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A Delicate Machine
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Harold clenched his fists, glaring at Astrid. Had to take a few deep breaths to stop himself from yelling at her about her sheer callousness. The hardest part? She wasn't wrong, not entirely. Everything she said had been questions he'd been trying to avoid thinking about.

Harold didn't want to die, but he knew he couldn't kill. He couldn't kill, but he couldn't let anyone get killed in front of him, either. The only way out without killing or being killed was escaping, but Harold didn't have a clue where to even start with that without getting his head exploded.

In the end, the best he could hope for was to try and live in a way he wouldn't regret for however many remaining days he had. Harold had already made his decision, hadn't he? Back when he first woke up? All that mattered was figuring out "the right thing" to do, and rolling with that for as long as could. Someone had to do it, try and change the narrative away from Evil's vision of "humans are inherently cruel and evil" back towards the reality of "humanity can always light a candle in the darkness."

Much as sometimes wished otherwise, Harold wasn't a superhero. He couldn't fix this. Even his greatest strength, his body, just served to make him more "fit" in Evil's eyes. He couldn't let that discourage him, though. Harold had his morals, had an idea of what justice meant. Everything else was just noise. If there's only one outcome you can accept, that's what you need to work towards, to hell with practicality and mortality.

People like Astrid - their philosophy infuriated Harold, but he couldn't hate them, not now. Astrid hadn't actually done anything yet, had she? On the surface, she'd wholly accepted Evil's game, had already decided that her life mattered to her than anything else; but those were just words. She could be telling the truth, could just be trying to cope. Harold didn't know her well enough to try and decide which was more likely - but he couldn't take action against her now for something she might do it the future.

In any case, it was clear Astrid wasn't the type to listen to moralistic sermons on the inherent value of human life. Whether she damned herself or had a change of heart; it'd ultimately be up to her. It was pointless for Harold to try and intervene.

"Sure, right. You're the only one who can't die yet. Whatever helps you sleep at night," Harold said bitterly, looking away from Astrid and turning to face Ty. Even if he couldn't hate Astrid, her self-centeredness still irritated him. His words were petty and unproductive, and in an ideal world he'd have the patience to try and come up with a more diplomatic response, but right now Harold just wanted to get away from her. "Let's go, Ty. You probably shouldn't stay here either, Lizzie."

He left.

((Harold Porter doesn't want to hear any more of this.))
a tribute for the dead and dying

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