The metal floor was painfully cold beneath her feet but at least her footsteps didn’t echo through the halls like Bralor’s. Though she liked to think that she knew almost every inch of the Soul, Aidenne rarely ventured down onto the lower deck. She’d never had a reason before.
Dressed in a simple, almost utilitarian, black jumpsuit, a far cry from the dresses she’d soon wear as a Diva about to perform, she paused just outside the door to Krynn’s room. Her hand lifted, prepared to knock, then drifted back to her side. She could have told herself that such hesitation was natural. After all, people usually came to her. But she was seeking him out without even fully understanding why, only knowing that she was troubled and he was both a cause and a comfort.
A small smile tugged at the corners of her lips as she stopped to wonder what would happen if she turned and walked away right now. Would he know she’d been there? Would he come to her? She couldn’t wait for that though. Pushing hesitation aside, she stepped up to the door and knocked lightly, doing her best to look casual while she waited.
The door unlocked instantly and swung slowly open to a dark room the light pouring from the hall into the room which at first looked empty until she saw that Krynn had been sitting on a small chair with his back to the wall right next to the door. He craned his neck to see her and took his hand off his blaster. He curled a small smile and asked, “Yes?”
“Were you going to shoot me?” Her tone was more amused than anything. Her orange curls briefly held the light from the hallway as she stepped into his dark room then shut the door behind her.
“No mistress. I was just clearing my head. It’s what I was taught to do when I have down time. I just don’t want anyone to take a tactical advantage while I’m not alert.” He stood from his place and bowed slightly. “Have you come for an inspection?”
“Not exactly.” She looked around his small room wondering what there even was to inspect. “I wanted to talk about our roles in this upcoming job.”
Krynn nodded, “You want me to assassinate the pink female so she no longer means to kill you? Quietly, or is it not an issue?”
It was tempting, too tempting. “No, Krynn. At least… not yet,” she said with a faint sigh of regret. She looked around his room for someplace to sit.
He nodded and sat on his small chair across from the rigidly folded sheets of his immaculately made bed. He looked up at her waiting for her instructions. “Then what did you have in mind?”
Since he apparently wasn’t going to offer, Aidenne decided to simply take a seat on his bed. She looked across the small space and leaned in slightly. “You’re going to be acting as my bodyguard…”she began. He nodded and watched her closely paying absolute attention to her instructions. He steepled his fingers and nodded, “Affirmative.”
“And Trey also has you assigned to some of the thievery.” Her golden eyes met his red ones, impressing on him how absolutely serious she was. “I cannot have anyone associated with me being caught or even suspected of this robbery. If someone sees you, if you even think someone sees you, you can’t let them live.” She bit her lip, well aware of how her words sounded. “Better to leave a pile of unexplained bodies than for the Diva’s bodyguard to get caught.”
Krynn nodded pondering her words. Then he looked up at her with no look of doubt in his eyes and said, “Security will be lighter than military ships, but it may be hard to get to the engine room to place explosives, but that is the best place to ensure we could eliminate the entire ship if we needed. One set to rupture the tabana gas holding tanks into the ship’s inner hull then another to send the sublight reactors into meltdown ripping the ship apart as the gas ignites and incinerates the ship from the inside. Should I endeavor to put a contingency in place in case we are discovered by more than I can eliminate decisively?”
The Diva drew back, a bit shocked at this sudden leap. “No. No explosives. Blowing up the ship is not an option.” She let her head sink into her hands for a moment, trying to make sense for her self why it was acceptable for her to suggest killing a few people but horrible for him to think of killing everyone.
Krynn nodded, “Then perhaps a lethal gas introduced into the ships air circulation system. It is a quick method to terminate the entire ship at once and a single agent could install the canisters, but it is less effective as it is usually costly to acquire, difficult to implement without detection, and less effective at the 100% casualties desired as some may be in sealed areas or reach protection before the gas liquefies their lung tissues. Perhaps, breaching the hull to deep space… Again not as effective, and some may reach escape pods in time while the atmosphere vents in remote areas of the liner. Though both these methods do leave the ship intact for salvage for your friends profit.” He looked at her with those silent red eyes ready to do his duty if it was what she desired.
“No!” Her tone was harsher this time, raising her hand to stop him from speaking any more of these helpful thoughts. “Not like that. I’m not authorizing a killing spree. Just don’t… don’t get caught.”
Krynn nodded to her, “Understood.”
She stared at him for a minute, certain it couldn’t be that easy. “I trust you to do what is necessary. But only what is necessary.” Again the long locks of her hair covered her face as she looked away.”Someday the famous Diva will be caught and her reputation will be ruined and she’ll be no more use to her master. I know it will happen. I just can’t let it happen while I’m doing some side job for Trey.”
He cocked his head, “I don’t understand.”
“Where did I lose you?” Aidenne asked with a hint of resignation in her voice.
“If our mission is compromised and your identity is implicated, then would the destruction of the ship and the deaths of those with that intelligence become necessary by your previous order?”
“Well… yes… but… I just don’t want you killing innocent people.”
