All he, the killer, remembered was failure. Unmistakable, inexcusable failure.
He was crawling through the shadows. He could see the guards. The window where they had entered was broken, shattered, and most importantly: Unguarded.
The killer smiled. Fools, he thought. They made a mistake. They always made a mistake. That was why he was so good. He knew the patterns. He knew the mistakes. He exploited them... and he didn't make them. He-
"I suggest you wake up. I'm about to make you an offer you can't refuse. Well... you could refuse... but I can't guarantee you'll make it out alive in that case."
"What... what do you... want?..."
"Randall. I won't beat around the bush. We want you to join us."
Randall, the killer, was now very afraid and very awake. "Who is us?"
"The Nebula Paradox."
Now he was even more afraid. There really was only one option. The Nebula Paradox was an organization of the most skilled killers in the galaxy. You didn't make them upset. What made them so frightening however... was the fact that they were a government sanctioned organization.
"I suppose I should be honored. I... I accept."
"Good." He turned and started to walk out, casually addressing two large shadows as he did so.
Randall's mind snapped into focus. Kill him? He had done what they wanted, hadn't he? Two huge men stepped into the small circle of light. Randall assessed them: big, strong, probably smarter than they looked. What was their weakness?
It only took one punch to figure it out.
They were slow. Randall had limited mobility. He was bound to a metal chair with magna-cuffs which were powered by a battery in the chair itself. He could feel the power traveling through the chair and guessed that the battery was housed in the seat of the chair. Looking down, he could see the latch that, if flipped open, would reveal the battery. He needed liquid.
Water? Didn't have any...
Spit? Not watery enough.
That left one thing.
Randall urinated. He could feel the liquid pooling in the base of the chair. Watched it slip into the battery housing. Felt the power die.
The grunt threw another punch. Randall leaned forward, the punch sailing over his head. He pulled up, broke free of the cuffs, and dodged a kick from the second guard.
In about 7 seconds both were on the ground. Not dead. But wishing they were.
A door opened and the form of a man entered. When he spoke, Randall recognized the form as the man from earlier.
"Well done, Randall. You have passed your initiation. Your old life ends now. This is your job. Your life. This is who you are. You were a merely a petty thief and murderer when we captured you. Albeit a skilled petty thief and murderer, the fact remains... you were one man. Now you're part of something bigger. Walk through those doors and make a new name, a new man. A new... beginning."
Randall did leave. He was shown into a room and directed to a desk. On the desk was a single form. It was titled "Application." On it was written only one word.
Randall stared. Then picked up the pen and literally signed his life away. His old life. He stood up and left, the form still on the desk behind him.
As he walked down the hallway to his new "office," Aeryk laughed. He used to kill people for money. Now he killed people for money. Legally.
It really was a new beginning.