Isakole [PSN]

The Tower standing in the Last Free City was eerily quiet despite it only being half a decade after the end of the Collapse, it wasn’t every day that a Guardian was put on trial for committing a crime. Those that had nothing better to do or their curiosity got the better of them crowded the room, the Speaker having been accompanied by the three Vanguard leaders.

The murmurings died when the double doors opened, the culprit handcuffed with leg irons, the bindings lined with suppression. Even her Ghost was being forcibly held in the hands of a gigantic Titan. Her hood was pulled away and then her helmet removed, the Exo raising her head in defiance to the judges.

“Isakole, Exo Hunter with Nightstalker speciality and veteran Ethereal Raven from the Collapse,” the Speaker read off the dogtags they had found on her before his white mask turned up to look at her, “And recently resurrected among the debris of the Reef by your Ghost, Etrius. Do you know why you’re here?”

“Because you touch yourself at night,” she retorted.

“I… what? No,” the Speaker was flustered by the answer, Cayde hiding his chuckling while the room burst into laughter.  Zavala raised a single hand to get the room to quiet again, the Speaker composing himself, “You’re here to be tried for treason, murder, coercion, grand larc-”

“What’s your point?” she interrupted.

“We cannot have you among the ranks,” the Speaker stated, “You’re a danger to other Guardians, you’re a danger to yourself. We cannot accept the risk of you possibly committing these same crimes again.”

“Do you even know what happened out there?” she asked flatly, “Or are you going off of some file that’s been corrupted and was recovered partially by some bookworm Warlock?”

“We’re going off of what we know.”

“Then hear me out,” Isakole said, raising her voice so she could easily be heard by everyone present, “I was assigned to retrieve a top scientist from Mercury, tasked with bringing him, his team, and his family back to Earth safely. They were already under attack by the Fallen when I arrived, an Archon Priest having been drawn to them due to what they were researching. Half of his team was already dead along with his wife and one of his children, the man was broken. Even though I successfully extracted the rest he had no will to go on despite his other four children having survived. When I explained to them what was happening on Earth none of them wanted to return. Instead they opted out.”

“Opted out?”

“They knew the horrors of the Vex, they had seen the wrath of the Fallen, they had no wish to endure any more treachery,” she answered before continuing on, “I sat with them in the cargo hold as they said their final prayers to the Traveler. I sat there with his youngest in my arms as he clutched to his other three children. He couldn’t bare to watch his infant daughter suffer so I held her. I sat there as the air lock unsealed, as the air was ripped out of their bodies, as they died in the vacuum of space. I sat there as a tiny Awoken baby had her soul torn away and I could do nothing. It has been the only moment in my life that I wished I was organic so I could weep from the tragedy. I had failed as a mother, I had failed as a Guardian, I had failed as an Ethereal Raven, I had failed as an Exo built to protect the very people who lay dead before me.”

There was no longer a dry eye in the room, Cayde having set a hand on Ikora’s shoulder who had started to tear up, Zavala having dipped his head to hide his own face from the crowd.

“I submitted my report to the Tower in NeoGermany before I flew towards the edge of our galaxy, to give them a final resting place far from the war we were in,” Isakole started to wrap up the story, reciting from clear memory, “Unfortunately I didn’t make it far, the Cabal attacked the ship and shredded it to pieces where I can only suppose I originally died. Judge me not by what you have read but what I tell you now. I do not fight for the Traveler or the Vanguard, I do not fight for glory or fame. I stand here now to fight to free the children of the nightmares that plague their future.”

There was no words from the Speaker, nor anyone else for that matter as he raised a single hand to give a wave of his fingers. One of the Titans stepped forward to undo her bindings while the other released her Ghost. Gravitron Forfeit helmet snapped up she quickly slipped it on, hood pulled over before her iconic Mida Multi-Tool was handed over. With a simple bow of her head she headed out, already looking for the bounty bot.

“I have one last question,” the Speaker spoke up before her Ghost followed suit, “How did you find all the pieces of her in the Reef?”

