No More Wall Tag
It has been a long time since I’ve seen my home colony on Drelna Beltiar. War tore me away but I remember living on the harsh new world and how much of a struggle it was. My parents were the first colonist on the world, after the corporations gave their OK to start building the colony. They had to wait until the terra-forming processors had completed the first stages before sending in human colonist. Unfortunately, it was barely habitable. The atmosphere was thin and still full of trace corrosive gasses. They had to wear respirators and protective suits the first dozen years or so on the planet. It wasn’t after the Terran Imperial Council approved the accelerator catalyst the corps used to finally clean up the atmosphere enough that respirators and suits weren’t necessary. This was just a few years before I left for war.
When I left, the walls that stood against the barbaric natives – the Drennies – were scarred with blast holes but stood strong. The pulse batteries stood tall on their turret towers. I remembered seeing guards peering through the endless battlements like classic knights of old. It was against these walls that my friends and I often played wall tag between raids. The rules were simple:
- One person would throw a ball against the wall.
- If another person did not catch it before a second bounce or drops it, that person had to run and touch the wall before some one hit him with the ball hard.
They were good times. I stared that these walls remembering those times, thinking back to the welts I went home with and the arguments we had over such simple rules. We also added rules as we went along. It became quite a complex game over time.
As time went on, and the atmosphere got better for the colonists, the raids slowed down. There were fewer and fewer Drennies riding their Bonglonod flying beasts. The atmosphere just became less and less hospitable for them, despite the assurances by the Science Council that the Drennies could adapt and the subtle changes the terraforming would have little to no effect on the development of the indigenous people. Of course this statement only came after it was revealed there was indigenous people on this world, something most believe was kept secret by the corporations.
I passed by the soldier barracks just inside the walls, where as a soldier of the Terran Imperial Fleet, I would be sleeping. I continued down into the southside residential areas into the new developments that were not there when I was a kid. I didn’t know many people here but the colony was obviously thriving. This settlement was built over a field that my friends and I use to play a form of baseball in the lower gravity of this world. We made the diamond slightly bigger and fielded more players than the traditional terran game to cover more area.
I turned a corner to the old market square, which has always been the same. The sense of familiarity was comforting. I passed the same fruit stand I used to steal sugar-melons from. There was also the back-alley market that no kid should be, but we always found ways to get it to see things no young eyes should see. Now, as a member of the Terran Imperial Fleet, the vendors of the back alley would scatter at my presence.
Finally, I passed into a more familiar section of town, downa familiar street. It was more well-to-do because they were homes of the original colonists, like my parents. It was a more respected and honored part of town. Now it was like every other part of town – in smoldering ruins.
We thought the war was over and maybe it was. An unknown force assaulted this world, wiping out all who resided here, as if to take revenge for what was done to the Drennies.