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Most users ever online was 29 on October 1st 2013, 12:09 am


    Space Cowboy

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    It's Kruger
    Freelancer Operative

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    Re: Space Cowboy

    Post  It's Kruger on May 7th 2015, 4:00 pm

    II

    ”Zero surviving signatures. Now what?” Ghost asked the Guardian, who stood over the massive pile of bodies in the main chamber of the Dead Orbit ship.

    “That damned Dead Orbit. Determined to rack up the body count in space travel.” Jiro stared off into the distance, out of the window looking out into space. If he didn't have his helmet on, the stench of death would hit him before the minimal amount of oxygen. It was hard for Jiro to imagine the torment of living with that for hours.

    ”You think the other factions are any better?” Ghost asked, floating to Jiro’s side as he crouched over the burnt, mangled bodies.

    “New Monarchy want a dictator who pretends to speak to the Traveler. Future War Cult is a bunch of creepy freaks who want a predict everything to go to shit. And Dead Orbit, the worst of them, wants to find a new home in the stars, aside from how many ships and people burn in the process. Remember that Engram we found in Old Chicago on our last job, Ghost? The data one? While you oversaw our ship’s repairs in the hangar, Master Rahool gave me a copy of the data file. Been meaning to share this with you.” Jiro stood up and plucked a chip from one of his back pockets and held it in front of his Ghost, who scanned it with his bright blue lights projecting from his eye.

    ”Subject notes on the world’s first brain transplant… Scanning… Schematics for some sort of ancient entertainment device patented by a large company… A digital copy of the Declaration of Independance… Notes on pre-Golden Age space travel?” Ghost looked up at Jiro, astounded at their shared discovery in the midst of a completely destroyed building in the middle of the swamp, where they found their Fallen Baron mark.

    “One of the first bits of info there is about death in space travel. No human had died up to that point in space, only some crashes and explosions in orbit. Probably the same during the Golden Age, but after the tragedy in the Reef after the Collapse, Dead Orbit seems to be jonesing for more bodies floating all around their banners.” Jiro stopped and noticed another body, isolated from the rest. Her hand was pointed towards a door, her face frozen in time filled with the fear she faced in her last moments. As Jiro moved towards her, Ghost continued scanning the file.

    Amazing. I’ll have to go over these during our next jump… What is it?”

    “The crew had to know the Fallen don’t usually leave survivors, right?” Jiro asked as he felt the ledges of a small door for an opening.

    It is common knowledge.”

    “Then why would this woman point at something while she died?” Jiro grabbed hold of a handle and ripped the door open, where a piece of Fallen tech sat, a single red light beeping.

    ”Fallen tracker. They tagged this ship?” Ghost became alarmed, drawing closer to the scanner.

    “Clear it, tag it, come back with more friendlies to haul off supplies. Smart aliens… Can’t have been the Exiles. We may be closest to Luna, but I think we may have the House of Winter on our tails.” Jiro examined. Since Guardian presence had been allotted again on the Moon, Jiro had spent a lot of time there fighting the House of Exiles. While they were well equipped and deadly, they were nowhere near as organized as this. So unless the House of Devils or Wolves were moving way passed their territories, Jiro and his Ghost we’re dealing with the House of Winter. Simple deduction.

    The Dead Orbit cruiser was littered in black and white upholstery and art, everything adorned with the glorious seal. It was cryptic, and the massive death across the main corridor was out of place, all the red conflicting with the black and white.

    Another body; something was off, different about this one. Jiro came close to the corpse and noticed what was off: her eyes were wide open. The deep, ocean blue eyes shining past her pale face. Her blood soaked hair trickled over her face. With that much blood mixed in with it, it was almost impossible to guess her original hair color. But Jiro seemed to like the thought of black hair against blue eyes on a beautiful young lady. The tag on her breast read “Laura Tills-Lead Engineer”, which made her possibly one of the smartest people on this ship, so why was she with Dead Orbit? Or any faction for that matter? What was the point, subdividing yourself when the remaining people in the city numbered so few next to the Golden Age glory?

    These thoughts, and more, raced through Jiro’s mind as he always had, a weakness he suffered according to other Hunters, the inability to disconnect. Some thought that was why he quit being the average Guardian, leaving the tower for a month or two at a time with two others to complete a mission assigned by authorities at the Tower. As a young Guardian, Jiro excelled at this, only dying once on the field before completing dozens of other missions. But, for some reason, he vanished from the fireteam, cut most connections to the tower, and practically lived in his ship, returning once and a while to turn in and collect bounties and race back out.

    ”Incoming ships. Fallen,unidentified House. We need to move.” Ghost called out after the long silence, urgency in his voice.

    “How far?” Jiro asked, still staring at Laura’s body.

    ”Far enough away that they won’t see us if we leave now.” Ghost replied quickly, obviously annoyed with the slow pace at which Jiro was going.

    “Let's get to the-.” Jiro said, standing up, still staring at Laura, noticed a slight movement in her eye and a tiny, fruitless gasp for air. She was still alive.

