It began with a thin tendril of water trickling in. The splash it made as it grazed against the dead metal of his warped coffin sounded too sharp, too frigidly clear to possibly be real.
A murky groan reverberated along the boxy frame.
His own breath echoed shallowly within the icy confines of his helm, the distant thump of twin hearts just as surely fading into the muffled noise beyond the plating which enclosed him.
It was not much longer before the tender rush of water tapered off into a retreat, leaving him once more to his quiet purgatory.
The next time the alien liquid entered, it came with a bold hiss that was strong enough to send chills running down the dead fibre under his armored skin.
A growl rumbled throughout the drop pod's structure, the unexpected rush of feeble aggression nonetheless rousing him from lifeless, sightless reverie.
A reluctant spark flared somewhere in the dormant recesses of his battle armor. Embers of vigor dangled within reach of his motionless arms in the formless murk.
Instinct willed him to take hold of it, and yet he hesitated. He drew in a wispy breath through the metal grills of his mouth, the crispness of the water streaming in nearly drowning out what little strength he had left.
The sound had become a soothing cascade by now, water folding into itself as opposed to crashing into parched metal. Ripples brushed against the battered armor skin of his boots.
It was almost enough to mask the screeching death throes of the drop pod. A faint flame ignited in the angry red eyes which adorned the otherwise stoic visage of his helm.
He watched through numb and frost-speckled lenses as the riveted hull across from him tore apart under the influx of ice water. The clear liquid poured into the vacant chamber, pooling beneath him.
Serene waves flowed along the surface, muddying his scarred reflection with gentle sways of dim light. The wrought metal cross hanging upon his chestplate wavered, and the lines between white cloth and black armor blurred together in a cloudy mist.
Even so, it was the dull sheen of his sword which shone brighter in the rapidly flooding troop bay.
It hung in an eerily vacant row of seats across from him, the stony silver surface of its blade staring back at him. The chains which once bound its hilt to his hands were broken, dangling from the handle as they danced with the rising water.
He ground his armored fingers into the restraints clamping him to his watery grave, tiredly willing the cords of synthetic muscle in his armor back to war with the familiar cacophony of grinding metal.
Another chunk of the drop pod broke away, bending inwards with a rush of water flowing in through the jagged rift left behind.
Numbing coldness wrapped around him in a soft embrace as he yanked himself free of his restraints, the water never breaking in its gentle motions as he waded over to his weapon.
A cascade of ripples washed over his helmet, wiping away the crystals of ice that had condensed over its eyes. His boots stumbled in the murk, bringing him to the precipice of slipping away.
He knelt there for a moment, the furious roars of the drop pod steadily mellowing out as water enveloped the entire chamber.
Soon, he was left with only the void of his own mind, and the shallow thumping of two hearts that pulled in two different directions.
Some small semblance of clear thought slipped into his mind, above the cloudy musings of still awakening senses.
It sent a sharp cold running through what flesh still remained inside him, a shivering realization that chilled him more than this alien water ever could.
I am alone.
He released a breath, loud enough to grate over the distortions of his helmet's vox, clear and reverberating to him in the void of his helmet underneath the stifling water. Armored legs sluggishly pushed him back upwards.
His hands found the hilt of his weapon, fingers lethargically taking their dutiful place on the worn handle.
Still, he did not fight as a sudden force entered the hold with him, nudging him towards a craggy opening where some faint light was rippling in. Only when it dragged him to the precipice between the collapsing confines of his tomb and the open abyss beyond did he dig the barred soles of his boots into the ground, anchoring himself to what would be certain death in just a few moments.
I am alive.
And he should not have been.
He gazed down into the unending darkness which yet lay beneath his feet, as though doing so would show him a spark of guidance he so desperately sought in that moment.
It never came.
With a half-hearted push of his legs, he launched himself away from the crumpling confines of the drop pod. He drifted away from the final, muted screech that the immobile hulk of alloy bellowed out, buckling in on itself in a violent cascade of sundered metal.
The chain which had been snaking so dangerously loosely around his sword's handle slipped away to the open expanse beneath him, carried away by the soft currents of the sea.
His twin hearts throbbed with a foreign sensation, a trepidation that a century at war had never prepared him for.
It was all he could do for the moment to stifle the rush of thoughts, the embrace of the sea, and propel himself upwards towards an otherworldly light refracting through mottled lenses.