"We tried to be better, but we aren't. I don't think anyone could last more than a week here if they weren't willing to do bad things." - Alba Reyes

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Stark
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Nuts.
[ *  *  * ]
And with a little push, the massive blade came barreling down toward Kris Hartmann's face.

There is a block of C4 in my bag, R.J.

And with a mighty pull, the blade began to swerve to the left.

a block of C4 in my bag

And as the giant struggled to maintain his balance, the blade slammed into the cobblestones, shattering rock and denting steel.

block of C4

His eyes glazed over, staring silently at the girl in front of him. Was she bluffing? Was there a bomb in her bag? If so, would she really go through with blowing herself to smithereens?

Could he afford to risk it?

For a short while, he just stood there, frozen, blind and deaf to the world around himself and Kris. He never broke eye contact, his face betraying only an eerie calm. He was focused, weighing all his options, considering every possibility. Eternity passed by, in the space of a few seconds. Save a cool gust of wind, carrying with it some scattered dust and fallen leaves, all was stillness, until at long last, a bemused sigh broke the silence. R.J. returned to an upright stance, raising the sword up to rest on his shoulder. He acknowledged Kris with a nod and a smile. Almost as if to say, "I understand." Quietly, he turned back the way he came, back to Mary-Ann. It was a walk not thirty feet back to her, but it felt like an eternity. Time slowing down was fast becoming a theme, it seemed.

Three times, he had a chance to end it.

He knew what had to happen now.

He approached Mary-Ann, set the khanda aside, placed his hands on her cheeks, closed his eyes, and pulled his lips into hers. Just for a few seconds, the two of them stood there.

Yeah. There was a pattern, alright.

Slowly, he released her, a single tear dripping down his cheek, but a smile on his face all the same. Definitely worth the wait, he thought to himself. Shame we couldn't have done it sooner. Placing his hands on her shoulders, he looked the love of his life dead in the eye, and silently, his lips formed a single word.

Go.

He knew exactly what had to happen now. If Mary-Ann could live, he was ready to die.

If I fail, it won't be because I gave up.

A single bloodstained steel-toed shoe took its first step back toward Kristina Hartmann.

And with a little effort, the massive blade rose up from the ground.
<Mimi>: You are much nicer than I thought you'd be!
<Stark>: Shut up, fatty.
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