The Hellmouth, Ocean of Storms, Luna…
Sounds reverberated off the long and jagged tunnel walls, screams of the tortured kept deep under Luna’s rocky surface. Despite the differences that the tunnels stretched across, many seemed to be nothing more that the fine capillary systems that ran between the larger arterioles and venules, given the tight spaces that challenged whoever dared travel through them. Odd to think that a system vital to life, was the best comparison that Pariah could use to talk about the place of the dead. Like the million shadows that occupied the deadly walk. Alien mussels and barnacles festered along the upset soil, embedding themselves in the floor, walls and roof—biofouling organisms.
Brought by the Hive.
Pariah’s knowledge of the Hive came directly from Osiris, and his hundreds of studies and lectures he hosted about the nigh-undefeatable foe of the Darkness. From what the Huntress understood, they are an ‘impossibly ancient’ race, born from a world of hate and despair. Bones and armour fused, lacking eyes but that which glowed with fury. Gnashing teeth, and tearing claws, at least in the case of the Thrall.
Still, the Huntress continued down the trail still, following nothing more than the faint footprints that were left by who she assumed was her quarry. It followed the typical Guardian boot-print pattern, but seemed to be light on its feet. Pariah knew what this meant, as she was one herself: Hunter. Her hand was kept firmly pressed against the handle of her handcannon, not quite ready on the draw as she silently stepped down the path. Her senses tuned, her hearing and sight becoming invaluable assets for her hunt.
Pariah stopped all movements, as a clicking echoed off the walls of the tunnel she was slithering through. She slowly drew her handcannon out of her holster, ever still in other movements as she adjusted her handcannon to the angle where she heard the clicking. Her breathing nearly stopped, as if even that would give away her location. The sound wasn’t of Earth, it was something else, something more sinister. The Huntress flicked the safety off her handcannon, as she kept it concentrated on the direction of down the hallway.
Lifting her free arm up to stabilise her handcannon, Pariah kept the weapon aimed with deadly precision. She focused, as the footsteps stepped closer and closer. A hulking mass, a growl of pain and agony, struggling forward as it grunted in some misery. A creature of pain, of bringing pain. Slowly, a trio of glowing eyes entered the Huntress’ field of vision. Before it could mutter a breath of surprise, or alert anything else in the area, Pariah squeezed the trigger of her weapon.
The hammer of the handcannon snapped forward, as a polymer round erupted down the cylinder barrel. Within a fraction of a second, the round burned through the top of the three glowing green eyes, knocking the Hive abomination to the floor. The sound was muffled by the sound suppressor mounted to the front of the specialised handcannon, as Pariah slowly lowered her weapon. The Huntress narrowed her eyes, as she approached the rapidly decaying Hive abomination, as her eyes quietly took note of the gunshots and knife slashes that decorated the chitin chest-plate.
“Why do you think they didn’t kill it?” Pariah finally asked, before she quietly stepped over the body of the Hive and continued down the tunnelway.
“What do you mean?” Ra asked, curiously.
“That Hive was wounded, but not killed.”
“Are you suggesting our friend is only maiming the Hive?”
Pariah quietly entered into a wider expanse in the cave system, where the floors, walls and roofs were completely covered in mussels and barnacles. These biofouling organisms were seemingly coughing a dark spore, creating a moderate level of particulates in the air of the chamber. The mussels seemed to be slowly consuming a variety of shapes contained inside of the collection of cancer-like masses. The arm of what appeared to be a Fallen—not Hive—stuck upwards out of the mass.
“Not just Hive, it seems.” Ra muttered.
The Huntress looked around the chamber, before she slowly realised that these masses that were being surrounded and consumed were bodies of both the Fallen and Hive. Reaching out, Pariah caught a collection of the spore particulates that were floating around the air into her gloved hand. Feeling the substance around with her fingers, the Huntress eventually stopped. She spoke silently, “I thought there are no organisms like this on Luna.”
“The Fallen, the Hive?”
“No, my friend. These,” Pariah said, motioning around the chamber covered in the mussels and barnacles with her free hand, “Lack of atmosphere wouldn’t typically allow these to live. And they aren’t on the reports from our precious City’s failed attempt to take Luna. So, what are they?”
“Whatever it is, it seems to be consuming these bodies.” Ra stated, “Like a cancer. Then like barnacles on Earth, they just continue to spread.”
