Several years ago, I was shot in the knee.
the mission, as I recall, was to arrest a suspected Guristas operative who was meeting a cartel of counter-corporate terrorists with a shipment of spoofed corporate scrip equivalent to about three thousand ISK, and a possible weapons shipment.
"possible" turned out to be "definite" when we stormed the place. And it figured that the squad medic would be the guy who found out the hard way that they'd acquired an anti-vehicle pulse laser. A half-second pulse took my right knee down to scorched bone pretty much instantly, and the explosion of steam knocked me staggering. that was probably what saved my life, that I went sprawling into cover from the detonation.
I remember that it didn't actually hurt. the nerve trauma was too great, and the automated medical systems in my armour clamped down on all the pain, gave me a whole cocktail of stuff. Mephodrazine, Frentix, Codethaline, Adrenaline, steroids... From upright and running with an SMG in my hands to a drugged haze in about four seconds.
I don't remember much after that. Medical evac, doctors, worried faces... it all blurred together except for Suma. Suma Kidachi. Breaching regulations by holding my hand. I think we'd have been court marshalled when I woke up if...
That was the last time I saw her alive. Her or anyone else in the squad. They shoved me in a tissue regeneration vat and kept me under for four months. When I came out of it I was briefed that my whole squad had died in the valiant defence of a civilian personnel transport that got hit by blood raiders. The fought off the boarding action, so the fucking Blooders went and vaporised the ship. What was supposed to be downtime duty while one of the team was in rehab turned out to be #35 "Tanto" squad's last mission... and I wasn't there to die with them.
The Counsellor told me that the best thing was to remember and reflect on the good and not dwell on the bad. To find new work, something, anything at all to keep me from missing them horribly. To give me purpose so I'd just get out of bed in the morning, so I wouldn't be tempted to find some way of... joining them.
I went on an intensive re-training scheme. took my experience as a medic and went on a fast-track course in trauma surgery which landed me in Field Operations Support Hospital 883, promoted to Captain.
Some days, it really was hard to get out of bed though. I missed them all, but Suma... Ancestors help me, I loved her so much. So much that I made mistakes like marrying Iadne because I thought maybe if I tried hard enough, I could...
I don't even know what I thought I could do. Ten years on and I still haven't figured out what was going on in my head when I proposed to her, or what was going on in hers when she said "yes". All I know is that the marriage lasted all of two days before it started to fall apart.
And now Nicole's gone. I don't know if she's dead or alive. I don't know if I need to go to the cloning techs and authorise her reanimation, or if I need to go rescue her and hold her and be the big damn hero. I don't know.
At least I could grieve for Suma properly. Her death scarred me in ways I'm only just acknowledging, but there was no uncertainty. She died, I grieved, that's how it went. Clean and natural, even if it nearly broke me in two.
But now? I don't know how I'm holding up. I don't know if I'm holding up. I'm out of my mind with worry and grief and rejection and anger and fear and self-doubt. Seems like every minute a new type of misery is slamming into my brain, forcing the others aside until they fight back one by one.
So all I can do is distract myself. I meditate, I practise Tastoitsu, I sculpt, I fly, I fight, I run simulations, I get drunk, I socialise, I focus on other people's problems to distract me from my own. I commit to my distractions until they make me forget her, for a while. But I can't stay distracted 23/7... she always returns, and then the worst misery of all comes with her.