Hunter examines the weapon in his hand. Vanguard. The orange & blue insignia shimmers in the sunlight.
Hunter nods. Although Exos have emotions, they come up far short of having the ability to cry. “She got me through quite a few battles, 44. They all have.” Hunter looks over the growing stack of weapons he is selling back to Banshee-44 for as much as he can get in Currency. In the old days, these weapons were the cream of the crop. But now, with this new threat, they don’t stand a chance. It’s time for upgrades. He only hopes the new models live up to the old ones.
Even though The Vault for each Guardian is now double the size to hold more weapons in stock, the new weapons are quickly shipping in. Without question, something has to go or there still won’t be enough space to hold them all.
“I’m surprised your brothers let you do this for them. I don’t let anybody touch my stash.”
Hunter looks around as several Guardians surround Banshee-44’s workspace. Droids assigned to The Tower assists in handing out Currency as most Guardians sell the old weapons to buy the new & improved models. “I hope this is the right move.”
“Hey, that’s why your testing them. I’ll have a new set in a couple of days. If they don’t work in the field, they’re not worth buying. I wanna make sure I only sell the best.”
“Besides…if I don’t think they’re good, I wouldn’t give ’em out for trial runs. These weapons have potential. I just need to be sure.”
“You sure I don’t have to pay for these?”
“Remember, Hunter, trial runs only. Meaning it’s not really yours. A lease. Get my meaning? The weapon, itself, records field data. Let’s me know how it performs & how Guardians use them. You’re doing good work for me so far, which is what the Reward was for. If you test enough weapons from the first few shipments, I’ll give you better weapons to try out.”
“Still, in the heat of battle, go with the best you have. These weapons don’t upgrade; they’re given out as is.”
Hunter eyes the amount of Currency as readouts come to life on his visor.
At his frown, Banshee-44 speaks up, “Oh yeah, your brothers brought a weapon. One for each of ’em.”
“I only see a name. Where’s the weapon, itself?”
“It’ll be here with the rest of the shipment in a couple of days.”
“You mean to tell me they bought weapons without actually knowing what they look like?”
“Yep,” Banshee beams.
“At this price?!”
Hunter throws up his hands.
“Wave of the future, Hunter. Get used to it.”
Hunter looks at other Guardians to notice they’re doing the same thing. Buying a weapon based on Banshee-44’s word. “I can’t believe this…” he whispers.
“You’ll thank me…later.”
Hunter takes a step back as he calms, “I’m sorry, 44. I trust you, it’s just…all of this is too fast.”
“And your worried about her,” Banshee points out.
“I fixed the helmet she sliced into. I heard what happened to the Awoken Fleet. She could’ve been there. Been killed. She stayed behind, in charge of the reserves.”
“I gotta go.”
“She’s still in charge. For now. I’ve never met Petra Venj, but anyone who can cut into an Exotic Helm has my respect.” Banshee-44 nods.
Hunter returns the gesture as he walks off to meet the Cryptarch, Master Rahool. Banshee is right. In one swift blow, the Awoken’s entire Fleet is presumed dead. They attacked Oryx’s own ship, the DreadNaught, only to discover their weapons weren’t powerful enough to destroy it. Then, Oryx activated his primary weapon…one shot.
Again, the place is swarming with Guardians. Veterans. New Recruits. All getting ready to head out for war. Master Rahool is his usual self, oblivious to any criticism that comes his way. It’s Hunter’s turn.
“Hunter! I hope you gave my regards to the enemy.”
“Come to think of it, I did,” Hunter snaps.
The Cryptarch laughs, “What do you have for me, today? Something interesting, I gather.”
Hunter uploads four rare, Exotic Engrams he recently purchased from Xur, Agent of the Nine, to the Cryptarch’s system.
Master Rahool looks them over, “You paid a hefty price for these, Guardian! All helmets, as you know, but I can’t tell you what they are for sure until I decode the raw data. As always.”
Hunter is nervous, “I need a helmet. I’m taking my chances.”
“If none of these turn out to be a Hunter’s helmet…even with new models, I still can’t refund…”
The Cryptarch nods and begins the process of decoding the Engrams.
Once decoded, the armor, whatever it may be, downloads onto the personal Vault of the Guardian. Hunter is disappointed at the first result. Light Beyond Nemesis. A Helmet for Warlock. “Master Rahool,” Hunter points out calmly, “I can’t wear this.”
The Cryptarch snaps, “How many times must we discussed this? The risks are yours.” He continues to decode the next Engram.
The Stag. A Helmet for Warlock. Hunter shakes his head, “This is expensive.” A third decode, he pauses, Obsidian Mind. Warlock’s favorite Helmet.
“I’m sure your brother will be pleased,” the Cryptarch adds.
“Yeah, he’ll love me,” Hunter admits.
Master Rahool still sees his disappointment. “Well, one Engram to go.”
Hunter looks away.
The Cryptarch punches away at his monitor.
A familiar sound. Hunter looks at the reading on his visor: Celestial Nighthawk. One of the most powerful Helmets…for Hunter. He looks at the data on the Helmet, “Better than I thought. Look at this!”
