Atlas and Lotte stood at the end of the long row of people hooked up to the servers.
"What do we do?" Lotte asked. "We can't leave them like this" She added. Atlas scanned the control console and sighed.
"If we shut all the servers down, what would happen?" He asked himself.
"Would it kill them?" Lotte pondered. "Is that more humane than letting them out?" She continued. Atlas took a deep breath and sighed.
"Damn Rychard and Crystech, this is sick" He growled angrily, as his finger hovered over the 'shut down system' button on the touch screen console. Lotte slowly walked over and placed her hand over Atlas' hand.
"If we do this, we do it together" She said quietly. Atlas looked at her and nodded, as they both pressed down on the button. Seconds later, the sound of the servers going dark echoed across the huge room, plunging it into mostly darkness.
The life support monitors flatlined as the subjects all suddenly passed away, leaving the room with dim emergency lighting, and the continuous tone of several dozen heart rate monitors flatlining.
Atlas fell back against a nearby railing and slid down to sit against it, putting his head in his hands. Lotte slammed her fist on the console, breaking the screen.
"Was that the right decision?" Atlas asked, as he held his head in his hands.
"It was a mercy to them" Lotte shook her head. "They've been trapped in the hells for months. Now their souls are free once more" Lotte added.
Atlas remained silent as he looked down at the floor.
"I'm tired of being the one who has to make these decisions" He said, as tears fell from his eyes. "I just... I'm tired of seeing people die" He added. Lotte sat down by Atlas, and rested her head on his shoulder, as she rubbed his arm.
"I'm sorry" Lotte sighed.
"My sister, my friends, my brother-in-law, even..." Atlas continued before stopping himself. "I can't do this any more" He sighed deeply.
"You don't have to, if you don't want to" Lotte smiled, comfortingly.
"But I do have to, or more will die, including Syl, Keegan and Roisin" He frowned.
"Then I'll stand with you, always" Lotte said softly. Atlas looked at Lotte and smiled faintly.
"Thank you" Atlas nodded.
"We should get out of here" Lotte said, as she got up. "Get some fresh air in our lungs" She nodded, holding a hand out to Atlas.
"Right" Atlas nodded, and grabbed Lotte's hand, rising to his feet, he followed Lotte down the long passageways between the old servers, the loud hum had all but ceased as the servers cycled down.
"Could we have done more, though?" Atlas asked, to cut through the silence.
"You saw the reports, the people they brought out, their minds had been broken by whatever broken simulation they found themselves in" Lotte nodded.
"But surely they could have been... cured maybe?" Atlas continued.
"Maybe, if there was a team of thousands of people here, even then, it might not be possible. With just the two of us? No chance" Lotte replied, confidently.
"Maybe..." Atlas said, as they reached the glass staircase, looking out one last time across the server room, before heading out through the long hallway. The sound of the wind howling outside made Atlas and Lotte suddenly feel alone, rather than scared.
As they headed back up to the main floor, they noticed the doors had blown open and snow now blocked them inside.
"Not having much luck here today" Atlas sighed.
"I suppose we can try and find the entrance to the Ice Temple" Lotte nodded. "After we set up camp and rest, of course" She added.
"Okay" Atlas smiled slightly and nodded, windows and doors banged throughout the building from the growing storm outside. The airship they had brought along with them was now almost covered in snow.
The Spires stood tall in the distance, like monoliths, towering over the frozen lake, in the darkness. The city below was in disrepair as the weather had taken its toll.