There was rainfall once more.

The collected winds and the droplets of water that once again beat against the roofs, walls and ground of the City struck with an even greater intensity this time. Perhaps this was nature’s response to the conflict at hand, but to the pessimist and optimist: the rain took different meaning. To the pessimist, the wind and the rain were nothing more that the destructive elements that contributed to the chaos in the streets below; stirring the confusion and violence even more. To feed this conflict, so that it may perhaps overtake the City once and for all. But to the optimist, the rain was to heal and mend the wounds that divided the City, to unify it once again. To stop this conflict, so that the City may live on once again.

Whether to stoke the fire, and end the chaos—or to stoke the fire and leave the City to Darkness, was up to the eye of the beholder.

The FOTC Hawk flew over the roof tops of the West Industrial District, the blue warning lights flashing as the bright spotlight that replaced the chin-mounted chain-gun monitored the situation below. The flight for the most part had been calm, but eerily quiet as the Hawk made its way to the dropzone. Per Lieutenant Erai, the FOTC managed to clear out a construction zone that they have fashioned to be temporary headquarters for the district. If they were going to end the conflict that was consuming the City, they would need to administer local force.

Avgust kept his head lowered as the radio played, listing a series of incidents that were erupting over all the City. It wasn’t just West Industrial anymore, it was carrying out into City Centre, the Financial and Garden Districts, the Traveler Research Districts… it had spread almost everywhere, plucking away at the vulnerable connections that kept this City together. The Titan could only assume what was happening at the Consensus’ Debate Chambers now, with the City coming close to knocking down the doors even there.

“Never have I seen it this bad.” Erai finally spoke.

Avgust turned his head up to spot the FOTC companion that he and Fenrir had found. Erai had opted to stand up instead of sitting as the Hawk made its way to the West Industrial Headquarters. He shook his head as a mere response, as silence permeated once more. Eventually the Titan spoke, “Not even at Twilight?”

Erai tilted her head away as Avgust said this, seemingly affected by what he had said. Clearing her throat, Erai replied: “Wasn’t in the Forces by time of Twilight, Avgust. Was still in the academy, trainin’ like there was no tomorrow. By time it happened, they were about ready to boot us out of academy to help fight.”

“I see.” Avgust replied, before he fell quiet once more. Silence took the bay of the Hawk once more, creating an almost foreboding tone. Nothing but the sound of the Hawk’s thrusters was heard, as the vehicle slowed to a halt. The Titan slowly considered what Erai had said, before he spoke again: “What made you join the FOTC?”

Avgust wasn’t entirely sure why he asked the question he did, as he was certain that it would have likely been because she felt a duty to protect the citizens of the City within its walls. That was the point of the FOTC, was it not? Just as the Guardians protected the City outside the limits of its walls, the FOTC tried their best to restore and maintain order and peace. They were two organisations that operated to achieve the same goal, but by different paths and means. Perhaps the only thing that differed between the two is that the FOTC was a choice. Being a Guardian wasn’t.

“I could list all the usual reasons people’d have with joinin’ the FOTC, but I won’t bore ya’.” Erai replied, as she turned her head to face Avgust in particular, “A lot of it had to do with wanting to be a Guardian, y’know? Ghosts spend lifetimes searching for the ones they belong to. Remember sittin’ there a child, looking up to the Guardians and thinking, ‘I want to be one of them.’ My Ghost never came, though. Didn’t know Guardians were raised from the dead until I was a young adult. Figured I didn’t want to die any time soon, so I chose to do the next greatest thing.”

Avgust took a few seconds to process exactly what Erai had said. Erai chose to become a member of the FOTC because of what she thought about the Guardians, and had wanted to become a chosen wielder of the Traveler’s light. But what about him? Had he centuries ago desired to be a Guardian as Erai did? When he died, did he know that there was a possibility that he would be risen from the dead again to fight the Darkness that threatened to consume and destroy the Last City?

Did this duty come to those who desired it, or to those who deserved it?

