Watch Me Live

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Status: In Progress  |  Genre: Science Fiction  |  House: Booksie Classic
After Lone is found by her new master, Kai Saskia, she regrets being saved but decides to change her life for the better. However, her new master wants her to join her cause to rid the galaxy of the evil and corrupt. The only way for her to do this is to have Lone carry out an executioner role as an assassin and kill those Kai Saskia deems unworthy.

[This work is in the final stages of the editing process and will change in the near future]

Cover design by Anon Amous (me)
"Mini Lab Concept" picture by bpsola found on Deviantart

Submitted: November 09, 2018

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Submitted: November 09, 2018

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Watch Me Break

To maintain peace, lives must be taken.

A seemingly simple thought with a complex execution. Especially for Kai Saskia, First General of the Crux Order Preservation Unit and rumored to be the strongest Eyes of Blue on Drogonaaz—a species known to thirst for blood-intoxicated violence. It’s been a long time since she’s allowed herself to enjoy the thrill and pleasure of taking a life.

Today, however, is business. Today she maintains peace.

Saskia seeks Kai Ozias on the black-market planet of Glutvagant, where Crux Law turns a blind eye. She looks up into the perpetual dark sky. There are no visible clouds, but she can sense the stillness in the low-pressure air. A storm is brewing. Luckily, her informers are reliable and it doesn’t take long to find and enter Ozias’ base.

It’s easier than she expects, in fact, there’s no resistance when she sweeps by the guard through the doorway. Inside, members of the Arilith Clan line the hall. They’re all from a skilled Eyes of Red clan and they eye her cautiously as she continues down toward the single door at the end.

It’s unusual for the Eyes of Red to join forces with their close kin, the Eyes of Blue. Both races are nearly polar opposite in their ideology of lifestyle, despite having relatively minor genetic differences and inhabiting the same large planet of Drogonaaz. Saskia meets each of their gazes, and their red eyes look down. She isn’t surprised that Kai Ozias was able to persuade this many proud Arilith Clan members to join his cause. Ozias’ charismatic and provocative nature is a true testament to his Virad blood, an Eyes of Blue tribe so dominant; they make up the majority of one of the three most powerful tribes.

As she reaches the closed door, she hears a sharp, pained cry from inside. Ozias is no doubt a busy man. The door slides open, and Saskia invites herself inside, followed closely by a handful of Eyes of Red guards.

The small room is balmy, moist, and she finds exactly what she expects. Blood spattered across the white walls, along with a large dark puddle forming at the base of the source, a young girl suspended in the air by an anti-gravity projector and teetering between life and death. Saskia swiftly deduces that the four detached limbs on the ground were torn from their owner by brute force. She can almost taste the blood in the air, and it elicits a dormant arousal that fuels her Eyes of Blue nature. It’s a feeling she’s all too familiar with, and it takes strong willpower to push aside.

The girl moans slightly as fresh blood oozes from the hole where her right eye used to be. Where her skin is stretched and frayed, crude tubes and wires are smashed in her fresh stubs that are coated in a clear gel. It’s a crass way to keep his victim alive and conscious to thoroughly experience their punishment.

“Kai Saskia, I’m surprised you found me,” says Ozias, rolling the girl’s eye between large, bloodied fingers.

The Virad Kai hasn’t changed at all since the last time they saw each other on Drogonaaz six human years ago. His domineering build, the gouging scar across his face and his relentless ambition to attain more power defines his very existence.

“Were you supposed to be hiding?” asks Saskia, unprovoked by his intimidating stature.

Ozias smiles and a hearty chuckle escapes his mouth, spiking his aura, and putting the Eyes of Red on edge. The Eyes of Blue are natural killers, predators for power only obtainable by slaying their own. Their bloodshed for dominance is unbiased, often leaking onto Eyes of Red territory, but the Eyes of Red are born with natural defensive traits that effectively counter their insatiable thirst for blood. Beneath their guise, the aura hostility is overwhelming between the two Kai—visible only to the Eyes of Red who possess a power sensing trait keen enough to be a threat in battle. They shift uncomfortably as they watch the two mighty Eyes of Blue converse.

“Our grand battle is to take place on Drogonaaz. I didn’t expect to see you until then.”

