01.10.3014: Schism
Summary: Nitrim visits Sarah.
Date: 8 November 2013
Related: All of Sarah's logs.
Nitrim Sarah 

A Cell, a Watch House in Landing
In first couple poses.
January 10, 3014

Months have passed since Nitrim was last at Khar-Mordune and the solitary confinement that Sarah 113 of 158 has been locked away in. Months in the passing of the war have done their damage, claiming lives and shedding blood on both sides of the conflict, and have left Lord Nitrim Khournas worse for wear in comparison to the last time he faced the Cantosan prisoner. His cheeks are more gaunt, his eyes carrying a definite degree less of the swagger-bound arrogance that was once his pedigree standard.

…And as the youngest Khournas lord makes the final approach through the dungeon hallways with his gloves fingertips tracing the stone as he walks, it occurs to him just what has happened since he last saw Sarah's blue eyes, demanding the prophetic RELEASE ME from his Awakened dreaming. His once betrothed has died. His body has been scarred and his political statuses have been shaken to he core. Even his good looks in which he used to rely have been marred by a rather visible scar on the left side of his throat, a network of shrapnel wounds, like dots on a domino, a thick pink on his Caucasian flesh.

Passing the last guard with a nod, Nitrim motions for them to open the defense screen as he pulls a small book from the inside of his coat pocket. He's still arrogant, barely making eye contact with the guards and motioning as if already expecting them to fulfill his wishes. In fact, the Young Drake of Volkan barely slows his uninvited approach to Sarah's cell.

The corridors that twist and turn through the Watch House’s subterranean levels are just as brilliant white as they always were — a kind of blinding sterility that ensures every irregular dot is seen and no shadow to hide in. Sarah has been kept since her arrival in the furthermost cell, forcing visitors through multiple checkpoints before they are given access to the prized prisoner of war.

The last pair of guards exchange looks with one another at Nitrim’s arrogant assumption, and the one at the control panel purposefully takes a couple moments longer than normal to allow the Lord through. It isn’t as if they get much entertainment down here — even the Cantosan has lost its fascination.

Before Sarah’s cell is that lightly cushioned chair turned to face the the interior of the simple habitat. This particular cell has been featured all over the InfoSphere by now. It has gone mostly unchanged since Nitrim last paid the Cantosan woman a visit, though there have been a couple additions. Beyond the chair that sits directly across its match on the other side of the static shield and the compact toilet unit, they have added a simple treadmill which faces the boring, bland white wall at the back of the cell. There is also a tablet resting on the single-wide bed, though it is no doubt on a closed network. At the moment, the Cantosan has stripped down to a light tank top and a pair of compression pants, her bare cybernetic feet jogging lightly on the treadmill as she stares straight ahead at the blank wall. Her hair is longer, falling to her shoulders in a bone-straight dark red bob.

As he is forced to slow before the hazed screen, Nitrim spares a glance back to the two guards and offers the two of them a quiet smile. Well aware of just why they took so long, he nods gently to them with an all-is-fair smirk to his lips. The screen fades and he taps the book against his forearm, crossing the threshhold. The book, a simple novel scoured by the security staff to ensure there is no contraband being transferred in its pages, nor any secret messages, is turned over in his hands on his way to Sarah's bed. He sets it down and moves to stand near the treadmill, leaning against the wall with his arms folded and his eyes to the floor.

"And then the moment arrives where asking how you've been and what you've been up to seems rather silly." Nitrim announces himself to her, cracking an eyebrow in her direction with a lift of his neck that inadvertently shows his scars that could have only come from one source: her people. "But if it means anything…" Nitrim lowers his voice, tongue rolling across his teeth as he spares a glance to the guards. "…I'm not here today to teach or to pester. I'm not here to dissect of prod at you, Sarah 113 of 158, I'm here to learn."

