“The salve will heal the scars, but it will take time.” The medic nodded his head as he continued to analyze the results of Razor's scan as if he was sure with his statement. He continued to say something else, but I had diverted my eyes back to the window where the endless void of space enveloped the ship, phasing out the conversation. I was still in disbelief over the situation with Razor. The only thing that had ever mattered to us was honesty. The one deal we made was to never lie to each other, and my heart was shattered at the thought of us no longer maintaining that connection. My mind drifted back to The Prime Core Guild Exam where I first laid eyes on him.
I remembered him going up against Mel Billux in a battle where he demonstrated his serius analytical skills. I had gone to the Occultic Academy with Mel, and while he was a laid back pain in the ass, he was one hell of a fighter, and an even better leader. Through that raw speed and power was a tactician. It wasn't just about the fact that he could beat most of the kids in raw power, or that he could probably dodge lightning if he had to. The thing that made him who he was, was that he knew how to use his power. Controlling as much as he had was difficult even for combat veterans. Not only could Mel control his power to outstanding degree, he could analyze both his opponents and allies ability to control power almost instantly, and ultimately find a way to overcome his foes. To sum him up, he was tough.
But Razor was purely a different breed. He had no major occultic ability. And due to the nature of the exam, he had no preparation, so he could only go off of what he observed from the moments before the battle. Mel started aggressive and caught Razor with a kick to the ribs that should have crushed him, but instead he ended up being pushed back with a deep dent in the armor under his clothing. Mel charged in again before Razor could finish sliding across the floor from the kick, but Razor was already hatching his plan behind the scenes. He popped up and Mel landed a fearsome combo that ended with Razor taking a 20 foot plunge into th ground as a kick caught him in the nose. The impact sent fractures marching across the rocky arena floor. His face was bleeding furiously, and the ref nearly stopped the match. Anticipating the ref, Razor held out his hand before the match could be declared over, and pulled a knife out and stabbed himself in the leg with it. To this day, I still have no idea what was on the dagger, but it immediately healed his wounds. Nonetheless, it still looked like the battle was all but over as Mel charged in again. There was no way anyone with as little power as Razor was keeping up with Mel, until he did. He somehow managed to completely evade Mel's next combos, anticipating every move Mel made. To add to the confusion, he even began mimicking Mel's movements until he ended up landing a kick of his own which knocked him back. A clap came from Razor as he told the ref that the match was over. Mel took it as cockinees and tried to charge again, but instead he found himself trapped. No one had even noticed until then, but the entire time Mel was kicking his ass, Razor had somehow managed to make a net out of an extremely tough thin string. After that it was a matter of getting Mel into position and the clap he made was him pulling everything together to tighten around Mel to hold him. It was then that I was absolutely in awe with him. After he won, he ignored the vast amounts of compliments he received, and kept to himself. He was a man on a mission, and I couldn't help but find his mysterious character appealing.
A few weeks later I got my chance to fight him, and I had the benefit of knowing how good he was. I had been watching him in his other fights and had picked up on subtle things in his combat, like how he would throw an obvious punch with his right, and slip something on you with his left. Next thing you know, you were slowly losing consciousness with every step you took. He had beaten 6 opponents in 6 different awe-inspiring ways, including Mel's older sister Mii, who was also quite the fighter. The only way I figured to pull out a win was to not get reckless and beat him at his own game. My plan was to first bait him into making the first move for once. In all of his other matches, the opponent moved first, and that gave him a moment to assess their movements. After he figured out how they moved, it was easy to plant something on a person in a way that felt natural to them. As soon as the match started, he charged, almost as if knowing exactly what I was thinking despite me giving an aggressive stance to throw him off. He reared back his left fist to punch me, and with his right hand flicked a needle from his belt. I wasn't fooled from the slight change up, and I dodged the needle and the punch. I noticed the needle curved around me and with a closer look I spotted a string that he had attached and immediately pulled a knife, cutting it in the process. I threw my knife in his direction, and he dodged as I wanted him to. I flashed above him, launching another knife, and then behind him to catch the one he dodged. He side-stepped as the projectile above him dug into the ground and I flashed toward him, attaching a small gas bomb to the end of the knife. To my surpise he didn't dodge, and I ended up digging the blade into his right shoulder where I used my energy to release the bomb. I jumped back, relieved that the fight was over and that I had won. Or so I thought. I felt a spike in my shoulder and I blacked out immediately. I awoke a minute later to find that he had won. It turned out that the brief moment I'd taken my eye off of him to cut the thread on the needle he threw, he'd launched another needle into the air. When I flashed above him, it caught me on my right shoulder. The poison on it entered my blood stream, and acted as a bomb of its own with my energy being the detonator. When I used my energy to blow the gas bomb, he held his breath just long enough for the effects to kick in and knock me out. He had somehow managed to anticipate my movements despite my caution. With the match over, I managed to get the first words out of him, which was a simple congratulations. When it came time for placement, I ended up graduating behind him in second, with Mel in third, and his sister Mii in fourth. He wanted to work as an isolated member of the guild like his renowned aunt and care-taker, Sheila Romain, however The Guild wouldn't allow it, saying that he didn't have the same status as her. In response, Sheila began a private branch, but making him the sole-member was still something The Guild wouldn't allow. I had no ambition to follow all the stipulations set by the other branches, and since we'd worked well together in the later phases of the exa, I jumped at the opportunity to join.