“What about you, Avgust?” Erai suddenly asked.

The Titan was taken off-guard by the statement, as he turned his head back up to the officer as she took this as a prompt to expound: “Why did you chose to join the FOTC?”

“I chose to join the FOTC out of necessity,” Avgust said, as he quickly tried to process a response to sound reasonable, “saw what was happening across the City and at Twilight. Didn’t think we would have much longer unless we all took a stand.”

“Better together than alone, right?”

Avgust simply nodded his head as he continued, “I just watch what is going on at this moment, and it kills me. We are all survivors under the Traveler, all the inheritors of the Light. I guess… I can’t imagine all of this.”

“I don’t think anyone could.” Fenrir suddenly said. Avgust and Erai turned their attention to the Hunter as he kept his arms folded, staring directly at the two. The Hunter slowly shifted in his seat, as he sighed: “But then again, I must remind myself of the Old World books we still have. Histories of people doing exactly as people do now.”

“This isn’t exactly the Old World.” Avgust remarked, “Should we really be as divided as we were back then?”

“History is always written for a reason.” Fenrir replied, “To not be forgotten.”

As Fenrir said this, the forward momentum of the Hawk slowed to a complete halt. There was a small break of turbulence as the Hawk prepared to lower itself as per its function as a VTOL aircraft. Avgust shrugged as this happened, as he reached up toward a support railing as he seized it before pulling himself completely to his feet. Standing out of his seated position, the Titan turned his head toward Erai and Fenrir before he spoke in a low tone: “Then let us make sure it isn’t forgotten today.”

Fenrir simply nodded his head, but Erai remained completely quiet. It was as if the officer was contemplating something, before something seemed to spark in her eyes. Quietly reaching down, the officer removed a sidearm from supply rack as she first placed it toward Avgust. The Titan looked at the weapon for just a moment, before he took it in his hands as he said: “Thank you,” the gesture meant to be said once you have secured a grasp on a weapon. Erai let go, as Avgust fashioned it in his hands to get adjusted to its weight.

The sidearm was remarkably light in Avgust’s hands, obviously not meant to be the standard-issued Guardian firearm that he was acquainted with. As he glanced over the sidearm’s features, he noticed a decal that stood out to him, the name of the weapon: Strike One. Looking up once more to Erai as she handed a similar weapon to Fenrir, the officer explained: “Our standard-issue sidearm: the good ol’ Strike One. Holds a capacity of sixteen 9mm full-metal jacket rounds in its magazine. Would caution you to be advised with its use… but, this isn’t your usual patrol.”

The bay door hissed, as it slowly opened downward to provide a rampway for the two Guardians and officer to descend onto the ground below. Fenrir filed out first, followed by Avgust and then Erai, as they looked around the makeshift headquarters that the FOTC managed to hold. A series of uniformed and armoured officers made their way around the site, whether to continue patrol routes, bring in suspects or to help evacuate civilians and wounded. But the place where they stood hardly seemed up to the standard necessary to run the operation.

It was an abandoned construction site, with the construction materials still lain about and the progress that the workers had made being completely halted. The foundation and support beams were still readily accessible to those who could intend to do the foundation harm. Wooden planks and pallets were now completely rain soaked, dampening and weakening the wooden material. Cloths and tarps were hastily assembled and strewn about the scene as well, to provide little cover from the storm clouds overhead.

“Looks like an outpost in the Wilds,” Fenrir muttered quietly to Avgust, “don’t imagine is going to be stable for any sort of assault.”

There was a crack of gunfire in the distance, essentially confirming Fenrir’s point. The Titan glanced toward the Hunter, as Erai stepped past the two. She looked back at the two disguised Guardians, before she asked: “Don’t have a whole lot of time to enjoy the view! Let’s get moving?”

“Have any superiors to be reporting to?” Avgust asked Erai, as she almost smiled.

“I’m your superior, no need to report what I already know, right?”

Avgust simply nodded his head, before he replied appropriately: “Yes, ma’am.”

