STORY Ep.8 | Taking Sides

HUNTER | LOCATION: Vestian Outpost

Hunter knows something’s wrong. His personal comm is down. Static. Being jammed? The conversations between the Queen’s Guard have stopped. And although Hunter has activated his cloaking ability, their Commander, Petra Venj, seems to know he’s here.

She begins to walk casually in his direction.

Impossible. She can’t know I’m here.

Petra Venj stops as she begins to pass by him. At the turn of her head, she looks directly into his eyes and smiles.

Hunter dodges her blade swiping passed his neck.

“I suggest you drop the cloak, Guardian,” Petra Venj warns as she slices into his arm.

Hunter realizes the truth: His cloak is already down. The armed Guards are watching him as Petra blocks his own knife with hers.

“This isn’t The Tower, Guardian. We took precautions before inviting you here.” She moves in again, cutting through the top edge of Hunter’s helmet.

Hunter doesn’t think about his life…only the repairs to his Gear if she destroys them. He becomes more aggressive.

She dodges a flaming knife as it goes by her head, “Average, at best.” She drives her blade towards his neck.

Hunter holds her back, “Excuse my intrusion…”

She’s shocked by the calmness in his voice.

He spins her around, flaming knife near her neck.

Petra grits her teeth, steps back and flips him over her shoulder.

Impressive. Hunter recovers quickly as their knives meet each other’s necks.

Stand-off.

“You’re quick for a Hunter Class,” she admits.

“By the looks of your armor…Titan Class,” he guesses. “Never seen one weld a knife like this.”

She tries to hide her smile. “Save it.” They push each other back. She walks around him, “I remember you, Hunter. You defeated Skolas for us. Go ahead. Tell me why I shouldn’t let Veriks toss you in the Prison of Elders along with him.”

“I need answers.”

“To what questions? We don’t owe you any more than the small fortune we’ve paid.”

“Why is Skolas still alive?”

“If it were up to me, we would’ve killed Skolas. It’s my fault for voicing my frustration in the first place. I’m back in the Queen’s favor now. I’d like to keep it that way. Anything else?”

“Have you seen the Awoken woman who took care of Special Orders at The Tower?”

She looks around at the Guard. With a nod, they return to their duties. Then, she steps closer to him, glaring through his helmet, “We know where our own citizens are. Is that all?”

Not very forthcoming, “I’m simply concerned…for her safety.”

Petra lets out a laugh, “Isn’t The Tower safe?!”

Hunter turns away and walks to the console.
HUNTER | LOCATION: Vestian Outpost
“I’m not sure anymore,” he finishes.

Her tone softens for a moment, “We’re even now, Guardian.” She flips a knife in front of him as her eyes grow in anger, “Let your friends know that your cloaking abilities don’t work here.” She motions for him to leave.

“You’re not going to arrest me?”

She smiles, “Look around, Hunter. The Queen still needs Outsiders to capture the last of the Fallen traitors. Yet, Guardians are growing thin out here. What are you all up to? Another adventure?”

He sees her genuine curiosity. He looks around; Guardians are sparse with more of the Queen’s Guard at several posts.

“Oh…you have the same question, don’t you?” she concludes. “Welcome to my world, Guardian. We don’t know what’s going on all the time.” She whispers, “If you find out something, don’t be shy.”

The Head of the Queen’s Guard is in the dark. That can’t be good, either. Hunter walks towards the Docking Bay.

“You might want to get someone to fix that,” she motions to his helmet.

It’s time to go. He teleports back into his ship before his pride gets the best of him.

An Awoken Guard walks up to Petra, “You let him leave? What did that Hunter want?”

“Same as the rest of us, it seems,” she replies. “Don’t worry. We can keep track of him. Return to your position. The Queen will be forced to send us out after the stragglers soon. Be ready.”

“Commander…I’ve never seen a blade so close to striking you. You could have been…”

Petra’s eyes widen.

The Guard salutes and walks away.

Petra glares at Hunter’s ship as it breaks into hyperspace, “Hunters.”

The console next to her sounds a short alarm. She walks to the long monitor, “What is it?”

A Guard answers, “I’m not sure. Just outside the borders of The Reef.”

“How can we detect it from so far out?!”

“The…the energy readings are off the charts!”

Petra rubs the hilt of her blade on her waist, “That’s where they’ve gone.”

“Whom?” the Guard asks.

She studies the schematics as more readings slowly register. “Is it…a ship?”

“At this size? It can’t be…” Suddenly, the readings disappear. The ship is gone. “What happened?!” The Guard taps the monitor over and again. She tries to recover the information in the Awoken’s database. Gone. She shakes her head in disbelief as she looks to Petra Venj.

“Cloaked?”

“Commander, you know our system is designed to get passed any cloaking device. Besides, that…thing is how many times larger than anything in our fleet? It can’t be a ship!”

“It moves like one,” she flips the knife in her hand before returning it to her side. “I must speak to The Queen, herself.” She looks at their view of outer space, “There’s a much greater threat than the Fallen out there.”

Warlock is making his way through the Shattered Coast on Venus as Hunter contacts him, “I knew your timing would be impeccable, brother.”

Hunter studies his helmet in his hands, “Look at…she…!” His attention goes back to Warlock, “And I could have been arrested. Arrested. Warlock.”

“Hold on, for a moment.” Warlock listens. He hears plasma blasts. “I think we have a resurgence here.”

“I was right,” Warlock confirms. “A resurgence.”

“How long do you have?” Hunter asks.

“I’m not sure. It seems that neither The Fallen or The Vex are giving up on this sector.”

“They’re gonna have more to worry about than an Archive of information.”

“Wait! The Archive may have information on our potential new threat.”

“Yeah, but the Cryptarchs keep that Intel for themselves. They don’t share much with us.”

Warlock ponders of a way around them.

“Don’t get off track, right now. Could you unlock the other log from Eris?”

Warlock’s disgust is renewed, but he keeps advancing his position. “I could not. It began erasing itself.”

Hunter nods.

“I am just outside of The Archive’s entrance. The Fallen have returned here as well.”

“I’ll let you get back to work.”

Almost arrested?! You were caught and they didn’t bring charges against you? What were you rambling about?!”

“Nevermind. She let me go.”

“Really? Tracking you, no doubt.”

“Yeah, but that works both ways, brother.”

“Ahh. Carry on, then.” Warlock closes the comm. “So will I.”

…..

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