by Adam J. Whitlatch
My wife is in the bathroom crying. She’s done nothing else since the message came in over an hour ago from Command, and I hate myself for doing this to her, but I have to go. Even more painful are the looks from the children. The two-year-old smiles up at me and tickles my sides; he doesn’t understand what daddy has to do and where he has to go any more than his mother understands why daddy has to go, and the seven-year-old is giving me those same eyes he gives me whenever I miss a little league game... he hates me, I can tell. The scars criss-crossing my flesh and the calcified ghosts of long-healed fractures in my bones cry out in protest, No more, please, we served our time! and normally I would have to agree, let someone younger and more able-bodied handle this, but this is not something to be left to the MySpace generation. I take the dust-covered helmet down from its hiding place on the top shelf of the bedroom closet and – taking a deep breath – place it over my head and immediately feel the cold diamond-hard armor crawling over my body, and after a few moments a familiar voice from my memories fills my helmet, “Transformation sequence complete.” Welcome back, soldier, I whisper.
Adam J. Whitlatch is the author of numerous horror and science fiction short stories. He is currently writing his second novel, “E.R.A. – Earth Realm Army,” and is deep into planning for the sequel, “E.R.A. - The Chameleon War.” "E.R.A." is a work of fiction... except for the parts that aren’t. (Adam's complete works on 6S can be found here.)