We were 17 then, and there was only one condition to our partnership. No lies, no deceit. It was the only way to work as effectively as we did. We went through a lot of things over the next two years. Enemies pushed us to our limits, taking advantage of the slightest lack of focus. We'd gone through hell and back, and eventually a lot of sensual feeling between us developed. We became partners in and out of the work space, and we found that we enjoyed the downtime we had to ourselves. We formed a bond, and neither of us did anything that the other wasn't aware of. No matter what it was. At least up until recently.
My mind faded back as the massive base that served as The Guild's Headquaters came into view amongst the foggy asteroid field. I turned my head and spotted Razor sitting across the ship gazing longingly out of his window. I realized that for the first time since we'd joined The Guild, we were isolated individuals, and a tear escaped my eye as the thought of the Romain Division crumbling was brought back to my mind.
I got up as the ship finished auto-docking, and met Razor's eyes as I made my way to the door of the ship. We didn't exchange words, and I gave him a glare to make the pain I felt clear to him. As I walked he reluctantly followed. On the other side of the door was a hallway that led to the main lobby of The Guild. It looked extremely similar to most interiors. White walls, white floors, and bright lights. There were security stations all around, and crowds of people roamed, going wherever it was they were going. We walked to the glass elevator at the center and made our way up to the 252nd floor where we would find Sheila. She was standing across the room from the door behind her desk, gazing out a large windowed-wall into the asteroid field. The office was comfortable to say the least. The lights were dim, giving it a mellow setting. Two wooden bookshelves flanked Sheila's desk on the walls. Next to the book shelf on the right was a black leather couch with a glass coffee table in front. Potted plants took up positions in the corners of the room. We walked in and took our usual spots. I sat on the couch and Razor propped himself against the bookshelf on the opposite side of the room.
“What happened?” she asked, speaking as if she already knew what the problem was.
“We had an issue.” I replied. Sheila was far from an emotional woman. She ranked among the greats in The Guild. I didn't know much about how she raised Razor, but I know that she was the main source of his emotionless attitude, and his all-black look. She wore an all-black leather outfit, and her black even hair dropped low enough to cover the bottom of her neck. Sure she showed care at times, but she took her work seriously. The easiest way to piss her off was to let personal feelings affect work.
“We're dealing with it,” Razor added on. Sheila stood silent for a moment before turning around and shooting her white cybernetic-like pupils in both of our directions. She moved her eyes between us until finally she stopped on Razor.
“What happened in the Karra System?”
I turned my gaze toward Razor as I still hadn't heard the story myself. He let out a small sigh before speaking.
“I got a message from one of my contacts out in the Karra System, saying that he may have had some interesting news about something. He didn't give any details on what the news would be, only that I should meet him and quickly before he was taken out. I left as soon as I got it, realizing that it could be a much needed break in the case. I got to the location, but when I got there, Chaos had already beat me to him. He was dead, but I searched him and found his wallet. After a quick search, I used it to find his hideout. I got there and began searching for clues, but it was clear that someone had been tampering around. I eventually found a secret door in the room, and I was beginning to piece things together when suddenly I got attacked from behind. A presence came out of nowhere. He slashed clean through my armor with an oversized sword. He then hit me with a repulsion blast that sent me through the wall and into the hallway. He walked out and slapped the ground with his left hand and the next thing I knew the entire building was collapsing. He'd used some kind of Occultic Earth Energy. I ended up taking more than a few shots as the building fell down, and I blacked out under the rubble. The Parapalliative Drug kicked in when my body went into shock and kept me under while it repaired major damages. I awoke 3 days later, and escaped the debris. I went back to my ship and went to the medical outpost in the Brul System where I laid low until I could defend myself again. Then I made my way back.”
I sat trembling as my emotions rose over the boiling point at the conclusion of his story. I could no longer contain the tears as they escaped my eyes, and I was struggling to breathe properly. To think that he would keep something like being on the verge of death from me hurt beyond words. I was heart-broken and seriously pissed off. I gritted my teeth trying to gain control of my emotion as Sheila broke the silence.
“Why did you keep this information from your partner?” Sheila asked in monotone.
“Because I knew what her reaction would be, and I don't want her on the case.” I was fed up with this shit, and I couldn't hold back anymore. I bolted across the room and launched a fist digging into his chest. He coughed up blood despite his armor absorbing half of the contact. I held his head and glared him in the eyes. His faced showed an immense amount of surprise as I spoke fiercly.
“I don't know what the hell is going through your head right now, but I did not become your partner so that I could take a goddamn backseat everytime you feel things aren't right. I have just as much say so as you do, and I will not stand here like some gooddamn housewife hoping and praying while you go off and get killed. I had an accident Razor. We messed up, and I took a fall for it. But you and I both know what our line of work involves. Being partners isn't just about having each other's back when shit's good and dandy, it's about having some fucking faith when shit goes south.” I took a long pause as my voice began quivering toward the end of my statement. Once I'd gotten the tears held down, I asked my final question.
“So can you please forget your calculations, and trust me again?”
Razor closed his eyes for a moment, taking in my heart to heart monologue. He held my hand that was clutched to his shirt and let out a sigh.
Sheila turned and went back to looking out into the void.
“Chaos will be put on hold for the time being. We have new priorities. Not my decision. You'll be getting a new briefing soon. We'll meet in Conference Room A in 3 hours. Until then dismissed.”