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If I Had A Heart.....
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XWF FanBase:
The 'cool' kliq fans

(booed by casual fans; opportunistic; often plays dirty while setting the trends)

Post: #1
11-30-2019 08:25 AM


The time is nigh, and tomorrow the fate of the Universal Championship will be decided. But before that, Lux has some unfinished business.

Corey Smith, Lux's co-pilot, has fallen in with a mysterious woman named Rox who is a member of the XWF ring crew. However, Rox has not been the best of influences on Corey, and her influence has caused the young reformed addict to turn back to drugs, severely jeopardizing Lux's mission and her relationship with Corey. Unbeknownst to any of them, Rox has actually been working with Madison Dyson to undermine Corey and Lux because Rox was friends with Joachim Bright (who mere weeks ago was murdered by Unknown Soldier) and his ex Trey. Rox was trying to save Joachim from the danger of being in proximity to Lux, but nobody counted on Soldier's actions rendering Rox's entire mission moot.

But now, Rox's secret may not be so secret anymore, and Lux will have to make a choice that could shatter her relationship with Corey once and for all, and potentially move her one step closer to the darkness she is trying to fight. A struggle made even harder given the presence of a sinister techno-organic virus that's been implanted in Lux and Corey's body, a monstrosity calling itself The Engineer that might just be the key to Lux's fall.....

[Image: africa-944465_960_720.jpg]

An expanse of tall grasses set against an evening sky unfurl before you, the splendor of untouched South African wilderness. A flight of birds alights on the water in the distance and proceed to bathing. The sun persists in it's steady descent towards the horizon. The scene remains tranquil for a moment, before a red van interrupts the solitude. The van comes to an abrupt halt, kicking up a plume of brickish sand.

The engine is silenced, and it slowly ticks down into remission. Lux throws open the driver's side door. Her expression is stolid and focused. Going to the back of the van, she opens the rear doors and reaches inside for something. A small struggle ensues before she's finally able to drag a woman out by her hair. Saying nothing, she muscles the woman away from the van and tosses her into the dust. Lux unholsters a handgun and levels it at her.

Rox looks up from her prone position. Her hairline is encrusted with dried blood, and another dry tickle remains just under her nostril. Tossing her hand up, she starts scooting back on her side. Her voice comes out in gulps of fear.

Taking a step towards her, Lux relieves the safety on the gun. Deal still applies. If you tell me everything you told Madison, I'll put it in your head. If you don't, I leave you gutshot in the wilderness. Your call.

I already told you, I didn't tell Madison much of anything. I wasn't put in place as a spy, I was put in place to destabilize Corey and put him at odds with you. Rox shudders. But I'm done with it! All of it! I swear! Just please....

You used Corey.

Rox closes her eyes as tears push out. Yes....

Why did you do all this? What did you have to gain?

Her throat hitches with a despondent sob. What does it matter....?

I already told you why. Head or gut.

A forced sardonic laugh escapes Rox's throat. Not much of a choice.

It's all the choice in the world. I wouldn't really expect you to get it, but going out gut shot is an awful, painful way to die. Take my word for it.
A recollection of her holding Pavel while his guts streamed out between his fingers emerged unbidden in Lux's mind.

So you're torturing people before you kill them now, Lux?

Corey suddenly appears standing next to Rox's downed form. Naturally, Rox is oblivious to his presence, but she does take note that Lux seems distracted by something. Lux's gaze tics towards Corey, but she keeps the weapon trained on Rox. I'm not torturing her Corey. Lux smiles mirthlessly. Did you NOT catch what she copped to just now? She USED you to get at ME.

I know. Lux, she called me two days ago to confess.

Lux's mouth rings open in astonishment. What?!

Corey hangs his head and speaks softly. So you didn't know?

No, of course not! Corey, when I promise you your privacy I mean it. Even if you're angry with me. Which, Lux admitted inwardly, the boy had a right to be.

Then how did you find out what she was doing?

I've suspected her for a long time. I swiped her phone and had Wylie Sinclair help me hack into it. She's been in communication with Madison for months.

But do you know why? Corey looks up at her.

Rox interjects timidly. You're talking to Corey, right? Ask him about my call.

Shut up! Lux barks as an aside to Rox before retraining her gaze on Corey. No, I don't know why Rox betrayed me and someone I care about very much. And I can't imagine why aforementioned “person I care about very much” is sticking up for her now.

I'm done with Rox, Lux.

Well, that's good to hear.

But she was doing it for Joachim.

Lux stops short, jerking back almost imperceptibly at the revelation. ...why?

Corey looks down at Rox and then back at Lux. She knew Joachim and his ex-boyfriend Trey. Trey came to Madison with a plan to get at you through me. Rox did the dirty work of playing me, but Trey came up with the idea.

