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Gunfire roared loud through the previously silent and cold streets of Old Seattle. Shanks and Dregs scattered across ruined streets, while their Captain leader barked orders in foreign tongues. It had seemed like the fight was persisting for hours, though it barely even lasted one. When Fireteam Black first engaged, they struck hard and fast. However, Fireteam Black had failed to remember that there was a Walker present, or they were too distracted to sustain fire. In the deadly blast that consumed half of Fireteam Black, the Veil Captain allowed his hubris to overtake him.

“Boss!” Arxus shouted.

As the smoke and ash settled, the Veil Captain sung his praises far too early.

"Writhe in defeat, light thieves!" He would have shouted in his native tongue. Though, much to his dismay, it hadn’t been so.

For as the dust settled, there laid a flicker of purple. It was a solid dome of Void light that sat upon the rooftop; dust bent around it and slowly dropped to the ground. It was an impressive to witness from afar. Sylus had his arms outstretched, conforming to the shape of the dome from within.

“That was too fucking close. Holy shit.” Brian was a bit shaken up from almost getting blown up; he was on his ass, sniper in his lap. “I think I saw my life flash before my eyes.”

After erecting the Ward, Sylus dropped his arms and snatched up his Gjallarhorn from the ground. “You’ll be fine. We need to launch a second offensive. Can you get back on your feet?”

“Yeah, I… give me a second.” Brian was still disoriented from the blast, so it took him a few seconds to get up. The Hunter grabbed his sniper and was back into position in a matter of moments. “I can’t exactly shoot through your shield, y’know.”

“It’ll drop in a minute or two. Just be ready.” Sylus held a hand to his ear, or roughly where his ear would be. “Black, how are we all doing out there?”

While Sylus and Brian had been safe behind the bubble, Emperor-19 wasn’t as lucky. A few grunts and groans of exertion played in feedback, as the Exo Warlock was pulling himself out of a pile of corpses and rubble. “I’ve had better. Filthy little vermin…” Emperor grumbled, throwing a Shank hull off of him.

“Just tell me when to shoot.” Providence remarked, being straight to the point.

“They’re all mixed up for now, but I doubt it’ll last.” Arxus added on to Providence’s statement. Arxus had to duck when the Walker started firing off its machine gun again.

“Agh! Get them, you imbeciles! Kill them all!” Although the Captain continued to speak in foreign tongues, his loud voice very well showed the level of growing irritation that he had. Expecting to win with just one, well-placed shot was his fault. Dregs swarmed and scattered, hurriedly pacing up the deteriorating steps of the townhouses; yet still in the other building, Vandyn was fighting them off.

“Oh, I’m fairing jolly well, thank you for asking! No problems over here!” Muzzle flash lit up the second floor of the building as Vandyn mowed through Dregs and Shanks, until there was nothing left to speak of.

“Get ready for the next volley.” Sylus carefully reloaded his Gjallarhorn again, and Arxus reloaded his rocket launcher. In the exact second that Sylus’ Ward dropped, both Titans launched their rocket launchers simultaneously, this time aimed at the Walker’s other foreleg. A mixture of intense heat and electricity tore through the surface armor, sending the Walker back into overheat.

Providence and Brian coordinated their attacks again, waiting for the exact moment to strike. As the Walker opened up its exhaust hatch, both Hunters unleashed a lethal volley of sniper rounds, which tore through the metal. After such repeated attacks on the Walker, it found itself unable to stand any longer.

With a loud crash, the Walker stumbled forward and slumped. It tried to re-orientate its main cannon, but it merely scraped across the ground.

“No, no, no! Work, thoust piece of scrap!” The Captain growled, swinging around his Shrapnel Launcher to take poorly aimed potshots up towards the rooftops. Super-heated scrap was flung at high speeds, through it would hardly make a decent hit due to the inherent spread of the Captain’s weapon.

Another Gjallarhorn rocket was enough to seal the deal. With the solar rocket homing in upon its target, the Walker’s main cannon was absolutely totaled. Twisted metal and scrap was all that remained, and the Walker dropped to the ground, entirely rendered inert.

