Chapter 7

Ivan stared blankly past them, lost in a deep slumber.

Kay could not see at all.

And Nyel? The comet consulved endlessly on the floor, too weak to pull the fatal knife from his eye, much less stop the marauders in their wake.

"Congratulations." Lash smiled to her captain, "Now, if you'd please turn around."

Hesitantly, as if the woman was playing a trick, Fairfax turned around, all her senses on edge. Seconds passed by like minutes - though nothing happened to Fairfax, anxiety filled the air and made it hard to breathe. A sudden rush of air to her wrists and a slight scrathing feeling(were those her teeth?) brought her thoughts crashing down with the handcuffs; like a feather, smooth white metal met the ground with a sharp, everlasting scream. The silence in the room acted as an amplifier, making the sound seem loud and bloodcurling as it echoed in all of their minds in that moment, lingering as if invited to stay for a meal. "Thank you." Fairfax smirked. "And you? Turn arou-"

"What're you doing?" A voice echoed from the corner - a frightened, blind deer spoke, his blue eyes wide open. But, quite unfortunately, they saw nothing = they would not be blessed with sight ever again.

"Hm?" Fairfax looked to him as she expertly picked the lock on Lash's handcuffs, "Oh, us? We're simply breaking free from the government…"

Immediately Kay stiffened slightly, and Lash rolled her hands around to stretch her wrists before retrieving her knife from Nyel(who still twitched in pain) and kneeling over Stella's body.

Carefully, she poked and prodded at the fox woman's skin, with the eye of a doctor.

"You're going to eat her?" Fairfax asked, "Now?"

Kay stiffened in apprehension, staring in Lash's direction with blank blue oceans, vast in its sockets - there was no end to their depth. She stared back, and in their deadlock a moment of violet, blind, and cruel mortality was created; its eloquent fragrance wrapped around them, stiffening their breath. She wanted to, badly. Her body quivered with one universal need, one single desire; an undisputed hunger.

"Oh, no," Lash shook her head. Her stomach growled. She looked down at Stella, taking the knife from her hands. Carefully, as if the knife was a scalpel, she cut just a portion of the fox's skin.

"She has an interface panel somewhere." She looked to her captain.

"I thought so," Fairfax shrugged, taking the handcuffs from Lash's pocket and sealing her deal, trapping Stella and Ivan's hands behind their backs. "So, who's Jait, anyway, hmn?"

Lash stepped away from the fox, heaving Nyel's unconscious body into her arms and dragging him to the trash chute - moments later, the comet had been returned to deep space. "No idea. Probably a bounty hunter or something."

"Of course," Fairfax sighed, and knelt so that they were level with one another. "I can see it in how you're acting right now. You're hungry, aren't you?" A grin pulled her lips into a mischievous curve. "You shake, and you look at Miss Roeme as if she's some sort of fowl. Go ahead - I don't need her."

The Warsong Wing landed gracefully, its feathers brushing the ground with steely noise hanging on with just two fingers, until finally the noise let go and plummeted to its death. Fairfax jumped down, joyfully almost, and began to walk. The crew, having found the courage to usurp both Fairfax and Lash(quite calmly, in truth), had landed the ship on a desolate ball of dust in the Earth System; it was quite hot, and the air smelled so foul the very ground retched in agony.

"It's so dusty here," Lash trilled, "I knew pollution would take over." She grinned a thin, snake like grin.

"Pollution?" Fairfax waved to the Warsong Wing as it took off, causing the dust to ruffle its feathers like an upset bird. "Where is this, if those idiots think we'll die here?"

Her rook merely grinned. "This is Earth, Year 3183."

A dark man sat, watching them from his perch. In a nest of scattered chess pieces his grin struck blindingly white through the shadows as he observed. Yes, he was merely an observer, an overseer, a spectator. Fairfax, he thought snidely, would never see his face. She would die in cold blood. He would make sure of it.

He watched the hologram as Fairfax confronted Lash, talked to her. He watched, studying every movement, every moment, and as he watched, he learned. That was his purpose. That was who he was; Jait Seagren, the Observer. He lived to watch, to learn, to defeat, and surely he would defeat Joice Fairfax, be it with sixteen pieces or sixteen thousand. Nothing would stop him.

He wouldn't fail.

"Such powers of deduction," He smiled lightly. "I couldn't ask for more, Fairfax."

He continued to watch her, as his hands moved like men; they pushed a single rook forward.

"Your turn is over."