“I didn’t, she was whole when I found her,” Etrius answered, “It was the Prince who gifted her to me by order of the Queen.”

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ChunkyBabyGravy [PSN]

The Hive had made their way to Earth, tomb ships anchored just a few thousand feet above the islands of Seychelles. It was a rather remote location and the only reason the Hive was interested in such small little tropical dots in the ocean was because of one thing. The Traveler was quite literally falling to pieces and a shard had landed on the main island. In a clamor for the light that was stored inside the Hive had sent a legion of wizards and enough thrall to overtake a cosmopolitan city.

In return the newly made Vanguard sent a handful of Warlocks to retrieve the shard along with a Titan to escort them. They hadn’t known there were so many Hive and they certainly were not prepared for battle their way in much less out.  The fireteam of six hovered a few miles out on their Sparrows, able to see the mass of fleet ships from there.

“We don’t have enough firepower for this,” the female Warlock stated flatly, “If we go in there, we’re not coming out.”

“We can’t just leave the piece there,” the male Warlock retorted, “They want it for something and it’s probably not beneficial for us.”

They both looked to the Titan who outranked them both, though in such dire straits rank had very little meaning anymore. With a hiss from his helmet he undid the lock, pulling the piece of armor off to set in his lap. The Awoken still stared out to the islands, unhindered by the impossible task before them, digging into the undersuit to pull his dogtags out. The next piece that came away was his Titan mark from his belt, holding one item out to each Warlock.

“You both have one job,” he said as the Warlocks took the personal items, stating his final words to them before his helmet was sealed back on, “Get those to my brother.”

The Sparrow screamed to life as he went racing towards the Hive frenzy, purposefully riding low to the ocean surface to cause an arcing tail of water to grab attention. Bearing down on the island all eyes had turned to him, the single person who dared defy the swarming mass. The shard of the Traveler was covered in Thrall as they feasted on the Light, Wizards already preparing a ritual of the Darkness to consume it entirely, and even more stood between the Titan and his objective.

Upon breach of the shore he jumped off the Sparrow, letting it mow down a portion of the Thrall.
In a blaze of fire and glory the Titan was set aflame, a warhammer materializing in his hand. Swarms upon swarms of Hive descended upon him, burning to ashes as he swung at each of them yet they were far too numerous. Like an encroaching shadow they piled upon the Titan, the flame seemingly snuffed from existence. Claws and teeth tore at his armor, plating scratched while the undersuit was shredded. Blood started to seep from him as if he was a sponge being squeezed, yet that is when the adrenaline finally took hold.

A swing of his hammer cleared most that had tried to hold him down, a throw of the fire drenched weapon creating a path to the shard. A powerful burst forward of his jump pack had him quickly closing the distance to his goal, hammer returning to his hand. The final throw cleared a portion of the base and the hammer disappearing, the shard itself over twenty stories high and half a mile wide. The side he was facing was internal, pieces of the infrastructure still clinging to the outer shell which he started to climb, scrambling to get as high up as he could. The scaffolding was quickly invaded by Thrall, each one trying to attack only to be kicked or punched away, bodies falling to the ground and taking a few more with them.

When he reached the top he grasped the edge of the shard, fingers digging into the white metal material yet before he could do anything he was doomed. The Wizards had concentrated their focus on him, blasts of arc energy fired all at once at the Titan in a cacophony of screams and crackling electricity. There was no cry of pain, there was no effort to shield himself since it would be to no avail, rather the Titan took the entire brunt of the brutal attack. He was dead before his grip on the piece of the Traveler was released, body dropping away to crash through the infrastructure which was broken to bits. Landing among the beams he was covered in debris, the Hive no longer concerned with him thus they left the body to rot where it was which turned to be their mistake.

In the darkness of his resting place a blue light shined over the battered body, glowing eye blinking at the fallen Titan. A Ghost had hidden in the shell piece, trapped by the Thralls and Wizards thus the Awoken man was it’s saving grace. There was no need to recreate the body therefore it didn’t take long to bring him back from the dead, the man at first confused by what had just transpired. One moment he felt the life slip from him, in the next he was staring into a blue eye.

