Categories > TV > Dark Angel > Early Days0 Reviews
A Manticore washwoman makes a strange discovery.
Maybe she would make chicken tonight. Fried, with garlic and lime juice. With tiny, boiled potatoes at the side. The girls would like that. And perhaps she could get some fresh greens for a salad. Maybe--
"This is the last." An orderly emptied a white plastic sack of dirty clothes onto her sorting table, interrupting her mental dinner preparations and. Manticore's laundry generally didn't require much sorting. It was all either military issue, clothing, or bed linens. Though occasionally, like today, civilian apparel appeared among the wash. That required more care; after all, one couldn't have undercover operatives stand out in the crowd because the colors of their shirt had run.
Besides, left to themselves, those operatives put the strangest things in their pockets.
She pulled a pair of tan slacks from the pile and began going through its pockets. Parking stubs, keys, coins; one time, she had even discovered a computer memory stick in a shirt pocket--turning that in had gained her a substantial bonus.
Yes, caution was the better part of valor. Even when one's job was something as dull as running a military base's laundry room.
Satisfied the pants were empty, she turned them inside out and reached for the next garment, a pair of black jeans. A faint stink of acrid smoke wafted from them and she wrinkled her nose. She briefly wondered what adventures its wearer had endured.
Outside, muted gunfire rang in the distance, the noise familiar and comforting. She was but a simple laundress; those men and women out there were the real champions. Designed and trained to be perfect soldiers, they were formidable, invincible, the last line between her, and a country that would be thrown into anarchy and chaos. She did her part, small it might be, but without those soldiers, it would be all for naught.
Her hand stilled inside a front pocket of the jeans, brushing across a small object, cool to the touch. She drew it out, surprised to see it was a heart-shaped locket on a thin silver chain. What an odd thing for a soldier to bring home from a mission.
She should turn the object in to her superiors, she knew. But they would only destroy it. And it seemed to be real silver. She might be able to pawn it off and have real beef for dinner tonight, instead of chicken.
Her mouth watered at the idea even as her hands trembled at her disloyal thoughts. She dropped the trousers back on the table and opened the locket. Inside was a tiny picture of a dark-haired woman, more handsome than beautiful, holding the prettiest little girl with dimpled cheeks in her arms.
She examined the picture for a moment before snapping the locket shut. She would not turn it in for destruction, nor could she bring herself to pawn it off. Somewhere, a mother might look for the locket, or a sister, or a daughter.
She slipped it to her apron and picked up the jeans again. Who would have brought such a trinket home, and why? The bar code stenciled on the tag inside told her all she needed to know: X5-494. Her brow creased. There had been rumors, gossiping among the civilian staff. It was whispered he had bungled his assignment over a woman, that he had done the unthinkable, had fallen in love and refused to follow orders.
If that were true, 494 would be in for a world of hurt. She usually tried to ignore it, shut off the thoughts of how those whose performance had been inadequate were disciplined. They were soldiers; they couldn't be allowed to fail. Still, she smiled, it is kind of romantic, isn't it? Perhaps she should return the keepsake to him. After all, he and his fellow soldiers gave up so much that she remain safe. Such a little kindness could never hurt. Could it?