It doesn't absolve her, and it doesn't answer my question.

Corey shakes his head and clutches his fists at his sides. Because our life is INSANE! And she and Trey wanted a normal, non-insane, life for Joachim. They wanted to get him away from us.

And you agree with that?! Lux snorts derisively.

The boy shakes his head. What?! No! I He sputters before steeling himself. It wasn't right that she betrayed me. And I was pissed off when she told me. I still am. But when I thought about it...I got it. I realized they were right in a way too. Lux...Joachim is dead because of US. Corey's eyes shine with tears. We destroy everything we touch.

The words hang heavy in the air, an invisible albatross of awful, bitter truth to them that sunders Lux and causes her aim on Rox to falter. Rox sees this and bolts to her feet, breaking into a run. Lux reacts, firing into the ground at Rox's feet. Rox keeps running and Lux fires again closer this time. Rox panics and misses a giant tree root jutting from the ground. She trips and falls and Lux is on her in an instant, running up to her and tamping a foot down on the small of her back before she can get up. Corey appears behind Lux. Wait....wait!

Do it again, bitch! Lux challenges, bringing the muzzle of the gun mere inches from the back of her head.

I'm sorry, I'm sorry! Rox spits out sand and bits of grass as she pleads.

Don't shoot her!

Look, Lux I know.... Rox pants. I know you have no reason to trust me. But Corey...Corey forgave me, Lux. On the phone. Two days ago. I told him everything. He was pissed but he forgave me.

Corey is very young and very naïve. Lux regrets the words even before they've finished spilling. The boy appears in front of her now.

“Young and naïve”?!

I'm sor-

No, just shut up and listen to me! Okay?! Corey takes a few seconds to restrain his anger. We got Joachim killed. US! Trey and Rox were trying to get Joachim away from us and all the insane bullshit we're caught up in. Their instincts were right but the methods were wrong.

They sold us out to human scum, Corey. Lux stops again, her features flash as a realization clubs her about the skull. Wait...Corey, we never did figure out just how Shane's DRW virus got inside us. Corey. Lux speaks his name like an implication, leaving the accusation itself unstated.

Corey's expression suddenly goes solemn. He doesn't speak.

Corey! Lux nods down at Rox. Did she do it?

I did it. His voice is so silent Lux can scarcely hear it.

I'm sorry...did you say....?

It was me. Corey can't meet Lux's eye. The virus was in one of the needles I used to shoot up. I injected it right into our blood stream.

Corey...that wasn't your fault. Rox gave it to you. She tricked you.

Corey abruptly roars back to life. BUT I PUT IT IN ME! He pounds his chest. I made that choice! I fucked up again! It's on ME, Lux! I'm the one who fucked us! I... he descends into a choked sob. His chest bucks and he turns away from Lux and towards the water in the distance. I fucked us....

She looks down at Rox and sees the reflection of the muzzle in the woman's fearful eyes. Did he tell you?

Rage surges anew in Lux, and her finger dips past the trigger guard and onto the trigger itself. Rox pinches her eyes shut and utters a gasp of terror. But, at the last moment, Lux jerks the gun up and towards the sky, finger hesitating on the trigger. Uttering an oath, she turns away from Rox and then back around towards her, leveling the gun at her once more. Fuck! Fuck, fuck, fuck!

Fuck, fuck, fuck, fuck! Another male voice intones, singing the profanities in a mocking, sing songy fashion as he appears in between Lux and Corey. The Engineer points at Rox. Not looking good for her, is it?

[Image: tenor.gif?itemid=12661910]

Corey wheels about to face him.

Looks like all the players are here, hmmmm? I do love a bit of classical theater.

No! Corey growls, walking around the Engineer to get face to face with him. You're the real villain here! Lux! He spares a look back at his counterpart, but The Engineer cuts back in before she can reply.

Corey, did you follow up with Lux about her little plan with Wylie? He chuckles. Don't bother answering, I know you did. She's cheating you out of your freedom.


Corey punches The Engineer right in the face. The Engineer reels, surprise registering on his typically placid features as his hand instinctively goes to his nose. Corey pushes past him and goes right to Lux.

Don't you see, Lux?! THIS IS HOW IT HAPPENS! He divides us and runs you to the brink until you become a monster! You said you saw a vision of the future of us serving Aiwass, right? Corey takes hold of Lux's shoulders. It happens right here...right now!

What does?

He breaks us! He turns us against each other and turns you into a monster! But you're not a monster, Lux! You're....

Yes, she is. The Engineer responds calmly, despite the punch. He withdraws his hand from his face, which is unmarred. Lux talks a good game, Corey. Truly. And in comparison to some of the more overt monsters running the halls of the XWF, yes, I imagine Lux seems pretty tame in comparison. He casts a derisive glance back at Lux. But we know the truth, don't we?

