Brutal

If there was ever a time to have a bowl of popcorn and beer it was in the observer’s room of Crucible where rows upon rows of tables and chairs were filled with Guardians currently off duty. There was nothing more exciting than watching fellow Guardians beat the living daylights out of each other in a controlled environment to see who was top dog. Today’s matches were of especially high viewership due to one person in particular and though she was not immortal she had the nickname for a reason.

“Hey Anders, did you let Luka and the rest know we were meeting up here?” a brute of an Awoken Titan flopped onto a seat next to the Human Warlock, the chair threatening to break underneath him, “I’ve never known Luka to be late for a show.”

“They’re coming, Svet, I’m sure. I think he had to pick up his date first,” Anders moved a massive bowl of popcorn on the table between them. Where they were sitting was strategically picked out since it was between two monitors that overlooked the majority of the battlefield, each of the smaller ones below was from the vantage point of a fighter. The only thing on the screens though was the Crucible emblem with a countdown that was currently at two minutes.

“Luka has a date? Who in their right mind would date a Hunter? Everyone knows they’re craziest out of all of us,” Svet picked up a handful of popcorn, shoving into his mouth as he talked. Manners weren’t highly thought of, no one had time for that.

“Says the Titan who would rather take a Cabal slug to the helmet than simply move out of the way,” Anders chided, knowing all too well how they fought considering the three of them were part of a six man Crucible team called the Rapscallions.

The Awoken Hunter in question arrived, arm wrapped around a Human Warlock. An attractive one at that who gave a cute little wave as she was introduced. “Guys, this is Faye. Faye, these are the guys.”

Svet and Anders looked between themselves, disbelief strewn across their faces. As much as they wanted to bombard her with questions of ‘Why this guy?’ and ‘What are you thinking?’ there was no time at all. The Crucible countdown was on twenty seconds and dwindling. It was Faye that shushed Luka, shoving him into a seat and taking one next to him. It was practically a sin to miss the intro to the match, all eyes on the screens that spanned from one end of the room to the other.

“Today’s Crucible match brought to you by Future War Cult, gametype is Control,” the announcer came over the speakers, Blind Watch flickering across the monitors, “Alpha team is Raptor Regiment, Beta team is randomized.”

On the left large screen the Alpha team rezzed in, on the right screen was the randoms. The Guardian everyone was waiting for came into view, a female Hunter that immediately had the crowd chanting her name, “Rhamy! Rhamy! Rhamy!”

“Wait guys, where’s Jordan, Basil, and Uyu?” Luka had turned around, looking at his two team mates. Each of them pointed up at the screen, jaws dropped. The other half of their team had entered as randoms and were now fighting along Rhamy. Jordan was a male Exo Hunter, Basil being a female Human Warlock, and Uyu was a male Exo Titan. To have half their team making up half of Beta was both a slap in the face and an honor considering who they were matched up with.

“Looks like your buddies had better plans than hanging out with you, Luka,” Faye leaned over, giving her little quip before wrapping an arm around his, “Don’t worry, I have some faith, my strange coins are on Beta.”

Before the Hunter could fire his own comment back at his girlfriend he was hushed by the timer reaching zero. Rhamy was the first to move, taking a knee at ‘A’ with her sights down the scout rifle. The comm chatter from both teams came through the speakers of their respective monitors, the spectators going silent for the most part to listen.

“I want one Hunter behind this point to protect it, the other make a run for ‘C’ with a Warlock following. The second Warlock will remain between ‘A’ and ‘B’ to provide cover fire. I’ll take the Titan and we’ll storm ‘B’. Same strategy as always, ladies and gentleman, keep two as ours and only take the third if we can spare it and watch out for the spawn flip,” Rhamy came over the line, issuing orders just like the Crucible veteran she was.

“Why should I even listen to you? We’re not a clan,” an unnamed Warlock piped up. His mistake was that he was kneeling right next to Rhamy. Before he knew it she decked him across the visor, his only saving grace was that she held back most of her strength.

“Because I said so. You better have self-resurrection because you just made it apparent that you’re not worth the four seconds of anyone’s time to be revived much less by your Ghost’s,” Rhamy hauled him back up to his feet by the collar of his robes, “You get to stay here and babysit.”

The rest of the team split up, heading off into their assigned directions. Rhamy and Uyu button hooked the doorway, Uyu staying atop the stairs to keep an eye on the lower hall and the doorway to the right while she slid into the proximity circle of ‘B’. Two Hunters came zipping over the railing, one heading for each of them. Uyu started and finished his attacker with a simple handcannon round to the face while shadestepped behind a pillar for cover, luring the Hunter to her. In the precious few milliseconds she rammed her knife into his visor followed up with a volley of rounds from her scout rifle.

