69.2 \ 251

Vaulting over a tree was only as high as a balance beam to this robot suit. She could do that, easy. Aquarii didn’t have to vault over trees, did they? It was a matter of this particular being’s particular form of entry at this time, unguided. It was this body, this moment, this path. The Vedani-Human development team explained in the pilot training sessions that it would be different for all of them, so they didn’t learn the path – they learned how to take the path that would show itself.

There was a distinct point when the mekani passed through an invisible spatial plane which Chrysanthe could feel, like parting a gauzy curtain. From where she landed on the other side, the whole night looked different. It was hard to say exactly how, but it looked like a nicer night, on a better day, in a newer time.

There was one mourner present at the edge of the Grove. The teal-shelled Aquari stood from where she was kneeling, stunned to see the giant mech appear, bubble on top with a human child inside. The pilots had been told not to mind or harm any mourners; they would be few, and they wouldn’t fight if not attacked. With the recent loss of the Symbias, Aquarii didn’t have much fight, and Groves are sacred places. Doing the work quickly should be no trouble. Night gardening. Stab the vajra dagger like a trowel into the center of the Grove, where there would be plenty of clear space now after the burning. Sink the entire hollow-pointed blade up to the handle, the strength of the suit would make it easy.

Santhie roared like a destroying angel over a toy landscape, and with both hands, reared the implement over her head and sank it into the earth. Smooth, like butter.

Quiet, plus a few sparks. Then she stepped back as a lightning figure shot up from the handle, describing a magnificent Symbias tree: wise, beautiful, great, knowing, loving, and alive. The mourner fell back down to her joints. The image lingered, fading slowly. Before the imprint disappeared entirely, some steam escaped from the top of the squared vajra handle, splitting the elemental generation chamber open on all sides. A bright green start caught the moonlight on its leaves, small but strong, and singing. The suit could hear it singing because it was able to register that music. The mourner could hear it sing because she knew that familiar song.

Chrysanthe gathered her senses and did the flip that blinked her out of the Grove and to the retrieval throughport.

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