“Are we still safe here, Warlock?” Amanda Holliday asks while shuffling her feet against the crate used as her chair.
“You don’t feel safe?”
“You don’t live here, Guardian. You’re out there, flying around the solar system. You don’t know what it’s like.”
“You don’t have an allegiance with any of the factions? They may be of help.”
“Don’t really care for New Monarchy’s politics. I’ve got a job to do.” she sighs.
“What about Dead…?”
“Six couplings missing. If I find those Dead Orbit creeps who stole them again…!”
Before he can inquire, one of her droids mumbles out another alert.
“Stolen armory items recovered and restored. Thank you, HQ,” the droid finished.
“Armory items?” Warlock asks, while asking himself, ‘Who is HQ?’
“Take a look,” Amanda points to the recovered armory supplies.
Warlock studies the missile. Guardians don’t use weapons like these. Ever. What is it doing in The Tower? “Amanda, what’s the purpose for these?”
“To blow things up,” she smirks.
He’s not amused.
Her head drops, “Protection,” she answers. “For the city.”
Guardians are trained to protect the city! Warlock screams within his mind.
“Look, I told Dead Orbit, there’s no way!”
Between the droid’s random alerts, the Ship Hangar’s intercom announcements, and Amanda Holliday’s outbursts, Warlock needs to filter out the knowledge necessary to his investigation.
“There’s a backlog of hogs sitting on the pad! Sorry if my fuse is short,” Amanda continues.
“Why so many ships?”
“Guardians probably flying too close to The Darkness. Their shields are breaking down faster than I can keep them going. I warn them…they don’t listen.”
He shakes his head. “Wait, I thought we could only fly out as far as the Vestian Outpost.”
“Now, you see what I have to keep up with!” she adds.
Guardians are spread out across the solar system represented by lights on a giant screen.
“Even you need time away, Amanda.”
“Aw, sweet. This is the real world, though, Guardian. Get used to it.”
Warlock suddenly remembers, “Who stole the armory supplies?” How could he forget to ask.
She shrugs, “I don’t know! Could have been anyone.”
“I assumed The Tower has its own legion of security.”
“We do,” she pats him on the shoulder.
She can practically see his eyes roll underneath his helmet, “Which goes back to my initial question, Warlock.” She lets the thought hang in the air. “Are we safe here?”
“Amanda Holliday, you’re latest Invoice is ready in the Loading Bay,” the Ship Hangar intercom announces.
He turns and begins to walk away, “I’d better leave you to your work.”
“They’re all making moves, Warlock! New Monarchy. Future War Cult. Dead Orbit. The Traveler better return before this city implodes.”
Warlock peers back, “If something happens…you know where to find me.”
She gives a slight smile.
He walks downstairs. If something does happen, he knows all too well that Amanda Holliday can fix herself out of any jam. Still…the sound of her voice seemed fearful. Does she have family? Friends in the inner city to look after? He spoke to her as long as he could without drawing unwanted attention to himself. He’s not like Hunter. The Warlock Class cannot learn how to cloak themselves.
He checks his messages. Nothing from Hunter. What’s taking him so long? With The Tower’s weaponry being so vulnerable, they need to get to the bottom of whatever is going on.
Titan leaps up at the sound of his communicator, “Ugh! I thought you were Hunter.”
“He hasn’t contacted you, either?” Warlock asks.
“We can’t track him. He wouldn’t like it if we tried.”
“We would only make the situation worse if he’s in trouble. The Queen’s Guards are not exactly…”
“That is being kind,” Warlock finishes.
“He’s okay. I just wish he’d hurry up. What about your end?”
“The large amount of supplies you noticed were missing…”
“They were stolen.”
“Stolen? You can’t be serious. The FWC thinks…” Titan says.
“I heard the report myself, Titan. Stolen.” He pauses. “Now, they’re back in the Docking Bay.”
“All accounted for?”
“By the looks of it…and no one is saying otherwise.”
“Hm. I don’t like it. How could anyone steal…anything from The Tower? Let alone weapons!”
“I fear Dead Orbit is at play here.”
“What proof do you have?”
“Come now, Titan. They tried to recruit us long after we swore allegiance to The Vanguard. They have no honor…and they steal from the ShipWright’s inventory,” Warlock concludes.
“They don’t have the money…or the position in The Tower.”
“Precisely why they’d have to steal to catch up to the other factions vying for power.”
“We have to stop them, Warlock.”
“Not on our own.” Warlock allows the thought to sink in. “Too many Guardians have pledged their loyalty to Dead Orbit. They believe too strongly in their cause…their way of thinking. We’d be split in two, at best…fighting among each another.”
Titan can hear the sadness in his voice. “Are you sure Amanda Holliday can be trusted?”
Warlock is disturbed by the question, yet, he asked himself the same. “Yes. She seems genuine enough.”
“I’ll take your word for it.”
The two brothers allow silence to reign for quite some time before one speaks up.
“And ‘thank you’ for the extra currency, Titan. Though, I don’t need to tell you…I have enough chest armor pieces in my collection.”
“Well…I figured you would like it. Let me see it.”
“I…don’t like to brag,” Warlock replies.
“You…kinda do,” Titan ends. “Come on.”
Titan stares at the long garment Warlocks use as Chest Armor, “What is it?”
Warlock tries to maintain his composure.
“Don’t roll your eyes at me. Just tell me what it is.”
“It’s called, Starfire Protocol. The Starfire Protocol. Infused with the solar energy created at the very beginning of the Cosmos. How can you not know this?! It’s legendary!”
“I said, ‘thank you.’
“I’m glad. You’re happy. I’m happy.”
“Right. I noticed you spent quite a bit of Currency on an Engram to trade to the Cryptarch. Did he give you something useful…uhh, possibly…new?”
Titan sighs, “He gave me a Chest piece I already own and would not exchange this trade for something I don’t have. It was the bane of my day, so please…don’t ask again.”
Warlock steps back, “Sorry, Titan. It happens to us all.”
“No…I know. I know. It’s just…today was supposed to be different.”
“If it makes you feel any better, I went out into the field and began replacing the Currency we lost. And the famed Wolfpack rounds for are new Rocket Launcher are now operational.”
Titan is beaming.
“You see? All better. The full report of my progress is already available to you.”
“I like you, Warlock.”
“Haha. On that note, you’d better get some rest. Hunter will probably show up at some inopportune time with terrible news.”
A scrambled noise breaks their conversation.
“This has to be him, but…”
Warlock tries to adjust his signal, “I think he’s too far away. Is that possible?”
Titan shakes his head, “Or his communicator doesn’t work while he’s cloaked.”
“Well, it should. Their Order would have planned for that.” Another menu pops on his screen. “Oh, no. I’m being called on several missions; I have to go!”
“I’ll handle this. When I have something, I’ll check back with you,” Titan ends.
Warlock concedes and heads for the Docking Bay.