Nathaniel had his good hand gestured towards Kaneda, in a grasping state. Kaneda could feel the pressure on him, around his body. Enveloping his wounds.
“How…? It’s been over a century,” Nathaniel said, confused. “Is that…is that really you?”
“It’s me,” Kaneda said, with some effort. He was already sweating. He didn’t want to look and see the state of his hand. “How…how are you so young, still?”
“Me?” Nathaniel squinted his eyes, confused. He was angry, he was hurt, and Kaneda didn’t know which wound he was feeling the most. Nathaniel’s entire chest was charred, and a piece of his left shoulder, which was already missing the arm, was gone. “How are you alive?”
“Stasis tech,” Kaneda answered, bitterly. “We figured out most of the kinks.”
“Most?” Nathaniel asked, and his eyes were showing a lot of thinking. He was going through a lot, but his nostrils were still flared. Still smelling all the life in Kaneda. He needed it. “Agh…stasis…why?”
Kaneda spat to the side. His focus was waning but he needed to hold on. The sattelite would be charging. If it was even up there, where it was supposed to be, it might need more time.
“Why do you think?” Kaneda motioned to the weapon. “To charge the light particle gun.”
Nathaniel blinked and looked aside, then down at his ripped arm. His expression went mean, and he glared at Kaneda.
“You can’t kill me with that.”
Kaneda scoffed. “Almost did.”
“But what’s the damn point?!” Nate asked, yelling spit at his face. “Nobody’s alive. Trust me, I freakin’ now, it’s been years since–” a thought crossed his mind and an invisible force grabbed hold of Kaneda and lifted him up closer. “DID YOU PUT PEOPLE IN STASIS?! KANEDA, I NEED TO KNOW!!”
He was pained. He was hungry. Kaneda watched his old friend and did his best not to let compassion get the better of his heart. He had to keep it cold. Made of steel, and left behind in the far distant past along with his family.
“I’m sure a lot of people tried to stop you in a variety of different ways,” Kaneda said, regretfully. “And they all failed, if you’re still standing. My stasis bed was the only one of its kind. You should know that, you trashed all the others.”
“I did?” Nathaniel asked, his eyes glassy. He wanted to absorb Kaneda so much that he couldn’t touch him. His old and childhood friend blinked in pain. “Everything’s muddled. No more people then?”
“No. You have extinguished humanity. And most of the wild life, too.”
Kaneda’s body parted a little bit as Nathaniel looked aside, deep in thought. Nate shook his head, licking his lips.
“Been hunting the deep ocean to stay alive…I…I…I did kill everyone.” His expression gained edges. “They deserved it. They made me! They made me who I am, all of them.”
“Not all of them,” Kaneda said, accusingly. “Say what you will but I won’t allow you to do that.”
“No,” Nathaniel said, slamming Kaneda on the ground. It nearly killed him but he hung on, even if his eyes scrambled and stopped giving him good vision. “No! They experimented on me! They put that thing inside of me! They deserve to die, all of them! The world needs to die!!”
Kaneda shook his head at him, pretending to be able to see. It was upsetting that the satellite had not yet activated. Had he messed up with the mines? Had it malfunctioned?
“There’s only one thing I regret. Oh, Kaneda. My friend, I’m sorry, I…” Nathaniel slumped, apparently teary-eyed. “I took your daughter, too. I only…I only recognized her too late.”
Kaneda frowned hard. The young, crystal-like face of his daughter came to mind. Her tiny voice coming out of that tiny mouth.
“Are you a hero?”
Kaneda gritted his teeth, beginning to cry.
“Wait, you were in stasis?” Nathaniel asked again, still sounding confused. Hurt. As if on drugs, he continued to emote oddly and randomly. “Why weren’t you the—you abandoned Sora? To kill me?!”
The satellite was clearly not working. That was that, then. No more use delaying the inevitable.
They knew from the start that it was unlikely. The sacrifices were immense, but Nathaniel had become a cosmic force of destruction. For humanity to try and stop him was silly. Leaving his daughter to be absorbed by Nate had been for nothing.
Deep down, he always knew it. He was already dead, for all Kaneda cared. He had been dead the moment Nathaniel had absorbed his first crowd of people.
“Yes,” Kaneda answered, glancing up at Nate with eyes muddled by a scrambled head. Maybe bleeding. “I am humanity’s last attempt to end you.”
Nathaniel balked, heartbroken.
“I thought you were my friend,” Nate yelped, stuttering. “I thought…I thought you’d be able to stop me. Or to convince me or–you go this far to kill me?!”
“No one can help you,” Kaneda yelled. “No one can stop you! Because you don’t want help, and you don’t want to be stopped. You want to be a monster!”
Nate stomped and the floor cracked.
“Me?! The monsters are the ones who made me! I am not responsible for–”
“YOU ARE!” Kaneda screamed, glaring at him in frustration. “NOW TAKE ME, NATE. YOU TOOK EVERYTHING AND EVERYONE ELSE!” Kaneda tried to get up but his knee buckled before the pain and he knelt instead. “Ragh! Take me, kill me already–”
“Wait, what’s this?!”
Kaneda felt the heat and even through his deeply muddled vision, he could discern the increase in light. It happened in an instant. Wind blasted Kaneda back at the ground and Nate screamed in effort.
The satellite had fired.