The snow slowly drifted across the environment, the dark clouds over the sky continuing to break along the eastern horizon. A long band of orange stretched along the eastern horizon, the sun yet to be directly revealed. The cool breeze drifted along the ground, upsetting the snow and dust below. However atop the buildings, the current of air was stronger and more unpredictable. Tricolour banners beat in the winds, the torn and faded fabric trying hard to maintain it's white, blue and red.
Wires blew around, the long iron-cables running between the buildings; the mountings they were intended to be on completely removed from where they were meant to be. Three beings found themselves on one of the taller buildings of the Novomoskovsky district, walking along the rooftop as one of the three stopped—turning back towards the rising sun. The being allowed the wind to beat proudly against his chest, lifting up his weapon to rest it against his right shoulder.
A second of the three turned back, calling over the wind: "I don't think we have a whole lot of time to stand around, Avgust! Got to make it to that tower!"
Avgust looked back towards Zareph and Teash, nodding his head as he lowered the Thunderlord back to a carry. He glanced back towards the rising sun, as his Ghost appeared over his shoulder.
"Zareph is right, Avgust. Maybe when we have this whole situation sorted out, but until then we need to keep moving." Svarog suggested, looking towards Avgust. The Titan nodded his head, taking a few steps backward before preforming a half-face towards the rest of the group.
"Is something bothering you?" Svarog asked, continuing to float over the right shoulder of Avgust.
"Of course," Avgust replied, "this whole thing is bothering me. Isn't it bothering you?"
"Well, yes... it is. But we have had plenty of things happen to us, and we've always managed to pull through."
"We don't have a whole lot of room for error here, and because we are stuck outside of the City with no way in or out of where we are now..."
As Avgust stepped over a small ridge on the roof, carefully making his way around the assortment of litter that lined the top of it. Svarog floated in front of him, before it turned back towards him. "We never really had room for error before."
"That is true." Avgust replied, looking at both Teash and Zareph. The Warlock had taken the lead of the group, wanting to distance herself from both Avgust and Zareph. The Hunter was in the middle, also holding a discussion with his Ghost. Avgust was of course in the back, watching the other two Guardians on their ascent to the radio tower.
"But it more or less for their sake, Svarog." Avgust then said, "We know what we are in for. Teash? Zareph?"
"They are younger." Svarog acknowledged.
"Exactly my concern."
"Well we know that Teash is at least capable of fending for herself, we did train her after all. And Zareph seems pretty confident in what he is doing, helped us take care of that vehicle back there."
"But Teash is arrogant and reckless. We saw what that got her back in the street, and if she continues to be a problem for the rest of the Fireteam..."
Svarog glanced down to the ground, before looking back up to Avgust: "Then she might put herself, or the rest of the Fireteam in the same situation. You think she would do that all again?"
"I don't think she intends to. I think what she does to get herself in those types of situations would happen again."
"Still think the Heinrich and Pariah principle might apply?" Svarog asked, "Talking about that reminds me about that night on the mountainside during our training session."
Avgust looked back to the exact same night, remembering in detail the events of that training session: Teash wanted to disobey the established rules, placed her fellow Fireteam member at risk and tried to fight with her mentor. Even though the Titan was hopeful that his corrections would have been enough for Teash, he wasn't exactly convinced.
"You know all those trainees were assembled into a single Fireteam. Our training was meant to bring all the newly risen Guardians together, to learn how to survive and rely on each other?" Svarog asked.
"Yes, I know what we trained for." Avgust replied.
"Do you know whatever happened to Teash's Fireteam?"
"No, I do not."
"Well, it isn't a secret to anyone about the Ghosts that were dedicated during the memorial for the Great Disaster that the majority of them were recovered from members of each Fireteam that participated in the spearhead effort."
"You are telling me..."
"Alrick's Ghost was dedicated during the memorial, recovered by Teash from the Moon moments before we abandoned the operation." Svarog said quietly, looking directly at Avgust.
