Project: AKRA pt 12

***

The short cycles of the planet had given way to day as they trudged forward with no resistance, back to walking on the razor grass sawing slowly in the sunlight.  They marched forward with four of them still fully ‘armed’ in the limb sense of the word but at this point met no enemies.

Everyone knew what was coming before they actually rolled onto the bare ground, based on the loud roaring starting to filter through the trees.  Though Leio and Ziko were both reduced in combat efficiency, their squad was still in fairly good fighting capacity.  They made it through the surprise of the night, and still had four people capable of shooting larger weapons.  However, this new challenge they were coming up to was going to prove trying.

“There is no way we are making it across that,” Ziko said.  He knelt down to let Leio off of his shoulders as she sat down on the ground so he could better look over the edge of the cliff.  They stood next to some rocks and a tree, using the light cover as they looked over the shear corner of the massive cliff to the rumbling water hardly visible through the mist below.  On both sides of them the deep gorge was cut through the rock with no easy way down, and the height did not get any less extreme anywhere close that they could hike to make the descent easier.

“The two of them could not hope to swim across that water,” Agrest said, keeping his head turned upwards most of the time for any drones that might come flying over the tree tops.

“I have faith they could, but the risk is too great.”  Raist looked up and down the escarpment they were located on.  “It’d be better if the two of you stayed here to cover our escape.”

From where they were, the tip of the peak was barely visible against the tall trees of the other side of the river.  Their goal was close, but in every way seemed farther with every step they took.

“From here you guys should be able to build a pretty good choke point in the rocks over there.  The three of us are going to do a sprint to the target, and come back.  There is a good chance we will need as much cover fire and a clear path as possible on our way back.”

Agrest pointed to the rocks.  “It’s a good plan, since I’d hate trying to descend and climb back up with things shooting at us.  If you two have this locked down, it should help our escape.”

Raist finished, “Ziko, I am going to need you well-rested because as soon as we get here, we are running back to the extraction zone. I do not want to be in the forest again for another night.  The three of us should be able to handle AKRA, and I know you are strong, but we cannot be slowed even if you are carrying Leio.”

The problem was they had to make it back out of anti-air range to call their shuttle down.  Even if it was capable of firing, with how defended their target was, calling it anywhere close was risking being trapped here.

The group worked for a bit, positioning rocks and checking sight patterns so that the two staying behind would have clear cover fire on the three advancing members, both on the descent, the swim, and the climb before they disappeared into the other side.  Natural rock walls covered their backs, and a few shots through the rocks gave them some gun holes to fight anything that did come from the forest.  The three advancing soldiers dropped all but one weapon here so they could move faster now that the mission had become one of a sprint.

“Goodbye, Raist,” Leio told him as they embraced.  Raist was having to hold her up.  “I hope I see you again.  I really do.”  Her foot was realigned, but the large section of meat missing from her calf was something he tried to not look at.

“I’ll be back soon.”  He gave her butt a light squeeze as he turned away from her.  They spiked their rappel systems into the rock and Agrest and Philira already jumped over the edge.  Raist was preparing to do the same when a strange thought came to him.

‘Look at her one more time; it might be your last.’  He turned to face her, and she did a small wave, smiling at him, the normalcy making him think he was over-thinking again.  He turned back towards the cliff and crouched and launched off.

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Project: AKRA PT 7

***

Ist…

Raist!  He shook his head slowly as his eyes focused on some light coming down from the trees above him.

He shook his head, thinking about that girl – spilled out on some planet in his past, serving her fatalistic destiny without complaint.  In time his bleeding wounds would heal, but there were some wounds that never healed, those that were too deep to see.

Anyone there!?  A desperate female voice came through on his ICS, but there was no identification marker or avatar associated with it.  What was going on?  ICS was nearly flawless, local range could reach substantial portions of the planet.

Yeah, I’m here.  I can’t get an ID on you.  I took a pretty hard fall and was out for a while there. – Raist

Philira speaking.  I ended up on the ground okay, but I worry about everyone else.  I’m glad at least one person is still alive. – Philira

Well, we need to meet.  Unfortunately, this foliage is way too dense to get a vantage point on. – Raist

Raist put his hand behind him and pushed himself to a sitting position, but just doing that hurt his hand.  He lifted his hand to find small cuts over it, and rapidly realized the ground he was on was composed of a grass-like plant that its sharp edges literally were serrated.  He grabbed a blade of the plant and realized it was structured so that it would stab inwards deeper and deeper, but had small anchors that prevented it from easily coming back out.

