Once, he thought, all he'd wanted was nothing more than to fit
in. To belong somewhere, to be a part of something. To not be
an outsider.

Now, he looked around the pub, and he was beginning to realize
how utterly stupid that desire had been. Stupid and illogical,
given the evidence the quasiverse was forever foisting upon him.
Like now.

"Benny, you're drunk." he told the galactic archeologist, by way
of explaining why he was refusing to grant her request for
another pint of Romulan Ale, or anything else for that matter.
Normally, dealing with an unruly patron was Francois' job, but
the Ogron was at that moment outside dealing with a gang of
"yoots" who had somehow gotten the notion that TARDISes were an
ideal place to spray-paint their tags, and was therefore acting
appropriately. Thus Adric had been left in charge of the
counter, with all the responsibilities that entailed.

"And you're pathetic." the drunken Bernice retorted, with a
finger-pointing, face-scrinching, alcohol-driven giggle. "And
tomorrow morning, I'll be sober. And you'll STILL BE PATHETIC!"

And sometime later that day, Adric thought, someone _might_ come
around -- probably not her, but one of her associates -- and
apologize on her behalf, and say she didn't really mean it, that
she was drunk and didn't know what she was saying, etc. And he'd
have to accept that apology, because there was really not much
else that could be done. And he'd have to let them go away,
thinking that they'd cleared their conscience. Until the next
time, when it would happen all over again. And as for him, he'd
just have to endure it, endure all their other jibes. Drunken or

Every day. Every kharak-cursed day.


"Sure, take a seat." Wesley said, motioning at some of the vacant
pub chairs.

Without looking, the red-haired woman reached behind her and
grabbed a seat from another table, not noticing that a recently
recovered Turlough was about to sit down upon it. The Trionite
fell to the floor with a thud. Mel sat down in the chair,
oblivious to the howls of protest coming from behind and below

She looked in turn at each one of their faces, noting especially
their dour expressions.

"Look," she whispered, "I need to talk to you all about Adric.
He's been acting kind of erratic lately, and well, today he's
gone absolutely manic-depressive. And I think I just made
matters worse with that last set of story notices I handed out."
She looked at each one in turn. "You're his friends. Do any of
you know what's been happening with him?"

Ryoko snorted, but it was Wesley who answered her question.
"Yeah, sort of." he confirmed. "We've been, umm, trying to..."
(A not-so-subtle cough came from Lucas, which Mel could hardly
fail to note.) "...er, help him get through a few things."

"Make existence a little less morbid for him..." Lucas tried to
clarify, failing miserably.

"And maybe keep him choosing this side of the life line rather
than the hereafter..." Ryoko finished. She was eyeing Mel

Mel nodded, hunch confirmed. "But it hasn't been going the way
you'd hoped, right?"

"Not exactly." Wesley said, to which the others made grim faces
and Lucas added a "To put it mildly."

Mel nodded once more, and some of the recent pub gossip came to
mind. "Let me guess. You set him up on a date with someone, and
it didn't quite go very well, did it?"

"What's it to you?" Ryoko muttered, from behind her tankard of
noxious beverage. Wesley's elbow shot out and tried to dig
itself into the space-pirate's side, but if that action was meant
to dissuade her, it didn't seem to work. "It's not like any of
you ever give a damn..."

"Ryoko..." Wesley low-voiced, teeth clenched.

"All right, all right, I'm shutting up." she muttered, taking a
long draught from her drink but still continuing to eye the
red-haired woman skeptically.

"Sorry," Wes apologized to Mel, now suddenly realizing he had
become spokesbeing for the three by default, "but sometimes she
gets a little, err, snippy with people."

"No need to apologize." Mel acknowledged, smirking guiltily.
"For what it's worth, I think she's probably right. There are
too many here who would rather put blinders on than be even
halfway decent towards him." She sighed. "Sometimes I wonder
why he even bothers to stick around, the way he sometimes gets


"Hey Dead Boy!" a voice called for his attention. He looked over
his shoulder, to find Roz and the Lenny Henry Doctor sharing
mirthful, slightly inebriated, laughter with each other. "One
Adric's Demise, Bartender!"