The Titan turned his head immediately to the Ghost upon hearing the news, as Svarog returned itself over Avgust's shoulder. He returned his sight to Teash and Zareph, as the two Guardians seemingly jumped a gap made between the building. Zareph looked back at Avgust, seemingly waiting for the Titan. Avgust paused, looking directly at the amount of space given to him to make the jump.
Taking a step back, Avgust ran forward as he approached the edge of the building quickly. Launching himself, he landed on the building across where Teash and Zareph stood—the snow crushed under his greaves. The Warlock turned around immediately, as she continued on the path towards the tower—while the Hunter gave a quick thumbs up.
"So..." Svarog said, looking at Avgust.
"I don't know, Svarog." He replied, "Perhaps that is why she is acting the way she is."
"You think that she had anything to do with—"
"Don't even suggest it, Svarog." Avgust said, interrupting the Ghost. Svarog narrowed it's eye, before allowing itself to fall back behind Avgust before it disappeared into the bond between it and the Titan.
"I'm just saying," Svarog whispered in Avgust's ears, "she did seem pretty distressed back at the Tower when you brought it up."
"Even if that is so, she lost her team. We don't know what happened to them after training, Svarog. Perhaps they got along just fine after that night." Avgust whispered back.
"Maybe... but what about Zareph? What do you think his story i—" Svarog was saying, before he was interrupted by a strange sound. All three Guardians stopped, as there was a ringing in the streets below. The ringing suddenly stopped, as soon a voice came through what appeared to be an elaborate system of loudspeakers.
«Vnimanie grazhdan Moskvy! Evakooirovat' v vash blizhayshiy Metro, predooprezhdayushchiy vozdooshniy nalet teper' effekt!» The voice echoed throughout the streets below.
Avgust tensed, looking back at Teash and Zareph before the Hunter asked: "Alright, Mr. Translator—what did it say?"
"Air raid!" Avgust shouted, as Zareph tilted his head towards the Titan; apparently wanting to ask another question. However before he could speak, the ground under the three Guardian's feet shifted violently. A loud boom was heard, followed consecutively by a second, third, fifth, seventh and eleventh. Teash pointed out in some direction, as Avgust whipped his head around to witness the final orange cloud fade off in the distance.
Smoke billowed down a straight line in the streets, as buildings around the ground of the detonation collapsed under the damage caused. All three Guardians backed away from the edge of the building, watching the destruction as they lowered themselves to the floor. As the cracking from the buildings collapsing ended, Avgust pushed himself up from the ground as he lowered his Thunderlord to a carry in one hand. Teash then asked: "What the hell was that?!"
"Explosions, obviously!" Zareph replied as Teash looked down to the Hunter, her burning eyes concentrated on him. Avgust looked towards the two, "Whatever it is, it is destroying the capital to try to kill us."
"You know what it is?" Zareph asked, watching the smoke billowing.
"No idea," Avgust replied, "but look at the area that was bombed—it was the area of the capital we were just at."
"So you are telling us that the capital is hunting us?" Teash then asked.
"No, it was trying to keep us out. And now that we are here, we present a problem to it."
"That is why we were warned about entering 'restricted airspace." Zareph concluded, "Is it trying to protect something?"
"What is there to protect?" Teash asked, "It is an abandoned capital."
The three Guardians stood silent, as Avgust turned back towards the radio tower as he lifted his Thunderlord back into his two hands. Walking up the building, he calculated the distance left by sight. "Whatever it is trying to do, we still have our own objective. We have just over half a kilo left, let us move."
Zareph weighed his auto rifle in his hands, turning on his heel to face Avgust as Teash nearly followed. However the Warlock stopped, looking back over the destroyed zone as she spotted an object emerge from the smoke. Avgust looked back to see if the other Guardians were following him, but as he saw Teash stand still he looked out to the smoke as well.
"Teash we—" Avgust spoke, before being interrupted by Teash: "Something is on the approach, and it is moving fast!"
Zareph stopped and looked out as well as this was said, and the object in the sky got closer and closer. All three Guardians raised their weapons to the object, a vehicle obviously by the shape. It almost reminded Avgust about the helicopters in the Cosmodrome, but this one was far larger. Two cylinders were mounted under the wings of the helicopter, and underneath the chin was mounted a turret.
