It is with a heavy heart that I report First Mate Wagner’s reclining condition. He hasn’t gained consciousness at all and he’s losing blood. Fast. But I don’t know where it’s coming from. It must be internal. There isn’t much that I can do about it. If we were in a city maybe Wagner would have a chance. I don’t have the necessary equipment out here to save his life. We’re just counting down the hours now. Captain Davenport didn’t want to leave his side.
Second Mate Cisco is doing much better now. He even joined Navigator Milton and some of the other boys on an expedition to the sunken city. They thought it would make the captain feel better. Well, they did bring back a treasure–a third letter actually–and the captain hasn’t even looked at it. I don’t blame him. Who can care about a society long dead when their best friend is dying?
In any event, here is the letter:
It is with great lamenting that I inform you I am no longer at home. After I was rejected the seventh time for work, Father gave me an ultimatum. I had no choice, Eli. I joined the Forces.
As I write this, I am surrounded by boys just barely out of Academy. They’re hardly more than boys, Eli, and yet they’re being trained to kill, to fight. I’m the oldest here. I realize that this is what happens to the boys who don’t find placement post Consolidation.
What was his name, Eli? Our old friend that graduated with us . . . remember him? He didn’t find placement within society by the day of Consolidation. This is where he ended up. We never saw him again.
How many generations have we lost due to the Forces snatching up those Consolidations deemed unfit to work in regular society? How many of those generations never saw their families again? Their friends? And where have they gone, Eli? Once trained, the Forces leave the City, don’t they? Guess I’ll find out.
Even if you do find your way home, I’ll probably never see you again. I won’t ever see Whire again or Mother or Father—though I can live with that. He isn’t the trainer for this unit. He made sure that he would never have to see me again. I worry about Whire, you know. What if he ends up being Consolidated into the Forces because no one else will take him? What if it’s my fault? What if no one in the City will take Whire after Academy because of my actions?
I can only hope that these letters are reaching you and that I’m not wasting my time. Please send something back. I don’t know how much longer I’ll be able to keep sending correspondence out or when they’ll stop letting me receive communications. Mother promised to write me once a week. Well, it’s been eight days and I haven’t received a thing. I can’t say whether that’s because my Officer won’t hand letters off to me or if it’s because Father convinced her not to write. I hope it’s the former.
All the best,
I feel like flagging down the very next ship I see and sending Wagner away with them. He most definitely won’t recover here. If he has any chance at all, he has to leave.