The Terra Core

Follow the adventures of a group of young men and women as they try to tame the final frontier.

This story will contain scenes of sexual and violent natures, so read at your own risk.

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22. Farewell Sandro

I hate funerals. I think that's because of having to go to my dad's funeral when I was still young. It was a miserable day capped by miserable weather and lots of tears. I truly hated it and as much as I loved my dad, I wish I could rip that memory from my mind.

So, when I had to go through it again, this time for a guy not much older than me, I felt sick. Sandro and I had repaired our relationship to a point, but there was still a frostiness between us, and I wished and wished I had fixed that. Now that chance was gone, and I had yet another emotional wound that I doubt will ever heal.

We all wore black- the men in black suits with black ties and white shirts, the women in black dresses. Even Miss Wilson had come out in a black dress, and Mr Simpson joined us well.

Sandro's body was held in stasis within the morgue, in preparation for shipping back to earth. His family would give him a proper burial. This... ceremony, was more for the friends he'd made aboard the La Salle.

The Chaplain was a kind-looking man wearing the traditional Catholic robes and with thinning grey hair that suggested he was on the older side. His face was quite round and his eyes were full of sympathy. When he spoke (and he spoke to each of us in turn) he had an accent that I thought was English but couldn't be sure, and he had the sort of voice that soothed anyone who heard it.

The chapel was a modest area, fitted with wooden beams and even a stain-glassed window or two to create a church-like appearance on the inside. A mighty organ dominated the wall behind the Chaplain as he took to the podium- it had been made out of what looked like pure gold and the lights bounced off it to create a brilliant glow.

We sat in rows of six, with a few other guests present (people from other teams whom Sandro had gotten to know).

"Firstly I wish to welcome you all to this, most regrettable of occasions, but nevertheless an occasion that gives us the chance to reflect upon not only the life of young Sandro D'Cruz, but to reflect upon our own lives and how we must learn to cherish every moment." The Chaplain paused, looked down at his notes, then continued.

"Sandro did not have the easiest of lives. He grew up in a household that did not possess everything they could have wanted, but one thing they had in abundance, was love. Sandro was close to his family and loved them unconditionally, as they loved him. Though in the exuberance of youth he made mistakes, Sandro's heart was forever in the right place, as he strove to make the best of every opportunity, not only for him but for his loved ones."

"I invite you all to pray for him with me now." The Chaplain closed his hands and clasped his hands in front of him.

"Eternal rest, grant unto them. O Lord, and let perpetual light shine upon them. May the souls of the faithful departed through the mercy of God rest in peace. Amen."

"Amen." We all replied.

The Chaplain opened his eyes and offered us a kindly smile. "He is gone from us in body but no one ever leaves us in spirit. The Lord Jesus Christ, our Saviour, has welcomed him into his never-ending light and love, and for this, we are thankful. His love will be with us, as we grieve, and it will soothe us and nourish us all. Through His Grace, we shall remember the best of times with Sandro, those moments that gave us cause to smile, and to laugh, and to cry tears of happiness. I did not know this young man, but from the people present I can see he was a popular young man, loved by his fellows, and I am certain you forged many good memories together. When you think of him, think of those times."

Each word made my guilt swell. I'm not good at focusing on the positive stuff. Too cynical.

From where I was sitting I could here Miguel sobbing, and the whimpers of a few others. I could feel a tear or two welling up but, honestly, I couldn't bring myself to cry properly. I felt quite cold for not crying, but I was too used to this sort of thing to actually cry. 

The Chaplain continued to speak and we all continued to listen, or try to listen. I stopped paying attention after a while; I just couldn't focus on his words anymore. They were starting to depress me too much.

We sang a couple of hymns. The Chaplain did a couple of readings. I didn't envy him, having to perform such a horrible job, dealing with death.

Finally, after what felt like an age, the Chaplain asked us to place our hands together in prayer once more.

"Please, join me in the Lord's Prayer." He clasped his hands, closed his eyes, and spoke familiar words.

"Our Father in Heaven, hallowed be Your name, Your Kingdom come, Your will be done, on earth as it is in Heaven, give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us, and lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil, for Thine is  the Kingdom, and the Power, and the Glory, for ever and ever, Amen."

I opened my eyes, and a moment later, the Chaplain opened his.

"To you all, I offer my thoughts and prayers as you endure this difficult time. Should you need anything, my door is always open to you. My the Lord keep watch over you all." He bowed slightly, and slowly but surely, we sidled out of the Chapel.

 

 

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