Posts Tagged With: Titan

Day 797 – Part 3

“One sibling this annoying is misfortune! What warlock has cursed me to have two?”

~Thor Odinson (Marvel Universe)


“Would you leave like a thief in the night?”

“I didn’t hear you approach, Father.” I turned around.

“I doubt that.” Father Ericksson walked up to me, his cane shuffling through the snow. He had not had a cane when I had last seen him. Nor had he been as bent as he was now, almost double, as if he carried some unseen weight on his back. Rill walked at his side, almost hovering.

“It would have been nice to have seen you before left again.”

I ducked my head. “I am sorry. The war…” I trailed off: the words sounded hollow even as I spoke them.

“The war between Light and Darkness existed even before the first gods, Morc. Do not get so caught up in it you forget the larger picture.” He motioned me to follow and began to walk away from The Hand of Tyr. Rill frowned at me as she passed, taking a satchel to the ship.

“You’re sending her with us?” I asked as we walked.

“Emma is to be your fire team’s pilot, and I do not like when one of our people flies alone, even with Guardians. Were it not for your insistence on privacy, they would have flown together to retrieve you from Mars. They are as close as only sisters can be since the hunt that wounded you all.”

I cocked my head and looked at him. “Emma told you.”

“She did.” Father Ericksson stopped walking and sighed. “I have an entire clan to watch over, Morc-35. The health and mind of each is important to me. Even that of an Exo.”

“I don’t know what telling you can do to help,” I said.

“Perhaps nothing,” he admitted. “But I would ask you this: do not go. If your each subsequent death brings you closer to some unseen edge, then going into battle is beyond foolishness. Stay here, speak to the Warlocks, and let them help you.”

“I’ll be helped when that Wizard is dead.”

“Are you certain?” He stared at me hard. “The realm of death belongs to the Hive. Do you think destroying something that is Taken will be enough?”

“It will be enough for me.”

He studied me for a few moments more. “I see you cannot be dissuaded. Very well. But when this mission is over you will return to the family, and you will speak to a Warlock before you go haring off after that Wizard again; I know of one who is discrete and will help you without telling the Vanguard. You may take your revenge after.”

I nodded. “Yes, Father.”

He patted my arm, and I felt the frailty in the gesture. The strong warrior chief I had met 2 years before had been replaced by a feeble man. I burned with questions as to what had happened, but felt //ashamed I did not already know. Perhaps I had been gone too long.

“Be swift, Morc-35. Time is growing short. For all of us.” He turned and walked back toward the Iron Temple. I watched him go until he was out of sight, then returned to the ship. The fire team was stowing their spare weapons and extra gear on board.

Arianna whistled sharply to get everyone’s attention. “Head count. The Ericksson’s here,” she gestured to Emma and Rill, “will establish a forward base and maintain our Sparrow uplink, so we’ll have mobility.”

“I don’t have a Sparrow,” said Findlay weakly.

“You do now,” said Rill. The other Guardians turned to look at her. “Morgan gave Morc-35 an Eververse voucher as payment for the tactics assessment you dropped off for him. He traded that for a Sparrow for you.”

“Uh…wow, thanks,” said Findlay to me.

“Titans are slow enough without a Sparrow,” I told him.

“Hey!”

Arianna resumed her briefing. “After we’re in the mission zone it’s short-range comms only. If the Kings are involved we can be certain they have tricks up their sleeves, and the fact that someone out there has our names means they might be able to listen to long-range comms, so we’ll need to keep everything low-key and encrypted. No use of names and coordinates over audio: tight-beam everything between your Ghosts as much as possible and have them pipe it in. Clear?”

Everyone nodded.

“OK, buddy-system in case we get separated: Magnus, you’re with me. Drake, you’re with Miranda. Morc, you get the new-boot.”

“Why do I have to be paired with the Titan?” I demanded.

“Consider it a punishment for being so hard to find.”

“I’m a punishment?” asked Findlay.

“All aboard!” Arianna transmatted into the hold and we all followed her.

Advertisements
Categories: Morc-35 | Tags: , , , , , ,

Day 797 – Part 2

“I had forgotten that, while Thor hurls his Hammer from storm-clouds, Odin prefers his strike to come out of a calm sky.”
Robert Low, The White Raven


“What was in that book I gave Morgan?”

