A/N: I have decided to take a break from my other story and write this. I'll come back to Gods Among Men whenever I can think of what to do with it.

New Haven, Eastern Borderlands, Pandora

Present Day

Mordecai's feet crunched along the dirt and random junk that made up the roads of New Haven. Night had fallen, and given that the planet Pandora had a day cycle over 90 Earth hours long, most of the residents, including his friends, had taken the opportunity to get a good night's rest. Mordecai, however, preferred to take time off to soak up the night air. The serene stillness and cool temperature stood in stark contrast to the harsh daylight sun. The moon hung low in the sky, and he could hear the haunting sounds of skags in the distance, howling at this strange orb.

As Mordecai passed Scooter's garage, he noticed that the redneck mechanic wasn't sitting in his usual place behind the desk. Unseen by anyone, he raised one eyebrow underneath his mask. However, he soon heard a loud snore reverberate from one of the Runners. Looking more closely, he saw Scooter's legs jutting out on a small rolling board under the vehicle. His tools were strewn haphazardly on the floor around him. Mordecai shook his head slowly. Redneck or no, he had to admire the man's work ethic. Clearing his head, Mordecai held out his arm and let out a shrill whistle. Scooter stirred slightly at the noise. He rolled over slightly, knocking his cap to one side.

"Mmm...git-choo-wun..." he mumbled. Mordecai took no notice, keeping his leather-gloved arm held out expectantly. Within a few seconds, he was rewarded by the rapidly-approaching sound of beating wings. Soon enough, a feathery shape dropped down from the sky and clamped dignifiedly to his wrist. Mordecai lifted his free hand up and stroked his pet Bloodwing's head. It closed its eyes in pleasure, allowing a small drop of blood to drip from its beak. Mordecai took it on the end of one finger and held it up to his nose. After a quick whiff, he smiled, showing a set of brilliantly white teeth.

"Smells like skag," he said, a hint of pride in his voice. "You've been going a little far afield, haven't you?" He wiped the blood on his pants before stroking the eagle-like creature once more.

"Good boy, Blood," he said simply. Bloodwing nibbled his dreadlocks affectionately. If a bird could be said to look self-satisfied, this one did. After a few seconds, Mordecai turned and walked out of the garage, with Bloodwing swaying slowly to keep balance. Crossing the courtyard, he walked up a small flight of stairs leading to four adjacent apartments. Running his hand along the rail, he selected the second flat, unlocked the door, and walked in. Bloodwing flew from his arm and landed at the foot of his bed, tucking his head under his wing.

After locking the door behind him, Mordecai undid the lacing on his mask, simultaneously allowing his hair to come free. Leaning forward, Mordecai peeled the mask from his face. The lenses over his eyes came off, revealing a pair of optical-feed cameras embedded in his eye sockets. Rough scars lined the area around them. Mordecai sighed. The cameras were his secret from the world. They were a memento of a part of his life, many years ago. A time of trials and suffering, but also the birth of a lifelong friendship.

Back then, nobody had ever given two shits about him. He was just a name and a number, nothing more. They didn't care if he was sick or injured, and he had often felt that if he had died, nobody would have cared. This was in no small part due to the fact that he had spent most of his childhood locked up in an Atlas-run orphanage on Prometheus. And Atlas didn't exactly have the best track record for kindness or consideration. Mordecai lay back on his bed and stared at the ceiling. His childhood had been absolute and utter hell. But it had all completely changed in one night.

The night he had met Bloodwing.