Chapter 2 Bonus: Blame

Corra wasn’t sure what she hoped to accomplish by confronting Desophyles, but as soon as the group in the cargo bay disbanded, she marched straight to the Beacon. After all the times she’d been down there over the past month, finding the brig through the winding halls of the great Satieran frigate had become second nature to her. And just as the trip was predictable, so was the scene she found at the destination.

Dez sat quietly on the bench in his cell, lit by the dim blue translucent barrier that surrounded him. He glanced up with the same familiar empty stare when Corra’s feet hit the floor. He said nothing.

But that didn’t deter her. “I need to know what you did with the Caelum Lex,” she demanded at once, stepping further into the room.

As usual, his response was delayed by thoughtful quiet. “I already told you. I handed it over to the Department of Technology,” he said at last, cool as ever.

“Yeah, but what’d they do with it?” she snapped, feeling panic and impatience circling in on her. If what Cyrus had said was true, the Society could be on the brink of using it to create the most destructive weapon the Span had ever known. She needed assurance that that wasn’t the case. For once, she truly wholly wanted Cyrus to be wrong.

“That’s not my concern,” was Dez’s infuriating answer.

“Well it is now,” Corra barked. She hadn’t even noticed that she’d begun pacing the room, her hand digging into her hair. “What do you know about the Nautilus?”

Here, Dez’s pause was even longer than normal. “Not as much as somebody else you know,” he said slowly at last. Which was exactly the opposite of what she needed to hear.

But Corra would not relent. “Is it working? What are they going to use it for? How bad will it be if they do?”

“Why are you asking this?” was all he said in return, a small, subtle frown creasing his brow. “Are you actually worried about what might happen? Do you care what the Nautilus really is? Are you truly concerned about the consequences of using it?” Before Corra could answer, he rose to his feet and calmly stepped towards the barrier between them. “Or are you just hoping I’ll relieve you of your guilt?”

Corra was stunned speechless. Her jaw slackened, her eyes widened and for a moment all she could do was stare straight into those dark, penetrating eyes. Finally, she stuttered, “No-no, of course not, I–” and then the shock wore off and anger returned. “It’s not my fault! You were the one who gave it to them. And you were the one I was fending off. It’s your fault!”

Dez tilted his head at a slight angle. “Is it?” he asked simply.

“Of course it is! I didn’t know what it could do,” she despaired. “I didn’t know it could be a weapon, I didn’t know how important it was. I didn’t know what I was doing!”

But Dez was no longer looking at her. His gaze had moved down to the Society librera etched into his arm. He admired it in silence before he finally returned his stare to her. “Didn’t you?”

Corra’s mouth dropped open, but words were lost on her lips. She met his horrible, terrible glare for only a moment longer before she turned on her heel and fled from the room as fast as her legs could carry her.

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