Meant to post this here a bit ago, and while I know it's Inside, I believe it should still get here too. I have more posts like this that I'll move over here in time too.

Original post here.

Futility

(Spoilered for...well, standard by now.)

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Captain Jefferies groaned as she sits up from the busted boards. She attempts to use her the hoverboots on her Hot Suit to help her up, but they just fizzle out, killed off by falling through the floor. With a mental curse, she finally gets herself back to her feet and grips the fireaxe in her hands. A warning light appears on her HUD, telling her that one of the coolant tanks om her back was leaking, making her task that much harder.

On her feet, she takes a half-second to look herself over. The painted flame motifs that covered her legs were charring, telling her just how hot she was at the moment, but the image of the naked men(an orc and elf) engaging in intimacy on her chestplate was untouched, telling her that it wasn't too hot yet. Looking at her arms, she sighs when she sees one of the nozzles for the extinguisher sprayers is smashed, useless. It'd been a rough landing for sure, but at least one worked still.

She takes a quick moment to spray her surroundings (84% Capacity Left) before moving through her floor, taking it slow to make sure that she could find the people who needed saving. Unfortunately, most she saw were already gone. Shot or consumed by the flames, nothing she could do. As she walked through the creaking building, she couldn't help but wonder why she did this in the first place.

Was it for glory? No. She thought to herself with a shake of her head as she abandoned yet another lost charred room. Glory was just the word adrenaline junkies and naive eager fools used to explain the rush they felt. Looking for Glory was something that would get you killed. So if that wasn't it, why did she join up? She didn't know the answer yet and felt that she probably never would.

Before Remnant came along, she and her comrades had been left with nothing more than cloth heatshielding, firetrucks and handheld extinguishers for the most part. Anything special came out of their own pocket. The Hot Suits were a blessing to them. It allowed them to do so much mor-

Captain Jefferies stops her remembrances as she notices a little form, wrapped in a civvie issue fireblanket. She didn't see what it was, just that it was breathing, and that was reason enough. Looking around, she spots two adult orcs, shot through the head near the window and probably the little bundle's parents. "Captain Jefferies. Found life. Hot suit damaged, so I have to take the long way down.

"Hustle it up. Roof is getting unstable. 3rd Floor is clean. Four living have been evacuated to the Field Hospital. 15 dead from smoke and gunshots."
Jyarl replies.

"Roger that."

With that, the Captain picks up the bundle and begins to walk down the hall as she keep an eye out. Her suit warns her that only 30% of her coolant remains, but that doesn't worry her too badly, so she lets the back of her mind wander over her reasons a little more.

Unlike many, she knows she didn't join the Firefighters to be a hero. Anyone could be a hero here, and that didn't take any special skills or wants or needs in order to do so. With apocalypses every day, being a hero only amounted to being able to survive to Next Tuesday. She begins to get a small feeling about what her reason might have been when she hears a crack above her, making her pay attention to her surroundings once more. "-llapsing! Get out of the way!" Jyarl shouts over the comms. Looking up in shock as an iron beam falls through the ceiling, she finally realizes what the reason was.

She joined the firefighters for the futility of the task.

Anyone could be a Hero or Glory Hound, letting them feel like they're accomplishing something when they're really doing nothing at all, but it was different when you recognized the uselessness of the task well beforehand, but still chose to do it. The child in her arms was likely to die a horrible and terrible death some time, be it in ten minutes or ten years or ten decades. Everyone here was, and none of it mattered in the grand scheme of things. A single life didn't make a difference to this world. A Million lives wouldn't have made a difference either. Fate was a cruel Mistress to each and everyone.

But Captain Jefferies chose this job because it allowed her to spit in Fate's face at every turn. To snatch people from her clawed fingers and allow them to live just a bit longer as she faced Fate's fury alone, accumulating a Karmic debt that would be sure to kill her sooner rather than later. Feeling that the Karmic Debt decided to call itself in, she decided to make one last "futile" action.

She leaned back.

The action caused the beam to barely miss the child in her arms and allowed it to slam right into her pelvis, slamming her through the floor, through the next, and into the basement, crushing a significant portion of her before finally stopping. She lets out a scream of bloodcurdling agony as pain washes over her. The only reason she doesn't pass out is from the massive dose of painkillers and stimulants that get pumped into her, forcing her to stay awake and look at her ravaged body. Even though the child appeared safe in her arms, she can't help but continue to cry out on the open commlink, letting everyone hear until it's cut off.

"Comm Override: Jefferies to Major Jyarl only."
Jyarl demands of the system, making it so he's the only one who can hear. "Jefferies, this is me. I'm here and on the way. Try to breathe. You took a hard hit but you aren't down so talk to me, understand?!? That's a Throne-Damned order!" He asks as he leaps down the hole to land by her side. He sees the cracked helmet of the Captain's Hot Suit turn to him and hears her ragged sobs. He doesn't have to look her over to know she won't make it. He kneels down next to her torso and makes his helmet slide back to show his true face, revealing uncharacteristic concern and worry.

"P-Put your helmet back-k-k o-" She tries to tell him, but he shakes his head and gives her a small smile. "I'll be okay. Just stay with me, okay? You'll be fine tomorrow. I promise. Just keep talking. Help is on the way." He assures her, not knowing if any help was really on the way or not. Reaching up, he presses her helmet's tab, making it slide back to let her breathe easier. The Captain is sobbing in pain. "P-Please don't let me die, s-sir. I don't want to leave home." She begs, looking into Jyarl's eyes.

The Major can't help but feel tears form, but he runs a hand along her cheek to try and keep her calm in what they both knew were her last moments. "It'll be okay, I promise. Just hang on for a bit longer. They're almost here." He tells her even though they both know it's bull****. The Captain gives a final sobbing breath before looking at him seriously. "Rites, please." She begs of the man, surprising him.

Jyarl wasn't a priest, hell, he was probably more of an atheist than anything else, but he wasn't going to refuse a dying woman's request. Shifting on his knees, he takes her head gently in his hands as he begins to speak what few words he can think of that might be appropriate. "The God-Empe-" He starts, only to be stopped by Jefferies shaking her head. "I-I want them to know." The Major pauses, trying to figure out what she meant, but gives a nod when he figures it out. He activates his helmet halfway and activates the public comm again before looking down at her. Those on the surface deserved to know. She looks back up gratefully, looking into the sockets of the skull faceplate that gazes down upon her.

"The God-Emperor of Mankind smiles down upon thee, knowing that thou hast done him and all life the greatest service and sacrifice. There shalt be none greater than thee in this dark hour against the forces of entropy and so shall your soul join those others that have offered themselves up to be honored for all eternity. Your soul has been found to be the most pure and worthy of all of us, so thou shall ascend to the heavens above to bask in the greatest of Blisses, Honor, and Glories till the end of days have come and gone..." He speaks to her and over the Comm as the temperature begins to rise in the basement as more of the building starts to burn and come down around them.

"Have you committed any heresies that you believe may bar your soul from entering its rightful afterlife?"
He asks of her softly, cradling her head gently. She gives the Major a slight smile."Dozens. But none that matter."

Jyarl can't help but give a choking-sobbing-almost laugh and smiles back down at her, tears running down his face. "I hereby absolve you of your wrong-doings and bless you. You have honored us all in your service and duties. In return, we shall honor you for as long as this world lives. Is this suitable?"

The Captain doesn't answer, her body having fallen limp halfway through the question.

With a bowed head, Jyarl closes her eyes and picks up the child from lifeless arms before making his way out of the building.