Elkay stared at the bowl of melted ice cream, wandering what to do with it. He didn’t really want ice cream. He didn’t even really like ice cream aside from the odd savory flavour. But there he was, sitting in an ice cream parlor, staring at an ice cream. An ice cream he had to scrounge up pennies to pay for.
Right now, Elkay was feeling very sorry for himself. He should have been at Citizens’ Advice, arguing with the staff to get his bank accounts sorted out faster. He should have been appealing to get his death certificate overturned and destroyed. He should have been trying to restart his life. But all Elkay could think of was “what was the point?”
Elkay’s political career was over. Most likely so was his military career. His Legion would still stand behind him, but he was an inspirational figure now, not a leader. And in Elkay’s mind, that meant that he was nothing. After all, one does not have to be alive to be an inspirational figure.
Something though had driven him to go and get ice cream. The weather was weirdly warm, particularly for Flevar. Elkay too felt very warm and the ice cream was at least cooling. Well, it was, but now it was just a slightly chilled liquid in a small, plastic pot.
“Elkay, ser, are you well?”
Elkay looked up. The owner of the ice cream parlour, a bulky Rethan by the name of Isseer, stood over him.
“How is the appeal going?”
“Badly, I presume.”
They have to run my DNA though ten different facilities to prove I am real. Not that it matters. My career is over. Everything is over.”
Isseer grunted back, then headed over to the counter. He returned with two iced sweetberry drinks.
“I have literally no money right now, Isseer.”
“It is on the house. And you really have no money?”
“All my assets have been frozen. I have nothing. I am living from a worryingly empty box in a room that does not belong to me.”
Isseer shrugged. “You have a place to stay, yes?”
“General Retvik is graciously letting me stay in his room at the Dessaron HQ while he spends some time with his partner.”
“Could be worse.”
“You could be dead.”
Elkay hissed, banging his head on the table. “Fuck off.”
“It is true. You could have died. You have a story to tell. A future.”
“Does not feel that way…”
“Trust me, General, things will change.”
“Will they?” Elkay snapped. “Being legally dead, I am not even a damn general any more!” Elkay took a deep breath, then continued. “I dedicated my life to bettering the Rethans. I made us powerful and efficient. But that efficiency has… Bitten my tail. Perhaps I should have listened to General Somenion…”
Isseer leaned back, shrugging some more. “It is not your fault. It is just bad luck.”
With a tut, Elkay pressed the iced drink to the side of his head. He decided to change the subject. “Is it just me or is it very, very hot today?”
Isseer shrugged again. “Not really.” He put a hand on Elkay’s cheek. “I think you have a fever.”
“Ah. That explains a lot…” Elkay sighed as he passed out.