Amsha's War
by Nostalgia

You only did it because you loved him. You wanted the best for him, as mothers do. You never thought that it would put him in danger. And now he is on the front line. And you know that it's all your fault.

The messages you get from Jules - Julian, he wants you to call him Julian. Jules is dead are becoming rarer. He can't always get a line of communication, and he seems so busy these days. When he does manage to get in touch, it's all tired eyes and forced cheerfulness. "Yes, mum, I'm fine. There's nothing to worry about." He's a good boy; he doesn't want to see you upset.

But the genes he was born with, the ones that formed and took shape while he was still in your womb, would never have taken him from you. If you hadn't changed him, he would be with you, and the war would be something you hid from him. You worry that you made the wrong decision.

But you remember what it was like when he was still so young. Wondering why he couldn't walk when the other children could, wondering why he never answered when you called his name. You remember sitting in silence when his teachers asked you if everything was alright at home, not quite believing that any child could be clumsy enough to collect so many bruises from simply falling over.

And you remember when Richard told you the way out. All you grand ideas for your son's future could come true; the boy could be made new. You could give him a second chance, take out the defective genes that held him back and let him see the world the way other children did.

And you remember when your son found out what you had done. You remember all the shouting and the way you felt when your own son said he hated you. When he cut his hair and changed his name.

Maybe he was right to hate you. Maybe you really were being selfish.

 

For the last six months you've been lying to Richard. You sat across from him in the prison's visiting area and you told him what you thought of as a little white lie. He asked you how the war was going, and you said: "Jules has come home. He's back on Earth. He's safe." It was a stupid thing to say, but you saw the tension flow from Richard's face and for a moment or so the lie seemed worth it. Now he wants to know why his son never visits, and more lies have to be added to the original one. For the first time in your life, you hope that your son doesn't try to get in touch with his father.

 

You spend your days watching the newsfeed. You don't know how much of it is true, but your stomach jumps when they mention the wormhole, when they mention Deep Space Nine. You find yourself scanning the casualty lists of battle you know he was nowhere near. Just in case. And you panic when you get a message from Starfleet. In case this one isn't a circular about support groups; in case this one contains words like "regret." But when you sleep the messages are the old form letter, and you never make it to the last line.

The last time you slept so badly was when Richard was ill. When Jules was seven and sat beside you on the bed reading you stories because he wanted you to sleep, wanted you to be happy. By then he was the best reader in his class, the best at everything. You were so proud, remember?

 

Your war, on the home front, is with yourself. Because you know that without the enhancements your son would be safe at home with you. He wouldn't understand about the Dominion and the Gamma Quadrant, but he would be safe, and you wouldn't have to worry about him.

But you have to stop worrying now, because the transport to the penal colony leaves in ten minutes. And you have to tell Richard how Julian is getting on, working in a civilian hospital in Southampton.

 

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