Findlay’s question interrupted my reading of the SIVA crisis reports. I hid my //annoyance. “Observations of the tactics the Cabal have adopted to deal with the remnant Taken threats. I don’t think the Cabal have ever been thrashed like this before. It has changed their approach.”

“So why give it to the Cryptarchs?”

I put the report down. “The Cryptarchs do analysis of an enemy’s language and habits and trade that to the Vanguard for help with relic retrieval. The Warlocks like it too since it helps them weaponize their use of the Light.”

“Titans and Hunters don’t care?”

“We Hunters rely on our wits and weapons, not just our powers to get things done. And Titans have never met a problem they couldn’t just smack their thick skulls against.”

“Hey…” Findlay began.

“We’re about to land at the Iron Temple.” Emma reported from the cockpit. I tucked the sheaf of reports into my satchel and stood before drawing my hood up.

We transmatted into a blizzard: the world was nothing but blowing whiteness, and the sun was near setting. Darkness was rapidly descending.

“Where’s the meeting point?” I shouted.

Findlay waved me to follow him. The snow obscured everything past a few meters, but his Ghost gave off a little halo of light that made a decent beacon. I saw other Guardians pass us: in spite of the weather there was a sense of activity and movement all around us, muted orange light here and there I took to be torches or fires.

Findlay guided us across a bridge made of wood and rope.

“Blood of the Traveler, what is this, the dark ages?” I demanded, clinging to the icy ropes that kept me from being blown off the side.

“In a manner of speaking,” said Ebony helpfully. “The Iron Temple was built centuries ago. It’s older than the City.”

“Wonderful,” I said. The walk across the bridge seemed to take forever, but I caught up with Findlay at a huge set of doors with a great axe carved into them.

“Push!” shouted Findlay. I complied, and orange light streamed out of the enclosure along with a semblance of warmth. Once inside we turned and the pressed the doors back into place, and they snapped close with a heavy crunch.

“Look what the new boot found.” Miranda was sitting at the edge of a fire pit that dominated a small room with a high-ceiling that I took to be the base of a tower. She had her hood drawn up to cover her bald head, but her Awoken eyes were shining bright in the firelight.

“Throw him back out,” said Magnus. He was huddled in his black robes and almost sitting in the fire…no, he was sitting in the fire. “He let the cold in.”

Drake laughed and waved me over. “It is good to see you again, Morc.”

I sat next to the other Warlock and punched his shoulder. “You as well.”

“Is this all of us?” asked Findlay.

“Arianna’s on her way over with M and a briefing,” said Miranda. “Be patient, kid.”

“Where are the others?” I asked.

“Out being Titans,” said Magnus. “You know: beating their chests, smashing things, the usual.”

“Where’s House?”

The others frowned. “No one knows,” admitted Drake finally. “He went after something in the European DZ on assignment from Dead Orbit. Not sure what they wanted out there, but he was eager to go. No one’s heard from him in 8 weeks, and both Dead Orbit and the Vanguard are being tight-lipped about it.”

“We know he isn’t dead,” said Magnus. “Farstride would have been told. But whatever he’s up to, he’s even harder to find than you.”

The doors cracked open and 2 Hunters, Arianna and the fiery little M, ducked inside from the blizzard.

“Close the damn door!” shouted Magnus, and thrust out a hand. The doors snapped close before the Hunters had even begun to push them.

“This place and its lack of tech is unbearable.” M took her hood off and shook her short blonde hair free, sending snow all around her.

“Back in the day this was practically a palace compared to what we lived in,” said Magnus.

“You say that like you were there,” I laughed. Magnus looked through the flames at me. I gaped at him as the implication dawned. “Were you…?”

“Briefing,” snapped M. “The faster I’m done here the faster I can get back to the Tower.” She looked at Arianna. “This your whole crew?”

“This is us.”

“You scrounged up a Titan.”

“Can’t leave a stray puppy out for the Devils to eat,” said Arianna.

Findlay frowned at all of us. “What did I do to deserve this?”

Drake guffawed at him. “You will get used to it, kid.”

“This will be familiar territory for 2 of you,” said M. “We’re sending you south of the Cosmodrome.”

“What? Why?” I asked. “The reports I read said the SIVA plague lands are north of here.”

“And our Titans will do a wonderful job smashing up SIVA: it’s a simple task, but I need brains and skill, so I got Warlocks and Hunters for this.”