    "Ghost. Lifeform readings?" Jiro asked quickly, throwing Ghost off with the random question.

    "I already checked. Nothing... Wait. One? Her?

    "Alright. I'll carry her to the ship. You get everything running. How many bogies we got coming in?" Jiro asked, placing an oxygen mask on the young, corpse-like Laura on his shoulder.

    ”That’s seven Skiffs, Guardian. That’s a lot of Fallen.” Ghost floated right next to Jiro, whose silver plated helmet shone in the dimly lit room. The blue light from Ghost’s eye shot off of Jiro’s shoulder plates.

    Jiro jogged as quickly as he could, encumbered by the body he held in his hands. He turned a corner, reaching the airlock connecting his vessel to the cruiser. Ghost opened the door in front of him, allowing Jiro to continue his run and place Laura firmly in her seat.

    The air inside of Jiro's ship whisked quickly into the near vacuum of the cruiser, which stopped suddenly when Ghost closed the airlock.

    "Ghost! Get us out of here!" Jiro ordered, sliding into his seat and pressing the mess of buttons on his control panel.

    "I cannot. The Skiffs are in range. Any movement now would be caught, and seven is a very large number, Jiro."

    "Dammit. Guess I gotta clear this ship, then. Stay here, take off if some bad shit goes down." Jiro stood upright calmly from his seat, his level of panic now subsiding as Ghost's climaxed.

    "The odds are not in your favor." Ghost said, its voice strained with worry as it watched Jiro walk towards the airlock.

    “Doesn’t matter. I’ll see you later, Ghost.” Jiro checked the ammo in his hand cannon, forgetting whether he had reloaded it since he gunned down the last target. With one missing bullet in a 13 shot revolver-style hand-cannon, Jiro place a single bullet inside the empty slot. The one missing bullet might be the death of him should he not have time to reload, which made him think of something.

    “Wait, Ghost. Do me a favor?” Jiro turned to his Ghost, who was just about to return to the Guardian’s ship.

    ”Of course.” Ghost turned sharply, hoping that Jiro had changed his mind.

    “Take this. Just in case.” Jiro unwrapped the hooded scarf from around his neck and placed it on Laura's lap. A memoir of days gone by, while other Hunters merely joke about the importance of their mark, Jiro meant it. It was more important than his own life.

    The Fallen were alert walking about the hallways of the blood-soaked, dark hallways of the Dead Orbit ship. In a way, the gore was comforting to them, but the ship darting off didn’t inspire confidence that this ship was totally clear.

    They themselves were certain had killed every human on this ship, but the blood-soaked human footprints they were following didn’t make sense. The large crew of Fallen had split up into four squads. This squad, made up mostly of Vandals and Dregs, led by a single Captain, were tasked with following these footprints, while the other squads began raiding this ship for supplies and moving them to the Skiffs.

    Suddenly, the Fallen stalking the phantom of the dead ship had reached the large bridge room, where the majority of bodies were stacked. Valikis, the Captain in charge of the glorious human slaughter chuckled and neared the pile and soaked himself in the pleasure of reliving every face he killed or saw killed in this pile.

    Before Valikis could finish frolicking in his own victories, he turned to see a black sole of a boot come flying towards his face, smashing into it, causing him to recoil in shock and pain.

    Jiro turned sharply, whipping a spare knife of his straight into the skull of a unprepared Dreg.

    In the large room, nine living entities now stood, confused and stressed. Jiro, the living girl, Valikis, three Dregs, and four Vandals.  Jiro yanked his large knife from the dead Dreg’s skull and whipped it into the skull of a Vandal. Another Dreg with a small, arc-charged knife rushed Jiro from behind, but the Guardian had radar. The Hunter turned suddenly, his left foot raised. Once his leg was near the attacking Dreg, he quickly returned his left foot to the floor and used the momentum to to bring is other foot down right on the Dreg’s head as his right foot traveled in a quick upside-down “U” shape.

    From behind once again, a Vandal shot at Jiro with its powerful Wire Rifle, barely missing as Jiro dove behind a cargo box for cover. The rest of the Fallen had finally gained their bearings, now all firing to keep Jiro pinned down behind his small box.

    “Jesus Christ." Jiro complained, as he drew his cannon from his hip and readied it to fire A arc-bolt hit him right on the back of his left hand, burning like hell, but in the guess-based fire of Jiro’s, he had torn apart the remaining Dregs, so only three Vandals remained, the one with the Wire Rifle, one with twin blades, and one with a rifle.

    Jiro took his trusty Regulator hand cannon and readied it into both hands. As he did, an arc-laced sword came down just above him, the Vandal with the blades getting ballsy. Jiro ducked out of its way and pulled the Vandal close from the wrist, putting three shots of his powerful hand cannon into its head, the red Fallen blood pouring all over him. Without any hesitation, Jiro grabbed the Fallen corpse and used it as a meat shield gunning down the two remaining Vandals with his hand cannon in one hand, damn near snapping his wrist from the kick.

