Collateral Damage

Written By
Mark Moore


Author's Note: This fic takes place after Issue #9 in the Image BotP universe. It's a letter in the first-person. I wrote the first draft of this fic on Wednesday, May 21, 2003, from 10:20 PM to 11:59 PM. I wrote the final draft on Thursday, May 22, 2003, from 10:20 PM to 11:49 PM and on Saturday, May 24, 2003, from 9:30 PM to 9:31 PM. Thank you to Wendy Dinsmore for her compliments and suggestions. Comments and questions are welcome.


"Sometimes I just can't fucking cope, 'cause you take me for a ride. You teach me to be blind. You infiltrate my eyes. Is this wrong or right?"

- Kari Wuhrer, "Can't Cope"


Collateral: n. something given as additional security for a loan.

Damage: n. hurt; harm; injury; loss. - v.t. hurt; injure.

I didn't know how else to start this letter. It's been quite a day. G-2 and I were on a rooftop, where a lot of people that had been brainwashed by Spectra were attacking us. The mind-control virus wore off. Everyone was confused. Spectra soldiers attacked us. G-2 was shot while saving a little boy. The kid must have been so frightened, not knowing where he was and seeing people shooting.

G-2, limping, set the boy down behind us. I supported my teammate with my left arm. We were outnumbered, and I knew it. While casually talking with G-2, I tossed three bombs over my right shoulder, and they detonated. The blast killed everyone behind us: the Spectra soldiers - and the little boy.

Did I know? That is the question; isn't it? The truth is that I did. This wasn't like some stupid animated series or comic book; where everything is clearly Good or Evil, slickly packaged, and presented for children to take in with their after-school snacks; where people can put themselves in danger for fun, never getting really hurt; and where the heroes encounter threats, kick ass, and enjoy their victories with inconceivable redundancy. This was war. There was a high probability that I was going to get killed. I knew that G-2 had risked his life to save that boy. I saw where G-2 had placed him. I didn't care. I killed him without hesitation.

And I'm fine with it.

Cold-blooded: adj. deliberate; unsympathetic; cruel.

That isn't what you'd call me; is it? Yes, it was deliberate, but I'd like to think that I had sympathy for that little boy in the few seconds before I ended his life. I can't remember feeling it, but it had to have been there. Right? Cruel? Such isn't me! That is not the real me!

Oh, who am I kidding? Yes, it is. It's exactly who I am. I could have restrained myself and at least given those innocent people a chance to save themselves - no matter how small. So, why'd I do it? I wanted to live. I didn't care who I killed. I wanted to live, I wanted G-2 to live, and everyone else could just go to Hell.

How long until I get there? How long until I have to pay back my loan?

I killed one of the very people that I was there to protect. I was cool, unflinching, callous.

And I'm fine with it.

How did I get this way? I suppose that I could blame my teammates, but they didn't do this. In fact, until today, if someone would have told me to do this, I would have been appalled. No, this came from within myself. I'm responsible for my own actions. If I hadn't been in such a desperate situation, I wouldn't have realized that I was capable of this...collateral damage. I stare at the cold glass and blame her.

G-2 followed my example, killing off more people. It was the perfect solution. If you can't save them, kill them.

We jumped off the roof and onto the Phoenix. Everything worked out for the best in the end. I played my guitar and sang. We're safe. That's all that matters. Right?

I hope that you're proud of the person that I've become. You may not approve of it, but I hope that you at least understand it, mom. Writing these letters to you has been good for me since you died. I hope you love me.

But if you hate me, I'm fine with it.


The End