It’s twenty three minutes after midnight, which means it’s a new day. I just arrived at my new location (my new place of residence, if you will), and I am definitely sensing a challenge here. Allow me to explain.
I was mortally wounded a little over a year ago while ending what is now known as The Reaper War. My injuries were exhaustive: I had what they call “flail chest” with one of the broken ribs puncturing my left lung, the pistol grip on my carnifex melted to my hand, and I had second-degree burns all along the left side of my body. My facial injuries included a “naso-maxillary” fracture (my mandible was completely broken in two under my nose), several lost teeth along the top, and a broken orbital — also on the left side. I was intubated orally and nasally for four days, and what little I recall of my first two weeks in the hospital was spent almost completely sedated. I was also flashblind and partially deaf for the first two weeks, but thankfully, that receded with time, and I can see and hear just fine.
I left in a month, and again, thankfully, the physical recovery took very little time. Physical therapy wasn’t necessary for a facial fracture (which, by the way, is completely fine, and the only reminder of that is a series of scars inside my mouth). My biggest scar is an outline of the tissue regrowth on my hand. Even my prints are back. I have a line on my nose from a gash…but all things considered, even though I was five feet away from the explosion, I came away relatively scot-free.
What has hindered me the most was the emotional scars of the three years leading up to that, two of which were spent being rebuilt after getting spaced. That wasn’t an emotional hindrance. Seeing so much death and destruction, and filing it away as I focused on my mission was what took its toll as I found myself idle for the first time in years.
I was born in Valencia, California in 2154. At five, I fell in love with the piano, and began spending most of my free time learning to play. At thirteen, my mother and father received a contract to move to Mindoir: my mother was a teacher, and my father was a civil engineer. The colony needed both. When I was sixteen, my family and friend were killed during a pirate attack at our pavilion. From there, I spent two years on the Royal Damascus, the main ship and civilian cruise vessel that heads the Royal Damascus Alliance Mining Fleet. My great aunt Hannah suggested I look into joining the Alliance. If nothing more, it’s a good way to get collegiate education, and it is also a good career option, since there are so many opportunities. I leapt at the chance, signing on with the Advanced Training Academy at seventeen, and enlisting on my eighteenth birthday.
Since I’d already shown great leadership and technological skill, I was selected to bypass basic training, given my first official rank as Second Lieutenant, and sent to Interplanetary Combatives Training School in Rio de Janeiro. From there, I took part in the infamous Wasteland Trials, the Skyllian Blitz, the Theshaca Raids, and countless other missions. I am known galaxy-wide for being the lone survivor of a thresher maw attack on Akuze (may my team continue to find rest among the stars) In 2183, I was promoted to Staff Commander and given my first ship and crew, a Turian-Human collaborative project frigate called the Normandy SR-1. She was beautiful. I have my opinions about how I got the ship, but I will keep those thoughts to myself.
In late spring of 2183, a week before I was to turn 29, the Normandy was destroyed enroute to the Perseus Veil to take advantage of intel we’d discovered, and I was left adrift in space. I might have survived, but there was a hole in my main oxygen intake valve (I was thrown into debris from my ship when it exploded), and I lost all pressure, air, and all that I remember was that it got very cold very quickly. I don’t think I even had time to pass out from the lack of oxygen. I just froze. The next thing I know, I’m waking up on an operating table, and finding out it’s two years later. So…does that make me 33 or 31, now? 😉
Anyway, in that short time between coming back to life (I guess?) and waking up in the hospital after The Reaper War ended, I’d seen so much destruction and death and gore that I’d put away, that the instant I was forced to be idle, I had no defense against the pain and grief that hit. It was so severe that, by the time I was physically cleared to return to active duty, I was in no way mentally capable of rejoining my squad. After a year of trying different forms of therapy and counseling just short of taking medications for all of it (because I refuse anything mind-altering), Admiral Hackett decided to return me to conditional duty — as a recovery unit. This is the unspoken price that a “hero” pays for earning such a title. I’m not a hero, I am just a soldier. Maybe I went above and beyond the call of duty, but I was just doing my job to the best of my abilities.
He paired me with someone who shares similar struggles, but isn’t in the military. My mission is to work together with this person to help them recover as I recover from my own situation. They…she…is helping me write this, and has agreed to let me share demographics, but not specifics.
She’s 38. She is trans-masculine, but unsure if she wants to progress to complete trans-male status. She’s 120lb overweight. She is severely depressed, and there’s evidence of that all over the house, which is beautiful, by the way. She is unemployed, and up to her neck in debt. She fears everything she has no control over. Her teeth are a mess due to lack of self-care, and her family is present but negligent. There is no familial bond. This is almost like an answer to my internal question of whether it’s better to have an unsupportive family or no family at all, like me. I’m going to say the latter is better. At least there are no continuously failed expectations. No let-downs.
On the positives: like me, she’s very much into women — we’ll go “scouting” together, soon. She is single and has a cat. She’s super intelligent and has a great sense of humor, and she loves coffee, grime, jazz, and EDM music, and going outside when she feels safe. She likes to compete, and “used to always be up for a challenge.” She lives across the street from a huge park with a 1.5 mile track. She says she feels like if she was able to run, she’d do it every day (so there’s a goal). I love to go for a run when I’m feeling stressed or clouded. OH — she has a PIANO!!!!! LOVE!!!
I know my first order of business is to help her regain her foundation — I am without my own, at the moment, but she has agreed to let me live with her per Admiral Hackett’s request, so I can reestablish here with her. The foundation is where you go to when you’re done with the flights of the day. For me, that was the Normandy or whichever ship or planetside outpost I was stationed in. An unstable foundation can shake every other aspect of your life, so the first order of business is to clean the depression out of the house.
After that, I’m going to help her establish a financial foundation (aka a job) — and I think the best thing for her would be one in which she has full control. Most likely a turking position from home. And she’s a hell of a writer. I think I can help her find the confidence to write whatever someone wants and take a paycheck for it.
And after that, I think I will encourage her to take me for walks around the park at least once a day. Maybe walks around town — I’ve never been to this place.
In return, she’s asked me to write about my last three years — good and bad — which I will share here. She believes that writing is therapeutic, so I will make this a two way street.
And we’ll keep this blog updated, hopefully daily, with her progress, my progress, and whatever else tickles our fancy.