Raquel thought her Dad and the old man, his father, looked worried. They probably were. After all, they’d stood here before in this room, or one very like it, waiting for someone to come home from their war service and everyone who served, all of them, came home changed. Mum simply looked uncertain. She hadn’t done this before, her brother hadn’t come home. Uncle Darren hadn’t even left a body.
Raquel was pleased all her brothers and their wives had managed to make it today, despite the precious time out of their important schedules. With five children in the family they’d known that one would be drafted but when the time came and they’d been debating how they’d choose which of the boys would go, Mayin had simply...volunteered. Just gone and done it while they’d been talking over the virtues of anonymous votes and drawing lots. Mayin the background child had acted while they had, frankly, dithered.
The boys, as they had been, had acted as if their noses had been put out of joint but they’d settled down, studied, married, progressed. Raquel had done the same, her own husband-to-be was here in support. Mayin, from her letters, hadn’t changed. Just, sometimes there’d been something in her letters like the one to Mum that had said, “They’ve put half an ovary on ice for me, in case worst comes to worst. In case the worst does happen, I’ve made you my genetic executor. If you decide to use my eggs, can it be with someone I would have liked if I’d met them?” Mum had cried.
Raquel thought of Great-Uncle Walter and his nightmares and of Uncle Charlie and his cybernetic prostheses. Every one, changed.
The supervisor’s announcement from beside the lifts cut through her thoughts. “They’re coming up.”