Wordlessly, Adric gathered the ingredients, which were among the
items that were usually left easily accessible. He slapped a
glass down on the counter before them, then looked up into their
faces with a blank expression...

...and met their eyes with an intense glare of his own...

...and poured the ingredients into the glass without once
watching, yet still managing to mix everything in the proper

...and lifted the little ice figurine of himself an arms-length
above, and let it fall into the glass with a "plop"...

...and pushed the concoction across the counter to the

...without once either tearing his gaze away from them, or even

"Your drink, ma'am." he said, without a hint of inflection.


"You can always tell when he's really bothered, because that's
when he starts trying to act defiant to their jibes." Mel pointed
out. "The problem is, they don't see that what they're doing is
wrong in the first place, so when he acts that way, it just
reinforces their opinion of him."

Wesley nodded his head in agreement. "So, in other words, he's
damned if he does and damned if he doesn't."

"Pretty much."

Ryoko put her glass back down, still eyeing Mel distrustfully.
"Yeah. And if it had been me at that one Christmas, everyone
there would have been dead meat when I got back. You can't do
that to someone all the time and expect them not to feel

Mel nodded in somber agreement. "A lot of that has stopped, but
I'm afraid that's probably more due to the fact that the ADF
takes such an exception to it rather than any real change..."


"You know what this place needs?" Sabalon Glitz suggested to the
6th Doctor. "Another good Competition Night. Why not bring
those back, eh? They always were good for a lark..."

6Doc looked slightly uncomfortable. "Um, Glitz... I don't think
you should..."

"Oh, why not?

Sabalon heard a click, and felt a gentle tap on his shoulder. He
turned around... and found a rather varied assortment of gun
muzzles aimed quite definitively at his head, all held by a group
of twitching fatigue-clad individuals.

"Because we say not." Diane said, quite cheerfully.

"Things could get quite messy." Charlie quipped.

"And Francois doesn't like it if things get messy." Heather
observed pleasantly.

"So you wouldn't want him to get angry at you now, would you?"
Vick3ie ended, a cheerily insane expression on her face.

Glitz's mind fixed itself on the fact that the large number of
muzzles aimed at him was roughly equal to the number of fingers
on triggers. Twitching fingers on triggers. "Err, umm, I
suppose I could be wrong, you know..."


"You know," Melanie said finally, after due consideration, "if it
weren't for the fact that she's an absolute psycho, I'd say just
go ahead and try setting him up with..." The sudden look on
their faces stopped Mel cold. She looked at each in turn as they
all tried very hard not to meet her eyes. Suddenly, Mel glanced
down at the single remaining assignment sheet, still in her hand
and still undelivered. And then she knew what it was that had
been on the Alzarian's face, back at the bar. "Oh my god," she
inhaled, recalling that pained look. "That's exactly what you
three have been trying to do, haven't you? Set him up with..."

"What makes you think that?" Wesley said, a little too quickly,
then cursed himself for the speed of his retort.

"Because, given their track record lately she's the one that
makes the most sense, and, well... because he didn't seem to
react too well to this." Mel handed the assignment sheet over to
Wesley, who took it with some curiosity. But that was followed
very quickly by a short string of muttered, choice curses.

"What is it?" Ryoko demanded.

Wes handed the sheet over to her. "It's a story assignment for
our favorite psycho." he pronounced. "She's going to be in a
novel that takes places sometime after she left the series. In
other words, she's about to have the semi-official addition of a
few years of character growth..."


A pariah, he thought bizarrely. He was a pariah. An
undesirable. An outcast from polite society. No, what was that
term Anji had used, to describe a similar group of people?
Untouchable, that was it. He was an untouchable. The bottom
rung of the local caste system.

