Kralj pushes the door open with his mind and strolls into the small chamber. His long leather coat swirls around his legs. Shadows shield his face. He’s tall, with broad shoulders, narrow hips. A sense of power, of danger clings to him.
He claims a chair and silently waits.
Interviewer: You’re Kralj, the Ruler of the Refuge, the settlement on Carinae E?
Interviewer: I have to ask you a few questions.
Kralj: (looks at the recording device) Must I speak?
Kralj: (shakes head, doesn’t say anything)
How old are you?
I’m half Beta Taurian Shadow Beast, half enhanced human, was genetically designed by the Humanoid Alliance many, many human lifespans ago as a weapon of war. My nanohumanics give me the ability to live forever.
When you look in the mirror, what do you see?
When the shadows around me lift, I see what I truly am—a monster, as hideous on the outside as I am on the inside. The scarred right side of my face horrifies the staunchest of beings. The skin from my forehead to my chin is angry and red, twisted, stretched, permanently melted.
What is people’s first impression of you?
They fear me and they should. I have powers no being should ever have. I can kill an entire settlement with an errant thought.
Name three things that tick you off.
Lack of respect – The dangerous parts of me don’t respond well to that,
The breaking of my rules – they exist for the protection of others,
Going too long between feeding (flashes fangs) for obvious reasons.
What is your best memory to date?
When Dita touched my face. No one had ever dared touch me there. Her hands were rough yet gentle. She caressed my marred skin as though it were a priceless object, a treasure to be polished, cared for, cherished. Her beautiful countenance was soft.
(he shudders) She has to be killed but I will keep that memory with me always.
What are you most afraid of?
Losing control. (looks to the side, his expression turns bleak) When I do that, beings, all beings die.
What was your first impression of Dita?
(closes his eyes, the grim set of his lips eases) A riot of short curls framed her impish face. A black body covering encased her slender form, clinging like a second skin to firm breasts, a toned waist, curvy hips. Daggers were strapped to her chest, thighs, and arms. Guns filled the holsters at her hips.
(opens his eyes) She was tiny but only a fool would discount her.
I recognized her for what she was—a fellow killer.
What would you most like to forget?
I lost control once and destroyed a fragile being who had placed her trust in me. She trusted me to keep her safe, to protect her, and I didn’t.
I’d like to forget that but for the safety of others, I cannot.
Who in your life has the power to hurt you the most and why?
Dita is the one being whose thoughts I can’t read, the one being my powers can’t touch, the one being I can’t control. I want her. Badly. I lose all restraint around her and that is a very dangerous thing.
Are you a morning person or a night owl?
I’m a being of the darkness, as Dita is, as all killers are. It is necessary to move around while the sun is high, but I shield myself in shadows.
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