Saskia turns to examine the girl suspended in the air as she speaks, “Ever since the fall of the Sesien tribe, your people have been running rampant across the land. Even your elders encourage the spread of Virad reign.”

Ozias scoffs, “What of it? That’s nothing new to the Virad.”

“Without you to rein them in, your people think they can advance onto Kaleeni land.” Saskia leers at Ozias. “We had an agreement, Ozias. It should be honored even with our absence from Drogonaaz.”

Ozias chuckles again, still holding Saskia’s glare. “Our agreement was settled long ago, yet you want my blessing to defend your land? You? Kai Saskia? Self-proclaimed Empress of Kaleeni, the merciless tribe?” Suddenly, Ozias is serious as he scans Saskia’s fearless grey eyes. “What's this meeting truly about?”

Saskia pauses, choosing her next words carefully. “Our grand battle you speak of will never come. Your obsession with the True Kai will see to that.”

The deep scar across Ozias’ face skews with a sneer, “I will have the True Kai’s soul stone.” He meets Saskia with his blue eyes, now pulsating. “After I obtain the True Kai’s stone and the Vo stone, I will come for you. Until then, do with Virad as you please.”

The usually calm Saskia discharges her aura in chilling whips, causing the Eyes of Red to instinctively draw their swords. Only Ozias remains steadfast.

“As you wish, Kai Ozias,” she says before turning to leave. “I will handle the Virad as I see fit.”

As she leaves, Ozias growls to the nearest Eyes of Red, gesturing toward the limbless body still hovering next to him, “Get this traitor out of my sight! Dump her in the alley!”

********

Rain is just as common as the bandits and thieves that thrive on Glutvagant, and it's no exception when Saskia leaves Ozias' hideout within the shady, lawless planet. As she passes a dumpster alley, something makes her turn back.

Lying atop a heap of rotting organic matter and various electrical parts is the limbless girl now bleeding freely. The wires and tubes pulled from her fresh stubs, and the clear gel that was previously stopping her from losing blood is disintegrating in the rain.

Saskia hovers over her. The girl couldn't be older than seventeen human years, and by the looks of it, is a human.

She recalls her Premon’s premonition—a vague description of a girl raised on the streets of Sola, trained by a group of bandits, obtained and then discarded by a powerful master. Her diverse lifestyle honed her range of skills, especially in thievery and deception. It’s no wonder she caught Ozias’ eye at such a young age, especially as a human …

Pity, the girl had potential.

She shifts her weight to step back when the girl's left eye slowly opens. They catch each other's gaze, and Saskia can see the defiant grit still held strong in her shimmering blue eye. Even at the end of her life, Saskia can tell that the girl would not give in to Ozias’ will. Having such conviction in any species is not easily found, and it’s then Saskia decides to take the girl with her.

 

Watch Me Struggle

"You're kidding, right? Is this one of those ..." Seves snaps his fingers then points to Saskia, "jokes?"

Saskia lays the limbless girl on the table in front of the best bioweapons scientist in the galaxy. Although she holds high regards for his skills, his exotic demeanor often makes cooperation a task on its own. Seves was born a Mechanite, a species known for their calculating and emotionless state; his enthusiastic mad-scientist flair is an aftereffect of the emotion-inducing experiments he was committed to as punishment for his illegal research when he was still on his home planet of Thereon. He’s now under Kai Saskia’s protection, hidden at her secret base on the Vo Galaxy’s central government planet, Crux.

"No," says Saskia. "Save her life. It's that simple."

"Impossible! You bring me half of a dead body and expect me to perform a miracle?" Seves shakes his head, rustling his wild silver-glowing hair. "Impossible!"

"Take a closer look; she's alive."

The Mechanite scientist lets out a groan before putting on his bio-scanning glasses and takes a closer look.

"Uh-huh, alive... yes, barely and... HUMAN?" Seves flings his glasses behind him. "I'll let you share her last moments with you."

The sound of scraping metal stops Seves, and in an instant, he’s momentarily blinded by the sheen of Saskia's blade which stops at his neck, just under the lump on his throat.

"It's been a long time since I've killed on impulse, but I'm almost certain your death will be my next. I don’t care how important you are to the Crux Government."