The young Khournas pauses, eyes blinking slowly as he listens to the dull thud of her feet on the footpad that leads to nowhere. The sales pitch is always the hardest thing. "What would you say if I told you that I had the ability to understand? All of the pain we've done. To see what we've wrought and deserved and to ask you, humbly, to teach me? And though this will piss off my betters to no end, Sarah 113 of 158, that I could allow you to do this in a way that cannot be shared with others unless I approve?" His brow twitches, the pitch sent. "I want to understand. For me. Not for them."

Sarah does not stop her confident, consistent jog toward nowhere. Her luminous blue eyes stare ahead with the kind of intensity that could have bore holes through the wall had they the ability. Though her cybernetics may not benefit from the exercise, it is easy to see how the mere process provides her needed release. Sweat builds on her brow, though her breath remains relatively balanced. Her heart beats like a steady metronome based on the statistics on the treadmill’s interface.

It is only when he finally finishes does she start to slow to a walk, the treadmill responding easily to her change of pace. She regards him with a vague sideways tip of her chin before she returns her focus forward once more.

“You Inner Worlders tend to use too many words to say too little,” she states in her flat alto. Her nostrils flare slightly as she enters a cooldown stride, and her hands fall to her sides in loose fists. “What do you even want me to teach you?”

"Which is my point exactly, Sarah 113 of 158." Nitrim replies in stride with a shake of his head. Always using her full name, as the new norm, he dips his head back and plucks at the fingers of his gloves one-by-one until his bare hands meet the air of her cell. "We talk too much. We're wasteful, neglectful, and somewhere at some point out ancestors earned a blood feud with the Cantosans. By all rights from your point of view I'm starting to get an idea just how strange Havenite culture must seem."

Pulling out a cigarette, there's a small flash of flame from Nitrim's fingertips, his eyes glossing over to white as his head dips to stick the tip of the cigarette to the flame. The end of the cigarette glows an angry orange, and the young man draws in the first drag of the pollutant, blowing the smoke away from her with a point of his finger towards her eyes as his own revert from white to their normal, dark jade pools.

"I believe, to the core of my being, that my culture has told us horror stories about who and what Cantosans are, and with what your people have endured I am willing to believe we have earned this rage. I believe that your culture has stories of who and what Havenites are. Some of them, very likely, on each side are true." Nitrim pauses to try to gain a firm hold of Sarah's eyes with his own, his teeth flaring with a bite as he continues. "But how do we know this for fact? I am telling you that I had no idea what the truth is and I am willing to change, to accept, to learn and understand as equals. This isn't some pitiful scrap I am throwing you or some bountiful opportunity for you to do something for me, Sarah 113 of 158. I am asking you, as a fellow human, to privately share this hurt with me so that I, too, may hurt. I am willing to suffer to not know, but to understand the truth."

“There is no privacy here, Nitrim Khournas,” Sarah says as she slows to a stop on the treadmill. She grabs the thin towel that hangs off the treadmill’s support bar as she steps aside and away from the machine. Her bare cybernetic feet lightly click against the smooth, white, barren floors as she towels away the sweat and slicks back her longish bob of dark, dark red hair. She turns toward him once she has put a comfortable distance between her and the Havenite. “So you can cease with that particular rhetoric.”

She reaches for her chair — that simple metal structure with almost no cushioning and a stiff back. In some ways, the chair almost mirrors the Cantosan woman herself. She steps around it and then carefully claims the commonplace seat, this time it faces him instead of the exterior corridor. She stretches out her half-cybernetic legs, the place where the cybernetic knee meets her flesh thigh so precise and seamless, it almost puts to shame Haven’s own cybernetic construction.

There is a long pause from the Soldier before she lifts her luminous blue eyes toward the Havenite. “You are attempting to begin a conversation with an obscure introduction and no direction. You ask for the truth, but that lacks precision and thus impossible to simply execute. You want to know the truth, but the truth about what?” Then her lips curl back faintly over her white teeth. “Be specific, Inner Worlder.”

"I want to see through the eyes of the people that want revenge. You. Your people." Nitrim replies without a beat missed, knowing his mind and what he wants, what he's asking; if only he could find the right words. His dark, green eyes remain on hers, challenging his place in their conversation and his right to stay in it. "You have an entire culture and history I know nothing about and with this war you and I don't have the years left on our lives required to case-study what the truth is." His head cants to the side, his fingers pointing to the pock-mark network of scars on his neck.

