It’s so cold...
    That’s the sensation that occupied my mind the most. I couldn’t feel anything else. I knew I still had arms and legs but there was no sensation anymore. I had tried to keep them moving at first but the effort quickly tired me and so I’d stopped. Now, I couldn’t have made the exertion no matter how hard I tried.
    I guess this was how it all ended for me. One moment, cleverly outwitting and outrunning the system’s authorities, smuggling anything and everything for a tidy sum.
    The next moment, it was all over.
    They caught me somehow.
    I was running a supply of Spark from Oberio Minor through the backwater trail, smooth sailing all the way to Quadros Gul. A route I’d run dozens–hell, hundreds of times–back and forth with no problem at all.
    Except this one time. This one time made all the difference...
    I’d made it three quarters of the route to Quadros Gul when the ISA showed up out of nowhere. After some time floating here I figure they must have been hiding out on the far side of Ferrios’ moon. It was a tiny body but there simply wasn’t anywhere else they could’ve come from.
    The ISA constables had a standard squadron of five interceptors. They broadcast the usual cease and desist message at me, of course, but I figured I could take them. My ride was fast, reasonably shielded and sporting five plasma cannons.
    I was stupid.
    I took down two of them no problem. The first guy didn’t even realize I wasn’t surrendering before I was able to disable his drive and weapons.
    The second ship–like the others–gave chase. I was able to run him out near the small asteroid pocket then I did a one-eighty and blasted him full-on.
    I’d meant to only disable his ship but I must have hit something critical by mistake. His ship tore itself apart almost instantly. There’s no way he survived that hit.
    Needless to say, his three remaining wing mates weren’t very impressed by my maneuvering and I lost any potential mercy they might have been inclined to grant.
    I tried to flank them but they were angry and determined. One got a lucky shot in, destroyed my rear stabilizers. After that, it was easy for the others to finish me off.
    I ejected just before the ship went up in flame. For all the good that did me...
     They left me for dead. Probably didn’t realize I had my environmental suit on otherwise they might have swung back around and made certain.
    Maybe they should have. As it was, I’d only delayed the inevitable anyway. After hours in the void my oxygen supply was low and I was totally numb. Dying in the attack might have been preferable.
    At least it would’ve been fast...
    I notice the magenta beauty of the Spyrichi nebula in the distance. I figure it’s as good a thing as any to be the last thing I see before I surrender to the inevitable.
    A final moment of peace before I go to the eternal night...
    I had no real regrets. Had I gone wrong in life? I suppose you could argue I had–but I’d made peace with my demons long ago. There was no one left to apologize to anymore, no ways I could have ever made amends now even if I’d wanted.
    The rest, as they say, is silence.
    The cold silent vacuum of space...
    I gazed off at the distant nebula for some time. I was vaguely aware of a disruption in my perception. Had I blacked out? If so, I had no way of knowing how long.
    The world went dark again.
    This time I was certain I had blacked out. I didn’t know for how long but it felt like a considerable amount of time. Not a blip in continuity like before. Perhaps the next time would be the last.
    Then it happened.
    A feeling of power, like a massive burst of thunder nearby. Every fiber of my being felt like it had been pricked with tiny needles.  
    I was disoriented. Weak. Oxygen starved. But even in my depleted state I knew that was impossible in the coldness of the void.
    I couldn’t turn. Couldn’t move. My strength was gone.
    I heard a voice.
    “You are mine now...” It thundered. It was loud. Impossibly loud. I knew it was in my head that I heard it. But it was not a product of a dying man’s imagination.
    It was all too real.
    I had been freezing. My oxygen was depleted, my suit’s environmental systems de-powered. But now, suddenly, I started to burn.
    The heat seemed to be everywhere, not originating in one place or the other. It spread through me, consuming my body, my heart, my very soul...
    I burned with pain. Pain like no mortal had ever experienced before. Every single cell in my body burned and exploded.
    I died and was simultaneously reborn.
    No longer weak flesh. I was remade.
    Birthed in the very fire of the cosmos itself. I radiated fire, breathed it, consumed it...
    “Behold. My harbinger of chaos. My instrument of destruction,” the voice thundered in my mind. “Go forth and prepare the way for me... let all tremble before the power of Unicron!”
    I turned my attention toward the not too distant world I knew to be called Quadros Gul and willed myself toward it. I moved of my own accord, no longer dependent on machines. I raced toward my target with incredible speed.
    My purpose was clear. My will was that of my master.
    Consume the life before me. Cleanse the universe of the filth that cluttered it...
    I was free. Free to serve darkness wholly now. Uncluttered by such concerns as morality and emotion.  
    I had become fire incarnate now and I would gladly bring my purity to all who opposed my master.