"Wait wait wait wait, can't we talk this out first?"

"Save her life. End of discussion."

His natural urge to swallow causes the sharp blade to dig deeper into his throat, “Understood.”

Saskia removes her blade, and Seves wipes the dribble of silver blood from his neck.

The Mechanite scientist sighs and brushes his silver hair out of his face. “I’ll need blood,” he grumbles, “real blood, not the synthetic crap we make here. The synthetic won’t blend well with the new cybotic parts I’ll be latching onto her exposed sockets.”

Saskia holds out her arm, “Use mine.”

“Ah-umm… well… actually, that should be perfect,” Seves hesitates. “I just wasn’t expecting you to volunteer. It should keep her alive long enough until I finish the fusion.” He turns and hands her a cuff attached to a tube. “Are you sure you want to go through with this? If she lives, it’ll be a long and painful healing process, especially for a human.”

“She’ll live,” says Saskia, fixing the cuff to her arm, letting the red blood flow into the girl.

“Does she have a name?”

Saskia recalls the girl’s name given by her Premon and answers, “Lone.”

Seves taps on the holopanels hovering above Lone’s limbless torso, “I assume you have cybotic specifications for her?”

There’s a pause before she announces, “Assassination.”

 

Watch Me Wake

Three months later…

Inside the darkened conference room in Saskia’s base, Seves appears under the single amber light.

"Is it true? The Millennium Galaxy Race is over?" Seves asks the seemingly empty room.

"Yes," says Saskia, hidden in the dark.

"What of the outcome? Who is granted the galaxy's greatest power?" He rubs his knuckles held close to his body. His maniacal grin and unruly silver hair cast ominous shadows in the light. He’s eager to see what Saskia brought him this time—hopefully not another half-dead body.

"It’s as predicted. Ozias is dead," says Saskia.

"And the stone of power? What of the Vo stone?"

Saskia moves to the nearest window, and the metallic blinds fold away to reveal a dazzling light shower streaking slowly across the Crux night sky. She holds up a small, pale, white shard. "Shattered, almost a week ago, yet some shards still scatter across the galaxy."

Seves glows in awe as Saskia drops the shard in his cupped hands. "It's beautiful," he says examining it with magnifying bifocals.

"When you're done analyzing it, I have a place for you to put it. However, this is more pressing." Saskia procures a small black box from her garment and opens it.

The Mechanite scientist grins with calculating blue eyes. “Then… the eyes do exist?”

Saskia places the small box in Seves’ hands, and he picks up the fresh eyeball inside.

“Yes.”

Seves examines the eye in the light. The white iris and pupil are indistinguishable, and only upon closer inspection is the subtle shimmer, soft waves of different colors, barely visible. “‘Eyes which deceive itself shall possess the power of them all.’ You believe this is one of those eyes?”

“I know it is.”

“What of the other eye?”

“Left with its owner, where it’s safest.”

“Yes, if this is indeed one of the eyes, its twin shall be preserved best with its original owner. But, are you sure you want to give this kind of power to a human? A human you barely know?”

“It’ll take time to learn how to use. If I don’t find her worthy, I’ll take it back.”

Seves laughs. “I knew working for you would never be dull!” He closes the box and heads to the door. “I’ll give her the eye, and then she will be complete.”

 

One week later…

“She’s still not awake?” asks Saskia.

Seves grumbles, “She’s a human, what’d you expect?”

Seves’ lab is small and white. Glass cabinets filled with vials and electronic pieces cover the walls. In the middle of the room is a table where all the wires and tubes scattered throughout the room lead. Lone is atop this table, lying unconscious, now fully adorned with new metallic limbs and a black patch over her right eye.

“Wake her,” says Saskia.

“I’ve tried, but halfway through her vitals spike and I’m forced to put her back under. The cybotic parts need time to calibrate to her organic body and especially her mind. With the sudden strain and intense pain, there’s a good chance it’ll kill her.”

Saskia knows the risks, but her mind is set. She crosses her arms, “Wake her.”

Seves sighs and turns back to the holopanels hovering in front of the table.

Moments later, Lone’s heart rate increases. Her body and metallic limbs twitch as a silver light begins to oscillate around her cybotic parts. Her actions become more pronounced with the quickening beep of her heart monitor until her left eye flies open and she lets out a blood-curdling, agonized scream. She strains to move, but her limbs act on their own—jerking, shuddering, and whirling to life.

