Here's my go.
"Is this it?" Carly asked me.
Shrugging my shoulders and turning away caused the figure at her feet to fade from my thoughts. There's nothing left, was the only realization remaining. What could be left after this?
"It was the hunters." My voice was tremulous, the memories of the carnage, the gunshot, fresh in my mind. "After all those millions of miles following her it comes down to this."
Something in Carly's eyes softened as she saw my shell of nonchalance break away, revealing the breaking sense of failure, and distress, beneath. What chance did a poor tech like me stand against the voracious kill mentality of a hunter?
"It's not as if they could even eat her. It was a senseless killing." My voice cracked with the shame. "By failing to protect her, she ended up, like--"
"Now don't be stupid!" Carly snapped, her tone softening. Carly? Something caused me to look up and see the glint of -- what? -- in her eyes.
Strange sensations began to churn in my stomach. Unfamiliar feelings as emotion that had been locked away for so long began to emerge. That damming of emotions was part of the long hard training for techs like me, leaving us solely attached to the ones we had to protect and banning any feeling we could feel for another. Feelings that would distract us from our job, from our task of protecting.
"It's, it's happening, isn't it?" Carly looked at me, her voice going husky as if she too was caught up in something beyond her control.
Maybe she was. Maybe the Makers were forcing this event upon us, a kind of bittersweet end to a torturous journey.
She knelt down, focussed on the broken figure between us. She was trying to keep her thoughts away from me, from that odd sensation of drowning in emotions that threatened to overwhelm us.
"It was fast," she said. "Instantly torn apart by the bullet. She had no chance."
It was becoming harder for me to focus. Now my mission had failed, my failure lying broken and lifeless before me, the need to seek comfort and consolation burned like a flaming tower within.
"Carly…" Thick with need my voice drew her gaze, her breath was coming in short sharp gasps, as if she was fighting with everything she had to avoid this moment. "…it's over. The mission, my mission, it's a failure. There is nothing left for me, not anymore."
Taking the bronze topped power cell from my pocket and handing it to her broke her chains of immobility.
"Nick, no! This isn't the end, it can't be."
She stood, quickly wrapping her arms around me, her body warm and soft beneath the skin-hugging top and jeans. My lips brushed her forehead and my arms curled around her, pulling her closer as gentle shivers tremored through her.
"How could they do it?" she asked, tears of mourning finally breaking through as her lips sought mine for a pain healing kiss.
"They are cruel and evil." My words brushed against her cheek, murmuring, longing. "My old life has ended, now. Now the energizer bunny is dead."