NOTE: This chapter has been edited from its original version to comply with FP's "NO EROTICA ZOMG" standards. Well... Even the original wasn't very graphic, but it's better to be safe than banned, right?


3/28/2005, 7:47 AM

Qidantan Royal Cruiser Tekai, Farakh

Morning light slowly crept in through the small porthole window. The ship was still grounded; they wouldn't be able to take off until at least 10:00, and from there it was a day's journey back to Chetrennes. The Farakh military's search through the RSI was presently continuing smoothly, even though they were completely unaware of what Lucius had done the day before. Of course, Lucius himself couldn't remember any of it, either, as he tried to wake up more completely—

Then, the feeling of arms wrapped around his waist jogged his memory. There was someone else in bed with him.

…Zero?

Lucius's thoughts were confirmed as Zero turned his head up to look at him, his eyes dim from sleep and his lips slightly parted. "…Mmf…? Oh… s'you…"

He quickly got up, swinging his legs over the side of the bed, while Zero arched his back and stretched out his limbs in a feline manner. "Zero… How did you get here?!"

A few seconds passed before he answered. "…I dunno. I woke up in a room—it looked too much like the lab… So I just walked around, till I found you."

"…Walked? But… What about your leg?"

"…It got better, I guess." He paused. "…It doesn't hurt anymore…"

Right; Nasveyr had far quicker healing rates than most other races. Even so, it seemed unusually fast, to have healed overnight… "Oh… I see."

Zero yawned, then sat up, the blanket sliding down his bare chest. It was then that Lucius remembered he still didn't have any other clothes for him, so… The blanket was twisted around him in such a way that it covered his extremities, but, still, there was little left to the imagination…

Lucius could feel his face turning red. "…Uh…" Damn… There's no easy way to bring this up, is there? He hesitated, then went over to the dresser to find him something to wear. He had a small build, definitely smaller than Lucius; this wasn't going to be easy.

He glanced back over his shoulder at Zero; he had turned to look out the window, sitting perfectly still. The light cast a strange, ethereal glow around him, accenting his pale, creamy skin… Lucius could feel it beneath his fingertips, running along that smooth, delicate arched back; how easily the entire frame of his body would tremble at his soft caress; oh, how beautiful his body was, entwined with his own—

Stop!

He found himself panting for breath—what was he thinking?! Well… It was only a fantasy, right? No harm done…right? Ohh… Artemis, I'm so sorry…

Zero turned his head, glancing at Lucius out of the corner of his eye; he instantly whipped back around to the dresser, too embarrassed to even say anything. He hesitated for a moment, then started rummaging for a pair of his own pants, quickly pulling them on.

"…Um… What was your name…? …Lucius…?"

"Yeah. Lucius Niziér." He paused. "Hey… Zero."

"What—?" He caught a small bundle of cloth, which turned out to be a t-shirt once he unfurled it.

"Put it on. It's probably a little big, but it'll do. Hang on, I'll find you something else to wear in a second…"

"Um… Okay…" Turning back to the window, he pulled the shirt on over his head—

Zero…

This time, he was caught a bit off-guard. Oh… You're awake? …Why are you speaking English?

Call it a whim. This…Niziér… He's the leader of Qidanta, isn't he?

I… I don't know.

Mm… Yes, he is. I remember hearing it from someone or other; maybe it was one of the scientists. There was a moment's silence. …You know, he's taking an awfully big risk for you.

I know. …Wait, don't you mean for us?

No. For you. Unless… He knows—?

No, I didn't tell him.

Like he would believe you, anyway. …I think we may be able to use him.

…We? But… I don't want to—!

His dick was hard from just looking at you.

…It…was…?

Yes. Didn't you see?

…Well… No, I… I wasn't looking…

The voice laughed softly. Don't lie. How else would I notice if you weren't?

…I… I don't…

In any case, this could prove to be a great opportunity for both of us. You can get to be his little concubine, while I use his power to liberate colony 48… See how easily that works out?

No… I… I can't—!

You can't what? Can't go through with it?

I… It's not like that…

I know you like him—and it's rather obvious from his little display that he simply adores you. So why not do us all a favor? At least this way, no one will get hurt.

I don't care! I won't do it!

I never said I was giving you a choice.

No… No… I won't…

Fine. Then I'll do it for you. At least I am sure enough in my masculinity to have no qualms over sleeping with another man, even with your feminine traits.

Ares… Please, don't…

"…Zero?"

"Huh?" He quickly turned back to Lucius. "Wh-what is it?"

"Nothing, just… You kinda looked like you were spacing out, just now. Are you okay?"

"Um… Y-yeah, I'm just fine."

"I dunno…" A concerned look crossed his face. "Maybe you should go back to bed…"

"N-no, really! I'm all right."

"Relax; you don't have to push yourself so hard." He smiled, causing Zero to blush. "Just get some rest. I have some work to do, myself." His jacket from yesterday was currently draped over a chair; he felt around in the inner lining, pulling out the CD with the sYn data on it. He started towards the door. "Okay?"

