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The TAU soldiers are just organizing before they leave the shuttle.” I said. “Jonathan suggested that you get the ship prepped for takeoff while we all meet them outside.”

Joëlle gave me a confused look. “Immediately? I know we’re on a time crunch, but I’d rather us all go out and meet the reinforcements.” She smirked. “Besides, as Omega so kindly pointed out, I’m the highest ranking TAU member around. I should be there to greet them.”

I shrugged. “I agree. Jonathan just wanted me to pass that along.”

Alright. Go get K, Omega and I will head outside.”

I nodded. Omega stood up from their seat in the kitchen and dusted themselves off gracefully. The colour had returned to their skin and they looked fine, as though there arm hadn’t even been touched by K. Joëlle was wearing her jumpsuit but opted to leave her weapons inside. The two of them marched out of the ship, and I walked into the room with K.

She was sitting at the desk next to the bunk beds, fully geared up with her grey cloak and armoured vest over her dark leather jacket. Her gaze was low.

I stepped up to her, and realized I had forgotten to return her communicator until now. I reached into my pocket and retrieved the earpiece, handing it to her. “I meant to return this,” I said.

She looked at it, surprised for a moment. “But, I threw that...” She trailed off. She took it lazily, and fit it to her ear. “...Thanks.” She turned away from me.

The TAU are here,” I said quietly. “Want to come out and meet them?” I asked.

She sighed. “What’s the point?” she asked. “Probably better if I stay inside.”

I squinted my eyes. “What’s the matter?” I asked.

Nothing,” she said. “I’m...” She closed her eyes.

I waited for her to continue.

I’m sorry,” she said, “for earlier. For lashing out.”

I sat down on the bunk facing her. The ship hummed faintly.

You apologized,” I said.

She snorted. “Yeah, don’t expect it to happen again though.” She crossed her arms and looked away from me.

No, I mean… Thank you.” I said. “But you were- are- right to be upset with me.”

She sighed. “That’s why I hate apologies.” She flung her hands into the air. “You already said sorry, but I’m still kinda… hating you right now. And now I feel bad for being angry, because you said you were sorry, and I should forgive you, and I thought I could, but I don’t know, it’s complicated! You’re kind of my only friend.”

She frowned. I looked away from her.

But you lied to me,” she said, “you said you could save me, and had me going along with the stupid medicine thing like an idiot… But I know you were doing it to make me feel safe, so I should feel grateful, but instead I just feel betrayed.”

Honestly, I think you should be feeling exactly what you’re feeling right now,” I said. “I apologized to you because I regret what I did, and I care about you, and I wanted you to know that. I didn’t do it because I thought it would instantly fix everything. Everything you just said makes sense.”

She shook her head, and clenched her fists. She began to growl. “But I broke Omega’s arm!” She put her face in her hands, clawing at her horns. “The only reason you and Joëlle let that go is because of Omega’s surprise regeneration powers. If it had been someone else… how do you think you’d be looking at me right now?”

My ears lowered. “You’re right. K... what you did was awful. You could kill someone if you aren’t more careful-”

I know! I fucked up!”

You did!” I said. “But people do that! People mess up, sometimes really badly! You did... and I did too... So we have to do better. We have to be better now. And hope that our team mates can learn to trust us again.

She groaned, slowly rocking in her seat. “How do I start being better?” she asked.

Maybe start by going and telling Omega how you feel. And yes... in this case, maybe apologizing would be beneficial. Hopefully, that will be enough for them to forgive you, eventually.”

K curled up even tighter. “Yeah. Okay.”

My chest tightened. I placed a hand on her shoulder. “K… come on out with me to meet the reinforcements. It would be good for you. You’re part of the team.”

But you don’t need me,” she said, shakily. “You’d be better off without me.” Her voice was breaking. I’d never seen her like this before.

K?” I said. “Are you okay?”

No I’m not okay!” she exclaimed through clenched teeth. “From the day I was made, I’ve never been okay!”

I didn’t know what to say. She fumed, quivering in a mess of anger and sadness and panic.

What have I contributed to the team?” She asked. “Think about it. I haven’t done anything. I’ve been nothing but a pain in the ass, that no one wants around.”

That’s not true,” I said. “We all want you here-”

But what have I done to help?” she sobbed, lifting her face from her hands for a moment to look me in the eye. “What good have I done?”

My eyes darted between hers. “Back on Voren, you helped fight off the valicorr. You helped keep people alive.”