"O great, they fly now!" Zareph remarked, lifting his auto rifle towards the vehicle as both Avgust lifted his machine gun and Teash lifted her scout rifle. The helicopter stopped, hovering in midair as it's optics seemingly analysed the the three Guardians. Avgust analysed the features of the helicopter, spotting that there were two exposed intakes under the belly of the vehicle.
"See those two intakes?" Avgust asked, "Adjust your aim towards it. If we fire into it and break the vents to it—the engines will take in our bullets and destroy it."
The helicopter lowered itself down towards the roof, as the propellers throws up the snow on the roof. The cloths on the Guardians armour shot away from the helicopter, as Avgust felt his mark beat against his thigh.
"Can't shoot the intake anymore..." Teash remarked.
Avgust readjusted his aim to the base of the propellers as he dropped his finger down to the trigger of the Thunderlord. He looked towards Teash briefly before he replied: "Then shoot at the propellers."
The other two Guardians adjusted their aim, as they stood silently. The helicopter continued to hover, it's optics still focused on the Guardians as the moment between the vehicle and the Guardians. "Avgust?" Zareph asked, "We can't just stand around, we need to do something!"
Avgust responded by pulling the trigger of the Thunderlord, as the machine gun tore away at the base of the propeller as many rounds went wide and either dented the side of the helicopter or struck at one of the blades. Zareph and Teash opened fire as well, as a fire sprung from the propeller base. The helicopter than lifted itself up, focusing it's turret at the Guardians.
"Move!" Avgust yelled as the Guardians turned heel and started to move in the other direction, occasionally looking back to fire at the helicopter. The turret spun, as it began to open fire at the group of Guardians. Avgust danced with his feet to dodge the bullets, leaping out of the way occasionally as eventually he saw a divide between the roofs of the building he was on and the building across what appeared to be a street.
"Hey, Avgust—we are running out of space to move around up here! Where are we going?" Zareph asked.
"Where do you think we are going?" Teash asked, "There is a building across the way."
"Yeah, about that... I don't think I can cover that distance!"
"You are going to have to try!" Avgust replied, as he sprinted the last stretch before he jumped. The Titan looked at the fall below him: there was a street—two lanes wide, as he saw a hole in the face of the building. If they were able to angle it right, then perhaps they could submerge and avoid the sight of the helicopter. It'll know that they were in the area, but at least they wouldn't be able to be seen by it.
"Never mind! Head for the hole in the building!" Avgust shouted over the COMM, as Zareph groaned: "Right as I was preparing myself for the jump..."
The three Guardians plummeted for a moment to the ground, as suddenly they all summoned the light within them to lift themselves up and course correct for the hole in the wall. Avgust suddenly felt a growing pain in his abdomen, as he felt the bullet inside him rattle around his innards. His body rolled to the right, as he fell down too low to make the hole.
"Avgust?" Teash asked over the COMMs, "You are headed down too low!"
Avgust tried to use whatever energy he had to boost himself up for the correction, as his body slammed into the wall. His hands grabbed for the frame of the building, holding onto metal poles as he grunted with agony. The suit tore again, as the sealing filament dripped from the suit with a mixture of his blood. Teash landed right above him, making her way into the facility as Zareph flew in right behind her.
The Hunter turned around, offering his hand to Avgust as the Titan reached for it—applying a tight grip as he tried to pull up with the help of Zareph. Zareph groaned, struggling to help Avgust up as he spoke: "Stop squeezing my arm so hard!"
After a second, Teash appeared over Zareph's shoulder as she grabbed on to Avgust's arm as well. She lifted up with Zareph, as Avgust pushed himself up as well. They all grunted as eventually Avgust's heavy armour moved up into the building. Only moments after, the rattling sound of turret fire tried to fill the hole the Guardians were in.
However given the angle at which it was firing, there was little to no way for it to get it's sights on the Guardians. And with the street being to narrow for it to descend, the helicopter hovered in place as Teash and Zareph helped Avgust further into the building. Eventually judging themselves safe from the fire of the turret, they rested the Titan down on the ground as Svarog appeared to assess the reopened hole in the Titan's abdomen.
