State of Hope
When I gather my gear before deploying with Beckham and the rest of the troops, the full realization of what is about to happen next rips through me. It tears my heart in two, thinking about the people we’ve lost leading up to this final fight. And it terrifies me to know that there is a very good chance we will not emerge from this battle victorious.
If anything, I promise myself that we will damage Omega enough to weaken them, so that future generations will have the courage to fight back, too. So that they can remember what it is to stand, to have courage, and to lay your life down for your friends, your family, and the things that you believe in.
At the very root of our humanity, something greater binds us all together. If not spirit, then it must be the will to survive. Because that is what is at the heart of everything we do: the desire to continue to survive for the sake of our children and for the sake of the history of this country we love and call home. For the sake of the good memories of this place, for the sake of the rolling hills and the towering mountaintops. For the sake of freedom and love and family and unity and security. For all of us.
I know, as I strap my rifle across my back and slide my knife into the sheath on my hip, that what happens in the next few weeks will bring our doom or our victory. Either way, our destiny is waiting. The last fight looms ever closer on the horizon, like a hellish red glow moving on the wind.
I set my backpack on the floor and take a knee, resting my arm on my leg.
“God,” I whisper. “If you’re listening, and you’re good like Father Kareem says you are…watch over us. I’m not a praying girl, and I’m not good at asking for help…but please. We need something, and it’s got to be more than a rabbit’s foot or a lucky charm. We need something bigger than that. I’m begging you…I’m begging anyone.”
I lift my head, looking at the ceiling, feeling the tears roll down my cheeks.
If this is how I die, I have made peace with it.
If this is how the Freedom Fighters perish, we will rest in peace, satisfied with our sacrifice and our devotion to the cause of freedom. As I leave the house behind, and I see my friends gathered around Beckham’s convoy, waiting to take us to the airfield where we will depart for Monterey, one thought strikes me. I cannot shake it, and it cycles in my head, over and over again, until I say it aloud.
“Don’t give up hope,” I say.
I hold onto this shred of goodness with every ounce of my being because I know it is the only thing that has any chance of keeping me alive until the end.