    Now all that was left was Jiro and the Captain, Valikis. Jiro didn’t speak a lick of Fallen, and Valikis spoke no human tongue out of spite, but Jiro had a feeling that Valikis’ alien garble translated into the exact same thing as he said: “Ready to dance, bitch?” Or, you know, it didn’t. Either way.

    Valikis drew its shrapnel launcher in a second, a powerful fire shotgun-like thing that Jiro knew for a fact would tear him apart. The Hunter dove to the side, mid-roll shooting his hand-cannon a few times until the thing was useless. Valikis dropped the weapon and drew two swords and began marching towards Jiro like a spider on a mission.

    Jiro shot once, the bullet bouncing off of the Captain’s shields, and another bullet failing to come out. The hand cannon was out of ammo, and by the time Jiro could even attempt to reload, Valikis slashed the weapon out of his hand. With his lower two arms, Valikis picked the stunned Jiro up by the arms, put one of his swords back into its sheath and put a third hand right on Jiro’s throat. Valikis lightly placed the blade right where his left eyes and began pushing down harder and harder until the sword pierced Jiro’s helmet and entered his actual eye. The Hunter began screaming and kicking like a small child as the blade drove deeper and deeper into his head at a painfully slow rate.

    Valikis knew(killed) plenty of humans, but never spoke the filthy, lowly tongue. But, as his very first Guardian kill, he felt it was a special occasion. He stopped the blade’s progression, and brought Jiro’s head closer to his.

    “Your dead God cannot save you now.” Valikis said with a chuckle before preparing to press the blade all the way through Jiro’s skull. But, suddenly, Valikis; knees buckled, and he fell backwards, the blade sliding right out of Jiro’s face and helmet as the two tumbled to the floor.

    Dazed, Valikis looked all around him for the culprit. The human female, backed by Jiro's Ghost, had taken one of the dead Vandal’s blades and severed Valikis’ leg completely off. She stood over him, blade raised over him before impaling his left bottom arm and twisting, cracking bone, and severing the arm. The pain was way too much for Valikis to handle. He had not felt this pain once since his lowly days as a dreg lifetimes ago, so he fell unconscious.

    “Hey, hey, are you okay? Are you a Guardian?” The woman placed her hand under Jiro’s head, lifting it up to her lap. Has she did, the stench of her dead comrades hit her, and it began to make her lightheaded.

    “Why…” Jiro muttered.

    “Because, you’re a Guardian. Did Dead Or-”

    “Shut up. Why… Didn’t… You do that… Before I got stabbed… In the eye…” Jiro slowly took his helmet off, fully revealing just how injured he was as the woman placed a spare oxygen tank on his face. His eye had a thin black line going down, the arc on Valikis’ blade closing the wound the second it was made. Not much blood was on him, but he was pale. If the blade hit his brain, he might already be dead.

    “I’m sorry, I-”

    “Shut up. Drag me to my ship. Before the Baron gets down here.” Jiro ordered, pointing to the small button on the side of his helmet.

    “Okay, but who sent-” The woman tried one last time to receive some information to what was happening.

    “Shut up. Ghost... Take evasive manu-” Jiro said, just before falling unconscious. Or dying. The young, horrified engineer could not tell which.


    Last edited by It's Kruger on August 15th 2015, 2:23 pm; edited 1 time in total
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    It's Kruger
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    III

    Post  It's Kruger on June 14th 2015, 8:01 am

    III

    Weeks Later

    “What are we doing here, sir? And why aren’t you answering any of my-”

    “Shut up. Ghost, watch the girl and the ship.” Jiro interrupted the girl as she spoke, exiting from his personal ship as he spoke.

    ”Jiro, I still don’t think this is a good idea.” Ghost flew up behind Jiro as he stepped down onto the dirt.

    “I need to get used to having one eye, Ghost. Simple grab n’ bag on the way to the Tower, drop the girl off, drop the target off back here, back to Orbit with no wasted time.” Jiro explained before putting his palm on the front part of Ghost’s face and pushing him back in the direction of the ship.

    The girl walked up to Ghost, who watched as Jiro walked away towards the small town a long ways away from the city, a settlement called Huan in the dry midwest of old North America.

    “My name’s not girl, by the way. Laura Tills is my actual name, Ghost.” Laura stood there, waiting for Ghost to respond for a few seconds, but the small mechanical being stared at Jiro as he got further and further away.

    “Jiro isn’t very fond of the City Factions, especially Dead Orbit. As long as you wear their jumpsuit, I doubt he’ll ever let you even finish a sentence, Laura.” Ghost looked at her, scanning her clothing.

    “What? Should I just walk around the ship naked, then?” Laura asked.

    ”I don’t think he’d be against that.”

    “You know we ain’t got no bounties ‘round here today. Get lost, you damn Guardian.” The bounty tracker for Huan pounded his fist against the table, a datapad in his other hand.