"Told you we should have tended to the bullet earlier." Svarog said, as Teash lowered herself to examine the wound.
"Perhaps resurrection would help fix it." Teash said flatly, looking at Avgust and Svarog as the Ghost looked at the Warlock with an unamused expression. Avgust shook his head, before he turned his gaze to Zareph: "Hunter's always have a knife."
"Well, yeah. We do." Zareph replied, "Why do you say that?"
"Give it to me."
Zareph looked at Avgust, tilting his head to one side before be shook it and signed. The Hunter lowered his auto rifle to one hand, before removing his knife from his belt as he tossed the handle in the air and caught it by the blade. He then offered Avgust the knife, as the Titan took a hold of the handle and muttered: "Thank you."
Zareph released his grip of the blade, before asking: "What are you planning to do?"
"Just a simple field operation." Avgust replied, as he turned the blade towards his wound, Teash looked away and Zareph shook his head, muttering: "You can't be serious..."
Avgust winced, before he sunk the blade into his wound. He resisted the urge to cry sharply as the blade made it's way with ease through his side. He cut in, as he felt the tip make contact with a loose object. The Titan turned the blade in, cutting the head of the bullet as he slowly dragged it out of him. Blood spilled freely from his side as he did this, as eventually the silver end of the bullet could be see exiting his wound. The Titan struggled to remove the round, as with a combination of the pain and nervousness—his hand was becoming unsteady.
Slowly, Avgust withdrew the blade and placed it down on the ground—sighing in relief as the sharp object exited his wound. A burning replaced the sensation of the cut now, as Avgust wrapped his fingers around the end of the bullet as he pulled it out and tossed it away. Blood now flowed freely, not being obstructed by any obstacle as Avgust coughed. Zareph looked down at the bloody blade, swooping it off the ground as Teash continued to look away.
"Right at the edge of the devouring essence." Svarog muttered, floating around as the Ghost shook itself. "There is no way I can reseal this wound."
"What do you mean?" Teash asked, "Ghosts can heal anything! You should be able to heal that!"
"Not when devouring essence is involved," Svarog replied. "It is a cut in the connection between me and him. There is nothing I can do with this wound."
"So, it won't be able to heal." Zareph stated.
"O, no it will," Svarog continued, "but at it's own rate."
"So weeks, months?" Teash asked.
"Maybe years." Svarog replied.
Avgust tried to push himself off the floor, as Zareph placed his hand on the shoulder of the Titan to keep him down. "Woah, hey! You can't go anywhere!" Zareph said, as Avgust pushed the hand of the Hunter away.
"We still have an objective. It is my responsibility to make sure you both survive this. If I am wounded? So be it. But I will not sit around and wait for something else to try to kill you two." Avgust replied, as he removed his hardcase backpack and set it down. He fished through the contents, finding a roll of adhesive and anti-inflammatory medicine. He removed the cap to the medicine, injecting the needle into his side as he started to inject the substance.
The medicine burned inside him, as he grunted softly as he continued to press down on the injection pin. He then eventually removed it, tossing it to one side before he applied the adhesive pad and allowed it to stick to his wound. It sealed the hole made by the bullet and knife, but despite this it all continued to sting. Avgust then replaced the backpack over his shoulder, picking up the Thunderlord as he shouldered the weapon.
Teash shook her head, muttering to herself before she looked back at the rest of the group: "We have a quarter of a kilo left. If Avgust can manage to stay in one piece in the meanwhile, we can reach the radio tower can get that transmission out."
"We also, you know, have a helicopter chasing us." Zareph added.
Avgust looked towards Teash and Zareph, before speaking: "I know Teash is a Voidwalker. What are you, Zareph?"
"Uh... I'm a Gunslinger, but I don't know what you would want me to do—"
"I think you know exactly what I want. If we can get the helicopter to lower itself, you have a clear shot at the propellers. I want you to melt them, and while it tries to get itself clear—Teash can throw a Nova Bomb."
The three Guardians looked at each other, as Zareph nodded his head. "Yeah, okay. But how do we get it to lower itself?"
