The blinding lights of the Arena surrounded her from all sides. She could swear that she felt their heat penetrating her suit as she lay there on her side—her suit, black with white circuitry, torn and shredded, with thin, bright streams of energy seeping out of each gash in her torso and limb that once supported a forearm.
Those lights… They burned. Why were there so many? The slick, semi-transparent floors were horribly cold, but… Why hadn't she derezzed yet? Shouldn't this be the end? It hurt too much to think…
Footsteps approached. As she struggled to support herself with an undamaged arm, a hoarse cough escaped her lips, as did energy; core damage came to mind. Her trembling arm gave way beneath, making her pathetically slump back onto the floor and the collective roar of the crowd surge with excitement. Had his discs really cut that deep? It didn't feel like it. Perhaps one had got her from behind. It was a possibility, after all, given that they'd dueled in an enclosed space.
The footsteps grew loader as he neared, his boots making soft clanking noises against the thin floor. Wilted, she cringed in fear, defeat, her pride shriveling with the cheers of a sea of spectators.
That mechanical growl… Oh, why? She could at least accept deresolution in peace; the majority of her life was lived out in silence anyway. She didn't care for interfacing. But that…that electronic purring. It grew louder as he neared…
He knelt down behind her, out of her view, she could hear it. It made her want to squirm with discomfort, but being so weak, only her hands and legs gave a few tremulous jerks and twitches. Oh, she hated them all. She hated him. She could kill him now, if it weren't for these blasted wounds—yet to what avail, anyway? She knew she was moments away from falling into a comatose-state as her body would try its last attempts to sustain itself. Killing the mindless brute of a pawn would only provide a moment of bittersweet triumph. In the end, he was of no value to her.
He grabbed her arm, somewhat roughly turned her over. Her limp body gave no protest, but her eyes… There was something familiar. That hatred. Cold, unadulterated ire, like molten silver. They bore through his helmet, she could tell. He didn't move, only growled. But she grinned, impiously grinned. Somehow, she knew that this wasn't the end for her. No… She wouldn't be granted the privilege of a warrior's deresolution. At least, not for some time.
Her smirk faded at the thought, lingering as a faint smile. But she continued to watch that unique, dark helmet, knowing that there were still eyes behind that visor. If these dwindling seconds were her last moments of freedom, she didn't want to fade into his memory—no, not by a long shot. She craved vengeance. Not for her fallen brethren, nor acquaintances, nor any other program, but for her own misfortunes. Egocentric retribution is what most would've sneeringly called it. But how she lusted for it. She wanted to leave scars, metaphysical scars, and could conceive only a single phrase that would do so. A phrase that would contradict her beliefs and motives. A phrase that was sure to cut deep into his programming, surpass Clu's overrides and newly installed protocols. A phrase that was, essentially, a lie. One that would hurt the program in his most suppressed data files from that forgotten time many cycles ago.
Her vision was obscured by dim white coding; she caught 'hibernation', 'imminent', and 'system shutdown' amongst the seemingly random lettering. She chuckled weakly. Though gritted teeth, she made one last attempt to glare at the assassin, grinning with difficulty as her distorted, faltering voice sounded.
"Long live…the Users."