She patted the bench next to her, inviting me. She had yarn on her lap and those young hands that knew twenty ways to kill went back to crocheting. The pink light of this distant world somehow made her look vulnerable, but I knew better. I sat anyways. She wanted to talk, and I had time.
“I didn’t follow the Legion’s flag by choice, you see. I wasn’t part of any negotiation, I didn’t choose which alien races to ally or to fight. I was born in the transport ship, and that was it.
“I was good at it, and we defended village after town after city… even as my friends fell. Curtains down, before their time. I played along with this sorry farce while the diplomats played their own games back home.
“So yes, we capitulated. I understand you have orders to take me back.” She paused and, at that instant, I saw in her face what she was going to tell me.
“I don’t regret the tolling bells, I don’t regret my life. I regret nothing. I found Pi’z and you will not take me away from him. I have earned the right to love.