"Fire at the engine intake." Avgust replied, "Will want to make sure that it doesn't expose itself there for too long. And I don't think it is smart enough to keep us clear of its propellers again."
"We just need a way to the roof." Teash then stated, as suddenly a green light flashed down the hallway. The Guardians looked oddly at it, as it displayed a white figure heading towards a stairway. Zareph looked back at Avgust and Teash, before speaking: "Coincidence?"
"Doesn't matter, we have our way out. Move out, Fireteam!" Avgust said, as they all ran towards the stairs.
Reaching the stairway, the three Guardians ascended them as quick as they could—stepping over cracks in the concrete and fallen metal support bars. Zareph reached the rooftop first, seeing a door in the way as he tried to open it. Not finding a way, he looked back towards Avgust who still ran with full velocity. The Titan spotted the door, smiling as he increased his speed as much as he could. Throwing himself towards the door, the metal-cased thing bellowed and fell off it's hinges, allowing the Guardians outside.
As Avgust turned to the right, he spotted the helicopter circling the building before he adjusted his field of vision to include the radio tower. The tower was getting closer and closer, as the details of the dark metal tower could easily be recognised now. The Titan sprinted towards it, trying his best to ignore the pain in his side as suddenly the helicopter lifted towards the group of Guardian's—focusing it's turret again.
As it attempted to open fire, the Guardians opened fire as well—hitting the belly of the vehicle as they continued along the rooftops. They jumped down to a lower level, rolling across the snow on the rooftop. The helicopter adjusted it'a aim to allow itself to open fire on the Guardians. Avgust ducked under a tarp that somehow managed to stay in place. Pushing tables and crates out of his way, the Titan then looked towards another gap between the building he intended to be on. Jumping, the Titan used his lift to thrust himself upwards a metre or two as he clambered over the edge.
Standing on the rooftop, Avgust looked ahead and continued to run—seeing the tower ahead. There was at least three more rooftops between him and the radio tower, which appeared to be even more separated from the rest of the buildings in the area.
"We are going to have a steep drop!" Teash remarked over the COMM.
Avgust looked around, spotting an orange crane that was lifting support beams that was connected between the third building and the street. Perhaps if they could get up it, and get across the support beams—they would be able to cross the distance without having to drop to ground level.
«Nyet!» Avgust said, "Crane to our right! We can head across it one at a time to get across to the radio tower!"
"We will be exposed for too long if we just head over one by one, can't stand around that long Avgust!" Zareph added over the COMM.
"Then run faster, because no one is going to stand in place for too long!"
"You have got to be kidding me..." Teash muttered over the COMM.
"Zareph, you head over first! Teash, you follow! I'll be across last!"
"You got it Avgust!" Zareph said over the COMM, as the three Guardians pulled to a hard right to head to the crane. The helicopter continued to fire at the group, as Avgust fell behind everyone else to fire at the vehicle. The Thunderlord struck the side of the vehicle, as it swirled in an opposite direction to avoid the constant fire from the machine gun.
Zareph hit the ladder to the crane, quickly grabbing ahold of the metal bars in front of him as he hoisted up the ladder towards the beam of the crane. Teash followed him, giving the Hunter a metre or so advantage before she started to ascend herself. Avgust then dropped his Thunderlord into the transmat, before he jumped up to the ladder to begin climbing. As they climbed up, the helicopter reappeared to the right of the group as it began spinning it's turret again.
Avgust swore, removing his sidearm as he flicked off the safety and started to fire at the helicopter while climbing the ladder. The helicopter swung out of range again, as Zareph reached the top of the ladder and pulled himself up. Teash followed him quickly, joining the Hunter as he took his first steps across the metal bars suspended over the drop into the street below.
The helicopter lifted itself up to the beams, opening fire with the turret as the metal bars began to spin in reaction of being shot. Zareph readjusted his balance, swearing to himself as he continued to run across to the radio tower. Teash fired at the propellers exposed to her with her scout rifle, as the helicopter disappeared again.