“No need to start calling me ‘ma’am’ now, Avgust.”

As Erai stepped away and continued down her designated path, Avgust glanced back toward Fenrir as the Hunter seemingly smirked from behind his helmet, “She’s got you there.”

Stepping past Avgust, the Titan stood by for only a moment before he heard another crack of gunfire off in the distance. Avgust furrowed his brow before he stepped forward, glancing around the headquarters for only a moment. The Titan quietly considered the situation he was now stepping into. He had known that there was a high probability that he would be facing rioters and Humanum Tactus, and attempt to cease their operations and dismantle their organization. However, Avgust still had that strange feeling to know what he was facing now—who he was facing now—was no longer the Fallen or the Hive. They were beings like him, beings who shared the same physiology, with similar thoughts and desires for desire.

A third gunshot fired.

The Hellmouth, Ocean of Storms, Luna…

A Jumpship cut through the vacuum of space much like a knife, as it sailed effortlessly toward the white and ghastly satellite of Earth. Long ago, it had been the white pearl of the night sky past the waning and waxing of its etheric shape. Eyes turned up into the night sky to marvel at the white light, wondering if it were something like a blushed star. Still this beauty carried much more than just a watchful vigil of those who rested under the blanket of the night. Many believed that Luna perhaps was nothing more than a sinister being, hiding knives behind its back as it waited only for tired eyes to close before it slit the throats of the unsuspecting.

But years after the Collapse, this perfect globe was scratched and damaged by the claws of the Darkness. Its shape twisted and tore across its face, telltale signs of the daggers that broke the pearl. And now the hideous satellite was left to drift hopelessly in the gulfs of the Void, left to be nothing more than an outcast for the decades to come.

“We are descending to the Hellmouth now.” A voice ringed throughout the cockpit of the Jumpship, as Pariah simply nodded her head.

“Good,” she replied, “any news from the sensors our precious City has put up?”

The Ghost stopped for a moment, silently preforming its calculations and scans of mechanical objects in the region before it stopped. It seemed to freeze, before it turned its eye back to the pilot of the Jumpship: “There are no detections other than the stray asteroid or Warsat. Curious.”

“Think our ‘friend’ might know a bypass?”

“Quite possible.”

Pariah shifted around in her seat, as she tapped on a digital screen a few times. A series of frequencies were instantly flared, as she began to type in a series of code to start a loop. Pariah smiled from behind her faceplate: the system was an archaic sonar-laser pitch, satellites used after the Collapse to detect and trace any space-bound object that could possibly pose a threat to the City. It was effective, she would give it that, but it was also quite easily manipulated.

“Run a loop of the past five minutes until we get through our little net here,” Pariah said, “don’t want our ‘friends’ in the City to know that we are trying to run past them.”

“Understood.” Her Ghost chirped.

The code that Pariah had typed flashed blue twice on the screen, before it became a solid green colour—a confirmation that it had successfully been sent and received by the sonar net the City had deployed. The Huntress then angled her controls over her Jumpship to start a descent down toward the natural satellite of the ocean world, as she glanced over the scarred and torn surface. It became quite clear to Pariah the Luna she was looking at now, was no longer the Luna that she glanced on before. Whatever the Hive had done to the moon, it destroyed the beautiful perfection of the white pearl of the night sky, leaving it a broken shape of its former glory.

Pariah shook her head, snapping her attention back to her current situation before she glanced at her Ghost and asked: “Find any activity at any of the Transmat zones?”

Her Ghost paused for a minute, as it quietly searched the logs of any active transmat site on the planet: “No, there isn’t any activity from what I can tell.”

“Any active NLS drive radiation spikes?”

“Searching… odd, there isn’t.”

Pariah scoffed, “Our quarry is smarter than the average Guardian then.”

“So, if you had to guess where they would be, where would you think they are then?”