"There is privacy, Sarah 113 of 158, and there is a way you can help me be different. To be what your people really want from us which is to face what we've wrought…" Nitrim laughs wryly, a sick, tired sounding laugh. His eyes slowly snow over into an opaque white as he holds out his hand, palm out in a posture of submission as he tries to brush out to her mind. "And you might hate it but…please. This is all going somewhere."

I cannot take from your thoughts what you don't wish to give me I can force nothing here; this is no attack. He sends to her telepathically, words bearing an emotion of submissive request. I swear…I am not your enemy. I take risks doing this. Please, Sarah 113 of 158, I beg you speak with me here.

Before Nitrim can even finish the last of his plea, Sarah is flinging herself out of her chair and rapidly closing the space between them. Even while the closest set of guards are only starting to recognize the aggression from the Cantosan, Nitrim is finding himself being grasped around the material of his shirt while the blue-eyed woman is bringing her snarling face within centimeters of his.

You will stay out of my head, Inner Worlder,” she growls, her lips peeled back in anger. “You are not invited, nor will you ever be.” Those cybernetic eyes — even so alien and strange between her lashed lids — carry the anger and sense of violation at having his mind dare to touch hers. Before she can throw him aside, or worse, she is struck solidly in the low back by one of the guard’s bearing a stun baton. It sends a wave of shock through her system, causing her to collapse down to one knee, releasing the Havenite as she does.

“Are you alright, milord?” The other guard asks while his compatriot prepares to haul Sarah up.

"Gods DAMN IT!" Nitrim barks as Sarah is struck, already in the process of trying to whip his arm up in a warding hand to try and keep the guards away. They simply moved far too quickly, sending the young lord to give one of the guards a hard shove to the chest and send a daring, teeth-gnashing look to the man. "I did not ASK for your help and I take full responsibility, guard. You will not touch her again while I am here unless I ask for help from you AM I CLEAR?" He barks to the man.

Nitrim offers a hand to Sarah to help her up and casts a warning glance to the other guard, eyebrows lowered in a vicious look and a scant tilt of his head. The young lord means it. "I breached this woman's trust. I am at fault here. Please exit the cell."

Clearing his throat, Nitrim looks to Sarah, brows knitting together in the center as his drake blood cools into something apologetic. "I am sorry, Sarah 113 of 158. I should have asked permission. This was my fault, not yours. It was wrong of me."

The guards actually look as if they are about to turn their batons on Nitrim based on the looks he is given. The one who had spoken first casts a glance to Sarah even as she is hauled up to her feet, and then back to Nitrim. “We answer to the Royal House of Sauveur, my Lord,” he says, perhaps a touch pointedly. “Our orders come from the crown.” However, despite this particular trump statement, the guard does nod gently toward his partner as they begin to take a step back. They keep their eyes on Sarah now that she has been dumped back into her chair. They exit, but they don’t return to their immediate posts. They linger, watchfully, as if making a silent statement about why they are here.

The Cantosan is still bubbling with anger even while she holds her left arm almost limp against her lap. Some dogs look terrified after they’ve been kicked, some look like they are just looking for an excuse to go for the throat. Sarah looks to be the latter. Her luminous blue eyes jump between Nitrim and the guards before she settles that sharp, soul-piercing gaze on the Havenite Lord. “I don’t care what you… Awakened… are… are capable of… my mind and its contents is mine.”

Nitrim nods softly to the two guards, watching as they take their nearby posts. Knowing well he has no jurisdiction, the suggestion that he's on his own full responsibility hasn't bought him half of the leeway he'd like. He may take full responsibility all that he'd like, but the safety of Sarah's visitors is their ass.

