|The Shadow of Estancia
Author: Kuzuki Sugimorii PM
Sergei and his companions run headlong toward their inevitable confrontation with the Monarch. But when Sergei learns of his parents' involvement in the creation of the Harbinger micro-weapon, what will become of his resolve? And his ties to Blue Rose?Rated: Fiction T - English - Chapters: 26 - Words: 53,777 - Reviews: 13 - Favs: 3 - Follows: 1 - Updated: 08-02-11 - Published: 03-02-10 - Status: Complete - id: 2780997
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
To The Future
It's been five years since the end of what has been called by the rest of the world 'The Estancian Uprising'. Apparently the whole period of time from when the Nation Without a Name first occupied Old Germany until the day we killed Weiss and brought a temporary end to the Harbinger threat. Of course, the existence of the Harbinger weapon has been swept completely under the rug. And the involvement of an unofficial military group by the name of Blue Rose or the Japanese Imperial Forces has gone unmentioned as of yet, but the lack of attention is kind of nice.
I managed to cut a deal with Kouren not long after I became her guinea pig that lets me live outside the city in exchange for bringing her some fruits and vegetables from the farm I run with Aislin. Aislin and I settled down, me being tired of fighting, and her saying she has to keep an eye on me. She still says that, even now when our son Drake is almost five years old. Jack and Anita are out roaming the world as part of an officially recognized unofficial task force dedicated to hunting down any remnants of Harbinger that may resurface over the years, so we look after their son, Falkner, too. The boys are rambunctious, but healthy, and don't seem to mind that they don't have anyone else their age to play with.
The city itself is still deserted, aside from the Blue Rose crews Jessica sent four years ago when Kouren finally broke down and admitted that she needed help if she was going to work at any sort of functional pace. Kaoru came with those technicians, still just as ready to take revenge on Jack as he had been before, but it seems being with Kouren and having someone nearby to share the pain has mellowed him somewhat. I don't think she's had the heart to tell him yet that Jessica, the woman they're working for, killed his father that day, but I think she's working on getting around to it.
Jessica herself was appointed to a high position in the English intelligence office, handling personally any dealings with the former Estancian rebels who call themselves Blue Rose. Even if we don't officially exist anymore she still gets to give us orders. Only now she gets paid to do it. Of course, we get paid to follow her orders, too. And our only project at the moment is to solve the Harbinger threat for good, so I try not to complain.
I'm waiting for Anita and Jack to show up for their monthly visit with the kids when Aislin comes out of the house holding something I'd completely forgotten about while I was working on the farm over the years. She hands the glove to me and I slip it on, remembering the first day Jessica had given it to me and taught me how to use it, explaining the trouble she and Jack had had constructing it in the first place. Meanwhile I had been playing with it like a brainless monkey when I could have easily gotten us all blown up without knowing. Anita walks up quietly behind me with Jack at her side and they both smile while I flex my fingers in the glove, tooling around with its various functions.
"Why do you even still have that thing?" Jack asks. I notice his hair is neater than I think I've ever seen it before.
"I don't know," I said, waving to Drake and Falkner to come over from where they were chasing a frog toward the woods. "Ais just found it a minute ago. And what's with you? Married life got you whipped into shape suddenly?"
"Just because you don't have the guts to ask your woman doesn't mean you gotta-" Jack stopped after Anita gently jabbed his ribs with her elbow.
"Don't be like that, Jack. You know as well as I do that isn't the reason. No reason to tease the poor man over it."
"Yeah yeah, I know. I'll give the poor guy a break. Still a shame you two don't think it's necessary. I mean, you're a great couple, turns out."
I smile, knowing he's right. We did work well together. We fought often, but only because we always thought our way of doing something was better than the other's. Eventually everything that needs doing gets done and we get over it.
Falkner runs up to us and jumps into his father's arms, wrapping his arms tight around the man's neck with a smile of sheer joy.
"Dad, dad! Look what Drake and me found in the field today!"
He digs into his pocket briefly and pulls out a handful of tarnished rifle rounds.
"Aren't they priddy?" Drake asks, tugging on my pants from where he stands, holding more up in my direction.
"They are," Jack says, surprised by the boys' naivety. "Tell ya what kiddo, I'll hold onto these. Why don't you kids go wash up and we'll tell Auntie Ais about it at dinner, huh?"
"Okay!" The boys chorus and run excitedly toward the house where Aislin gathers them into her arms and takes them to wash their faces.
"Shame things like these can still be found out here," Jack says sadly. "Can't imagine what they'd think if they knew what we used to get up to out here."
"Not yet, Jack," Anita said. "But someday we'll have to tell them about the things we've done. Let them be kids a little while longer."
"My thoughts exactly," I agreed. "We came across Lian's skeleton last month. We were out looking for berries in the woods and a storm came up, so I took us deeper in to stay dry. Guess I kinda lost track of where we were. I recognized what was left of the outfit she was wearing that day."
"What'd the poor dears say when they saw the bones?" Anita asked, clearly concerned for her son's mental state.
"Falkner just pointed at it and said to me 'That must've been one big chicken, huh Uncle Sergei?'" I laugh out loud.
Jack blinks at Anita for a prolonged moment then they both join me in laughing while we head for the house.
"Out of the mouths of babes, eh?" Jack wipes a tear of joy from his eye and stops me, motioning for Anita to go ahead of us.
"What about Drake? Any signs of him being… like you?"
"A few," I nod. "But even if he turns out to have the instinct like me and Drake did, it won't really show for a while from what I figure. It may be Harbinger doing its job and helping make him better than average, or he could just be a good guesser. Hard to say at this point what's what."
"And what about Kouren? Any progress on her end yet?"
"Not much," I shrug. "She's come a long way in figuring out how the machines work, she says, but she thinks they're still at least a decade away from resolving the issue altogether. She can't do any large-scale tests you know."
"Yeah, that's the problem with testing a new way of shutting down a bomb," Jack scratched the back of his neck. "What happens if you're wrong?"
"Exactly," I nod in agreement. "Anyway, I've got a long life ahead of me yet, so no need to worry about it, right?"
"Right," Jack smiles, clapping me on the shoulder before Aislin and Anita call us both in impatiently from the door.
"Remember when those two calling us like that would have actually been urgent?" I chuckle. "Now we've got what seems like all the time in the world to waste."
"Speak for yourself," Jack says, pushing me on ahead of him. "Some of us have to actually work out there. And it's no picnic dealing with the things we do find, trust me."
"So there are things out there, then? More of my father's legacy?"
"Oh no you don't," Jack wags a finger at me. "I only get out here once a month and I'm not going to spend this time walking about work. Now get in there so I can have some of that meat I been smelling from the kitchen."
I try to hold the topic to that but eventually I give up to his badgering and resign myself to having to ask Jessica about it later. As if I'll get any answers out of her, either. For now, it might be best to just enjoy the moment and eat like Jack says. So that's what I'll do. Let everything else be for a few hours and just live.