By necessity I travel light and everything i possessed fit into a standard transit case. I pulled it from under the bed and opened the seals. The things that weren't for public view were stored in the bottom, mostly weapons of various types, secured in cut-outs in the foam. I took a double edged knife from its space and hid it under the pillow as i collected things from the storage lockers. Coveralls, casual clothes, underwear and my boots, stuffed casually in and pressed flat.
On top of everything i lay my green silk ballgown. The last time i wore this i danced with Gabriel York on the eve of the war. For one night we held each other close and pretended that everything we knew wasn't about to be turned upside down. We weren't frightened, but there was a palpable sense of regret. In the morning he was gone before we had a chance to be uncomfortable with each other. I saw him from the balcony as he got into the back of the car sent to take him to his ship, the braid on his uniform catching the first rays of the sun. Captain York didn't look back.
I held the soft fabric to my face and basked in the memories of a previous life. If we both survived, perhaps the relationship would survive as well.
"That's a lovely dress."
I'd heard my room mate come in, but pretended i hadn't noticed her until she stood behind me and spoke. "I don't suppose you get much chance to wear it nowadays."
"No. When the war is over, perhaps i'll wear it again."
"We're holding our own. If we can make the cost high enough, they'll sue for peace. Wouldn't that be wonderful?"
"They won't ever sue for peace, Lise. The war will continue until they win."
But unless they could get high quality intelligence about the weak points in the enemy line, the war would drag on forever. I looked up. Lise had just come off duty and her security pass hung around her neck. I reached under the pillow, turning and standing in one movement as i thrust the knife forward. It was over quickly and i had the pass.
Perhaps the ballgown would see another dance sooner than i had thought.