“You’re covered in stories.”

Inspired by a quote that caught my eye, this revolves around a couple of characters from another project (sci-fi/ensemble drama, a little more experimental) that’ll be coming along soon. I do, however, want to finish Something Wicked and see if I’m putting Still Life away in the “finished” box first – I may have four story universes constantly rattling round in my head, but it’s simply rude to expect your readers to juggle the same amount of characters and plots.

So, consider this a self-contained piece or a preview – it’s honestly up to you.

The Good Citizens = rebel army that is also a charity to help victims of an economic collapse. John and Fort = two pilots in the Citizens.

Some use of profanity and description of a wound.  If that puts you off, fair enough.

John Stevesham has scars, and plenty of them.

There are the small, pale patches from falling in training, or having a bullet clip him from one of the recruits (none of them seem to be able to hold to save their lives, and that probably goes for him, too – that’s what rebel training does for you, he supposes).

There’s the quite large patch that certainly hadn’t been pretty at the time; he remembers the jagged piece of metal that nearly skewered his leg when they were scouting the slums, looking for a potential base for the Citizens.

Only Fort’s quick mind and quick hands had stopped that from happening, and John had thanked him effusively. The other man had simply nodded, silent as always, and, after a very long pause, muttered, “Fort?” This while giving him a look that told him in no uncertain terms that if he called him Fort again, he was gonna fucking kill him.

John had just grinned, and used the name ever since.

He stretches, yawning, and starts making moves to get ready. The dull hum of the ship is just audible, and he listens to it as he starts making his way to the ensuite shower room. He admits, he finds it kind of soothing. These are the sounds of his morning – the hum, the occasional beep of an instrument and, just sometimes, on the good days, Fort’s voice.

Fort’s an early riser. He’ll be up by now in the main dining room, battling the coffee machine and trying to avoid speaking to anyone before his required dose of caffeine.

John smiles at the thought, sauntering past the sink, but it fades as he recalls the other scars, too. Less visible ones. He grits his teeth as he remembers a fist colliding with his face, whiteness and stars. His father telling him to get out, that he couldn’t believe what his son had become. Running, again, with a pack of lies ready and someone else’s money in his pocket…

He’ll tell Fort someday, but not today.

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