No More Games

Young Ryden looked up, as the figure of his father towered over him. He remembered the expression on his face that day; a mix of cold fury, pain and…something else. Something he’d never seen before.

“Your brothers are dead.”

“Yeah, I know. You told me this already.” Ryden didn’t much care for reliving old memories, least of all this one.

“Yes, but this is a dream, so you get to experience this moment all over again”

“Uh, once was enough”

“There was an attack on the alliance fleet.” His father continued, “your brothers were stationed on one of the cruisers”. He paused, and knelt down, looking the younger version of Ryden in the eyes. “Theodore, they’re gone. Both of them”

“No one’s called me that in awhile.” Ryden looked down at his hands, and realized he was holding a toy gun. The very one he had been playing with, the day his father had arrived to give him the news.

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Ryden’s father

“Attacked by who?” said a child’s voice.

“We’re….not sure yet. Information is still coming in. They say the attackers were….alien in nature”

“Yeah, yeah, I remember this part.” Ryden said, speaking with his own voice again “This is where you tell me how you saw it all coming”.

“I told them this day would come.” said his father, right on point. “I warned them we weren’t alone in this universe, that we had to be prepared.”

“But the alliance is complacent. They think only of how many planets they can colonize, how many minerals they can mine. But if we could discover the relays, others could too. Who knows what else is out there, watching us.”

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First Contact War

“Do we have to go through all this shit again?” moaned Ryden. “can I wake up from this nightmare already, I’ve got a ship to fly”

“Listen to me, Theodore” His father put his hand on his son’s shoulder, probably only the second time he had ever done that. “The alliance can’t protect us, and I won’t lose another son to their incompetence. Whatever notions you may have had of following in your brother’s footsteps, put them out of your head now”

He suddenly snatched the toy gun out of Theodore’s hands. “Are you listening to me, boy!? No more games, no more playing cowboy”

He stood up. He was somehow even taller in the dream, which meant the younger version of Ryden had to crane his neck even more to see him. Typical.

“I tried to convince your brothers to stay. But in the end, I let them go their own way. That was my mistake.”

He looked down at the toy gun. Ryden remembered how much smaller it had looked in his father’s hands. How much more like the pathetic plaything it was.

“I will make sure you’re prepared to inherit my legacy when I am gone. I won’t risk it on any more childish impulses”

He paused as he turned to leave.

“And don’t mention this to your sister. I will break the news to her myself, when I feel she is ready. She’s a gentle soul, more like your mother; unable to face up to the hard truths of life. You and I can afford no such luxury, not anymore”

And with that, he disappeared down the corridor. Young Theodore watched him leave, the realization that he would never see his brothers again slowly sinking in.

“Still don’t get why he had to take the toy gun with him” muttered Ryden.

No More Games

Mass Effect Demetrios Darryk