Alextravia Judas Grentarii could not be said to be a happy man. Not just in general – that was absolutely expected by anyone who’d ever had the occasion to spend even a few minutes with the man. But even at this exact moment, as he trudged up to the meeting alongside Janet Skyy (now Wyler), he was in a particularly unhappy mood. Alex was suffering under the kind of unhappiness that strikes when you are completely and totally undecided about what you want to do with yourself. Thinking back over the course of the last several months – a task that was surprisingly difficult since he spent most of it in a state of unconscious hibernation – he had been all over the map. All told it was very difficult to say what he wanted to do with his life any more.
Alex was a man whose sole ambition was once, and it seems ages ago now, to be the best officer he could be, to climb the ranks as quickly as possible, and to form as few meaningful and lasting relationships as possible. This was a man for whom duty was a sacred word, for whom honor and discipline were next to godliness and godlierness. Since then, he’d had a series of the most extraordinary things happen to him. He’d had love affairs, he’d formed real, actual friendships with people that didn’t just want him to invest in a pyramid scheme (although he did come pretty close to screwing one of them up and interfering with true love in the process), and over the course of all this time he’d been promoted, demoted, died and been resurrected, been promoted again, shot at, blown up, poisoned by radiation, been betrayed, lost the love of his life, died again, and then after quite a long slumber entered a semi-reactivated state long enough to reunite with a long lost lover who was no longer lost.
The height of his ambition at this point, therefore, was much different than it had been in the past. Bored with the trappings of command and honor and prestige, he now wants nothing more than to find a nice, quiet planetoid to retire on with Amanda Lance – and though he hasn’t discussed it with anyone else, not even his friend Trevvik if he has anything to say about it it’ll be Amanda Grentarii before too long. Unfortunately things don’t seem to be going to well in that regard either, since ever since he was reunited with her, they’ve been shot at, locked up, poisoned by gas, blown up… basically the same kinds of things they were doing before, with the welcome, but not entirely compensatory difference being, that they are doing it together instead of apart. Since then he’s toyed with reenlisting, but hasn’t, toyed with leaving to get away from the Wyler brothers constant bickering before he remembered he liked them, toyed with letting the galaxy look after itself for a few hours while he reacquaints himself with some aspects of his lost love that he’s been woefully under-acquainted with for, what he believes, is far too long. Sometimes it’s hard for him to remember just how long it’s been since he lost consciousness on the bridge of that ship, sucked out into the vastness of space, before waking up a blink of an eye later in a sparse but comfortable living room across from a surprised-looking woman with a toolkit the likes of which he’d never seen.
Since then he’s been on a roller coaster of emotions, ups and downs the likes of which he’s never known, and which he’d much prefer never to know again, thank you very much. And though his death and subsequent redemption of the woman he loved has at least proven to be a partially cathartic experience, he could not be said to now be a completely nice guy, though a sense of patience, a smidgen of compassion, and at least an inkling of tolerance seem to have taken root in his previously hardened soul.
This is not, however, enough to overshadow the sense of dread that inevitably accompanies a top secret meeting, since “top secret” is usually code for “an extremely dangerous missing that’ll probably get your arms shot off.” Nevertheless, the ideals that brought him into the service to begin with are still buried there, somewhere in his psyche, and the opportunity to do something heroic and brave and, perhaps, save someone from some oppression somewhere, is still an idea that appeals to him, at least somewhere in his brain that’s not already picking out formal serving dishes and carpet swatches for his dream home on a planet so far away from the galaxy and its problems that nobody would ever know where he and his fiancée got off to. The problem is that either option seems compelling and he’s not sure which is going to win.
Perhaps I’ll let the meeting make the decision for me, he thought as he followed Janet to ops. It’d be nice if I knew exactly what it was about, of course, but I suppose I’ll have to formally reactivate my service record. I suppose the first step towards getting that done is making sure I’m no longer legally dead. I wonder what kind of paperwork THAT requires…