[spoiler]Yes, this series is now called the Echo Saga. With this, the #thelordofechoes tag has become obsolete. Please refer to #echo[/spoiler]
A distant Fallen roar, faintly echoing through the dark, ancient hallways made William look back again. Like the first three times he had checked in the past hour, Lee was still following him, his brown hat hiding his weathered face. He shifted his attention to the front, and barely stopped him from bumping onto a waiting Cereghetti. She gave him a weird look before starting to talk on a whispered tone.
"Alright. These hallways seem to lead deeper into this vault, and our signal can probably be found there too. Unfortunately, Winter's on our back. Lee will stay behind and hold off any chasers. William and I will continue our journey downwards" She was about to walk away, but turned around again. "Oh, before I forget, the 'being silent' rule is still in effect. That means no unsilenced gunfire, no shouting and no walking around like a rhino in your steel boots"
That last sentence was referring to the men's heavy combat boots, which made a lot of sound every time they hit the floors of Vault 107.
"I thought we had some kind of decoy", William curiously asked.
Cereghetti shrugged. "Well, apparently it didn't work. Seems obvious enough. Get moving"
Finally, Cereghetti ran away, but William still had to ask something to Lee, who was casually holding a long, Civil War-aged sword.
"That's not going to do a lot against Fallen armor, Lee"
The tall Southerner grinned, moved his sword against one of the plants growing from the walls. He barely touched it, but the sabre immediately started cutting through, leaving behind a smoking trail.
"I think it will, son. This thing got enough volts to override a damn Servitor, so a couple o' pesky Fallen ain't gonna be a problem for me, no sir!" Lee laughed loudly with his low voice. "Now get to Spaghetti, or am I gonna have to test this bad boy on ya!"
William saw Cereghetti staring at him, her mouth forming the word 'incompetence', her eyes ice-cold. He hurried to her, leaving behind the crazy Southern man.
It didn't take long until they reached another door, which clearly hadn't been opened for centuries. William quickly helped Cereghetti open the heavy doors, using his Light to amplify his strength. This was the first tile he had used the Light in a while, because Validus had told him that Echo didn't want any Guardians on this mission. He should've asked why, William realized, but Cereghetti got moving again, so he quickly followed her into a well-lit hallway. It seemed that she hadn't noticed him using his Light.
Unlike the places they had been before, this part of the Vault was perfectly preserved. William felt like he was embarking on a journey back in time, back to the Golden Age, back to the days when these hallways were filled with the Ishtar Collective's scientists.
Now, those times were long past, but these halls were still clean, the internal systems still working as if the Collapse never happened. Untouched by the Fallen until now, this Vault section would be a valuable information source. At least, that's what William hoped.
Cereghetti made ready to force open a door again, but it opened automically, granting the two access to a new part of the Vault, which apparently was called Section L7, according to a small sign.
After descending via a couple of stairs, they turned a corner, entering a large library. Hundreds of long racks, books stacked upon them, flanked by monitors, an Ishtar screensaver visible on them. William couldn't believe his eyes. This was the greatest discovery since the World's Grave on Luna!
Cereghetti chuckled a bit, and then said. "I heard libraries are your speciality. Well, we're looking for information on the Virgo Prohibition subnetwork, so you better get to work. I'll stay on the lookout"
While Cereghetti kept patrolling around the library's edges, her weapon at the ready, William sat behind a computer and booted up a search browser.
Scrolling through the long lists of files, William sat in awe, looking at the pure knowledge on this little computer. He looked if Cereghetti wasn't around, and released his Ghost. The little robot immediately started downloading countless files, whilst William kept looking. It was unbelievable what could be found here. All of the Vex networks were featured here, even the infamous Aphix Invasive! William opened a file about the Virgo Prohibition which had caught his attention and started reading the file, which dated from the late Golden Age.
USER DR. RASPE
SUBJECT: The Virgo Prohibition And The Martian Shift
In the past months, I have investigated the Virgo Prohibition subnetwork, part of a larger research operation directed from the Ishtar University. The Pattern must be solved, if that is even possible, and I believe we can only accomplish that ambitious goal if we monitor the Vex's movements and actions.
Thus I got the idea behind this particular investigation. Along with Dr. Youca and a couple of assistants, we focused on the area around the Virgonian Crater, where we first discovered this network (NOTE: The Virgo Prohibition can be recognized by their blue color schemes and their origins presumably are in the Crater and its surroundings). A picture of the first discovery is linked.
