They stand barely separated by the reach of their great arms, surrounded by the swirling mist, the sough of the light breeze, the rhythmic lap of wavlets.
“There is no hope, continuing with your strategy, not in our time, not in this galaxy,” the Ur-Didact says. “That is a cold, simple fact.”
“I hold another opinion.”
“Your privilege… Manipular.” The Ur-Didact’s expression is disdainful. “The Halos? Violating the Mantle all over again, with even greater destruction! Wiping out all intelligent life across this galaxy! By itself that proves you are a poor version. You’ve altered your strategic vision.”
“According to circumstance, as every commander must.”
“Don’t you feel the truth of it? We gave the Precursors reason to retreat into madness. A passion for vengeance. And the Gravemind gave it all right back to me. I am filled with that passion, that madness, that poison! If we fire Halo, we lose everything.”
The two Didacts stand opposite each other, barely moving, barely breathing, as if sizing each other up. Their armour is evenly matched. Their weapons are identical, their defences, identical.