This question caused the Huntress to go quiet for a bit, as she tapped her fingers on a series of displays as she pulled up scans and records that came standard with most active patrol sites of the planets or satellites of the Inner Sol. A series of geographic maps of the surface of Luna pulled up, dated to the post-Great Disaster period. Odd that despite having closed all operations to Luna, that the Vanguard Leadership would still want to keep up to date on the terrain of the moon. Her eyes suddenly focused on one tear on the satellite’s surface: the entrance to the Hellmouth.

A series of caverns and low breaks in the surface offered ample cover to hide most Jumpships, while still providing reasonable landing space. If the Huntress had to guess where her ‘friend’ had landed, it would be near one of these locations. Pariah circled the area with her finger, as her Ghost slowly hovered over to the screen to look at it.

“It would make sense I would suppose,” the Ghost replied, “but the tectonic activity?”

“Risky, I know. But that is the sort of risk I like.” Pariah chuckled.

“Osiris help me…”

Wrapping her fingers around the controls again, Pariah lowered her Jumpship to a standard buzz. Turning on the belly-side cameras, the Huntress slowed the speed of her Jumpship and turned her eyes to the view. She marveled at the destruction that has happened, but she shook her head—no need to concern herself with that. Pariah’s eyes scanned carefully for the object that would give her a lead as to where her quarry was, any familiar shape from the three Jumpship classes.

A shine, suddenly came to view.

Expanding on the shape what she thought was a Jumpship, the Huntress quickly determined that there was indeed a ship, but not a Jumpship. Grey in colour, it took on the shape of Hawk-class aircraft, carefully stationed and docked in a small crevice. That explained why there was no recent NLS-radiation spikes, her target was using a Hawk craft instead of a typical Guardian Jumpship. Clever, very clever.

But she was much cleverer.

“We’ve got our ship. Taking us down now.” Pariah said, as she turned off the cameras and angled her Jumpship to fall in line to land in a crevice adjacent from where the Hawk was landed. Turning off the main thrusters, Pariah flipped on the controls for the vertical-take-off-and-landing, as she lowered her Jumpship comfortably toward the small landing near the entrance of the Hellmouth. Deploying the landing gears, Pariah carefully kept her Jumpship level and in position to land. As the Jumpship touched down, the Huntress waited for a few minutes before shutting down the non-essential systems of the aircraft.

After finishing her work, Pariah looked toward her Ghost: “Transmat us out, Ra.”

The Ghost complied, and within a blinding flash Pariah found her boots touching the soft, powdery surface of Luna. The Huntress glanced around the entrance of the Hellmouth, making special note of the green mist that was rising ominously from the core of the satellite. Pariah narrowed her eyes as she took her first few steps forward, drawing in a breath of precious oxygen from her filters as she kept in focus the familiar shape of the Hawk right across from her.

“How far down do you think they went?” Pariah then asked.

“I’m sorry?” Ra replied, questioning what its Guardian had just said.

“They aren’t on the surface, no. Nothing of use out on top here. But down there?”

“Down there is where the Hive rule, Pariah.”

Pariah chuckled, “Exactly. Osiris mentioned they might be looking for powerful Hive spells, so what place better…”

The Huntress punted down a rock into the Hellmouth, as it quickly gained momentum and plummeted down into the mists below. Her Ghost turned its eye nervously at her, before Pariah finished her thought:

“Then down there?”

The West Industrial District, the Last Safe City… Thirty minutes later…

Avgust, Fenrir and Erai carefully walked through what seemed to be the abandoned streets of the West Industrial District, trying their best to ignore what chaos had wrought about them. There were blood splatters, broken bricks and glass littering the walls and the streets and many fires that seemed to consume the District. The Titan stepped over a pool of blood, not wanting to cover his black boots in the substance of something that flowed through his own body. It still felt odd to him, the idea of pursuing an enemy that before he vowed to protect.

“By the Traveler…” Erai muttered, as she looked toward a limp body. Attention instantly shifted toward it, as Avgust and Fenrir turned their heads to the dead-like object. “Fall on me!” Erai commanded, as the three officers approached the body. Erai kneeled, as she placed her glove on the wrist of the pale-white body, before she shook her head: “Dead.”