Nitrim's eyes turn back to Sarah's, locking onto her strange, blue eyes with a quiet stare of his own. Once again, he doesn't flinch, nor struggle for dominance with the woman. Instead, his hands reach to the front of his coat to smooth it out before his booted foot steps forward. One after another, he walks slowly over to Sarah to stand before her, his coat hem sweeping the floor to the tune of the light jingling of his many metallic adornments. When he stops, he lowers to one knee, meeting Sarah at near eye level.

"You have no reason to believe me, Sarah 113 of 158, but when I reach out to the mind of another, I am a visitor that couldn't stay if I tried." Nitrim whispers, his face going calm. "No tricks, no power, merely a speaker. There is nothing that I could have taken from you." He pauses, eyebrows tilting near the center in apology. "But I hoped you would share a memory of the pain the Inner Worlds have caused, not to fight this damned war or share intel with Havenite soldiers, but for my conscience. A quiet place. An…" Nitrim shakes his head with a sigh. "…an effort to bridge this fucking gap."

Nitrim blindly holds an arm out to the guards, palm out, trying to ward them off if he can. "Sarah 113 of 158? May I please share something with you? One way. From me to you; a memory. Please. You will owe me nothing in return, but I am asking your permission."

The Cantosan's stare is unflinching even as the Havenite brings his gaze evenly with hers. Her chin drops a bit, which only increases the predatory nature of her strange, luminous gaze. His words of explanation do not alleviate the tension in her jaw and throat, the way her fingers curl into the metal musculature of her left arm. "My memories are mine," Sarah growls in that low alto. "If I wished to share my memories with you, I would do so in a way that is not… anomalous." That word sits bitter on her tongue. She roughly hauls her torso upright a bit more, forcing herself into that dignified poise despite the fact that her left arm still hangs limp in her lap.

"How many of my people have you killed, Nitrim Khournas?" Her gaze is unfaltering. "How many of their bodies have you desecrated?" Then her nostrils flare. "Why would I allow you in my mind… to invade my memories? There is no evidence to support that I should trust you, or your intentions." Her lips curl once more over her teeth again. "I have not spent the last one-hundred and forty-eight days as a captive because my objective is one of peace. I am one of what will become dozens of waves from what you call the Fifth World. We are coming… we will keep on coming. We are going to empty all of Cantos, for the Inner Worlds are ours and we are coming back." She lifts her chin now. "We are coming home.”

"Sarah 113 of 158, through your memories and your experiences you can show me what we have caused!" Nitrim replies, meeting her growl. One by one, his fingers curl into a rested state and his arm lowers, ending his signal to the guards. "And there is no other way for me to prove that between the two of us there can ever be some measure of trust. You have a chance here, through me, to genuinely connect with someone who wants to understand for his own edification and not for some militaristic or collegiate self-driven ambition. I am here," Nitrim bares his teeth to her, the pendant around his neck sways as he lifts his chin, forcing the scar tissue to twist and bend against a neck that would rather it wouldn't. "Because I know what it's like to be in a cage, trapped to a purpose, to be questioned and to be looked at like an alien, hard to understand thing. I am here because admit it or not you are either waiting to be rescued by your comrades or executed by Inner Worlders, and what I am trying to explain to you is that men, humans are wicked things and it isn't Inner Worlders or Cantosans that are the plague. It is our bloody species."

Rushing up suddenly, Nitrim's nostrils flare and his teeth gnash in her face. His eyebrows droop down into a hard, rigid state, blasting her with every ounce of her reasoning and intention as his voice drops to an intense whisper.

"Sarah 113 of 158, I give you my word on my beloved sister's honor that I slay nothing that doesn't try to slay me and that these horrific desecrations are things that I am not in support of. If its a home, warmth, safety or justice your people require these are concepts I am capable of understanding and supporting. There are people who deserve horrible deaths and if I have been lied to about your history, then I agree…they must be punished, but if you do NOT change or try something new or use this chance to communicate your sacrifices in this cell, your blood, my blood, it's all for shit. It's punishing an animal tha doesn't know why, Sarah 113 of 158 and I want to know why so I will ask you again…" His brows soften. "May I please, send a memory of my own, for your mind to view? One way. You will be an audience, no more."