“I can revive you until the the end of time,” the Ghost said to him, “There’s no need to fear death anymore.”

“I never did to begin with.”

The Hive had resumed their feast on the Light from the shard, a sizable portion of the population having clamored over the white piece in order to get their fill. What they didn’t expect was to be consumed themselves. An explosion rattled the shard, splitting it in half of which fell away to crush those clinging to it and the ones below it. The Titan had detonated a grenade precisely where he was, the blast having created a horizontal fissure. Appearing out of the fire he held his hammer once again yet there was nothing that stopped him now. Again the Wizards targeted him, the Thralls crashed over him like torential sheets of rain, but there was no wavering in his form and not a single inch was given as he stood on the frontline of the battle as the last man standing.

Again and again he died only to be resurrected by his newly acquired Ghost, hammer and flame beating back the Hive while the shard continued to burn away. The howling of the Thrall and shrieks of the Wizards pierced the air, those that remained retreating to their tomb ships which quickly slipped away in a flash of green light and black dust. All the while the piece of the Traveler and dead Hive withered away as ash scattered to the winds that whirled about the Titan.

“Thank you,” the Ghost said, having remained hidden for the duration of the battle, “I was afraid they were going to eat me.”

“Just part of the job,” the Titan answered.

“So what do I call you, Guardian?”

“ChunkyBabyGravy, or Chunky for short.”

“You’re joking right?”

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Queenievee [PSN]

It took alot for Zavala to leave the Tower, it took even more to get him angry. With all the war he’s seen, with all the battles he’s fought in, there was little that got under his skin. The one thing that did was someone breaking protocol, and what was even worse was an unranked and unknown Guardian doing it. For days he sent Guardians to retrieve a newly resurrected Titan from Bannerfall, one of the old Towers at the edge of The Last Free City. All that came back to him were reports that she refused to fall into line with the rest. Thus, the Titan Commander took it upon himself to confront her about the insubordination.

The flight was merely a few minutes if that, landing in the courtyard next to the red leafed tree. Flanked by two other Titans Zavala made his way inward though he didn’t have to go far. A lavender Ghost flecked with rose gold came floating out of the shadows, stopping them where they were.

“Can I help you?” the Ghost asked in his Eastern European tinged words, little blue eye blinking.

“Where’s your Guardian?” Zavala demanded, sounding none to pleased.

“Where she’s always been,” he answered, “In the library of the New Monarchy.”

Veering to the left Zavala stormed his way over, the two Titans doing their best to keep up. The doors slid back just fast enough to not be nicked by his shoulder plates, the Commander scanning over the library in search of the woman. Behind a stack of books piled on top of a table was the top of the Awoken’s head, nose buried in a book. For a moment Zavala thought he found a child since her feet didn’t even touch the floor as she sat in the chair. Two stacks of books were parted as he came up to the desk, peering down at the tiny little Titan.

“I’m Commander Zavala of the Vanguard. Name and rank, Guardian,” Zavala demanded, clasping his hands behind his back.

The woman looked up for a moment with an unenthused look on her face, her Ghost hanging off her shoulder. A single gloved finger came up, pressing it to her lips for a second, “Ssh…”

The expressions of shock and rage came across the Commander’s face, his two flanking Titans trying not to bust out laughing. The little mini Awoken had just shushed the highest ranking Titan in the entire world just so she could read her book in peace. There was almost a growl in his voice when Zavala spoke next, “Name and rank. Now.”

“I’m afraid she’s a bit busy, sir,” the Ghost spoke up, “I’m Garret, her name is Vee. She was the Captain of the Ethereal Ravens during The Collapse. She was one of the first to settle The Last Free City, it was here she died of her wounds after a battle on The Wall when the Fallen tried to breach the line. I brought her up to speed on Earth’s situation.”

“And why won’t she address me? Or come back to the Tower?”

“You haven’t earned her respect, sir,” Garret answered, “Back in her day Titans fought it out on an individual basis so only the strongest were leadership.”

