Chronicles of a Caped Crusader: Confliction - Part Three
A week had gone by and Lynette still couldn't shake the weird feeling her confrontation with Judge Hog had left her with. Buzz noticed something was amiss and questioned her about it.
"I don't know, Buzz," Lynette said, leaning back in her chair. "Have you ever wondered if you did the right thing with your life?"
"Nope," Buzz replied promptly. "But, I don't think this is all there will be to my life."
"But the future life you are planning, is it the same as this only elsewhere, or do you want to be something else?" Lynette asked.
"Not much different, I expect. Just a change of employers and scenery." Buzz shrugged.
"So, do you think that this was a mistake, so you want to go elsewhere?" Lynette questioned.
Buzz laughed. "How could something that brought us together have been a mistake, Lynette? I got the best partner and friend I could have asked for, and I didn't even ask. You were forced on me."
"You were so mad," Lynette recalled with a smile.
"Then, on the very first mission, you saved me when I tripped up. Never regretted it," Buzz finished.
"Maybe I just need a vacation, or new mission, or something. I must have too much free time on my hands," Lynette finally said.
"Go down to Neopia Central for the day," Buzz suggested.
"Only if you come with me," Lynette replied.
"I can't, I promised Garoo I'd meet with him. Go on, there will be plenty of other days. We'll go together someday soon, I promise."
Lynette reluctantly got into her civilian clothes and rode the shuttle down to Neopia Central. When she got off, she looked around, unsure of what to do. She started walking and came to a little café. She sat down at one of the outdoor tables and ordered Azzle Coffee and some biscuits. As she sat there, she watched the people walking by. There was no fear on their faces. They were very different from the Grundos she was surrounded by up on the station. It made her feel sorry she was part of what inspired that fear.
After she finished her coffee, she wandered around Neopia Central for the remainder of the day. She tried to imagine herself an ordinary person living there, working an average desk job, and coming home to open windows and the smell of flowers. She was disturbed to find it appealing.
As the sun was setting, she came to a park with a large pond in the middle. She sat down on a bench overlooking the pond and reflected on the day.
"I can't live like this, though," she announced aloud.
"Why can't you?" Judge Hog asked as he seated himself next to her.
He was wearing a trench coat, hat, and sunglasses. Lynette had noticed him following her about an hour before, but had not let him know she knew he was there.
"It's not me," Lynette said.
"It's not Lynette, but you don't have to go on being Lynette. You could be someone else if you really wanted," Judge Hog countered.
She was silent and Judge Hog asked, "How did you come to be Lynette?"
The question startled her, she had never really stopped to think about her life and her past, or how she had come to this point in her life.
"I don't know, sir," she hesitated, unsure why she called him that. "I think I was born on the station. I lived with an uncle. I don't even know how I came to live with him, or who my parents were, and I never asked. For that matter, I suppose I don't even know if he really was my uncle. I just took it at face value. I grew up; at fifteen he enlisted me in Dr. Sloth's army. He was one of Dr. Sloth's personal guards, so he had a lot of clout. I was good with a blaster; I did what I was told, so between that and my uncle I moved up in the ranks very quickly. For some reason known only to Dr. Sloth I was assigned to be Buzz's partner and we became amazing. I never once questioned anything in my life, made any plans, had any dreams. I did what I was told and I kept moving along. That's who I am."
"But, you know you can't go on like that. You've begun to wonder and question things. Can you really go back to the way you were? Just take orders and never question if you are doing the right thing with your life?" Judge Hog asked.
"No, I can't, but I can't abandon Buzz either!" her mind cried, but she said aloud, "We'll have to find out, won't we?"
"I guess so." Judge Hog rose.
"You're not going to take me in?" Lynette asked archly.
"Not unless I could take Buzz at the same time. All I'd be doing would be creating a dangerous situation for Neopia Central," Judge Hog answered.
"Somebody does their homework. Slap your naïve Lupe friend for me," Lynette chuckled.
Judge Hog just waved as he walked away.
She sat and looked out over the water for a while longer.
"You could never be a normal person, could you, Buzz? I can't go halfway, we either have to stay as we are or give it up all together. I guess we'll stay as we are," Lynette decided aloud.
Lynette boarded the shuttle back to the Space Station. She closed her eyes and tried to shut out her day below. She tried to crush the dreams that were beginning to form in her heart. She was trying not to be something better than she was, the person she might have been if something had been different.
She got out on the Station and took an elevator to the lower levels where she lived. She walked quickly, just wanting to get to her room and go to bed. She didn't want to run into anyone, especially not Buzz. He knew her; he'd know something had happened to throw her off balance. She didn't want to disappoint him.
Just as she reached her door, alarms started to go off. Lynette pulled out her blaster and started forward. Someone was running down the corridor ahead. She stopped and waited to see who it was. She could not have been more shocked when the person appeared.
It was the Grundo scientist from the week before. He was once again attempting to escape. He saw her and stopped. He put his hands up; he knew his escape attempt was over. Without thinking she put her blaster away, turned around, and went into her room, locking the door behind her. She heard him run off. She quickly changed into her crimson body suit. She took her blaster and left her room, pursuing the scientist.
She knew it was an act, she knew she wouldn't catch him before he made it to one of the escape pods on the level. She knew that, if by some amazing chance she did, if there was no one to see her, she'd let him go again. She didn't know why she was doing it; she should have stopped him the first time. But she hadn't, she had become something better than she should be, and there was no stopping now.
She reached the escape pod bay moments after the scientist jettisoned. A few guards and Buzz also arrived at about the same moment.
"Who was that?" Lynette demanded.
"The same scientist you brought back last week," Buzz said.
"How did he get loose again?" She turned on the guards, shouting, "Why are you lot so miserably incompetent?"
"You're kind today," Buzz chuckled.
"I'm tired," Lynette countered. "Answer my question!"
"I don't know, ma'am. I'm sorry, ma'am," a guard stammered.
"You can tell that to Dr. Sloth then when he comes for an inspection. You can't avoid it now," Lynette said darkly.
"Someone will have to get him back. How did you find him last time?" Buzz asked.
"Pure luck, there was nothing in his file that yielded any clues to his connections down there. He came out in public to see what was going on when that Captain Nefarious attacked. I saw him and grabbed him. He'll be more careful this time. Dr. Sloth can send someone else; I've caught him once already. I'm going to bed. Toodles."
She heard Buzz chuckling. He hadn't noticed anything amiss. She was lucky, this time. She casually walked back to her room, locked herself in, and turned out the lights. She prepared for bed, knowing there would be no sleep for her that night.
At first, she lay awake on her bed and stared at the ceiling, her mind numb. Then, slowly, what had happened began to sink in, and questions began to assault her mind.
Why did that have to happen just then? Why did she have to become a better person? Tomorrow and she might have been able to put all the feelings away and do her job. She could have gone on with her old life; she could have lived with herself. Now she was different, she couldn't be the Lynette she had been. But, she couldn't break with that Lynette either, she couldn't let Buzz down. She rolled over and sobbed into her pillow, so conflicted, so unsure, her future so uncertain.
To be continued...