The Cantosan is silent. If the strike of the stun baton against her has caused her pain, it is unreadable in that blank, flat expression. It is only after the Havenite has finished his plea does the statuesque quality of her expression break.

"No," she says flatly. "My mind, my memories, are mine… if your desire here is to bridge the gap, to provide some kind of…" She grimaces minutely. "Empathy… then you will not do so in my head. You said you wish to understand… then understand that my mind is mine. If that is a concept that you cannot understand, then you are just like every other person who has called upon me… as if I am some wayward soul that requires your intervention, to be made to seen the light, to realize the vileness of my kind."

The fingers on Sarah's left hand begin to wiggle as her nerves are able to communicate once more with the micro-sensors in her cybernetic arm. She starts to stretch her forearm, bending and flexing her elbow. She watches the progress with a diagnostic eye. "You want to share something with me… then share it, but I will not allow you to enter my mind, nor will I enter yours. I am Cantosan, and my mind is mine."

Nitrim remains silent, his close, looming presence in front of Sarah held in the air with his breath while he listens to her words. She looks away, down to her arm. He doesn't. Instead he watches the side of her face and lets a silence fall into place between them. Slowly, he begins to nod and he rises to his full height, steps over to the chair, and drags it to set before her.

"I brought you a book, which you can keep. It's…illogical, non-mathematical, it might make good kindling," Nitrim begins, straddling the chair to wrap his arms around the back of it so that he may lean and speak quietly with her. "But it's something that resonated with me at a time in my life where it was like this; four walls, a bed, left to my thoughts. It's the journal and writings of a drug addict in a year of solitude in prison and rehab trying to find peace within. Whether or not he deserved his confinement isn't the question he writes about, it's about finding comfort in self. In reflection. Something like your thoughts that you can have on your own and be free with."

Nitrim pauses, hand rising to rub the heel of his palm into his eye socket, wishing away the tension headache that has formed from being so quickly evacuated from her mind and the stress that has followed. "When I manifested, as an Awakened, I was sequestered from my brothers and sisters, who I love dearly. It was a lonely, dutiful existence, and like the weapon I can be it was at times a solitary punishment of nightmares and fear that I, being dangerous and untrained, would never be a part of the family that I needed."

Those luminous blue eyes flit toward where the book had been placed along with the closed-system tablet. She then refocuses her gaze on the Havenite that now sits across from her. She says nothing of the book, replying only to its presence with a small nod of her chin. Now that her left arm appears to have resumed normal function, she rests both hands loosely on her thighs.

His words of his experience as an Awakened are regarded with a veiled expression. If there is any curiosity in her expression, it is displayed only in the slight arch of her thin brows. There is a lapse of calculating silence from the Cantosan before she lifts her chin slightly. "There are no… Awakened… amongst my people. Whatever anomaly caused the mutation did not afflict Cantos. Had there been, we would have regarded those with the malady with the same precautions and placed under quarantine. Begrudging your family for their response is illogical."

"It is, yes, it is. Putting me under quarantine with a tutor until I was no longer dangerous was the right decision, but our Havenite society is about attachments and personal contribution." Nitrim replies with a slow nod, his eyes tilting to the white wall that forms a negative space over her shoulder. He tries to find patterns in the clinical, impersonal wash and finds none, forcing his eyes into a long, unfocused stare. "But as an anomaly, from my perspective my function was set into chaos. I was a child and then I wanted love and comfort, to be strong like my brothers and sisters, to be a part of the functioning unit. It was…it made me question many things: my purpose, what sort of contributions I could make, whether I was a cancer or a gift." His eyebrow twitches as the raw thought comes to a head. "Sometimes I still don't know the answers to those questions, but unlike many Awakened I do not celebrate what I am. I am Nitrim 1 of variable. An offset to the equation."