"…Um… Okay…"

"Oh—one more thing. Whatever you do, don't leave this room. We're still on Farakh; if some of the crew see you, you'll be out of here before you know it. Which is a bad thing." Not that he would, anyway, seeing as how he was still half-naked…or…would he…? "Er… The bathroom is right through that door, so you don't have to go out into the hall to get there. All right?"

"…All right." Zero hesitantly laid back down on the bed, pulling the blanket up over himself and closing his eyes. He heard the door click shut, as Lucius walked out. Then he took folds of his shirt in his hands, pressing it against his face and drinking in its soft, lavender scent. Mm… Lucius…

Ares—I can't do this… I'll only end up hurting him. I know it.


Background:

René Devereaux

Each of the file names on the CD were only dates; after clicking on the first one, however, Lucius was startled to see this heading. René Devereaux—a figure that anyone who paid attention in middle school history class should be able to recognize, being the namesake of the Devereaux War. But why would he have anything to do with Project sYn—?

Wait. Yesterday…

"It was him… It was Ares!"

Ares—named the god of war by an ancient Earthling civilization. Commander Devereaux—named the god of terror by those who crossed his path. The one who reveled in the clashing of arms, the scent of blood—the one who sought justice for his people, leaving a wake of destruction in his path, drinking the blood of his fallen enemies…

René Devereaux, the last great leader of the Nasveyr. There was some connection between the two, he knew it, but…

For many years, the identity of René Devereaux was unknown until it was confirmed by the Baroan/Farakh spy Mireille Voleur. In that time, he was known only as Ares.

Ares.

Oh… Now he remembered. But that didn't do much to explain the connection; still slightly confused, he read further down the page.

Name: René Devereaux ("Ares")

Birth Date: 03/25/1780

Death Date: 08/22/1807

A detailed biography followed (or, at least, as detailed as it could be; not a lot was known about René Devereaux, even today). Right, right, I know all this, he thought impatiently. The Devereaux War was the last stand made by the Earthling Nasveyr against the other major races, who were trying to round them all up and keep them contained elsewhere. In the end, the Nasveyr lost and were exiled to planetary colony #48… When young René Devereaux came to power, however, the miserable Nasveyr were soon organized into a powerful force on the level of any of the other races. In fact, it was highly likely the Nasveyr would've won that very war, had it not been for René's death on the battlefield.

Lucius knew the story well, being a Nasveyr sympathizer. But, still, what did any of this have to do with sYn? He scrolled further and further down, until—

Project sYn

initiated July 14th, 1989

Finally!

This time, he read a bit more thoroughly. As it turned out, specimen 00—Zero—was genetically engineered by the Farakh RSI, born in 1989, when sYn was first initiated. René Devereaux's salvaged Memory, held deep within the vaults of the RSI for over a century, was implanted into his body at birth…

Wait… Memory?

The Memory is a highly unique attribute of the Nasveyr, resembling a glass orb once separated from the body. Not much is yet understood about the exact qualities of the Memory, except that, essentially, it is the backbone of the Nasveyran mind. It gives precise form to a Nasveyr's personality, thoughts, emotions, and, of course, memories; if removed from a Nasveyr while still alive, his/her thought processes quickly devolve into that of an infant.

Once the Memory fully develops within specimen 00, it is believed that it will create the same effect as a split personality—one side being specimen 00, and the other being René Devereaux. The Memory will remain within specimen 00 until the physical separation of their bodies…

Physical separation… Why was this sounding more like a sci-fi novel by the minute?

After implanting a sample of Devereaux's preserved cells into specimen 00, it is hypothesized that the cells, still carrying his original DNA, and given the speed of Nasveyran mitosis, will multiply and develop into an exact copy of his former body. Rather than being another growth attached to his body, however, this body will develop through the Freeform, instead, so it is impossible to predict exactly when it will be ready. Once this development has been completed, the body and Memory will physically separate from specimen 00, after which specimen 00 will die.

After which specimen 00 will die.

After which… Zero will die?

It started to make sense—Zero was created as a living host for René's body to fully regenerate itself, until he was ready to break away. In other words, Zero was an egg, patiently waiting for the creature inside to hatch.

And the egg's shell would always remain shattered.

Lucius suddenly leaned back in his chair, vaguely feeling the same sense of shock he'd received when he first saw Zero—the question of why they would want to resurrect a 19th century war general in the first place didn't even occur to him, as he thought more about Zero's situation. It all seemed so incredibly hopeless: to be born, only to die… How much time did he have left? It didn't say. Was Zero even aware of it?

"I don't… I don't wanna die…"

But of course. How could he not be?

He groaned, burying his face in his hands.

If only there was some way to save him…

Lucius finally finished poring through all of the data long after the ship had taken off. It was a bit much for him to absorb all in one day, however; he would probably have to better organize it once they got back to Qidanta…

Back to Qidanta…

Eep. He hadn't told Artemis exactly why he suddenly left, either. Plus, what would he think of Zero? If he kept clinging to Lucius the way he did now… Oh, man, Artemis would have his head. Either that or he'd just completely ignore Lucius for a month or so, whichever was worse.