“Her heart can’t take much more of this," Seves yells over her screams, handling the holopanels now flashing red. “I have to shut it down!”

“Leave it,” says Saskia moving over Lone’s body.

“She’ll die! Months of work and study will be for nothing!” Seves retaliates, reaching for the holopanels to shut down the operation.

“Seves,” She flashes a look at the Mechanite Scientist, and in that brief moment, her usual gray eyes gleam a fierce blue he’s never seen before. It freezes him; giving him a feeling he’s never felt—a fear so tangible, it is as if he died for a brief moment.

When he comes back to his senses, he steps back from the holopanels and watches as Lone continues her calibration trial.

Soon all the alarms are going off simultaneously, and Lone’s heart rate monitor is beeping so rapidly, it’s almost a single tone. Slowly, Lone gains control over her mechanical limbs as she writhes on the table.

Then her screams quiet, and she’s gasping for air. Her left eye rapidly scans the room, taking in everything but seeing nothing.

“She’s having a panic attack trying to process everything,” says Seves, reading the holopanels. “Her vitals are dropping. The stress is too much for a human.”

A moment later, everything stops and Lone falls limp on the table. Aside from the flat line of the heart rate monitor, it’s completely silent.

Seves lets out a heavy sigh as he takes off his glasses and rubs his eyes, grumbling incoherently under his breath.

Saskia leans over and places a hand on Lone’s forehead, staring into Lone’s lifeless blue eye.

She senses it—Lone’s soul still bound to her body, lingering to the AI born within her, but both are quickly fading. She can bring her back.

The aura of an Eyes of Blue is an extension of their power and soul, and Saskia must be careful as a part of her soul enters Lone’s body. Too much of her power will disintegrate Lone’s soul, never to be reached again.

They stay locked like this until Lone’s vacant eye abruptly regains focus on Saskia. At the same time, a portion of Lone’s metal arm shifts into a blade and flies toward Saskia’s heart.

Seves can’t believe it. Even when he hastily puts his glasses back on, he can’t shake the surprise off his face. Even in a galaxy with advanced technology and vast knowledge, the dead simply don’t come back to life.

Saskia is holding Lone’s blade in a bleeding fist, inches from her chest. Then she does something even more surprising than Lone’s sudden revival. Saskia smiles at her. A true, genuine smile, one with no hidden motive or desire, one that Seves didn’t think was possible of the rumored ruthless Kai.

Seves’ eyes flash from Lone to Saskia in an incomprehensible state until Lone’s bladed arm drops to the table. He checks the holopanels and confirms Lone is indeed alive, stable, and cybotically synced with her organic mind.

“It worked! We’ve successfully created a cybotic human!” he says, double-checking the holopanels. Saskia moves back from the table, her hand dripping blood.

“Have her sent to her room,” says Saskia wrapping her hand with a white cloth and turning to leave.

“Yes, of course, Kai Saskia.” She’s almost to the door when Seves mumbles under his breath with a devious, smug smile, “I’ve seen your blood before, but I’ve never seen you bleed.”

Suddenly, the temperature drops and in that instant Seves knows he should’ve kept his mouth shut. It happens so fast he barely sees Saskia move, but a moment later his right arm from his elbow down is sliced clean through.

Mechanite blood pours out of his arm as Seves falls to his knees with a groan, his left hand gripping the leaking stub trying to stave off the silver flow.

Saskia stops at the doorway and turns her head enough to add, “Let me know when she awakens.”

 

Watch Me Encounter

Lone's small personal room is dark and silent when she wakes up. The first thing she notices is an unknown weight pressing on her chest, and when she shifts to sit up, a stabbing pain shoots from the tips of her fingers, down to her toes. She groans and cringes to her side, falling off the bed onto the cold steel floor with a metallic clank! 

The odd sound is discombobulating, and her left eye comes to focus on her hands held out in front of her. It's too dark to distinguish anything aside from the vague shape of her hands until a white outline highlights them and suddenly they appear clearly before her.

