All through school I felt like I was missing something. I got pretty good grades, pretty bad hangovers, and learned a lot of theory – normal college stuff, but I longed for tangible action. To get out there in the universe and really make a difference, ya know? Be part of something bigger, I guess.
After graduation, despite my parents’ protestation, I eschewed fine-tuning my resume in favor of volunteer opportunities.
After researching a bunch of causes, I settled on Empire’s Overlooked. They seemed to be doing good work where it was needed most, and I thought with them, I’d have a real shot at making an impact.
Well, I guess I got my wish. There I was, a fresh-faced volunteer, eagerly awaiting my first assignment, and it turns out to be Sword of Hope. We were given the option to pass, since the operation would take us into an active combat zone. But, how could I? This was the chance I’d always wanted.
Sword of Hope is a joint venture between EO and Crusader Industries, conceived to provide aid and supplies to locations on Charon III most embattled by its ongoing civil war.
Reading about it on the spectrum from the comfort of my apartment in Prime, this all seemed right up my alley, but as I neared the staging point with a dozen of my fellow volunteers, hours away from heading toward Charon, the “boring office job” my parents had pushed for wasn’t sounding so bad.
Arriving at Camp Murdoch,
an old naval base-turned-shipyard on Tangaroa, we were greeted by an EO volunteer coordinator named Deacon. He launched into a well-rehearsed spiel, but full disclosure, I wasn’t paying attention. I was more interested in the myriad of personnel and vehicles swirling around the airfield in a chaotically efficient ballet, as seemingly everything on the base was loaded up ramps, into the guts of these staggeringly gigantic ships– a fleet of Crusader Hercules.
They loomed over the tarmac,
with steady streams of tanks, buggies, forklifts, cargo of all sizes, rovers, drones, and trams full of supplies and personnel, flowing into their hulls. Even considering their size, it didn’t seem possible to fit so much into a ship, yet the parades marched on, with no end in sight. It wasn’t until Deacon put his hand on my shoulder and asked if I was okay, that I realized we were on a tram, joining the nearest parade. The Hercules was our ride.
That was five hours ago. Now, here I sit, writing this post from a cot nestled in the belly of the ship, well past the point of no return. My heart and mind firing with equal parts excitement and dread, all I can do is embrace the adventure. I’m out here now, like I always thought I wanted to be. And just maybe, I can really make a difference. But at this particular moment, I should probably get some sleep.