The Girl Hanging By One Foot
Husker puts down his gun, at the edge, and sticks his hand into the waters of abomination, and he is visited by visions, of the past and the future. People in cages, screaming. Louder and louder, as Husker screams with them. The twisting of the men and the screaming of the women. The hand of the first Hybrid grabs at his wrist, and pulls him closer. Husker is touched by God and then released, and he falls over, gasping. "All this has happened before, and will happen again," rings out a voice from beyond all this, dusty as a hospital ward, tired as Metatron. Comes a knocking, at the hatch opposite, a pounding of fists and shouts, and he approaches. A man's face, maybe a little bit familiar, looks out at him through a grimy porthole. The victims of ugly science, Geminese traders from the captured ship Diana, who watched their fellows taken away one by one; taken apart in the nativity. Diana is the goddess of birth, and of the hunt. The temple and the altar. He tries to free them, and cannot; a younger woman, blonde, reaches through the gap. As the Basestar begins to undock, to retreat behind the line, the victims tell him to scramble, to tell their story and the stories of what's happened here. The room shakes and disaster looms; Husker leaves. Outside in the snow, clean and white after all that blood and dirt and death, he learns the war is over. It's Armistice Day. He can't do anything about the victims, or the experiments, or the horror he's just witnessed, but the War is over, and he lives on. And now, forty years later, some glitch in the system has kept the Guardians going, like Onoda and Uwano. The Guardians go on, taking people when they can, performing their horrors, making new life. Laboring senselessly toward God.