Ephemeral Spark

The brightest thing in the sky.

"Wow, check out that power source. Retro." Even through the holoprojector's patchy connection and the rippling visage of Nimbus, there's no missing the excitement in their voice as it echoes off the walls of the Arcology. "You said this was New Pacific tech?"

"Found it not too far from here," Sloane replies.

"We've still got some of their old records. I always liked their jingle."

Sloane smiles. "'The next frontier is you?'"

"That's the one. Catchy, right?" Nimbus grins. "So hey, you're absolutely onto something—this exoskeleton of yours looks a whole lot like some of the early Cloud Strider prototypes I learned about. Before the Sidereal. Before the nanotech. Just a couple of neural links and some chrome. This biointerface—"

Sloane snorts. "The part where the suit stabbed me full of wires?"

"The frame alone must weigh a couple of tons. And you wore it into battle?"

"Sure did."

Nimbus's projection looks up at her with a serious expression. "You are so cool." They focus for a moment on the datapad in their hand. "I know some gearheads who'll flip. Quinn's gonna love this thing."

"There are a few design flaws," Sloane says. "Once the suit was out of juice, it was impossible to maneuver. I basically had to rip myself out of it."

Nimbus laughs. "Hey, there's downsides to the shiny new model too."

Sloane wasn't sure what to expect from this exchange when Zavala first proposed it to her. A polite back and forth about Golden Age technology, as one might have with the Cryptarchs. Maybe a few resentful accusations, a little culture clash.

Not this sense of recognition, like an old, familiar ache.

Nimbus's smile is radiant. "Still, while you're along for the ride? What a rush."

Sloane nods. "Best feeling in the world."

Empty Vessel

Category: Zavala