Darkness. A typical condition in the NanoTrasen Science Station Exodus. The Engineering staff of NSS Exodus has been found to be lacking in terms of competency, if any staff is present at all, and therefore, blackouts are not quite an irregular occurrence. However, today's blackout is very much intentional, at the command of Lexander D'Éliste, Head of Security, who is now standing on the Station Bridge, at least twenty meters wide, flat room with stations for individual section officers, all sitting idle. Lexander is a man of medium height and athletic build, donning a red uniform with black accents around its collar and tracing his arms and legs. His face, of somewhat lean nature and coarsely shaved, seems tense and troubled, as his dark-amber colored eyes focus ahead of him like lasers. His mind enthralled in intense, expansive thought that would nearly seem to perk up strands of his dark red, short hair that fit so well in the faint red emergency lighting on the bridge. Ahead of him, the blast doors at Bridge's bow are shut.
"The reactor's emergency valves were activated. Now she can't bring power on if she wanted to, sir.", says an Engineer speaking into Lexander's ear through his earset. "It is as I told you, Adrian. You can always break something when you put your mind to it," says Lexander, looking at Charles Fiddler, another Engineer standing next to him that tells him: "The PACMAN is ready to go, we'll have the Bridge powered exclusively." Lexander taps his earpiece on his left ear to add: "And communication is in working order, governed by satellite. Now we only need to wait until our little Saboteur's batteries go dead."
"You won't get rid of me that easily, Lexander." A woman's voice, medium-pitched, with a strong American accent pierced the communication channel: "My Stealth Suit may be running out of power, but you shouldn't underestimate my prowess. The Suit isn't fast, it isn't strong. That is all me. I won't allow NanoTrasen's activities to ruin people's lives like they did to mine. I won't let anyone else suffer anymore."
Lexander joins his hands behind his back, looks down, closing his eyes. Gradually, the tension in his face loosens, and he draws a long, deep breath. He relaxes his stance, speaking calmly in a soothing, deep voice: "So this is how it is, why you're here… You've fought for a long time, and you've seen what they're doing. You've gotten sick of it, haven't you?" Lexander was listening for the slightest sound, but there was no reaction, and so he continued: "I know how you feel… I know what it feels like when the cause that you thought was just is in fact directed by people that chase their goals with any means necessary, and in doing so, began losing their souls. And what benefit is there in fulfilling your dreams, when the person that made those dreams no longer exists, being buried under the ashes and blood of the people slain for its sake?" Lexander gave another long pause while he raised his left hand to grip and feel his right forearm and the artificial muscular strand casings lining the exterior of the prosthetic arm. He gently rubbed it, as if to make an itch go away, before the Saboteur's response reached him: "I have to bring NanoTrasen down, bit by bit. That includes this station, too... I'm sorry. I have to follow my way. I swore to put an end to their experimentations. Whatever technology they developed has only harmed people. I have to destroy their research, wherever it lies."
"Or maybe, you only seek vengeance. Have you not thought of it?" says Lexander in a more urgent tone, opening his eyes gently to look downwards worriedly, the worries ever deepening once he hears the woman's voice again: "Vengeance?! What makes you say that, as if you know me?!"
"Bitterness," says Lexander, and another blanket of silence fell. Lexander nodded slowly, then looked to Charles, who was still standing on the Bridge, and pointed at a heavy door in the back of the Bridge that led to the Bridge's substation. Charles nodded back and walked there, letting the door slip shut behind him. Lexander turned back to face the shut windows with a saddened look. He settled into complete stillness once again, closed his eyes and gave off a deep sigh burdened in thought, being oblivious to the lights and terminals of the Bridge coming back to life. It felt as though he was going through his past all over again. Every single breath she uttered into his ear, every single word felt as if she spoke right inside his head. But there was nothing now, and so he turned to recalling her voice, as if he started to miss it. And surely enough, deep exasperated breaths were feathering his mind, telling a tale of a broken heart, a shattered spirit, and Lexander closed his eyes and grievingly listened. But then, Lexander realized he was hearing those breaths in his right ear. In spite of this, Lexander did not so much as twitch, instead, he visualized the Bridge station he was standing before, and its surroundings. He remembered he left a Laser Carbine leant on the Security station, that was no more than half a meter away from him. He remembered that the Starboard doorway to the Bridge had to be left open; due to the past power outage.
Starboard is to the right, facing the Fore of the station, which was where Lexander was facing. The breathing was very slight, yet intense. Her every breath drew emotions; anxiety, and perhaps a bit of regret. A faint thump echoed, a foot impacting the cold metal floor. In that instant, Lexander snapped conscious, opened his eyes wide and snatched the Laser Carbine that was in his reach with his right arm, raising it towards the starboard Bridge doorway to snap aim dead center of the entrance. Lexander looked after where he pointed his carbine and fluently turned to face the doorway, grasping the carbine properly. A faint flash of green light ran over the curves of a woman's figure that suddenly appeared in the doorway in a pose that suggested she was about to leap in Lexander's direction, and froze in it as she had come under gunpoint. "I should have known your prosthetic would be enhanced to that extent," says The Saboteur. "My speed is the least of your concerns. You gave yourself away," says Lexander in the same soft, calm voice as he had through the radio. The Saboteur slowly straightened herself up, her head turned in Lexander's direction, her hand slipping from her dagger's grip that is stowed behind her back at hip-level.
