I am a Sikorsky HH-60 Pave Hawk. Mouthful, I know. Just call me Pave—too many Hawks out there. Before I joined the unit, my name was Rita Chen, and that’s still what all my documents show. But only my parents ever call me that anymore, and I’m seeing them less and less these days. I’m deployed eight out of twelve months of the year, and sometimes I choose to stay the rest of the time anyway. What would be the point of going back to some place nominally called “home”? War is localized to my person, not to where I am; so long as I represent the state, I will never know peace.
Spurred on by the social upheaval caused by trans-exclusionary radical feminists (TERFs) in the late 21st century, the US military launches Project Meridian with the intent to repurpose neurobiological pathways of gender into weapons that can be used in active war zones. But when the needs of the state come into conflict with personal identities, and when the objectives of war tangle together with individual trauma, can the pilots of Project Meridian set aside their own baggage to see missions through, or will they be casualties caught in the crossfire?
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