“In a world without gold, we might have been heroes!”
~Edward ‘Blackbeard’ Thatch, Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag
“What’s all this?” asked Drake.
“Looks like their loot,” I said. There were crates and crates of stuff scattered throughout the hold we found ourselves in; some were open and held Hive weapons and devices. “They’re stripping the Dreadnought.”
I saw Telrik pick up a large boomer, clearly meant for a massive Knight. “Wow. What have they gotten into?”
“There’s no way they got some of this stuff without cracking open a gate. They’ve entered into the Ascendant Realm.” Magnus’s tone was grave.
“Maybe that’s why they started recruiting the Cabal: pick up the survivors from the crashed ship, use the info they have to punch through,” suggested Farstride.
“Plausible,” Magnus agreed.
Drake was hovering near the far-side of the hold at a sealed door that blocked our passage. I wandered over to observe him.
“There are runes holding this door shut,” he said. He ran his hand over the door, and the faerie-light of Hive runes glowed across the barrier.
“Blood of the Traveler,” I murmured. “How did they…?”
The Warlock shook his head. “I am not sure. But we need to move on and find their leadership.” He held out his hand and his Ghost floated to the door. “It’s a wonder that they managed to make use of the Hive tech. It begs a lot of questions.”
I grunted and watched his Ghost go to work. The door glowed with increasing intensity as the Ghost scanned and translated, and then a pulse washed over everything. A deep rumble shook the ship, and the door peeled open.
“Hit the deck!” I shouted. A rocket whipped through the aperture and smashed open a crate of Hive weaponry. Cleavers and swords spilled onto the deck and we all leapt to different cover points.
“Nassa sook ka!” roared the Fallen as it came barreling out of the hallway. It was wielding a hefty Scorch cannon and protected by blocky armor that seemed at odds with its lupine form.
“What did he say?” asked Heisenberg-3. We crouched behind a short stack of crates.
“‘All shall burn,’ I think,” I replied.
“Oh. I can help with that.” The Titan pivoted out of cover and hurled a burning hammer at the Fallen. The fire washed over it in a cloud. The Fallen took aim, looking unperturbed.
“Whoops.” A Scorch missile buried itself into Heisenberg’s chest and he went sailing past my cover spot. The missile detonated while he was in midair and he disappeared in a shower of sparks and plasma.
“Guardian down,” Ebony reported belatedly.
The noise of gunfire filled the hold, but the Fallen seemed no more bothered than if the bullets had been a cloud of gnats. Servitors now flew out of the passage behind it, some glowing green with a faerie-light.
I ducked and juked my way across the hold to Drake’s side. “Look at the Servitors,” I said.
He popped his head out of cover, took a couple of shots, and ducked down again. “Runes etched on their chassis,” he confirmed.
“Hive?” I asked.
I stood up and took a potshot at one of the Servitors. The round gouged a small piece out of its frame. It hurried behind cover.
“They don’t have weapons,” I said. “They just retreat.”
“Servitors are generating a field on the Vandal,” Magnus reported. He was busy pouring bullets into the chassis of a Servitor that had had the bad luck to be cornered by him and Telrik.
“Take out the Servitors, stand by to hit the Vandal. And someone pickup Heisenberg,” Farstride added.
“I’ve got the Titan,” said Drake. He motioned to Heisenberg’s Ghost and went to find a safe space to revive the fallen Guardian. I loaded my sniper rifle and began focusing on the Servitors.
“Last Servitor down! Hit the Vandal!” We all opened fire on the Fallen.
The bullets bounced and ricocheted off the Fallen’s armor harmlessly. “KAAAAAAA!!!” It roared furiously, raised the Scorch cannon and pulled the trigger in rapid succession – a dozen rockets flew from the weapon and scattered across the hold, leaving no safe space I could see.
“Down down down!” someone screamed, I wasn’t sure who, as we were all running in different directions trying to find some kind of cover. Then all the rounds went off.
Darkness. The field was squishy underfoot. The Tower was closer now, and I could make out the turrets and balconies. Something moved in my peripheral, something clutching and broken and wrong, the shape was wrong, WRON-
“Morc, you good?” I started back into reality, awash in Void Light from the revival. Farstride was kneeling over the body of Magnus, and with a flash of Light the black-robed Warlock returned to the land of the living.
“What happened?” I demanded. “How did you survive that?”
Farstride pointed at the wreckage of one of the Servitors. “These things still generate some kind of protective field even when destroyed, just in a more limited space. But I have no idea how to crack that armor. And he’s got fresh Servitors.”
“Boomers!” Telrik said from the far side of the hold. He was gathered with Heisenberg-3 and Drake. “Use the boomers in the crates to hit him when the field comes down, but it’s got to be quick. If he pulls that cannon stunt again…”
“Warlocks take down the Servitors, Titans grab boomers, Hunters…” Farstride looked at me, then shrugged. “Standby, in case something else happens.”
I sighed //sarcastically and nodded.
“3, 2, go!”