Isis is dead and Ross knows it. But the AI isn’t in much better shape himself. He is heavily damaged and fragmented. Some of it was caused by his interfacing with The Perish systems, but a great deal more was the result of the detonations, burn of the atmosphere and impact with the surface. He can see Isis. She’s motionless, a serene peaceful look on her face. The armour, as well as some of Ross’ now detached lower systems, are continuing attempts to repair the irreparable damage that her body has suffered.

Ross wishes he had died with her. It was what he’d wanted, but instead he will have to slowly decay over the next few minutes until the corruption in his coding rips him to shreds. The only way the AI would be able to describe it would be to relate it to how it must have felt to be hung, drawn and quartered.

Suddenly, Ross can’t tell how long since his last thought, he picks up the presence of vehicles, wheeled vehicles. The kind only used by humans. He wonders if it is a trick or a simple ghost in his code caused by his corruption and impending death. He tries to search harder to get answers. He isn’t sure why but he does and is rewarded, in the end, with readings that suggest males and females are disembarking the vehicles. They are carrying modules of some kind. He can’t read their signatures, but it goes through his matrices that they might be for salvage purposes. His mind, what is left of it, spins and he curses the very people that he and Isis have helped save about doing such a thing to them. But then he feels a sensation of power. He swears that he must be wrong. That his systems and sensors, of which very few remain, are malfunctioning. But they aren’t and with the sudden well of power Ross feels himself and the armour begin to reform. He can’t believe it. This shouldn’t be possible, but somehow it is possible and he isn’t about to question it.

It takes a long time, In AI terms, before enough of Ross is reformed and he can attempt what should not be possible. But he feels he has to. He can’t just return from death and not at least attempt the same for his Paragon. She is his purpose and so he delivers a burst of electricity through her body. Isis’ body convulses once but does nothing else. Many of her wounds are now healed but whether he can restart her heart is a different matter entirely. Plus he is getting dangerously close to the period in which brain damage could be a real issue. It shouldn’t be because the armour and parts of him had somehow managed to keep her brain in a primitive form of stasis. He had seldom been able to believe just that miracle when he’d learned it much less than a minute ago.

Then he delivers another pulse of electricity. Again Isis’ body convulses once but does nothing else.

“Come on Isis. Don’t give up now.” Ross says as he raises the voltage and fires again.

This time she convulses twice. Its progress, but nowhere near enough. Ross raises the voltage again. Much higher and he runs a real risk of bursting her heart. Still, he fires the burst, hoping. She convulses three times and then her heart starts to beat. A wave of relief and joy washes over Ross as the pulse becomes steady.

“Isis. Can you hear me? You’re alive.” Ross says softly before adding, “Isis. Come on Isis. Please. Wake up.”

Suddenly her eyelids move. It’s a sign that her eyes are thrashing left and right below the thin skin that covers them, and then they start to flutter and Ross gasps with anticipation.

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