C H A P T E R one:

I Would Have Crawled Forever

The street lights formed a halo floating over Ecaps, the capital city of the planet Kew. Fox sat atop the balcony of his hotel room, a small drink on the table next to him and a book in his hand. Sighing, he placed the book on the table and picked up the drink, ice cubes clinking as he took a small sip of scotch. Exhaling gently, he pulled his portable computer from his luggage bag. He opened it up, and the screen glowed in silent greeting. He typed away, accessing the internet and checking his email for any information or tips from his client regarding the latest target. Upon the discovery that there was no new information to be had, he checked his bank balance. It was in the black. Way in the black. In the black to the tune of over two-million credits. Being a veteran of three wars and a successful mercenary for most of his life had made him wealthy. Still, he knew as well as anyone that wealth didn't necessarily mean comfort and happiness.

Krystal…, He thought. Why did I…? Why did you…? He cut himself off from that line of thought. No use in making himself more depressed than he already was. He knew the consequences of his actions, and he knew that he couldn't rewrite time.

He opened the small file of information for the latest job. His prey was a bounty hunter, like himself, who apparently went by the name "Kursed." Typical, mused Fox. Probably an alias. Fox continued re-reading the file, just in case a piece of information had escaped him. Vixen. Mid-twenties. Blue fur. The last part always got to him. His mind once again wandered to thoughts of Krystal. Quickly, he silenced them. Probably just a disguise, he snapped at himself, cruelly. It's so pathetic that you get your hopes up every time you read that.

Fox checked the small clock on the upper right hand side of his monitor. It was 6:45 pm. Carefully, Fox closed the computer and slid it back into his luggage bag. In the bottom of the bag was a flight case, roughly two feet by one foot, painted a matte black. He gently eased it out and set it on the floor. On the front was a small compartment, accessed through a inauspicious switch on the side of the case. Fox pressed the switch, opening the compartment and revealing a miniscule ten-digit keypad and an LED screen. Fox dialed in the combination on muscle memory alone, and the phrase, "Access Granted," scrolled across the LED screen.

Fox lifted the edge of the case, revealing what appeared to be several long tubes nestled inside of foam. Methodically, he removed them from the case. Piece by piece, he assembled the tubes into what revealed itself to be a sniper rifle, the same one that he had used against the Aparoids so many years ago with minor upgrades. Admiring his precision, Fox perched himself facing towards his balcony and slightly to the left. He poised the gun facing the hotel across the street and slightly to the left of his room. He knew where his target was staying, and had selected his own room correspondingly.

He placed his eye on the sight and began meticulously zeroing in on her room. Once he was positive he had aligned his site correctly, he switched the mode on it from "Evening," to "Infra-Red," allowing him a crucial peak at the target. As usual, she was lying in bed, presumably asleep. He had been documenting her movements for a manner of days, and had seen little fluctuation in her routine. He switched the site off and put down the gun.

"Just a few more days…" he yawned to himself. He slowly dismembered the gun, gingerly placing it into its flight case before sliding the flight case back into his luggage bag. He yawned again, and meandered to the kitchen of his modest hotel room. He opened the refrigerator slowly and wasn't surprised when he was faced with its emptiness. It didn't bother him, as he rarely ate more than one or two meals a day. Still, Fox found himself getting peckish. He slipped a small stun gun into his pocket and decided to stop at the bar around the corner for some food and a drink.


Kursed, formerly Krystal, laid awake, staring wide-eyed at her ceiling. She had a strange hunch that someone had been following her for the past several days. Strange shadows flitting in and out of her periphery, strange feelings of deja vu when she examined those around her, and now this. Krystal had spent the previous night attaching sensors to the window of her small hotel room. The sensors were designed to pick up concentrated waves of light, such as the kind that might be given off by an infra-red camera or a laser trained on her window.

After lying in bed for little more than ten minutes that night, the sensors registered a concentrated wave of infra-red light focused on her location. After about fifteen minutes, the sensors stopped picking up the signal, and Kursed heaved a sigh of relief. This is too crazy for me, she thought to herself. Still, a little voice in the back of her head had to speak up: You wouldn't be alone and afraid if he was here. If you hadn't left him.

She cursed quietly and gently hit her fist to her forehead. She knew there was no point in remembering. She knew the consequences of her actions and knew that she couldn't rewrite time. She was forced to deal with the present she had created for herself.

As she began to stew in her self-pity, her stomach let out a long growl. She looked down it, remembering that she had skipped her regular dinner time so that she could track a target. Stupid, she thought. Still, she acquiesced to her stomach's needs and got up from the bed. She replaced her bed clothes with a pair of form-fitting black jeans and a black tee shirt. Her boots sat in front of the door, waiting patiently. She slipped them on and slid her collapsed staff into her pocket. It was to warm for a jacket, so she had nowhere to conceal a blaster.

Still, she thought. I'm only going for food. The staff will be enough. With that, she walked out the door, being sure to lock it behind her. She exited her hotel and took a left, deciding to stop at the bar around the corner for some food.

Author's Note:

So what does everyone think? I'd really like to get some reviews. This is my first attempt, so I know the only direction I can go from here is up. Feel free to hit me up with suggestions or creative criticism. Don't hold back, I can handle it. I think I got a good snap shot of two broken souls, each convinced that they have robbed the other of their happiness (feel free to correct me). I had my friend Beast proof-read this yesterday, but I added some new pieces, so I plan on having him proof-read it again after it's posted. A little short for a chapter one, but not too bad, I don't think (once again, feel free to correct me).

Send me a PM, send me some reviews! I'm dying to hear what you guys have to say!