The room with the machine is quiet now and empty.
A crash outside and Virid enters, having left a large bag next to the door. He turns on a light, but is wary of the machinery tracing above his head. In this brightness, it is easier to see his features, to watch his long legs fold themselves onto the same couch where the girl sat and where he now sits drinking from a steaming mug.
He is cleaner now than when he worked on the base fixing and welding, his patched overalls replaced by a dark blue tunic with silver stitching worked into the right arm and heavy trousers. His face is clean and his hair tied neatly down his back with blue ribbons, but he sits awkward with brown, flat eyes.
He waits as the girl did and fights the urge to fidget. He feels as young as she is, maybe as scared as she was when they found her those few years ago. Despite himself he feels small, jitters at the dark, wants to be picked up and held. He picks at his tunic for some reassurance in the symbols and they calm him, but only for a while before the stars in the design remind him of what he is about to do.
The girl worked it out. She fixed what they had been half fixing for years. She walked in and did it straight away to give them the confidence they needed for an attack. Without the machine there was no respite from fixing and mending, from scraping a living from the land. The machine freed them, as it should have done when they arrived, as they trusted it to do. It really meant something, meant they had a chance.
But the chance also meant they had to do what Virid had been preparing for his whole life. He knew it, knew that he was meant for it, but it didn't make doing it any easier. He had to leave, had to fight against something so dark and so big that he could not be sure that he and the others hadn't already lost.
Virid swallowed his doubt. He was a commander, a pilot, a soldier. He was brave, he had fought and won before. His soldiers had to trust in him, know they had a chance. He straightened in his chair and prepared for his meeting with Tobias and Alide. They were here to say goodbye and he must show them that he was sure and ready to take their people to war.