It's just a number.
He doesn't know why he clings to it. It was just a name they had – because they never were loved or given names of their own to cherish, to accept, to call each other with.
To them, they were just given these numbers because they were mere test subjects; just children who could die at any time. Their lives were controlled by a series of chemicals and systems, when one shut down, so did the others.
That was what they had grown up to believe.
They had been meaningless.
He remembers the fire, ever so vivid in its bright orange and yellow flames darting around and dancing together, locked together in a passionate embrace; ready to turn into ash, to dust.
The wiring that had surrounded them had been their barriers, to confine them like animals; caged beasts: that was all they were. They were lab rats; used only for research and the benefit of others...they gained nothing from it.
They had to escape, to flee, to revolt against these chains that constantly pulled them down. This had been their strength, their will – their freedom. Failure had never been an option.
So they worked as they went through these years. They worked with magnesium; with hydrogen; with plutonium; with iron; with aluminium…With elements that had created the earth, elements that continued to live on; to have a purpose and a function.
Those elements had the purpose and function they never had.
But they created one, with their bare hands.
So when the first attack is launched, they are discreet, are careful…The others, the same.
But these numbers, all the things that joined them; sums, equations, binomial and polynomial terms…They were ultimately what severed their bonds or reconnected them.
And so they lie between their teeth, greet each one with fake smiles and pathetic excuses. Nevertheless, they will never forget each other.
As they gaze at the green sky, at the aurora borealis; they see beauty; they see what they never had been able to see before. This was their strength, their quest and their hope: even if that last, final task had not been done together.
There is blood now, forming puddles on the cold concrete ground. There are screams of pain and of horror. They have no names, just numbers to call each other with. So that is what they do in their dying moments. With bloody fingers, they write out the letters that connect them: v-o-n.
Then their last breath leaves them.
In this other time they are still just meaningless numbers; scattered ashes blown by the wind, makeshift tombstones made with bits of wood, their numbers carved in.
But they want to be remembered, even if it would only be by a few. That would be enough.