Chapter 36: Exfil
Telemica was the first to regain consciousness. The shuttle cruised silently in the black, the white chaos of the derelict’s overloading systems shining behind them like a star. She attempted to rise very slowly from the row of trooper seats in the bay that she laid on, but the symphony of pain surging throughout her body forced her to abandon that idea immediately. An overhead readout was interfaced with her nearly wrecked armour and displayed objectively that she was lucky to be alive.
Shattered bones and ruptured organs were one thing, but she was missing her left arm. She’d been through hell before, but this was new for her. The armour had encased the wound in bio-noble foam to keep her from bleeding out and flooded her system with every combat cocktail it had in order to keep her moving. She vaguely recalled it being torn apart in the quantum foam inside the Vex transfer gate. She couldn’t feel it, nor could she not feel it. Some confluence of phantom limb and a warehouse worth of drugs, she figured.
She turned her head. Slowly, carefully and taking frequent breaks in order to give the cabin a chance to stop spinning.
Vatyr was out cold, hooked up to some medical equipment that told her while he was almost as banged up as she was, he was barely stable. Titans and hunters were just built differently. He’d need some serious surgery.
Between them was a stasis pod. The pattern for it must have been in the shuttle’s transmat memory for emergencies. It looked like a metal coffin with a domed transparent cover, offering a clear view of its patient submerged in a translucent green liquid that seemed to emit its own light, a nanotech approximation of amniotic fluid that protected and rejuvenated the patient at a cellular level. Its base was lined with all manner of interfaces and controls. It was almost funny that the entity being healed by fluids modeled after pregnancy waters had never been born in the traditional fashion.
She didn’t remember being able to pull him out of that transfer gate. In fact, she couldn’t remember making it off that derelict ship. Arrenn must have pulled it off, somehow. She assumed he was at the shuttle’s controls. What about the Vex? Had he taken them all on? She felt so rattled. She could barely think straight, and actually speaking was out of the question.
Then, there were the dreams.
They had to have been dreams. Impossible dreams. Dreams that felt so real that they left an imprint on a person’s bones, but at the same time there was a representative archetype aspect to them that made them feel like lucid dreams. Simulacra… or something warlocky like that. Representations of grave import. If they were just hallucinations caused by injuries and meds, then that was that. If, however unlikely, the dreams were actually memories, then they were not just hers but those of Vatyr and Solas as well. Was that even possible? Had the others experienced the same?
Plenty of stories and rumours flowed through the Tower about guardians trying crazy things to find their own memories. The Thanatonauts came about primarily in the search for the intelligence found in past lives, or so people said. Stories of mesmerizing success and terrifying failure were common gossip fodder. This, however, was a completely different level.
She’d been so caught up in her thoughts that she didn’t notice Vatyr staring back at her. He must have woken up at some point while Telemica was lost in thought. His eyes were dilated so she knew he was under meds similar to the ones in her system, but there was an intensity to his stare that tore into her. It was like he was screaming at her that he’d seen what she’d seen, and it was real. He was struggling to say something, but the strain must have triggered a drug rebalance by the equipment and he passed out.
Telemica needed answers and tried once again to get up, triggering a drug rebalance for her as well. She fought it just enough to sit partially up before succumbing, managing to get a single glimpse inside the stasis chamber that held Solas. As a heavy sleep took her and she fell back on to her makeshift bedding, one thought consumed her from the pit of her turning stomach:
Why did Solas have eyes?