Author : Roi R. Czechvala, Staff Writer

Harry Morgan was a bear of a man. Over six feet and in excess of 240 pounds. He eschewed a prosthesis, preferring to simply pin up the sleeve of his MCU where his left arm had once hung. He wore the morphic combat uniform of the Confederacy even though it had been three years now since his retirement.

For all his size and the deep scars that crossed his face, he was a gentle man. Slow to anger and much slower still to violence. It is no small wonder then that he lay upon the purple sand beside a methane sea bleeding his life away.

It had been gut shot. A slow painful way to die. He silently cursed the self sealing feature of his suit. A quick rush of his oxygen into the near vacuum of the planets atmosphere would be more merciful than this.

“You bastard,” he said, wincing from the painful effort to speak. “You murdering bastard.”

From a vantage point atop a boulder, further up from the lapping tide, an envirosuited figure stirred. “Now, now, calm yourself or you’ll bleed out faster.”

“Is that your game? You want to watch me suffer slowly? You want to watch me die?”

Casually, the seated figure examined the weapon in his lap before quietly responding. “Die? Now why would I want you to die? Suffer? Yes. Immeasurably. But die? Emphatically, NO. I want you to live. And you shall. You shall bleed to death. When you die, your monitoring system will shut down and within a scant heartbeat you will be frozen through. You suit will activate the beacon and within hours you shall be rescued, resuscitated and resurrected in all of your glory.”

“Why,” he gasped, spraying his visor with blood soaked phlegm.

“So I can do it all over again.”

“But why? Why at all, you crazy fuck?”

“Why? WHY?” The voice took on a disembodied quality as it rose to a banshee shriek. “Why,” he repeated a third time, his voice growing calm once again.

“Why? Because I like you. And Mother liked you. She always liked you best.”

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