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Snippet from 'Destruction'

Running down the inside of Hulk's arm was a large tattoo. It was a brilliant pink flower with pointed leaves and a vine-like stem curling toward the sweaty tendon and generous muscles. It was ‘the flower that started the war.’

I flicked a finger at the image. “Guess where I saw that.”

“What, Triestarra?”

I nodded. “On Shen-Zinkh. In a marketplace. We were holed up in the city of Laara, waiting on our rescue. Prubius and I went out in the morning to scout around, and there it was. For sale.”

“‘And the goddess Gaya said we were all fools,’” he quoted, shaking his head.

I couldn’t remember the exact location of the scripture line, but I recalled its meaning—a less-than-sunny assessment on us Humans.

“How much?”

“Prubius counted thirty-three plants.”

“Madness,” Hulk sighed. The gorrahtz plague on Mitasteros hadn’t caused the war with the Mitasterites, really, but it was a dreadful disease killing millions of innocent people. Triestarra provided the only known cure. “What is that, enough to make four doses’ worth?”

“Four child doses, at least.” I turned my attention to the fog. “You know what they use it for, there?

Pink and purple roses as a stand-in for Triestarra flowers

They soak crab in it. It gives fish a ‘very clean’ taste, at a cost of nine credits per plant.”

Hulk scoffed. “State of the galaxy,” he said.

I ambled to the other side of the pillar, to rededicate myself to the purpose of watching fog swirl. Part of me hoped I wouldn’t only be chasing vapor ghosts, as if purpose is a noble virtue. I quickly shook off this childish thought. Seeing something would mean action—action we didn’t need.

Where are those wings? I wondered.

DESTRUCTION, Woman at War 2, is now available!

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