"Hey Dead Boy! Another pint!"

"I have a name." he muttered, but the patron acted as if he
hadn't heard him.

"Hey Dead Boy! Two more glasses!"

"I have a name." he said to the two on the opposite side of the
counter, but they were too busy celebrating their upcoming novel
to take any notice.

"Hey Dead Boy! Another round for these blokes!"

"I have a name." he told the group, but they continued to joke
among themselves, ignoring him.

"Oi, Dead Boy! More at this end!"

"I have a name." he stated, matter-of-factly, in no uncertain

The young woman wrinkled her nose. "Yeah, whatever. I need some
service here..."


"Fundamentally, it doesn't change a thing." Mel assured them. "A
lot of fans don't take the novels as canon anyway, and so
character amplifications established in them aren't necessarily

Lucas looked confused. "But, I thought that if your Writer Mafia
say something..."

"It's only set in stone if you're from the books." Wesley pointed
out. "If you're originally from the TV series, expansions like
this are considered optional. Trust me, we encounter this in the
Trek universe all the time."

"Not to mention the fact that there's always alternate
universes," Ryoko agreed. "At the moment in my corner, we're up
to three different official continua, each slightly different
from the other." (And, she silently mused, she was no closer to
getting Tenchi in any of them).

Lucas, however, looked even more confused. "Well, OK, but if
that's the case, then why would this be a problem for him?"

"Because to him, it's one more piece of evidence that she's out
of his reach." Wesley explained. "Think about what Ryoko told us
earlier. He already thinks the gulf between them is too wide to
cross. Well, now it's about to get even wider."

"She has a future." Mel nodded slowly in understanding. "He
doesn't. It's as simple as that."



Once, all he'd wanted was to fit in.

"Yo, Dead Boy! Another round!"

Whispered, in the background: "...did I hear correctly? She
called him pathetic?"

"Another pint, Dead Boy!"

Whispered, in the background: "...I just can't see what that
Ember girl sees in him..."

"Over here, Dead Boy!"

Whispered, in the background: "...he's getting obnoxious again.
Honestly, all evening he's..."

"Oi, Dead Boy! Do hurry up!"

Whispered, in the background: "...and blew his brains out! It
was so hilarious..."

"Hey, Dead Boy! More!"

Whispered, in the background: "...Naaaa. She may be a psycho,
but she's way too smart to get involved..."

"Hey, Dead Boy! Two glasses!"

"Hey, Dead Boy! No ice!"

"Hey, Dead Boy! Over here!"

"Hey, Dead Boy! Over here!"

"Hey, Dead Boy! Over here!"

"Hey, Dead Boy!"

Now, he thought, what he could really use was to be left alone.


"Look." Mel told them. "I know I probably haven't been the best
friend of his around here, but I like to think I'm at least a
friend _to_ him. And I know what he's going through, because I'm
usually the only one to get stuck with more votes for Least Liked
Companion than he does. I want to help, whatever you've got
cooking. He's way overdue for having something good happen to
him for once, and I'd like to make sure it actually does happen
this time." She smirked. "Besides... I still have a few axes to
grind with fandom myself. Watching them choke at the thought of
those two getting together would just about make my day."

Wes turned to his other two friends. "Well?" he asked.

Lucas shrugged, while Ryoko grimaced skeptically, but otherwise
seemed to raise no objection.

The Starfleet wunderkind made a command decision. "OK, if you
want to help, fine." he whispered. "But it's more complicated
than just putting the two of them together, and we can't continue
to talk here. Too many ears, not enough white noise, if you
understand my meaning."

"Let's head for Ucchan's." Lucas volunteered. "That's
sympathetic ground. We can talk safely there."

A sound from the front of the pub caught Ryoko's attention. "Hold
your horses." the cyan-haired girl said. "Guess who just walked
in the door."

