III. Heart-Truth

Mithrax moved carefully through the Hangar. The thrum of idling grav drives and hissing pneumatic lifts made his aching head throb. He squinted toward the interface setup at the far end of the docking bay and stopped short; even amidst the cacophony, Saint's absence was jarring.

Mithrax cast his gaze down as a dusty gray pigeon bobbed indignantly across his path then ducked out of sight behind a rack of engine blocks. Mithrax stooped his head and followed. He pushed aside a drape of loose wiring and found Saint sitting on the edge of one of the docking stations, looking out over the City. Geppetto, Saint's Ghost, hovered glumly over her Guardian's shoulder. She nodded wordlessly at Mithrax as he approached, then glided back into the center of the Hangar, leaving the two friends alone but for the flock of pigeons that milled aimlessly behind them.

"You have not come to visit for a while," Mithrax said. Saint's crested helmet lay on the ground beside the Titan, and Mithrax carefully moved it before sitting next to him.

Saint did not break his stare. "You come to check up on me?" he asked flatly.

Mithrax considered the question. "Yes," he said. "How are you?"

Saint shook his head. "I do not know," he said, words thick with exhaustion.

"You do not need to know," Mithrax said. "How do you feel?"

"I feel like…" Saint put a hand on his breastplate, then jabbed his fingers into the metal. Then again, harder. Mithrax swallowed the urge to ask him to stop. "Like I am not who I thought I was."

Mithrax's hands reflexively went to his own chest. "When they found you, Ikora said you moved and spoke as though you were dreaming."

"I think maybe I have been dreaming for a long time." Saint looked down at his balled fists, then loosened his grip and laced his fingers together in his lap. "The Conductor woke me," he whispered.

Mithrax heard the darkness in his friend's voice. "What did it say to you?" he asked, keeping his own voice warm.

"The truth," Saint said gravely.

Mithrax sat patiently in silence.

"It told me I am a lie," Saint said finally. "A copy. It said I am something left over from another reality, a twisted reflection from inside the Vex network. Osiris and the Guardian pulled me into this world, but I do not belong here."

"Where are we?" Mithrax asked.

Saint groaned and waved the question away. "Do not say something smart to me now. Osiris does this, and I have had enough of it."

Again, Mithrax sat patiently.

"We are in the Tower," Saint muttered.

Mithrax nodded. "We are," he said, stressing the first word.

Saint looked over at the Eliksni, then closed his eyes in acknowledgement. "Yes, yes. Smart like Osiris. I say I do not belong, and… I see where this is going."

Mithrax drew himself to his feet. A pile of brightly colored canvas bags on a nearby pallet caught his attention and he walked slowly to them. "What am I going to say?" he called over his shoulder.

Saint sighed and leaned back on his hands. "You would say that you, Misraaks, proud Eliksni of House Light, are here in the Last City, stronghold of your enemies. And that if anyone does not belong, it is you."

Mithrax smiled to himself and tore the corner of one of the canvas bags. Golden seed spilled from within.

"And yet," Saint continued, "you walk freely, you have many friendships, you talk with the great monster Saint-14, you feed his birds."

Mithrax smiled. The pigeons gathered behind Saint's back as he scattered a loose handful of seed.

Suddenly, his vision narrowed and darkened. His headache shrieked, filling his mind with blinding pain. He doubled over as a terrifying urge—RULE, KELL—roared through his chest.

The pigeons burst away in harried flight, leaving the seed untouched on the ground.

Saint was still watching the pigeons wheel through the sky and down into the City. Mithrax wrapped his arms around himself until the shaking subsided and took a deep draw of Ether.

"You are good friend," Saint said quietly, his gaze fixed on the City. Mithrax walked over slowly and sat down next to him again.

"I try," he said softly.

III - Gifts from the Shore

Category: Eliksni

III. The Traitor

III - Chosen

Category: Mithrax


II - Devotion

Category: Osiris

III - Risen from Bones

II. Isolated Incidents

Category: Book: Polyphony

IV. MSUND12/Personal

III - Gifts from the Shore

Category: Ikora Rey


III - Gifts from the Shore

Category: Saint-14

II - The Pigeon and the Splicer