I could tag the Altruists here, but eh… this is more about the idea of them than even a direct flashback.

God, Syr’Nj looks so tired in panel 2. She had spent a fair chunk of her adventuring life brokering peace between her birth nation and a second nation she was honestly coming to love, if only because of the people Gastonia introduced her to. Now some greedy fuckers have kicked that whole sand castle into the sea. Now she has to begin…again. Without Byron. But that’s the work.

In panel 3, I suspect Hollister is a hair more cynical than Clair. He wasn’t sure Caneghem was among the Altruists until Syr’Nj said it, but…he sure is ready to deal with that concept, whereas Clair doesn’t seem to have considered it.

WHOA, CALM DOWN THERE, WAV, AT LEAST LET FR’NJ FINISH HEALING KUR’IK BEFORE YOU STROKE OUT ON THE FLOOR! I exaggerate, but compared to WAV’s baseline, any sign of emotion that isn’t bewilderment is notable (though he did seem to enjoy his own singing a lot just before Frigg laid him out, hmmm). This is the first time he’s met anyone who might’ve been responsible for bringing the Corruptor Beast to Gastonia. And indirectly, that’s what trapped him in this nonsense nightmare-world, where “altruists” are greedy and energy is matter called “food” and this “Payet Best” person was once described as “simply the worst.” He’s got a grudge, is what I’m saying.