Day 99 – Part 1

I see the bad moon arising.
I see trouble on the way.
I see earthquakes and lightnin’.
I see bad times today.

Bad Moon Rising, Creedence Clearwater Revival

“What are they doing?” asked Emma. Her voice came from the dark to my right and was calmer than I expected.

“Taunting us,” replied Father Eriksson to my left. “Letting us know they are in control.”

image“They are not,” snarled Leif, just behind Father Eriksson. “They are trying to make us think they are.”

I listened to all of them without taking my gaze off the 3 figures on the horizon. I could not quite gauge the distance, but they were close enough to make out their specific forms, back-lit by the crest of the rising Luna peeking over the lip of the Earth.

2 of the figures were almost identical. Both stood erect and proud, taller than any human, and the light of Luna made them each seem broader than a house. The one on the right cradled its weapon in its arms. The other planted its man-sized cleaver into the ground like an extra support beam. They flanked the central figure like an honor-guard. She floated just a meter off the ground, long-skirts swishing from side-to-side in the breeze, and a halo of pale-orange energy shimmered in the air around her. I imagined I could just see the pinprick points of light that were their eyes.

“We need to move again,” whispered Emma. “They know we’ve stopped for rest. They’ll attack again soon.”

“No!” Leif shifted his considerable weight in the dark, and I heard the snow crunching beneath his boots. “We have run too much. Now we stand and fight. They would not be trying to intimidate us if they could kill us now.”

“They’re Hive!” hissed Emma. “They enjoy our fear! They take pleasure in our pain! Ask the Guardian.”

I felt the gaze of the others fall on my back. I didn’t answer immediately. “The strategy we’ve been employing has worked so far,” I said. “No one has died since the initial attack.”

“We will not make it to the Cosmodrome. Not like this,” Leif insisted. “We must fight, kill them now.”

“We’ll die!” Emma insisted.

“Better dead on our feet than Thrall clawing into our exposed backs while we flee like cowards.”

“We can make it,” said Emma. The tone of her voice had changed: she was appealing to Father Eriksson now. “If we get to the Cosmodrome, the Fallen will respond to an invasion of their territory. And there might be other Guardians there.”

“There are other Hive there as well,” Leif countered.

“But the Devils won’t allow another nest to take root if they can help it!”

Father Eriksson spoke to me. “What do you think, Guardian?”

I finally turned to face the others. “We should continue to do what we are doing. We cannot stand and fight. They will wear us down.”

Father Eriksson nodded. “Maybe.” He looked at Leif. “Another ammo count. We leave again in 5 minutes.”

Leif stalked off into the dark to rouse the exhausted hunting party, and Father Eriksson trailed in his wake. 5 minutes. It did not sound like enough.

Emma approached me. Even in the dark I could see the angry red slash on her face where a Thrall had landed its claw. “You alright?” she asked. “You seem…something is wrong.”

“I…” I sought for a word. “I…I am tired.”

Her eyes widened, white and round in the low light. “But…you’re a Guardian. And an Exo. How can you get tired?”

“I will explain later,” I replied. “I will keep watch until we’re ready.”

She nodded and turned to follow the others. I extended my hand and Ebony settled into my palm with a sigh. “How can I get tired?” I asked him, vaguely realizing I had at some point begun to think of my Ghost as a “he”.

“It’s the Hive, I think,” said Ebony softly. “They are clawing at our Light. Nibbling at it with each encounter.” He flickered. “Remember, I revived you 19 times in the space of 2 hours. We need rest. We need to get back to the Traveler. Eventually they will wear us down. That, or we summon our ship and fly out.”

“I will not abandon them,” I said, acid creeping into my tone.

“I am not suggesting we do,” replied Ebony with weary patience. “But the Tower has not sent any reinforcements. If we fly back, we can get heavier firepower to bring down the Hive quickly.”

“The Hive will overwhelm them the moment we leave.”

“We are not invincible, Guardian.”

I heard the crunching of boots in the snow and turned to look at the others. Father Eriksson led the ragtag group, a mere 12 of us left. With the exception of myself, all of them carried long sniper rifles and heavy knives: I carried only my hand cannon and knife, as my shotgun ammo and machine gun had run dry hours ago.

“We are ready.” He looked at the others, his white hair glowing slightly in Luna’s waxing light. “We are not going to run,” he said to Emma. He turned to Leif. “And we are not going to stand and fight so we may die.” He turned back to look at the trio of Hive on the far ridge. “We came out here to hunt Hive.” His mouth split into a wolfish smile. “So we’re going to hunt Hive. And make them regret coming after us.”

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