Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Uncomfortable Conversations

There was no delaying the inevitable. He had to tell her.

Teravolt reached for the rarely used button on his overhead console. His hovering chair revolved to bring it into easier reach but that did not make it any less of an effort to actually push. How long had it been since he'd last seen her? Two weeks? Three?

Did it matter? Everything was threatening to fall apart, no matter how hard he tried to save it. It was ironic really; he could manipulate electricity down to affecting the subatomic charges between quantum particles but he couldn't control the people in his life. He hated having no control. He hated it with a rage he only reserved for one other thing.

HIM.

Even all but dead and forgotten, Ravyn had dominated the last decade of his life. Of all their lives. No matter what he accomplished, no matter how much Teravolt did for the world or for himself, nothing ever quite measured up. This immortal life was a worse hell than the one he'd escaped all those years ago. If he'd known then what the Beast's bargain would cost...

No matter. He pushed those thoughts out of his head. The past was gone. And soon enough, he'd dispose of its sole remaining legacy.

But for now, there was a call to make. He pushed the button.

As usual, there was no video. She never showed him her face any more. He didn't care if she was burned, he didn't care about the scars. He only wanted to see her. But Anthem... he corrected himself... Requiem never let anyone see her now. He did not even know where she was. That had been part of the divorce settlement.

"What is it?"

He sighed, knowing that was as polite as she would be. "Hello to you too, Ann." He used her real name, a slight dig at her to make himself feel better. He knew she hated it. Probably as much as she hated him.

She disconnected the call. He called back.

"What is it?"

"I wanted to talk to you."

"I don't want to talk to you."

"It's important. Please hear me out." He hated how much he bent for her, how deferent he acted in her presence. He had dozens of lovers that he used like toys but her... She was always the one who could make him crawl. Make him weep. Damn her for that.

"Fine. Be quick."

It was better than getting hung up on again. "Bulwark's gone. He's been killed." Of all the answers she could have given, the one he expected least was the one she gave.

"I know."

"You... you know?" He didn't like surprises. Especially not from her.

"He and I still converse on occasion. He has not returned one of my calls. The only reason for his delay would be illness or death. Since we cannot be ill, it follows that he is dead."

Still stunned, he asked quietly, "Do you know how he died?"

There was a long pause before her reply, long enough that he began to question her eventual answer of, "No."

"I have the incident recorded on surveillance. Do you want to see it?"

"Yes." That came quickly, almost too quickly. Ann had never hidden the fact that she was closer to Bulwark than him but he had never had cause to suspect they were working together against him. Now... no. That made no sense. Ann might have been that sneaky but Bulwark did not have a subtle bone in his huge, crippled body.

He was being paranoid again. Time to up his dosage. Again.

"All right. I'll upload the footage now." A few mental commands to his computer and the send was complete. "Done."

"Received."

He sighed again. "Ann.... Dammit, Requiem?" He hated the name, mostly because he knew why she'd chosen it. And for whom. It did make him smile a bit to know that as soon as she saw the data feed, she'd see the bastard kill Bulwark. That should nicely hurt her. He loved the woman but part of him wanted her to feel like he did. Hollow. All the time.

"What?"

"I mis-"

The connection terminated.

By the time the lightning storm finished raging through his office, there was virtually nothing left of it. Only a smoldering room, a hovering sphere and a man within it shedding crackling tears for a life he could never regain...

2 comments:

erisraven said...

Ouch. Uncomfortable is an understatement. And paranoid is an understatement. Talk about your uncomfortable work environments. He'd better pay hazard pay!

And more details come out about the Bargain, and its aftermath. Hey, even Shadowrun players know better than to make a deal with a Dragon. :)

Lethane said...

You know, I almost pity him.


Wait.

No, I don't.