Krynn looked at her without a sign of guilt and said, “Collateral damage to our mission. Besides, has anyone ever protected you when you were innocent? Would you rather they find out the truth of suffering before they find release?”
She almost glared at him across the small space of his room, silenced and hating that he made it seem so logical. Why couldn’t her arguments make sense like his? Killing everyone on the ship is bad because… She just couldn’t find a way to finish that thought. “I don’t want you to kill everyone,”she breathed finally.
He nodded, “Yes, my mistress. Just those that pose an immediate threat to our mission’s goals. I understand.”
It was all she’d wanted from him; she could get up and leave now. But she didn’t move yet. “I never asked… is this room comfortable enough for you.” The little Diva wrinkled her nose slightly as she looked around the tiny area.
Krynn raised an eyebrow. “It serves my needs. What else could I require?”
A small smile finally tugged at the corners of her lips. “I guess you don’t have many possessions.”Her hands smoothed the tight material of her pants as they came to rest on her knees. “Maybe we can change that.”
Krynn looked perplexed and examined her hands as she stroked her clothes. “I was trained that material desires only hindered a warrior, and that the most effective soldier knew how to make the best use out of what little gear he needed and no more.”
She pursed her lips as she considered it. She wasn’t going to be changing his mind on this matter anytime soon. She doubted that she’d even want to. “I think I can understand that. However…” Her amber eyes sparkled as she looked up at him. “It’s not going to stop me from purchasing things for you when I find something fitting.”
Krynn looked apologetic, “No, mistress. I am not accustomed to non-military thinking, you may do as you please. I am sorry if it sounded as if I doubted your words.”
Her hand came up between them. “Hush. There’s no need to apologize. It serves my own interests to buy you weapons, after all.”
He nodded with her and felt awkward not knowing what else to say or do. “Very good miss. What else do you require of me?”
She was smiling again, critically appraising the bare metal walls. “Some color. It won’t disrupt your focus to add a little bit of color to the room.” Leaning in closer she looked into his eyes. “Maybe some red…”
“Color?” He asked not comprehending her.
“On the bed at the very least.” Her smile turned slightly wicked as she reached back to smooth the already perfectly made bed she was sitting on. “I think I’d like to see you surrounded by deep red sheets.”
Krynn watched her hand as she stroked his bed. “Where would I get such things?”
Aidenne laughed and fell back onto his bed, orange hair fanning out against the dull gray blankets.”You’re with me now. If we can’t take advantage of some of the perks of my position we won’t have any fun at all.”
Krynn wasn’t sure what she meant. Was that a direction not to have fun or a witticism? He truly enjoyed life only on rare moments so it was hard to tell. He nodded slightly and said, “So, all or nothing then?”
Raising her head up to look at him, the Diva studied the man she was fairly certain she was connected to for a long moment. Her laughing smile faded somewhat, a faint hint of sadness clouding her golden eyes. “Something like that.” He’d managed to say the most perfect thing anyone had ever said to her… once. The rest of the time he was just Krynn. And she was pretty sure she was just going to have to get used to it.
Krynn raised a hand very tentatively and gently touched her knee. He narrowed his eyes and tried very hard to find the right thing to say. As his hand made contact with her some of the clouds parted and he took solace in her being so close in a strange way. Like he was tapping into her strengths, and he licked his lips to speak. “You… know things. Understand things that are difficult for me. Things like… feelings, and people. I was born without them. All I know are the things I took from others. My rage, cunning, discipline, how to hunt, how to kill, and how to camouflage myself with normal people to put them at ease. You are asking me to do things… no one else has ever asked. I do not wish to disappoint you, but I am… lost.”
Her hand slowly came down to cover his, slim fingers hovering on the warm blue skin as if not entirely sure how the gesture would be received. “I…” She licked her lips, unconsciously mimicking his movements. “Krynn… I… maybe I’m asking you to do things that no one else has… but you haven’t killed me.” Her fingers softly traced a pattern on the back of his hand, golden eyes slowly coming to meet his. “This whole thing makes me feel unsure too and…” A small smile finally came to her lips and she curled her fingers around his hand fully. “We’re in this together, lost or not. And you don’t disappoint.”
Krynn looked at her hand atop his and then at her eyes. He had never felt like this before. Never this aware or connected to another living being he wasn’t stalking. It was a strange feeling. He gently squeezed her leg and said, “You have no reason to fear me Aidenne. Perhaps you were sent to show me how to exist in your world, how to make myself blend in better, and I to show you that in the solitude of the dark you need only to accept that you are the darkness… and nothing shall ever scare you again.”
“You do scare me, Krynn,” Aidenne whispered, staring into his red eyes. “But not because I think you’re going to harm me.”
He looked back to her with a cluelessness that could only be paralleled with childlike innocence.”Then… why?”
Her fingers found the way to his cheek. “I was fairly content with the way things were. You come along and change everything, make me want more, want that darkness…”
“Your friends wouldn’t like hearing you say that.”
The Diva chuckled softly. “Then I better say it quietly. For now.”