All heads at the table turned to the front as two familiar faces
stepped in, one holding the door for the other, and both dressed
in clothing which one would assume had been meant for a nice
night on the town. The young woman for whom the door was being
held thanked her partner, who said nothing, but nevertheless
watched her pass with eyes wide open, frozen like a deer caught
in the headlights.

"Oh great. NOW she shows up." Ryoko muttered. "Just what he
needs, tonight of all nights."

"Yeah," Melanie agreed. "But what's Mike Yates doing with her?"


Activity at the bar was now slowing off from its peak, as
celebratory drinking gradually came into contact with the outside
limits of local driving sobriety laws. But it was still busy,
busy enough that at first he didn't notice her standing pointedly
at one end of the counter. Much less the fact that someone else
was standing very closely behind her.

He had just filled the brooding vampire's empty glass with more
scotch and was about to leave the undead to his grief, when he
heard another male voice call for his attention. He turned to
its source... and froze.

Even though her head was turned away from him, he recognized her
immediately. Those soft, brown curls of hers were hard to
misplace in his memory, after all, although he'd never seen them
sitting atop a black dress quite like that before. But what made
him freeze was not her attire (although, to be quite frank, a
certain segment of his subconscious did file that image away for
later perusal), but the identity of the person directly behind
her. And his proximity. And the fact that he had his hand on
her almost bare shoulder. And the fact that he was dressed
almost equally appropriately.

And that she was having a light, humorous conversation with that
person, and hadn't once so much as declined to acknowledge his

Mike Yates' mouth opened and words evidently were issued, but for
the life of him, none of them registered on the Alzarian. Just
the fact that she was there, that Yates was there, and that the
two of them seemed to be enjoying themselves. Everything else
seemed to have fallen off his level of consciousness.

Adric forced himself back to reality. "I-I-I'm sorry," he
stammered, "what was that again?"

Yates pointed to the taps. "I said one stout, please."

The E-space publican cleared his mental fog, and gave a quick
indication toward Yate's companion. "And...?" he said,
carefully. Unconsciously, one hand had already begun reaching
underneath the counter for the first Demise ingredients.

But that particular order didn't come. Instead, she simply
responded "Oh, just a Sprite will do." to Yates' quick inquiry,
and did so directly to her date and not the person behind the

"Did you get that?" Yates questioned the bartender.

Adric nodded grimly. "Yeah. I got that."


"Right. That's it." Mel declared flatly, watching the exchange
at the counter from across the room. "I've reached my limit.
It's one thing when those two can't decide what they want. It's
another when they start doing real damage to each other." She
rose to her feet, as did the others. "If we don't do something
now, those two are going to end up taking actions they'll both

"What are you going to do?" Lucas asked, as Mel was about to step

She indicated the other end of the room, where Yates was leading
the Trakenite to a secluded corner. "I'm going to see if I can
talk to Mike privately, see if he understands just what sort of
minefield she's dragging him into. And why."

Ryoko nodded, and turned to her co-conspirators. "Lets just get
Adric out of here tonight, see if we can talk him into going away
for a few days. I think what he needs more than anything is to
unwind from it all."


'She's just trying to get back at you for Ember,' he told himself
firmly. 'You've been practically expecting her to do something
like this ever since Nerima. It doesn't mean a thing.'

But knowing this didn't make it any easier.

Glumly, he watched them from the counter as they sat at a table,
achingly aware of the bottomless feeling that felt to be opening
up inside.

'They seem to be enjoying themselves,' he told himself. 'Mike's
being very gracious, and she seems to be enjoying his company.'

The universe gaped open, and something felt like it was

'This just proves once more that she doesn't care,' he thought.
'She delights in finding ways to hurt you. No rational person
would go to these lengths to constantly find ways to hurt
someone. Therefore, she doesn't really care, and here's the
proof. She can only hurt you if you let her. Don't let her.'

Vertigo. Falling. Small. Very small.

