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‘I thought maybe you were dropping me off,’ Erik calls to us, his usually droll voice flat. He’s already on the edge of the ruins, and he doesn’t stop for us.
‘Dare to dream,’ Jost grumbles back.
And there it is. The first words they’ve spoken as brothers in front of me. The exchange adds a chill to the frigid night air. Erik stalks forward until I see only his silhouette in the moonlight. We watch him make his way into the metro beyond us, and Jost puts his arm around me.
I shiver in his embrace, staring out at the abandoned remains of Earth. Here time seems to stand still, and yet all around me are signs of decay – the natural erosion of a place forsaken by men. We linger in a moment suspended on the verge of possibility and ruin. But before I can reach out to break its mysterious hold, on the horizon a bloated mass appears, a ship in the air, flying low along the skyline, and from it a sweeping light bursts forth, as though to welcome us back home.