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Restoration

Prologue


The Coming of Lore

The sprawling city of Paseo lay before her. Towering structures of silicon and steel reached up to the sky. But the air was silent, the hum of the electrical currents lain to sleep less than two months before. She would have come earlier, but duties greater than restoring health to this dying society had prevented her from arriving any sooner. But then she also knew that the stricken people would need time to recover before they could even attempt to turn into a new direction.

She paused a moment, to check the sword sheathed at her side. Although she doubted anyone within the city would actually attack her, desperation had never failed to motivate people beyond reason. But the sword was an unaccustomed weight at her side. She had never had to carry her blade for extended periods of time before. However fate had ways of changing anyone's habits.

The interior of the city disheartened her as she entered. The green lawns had withered into blades of hardened brown stalks, and the natural heat of the Motavian desert was made even more acute by the metal structures around her. Faces pale from heat sickness or perhaps lack of hope, watched her lean form pass through the streets.

She didn't know for certain if they watched her merely out of boredom, or because of the confidence and determination she possessed that they seemed to have lost. But she was a striking figure amid the despair, dressed in vibrant black pants and a crimson short-sleeved blouse. The sheath and belt holding her sword were likewise a bright red. A black bandanna was loosely knotted around her fair-skinned neck. Two white cloth armbands, a popular fashion of the Palman people only months before, completed her outfit. Her long black hair was an anomaly among the Palmans that few possessed under any circumstance.

A crystalline structure in the center of the city served at the object of her destination. Large solar panels reached up to the heavens, perhaps still collecting energy, but futilely as there was no longer anyone who knew what to do with that power. This building was once of the command center of all Mota as far as the Palman people were concerned. Now it was considered useless as anything but a refuge from the sun or a place for Mota's old leaders to try holding on to what remaining power they had.

She strolled up to the plexiglass double doors and reached for the intercom at the side of them. But she then dropped her hand to her side. No, she couldn't even count on the intercom working. No one knew how to turn the power back on. Mother Brain's destruction was like cutting the main energy current to all of Algo.

So the dark-haired girl grabbed one of the emergency handles of the sliding doors and shoved it to the side into the slot provided for just such a purpose. The door fought, trying to return to its previous position, but with no power beyond that physically built into it, she managed to slip through before letting it smack shut against its counterpart.

The air inside was surprisingly cool compared to the outside, due to the well prepared insulation built into the building's walls.

She wiped the sweat from her brow before gazing down the long hallway and recalling Hugh's directions through this place. He said he would be waiting up on the third floor in room 3118. Very well, up the stairs it would have to be. At least he wasn't any higher up in the building, because without the elevators, this could get to be very tiring...

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