'He's taller than you are,' a voice echoed. 'He's also older,
better spoken, better built. He has better sartorial sense, is
more charming, and has a far more interesting job. Better than
yours. Better than they've given you. Better than they'll ever
give you. Better than...'

Stop it.

A hard tug at his sleeve brought him around. "Haven't you been
listening to anything I just said?" an exasperated voice asked.
Adric immediately identified it as belonging to one of the Chris

Adric shook his head absently. "I'm sorry, what was that again?"

Chris read again from the sheet of paper before him. "I said I
need two martinis, dry..."

'You're stuck here, and there's nothing you can do about it.'

"...two packets of crisps,..."

'No matter what you do, you'll never get your chance again,
because they'll never let you.'

"....a chili-potato, one pint of... hey, are you even listening?"

'Never be able prove yourself to them. To anyone. Especially to

"I've got an order, here! Come on, Adric, wake up!"

'Never be able to go forward. No future, no hope.'


'Just... continuity.'


A pea-green sleeve shot toward Chris' throat, its hand grabbing
at his collar, instantly drawing it tight. It dragged the young
Adjudicator halfway across the hardwood counter top.

The Alzarian's head leaned toward the other's.

"Chris?" Adric snarled evenly, "Shove it up your ass."

Then he pushed the older man away, untied the apron from around
his waist, and retreated from the counter, pausing only to
declare to Francois that he was on break and leaving a number of
stunned, slack-jawed faces gaping in his wake.


She was nice, Mike Yates had to admit to himself, but overall not
his type. Something about this penchant for wanting to turn
virtually every conversation into some discussion or another on
weapons just didn't sit well with him. Although, he had to
admit, he'd never before had the pleasure of making the
acquaintance of so knowledgeable an expert in such pleasing a

"...the .308 ammo always makes it sound like a heavy magnum," she
was telling him pleasantly, "but the muzzle brake Armalite sells
is quite effective, and really does help maintain the sight

Mike Yates smiled vacantly. "You don't say..."

"But best of all, a number of the accessories they make for the
AR-15 also fits the AR-10, including, I might add, the DPMS
ambidextrous selector switch..."

"Wow. I didn't know that..."

"Which of course means that... oh, hello Mel! How are things
with you this evening?"

Melanie Bush stopped at their table, slightly uneasy. But as she
did so, she could have sworn she saw a wave of relief cross
Yates' features. "Oh hello, umm, you two." Mel said,
conversationally, eyeing each of them carefully. "Everything's
fine. How are you this evening?"

"Oh fine, fine." Mike confirmed. "We just went out for a little
dinner and, um..."

"...came here afterwards." the Trakenite added, with a slight
emphasis on the last word.

Mel nodded. "Good, good. That sounded, um, pleasant." The
red-haired woman seemed to consider something, bit her lower lip,
then reached a decision. "Uh, Mike. Can I talk to you for a
moment, please? It's, umm, rather important and, umm, rather
private." As a courtesy, she then added a "Do you mind?" to
Mike's date.

The younger woman waved her hand. "Oh, no. Not at all."

Mike's expression was somewhat confused, but he understood enough
of Mel's look to decide that it was probably in his best interest
to play along. He got to his feet. "Sure, Mel. No problem."
He gave his date a pleasant smile. "We won't be long."

"Take your time." the Trakenite said cheerily, and watched
briefly as Mike Yates and Melanie Bush retreated towards the door
of TTR's LAN room, of which Mel (being the 'Round's resident
sysop) had almost exclusive control.

For a long moment she sat quietly at her table, pointedly not
looking at anything other than her half-finished glass of clear
fizzy liquid. No, she thought, no need to look anywhere else.
No need to acknowledge that she was having anything but a good
time. Yes, a very good time. No need to check what was going on
at the bar, either. No, not at all. Especially not there. The
bar was entirely irrelevant. Two can play at this game, after
all. Not that she cared, mind you. No, not at all. She didn't
need him to...

He wasn't behind the bar, she realized.

