[i]Notice: I’m gonna try to make my new posting schedule Mondays and Fridays (yes, I’m aware it’s Saturday) to compensate for only posting one part every time. That is all, enjoy the read :)[/i]
[url=https://www.bungie.net/en/Forum/Post/257301765/0/0]Link to Chapter 4, Part 1[/url]
[spoiler]All chapters of the War of Lies will be linked to the [url=https://www.bungie.net/en/Forum/Post/257167399/0/0]Table of Contents[/url] as they are posted[/spoiler]
“Fissei,” I decided it wouldn’t hurt to introduce myself.
“Aren’t y-you the little d-dreg that squealed when he saw a Th-Thrall?” A shaking voice mocked, and I looked down to see an operator from the Syndicate ship’s no-longer-existent-bridge shivering where she sat, her grin looking more like a grimace with her clenched teeth through her transparent visor. We had taken the coats from the non-combatant Syndicate personnel so they couldn’t hide anything, but their light armor and thin suits weren’t as protective as the Syndicate soldier gear, so she was sitting with her arms wrapped around herself and her knees up to her chest. That didn’t stop her body from jerking randomly in bouts of shivers.
I glared at her in her pathetic, freezing state, then stomped back over to the cliff’s edge. The Thrall was still there, watching from a crouched position at the tip of its own overhang. It didn’t even seem cold as it stared up at me.
“That fluffer’s still there!” I told the others.
“You g-gonna wet your p-p-pants?” The operator taunted.
“We have enough icicles hanging around here,” I turned her own insult on her.
“That’s okay, Grepa,” Lyn started rubbing the operator’s arms to warm her up, “A lot of animals go after the weak and sick instead of the real challenges.”
I knew Lyn was directing a smug look at me underneath her helm, and I knew what she was doing, but Traveler forbid I let a couple of MY prisoners make fun of me. I turned back to the crater shelf and took aim.
“Fissei?” Dikedda questioned, then realized what I was doing, “Wait!”
The Thrall tumbled off of the ledge, breaking apart into a cloud of ash as it fell. A moment of complete silence passed, and I realized that a few other conversations had started up amongst our little group, only to fall to a hush when I fired. Then the Hive shrieks started, although none were nearby. I watched a few distant Hive running around further down in the crater, trying to find a way up to us.
“Heh, like I said,” I chuckled, “They’re a bunch of idio-“
I turned to face the voice just in time to take a gauntlet-backed fist to my helmet visor. I fell backwards, my feet flying out from me under the ice and my head going out over the drop. Then I stopped, someone’s hold on my chest plate stopping me from going over. At first I felt relief, but then the world spun around me and I found myself on my back on the ice and rocks, the breath knocked out of me from the impact. Heavy boots slid on the ground, and I forced my eyes to focus on my squad leader standing over me.
“Now they’re gonna hunt us until we’re all dead!” He shouted down at me, then looked at everyone else, “Pack up! We’re moving! Tell the other groups!”
“Calm the hell down,” I groaned as I sat up, shaking my head to dispel the dizziness, “They can’t get up here. It’ll take a whole Earth cycle for them to go around and find the way we came up.”
“You Thrall scrap!” He kicked me back down onto my back, “They know this land, they have tunnels everywhere, and they never bloody rest!”
The squad leader stormed off as I sat up again, and I gladly accepted Dikedda’s helping hand. Standing again, I saw all the Syndicate prisoners and Mob getting on their feet and beginning to trudge forward down the path. A few of the other Reef Mob members spent a minute stretching and wrapping extra cloth around their hands before they took up ropes and started dragging our supply crates behind them. Unfortunately, they mostly only contained guns, belonging to Mob and Syndicate alike.
“Hey!” I brushed past Dikedda to get to the squad leader. I had half a mind to slug him, but took a calming breath and thought it through as he turned to me, “Why don’t we just ditch the prisoners and let them distract the Hive while we get to the extraction point?”
“Don’t you know how much Seren pays for Syndicate prisoners?” he sneered at me, “Thanks to you, half of our money is at stake now. So get back in line, and don’t cause anymore problems.”
I didn’t say a word, instead spinning on my heel and prowling away. None of us were friends. We were just a bunch of thugs trying to get paid, so I understood why he was so ticked at me now. Dikedda was the only guy I got along with here, but we didn’t know each other well and I was sure that he trusted me as little as I trusted him. I rejoined Dikedda and started nudging the prisoners into motion. Thankfully, these guys were actually traveling much more efficiently than us despite being surrounded by guns and rationed less food and drink.
“So do you guys all get paid, or…?” I asked Cobalt after we had walked a ways. For some reason the Syndicate members were maintaining a specific formation as we traveled, keeping most of the fighters outside and close to all the Mob guards. This meant I had been traveling near Cobalt, Muss, and Lyn the whole time. It made me uneasy, but I wasn’t too worried when I was the one with the gun.
“The Syndicate shares the wealth. We take care of our own and move funds where we need them,” Lyn answered for him. I was certain that Muss was glaring at the back of her helmet, but apparently that information wasn’t important enough to warrant him scolding her. It seemed that he only ever hit Cobalt.
“So you never worry about being hungry?” Dikedda followed up.
“We must all do our part,” Muss surprised me by being the one to respond this time, “The Syndicate provides.”
“The Syndicate provides,” several Syndicate members within earshot whispered in perfect sync to echo Muss.
“The hell was that?” I shifted my gun in my hands uncomfortably.
“You don’t ask what we believe in, and we don’t ask what you believe in,” Cobalt waved a hand dismissively.
“Okaaay,” I mumbled to myself, “Light, they’re freaks.”
“You got your jobs just for the money?” Lyn took a turn asking the questions.
“When Seren herself is the client, it pays well,” I grinned, already knowing what I’d do with my cut of the pay.
“It keeps the Slumberland goons from touching my sister,” Dikedda told them. He was probably a little too honest at times, but he was careful not to give away anything too important. He had told me about his sister on an earlier job, and naturally I had wanted to look her up in case I ever needed some leverage on the man. So I went to a guy I know who knows a lot of guys, and he didn’t know Dikedda’s sister. That meant Dikedda was getting his pay’s worth from Seren.
“S-Slumberland,” Grepa snickered, doing a bit better now that we were moving but still quaking in her boots.
“You guys know about that?” I raised an eyebrow under my helmet.
“The land where no one would be caught dead slumbering,” Cobalt said in a bemused tone, and I actually recognized that line from a few of my acquaintances back on 6 Demeter. Where the hell had they learned that?
“And the first thing they’d die doing is d-drugs,” Grepa’s comedian grin could be seen through her nearly-clear visor.
“Heh, yeah,” I finally found one of her jokes funny, “…Do you guys ever consider leaving the Syndicate?”
“Do you ever consider leaving the Reef Mob?” Cobalt countered.
“No…I see your point,” I conceded, “What about families? You got those?”
“The Syndicate is our family,” Lyn’s words were confirmed by some nods of agreement from other Syndicate members within earshot.
“Wait,” A voice came from ahead, and I spotted the closest Mob member in front of us looking back, “How does that work if you end up with a crush? Is that, like, wanting to kiss your sister?”
No one answered. We all just stared until he realized how dumb his question was and turned back around.
“If you could be anywhere right now, where would it be?” Cobalt asked for anyone who was listening.
“A w-warm f-fluffin’ bed,” Grepa answered instantly.
“Light willing,” Dikedda agreed.
[url=https://www.bungie.net/en/Forum/Post/257344913/0/0]Link to Chapter 4, Part 3[/url]
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