A soft, simulated whimper echoes through the workshop as Archie rests his head on Ana's shoulder. They sit together in front of the harness holding up Rasputin's erstwhile Exo frame, a lifeless effigy of cables and steel.
"I know, buddy," Ana says quietly. "I miss him too."
After Rasputin's sacrifice, Ana had arranged for the Exo frame to be transferred from the H.E.L.M. to her workspace in the Tower. At the time, she had told herself that keeping the frame in storage would have been a waste; that its technological advancements could prove useful to other Exos in the future. Honestly, though, she simply wasn't ready to let go.
Nevertheless, she signed herself up for a new task, and what better way to cope with grief than by staying busy? So she had made good on her word, tinkering with the frame to reverse-engineer its more convoluted components.
That was, until she heard that Titan, like Mars before it, had suddenly reappeared. And Sloane along with it. A warrior in need of a war; a weapon in search of a target. Not unlike the Warmind. The thought kept Ana from fully burying herself in her work.
For now, she wraps her arm around Archie as her thoughts drift to all the detritus left in Rasputin's wake. Rasputin had assembled an arsenal of unfathomable scale. Remnants from thousands of Warsats strewn across the solar system, prototype weaponry never to be completed, stratagems and simulations forever forgotten.
And yet, sitting here in the shadow of his sacrifice, Ana finds that she wants to remember him by the one thing not built for war. A canine AI, created for no other purpose than companionship. One that has made a home for himself in the Tower, greeting everyone he meets on his daily walks.
In the end, Rasputin's legacy was not the war he waged, but the lives he sought to protect. The notion brings a smile to Ana's lips. It's what distinguished him from Xivu Arath. And Ana hopes that Sloane can realize the same holds true for her.
Ana looks to the Exo frame one last time before rising to her feet and pats the dog on his head. He happily wags his tail in response.
"Come on, Archie," she says as she reaches for her comms unit. "Let's go for a walk."
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