Chapter 10: The Right Thing to do is Subjective
Justice stared at the metal door in front of her. It bothered her that she was forced to stand outside and be blocked by a door while leaving Equal inside the doctor's office. Truth looked to his right to see Justice completely turned towards the door in anticipation. "Calm down Justice, he will be fine."
"How do you know?" she shot back with her eyes piercing deep into Truth's silver eyes. He shrugged his shoulders while blowing out a stray strand of hair from his view. He ran his fingers through the medium sized white hair hanging off to all sides covering the left eye. "I don't know, but he is the best doctor we have on the station."
Justice ignored the easy going tone Truth spoke in. That's not saying much considering how one fuck up with Equal can bring everything to a ruin. She found herself sighing heavily. "I should be in there with him."
"Doctor's orders, no non-medical personnel allowed inside," Truth hummed impersonating the doctor's thick accented voice. Justice turned around to stand guard. "I still don't feel good about this."
"Have you thought about branching out from just your work Justice? Maybe go down to a bar or two to pick up some guys. A relationship may do you some good," Truth replied with an immature grin. Justice balled her hands into fists. "You know, I would punch you in your white perlies right now if we weren't restricted from starting up a commotion."
"Okay scary lady, my lips are sealed on any further suggestions," Truth quickly shot back with his hands up in front of him. Justice shook her head at him. Idiot. And to think that he calls himself Truth, idiocracy will only curse the truth with ignorance. He noticed her aggravated look and shook his shoulders at her. "What?"
"Nothing," she replied deeming it to be a waste of time to argue with him. Just as she was about to begin focusing on her duties, she heard Equal's painful screams. She quickly turned to the door again and began banging on it. "Hey, open up!"
Truth quickly took a hold of her and tried to calm her down. Great, here we go again, he pondered stopping her from moving around too much. Inside the operating room, Equal lay on the table restrained as the doctors prodded what was left of his legs. A few of the nurses brought a similar contraption to the ones attaching his arms to his body.
The doctors took a scalpel and began cutting away any of the muscles in the way of the potential connection points for the contraption. Another loud scream escaped Equal's mouth. For this procedure, they needed him to be awake. Due to their limited supplies of local anesthesia they had to be smart about their usage. When it was offered to Equal, he turned it down hoping that it could bring relief to someone else. He has suffered much, but nothing has ever peaked the suffering he experienced at the hands of the UNSC soldiers.
"We are going to attach the device now sir," one of the doctors spoke as a nurse wiped his forehead. Equal took a moment or two to grab his breath. He laid his head back feeling the pain slowly come down. "I…just do it."
"Yes sir," the doctor replied nodding to everyone in the room. They attached the contraption to both of Equal's legs and began to sow the nerves in the legs to the device. Equal could feel his vision blurring with his pain spiking up. More painful screams escaped the room to the outside where Justice was still held back by Truth.
"Let me go!"
"Just stop!" Truth shouted at her. "You think I want for Equal to suffer as well? No! But this is a necessary act."
"And you know what will happen if we lose him because of this necessary act!"
"I do, but sometimes risks have to be taken in the hopes of a bigger pay off."
Justice remained quiet lowering her head. She bent down and punched the floor. Dammit, why of all the times do you choose to be correct right now Truth?! She wondered in her anger which she struggled to control. Truth was surprised to see her behave this way. Generally she was a calm and very composed woman who hardly let emotions get in her way. But when Equal's life was in danger, it seemed as though that mask came off revealing quite a vulnerable and a scared Justice.
Outside, Locus drove his maintenance vehicle, thoroughly checking every sector of the space station. He found no abnormalities so far, except for when an unidentified object appeared on his radar. What is this about? He wondered looking out the windows. He could see nothing in view. He decided to go ahead and investigate flying closer to the red dot on the radar.
He brought his ship to a halt and saw a UNSC surveillance drone flying around the space colony. He brought up a higher resolution real time video feed on his monitors and determined from its model and design that it was not very harmful. It maybe them, but I didn't expect them to be here so soon, he pondered maintaining a distance from the drone.
Locus decides to turn his ship around and head on back. Attacking right now will just needlessly provoke them and could end up causing an unnecessary battle. He navigated back to the docks and landed where he was informed that Equal wished to see him. Heading out to the inner city he took a vehicle to Equal's building. Walking into the elevator he rode it all the way up to the top deep in thought. This is sooner than I expected, but maybe this is a sign pointing to the answers I have been searching for.
Knocking on the main doors, he heard Equal's voice from the other side. "Come in."
Locus walked in and quickly stopped in his tracks. He saw an individual standing behind Equal's desk with his back turned to Locus. Locus payed close attention to the reflections in the windows, it was Equal who stared back. "It is good to see you come in such a timely manner friend."
Equal could not help but be amused. A wide grin crossed his face. He walked around the table revealing mechanical prosthetics just like his arms that were controlled via several electrical components. "Surprising is it not?"
"You are walking," Locus said still not believing the man who was in a wheelchair just a few hours ago, now stood up fine and walked around. With a small laugh Equal continued. "Yes I am. I could not believe it myself the moment they attached these legs to me. This means that I can also properly fight for us all instead of just sitting back and giving orders. We can fight together again like old times."
