[DAY 0] Black skies quell storms as if they were fleeing omens.
Titan's Pyramid dragged hurricanes across the sky like chained gods.
Deputy Commander Sloane had seen faint lightning flash from deep beneath the Arcology dome—timed prior strikes and their thunder to judge the storm's movement. But as she walked outside to a flash, this time there was no thunder.
It had taken Sloane most of the morning after the Guardian had left to reach the surface. Waves were overtaking the rig platform, sloshing methane across the battle-marred power suit woven into Sloane's body.
"Hell…" She straightened her spine within the suit and stared at the Pyramid through her HUD, watching it displace existence around it as it clawed a distorted path through the sky.
Síocháin zoomed toward her through a blur of flickering neon. "Moving away from us."
"Shouldn't be moving at all." Sloane turned to her Ghost. "Let's get that perimeter set. The Hive'll come again tonight."
Before she could move, the Pyramid began shedding Scales from its hull. They hovered for a moment over where they'd detached and peeled away, revealing opalescent flesh.
Suddenly, the Pyramid emitted a wave that struck Titan, and a half-remembered tone resonated through Sloane's mind. With it, a lifetime: every experienced moment in a slurry of vivid flashes, condensed into simultaneous chaotic anarchy, grasping at grief, joy, anger, love. Seen from where she stood, past experiences gained new perspectives; memories best left dusted with rosy haze shrank under harsh light. Warmth, too fleeting, cold, still, ever frigid in its isolation…
And something else, sifting through it all, drawing it to order, as if rearranging fractured collagic panes into a new image.
She struggled to breathe, and her suit flexed against the weight of her years, splayed out across time in violating fashion. Then just as suddenly, they were gone, faded into dreams.
The sky turned black and orange like a fire-screen, and thunder resonated.
Sloane's body pitched forward over the platform, sinking through air, then sea. Heavy metal was swallowed whole; consciousness faded into the black.
Her experience tumbled through sharded eras of reality like an astral projection, even as she felt her feet still firmly planted in the present. A cascade of timeless scenes whirled by, like panes of life captured in glass, in an indefinite stream of consciousness. Scenes of Titan, of a vibrant seascape installation. Too familiar not to be memories.
Not hers, but no less real.
Their point of focus left Titan, dragged backwards across the lonely expanse of space to a world she'd never seen.
Its seas full of vivacious promise. Its moons conceal a Watcher in the sky. Its waves breed insidious appetite in the deep.
There is a temptation there she craves but does not understand. Unnatural and cursed.
She fell again, guided. Through a song, a memory, an image of a dream bent into perception like a focusing lens. Unreality coated in familiar skin. An attempt at understanding.
The Tower. Friends and comrades. Shine and grime, all. A heralded return. A shadow drawn overhead. A battle delayed, returning.
The Tower, a time yet lived. Black shadows that would fill an empty void in the sky, extending impaling blades down into the streets. Pinning life in paralytic mockeries of contentment. A display that strangles agency.
A serpent winds a path beneath the shadow and offers to guide.
She remembered this happening, and that it had not yet happened.