Target


(MantelGlobalIndustries) #1

Edward found himself in the station firing range. A pistol magazine in his left hand. Cartridges in his right hand. A metallic grey stand rose up from the ground directly before him, upon which rested his sidearm and a box of ammunition. Blue lighting illuminated the climate-controlled room from above, imbuing the surfaces with a slight indigo hue. At the far end of the room in front of him hung a paper target, freshly set and unblemished, compared to the discarded, tattered scrap riddled with holes condemned to recycling next to him.

Grasping the 6.4mm pistol rounds between his thumb and index finger, he pushed each one into the magazine, slotting them in with meticulous care one after the other. Edward often came down here when he needed to think, to cleanse his mind of ill thoughts through this simple ceremony that he had learned by heart during his younger years. The aroma of gunpowder from projectile weaponry, the smell of ozone from lasers, the kick in one’s shoulder; all of it appealed to him as a therapeutic exercise for the sake of his sanity and soul. He after all, had a considerable amount to think about whilst he was here.

The final cartridge was inserted, the brass casing protruding from the magazine in anticipation of being loaded. With his right hand now free, Edward reached for his sidearm waiting patiently on the stand. His fingers snaked around the cool polymer grip, grasping it firmly and raising it into the air, taking care to point the barrel downrange. He tilted the iron horizontally, exposing the empty well for him to promptly thrust the magazine partway in, then pushing it all the way home. A click indicated it was securely inserted, and he took up a firing stance as he racked a round into the chamber, pausing only to apply noise dampeners to his ears.

Edward raised the pistol, taking aim at the target downrange. He drew a deep breath, inhaling the clean, tasteless air of station atmosphere, as his finger flicked the safety off. He exhaled, finger curling around the trigger. Closing his eyes for a moment of respite, for focus, they opened to see the paper target now had a face. A clean shaven Deteis male, one that could be placed on any number of Caldari. But it was the eyes, those cold, penetrating eyes that gave the owner of that face away.

Silver .

The man that dogged his steps, his dreams, ever since the public condemnation he issued on the Summit. The man that took Triss away from him, the one who violated his privacy by trawling through his records at Ishukone. Anger boiled inside of him, his hands gripped the pistol even tighter. The eyes bore holes into his soul, accusing him of the crime that Edward knew he had committed against him.

He closed his eyes again, breathing. The pistol lowered slightly, barrel resting just below the target. The anger dissipated. He reopened his eyes again. A new face. Slicked black hair with silver streaks, a grizzled visage, and cold, merciless eyes.

Vollmer.

The thought of that name put a lump in his throat, choking him. The pistol was immediately raised again, aimed pointedly at the traitor. Edward’s eye narrowed, the iron sights hovering over Vollmer’s head. His face smiled wickedly, conveying a sense of victory despite faced with the prospect of being obliterated. This humour confused him. What was he to be happy about? Once again, he clamped his eyes shut.

Open again. The target before him presented a new face, clear as day, when he dared open his eyes again. It was that of his own, gazing back into his eyes. There was no anger, no fear this time. Confusion yes, but not anything resembling the furious reaction that Vollmer or Silver had received. Perhaps this was the message of these visions? That in trying to quell those two, he had not achieved anything but his own demise. Smiling to himself, he raised the pistol slowly, aiming square at his own forehead. His finger tightened around the trigger, depressing it slowly.

As he squeezed the trigger, he saw his doppelganger smile back at him.