Day(s) 0: Prologue
I stared blankly at the room before me. The memories of what happened were still fresh in my head. My eyes slowly lowered to her casket. Despite how feisty she was in life, she looked peaceful. It didnt set me at ease. It only made me feel worse.
Does anyone else have anything to recount of Lady Sshas' life, which, cut short as it was, was worthwhile while it lasted?
I didn't even blink when no one spoke up. I knew how everyone else felt about her. They thought she was a bitch. They thought she was horribly rude and impolite. Unladylike. But I knew she was more than that. The shaman looked around awkwardly, giving his own input.
I, for one, thought she was always honest in matters. True to herself, even after she was married.
I sigh. The ceremony is similarly awkward throughout. The people there felt like they were needed. They did not want to be there. The day whizzes by, as others give weak, forced condolences. I know no one else misses her. But that does not change how much I do. I gave my everything for her, only for her to be slaughtered by a now-Guwan. They are lucky I didn't get my hands on them, or I would have done far worse.
I went home, and spent the rest of the day in bed. Sometimes I was sobbing. Sometimes I didn't have anything left to shed for her. I tried to distract myself numerous times. Television, the extranet. Nothing did the trick. I spent over a week this way. Soon, I would have to return to work, but I knew I could not focus on it. The newspaper did not help, with the obituaries listing her name.
Images of the wasteland came into my head. Wandering, as a Guwandi, seeking death from better warriors. Another Guwandi, driving the spear that would send him to meet his wife again into his chest.
I planned for it to happen. To take up the mantle of Guwandi. But, as a last ditch attempt, I looked back through things to distract me. I did not truly want to die. I merely wanted to be united with my wife again. The newspaper is what caught my attention, as I looked through familiar pages over and over again.
NEEDED: Physically fit adult Sinta male for a long term experiment. Cash will be supplied to the subject or the subject's family in the case of death.
The fact they specified that made me curious. If I took part, and died, I would get both what I wanted and something to bolster the rest of my family. It could not hurt to investigate. Perhaps it would even give me something to focus on, to drive towards.
The next day, I sat blankly, in my own thoughts of a meeting room, in front of a team of researchers.
Did you hear what we said, Sir Sshas?
I nodded slowly, suddenly taken out of memories that still stung. Images of my wife quickly faded away. Adhomai. I would need to live there for 10 years.
Correct. You would be given a hardsuit to survive the outside, and the building we have chosen out for you- in a village in the NKA bordering the PRA, would be insulated enough to allow heat warm enough for you to survive. You would be taken from a shuttleport in their capital, by us, but we would not stay any longer.
I nodded slowly.
And, I feel it is important to note, Sir Sshas. It is very possible you will die while on Adhomai. The planet is freezing cold, and there is a massive civil war. This is to see how extreme of a situation we can withstand. For every year you survive, you will be given an extra sum of money. If you die, your family will recieve the full amount instead.
Once again, I nodded slowly.
You would also receive basic supplies, enough to make light repair and maintenance over the ten years, but any deeper damage would have to be figured out while there. Now, if you read this contract, you may note. . .
I would spend the next month learning rudimentary Siik'maas (I still couldnt speak it, except for the verbal bits, but I could at least understand basic phrases. Yes, no, food, even if I could not speak some of it.) I received EVA training, and got acquainted with a hardsuit that had particularly thick footpads and gloves, to help keep out the cold. Its airtank was also rather large, and it all seemed sturdy. It was heavy, but not too much so. I was not particularly talkative.
The village would be informed of my arrival, though not explained what an Unathi is. Some of them might know, some might have never heard of one, but for sure none of them have ever seen one. I will be given enough money useful in the land of the Tajarans to start a job- whatever it will be. Maintenance supplies will be given at the start, while other things like food will need to be bought there. I will also be keeping a journal of my life, while I am there.
I hope I am shot. The cold would be a dreadfully slow death, and if I am killed around others, perhaps they will give me the correct burial. Wishful thinking, perhaps.