About a species given too much power and an individual blinded by love.
Her arms around my neck, green eyes gazing up a me, we slowly circled the dance floor. She pressed her lips against my ear,
“I love you.”
“I love you too.”
“I want you.”
“I need you,” as her white dress brushed the tops of my shoes. More than anything.
She sighed and I lifted my gaze to the rest of the room. Her boyfriend – no, husband now – stood entertaining some subset of her large family. He was a good man – well deserving of her affection and loyalty. He treated her well, which is more than I could say. I inhaled the perfume in her hair.
“Fuck this world,” she mutters.
“And everyone in it” I reply. Her smile is genuine, but it doesn't eliminate the pain in her eyes.
That became our mantra over the following years – a prayer for strength, a chant to ward off the evils of the world. It helped us cope with the inherent unfairness of life. When we danced on the brink of temptation our mantra sobered us and draws us away. Fuck this world.
I don't remember how we met – a party perhaps, maybe in college – but I do know that she was absolutely entrancing. She was fantastically unique, fiercely intelligent and probably more than a little insane. In the following years I followed her around the world like a pathetic puppy as she flit from one place to another, absorbing all the varied cultures the world has to offer. I took jobs in more cities than I can count in order to support my newly adopted nomadic lifestyle. She always seemed to have money and would have happily paid my way but I'm not the type who can sleep at night knowing my bed was paid for by someone else.
I always figured the money came from her boyfriend and wondered about their relationship – he was perpetually absent and didn't seem to care that I was her traveling companion in his stead. I asked her about it on a few occasions – did they have an open relationship, perhaps? Was Mike using her to conceal his sexuality from ultraconservative family? She always just laughed and insisted that he simply trusted her to be loyal. It's true that he didn't have anything to worry about – in all those years of exploration the only thing we explored was the land. Even though we came to love each other – and later when I could confirm that my lust was reciprocated – we had reached some sort of balance that was resistant to becoming upset.
After over a decade of traveling she surprised everyone by becoming an engineer and physicist. I had been vaguely aware that she held some sort of degree but she had never seemed too keen on settling down and doing anything with it. She seemed nervous about the change – conflicted about something she refused to talk about – which was out of character for a girl who breezed through life on nothing but a whim and a fancy. She pushed on nonetheless.
We flew to the 'Sates and within a few short years she had made quite a name for herself by discovering a new source of nearly unlimited power. She got married, got me a job as a security officer at her facility and set about changing the course of human development.
It was during this time that she started to slip into... depression is the only way I can describe it. She would seek me out at unholy hours of the night and fall asleep crying in my arms over problems she couldn't fully articulate. Some of it was about me, some of it was about her work and politicians, and some of it was about the atrocities that people committed against each other. I couldn't help – I offered several times to leave her life so there would be one less problem, but she wouldn't have it. “You're the only thing that gives me hope,” she would say. The guilt still weighed heavily on me.
I was thinking about her again while I patrolled the darkened corridors of the facility. She was here with me tonight – down five levels in the empty rooms surrounding the equipment labs. I wanted to take her away, to somehow convince her to leave this profession and become the bright nomad she once was. She was having the life sapped out of her by the politics orbiting her invention and I could see that it would eventually be the end of her. I couldn't watch someone I loved be sucked into such a void, willingly or not.
My radio interrupted my thoughts, crackling with panic, “The cameras – intruders – armed I think, eastern entrance, they've taken out the cams”
I muted my radio and sprinted east, drawing my gun as I threw myself down the nearest staircase. Security doors slammed shut all around me, alarms wailing. The facility was well protected since the work being conducted here was sensitive, volatile and, as I understood it, easily made into weaponry. We hadn't seriously expected any threat, though – it was primarily a research site. I knew the intruders would be headed for the labs where the valuable energy source was kept.
She caught me as I ran past a control room five floors below, pulling me after her into the room and locking the door. Computer monitors lit half of her face and I dropped my gun to embrace her. She was shaking and there were tears in her eyes.
“They wanted the generator. They told me if I didn't hand it to them they'd take it anyway – I thought they were bluffing. How can someone do that – just take what isn't theirs? Just take something that will be used to do good. They're going to use it as a weapon, I know they will.”
I held her close until she pushed away from me and went to one of the control panels. She started busying herself with the instrument readings. I picked up my gun and stood by the door, listening for footsteps.
“This is it, you know. There was so much promise here, but it just can't be done. Mike was right, but I didn't want to believe him...”
I had no idea what she was talking about and expressed as much.
“I know you don't just... look, I won't leave you behind. I'm not supposed to, but it's not unheard of. I'm setting it up now, there's a black hole I can use to – is that voices I hear?”
I heard them too – muffled, but clearly coming our way.
“Shit, shit,” she quickened her pace at the controls, “fuck this world fuck this world fuck this world” she chanted under her breath. I held steady, aiming at the door and demanded to know what she was doing.
“The wormhole, I'm changing the wormhole. We were gathering energy from a star – that's how it works, you know – I'm going to open a new wormhole inside the planet to a black hole. We can hold it open with the residual star energy long enough to terminate the planet.”
“Terminate, destroy. Earth failed. It would have failed by the first criteria if it weren't for you, and I never should have let that affect-”
“-What are you saying, you're going to blow up the planet?”
“Implode, but -”
“What about all the innocents, all the people...”
“There are no innocents,” she stared at me, her expression unreadable. “not enough, at least.”
A heavy thud at the door broke my shock and I had barely enough time to throw myself in front of her before the door burst open and black-clad figures filled the room with gunfire and smoke. Pressure and sharp pain in my chest when I hit the floor. She yelled and slammed her fist on a switch. Different alarms started up, sounding far away and unimportant. Heavy thuds as bodies dropped to the floor. Warm arms gathering me up, soft fingers wiping away the sticky blood on my chin.
“I'm taking you with me – you're safe now." And then, "I'm sorry.” Green eyes filled with tears, perfumed hair cascading down.
“Fuck... this...” a bubble of blood burst on my lips, the words draining out of my body along with it.
“And everyone in it.” she whispered. Earth folded into the screaming void and we folded away from it.
Light ahead – and peace, and her arms around me and her lips against mine. We rose into silent light.