They watched each other for a moment with Lexander keeping his carbine pointed at the Saboteur, who eventually asked: "How did you do it, Lexander," who said nothing, and so she continued, with an increasingly anxious voice: "How did you leave all of it behind? Doesn't it haunt you? Aren't you reminded every waking moment, and some sleeping ones as well, if there is any sleep for you? How can you still stand there, firm, ready to fight, to kill?"
Lexander had unfocused his gaze directed at the woman before him slightly, leaning his head down and smiling as he says: "Because I found a place where the knowledge I possess that I thought so destructive and evil is finally only mine to use. I do not have to kill anyone unless I must. And that includes you. I am not going to kill you."
The Saboteur clenched her fists, snapping at Lexander: "But why? You have every reason to shoot me dead. I damaged the station, I threatened lives, you could even say some of you died because of me. How can you still look at me like you do? Where is that ferocity, the bloodlust I saw in all those men who wanted my life? How can you expect me to just walk away from everything I've seen like it never happened? How can you possibly trust me, who you've never seen before, to bear the burden of what I was made do? Why… Why… Why…"
Lexander observed the musings of the Saboteur, who came to murmur the same word silently, looking down at her hands. As he saw that, he started to lower his weapon, but then, the Saboteur sprung in her knees and her suit had a dash of green light run across her legs as she leapt dowards Lexander with her blade drawn. Lexander let go of his Carbine and awaited her strike, and strike she did, as she swept her knife in the direction of his throat. However, Lexander had lowered himself and began reaching for the blade with his right arm, arcing it downwards gracefully at the last moment, with the knife mightily grazing the prosthesis plating. The attack of the Saboteur was reckless, as this action provided Lexander with an opening. He established a firm, grounded stance while he gripped the Saboteur on her shoulders, stopping her dead in her tracks. He then knelt before her, making contact with her midriff with his right hand in a Tiger Palm sign while pushing his left forearm across her chest. As his hand dug into the fabric of the suit, the Saboteur was thrown away into the wall a meter and a half behind her, sliding towards the ground, nearly lifeless.
"You could have just let your arm's strength loose completely… You could have ended me. Why haven't you? Am I not dangerous enough? Is that it?" the Saboteur mumbled as Lexander looked at her, still kneeling, with a worried look. "My arms are only as fast, or as strong, as I am. Stop this fighting, and look at the world. There must be a place for you somewhere where you can do good."
"...rest? There is no rest for me. There is only retribution, until I am stopped dead, until a reckoning is finally brought on me that I deserve," says the Saboteur, whose masked face turns to directly face Lexander, who could feel her eyes meeting his. He did not look away, and the Saboteur leant her head on her shoulder, still looking in his eyes. Her breathing became more calm, Lexander noticed her decently endowed chest rising and falling harmonically as she spoke quietly to him: "It has to be you. And I have to show you that I deserve it... I will show you I deserve to die," said the Saboteur, whose voice greatly changed; it became calmer, more hopeful, free of regret. Lexander could even hear happiness, as if she found someone she long missed. He looked over the woman clad in a light, adhering suit leaning on a wall. He could not see her eyes, but somehow he still felt how excited they must have been.
The Saboteur tilted her head towards the carbine that was now laying right next to Lexander's left hand. "It is slower… It is human. Maybe that hand knows what it must do. Maybe it will deliver the judgement I deserve," says the Saboteur, leaning forward to drop on her knees, from where it gained traction to get up towards Lexander, grasping her blade from the ground again, raising it against him and slashing downwards. Lexander was much too fast, dodging the blow and stepping back. The missed swing destabilized the Saboteur and she stumbled, but chuckled softly, as she suddenly fully awakened and snatched the laser carbine from the ground, raising it against Lexander. Lexander reflexively raised his sidearm, an energy pistol, and fired at the Saboteur's hip. A bolt of energy sunk into the Saboteur's suit, making a subtle, quick flash on the area of impact, sizzling. The Saboteur gasped and staggered, but soon raised the carbine again, forcing Lexander to take another shot into her shoulder, this time making the woman groan more noticeably.
With every shot Lexander had to take, he could only hear the Saboteur's pain escaping through her teeth, he could only watch her jerk to the sudden burns imparted on her body and trying to stand upright, and every time, she would attempt to retaliate again, and again. Lexander tried to close in to disarm the Saboteur, but she would simply swipe her blade at him and attempted to fire the carbine at a close distance, forcing him to shoot her in a non-vital area again. That hit forced the Saboteur to tumble backwards, rearing into a wall, which made her let off a moan of surprise and a surge of pain. She pressed herself onto that wall, doing her best to keep standing. Her legs were shaking, she was breathing irregularly, shakily. Lexander heard eagerness and impatience in her breath. The woman held her breath in for a moment to whisper away: "I wish we could have… seen each other… somewhere else." Then, with a faint hicc, the Saboteur lifted the carbine up with one hand towards Lexander, firing, but the bolt sailed passed Lexander's arm a fair distance away. However, the flash of the shot made Lexander reflexively fire, and the shot hit the Saboteur's belly.
The sounds of the laser's sizzling faded, and the Saboteur stood still, with the weapon still pointed in a vague direction. As the silence had been falling, it was disturbed again by a fabric shuffling along a surface, the fabric of the Saboteur's suit, who descended on the ground like a puppet with its strings all cut. Lexander stood still, looking down to the Saboteur with a blurred gaze. His otherwise dark amber eyes almost seemed to be slightly brighter. One could even say they could see cinders in them, in the distance, burning away. His face was weighed heavily by the burden of the death that he brought, once again taking a life that could still have a place in the world.