I've wanted to use an Evenscence song all month!
No one even knew her brother was dead. Their planet did not have a culture of family names, and so just looking at names no one would know they were related.
But Juni knew, and when the list of dead from the latest attack was posted her eyes had lept straight to his. Achler Mebrak – Deceased.
And she was okay with no one knowing. They were in a war, people died all the time, there was no reason why her brother's death should be noticed by the people of the base when none of them had known him. The grieving of those who actually knew him were the only important tears. And she preferred to cry in private.
The attack had been a month ago now, and Juni had her evening all planned. While the stars were different here than on Volare, she was in the same solar system and had been studying them for the past month in preparation for this night.
Her CO had gotten that pitying look on his face when she asked permission to leave early for a private funeral, but had allowed it. She had gotten a bottle of Volarian moonshine, the small amount of traditional birth/death cookies she had made with her saved rations, and headed to the hanger to borrow a vehicle.
She made it to the top of the cliff just as the sun was setting. Juni watched the sky change colors, munching on cookies. The sky deepened, and she started searching the stars for a new one, her brother's soul in the sky.
Juni stayed up all night, waiting to spot the new star before opening the moonshine, but it never appeared.
She was a wreck the next day, getting snapped at several times to focus and do her job properly. Usually she was better than this, and by the time the evening rolled around she had compartmentalized her brother and was performing at her usual level. But as soon as she was off shift Juni headed outside.
Still no new star.
What did that mean? Was he really alive, somewhere in space? Maybe he had died after the attack, and the star would appear tomorrow. Or the day after. Was his life and death unworthy of a star in the sky?
Juni looked toward the western horizon. She couldn't see her parent's stars, it was the wrong season, but just knowing their souls were watching over her had given her comfort many times over the years. She had been looking forward to having Achler in the position since she read about his death, a presence who could see her at all times and an object to talk to that while it couldn't talk back could talk to the gods on her behalf.
Where was Achler's star? She chewed her lip staring. It would be unusual for him to be with their parents, stars appeared in the same sky of which they died. Maybe it was too faint to see? Could it only be spotted on Volare? Maybe she should ask for leave.
She didn't want to think about the possibility of it not existing at all. It was too wrong and left her feeling to empty. If Achler didn't turn into a star, she might not too.
That scared her.
Juni shivered as a wind blew over the land, cross her arms over her chest, but not turning her eyes from the sky.
Some culture somewhere believes stars are dead souls, but I don't remember which one.