Light forgets, Darkness remembers.

Mara Sov grit her teeth as she held the H.E.L.M. steady, straining all the while to keep the portal open with her power just long enough for the Guardian, Ikora, and Commander Zavala to slip through.

Mara shifted her focus to watch the live feed in the viewscreen beside her as the Guardian took their first steps into the Pale Heart.

And instantly… she remembered what it felt like to be first.

She remembered unending emptiness, the spark of protons, cold rock against her back, and the sensation of spilling upwards eternally. She remembered glacial till veined with platinum, a forest that spread as mycelium, and alpine saddles cradling crystal clear lakes. She remembered a world so young and old, where all life was equal, meaningless and meaningful. She remembered making that memory, that place, calling it awake from the cauldron of her own imagination and raising it into matter, her lips curled on its name. The Distributary.

Mara would never see that world again, and yet, on the grainy video stuttering before her, was its doppelganger. It was not home, but it was close.

The video feed sputtered out.

A roar of violet streaked past the H.E.L.M., and with a sudden silence, the ship burst from the portal into open space. The portal did not snap shut behind them—the Witness must have let go.

Mara caught her breath. Her hands shook. There was no sign of Crow in there, or on comms, no sign he was alive other than the tug on her own heart. She glanced back to the Traveler and the Pale Heart within.

Mara Sov thought once more of home.