Her breathing increases but her natural calm temperament allows her to process the events following the meeting with her master, Ozias, on Glutvagant. The memory shoots another bolt of pain, and her metallic hands clutch her head.

She staggers to feet, but it’s different, her legs are uncooperative and balancing herself is nearly impossible with the pain in pressure on her healing hips.

Somehow she makes it to the outlined door, which slides open and reveals a dimly lit hallway with matching doors all highlighted red.

She stumbles to the end of the hallway, into a large open room with a single long table in the middle and one amber light hanging from the ceiling at the center.

On the other side of the room, her eye highlights a figure crossing the opening. It’s a woman, an eerily familiar woman.

Kai Saskia notices Lone as she’s passing, and goes to present herself to her new protégée. An impromptu summons to her home planet of Drogonaaz changed her attire from her usual black garb to the Kaleeni battle leather strips that were merely there for delicate decency. A worn, braided leather strap crosses her body where her three swords hang freely on her back in their unique sheaths. The red tribal tattoos on the right half of her face wrap around the large red stone glowing brightly on her forehead and three on her right arm.

But it’s not the red soul stones that give her away. Lone can sense the slight bite in the air from the influx of Saskia’s powerful aura into the room and knows right away this woman is an extremely powerful Eyes of Blue, possibly even more than her previous master. She quickly calculates Saskia with her new upgraded eye. Four soul stones constantly summoned and the acute skill of suppressing that power enough to turn her eyes into an almost human gray. No, she has to be more powerful.

Lone knows she’s dangerous, her gut instinct tells her so. Something pops up in her vision; the small word ‘non-threatening’ soon hovers next to Saskia’s figure.

The unnatural text startles her, and she moves her metal fingers gently across her left eye.

Non-threatening ... this woman? No Eyes of Blue is non-threatening.

The word throws her body and mind into conflict. Her eye catches Saskia’s once before yielding to her feet.

It’s silent until Lone finally gathers the courage to ask, “Where am I?”

“Crux” Saskia says plainly.

“Why did you save me?”

“How do you know I saved you?”

Lone shifts awkwardly, redistributing the weight on her hips before saying, “Only someone more powerful than Ozias could’ve saved me, so … who are you? What do you want with me?”

Suddenly Lone’s knee gives out, and half her body goes limp, ready to fall to the floor if Saskia didn’t swiftly draw her sword from her back and catch her just under her metal armpit. The sudden collapse catches Lone off-guard, and she instinctively braces against the sword to help support herself. The sword doesn’t budge in Saskia’s grip, but Lone tenses as her metal fingers clench around Saskia’s finely polished blade.

She hesitates, knowing how much Eyes of Blue value their precious weapons, but Saskia’s temperament and aura make no change. Instead, Saskia unclips a second sheathed blade from her back and tosses it to her. Lone’s reflexes allow her to catch it with ease.

“Get back to your room and rest,” Saskia says, slowly removing her blade from Lone’s armpit as Lone regains her balance. Saskia sheathes it on her back. “I’ll be back to retrieve my sword later.”

Lone’s eye focuses on the rough hide sheath in her hand, its worn leather beautifully marked with a decorative burn pattern, matching the leather grip handle. To use it as a crutch seems like an Eyes of Blue offense of the highest order. Surely that wasn’t her intention?

When Lone looks back up to ask about the sword, she’s met with an empty room. There’s only one way to get back to her room with a buckled knee. Crime or not, Lone hobbles back to her room using Kai Saskia’s sword as a crutch, making sure to put as little weight against it as possible.

 

Watch Me Assimilate

Two months later…

 When Lone reaches the conference room, Kai Saskia closes the holograms displayed in front of her.

“You summoned me?” asks Lone.

“You’re ready for training,” says Saskia, getting straight to the point.

For the past two months, Saskia kept her distance, only engaging with Lone for simple questions and always leaving promptly before deep discussions could be made. All the while, Lone waited patiently, knowing her role would eventually be revealed and dreading the details of her life-saving offer.

“Training?” Lone asks.

Saskia shifts and crosses her arms, “I know who you are. I know what you’ve done. And I know why Ozias ripped off your limbs.”

“Then you know I betrayed his trust.”

“Yes, I also know why you betrayed him.”