Those three annoying friends of his were standing there, though,
trying to get Francois' attention while the latter was evidently
having a "discussion" with Chris Cwej. But he was nowhere in
sight. Most curious.

Wait, she thought. Those friends of his were here. Which
obviously meant that trampy, little... hussy... couldn't be far
behind, since she always seemed to hang out with them. And if he
wasn't there now, that could only mean...

Her nails began to dig into the palms of her hands.


Fitz and Anji were both standing beside the time clock when Adric
walked up to it. "Excuse me." he muttered, and grabbed for his
time card.

Fitz's eyes went wide. "Uh, what are you doing, Adric?" he asked

"Punching out." And with that, he pushed the card into the
punching mechanism.

Fitz and Anji each glanced at the other, mouthed the words "Oh,
shit!", and hurriedly began to put as much collateral damage
safety between themselves and the Alzarian as they could manage.

With a wry smirk, Adric turned toward the pub and began to make
his way into the thickest of the crowd. Word that he was now off
the clock seemed to be spreading quickly, because the scramble of
people getting out of his way was quite amusing to watch. And
strangely, oddly satisfying...

Strange, he thought. Their table was vacant.


"Is new rule." Francois was calmly telling the crew cut,
blond-haired future cop. "Treat wait-staff with respect, or
Francois might make mistake when mixing drinks. May mistakenly
substitute hydrochloric acid for vodka. Learn new definition of
rotgut, yes?"

Chris could only nod the acknowledgment. The pressure on his
throat from the Ogron's hand, after all, was strong enough that
he barely kept conscious.

"Good. We understand. We like when understanding is made." The
Ogron lowered his arm, bringing the human's feet back into
contact with the ground. "Francois want all people to
understand. Think be much unfortunate if having

A chorus of voices fervently agreed to this proposition.

"Hey, Francois!" Ryoko cried, after the commotion had died down.
"Have you seen Adric?"

The Ogron shook his head. "Dead boy go, want rest. Long,
difficult night, so Francois think dead boy need break."
Francois' voice lowered. "Especially now with psycho girl
pushing buttons."

"Any idea where he went?" Wesley asked.

"Is around. Not think too far. Maybe out..." Francois' voice
cut abruptly, as he focused his attention on something in the
crowded room. "Uh oh. Francois think irresistible force about
to meet immovable object."

There was a bump, a yelp, and the sound of two surprised voices
as they crashed to the floor.

Four sets of eyes watched the commotion with all the fascination
of a train wreck in slow motion.

"So, what do you think?" Lucas observed dryly. "Is it time to
say 'It can't possibly get any worse' yet?"


"Oh, I'm sorry, I didn't mean to..." the Trakenite muttered,
slightly dazed.

"My fault, I wasn't...." the Alzarian said, equally disoriented,
and at just the same moment.

Then they recognized their voices.

"Watch where you're going, swamp rat!" she spat.

"ME? You're the one who ran into..." came his retort.

They were both on the floor, but now each was trying frantically
to get back up. Around them (although neither seemed to have as
yet noticed), the crowd had thinned considerably, creating a void
surrounded by a wall of disinterested viewers.

As Adric scrambled back to his feet, his hands furiously groped
for a handhold, any handhold, with which to steady himself. Not
looking, one hand came to rest on something to push against. A
soft something.

A small, mound-shaped, very soft something.

His brain had just made the stunned identification when he felt
the slap across his jaw.

"You... you... PERVERT! You!" she snarled, her other arm over
her chest in a vague attempt at protection.

Adric finished hauling himself back to his feet. "For that, I'm
sorry." he mumbled, wiping away the single red trickle that came
from one nostril, ironically with the same hand. "THAT was an

"Oh, please." she said, furiously. "Save your apologies for
someone who cares." She returned to her feet and began dusting
herself off.

"Nevertheless, it's the truth." he responded, emphatically, his
fists tightly clenching. "I was just... oh, never mind, what's
the use? I might as well not even bother." He returned to the
direction he'd come from and took several angry steps.

