Alex, the Ork also known as “Grummish”, sits behind his desk in his corner office overlooking the Petersburg Barrens, his oasis in desolation. He sits in silence as he reads the briefing documents from Dr. Talley and Dr. Chamberlain, covering the pending action against Bill and more mundane facets of overall operations. Alex is distracted, a worry he had not felt for some time. A worry of losing someone important. Melissa’s death was unexpected and not “worried” over, painful as it was. In this case, he knew people were going to die. The only question was “who?”
A knock at the door interrupts Alex’s anxiety fueled musings.
“Come,” Alex says sternly. A tone underlying his feelings.
Jeremy opens the door slowly, sheepishly poking just his head in. “Sir, thanks for talking with me.”
“Come in Jeremy and have a seat,” Alex says flatly in a tone that could be interpreted as annoyance, but is really driven by concern. Not that Jeremy would know. “I am surprised to see you given the consequences you received, but let me express my appreciation for having the fortitude to face me. What is it that you want?”
Jeremy walks into the room, and Alex’s eye catches the strange, crooked sword at his side. Jeremy’s side arm is in a shoulder holster.
“That is not standard issued equipment,” Alex states. “Why-”
“I’m sorry sir,” Jeremy sputters. “Ms. Spitfire authorized the weapon as an addition for some of us, in her role as acting security chief. I hope she hasn’t overstepped her bounds.”
“Well, that is her prerogative.” Alex says, leaning back in his chair, removing his glasses and tossing them onto the glass of his desk. “I imagine you, like some others, have spent time with the Maiden?”
“Um, yes sir.” Jeremy answers, the trepidation clear in his voice. “Ever since you said she was the ethics officer, Ms. Spitfire felt that the Maiden’s role should have some authority.”
“I see,” Alex says, distracted by his anxious thoughts. “Now, neither the sword nor the Maiden are truly why you are here. Why the visit?”
“I wanted to say I’m sorry for the role I played in Melissa’s death.”
“I imagine you are, given your suffering.”
“But, it’s not just that…” Jeremy’s voice quivers.
“Oh?” Alex’s voice is aloof and distant.
“I just need to get through this…” Jeremy pauses for a few seconds. “This is hard, but she said I had to if I were to find peace.”
“And?” Alex’s posture changes and a sincerity enters his voice as he leans forward with full attention.
“I-,… I forgive you.”
“You think I need your forgiveness?” Alex asks, his brow furrowed, but his tone softening.
“It’s not for you. It’s for me.”
Alex leans forward, resting his head on his hand, staring intently at Jeremy, waiting for Jeremy to explain more.
“Um, that’s all I wanted to say about that.” Jeremy shifts restlessly in his seat, finally rising to his feet. “Sir, me and some of the guys want to go with you and the Maiden. Wherever that is to do whatever we need to do.”
Alex turns his head slightly, casting a sidelong glance at Jeremy. “That may very well get you killed.”
“I know,” Jeremy answers. “But, better to live and maybe die to be part of the world and contribute to it.”
Alex’s thoughts drift away from the office. Away from Jeremy. Away from Bill. Away from everything. Back to his life before being Grummish. He thinks back to his idealism and zeal in helping others through being a doctor. A slight smile reaches the corners of Alex’s lips.
“Indeed. No truer words have I heard spoken.” Alex rises to his feet and extends his hand to Jeremy. “You and any others who feel compelled to join us are welcome to do so. Voluntarily, of course.”
Jeremy grasps his leader’s hand. “Thank you, sir. I’ll let the others know.” Alex motions to Jeremy to leave. Sill standing, Alex thinks, “He’s dead if he goes, but lives well in doing so. Were we all so lucky.”