EXOS OF DESTINY: EP.23 – Shard of Crota

Previously on Exos of Destiny…
Titan boards a Cabal Freighter crashed into The Dreadnaught to find out what they know of Oryx’s whereabouts. Ghost decrypts their Security Codes; the Cabal have found Oryx. A portal will lead them right to him. Ultimately, Titan can’t enter the Portal. Only Ascendant Hive can pass through. Next move?

“I know of a way to get you through, Hunter,” Eris Morn continues.

“You don’t say,” Hunter snaps.

“I’m on your side. I want Oryx destroyed more than anyone. You must trust me.”

Hunter walks up to her as calmly as possible, “Eris, you haven’t exactly been forthcoming with who you take orders from. Where you came from. Why you were on a mission to destroy Crota in the first place.”

Eris is taken aback.

“We ran all these little errands for you when Crota showed up…”

“He was a threat!”

“No argument there. He’s dead. Now, there’s a bigger problem.”

“Hunter. Are you going to help me or not?”

“Of course, I am. But this doesn’t mean you’re in charge.”

“Fine. But if you don’t follow my instruction, you’ll never succeed on this Quest.”

Hunter couldn’t argue that point, either.

Cayde-6 walks into the open area eyeing Hunter and Eris Morn at the bottom of the stairs. “Grand day at The Tower, huh? Weather’s nice…”

“He’s agreed,” Eris concludes. She walks away.

Cayde-6 looks to Hunter, “You okay, Guardian?”

Hunter sighs.

“Look. Titan’s banged up pretty bad. Ikora has Warlock bogged down in research of The Dreadnaught. You’re all I got. You’re the best I got, actually, but don’t let that go to your head.”

“Where am I going, again?” Hunter asks.

“We’ll brief you more on the ground. Get moving!” Cayde-6 walks off.

“Alert from Amanda Holliday, Hunter,” his Ghost on speaker. “Your ship is cleared for take off.”

Hunter begins a swift jog toward the Hangar, “Ready for this, Ghost?”

“After all this time, you pick now to ask?”

If Exos could smile, Hunter would.

Fallen forces on the Moon have thinned out, but Hunter can sense them lurking. His focus shifts to the task at hand; he’s going underground where the Hive have long since set up camp.

“Ghost, open Comm,” as Hunter runs along the dusty terrain that makes up the Moon.

“Done,” Ghost confirms.

“Cayde, I’m entering the Temple of Crota. It’s quiet.”

A slight crackle of the signal, “You’re going back to the Chamber where the witches tried to revive Crota’s soul.”

“You know Guardians hate that place?”

“Yeah, not a vacation spot. Lemme know when you’re there.”

What am I going to do, kill the witches, again. Hunter fights his way into the depths of the Hellmouth. Hive are sparse. Not the firefight he was expecting. Fallen guards here and there, but not like before. Easy? “That wasn’t too bad.”

“You do recall, first time ’round, you were little more than a newbie at this,” Cayde explains.

“We’re at the World’s Grave,” Ghost points out.

“Finally,” Eris chimes in. “Get to the Chamber. Steal a shard of the stone that contains Crota’s soul. Bring it to me.”

“Guardian, that giant crystal you destroyed, grab a piece of it,” Cayde adds.

“Got it,” Hunter finishes.

The area becomes pitch black as Hunter fires at the Hive still taking shelter in the depths of the Temple. Ghost provides a light until they’re out in the open again. “There it is.” Up a slight hillside, he runs to the top.

The Chamber is empty. Pieces of the crystal lie about where the witches performed their ritual.

“Do you see it?” Eris asks.

“Yeah, hold on.” Hunter heads down the long walkway and thinks aloud. “No one’s home.”

He spoke too soon. A rumbling, the ground begins to shake. Baxx, the Gravekeeper, stomps into view. His face lights up as powerful beams fire from his eyes.

“Spoke too soon!” Hunter dashes for cover as the Chamber is filled with Hive Thrall and Acolytes. Rapid fire from his auto rifle. Grenade toss. A double jump over protruding rocks. His shield takes a beating as Baxx showers plasma beams at him.

“From this position, we’ll be surrounded soon,” Ghost warns.

Hunter empties another clip and hit the last Acolyte with a flaming knife. He hears Baxx lumbering to his position. Hunter leaps to the top of the rock, summons his Golden Gun, and fires three shots into the giant ogre.

Baxx shrieks in pain as his body is set ablaze. Suddenly, a portal opens mid-air and Baxx is pulled through.

The Chamber is empty once more. Hunter takes a knee. A crackle comes over the Comm, but Hunter decides to speak first. “I think Oryx just took an ogre. The Gravekeeper.”

“Quickly. The crystal! Bring me a shard,” Eris insists.

Hunter spots a large chunk coming out of the moon dust and carves a piece out of it.

“I knew it could be done. Bring it to me!” she repeats.

“Good work, Guardian. I knew I could count on you,” Cayde finishes.

“Guardian,” Ghost interrupts, “I’m picking up movement in…”

“Everything okay, Guar..?” Cayde’s voice is cut off as the signal dies.

Hunter stores the shard and moves away from the ritual area. He turns back to see an Echo of Oryx and the Chamber being filled with Taken. “Ghost, how m…?”

Ghost puts the Taken signatures on Hunter’s radar, “Too many of them. Run!”

Back up the long walkway to the top of the hill and down again. Taken everywhere, firing as Hunter leaps and runs by. It’s pitch black as Ghost provides a light for the second time.

“This must be how Eris and her companions were captured before,” Ghost adds.

“Where’s the exit, Ghost?”

“Signal’s being jammed. We may have to go the long way around.”

