With our backs to the wall, the Darkness will fall
We never quite thought we could lose it all
Ready, aim, fire, ready, aim, fire
An empire’s fall in just one day
You close your eyes and the glory fades
Ready, aim, fire, ready, aim, fire away (fire!)
Ready, aim, fire, ready, aim, fire away
Ready Aim Fire, Imagine Dragons
“Do Guardians not bring anything besides guns?” demanded Emma. Even under her helmet I could feel her glaring daggers at me as she leaned on me for support.
“Well, usually that’s enough,” I said, trying not to sound //sheepish. “Although now we are out of ammo.”
“Traveler save us all,” she muttered. “Stop for a second.” I obliged and she sat on the ground, one leg stretched out in front of her: in spite of the sealed suit, the leg was clearly resting at a strange angle just below her knee. Emma then pulled the pack on her back around and opened it up. She reached in and took out a white cylinder about half a meter long. “Ghost, help me.”
Charlemagne and Ebony looked at one another for a moment, then Charlemagne floated down to her eye level. She held the cylinder up to the little blue Ghost.
“What is…” He scanned the object. “Oh! I see.” There was a flash of a transmat and Emma groaned in pain: the outside of her deformed leg became covered in a hard casing, and there was a sound of mechanical whirring. The leg straightened out and the casing blew out a small cloud of gases as it tightened down. Then Emma sighed with relief and her head lolled back briefly.
“Pain killers should be kicking in now,” said Charlemagne. “That’s a very clever device! How long does healing take?”
“If I have regular caloric intake, the injections take about 2 weeks to repair the bone. Longer if I have less to eat, since it runs on my body’s energy levels.” Emma stood to her feet, using her rifle as a crutch to lever herself up, then put weight on the broken leg. After a couple of test steps she nodded. “There. Now I can function.” She bent down and reached into the bag once more, pulling out a spool of thin wire and a grappling hook and small metal anchors. “Standard climbing apparatus for Dead Orbit crews in case of crashing in inhospitable terrain.”
“It would behoove us to have something similar in the future,” Drake admitted.
“You think?” said Emma.
“Hey, we did just save your life. A little gratitude wouldn’t hurt,” I said.
“Actually, by my count, I saved yours. For the second time. And with this, I am saving it again.” Emma positioned herself where we had landed from our jump down into the cell. “OK, Ebony, help me aim.” My Ghost obliged, giving her pointers for the angle and approximate distance – it was impossible to tell from down below – and she fired the grapple into the air over our heads. The wire followed, then went slack when the hook landed. She tapped a button on the side of the gun, and then tugged on the wire: it went taught.
“Good to go,” she said. “I’ll go first, put some extra anchors up there just in case. The firing device is also a reel, so I will send it down in a moment.” Then flipped a switch on it and began to ascend.
“Handy!” said Charlemagne. Drake nodded his agreement, then looked at me. “Are you all right?”
I shrugged to communicate //nonchalance, even if it was false. “I will be fine.”
Drake nodded again. “Darkness is only the absence of Light, Morc-35. In times like these, it is best to remember that.”
“Thanks…? I think,” I said, //unsure what else I should say.
“I-” Drake was interrupted by the return of the grappling reel. I motioned for him to take it, and he ascended to the faint light overhead, leaving me alone with Ebony and my thoughts.
“She was Taken. We might not have to deal with her again,” said Ebony.
“I don’t think it is that simple,” I replied. Ebony did not comment. Eventually the reel returned. I grabbed it, flipped the switch, and we rushed upward. The edge of the platform appeared and I reached for it.
A gauntlet seized my wrist and hauled me into the air before I could react. I fumbled for my knife to cut the attacker.
“Blimey, House! Look what I copped!” said Farstride in a terrible cockney accent as he dragged me over the edge. “It’s a bloomin’ Exo!”
“We had a rough landing. Thankfully we were close enough together that Farstride’s Ghost helped revive me,” House explained as he handed me an ammo pack. We had gathered on the bridge outside the cell. “Our Ghosts detected a spike of Light from the cell, so we guessed it must be a Guardian.”
“That would be Drake flash-bombing the 100 or so Thrall down there,” I said, loading my revolver.
“Well, there is good news and bad news. Which do you want first?” asked Farstride.
“Good news would be well received,” said Drake.
“The good news is that our assault accomplished its objective: the transmat zone is secure, Guardians are flooding the Dreadnought as we speak, and our distraction was enough for a Guardian to punch through to the closed off parts of the ship. We believe they might already be on their way to face the King.”
“What’s the bad news?” I asked.
“We have lost at least 4 dozen Guardians thus far since we landed – several to a section of the ship I haven’t seen yet, but analysis received indicates its a focal point for powerful Hive entities: they’re calling it the Court of Oryx. There is no word if the Guardian on their way to face the Taken King has survived. Also, we are lost.”
“Wonderful,” I said, making sure to inject the inflection with as much //sarcasm as I could muster.
“It’s not all bad Morc,” said House. “More Guardians are landing every hour. Chances are we will meet up with a group of scouts in time.”
“Nothing for it then,” said Emma. She hefted her rifle over her shoulder. “Let’s get out of here, hmm?” Without waiting for us to answer she turned on a heel and began walking toward the end of the bridge.