Flash Fiction —After the battle

“I’m sorry sir. The medbay is out of bodies.”

I looked at the corpseman. He was about my son’s age, but breathing. “How long until the next batch of clones come online?”

“Soon. The vats are scheduled to pop tonight. We can start reanimating once the memories are trimmed.” He turned and walked towards the lift, not waiting to be dismissed. The damned Personnel Restoration unit didn’t respect the chain of command. I wanted my troops alive again, my son included. So I let them be arrogant as they wanted.

The battle went bad from the start. The bugs had found cover behind a rocky outcrop. They avoided our scans and launched a sneak attack on Bravo Company’s left flank. I watched from orbit as two hundred and fifty-seven biomonitors flickered out. The battle continued through the night and ended the next morning. We pushed the bugs back, saving the landing pad. Our final tally was 1103 dead.

The death count was listed in red on my tablet. The number below it was green. 1092 minds recovered and verified. Eleven permanent deaths. My son’s name was green. His mind was safe in storage, waiting for a new body.

The corpseman’s message said he would be waking up soon. I walked into the medbay an hour later.

“Glad you made it Son.”

“Hey Da—I mean Sir.” His new voice crackled around the edges. “Uh…I don’t feel right.”

He leaned over the bed and vomited on the floor. I reached for a towel, “Son, what’s wrong?” Recognizing the terror in his eyes

“I remember.” he said as I wiped his mouth. “Dad, I remember dying.”