“Is that a fact?” Pariah asked.
“Just an educated guess.”
The Huntress shook her head, before he withdrew her knife from her utility belt and slowly approached the Fallen arm that stuck out of the collection of mussels. It too was slowly beginning to be covered in the black mass, a thick veil of spores covering its surface. Pariah reached out to cut at the arm, breaking through the shockingly thin and crusted tissue. The Huntress stared at the odd details, before her attention snapped to something else in the room. There were footsteps, ever quiet, but still there. Her head didn’t turn, but instead Pariah slowly produced a tripmine from transmat as she kept the black device cleverly hidden within the mussels and barnacles. Switching off the noticeable red light, she slowly stood before she looked at her knife.
“I guess you can explain to me what this is.” Pariah said.
In a sudden burst, Pariah rolled out of the way of a swipe of another Guardian—and per her intuition—was indeed a Hunter. The Huntress smiled, as the Hunter stepped within the range of the tripmine. The fuse sounded, as the Hunter snapped his attention to the device. Seemingly cursing to himself, he rolled out of the way in a Shadestep, as the grenade detonated as bits of mussel and barnacles flew every which way. Unharmed, the Hunter lifted his shotgun at Pariah as his finger quickly dropped to the trigger.
“My, my… is this any way to treat guests?” Pariah asked, in a snide manner.
“My guests usually don’t try to blow me up.” The Hunter replied.
“My host usually doesn’t try to put a knife in my back.”
The Hunter and Huntress kept their weapons concentrated on each other, seemingly waiting for the other to flinch before they make their move. Pariah’s objective was to eliminate him, yes… but she was curious as to what exactly all this was. Reports indicated that he was harvesting some power to give to Humanum Tactus, but what power was it? The Huntress scowled behind her helmet, noting that the Hunter wasn’t willing to say anything. So, she spoke again: “Let me guess, all of this is how you plan to destroy the City?”
“Destroy the City?” The Hunter replied, “Is that what the Vanguard told you?”
“My dear host, the Vanguard haven’t told me a thing.” Pariah nearly laughed, “I am not a follower of the City.”
“Your ‘’ Cult ‘’, then?”
“I just want to know what you are doing frequenting Luna and a part of the City that isn’t the Tower. I thought this was a Forbidden Zone?”
“Are you stalking me?” The Hunter replied.
“Now why would I want do that?”
The Hunter kept silent, as he threatened to fire his shotgun. His fingers were kept very tense, and locked on the shape around the fore-end. Pariah noticed this, knowing very well that this Hunter was perhaps not as well trained as she thought. He was nervous, not following the conventional way to hold a shotgun properly. So why would he be on the Moon? Perhaps the most dangerous celestial body in the inner Sol at the time. Pariah scoffed, before she asked: “Are you going to answer any of my questions?”
The Hunter seemed to hold still, before Pariah detected his finger sliding to pull the trigger of the shotgun. The Huntress growled lowly, keeping her handcannon locked on the head of the other Hunter. They were at a standstill for the time, but this Hunter seemed to be losing his patience. He was likely to do something… rash. Suddenly, the end of the shotgun erupted with a volley of pellets as they scattered around the expanse. Unfortunately for the other Hunter, he was standing too far away to do any substantial damage to Pariah. A series of pellets broke against her kinetic barrier, still having enough impact to cause some pain, as she let a low growl.
Locking her handcannon on the Hunter, she squeezed the trigger as the bullet of the handcannon broke against the kinetic barrier the opposing Guardian had activated. His head flung back from the impact, looking as if he was in the process of having his neck broken as he stuttered out a shocked cough. Seizing something from his belt, Pariah tried to concentrate her handcannon on the foreign shape to shoot. However, the object erupted in a smoke that covered the area. As the smoke dispersed, the shape of the Hunter disappeared.
Pariah laughed, knowing exactly what the Nightstalker intended to do as she formed a solar grenade in her hands. Rolling it over the ground, the ball of heat exploded as the area of mussels and barnacles ignited in a flame. The shape of the opposing Hunter flashed, as the fire caught along the kinetic barrier that protected him. Pariah used the revelation to her advantage, as she fired a series of rounds from her handcannon. However, the Hunter rolled out of the way with his Shadestep again, trying to bridge the distance between him and Pariah.