In the corner of his eye his system was pinging a warning, and he activated it.  His system told him that medical and suit synth capabilities have been reduced to 84% after healing him from the fall.

Normally that wasn’t too bad, but his system also warned that given the harsh condition of travel, expect high levels of loss while maintaining suit integrity as it increased thickness to stop the plants from getting at him.

He unrolled the suit off his hand to touch the plants without the armor protecting him, gently rolling his finger over it.  Just the soft touch left a thin line of blood on his fingertip before his internal nanites quickly sealed the cut and recycled the blood.

Philira, be careful of the terrain.  The area I found myself in is composed of extremely sharp objects.  We should be okay with our suits, but if those break down we are in for a lot of pain getting through here. – Raist

Shout a few times, if you would. – Philira

“Philira!  Hey!  Anyone out there?!  Phil—” He heard some crashing behind him, and shot up into a crouch, pulling out his Gauss-Limiter rifle.

There were many weapons that were used by individuals that were also used on ships, only in changed capacities.  Agrest’s Rail Rifle was based on the ship weapon of same name that was a long-range rail gun designed to pound out space stations, and with very good tracking and computers could blow smaller ships apart.  Raist’s Gauss-Limiter was similar to the ship’s in that it launched huge numbers of tiny projectiles at hyper velocities.

“It’s me,” her voice came through.  He didn’t even see her; the camo was still working completely.

He disengaged his own cloaking slightly, and she followed suit so they could see each other.  They ran up to each other and gave a quick hug, grateful to see someone after the crash.  Even though he was dating Leio, he had a soft spot in his heart for Philira.  He never pursued it meaningfully because of emotional scars he had over Laiun, the last Scout whom he seriously liked, that selflessly gave her life away for him.  They were vastly different in many ways, beyond that they were both completely sacrificial for the Leader.  He shook his head to get off the dark train of thought he was on.

“How lucky that the Scout was the one that crashed close to me,” he smiled warily.

“You were actually pretty far away, but this forest is strangely quiet right now.”

“You ran here?  Isn’t that risky with all these plants?”  Raist asked the young Scout.

“Just reinforce your boots, and the rest is just being careful where your body is.”  She held his eyes for only a moment longer before going back to scanning the forest, holding her Plaz-Shot down by her hips.

“Yeah, already on it.  Was I the only one you heard from, on ICS or sound?”

“Unfortunately, yes.  I couldn’t imagine we are particularly dispersed, but I should definitely be able to hear them, regardless of the ICS malfunction.”

Raist was completing a quick check to make sure none of his gear had fallen out on the crash.  “Has to either be something with the planet, which I doubt, or our enemy has an interference device.  That had to be what caused the crash.  If we get you up that tree, any chance it might help?” He was pointing to the biggest ‘tree’, if you could call a starburst-shaped trunk a tree.

“Completely.  It might take a bit to climb though.”

“Let’s do it. I’ll guard down here.”

The two of them made their way over to the spiked ridge.  He crouched down, ready to boost her up to one of the knife-branches, when she shook her head ‘no’.

He raised an eyebrow at her, but then she showed him her gloves which had taken on hooked appearances while slightly spreading out.

‘Scout trick,’ he thought.  She jumped at the ridge, slamming her hands into the strange object, punching her hooked claws through the tree as her spiked boots likewise punched their way through with slight ‘tings’ as she flew up the tree, crystal fragments falling down as she ascended.  She cloaked herself fully once more once she was actually climbing upwards.  If somehow the ‘tree’ had resisted the repulsion field in her climbing tools, the microscopic suction cups would have propelled her up anyway.

Split my main book? Art work!

Hey guys, been silent for a while but still busy at it.  The main thing I am working on is my main book ‘VayneLine’ and as of right now it is 500 pg ms word pages big – huge in other words.  I am considering splitting it to make it more manageable for readers.

Here is the cover art I drew for it once, you might recognize my avatar in there!

Make sure you click for high res!

New story time! Slipdrift

Hey guys going to start the same thing with Proud Infinity, give sections of a story out each day and the whole book will be done in about a month.  This story is about a guy who is a start athlete and is caught and forced to play a deadly version of the game.  The whole story is over at amazon for 99 cents right now.

