Chapter 5

Marc was still half-asleep when he reached out to silence the shrill chirp of an incoming transmission. Private channel, low urgency, heavy encryption.

"Devrim?" he said, drowsily.

"Evening, dear." The comms amplified Devrim's low murmur to audible ranges. "I'm waiting for this Psion to come and pay me a visit, but he's being shy. I thought you'd be better company."

Marc couldn't help but picture it: the single watchful eye, waiting in the dark. He felt, abruptly, wide awake. "Do you need help?"

"No, no. I wanted to talk." A pause. "Rather, to hear you talk."

Marc took a deep breath. "What should I talk about? Work? What I'm planning for breakfast?"

Devrim's quiet laughter came through as a gust of static. "You can say anything at all."

"Well…" Marc rose out of bed and strode aimlessly across the room. "You might have noticed there's a lot going on."


"I was patching up one of the generators yesterday morning and I got swarmed by the neighbors." Marc laughed quietly. "Everyone wants news. They're pretty freaked out. I told them, all I can do is fix things. I don't have a line on the Traveler."

There was a sharp buzz from the comms. Marc wondered if there were jammers wherever Devrim was. Just out of effective range.

"Actually," Marc continued, "I told them that you're some kind of Awoken Paladin now, so they have nothing to worry about."

He found himself moving toward the window, pointless as that was. He looked out over the dark street just below before letting his eyes wander up to the clouded night sky, where the Traveler used to be. "I told them Sir Devrim Kay is going to singlehandedly chase the Legion off-planet and bring everyone back home safe. Traveler included."

There was warmth in Devrim's laugh. "He's going to do all that?"

"Sure is." Marc smiled to himself.

The silence stretched on. He braced his free hand against the windowsill. "Devrim—"

The communicator dampened all but the first few milliseconds of the rifle's retort, but all the same Marc would have sworn that the shot rang in his ears. He held his breath and started to count the seconds. To chart out the gap between the shot's terrible potential and its final resolution.




Until Devrim spoke again. Until Marc could breathe again.




"It's done," Devrim said.

And then: "I'll be home soon, Marc."

"I know," Marc said.

He stood there at the window, watching the horizon, and waited for the signal to cut out.