“As long as we get outta here,” as Hunter takes a left turn heading to a lit area. “I remember this. These tunnels should lead back to the entrance!”

The Comm signal tries to break through, “We’re going to lose him, just like I lost…” The signal dies before Eris finishes.

“Guardian, I’m picking up heavy signs of more Taken,” Ghost warns.

Hunter stays close to the wall as he peers around the corner.

“The entrance is closed. Looks like they’re guarding it.”

“Who knows if we’re being followed. Can’t wait here,” Hunter concludes. He switches to his fusion rifle and begins taking out one threat at a time.

A Taken captain teleports right to him; Hunter is knocked on his back. One fusion shot. The Captain shakes off the impact, but its shields are down. Another shot. It disintegrates in mid-air. Hunter switches to his sniper rifle. A loud pop breaks through the silence three times. The area is clear.

Hunter runs up to the door. “How do you open this thing?”

“It’s locked. Doors used to be so easy to open,” Ghost says. “I’ll check Toland’s Journal.”

“That ol’ book Eris gave you?”

“It has fascinating information!” Ghost insists. “Here! These doors apparently have keys that can unlock them. Look for an energy or orb of some kind.”

“I don’t see any… What is that? Pick up anything from it?” Hunter points to an orb hovering over a small pedestal.

“That should do it,” Ghost agrees.

Across the room and back again, Hunter carries an orb of energy to the entrance.

“Hmm. I suppose you just…”

Hunter sticks the orb into a circular opening in the door. It begins to open. “About time.”

“Guardian…”

“Don’t tell me, Ghost. I can see them from here,” as Hunter watches another group of Taken scatter in the area ahead.

Hunter fights his way through two areas full of Hive and Taken. He spots another opportunity to use his Golden Gun on a Taken Wizard protecting the second entrance with more aggression than the rest.

“Well,” Ghost begins, “You cleared the area, but this door has two locks.”

“I saw the first key. Look for the second. I don’t see anything around here.”

Hunter retrieves and inserts the first key.

“I’m picking up another Taken presence.”

“What? Where?”

“A hidden passage it seems. I’ll mark it on your radar.”

Hunter makes his way to the very edge of the area. Flames stream towards him. The Taken Captain is guarding the second key. Hunter hasn’t regained enough solar energy to summon his Golden Gun. This time, he takes out a machine gun pushing the Captain back with each shot. It’s gone.

At last, the door opens as the second key is inserted. “You have to be kidding me?! How do we get out of here?!” Hunter scrambles as three Hive Captains charge at him. Grenade toss. Streams fire from his fusion rifle. Clear. “Ghost?”

“Yes. Taken. Readings suggest this door has three locks.”

Hunter shakes his head, reloads his machine gun, and declares, “Let’s finish this.” He storms the room. Two Taken Captains hurl waves of dark energy at him. Taken Snipers fire plasma beams in his direction. Random Taken soldiers phase back and forth, splitting into two soldiers from a single one.

Hunter ceases to think. He only reacts to the various points of danger. His machine gun clip is empty; he switches to his auto rifle without reloading it. Three Snipers remain as he’s caught out in an open area. The Golden Gun is recharged. Boom! Boom! Boom.! He looks around at the empty room. His shields flash on “Critical.”

“That was slightly reckless. I take it you’ve spotted all three orbs.”

“I have.” One after the other, Hunter inserts them into the entrance. The door begins to split open and his radar spikes with activity once more. I can’t take another direct hit.

A crackling sound, “Guardian, I’m picking up something on the Comm,” Ghost says.

“Guar… Hunter… out…”

Hunter takes a final glance at his shield reading and puts his weapon away. Run. Through crowds of Hive, Thrall, Acolytes, Wizards, Hunter runs.

The garbled static on the Comm becomes clear as Hunter reaches an upper level of the Temple, “Guardian, you have to get out of there!” Cayde screams.

He can see the entrance two floors above him. He’s being chased and hoards of Hive are in the areas ahead of him. A Thrall jumps at Hunter to finish him off only to receive a blade plunging through its skull. Hunter runs all the more.

The top level. The readings on his helmet visor jitter and jump, he’s slightly lost his bearing.

“No, go back! Left! Left!” Ghost screams.

Another blade and another to the face of Thrall giving chase. Up the stairs and into the sunlight as shots graze him from the Hive inside. Hunter crawls forward as fast as he can. His shields are down. His armor has seen better days.

“I’m diverting all remaining power to the shields. You’ll lose your radar and such, but you can make it back to the ship,” Ghost says.

“Welcome back to the land of the living, Guardian,” Cayde adds.

“The shard. Do you still have it?” Eris breaks in.

Hunter sits on the ground, “I got it.”

“Yes. Bring it to me,” she ends.

“Uuhh…that’s how Eris says job well done, Hunter,” Cayde explains.

Hunter is too relieved to be alive to take much offense, “Does this mean we get to go after Oryx, now?” He gets up and starts to jog back towards the landing area.

Cayde sighs, “Nope. Not yet. Sorry. But hey, you can take the rest of the day off.”

“Like I have a choice,” Hunter concludes.

“The ship is inbound. I’ll take it from here,” Ghost says.

Hunter falls to a knee as his ship slows to a hover overhead and teleports him in.

…………………….

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One Comment Add yours

  1. Reblogged this on Eric Christopher Jackson and commented:

    If you have not followed my Fan Fiction blog, “Exos of Destiny” I’d like to invite you to check it out. I just finished writing Episode 23 of what looks to be a 26-Episode storyline. Catch up if you’ve fallen behind or read from the beginning at: https://exosofdestiny.wordpress.com/category/episodes Thank you all. 🙂

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