Flames of Vengeance: Symphony of Chaos Chapter 3

The Order Gathers

By Mox Jet

            “I had seen in Duncan great promise for a warrior that would have the ability to outstrip any of those who stood in his way.  I knew his father somewhat well, and I knew that if he had inherited even half of Lathain’s ability in a fight, combined with just half of his mother’s knack for prescience, he’d be able to give just about anything in the Multiverse a run for their money.

            “What ended up happening was that he was not just half the warrior and half the prophet, but perhaps twice the warrior and twice the prophet.  Given the right training, there would be nothing that could bar his path, save Pyriorias herself.  He would be an unstoppable machine, capable of mowing down Lavoids with the ease of a Tritanium Arc-wave Generator through cardboard. 

            “So who is Duncan McKlane?  He is a particularly powerful Planeswalker, heir to the Exterminatorum Adeptus, and possessor of enormous prophetic talent, gifted with amazing skills in the arts or war, and the caretaker of the stores of knowledge of the LEA; the semi-infinite knowledge database collected by my brother and sister Eternals and bestowed upon Lathain of Zeal.

            “Duncan’s undoing will not be one of skill.  Duncan will suffer from the same mental instability that his father once did, until he too is able to kill off much of his emotions.  It will be over-analysis that eats at him and self doubt that destroys him.  Similar to his father, the only thing that will be able to kill Duncan McKlane will most likely be Duncan himself.”

            -From the Memoirs of Lucia the Warrior


Years Ago…

            Duck, spin, up, parry!  Duncan whirled around and caught Lucent’s blade as the Eternal brought it down, then sidestepped to the left and lunged forward.  Lucent easily parried the blade and swayed back to avoid Duncan’s continuation. 

            They fought in a simplistic arena with a brown and gold tiled floor.  The outside of the fighting area was open to a seemingly endless stretch of grassy hills.  In reality, nothing here was actually real.  It was an illusion generated by the magical fluxes in the Nexus, which is where Lucent often took Duncan to train.

             The blades had been clashing for hours, neither combatant giving in.  The sharp clang of metal on metal resounded through the halls of their training room, just as it had since the beginning of the day.  Lucent, the master, and Duncan the student, had been locked in this session that was supposed to have ended hours ago.  Or at least, it could have if Lucent wasn’t going slightly easy on the boy.  Most spectacular of all, though, was that young Duncan (possibly only fifteen or sixteen at the time) was wearing a blindfold over his eyes.  His entire end of the fight was being conducted by hearing.

             “Why am I wearing this stupid thing again, Lucent?” young Duncan asked, making another swipe and setting up for a riposte as Lucent countered.

             “Fighters rely too much on their eyes, kid,” the wise eternal said, slowly stepping back as he allowed Duncan to persist with a string of attacks.  “In order to truly master the fight, the warrior must be at one with the battle.”  Cut, swipe parry.

             “Basically,” Lucent continued, “you need to learn to feel out with senses other than your eyes.  You need to be able to feel the flow of the battle.”

             “I’ve been rocking your flow all day,” Duncan said arrogantly.  Lucent let out a grin.  “When do I get my vision ba—”  before Duncan could finish his sentence, there was a flurry of blades and a whipping sound as Lucent picked up his pace, got completely past Duncan’s defenses and had the hilt of his sword pressed up against Duncan’s neck, breathing heavily on the young man’s face.

             “When you grow up, maybe,” Lucent said, a cocky saunter returning to his voice.  “And learn to use your powers for more than just show.”

             “Well,” Duncan said, grinning widely.  “I may be showy, but at least I still have my balls…” he motioned his head downward to where he was holding a knife tentatively by Lucent’s crotch, having slipped it by Lucent’s defenses in their close-quarters flurry. 

             “Hmph,” Lucent said, frowning for a moment, then tipping the corners of his mouth up in a slight grin.  He withdrew his sword and stepped back, saluting Duncan.  After removing the blindfold, Duncan did the same.

             “Don’t get cocky,” Lucent said.  “Maybe I would have been castrated, but you would have been dead.”

