"They're coming," Lucy said.
"What?" Centurion didn't even know who 'they' were.
"The Fortarians. They want the diadem." The diadem that had tried to kill her. She wanted to let them have it.
Centurion didn't ask how she could possibly know that. "We can't let them have it."
"The Fortarians aren't very good people. They probably poisoned you for the diadem. And it represents unlimited knowledge of the galaxy. That's a lot of power to give to people like them."
Lucy wouldn't let them have it. She would burn it. She made her hand hot. The diadem didn't burn. She pulled out her two Ultrasteel swords, and heated them to thousands of degrees. They bounced off the diadem.
"I don't think we can break it," Centurion said. "It's probably pretty tough."
Lucy didn't say anything. Centurion noticed her looking at him, expecting him to suggest something. As if he were a bottomless well of brilliant ideas.
"I guess we'll need to fight them."
"There will be many."
Then, Centurion did have a good idea. He slowly shifted shape, changing into an exact replicate of Lucy. "And they'll all come after me."
Centurion was mostly right. Of the eight thousand soldiers who had been sent to arrest Lucy, more than seven thousand chased after the duplicate, eager to be the one to bring cosmic knowledge to their Emperor. The duplicate disappeared into an air duct, and appeared halfway across the ship. It could outmaneuver its pursuers and pick them off. It took them quite some time to track him down and kill him.
This left Lucy to fight through one thousand Fortarian soldiers in order to reach the teleporting spacecraft still hiding in her quarters. It didn't occur to her that the Fortarians might storm her quarters and remove the ship. Fortunately, that didn't occur to the Fortarians either.
Lucy left the Fortarian Library. She found a crowd of soldiers waited for her. They hadn't gotten permission from their Emperor to enter the Library. But now their wait was over. No more loafing around. "Give us the diadem," a ranking soldier said.
The soldier pulled out a gun. Before he could fire, Lucy drew her twin blades, and cut off his hand. "Get her," he screamed, falling to the ground. Lucy cut off his head.
She stabbed the soldier in front of her. The one behind her. She used corpses as cover when it was possible, and dodged bullets when it wasn't.
She cut through anyone close enough to reach. She picked up a gun, and emptied it into the crowd. Nineteen troops down, nine-hundred-eighty-one to go.
At this point, you probably think the Fortarians are pretty stupid. Sure, Lucy might be formidable fighter, preternaturally aware of her surroundings, but seriously. She shouldn't be a threat to an interstellar Empire. They shouldn't be going at her with guns a few at a time. They should have pressed the element of surprise. Or just drained all the air on that ship. Or thrown in a chemical which didn't affect Fortarians but was toxic to Lucy. If you thought of any of those things, you are officially smarter than the brain-damaged fool who ruled the Empire. Congratulations.
Carpenter watched as his soldiers were cut down. Lucy was covered with the yellow blood of Fortarians as she cut her path to... it must have been her room. Why hadn't anyone gotten there earlier? And all of the soldiers were busy being mowed down by one of the two Lucy's. Why had the Emperor decided to commit the entire species- infantry to a frontal assault? And why had they spent millennia phasing out police and foot soldiers to the point where a pair of warriors could cut through a significant fraction of their army without- so far- being killed?
Why wasn't he in charge of things?
Lucy cut off someone's head. She killed someone. She had killed a lot of people. A lot.
Lucy cried. She cried for the dead. She cried because she killed them. She cried... because she knew that she could never do anything to reverse the one day's worth of destruction.
She heard someone else cry. "Please, someone save me. Please, someone, anyone! I didn't do anything! And now she's going to kill me."
Lucy killed him.
She killed again. Someone shot her. She killed him. She killed someone else. So much killing.
She could make it stop. She could put on the diadem. She could become the New Archivist. Then nobody could hurt her. She wouldn't have to kill anyone.
But the New Archivist had tried to kill her. Some part of Lucy knew that if she put on the diadem, she would never take it off again. It would literally be suicide. And Lucy couldn't bring herself to do that.
So the fighting continued.