I don't think we do. Lux's eyes narrow, her words acidic.

Why don't you explain? Corey sneers.

The Engineer smirks and takes a small steps towards them, which puts him just in front of a very confused looking Rox, who is still laying stock still on the ground. Corey, it's never occurred to you how perverse Lux's feelings are for you? Think about it. She's a grown woman inhabiting your body against your will. You are a young boy, caught up in the maelstrom that is her everyday existence...

Would you tell me what is going on? Rox cuts in, oblivious to what's going on. She is roundly ignored.

Corey's expression flickers with something ambiguous, lip twitching like he's about to speak, but he doesn't.

She inflicts her love on you Corey. Like a form of violence.

Oh fuck off!

The Engineer persists, undeterred. You are a CHILD, Corey. A confused, broken little doll that she has tried to take advantage of. And do you know why? His smile grows wider. Because Lux is twice the broken little doll that you are! She's arrested development in its purest form. She never got to have a true childhood, never got to be that carefree teenager. She was trained to kill from the time she was 14. No wonder she fell in love with a boy. She's still a child too....

Lux, I don't know what's going on....but could you please....

SHUT UP! Lux barks at Rox again before retraining her sights on The Engineer. How would a parasite like you presume to understand anything about love?!

Speaking of children, Corey, do you remember the time Lux was going to kill a child in front of you?

Corey's head cants towards the ground, he does not speak.

Corey, you're right. You're 100% right, he's trying to drive a wedge between us.

Am I wrong? Am I wrong about what you did? The virus persists, like a dog worrying a bone.

Lux's mouth opens to respond, but the words stick in her throat. Finally, with a croak, she replies. No....but you know damn well why I was going to do that. Somehow though, the words seem to fall far short of being an acquittal. Now, both Lux and Corey fall into silence.

The Engineer gestures down at Rox. She's waiting for her judgment. He crouches low just behind her, running an unseen hand through her hair, his insubstantial fingers passing through the locks without resistance, gliding right through. Will you even let her plead her case?

Lux swallows deep. She realizes that she's been holding the gun aloft the whole time, and a dull ache is starting to race up her arm. Speak your peace, Rox.

Are you going to let me live?

Speak. The word uttered with an air of finality.

Rox glances about, shutting her eyes to try and clear the terrified stew of her thoughts. I admit it. I admit everything. She draws a shuddering breath. Madison Dyson gave me the drugs to give to Corey. This....DRW virus thing was in one of the needles I gave Corey. I let him inject it into his bloodstream. But now, Trey and Joachim are both dead. I have no reason to work for Madison anymore aside from the fact that she was threatening my life and the lives of everyone I cared about. But even then.... Rox shakes her head, and her eyes are distant and glassy looking. ….I felt bad for what I was doing to Corey. I always did. But I also felt that you and Corey were bad for Joachim and that he would have been better off with Trey.

You were right. Lux admits, her tone barely above a whisper.

But a couple days ago....I just....I just realized how useless all this was. Trey and Joachim died because of Madison and the people she works with anyway. I couldn't justify continuing to hurt Corey. So I called him two days ago and told him what I had done. Lux.... Rox finally meets Lux's gaze. I'm sorry. I can never undo what I did. But I swear to God, I am not a threat to you anymore. I'm going to resign my position with the XWF after Lethal Lottery, fly home and warn my family and....I don't know.... She trails off. I haven't thought that far ahead yet. I don't know what to do. But that's my problem. You'll never see me again.

Corey and The Engineer both consider Lux expectantly.

Lux, if I can forgive her you can too. We're better than this.

Are you better than this, Lux? The virus goads, standing up. Are you....?

24 hours earlier....

We see Lux sitting in the back of the truck from earlier. The two rear doors yawn open and she's sitting letting her feet dangle over the back bumper. She spins a phone around in her hands. It's not hers. She considers the phone as she speaks aloud.

A lot of what I've had to say in the run up to this match has centered on the vast differences between Unknown Soldier and I. The duality we represent. Light and dark. Good and evil. And by necessity, I've been stolid in what I represent. But the truth is, that I do sometimes question where I stand. What my true motivations are.

She smirks, still looking at the phone. It must be nice to be Unknown Soldier. I bet he never questions much of anything. Like I said before, evil's easy like that. No consideration required. But decent? That's tough. Because sometimes even decent needs to make like bad. Sometimes decent needs to make those tough choices too.

She shakes her head and grimaces a bit, finally looking forward. She places the phone down at her side.

