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The Architect of Destiny (a kail-only epilogue)
Tue Mar 2, 2010 11:57pm


A cloth doorway partition parted and Kail stepped into the dark meditation chamber of Lao Che, eldest member of the brotherhood of boundless light and keeper of the order's deepest secrets. The room was not large, lit only by the soft glow of candles and a single shaft of sunlight that slanting across the room in front of where the old monk sat.

"Have you come to kill me, my student?"

"I came to say that you were right." Kail admitted bitterly. "A scorpion will always be a scorpion."

Without opening his eyes Lao Che asked "So you took a life."

"An idiotic mutant. It was unavoi-..." Kail stopped himself. He wasn't going to resort to half truths. "Yes. I killed him. It wasn't necessary."

After two days of intense surgery the SG medics had gotten Junior Deluxe back on his feet. Little remained of his personality afterwards and cybernetic implants were all that kept his heart beating, but he was technically alive. Due to the extent of his injuries some called it a miracle. Skalpal said the two stab wounds to the head had cost the mutant such large portions of his frontal lobe that it'd been the equivalent of a transorbital lobotomy, whatever that was.

All Kail knew was that it transformed his victim from a maniac with an IQ of 212 to a docile 64 IQ zombie. An improvement to be sure, but unfortunately the patient was too stupid to avoid wandering into the path of EMMA (the SG's old Earth Moving Mechanized Automaton) which was clearing away rubble from the recent attack. When EMMA's gears chewed Junior Deluxe up like hamburger meat Kail couldn't escape the realization that it had happened directly because of what he'd done to the luckless mutant. And that's the frustrating conclusion that had brought him back to the Himalayas.

"It took months, but you finally made your point." the assassin grumbled with grudging humility. "A machine will never be more than a machine. There is a level that I can never expect to rise above."

"Was that my point?" Lao Che asked and laughed gently from the darkness.

"Well wasn't it?"

Only now did the old man open his eyes. He leaned forward, putting his bald head in the shaft of sunlight, and explained "In the foundry of thought we forge the chains with which we bind ourselves, and in the armory of the mind do we store the weapons with which we may set ourselves free. A man is manacled only by himself."

"...but I'm not a man..." Kail breathed softly.

Lao Che sat back into the darkness, musing "So you say. Humans are beings of luminous energy, not mere flesh and blood. Why then is a reploid anything less? Physical things do not determine a man, they merely reveal him. You think that you were crafted in a laboratory by a scientist when in fact you, yes even you my pupil, are the sole creator of yourself. It is for you to decide if Kail is a machine ruled by the tyranny of fate, doomed to destroy all that he touches, or if he is instead the architect of his own destiny governed by no earthly limitation."


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