"It's gone, but only for a while!" Teash shouted over the COMM as she started her way across the metal beams. As Avgust pulled himself to the top of the ladder, he saw both Zareph and Teash move along towards the radio tower. He ejected the empty magazine to his sidearm, as he inserted another one. He then made his own way to the metal beams, dropping down onto them the second Zareph jumped free from them.
The Hunter angled himself, jumping again midair as he reached forwards—grabbing the railing presented to him as he vaulted onto the metal grating under his feet. Moments later, Teash jumped across—using her light to slowly glide down to the grating as she avoided having to hit the railing.
Halfway across the metal beam, Avgust prepared himself to jump towards the radio tower—as suddenly the beams shook violently and began to fall backwards. He could hear an explosion behind him, as the Titan was thrown slightly off course. Seeing that what should have been a flat runway to the tower was now becoming a steep hill, Avgust sprinted as hard as he could up the beam. Reaching the top, the Titan threw himself off the beams as they slid loose and fell to the ground.
Plummeting to through the air, Avgust used his ability to lift himself as he feathered himself towards the grating with Teash and Zareph. Striking it, the two Guardians jumped back as Avgust took a second to gain his breath, as he started to run towards the metal staircase that would allow them to head up the tower.
"It has missiles!" Zareph shouted, "Why does it have missiles?!"
"Never mind that, prepare your Golden Gun!" Avgust shouted back, as he withdrew the Thunderlord from transmat. The Guardians continued up the tower, as the helicopter soon came back into view. It angled it's turret at the Guardians ascending the steps, as it opened fire at them.
"Zareph! Now!" Avgust shouted as he aimed his Thunderlord at the engine intakes and opened fire. The metal plating of the helicopter broke away, as sure enough it lowered itself to reveal its propellers once more. There was a sudden burst of heat, as Zareph was enveloped in flames. The Hunter withdrew a handcannon made of solid flame, as he took his first shot at the propellers.
The metal snapped and exploded around the site the shot hit, as fire replaced it. A red light flashed around the helicopter, as the Guardians continued their climb. As Avgust got higher and higher, he could feel the air beat more against him as it seemingly attempted to push him over. Zareph quickly regained his footing as wind nearly knocked him off his feet, he then angled a second shot at the helicopter as the second struck wide of the wing.
The wind shattered, causing the helicopter to spin around aimlessly as Zareph attempted his final shot. Pulling the trigger of the gun in flames, the round struck nothing as suddenly the flames around the Hunter disappeared. Zareph muttered, "Shit!"
Avgust lowered his Thunderlord, continuing to fire at the helicopter as many of his rounds missed as well. Teash then made her way up to the level they were at, as a purple energy then swirled around in the palm of her hand. Jumping upwards, the Warlock allowed the energy to build up more and more as she then threw out the palm of her hand.
The energy shot off from her grasp, as it targeted the helicopter and struck the vehicle as the Nova Bomb detonated brightly. The helicopter exploded with the purple flames, throwing the three Guardians back towards railing of the radio tower. The frame of the now broken vehicle then fell to the ground below, colliding with it as scrap metal of it's remains scattered across the scene.
Teash fell to her knees, breathing in and out as Avgust stood up slowly along with Zareph. He looked at the Warlock, offering her a hand to stand as she ignored it—slowly getting herself up as she looked towards Avgust and said: "I don't need your help..."
Avgust shrugged, as he turned back towards the stairway provided to ascend the radio tower. "We move," he spoke loudly, "nice work."
"Yeah, don't mention it." Zareph said, collecting his auto rifle as he headed up the stairs with Avgust. The two continued around the sharp turns and bends of the radio tower, as eventually Avgust looked up to spot the final stretch until they reached the top of the tower.
There was a metal door that was angled in a way so that it it closed almost right above Avgust's head. The Titan reached forward, pressing on it as it slowly swung open. Stepping into the facility, Avgust looked around the circular floorway as he approached a machine that was attached to most of the radio dishes.
The machine instantly started up, the screen mounted to it flashing as it provided a logo with the Russian symbols: РФБА in the centre. Avgust reached towards the keyboard, as Svarog appeared over his shoulder.