“I am sitting right here,” muttered Findlay.

“As I said, this will literally be familiar territory.” She looked at Arianna and me. “You remember that little Fallen experiment you broke up a couple of years ago when the Devils attacked that settlement?”

“Yeah,” I said. “I still have that Captain’s sword hanging on my wall.”

“Well, your reports got cross-referenced with reports coming out of the plague lands: we think the Kings might have had some of SIVA all along.”

Magnus sucked in a breath between his teeth. “No, not possible. They wouldn’t have been able to keep it quiet. You saw how fast it spread once it was out of containment.”

“Not actual SIVA mites, no,” said M. “But specs and enough tech to get the gist of it. We’re confident now that the Kings were trying to replicate their own kind of SIVA, and it’s possible that has something to do with how the Devils sniffed out its existence. There are too many parallels.”

“What does it matter?” asked Drake. “The Devils have it now. Why send us south?”

“Because a settlement we didn’t know existed has been sending out a distress call…and they mentioned Arianna and Morc-35 by name.”

Categories: Morc-35 | Tags: , , , , , ,

J. Farstride – Thieves and Beggars 001

“I understand the loss of a comrade is something to mourn, but our responsibilities do not end because one has lost the fight. We as defenders of this nation have an obligation to those who’ve sworn allegiance to us. And I intend to uphold my oath to the people of this land, no matter the cost.”
Charles Lee, The Way To Dawn: End of Days


The data chip you found in the book has another series of files on it, sorted by numbers and names under the heading “Thieves and Beggars.” You open the first file and an audio-visual record plays. The recording is not time-stamped, and shows the snowy ground below the Wall as seen from the ramparts. The day is dark and the sky is overcast. Snow is falling, a sharp wind carrying the flakes sideways. The Wall creaks with each gust, and the sound of the wind mixes with the words…

“Freyja, are you recording this?” The camera panned left to a Titan in steel-colored armor. A scrolling text unfurled next to his head: J. Farstride.

“Recording on, Guardian,” said the operator. The view bobbed slightly.

The Titan motioned to the Wall’s pathway: a line of Fallen bodies had been neatly laid out, eight in a row. Five were Dregs, two were Vandals, the last a Captain (or unusually large Vandal), and next to him was the wing of a destroyed Shank. Each was armored in a dull purple armor, their weapons laid out beside them. At the end of the row was another Guardian, a human female. Her helmet was off, her pale face flushed with the cold and her blonde hair whipping in the wind; the camera identified her as “L. Pulaski”. She winked at the recording Ghost, and then began to speak.

“Subjects appear to be Fallen of an unknown origin. Flag unidentified. Fallen attacked the outpost at approximately 0600 hours this morning, just as shift change was occurring, implying advanced scouting and preparation. Casualties to the Fallen were approximately seventeen Dregs, nine Vandals, four shanks, possibly one Captain, unclear as to the last. Casualties to the Guardians were six, all revived. The Fallen target appears to have been three buried walkers: leftovers from a recent battle. Said walkers were damaged during the Fallen retreat and abandoned, and cleanup crews hauled them inside the wall for later retrieval and study. Due to manpower shortages, this has not yet occurred, and the walkers have remained.

“Attackers used standard tactics: employing skiffs to drop troops onto the Wall and penetrate our defenses. What is not standard is their equipment, which brings me to the reason for this record. Ghost, if you please, take note of the weapons and gear.”

The recording panned down to the Fallen bodies again, and zoomed in on their weapons.

“As you can see, non-standard armaments were being wielded by almost all Fallen present. Weapon types are reminiscent of Cabal infantry, heavily modified for use by the smaller Fallen.” Pulaski reached down and picked up a broad firearm, big as a shotgun but blocky and square. “Rounds were explosive slugs, common to Legionaries on Mars. Lower explosive yield, greater velocity.” She put the gun down and stepped to the Captain and picked up his weapon. “Though of Fallen make, this is what appears to be their take on a Heavy Slug Thrower. This Fallen wore a magazine for his rounds on his back, which were belt-fed into the weapon. It successfully brought down two of the Guardian casualties and almost cleared the Wall of defenders.” Pulaski put down the slug thrower and picked up the Shank wing. “This last is the most odd: the material of the Shank was built out of the same alloy that is found in Phalanx shields. We could only bring it down by targeting the joints in the wings. It was otherwise impervious to fire.”

