The last thing I imagined before the explosion was Adahn’s body torn to pieces, the metal plates ripped apart, his prosthetic brain riddled with my bullets. And when he came back, I imagined killing that son of a bitch again, and again, and again.
But in the meantime, the dead one was me.
Something passed close to me. Unknown creatures, parasites on my nightmares, took advantage of my nothingness. Go away, damn it. Go away! I was shooting at nothingness with phantom gatlings. I thought I still had my guns, but it was just a feeling.
The Extractor smiled at me again.
When I returned to my body, I shot into nothingness. It was like opening my eyes after a bad dream, but without eyes. I heard Sun Lori’s voice in the communicator. “You’re back again, I see… I don’t know whether to congratulate you for having already recorded two Re-Births or to insult you for having already gotten yourself killed twice.” Although I hated Sun Lori, I knew she was right. I had to get better, try to survive as long as possible. Death to Neterun.
“But lucky for you, I still believe in you. Getting so close to Adahn gave your AI a chance to track his movements better than I could. I mean, he’s registered somewhere in your memory. And he’s just waiting for your revenge.” The Judge was right. NewDay had traced Adahn’s body once and for all, so my death was not in vain.
I did not thank NewDay. He had been created for this, there was no need. I ordered him to show me the target on the radar and set off to find it. It seemed that the raider was not too far from the area where I had last seen him. So it was true, he was waiting for me. I arrived at the Outpost Area with all engines running.
The region was not very hospitable. NewDay told me that the Empire had managed to assemble a Cage to protect it, but not without problems of… space management. There were strange purple branches that attracted creatures. Extra sonic matter, sure, but also extra dangers to watch out for.
There I was. The radar indicated that I had arrived and that he was there somewhere.
As I went deeper into the area, I heard gunfire. This time my guns were there, loaded and ready to fire. I was not imagining them.
As last time, Adahn was not alone.