Back on Voren!” she cried. “Back on Voren I blacked out in the middle of driving you to the ruins. I broke part of the vehicle- Hell, I destroyed the ruins and almost got you killed!” Tears streamed down her face, and she inhaled sharply. Her orange eyes were damp and reflective. “I broke the weapons on the Firebrand… I crushed your hand! And- And...”

She screwed her eyes shut. I rubbed her shoulder as she covered her eyes with her hands.

It’s okay,” I said. I tried to be as soothing as possible.

She kept crying. “I couldn’t even help you in the jungle. And I just… I ran away and then my stupid blackout happened. I couldn’t even do anything about it… I can never do anything about it. That’s how useless I am.”

I felt tears forming in my eyes as I stared at K. “K, It’s not your fault that you have blackouts-”

I can’t imagine what danger you went through,” she said, “just to save me. But I don’t know why you even bothered, since I’m just going to die anyway!”

K...” I said.

For a while there I believed you,” she said. “I thought for once I had a chance at a normal life, after all of this danger passed. I thought you could cure me. It was too good to be true! And it was. I never was going to be cured. I’ve always known, deep down, I was born to die.”

I stared at her face deeply.

Sometimes,” she said, “I think about dying, and I wonder why it hasn’t happened already. Sometimes, I think it would be better if I didn’t exist at all.”

I pulled my hand away from her slowly. She sobbed into her hands, shaking in utter despair. Every few seconds she paused, inhaling, as if she were going to speak, only to violently cry. I gazed at her solemnly as my insides twisted into knots.

I wouldn’t know what to do if you died, K. You’re one of my only friends.”

Well it’s going to happen,” she said, lowering her hands to her lap. “Even if I make it through until Duhrnan’s attack, do you really think we’re going to stop him? We’re all probably going to die. You know that.”

I grabbed her hands, and squeezed them tightly. She looked down at them, then into my eyes. “Probably isn’t definitely,” I said. “And I thought you lived for a challenge? For excitement?”

I don’t know what I live for,” she said. The crying began to subside.

You… don’t need to,” I said.

Why do you even care about me, when Omega is part of the team now? They are so damn perfect at everything.”

I shook my head. “But Omega isn’t you.”

But Omega can do so much more than me. And they know why they’re alive. To stop the Brotherhood. Even if I knew what I was supposed to do, I don’t think I could do a very good job of it.”

I squeezed K’s hands, and stared into her damp eyes. Seconds passed in silence. Her lips were curved downwards. Her brows were furrowed slightly.

You’re right about one thing, K.” I said bluntly. “You are going to die. So am I. We all are. And no one knows, not even you, when, or how. Maybe the doctors on Voren were right, and maybe you’ve got an incurable genetic ailment. Maybe you’re going to get killed on this mission. And I don’t want to think about that moment. But you knew that when you agreed to come along. You were maybe the most excited about the mission. And here’s the important thing… You are alive.”

She lowered her eyes, breathing heavily.

You are alive!” I exclaimed. “Right now, you’re alive. And now is all we have. It isn’t over until it’s over, right?”

Right...”

Promise me you won’t give up,” I said.

She looked me in the eye. “But-”

I won’t give up on you,” I said, “So neither can you. Not until Duhrnan is stopped.”

Osax,” she said. “I don’t know if I can…” She pulled her hands away.

You know,” I said. “You know you can.” I offered my hand for her to shake.

She sighed.

She lifted her hand slowly. “You promise you won’t give up on me?” she said.

I promise,” I said.

And you won’t lie to me for any reason?”

I shook my head. “I won’t.”

Even to make me feel better?” She asked, an eyebrow raised.

I won’t lie to you,” I said. “Prince’s honour.”

King’s honour,” she said.

Her words stung, though I didn’t think that was her intention. I hesitated briefly, then replied.

King’s honour,” I repeated.

Alright.” She grasped my hand, and took a deep breath. “I will not give up until Durhnan is stopped.” She shook my hand. “But,” she said slyly, “I can reconsider if there’s a point in life afterwards.”

I lifted my ears. “So you do have some hope.”

She smirked. “I figure, as long as one of us has it, we should be good. Let’s get outside.”

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About the author

Seb Woodland

Bio: I'm a writer, game developer, artist, and musician. Just a creative guy working on art and trying to make his way in the world.

-There is always hope-

Achievements
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