I gathered my project notes, just in case, and walked the familiar route to the main control room, the brain of all of our complex operations. All the computers and scanners were linked through it and its security was virtually impenetrable. Only those of us with the highest clearance were ever allowed within its confines. I was one of six, including him, who had ever been inside.

As I entered, I noticed various scenes on the view screens. He stood with his back to the door, examining each of the dozens of images flashing on each of them. I stepped closer to him and the screens. I noticed that many of them were fire-scapes of various sorts. "My lord, I came immediately."

He glanced over at me, raising an eyebrow. "Yes." He smiled almost sinisterly. "You are always so eager." He regarded me again. It was unnerving. "Such undying loyalty." He looked back over at the screens.

"What do you think of that?" He questioned as he gestured to a scene of fiery destruction. A woman howled in despair as she watched her infant child being consumed by a fire. Many times she tried to save him, and many times she too caught a flame. Every time she would bat the flames out and try again, but each time would be more painful and only bring her closer to death. Finally, after several minutes, her and the child were nothing but slabs of charred flesh.

"My lord?" I examined the screen carefully. "Punishment? Why?"

He started to laugh as he turned his back to me again. "Traitors. They're everywhere. She was forbidden from bearing children." He grinned at me from over his shoulder. "Even the most seemingly innocent action may be a terrorist threat in disguise. Each act of disobedience is merely a small plot to undermine my authority." He started adjusting some dials on a console in a far corner of a room. "What do you think should be done about such criminal behavior?"

"Well," I started. I struggled to maintain my wall of self control. "It should be punished to the fullest extent."

"So," He flipped a few switches and a large panel on the wall started to open. "You agree that any accomplices should be equally punished."

I could feel his probing; the walls of my mind began to crack. My head ached. The panel opened completely to reveal a cryogenic cylinder. "Yes m..my lord."

"Good." He agreed.

I glanced over at the canister. "My lord?"

"Go ahead, look..."

I approached the silver canister apprehensively. I was fearful of what lay inside.

"...look upon the face of a fellow traitor."

I whipped around and looked at him, the sweat poured down my face. He just gestured at the tube.

I spun around, again facing the tube. I threw my body against it, peering through its fogged glass

window. It was impossible to make out the contents, then suddenly the worse possibility dawned on me. I felt the most crippling pain imaginable; it stabbed and ripped at my heart and soul. I howled as I recognized the face of my beloved Aza.

"Such strong love for your fellow man, impressive. Or..." He grinned widely. "...could it be something," He paused. "more? Perhaps the two of you are guilty of more then treason."

"NO!" I cried as I slid to my knees, still grasping the smooth, icy tube. "Let her go, please!" I implored.

"She's done nothing. Please," I continued to beg, "don't harm her. I...I'll take her punishment...I'll...I..." I could no longer speak. I could only think of Aza. Now we would never be together.

"Enough!" He studied me for a moment. I watched as his face grew darker. He was no longer mocking, he was impatient and agitated. "I have put up with this game for entirely too long!" I could feel his anger trembling throughout creation. He stared down at me, his eyes aflame. He flipped a switch and Aza's canister opened. She stumbled forward; I tried to stand up and catch her. He kicked me back to ground and caught Aza by her wrists.

"I have plans for you, but what of the lovely Azazel?" He threw her to the ground. "Azazel, you stand accused of corrupting a commanding officer." She looked up at him, shaking, weak. "Your punishment will be as severe as the crime you are guilty of." Suddenly, her body began to transform. Cries of pain echoed through the room. I couldn't watch. I just lay on the floor trembling as her wails of agony tore through my being. After an eternity, the screams quieted. A faint moaning emanated from Aza's direction. I looked over to find no longer the fragile, perfect creature I knew, but a metamorphosized monster of some kind. I sobbed in guilt at the sight of her. I should have never dragged her into this disaster. I should have known from the beginning that I had no chance of succeeding. Now she was some hideous being. Yet, to me she was still beautiful.

"You, Lucifer, are guilty of treasonous acts. For your crimes, you will be sentenced to eternity in prison. You will serve as an example to all my subjects of what treason brings. You will be warden in your own eternal jail cell." He glanced over at Azazel. "Behold your bride. She is damned to follow you. You will gaze at your handiwork for eternity. You will always know that you were the one who destroyed her."

I looked up at Him helplessly. I felt the ground open up, and I started to fall. Suddenly I was aware of another presence. I felt the familiar touch of Aza holding my hand. My soul was filled with joy, and I smiled as we fell.