The announcer came over the speakers, drowning out the comm chatter, “Uyu draws first blood. Beta team occupies ‘A’ and ‘B’ taking the lead.”

“Yeah! Get some!” Svet couldn’t help himself, entirely too excited for his clanmate. Yet, the jubilation died in an instant as a strange sight flicked up into a main viewing monitor. It was the insubordinate Warlock, seated on the railing between ‘B’ and ‘A’ with his weapon holstered on his back. He wasn’t fighting, and he certainly wasn’t defending.

A pair of members from Raptor Regiment rounded the corner, aiming down the line to quickly take him out. Yet, neither of them fired, the sight of a Guardian not participating throwing up a red flag to them. Raising up their hands, weapons pointed to the sky they quickly spoke to their captain who spoke aloud, “GameMaster, we have an issue. Requesting open communication with Beta.”

“Issue acknowledged,” the announcer stated, “Open lines confirmed, timer stopped.”

The game was at a complete stand still, each Guardian holstering their weapons and raising their hands. It wasn’t exactly a surrender, just a timeout in the battle due to just one person not wanting to play along.

“Rhamy,” the Raptor captain, “You have a Warlock not participating. Would you like to take care of it?”

“My sincerest apologies, Captain,” she emerged from the doorway sounding rather sincere, having left ‘B’ unattended, Uyu right behind her. The Warlock just sat there, arms folding over his chest defiantly as she approached. Her tone had instantly changed to icy authority, “Guardian, what is your malfunction?”

“I don’t take orders from just anyone,” he snapped at her, sliding off the railing to stand but still had his arms folded, “You earn my respect.”

By now the Raptor Regiment and Beta team had created a loose half circle around the two. The spectators were on the verge of screaming, not doing so simply because they knew they would not be heard back on Earth at the Tower.

The Raptor captain stepped forward, placing an hand on Rhamy’s shoulder piece, “Kid, you have no idea who this is, do you? This is Rhamy, the Eternal Exo. She’s been fighting against the Darkness since the Tower was first built, she’s one of the oldest Guardians still in service. I’m honored just to be playing a game with her, much less being in her presence. It’s a rare thing to have her come out of the field to play a little Crucible.”

“At what point was I supposed to care? I must have missed it,” the Warlock spat, nose turning even higher in the air, “Titans and Hunters should be taking orders from Warlocks anyways.”

If there was ever a time that ten people wanted to kill one person, it was now. This was of course excluding the people back home watching that were raging against the screens. The only person that didn’t want to was Rhamy, she had another idea.

“Captain, have you ever had the Strength of the Pack merit?” she asked calmly.

“No, ma’am,” he removed his hand, curious as to what she was getting at.

“Perfect,” she folded her hands behind her back, still staring at the Warlock who matched her gaze,” GameMaster, reset the scores. Transfer myself and the four other active players to Alpha. This Warlock will be the only Beta team member. We’re going to teach him a little lesson.”

“And what if I don’t stay? I can leave any time I want to,” he still was as belligerent with his ‘holy-er than though’ mentality.

“Dude! Just shut up and take the beating!” Luka yelled at the screen, obviously unheard.

“If you leave before this game is done, if you do not properly play, I will have your Ghost revoked from you and have your status changed to Civilian,” Rhamy stated rather in a matter-of-fact way.

“You can’t do that,” he started to protest only to be interrupted.

“Actually, she can,” the GameMaster piped up over the line, “She has more service time than Zavala, Ikora Rey, and the Speaker combined.”

“I’m a legend. It’s best you start rewriting yours right now.”

Before he could say much else the Guardians were dropped at their spawn points. The rest of the game a laughable exhibition, the Warlock unable to gain more than ten points much less stay alive for longer than seven seconds. The crowd back on Earth were quite enjoying the slaughter.

“Can she really do that?” Faye asked, curious as to Rhamy’s influence, “Can she really take away someone’s Ghost and kick them out of the Tower?”

“No, the GameMaster is always up for a good show so he just played along,” Anders said between mouthfuls of popcorn, “But he is right about her service time, that’s why she’s called the Eternal Exo.”

“Huh… I guess this means I lose the bet,” Faye wasn’t too pleased about that part.

“How many strange coins did you bet on Beta?” Luka asked, starting to fish around in his pouches to replace whatever his girlfriend had lost.

“Twenty thousand,” she answered sheepishly. The answer had the three freeze, staring at her in disbelief. “What? I find alot of engrams.”

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