Lone lowers her head. She didn’t think anyone knew why she did it, why she betrayed the man who gave her freedom and power, but for some reason, she believes Saskia.

She thought she had escaped the life of servitude when she betrayed Ozias and was ready to accept death as a means to atone for her sins. But she was saved, and not only that, she was saved by another Eyes of Blue powerful enough to be ranked Kai. To her knowledge, there are now only four Kais in all of Drogonaaz. During the past two months, she had heard about Kai Saskia and how she is considered by all Kais to be the most powerful. Even the late Kai Ozias wouldn’t take action against her without obtaining more power.

Kai Ozias… she wanted to push him from her thoughts but to do so would be denying the actions of her past. No, she can’t do that. Not again. She swore she would change her ways and that started the moment she decided to help save her childhood friend.

 

“Kill for me,” says Saskia, “and I will give you the redemption you seek.” From her black garb, Saskia pulls out a handful of holodisks and splays them on the glass tabletop.

Lone picks up the closest one, and her metal hand automatically plays the contents in the form of a large display in the center of her vision.

The first thing she sees is her childhood friend, Sarth, in the distance. He’s standing in front of a small spaceship with the name Constance scrawled along the side, looking up at the multitude of stars in the dark sky against the backdrop of tall, green trees. He turns to face a boy who comes up beside him. They talk for a moment before Sarth places a hand on the boy’s light brown hair, smiles at him, and steps into the open cargo bay.

Lone stops the recording.

“That was taken just the other day,” says Saskia. “Training begins next week.”

It only slightly surprises her that Saskia was able to obtain in-depth detail about her, and she’s thankful to see Sarth. When she helped Tammy find Sarth when he was a hostage on Glutvagant during the Millennium Galaxy Race, she knew Ozias wouldn’t let her live. What she didn’t know, however, was the outcome of her decision.

Sarth lived and is still alive.

Lone fists the disk. “If I refuse?”

“Everyone here has their purpose and a life-binding commitment to me.” Saskia’s eyes gleam, and she says in all seriousness, “I’ll put you back how I found you.”

Without warning, Saskia’s aura surges and a moment later all the security alarms go off throughout the building.

“Think about it,” she adds, taking off.

Lone doesn’t think Sarth’s existence is a threat to Saskia. Even if Lone decides to refuse the Kai, she figures the worst that’ll happen is another death sentence and the informers called back from spying on him. Saskia is much too busy to waste resources on a single human.  Then again, who knows how far the infamous Kai will go out of spite.

Lone gathers the disks and takes them back with her. It’s the first time she’s ever heard the security alarms go off, but she isn’t bothered by its warning. She knows Saskia can handle whatever is happening.

Hoping to avoid any confrontation with the armed guards running and barking orders in the hallways, Lone takes the long way back to her room. She has only one more corner to turn when she sees a young, tan-skinned girl who couldn’t be over ten years of age, with long, dark springy curls, pass across the hallway ahead. The dark hallway and stealthy cybotic limbs hide her appearance as she presses against the shadows when she senses another figure stalking close behind the girl in a camouflage cloak.

Curiosity gets the best of her, and she silently peers around the corner. Lone’s eye scans the intruder, seeing through the cloak’s invisible deception. She reads, ‘male, three weapons, possible mercenary, threat level high.’

The barefoot girl stops right in front of Lone’s room. Then, like Lone was calling out to her, the girl’s head turns in her direction, and her dark brown eyes find Lone’s even in the shadows. Her exact focus is chilling, but Lone can’t pull away.

The intruder makes his move.

His cloaked arm reaches for the girl. His massive gloved hand grasps the girl’s thin arm, squeezing it tight. The girl shudders. In a quick maneuver, he restrains her to slap a mutape on her neck to paralyze her vocal cords.

“Hey!” Lone shouts, making her way towards the man. “Let her go.”

The man hides behind the girl and whips out a blaster. He hesitates, an unreadable face behind the large camouflage hood then holds up the blaster, ready to strike the girl with the butt of his weapon.

Without thought, Lone rushes him with swift, a mechanically-driven power she didn’t know she possessed.

There’s no time for the man to react, in fact, he doesn’t know she moved until he feels her hands over-power his and thrust him against the wall. He drops his blaster and reaches for a retractable blade around his belt, but Lone catches his wrist and presses it up against his throat, forcing his elbow above his head, exposing his ribs.

