Last one out get the lights

I stood at the front doorway of Freeform Industries from the inside, looking out. All the lights had been dimmed, all the cubicles and offices cleared out.

I breathed heavily, my sigh echoing throughout the empty hallways of our once proud corporation facility. It was never easy saying goodbye to the place you’d worked for the last year. It wasn’t the job, jobs came and went, it was the people. People always managed to make an impact on me, and closing this chapter of my life meant leaving behind some people that meant a great deal to me.

Would I ever see them again? Perhaps. Regardless of how big the universe was, it often seemed very small sometimes.

I stepped into the light of the main corridor, the symbolism of darkness to light not lost on me. I turned to face the Freeform main doorway as it slid closed for the last time.

“Engage security protocal X-12H, authorization Wieler C286T71.”

I could hear the door seal, heavy deadbolts locking into place. I took my sunglasses off, and moved towards the retinal scanner.

“Revoke roles and privileges, Roc Wieler, authorization Wieler E7Gamma2.”

“Are you sure?” Aura responded.

I had made up my mind. It was time to move on. There was simply nothing left to hold onto here.

“Yes.”

“Termination of employee 87, Colonel Roc Wieler, complete.” Aura replied.

“Take care of yourself.” I said to the doorway, realizing I was being a sentimental fool.

I slung my tote bag over my shoulder and walked towards the nearest pub. The bag had my final few corporate belongings, small mementos I had collected during my time at Freeform.

An hour later, I was lost in melancholic revelry, enjoying my beer(s), contemplating my next step. I knew where I wanted to be; I just wasn’t sure how to get there.

It reminded me of a lesson Master Cho had taught me as a slave child many years before…

“But if I choose the first path, Master, I will miss out on what the second path has to offer.” I said, working through my logic verbally. Master Cho was strict and harsh, but I knew he appreciated the process as much as the end results. By demonstrating my ability to work through an issue, he would hopefully be impressed.

We stood at a fork in the road. The surrounding area was beautifully forested, dense enough to not reveal what lay at the end of each path before me, but promising to be pleasant enough either way.

“Yet if I take the second path, I will miss out on what the first has to offer. Hmmm.” I scrunched up my brow in deep thought, as I had often seen Master Cho when concentrating on an issue.

“Maybe there is no wrong choice.” I said, turning to see Master Cho standing behind me, arms crossed, a stern look on his face. He was a visual reminder that going back was obviously not a choice; that I would have to move forward.

“Or perhaps there is no right choice. That is the wonder of mystery.” Master Cho replied.

I turned back towards the two paths, looking for some indication of which direction I should choose for myself.

The path to the left seemed more well-trodden, perhaps a trade path used by local merchants. If that were the case, there would be food and gifts at the next stop along the route. At the same time, trade routes often beggared bandits and vagrants, set on stealing or begging for your hard earned money.

The path to the right had a gentle breeze, which indicated some type of water; perhaps a waterfall or lake. I didn’t see any gulls in the sky which was often an indication of a waterline, so wasn’t sure of my assessment. This path winded quickly, not giving me much of a view to ascertain at all.

“So which path will you choose, dog?” Master Cho demanded from behind me.

“I choose neither, Master. I have not sufficient knowledge of either, and therefore it would be foolish of me to engage down either unknown path without first gathering more information. So I will stand here, and query any passers by to make a more informed decision.” I said confident I had passed this test.

Master Cho smiled with satisfaction as he approached me, and for once, I felt I had measured up to what he expected of me. A quick backhand corrected that misconception.

“Young fool!” he barked, in a sudden rage. “By choosing neither path you miss out on the opportunity of both! No decision is the most pathetic decision of all. All life moves in two directions; it is either growing or dying, moving forward or decaying. Standing still is not natural.”

I did my best not to cry. I had tried so hard to please him, to impress him just once.

It wasn’t until many years later that I learned the man was simply unpleasable.

“Wish I could kill you again, Cho.” I said, raising my beer to my lips.

“What was that?” a female voice said from my side.

I turned and saw a Brutor female standing beside me, smiling, her red hair flowing freely around her face. At first my heart leapt, thinking it was Mynxee, but it wasn’t. How many red headed vixens were in this universe? Sheesh.

“Nothing, just remembering someone I’d rather not.” I replied glumly.

She arched her eyebrow in that way all women seem to, appraising me. “Well aren’t you the man of mystery and intrigue?” she said, sitting down in an empty chair at my table.

She stuck her hand out towards me. “Kainda Gordo, pleasure to meet you. Hope you don’t mind a little company.”

She was far too pleasant and chipper for my mood, but I wasn’t one to turn away the companionship of a beautiful woman. I took her hand in mine, noting the strength behind her grip, and introduced myself.

“Roc Wieler.” I grunted.

“Now where do I know that name from?” she said, a flirtatious smile on her face, inviting me to share more.

I simplly shrugged, taking another sip of my beer.

Today I was just another man. Today I was without a paying job. Today was just another day in another bar in another system in the universe.

Kainda leaned over on her elbows, staring intently into my face. “I think someone needs some cheering up, and you’re lucky; I’m just the right girl for the job.”

She smiled again, and I was forced to chuckle at her confidence.

Maybe it wouldn’t be such a bad day after all. I ordered us both a round of beer, choosing at least the temporary path before me.

One response to “Last one out get the lights

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