Space is quiet. The silence is deafening. Hope is hard to find.
Hunter is unconscious. Petra Venj keeps an eye on him as her two Guards work to repair communications.
“There’s something out there,” the second Guard says.
“Power down,” Petra replies as she eyes the horizon.
“We almost have it,” the Guard says.
“And if they detect us, now, help will be too late,” Venj finishes.
The Guard lets out a sigh as the ship powers down again.
Petra faces her, “Since we’re staring death in the face, how about losing the protocol?”
“Very well,” the Guard answers. “Carmine, it is.”
The Second Guard walks over, “We’re not dead, yet.”
Venj looks to the Second Guard, “Jade. It helps ease the stress.”
“I won’t break protocol, Commander,” Jade insists. “But we do need the Comm to have a chance.”
“We need the weapons online,” Petra corrects her.
“Oh, no. There are a lot more than five this time!” Carmine calls out.
Petra and Jade have a look out the window. More than a dozen ships from the Dreadnaught slow to a cruise as they search the area for the Awoken party. Their damaged ship, the Ceres Galliot, still floats through space with the rest of the debris. Excellent camouflage, but it can’t last forever.
Jade whispers, “How did they track us so quickly?” An enemy ship crawls by.
Carmine shakes her head in uncertainty.
Suddenly, slowly, but surely, the ships begin the converge on their exact location.
Jade can see more ships coming towards them through the main window. She swallows and looks to Petra.
How are they tracking us?! Petra Venj’s eyes narrow as she sees a faint light blinking near Hunter. She crawls across the floor in a blink.
“Commander…” Jade whispers.
Petra moves a section of Hunter’s cloak aside. “Their little ball…companion…”
“How do you turn it off?!” Jade whispers having followed Petra.
“It’s called a Ghost,” Carmine points out.
“How do you turn it off?!” Jade repeats.
An explosion rocks the Ceres Galliot. They all tumble over. Then another…and another.
Jade looks at her hands, “We’re still alive.”
Carmine is at the window, “Someone else is out there!”
“Status?!” Petra calls out.
Jade powers up the main console, “Carmine, get over here!”
Carmine tries opening the Comm. Static.
“We took another hit, Commander. A main thruster. If we try to punch it, she’ll probably spin out.”
Venj slams her hand on the console.
The three Awoken women spin around to see Ghost trying to revive Hunter.
“Titan…” Hunter radios, “we need a teleport.”
The ship’s Comm clears a bit of the static, “…back around…fleet…ready…” Titan says.
Jade’s jaw drops, “The Dreadnaught’s sent more ships,” as she eyes their radar.
Petra helps Hunter to his feet, “How many?”
“Uhh…” Carmine swallows, “All of them, I think.”
“It’s an Armada,” Jade finishes.
Petra nods, “Huddle up! He’s only gonna get one pass.”
Huge chunks of debris shatter around them as the Armada closes in firing along the way.
Are we going to make it? His arm over her shoulder, Petra holds Hunter up as the group is crouched together in the middle of the ship.
The alarm sounds as Titan heads directly towards the Armada…and his friends.
The Ceres Galliot explodes as enemy ships fly by.
The smell of jasmine is in the air. Petra Venj squints as her vision clears to see Ghost scanning her eye.
“Your vital signs have improved, ma’am. You should be fine.” Ghost hurries passed three medical droids exiting the room.
Petra gets up slowly, finally feeling the effects of their ordeal. She groans.
A medical droid walks over, “Careful, Commander. You have sustained some 2nd-Degree burns from the explosion. They will heal completely in time.”
Petra lurches forward, “Jade…where’s Carmine?!”
A hand rest of her shoulder, “Welcome to The Tower, Commander,” Carmine smiles.
Jade limps over having dosed off on the chair, “You’re awake…”
“What happened to you?!” Petra demands.
Jade looks at the scars on her leg, “They took out the debris.” She frowned, “We took a bit of the hit with us.”
No kidding. Petra spins her body to sit at the edge of the bed.
“Ma’am, you are not cleared for release,” a Medical droid explains.
“I’m clearing myself,” Petra sighs. She makes her way to the door as it slides open and she spots Hunter pacing the lobby area. “You look well.”
Hunter streaks towards her, “You could’ve been killed.”
“That doesn’t sound like a “thank you.”
“I would’ve made it back on my own.”
She gets in his face, “Even your Ghost was out of range. You needed my help.”
“I need a ship home.”
She begins to walk off.
“I would’ve blamed myself if you didn’t make it.”
“Hah!” She looks back, “I can take care of myself.” She looks ahead to see Titan standing there.
“A conversation better suited in privacy,” Titan suggests.
She glances back at Hunter.
Hunter walks away.
“He’ll learn someday. I suppose,” she answers.
“Titan!” Commander Zavala calls out from across the Tower Watch.
Titan doesn’t look back.
“I’ve been demoted,” Titan explains.
Even with his helmet on, Petra can see his sadness.
“My role is here,” he concludes.
Petra looks to Zavala, then Titan. “You believe that, do you?” She leaves.
Petra Venj meets Commander Zavala near the Hall of Guardians.
“This is not your concern,” he says.
“If you dishonor him for this, the City you’re trying to protect will turn on you.”
“Excuse me?! How dare…”
“Words spread, Zavala. And the people will side with him.”
“You threaten me after I allow you to come here?”