I'm gonna break Corey's heart tomorrow. And that kills me! It tears me up inside! She pats her chest. The Unknown Soldier's of the world don't need to worry about that. Such bliss. Such ignorance. Not needing to FEEL. Not needing to have heart and soul! And you know what? I think that just might be why he threw his hands up in the air and stopped giving a shit about this match. Because for all my foibles I have heart and soul to spare. I'm not some egomaniac uncanny valley FACSIMILE of a person like Chris Page. I'm not some part time hero who drops off the face of the Earth when the going gets rough like Robert Main. I'm not Scully or Drezdin, bit players in the game of life wandering in a persistent fog. I'm something Unknown Soldier doesn't know what to do with. I'm LUX! And I'm here to break the bastards who want to plunge all this into hell!

But questions, man....questions....

She pauses, running a hand through Corey's curls. Letting out a blast of breath, she shoots a glance back down at the phone.

I've got heart. I've got A heart. But sometimes it hits me like a tidal wave, remembering that it's not MY heart. It's Corey's. Corey's life blood pumps through these veins. And sometimes I can't help but think about how much of what I think is human about me is really him. Because the fact is, I'm just a machine in here. A rider, a tag along. A techno organic repository of a dead woman's consciousness. Everything TRUE about us is Corey. She nods wistfully. Corey is the human being. I'm just something....else. Her voice trails off.

And you know what else? Out of the two of us, Corey was always the one that was the better one. A bit naïve maybe. A bit young in every sense of the word. And I think maybe that's why I fell in love with him. Because he was a swift wind of purity and idealism. Anyone lesser would have broke under the strain I put them under. But, in time, that boy believed in me. We didn't always agree. But he understood. And he wanted to help. He wanted to help me fight the bad guys and engage in all that daring do. He believed in hope. He believed we could change the world. Yeah....

I love Corey Smith.

Her eyes meet the camera again.

And I'm gonna break his heart again tomorrow. I'm gonna be the machine. That approximation of monsterdom that I've accused Soldier of being. And I pray....I PRAY....he can forgive me again. But I know I can only push so far, and every time I have to make those tough choices it scares the hell out of me that maybe this is the one that pushes Corey away from me for good. Of course, we can't be completely free of each other, but.....can you imagine somebody being with you all the time and FEELING miles away? That sounds like hell. Pure hell.

I know, deep down inside, the fact that I even ASK myself these questions means I'm not like Unknown Soldier. But just the asking still doesn't make it feel good.

With a renewed look of determination she points up, as though a sudden burst of inspiration has taken hold. There is one thing I can do though that's unquestionably good. But it's also the choice that frightens me the most. I can give Corey his life back. I can work with Wylie Sinclair to grow my own body and separate from Corey. Let him be free of me. But that monster part, that part of me that's a little TOO selfish and stupid, itches at the back of my mind. “What if Corey wants nothing to do with you once he's no longer a captive audience?” Lux shrugs, but the pained look on her face is a counterpoint to the blasé gesture. That's a chance I have to take. Because quite frankly I love Corey enough to let him be free.

I'm going to tell Corey this. I'm going to let him know he will soon be free, no matter what. We'll spend our last few months together as Universal Champion. Fighting together. And then....
She squints back some tears. …'ll be over.


So! On top of everything else, I want this championship for Corey. He's earned it. Hell, he's earned it more than me.

Her eyes lilt towards the ground, unfocusing and going distant, as though she's trying to process the enormity of her choice.

This is for you Corey. I dedicate this match to you. Whether you forgive me or not tomorrow. Whether you one day decide to walk away from me forever or not.

I love you Corey Smith. I always will.


Lux.... Corey prods her again.

She looks up. The Engineer and Corey both giving her their full attention. She notes, ironically, how standing there they look like cartoon versions of an angel and a devil on her shoulder, vying for her soul. And then she realized that wasn't far off.

Rox was staring up at her too, trembling and spent.

Corey, I'm going to let you go.

Corey screws his face up in confusion. What?

Wylie's plan. I'm going to tell him to grow me my own body and I'm going to let you live your life.

The boy looked stunned.

It's not my place to stop you from doing that. Corey, I love you with every fiber of me being. I NEED you to know that. I LOVE you.

Okay, Lux....okay.....I know.... he whispers it solemnly like a prayer in Church. Thank you. That means a lot to me. But... he gestures to Rox.

Way to cushion the blow Lux.

Corey and Lux both look at The Engineer.

Her mind was made up last night.

Turning to Lux, Corey goes plaintive. Lux....LUX! You don't have to....

I'm sorry Corey, she's too dangerous. She knows too much. I love you. I'm sorry.

Rox goes rigid with fear at the words before she starts to scuttle backwards, throwing her hand up in front of the gun. No, no, no! LUX.....!

Lux fires.

Corey screams.

The Engineer smiles.

The birds bathing in the distance take flight, frightened by the clap of gunfire. The camera hones in on them as they meet the sky, kissing the evening redness in the west.

[Image: Engy1.png?width=650&height=420]

[Image: OW3ycxe.png]
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