"We can't ever go back to the way things were."—Aisha, Human Hunter
SIMULATION RECONSTRUCTION LOG // LA-02-05 // SIMULATED LIGHTHOUSE, THE TOWER, LAST CITY
"There's still snow in the cockpit of my jumpship," Aisha says after she appears in a crackling wave of latticework from the subordinate Vex conflux now running simulations of the Lighthouse from the safety of the Tower.
"Is that why you're late?" Reed-7 asks, and Aisha's chest tightens.
She feigns a smile and spreads her hands, playing off her nervousness. "And Shayura isn't?" she jabs back.
"She's coming." Reed says, and then more pointedly asks, "How long did you stick around the Stranger's camp after we left?" Aisha looks away, as if to contemplate the graphical fidelity of the Lighthouse, jaw set and shoulders tense.
"Couple hours," she says quietly. "I moved around. House of Salvation was putting down stakes out near some Vex ruins; wanted to make sure they didn't stick." Feeling anxious, she presses two fingers to her neck, transmatting her helmet around her head in a flash of light.
Reed snorts and nods. "This is weird, right?" He drops the topic of Europa. Aisha isn't sure what he's on about. "The simulation. Saint's little… combat closet. It feels real," he continues.
"It is real. I mean, we are. The space is a… I don't know, magic? But me and you? The Guardians? We're all us." Aisha explains with a motion around herself. "The dangers may be simulated, but that doesn't make the effects any less real. Saint wouldn't have it any other way. You didn't go into the Infinite Forest, did you?"
"Hell no," Reed quickly admits. "Couldn't pay me enough to. Can't stand the Vex," he adds with a shudder. "You know how you are with spiders? That's me with the Vex. Don't know why, don't care."
Aisha looks down at one of her hands, fingers curling against her palm. She closes her eyes, considers Reed, and then gathers up the confidence to make a confession as Shayura manifests into the simulated space mid-stride. She walks straight past Reed and Aisha toward the Lighthouse. "Come on."
Shayura's brusque entrance elicits a concerned look between Reed and Aisha, but they say nothing more on the matter.
"Where's Shayura?" Reed asks as he reloads his Scout Rifle mid-match. Aisha points down a corridor with two fingers.
"She's been after that other Awoken Warlock since we started the match. I think she followed him that way," Aisha says, already breaking into a jog. "It's three on one, c'mon."
When they finally find Shayura, she's standing over a still-living Awoken Guardian whose helmet has been broken, revealing one of his eyes. He stares up at her, at her fire-shrouded Sword. Aisha and Reed train their firearms, prepared to back Shayura up if she misses the finishing blow for the match. Reed starts to lower his Auto Rifle, and Aisha feels his palpable confusion as she notices Shayura's sight line isn't aimed down at the Guardian; it's aimed up at his Ghost.
"Shay?" Aisha asks, a nervous tremor in her voice.
Shayura lashes out, striking the Ghost with her Sword and knocking it to the ground. The Guardian exhales a scream of plight, and Shayura quickly draws her Sidearm and plants a round in his forehead. The Ghost chirps, squawks. It is only damaged. Shayura holsters her Sidearm again.
"Shay!" Reed shouts, dropping his Scout Rifle and rushes over to her. This time, though, Shayura expels a blast of force from her palm that knocks Reed onto his back. Aisha's heart races. She looks back at Reed, then Shayura. Fear and doubt take control. Aisha closes her eyes and chooses the unthinkable.
Blue-black ice crusts over Shayura's legs, snuffs out her Praxic fire, and freezes her Sword arm solid. Feather-ice bristles off of her body along with waves of visible cold. Waves of cold radiate outward from one of Aisha's extended hands; feathery shards of crystalline growths bristle off of her gauntlet. She had no choice.
Aisha couldn't understand in that moment what was going through Shayura's mind, or how much of a betrayal this moment was.
But in time, Aisha hoped, her friends would come to understand and forgive her.