A rumbling as if a planet was exploding.

A powerful force that slammed through space.

And heat, unbearable heat,


The structure of the starship collapsed along with the explosion, and Thaddeus was immediately pulled by the immense suction force of the explosion.


He gritted his teeth and endured the pressure as best as he could, but it wasn't enough. He could only helplessly endure as his body was thrown into the walls of the starship.



His back hit an exposed beam and his spine cracked. A series of whooshes passed him as the rest who weren't so lucky met their tragic fates.

The explosion swallowed them.

Their bodies were incinerated. Their flesh and bones were seared away brutally, and even the black ink they transformed into evaporated into nothingness.

In that final moment before Thaddeus could join them, the protective charm left to him by his father activated, and a thick barrier enveloped the entire control room, protecting him.

He understood why he survived, but why did she?

Thaddeus stared at the woman in front of him with powerful killing intent in his eyes.

"It was your fault!" He shouted.

"If it wasn't for you, the ship wouldn't have been destroyed and my exploration wouldn't have been ruined! How dare you?!"


Aaliyah coughed out a mouthful of blood and smiled wryly.

"I wasn't so sure of it after seeing how you interact amongst yourselves, but you really have no consideration for human life. I stopped you from massacring countless innocents for no reason. Is that such a crime?"

She held the wound in her stomach and shakily stood up.

Even she didn't know why she'd survived, but as long as she was alive, she'd do everything she could to fight.

"What value does human life have?!" Thaddeus roared back in response.

"You're weak existences who can't even stand invasion from outsiders! You're broken from the inside and corrupted thoroughly, you lie and backstab, you feel emotion that skews your rational thought! How can you call yourselves worthy of value?!"

"Spoiled brat."


Aaliyah couldn't hold herself back from scoffing after hearing Thaddeus' speech.

"I called you a spoiled brat. Isn't that all you are? You look down on others because you can't understand them, you complain about unimportant things as if your life would suddenly become worse without them, you're a hypocritical bastard who criticizes others without even looking at your own flaws. If you aren't a spoiled brat, what else could you be?"


Thaddeus wanted to respond, but his words were stuck in his throat.

'Is that…how others perceive me?'

The roaring of explosions was the only sound in the area for many minutes.

Thaddeus sat down on the ruined floor of the control room and fell into thought.

Aaliyah knew she had an opportunity to kill him. He wasn't paying her any mind, and he was a vile person who deserved death no matter what.


She couldn't bring herself to do it.

'Is he…self-reflecting?'

It was honestly something she never expected the Nox to be able to do. Considering how they always acted belligerently without remorse, Aaliyah didn't think the concept of a conscience existed within them.

Seeing Thaddeus ruminate over her sharp words, she couldn't help but wait to see the outcome.

Just as she expected, Thaddeus was truly reflecting on her words.

In any regular situation, he'd never have done so. Even if it was his own father reprimanding him, Thaddeus would show resistance if he didn't agree with what was being said.

But this wasn't an ordinary situation, and Aaliyah wasn't an ordinary person.

Somehow, she'd survived that explosion with no new wounds. Thaddeus saw it briefly out of the corner of his eyes, "something" brushed through the control room at the same instant the explosion happened, and that "something" gave Aaliyah the means to survive.

But even if she was aided by an external force, just the fact that she had the fate to be trapped with him in this isolated space where none could interfere held immense significance to Thaddeus.

'Nobody has ever dared to talk to me like that.'

The people who surrounded him were always either trying to kill him or curry favor with him. Meeting Aaliyah was his first experience with someone who could scold him without fear.

'Are all humans like this?'

Thaddeus thought back to his actions in the past.

'Hypocritical bastard, she says…?'

It was true. Most of the flaws he listed for humanity, didn't the Nox possess them in far greater quantities?

His own race was disgusting, this was a thought he'd had since young. Thaddeus had never enjoyed the Nox's way of life, nor did he support their methods.

He simply grew indifferent because his hatred became too deep.

To cope with it, he unloaded it on those ants he met during the war.

He looked back up at Aaliyah, breaking away from the depressing chain of thought that was forming in his mind.

"I really want to kill you." He muttered.

"If you try, I'll fight back until the end," Aaliyah responded confidently.


Thaddeus smirked at her words.

It was calm.

Despite the roaring of explosions that didn't seem to want to quiet down outside the barrier, despite the intense war that was taking place even further out than that explosion, Thaddeus felt peace.

"You're a strange woman. You recognize me as an enemy, yet you refuse to act. You've had every chance to kill me in the past few minutes, but you didn't take a single one. What is your intent?"

"U-um…I…just felt like it?" Aaliyah responded in confusion.

Even she didn't know why she didn't kill Thaddeus. To this moment, the desire in her mind wasn't to kill, but to fix.

'He's different from the rest of them.'

Thaddeus was indifferent to all things, but he had a hint of curiosity in him that overrode his personality entirely. He was a Nox with many of the disgusting personality traits of a Nox, but he also had a human side that Aaliyah couldn't help but see after observing him for so long.

Her hatred for the man would never vanish. He would always be the man who massacred universe denizens like nothing without even a single hint of motive.

But sacrifices…were necessary.

When it came to indifference to the deaths of others, Aaliyah couldn't even blame Thaddeus. This same atmosphere was possessed by nearly every expert in the universe.

If she could help him understand what the universe was like, if she could help him understand morality, wouldn't humanity gain a crucial ally?

This Thaddeus character was a gamble for Aaliyah. If she went all in to follow her instinct, she'd either gain a powerful ally or invite a wolf into the sheep's den.

Her hands trembled as she watched the man try to rationalize her words.

Her heart thumped.

'Death is mercy. If I can help him learn sympathy, and he feels the guilt and burden on his shoulders…'

That would be the best punishment for him, and the best vengeance for the fallen.

Giving a man who didn't flinch in the face of pain and death those two things was meaningless. The joy caused by his death would fade and be replaced with a hollow emptiness soon enough.

To reform the pitiful soul she saw in front of her, and to provide the ultimate retribution for the fallen…

Aaliyah made a choice.