    “I just need a grab bag bounty, something to pass the time for a trip. I should have it back in a couple of days.” Jiro sat down at the table across from the bounty tracker, Riley. The two knew each other very well, to the point where Riley would pay double for a bounty just because Jiro was the one to pick it up, but Jiro had never worn his helmet in his company like he was now.

    “You sum bitch. What’s with the helmet? Doesn’t need to be any damn hotter here if you ask me.” Riley’s gruff exterior melted at the sound of Jiro’s voice. He stood up, the bar/bounty station was completely empty. Riley reached behind the counter and grabbed a bottle of liquor and two shot glasses, smashing them down on the table jubilantly in front of Jiro.

    “I got hurt, Riley. Lost my left eye. Don’t think it’ll inspire much confidence in Huan’s residence if an invincible Guardian actual got hurt in a fight.” Jiro removed his helmet, revealing the scar on his eyelid, a straight line right down the middle of it, the flesh around it burnt black. He placed his helmet next to him on the table and knocked back a shot.

    “Damn. Well, if it makes you feel any better, the folks around this place ain’t much for the company of the Last City or the Tower and all that. See, just a week ago, we got attacked by a Guardian.” Riley started, his face grimacing at the thought as he drank a shot and poured himself another one. “A Hunter, too. Some of these idiots thought it was you, but I knew better. I knew he’d never been here the moment I’d seen him. He wore this black and white armor, see, from a distance I thought he was a Dead Orbit rep tryin’ to get us to follow him to the Tower, but, he started shooting a few meters out of town. Like he was tryna miss, too. He only killed four people, but he injured almost everyone. Got me right in the shoulder.” Riley lifted up his sleeve, revealing a large bandage covering his wounds.

    “Riley… What kind of gun did this Guardian use?” Jiro asked, his voice filled with urgency.

    “Why does that matter?”

    “Think about it, Riley. Us Guardians obsess over the differences between us, and one of our best identifiers is our weapons. I uses a Regulator hand cannon for example, a special order from the guys who make the brand I bought for a good share of Glimmer. What gun did he use? Was it black and spiky?” Jiro brought himself closer to Riley from across the table and his eye widened, to the point where his left eye seemed to open slightly, revealing the rotting eyeball behind the lids.

    “No, nothing crazy like that. He used two of them cannons, Jiro. One was so white you could barely see it in the damn sun. The other… The other was so black I swore it took all the color away from everything ‘round it. Scariest shit I’ve ever seen Jeer.” Riley took another shot and returned the bottle to the bar.

    “He still around these part?” Jiro asked, stiffly.

    “Doubt it. Monster piled back on his ship and headed East. Probably to the Tower from the looks of his warp. We just don’t have any bounties, and I don’t think we will for a while?” From the looks of Riley’s face, he was done with the conversation. He tossed Jiro his datapad and walked into the back room of the bar and closed the door.

    On Riley’s datapad it read “No bounties available in your area” in bright, flashing red letters. Jiro put the datapad on the table in front of him, finished off his last shot and exited the building without another word.

    “Damn City bitch!” An angry mob member screamed into the center of the crowd before chucking a rock, a muffled scream crying out from the middle of the angry horde.

    Jiro at first passed by the mob, knowing well that the last thing the residents of Huan needed was another Guardian coming in and scaring them. But, the thought hit him about the combination of the words “City” and “Bitch”, meaning that either some other visitor from the Last City just arrived, or the more likely option that the girl he had with his left Ghost in the dust.

    With a sigh, Jiro lifted his cannon into the air, firing off a deafening round into the sky, silencing everyone, the crowd opening up to reveal Laura, battered and frightened in the middle.

    “I’m sorry for your loss, ladies and gentlemen, but lynching a scarred City girl won’t solve your problems. She’s with me.” Jiro held out his hand to Laura, who ran and tumbled to his feet.

    “How do we know that Guardian wasn’t you, you goddamn pixie!” A voice rang out from the masses, the rest of the mob getting riled up, yelling in agreement.

    “Pixie… That’s a new one. I didn’t do it, I was too busy losing an eye saving this City bitch.” Jiro chuckled in reply, Laura looking up in disgust at him.

    With a stiff hand, Jiro grasped Laura by the the underside of her bicep and dragged her away from the sensitive issue and headed back towards his ship.

    “I was just trying to grab some new clothes.” Laura cried, shaking Jiro’s hand off of her arm in a frustrated motion.

    “These people are hurting.” Jiro approached his Ghost, crossing his arms as he stopped. “I thought I told you to watch her.”

    Apologies.” Ghost replied.

    “And I’m not?” Laura faced Jiro closely to his left side, a look of both pain and anguish on her face.

    Jiro’s eyes did not meet Laura’s for a few seconds. After witnessing that level of trauma she faced on the ship, it was a wonder Laura wasn’t crying in the corner like a scared child.

    “Well you are not an angry mob, so your feelings didn’t really matter just-” Jiro stopped suddenly, his head looking past both Ghost and the ship. He lifted his hand cannon from his hip and aimed it as he walked past Ghost and the ship. “Can I help you, Warlock?” Jiro asked as Ghost floated to his side.