It wasn’t far off from what happened now, Cayde and Ikora Rey had gained their position for being the best of their class just as Zavala had. It all made sense to him now, he couldn’t be mad at her for it. He set his finger to the top of the book’s spine, pushing it down so she’d finally pay attention to him.

“Alright, I’ll oblige. When I beat you, you have to come to the Tower.”

“And if I beat you?” Vee asked, setting the book aside.

“You can be queen for a day.”

Slipping her helmet on Vee slid off her chair, walking through the grouping of Titans to head out to the courtyard, “No fighting in the library, I don’t want the books harmed.”

Leading them out she took up a spot with Zavala only a few feet from her. Of course the two other Titans stood off to the side to merely spectate, one of them addressing Garret who floated between them.

“How badly was she injured?” the Titan asked, “If she made it back here she would have been surrounded by people to help her.”

“From what I could tell when I was piecing her back together she had a shattered knee, a collapsed lung, a crushed eye socket, and internal bleeding,” the Ghost answered, “This was before the Traveler made us. She’s one of two known veteran Ethereal Ravens.”

“Who’s the other one?”

“You wouldn’t believe me if I told you.”

The conversation died when Vee threw the first punched, closing the distance to aim a quick jab at Zavala’s chest. Sweeping an arm he deflected, throwing a right hook for the side of her head. Due to her short stature she easily ducked, stepping to the side to ram her first into his side. As a result Zavala doubled over, bringing his left fist up to slam into Vee’s chin. It sent her backwards to the ground, recovering with a quick somersault, shaking her head to get rid of the spots in her vision.

“What’s the matter, your highness?” one of the Titans taunted, “Is the little queenie not awake from her centuries long sleep yet?”

“She’s the only person I’ve seen land a hit on the Commander,” the other stated, “So shut it.”

Zavala let her recover but it was his mistake to do so. In a rush she aimed another punch towards his head. When his arms came up she switched her attack, throwing a snap kick straight into his gut. Reeling backwards he tried to get the air back into his lungs, Vee backing off to give the same courtesy of recovering.

In retaliation Zavala rushed forward, driving his shoulder in a charge which threw her backwards into the short garden wall in the middle. Cracking her helmet against the edge she dropped to her knees, the Commander barreling down on her with another fist towards her head. Springing off the wall she ducked under his arm, sliding on the concrete tiling. Her right fist punched the back of his right knee, her left hand getting a grip on the Titan mark that hung from his hip.

In a crash of armor he landed on his back, momentarily dazed. The next thing he knew was that the tiny little Titan had both fists raised, Arc energy coursing down her arms as her fingers locked together. The Fist of Havoc was within inches of slamming into his visor, not even moving since he knew it was too late. Just before the connection he closed his eyes, expecting the absolute worst. When it seemed too long of time he blinked up, seeing the Arc charged fists millimeters above his nose. In the next moment Vee moved away, letting the lightening dissipate and Zavala come to a stand.

“You could have killed me just now,” the Commander commented.

“It wouldn’t have mattered, your Ghost would have brought you back,” she answered, Garret returning to her side.

“Why didn’t you?”

“You’re not worth that much effort.”

Now the two Titans off to the side couldn’t help themselves, bursting into laughter. First he had been shushed, now he was being told he wasn’t good enough. No one spoke to Zavala that way, not even Cayde.

“I still expect you at the Tower,” Zavala huffed.

“When I’m done here, I have alot of reading to catch up on,” she waved him off, moving back to the library, “I still expect my ‘queen for a day’ prize.”

“A deal’s a deal. Report to me when you arrive, Vee.”

“No, not Vee,” she stopped for a moment, “This is a new life, a new war, so I’ll go by a new name.”

“Which is?”

“Queenievee.”

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Bernie-_-Lomax [PSN]

Although he couldn’t see it the Awoken Hunter knew that the boundary of space that humanity controlled was shrinking back to Earth, placing him far past enemy lines. His fireteam had long since evacuated the Clovis Bray sector, he himself disobeying orders to retreat. If the intel was true then he couldn’t ignore it, something had to be done.

