The corporation hadn’t been back in TXW for more than a month or so from their vacation trip. Usagi was already distracted and far more annoyed than usual as she still hadn’t managed to restock all of her ship and ammunition supplies, nor had the dividend payouts from the several small corporations that she held stock in been bountiful enough to place her in what she would consider a ‘comfortable position’.
It was this distraction and frustration that forced her nose into a datapad as she barreled around a corridor in the Aliastra station, straight into a rather bulky, sturdy man who happened to be standing just past the bend.
Usagi nearly squeaked in pain as her face drove into the taller man’s back. She managed to maintain her balance after being knocked backwards; her full forward speed being no match for the far more muscular man’s frame. She looked towards him, closing her eyes and bowing slightly.
“Excuse me,” Usagi apologized, opening her eyes and beginning to move past the man. She slowed as his face catches the corner of her eye. The man looks up at her as he straightens out his now wrinkled suit.
“Usagi,” he simply stated, either as an observation or as a greeting. Usagi can’t tell. The shock of seeing him nearly sends her into another stationary object on the other side of the corridor.
“Are you fucking kidding me?” Usagi exclaimed, bringing herself to a stop and spinning towards him. The man, her former CEO, her former business partner. Her former lover, Vendrin Latanis, was standing there before her. A man she never expected to see again; at least in person. The desire to kiss, hold, and kill him all flowed through her.
Vendrin tilted his head, ‘I don’t believe so,’ he responded to Usagi’s semi-serious outburst. “How have you been?”
Usagi turned away from Vendrin shyly; her kill urges being subdued by Vendrin’s spectacular ability to charm. She grinned dopishly as she replied, “Good, thank you. How about you?”
Vendrin rubbed the back of his neck. “Been better.” Usagi felt her hand instinctively move towards Vendrin to deal with his pain, but quickly held herself back as he continued to speak. “Not used to this clone. I know they are all supposed to be the same….”
Usagi nodded slowly, eying his neck. “Yeah…” she agreed. “Picked up a fourth when we were in Providence,” she continued to slowly mutter, “each one feels different…”
“Ummm…” she softly began before Vendrin’s much less shy, and therefore louder voice cut her off. “I heard about Providence. I’m sorry I missed the fire sales.”
Usagi’s eyes moved down to her feet, then to her hands before she shrugged, “I spent all my money on Falcons that I lost, so….”
Vendrin slid his datapad into a pocket on the inside of his suit, and grinned slightly at Usagi’s comment. “It’s nice to know some things in this universe will never change.” Usagi bit her lip and grinned meekly at Vendrin before up-righting herself a bit more in a vain attempt to not be totally towered over.
“Not to sound unwelcoming, but what are you doing here?”
“Signed back up after Gorion was able to convince the others I wouldn’t be a liability. Needed to get away from Neurogen and that whole mess with the Nation.” He frowned. “It turns out I’m not as dead inside as I thought.”
Usagi backed up a couple of steps. “You-you’re with STIM again?”
“That’s what it says on my employment contract,” Vendrin replied. “Why the surprise?”
Usagi shook her head feverishly and began to wave her arms frantically. “Not a surprise. Just… Just…”
She finally calmed down, stopped moving, and smiled.
“Just good,” Usagi finally answered taking two steps closer to Vendrin, bringing them very close together.
Vendrin however tilts his head slightly and rubs a hand through his hair, “I’m not objecting here Usagi…. But you sure this is something you want to do again. Ever since…. Well I’m not that reliable anymore. If I ever was.”
Usagi shook her head, “Nope. You will hurt me terribly when you leave again, but I can’t sit here and pretend that I don’t still care for you, especially when you’re right in front of me. If you wish, we can stay only friends and colleagues…”
“That’s your call to make Usagi. And honestly I’m not expecting to leave anytime soon. There’s not really any place left for me to go.”
Usagi shook her head. “It’s not my call. I love you, Vendrin. I have for years, regardless of the hell you’ve put me through. I love you enough to let go as well, if you think that would be best.” She slowly turned, pulled out her pistol and made the ‘go away’ motion towards a janitor who had slowed his cleaning in an obvious attempt to listen in to the pair’s conversation.
Usagi’s encouragement hurried him along.
Vendrin noticeably grimaced at the word ‘love’. “I don’t think I’m capable of love Usagi. Not anymore. Not after what I’ve done. And If I can’t return it, I don’t think I’m worthy of it. Love is something for humans, and I’m something less then that.
“Also something more,” he concluded.
“Mmm… You’ve been spending too much time with Jenneth,” Usagi scorned the name of her friend, whom she liked a lot, but had what she considered very strange ideas on capsule-pilot existence.
“Not in a long while Usagi. But she’s right. You can’t do what we do and still be human. We aren’t bound by the same rules.”
The room turned black for Usagi. Time slammed to a stop. Was he right? She’s killed millions with no remorse. If she was human that would make her either a psychopath or a monster. But wait, she’s also helped millions as well. What is she now? If capsule pilots can’t love, does that mean she can’t love either? Was she lying to her self when she felt she loved Vendrin? Did she lie to Vendrin?
‘Yes you lied, Usagi, you’re a manipulator,’ a voice in her mind told her.
‘It’s okay, Usagi, you don’t need him. I love you,’ another added.
‘You have freedom, that’s all you need,’ a third helpfully pointed out.
‘Kill him,’ a fourth suggested.
It was all the same voice; yet each one was different. As time resumed for her, Usagi could only stare blankly at Vendrin.
“And if I tried to apply human morality to what I’ve become, I’d be insane.”
A moment passed before Usagi looked to Vendrin and shrugged. “I suppose I am walking that fine line then,” she commented, turning towards the direction she was heading before bumping into him.
“You at least have kept to your ideals. For a while there, I was purposefully destroying mine….”
Vendrin’s words had no meaning anymore. It was simple gibberish burning her ears. She needed to get away before she did something that she regretted. “Well regardless, it’s nice to see you again. Look forward to flying with you.”
Vendrin sighed and called after her, “It is good to see you Usagi. And for what it’s worth… I think I loved you once.” He turns and walks the other direction.
Usagi paused mid-stride, then continues; a trail of salty water pouring down her face and dropping to the metal plating below.
(( This is likely the last repost for now. Expect new, fresh content soon™. There may be more reposts as I scour my hard drive for RP related this and thats! ))