things about the image: Arra’s long curly hair, her smile, as bright as a nova despite her handicap, and the wheelchair in which she sat.
He could have chosen a holo that didn’t include the chair, but he hadn’t. It pained him to see her in it and it would continue to pain him until he got her out of it.
And that was the point.
The holo reminded him of his purpose. He looked at the holo before he went to sleep in his quarters and he looked at it when he awakened.
He hated the wheelchair. It was the sin he needed to expiate.
Val and Arra had been coming to see him on planetside leave. He’d still been in the army then. Val had been suffering dizzy spells but she had insisted on coming anyway and he, desperate to see his wife and daughter, had done nothing to discourage her. She’d had an episode while driving and careered into another aircar.
The accident had killed Val and left Arra near death. Her legs had been crushed from the impact, and the doctors had been forced to remove them.
He’d mustered out of the army to grieve for Val and take care of Arra, not thinking much beyond just getting through one day and then the next. He’d had no pension, no property, and soon learned that even with his piloting skills he could not find legit work that paid anywhere near what he needed and was going to need. Not only had Arra’s immediate post-crash care resulted in enormous medical bills, but ongoing rehab cost just as much.
Desperate, despondent, he’d taken a leap, jumping into the atmosphere and hoping he hit deep water. He called on some old acquaintances he’d known before his tour in the army, and they’d put him in contact with The Exchange. When he’d heard their offer, he’d hopped on the treadmill, thinking he could make it work.
His debts had only grown