Her mind is focused, driven, but not to her awareness.

Her actions are precise, too precise, heartless… robotic.

With her other hand, she snaps his humerus, and his arm goes limp. The man tries to retaliate by thrusting his knee, but Lone catches that too and smashes down on it with a punch as fast and powerful as a hydraulic hammer. Snap! His femur splinters in half exposing muscle and jagged bone. She switches hands, pressing the struggling man up the wall and shatters at least three bones with a jab to his ribs.

His cloak flickers and his movements slowly subside.

Lone is about to focus on his organs when the sound of her name stops her.

“Lone,” Saskia calls out near the corner walkway.

The emptiness in her eye vanishes as Lone comes to her senses.

She now sees the man, unconscious with his wrist still smashed against his throat, and his mangled arm and leg dangling like broken twigs. To see what she’s done makes her leap back, her eye wide in horror. The man drops to the ground like an animal mauled to death.

He’s still alive, barely.

Lone turns to Saskia who’s now stalking her, her face taut with slight incredulity. It’s the first time she’s ever seen Saskia’s threat level change from ‘non-threatening’ to ‘low.’ Her eye finds the girl beside her, watching her every movement with apathetic eyes.

Lone takes off, leaving the girl with Saskia and the unconscious intruder in the hallway. She heads straight for Seves’ empty lab, knowing he’s currently off-planet on a mission for Saskia and locks the door behind her. Her beating heart tightens in her chest, strangling her lungs.

What am I? What have I become?

She pants for air as she paces around the room and soon her head starts to tingle with light-headedness. She staggers to the wall of cabinets and braces against them, finally calming herself enough to take deep breaths.

“I didn’t ask for this...” She slides down the cabinet, wrapping her numb arms around her lifeless legs and curling into a ball.

For the first time in years, she let tears roll down the left side of her cheek in a quiet sob.

“Dammit… It wasn’t supposed to be this way…” she chokes, swallowing the sharp pain in her throat.

Her mind is hazy as her eye catches something in the opposite cabinets. It’s a black bottle, and her eye lens zooms in to focus on the universal symbol for death.

 

Watch Me Fall

Lone was supposed to die that night in the alley.

She had to.

She meant to.

All she knows—all she allows herself to focus on—is that she isn’t supposed to be alive. Dying was supposed to be her redemption, her penance for a life full of bad choices and regret.

The black bottle calls her, and she answers, moving toward it with a hypnotized stare and an outstretched arm. Soon it’s in her metal hands. She imagines what the bottle it feels like—the smooth, cool glass and the clear liquid sliding down her throat.

Her mind is blank when she slices off the top with a chop of her hand. She closes her eye when she lifts the bottle to pour into her gaping mouth. When she hears the liquid hitting the floor in front of her, she opens her eye and sees the bottle held up and away from her mouth. She tries to move her arm closer, above her mouth, but it won’t budge. With her free hand, she tries to force it closer, but it’s locked in place until she relaxes it back in front of her. She tries to slosh some liquid in her mouth with a quick thrust, but her other hand flies up and blocks it like a shield.

Determination turns into frustration.

“Alright, fine.” She snaps at her limbs before storming off to the roof.

 

She figures a running start will do the trick.

The night is clear, and although the bright lights of Central Crux aren’t too far away, the rooftop of her current home feels forsaken even amongst the neighboring poorer region with their lower dwellings.

She’s determined to make the plummet right. From this height, there’s no way a human—or a cybotic human—can survive if she dives headfirst.

Her feet clank against the steel-top roof with a steady rising tempo. She knows where she wants to go and prepares for the final leap, ready to embrace the ground. At the last step, her foot slides back, and she smacks face down on the roof, a foot away from the edge.

She lies there, breathing hard, and curls her hand into a fist.

Nothing.

She can do nothing. Not even take her own life.

She pounds the ground, caving it in, and then runs to the nearest object, one of the many large generators spread around the rooftop and thrashes it with a barrage of superhuman punches. The generator whines with each punch, slowly losing power as bolts of electricity catch her metallic limbs.

She doesn’t notice the fresh blood leaking from the metal plates fused to her skin, or the girl creeping up behind her.