            “Well, at any rate, you wouldn’t have ever been able to be cocky again,” Duncan joked.  They both chuckled.

             “You’re too much like your father was when he was your age,” Lucent said, sheathing his sword.

             “Is that a bad thing?”

             “It eventually got him killed, of course.”

             “But that was when he was much older, was it not?”

             “You Planeswalkers…you don’t seem to age like humans.  Once you stop growing, it’s almost as if you lock into a state of maturity that doesn’t change.  Sort of like being eternally twenty as far as personality goes.  Your dad may have been fifteen hundred years old when he died, but he still acted like a kid when he wasn’t killing Lavoids.  Maybe it’s the Chaos energy that keeps you people acting so young.”

             “So his mentality was always the same?”

             “Yes…always hasty, always reckless.  To be honest, he was my kind of guy.  That ballsy attitude I could respect.  I could always take him in a fight, though…” Lucent chuckled to himself.  Duncan pondered it for a moment.

             “Am I condemned to that?  Can I fight what’s in my genes?”

             “You can fight whatever you want, kid,” Lucent said.  “It’s what you can beat that’s different.  They’re two very different things.  I wouldn’t get your hopes up about beating what your genes tell you.  It’s what makes your people less than…well, less than the Eternals,” he laughed to himself.

             “Then I use what you teach me to fight what I can?”

             “You can use what I teach you to beat what you can, if you’ve been paying attention,” Lucent said.  “But I don’t remember ever teaching you anything about fighting your genetic code.”

             “So I accept what I’m given?”

             “You accept what you want to accept.  Sometimes you have a choice.  God, why is this so damned complicated?  Did I make you dizzy or something?”

             “No, I’m just…”

             “You’re thinking too hard.  You people aren’t programmed for that.”

             “Hey, I’ll have you know that a Planeswalkers can—”

             “Oh, can it, kid,” Lucent said.  “I’m just yanking you chain.  Take a joke.”  Duncan crossed his arms and gave Lucent a dirty look.

             “Fine,” Duncan said, throwing aside the dagger that was still in his hand.  “Now, lets get back to what we were doing.  No swords this time.  I’ve still got another seventeen styles that I was indoctrinated with last week and I need to practice them.  Or, are you tired?” he egged on, raising his fists.

             “Never tired enough,” Lucent said with shrug, sliding his trench coat off, throwing it aside and raising his fists.  “Now…have at you!”

Present Day

             The Order of the Planeswalkers typically gathered once a year to discuss maters pertaining to the species in a formal setting.  The Order has also been known to be called together, though, in certain times of pressing need.  A new Crystain weapon…new results with Chaos Magic experimentation…the world teetering on the edge of destruction…things like that.

             Duncan, being one of the eldest (and certainly the most powerful) normally ran the meetings.  They were typically held in a “Safe” zone, that is, an area towards the base of the Nexus where the proceedings were not susceptible to the meddling of foreign powers from within the Multiverse.  In this safe zone they had actually constructed a fortress for their dwelling during the meetings of the Order.  The Citadel of Black Wings -as it was sometimes called- was also the proverbial ‘home’ to all Planeswalkers that wished to seek refuge there. 

             It hung in an area of empty space, the swirling energies of the Nexus hovering above it when one looked past the third dimension.  Also around its planar location were the mists and space of the Beginning of Time, the observation point where the Marda took custodial care of the timelines.  The citadel was some hundred stories high, the tallest tower culminating in a giant spire which acted as a hyper-powered magnet for Chaos energy used in the experiments that were often conducted there.  There was an individual stateroom for each of the members of the Order, numbering some 150 Planeswalkers, as well as quarters for anyone that they were traveling with.  These companions, however, were not allowed in the Central Chamber.

             The actual assembly was held in this Central Chamber: a large ornate room on the forty first floor of the Citadel.  The room, its architecture dating back to the time before the Second Fall, seated all the members of the Order comfortably (and in expensive leather, none the less) in a semicircular chamber that surrounded a central speaking podium, as well as the chairs for the “leaders” of the Order. 