“What hast thou done?! My Walker!” The Captain was furious, but he didn’t stay on his feet for very long. With internal systems reaching critical meltdown, the Walker went off like a bomb. With the resulting shockwave, the Captain went flying through the air. He landed face-first on a rock a few feet away, and was left disoriented. Struggling to stand back up again, the Captain tried to use his Shrapnel Launcher as support. Though soon, the Captain slammed back into the ground as his Launcher was kicked away from him. Peering up, he saw the entire Fireteam Black standing above him.

“What do we have here? A wittle lonely Captain without his squad? That’s precious.” Brian squatted in front of the likely crippled Veil Captain, mocking him. The Captain snarled in response.

“What do we do with him? We can’t just leave him here.” Arxus crossed his arms and looked down towards the Captain, who was still being taunted by Brian.

“Maybe it could tell us what the Kell is planning.” Sylus suggested.

“I can hardly see how.” Providence responded. “None of us speak the language.”

“Being of the scholarly sort myself, I would love to learn all there is about the Eliksni. I’m afraid I only started my studies in their culture before Brian contacted me.” Vandyn dusted off the exterior of his Warlock robes.

“We should just put the parasite out of its misery.” Emperor pulled forth his shotgun and leveled it with the Captain’s head. He was already about to pull the trigger before Sylus stopped him.

“We can still use him.” Sylus said. The Titan approached the Fallen Captain, and kneeled aside of Brian, who’s attention was turned when he had seen his commander doing this.

“It’ll just be a dead end.” Emperor replied, disgusted by the notion that they might try to pull information from a race he so loathed.

Sylus ignored what Emperor had to say. The rest of Fireteam Black just watched.

“Your Kell speaks English, so I’m guessing you do too.” Sylus remarked, staring down at this crippled Captain. It was clear that his leg had broken, likely from being thrown by the Walker’s explosion.

“Thou shalt not live to see tomorrow, light thief. If not by me, than another’s hand will snuff out thine light.” The Captain growled.

“Charming.” Sylus responded.

It was sudden and abrupt then; no one saw it coming. The Captain made a grab for Brian but rather than grabbing him, the Captain pulled a knife away from its holster. Before anyone from Fireteam Black could react, the Captain impaled itself through the head. Before it died, the Captain was laughing. It was laughing, as if mocking the Guardians, already knowing what their fate would be. This laughter slowly faded, replaced with a soft hiss of Ether. The Captain let out a death groan, before slumping over.

“What the hell?” Being at the front of their group, Brian was a little shocked and slow to fully register what just transpired.

“He would have rather died than give up any information. A fitting end.” Emperor was rather pleased with the outcome. He began walking off immediately.

Suddenly, static cut in over the loudspeakers. The fireteam knew exactly what that meant.

“I expected better.”

“You would let your own people die, just for your beliefs?” Sylus responded.

“Unlike those under your precious Traveler, mine are loyal. They know how to sacrifice themselves to the cause. After such a poor display, Uriks deserved to be punished.”

Brian grabbed the handle of his knife, and tore it out from the Captain’s head. A bit disgusted, he wiped the knife off on the Captain’s cloak, before holstering it.

“You’re crooked.” Being a leader, Sylus felt irritated that the Kell would allow his own people to die. Even worse, command them to kill themselves.

“I am a survivor. Every sacrifice I have made is for the better of my House. You could never understand, Guardian. You will never understand.”

“You won’t survive forever.” Motioning for his fellow Guardians to follow, Sylus and Fireteam Black continued down the street, heading towards the Space Needle.

“Will you be the one to slay me, then?”

“I will.”

Laughter echoed through the loudspeaker system; deep and grating and raspy as it was.

“You barely survived that last battle. How will you survive the next one?”

“We’ll find a way.” Sylus and Fireteam Black managed to pass the Walker that was blocking the road, and they continued onward. However, something felt off…

“Unfortunately, I can no longer abide by allowing you to run about.”

The entire Fireteam felt like they were being watched, which quickly turned out to be true. Dozens, more than dozens, innumerable amounts of Stealth Vandals cased the rooftops encircling them. Without knowing it, they had been surrounded.

“Shit.” Providence muttered.

“Try as you may, I will always be one step ahead. There is no outcome of this battle that puts you at the top. Do welcome my kin, however. I’m sure they will be most accommodating.”

After that, static.

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