The rush of icy air claws at her face as the loading ramp begins to lower, snapping her back to reality. She had been so deeply inside her own mind that she hadn’t even noticed their transport carrier touch down.

“Game-time Commander.” One of her squad chirps with a wink as he walks past her pod. She rolls her eyes. It’s true though. Putting on a big show for the crowd at homecoming after each battle was almost more exhausting than the battle itself. But people needed it. They needed the hope, the reason to cheer, and to be optimistic. They needed to feel like we were winning, even if that was mostly an illusion. At this point, survival was winning.