spring Cleaning (another April prompt for [community profile] nexus_crossings)

Jul. 15th, 2017 03:44 pm
rekindledtitan: (End of the day)
[personal profile] rekindledtitan
Objects, like familiarity, encroach.

Blaze couldn’t remember thinking it before. She’d only just accumulated enough possessions to notice. But looking at the packed compartments of her tiny jumpship, it felt like something she’d known a very long time.

Anyway, the ship didn’t have infinite space and neither did her vault in the Tower. Guardians had many duties besides combat: a major one was equipment and materials salvage. Much of it went straight to the City (or through the Tower merchants), but sooner or later the extra piled up. It was about time she cleaned out her stocks.

They’d docked their jumpship amid the businesslike clamor of the Tower hangar. Ghost was handling the vault link, passing her items from storage while she went through each compartment. Emptied out helmets and boots and components. Laid out each set and went through them methodically. One judgment passed after another. Which gauntlets were worth cannabilizing to reinforce her favored pair. Which marks were tattered beyond representing anything. Which helms had fallen beneath her growing strength yet were worth passing down to a fledgling Guardian. The Tower gave very few freebies, but every piece of reclaimed gear would find its way to the deserving. Armor was easiest, of course: she spent every mission refining her preferences in that.

There was only one compartment she didn’t touch, because she knew its contents by heart already. (Four books on history and tactics. One Guardian’s travel guide (a preprint of the volume on Venus). Two woolly hats in very different sizes; also a tea cozy. A tin containing two carefully folded sketches, on paper: one pencil, one crayon. One data chip carrying a video message: unwatched.)

Everything else took time to go through. Raw materials, spare parts, Sparrows. Weapons, especially. She only needed one spare rifle, but even she wouldn’t make that choice hastily. She picked one up and settled it in her arms, sat back on a box to contemplate its merits and remembered vividly staring down just like this while someone sobbed and techs clattered over the bird behind her

It slipped away then. Left only a fading pang in her chest and a hunch in her shoulders. She stared down for a second. Twisted round, looking at the silent little ship with its unblemished hull. The sky was blue. There was laughter from the next dock over. Everything was fine. Peaceful. Blaze straightened herself up deliberately and gave the rifle an experimental heft. Her heart wasn’t in it now. Ghost was already beside her. She didn’t know how well he understood her cues - internal and otherwise - but it was better than she did. Better than he’d admit. Well enough that he knew not to say anything.

“Too bad we can’t clean out our heads this easily, huh?” She set the gun back on the worktable, staring hard at the arrayed weapons. In her mind she could still see red light slanting over them. If she wanted. She didn’t. Didn’t need to wonder whose tears she once tried to hide from. Didn’t need to give it another thought.

Would you want to?” In the corner of her vision she saw Ghost’s gaze flick to the rifles. “I mean, how would you know which things to keep?

She grunted. The image of an unopened compartment came to mind unbidden. She shook it off. Gestured at the rifles. “I’m keeping my primary. The two Suros pieces and the Häkke go to the Tower armory. Break down the rest for parts, would you?”

All of them? I thought you wanted a spare-

“I don’t need them,” she said. “We’ll win something better.”
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