Avgust stepped over cautiously to the dead man, as he stood right beside Erai as she assessed the wounds of the man. The pale forehead of the man was gashed, bleeding a dark red as a series of bruises decorated his face and exposed skin. It looked as if he had been beaten mercilessly, and left to die in the cold. The Titan still didn’t understand this cruelty, as Erai silently finished her assessment of the condition of the man before standing upright again: “In all my years, I haven’t seen anything like this. Why is this happening now?”

Avgust shook his head quietly, as Erai stepped away and tapped her radio, speaking into it quietly. Fenrir stepped up silently behind Avgust, as he glanced over the bleeding body of the man. The Titan turned his head back to the Hunter, silently communicating in a way. Despite having never seen the face of Fenrir, Avgust could tell almost immediately that the Hunter wasn’t very happy about this whole situation. The Titan presumed that was manifested and shown in his treatment of the captured terrorist in the FOTC Headquarters only an hour or so ago.

But still, Avgust had to ask himself whether he could have prevented himself from acting out in a similar way?

The Titan simply didn’t know.

Eventually, Erai joined the two disguised Guardians once more before she said: “Not the only case. Other patrols have been findin’ bodies aswell. ‘Woken, Humey’s and even Exo.”

The group silently stepped forward to continue their patrol, leaving behind the dead body. Even though Avgust wasn’t familiar to the ways the FOTC managed situations like a murder, something told him that leaving a body like this wasn’t standard operating procedure. The Titan could tell with the way Erai seemed to be hesitant, constantly glancing back to the body. Out of the three, it was obvious that this situation was affecting Erai the most. She simply wanted to keep order and security within the Walls, and this situation was tearing it all to pieces.

“This is horrible.” Fenrir simply spoke, “Why here? Why them?”

“Don’t know, Officer Fenrir.” Lieutenant Erai replied, “Here I am thinking—”

The radio of the three officers clicked suddenly, snapping all three of them to attention as a voice on the other end spoke: “Lieutenant Erai, Officer Avgust and Fenrir. 10-23 for assignment.”

“Thought we didn’t have superiors.” Fenrir remarked.

Erai turned back toward the Hunter, seemingly narrowing her eyes before she replied: “Doesn’t mean we can’t be requested for an assignment.” The Lieutenant quickly flipped on her radio again, before she spoke briefly: “10-4.”

A fourth gunshot caught the group off-guard, as they instantly raised their weapons to be prepared for anything. Avgust curled his fingers around the Strike One sidearm he had been given, as he quickly scanned his surroundings for anyone or anything. They had been hearing gunfire throughout their patrol, but it didn’t ever come as close as it just then. The Titan instantly honed on the direction where the gunshot came from: an intersection of the street they were just on not past 30 or so metres away from the small patrol team. Avgust motioned in that direction, communicating to Erai and Fenrir he believed that the perpetrator wasn’t right over there.

Fenrir skulked up the street silently, owning up to his title as a Hunter as he seemed to wander through the powers of the shadow. He stopped, as he curled his fingers into a gesture meant to be silent. There was a low whimper, a sob that came from around the corner. Avgust silently, strafed over to an alleyway, as he kneeled behind the cover. Erai followed immediately, taking position right beside Avgust as she and he kept their sidearms at the ready.

Dozens of different scenarios played through the Titan’s mind as the cries and voices came closer: a hostage situation, a shot individual looking for aid… progressively the concepts Avgust came up with got worse. He tuned this out of his mind, as he focused solely on what he did know: crying, a gunshot, a group of individuals.

Fenrir motioned over to both Avgust and Erai, as he made clear gestures to indicate for them to stay put. Avgust and Erai simply replied with a thumb’s up, a universal indicator for an understanding.

“I thought I told you to stay back!” A voice yelled, as another gunshot echoed. Following the gunshot, there was a louder cry of shock. Fenrir peaked his head from over cover, as he made a quick single-handed gesture: five fingers.

