William was hunched over his screen, writing. It was the only thing he could do. If Kirie was going to leave, then that meant he'd have to handle everything himself. There was nothing else he could do. This had to be done.

He'd been too tired lately. It was just one trial after another, endless tribulations, ever since he'd gotten his hands on the Mycologica. The Mycologica expedition itself had been a test. Sector 05 testing his loyalty and ambition. And he had always thought himself a loyal man, but in the end, he had chosen his ambition.

There was nothing for him to do but rise, or else he'd be prosecuted for trying to do so. And there was no escape from it. His life was something he had to hold in his own hands.

He could not live without his own violence.

If he was going to be left behind by other people, he could live without them.

" Wille," he heard Nova speak.

He hadn't heard him come in; he had been too concentrated on his work.

" I'm fine now," William responded, typing. " I was shocked at first, but if she wants to leave, it can't be helped."

He looked up at Nova.

He looked miserable.

" Wille, I want to talk to you," he said.

William closed out of his holoscreen, shut his computer off.

" What's wrong?" he asked. " You don't look well."

Nova sank down into the chair in front of William's desk.

He covered his face.

" I'm scared," he said quietly.

William stared at him.

" When I think about what happened... Everything that happened... I'm scared... because if I acknowledge it, I'm afraid I'll have to acknowledge that..."

He took a deep, shuddering breath.

" I'll have to acknowledge that he did what he did to hurt me."

William stared at him.

" I'll have to acknowledge that... he never really cared about me at all... and that he only wanted to get back at Mother and Uncle... I... I..."