Testament, part two

I decline the man’s offer of a drink and consider the most enjoyable way to kill him. He is perched on the bar stool next to me and as he talks I have the privilege of being assaulted by his foul breath and the stink of synthahol. I do not know what he hopes to achieve; do not know why he imagines that acquiring the secrets of the Crux device will be as easy as getting me drunk and hoping I let my mouth run away with me.

We are in what I think is technically a bar, but which resembles more a horrendous golgotha of a dance club, with the acrid bite of stale sweat thick in the air. Everyone here is scum, and I do not exclude myself. I am a dishonoured failure, but that is a misunderstanding that I will one day correct so spectacularly that no-one will even remember my current shame. Still, the denizens of this place give me comfort in a strange way because they remind me that there are some depths I have not yet plumbed.

The man sat next to me slurs his speech and sprays me with spittle. I prepare a dose of toxic gases in my medical mechadendrite in return, but delay taking action. Killing him now would be enjoyable, yes, but it would ultimately complicate things too much for me. The local enforcers were insufferable enough without me stirring them up with another slaying. I had already killed two people since arriving on Albu 3, and things were already getting hot enough for me to move cities.

I am tracing my betrayer. He was here, on this world, some time ago. I think of his face, lit by gunfire in the dark space of the mining tunnel where he had sealed my fate – and his own. I remember the faint glimmer of a smile as he sent a barrage of explosive bolts down the tunnel, a barrage which ultimately nearly claimed my leg. I remember this, and tell  the man on the bar stool  that another drink sounds good.

As I drink I ruminate more. I have grown since that day on Corfun when I lost everything. I have seen what few others would dare to see, basked in the forbidden light of the Midas stars, touched the mantle of infinity itself in the warp storms of the Jafk Abyss – lost my soul and found it again.

Later that evening I sit alone in a private booth with the man from the bar stool. I have found out everything I need to about the organisation he is associated with, learned the names of the leaders who I will have to burn. I ask him whether he has ever seen the effects of the aerosolised pollutants of my homeworld. He is slurring his speech now, and he tells me that he hasn’t. I whip out my medical mechadendrite and point it at his face, before ejecting the toxic gases I prepared earlier.

His screams have stopped by the time I reach the exit.


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June 2010
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