It's not over yet.

The word here is "yet."

I stand here, sandwiched between him and him; locked in formation, glaring ahead, at the faraway horizon only we can see in here. Here we are comrades, and here the floor is ours to claim. Our territory.

All ours.

We would be fools not to be afraid, but here, the fear is gone. Because here, we own the terrain, and we rule the world. There is no fear to show.

That blaring in my ears echoes in the room, expands from one gush of air issuing from the lone throat, as we stand and face down the enemy, unmoving, unnerving.

There is nothing to fear. Absolutely nothing.

As we blink, steady, and brace ourselves for the final run, I realize that I am not the only one breathing hard, panting from the effort, the heat in the chamber. It's like a balloon, a bubble of golden-hot air pulsing over and beneath our skin, and here, in our alignment, I hear his heavy breaths to my right; I am relieved, and let my chest rise and fall as I breathe easy, letting the air come to my lungs more easily.

He is a bull, I think, without words, without even silent words, because we are called to turn and we do so, and behind me he has my back and in front of me my eyes drill into his head. Staring straight ahead. Looking straight forward.

What is fear?—that compressed thing in my chest, crushed to death by the power of my pulsing, hammering heart. It has been killed by this thing called courage, and I charge to conquer the world.

We march off, breathing as one. The heat in the room clenches about us, and in each step we take, locked in formation, I feel the way we scream without noise, the strength with which we parry and take it for ourselves.