“Lone,” says the young girl.

Lone stops just long enough to see who called her. It’s the girl from the hallway earlier.

“Leave me,” Lone grunts before turning back to the collapsing generator.

“Enough,” the girl adds with the command, “Lie down.”

Lone meant to ignore her, but her limbs respond otherwise. Like an obedient slave, her arms drop to her sides, and her legs tilt her backward, letting her fall flat on her back.

She gasps for air and manages to spit out, “What the hell!”

“Relax,” says the girl walking into her view. “I can only command you because of your mental imbalance. Once you learn to embrace your cybotic features, no one can command you, not even Saskia.”

Lone scoffs, “Embrace it? Why should I? I didn’t ask to be like this.”

The girl crouches next to Lone’s head and plops her hands on her knees, “You have no idea how significant you are, do you? How monumental a cybotic human is. You no longer live just for yourself, but for the AI born within you as well. Another self-thinking, self-preserving entity will always be there to support and protect you. It’s a new technology connected to your feelings.”

“I heard the spiel from Seves. I’m basically half-cyborg, half-robot.”

“No, you’re still all Lone, just upgraded.”

The girl shoves her wide smile into Lone’s view with bright white teeth and Lone blinks. “Are you Saskia’s Premon?”

The girl’s dark skin and calm presence fit a Premon’s profile perfectly, but Lone only makes such a bold guess because she happened to encounter another Premon during her travels across the galaxy. It’s a rare encounter for any species that’s only achievable if the Premon desires a meeting because their prophetic abilities enable them to elude any contact attempt otherwise.

The girl’s amicable disposition is unmistakable.

“Yes and no,” says the girl. “I’m Bellamy, the daughter of Saskia’s Premon. I answer to Saskia, but my path is intertwined with you.”

“With me?”

“Yep, with you. I know it’s a lot to take in right now, but you’re more important than you know.” Bellamy stands, bouncing her dark brown locks and spins on her heels to face the door. “Your injuries will take a week to heal. Then you’ll be ready for training.”

The young girl struts back to the rooftop door and disappears inside.

*******

“Seves is going to blow a gasket when he comes back and sees Lone’s self-inflicted injuries,” Bellamy snickers to Saskia in the hallway leading to the entrance of the rooftop.

“You didn’t tell her?” Saskia asks, changing the subject.

Bellamy rocks back and forth on her toes and heels with her hands behind her back as she studies the Kai. She sees what the Kai doesn’t say.

“You have faith in her,” Bellamy says.

Saskia doesn’t admit it. Instead, she asks, “Has the future changed?”

The young girl frowns. It’s foolish of Saskia to worry about that when the danger she fears is only possible because she didn’t follow through on her real reason for visiting Glutvagant. “You were on Glutvagant to kill her, weren’t you? The future would’ve been set if you had let her die in the alley that night.”

Not that Bellamy wanted Lone to die.

Saskia remains silent, her aura crackling around her.

Bellamy sighs and shakes her head, “Premons can’t change the future; we can only see possibilities. You know this.”

When Saskia turns to leave, she adds, “The future hasn’t changed. The choice will be Lone’s and Lone’s alone.”

*******

Outside, Lone ponders Bellamy’s words.

If there’s anything she’s learned while staying with Kai Saskia, it’s that Saskia never contemplates on her decisions. Everything appears to be moving smoothly towards her goal, and after learning that she has two Premons, Lone figures this was probably the reason why. Saskia is planning something—something big—and Lone knows it. But why should she trust Saskia? Why trust an Eyes of Blue, a species that innately covets power above all else?

No… that’s not right.

Why does she trust her? Is it a gut feeling? Or is it the AI within her?

There’s still more she needs to learn about herself, about her role in Saskia’s plan. If Saskia says the training will help accomplish this, then there’s no reason to hold back. After all, she’s interested to see what Saskia’s planning for the future, and why she’s so vital to her plan.

She lifts her silver hands to view against the backdrop of the dark sky. She doesn’t remember what her hands used to look like, nor does she try to.

Lone was supposed to die that night in the alley.

She had to.

She meant to.

Or at least that’s what she used to think. 


© Copyright 2019 Anon Amous. All rights reserved.

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