A short story by James Lomax, currently undertaking his Duke of Edinburgh bronze award. Part four of 12
CARLOS has been forced to massacre a bunch of slaves, and seeks redemption. Having found that one of them has survived, he hurries off to bring it home and nurse it back to health.
Carlos was overjoyed. He wasn’t a heartless killer. He had a soul, and he could redeem himself from himself through this. Also, he could help himself by helping it. It was very deep and confusing stuff, but all of it was very positive for him.
He made sure he couldn’t be seen in the dark, and, when he was sure the sentries were turned the other way, he took off. He had only the bare essentials; a large sack to carry the Gorgon, a bandage to wrap around it, and a black sheet he draped on a pole around him, to blend in with the dark until he could get to the mountains. Until then, he looked like a walking shower curtain.
The mines of X67hat3 were half an hour’s drive from the town, but it was in those mountains that XVX, starship fuel, was abundant, so in those mountains they went. As to why the town was so far away, the mining corporation saw it fit for the slaves to get good exercise walking back and forth carrying piles of XVX. It did take Carlos a good two hours to get to the mountains, but any vehicle would have made too much noise.
The mountains housed many places like Red Canyon, but it was easy for Carlos to find it. (Because it was red) From then, he found the cave. The Gorgon was, thankfully, still alive and not bleeding too much. It stared at him again with that expression that reminded him of his childhood. Carlos looked back and reached into the cave. The Gorgon started thrashing around and kicking, but Carlos had muscles, and it was helpless against being stuffed into the sack. Carlos told himself in his head that this was a kindness, for the greater good.
It took Carlos more time than before to get back due to the thrashing sack on his back, but it eventually stopped moving and Carlos assumed it fell asleep. The walking shower ducked past the sentries and into Carlos’s house.
Carlson, the house android, was there to assist him in laying the sleeping Gorgon on the mattress and quickly removed a couple of bullets in its leg. Carlos watched as it applied bandages, before getting upstairs for some sleep.
Lying in bed, he felt relieved. He felt he was making up to himself for all the killing he had caused, not just on X67hat3, but on other planets. For example, Carlos was battling the Frost species on X90pie6 when he received a message from S.T.A.R. to decimate a village. They told him it was used by the warriors, but fellow enforcer Abe told him he had seen mothers and children in the hall Carlos had burned down. He had tried to quit, but he realised that the only home he had was with S.T.A.R. That job was all he had, so he had to stay. He thought it was ironic that the Society for Toppling Alien Revolts was giving reason for revolts instead of toppling them. It was kind of sad to be tied down to something so cruel, but even his house on X67hat3 was owned by S.T.A.R., and most of his possessions were merchandise.
But with helping this Gorgon, Carlos felt he was saying sorry to all he had killed and all that had to live with their families dying at his hand. He knew what losing a family felt like.