             While the congregation had no real government to it, there were several Planeswalkers that were either appointed or elected to hold a certain semblance of moderation over the meetings.  These “officials” sat in this central section on slightly raised platforms.  The rest of the chamber itself was set in flights, each row of seats slightly above the one before it.  The room itself had been designed to hold more Planeswalkers than were members at the time of its construction.  Even when all of the Order was in attendance, some seats remained vacant. 

             Calling the Order together was never so difficult, as in 3789 ES they had established a communication system allowing every Planeswalker to be contacted when a meeting was being called.  It had only been two days since Duncan had originally called the Order together, and already most of the Brotherhood had gathered at the Citadel of the Black Wings.  The docking bays towards the based of the Citadel were already beginning to fill up with the ships of those who had arrived. 

             The collection of ships was quite a display.  Spaceships, in an age of mass production and interstellar travel, were purchasable by any middle-class family.  Many of them had been made cheap enough to completely replace what humans once called cars (since most transportation on a given planet was public).  Like cars, though, they came in a wide array of shapes, styles, colors and price ranges.

             Some ships were smaller, cheaper, and not as fast, maybe being likened to a Honda or a Saturn from Old Terra.  Then, they ran up the line until you reached the most expensive ships owned by an individual.  These, the Ferrari’s and Lamborghini’s of the modern age, were not only incredible performers, but symbols of status.

             While some Planeswalkers chose to live modest lifestyles, it was much more frequent to see a Planeswalker in a position of wealth and power.  They were a species that was, on the whole, faster and more intelligent, as well as more effective with manipulating people.  Also, there were Planeswalkers like Duncan who made lifetimes worth of fortunes in the Lemange trade.  With more money than he knew what to do with, he often simply gave finances (or even ships that were given to him as gifts) to other Planeswalkers.  Ships like the Vendetta were some of the most expensive creations that an individual could own, save for “Vacation Worlds” sold to the ridiculously rich.  All things considered and given the general wealth of the Order of Planeswalkers, the ships that filled the docks of the Citadel of the Black Wings represented an extremely pricey selection of exotic Super-Ships.

             The Council would be meeting in a day or so, once the remainder of members arrived.  Those who were early were able to take advantage of the luxurious facilities and gourmet meals prepared by a small army of mechanized master chefs. 

             It was designed to be this way for a reason.  If the Order was ever being called with exception to the yearly gathering, it was in a time of problems.  Properly furnished rooms to sleep in and hand-to-foot service sometimes alleviated the heavy hearted feelings that whet along with these problems.  A normal human may never have wanted to leave the citadel, as it could be likened to an expensive resort.  Planewalkers, though, were not normal humans.  Some of them had grown to hate the Citadel in fact, as meeting there typically meant realizing bad news or impending war and death.  It was here that bad news came out, and no one, human or Planeswalker, ever liked bad news.

             Duncan currently rested in his own private room, his trenchcoat hanging haphazardly off of a chair worth many thousands of credits, his boots tossed aside, dirtying the silken carpets, and his form sprawled across the seven hundred and fifty thousand credit bed.  His eyes were closed and he didn’t appear to breath.

             In a chair facing the fireplace that was set twelve feet from the foot of the bed, Kyrie sat with her legs crossed.  In her hand was a portable computer which she used to go over the purchase of new weapons and repairs for the Vendetta.  She wore a casual, close fitting brown tank-top and a pair of jeans that were ripped off three inches above the knees.  She all but hated the extensively decorative robes and other garments that elves normally wore.  A pair of mechanic’s goggles hung from her neck and her hair was tied up in a loose bun.

             “Do you have an estimated draw from the Lemange, yet?” she asked him she examined the price listings for parts that her computer was offering her.

             “Not yet,” Duncan said.  “But try to keep the spending under the five hundred grand line.  I don’t know if it’ll be more than that, yet.” 

             “Got it,” she said.  “And by the way, you ever consider how much money was used to construct this place?” she asked Duncan offhandedly.  The Planeswalker opened his eyes.

