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Before any mission, he would always revisit the porch. His sister would be sitting on the swing enjoying the cool night air - the sound of singing crickets in the air. She would smile at him, and he would sit down next to her.

"They're sending me on another mission," he always said.

"Will you be gone long?" she'd ask.

"I shouldn't be. They're sending me to an outpost of the invaders' home world. This might be the final one."

"There's talk that they may destroy our planet," she'd say worryingly.

"Don't worry, sis. I won't let that happen," he'd say with assurance.

"But what if they do?" she'd always ask.

"Then I'll do whatever I can to avenge your death," he would say, his voice getting weak and trembling.

The alarm sounded signaling it was time to leave. He always hated this moment of saying good-bye. He leaned over and kissed his sister on her forehead.

"See you soon," she'd always say.

"System off," he commanded.

The room fell to blackness and then the lights brightened. Before leaving the room, he turned around and faced the dark walls. He would never see her again, but he knew he would keep his promise.


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