 

Slipdrift

 

The violent sport of Gun-Drift still endures with its popularity, despite calls to stop the game, or the occasional rumor of illegal/deadly versions.  Nearly every planetary system contains an Arena that has Gun-Drift among its events and carries a tremendous public following.  There have only been a few substantiated reports of these unregulated Arenas, but have proved difficult to close down the tight crime rings that keep them in operation.

 

– Terran Intradex Ver. 4: ‘Gun-Drift’

 

See also ‘Common Games at Arenas’; ‘Gun-Drift: Confirmed Deaths’

 

“Don’t look at me with those eyes,” he warned as I kept my gaze coldly focused on the man I hoped I would one day kill.  His flunky clubbed me in the stomach due to my noncompliance, shouting “Listen to ‘um!” in a drawl.  I tried fighting my head and eyes upwards to him one more time, but the shock rod hit me in the back, knocking me to the floor.  I staggered one knee up, starting the say the name “Fe…” before I heard the whine of the electrically charged rod hitting me one more time; I went down, blacking out before I even hit the ground, unsure if I was saying his name, or the name of the girl I loved.  As my world shut down it would be the last time I saw the natural light.

 

***

 

Somewhere in an abyss of unconscious thoughts swirling without any guidance, a vague sensation of something slipping down my eyes eventually became overpowering.  “Uhhh…” My partially comatose body rolled to the side, but the strange spilling sensation continued.  Like a shock across my body, the lightning strike of awakening blasted across my physical and mental states as I opened my eyes and found myself looking at the rusting pipes of a fixture.

‘Where am I?’  I rolled to the side as I saw the teal-colored thin wall of a repulsion-field extending from the ceiling to the floor; excluding the light this produced, the rest of the locale I now found myself in was dismal, dark and dank.

Proud Infinity pt 29

Hey guys Proud Infinity is going to be free on amazon tomorrow in ebook format so be sure to pick it up, and if you do, please rate it, rating help huge for new authors! I will continue the story here though.  https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01MTB19WD

 

“Show some faith,” Mitreah said as she stepped up, stabbing her blade hand into the door.  I saw the muscles in her arms flex hard as a piece of steel came pulling out of the door with her appendage vaguely like a mutated hand.  “Try it now,” she said with a smile.

At about that time a siren started wailing.  “Attention all personnel, we are under attack.  The agent is located at Block Six.  Exercise extreme caution.  Repeat, hostile agent located at Block Six.  All combat personnel deploy immediately.”

Oh man, I forgot they have a security force.  That’s how I got killed so fast a long time ago and it made me stop trying.

“Hope you are close to the target,” Proud said as I pushed the door and it slid open on an emergency track.

The door opened, and in front of us was a voluminous room with a long blue mechanical tube stretched far beneath the small walkway we were on.  We were running on the thin walkway when a shot from below us exploded above my head on the roof.

“Damn!”  I dropped into a tightly compacted crouch as we crept forward. “Is this it!?  Is this what we need to destroy?  Do I just drop the bomb here?”

Though I suppose neither of them knew the answer.

“There they are!” Across the walkway a squad of three people appeared in the opening doorway, kneeling to take firing positions.  Rifles.  They were going to hit me way before I lucked a pistol round downrange to hit them.

Behind me I heard more noise.  With a skill I had developed over a long time I turned and expertly fired.  Three rounds tore into one guy’s chest, and the next two were into the other’s head.  Taking the two of them out required little thought or effort.

Turning back to the farther squad, I realized Mitreah was already halfway to them.  The loud explosions of their guns reached me long after I saw a few sparks of light fly off her body, the rounds hitting metallic substrates.  She stabbed her blade-arm straight through one of them, twisting and slashing the second one in half before stabbing her way through the final one and was already running back towards us before I could even realize we had to keep moving.

“Hey, are you okay?”  I nodded to the holes in her chest and arms that were leaking a dark blood.  It had not hit her deeper substrates yet.

“I can take way more before I am compromised.”

At this point I had never made it this far, so no longer ‘knew’ what to do.  All I had was my skills, which were substantial.  I saw movement below us and with a single shot killed the guy sighting us with his rifle.  My skills were far past what it took to be an expert marksman.

We hurried along the walkway, an occasional shot from below us hitting the walkway or the ceiling.  The walkway was a ‘T’ shape and we took the left instead of the straight path where the dead guards lay.  Below us the huge machines hummed ominously; the bright blue energy from the glass cylinder did not look very good at all.

