Sedderik Assur




//FILE DELETED PF0476-10-16



You're a good kid, Geist. Sorry for shooting you, but you gave me the business better than I expected. My fault for picking the best to be my protégé. Hope an audio apology's good enough.

You were all good kids. That's really the problem, wasn't it? Train twenty-two kids to be gods, and then only pick one as Cloud Strider. My stupidest idea in a lifetime of them. There's so much to learn about this new body. I thought we'd just train candidates up early in sim, screen out the ones who couldn't handle it. But damn if you kids didn't rise to every challenge. And I spent so much time talking about the danger and the thrill that I never shared the first lesson of being the Cloud Strider…

You don't die after ten years. You die the second you gulp your first breath with those new nanite-enhanced lungs.

You don't get to be human anymore. Not with this kind of power. You don't get foibles or fears or wants. You're an ideal.

You need to be the best things about this city—the kindness, the empathy, the courage—and you give up the luxury of weakness.

All of you were driven, talented. But, Geist, you were the only one who didn't need it. You were the one who'd help this city as a civvie or a Strider. And looks like I was right to not pick Ahpoor and Laghari and their little coven.

Ten terrorists with Cloud Strider training. No matter what the history books say, that's my legacy.

I know you wanted me to go soft on them. I did, too. But, like I said, we don't get the luxury of wants.

But I'm free, kid. My warranty's up. But I'm leaving you a present. Something my mentor left me: the kill codes for the Sidereal. Hit that switch, and you never have to doom another soul to this life. The rest of the city has to step up instead. Every regret I have, I can't bring myself to end it. Maybe you have what it takes.

You can even blame me. I won't tell.

The Maelstrom

Category: Book: Cloud Strider Legacies

The Strider