Shaken from his hypnosis, Nitrim folds his arms atop the back of the chair and turns back to her face with a slight shake of his head. Confidence restored, his shoulders tighten and his face goes serene. "It's why I ask you so many questions. I've…" His hand lifts to rub at his scar. "…met your priests. Their firearms splintered my armor. I wonder why the anomaly exists, because the reality is that it is something that I've been burdened with to explore alone. It's why I don't hate the Cantosans, but believe that like me, like an anomaly, they're just a new variable to the equation. We have common ancestors. You have family in the Inner Worlds. Likely, I have genetic family in your society. So perhaps my function has yet to reveal itself."

"Cantosans are hardly anomalous," Sarah says with a hint of indignation. "We developed in isolation from the rest of the System because of your people's abandonment of the original colonists to the Fifth World." The Cantosan is silent for another weighted pause before she rolls her shoulders, muscle and bone moving seamlessly with servos. "Your function is to live and to die… and perhaps, if you are worthy of replication, to reproduce. Attempting to find a divine destiny is flawed, and will never come to fruition. The Gods represent the many faces of humanity, they do not seek to interfere or to change the ways in which we live our lives. They are the mirrors that reflect our greatest truths, they are the ones who remind us of the burdens we bear. You bear the burden of the Abandoner."

"And as bearer of the burden of the Abandoner I have to decide whether by being born, anomalous or not, am I the bearer of these sins or will I try to end a cycle that hasn't been broken in thousands of years?" Nitrim retorts, head canting to the side as his hand motions to her with a wave of his fingers. The soft clacking hiss of metal-over-metal chimes out as his claw rings meet halfway. "I'm not a Chantry-goer, Sarah 113 of 158, but it still leaves mysteries to me. For example: If your people were developed in isolation, how do you have a genetic heir here? And what happens to our connection if Ithaca has a child, in a way a form of your progeny?" Nitrim blinks, eyes fluttering at an unspoken series of thoughts, one that he shares. "Not long ago I could have potentially been a father of that progeny, you know. Would that progeny also bear the same mark of the Abandoner?"

"You believe yourself to be the sole catalyst that will end a conflict that has been active for generations, for thousands of years," Sarah states in her flat alto. "Your ego is shadowed only by the ego of the Scout that claims he will be the one to kill both the first and the last Inner Worlder of this cycle. A single cancer cell cannot alone result in the expiration of a living specimen… it must multiply, and both Inner Worlders and Cantosans are capable of removing a cancer before it spreads." Then Sarah pauses to consider his inquiry, and it is then that she starts to smirk as if amused. "Genetic make-up is not a factor for connection between a progeny and those that beget it. My parents did not contribute to my genetic map, nor did they contribute to that of my brother's. Familial bonds are formed through the nurture progress. It is only if I was the one who raised the child of my genetic descendant would they see another God within their reflection."

"No, no you misunderstand." Nitrim's hand turns out, palm up with a slight push of air to surrender his explanation to her. "If I am the only one trying to find an answer, an end to the conflict, then there is no point. Perhaps if you survive then you would remember my name, but whatever voice I had would be drowned out by millions bearing the mark of the Abandoner that only saw the war and not the plot behind it. There is a point to this war, a purpose. If that is to be found someone must help set the inertia in motion, to dig through our society to find the evidence and lies that would alter the perception of the Cantosan invasion from murderers to betrayed souls seeking reparations for atrocities committed against them. Things that hatred and dissection could never reveal. The truth. It is something I've been researching since this began."

A soft scratch sounds out between them as the dull claw-points of Nitrim's ring tap against the top of the chair, a drumming clatter to follow as he offers her a wry, quiet smile. It is a sad, yet hopeful smile. "Sarah 113 of 158?" He pauses, voice lowering. "If I can find it to be responsible, though it doesn't change the past, for what has happened, but as one man, ONE man with the conscience to want to make right and know he's likely to fail and end up in a mass grave…could you and I agree, just between us, that at least here and now we are not enemies?"

