Chapter 43

Changing Perspective

In that place he did not know, where titans stood in deathly silence, he found her, skin pale as snow, hair silver as moonlight, and there, on her shoulder, a winged rend in the world.

Erebus, hear our call; spare our souls from this plight…

Dante ran, and he didn’t stop running. He ran, even as his limbs screamed for mercy. He ran, even as the forest fell into night and into shadow. It was the only thing he could do; it was the only thing he knew how to do.

Dante ran, and—

Dante?

He froze at the sound of her voice, the projection of his name across the aether.

He’s still in the hospital, said Katrina, slouched on a nondescript sofa, her turquoise cat draped across her lap. Ms Thorbjorn said he should be out by morning.

As the fogs began to clear, Dante realised he was standing in the hallway to one of Avalon’s holiday apartments, the lounge ahead of him looking out across an impressionistic painting of the island’s illusionary ocean.

“Good,” said Phoenix Rogan. “I suggest you convince him to follow Ms Adel’s advice and seek help from Ms Eoghan. It would be a shame to let such a talent go to waste.”

“You sure that’s a good idea?” asked Theseus Armstrong, standing by the window with his back to the lounge. “The kid almost got himself killed out there.”

“I don’t think that was Dante’s fault,” said Katrina. “It’s not like he volunteered to be a gladiator.”

“Maybe not, but he still acted like an amateur when shit hit the fan. Kids who throw themselves at two tonne synthetics don’t last long out in the field. He’d be better off staying topside and letting us handle the dirty work.”

“Exactly,” added Phoenix, “which is why I believe he should take advantage of his remote viewing capabilities. That way, he can support our efforts without ever leaving the safety of his hotel room!”

Theseus sighed and shook his head. “You need to let go of this whole ‘remote viewing’ crap. It’s just his overactive imagination. Leave the recon work to Johno. At least you know drones ain’t gonna get themselves hospitalised trying to play hero.”

Dante was about to turn around and leave when Katrina jumped up with such a start that the room itself seemed to ripple with apprehension. “That’s enough!” she snapped. “All you’ve done since we got back is snipe at Dante over and over again. What about Byron? Or Lance? I don’t see you moaning about them! And what about me? I’m just a bloody photographer, and you never said a word about me going undercover!”

To be fair, Theseus was serving in the army at an age when most of us were still in school. He’s seen his fair share of people die meaningless deaths.