A dark shadow passed over Lexx’s face as he looked down at the ground, his voice carrying an almost morbid tone to it, deepening and echoing with a hollow almost lifeless edge. He spoke slowly now, weighted down by his next words that he didn’t want to say. “Nobody has yet completed all three. They are either tagged or murdered, because when we fight too long, we don’t get reset like Stealth and Fly … we die. The cooperation doesn’t want us to live long. They don’t want us to succeed. If we succeed, they’re afraid that we’ll tell everyone that we aren’t willing participants, that we signed our contracts as children. That we didn’t even sign our contracts. They’re afraid of what we might say.

We’re all dead. Every one of us who’s been bonded to a dice knows that. They’re not going to let us go. Before they got to me, a lot of my kind had another way out.” Lexx closed his eyes and lifted his right arm, pulling back the sleeve of his coat and starting to unwrap the bandages he had so carefully wound before around his forearms. “Suicide.” He showed the scars to Chel, letting her realize just how futile he’d been in that effort. “Better than being forced to be hunted like animals with the same ending results. I tried seven times this way, but they had already fixed that problem by the time it was my turn. That’s part of the reason they injected me with nanites … to keep me alive and from killing myself.”

Lexx rubbed his exposed scars as though feeling them for the first time, remembering how it had hurt. He’d passed out each time because of the nanites, before he bled to death and they had fixed everything. It was their job to fix his wounds as quickly as they could, even self-inflicted. “I can’t die. I’ve tried everything. Poison, drowning, knives… lasers…” He neglected to add that while he had done all these things, he didn’t have an outstanding tolerance for pain. There were other things he could have done that might have done the job, but he’d been afraid. Imploding, being crushed, dismemberment; those actions might have done the job but the thought of just how much pain he’d have to endure if he failed was a good deterrent. He couldn’t die at his own hand; only someone else’s in battle. His only hope was to push to the end and make sure that the finishing blow on him would do the job he couldn’t do on his own.