I know that I am not working on a story of sunshine and daisies, but one of war. But have you ever written those moments that just punch you in the feels, and make you feel bad and sad for your poor characters? I know I have at least three or four times now. Share your tales of woe if you have them. I will share mine. Marckus: Taking a small step closer to me, standing on her toes to gain a few more centimeters of height. I feel her thin lips pressing into the cheek of my mask. “Never forget this. I will always be with you, Syrilious” ,she whispers in my ear. These words bite hard into me. Turning to leave her to complete the final step of this transaction. To pay the highest price in surrendering her life, to escape a far worse fate. “Goodbye, Marckus” , the Major says to me as I am transitioning back into the pristine hall outside the office. Her final words echoing in my ears with my exit. Leaving the Major, I slowly walk back to the others down the hall. My shoulders slung low with the burden of sentencing an old friend, no, a lover to death. This is my cross to bear, for better or for worse. Gripping the dog tag tightly in my hand, silently wishing her farewell from this life into the next. Halfway toward my fellow comrades, the sound of the Major’s death rings out. The shot explodes, as if someone had just fired off an artillery barrage right in my ears. I close my eyes at the concussive sound as it echoed in the hollow halls. The casing her funeral bell as in clanks against a hard surface. The pain in my thigh intensifies causing me to limp. Out in the corridor this small victory quickly turns into another loss. I had not yet seen the extent of the damage that had been done, as the two other tanks exploded in brilliant devastating concussive blasts. My new friend had not fared so well as a result of the situation. I see the female cyborg laying oddly against the wall, contorted from being harshly bounced off the opposite wall from the entrance to the mess hall. A large metal fragment was piercing her left side like a blade that was left after a failed attempt to cleave further. The shrapnel tore through metal, wiring, and soft tissues beneath. A mix of bodily and mechanical fluids seeping around the large laceration a few centimeters below her ribcage. Most of her looks charred from a light coating of being licked by the flames. Tears streaming down her metal face, in her silence I could hear her pain. What made it worse in a way, is knowing she is not a soldier, nor a willing participant in any of this. Just a broken weave of a being forced to fight for her life, and live with the abhorrent torment of being maliciously forced into such a device against her will. The only sound she made is a rasping as she breathes her last breaths. The damage to her body from the shrapnel is to be her demise. There is nothing I could do to stop the inevitable. Setting beside the tortured cyborg, offering what little I could until she passed into solace. It will be over soon, and you will be at peace. Taking her hand in mine letting her know that I am here for her till the end. Her rasping breaths were getting worse, starting to become gurgling deep within her lungs. Time and the enemy seems to afford this time to us. It is not your fault, and you did not ask for this. You spared me when you could have ended me. I wish I could have done the same for you. In the final moments of her struggling to breath, her other arm weakly moves toward me. The devastating weapon in a weak grip. Taking it from her smooth metal hand, focusing on her nightmarish gaze as she slips away. Shortly her labored breathing ceases. Her eyes still wide. Her mutilated body goes limp. Placing my calloused fingers on her eyelids, I close them. Graxis in the sequel: “Back up, sir. If this goes toes down you can still complete the mission”, the Shadow Company Master Sargent says flatly. Taking a few steps back, and pushing Dlynvacko into the doorway of an empty office, I wait and watch the Special Forces commando work out the situation. The moments pass, as he tries to solve the deadly riddle ahead. “Sir, this not something you want to hear, but I don’t see a way around it”, the commando says dryly,” It has been an honor serving with you.” His words are cold and that of a man about to die. “Peace be with you brother”, I say to him”, you will not be forgotten.” Without turning he nods, and standing up right he continues to stare off down the corridor. I watch as he sprints off into the hollow darkness ahead, not knowing if he will survive his suicide run or not. His boots echo in the still air, my heart racing as I brace for what is to come. Time slows and his echoing boots go silent, as I swallow a lump in my throat. “Ferosa beind zinzane!” Comes howled back toward us, followed by a massive blast. Toakin’s dying words will haunt me for the rest of my life, as I watched my fellow soldier’s body ripped to shreds by the explosives. His final action and sacrifice will not be in vain. Dlynvacko has a death grip on my left arm, and she winces from what just took place. Bearing witness to another good mans death at the hands of these evil Confederation simplacks, I growl in pain and anger. I lose my vision to the red, all I want now is blood. Breaking loose from her grip, I march down the hallway now stained in fire, metal, and my friend. Pistol holstered, I remove both short swords from the small of my back. They ring out their eagerness to serve me, as I feel their weight in my hands. His final words burning within my ears, a vengeance on my mind. Mother I am coming home!