When I volunteered to be a bomb that hurt the feelings of my Carpool. I can see where they were coming from with that feeling, they thought I was choosing death over them. They didn’t say anything about it, not directly anyway, but I knew what they were thinking.
The nice thing is I don’t have to worry about any of that anymore so I was able to share my feelings with them. Around the fire one night I just told them. It wasn’t about them. I love them. They’re my family. It was about me.
I wanted to feel the touch of a lover. I wanted to taste good food and sweet wine. I wanted to hear music. I wanted just once in my life to experience all the things that truck grunts like us never get to experience. Those three days in Crow were the best of my life. Now I will die and I have absolutely no regrets.
The song I heard was about a battle I think. I couldn’t understand it much because it was from a long time ago and they talked different back then. They had battles back then too. Maybe things weren’t as good before as we think. One part I remember very well from that song –
Comanche, you fought hard, Comanche, you tried
You were a good soldier so hold your head up high
For even the bravest sometimes must fall
Maybe they play that song for all the bombs. Maybe it was just a coincidence. Comanche must have been one hell of a fighter for them to make a whole song about them.
Plus they say that some bombs survive right? Yeah, I don’t really believe it either.
The only thing that bothered me is that when it was time to go I didn’t get to go with my Carpool. They put all us bombs in the back of a flat together. The driver looked like he was shitting a spined weasel, like we could explode even before we were rigged up. I would have liked to ride with my family one last time.
Most of the other bombs looked miserable. A few of them looked resigned. There was only one other bomb there that accepted their decision like I did. She looked a fearsome fighter. The marks on her arms indicated that she had survived 10 battles on foot. I’ve never seen anyone with more than 2 of those marks before. She must be a real hellcat, or very lucky. Probably both. Being a good fighter is fine, you have to be lucky too.
Ours eyes met at one point on the trip. There was acknowledgement there. In that second I saw why she was there. She had simply had enough. When the time comes there’s no point in hanging on. Let go.
After we were rigged up I told the driver that I’d take it from there. I’ve never seen someone to relieved. I’m no driver like Kane-Dee but I can get a bucket of rust and shit ahead of the warband. I wish I could have talked to her one last time before we went.
A couple miles ahead of the warband a mine took out the truck and half the bombs. I would have died then if I hadn’t moved up to drive. They said that might happen. There’s a safe path to the Citadel but we weren’t on it.
Most of the bombs hid at that point. Stupid. You’re going to blow up either way. The only thing to do is to try and make your death useful.
The woman with the marks on her arms and five others crept forward with me from the remains of the wrecked truck. One of them got tangled up in some kind of sharp wire. A second got taken out by another mine. They told us only vehicles would set the mines off but they were wrong. I don’t know what happened to the other two but by the time we got to the ramp there were just the three of us left.
We had barely gotten into position when the side of the silvery wall groaned open like a massive mouth. Reminded me of the time down south we saw Coremill’s buggy get swallowed whole by worm under the sand. Some kind of critter down there. Swallowed up an entire buggy, lost with all hands.
It may have taken us longer to get into position than it was supposed to but taking that into consideration the door wasn’t supposed to open for hours. Something was fucked. Something is always fucked in a battle. That’s one thing I’ve learned for sure. Nothing ever goes according to plan in battle. Or ever really.
Arm-marks and I made our move, the other one stayed hidden like he was waiting for the time we were told. Idiot. The door ain’t gonna open twice. Things change. When it’s time to go you gotta go.
I was never the faster runner, even when I was younger, but I flew towards that ramp faster than I had ever run before. I felt like I was falling towards it, faster than a person could ever run. Faster than the fastest rocket any Engineer ever made. I felt like I was weightless. Powerful. Like I could run across the entire world.
Too fast as it turns out, when I hit the ramp I lost my footing and slammed fast-first into the metal. Good thing as it turned about, because a giant machine came out of the hole. It was the biggest most heavily armored vehicle I had ever seen, and it wasn’t even touching the ground. Somehow it was floating in the air like it weighed nothing. It was like a giant red beetle flying without opening its wings.
Arm-marks was coming up behind me almost as fast and she was nimble enough not to face-plant into the ramp. This skillfulness earned her the opportunity to slam head-first into the machine as it emerged and get her skull caved in. She survived ten battles on foot and she gets taken out like that, by accident? I guess her luck ran out.
I started to crawl forward but suddenly I was crushed to the ground by a force so immense I can’t believe it didn’t kill me. Sesta had explained to some of us that the Citadel flyers were able to hang in the air because they had little spinning blades that pushed them up. She showed us how a light piece of metal twisted in the right way would spin up in the wind. One of the Engineers even made his own flying machine after she showed us.
I didn’t see anything like that on this giant machine but they must have been there inside and that’s what was crushing me to the ground. It only lasted a few seconds but I could feel the bones rattling inside my body. And that wasn’t even a weapon. I don’t envy the suckers that have to fight these people. I may be getting the long end of this stick as a bomb.
Once the machine was off me and I could move again I grabbed Arm-marks and drug her body forward as fast as I could. The doors were starting to close but we got inside easily. The doors didn’t move fast.
Sesta told us to trigger our rigs as soon as we were inside but it was so bizarre I couldn’t help but look around. It was like being shrunk down and put inside an engine. There was metal all around and pieces of machines. And it was so dark. I never thought about how there would be no sky inside. I felt a weird wave of nausea like the one time I went on a boat.
Sesta had said that the people inside would be pale and fat like maggots, they didn’t say how huge they would be. Standing on a machine cliff above me was a man that had to weigh three times what I did. He was taller than I was but more than anything he was wider. It didn’t seem possible, it looked like he was going to rip through his own flesh and explode.
He had on a red robe with legs that was open at the chest where his massive belly spilled out like bread dough being baked. There probably wasn’t enough clothing to cover all that flesh if he wanted to. Even though he was white like bone his face was red like the sun. He held up a little box in his hand like it was a weapon and yelled with a weak voice like a tiny child.
“Get out of here you scrappers!”
I wish I could have thought of some cool last words to say. I slammed the trigger on Arm-marks rig and mine.