    The Warlock seemed suspect. While not being the Hunter Riley described, he was about as close as a Warlock could get; jet black armor made of rags and pieces of vex-like metal with a fine shine. He had a pure white scout rifle on his back and a fusion rifle in his hand, hanging at his side. There was a certain aura about him that put Jiro on alert.

    “Just here to speak to you, as advent ambassador with a message. You are among the Hunters who herded the humans out of the Frontier, are you not?” The shaded Warlock stepped into the desert light, hands in the air and his fusion rifle pointed harmlessly to the side.

    “Why?” Jiro asked, tightening his grip on his cannon and lining up a shot, right in the black single-eyed visor that was barely distinguishable from the jet-black helmet adorned on the Warlock’s head.

    “Because you understand more than most. Humans have been feeding off of Guardian efforts since the first Ghost descended from the Traveler. Guardians like us have inherited our powers from the closest being we’ve found to God. An era birthed by us should be led by us through sheer power alone. How could these shade-born Sparks ever hope to overtake us?” The Warlock ranted on, stepping ever closer to Jiro as he did.

    “Brightest lights have the darkest shadows. Why don’t you go back to your little cult and leave these poor people to mourn their losses before you come raving to some Hunter you’ve never met before.” Jiro got pings on his radar, several non-hostile dots appeared behind him. The mob had come to finish the job with Laura, but found this scene playing out before them.

    “I could wipe this town from the face of this misused Earth without draining a fraction of the Light I have built up inside me. Come. Leave with me to the welcoming arms of Mairon, the Abhorred to fully grasp the truths I speak to you.” the Warlock tensed up at the sight of the humans, as though he had been set upon by dozens of vermin. The feeling was mutual to Jiro, if only in the singular sense.

    “Sorry, buddy. The only one taking a step is gonna be you. And I’d suggest you walk the other way.” Jiro threatened, his tight grip on his cannon holding steady, not a single shake of anxiety to be seen.

    “It’s almost tragic that you’ve become so blinded by the Spark’s influence.” The Warlock sighed.

    “You’re the one following a guy who goes by ‘The Abhorred’, you tool.” Jiro said calmly, hoping against all hope he wouldn’t have to end another Guardian’s life.

    “You may insult me, lamb, but to speak ill of one who says naught but truths is unforgivable!” The Warlock brought his fusion rifle up into his free hand, aiming it at Jiro, finger on the trigger and ready to fire.

    “Put. The rifle. Down.” Jiro’s speech was staggered as he took a step closer, adjusting his aim from the Warlock’s head to the weapon, ready to fire at it should he make a move.

    “If I cannot tell you…” The Warlock started.

    “Don’t.”

    “... Then I must show you.” The Warlock charged his Fusion rifle and aimed it at the crowd just behind Jiro. Firing just a little too late, Jiro shot the rifle just as it fired, one of the bolts grazing him and three others scorching an onlooker’s chest, killing him instantly.

    “No!” The Warlock yelled at his fallen rifle before he blinked to the cover of a nearby rock, teleporting faster than Jiro could shoot him.

    “Get these people out of here!” Jiro waved the crowd away as he ran to his right, moving to flank the renegade Warlock.

    EMBRACE THE VOID!” The Warlock blinked into Jiro, throwing him to the ground and sending his hand cannon to the dirt next to him.

    Soon, the Warlock was standing over Jiro, ready to deal the final blow. The hunter, as quickly as he could, drew his knife and whipped it at the Warlock, missing the killshot but landing the blade into his shoulder. The Warlock was barely phased, lifting his hand and throwing his palm down at the grounded Hunter in attempt to rip the very Light out of his body. Jiro blocked the attack with his arm, but the Warlock grabbed ahold and began the process.

    “You… You are not connected to the-” The Warlock’s baffled remark was cut short by a boot to the chest, sending him stumbling backwards. Jiro clutched his cannon, rolled backwards over his shoulder, took less than a second to aim, and unloaded three rounds into the Warlock’s chest, sending him reeling even further.

    “I see now. You are most welcome among the fold indeed, Hunter. I may perish here, but I will continue the efforts that have been tasked to me.” The Warlock blinked once more, turning sharply, snapping his fingers, and finally unleashing a nova bomb that fell right onto Jiro’s ship, destroying it instantly.

    “Son of a bitch!” Jiro turned around to the Warlock’s new position just behind him, only to find that the fanatic was standing with his arms stretched to either side and his head lifted to the heavens. He went to say his final, crazy words, but Jiro silenced him with a bullet to the helmet before he could do so. Suddenly, from the cover of rocks nearby, a Ghost came dashing out and began reviving its lost companion. Before it could even get close to completing its goal, Jiro shot it too, killing it in a burst of blue light.
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    It's Kruger
    Freelancer Operative

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    Re: Space Cowboy

    Post  It's Kruger on December 13th 2015, 10:27 am

    IV

    “This the room?” Jiro turned and asked the old man, who quickly nodded and backed away, obviously nervous around Jiro. “What did you recover, buddy?”