Bernie Lomax was the last surviving occupant of Mars, standing atop one of the emptied towers of the martian city. The burnished sands swept along the structures, already beginning to bury them to be forgotten as time passed. There were no weapons for him to prime, no ammunition to ration, all of it he had let his squad take to better their chances of survival back on Earth. He waited, listening to the comm chatter as he virtually snuck into signals, learning bits and pieces of the Cabal’s native tongue. There was but one portion that stood out, a few syllables that were repeated before any other saying. He was gathering the first intelligence of Cabal ranking system, relaying it all back to Earth.

On the cusp of starvation and in the throes of lethal dehydration he prepared for the moment, the one window of opportunity that very well spelled out the fate of humanity’s interaction with the Cabal. The days spent letting his body die and spying on the Cabal were all done standing, letting the wind whip around him and the sun fade his cloak. The crack of ships breaking orbit sent adrenaline rushing through his veins, it was the jolt his body needed to stay alive just one more hour.

The Cabal fleet scanned over the surface of Mars, Bernie’s presence forcing their attention to focus on Clovis Bray. The ships landed, the tanks rolled out, and the ranks were released on foot. Even while he could see them doing sweep and clears of the buildings he remained in his position, heart beating faster to the point he could hear it in his own ears.

A line of Phalanxes busted down the only door that brought them to the same roof he stood upon, more Cabal filing in behind them as they surrounded the Awoken man. He didn’t move, didn’t speak, simply letting them take their precautions. As one unit the Phalanxes started to move their circle with Bernie in the center towards the door, letting him walk on his own. They ushered him down the stairs and into a freight elevator, keeping their weapons trained on the man. Coming to the open courtyard between the glistening glass towards they stopped, Bernie doing the same as he looked around wondering why they would take him to the ground just to kill him.

It was the ground shaking footsteps that caught his attention, visor turning up as a massive Cabal came forward. The armor was adorned with all sorts of marks and medals, the adornments much more impressive than any other Cabal in the area. It was easy to deduce that this one Cabal was the ranking and commanding officer of the ground forces. This was who Bernie had been waiting for.

The officer tried communicate with him, the bellowing grunts having very little meaning to the Hunter. Slowly his hands came up, pressing the locks of his helmet to release before he pulled it off, dropping it to the ground. It was a tactic, a risky one but it would give him what he needed. The war mongering Cabal took the removing of a critical piece of armor in exactly the way he wanted them to, feeling a sense of slight relaxation among the crowd.

With a few steps forward he brought up his hands like he was surrendering, “I am Bernie Lomax, a Hunter from Earth.”

The officer quickly cast a look over the ranks, confused on the sounds coming out the Awoken. When the visor came back down to him he stepped closer, nose to waistline with the Cabal. Still he spoke, knowing it only confused them all further, “I know you don’t know what I’m saying and I have no idea what you’re saying. All I know is that you’re the one I’ve been waiting for.”

With blurring speed Bernie’s hands came together, body bursting into flames as his Golden Gun materialized. All three fiery shots were true to their marks, two going through each side of the officer’s chest and one into his helmet. They burned entirely through, leaving clear holes in the Cabal officer. With how massive he was the body came toppling down, crushing Bernie underneath in a thunderous crash.

Lieutenants and Commanders quickly descended on the area, instructing the ranks that threatened to melt into chaos. Orders were shouted, comm relays were filled, the Emperor had to know what had transpired on the first planet they landed on.

The sound of blood and internal organs sloshing around was the first thing that gained their attention again, looking to the body of their fallen officer. The back armor plate cracked open, the point of a knife coming up from the body. A few more jabs created enough of an opening for the most nightmarish vision the Cabal would ever encounter.

Bernie had cut his way through the body, emerging from the corpse covered in blue blood and bits of guts hanging from his armor. Never had the Cabal witnessed such an act of barbarism nor such a will to live. It was then they catalogued humanity under the categories of survivalists and extremists, their aim trained on the single Hunter. Arms spreading wide he welcomed the bellowed order, the cacophony of gunfire ringing in his ears as the bolts ripped through his body. In just a split second he was dead. It would be centuries before his Ghost would find him buried in the sands.