             “Far too much?” he asked.  “I’m not actually sure.  I wasn’t responsible for designing the original plans.  I suspect that the opulence of the place has only increased over the last millennium, though.  To be honest, it’s quite a waste of material.”

             “This from a man that sunk over fourteen billion credits into the ship the he flies around?”

             “Yes, but that has a purpose,” Duncan said, his face stiff.  “I hardly consider myself a man who flaunts status when it is unneeded.  It’s not like I kept any of the luxury features equipped.  I ripped them all out to fit bigger engines, remember?”

             “I remember,” Kyrie said.  “I have been the one that’s been maintaining them for the last few months.”  She smirked.

             “You suppose it’s the most expensive one here?” he asked.

             “Probably,” she agreed passively.  “And…” she hit a few buttons on her computer.  “…When I’m done with this latest order, I think you’ll be pleased.”

             “New goods on the market?”

             “Vector came out with a new energy conduction-type weapon,” she said.  “They’re about half the size of our current batteries, but with by using microtubules, they’ve actually kept the power the same.”


             “So I’ll use the extra space for new power couplings and generators, which could effectively double the punch.  That is, unless you’re still opposed to linking a Chaos drive to the weapons…” she raised a hopeful eyebrow.

             “And create warp distortion cannons?” Duncan asked.  “I think not.  Let’s keep away from Chaos weaponry.  I like to even keep that drive silent if I can help it and you know that.”

             “Fine,” Kyrie said, slightly defeated.  “Other than that, I’m just refilling our stocks of missiles, image recognition, heat seeking, homing and atomic, ordering new converters because the ones on the front left pulse cannons are burnt out, and looking into new forms of ammo for the vulcans.”  She hit a few more buttons, confirming the order, then closed the computer.  Heavily, she rose from her seat and took one that was more close to the bed.  She stared at Duncan for a few moments.

             “Yes?” he finally asked.

             “You don’t look well,” she said.  “You look burdened.”  He managed a laugh.

             “Any more than usual?” he asked.

             “I don’t know, really.  I’ve just noticed it a lot these few weeks.  It’s more than just the Eldarion, Duncan.  Something’s dragging you down, isn’t it?”

             “I think I’ve always been burdened, Kyrie,” he said, half-seriously.  “I cover it up better sometimes, but it’s the burden of these damnable genes.  It’s the burden of one hundred and fifty men that have come here today, and it’s the burden that our children will all have as well.”  Kyrie waited a moment before answering. 

             “You’ve….been working too hard, maybe,” she said at length.  “You’ve been through three Class A’s in the last two weeks alone.  If it wasn’t a day that you were traveling, you killed at least one Lavoid every day for the past month.  You need a vacation.  Don’t you think you deserve it?”

             “I’ve never tried to take them,” he said.  “It’s because the fight is never over. There’s no time for me to take a break.  It’s…become like a lust, though.  The need to keep fighting them always pulls me back before I can get away.”

             “Has it always been like that?”  He thought about it for a moment.

             “For as long as I can remember,” he admitted.  There was a pause.  Duncan passively rose from the bed and walked over to a cabinet on the eastern wall.  Opening up a draw, he drew out a bottle of liquor and procured a glass from the shelf above the countertop.  He poured the liquor into the glass and took a few ice cubes from a container, dumping them into the glass as well.  Slowly, he tossed back the glass and drank half of the liquid in glass.  

             “You know, you still haven’t told me what you’re going to discuss in the meeting.” she said, making conversation.  “And since I don’t get to go in there…”

             “You sure haven’t had this discussion with you, yet?”

             “Nope,” she said honestly.  “You came back up to the ship and pretty much went immediately to sleep, you remember.  You just told me to call the meeting.  I’ve hardly even heard you speak these last few days.  You’ll have to excuse me if I worry about you, sometimes.  You are, after all, my partner.” 

             “You really shouldn’t,” Duncan said.  “I’m not worth it.”

             “Are you getting manic-depressive on me?  What makes you think that?”

             “All I can do is fight…” he said.  He threw back the glass, finishing the liquor, and rolled his neck around to look at her.  “All my life, that’s all I’ve been able to do.  It’s…not like I’m unable to do other things, it just seems like I can’t get away from this fight.  It’s like some sort of bloodlust…I just keep coming back.” 