Five individuals.

“You come here making demands, shoot our people?!” Another voice yelled, “No! You kill me! Prove you are all fucking murderers!”

“I told you once!” A sixth gunshot followed.

Three rapid-succession gunshots echoed, as the second voice yelled in agony and pain. Fenrir looked over to Avgust and Erai, as he pressed his thumb against his throat and slid it carefully and slowly. The Titan immediately understood why: the man who challenged the one with the gun was just shot dead. The sobbing and crying continued, as it was followed by a quiet and soothing voice: “Hush, Karyn! It’s alright my child…”

Erai tapped Avgust’s shoulder as the Titan instantly stood up and turned his Strike One to the four figures that stood in the middle of the intersection. Fenrir stood up immediately from behind his cover as well, concentrating his weapon on the lead gunman as Erai wrapped around from Avgust’s right to left side as she too kept her weapon aimed down range. The four figures that stood turned to face the three officers, two of them wearing black bodysuits that seemed equivalent to Armed Force uniforms, and the other two seemed to be a mother and a child.

“Drop your weapons!” Lieutenant Erai announced immediately.

“Woah, hey!” The voice called back, lifting his weapon back up toward the three officers as his comrade did the same, “This doesn’t involve you!”

“You just killed a man!”

“Man?!” The second voice mocked, “Check yourselves! It wasn’t even human!”

“Drop them!” Erai scowled.

“Going to shoot at us?! Kill a mother and child as well?! No wonder you are such horrible protectors! Can’t even protect your own people!”

Avgust scowled, as he kept his weapon concentrated on the two gunmen. His eyes analysed their features, before he found one that stood out: armbands, with an easily recognisable symbol. The open human palm.

Humanum Tactus.

“So, you kill children, and it is alright then?” Avgust asked, “What kind of hypocrites are you?”

“Shut it, you fucking disgrace!”

“I will not ask again!” Erai shouted, seeming to have had her last nerve, “Drop them!”

There was a flash of gunfire, Avgust couldn’t tell which side fired first. However, the Titan couldn’t bring himself to fire at the terrorists, given how close they were to the mother and child. He wasn’t willing to put the innocent at risk, even to get a shot at these terrorists. However, he knew that Humanum Tactus wouldn’t relent. The Titan’s attention turned immediately to Erai, as the Titan moved in front of the Lieutenant to cover her body from gunfire. She cried out in shock as Avgust did so, the Titan moving her behind cover. Bullets collided against the exposed areas in his back, as Avgust cried out in pain.

The ceramic plating shattered and the Kevlar tore, the bullets striking like hammers against his back. The Titan could feel blood pool at their entryways, as he felt physically weaker. Instantly, there was a blue flash that appeared in the corner of his vision. Avgust instantly knew what it was: it was his Ghost, who appeared as a white-shelled shape that instantly went to work repairing the wounds that had been inflicted on Avgust. Relief washed over the body of Avgust, as he felt the bullets fall out as his wounds sealed. The Titan cursed, “Svarog! We don’t have the time!”

“I’ve been silent long enough, I’m not letting you kill yourself!” Svarog shot back, “We need you back out there!”

“Y-you’re… you’re a Guardian?”

Avgust turned his eyes instantly to the curious blue eyes of Lieutenant Erai, as she watched on in awe as Svarog went about its work. The Titan’s skin pricked cold with the realisation that Erai was now looking as his Ghost. He scanned her carefully from beneath the eyepieces of his gas mask, as she sat upright. The conflict seemed to halt immediately between the two, as Svarog quietly finished its work. The Ghost sighed, as it turned its blue eye to Avgust: “You’re all patched up!”

Erai glanced at the Ghost, looking at its shape in wonder before Svarog narrowed its eye and spoke: “We can explain later, I promise… but we sort have a situation!”

Avgust nodded his head, as he lifted his Strike One once more as he stood back up. Rolling his shoulders, he tested how his injuries felt, before satisfying himself that they weren’t serious enough to inhibit his ability. He turned his head back over to Fenrir, as the Hunter was busy trying to not get shot before he said: “Going to get your head back in the game, or what?”

