An unconventional Styro-authored story created for Holben's quiz bowl Challenge show. Randomincategory salvaged forth the Ranaptor, which is the species I really didn't want to work with, but randomness is randomness, and there you go. Upon further inspection though I've found the Ranaptor storyline works well...very well.
How was it, long ago? He had been - back then - fighting for as long as he could remember. The last time he saw his family - ages, probably. There were only vague memories of them in his mind. Mother kept ahold of the house after Father died while defending the Fourth Colony World. In the meantime, he and his brother were out and about, daydreaming of warriors. What a life! A valiant, noble life, and patriotic at that.
The years after that were pretty much a blank, until he drafted into the Interstellar Army. Who knows what happened? Maybe his family died. Maybe the planet was razed. Maybe he just left one night and never came back. He didn't remember. All that mattered now was the Army. It was his life now.
Back then he piloted a Darter, the most daring and terrifying job in the fleet. But he loved the excitement and the exhilaration of it all. He divebombed the enemy fleet, leading a swarm that would finish the invasive scum off. Kerarans were an enemy that you learned to you respect during battle, but in the bunks and at camp you could say whatever you liked about them. And nobody would care, because they felt the same.
He sighed, and then sat silently.
He sat in an empty room, in an empty house and an empty city overlooking the vast rocky desert, the last Ranaptor on the planet of Windfell.
Now, why did those memories come back to him after so long? There was certainly no reason for them to.
He stared at the desk in front of him, at the bright white communications sphere, that had not blinked in a very long time. His eyes strained at the blinding whiteness. And he realized what an old soldier he was.
He rubbed his eyes as the sphere started slowly flashing a pleasant blue. His mind, merely playing tricks on him again. Why shouldn't it be playing tricks? He was an old soldier.
He stumbled, he jumped, the chair fell to the floor. He gasped from the sudden pain (he was an old soldier with many aches and pains), and said "No!" It was the first time he had spoken aloud for a very long time, and his voice was hoarse.
The blue light slowly flashed again, and he grabbed the sphere and threw it to the floor. Upon hitting the metal with a noticeable bang, the top half of the sphere shifted counterclockwise, and the blue light stopped flashing. It was now a constant presence.
Someone was breathing over the line.