    Jiro entered the dark, damp, two bedroom inside the inn. He sat down on the bed closest to the door, Laura followed close behind him with a sickened look on her face.

    ”Loading inventory list……. Hakke weapons: Two hand cannons, three auto rifles, and one sniper.”

    “Damn… I like Hakke weapons.” Jiro placed a hand over the eyeless side of his face.

    ”Suros: One rocket launcher and two pulse rifles. Omolon: Four hand cannons, two sniper rifles, and one auto rifle.”

    “Why do you have so many weapons with you?” Laura asked as she wiped the dust off of her bed. 

    “I'm a Guardian. That was my collection.” Jiro laid down, ignoring the large collection of unkempt dust between him and the bed. 

    ”How many of them do you think there are?” Ghost pondered out loud. 

    “Doesn't matter. Since we’re stuck here, I gotta kill them all.” Jiro stated as he waved Ghost to come in closer. “Contact Khan. Tell him we’re going to need weapons and any Guardians he can find. And ask him about the guns Riley talked about.”

    Ghost’s pieces split apart in mid air, orbiting a ring of light as he contacted Jiro’s ally. 

    ”... Khan says that he’ll update me on the weapons and reinforcements as soon as he can… And that the only guns he know like that belonged to Jaren Ward and Dredgen Yor.” Ghost relayed the information solemnly, as if he were at fault for the lack of new Intel. 

    “Dredged Yor? That crazy Hunter who-” Laura started.

    “He wasn't always crazy. Don't talk about Guardian affairs you know nothing about.” Jaro shot to Laura, interrupting her. The scolding remark brought a scowl to Laura’s face as she marched out of the room. 

    ”There’s no way she knows what you know. Think you can take it easy, Jiro?” Ghost practically pleaded, moving in closer to his Guardian as he spoke. 

    “No. She’s not my partner, she’s not my bounty. She’s an impromptu rescue mission who needs to stay put until I can get her back to the City.” Jiro sat up and pushed Ghost away with his hands gently, sending the robotic more of light across the room. When Ghost was silent and out of the way, Jiro laid back down and stared at the ceiling with his remaining eye, caught up in memories of days long gone by. 




    The sky was bright, the light of the sun only amplified by the Light of the Traveler floating low in the sky. At the newly completed Tower, central hub of all Guardians, a young, eager Jiro stood at attention as the Titan Vanguard, Kabr, stood right across from him and the young Titan standing next to him. 

    “I can see you shaking in your boots. Excitement is good, but be careful that excitement doesn't lead you to the final death.” Kabr’s words were impactful to both young Guardians. Jiro soaked up every word from the Vanguard. He lived in a time of legends, whether he knew it at the time or not. 

    “I've asked a well known Hunter to be the third in this Strike. He spends most of his time out in the Frontier, gathering civilians to come here to the City. You may know him.” Jiro’s unexposed eyes widened in excitement. The Light chose him to be born into the new world as a Hunter, and by the stories he had heard, it made the right choice. 

    “Jaren, come greet your team.” Kabr waved from behind himself and walked away, returning down the stairs to the Hall of the Vanguards. The well known Hunter walked before Jiro and the Titan, a golden hand cannon shining from his hip. Jaren Ward, wielder of the Last Word, nodded as he approached, and Jiro hoped beyond all hope that he liked the look of his team. 

    “Alright, boys. Now, I prefer to go solo, but Kabr told me that guest spots like this increase Strike participation, so I sort of had to accept. We’ll be right in our own backyard, attacking the House of Kings in the Cosmodrome at their only known location. We still have no clue what hole the King’s Kell is crawling in, but we’ve found their Archon, and have to take action. Stay tight, follow my lead, and we’ be back before the morning. Understand?” Jaren put both hands on either Guardian’s shoulders as he finished. Jiro and the Titan nodded with vigor. 

    “Jiro and Khan, right? See you in the Hangar in… Three hours? I'll be at the Bounty Tracker. Gotta line up a job after this.” 




    “Jiro! Three on your left!” Jaren shouted as he peeked out of cover, rapidly blowing the heads off of four Fallen King Vandals without even aiming. 

    Nowhere near as good a shot as Jaren, Jiro primed his scout rifle and slowly fired six shots, missing the first three before cracking each Dreg in the chest with the final shots. 

    “Shit.” Jiro growled as he turned, his back pressed behind a Fallen storage container. He saw Khan leap into the air, fists practically touching behind his head, and slam into the floor, creating an arc explosion on the ground that shot forward like a wave of pure Arc Light knocking several Fallen away into whatever afterlife the aliens believe in. 

    Jaren sprinted across the battlefield towards Jiro as Khan retreated back into cover. King reinforcements poured from every room in the facility the Guardian's stood outside of. Jaren slid into the cover behind the crate next to Jiro’s to speak. 