After setting up camp at the crater, we soon noticed an interesting trend. Every couple of days, a few Vex units disappear. We never saw them moving, but we suspect it was by teleportation (as we never found any footsteps). Our first theory is that they were just moving around the planet, like the Vex usually do. Until yesterday, when we were sent a message by a Clovis Bray engineer who I happened to know.
Blue-colored Vex have been spotted on Mars, and they're building structures rapidly. It's almost like they're preparing for something. Tomorrow, Dr. Youca will return from her trip to Mars, and we will know more.
But I warn you: there's something coming, and we're not prepared for it.
William was about to click on the pictures folder, when Cereghetti yanked him away from the computer, turning the Guardian around to face her.
"The Vex are here", she whispered. "My scans shows that they're at the L3 section. I've already warned Echo, so we just have to hide from them a little longer"
A voice behind them surprised the two. "Well, hidin' ain't gonna work, Spaghetti"
There was only one man who dared to use that nickname, and William immediately looked towards the sound. "Lee? You were supposed to guard the doors!"
Lee closed in, and casually said: "Well, 'twas gettin' kinda borin' back there so I decided to join ya. I met the Vex 'round L3, and they've been warpin' in ever since"
As if on cue, the typical warping sound of the Vex echoed through the library. The Fireteam hurried to a small side room, preparing to defend it until Echo and the others would reach them. William checked if his Ghost was still with him and reminded himself to not use his Light. That was going to be a pain, he thought to himself.
CONTINUED IN COMMENTS
[spoiler]More stories will be added onto the main page, which I will link here.
The first Goblins quickly went down, shot by Cereghetti's CAR-15. Soon enough, William joined in as well.
"Does this mean that the whole stealth-thing is done now, Spaghetti?", Lee asked.
Cereghetti simply nodded, and got back to taking out the Vex. Pulling out a heavy, double-barreled hunting rifle from behind his back, Lee got ready to do that as well. He aimed at a Minotaur charging their position, and shot a shell. A thundering sound erupted from the gun's barrel, and the Minotaur went down in a fiery explosion, taking a couple of Hobgoblins with him. Lee laughed loudly, and aimed again, to the left this time, and shot down a Goblin that had just warped in, the follow-up explosion decimating the surrounding ranks.
A weird rythm was created, which consisted of the silenced gunshots of Cereghetti's CAR-15 and William's scout rifle, occasionally interrupted by Lee's heavy hunting rifle. But the Vex tide kept coming, and eventually William had to use his shotgun.
Lee fired a final shot, and then swapped his rifle for a Colt .45 and his sword. Cereghetti however, stayed in the back, as melee wasn't really her thing. And while the Goblins were seemingly endless, they couldn't get past the wall that the two men formed. Although William had to tell himself the whole time to not use his Light, he still managed to stand his ground.
As the battle went on, the Fireteam got tired, but they didn't give up. Lee even charged forward, pushing back the Vex as he cleaved through their lines. But what seemed like a great idea at first, was a horrible plan, as the tactician that William was immediately knew. Lee's charge created a hole in the line, and the Vex were now directly charging Cereghetti, who had switched to her sidearm after emptying the CAR-15's magazine.
"William", Cereghetti shouted. "Did you download anything?"
William simply nodded as he shot another shotgun shell into a Minotaur. Cereghetti appeared to be satisfied, probably because the mission would succeed. If her Fireteam died in this library, Echo would be able to pick up the data. William pushed aside a Goblin, and then noticed the Hydra floating in the back. It opened fire, and William suddenly realized that Cereghetti wasn't wearing armor that could withstand those cannons. He ran towards her, intent on casting a Ward of Dawn around her. At the moment, he didn't care about Validus' advice of 'not using the Light'. He wasn't going to let a team member die unnecessarily!
But before he even reached her, the Hydra exploded, followed by the other Vex units, which where shot in the back by a squad of soldiers. William could barely see the Syndicate's uniforms. They had finally arrived! He gestured Cereghetti to come with him, and ran towards the Syndicate brothers. As the Vex were still warping in, the Syndicate troops formed a circle around the two and escorted them to the middel of the library, where they had set up a small transmat zone.
For a moment, everything was white around William, but then he stood in the SS Hawkeye, which quickly sped away from Vault 107, flying back to Cape Orignal.
TO BE CONTINUED