Old times…, Locus pondered quietly observing Equal walk around showing how fast he could walk, jog or run. Equal stopped to finally sit in the chair that came with his desk. "I can also finally make use of this damn chair that had been here all this time."
Locus silently looked at Equal who crossed his arms. "So the main reason I called for you Locus is that I would like for you to retrieve Captain Tucker. Let's give him a bit of a surprise as well now shall we?"
"Understood," Locus replied leaving Equal's office. He seemed happy to be walking again. But he will use this ability to wage war will he not? So just how much of a blessing is this?
Tucker stared up at the ceiling as he laid still. He silently cursed his situation and looked to his partner. "So much for our escape attempt, and on top of that, it looks like that Equal guy will keep on dragging my ass to those boring sessions."
"Perhaps if we were to formulate a better strategy the next time around, we may be more successful Captain Tucker. We just need to think outside of the box, it is just a matter of being creative."
"That will not be happening," Tucker sat up to hear a familiar voice from behind the cell door. As the door swung open, he saw Locus standing in the door frame. Great, now I have to deal with him, Tucker thought as his shoulders dropped. The silent warrior walked towards Tucker and saw the electric collar tightly fastened around Tucker's neck. He pointed at it with certainty. "If you submit, the collar will be removed. You will also get to live and will have a chance at seeing the others again sooner or later. Cooperate and we will remove the collar."
"Fuck you, I'm not about to listen to the words of a double crossing mercenary."
"I'm just trying to help you."
"Right, by stabbing us in the back by doing the exact opposite of what you said on Chorus."
"I'm trying to make things right. I'm doing exactly what I said I would do."
Sigma took note of the uncertainty behind Locus' tone and conveyed that to Tucker. So he isn't even sure of his own actions now? What a twist. Tucker pointed a finger at Locus and stated. "You aren't even sure of your own priorities. You claim to be doing the right thing but so far all I have seen is a station full of psychos bent on taking revenge at the expense of others."
Locus remained quiet at the accusations. His head fell slightly to the words Tucker fired. An opening! Tucker thought as he continued to speak. "Why the hell do you even work for these guys if you are not sure about your own beliefs on them?!"
Locus moved Tucker to the restraint wheel chair through force. He exited the cell with the aqua soldier who still expected an answer. "It's none of your business."
"Tch, figured you might say that."
Locus and Tucker enter the interrogation room. Equal was already waiting inside in the spotlight. Tucker was surprised to see Equal standing up and about and walking. "Hello Captain Tucker. I hope you are ready for another session."
Tucker could hear the moving noises of the various gears and joints in the prosthetic legs. Looks like someone got an upgrade, Tucker pondered having Sigma secretively run a scan of the prosthetic limbs. Equal walked around the Captain and placed a hand on his wheelchair. "I would like to talk about the importance of allegiance today Captain. Belonging to a cause you can believe in is certainly very important as it gives us both a sense of belonging and validation. It gives our existence some purpose and meaning."
"Spare me the bullshit," Tucker shot back. He could hear the chair handle being crushed. Did I hit a nerve Equal? Tucker pondered smugly. Equal calmed himself and with a heavy breath, he looked up. "Captain, I have discussed this quite a bit in the past with you. But I will continue to do this over and over again until our message gets through to you, or I run out of patience first, which mind you is close to emptying."
Tucker remained quiet giving Equal the leeway to again continue his speech. "As I was originally saying, our cause is one of great importance. It is a cause others can easily sympathize with and believe in. We aim to bring down the corrupting within UNSC, and the only way to do that is by completely destroying and rebuilding it."
"You are insane," Tucker mumbled under his breath. Though the remark did not go unnoticed, but Equal was willing to accept any harsh insults as long as he got his message across. "Our beliefs may seem extreme, or as you put it, insane. But we do this with very valid reasons. There is no forgiving the corrupt individuals. For if given the chance, they will just exploit your kindness and sympathy, there is only punishment."
"So you are just like any other jackass with a power hard-on."
"No, those that seek power for personal gains are corrupt. I seek it to right a wrong for the sake of my people, and the sake of others as well. For that reason I seek to build an army, one that has grown in large numbers over the years. Whether you understand or not, know this that we as a united force will stand against corruption in the UNSC and bring it down so that they may never inflict the same suffering onto anyone else as they did to us."
"Dude, you have serious mental issues you need getting looked at. Just because a few people did something bad, it doesn't mean everyone is bad," Tucker replied jerking forward, but he was annoyingly held back by the restraints. Equal mused over the idea but quickly discarded it. "If one batch goes rotten, then there is an equal chance of it all going rotten. To realize an organization free of corruption, it must be destroyed and rebuilt no matter the cost. Because once corruption plants its seeds, it cannot be so easily rooted out without a complete reformation."
"You all have some serious fucking issues with this idealistic bullshit nonsense," Tucker replied in a somewhat uncaring tone. "I am not about to go and join a bunch of freaks like that."
Equal studied the still soldier and nodded his head in disappointment with a sigh. "That is quite a shame as my patience if running quite thin now, and I have had just about enough of these sessions."