He tried to raise his shotgun to fire into the midsection of the Huntress, but his unfamiliarity with the weapon left him at a disadvantage. Pariah threw her knife the second he came to a stand, as the blade pushed past the kinetic barrier and through his torso. The Hunter let out a stifled cry, as he dropped his shotgun. Pariah then charged the Hunter, expecting to get a drop on him. However, a wall of void flame erupted in the ground in front of her, as she slid to a halt as the flame started to consume the chamber of mussels and barnacles. The other Hunter disappeared through the wall of void flame, in an obvious attempt to flee.
Pariah swore, as the barnacles started to cough out a darkish green vapour. The Huntress’ Ghost suddenly took note of this, as it said: “We might want to get out of here!”
“Stating the obvious, are we?” Pariah muttered.
“Will you just move?!”
Consensus Debate Chambers, City Centre, the Last Safe City… Minutes after the explosion at North Medical…
Six white pillars decorated one side of the circular chamber, opposite of the marble bleachers that made up the Consensus’ hall. A sea of green emerald tiling separated the objects, as a golden-leaf design decorated the centre of the circular sea: the emblem of the Union of Light. A wooden and gold platform was set up, with a single man standing atop of it. He faced the crowd of Guardians and non-Guardians who made up the Consensus Council: a series of Humans, Awoken and Exo decorated in a series of differently coloured robes. The man spoke to the crowd in an anxious voice: “Councillors, it has been hours of street-wide conflict out there. We have terrorists using firearms out there, indiscriminately. We need more than just the FOTC out there, we need Guardians.”
“Mind explaining to us why the FOTC cannot handle simple civic disorder?” A councillor asked.
“Simple civic disorder?” Commander Ardghal stuttered, “This isn’t simple civic disorder. This is a war inside the City! By the Traveller, there are accounts of violence in City Centre! Even as we speak!”
“What is the chance that getting the Guardians involved will upset the situation even more, Commander Ardghal?” One voice asked, “These are Warriors of Light who are meant to be fighting the Darkness. Imagine the sort of image we would be putting in people’s heads if we have them operating in City parameters, against other civilians.”
“Their objective would be to stop Humanum Tactus activity, nothing more. The rest of the ‘disorder’ could be handled by the FOTC. But we need better equipped teams dealing with these—terrorists—before they manage to do something worse than we saw in West Industrial!”
“What was the last report you’ve heard from West Industrial, Commander Ardghal?” A third voice asked.
“Much worse than when this all started—”
“Perhaps,” the third voice interrupted, “but what is the possibility that having Guardians on the ground there would cause more violence? You are asking that we allow them to deal with this, ‘Humanum Tactus,’ but we aren’t even sure if this is a relevant threat at the time.”
“Twenty-three innocent Awoken are dead, Councillor Nor!” An Awoken Councillor cried out, as suddenly other voices joined in the war of words. Ardghal shook his head, unsure of what to say as some of the Councillors stood up in a manner to make accusative gestures towards the others in the crowd. Suddenly, a hand from the white-cloaked individual that sat at the presiding seat of the Consensus hushed the activity, as the being shook his masked head.
“Councillors, I must advise we refrain from outbursts.” The Speaker said, “Our situation cannot allow for this continued behaviour, especially when the balance of the City may be at risk.”
The crowd of councillors fell quiet, as the Speaker turned his head back to Commander Ardghal to ask: “Now, you stated that the situation in West Industrial has progressively gotten worse. If I may ask, how bad is it now?”
Ardghal nodded his head, before he spoke: “May I look at my datapad, to see if there are any new developments?”
“I do not see reason as to why you cannot.”
The Commander nodded his head, as he removed his datapad from his utility belt. He lifted the blue-screened object up, as he tapped in a series of commands to gain access to the information contained within it. A series of yellow characters flashed across the blue screen, as Ardghal navigated a report network divided by districts. Scrolling down the list, the Commander stopped right at the bold letters that announced: WEST INDUSTRIAL DISTRICT.
Red warning lights flashed around the district, catching Ardghal by surprise. Before he entered the chambers, it was a code yellow, but that was only a few minutes ago. Ardghal was nearly convinced this was a glitch in the system, before he selected the option. Narrowing his eyes for but a moment, the Commander’s eyes suddenly shot open wide as he looked up to the crowd of whispering Councillors. He gulped, as a cold sweat ran down his forehead, as he announced: “T-there…”
“There is what, Commander?” The Speaker asked, calmly.
