“scars are areas of fibrous tissue (fibrosis) that replace normal skin after injury. A scar results from the biological process of wound repair in the skin and other tissues of the body. Thus, scarring is a natural part of the healing process. With the exception of very minor ledions, every wound (e.g., after accident, disease, or surgery) results in some degree of scarring.
However, some scars run deeper.
Trensk, for probably the fifth time today, sighed. It was only lunchtime, for God’s sake. As he stood in the kitchen, laboring over the preparations for a chicken breast, rice, and pea combo for three (Trensk, being a big guy, needed the first and third portion). Putting the finishing seasonings on the chicken, his eyes flicked up over the counter-top and bar towards the living room, flitting over the redhead who would be stealing the second portion.
Elizabeth. She sat there on the couch, cross-legged, her small frame easily fitting on the seat as she cradled a book in her pale fingers. The Essential Physics Primer, by Doctor Vera Gengod. One of his books that she probably stole while he was out. She was definitely like her mother in that regard, a curious soul, inquisitive to a fault, at times.
Trensk carefully transferred the chicken breasts over to a large pan, already heated on the stove. A sizzling filled the air, and an aromatic scent of herbs and cooking meat wafted over his nose. Perfect. He tended to the meal for a few seconds, making sure everything was just right, before setting down his spatula. He sighed again, shifting over to the side and leaning on the counter, mulling over something in his head.
“It’s your birthday soon, isn’t it, Lizza?” He said, looking up at Elizabeth. She nodded, not even daring to quit reading her book. “11th. This month.” she replied, her voice barely heard over the sound of the cooking chicken. “Hm. Soon. Anything you want to do?” Trensk replied, adjusting his chicken. “No clue.” Elizabeth answered, still not looking at him.
Trensk shook his head, flipping over the chicken to cook the other side. “Rather’d do something for you, y’know? 17th birthday ain’t something to just ignore.”
He sighed, adjusting his chicken a bit, before turning off the stove and carefully transferred over the chicken onto two separate plates. One for her, two for him. He dosed out some rice, string beans, and a dab of butter to the side, before picking them up and moving into the living room. His careful tread led to no losses of sustenance, and he set Elizabeth’s plate in front of her before moving to his own seat,(his super-comfy recliner), and sitting down, setting his own plate on the coffee table in front of him.
Reluctantly, Elizabeth dog-eared her place in the book and set it down, turning to face her meal. Trensk noticed, however, that she watched him out of the corner of her eye as he shrugged off his normal jacket, exposing his arms, a normal right arm, and a heavily scarred left, one that had probably seen better days, same with the disfigured fighter squadron tattoo that covered his left shoulder and bicep.
They ate in silence, as per normal. He didn’t know what to say, and she had nothing to say. So they ate, the only sounds the clinking of silverware on plates as they ate.
Trensk finished first, as was normal, him used to wolfing down meals from his days in the Navy and being a busy combat capsuleer. She ate more delicately, eating with almost a laser precision to subconsciously get everything off her plate. Trensk reclined back, yawning slightly, scratching his left should idly. Elizabeth finished a few minutes after him, silently setting down her plate and again going cross-legged on the couch.
There was a silence. One that was soon broken.
“Your arm. What happened?”
Trensk visibly paused, unsure of how to answer. He didn’t really expect her to ask. Not now, at least. And he didn’t know how to appropriately say it.
“It was, uh…Combat. Before I became a capsuleer. It ain’t just my arm, either.”
“Didn’t answer my question.”
Trensk sighed, rubbing the left side of his torso subconsciously. “Back when I was your age, I lied. I joined the military, way too young. Being the son of a Colonel, they let me into officer training without a problem. I became a fighter pilot. Flew fighter-bombers sometimes…but I was mainly a fighter pilot.”
Elizabeth immediately perked up, turning to face him, her face showing that singular, intense concentration normally reserved for books.
“I flew a lot. I was good. Probably too good. Too cocky, too. Heck, I was probably no older than 18 when it happened. I had connections. My uncle, my mother, my deceased father, all allowed me to get fast-tracked through a lot of sh-…stuff in the military. We were out in Innia at the time, I was assigned to a supercarrier, one of our finest. I enjoyed it there. Everyone did. We were annihilating every raid that came our way.”
Lizza nodded, her fists clenching a bit, her eyes darting, trying to memorize every word, every expression, every movement.
“The Gallente must’ve gotten tired of us. They sent 3 carriers and a horde of cruisers at us. At the time, it felt like the world was being torn apart around us. Me and my wingman deployed. We shot. We killed. We killed and killed and killed until I didn’t even have a single missile left, a single rail gun cartridge around. We needed to go back to the super, so that’s what we did. Then she called out those words…”Goddamn it, he’s on my six.”
He sighed, rubbing his face, his wide chest rising and falling, slowly, once, before he continued.
“To this day, I don’t know what I was thinking. I just reacted. I knew where that bastard was. I immediately hit my reverse thrusters, and banked right. I slammed right into a Firblog. My dragonfly’s wing pierced the engines, and my cockpit slammed into the center of his fighter, my other wing shearing off due to g-forces and crushing the enemy’s cockpit. I didn’t know this until after the fact, of course. I was just in pain. So much pain. It was cold, too, unbearably cold, which was strange for the first few seconds, when everything was on fire. But I knew it wouldn’t matter soon. I was pierced through the left side of my torso, and my left leg, oblique, arm, all of it was burned and shredded like Sebiestor Cheese. Full of holes, lacerations. To this day, I can still feel nothing on the entire left side of my body, excluding the left side of my face. Extensive nerve damage.”
Trensk let out a shaky breath, leaning forward in his recliner, resting his arms on his knees. Elizabeth reached out, a tiny hand resting on his. Comfort, albeit how little of an effort was put into it, was enough. So he continued.
“I sat there for 6 hours, until the battle was over. I didn’t know it, of course, I wasn’t even conscious. They found me, though, barely alive. I spent months in a hospital. Then they figured out I could become a capsuleer. Then here I am, years later.” He finished, leaning back in his chair, just staring off at the far wall.
Elizabeth leaned back herself, engrossed in the story, and her own thoughts.
“Does it hurt?”
“I can’t feel anything.”
“No, not there. In like…your heart?”
“…Yeah. It does.”
“Is it supposed to?”
“Well…Yeah. Painful events cause scars. On your body, and your mind.”
“…Do you think I have them?”
“Personally? Yeah. You probably do. I can tell it hurts that they’re gone. But, the thing about it is, you can’t let it beat you. I still enjoy flying, even though it almost killed me.”
“…Take me flying, Trensk. For my birthday.”
“…Well, roger that, I guess.”
“You better teach me everything you know.”