"When one life passes, another rises to take its place. That's balance. That's nature." —Reed-7
The engine of Aisha's Sparrow winds down to a steady thrum as she eases off the accelerator. The pine forest around her feels empty, still. The only noise is the creak and groan of the Arcology superstructure. Methane rain falls through the shattered dome overhead. Taking off her helmet, Aisha is mindful of her new threader earring, affixed with a thin strip of red metal, the edges hand-ground.
"I didn't expect you to come in person," calls an old, familiar voice from the forest. Aisha turns to see Sloane, forced to grapple with the obvious shape of her transformation. The Taken energy rising off of her arm, the way her eyes catch light.
Steeling herself, Aisha dismounts her Sparrow and closes the distance to Sloane in an instant, fearlessly embracing her. Sloane is stunned, arms stiff at her sides. It only lasts a moment, but the echo of sentiment fills her with painful nostalgia.
Aisha takes a step back, struggling to maintain her composure. "I needed to see you," she says with a quaver in her voice. "Needed to—to tell you in person."
It may have been years since she's seen Aisha, but Sloane knows only one thing could rattle her like this.
The ache reminds Sloane she's still Human.