“C-confirmed explosion… at, N-North Medical! Confirmed terrorist!” Ardghal blurted out, as suddenly the chambers fell completely quiet.
And just as they did, the sound of gunfire was heard right outside the chamber’s doors. Councillors began to mutter louder and louder, before it grew in worry as eventually one screamed. Ardghal turned around, as several officers that had lined the both sides of the heavy wooden doors that lead into the chambers backed up and lifted their rifles. Ardghal drew his own sidearm, as several Councillors began to hide beneath their seats.
“Everyone!” Ardghal yelled, trying to make himself seem commanding and calm, “Get down—”
The heavy wood doors exploded in a bright orange flame, as several splinters flew every which way. Either the officers guarding the door were consumed in a fire, or they were pelted with stinging splinters. The few that survived cried in pain, before they were silenced by a staccato of gunfire. Ardghal tried to concentrate on the few shapes that emerged from the flame, but soon his chest was his by one… then two, then three… four, and five rounds. They broke his Kevlar and uniform, as the Commander fell to the ground, gasping in pain.
The Councillors started to scream, as Ardghal’s vision and hearing began to fade. He took in small breaths, trying to conserve whatever oxygen he could take up now with his near crippled lungs. Everything in his body hurt, as everything essential seemed to shut down. The Commander, however remained conscious. He felt a boot lock on his torso, as he found himself involuntarily cry in pain. His eyes opened wide, as he stared onto the object of—
What appeared to be a Warlock. Covered in dark robes and uniform, the helmeted being cackled a chilling laugh as she stepped off his body. She looked up to the one person of the Consensus she recognised: the shape and the figure of the Speaker. Several members of Humanum Tactus flanked her sides, as they kept their rifles concentrated on the several persons that made up the Consensus. The Speaker stood still, as his fingers seemed to press under the podium where he stood.
The Speaker whispered to himself, to the personal connection between him and his Ghost: “Alert the Vanguard. Immediately. Guardians are authorised, and the Consensus is under attack. Quickly, my little light.”
Suddenly the chilling voice of the Warlock rang around the circular chamber, “What could you all ever be afraid of?”
The Consensus remained quiet.
“I could count on you to speak when it is most relevant for you to,” she continued, “but as soon as words have to become action? You can no longer speak!”
“Not even our Speaker dares to talk?”
“I do not quite understand why you are doing what you are doing,” the Speaker soon said, “but I must advise that you stop. These are people here, not officers. Not Guardians.”
“People?” The Warlock scoffed, “Not even a third of them are, my dear Speaker! And I myself, doubt you are one of them!”
“Please, don’t do anything you will regret.”
The Warlock gestured toward one of the terrorists, as they lifted their rifle and fired at an Exo in the crowd of Councillors. Her lights faded, as she fell lifeless into the bleachers, as there was a roar of terror that overcame the other Councillors. The Warlock, looked back up to the Speaker—defiantly—as she laughed: “I don’t feel regret for that!”
“Who are you?” The Speaker then asked, as calmly as he could.
“Who am I?” The Warlock laughed.
“I am ‘Mother.”
The West Industrial District, the Last Safe City… Ten minutes later…
Avgust had been listening only to the panicked radio chatter.
“10-80! 10-80! By the Traveller! 10-45D! Civilian 10-45D!”
“Reporting several accounts of 217’s…”
“417! 417! 11-99, officer needs assistance!”
“Reporting 10-71, reporting 10-7—”
Avgust ignored the flames, the rubble and the blood that littered the streets the three officers were jogging through, the Titan tuned his focus purely only to the voice of several FOTC officers that were trying to make sense of the situation. North Medical wasn’t the only place to have fallen victim to a terrorist attack. Other hospitals, apartment complexes, metro stops… even schools had been victim to a series of explosions and assaults. Innocent casualties were mounting quickly, soaring past the range of three hundred, from the last confirmed count. More were being added to the tally, of not just innocents, but of officers and terrorists.
Several outposts for both sides had been assaulted by terrorists or officers, refuges for their respective defended interests. Human, Exo and Awoken.
Human, Exo and Awoken.