It was a day the Cabal would never forget, realizing the horrifying truth that humanity was far more lethal than they expected. It was the day the Emporer flew into a rage over the fact that one of his three fleet admirals, the second highest ranking in the Cabal army, was killed by one Awoken. It was the day that humanity was spared a fourth enemy on Earth, having stopped the Cabal advancement on Mars.

All due to one man by the name of Bernie Lomax.

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ShadowxxClone [PSN]

A team of three had been sent to Venus, particularly a newly reclaimed zone from the Fallen that had an area of particular interest. It seemed that the Ishtar Academy wasn’t the only place of research and education during the Golden Age. A smaller installation half the world away was nestled at the foothills of a mountain range, a few openings here and there spewing blue lava.

The building were overgrown, vines clinging to every surface, grass rising up from cracks in the foundation, rain puddles gathering under dome panels of broken glass. It was the very definition of decrepit. Signage of what the place was had long since faded away and peeled off the walls. The only defining traits that stated the place was made by humanity was the architecture, and the fact that the doors required a handprint of four fingers and a thumb.

“Great,” the Warlock tampered with the security pad but the doors didn’t budge, even her Ghost had no luck, “They send us all the way out here and for what?”

“Well not for this,” the Titan rasped his knuckles against the fusion sealed door, calculating a few things in his head before he started to step backwards. The Warlock and Hunter cleared the way, knowing exactly what he was going to do. A swift shoulder charge was enough power to dent the doors, creating a gap for them to slip through.

“Wow, it looks like people just vanished,” the Hunter stated, going a bit farther ahead of them in wonderment.

The lobby had books and tablets set on benches, scattered on the floor in groups where she could only assume people had congregated for conversation. Labs had papers in print trays, tablets propped up for notations, experiments long forgotten on benches. Even the cafeteria had bowls, plates, and utensils all over tables as if the place had vacated in the middle of a meal. What the fireteam found the most disturbing was the lack of blood or any signs of distress. It was a silent monument of mystery.

Finally they came to a security room with one large set of double doors that fed in a long wide hallway, another set of doors at the end though they were far more heavy duty. The three went over all of the equipment in the room, Ghosts scanning every port and drive they could find.

“I got something,” the Titan’s Ghost called out, feeding enough power into the drive and display screen to play the last six minutes of footage in the video memory.

It seemed just like a normal day, staff and scientists going about their daily lives. The first abnormality was a wave that made the whole building quiver, a shockwave akin to the beginnings of an earthquake. But it was only one shift, the people within having the initial pause before panic set in. Yet before any of them could move to safety they completely disappeared. Upon closer inspection, playing the video back at one hundredth of normal speed, it could be seen that the first to vanish were those closer to the security doors and the last being those in the lobby. Each person dematerialized, the thread of their existence unraveling in milliseconds.

“Whatever is behind those doors,” the Warlock said, all three of them looking to what she spoke of, “Could be far more dangerous than we expect.”

“I didn’t come this far not to know,” the Hunter started for the first set of double doors. Unlike the initial entrance to the place the Ghosts were able to unravel the security codes, combining forces to decrypt the quadruple locks. The same was done for the second set, not opening it just yet. The Hunter dropped a smoke grenade at their feet cloaking the three in invisibility before they stepped through. Their Ghosts lit up, showering beams of light around to get a better view of what they had just walked into.

The initial dais they stood on was man made but it quickly fed into a massive cavern. The glow of blue lava streams hardly cast any sort of visibility, from what they could see were stalactites the size of skyscrapers dripping with water down to pools of water far deeper than their light reached. What was most damning for them were the piles of bodies, splashes of white staining nearly every surface, metal eroded away on some of the framing. Dead Vex were scattered everywhere, not a single red eye to be seen. Just at the fringe of the light fading away was the glint of a metal ring, a Vex timegate.

“By the Traveler…” the Warlock was practically breathless, the invisibility dropping away as they started in. Careful to step around the bodies they were far too enthralled with what had transpired to notice what was taking place in that moment.

