A/N- This was written for the broken world awards challenge of DEFINING MOMENT. With thanks to inspiration of BeBoring.

500 words on the dot.

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Corpses and Coffee Mugs

Of all the things that I remember about that night— the smell of death and antiseptic, the stainless steel instruments covered in blood, the doctors— the one thing that always strikes me is that crisp white coffee mug.

The very mundane-ness of the act of bringing it to his lips belittled the brutality and importance of that scene.

It was like he didn't know that this was the moment; the moment when it all started to unravel.

The chain of events that led me there were as small as to be inconsequential. A small boy's shaking hands at the dinner table leading to that moment- a corpse and a coffee mug.

We knew that to give away Jack's weakness was unpardonable, but to go against training was unthinkable.

So we let them take him.

Our mistake.

To this day I don't know why I followed. But I did and that was where it all went wrong… or right.

Jack, our baby brother, lay there dead and bleeding on the cold grey slab. There was no blanket to protect his modesty, just clinical examination; faceless doctors prodding their creation to see what went wrong and through it all, that crisp white coffee mug lifting to his lips as he oversaw it all like a god.

It struck me at that moment that he didn't care. He didn't care that Jack liked colouring and thought pink was pretty. He didn't care that pepper made Jack sneeze and that shadow puppets made him smile. To Lydecker we were just toys, expendable creatures of his own to be used and discarded at his whim, like the coffee mug.

It was then that I knew. Manticore was the bad guys. Of course at that point I had no concept of right and wrong but that feeling of fear permeated and for the first time my mind worked independently of the program.

I didn't want to die like Jack. I didn't want to lay there, a number on a slab, while some human man stood over me drinking coffee like he was on a break.

I wanted my existence to mean more than that. I was more than that.

It was then that they truly lost me, and later all of us, once I told Zack what happened. Everything that I have done since, everything that has happened in my life stems from that one moment. I was no longer their soldier.

When I finally blew Manticore to hell O.C it was because of sheer stubbornness on my part. Logan said it was because of the virus and Alec maintains that it was revenge.

Interesting theories.

But it wasn't stubbornness, it wasn't revenge and I never spared a thought for the retro-virus.

Truth is, my thoughts went back to my one defining moment, the moment it all unravelled.

I was thinking about Jack, and Lydecker.

When I stood at the top of that hill and watched it all burn I thought of corpses… and coffee mugs.