Now, the three were being called to assist other members of the FOTC with a sweep and clear of a facility believed to be under Humanum Tactus control. Perhaps, they could still prevent quite a bit of violence in the District, even if it only meant by a bit. They had reason to believe that Humanum Tactus was supplying humans with firearms and other weapons to continue their violence on the street. Stopping this flow of weapons would be key to preventing any further escalation in terrorist activities.
“Lieutenant Erai, Officers Avgust and Fenrir, what is your 10-20?” A voice cackled over the radio, “Waiting for assault of enemy HQ.”
Lieutenant Erai spoke for what seemed to be the first time in an hour, with a still and calmed voice: “Around five minutes away from position. Proceed without us, we will be there in no time.”
“10-4.” The voice replied.
If Avgust had felt bad for Erai before, he felt even worse for her now. She stated she never saw the City is such a bad state… but that was before North Medical. That was before the apartments. That was before the school. The Lieutenant that had dreams of achieving peace and stability inside the walls of the City was seeing it ripped from her grasp, and torn into the jagged shapes of war. The people that she vowed to protect—the people he vowed to protect—destroying each other. It was a misery that they lived by at this moment, knowing that their efforts to maintain this peace was slowly turning into something else.
Fenrir titled his head toward Erai, the Hunter seemingly silently suggesting to Avgust to start a conversation with the officer. The Titan simply nodded his head, before he looked ahead of him to Erai, the person that was leading the two Guardians to this supposed Humanum Tactus base.
“Lieutenant Erai?” Avgust found himself asking.
“Yeah?” She replied, turning her head back toward the other Lieutenant.
“I know that you had questions.”
“I do, Avgust… just, is it the time?”
“We have five minutes.”
The three took a sharp right turn, as they entered a wide and long street. The gravel cracked and shifted under their heavy boots as they marched toward their destination. The rain had stopped falling quite a while ago, leaving nothing but the musty smell. Erai sighed, as she slowed her pace to match alongside the Guardians. She shifted her grey eyes to Avgust in particular, before she said: “Ya’ know, it is against the Consensus’ code? A Guardian operating in the City? Without permission?”
“I understand, but the circumstances…” Avgust replied.
“I know, Avgust…” She paused, “I thought that name sounded familiar… all sort of makes sense now, y’know?”
Avgust looked at Erai, sort of confused. The Lieutenant shook her head, before she stated: “Lieutenant Avgust, innit? I’ve read the stories, you know. Moscow.”
Avgust froze, as he locked eyes with Erai. She smiled a bit, before she glanced away for but a moment, checking that they were heading in the right direction. She then looked back toward the Titan, figuring that he wasn’t going to respond as she continued: “You’ve made quite the legend of yourself. I remember well, standin’ hearing the report for the first time. Became a story at FOTC for quite some time. Y’know? The thought that another city could destroy it.”
“Moscow was… messy.”
“Wouldn’t be standing here without you, though.” Erai said, “Have a lot to thank you for, Avgust.”
“It was my duty.” Avgust simply replied, as Erai let out a short laugh.
“You’re being too humble!”
There was a silence.
Erai turned between both Avgust and Fenrir. She looked at the disguised Hunter, before she asked him in particular: “Guessing you’re a Guardian, too. Right?”
“Yes.” Fenrir replied shortly, “Hunter.”
“Have any stories to tell?” Erai asked. Fenrir simply shook his head, “No need to tell them now.”
Erai looked at Fenrir quizzically for a while, before she shrugged and looked back to Avgust. The Titan turned to lock eyes with the Hunter for a bit, behind his reflective lenses he could tell that he wasn’t too keen on talking. But for some reason, he believed that Avgust and Erai needed to speak. Why was that? Was it because Svarog revealing itself? Avgust didn’t quite understand.
“What does it feel like?”
Avgust shook his head, before he returned his eyes back down to Erai. She looked at him, expecting an answer. The Titan spoke gently, “Like what? Being a Guardian?”
“Yeah, y’know…” Erai said, “you all do so much for the City. But very few of you really get to enjoy a standard life, y’know? When do you get to rest?”
“Don’t really get to rest…” Avgust muttered.
Erai let out a short laugh, “I guess that is true. Too busy trying to defend us all, I guess.”
