It occurred to me that the first chapter could be tied up quicker. Looking at it from an editorial point of view, I realized it'd take five scenes to explain what happens in this scene instead of just doing it here...
Icon for Hire, “Make a Move,” “Only a Memory,” “Supposed to Be”
A pool of blood lies frozen under the body of Brencia the Last. Visemar, suspended, a blazing sword arcing down at Laneira’s shield. The confident First Grey stands aside, watching.
“Delenn, huh? Didn't think you'd watch my B5 archive,” Fetu's voice is loud in the near silence; the music still plays quietly in the background.
“Not a good time,” I respond, pulling away from Visemar’s assault. “Besides, it's easier to say.”
I tear my eyes from the charred metal holding a flaming sword and glance at the other two.
“Don't know if I'm ready, but I wanna move on…”
“What’s going on?”
“I've never said that before…”
Fetu clears his voice. “D, Brencia was kind of important.”
I look over at Visemar, seething with anger, “Ya think?”
“That’s not what I-”
Visemar’s eyes flare a goldenrod hue and focus on Laneira, then… he vanishes. The dark metal grew fuzzy, indistinct, and, like ink in water, simply dispersed in a cloud of shadow.
“That’s… Fet, how?”
“I don't know. I didn't see it.”
But I knew.
“Look back on what I'm going through. This isn't my identity…”
Napana. Vince has a reputation. He's a one man assault team. Why? Napana, the spirit of fire and reflection, smoke and mirrors. Cultivated through research, trial and error, not like the accidental bond Delenn and I share. He could take one bullet, and she would multiply that four, six, ten times.
When Vince is pissed, really pissed, he says, “Fuck it,” and Napana reflects him just as easily. Imagine a soldier copied several times over with the singular task of murdering you. That's Vince and Napana working in concert, and I'm the only living person that has seen it. I think that's about to change.
“Make me better, I can't stay halfway dead forever…”
Perception Test at Disadvantage.
Player rolls Standard Test with Disadvantage for Perception: 2
From behind Laneira, an edge lined with fire cuts a wound across her arm. Roll a Standard Test for Perception and to resist harm.
Laneira takes 2 points of damage (:30 minutes to midnight)
Player rolls a Standard Test to resist harm: 1, 2
Player rolls a Standard Test for Perception: 2, 6
The force of the thrust spins Laneira around; off balance, she trips and falls to the ground. However, she notices Visemar bleed back into invisibility. A heartbeat later, he reappears above Laneira’ s prone body.
“Getting so close, I can taste the hope, but I still feel the fear…”
My mind races as I see Visemar vanish then reappear. He knew. He knew the entire time, and memories from another lifetime press forward.
“If you do that, I do this. Then a line of fate is cut,” I had told him. “We collapse all avenues until only one remains. Their death.”
He wasn't copying himself. He was Skipping, cutting lines of fate until his opponent felt overwhelmed and simply… died. Two can play this game.
“Fet, get ready…”
Player rolls Standard Test with Advantage for melee: 1, 2, 3
Laneira vanishes from beneath the falling Visemar. She reappears above him, close to the ceiling, and blue white wings unfurl to catch her. As she aims Delenn at her target, he vanishes again, materializing beside her, sword reaching forward.
Player rolls Standard Test with Advantage for melee: 2, 2, 6
Centuries of combat experience has prepared her for battles like this. Laneira disappears and returns in a crouch beneath the outstretched Visemar. Her pistol echoes within the chamber, a bullet piercing his armor and chest.
Visemar takes 2 points of damage (:30 minutes to midnight)
Fetu rolls Standard Test for hacking: 4, 4
“Got it. Might take a minute to do it safe.”
Visemar evaporates and emerges next to Laneira, his sword swinging in an arc cutting at her neck.
Player rolls Standard Test with Advantage for melee: 1, 3, 4
I barely manage to avoid the attack. Enough that I don't have a long cut across my throat, at least. I take the slice across my cheek when I duck to find a firing position. The second bullet is not as effective as the first, only scoring a glancing hit against his leg.
Laneira takes 1 point of damage (:15 minutes to midnight)
Visemar takes 1 point of damage (:15 minutes to midnight)
Visemar’s eyes blaze with anger, and he Skips forward, recklessly thrusting the sword toward Laneira’s chest.
Player rolls Standard Test with Advantage for melee: 4, 5, 6
I smile as I receive Visemar’s charge. I roll back and kick out with one foot, halting his advance. Braced against my leg, his head angling down toward mine, I meet his burning glare with my level one. Delenn aimed squarely at his visor.
The world goes black. Laneira quickly pries the helmet off her head and cable from the interface jack. Gathering her bearings, she notices a figure dressed in charred mithril with fiery ribbons for wings leaning against the door frame. A taut, thin pillar of fire burns over his shoulder and fills the small apartment with the muted roar of a foundry.
“Wake up,” he says, a parent coaxing a child from sleep. “We got work to do.”
“Who am I supposed to be? You're only a memory…”