             “You never…tried to get away?”

             “You know me, Kyrie.  Time wasted in vacation is time that could be better spent.  I don’t believe in trying to get away.”  He refilled the glass with a slightly larger quantity than before.  He put it on the counter top and took a second glass out of the cabinet.

             “Why not?”

             “Because my father tried that,” he said, pouring another glass.  “He tried to get away.  It was before he believed in Destiny.  He tried to fight what the timelines were telling him to do.  He tried to fight what Fate was insisting upon.  It ended up nearly driving him insane before he finally accepted his role.  I, on the other hand, don’t have the luxury of trying to escape.  Do you know what I mean?  It’s because I see things.  I already know that there’s a way and a flow to things.  Why fight it?  Combating the Lavoids has been something that not only was I born to do, it’s something I’ve been brought up to do.  I can see the timeline, Kyrie.  I know that’s all there is for me.”  He handed her one of the newly poured glasses

             “You never dream of something more?” she asked, taking a sip.

             “Like what?”

             “I don’t know,” she admitted.  “I certainly never expected my life to take me where it is now, but I always manage to hope for something more.  I sort of hope for freedom from what we’re doing now.  You know, that someday we don’t have to fight anymore, and I can grow old somewhere?  I have to settle down eventually, you know?”

             “Have a family?” Duncan asked in slight disbelief.

             “Sure,” she said.  “Meet someone, maybe.  I don’t know.  Something different than fighting all the time?  You say that the only thing you know is fighting, but it’s just because you’ve never tried anything else.”

             “And where have your travels taken you, Kyrie?  Hadn’t you been searching for a way to fight them before you met me?”

             “I’ve been all over the place,” she said.  “I’ve seen the sights of the galaxy, after all.  I didn’t so actively fight the Lavoids before we partnered up.”

             “And what did you do before you met me?” he asked, half not believing that there was anything outside of fighting against his foresworn foes.  “You’ve had it out for them since I met you when you were little.  Destruction of your homeworld can do that to you, so it’s understandable, but what did you occupy yourself with before you found someone to use the weapons that you make to fight them?”

             “Moved around a lot, I guess,” she said, somewhat dispassionately.  “Trying to get away from home?  I never liked my home much.  Too many bad memories there.”

             “Have you gone back since?” he asked. 

             “…Once,” she said, after a pause.  “And even then I went back under false identity.  I didn’t want the homecoming celebration, you know?  I just wanted to check up on people, not have them welcome me back.  I knew I wouldn’t be staying.  That was….nearly a thousand years ago.”

             “It’s a long time to go without being home, isn’t it?” Duncan asked.


             “Well, that’s how I’ve always been, too.  Even here in this Citadel…this isn’t my home.  I don’t even know what planet I was born on.  We’re drifters, Kyrie.  We just wander in search of the next adventure.”

             “And those adventures had just happen to lead us to each other, I guess,” she said, with a slight grin.  “Two equally lost people with two equally lost causes.”  They both chuckled and took sips of their drinks.

             “About your homeworld,” Duncan said.  “Tell me about it.”

             “It was…very peaceful,” she said.  “There were a lot of trees and water…and the cities were amazing.  All the cities in the Dominion look the same.  They seem to only hold the goal of fitting as many people as possible.  The cities on Ithilian were all made with the goal of architectural display.  You’ve never really seen beauty until you’ve seen an elven skyscraper…” 

             “And your family?”

             “Just as dead as yours, I guess,” she said.  He didn’t respond, and there was an awkward silence.

             “Sorry…” Kyrie said after a few more seconds.  “That was cold.  I…forget that some people don’t shirk it off like I do.”  Duncan didn’t answer right away.  He looked to the floor and swallowed down what was left in his glass.  Again, he paused, closed his eyes for a moment, then looked at her.

             “I’m used to the cold…” he finally said, reaching for his trench coat and putting it on..  “I’m going for a walk…” He threw his coat on and walked out of the room, not looking back at her.  By herself, she sat in thought. 

