Sara sat atop a large unmarked container in the Rosebud’s cargo bay and surveyed her latest score. Ten medical crates, at least two crates’ worth of loose supplies stored in makeshift containers, and an assortment of odd treasures liberated from the Banner of Galactic Peace. Not bad. Monte would be pleased.
Speaking of the old man, she pulled out a wrinkled envelope from her jumpsuit’s back pocket. Interstellar communications being the impossibility that they were, she’d been given the dated note ahead of time.
Happy Birthday. Hope your mission went well.
P.S. Get back to Camp Dry Gulch safely. I’ll buy dinner for you all.
Sara snorted amusement. Monte’s oratory gifts translated poorly into written form.
Well. Twenty-four years old to the day. That meant it’d been exactly twelve years since she’d first had to kill to survive. The Banner of Galactic Peace would argue that she’d committed a double-homicide while leading her classmates to semi-permanent truancy, but in her way of thinking, freedom always had its price.
Sara sighed and watched her feet dangle. Twelve years and she hadn’t gotten the two psychologists’ faces out of her mind. They deserved what they got, probably more than most of the Bannermen she’d run into, but the faces came back every birthday. Maybe because she didn’t have time to reflect on it immediately afterwards. But then, as now, her friends needed a confident leader. Second guessing wasn’t an option.
Sara tucked the envelope away and took a deep breath of air circulating aboard the heavily modified staryacht she’d rechristened the Rosebud. Her own ship! The freedom they’d earned that night was certainly worth every drop of bloodshed.
It was quite possibly the best birthday present she’d ever gotten for herself.