“Not really that.” Avgust stated, “Just that whenever things seem to slow down, they just accelerate—”
An explosion was heard in the distance, followed by several anguished and pained cries. There was a staccato of gunfire, that seemed to then dominate the stillness of the air. Avgust instinctively lifted his Strike One up, followed by Erai and Fenrir. The three slowly paced, as the Titan shouldered a corner that connected to the street that it seemed to come from. Fenrir shook his head, before the Hunter spoke: “Speak of the devil…”
Avgust peaked around the corner, as he focused in on the site of a few officers crawling away from what seemed to be the epicentre of the explosion. They were facing the gated perimeter of a warehouse, as several members from Humanum Tactus seemed to be hidden away on several elevated positions, pelting the FOTC from above with their series of rifles. The Titan gestured toward Erai and Fenrir, communicating the location of the few terrorists he could spot. They simply nodded in confirmation, before Avgust turned his head back to Erai: “If we can find an elevated position… we get the jump on them.”
“Where do you suggest we head?” Fenrir asked.
Avgust gestured directly across the street, toward a taller apartment complex. There was a fire escape mounted to the side of the brick building, offering more than enough ability to ascend toward the roof of the apartment. The Hunter and officer nodded their heads, as Avgust turned back and stated shortly: “We move slowly, and silently… then they shouldn’t see us. Understood?”
“Ya’ got it, Avgust.” Erai said.
“Copy.” Fenrir replied.
“Excellent,” Avgust remarked, “move!”
The three quietly broke away from the wall they hid behind, as they slowly moved their way across the broad street. The lights managed to not fall on them, offering them more than ample cover to move stealthily. There were the cries of several officers and terrorists as they both claimed lives on either side. A part of Avgust wanted him to break away, and join them. But he understood that if he did, he might compromise the position of the two Guardians, and that it would then be more difficult to get the jump on Humanum Tactus. Eventually, the three crossed the street as Fenrir was the first to start ascending the fire escape ladder, followed by Erai, and then Avgust.
Slowly, the group started to head up the rusty and squeaky metal platforms. To the Titan, it seemed barely secured to the side of the building, on the brink of breaking away and crashing on them completely. However, the three continued to ascend the fire escape, up until the three of them managed to make their way to the top of the roof. With a quick clearing, the three satisfied themselves that no one else was up on the roof. Avgust quietly made his way to the side that faced the warehouse that Humanum Tactus claimed.
The Titan watched the bright flashes of rifle fire that broke the night, revealing the locations of the many terrorists below. Avgust gestured quietly to both Erai and Fenrir, notifying them that they should now take aim. The officer and Hunter lifted their sidearms, taking aim at whatever target they could make out. Avgust did likewise, concentrating on the object closest to him. In a simple nod of his head, the three fired on the terrorist below. Avgust’s target fell with a single bullet, having struck the terrorist right at the top of the head as he stumbled around before tripping over the railing before plummeting to the gravel below.
The Titan then concentrated on a second target, and then a third. Quickly, the terrorists realised that they were being hit from another position. Trying to locate their enemies, the other members of the FOTC on the street below managed to take shots at the confused figures. Being hit from both sides, the terrorists started to fall in larger numbers. Few stumbled around, heavily wounded… but many were struck completely dead. Eventually, there was a call of retreat as many of the members of Humanum Tactus started to retreat inside the warehouse.
“They’re retreating!” A voice called over the radio.
“Follow them in, we aren’t going to let them escape!” Erai replied.
“How are we getting down there?” Fenrir asked, before he looked back toward the officer. “That’s quite the jump.”
“I’ll head back down the ladder…” Erai said, “Regroup with the other officers.”
“And us?” Avgust asked.
“You’re both Guardians,” Erai stated, “you can make it across.”
Avgust and Fenrir glanced at each other, as Erai jogged back toward the fire escape. Avgust looked back over the edge, before he backed up some way. Fenrir watched the Titan, as Avgust counted his paces. Preparing himself for but a moment, the Titan then sprinted forward before he launched off the side of the apartment complex. Flying toward the roof of the warehouse, Avgust summoned his Light to lift him in gradual bursts as he slowly drifted toward the roof of the warehouse. Landing on the top with a thud, Avgust looked back up to see Fenrir pacing his jumps before he landed right beside the Titan. Avgust looked back down to the officers that were slowly approaching the entrance of the warehouse, waiting until he spotted the familiar shape of Erai.
They moved in together, as a team.
It took a few seconds, but eventually the shape of Erai came from behind the group of officers as she followed them into the facility. Fenrir turned his attention to Avgust, before he gestured toward the familiar shape of a window built into the roof of the warehouse. The Hunter simply spoke: “Our way in.”
Avgust nodded his head, before the two made their way to the skylight. Glancing inside the facility, the Titan found that there were crates of what could be nothing else that weapons. Furrowing his brow, the Titan gestured this detail to the Hunter as Fenrir nodded his head, “This is it. Going in first?”
The Titan nodded his head, as he lifted his Strike One in the ready-to-fire position. In a moment’s notice, the sound of gunfire continued. Taking this as his que, the Titan stomped on the glass window with his heavy boot as it shattered effortlessly. Dropping through the glass, the Titan landed on a walkway below before he took aim and fired at the members of Humanum Tactus below.
“They’re up above!” One voice shouted, before being silenced by the officers shooting at them below.
Several gunshots struck the position of the walkway, as Avgust tried his best to dodge them. Returning fire, the Titan managed to strike one or two terrorists as they fell to the ground, bleeding and in pain. Fenrir landed right beside Avgust, also opening fire on the terrorist below as soon enough: their numbers started to drop significantly. Officers pushed their way up to the position of the terrorists, already beginning the process to apprehend and detain a few of the injured ones. Other terrorists laid down their weapons, offering their surrender as they were soon forced to the floor and tied up.
Avgust lowered his Strike One, realising that many the terrorists had now been apprehended or had surrendered. Erai was leading the charge, gesturing and guiding the officers to arrest those who offered their surrender. The operation to take out the warehouse in West Industrial seemed to have been a success, as the Titan turned his head toward the Hunter who stood behind him, who also lowered his Strike One.
Avgust was cut off by a blood-curdling scream, as the Titan and Hunter instantly shifted their attention to the one who screamed below. One of the terrorists had thrown open their vest, as a red light blinked on a series of ‘bricks’ that they had strapped to their waists. Avgust’s eyes quickly glanced between this terrorist, and the weapon crates that littered the facility. He very quickly came to the realisation of what the terrorist intended to do.
“For ‘Mother!” The voice yelled. They intended to blow up the entire facility, if not the entire city block.
Trying to lift his Strike One in time to hit the terrorist, Avgust prayed to the Traveller that he would be quick enough to stop the terrorist. About to squeeze the trigger himself, a loud crack of what could have only been a high-powered rifle sounded. The head of the terrorist exploded in a red and white mist, as brain and skull fragments painted the surrounding area—combining with the crimson blood that already splattered across the floor. Avgust quickly turned his attention to two silhouettes that stood on a walkway opposite of where he and Fenrir stood. They took very familiar shapes, and as a confirmation of the Titan’s suspicions, one held a high-powered rifle.
There was a muttering below, from the several officers that turned their lights at the four shapes that stood above them. Avgust narrowed his eyes, as he brushed past Fenrir as he walked along the path that lead to these two figures. The one that held the rifle lifted it: a slender black and grey figure that wore a cloak, the obvious choice and style of the Hunters of the City. And the one who stood by him, took on the familiar robed black and azure form of a Warlock, but the design he wore seemed to take on a heavily modified design. They turned their heads to track Avgust as he stepped around, as he stopped only a metre away from where they stood.
The Hunter shrugged, “Everything all right, officer..?”
“Who sent you?” Avgust demanded.
“Thought it would be obvious.” The Warlock muttered, “You are welcome, by the way.”
“What Ryuion here meant,” the Hunter glanced toward the Warlock, “is that emergency has been declared. The City is under attack, if you hadn’t realised.”
“I did.” Avgust replied, before he lowered his tone, “So the Consensus came to a decision?”
There was a silence, before the Hunter continued to speak: “The Consensus is currently being held hostage. The Speaker sent a warning. And now, the Guardians are out on the move.”
Avgust glanced down toward the officers as the Hunter said this, seemingly taken aback by what he said. It seemed nearly impossible for the Consensus to have been attacked, and have been held hostage. The government of the City: at the mercy of the terrorists that threatened to destroy everything. Avgust took a moment, before he looked back up to the Hunter and Ryuion.
“What is your name, Hunter?” Avgust asked then.
“Teryian-8.” Teryian said, before he asked, “What is yours, officer?”
“Lieutenant Avgust.” The Titan said, as the two Guardians quickly glanced at each other, “Titan Avgust.”