Suddenly Equal's legs twitched with a malfunctioning electrical noise. He fell on his knee down to the ground. The fuck is going on now? Tucker wondered looking around in a panic. Equal stared up at Tucker with clear aggression in his eyes. "If only you were not so resistant to the idea of joining us. Your resistance is starting to get on my nerves, and it is proving to be a great irritation. Maybe I should consider cutting off one of your fucking arms to make you understand the pain that I have been through! Maybe then you will grow up to accept this reality!"
Equal begins to lose the feelings of the attachment between his limbs and the prosthetic legs. He grits his teeth feeling the rise in emotions to be overpowering for his brain. Strange, I who decided to kill off my emotions in favor of efficiency now stand at the forefront of being flooded by it. But no, I will not be defeated like this!
Truth and Justice suddenly rush inside the room and bend down beside Equal. Justice rubbed Equal's back trying to calm him. Truth studied the look on Equal's face. He studied the constant struggle and felt great pity. What life does this man have left aside from our goal of revenge? A life filled with cruel fate in which he is forced to strip himself of what partly makes him human, his emotions.
"Calm down Equal," said Truth. "If you get too emotional, then the leg prosthetics will malfunction from the chemical imbalance."
"I know," Equal spoke gritting his teeth. He smashes his metal fist against the floor. He does it again and again! After a good five hits he created a small dent on the metal floor. Equal calmed his breathing as Justice looked at Truth with great concern in her eyes. He rubbed the back of his head shutting his eyes. Don't you break down on me to now Justice. He helped Equal to stand up and walked him over to the side of the room.
"Equal," Truth called out. "Maybe we should go back to the doctor."
"Yes!" Justice agreed instantly as she held Equal's hands. "He can run a few more tests on the connections. Maybe try to improve it and make you even bett-"
"No!" Equal shouted with a blanket of silence suddenly covering the room. Man I'm so lost here, Tucker thought as he just stared at the mark left on the metal floor. Equal continuously shook his head. "I have had enough of being a guinea pig for them. I will no longer be an experiment. These are the limbs I'm given now and I will make do with what I have."
"But-," Justice was quickly interrupted as Equal held up a hand to her. "I don't want to hear anymore."
Equal turned to face Locus and Tucker, both of whom studied the scene in silence. Locus wanted to reach out to Equal, but there was a sense of hesitation stopping him. Did I hope that his limbs would malfunction putting him at a disadvantage?
"Locus, take him back. Captain Tucker, the next time we speak will be the last. After that I will swiftly assign your execution date," Equal announced before leaving the room with Truth's and Justice's aid.
Locus opened the cell door and slowly pushed Tucker inside. He studied the damaged handle in silence. He will be hard to reason with now. Tucker gets up and lies back down on his bed. He faced the wall away from Locus. The silent warrior folded the chair and prepared to leave. Just as he walked out of the door frame, he heard Tuckers voice and looked back. "You still have the chance to do the right thing."
The right thing…, he pondered shutting the door behind him. But then if two people believe that one another's actions and thinking are wrong, and that they are justified in their own ideologies, then what is THE right thing?
Locus watches the lessening traffic on the streets as he rode the elevator up. It was nearly curfew time for all the inhabitants. He departed at one of the residential floors on which his room was on. He briskly walked towards it and entered the pass code on the keypad by his room. As the door slid open, he looked at the empty room signifying an empty feeling within him. Is that how I feel about all this?
Locus placed his rifle and sword on a nearby counter. He undid his helmet and removed it onto the side table by the bed. He walked close to the glass windows and stared outside deep in thought. We pledge our allegiance to find a place to belong into. Yet why is it that I find my heart waning from this? Did I ever even belong here in the first place?
Tucker's words of doing the right thing echoed in Locus' ears. He turned around and sat down with his hands joined together. With every passing second, their grip became tighter. Why do I feel so unsure now? I had a plan. I had things worked out and yet…was I wrong? Locus looked at his armor with uncertainty. Have things really changed from when I was on Chorus?
He gripped the edge of his bed now even deeper in thought. We all believe we are right, no matter how hard we may try to prove otherwise. So what is THE right thing to do? Equal says it is right to punish the corrupt, and Tucker believes it is right to stop them. They are both two different sides to the same coin in this conflict. But…is my situation not the same as it was on Chorus then if I follow Equal instead of Felix? Even if this partnership is one through kindness and compassion, am I still not following the whims of someone else?
Locus stood up and walked towards his weapons. He powered up the alien sword and studied it for a moment. Back on Chorus, I finally did something for myself. But now am I back to square one under the illusion of doing something right? I just don't know anymore. But what is clear to me is that the right thing to do is what I believe is best. No one individual can be told THE right actions and beliefs. It is all subjective.
He attached the sword to his side and hooked his rifle to the back. The right thing to do is what I believe is best. To remain in my uncertainty would mean to blindly continue following Equal. He is a friend and an ally, but there are times where none of that matters when it will come to doing the right thing. I will do the right thing.
With a newfound sense of determination, Locus exited his room and planned on how best to execute his new course of actions.