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Dreams of a Natural TimeLiridona felt nauseous in the passenger's seat of her brother's reclaimed jeep as she slowly neared the silver and coal summits of skyscapers that stabbed the grey gloom unrelentingly in all directions. The feeling persisted, and in effect, the air conditioning was turned up another notch. Traffic was slow. She sighed softly when the cool recirculated air hit her face and longed once more for the sharp organic peaks of her mountain village; an absolutely ludicrous dream in the midst of this nightmare she was experiencing. Perhaps that's being dramatic though, Liri was only to stay in the urban chaos for one year. As the requirements of her brother's job had increased, it was necessary for him to interact closer with other branches of the bank he worked at.
"It is hardly a tragedy to move." Armend had told her quietly one evening while sitting by the fire in their house and his little sister had not wished to even question him. The boxy moving trucks had arrived three days later. Within
Her PeltWe swim together with ancestral ghosts
To crashing waves on rocky coasts
From ice tossing seas we sweep
From coastal shelves and oceans deep
The currents upon which we ride
Are ritual paths just like the tide
For one of us shall walk away
And seven years on land shall stay
We swim together to clustered weeds
To finish the blindly ritual deeds
Until under gray clouds and night
One breaks away to village light
A pelt is shed - we bid adieu
One more goodbye from our simple few
A finished story, more mortal lore
And human legs walk the jagged shore
A Turning Point in the Clockwork WarA war of attrition
depends on supply and drawdown,
how much you have and how much you use up.
With personnel, the balance concerns
the influx of recruitment versus
the outflow of casualties, deserters, invalids.
There is only so much loss
that a fighting force can sustain
and still fight.
Pilot Claude Archer was the first
to challenge his invalid discharge.
"I don't need legs to fly," he said,
patting the healed stumps of his thighs.
"My Osprey runs on elbow grease."
The members of the discharge board
paused and looked at each other.
What he said was true.
The Osprey-class fighter jets
relied on hand controls,
and a sharp eye and iron nerve.
Fingers flicked through the stack
of discharge papers -- so many, many pages.
So many soldiers lost, never to fight again.
They could not afford to let slip even one
who might be retained, somehow,
to face the front line once more.
Far less could the war effort spare
one of its best pilots.
So they put Pilot Archer back on the roster,
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