    “BladeDancer or GunSlinger?” Jaren asked, frantically. 

    “What?” Jiro muttered, dazed by the panic of battle. 

    “Kid, focus. Are you a BladeDancer or are you a GunSlinger? I know I should have asked earlier, but I'm askin’ now.” Jaren slowed his words in an attempt to calm Jiro down. It worked. 

    “I never really focused on one or the other. I know it’s stupid but I'm decent at both.” Jiro admitted, wishing he didn't have to tell one of his heroes of his failings. 

    “Jack of all trades, master of none, is better than a master of one.” Jaren chuckled before popping back out of cover, gunning down several more Fallen as he moved to better cover. 

    “What the hell does that mean?!” Jiro exclaimed as he fired his scout rifle at a flanking Vandal.

    ”If you don't get it now, then I definitely don't have the time to explain it to you. Follow him, Jiro.” Ghost ordered forcefully, guiding Jiro as per his job. 

    “Yeah.” Jiro sighed as he sprinted towards Jaren Ward, taking an arc round to the leg and falling face first into the dirt and snow below him out in the wide open.

    “Hey! Move!” Jaren exclaimed, but it was too late. The dozens of Fallen before them all fired on Jiro, their tracking rounds adjusting for the perfect shot. As they all closed in on their target, Khan ran to his ally’s aid, a translucent purple shield reaching from the floor to his head appearing as an incomplete dome shield, as is the Defender Titan’s ability. 

    The shots connected to Khan’s semi-constructed shield as the green Titan struggled to keep the Light focused. 

    “Do something!” Khan yelled in a panic, not sure how long he could keep the shield up. 

    “Right!” Jiro placed his scout rifle on his back and drew both a hand cannon and a knife. In a glorious fusion of Arc and Solar Light, Jiro fired a single shot from his fiery cannon and hit a Fallen Captain in the center of the amassed enemy group. The captain died instantly, exploding outwards as its body burned and expanded. The explosion was huge, large enough to wipe out almost every Fallen King in the immediate area. With several stragglers still firing at Khan’s shield, Jiro thrusted his blade forward, sending an Arc shock wave forward in a similar fashion as Khan’s earlier manipulation of Arc Light. After a few deadly shockwaves, Jiro’s Light was expended, and all the Fallen they currently faced dead. Jiro collapsed from the pure overuse of Light. 

    “Well… I've never seen that before.” Jaren commented, placing his legendary weapon on his hip and walking over to assist Jiro. 

    “Holy shit, Jiro. I've only seen a Warlock use two Super abilities at once before. He had to have his Ghost resurrect him.” Khan gasped as he helped Jiro stand upright. 

    “I… I only meant to use my Golden Gun.” Jiro chuckled, attempting to mask just how exhausted he really was. He felt the Light leave his body, and the absence was close to killing him.

    “Eyes up.” Jaren stopped as he stood next to his two strike teammates. Khan and Jiro turned to look at the facility they were attacking to see their target leap from the top floor, landing and sending the snow below him into the air. 

    “I was hoping we’d fight a bit more before meeting this guy. Get your guy’s supers back.” Jaren sighed, the edge Guardian’s naturally had now lost to his team. 

    “I've got a few more Fist of Havocs in me.” Khan sat Jiro down and stood next to Jaren, ready to fight.

    “Jump in when you feel up to fight. Try to warn us if he gets some back up, please.” Jaren drew the Last Word and ran forward, Khan following close behind. 

    “Ghost… Any way we can speed this up?” Jiro asked, his breath lost after every few words. 

    ”Not unless you feel like being resurrected.” Ghost appeared from almost nowhere in a gleam of light to speak with Jiro face to face. 

    “Can you… Get my sniper for me?” Jiro asked, holding his hands out as a sniper apparated into his hands. 

    With his long ranged weapon available to him, Jiro crawled back away from the fight with theist of his strength to the top of a nearby hill. Resting on his belly, he aimed in his weapon and fired, the bullet piercing through the Fallen Archon’s chest and staggering it. 

    When the Archon recovered from the hit, it managed to catch Khan trying to use his Fist of Havoc once more, catching him by the throat with its lower left arm. Before any damage could be done to Khan, Jiro fired his sniper once more, blowing the Archon’s arm clean off. With the pain staggering the Archon once more, Jaren moved in from it’s right, whipping a knife into its knee, and unloading a full clip of his Last Word into the side of the Archon’s head, ending the battle quickly with style and grace. 

    Jaren turned towards the hill, prepared to give Jiro a thumbs up for his great work. When he looked, he saw Jiro dead, rolling down the hill as his Ghost resurrected the dead Guardian back to life. 

    “You're a good Titan, kid. You can be great if you survive and apply yourself.” Jaren spoke to Khan as the newly revived Jiro stumbled towards the pair. 

    “T-thank you, sir.” Khan took the comment, not expecting the addition to the statement. 

    “... But that guy? He can become Legend. And if he and I live to see the day he lives up to potential, send him to me. I could use a Hunter like that.”

