But the machines of the White Swarm were still expanding toward him. They grew thicker with my every breath. “I am a citizen of this city,” I said, “And I do not know you, and we have been attacked. Say who you are, or I’ll think you an invader.”
The man stopped then, eyeing me in the same way I had done him a moment before – though the haze of machines soon turned paler between us.
“You’re lying, ” he said. “We took this city ten years ago, killed everyone the machines could not convert. There’s no resistance left. There’s hardly anyone here at all. The war’s moved on.” He settled his feet in a way that meant he would try to tackle me. “Who are you, really?” he demanded. “Where are you from?”
But the mist surrounding him, first black, then gray, had now turned white.
“I’m the resistance,” I said, just as the machines of the White Swarm, more dense than they had ever been, closed around him. He sat down heavily, sucking in gulps of their white mist. The Faith had done much the same when I had killed him.
But I did this man no harm, and saw that he was years younger than myself. He looked up at me confusedly. “What – what’s happening?” he croaked. “What have you done...what’s happening to me?” he asked. His eyes widened in the first signs of panic.
“You will be sick,” I guessed. “Perhaps for several days. Go where someone can take care of you. When you are well go together to the ruins of the Temple that is now behind you. Others will meet you there.”
I offered him my hand, and he stood. His eyes told me that he did not understand. Then he turned and weakly ran away.