The walkway ended at a door Mitreah front kicked off its rolling ridge, quite an impressive feat.  Inside were three scientists and a computer mainframe.  We entered quickly and soon the three of them were holding their hands up, begging to not be killed.

“Where is the center of the particle creator?!” I yelled to them.  One of them pointed behind him where beyond the computer was a railing overlooking something radiating light.  I was walking towards it, unhooking my satchel, programming the time charge on the bomb.

“Don’t do it!  Do you know how much research has been put into this?” someone behind me cried.

Proud Infinity pt 24

I am working on my first paperback, and it will probably be out in the next 2 weeks or so.  Here is the cover art

vl-chron-final

Of which Proud Infinity is a part of!

 

Anyway on with the story as Trego is navigating his way through the time loops:

 

I walked over to the space port, spending more time with the android, Mitreah.

I waved when I walked in and she gave a friendly wave back, but did not know me from anyone else at this point.

“Hi, Mitreah.”

“Oh hello!  I don’t remember your name.  Have we met?”

‘A few times…’ I thought to myself.

“Mitreah: Farewell Fallen Sword,” I stated cryptically.  Her face went blank like it always does, before her bright eyes returned.

“Override confirmed.  What are you orders?”

I waved my hand.  “Nothing major, I simple want to talk to you a bit.”

“An odd request, but certainly.”

I spent a long time talking to her.  Unlike the old man, she was much more fun, but I learned less.  There was not as much applicable to me due to her combat android form and background.  She could teach me so much about fighting, but not as much about the world.

Before the end of this loop I wanted to fight her more to train my combat ability.  That was perhaps the biggest boon from her, other than eventually using her to break into ReCorp.

To her, my words were novel, “Mitreah, I want you to train me to fight.  I want to use my pistol, and anything you can teach me.  Execute training protocol number 2.”

She smiled at me.  “This is so much more fun.”

She left to go get some training supplies she had in her personal locker.  I had never figured out why an ex-combat android ended up here, I could never get it out of her.  The best I could figure is that she was injured slightly, or had served long enough she got to retire.

Mitreah came back with a training pistol that would fire visible lasers that did not actually do anything but would respond if I hit her and she could react appropriately.  Combat androids could fight with guns, and melee weapons, but there most signature weapon was their arm would form into a very sharp blade, essentially like a nano blade.  Something like this would kill my obviously, so it was more like a blunt bat I was struck with.

She tossed the training pistol to me like always.  I caught it and started firing at her dashing form.

Probably an old Aelisha combat android based on Solarian form, evidenced by her dashing style was leaning super far forward: the same way Aelishas ran.  She slashed at me with her blade arm, I blocked with the pistol and dodged, firing at her.  I knew her moves well enough at this point I could end it easily.  My main goal at this point was to build up my own reflexes, not to use known paths.

I dove awkwardly a few times just to get off any previous path I would ‘remember’.  I felt blind once again which I liked.  Mitreah could easily take me out given her superior programming and speed but limited it during the training.

I fired a few times at her, impressed by how my own skills were coming along; she had to dodge which slowed her assault down.

She got close, swiping at me hard and connecting.  Her blade arm of course was dull for training, but in real combat I would have lost my arm.  Regardless it gave me a strong shock that made it numb.

I dove to the ground, grabbing the pistol out of my numb arm, turning around rapidly and hitting her in the chest.  A spray of the laser beams struck home, and if it was a strong enough weapon she would have been killed.  My aggressive push of not running and doubling down on the attack was enough to win.

“Uh…”  She moaned in pain from the ground a bit before standing.  We helped each other up.

“Dang, that was fun.”  We with standing there, hugging each other for support.  I was breathing hard.

“How are you so good?  I had to go to the very limits to even catch you.”

I stepped back.  “I’ve done this before.”

“Who was your teacher?”

“You.”  I pulled out my real pistol, aimed and reset.

 

***

Proud Infinity pt 22

How many annihilations ago was that?  A thousand?  A million!?

In the absolute darkness of my being and existence Proud had saved me from the darkness of myself, showing me my own light by simply exposing hers.  Taking a few deep breaths, trying to wipe the tears away I recalled some of the positive things I had figured out during the focus of every time after that, since I decided to actually get serious.

