The Ocean Arc
Part One: Interlude - Ocean
by D.C. Logan
His butt was getting sore. He shifted minutely to resettle the sand into a different configuration and reached up to lower the brim of his cap over his eyes. It was a good day. Warm, not hot. Light breeze to the north. The sun was hanging low in the sky—slowly sinking beneath the curve of the horizon. The ocean was rolling towards him in symmetrical breakers that dissolved into foamy remnants in the wet sand not three meters from where he sat.
He had his traditional black on, and sat in the loose dry sand with knees propped up against his chest and his arms twisted about them. His chin he rested on his right knee, cap pulled low against the glare of the setting sun, and long braid tucked along his side and between his legs where the light wind wouldn't tease strands free from the long plait. (It was a stone bitch to take down and rebraid in any type of wind.)
This was the quiet time he'd chosen for himself after the last mission. Where he could lower a portion of the sometimes brash, usually humorful, and occasionally reckless shield he maintained in the company of others. He'd worked so hard at developing his "public" attitude that slipping into and out of character had become second nature to him by now. It separated who he was now from what he was before. His eyes dropped down to the sand beneath him and caught sight of his ruffled braid. Three stands, one for each portion of his life so far. Running wild in the colony with Solo; time spent in Maxwell church; and now this time. Three parts of his life that made him the person he was today.
This was one of the places he would add to his treasured memories—the ones he brought out when times were hard. When the purity of a memory was necessary to shield him from a difficult reality.
He remembered his first impression of it vividly. He'd read about the curvature of the earth, and seen vids of the phenomena, but nothing had prepared him for the literal and mathematical expanse of it all. Amazing to see the span of the planet roll away from his field of vision and throw the objects on the horizon into sharp contrast against the sky. No colony buildings stretching up into an endless curve—just sky. What a concept. Endlessly changing and moving sky. He'd never taken the time to reflect on what the swirling cloud formations would look like from the other side. Never considered that the movement of wind was a tangible thing. The sea itself was a giant breathing, shining solid expanse beyond his comprehension. Nothing he'd seen prior to arriving on planetside had adequately prepared him for the impact of this reality on his senses.
He didn't see how people could ever tire of it. He didn't think he'd ever let the memory fade—so different from life on the colonies... And the abundance of things! Fresh air—not filtered, water that hadn't been circulated through half the population of the colony before it came to you. Rain. Sun. And changing sky instead of the metal panels reaching up to a quilted pattern of uniform gray squares.
He missed home, but this place would stay a part of him for a long, long time.
Duo remained in the same position, transfixed by the explosion of vibrant color on the horizon. His first real sunset. It wasn't until the water began to lap at his boots that he stood up, brushed off the loose sand, and went to join a war.