“A rare treasure. You see? Persistence pays off.” The Cryptarch nods.
Hunter tries on his upgraded Helmet. “It’s perfect,” he exclaims as his armor increases in strength.
Master Rahool points, “Tower North, Guardian. You’ll find new Shaders to paint your armor.”
Hunter beams as he shakes Master Rahool’s hand, “You’re not so bad, afterall.”
“I knew that all along,” he smiles.
A chime comes through the Helmet. “I gotta go.” Hunter makes his way through the crowd towards Tower North.
Warlock’s voice is monotone, “I don’t mean to intrude, Hunter. I simply noticed all of our Coins are gone…”
“I spent them.” Hunter stands at The Vault console loading all three of Warlock’s new Helmets into the system.
“Need I remind you of how long it took me…” Suddenly, Warlock hears a chime. He looks at the reading on his visor. “It can’t be…”
“It is,” Hunter concludes. “All yours, bro.”
Warlock begins to pace in his Quarters beginning to say one thing after another before changing his mind. “Hunter, I…”
“I already started my quest of earning more coins back.”
“No…I know. I…I don’t know what to say.”
There’s a first.
“Wear ’em in style, Warlock.”
“Right. And you?”
“I got something…finally.”
“Well, it could have been worse.”
“Don’t remind me.” Hunter arrives at the console in Tower North.
“I presume you need a custom Shader for your armor?”
“Hey, I need to look good. I’m out in the field more than you guys.”
Titan jumps in, “I earned a nice one, Hunter.”
“Titan?! What are you doing there?”
Warlock answers for him, “He wanted to convince me in person. He earned a special Shader from the Speaker, himself.”
“Figures,” Hunter moans. “What is it?” Hunter stands in front of the console for Shaders.
“You’ll see it,” Titan concludes.
Mercurial Dawn. “It’s kinda…orange.”
Titan corrects him, “Like an Autumn Sunrise.”
Hunter shakes his head, “Titan…what do you know about autumn sunrise?”
“I read it in one of Warlock’s books. Commander Zavala interrupted my mission…assigned more Titans to patrol The Tower. I’ve had more time to read.”
Hunter shakes his head, yet, again.
Titan continues, “I think we should share the best of the new weapons we have. Not only are the new models expensive, they’re tough to get.”
“With several waves of new Guardians showing up, we’ll need to help each other more than anticipated,” Warlock adds.
Hunter looks at Warlock’s image on his visor taking note of the color of his new armor. “You look like an orange. That’s…that’s a lot of orange.”
“I beg your pardon; it’s the new style,” as he brushes over his Chest Armor.
Hunter activates Mercurial Dawn over his armor:
Hunter looks at himself, actually impressed by how the new colors fall separately. “I wear it better than you do.”
“Funny,” Warlock finishes. “Now, to more important matters. I ordered a…SUROS DIS-43 Scout Rifle from Banshee-44. I trust it will be in order. The Series of SUROS models seem to be at the top of the class.”
“I put an order in for the Omolon Thesan FR4 Fusion Rifle. The Omolon models are light-weight, easier for me to carry. I also earned a weapon from the Vanguard: the Conspiracy Theory-D…” Titan adds.
Titan continues, “I didn’t name it myself. I haven’t been in the field to test it, yet, which is why it should be between us. Put it to better use.”
“I haven’t found anything of real significance. Ikora Rey has quite a few Warlocks confined to the Libraries, looking through history for signs of Oryx…legends of his DreadNaught. There must be a way to immobilize that weapon.”
“I have a couple of finds. You’ll be happy to know, Titan, they’re from the Vanguard,” Hunter adds.
“It’s beautiful,” Titan proclaims.
“I did find a machine gun, first, that I’ve used for a bit,” Hunter continues:
“If either of you comes across a Pulse Rifle, same quality, that’ll really help,” Hunter ends.
“Where are you going?” Warlock asks as he notices the sound of ships docking in the Tower Hanger.
“I need to take care of something,” Hunter answers.
“You’re going out there. Aren’t you?” Titan concludes.
“You have no idea of what you’re walking into,” Warlock assumes.
“You have your orders. Me? I have to handle this my way.”
“Meaning the Hunter way…” Warlock finishes.
“Take what you need. Try to keep comms open. …By yourself?” Titan asks.
“It’s how I work.” Hunter kills the signal as he teleports onto a ship.
Warlock takes a step back and looks to Titan, “Look at the specs. I don’t think that’s a Guardian’s ship.”
Titan looks over the schematic, “I’ve seen it before. It belongs to Eris Morn.” He rubs his chin, “She would never allow anyone to take her ship. What is he doing?”
“Look here, a modified cloaking device on-board.”
“Would he do something so crazy?”
Warlock gives him a knowing glance.
Titan walks towards the entrance.
“Now…where are you going?”
“I have to go.”
“I’ve been assigned to study; you were called back to patrol.”
“I can’t leave Hunter out there in the field alone. If we let that DreadNaught reach Mars, it’s over. For all of us!” The door opens and closes behind him.
Warlock looks over his books scattered over his desk. Maybe Titan…and Hunter are right. But he’s never been one to disobey a direct order from his Mentor, Ikora Rey.