Avgust instantly turned the corner, as the two members of Humanum Tactus seemed to jump at the sudden return of the shape they thought they had shot dead. Raising his sidearm, the Titan approached as he concentrated solely on the shapes of the two terrorists. Trying to remove the mother and the child to the situation, he kept his sidearm concentrated on the one who was the furthest away from the two innocents, having put some distance between himself and the mother and child for whatever reason. Honing his senses, the Titan slowly squeezed the trigger of the Strike One as a single shot fired off.

A round collided with the chest of the terrorist, as he cried in pain. The second terrorist and the mother and child turned their head to watch as Avgust approached. The Titan then announced, “Drop your weapon!”

The terrorist instantly complied, as he dropped the weapon to the ground. Avgust kept his weapon concentrated on the shape of the second terrorist, before he followed up with his command: “Now kick it over!”

There was suddenly a series of gunshots, as the first terrorist laying on the floor seemed to explode in a blood red fury. He cried in pain, as Avgust’s attention was caught by this sudden event for just a moment. The Titan shouldn’t have lost his concentration, as suddenly the shape of the second terrorist and the mother and child started to run off. Trying to take aim, the Titan found the mother had taken a position to cover the person of the terrorist—thus making it impossible for him to fire unless he hit the mother as well.

«Blyat’!»  Avgust cursed, before he lowered his Strike One to an alert carry. He turned his head back toward Fenrir, quietly demanding an explanation from the Hunter as Fenrir simply lifted his sidearm in a way to suggest that the terrorist was about to take another shot at Avgust. The Titan nodded his head only once, before he stepped up toward the struggling body of the terrorist. He was still breathing, though noticeably more slowly and much more pained.

Fenrir approached from behind the Titan, followed by Erai: who seemed to be lost in the situation, confused as to the appearance of Avgust as a Guardian. She seemingly turned her eyes to Fenrir, as if she was trying to figure out whether he was a Guardian as well. Avgust kneeled right next to the dying terrorist, as he soon asked: “Start talking.”

“I-I have my rights!” The terrorist struggled out, “Y-you fucker!”

“Where were you headed?” Avgust asked.

The terrorist remained silent, as Avgust concentrated his gaze on one bullet wound that marked the man’s chest. The Titan pressed his thumb on the wound, as the terrorist cried in pain as Avgust sternly asked again: “Where?”

“G-go to hell!”

Avgust pressed more, and the agonising screams of the man intensified. The Titan eventually relieved some pressure, before he spoke grimly: “I am losing my patience.”

Suddenly, the radios mounted to the chest pieces of the two Guardians and one officer turned to static, quieting the scene before a voice from one end seemed to speak up: “We have your assignment, take a post at North Medical. Having a patrol cycle out, over.”

The terrorist started to laugh horribly, choking on his blood as he did so as a painful reflex came to action. His laugh turned into a choke, as he struggled to draw in a breath. He glanced up to Avgust, Fenrir and Erai through the cracked lenses of his gas mask, a sinister fire burning in his eyes as he finally managed to speak: “N-North?!”

“What about North?” Fenrir asked, as he looked down to the injured man.

The man remained silent, seemingly giving into his wounds as Fenrir pressured once more: “Don’t think just because you are dying, you are—”

Suddenly, there was a bright flash that entered the field of vision of the three individuals standing in the intersection. There was a horrible roar that echoed in the eardrums of Avgust, as the Titan very quickly familiarised himself with a sound he had feared to hear in the walls of the City: and explosion. An orange flame erupted into the northern sky, as Avgust’s eyes kept glued on the horrible scene. It became very apparent very quickly what the terrorist had meant by laughing at the idea of ‘North’. The Guardian turned his head down to the now-dead shape of the terrorist, as a hate seemingly filled his person.

And it was easy to understand why.

Humanum Tactus had just bombed a civilian hospital.

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