Right, remember the things I had figured out even during the darkness.  Like how my repetition of a hundred different phrases and conversation branches allowed me to sleep with numerous girls, showing me I could find out almost anything from anyone with exactly the right prompts.  What was initially fueled by dark sexual desire proved to be very useful in the fact I could use perfect conversation choices positively, and not having anything to do with sex.

The old guy at the fence?  Indeed he was in the Space Forces as he claimed, but he also was a special operator.  What did I learn?  I rubbed my eyes, trying to recall.  Definitely some stuff about infiltration and explosives.  What exactly had he taught me?

What was hard was that I could no longer separate ‘my’ knowledge with what I had learned from others simply teaching me.  A thousand repetitions with the same person, each ‘cycle’ simply advancing the conversation as far as I had learned from the prior cycle, allowing me to eventually learn everything a person was capable of teaching.

I got up and left, slightly energized by the memory I was actually making progress.  Normally later in the day the old man would be over-looking the pit, but long ago figured out where he lived.

I went to his house, knocked on the door and he was much more suspicious and cold compared to his more jovial act at the overlook.

“What do you want?” he asked through a chained door.

“Coding Alpha Delta,” I let it sink in a little.  “We need to talk.”

From my view, I saw the one eye looking at me through the chain blink once, then he unchained the door.  He put the pistol under the slot on the table like he always did, not knowing I had been killed by it quite a few times.

By playing the role of an agent from the highest reaches of Solarian intel, I was able to learn a lot from him.  At this point I was sure I had exhausted everything he had to tell me, but it was a good reminder.

Had I always known that an innocent nano block used to repair stuff could be overrode to create controlled directional explosions?  Had I always known my Liner pistol could be turbo charged simply by taking over the cover and turning the limiter off?

I doubted it, but there was no way to know. Knowledge was a strange thing to me that often hung at the edge of my understanding.  Given all the loops I had been through, what was ‘my’ knowledge melted away into this strange mixture of things I now knew from others.

The old man had just finished showing me how to take the limiter off my Liner pistol; I could probably do it better than him at this point.

“You still have the explosives you were tasked with, right?”

“Are you requesting transference, Operator?” he asked back.

At this point everything was growing dark.

“Negative, just need to make sure.  But I always knew you still did.”  I lifted my Liner pistol up.

“What…are you doing?” he asked, concerned.

“Resetting,”  I said.  I pulled the trigger as I ended my life in a far less painful way.

Proud Infinity pt 21

Never seeing her proved okay for a while, but then the regret grew, and with no counter to my dark thoughts, they surged endlessly.  My thoughts turned back towards something I had fallen into early in the loops: could I kill myself out of this nightmare?  I tried…oh god, I tried.  But no.  I would die, and then the universe would later in the cycle, the time fracture traveling backwards past the point of my own death to the morning as it always did.  Each cycle, wake up, grab the pistol, pull the trigger.  Instantly wake back up in the same room, but dealing with the emotional fallout of ‘surviving’ a suicide.

I felt my body shaking from the fear of itself from the horror I had inflicted on it in the name of escaping.  Or trying to anyway.  I could not get out.

“I’m so so sorry…” I whimpered to myself, hugging myself to try to believe it.  My eyes were watering.  This was so painful, so confusing.

I was shaking hard at the overwhelming memories.  ‘The positive, just focus on it.  Just focus…’ But all I could do was grit my teeth at yet more regret.  How the hatred I felt at myself for taking advantage of Proud that turned to suicide, then to unrequited rage at the girl who was the singular cause of the nightmare I was in.

I was on this endless rollercoaster of extreme emotions throughout the loops.  Even after all the regret towards Proud, it then turned to anger.  Blaming her for somehow involving me in all this.  I didn’t want any of this, I didn’t want this nightmare.

My teeth hurt from how hard I was biting down, trying to not remember the time I tried killing her.  Despite the slow learner I seemed to be with everything else, I only did this once.

I leveled the Liner pistol right at her.  ‘Die bitch’ I had said to her confused face.  I pulled the trigger, unloading half the clip into her, but…but it went right through her.  I fell to my knees.  ‘You really are just a figment of my imagination,’ crying at how crazy I was.

‘Would it make you feel better to actually let you shoot me?  Try it Trego, if you really want, as dark as this path has become.’  To which my teary face pulled the trigger again at her, and was shocked when he body recoiled away, blood, or something similar, exploding out the backside.  ‘Proud?’  I asked to her dead body, the bloody ribbon covering a massive crater in her head.  The shock was so severe I turned the pistol on myself, and the darkness only crept on.

