Chapter 27 of Death and Coping


Sorry about the delays, everyone on getting this done. Have a new job and back problems so everything has been real slow for me. Anyway have Chapter 27 finally done. Also Chapter 4 of Epoch: In Freedom's Name if anyone wants to check it out on my site. Well, hope everyone enjoys it and as always, I appreciate any comments and suggestions anyone has.

Chapter 27

        Janet and Kevin followed the Kilrathi guard as he escorted them back to their quarters. They had just left a meeting that had included themselves, Blair, and two Kilrathi. One of them was Melek, who had served under Prince Thraktath and the other was the Kal Shintahr, or Captain of the Kilrathi Cruiser they were currently on. When they had left, Blair and the others had still been discussing possible plans of action. They turned down another corridor and the guard stopped them, opened a door, and pointed them to it.
"These are your quarters," the Kilrathi growled. His command of English was far from perfect and the words were barely recognizable with his unpracticed tongue.

        Janet nodded to him as they entered their temporary home. It was spartan to the extreme and lacked all but the most basic of amenities. Kevin walked past her and sat down on what appeared to be the Kilrathi equivalent of a couch. He looked somewhat comical sitting on it with his legs hanging several inches off the deck. Janet leaned against the wall and sighed. It had been one hell of a day and she was tired.

        "So when do you want to leave?" Kevin asked.

        Janet balked at how definite he had sounded. He had said it with no doubt in his mind. "I don't remember saying that I wanted to leave."

        "What do you mean? You can't seriously want to stay here. In case you haven't noticed, we're heading straight into some serious shit. We're not soldiers, Janet, and we're not in the military. As far as I'm concerned, we've gone beyond the call of duty. We were lucky that the cats didn't kill us back at that dead colony of theirs. Let's cash our chips in while we still can."

        Janet shook her head, not believing what she was hearing. He didn't understand her at all. Of course, there weren't many people out there that could. "Kevin, I know this is hard for you. I respect that. But that's not for me. I have seriously fucked up my life. Time after time I've made the easy choice and it's always been the wrong choice. And because of that, good people have died. People who were making the right choice. Nothing I can do will ever bring them back. But maybe I can find some balance. Even the score before the bell tolls and all that shit."

        Kevin sat there, listening to her. After she had finished, he stood up, growing angry. "And you figure that if you help these Kilrathi, what? That you'll save your soul? Now you listen to me, if there is one thing I am sure of, it's that there isn't any God out there. And even if there is, he's one sadistic son of a bitch. I learned that the day I killed my father. You've paid your price, Janet. Both physically and mentally."

        "You still don't understand. It's nothing like that... Have you ever heard of Determinism?"

        Kevin shrugged his shoulders, "No."

        "My parents were strict Determinists when I was growing up. They believed that everything has its place, plan, and purpose. They everything and everyone's actions were already planned out."

        "Sounds like BS to me."

        "I believe that... now. But it took me a long time to learn that lesson. Too long actually. You see I bought into that bullshit as you call it and the Mandarins' propaganda too. That mankind was destined to lose to the Kilrathi as punishment for some cosmic crime. And that's why I joined the Confederation."

        "That doesn't make any sense."

        "It will. I thought that if I worked as a double agent inside Confed, that I would be able to help the war end sooner. That way maybe less people would have to die. I sincerely believed that the Kilrathi would win. I also believed that the killing would stop once the war was over. God, was I naive in those days. But you're right, that was all BS. I knew it the moment they showed the destruction of Kilrah on the news. I even knew that Blair was the one who dropped it before they announced it."

        "But isn't that Determinism? Like Blair was meant to be the one?" Kevin said, more confused than ever.

        "No, that was when I realized the joke of it all. Ever hear the saying "Why does God kill moms and dogs?" The reason why is because there is no God. There is no purpose to life. No karmic destiny, no rhyme or reason. Life is unfair. We're just loaned out a little bit to live our lives and wait for death to collect the debt."

        "Then why do you want to stay here?"

        Janet laughed, unable to control herself. It all had a very surreal feel to her. "I'm sorry," she said through sobs of laughter. Finally, she managed to compose herself. "I'm saying that just because life has no purpose, it doesn't mean I can't have one. I do. I should have died on Ayer's Rock. Hell, maybe I even deserved to, but I didn't. And if life won't give me a purpose for living, then I will. And I will do it because it's right. You know that it is yourself."

        Now it was Kevin's turn to sigh. "And you won't change your mind?"

        "You already know the answer to that."

        "I suppose I do. Damn, Janet, I can't leave you here. If you stay, I'm staying too."

        "I know," Janet said affectionately. She sat him down and hopped up next to him. She smiled and leaned into his arm, feeling safe in them.

        "Janet... I want you to know... If things go bad... I mean..."

        "Shhh, I know Kevin. I feel the same."

        They sat there, not speaking for a very long time. Just holding each other and enjoying their company and the moment itself. If either would have spoke it would have ruined it, of that they were sure. So they laid there together and tried not to think if this time would be their last.

There is no God but myself. No destiny but what I deem for me. I walk my path and no others, for I am free.