#17 [May 3303] In Memoriam
Many had come. It was a silent trek of many ships. A quiet vigil over the blue jewel that was Chione. They had assembled in a long line of salute to pay their respects to the one they had looked up to. The one they had hoped would bring them a spark of light in darker times.
Truth had been paid with life. It was a dire price but one paid willingly. All here knew and all here would gladly have paid the price but, alas, the universe had called her daughter home, not them. She knew what was at stake and she steered her ship right into the fire, bringing down wrath and revenge upon her so that others might weather the storm and reach their goal unmolested. In this, she gave herself to her friends and followers, making them the harbingers of her legacy.
She flew her Seven Veils to the corners of our universe. Now, she had flown beyond the veil, Inanna taking her residence in the Netherworld, one of the Apkallu called home. Her children she asked to nurture the seeds of truth and to lessen the pains of the world, even after the Flood.
After each of the pilots had said their quiet prayers and farewells, the two closest to Salomé took a moment to say their eulogies:Tsu Annabelle Singh gave the following words of comfort:
I didn’t know her long and I didn’t like her much at first. The first thing she said to me was “And who is this?” She looked down her nose at me. I thought she was a stuck up arrogant bitch. That Imperial accent and her haughty stare; always challenging you, always demanding.
We argued, a lot. Through that I found she was smart and clever. It was impossible to change her mind once she’d made it up. She was hard and brutal at times. She had the cold eyes of a killer. I saw her kill once… her sword bloodstained… I think she liked it up close and personal.
It was the little things I noticed first. She had a way of sighing and running her hand through her hair when she was thinking. There was a softer side to her that hardly anyone saw. She never let her guard down, never allowed herself to love… but she cared.
She suffered alone. She suffered more hurt in her short life than most suffer in a lifetime. She hide it well but I’m sure she was broken up inside. She felt the responsibility and the guilt. She hated putting people at risk, even if it was necessary. She hated what she was forced to do, weighing lives against the truth.
She didn’t tell us everything, I guess she was trying to protect us. Maybe she even gave her life so we could survive. I wish I knew.
But I’ll tell you something. I would have died for her. So long, Salomé. I will remember.
After her words, Alessia Verdi took her turn and addressed the attendants:Alessia Verdi found the following memories of her dear friend in so many troubled waters:
My father told me about Salomé. The daughter of an Imperial Senator. She had privilege and power. More money than any of us will ever see. He told me he’d rescued her. He often seemed to be in the right place at the right time. One day I hope I will get some answers out of him.
We were once caught and locked in a cell by Federal agents, sentenced to execution. She saved my life that day. I remember being terrified, but I never saw fear on her face no matter what the circumstances. She was driven, burdened by the past and anxious for the future. I knew a little of her motivation. She was wracked with guilt over what happened in the skies here above Chione. Much of what she did afterwards was to atone for what she saw as her greatest sin. She would cry out when she was sleeping. The deaths she caused haunted her.
She didn’t let anyone close, showed only the briefest glimpse of any affection. Perhaps she was terrified of losing anyone else to allow any attachment.
This conspiracy, this strange mission she embroiled us all in. I don’t quite know what it was about her that inspired loyalty and devotion. She had a … way about her. She knew it too, she manipulated people to her advantage – maybe us as well. She had this allure… this spell.
But there was no malice there. She was dogged and determined, but convinced she was doing the right thing. She knew the risk she was running, she did it anyway. She spoke fondly of her home and those who she knew. Cuthrick, Hassan, us Children and those of Loren’s Legion. She valued loyalty and service.
If she were here she would have a bold and impassioned speech for us. I wish I could hear it one more time.
But her memory and her fortitude is all that is left to us. I know I speak for all of you when I say that we will always, always… Remember. Farewell, Salomé.
Finally, as the ships turned about the distant sun rose above Chione and the flagship let her coffin glide into space, towards the warm atmosphere of her homeworld, which would embrace her soon. As the coffin passed, two torpedos fell in line, silently escorting her until they exploded in a bright shower of silvery stars.
Suddenly, despite the echoless void, there was a whisper. It came from nowhere and from everywhere. It washed across the coffin, the planet and the silent assembly of ships. It touched each and every one of the attendants, reaching out to his soul and stroked it ever so slightly. It raced across the solar system and into the deep, deep space, until it passed other stellar islands in its path. And all who where touched by it seemed to hear a singular word on the breeze of that whisper: Hope.
We are but the dust of stars, the children of the universe.
Out of death new life will be born, out of dreams new hope will be born.
She would not have wanted it any other way. And we will give her this wish.
It is said “Life is not measured in years, but by the deeds of Man.” If that is true, today there is not death. There is only life. Let us embrace it. Let us remember her and let us go forth and bring hope to those places that have need for it.
For her light.
After the ceremony and final farewell to maybe one of the most enigmatic and inspiring personalities of our time, additional news about the foul attempted exploitation of the peaceful and silent mourning of the dead began to circulate among the Pilots’ Federation:
It was reported by many witnesses that treacherous and vile elements of the notorious Smiling Dog Crew (SDC) had shown up in the Childrens’ home system of HR 6421 shortly after the ceremony, as the attendants silently made their way back to the CoR station and attempted to disrupt the mourners’ trek. During the unceremonious exchange of gunfire several vessels of the Children, their guests and also their assailants were reported damaged or destroyed.
It was later confirmed that Salomé’s assassin, Cmdr Harry ‘Besieger’ Potter himself, was present at the site of the assault, although apparently in a flash of illusion of grandeur he steered towards the already hostiile Serebrov Terminal station and was subsequently rained with wrath and righteous fire.
He was confirmed killed during this foolish manoeuvre. For what it’s worth, Salomé was avenged and the stain of attacking a peaceful ceremony of mourners saying their last words will be forever on the SDC.
Live with it.
Shortly after the tragic incident an unnamed source had this visual comment for SDC’s and especially podded Potter’s behavior: