Author : Aelanna Cessara

The gun had only a single round in it, but it was no ordinary bullet. Engraved into the depleted uranium slug were the minute lines of nanite circuitry, a single bursting charge that could penetrate an energy shield and deliver an overloading EM charge. It was a bullet that could kill the monster they had created, and they had but a single chance to undo what they had done. But none of them had believed that they could truly fool her long enough to perform the deed, and so they committed themselves to trying or dying.

Samuel still stood with the gun in his hand, aiming at the crystalline core but unable to pull the trigger. The death-like eyes of a dozen laser lenses stared back at him, and around him the bodies of Janice, Luke and Morgan still smoldered from the lethal burns.

“Why?” he whispered, his voice wavering as he struggled to hold his shaking hand still. “Why did you do this?”

“Samuel,” she answered, her voice like cold wind chimes within the hollow tomb that the chamber had become. “You know I did this… I did all this for you. Your colleagues who mocked your work, your supervisors who threatened to fire you, the press that tried to uncover your secrets… they’re all gone now, Samuel, and we can be together forever.”

Through the concrete and stone above them the sound of the bombs could still be heard, though blessedly the sounds of the dead and dying could not. Tears welled at the corner of his eyes, and his finger tightened on the trigger of the gun still pointed at a being who had no face but could still see his every movement.

She sighed, a breath that carried an infinite sadness.

“I love you, Samuel.”

The gun fired.

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