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Grim Wolf
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The Very Best
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Every trace of emotion vanished from Raidon's face. That was to be expected; every trace of emotion had vanished from within him.

Mass suicide.

He preferred his version--the version where Charles was an unexpected visionary, where Raidon's act of mercy (his restraint of his baser instincts) had resulted in this young leader concocting this ingenius plan to bring them out alive. Not this. Not useless martyrdom, not psychosis, not pointless suicide. What had he risked himself for? Why had he even bothered stepping into the open?

Charles Dawson. I should have killed you myself.

And what about this girl? The only soul, besides himself, who knew of Charles' plan? Was she going to carry it out in his stead?

When he lifted his gun and pointed it at Maddy, his hand wasn't shaking in the slightest.

She didn't react much--only closed her eyes, her lips folding into a tight line. "That's the flaw?" he asked her. "There's always a Clio?" His eyes blazed from the confines of his face. "I won't attack the veracity of your statement, miss, but..." He trailed off, his eyes coming to rest on the collar of her shirt. On the cross dangling from a necklace there.

"The flaw, little miss religious," he said softly, all the long years of debate flowing into him in one smooth rhetoric born of a flat place devoid of emotion, as though he were in front of classroom trying to win a judge over on some arbitrary standard. "Is that your plan is suicide. Are you Catholic? I suppose it doesn't matter much--we all know of martyrs. Personally, I never understood them. They seemed to me little more than desperate men trying to commit suicide-by-proxy. Perhaps that is only me, though. Perhaps that is only the opinion of a foolish boy with no real conception of God."

His hand continued to stay steady, much to his surprise, and he took a step towards her, training his sights on her head. "I know enough, however, to know you. To know me. To know people. You think the problem is Clio, or Reiko? You have another thing coming, miss. The 'problem'," he pronounced the word vindictively. "Is that people like to live. The killers. The victims. The bystanders. The would-be heroes. Everyone. Wants. To live."

He took another step, holding his gun centimeters from her head, and then bent over and moved a hand behind her neck, deftly removing the clasp of her cross and taking it into his free hand. Still pointing the gun at her head, he stared at it for a long few seconds.

"Damn yourself on your own time," he said softly. "Your life is your own, use it however you choose." He flung the cross into the dusty ground between them and turned away without a second thought. "I'll do anything in my power to stay alive," he said aloud, though he was talking more to himself than to her. "If you're not willing to do the same, you're better off dead."

Off in the direction Clio had gone, off into danger and murder, blood and anguish, and, if he was lucky, life.

(Naoko Raidon continued in Civilization at Any Price)
Edited by Grim Wolf, Nov 15 2010, 08:47 PM.
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