Of all the places she's been, Ed thinks the desert is the loudest.
With no walls to hold in the noise, the sound resonates everywhere in endless echoes:
The hiss of the sand;
The moan of the wind;
The pings of the computer;
The jarring BOOM of every new crater coming into being;
The thumps of her own feet;
And the night, which has a sound all to itself.
It doesn't take long for her to notice the stars. They taunt her with their silence, flickering with a conversation that they know she can't hear. She wants to eavesdrop so badly she almost opens the Tomato right then and there to run a search.
Which is stupid. The stars' chatroom would probably be heavily encrypted.
Ed begins to long for walls. It's feeling so foreign that at first she thinks she must've caught a virus, but a quick data run-through rules out that option. She longs for walls that hold in the noise, that absorb it all and play back her favorites:
The hum of engines;
The splashing in the pipes;
The click that a lighter makes when it meets a fresh cigarette.
She tires of the desert. And when Ed tires of something, she leaves.
The Tomato snaps shut. The boxes clack together as they pile up on top of her head. She kicks her heels together, grimacing as the thump resounds much too loudly for her liking.
Ein wakes from his nap with a start, collar tags jingling the same tune as a new message.
"Let's go for a walk."