“No!”  I shouted, trying to forget.  Just remember the good, the times I actually was productive, not lost in despair or hatred.  “It was not always bad!  That was when I started changing!”  I yelled to the world, trying to make it real.

Yes, focus on how during my self-killing spree, Proud came to me one trigger pull away and asked if there was anything she could do.  I had not seen her since the crime of killing her, or perhaps crimes, I committed against her, and her innocent appearance before me nearly caused me to follow through yet again with the trigger.  But I stopped long enough for her to tell me it pained her to see me this way, and ask why I was like this.  She was here to help if I would only ask.

I told her reluctantly a big part of it was how bad I felt for taking advantage of her when so much was at stake, both having sex with her, and later shooting her in another iteration.  When she laughed loudly, I lowered the pistol out of confusion.  ‘How did you take advantage of me, if we both wanted it?’ she asked.  She did not even mention the time when I had shot her because to her it was nothing.  She said she was entirely joyful for the experience, and did not regret anything and wondered why I did.  She said that the physical plane was overwhelming in its feelings, and to have experienced something like that with me, well, she’d remember forever.  She said she loved me and hoped I would have asked earlier, or again.  She lowered my pistol and we held hands, me crying for hours in her simple embrace until the end came again.

Proud Infinity pt 20

The killing sprees honed my abilities.  I learned to fight with my fists, knives, my Liner pistol.  Each cycle was a new challenge.  How many could I kill with just my hands, or could I beat my score using my gun?  It became this dark abyss where others only existed to see how many I could blow through.  It didn’t matter when I was maimed, shot or imprisoned, I was reset every morning.

With women it was another challenge and at this point I no longer cared about ‘knowing them’ as it was pointless.  It was easy at gunpoint but didn’t stimulate me the same way of manipulating their minds with perfect words and actions.  My respect for them tanked down to zero.  I could get any girl to be with me, it didn’t matter how loyal or pure she was.  Enough predictive power or perfect words and they all melted.  Eventually that game grew boring as well.

By the way, Proud?  It was easy.  I only had to ask.  She was more than happy for the overwhelming feelings of the physical realm, and indeed it was quite amazing from my end; but that was the largest regret I had.  Amidst my absolute depravity she represented perhaps the one untainted thing in this fractured world I inhabited, and I proceeded to destroy that as well.

My curiosities turned to sorrow and anguish.  The hedonism left me cold and empty, the shallowness overwhelming that I had given in to.  Soon it became a burden, thinking of all the crimes I had committed, even if they were not longer ‘actually done’.  The pointlessness of everything amplified by a thousand experiences I had now come to hate.  Especially what I did with Proud…or maybe it’d be better to say ‘what I did to Proud’.

We had come to love each other through the circumstance we were now in, a deep friendship from the stories we shared.  Our friendship was not one of two different races of a physical being and a near-energy being creating a physical body, but of two consciousnesses that liked each other from so much time together.

Then I had sex with her simply to satisfy a burning question of if she would.  And she did, and she loved it.  As soon as it was over, I started crying.  I was so stupid, so shallow.  Defiling the last totem of sanity in this world left me broken and under no more delusions of how messed up I had become.

What the fuck was wrong with me?  The universe was counting on my freewill to prevent this time fracture, and I was doing this to its incarnation?  I was murdering people, manipulating every woman I could into sex, and fucking LineGod Proud instead of doing anything productive.  I felt endlessly evil for taking advantage of her which I did many times ‘just to make sure’.  That sent me on an even darker spiral for many, many time fractures.

I swung my arm around, trying to grab something else.  I grabbed something soft, pulling it towards me; it was my white shirt.  On the floor, holding the white shirt and the desk brought forth more grim memories of the even further pits I fell into.

‘But she was the sensual one, she wanted it!’  I would lie to myself, trying to justify the single action I hated myself the most for.  My personal best for kills was over a thousand using just a pistol, most women was over ten, and that was due to my own physical limitation, but none of those compared to the final break in sanity by using Proud.

Her name was ‘Proud’ and that was nowhere near what I felt about my actions, only all-consuming regret and self-hatred.  The shame was overwhelming, and then it was eventually mixed with hopelessness of my position.  I had forsaken seeing Proud again because I felt so bad for what I did for so many times before I finally snapped.