Lacer and Auva’s ghosts floated in the air below the destroyed pipes, dazed from the enemy titan’s sudden attack. Seginus, a titan clad in round gray armor, slowly stood up and equipped a gritty, washed SMG as he cackled dryly. He wasted no time in beginning a sprint toward the other guardians, who were preoccupied with the primeval minotaur.
“Hey, something happened to them!” Ascella pointed out, observing the wreckage after taking a leap into the air to avoid a strike from the minotaur’s remaining arm. Rocks flew by her face, and she saw Wasp moving for the ghosts on the other side. “Somebody stop him! Lacer and Auva are going to die!” She cried, now in desperation.
As she landed, she was disintegrated by Seginus, who slammed into her full force with a deafening crack. He pounded his fists together and ran for Zahir next.
Procyon holstered his hand cannon and rose into the air. Trails of energy dissipated into the air behind him as he glided above Ascella to gauge the situation and avoid Seginus’ assault.
“He’s readying his sniper rifle. I have time.” He quickly thought, observing the hunter’s movements. “There’s a chance he can fire a killing blow if I aim for his body. I have to go for the rifle. I can catch him off guard and disable his most lethal weapon.” He thrust his arm forward, and streams of arc energy flew out of it, creating a blinding blue laser that rocketed toward Wasp’s rifle.
“Hey!” Seginus charged into Procyon’s legs, knocking him off balance. His chaos reach tore through the rock walls as he spun out of control, and a great amount of debris began to pepper the area in which the brawl was taking place.
Zahir sprinted up to Wasp’s position, turning to Altair. “Make sure that titan doesn’t kill Ascella and Procyon. I’m going after those two!” His voice was panicked as he stumbled up the incline separating him from the deadly sniper.
“Well, this is one messy pickle he’s left me with.” Altair observed his situation. Ascella’s ghost hung in the air, doing his best to avoid the falling rocks and the minotaur. Seginus flung Procyon into a wall, and marched toward the cloud of dust the impact had left to finish him off.
“I’m gonna pound you and your ghost into powder, warlock!” The titan slammed his fists together, which sparkled with arc energy.
“Don’t touch my pal, you.” Altair’s palm lit up, and he swung his arm in an arc, firing a shot from his golden gun that swiftly eliminated Seginus, leaving his dark orange shelled ghost floating in the air. He was reminded of his second threat as he heard the ethereal roars of the minotaur, and he turned his aim to the towering creature. Surely, they’d attacked it enough to weaken it significantly. The primeval raised its foot to stomp, but two quick shots from Altair’s golden gun ensured that it never reached the ground.
“Lacer! Auva!” Zahir leapt toward the two’s ghosts, taking in a surprising situation. Procyon had done it. Wasp was staring at his ruined sniper rifle, which now lacked a barrel, cursing.
“Oh, I do not like that one bit!” Wasp tossed his gun aside and brandished a trio of knives in his hand. “Don’t come any closer, you! I’m gonna end these two!” He pointed at the ghosts with his other hand.
Zahir immediately ran toward the hunter. “My pulse rifle won’t stop him in time.” He told himself, bracing himself against the biting burn of the knives that struck his front. He continued forward and pulled up the barrel of his shotgun, to which Wasp responded by ducking to the side.
“I’m not just gonna stand there and take it!” He spat, stabbing Zahir’s throat and cutting off the titan’s momentum. “Face it.” He leaned in close to the dying exo. “You just aren’t cut out to fight someone like me.”
“But us three are.” Altair called out, releasing Zahir from Wasp’s grasp by blasting the hunter’s arm with his auto rifle, taking care not to hit the titan. He was followed by a revived Ascella and Procyon.
“Y-you…” He sputtered, diving for cover, “but Seginus-”
“Oh, must’ve gotten caught between a rock and a hot place.” Altair shrugged, motioning for the other two to aid Zahir, Lacer, and Auva.
“Ha, ha! Very funny! You know, that sniper rifle is gonna be mind numbingly hard to replace, you asshole! Know this, next time we meet, you’re going to die first.” There was the sound of a transmat from behind the barricade he had been using as cover. At the same time, a smaller link fired, likely Seginus’ ghost. The mote bank disappeared shortly after, ceasing its loud rumbling, and the guardians took a moment to collect themselves.
Procyon took his helmet off and wiped his sweat covered brow, shaking his long, dirty blonde hair. “What a tussle. They’re as tough as you say, Lacer.”
“Yeah. You know what would have killed that minotaur a lot faster? Something huge, purple, and explosive.” Lacer spread his hands out to imitate an explosion, earning a whack on the head from Auva.
“Don’t you even start with me!” The warlock replied hotly, crossing her arms.
“Hands off, bub.” Ascella began to march toward Auva. “I know Wasp insulted you, but you can’t let that get to your head, you-”
“Quit it. This is no time to fight. Investigate the area. We need all the intel we can get.” Zahir spread his arms to separate Ascella and Auva, and they both turned away from each other to begin inspecting opposite sides of the room.
Zahir sighed and turned to Altair, who had been suggesting a location for Procyon to check out. “Auva. She doesn’t get along well with people, does she?”
Altair chuckled lightly. “No, I guess she doesn’t. You do one thing she doesn’t like, and she immediately flips her prejudice switch. In fact, I’m pretty sure I’m the only person she’s comfortable with.”
“That seems difficult. You worked with her and Procyon before joining Lacer, right?”
“Mhm. I did. Those two might be a handful, but they’re my handful. I’m happy to call them my friends.”
“Let’s hope they can learn to fit in. Knowing Lacer and Ascella, they’ll warm up eventually.” Zahir placed a reassuring hand on Altair’s shoulder.
“Well, that’s good to hear. I’ll be pushing it too. I’m most worried about Auva, though. You see, she’s just a bit too proud to give in to people.” He tilted his head up, lost in thought.
“Too proud, huh.” Zahir instinctively looked over at Lacer. “Pride isn’t easy to deal with, for sure.”
“It’s up to us and those we choose to surround ourselves with to lift each other up. That’s what’ll bring the best out of everyone. Don’t worry too much about Auva. She’ll mellow out eventually. She’s actually a great person, and she cares about her comrades. Even Procyon.” Altair walked off to inspect the location of the bank.
“Zahir! Zahir!” Lacer ran up to the exo, excitement in his voice. “I’ve got an idea. I know how to beat Wasp!”
“Let me hear it.” Zahir turned to his friend, intrigued.
“This guy’s always been fifty steps ahead of us, but we know what he’s after. Motes. If we can get a ton of those, he’ll have no choice but to jump it!”
“And how do we get that many motes?”
“Duh, we’re gonna play gambit. I know the Drifter. I can have him hook me up with the results.”
“No.” Zahir stood firm, and his voice turned hard. “I’m not going to participate in Gambit.”
“Dude, seriously? Just one match. Are you that unfun?” Lacer’s voice grew irritated.
“I’m not going to play into the Drifter’s scams. If I get on the Vanguard’s bad side, I’m finished. Their operations are my only income.”
Lacer squeezed his fists. “Alright. If you’re gonna be a stooge and let that get in the way of this, go ahead.” He turned swiftly and waved his hand dismissively.
“So be it.” Zahir exited the lair first to return to the city.