    “Yes sir.” Khan sighed.

    “Mission complete?” Jiro asked, now close enough to speak to his comrades. 

    “Sure is. Let’s head back to the Tower and tell Kabr. But let's hurry. Got a job to head to Palamon by tomorrow. Supposed to be a pretty interesting Governing body there.”




    Time had gone by. Jiro was now a favorite pick for a Fireteam Hunter on Strike missions. Fresh off the ship from a assignment, Jiro often stopped by a small bar in the Last City for a drink before returning to the field. 

    “Usual.” Jiro ordered his drink as he placed his helmet on the table at the bar. Halfway through his drink, Jiro noticed a Hunter sitting next to him, not drink in front of him, and his helmet still firmly attached to his head. 

    Before Jiro went to mock the man’s lack of drinking in a bar, noticed the glorious hand cannon on his hip. It took on the shape of a DarkLight rose with patterns of black and green. It was the most beautiful cannon Jiro had seen since the Last Word. 

    “That's a nice cannon you got there.” Jiro commented before putting another sip of his drink into his mouth. 

    “I know you?” The man asked, rudely.

    “No. I’d remember a man with a cannon like that.” Jiro chuckled as he leaned back in his seat, facing towards the man. 

    “You wanna hold my piece?” The man turned and grabbed his hand cannon, holding it towards Jiro with the barrel in his hands.

    “No, no. Guardian’s weapon is a sacred thing, and I've never seen anything like that one.” Jiro waved his hands, causing the man to return his rose to his hip and slouch back onto the bar table. 

    “You like to make yourself look dangerous, huh?” Jiro pointed to the bar, glimmer in hand, offering the man a drink. He waved it off without missing a beat. 

    “That's the point. We’re pretty dangerous.” The man said, his body unmoving. 

    “Where’d you find a gun like that, friend?” Jiro asked, changing the subject. 

    “Didn't find it. Made it.” 

    “Gunsmith? Because I'd sure as hell hire you right now if you were.” Jiro’s cheerful tone seemed to rub off, the man chuckled at the remark. 

    “No, no. This is my one and only creation, unfortunately.” The man sat upright, turning his body to face Jiro, matching his position. 

    “It is unfortunate. You’d make those foundry assholes step their game up a bit, that’s for sure.” Jiro was happy to find the laughter shared by the two Guardian's. He seemed like a decent enough man. 

    “... You ever been to Luna?” The man asked, suddenly. 

    “I don't call it Luna, but no. I've never been to the moon. Off limits, remember?” Jiro’s tone darkened. The moon was infested by Hive long ago, a dark race of enemies that he had no interest in fighting any time soon. 

    “I know. I just wish I could go there myself. Find out some facts about the Hive.” The man turned back towards the table, no longer slouching. 

    “I’d say going to the Moon would be pretty stupid. But, neither of us are smart. More experienced than smart, I'd guess.” Jiro shrugged as he finished his drink and ordered another. 

    “You sound pretty smart saying such truths.” The man said, his voice filled with a certain gloom. 

    “You ever have a nightmare? And you open your eyes, praying that it would all go away, but you realized the horror wasn't a dream? The terror isn't gone?” The man brought up the subject, sliding closer to Jiro, looking for an answer. 

    “Honestly?” Jiro started, accepting his drink from the bartender before finishing. “I used to. But then I saw that those nightmares loom in shadow… Consumed by dark. Eventually, I found a way. Found that, if we fight hard enough, we can win. We can survive. Though we walk among the shadows, Light can still shine through and take us to the the other side.” Jiro slammed back his drink, finished with his time at the bar. He stood, paid for his drink, and put his hand on the mysterious man’s shoulder. 

    “I hope that helps. By the way, what’s your name?” Jiro asked as he grabbed his helmet, ready to leave. 

    “... The first and last descendant of the last name Yor.”

    “Um… Alright, dude.” Jiro shrugged off the man’s weird behavior. Unfortunately, this would not be the last time Jiro met this legendary Guardian face-to-face. 




    “Okay. I need to ask this; what the hell is your problem with Dead Orbit, Jiro? What could you-a renegade bounty hunter with a death wish without enough sense to use your own Ghost to fix your eye?” Laura stormed into the door to the bedroom, ripping Jiro out of his deep state of recollection.

    “What do I have against a bunch of kooks wasting aerial resources to look for a new home beyond the stars? When we know that the Darkness is surrounding us in all directions around Earth? Oh, I donno… Their uniforms? The pants are too tight for me, I guess.” Jiro mocked Laura, standing upright and towering over her. 

    “Oh yeah. Because a man with no hope has the right to mock the hopes of others.” Laura scolded Jiro, her face twisted with rage as she stormed to her bed on the other side of the small room, lying under the blankets and facing away from Jiro. 

    [i”]I’m sure if you yell and make fun of her enough, she’s sure to come around.”[/i] Ghost stated, sarcastically as Jiro glared.

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      Current date/time is September 25th 2017, 2:00 am