Another meeting of the Galaxy Security Board?
Princess studied her wrist and grimaced as she turned off the summons.
How many of these are we expected to attend?
This would be the fourth such meeting since ... since it had happened. And it would, once again, consist of a barrage of questions spewed from nameless faces, the intergalactic delegates differing only by shade of suit and rank.
“I thought G-Force was invincible! How could the Birdstyle have failed?”
“What do you mean there were only five of you?”
“What are we going to do now?"
But these were the questions that she expected to hear, and Chief Anderson had ensured that she and her teammates were well prepared to answer them. Still, an underlying current of fear jolted through her.
What if they ask for details?
Judgement rang in her ears. She had been the one paired with him on their last mission. He had been setting charges - a tedious task, such a boring mission, they were finally wrapping up - when a lone Galaxy Girl swooped in from a hallway with a swish of black.
A blade slice ...
red spatter over white ...
the echo of gurgling down the mecha’s metallic walls ...
his head heavy in her lap ...
blue eyes staring at her ...
staring at nothing.
Tears spilled over despite her efforts to rein them in. Reliving the scene, she recreated Mark's last minutes in painstaking detail, unable to stop herself. She picked apart every error in her judgment, magnifying each to horrific proportions. Sobbing by now, she dropped her head into her hands.
Why Mark? Why couldn’t it have been me?
"Princess?" A tentative hand touched her shoulder. She raised watery eyes to Keyop standing before her, wearing a newly redesigned T-shirt with her old number.
His tone was gentle. "We ... n-n-need to ... go ... n-n-now."
Numbly, she accepted the tissues and let herself be led over to her motorcycle. Keyop handed her a helmet and squeezed her arm. "Can do this," he whispered.
Her tremulous reply was too soft even for Keyop’s enhanced hearing to pick up. “I can’t. I can’t do this without him.”