Badge of Honour

Badge of Honour


These days, my life flits between terror and the hazy dreams of the doctor’s needle.

When the cold sober world comes back to haunt me, I lie in the corner and huddle beneath a blanket, the soft whine and growl of the engine fills my ears.

The others try not to notice me, ignoring my crying, only intervening if they think I might hurt myself.

You see, I never saw hell before.

Only when that sharp itch hits my arm, and the cool smooth waves wash through me, can I remember how it used to be. I feel the cold water above me, the blue flickering light of the surface beckoning me to rise. I strike out and swim strongly, watching the light coming to greet me. Each kick of my legs draws me closer to the air and I feel the new me falling away.

I draw in the air and I am strong. They look at me again and we talk about things. We fight and kill the enemy and for a while, I feel OK.

You see, I never saw hell before.

I saw things that day, things that walk, things that crawl, things that fly.

The dyybuk is what remains of the people who lived here, it shambles about, biting and scratching, it is the eyes and ears of the invaders, as long as it doesn’t touch you, it is of no real danger.

There’s another kind of humanoid too, a strange blend of human and vegetative material, stronger and more dangerous, but no less vulnerable to our weapons.

Of the others, we know very little. We saw them from a distance in Illaria city but out here in the hinterland, they seem quite rare. Not that we don’t come across their handiwork.

One appears to be humanoid but with great stature. It has an affinity for metals and machinery; it will grow itself around plates of metal and pieces of technology and fuses blades and shards of metal into its arms as weapons. We saw its footprints amongst the shattered body parts of villagers, eaten or torn apart.

I try not to think about the others, I really do, I think that maybe I’ll forget them. I think maybe I’ll forget everything.

If the needle won’t do it, there’s a planets worth of alcohol out there that’ll do the job just as good.

You see, I never saw hell before…

-- Mission log of Lieutenant Ara Mercator, Recon Group
-- Mission Clock: 689 hours, 34 minutes, 35 seconds


Images created in Poser and Photoshop. SP3 figures are wearing a custom conforming outfit created in Hexagon. Vehicle is an original model created in Hexagon. Rendered in Poser using custom shaders. Badges created in Photoshop.

Final image composition and blending in Photoshop.

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Updated: 15 October 2006

© Mark Hirst, 2000 - 2018