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That First Step

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Breath in, breath out.

“How does it feel?”

Not exactly Mars expected, in all honesty. Javelins always look as though they’d way a ton, even the smaller Interceptors seemed like they would require you to bench a couple hundred pounds. They looked like wearing them would be stiff and heavy, like a plate of metal crushing your shoulders. But it doesn’t. It’s more like an extra layer of clothing. Much thicker than a sweater though.

Screens pop up in the corners of her vision. Synchronization, ammo, heat systems. They are a little distracting. Closer to your face than in the simulators. But she’ll get used to it. She has to.  

She looks down at the hand, moving each finger one by one and then spreading her hand out wide. A slight tingle is felt on the tips of her own fingers, as the exosuit adjusts the synchronization to her movement. If there are any lags in the movements, it must be something like .0003%. She was pretty sure that her own body parts didn’t respond to her brain’s orders as quickly as the javelin did. She’d have to be careful.

“Good, I think,” Mars replies. She spreads her hand out one more time before clenching it into a tight fist. There’s a sense of force behind it. She likes it.

“Alright then. Opening the doors,”

The door of the strider slides open to a vast, green landscape accented with the pearly white of the cliffs. It’s funny. She always thought that she was slightly claustrophobic. She hated how cramped some of the streets inside the walls were. How low the ceilings of her quarters were. How dark and dank the insides of striders could be.

Yet now there was this… infinite horizon. The skies, the mountains, the trees, and water. It was all unending. It was almost… too open? And they were up so high. Were striders always so high up? When did she become afraid of heights?

“Are you ready, Freelancer?”

Freelancer. The cypher called her a Freelancer.  

That’s who she was now, wasn’t she? After all these years… all the sweat, blood and tears.

She was a Freelancer.  

Mars cocks half a grin as she grabs the siding of the strider. Infinity waited for her out there. Success and failure and everything in between.

That was the thrill of it, wasn’t it?

“Okay,” she finally replies.

“Here we go,”