The shriek of arc energy rattled through the cavern yet there was no glow in view. In an instant the fireteam put their backs to each other, primary weapons drawn and off safety. With nothing to aim at they simply scanned about but it was to no avail. From the center of where they stood the attacker came up between them, the electrified blade first ramming upwards to gut the Titan through his spine. The weapon was wrenched through the armor to slice straight through the Warlock’s throat. Both of them dropped to the ground, the Hunter having enough sense to reel backwards out of striking range.

When she finally faced the direction of where the attacker had come from there was no one. Dropping her Suros autorifle she called upon the Void, drawing back the string of her bow as it materialized. In the next second the violet arrow was released, striking the stone floor and turning into a blackhole. The tether was the telltale sign, anchoring the attacker to keep them from moving at all. In the brief moment of safety the Ghosts resurrected the Warlock and Titan who were more than a little pissed off.

“Fire at will!” the Titan roared, instantly bringing his aim up to shoot the tethered person before he even recognized the silhouette. Just before he pulled the trigger a new Ghost appeared out of nothingness.

“Wait!” the little Light had set herself between the end of the barrel and the target, “I can explain!”

The blackhole dissipated, the target vanishing as quickly as it came. Since it was a Ghost the Titan lowered his weapon, still peeved he had been killed but the surprise of seeing a one of theirs overcame that, “Start talking.”

“He’s a little on edge, the only moving things he’s seen since the end of The Collapse is the Vex and me,” the Ghost explained, her voice sounding like there was a tiny British woman inside, “I’m sure we’ve been in here quite a few decades.”

“Try a few centuries,” the Hunter corrected, staring upwards into the dark between the stalactites, hoping to catch a glimpse.

“Who’s he? And who are you?” the Warlock inquired.

“I’m Dusk, the Ghost of Shadow Clone the Human Hunter. Technically his callsign has two little x’s between the first and second word but I’m not quite sure how to pronounce it, I don’t dare ask,” she answered, the back spikes whirling this way and that as she spoke, “I didn’t realize it had been so long since I found him down here.”

“What happened? Why is he still here?”

“From what I’ve gathered in our time together he was sent here during The Collapse to help evacuate the denizens but by the time he got here they were gone. When he reviewed the video archives he found that the Vex had shifted reality around the timegate, causing the people to just stop existing. It was easier for them to make time in this facility jump forward so they wouldn’t have to do the tedious task of exterminating them all,” Dusk answered, drifting between the three, “Because this facility was for research and development he took it upon himself to secure it until back up arrived. He tried to clean the place out but he was overrun, the Vex coming through the timegate in waves of hundreds.”

“Why did he stay if he was so outnumbered? Why didn’t you bring him back to Earth?”

“It was his objective to protect the people. He failed by dying so when I brought him back to life he wanted to finish the job. He cleared out this whole facility, using the video archives to set everything back in place,” Dusk finally came to a stop, blue eye blinking at them, “I don’t dare argue with him to leave. He’s killed thousands of Vex and they eventually stopped coming through the timegate because they lost so many.”

“When was the last time a Vex came through?”

“Over a century ago, since then he’s taken the fight to them.”

“Excuse me?” the Warlock was perplexed, “He’s gone through the timegate?”

“On several occasions,” Dusk answered, “We’ve gone to the Vex homeworld one hundred and thirty two times. Each time we’ve had to go further in since they’ve deemed the area around the timegate on their side as a dead zone.”

“And this was all done by one man.”

“I don’t think you understand,” Dusk corrected them, “There’s a reason he’s called Shadow Clone, there’s no Light in him. He is the humanoid duplication of the Darkness.”

It was then the timegate burst open, framing Shadowxxclone in a brilliant white. Blade in hand he silently held out a hand for Dusk to return to him, of which she did without hesitation.

“Wait! Come back with us! Come home!” the Hunter started to rush towards him, hoping to stop him.

The only words he spoke to the fireteam echoed through the cavern, ringing in their ears as he stepped through to the other side and the Vex timegate closed.

“War is my home.”

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