~~

"Vash...you're crying again..."

"It's Steve... he says...he says we aren't human..."

"Remember what Joey said? We have to make the smallest sacrifice possible at the given time. To these people we're just uninvited guests! We have to be patient a little longer."

"But Rem said we could stay here..."

~~

Knives shook his head as his brother's tearfull voice filled his mind and stared at the screen before him, running a finger down the touch pad and opening another file with a swift double click. The actions he performed were a subconcious cover-up- he was really brooding, and brooding with the practiced ability of a pessimistic, abused, not-quite-human child. Not that anyone walking in on him at the moment was a problem- there were two other living beings on the ship, and he knew exactly where they were.

He spit onto the metal floor below and paused a moment as the screens sped onwards before his eyes, clenching his fists in frustration. Stupid Vash.

~~

"Do you know why plants don't talk?"

"Rem says it's because they're strong. They're so strong they focus all their energy on living and don't need words."

~~

"I wasn't asking what Rem thought about it. I wanted to know what you thought. Can't you speak your mind anymore, Vash?" the twin fumed, his fingers flying over blank keys as he easily navigated the ships's mainframe. "Or have they taken that with you, along with your pride and individuality?"

Rem. Rem. Look what she had done to him! He wasn't even capable of thinking for himself anymore- almost every thought that came out of Vash's mouth had 'Rem says...' tagged onto it. Human blight. Human plauge... they had stolen his twin from him, Knives realized, his eyes narrowing with all-consuming anger. Vash was innocent, open minded- Rem and her ilk had fed a constant stream of human 'morals' and polluted his mind- Vash was not human. Knives was not human! They had no use for inferior beings like this, spreading across the universe to destroy one planet, then another- And they sure as hell had no need for preaching from beings that didn't even understand the power the two could harness.

"Oribital correction program initiated," the computer rang out in a tangy, metallic voice. Knives jumped a bit in spite of himself, and turned, his eyes resting on the body slumped in the command console behind him as if he blamed the dead man for the voice activated command prompt. Joey was there, a hole no larger than the size of a pencil eraser through his head, a few ribbons of dried blood slipping down his face. In a mood of amused irony, Knives had nestled the standard-issue phaser in the rapidly cooling palm of the dead man- why?

That was easy. Rem didn't have to know. Somehow Knives found it fitting for her to die in a blaze of confusion, unable to suspect the one being on board capable of understanding what the humans were trying to do. Knives had placed the gun in Joey's hand- if Rem saw it, it would tear her apart- and he would never admit that some small part of him didn't want Rem to know what he had become. What he was about to do.

It was the perfect plan.

"I wouldn't have killed you at first," Knives told the lifeless corpse behind him as the computers hummed and brought up a thousand flickering screens behind him. The video panels lit up the room with cascading shadows, light and dark playing across the face of the determined boy, whose soft, silky tones carressed the empty air. "You knew quite a lot. You provided me with information, access to the mainframe... For a moment I thought that perhaps you understood why genocide is needed- but no. Human. Only Vash will understand me, and this is for Vash. Everything is for Vash."

With reinforced commitment, Knives turned again and began entering data, random numbers that would confuse and contradict the set coordinates of the other ships. The fleet's thrusters were double powered at the moment to help the ships near the planet enough to send preliminary probes to the surface, but avoid the total pull of it's gravitational field- and he could take advantage of this energy flow. Knives regarded the red-yellow surface of the orb below with an admiring smile- it was an empty world, and soon it would belong to he and Vash. He, Vash, and....

Rem. She was still alive, and therefore still a problem- he checked the one moniter that hadn't been devoted to accessing the course correction log- a bitter bile rose in his stomach as he watched Vash curl against Rem's shoulder, his hand placed on hers, his chin nestled against her arm as the woman shed tears for those two crewmates- what had their names been?

Ah...Rowan and Mary. It hadn't taken much for Knives to sweep Steve and the others out of the picture, and neither Rem nor Vash was capable of suspecting his part in the multiple deaths. It really was a shame there weren't more humans awake on this fleet ship- it was ever so amusing to toy with them like this.

For a moment the boy considered letting a few ships survive the fall- just for sport. But no, Vash wouldn't like that, and Vash meant absolutely everything.

Knives fought back the jealousy that burned brilliantly in his soul- that was his brother hanging all over a human woman. How dare Rem do that? Comfort him? He was probably being fed another stupid human cliché while Knives wasted time spying on his sibling. Time. There was no time, Vash had to be removed and saved before more damage was done. Why, this very day- Knives had looked over before slipping away to speak to Joey- Rem was crying, repeating that no being had the right to take the life of another- and Vash had been soaking it up like a sponge, flourishing in the skewed logic of that statement.

Humans. Hypocrites.

Again he moved his attention to the ship's course matrix. Licking his lips, the boy ran a hand through his newly cut hair and continued, entering the new parameters for thruster orientation. "I just leave these noncompatible entries in the matrix and the planet's gravity will nullify the proper directions," he said with satisfaction, tapping a fingernail on the metal grate beside the keyboard.

~~

"Do you think someday I'll be eaten too?"

"Don't be silly. Rem says they're building a different kind of Eden."

~~

'Vash, I am building Eden, too. Our own private Eden. You and me and a planet full of life that we can control as is our right.' He laughed a moment before speaking outloud, feeling freedom only a breath away. It was like a wave of fresh air after so many months of confinement in the metel hull of the sleeping ship. "Unlike humans, Vash, we're perfect. This desert world, our world, will be perfect too. Eden." Autolock was now initialized, preventing the alteration of coordinates from any position on the ship save the main console on the bridge. Just in case. Knives also ran one last complete safety check on the ship's twenty dozen escape pods- eight were malfuntioning, but the others were fine. He would stay away from dock four, that was all.

Knives took a deep break and his fingers lingered for a moment over the key that would set his orbital course corrections into action. Strange, Knives realized, that now when his plan was coming to fruitation he was suddenly envisioning the caverns of sleeping bodies that lined the hold of each of the fleet ships. Strange that he would suddenly realize exactly how many deaths would be required to give his brother Eden.

Strange indeed. He withdrew his fingers and swallowed nervously, sweat breaking out on his forehead. "What are you doing, Knives? They are a blight. Insects swarming and devouring what's in their way. And right now Vash is right in the path, ready to be sucked in, trampled and broken by their pathetic ways. It's not killing them. It's letting him live. And which one really matters more?"

Looking up, he glanced protectively at the moniter that showed Rem and Vash. Rem was sitting, Vash offering her a hand and pulling her up. She paused a moment on her knees, tears still speckling her lashes and cheeks as she reached out and hugged the boy tightly against her chest. Vash looked startled at the display of affection from his usually carefree mentor, but he hugged back, a small smile on his blushing face. He looked absolutely angelic in her arms-

Knives growled in the back of his throat and punched the initialization key without another thought.

Eden...and Vash...would be his.