Second excerpt from Legacy

Legacy is currently on preorder on most major ebook retailers, and can be found right here: http://www.christensenwriting.com/book/legacy-the-rift-saga-book-3/

It´s time for the second peak at my upcoming book Legacy, the third and final installment of the Rift Saga. Today we´ll meet Sue again. After the events in Covenant, she is now disabled, with amnesia and blinding headaches making her unable to do much besides resting and taking short walks. We meet her just as she meets an old friend. Well, read on!

Sue sat in the grass just outside Charlestown proper. When she closed her eyes, she heard  the different kinds of birds chirping and singing, bees buzzing as they swarmed around the flowers. Only now and then did the background noise from town reach her, disturbing the peace. She opened her eyes, and looked across the fields, the low hills, and the forest to the south. Out there, far away, lay the Belt, separating them from the Corpus. She remembered some of her classmates had been chosen for the Corpus, that fateful day when she had been chosen for the Janissaries. She wondered what had become of them. She didn´t expect to see most of them again. People seldom returned from Corpus Service, and if they did they returned broken, like walking corpses. In a few years Jason would be eligible for Service. She shuddered at the thought. Service was an opportunity, but it could also be a death sentence. She had survived, barely, but without earning the privilege of citizenship. And now that she reflected upon it, it didn´t seem as important as it once had. She certainly hoped Jason would see it the same way too. She didn´t want to lose her little brother.

A twig brok behind her, and she turned. A familiar face lit up, and Sue broke into a smile.

«Laurie!» she exclaimed. He was wearing the smart black of the Janissaries, and then she noticed the insignia; a single iron bar. She got to her feet.

«Or should I say Tacticus White?» she said, grinning.

«Great to see you too Tacticus Atlas:» he replied.

«I´m not a Janissary anymore. Discharged,» she said. Laurie waved her off.

«I know, I know. But it is customary to use the highest rank obtained, unless a higher civilian rank is earned.» he said, almost formally, before he grimaced.

«Ah, enough of that. Come here, give me a hug!» he said.

They hugged, and Sue was surprised at her reaction. It was so good to have a friend who understood what she had been through and at the same time knew who she was outside of the uniform. They sat down in the grass together, and talked. Although they had served in different units, they had both gone through most of their training at Camp Sharpe.

«Did you hear that Sub Strategos Janev went into politics?» Laurie said. Sue heaved her eyebrows, as he explained.

«Seems his old man decided to return to old Luna, to enjoy the fruits of his labor, leaving responsibility with his oldest son.»

«…Who happened to be the commander at Camp Sharpe.» Sue finished for him. Laurie nodded.

«There´s a new guy now. Some fellow from the Luna Brigade. Comet career type, commanded the roundup near the northeast coast after the war. Ruthless, but competent from what I hear.» When Sue didn´t answer, he continued. «I haven´t been to Camp Sharpe for a while, of course, but the rumors reached us a while back. They also said that Camp Sharpe is being re-organized into an operational brigade instead of a training brigade. Seems they want the new Janissary training base to be closer to the Rift. So once they get it all set up I´ll be training initiates after next Selection. Could you have imagined?» Sue shook her head.

«I don´t know what I should have imagined. After all, I hardly remember anything after I joined the Westfold Brigade. Everything I do remember from Service is my time at Camp Sharpe.» she hesitated for a moment.»Did you fight? I mean, in the conquest?» He nodded, while his usually cheerful face grew dark.

«I fought. Well, much of it wasn´t really fighting, but I was there. We had a few incidents with French holdouts and ambushes, but most of the time we were cleaning house. Sending French off to processing. Don´t know what happened to them after that, but there sure aren´t any French left up north.»

«Will the North ever be habitable again?» Sue asked.

«I guess, but not for a long time. I don´t think the brass in Legacy cares though. All that matters to them is that the Covenant rules everything east of the Rift.» he said. Sue felt something tickle in the back of her mind, something to do with the north, but however hard she tried, she couldn´t recall. Laurie didn´t seem to notice as he kept speaking.

«The Moon people think long-term though. For them it doesn´t matter if the North remains a wasteland for the next century. For all I know they may have plans stretching several centuries ahead. They are different than us.» Laurie´s conclusion said everything Sue thought she´d ever know about the Moon people. They are different than us. So true. Even their life spans were different. While Sue would have a little more than thirty years left, at best, a citizen could live for more than a hundred years. Rumor had it, some of the Moon people were more than two hundred. She shook her head. Definitely different.

«How long are you here for?» she asked.

«Just a couple of days. I got a week´s leave to say goodbye to my uncle Ben, but I lost two days waiting to get a spot on the train…» Sue noticed a pang of sadness in Laurie´s eyes. His uncle would be fifty soon. Just like her father just a couple of years ago.

«I´m sorry about your uncle,» she said. Laurie took a deep breath.

«Well, that´s why I serve,» he said simply. Sue nodded. If Laurie served faithfully the rest of his time, he´d probably make citizen, and with that, life. While Sue would face mandatory euthanasia in thirty years, twenty if she stayed disabled, Laurie might live indefinitely. She could see why, although they were friends now, once he became a citizen a rift would develop between them because of their wildly different prospects and opportunities. That rift would widen as the years went by, and soon they would become as strangers, no matter how close they were now.

Again, something in the back of her mind tingled, like a memory pushing to break through her barrier of amnesia. A sensory reaction that never reached the cognitive level, and as soon as she realized she should know something, the first signs of headache began to appear. She cursed silently. Not now!

«What was that?» Laurie asked. Sue looked up sharply.

«What do you mean?» she said, wondering if she had spoken out loud.

«You said «not now»».

«Oh, did I?» she waved it off. «It´s the headaches. They flat knock me out. It just felt like one is coming. I should get back home.» she said.

«All right then, let me help you,» Laurie said, and got to his feet. He extended a hand, and helped her up. Then she took his arm, and they walked back toward town.

Legacy is currently on preorder on most major ebook retailers, and can be found right here: http://www.christensenwriting.com/book/legacy-the-rift-saga-book-3/

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