Intercosmic - Chapter 18 - Welcome to Enceladus

If corporations and the politicians in their pockets had it their way, every planet, moon and half the asteroids in The Sol System would be home to humanity. Unfortunately for them, some places in this universe just can’t be tamed. Enceladus is not one of those places. One of Saturn’s larger moons, although not much larger than a small city or town. It isn’t much warmer than Pluto and civilization is still confined to a series of atmospheric domes. There still isn’t much sunlight and really, it should be considered just another terrible place for humanity to leave our mark. Destined to control the stars, and all that crap used to justify wars, intergalactic colonization

The true attraction of Enceladus is the leisure life. Casinos, sports, all sorts of debauchery and I’m here to unwind and enjoy it. Take the time to celebrate life the way I didn’t in the army. I don’t know about gambling, but I do want to try racing the rocket karts. There’s also a theater that plays historic films which is right up my alley.

“Young man, you look like you’re at a rough space in life,” a stout man with a bald head and ginger beard steps in front of me.

“Yeah, but I’ve got it under control,” I try to walk around him.

“You could always use some guidance and the Army of Sol could give it to you.”

The Army of Sol, a combined army that takes in the best soldiers from every country, every colony and every planet. They’ll take the best of the best. While humanity fights wars amongst ourselves in the darkness The Army of Sol demonstrates a united front for humanity. Taking on jobs and keeping peace in the Sol System when our own petty differences become too large. They also have the third largest galactic exploration program, not just for humanity, but for any species. Only the Billith, who practically live and die on ships; then the Revrell who believe they are the smartest of all races, and it is hard to argue against in many situations. Their special forces programs are like no other, borderline illegal and demonstrate just how far humanity is willing to go to prove we’re the best. Human exceptionalism, you have to love it, and hate it at the very same time. At one point, I thought I would be joining A.O.S. in one of their special forces programs, then I’d join an exploration team, now I’m not even a soldier. I would have jumped at the opportunity not long ago, now I’d do anything to avoid more battles.

“I’ll be thirty in a year and a half, not exactly young,” I continue making excuses.

“Haven’t you heard? Thirty is the new 18 and you seem to be in great shape for any age.”

“I’m just trying to get to my hotel.”

“How about trying to fight for your star system?”

“I’ve done my time.”

“Just because your tour of duty has ended, doesn’t mean your war is over.”

“I know this is your job, I’ve done some recruiting too. You’ll say whatever it takes to get me signed up and that’s okay. I’m not mad at you, but you’re wasting time on me. I’ve been to battle. I’ve seen and done things no person ever should have to. I’m not going back, now if you’ll excuse me, I have to check in.”

“When you realize the outside world isn’t the same as you left it, you don’t fit in anymore and all the problems you ran away from are still waiting on you, I won’t be mad. The Army of Sol will always be waiting on you. You’d be surprised how many people get out, just to want back in.”

The man gives me a firm handshake and a stern look as if he’ll change my mind. Then he leaves with a salute that I return. If he knew I was running, he wouldn’t have even tried to recruit me. Would he have tried to turn me in, would he have just been disgusted or would he have let me go onto my hotel without any complaint? Those are just thoughts of what could have happened, and I just need to vanquish them from my mind. There isn’t any point in worrying now.

The Shattered Palace, my hotel for time here on Enceladus, a magnificent sight. The base structure is that of a fairy-tail palace, complete with a tower for young royalty to be held hostage. Yet, from seemingly every angle shards of ice shoot forward, obscuring the beauty of the original architecture. I understand the name, as it does look like a palace that was once made of ice, and shattered in a giant explosion. The interior continues the royal style with everything giving off just a bit of arrogance.

Despite that, I didn’t splurge on my room. One full sized bed, a desk with an okay view of the streets below, a hot shower and some television. Room service isn’t bad either. I’ve put together a nice little vacation for a man on the run that nobody is looking for. The last time I stayed at a hotel was with my family, we went to an amusement park. That might have been the last time all five of us were together and happy. No divorces, no suicides, no jail time and no running off to be a marine.

Things went to shit so fast after that. I don’t even remember if it had all been brewing under the surface, or everything started to unravel rapidly all at once. Everyone and everything changed after that summer, now we don’t even speak. One of us died, the rest of us just act like we all died. It might be better that way.

That recruiter was right, things weren’t the same since I went rogue. They were different since I went in as well. Sometimes I feel like everything around me changes, but I never do. I’m still that little boy who blindly followed his big brothers, and lost his way the minute I lost them. Commander Efrem Gray, they really thought I was capable of leading people. I’m not capable of leading anyone, Xioshaa showed that to everyone.

I ran away from the actual mission, called myself avoiding conflict. While I was running, I ran us straight into a trap. I’m not what the Army of Sol needs, nor anyone. I’m not a brother in arms, I’m just a tourist on vacation.

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