All he knew was that he had to get up to the Tech Priest. Solisto was either going to damn or save them all.
"Stay back!" Solisto shouted as soon as he rounded the bend of the ring room. The laspistol Lehner had given her was in her hand, and thanks to the implants running through her hands and arms to assist with fine manipulation work she was holding it steady despite the tremors that were quaking visibly through the rest of her body. Martiya had retreated against the far wall, her wrench and Klemens' pistol on the ground where Solisto had apparently demanded she drop them. Nyl was on the floor with his hands clamped over his damaged eye, in too much pain to interfere. Lehner noted that the control panel under Solisto's other hand was blinking, possibly with warning lights, but that the priestess' fingers remained frozen over the dials. She was confused, and clearly frightened. Even though she was pointing a gun at Lehner, her face seemed to be pleading for him to tell her what to do.
+ + + + + +
"Fitz get out of there! It's a manipulation, a manifestation of Chaos! She is not your sister, she was never your sister!"
The shout crackled through the vox bead in Fitz' ear, hard on the heels of the magos' message that had boomed through the deck-wide speakers. She turned to Olivia, her eyes wide.
"They're lying." the astropath whispered. Her own eyes, pale blue and blind, were glistening with tears. "The magos is lying! I'm here! Do I feel like an illusion?"
She reached out to try and touch Fitz, but the soldier shied away, shaking her head.
"Anna!" the astropath pleaded as Fitz stumbled backwards out of the hexagram circle, and out of her reach.
"Corp..." Fitz stuttered into the vox. "I..."
Ten seconds ago Olivia had told her to trust Klemens, but now Klemens and magos Sariel were telling her that Olivia wasn't real.
+ + + + + +
"Show yourself, you damned rotten traitor! Come out so I can kill you!"
"Call me a traitor one more time, private O'Rourke!" a familiar voice snarled. There was a metallic creaking as someone began climbing the ladder, and colour sergeant Pilgrim hauled himself up into the ring room. Sweat was beading on his creased forehead, but he looked as coldly determined as ever. In one hand he held a frag grenade with the pin removed, the safety lever held down with a white-knuckle grip, and he made sure it was the first thing that Gerald and Kerrigan saw as he climbed up. As they hesitated, he got to his feet and pulled out his combat knife. It was wet with a red sheen of blood, as was the flakweave cuff of the soldier's sleeve. Mercurius' blood.
"We can't leave this ship." he growled, addressing them both. "The Warp made us kill DuGrae, and Martos, and Corbec, and those two men near the Navigator's Quarters. What about Lehner? How could he have survived? And if you need more proof!"
He gestured with his knife at the nearest vox-servitor, which had just made the magos' damning revelation about Fitz and Olivia.
"The Warp's gotten into all our heads. We're corrupted, and there's no way back from that. Chaos only dies when you do. You can either give up..." He drew the knife across his own throat, a few centimetres from the skin. "Or give in. And I won't let that happen. Not to me. Not to you."