             Swift, Kyrie, she thought to herself.  Way to piss off the guy who’s already under the stress of the entire galaxy.  What’s eating him out? His family was killed by a Lavoid…just like mine.  I feel like there’s more to this, though.  Lord, there has to be shit that happened to him that I don’t even want to know about…

             She shrugged and rose from her seat, exiting the room and following Duncan, hoping to get to the bottom of what was bugging him.

            That’s always how she was.  If there was something bothering someone close to her, she wasn’t about to leave it alone.  Talking was the best way to solve a problem, she always said, and she figured that her task as his friend was to try and get him to talk about what was wrong and attempt making him feel better.  But, she sometimes wondered if she wasn’t as close to him as she thought.  Duncan seemed to push things away that got too close.  They had known each other for so long, yet he shied away from ever opening up to her with what he was thinking.  That was no reason to give up on it, of course, but it sometimes made things more difficult.  Then again, maybe he didn’t want to open up to her because he was afraid of what she might find…

             The corridor outside the room was long, so she could still see his figure down the way.  She lightly jogged to catch up.

             “Duncan, wait,” she called.  He paused and spun halfway around.


             “Don’t go,” she said.  “Stay and talk.  That was the first time we’ve sat and done something other than talk shop in months.  We never talk anymore.”

             “Sometimes it’s with good reason, Kyrie,” he said.  She pouted.  Glancing briefly at her saddened face, he let out a sigh.

             “Don’t do that,” he said.

             “Do what?” she asked, a smile creeping out of the corner of her mouth.

             “That pouting thing.  You know I hate that.”

             “I’m not doing anything,” she said again, reverting to her pout.

             “I swear,” he said finally, shaking his head.  He sighed again.  “Follow me, then.  I know a good place to go…”


            Duncan took Kyrie to a place where he always made time to come by himself while he was at the Citadel.  It was up by the highest spire on a walkway below the giant magic conductor that channeled Chaos energy into the Citadel’s laboratories for experiments.  The Chaotic energies were strong there, but the images of Chaos being conducted into the third dimension created an optical show that couldn’t be matched by anything else in the Multiverse.  And, speaking of the Multiverse, if one gazed into time-space, the swirling energies of the Nexus hovered above the spire, some of the light blending with that of the malignant forces of Chaos, creating an aurora borealis like none other.

             “I trained Lucent from the ages of fourteen till fifty,” he said.  “Over thirty five years of instruction from the most complete collection of knowledge in the Multiverse.  It was just a blink of an eye for him, sure, but my father had already killed over a hundred Lavoids by the age I was when I finally left my training.”

             “What does this have to with anything?”

             “Just think about it.  My dad had been far on his way at the age I was still training.”

             “But you’re stronger than he was, weren’t you?” Kyrie asked.  “Everyone that talks about you behind your back claims that you’re stronger than your father was.”

             “Perhaps I am,” he said.  “But with that increased strength comes increased responsibilities.  Or rather, should come increased responsibilities.”

             “What do you mean?”

             “Look at the Eternals.  Look at Lucent.  He’s probably one of the ten most powerful beings in the Multiverse, yet he shirks off whatever responsibility should come with that power.  He could have gotten rid of all the Lavoids at this point, if he wanted to.”

             “Then why hasn’t he?  Why don’t the Eternals fight with you?”

             “Lucia once told me the reason…” he said, looking up to the Chaos magnet.  “She told me that if they were to kill off all the beings that thrived on the suffering of others and the destruction of worlds, they would have to come after the humans even before the Lavoids.”  Kyrie didn’t answer.

             “It makes sense,” Duncan continued.  “Look what humans do to the worlds that they live on.  Look what they do to each other.  Look at the Dominion, for Iluvitar’s sake.  They’ve created nothing but a mess for themselves to live in, and who’s to blame?  Even the elves and the elijiaians are guilty of benefiting from the suffering of others.  In truth, there probably isn’t a single living creature in this universe that doesn’t do so.  So what do we do?”

             “…I don’t know,” she admitted.

