On August 9th 2111 Eric Wheiner was elected Premier for his first five-year term of office.
He took office in the wee hours of the year 2112.
This happens almost four years later in November 2115.
"We better keep this short. I don't know how long we can fog the satellite surveillance but—"
"What about the transponder in your bionics?"
The colonel wordlessly crumpled his left sleeve, showed the empty socket underneath it. No bionic transponder this time. The resistance leader nodded. A single green eye gleamed in a narrow, almost haggard face, still looking like a thirty-year-old's. The other was hidden under a dirty grey flap.
Thirty. He looked still young for his age. The colonel knew for a fact that the man was over forty now. And only the last couple years had added the lines that made the thirty believable.
The silence expanded. Lasted. They didn't have time for that but neither wanted to break it apart.
"How is she?" the colonel finally asked, more anxiously than he wanted.
"Alive." The word was rough, final. There wouldn't be any more information. "Yours?"
The question surprised the officer, made him stuff his right hand deeper into the pocket of his grey uniform coat. "He's serving on the Gilead now." Silence. "Flight officer." Silence. No admittance that that made his son this man's enemy. But then, he was supposed to be this man's enemy, too. "And Jess... she took the Chimaira to Andor last year." He wouldn't see his daughter again anytime soon.
"The Chimaira was taken down in the asteroid belt." The voice was low, emotionless. The colonel closed his eyes, forced the pain down. "Government troops. No survivors." Also no compassion, no offer of comfort. The resistance leader was beyond that.
The colonel's throat tightened. He swallowed dryly, rigorously squelching the pain, pulling a small package from his coat pocket. The resistance leader tensed, hand reaching for the weapon the colonel knew must be there. He didn't acknowledge the gesture. "Here. He wanted you to have this."
A small package of worn, tattered cloth lay in the palm of his natural right hand. The resistance leader took it slowly, tentatively, unfolding it with hesitant, somehow awkward movements, and studied it with his one, remaining eye.
A base insignia, a growling wolf's head, that had almost lost its colors to age...
It was almost lost in the narrow hand of the tall man who turned it around. On its back, written in black marker, was a single word: GO!
The green eye searched his face in surprise. Behind them a door banged open. The colonel twitched. A woman cradling an assault rifle in her elbow briskly entered the room. The resistance leader didn't so much as turn to her. He didn't have to.
"We gotta leave. They're closing in."
Short cropped red hair gleamed briefly in the white light of the illuminated cross adorning the church on the other side of the street. Two angry red scars crossed a pale, delicate cheek. Violet, glittering eyes brushed over the colonel before they turned their attention to the street outside. If there was recognition, it wasn't shown. The two moved as one. Synchronized shadows slipping through the door, melting into the foggy shadows outside.
The colonel was alone in the dirty, ramshackle apartment. "I hope you follow his wish and go," he whispered into the emptiness. "Leave."
An hour later the resistance leader huddled in shadow, leaned against the woman, sharing warmth and comfort, even strength with her. ...What did he say?... her thoughts asked in his mind. The insignia was placed in her hands. She sensed. She straightened, violet gleaming eyes searching his green one...
He said it out loud.