“You can’t give up.” Mary patted her arm. “Your skill is too vital. You have the ability to control atmospheric conditions around you. You also have the ability to communicate with intelligences of all levels. Trevan needs you. His ability lies in bringing his solar system and ours together for the protection of life as we know it.”
“No.” Colli’s back stiffened. “I walked away from that. Why should I change my mind now?” The thought of Trevan weakened Colli’s resolve. Such a kind gentle innocence that extended deep into his core needed protection. But. Colli’s hands fisted with her anger. “You heard Illianna. It’s my choice.”
“Is it?” Mary stepped back over the wall, and walked toward the car. “Or did you give that up when you accepted The Discipline? Come on. There’s someone else you need to talk to. Maybe he can help you understand.”
Colli remained seated. But when the car started, fear pulled her away from her perch.
“Fasten your seatbelt.” Mary instructed. She waited until Colli followed her instructions, before she put the engine in gear. The car pulled back onto the solid asphalt of the road. During the journey back along the highway Colli remained quiet. Not even the bugs disturbed the ramblings of her thoughts.
Before they reached the turnoff to the house, Mary took an exit marked ‘Coastal Route’. Still buried in her own feelings, Colli paid little attention. She sat back and closed her eyes. She didn’t want to know where they were going. Everything she had done to bring her to this point melted in her mind. The memory of her resignation built to protect her from the panic that grippped her. It comforted her that it was too late to change her mind. The implants were deteriorating form the injections she’d received after the exit interview. The memory of the last contact with her supervisor grew. It was the only thing that kept her from jumping out of the car.
What she remembered most was Commander Sung’s hair. The same silver white as her own, it fell in thick curls over the stiff blue uniform collar. This was Colli’s only fond memory from that time. Sung’s words had brought her no comfort.
“You need to be sure of this.” Sung stood and walked from behind the heavy oak desk. “Give it another term before you abandon everything.”
Colli hesitated. The other officers in her unit would not give her this consideration. They would have demanded she fulfill her commitment.
“You have a talent. There are few controllers who have the ability to communicate the way you do.” Colli felt her body go rigid. If there had been someplace to run and hide, she would have.
“No. I am leaving this place. Not looking back, either.” Bitterness brimmed in her voice. “Marcus would be alive if I really have the abilities you say.” She didn’t want to stop the tears. They burned even more with that memory.
Sung moved from behind his desk to squeeze Colli’s shoulder. Even though Colli knew it was for comfort, she pulled away.
“I proved I don’t have what it takes. Let me go.” Sobs racked Colli’s body as she continued, “I was told I could withdraw at anytime up until graduation. I give my resignation now.” She forced all the finality she could gather into her voice. In her memory, Collie pictured Sung as he leaned back against the desk, defeated.
“Yes that is part of the contract. I wish you’d change you mind.” Sung shook his head. “But if you’re sure. You can withdraw. Turn in your uniform and report to the infirmary.”