             “Nor do I,” Duncan said, speaking as if he just secured a point.  “Which is why all I can do is fight.  The Lavoids and their actions have brought me nothing but suffering through my entire life.  I fight them not for the benefit of the Multiverse.  If I were a pure benefactor as my father claimed himself to be, I too would have to seek to destroy the humans as well.”

             “I never looked at it like that,” Kyrie said, looking down to the ground.

             “It’s the only thing I know how to do, Kyrie.  But consider that for a moment.  Consider what it must feel like to know that the only thing you excel at is killing other living things.  To know that the only thing you are good at is adding to the circle of killing?”  He asked the question with an eerie calm.  No sign of emotional distress was visible.

             “But you’re doing people a good service!  You save people from the destruction that the Lavoids bring.  You…saved me.”

             “Sometimes actions that are wrong have benevolent consequences, but do the ends really justify the means?”

             “Do you believe they do?”

             “The ends I achieve are different than how they appear.  People think that my goal is to liberate planets and that I reach it by killing.  No one considers that saving people is more or less just a side effect that comes from the killing.  Granted, saving people is a good thing.  I don’t deny that, but I never feel like I kill to save.  Every Lavoid I kill, ever bit of information that I get…it leads me one step closer to finding a way to kill Pyriorias.  That’s always been my driving force.  If I help people in the process, that’s wonderful, but for ever planet that I liberate, consider how many Lavoid underlings die.  Is it fair for them to die because they follow the instinct that the one Lavoid instills in them?”

             “You’ve had a lot of time to think about this, haven’t you?” Kyrie asked.

             “Hundreds of years,” Duncan said.  “My individuality has had over a millennium to establish itself.  I figured out what I think about myself years ago.” He looked at her.  “Kyrie, you’re very lucky in what abilities you have.  You have the talent to design…to create.”  He looked back towards the magnet.  “When the powers that you have been given are those of destruction, you can’t help but ponder the destruction that you cause.” 

             “Do you ever feel remorse for what you do?” she asked.  He didn’t respond.  There was an awkward silence for a moment while he considered the answer…or perhaps just pretended to consider the answer.

             “No,” he said at length.  “Never.  Even those underlings, those who are just following orders…I feel no remorse.  Too much time on the battlefield has bled me of my remorse.”

             “How about the time you spent in the armed forces of the respective galactic powers?” Kyrie asked.  “In that time, you were killing humans.  Did you regret that?”  He paused.

             “Again, it’s the same original question.  I was enlisted in order to gain information about the military structure of the galactic powers that I served.  The fact that I ended up killing was a byprodect of the means I was using to achieve an ends…”  She didn’t respond for a moment.

             “You’re heartless…” she said finally, a look of grief coming over her face.

             “I…know,” Duncan said.  He winced and a small tear came down his cheek.  He turned to look at her.  “Now do you understand?  Why I don’t always want to talk?  I can’t help being how I am…it’s my genes and my experiences.  They made me this way.”  Kyrie looked at him briefly, then gazed back out into the nothingness.

             “Yes…” she said.  “I think I do understand.  It’s…what you don’t like about yourself.  It’s why you keep distant.  You’re…sorry for it.”

             “I am sorry because I feel no sorrow,” Duncan said, musing over the irony.  “And that is perhaps the biggest pain of all…”

             “But isn’t just blaming it on your genes an excuse?  Shouldn’t you be trying to take control of your own feelings and figure things out for yourself, as opposed to just accepting genetic domination?”

             He laughed.

             “Another debate for another day, Kyrie,” he said, grinning for the first time all night.  “For now, I have a meeting to attend to.”  He walked past her, heading towards the door.  After a few steps, though, he paused.

             “We’re not so much different, are we, Kyrie?” he asked.  “When you boil things down to it…we are more alike than it would seem.”

             “Perhaps that’s why we’ve ended up together in this awkward coalescence,” she said, managing a smile.  “But, as you said, that’s a different debate for a different day.”

             He nodded his head, and then walked back into the Citadel.

Chapter 4

Mox Jet's Fanfiction