Mind Shard

Get there quicker than thought.

Prime-40 leaned against the side of the small café and watched the children of the City happily chasing Artemis.

Artemis seemed to enjoy it as much as the children did. He barked playfully and wagged his tail as if to encourage them as they ran to him, only to suddenly juke and sprint quick circles around the courtyard over and over as they laughed. Finally, he flopped down in the shade of a wooden table, and the children descended on him in a whirlwind of head pats and belly rubs.

The roar of a Sparrow broke the calm. Prime-40 stepped forward as it tore past, his cloak whipping around him in the dusty air.

Another Guardian heading up to the Tower, Prime-40 thought. He squinted into the distance and saw a stream of ships leaving the Hangar, heading east.

"Something's happening at the Cosmodrome," he said quietly.

Artemis trotted over to him and whined. Prime-40 knelt and scratched him behind his ears.

"Come on," he said.

The Exo and his dog walked along the low wall at the edge of the City. Prime-40 ran a gloved hand along the rough and crumbling surface, his fingers absentmindedly skimming over cracks from years of wear.

When they reached a gap in the easternmost point, Prime-40 climbed through without trouble and gazed for a moment at the dry grassland stretching far into the distant mountains. He kicked a stone block upright and sat down, resting his strong back against the City wall.

Artemis sat obediently at his feet.

"If trouble's coming," Prime-40 said, gesturing past the scrub and blooming mesquite, "it's coming from over there."

Artemis barked in agreement.

"Whatever it is, we'll handle it together," Prime-40 said. "Same as always."

Artemis huffed contentedly, laid down, and crossed his front paws protectively over Prime-40's boots.

The two looked out over the plains, and together, they waited for what would come next.