Private Radeena Spal has no qualms about the memory wipe, she’s just nervous about the possibility of it hurting as she clenches and unclenches her fists in Dr. Green’s waiting room.
She hasn’t slept properly in weeks.
Memories of those grey scaly humanoids exploding into bits, and of women and children who stared up at her with pleading yellow eyes keep her up at night in her quarters, hunched and sweating in the dark corner of her bunk, unable to put out of her thoughts how the shriek of the land fire sounded so much like a melancholy violin.
Dr. Green calls for her and she all but leaps to her feet, smiling tightly.
Thirty years later, she sits next to her second husband in a velveteen box seat at a performance of an interplanetary orchestra and as the gamey tentacle of a talented Vuol brings his bow down over the strings, Radeena feels an inexplicable sorrow so deep and aching that she must be escorted out of the theater because her weeping causes a disturbance.