“You are right,” Sarah replies in that flat alto. “There is a purpose to this war.” Then she folds her arms casually across her chest as she resumes a bit more of a relaxed lean — though it is far from what Havenites may call a slouch. When he speaks her name, she lifts her chin slightly to meet his gaze across the space between them. She holds the gaze for a long moment after his inquiry, and the weight of the silence seems to speak volumes compared to the words that eventually come from her thin lips. “No,” she replies simply. There is another heavy pause from the Cantosan. “You said you are here to bridge the gap…” Then her lips curl slightly over her teeth as she speaks, words dry, “Just between us… you want an ally… release me.”

A silence falls over Nitrim as he settles into his own stare with Sarah. Like the expressionless serpents he loves so much, he remains entirely still, watching her with the same statuesque posture that the animal settles into while calculating its inevitable strike. A hair's breadth twitch of his eyebrow, barely noticeable, suggests that for a second, maybe more, he considers it.

"I get this feeling, deep inside of my belly, Sarah 113 of 158 that were that to happen, it would be a tactical nightmare." Nitrim smiles his ten-thousand dollar smile, complete with a stretch of the skin of his neck and a pulling of his scar tissue. His eyes, however, don't carry his suave, serpentine smile, as he communicates something else to her with his eyes that the cameras won't be able to intercept. "I'm not hearing about a lot of Inner Worlders being taken alive, much less being given food and quarter for their trouble." The smile goes wry. "Hated on both sides of the fence? Facing execution on both sides? Digging a hole in the ice on Niveus and living off of snow melt and plenty of time to journal sounds fun, you know? Treason and bearing the mark of the Abandoner sounds like trimming a good ten feet off of the wick, and would take care of this scar tissue problem I've got."

He laughs softly, pointing to his neck to emphasize his joke. His hand turns, extending to her for a shake. It seems that he is preparing to leave.

Disappointment doesn’t flicker across Sarah’s emotionless visage, but did she truly expect that he would release her? The Cantosan tilts her head a bit. “Perhaps if the Inner Worlders surrendered they may find that their lives are more easily spared,” the Soldier replies, though she does roll her shoulders ever so slightly. Then she lifts her eyes toward him as he offers out the hand. There is a moment of guarded silence before she stoically takes his hand in hers. One would expect the cybernetic to be cold, but instead it is just as warm as the flesh and blood it replaced. She doesn’t shake. She squeezes, and there is no doubting the strength behind the grip. There is a brief heartbeat to the exchange before the woman jerks him closer toward him so she can drop her voice into a dangerous hush. “You expect too much, Nitrim Khournas of the Inner Worlds. If emotion could be engraved into DNA, the hatred the Cantosans have for your people would be its own genetic trait.” She tilts her head slightly to look aside at him. “Two meetings does not undo what has been done.”

The chair beneath Nitrim, in its backwards state, leans perilously on two legs as his body is tugged forward, and later Nitrim might admit privately, to himself, that the sudden motion…kind of hurt. It would be Nitrim-speak for Fuck she's strong, but sore muscles and scar tissue are a recent part of Nitrim's subjective life experience as of late.

What he doesn't do, however, is flinch or yelp as he is yanked in close. Instead, he keeps his eyes on Sarah's blue orbs and maintains his veteran status in the game of human chess. His first love, Dahlia, taught him what fear stinks like. Predators know fear, and Sarah is a predator amongst many things.

"Nor should it." Nitrim replies quietly to her, his head tilting down in a slow nod meant to convey to her that he understands her message. His hand squeezes hers firmly, rises and falls, and then unfurls to let her go. "I bear the stink of the Abandoner. I have much to prove, too little, too late perhaps. History cannot be unwritten but the books can be annotated with truth. Perhaps that would be my gift to the memory of my society should we become extinct."

He rises from his chair and grabs it, turning to head for the exit. "Until next time, Sarah 113 of 158. If I don't wind up killed by Cantosan or Inner Worlder between now and then, I swear you'll see me again."

Sarah releases him, taking a step back as her hand falls at her side. Her fingers flex momentarily, curling into a fist before relaxing again. She offers a simple, almost curt, nod of her head before she turns from him, striding toward the treadmill once more.

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