“Titan’s a Sunbreaker. Not you.”
His lips curl.
She walks away.
“A transport is waiting for you,” Zavala ends.
Amanda Holliday is inputting a few notes in the Tower Hangar’s log as she, Carmine, and Jade wait for Petra Venj to arrive.
“How long have you lived here?” Jade asks.
“Always been my home, girls,” Amanda replies. “Don’t lean on that.”
Carmine gasps, “Oh…”
“Kinda volatile,” Holliday explains.
Carmine brushes her hands off taking a few more steps back. “What happened to…” gesturing towards the missing portion of her leg before realizing it’s a rude question.
“Ahh, just need to keep it oiled a lil’ better and it’ll be fine,” Amanda responds.
Jade gives Carmine a subtle bump as Carmine’s eyes say sorry!
“I’ve heard stories about The Reef. Anything you wanna share?”
“I hope it’s still there when we arrive,” Jade snaps before noticing her harsh tone.
Amanda’s fingers roll over her hand-held console. “Well, ma’ signal’s being jammed. That’s a good sign.”
“Lockdown.” Jade thinks aloud.
“We’d better get back…” Carmine adds.
“So, who’s our ride?” Petra demands as she joins the group.
Amanda’s head motions, “He’s behind you.”
Venj turns to see Hunter. Great. “What do you want?”
“They’re holding them off. Still. Your people need you back.”
“Right. Let’s go.” Hunter walks off.
Petra is surprised. His demeanor more calm.
After a short bow to Holliday, Jade and Carmine teleport into Hunter’s ship.
A short handshake with Amanda, Petra is on-board.
Amanda waves for Hunter’s attention, “You might have trouble out there.”
“Looking forward to it.”
A questioning look.
“Payback.” He disappears.
“Ready for take-off,” Hunter calls out as the three Awoken passengers strap themselves in.
“Please. Take. Off.” Petra insists.
Hunter shakes his head, “Touchy.”
Hunter takes off from the Tower Hangar so fast Carmine takes a noticeable breath in. “That can’t be standard procedure!”
“I was told you’re in a rush,” Hunter adds.
“We’d like to get there alive. Happy?” Petra sighs.
Laughing Behind Your Back breaks orbit.
“I’m gonna get some air,” Jade snaps as she leaves the rather large cockpit.
Before Carmine can protest, Jade exits. She follows.
Hunter and Petra Venj refuse to be the first to break the silence, but Hunter notices something on his preliminary reading. “Gonna to have to go in from here,” thinking aloud.
Petra studies the map, “A problem?”
“See all these dots?”
“Ugh…” she gets up walking to the monitor.
“Not supposed to be there.”
“Tell them to be ready for us.”
“Already have. It’s gonna be tricky.”
“Worse than before?”
Petra Venj grips her knife.
“I can stick around.”
“You’re not fully recovered, Guardian.”
“You don’t think so?”
“I can tell.”
The ship goes into hyperspace before throttling back down just outside of The Reef’s borders. Jade and Carmine return to the cockpit.
“Looks like trouble,” Jade says.
“Hey, I think we’re winning,” Carmine points out eyeing the battle on the horizon.
“I’ll take you…” Hunter begins.
“No. Here they come.” Petra looks back to her companions, “Get ready.”
“Ahh…here we go, again,” Carmine sighs.
“Thanks for the help, Hunter,” Jade concludes.
Carmine smiles at him.
An Awoken ship streaks towards the party as it’s being chased by enemy ships.
The three Awoken huddle together.
Hunter drops the shields and eyes Petra as they disappear, “Thank you.”
Petra’s eye widens. They’re gone.
Warlock stands inside of the door frame, giving Titan his space. “I can speak on your behalf. Ikora feels…”
“I accept it, Warlock. I knew the risks. I made up my mind,” Titan replies.
“I’m being reassigned.”
“I don’t know. The notice came in a few minutes ago.”
Warlock pouts, “The Commander needs to consider more than his ego.”
“Do I?” Commander Zavala chimes in as he walks down the hall leading to the Guardians’ Quarters.
Warlock doesn’t answer, still fuming. He walks away.
Commander eyes Titan, “Your brother is climbing up in the Ranks. Are you two competitive?”
“Not anymore, sir,” Titan responds. “Forgive him. He’s…concerned…”
“With good reason! Guardians face serious consequences for disobeying orders. Challenging my authority.”
“What is my assignment, sir?”
“Still, you use that tone with me?”
“I just realized,” Titan says thoughtfully, “I don’t fight for you…I fight for the City. For The Vanguard. For my brothers. And for myself.”
Commander Zavala puts a case on the table and unlocks it. Upon opening, he extends a lengthy, decorated, orange Titan Mark across the table.
“With this, you are off the Wall. No longer a Defender, but a Sunbreaker, first.”
Titan picks up the Mark, studying it in his hands. “I’m free?”
“You’ll have to speak to Hunter. He has more experience in the field than even you.”
Zavala begins to walk away.
“Why are you letting me go?” Titan has to ask.
“Not everyone can control the Hammer of Sol, Guardian. You can. Do it.”
Before Zavala clears the door frame, he turns back, “Where will you go?”
Titan summons the Hammer of Sol watching it spin in the air, “Wherever I’m needed.”
“I think we need you here. Our enemies are coming.”
“You can tell our enemies, I’m coming.”
Zavala nods, “Show them what this Class can do.” He walks away.