Dave lifted the phone for a comparison. While there had been some minute wear, the grave was the right one. And his final wish was his final wish. Technically. It was weird to think about, if he had to be entirely honest. Dave leaned Dove's slump body upon the gravestone, letting him read the text with his blurry eyes. Dave had taken to wearing Dove's car armor and mask. The armor would have been too stressful on his body, and the fact that Dave did not feel protected without the armor. That and the fact that there was already a rack designed onto the back plate to strap on Penny. Hard to tell if he acted out of convenience or security.

"I'll leave you two to have your final chat, alright?"

"Thank you… Dave." Answered Penny, as Dave walked off to find a suitable headstone.

A gruff hand adjusted the rudder. Did he feel guilty? Potentially, but he knew the kid wasn't doing that great when he first met him. His boots came to rest upon a crab cage. There were some things that you couldn't change. And somethings that you were just along for the ride. He had to wonder what happened to the settlement he came from, and if he was happy. Even when things suck, you have to find things to keep yourself going. At least, that's what he told himself. For the kids. Phillip Manger looked out to sea and poured out his canteen. "For you, Dove."

Rot found himself coming to the Wall lately. Looking out across the melting snow, wondering what happened to the not-templar. He had grown. They weren't really boys anymore, and he didn't feel like fear was required anymore. They stopped messing around with the cultists, and started actually doing things, like maintenance and farming. Nothing to be planted but having some of the boys plow instead of meander made changes in the boys. A chance to feel useful, for many of them. He still knew that they would have to wait for the snow to melt away, but even then, they would have a head start compared to last year. Hypothetically.

A finger tapped his shoulder. "Sup. Am I interrupting anything?" Asked the petite woman crouching next to him. Go, as the man had taken to calling her. It stuck.

"Not really." Rot admitted. "Just thinking."

"Things really have changed."

"You know, it doesn't seem like it, but I guess things have."

She smiled at him. "No more fabled Wall, no more getting at each other's necks. Just two groups of shmucks trading with each other."


"Unofficially, of course." She rolled her eyes. She had nice hazel eyes. "Noticed you got another tally."

Rot took off his helmet and rubbed the etched visor. "Yep, number eight. Was a bit of a challenge, but, sometimes, it's not that bad to ask for help."

"Lose anyone?"

"Thankfully, not this time."

"Noticed you still wear the mask."

Rot slid off the templar's mask. "Of course. Have to flaunt something over you, you know?"

"Of course, how could I forget." Drawled Go. "Our glorious leader Rot, cannot fail, and must always be the winner."

"And don't forget it."

"Yeah, yeah, sure."

The cold wind gently drifted over the hills. While normally biting, it was a comfort of sorts before it said farewell for spring. "So, what brought you up here?"

She thought for a moment before speaking. "I get tired of the crazies sometimes, and this just sort of ended up as where I go in these times."

"I get it." Comforted Rot. "That's just how it is."

"Fervently praying is how it be sometimes. Wish I could get them to do something else."

"Tell me about it." Rot groaned. "I have enough trouble getting my boys to do anything at all."

"I thought they were shaping up?"

"Some are, but some others are…"

"Problem children?"


"Eh, give them some time. They'll come around."

"One could only hope."

The two opened their canteens and made a silent toast.

Mr. Skink drummed his fingers on the desk. "Just to make this crystal clear, Major, what happened here never happened. Alright?" The shivering Major nodded. Whether the man was shaking from fear, pain, or the cold was not a concern for Skink. "Good. Thank you for assisting with your replacement." The rat of a man nodded and scurried off. Mr. Skink could not understand how such creatures like him had even survive this long.

Whatever, it did not matter. Mr. Skink was enjoying his new gloves. They were not as baggy as his last set, even if the fingers were slightly longer than his own. Mr. Skink logged onto the new Major's terminal using his prints, only to see a message. One he was expecting for a long time. Unfortunately, he would have to regretfully inform them that their agent was currently incapacitated, for the long term. Looks like they would not have a reason to station more troops at his Keep.

On a similar note, the child was developing quite well. The ring was the right amount of motivation. A precious jewel used as temptation for a little girl to develop and prove herself. While a bit out of parameters, he was feeling generous. Sue him. But he still needed to exercise patience. Without patience, he would be no better than a flighty bird. Hopefully her tests were going as well as his.

The time had come. It was time for him to clear out his desk. He was getting promoted. Frankly, he wanted more than anything to leave this dreaded office but moving out was still a massive hassle. 508 collected the miscellaneous trash piling up around his little cubby space. Paper balls littered corners, and long finished deadlines checkered the walls and panels. Speaking of which, when did he even place that note? He peeled off the note from the light and saw the long dead light of the Mint. He couldn't help but snort. It had been ages since he went there. While he did trade for it, it was sort of collecting dust at the moment. The document he got took ages to reformat into a readable copy, but even if it was a bit of a prick move to do, he had to respect the sheer audacity the man had. Just, not enough that he wouldn't shoot him on sight. Ah, good times.

A private's head leaned in. "Sarge, you cleaned up in there?"

"Not yet kid, just reminiscing over a few things." Grinned 508. "Mind making us a pot of coffee?"

"How come, sir?"

"Just want to taste it. Besides, you're going to need it more than I will."

"So, it's back to just us two?"

"I guess so. Sorry."

"Don't be, Penny. I thought we agreed not to do this."

"I should not have done that. It was wrong of me to do that."

"Maybe," coughed Dove. "Even so, don't take it personally."

"But you, he, is upset with me."


Penny was silent for a moment. "And it is my fault that you are dying."

"No it isn't."

"Yes, it is."

"No," Affirmed Dove, "It isn't. I was going to die soon anyways."

"I sped up the process."

"Penny. Just, no. Stop. Don't blame yourself."


Dove's chest deflated. "I'm glad it's like this."

"How so?"

"Let me explain it this way: I was dying. Not only physically, but spiritually. I came to the Mint to die." Dove's eyes shut. "I lost hope."

"And then?"

"I met you. I found company. I no longer was alone. I wasn't alone. You gave me purpose."


"Purpose. And, so, drifting away, being with you isn't so bad. I'm not alone."

"But… I need you."

"I know…" drawled Dove. "That's why you made Dave, right?"

Penny was silent for a moment as she looked across the ocean for the two of them. "I'm going to miss you, Dove."

"I'm glad I met you, Penny."

And with that, Dove died.