The camera panned back to the Guardian’s face. “I am recommending a recon mission to Mars, to find more evidence of these particular Fallen. It is possible that this a new House we have-” Pulaski’s head snapped sideways with a crack and something spattered the view. She limply hit the walkway with a rattle of armor. The crack of the shot followed a second later.

“Guardian down!” The camera winked with a flash of transmat light and the view changed to Farstride’s HUD. “Unit commander down!” Farstride’s breathing was heavy, rapid. He jumped over the Fallen bodies and knelt next to Pulaski. “Uh, Ghost, where’s her Ghost?”

“Here,” said a little red Ghost, hovering over the body. “We need cover!”

“Right!” Farstride thrust out his hands in both directions and the world turned a violet color. Shots pinged against the bubble. “Umm, motion tracker shows a lot of movement, low, below the wall. We need to get Pulaski on her feet!”

“Guardian.” The red Ghost floated into view. “I know it’s your first day on the Wall, but you need to breathe. Calm down.”

“Yeah, yeah, calm.” There was the sound of a shuddering breath. “So what do we do? Where are the other Titans?”

“Sniper rounds took out the nearest, the other four have already left for the City. I have transmitted a ‘Guardian Down’ signal.There are a pair of Warlocks just half a click away East-wise on the Wall. They are already inbound. Also, a Hunter is coming in on a Sparrow from the inside of the Wall. They’ll need updates and direction when they get here.”

Farstride nodded. “What about Pulaski?”

“There’s too much interference, for some reason or another. It will take time to revive her.”

The walkway rang with the sound of boots, and a Hunter in a blue cloak slid into the bubble. “‘sup, mate?” The text next to his head read “K. Lowery”.

“Fallen shooting at us. My commander is down.” As if on cue the Wall shuddered and groaned. “And now they’re shelling us with a walker.”

“Cheeky bastards,” said the Hunter. “What’s the plan?”

“More reinforcements are on their way.”

“Here,” said Freyja. A pair of Guardians were sprinting toward the bubble shield. One staggered from a round, but was hauled forward by his partner. The wounded Guardian fell into the protection of the shield and hissed with pain; his name read “Starbright”, the other “Orion-9”. Another walker round struck the position, and the Wall moaned.

Farstride took charge. “This shield is coming down soon. We need to distract that walker. Starbright, you stay here with Pulaksi’s Ghost. Orion, Lowery, we are getting down there and taking that Walker out.”

“Leave the Wall?” asked Orion. As if to answer there was another crack of thunder and a shudder. “OK, point taken.”

“We will come at it from three sides, OK? I’ll run up the middle, you two flank it. Ready?” Farstride’s revolver appeared. The other Guardians nodded.

“Go!” They rushed the edge and vaulted over, down, down into the snow. Farstride caught himself just as he neared the ground, and landed in an explosion of snow and ice. Then he was running, right at the walker. It was braced for artillery fire, focused behind the attacking Guardians. Freyja began highlighting the Fallen surrounding it, picking them out of the falling snow. A dozen Dregs, nothing more.

“This is Star, the shield is down.”

Scout rifle-fire echoed as the Hunter engaged with the Dregs. They fell with clean shots to the head, spewing ether. Orion was almost invisible in white and silver robes, until he hurled a bright Solar grenade at the Walker’s feet, back-lighting him like a miniature sun. The walker’s repeater had already taken aim at Farstride, and his HUD lit up with red as rounds struck his armor. The camera flopped sideways, rolled, came back up. Snow hissed into steam as the shots tracked. Farstride’s other hand appeared and fanned the hammer on his revolver, and rounds cracked into the walker armor. The tank began pulling up its braces, forgetting the Wall to defend itself.

“Help!” The radio crackled with a panicked cry. “Skiffs overhead! They’re dropping troops on me!” The camera spun around to look back up at the Wall. A pair of skiffs hovered, disgorging Vandals. “I’m-“ The words were cut off, and a flash of Light lit the ramparts.

“Titan, move!” Farstride spun around in time to see the barrel of the walker cannon light up with fire. The view flashed.

End of Record 001

Categories: Thieves and Beggars | Tags: , , , ,

Blog at WordPress.com.