Kill them all.
They hurt you.
They always hurt you.
We will consume them. Their souls will scream.
It is what they deserve.
Kill them, Arya.
Do they know it hurts? The phantom pain of where your arms used to be?
You’re a Monster. You hurt them. You deserve it.
They were your friends.
I can’t remember.
Silence! They always hurt you. See the pain. The death. The lies. This is your life.
This is my life.
No! You did this!
Did we? Or is this the consequence of your failure, lifetime after lifetime?
… I don’t…
We will consume them. When we have what we want, so too, shall you.
They betray you. They will not help you. No one will help you.
No one has ever helped you.
How could you be anything but a monster?
Peace, for Arya, was a lie.
To remember a past life, a blessing and a curse. But no one should have done as Arya did. No one should have looked at them all, no human mind should have absorbed the details as she had done.
And no one should have looked at the datasphere. Coda was learning this lesson the hard way. No one should have been able to see so many possibilities, to carry such knowledge on top of intricate details of lives lived.
The fact she could string together coherent sentences at all was… remarkable.
But her mind was never quiet. There was no peace. No end to the pain. Memories equaled emotion. It spun around again and again, over and over, always a voice there, her voice, Its voice.
Her head always hurt. The glare of light always hurt. Loud voices hurt. Alarms hurt. Noise hurt. And every time she slept she dreamed of all the ways she died.
It never stopped.
“You want the pain to stop.”
Such sympathy in Michael’s voice. Her friend understood.
… her… friend?
Arya told her the truth. About Gabriel. She should tell Michael the truth.
Michael was her friend.
Don’t say it like that…
… too late.
And oh, she wanted so much for that ArchAngel to come into her cell, so she could fight, so she could do what she always did, so she wouldn’t have to think about…
…I’m so sorry, Michael. He’s so lost, Gabriel.
… Dante tried to help me.
… I didn’t fight back.
…. They were… friends?
…did he love me? The way Michael loves Angela?
….She hugged me, London.
… such a gentle soul, Coda.
…there is wisdom there… in Lexi.
They will betray you.
We will consume them.
You will destroy the records.
You will, obey.
That bitch, called her that. Puppet. That bitch, the reason…
Arya screamed, her robotic arms taking hold of Roman’s desk, flipping it so high in the air, it hit the ceiling, papers, and computers, and odds and ends, flinging every which way. The unfortunate man tasked with guarding the room she currently occupied collapsed under the sound of her scream.
A banshee’s scream. The lifetimes of pain, a weapon. In so many ways.
Roman’s desk hit the ground, wood splintering and cracking.
Arya grabbed her head, robotic fingers digging into her hair, finding her breath, searching for control.
What was control really?
The thought made her laugh, the sound insane.
Because as much as she wished she wasn’t…
The door opened, Roman came in, flanked by several more guards, as if they would save him. One carried several suits for her to pick from.
Roman looked at the state of his office, shock, then anger filling his features at the mess. He didn’t even bother sparing a glance at the poor man on the floor, his eyes focused on Arya, drawing himself up in that intimidating manner that worked so well on others. “What happened?”
Arya slowly slid her hands from her hair. She cracked her neck.
God, he was pathetic.
But she’d been abused. Beaten. Worse in other lifetimes, by men just like him.
Pity he didn’t understand what that would do to a girl.
…he’d tried to help her. Dante.
He might have sent his wife to be killed by the Anunnaki but Dante had never…
…and really, Arya had been inside her head, Ella deserved everything she got. Silly bitch that one.
London would call her tomorrow. That was nice. Maybe they would get coffee. Such a lovely soul, that London. So smart.
She would need clothes. Yes. Clothes. No more prison garb. She was… free.
She would never be free.
Arya walked around the mess, still ignoring Roman’s inquiry, examining the selections. “This suit for tonight. The other for tomorrow. I’ll take it. Roman, tell them to leave. All but you. We have much to discuss.”
She could feel him bristle that she’d given him an order. Regardless he complied, taking his anger out on them.
Arya smirked, changing in front of him. She heard the click of the door closing. Could feel his eyes on her as she changed.
She ignored him, and was… pleased perhaps, he was not stupid enough to try and touch her. When she was finished she leaned against the window sill, folding her arms in front of her.
“Why is the AI still here?”
Roman smirked. “As if I ever had any intention of releasing an asset so valuable.”
“You’ve made me a liar, Roman. To my…. Friends.”
Roman blinked, then barked out a laugh. “My dear, they are certainly not your friends. Now, we need to discuss the timing-”
A dozen images flashed through her mind. Lifetimes where she’d been laughed at. Mocked. Not taken seriously.
Roman felt the pressure in his head, the ringing in his ears, then came the pain. His face twisted.
“You made me out to be a liar, Roman.”
“I said, stop!”
“I don’t want to be a liar anymore.”
“You fucking bitch, I’ll crack your crystal under my boot and let the Demiurge-”
She was over the debris in a second, her speed superhuman, her robotic hand cracking against his face. Just a slap. But one that split his lip, and sent his head whipping to the side.
“You will not disrespect me, Roman. You will not make me out to be a liar.” Arya drew her hand back. Folded them in front of her. Regarded him in silence. Both of them in pain, for much different reasons.
“You cannot do what you want, with Cadenza. Cadenza cannot control the Demiurge, you handsome idiot.” Arya reached out, running her fingers through his hair. “So you’ve betrayed me, and Coda, and my friends for nothing. It should cost something. Yes. I think it should. What should it cost…”
Take his eye for me.
Yes, yes, London, I certainly will.
Arya grabbed Roman by the hair, jerking his head up. His face was sweaty, contorted in pain. Furry raged in his eyes, but she saw it, felt it… the fear too.
“Pull your eye out, Roman.”
The fear grew stronger.
“That little dagger in your pocket will do. I don’t care which eye. You pick, my handsome idiot.” Arya stopped gripping his hair, and ruffled it.
Roman clenched his teeth. “Sssstop. D-don’t make…”
“Your eye. Now.”
He flinched under the tone. The command. His mind was not strong enough to fight her and he was too stupid, too arrognant to know it. He belonged to her the moment they locked eyes the day SVT brought her to this world.
With shaking hands, Roman removed his pocket knife. It didn’t belong to him, but the wife he’d murdered. Perhaps it was somewhat fitting then it was the same weapon he used to carry out her request.
He screamed the whole time. Arya found it amusing no one came to check on him.
When it was done, she held his eye in her hand. “I will need a box, Roman. Oh, never mind. I’ll find one. Go get cleaned up. I’ll see you tomorrow.”
She released him from her mind prison.
Roman ripped a hanky out of his other pocket, holding it over his empty eye socket and without saying another word, rushed out of the room.
Arya smirked, before looking down at the eyeball in her hand. She held it up. “I see you.”
She laughed at the joke, closed her hand around it, and walked out of the office. No one stopped her. Not one. She didn’t expect them too of course.
She had a package to send.
And it was raining out. She loved the rain.