In a panic the wall was difficult to climb but now with my pack it was even worse. I struggle and curse as I heave up myself and my light pack that seems intent on knocking and keeping me off balance. I finally heave myself up and look back, in the light I can barely see Alvii laying there where I left him, surrounded by the garbage I took from Theo’s home. I bite into my bottom lip and turn away intent on rushing home and forgetting about this task and about Alvii. I want to rest from my climb but I can’t look over Alvii’s body anymore, I push myself forward through the cold wind toward the forest we hiked through so long ago. I don’t know who will be waiting for me at home, but I don’t want to be here anymore. I pass Theo’s home and press on as the sun sets, the drop off isn’t too far ahead but I can’t press further. I set up my camp and crawl into my tent, not bothering with a fire tonight.
I awaken early the next morning when a twig snaps outside my tent, I listen intently before slowly unfastening the flap and peering into the dim light of predawn.
My eyes flash on then flicker. Slight wire error, minimal oil leak, minimal coolant leak. I am awake. I sit up and look around, Hera is nowhere to be seen. I look to the wall and I know she has decided to go home, I climb with ease and look around, no sight of her person but there are footprints leading away from the hole. I follow them. The sun begins to set but my batteries are still fully charged. The footprints lead me to the divide between the forest and the barrens, they do not climb the small cliff, instead they turn and walk along it before going off into a small wooded area still within the barrens. The sun is near the dawn and the everything is dim, I carefully make my way to the area and step into the small grove, a twig cracks and I freeze.
There is silence for several minutes, I can just barely see the hut flap open and her peer out. “H-Hera!” I call out, stunned by own stutter I remain quiet for a second.
“Alvii?” She calls back I step forward, my eyes light up the area, she stares up at me, confused. “How… You… I tried to fix you but you wouldn’t wake.”
“I-I am sorry, Hera. T-There seems to be a glitch in my wiring that slowed my battery recharge.” she looks down, disappointed. “I-Is something wrong?”
“I tried to fix you, I guess I broke your wiring.” I shake my head “But you’re awake now. We can go home.” She looks up and smiles. I wish I could return the gesture but I cannot.
“T-That will be nice.” She slides over and looks up at me expectantly. “H-Hera?”
“Its gonna be cold, we should rest for a while, no?”
“L-Let us go home.” She nods and slides from bed, collapsing the hut and packing it away. I shoulder her pack for her and we go to the cliff and walk the edge till we reach her original footprints. I climb up with ease and then heave her up easily. We straighten and look over the barrens.
“Some where out there, Theo is raging.” I nod, and looks up at me. “Alvii?”
“Why are you stuttering now?”
“I-It seems some wiring issues affect multiple applications. L-Like battery charging, though it appears I only stutter at the start of sentences.” She nods and we turn facing down the forest, once the most dangerous part of our journey now signaling just a few more daystill Hera is home and I am free to rest peacefully.