How would he explain it, anyway? Well, he could always tell the truth… Artemis, himself, was half-Nasveyr; he'd understand, wouldn't he? Hopefully… No, on second thought, he'd better stick to the same alibi he told Camui. The less people who knew about this particular sYn, the better.

But… Artemis… How could he just lie to him?

All right, look, he thought: as long as nothing…happened between him and Zero, there was no reason for him to feel guilty over lying to him. As long as he could keep his fantasies under control…


Lucius got back to his room, praying that Zero was still inside as he opened the door. "Zero…? You in here?"

He didn't respond, but Lucius could see him as he stepped into the room. The bed was made, to his surprise. Zero was sitting on its edge, looking out the window as he was that very morning, except this time he was more fully dressed; he must've gotten another pair of pants from the dresser. He didn't seem to notice Lucius's presence, until he finally spoke as he sat on the bed next to him.

"…It's…pretty."

"Hm?" Lucius followed his gaze out the window, greeted by the vast, black expanse of space and glittering stars. "Oh… Yeah, I guess it is."

"Mm…" Zero had to restrain himself from leaning against his shoulder. Still, it felt so nice, just having him nearby… He couldn't really explain it, but he just felt…safe, with Lucius around…

You love him, don't you?

He froze. …Ares…

Well? Do you, or don't you?

…I…

Hm. Never mind; it's not like I really needed to ask, anyway.

Ares… You… You're not going to…

I am.

Slowly, Zero got up from the bed, then walked over and locked the door. Lucius watched him, curious but having only the vaguest idea of what he intended to do. Wait…he didn't…?

Ares, stop!

What? You said you wouldn't do it, so I will, instead. Just try to stop me.

"Zero? What are you…?"

He stopped at the foot of the bed, pulling off his shirt and tossing it aside. Then he crawled back onto the bed, pushing Lucius against the headboard. Zero brushed the side of his face with his right hand, forcing his way into Lucius's mouth with his tongue.

From there, Lucius was in a complete daze—the next thing he knew, Zero's pants were off, Lucius was pressing him against his own still-mostly-clothed body, and they were still searching each other's mouths. Then he realized what was going on. "Zero… stop!"

He quickly pushed him away, but Zero didn't seem to care, shifting all of his weight to his knees. Despite his earlier convictions, Lucius's eyes kept straying below his waist. Ohhh… no, wait, wait! What about Artemis?! He couldn't…just…

…Well… Artemis didn't have to know.

Zero's eyes were heavy, and dim with lust. Something about him wasn't quite right.

"Fuck me."

By this time, it was taking all Lucius had to resist…but how could he? Still, something was definitely wrong—was this really Zero, or…?

No… It couldn't be… René…?

Ares, stop this! Please—I don't want to do this!

Or else you'll do what?

Zero moved forward to straddle Lucius's waist, lowering his body and kissing him along his neck. Lucius could vaguely hear his own soft moans as his hands moved down, further… "Zero… aaah… s…stop it…"

He doesn't want this, either! Can't you tell?!

Of course he does. Can't you tell?

Ares! Why are you doing this?!

Zero's hands slid back up his chest, pulling his shirt with it. His lips slowly started to move down his chest—

Ares! Stop it! You're not like this, I know you aren't!

—down, down, further—

ARES!

—and remained there, for the longest of lingering moments—

You're only doing this because you want to sleep with him as much as I do! You're only acting this way because you couldn't save him, aren't you?!

He froze for a few seconds, then lifted his head, eventually sitting up altogether. Lucius, slightly relieved that he finally stopped, also sat up. "Zero…?" He was looking down; Lucius could hear quiet sobs. Well—this was definitely different from his past demeanor. As though he'd forgotten what happened just seconds ago, he pulled him into an embrace. "Zero… What's wrong?"

"…I… I couldn't…" His hand clenched into a fist as he clutched Lucius's shirt, sobbing heavily against his chest.

H… how dare you…

Zero truly felt sorry for Ares, especially since he'd been so easily reduced to this state. I'm sorry… I know it hurts. But you only would've hurt him, too—and me. You wouldn't listen…

Lucius, not quite understanding exactly what was going on, continued to hold him like that, while he quietly repeated that same statement in between sobs—"I didn't, I just couldn't… Why didn't I save him…?"

But save who?

Eventually the sobs subsided. Zero fell silent against Lucius's chest; it seemed like ages before he spoke again.

"…What do you intend to do with… 'Zero?'"

"Huh?" Lucius looked down at Zero, who was staring at him intently; there was a strange coldness in his eyes that he hadn't seen before. Something seemed to awaken within his mind. This must be René… But more than that…

I know it. His face… I remember it now.

"…I don't know. Not yet."

He leaned his head against Lucius's chest again. "…I'll just have to accept things as they are… If I want to survive, I must first depend on this weak form. But if you do not protect him… I'll kill you myself."

Lucius easily understood his grave tone, nodding once and holding Zero's frail body.

Zero… He has the soul of the Wolf, contained within the body of the Falcon… Ares, God of War… and Horus, God of Vanterra…

"I will. I promise."