"The point is, I was having a good evening until you came along,
and now you've ruined it," She said, also turning away,
intending to go back the way she had just come. "Keeper, I
swear. I wish you'd just stay dead for once and out of our

Adric halted, cold. His brow furrowed, as a thought took hold
and refused to leave.

Then he turned around.

"All right, this time I'll bite." he declared to her retreating
form. "Why?"

"What?" she said, stopping, facing him again. For a split
second, he thought she seemed surprised that the question had
even been asked.

"Why? Why do you wish I were dead? What did I do to make you
hate me so?"

Her jaw dropped. "Simple... uh, you...errr..."

"You know, that's the one thing I've never been able to piece
together. I mean, I usually know when I've made a mistake,
because everyone oh-so-freely keeps pointing it out to me for
days afterwards. But with you, there's nothing I can point to
that makes any sense..."


"What do you think, guys?" Ryoko asked. "Wade in there and hope
we can get him out in one piece?"

"He's doing that hand motion thing again." Wesley observed. "He
only does that when he's either excited or in earnest."


"So what was it?" Adric continued, teeth clenched and waving his
left hand like an axe. "Was it something I did, something I
said? Something I _didn't_ say? What?"

"Ii...it should be obvious." she stammered, but then quickly
recovered. "But of course, to someone as dense as you are..."

"Enlighten me."

"Well, just look at you." she said, wrinkling her nose. "Your
whole person is objectionable. You dress stupidly, you have no
sense of decorum, you look funny, your voice is irritating..."

"Ah, I see. So you object to me on purely aesthetic grounds."

"...you're always whining, always complaining..."

"What? Because I object to having my brains blown out all the

"...but most of all, you're bloody incompetent -- you couldn't
even try to save Earth without getting it completely backwards!"

"Note to self: Do not make any snap, life-threatening decisions
without first making certain everyone has remembered to inform me
of all pertinent pieces of information. If there's no time to
determine, stand aside and let genocide happen. Got it. Anything

She began to count off more points with her fingers. "You're
clueless, headstrong, disrespectful, and completely lacking in
social manners, and in such a way, I might add, that can in no
way be endearing to anyone. In short, you are as completely and
thoroughly unimpressive a person as I have ever had the
misfortune to encounter, and your continued existence is nothing
more than a blight upon the multiverse."

"I see." Adric began to pace back and forth. "So, if I'm so
irrelevant in your eyes, why even bother? Why pay even the
slightest bit of attention? Why not just ignore me completely?
That's what everyone else does, after all."



Her face reddened. "Because... because the only thing you are
good for is getting killed. It's the only thing about you that's
the least bit interesting. You shouldn't even be here, but yet
you keep coming back, even when everyone else has all but shown
you the door." She gave a short, humorless laugh. "You should
actually be thankful to me for finding a purpose for your
miserable existence. Something so clearly appropriate to your
most outstanding abilities. Otherwise, you'd be so completely
irrelevant, no one would pay the least attention to you at

"So, I'm just a guinea pig, then? A convenient scapegoat, a
target of opportunity? Nothing more?"

"Less than nothing." she said, her voice quite serious. "Face
it, Adric. You're a gutless, pathetic loser who will never
amount to anything. I've given your sorry life the only meaning
it can possibly have."

The Alzarian stopped pacing. "The only reason. That's it?"

"The only reason." She declared, firmly.

From meters away he searched her face, looking for something.

He reached to one side for a vacant chair, pulled it behind him,
and sat down facing her. The Trakenite watched him, unsure of
what he was doing.

"All right, then." he said, his voice quiet as he took the seat.
"In that case, let's not waste any more time, shall we?"

She gave him a confused look. "Waste what time?"

"For you to kill me. That's what you're going to do, isn't it?
I'm going to give you a free shot, here."

Part One - Part Two - Part Three - Part Four - Part Six

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