"This thing is ancient," Svarog remarked, "But I am sure I can get it to work. Just give me some time."
The Ghost then lowered itself towards the machine, projecting a blue beam as it slowly began to work on the machine. As it was doing this, Teash then followed Zareph into the facility, looking outside the broken window out into Moscow. The Warlock lowered her scout rifle, watching as a variety of lights flashed around the capital—in no particular order.
"What is going on here..?" She asked herself, as Avgust looked over his shoulder towards the Warlock as he lowered his head. He didn't know how to respond to Teash's question, or if he should at all. Was he not sure what was going on, or was he just afraid to admit what it was?
The Titan shook his head, as he looked along the circular facility. Monitors lined the walls of it, along with large block-like machines that likely ran transmission operations. There were chairs and tables scattered around, as human skeletons either lined the floors or sat remaining in their seats.
Suddenly there was a loud sound, as a box on the wall of the facility shook and sparks flew out. Svarog backed away from the machine, as monitors around the walls flickered to life and reported with the same symbol for the РФБА. The Titan was familiar with the symbol, because he had seen it many times at the Cosmodrome. But there was another feeling of tugging at the back of his head, because it wasn't the only reason he knew it—but the Titan couldn't tell what the other reason was.
"Got it online!" Svarog stated, looking towards Avgust. "We just need to get our message out now."
"Have you got the Tower in line for it?" Avgust asked, as Teash and Zareph turned towards the row of monitors. The Ghost nodded itself, before it disappeared back to the bond between it and Avgust.
"Got it connected to your earpiece, I'll open the transmission now." Svarog told Avgust, as there was a clicking noise over the piece. The other end of the COMM said something in a garbled manner, as Avgust couldn't directly make out the voice of who was speaking over the line.
Avgust spoke, "Alert, alert! This is Lieutenant Avgust Boris to Tower! Do you hear me?"
The garbled speaking continued, as Avgust shook his head and continued, "This is Lieutenant Avgust Boris! Me and my Fireteam are stranded in Moscow; we have been shot down by what appears to be an automated defence system! We have no way out of Moscow, we need immediate assistance!"
The garbled speaking seemingly continued on as eventually it faded to static. The monitors that were once dominated with a blue РФБА symbol went completely black. The monitors returned, completely coloured red as a new symbol appeared: МИДА.
Upon seeing the symbol, the tugging in Avgust's mind was replaced with something akin to a migraine, as he fell forwards to the floor. His head pounded, as Zareph approached his side. The Hunter grabbed the Titan's arm, shaking it as he tried to talk to Avgust—but all that happened in Avgust's ears were ringing. Teash soon accompanied the side of Avgust, grabbing his arm as the two Guardians lifted him up.
Text slowly crossed the screen, obviously in Russian as Avgust's eyes fixated on them and read them carefully as his hearing returned and the throbbing in his brain subsided.
Lieutenant Avgust Boris? The text read, Quite the promotion you gave yourself. But then again, it has been two centuries. Perhaps this change was made without my understanding.
"Avgust? What are you reading?" Teash asked, as she looked over the symbols that were unfamiliar to her.
You are presenting quite the inconvenience for us at this time, Lieutenant. Odd considering your duty is to defend this capital, not tear it to pieces.
The Titan shook his head, looking up at the text marking the screen. He stared directly at it, as the text shifted once more: But what can I say? You must be confused. Is it this 'Ghost' of yours that brought you back from the dead? Perhaps it fed you thoughts that oppose the reality.
Avgust shook, as he pushed away the two Guardians helping him to stand. He looked directly at the screen, memorising the shapes of the letters as he spoke in a seemingly familiar tongue.
«This capital has been dead for two centuries, as you have said. Times have changed, realities have changed. Therefore, my duty is now to protect the innocent of the Last Safe City—and no longer to this abandoned place.» Avgust replied, as Zareph and Teash looked at him. He could tell they were confused and a bit afraid, and what he was doing wasn't exactly easing their tensions. But he couldn't stand down now, especially now that his beliefs and reality were being challenged by this thing.
Moscow has never been conquered, nor has it ever remained destroyed. You say we are abandoned? So may it be, but all those loyal to our Motherland will return. We shall always remain strong.
«This time, Moscow has been conquered by the Dark. It's people have fled because you failed to protect them. They now put their trust in the City, because we hold of the last Light. The only thing that can protect them from the thing that threatens to destroy them.»
The screen remained still, as the text removed itself from the screen. Zareph looked at Avgust, before asking: "You alright? You aren't making a whole lot of sense here, Avgust..."
Avgust looked back towards the Hunter, as text slowly rolled across the screen: How confident. You believe in legends, and divorce yourself from the reality of our world. Odd how time has changed you, Lieutenant . But as you yourself had said, 'Times have changed' . One could only hope you are prepared to fight against the thing you had promised to give your life for, and that you and your allies will be ready to be destroyed for your conspiracy. Your feign heroism can only last for so—'
All the monitors suddenly shut off, leaving the room in complete darkness as the Guardians looked around. About to question what was going on, the monitors turned back online as they were restored to the blue РФБА symbol. Avgust looked towards the monitors, as Teash asked: "You mind explaining what the hell just happened?"
Avgust bit his tongue, stopping himself from speaking in Russian as he responded: "It knows who I am, who I was."
"Wait, you telling me this thing knows who you are?" Zareph asked.
"Who I was. Said it was odd I gave myself a 'promotion,' and that I am going against my duty by fighting the capital defence."
"This is all before your resurrection?" Teash asked.
Avgust nodded his head grimly, looking back at the monitor as he turned back towards the group. "I cannot begin to think about all of this..." Avgust stated.
Svarog reappeared over his shoulder, as the Ghost spoke: "Guardians typically don't have a direct path to rediscovering who they were. They usually remember only bits and pieces. But you may have found who you were before, Avgust."
Avgust fell quiet, as he took in a deep breath and allowed himself to exhale audibly. His entire being shook, as there was a continued pull at the edges of his mind and memory. It was as if something was tearing into his brain, frantically searching for something that may or may have not been there anymore. Avgust couldn't be sure anymore if he had wanted to know more about himself, especially if it entailed finding the information through MIDA.
"Moscow Intelligence and Defence Administration." Avgust muttered to himself, as he felt something burst at the seams of his memory. Everyone in the room turned towards him as he said this, as he looked back towards Teash and Zareph: "Whatever that was, it belonged to the Moscow Intelligence and Defence Administration."
"MIDA?" Teash asked, "What is MIDA?"
«You speak of MIDA?» A voice then spoke in the room, in the language only Avgust understood. The Guardian's instinctively raised their weapons, checking the dark corners of the room. «Worry not, I am not your enemy here.»
Avgust kept his weapon raised, before replying in the same language: «Everything has been trying to kill us so far, so do not take it personally if I don't exactly trust you.»
«I am not a program for MIDA, nor am I Muromets. It took me a while to lock it out of my own system, by the way. But look—we do not have long before Muromets finds it's way back into here. We need to take this time now to disappear before he can find us again.» The voice spoke again, «I shall summon a lift for you.»
«How can we trust you?» Avgust asked.
«Because, Lieutenant. You don't have many options right now, and if you do not make this choice then you risk not only your life, but the lives of those around you. You need to trust me now.»
"Avgust, what is it saying?" Teash asked, as there was a ding somewhere else in the room. Zareph walked over, his auto rifle raised as he then lowered it. He looked over to the rest of the group, "We have an empty elevator."
Avgust looked towards Zareph, before looking back to the monitor. «Please, Lieutenant. Your interests and my interests coincide.»
Avgust looked back towards Zareph, before glancing back towards Teash as he sighed. "It is our ride." Avgust replied, waving the Hunter and the Warlock to the elevator as the Guardians seemingly gave him an expression of confusion and suspicion. Eventually, they stepped into the elevator as Avgust took one last look at the monitors before stepping towards the elevator himself.
«Thank you, Lieutenant.» The voice spoke once more, as the elevator doors sealed themselves and all the lights within the facility faded back to black. Leaving the chamber in the darkness, as it has been for centuries.