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  • Writer's pictureAaron Corcoran

05 : Memories

Sitting silent and alone with his thoughts in the ruined remains of an old building, surrounded by a dozen or more dead Fallen, Ace remembered.


—————


“Hey, a new Hunter!” the Exo standing to the left side of the gigantic table stepped forward and extended a hand.


AC-013 paused timidly in his approach, unsure of how to respond to this metallic warrior’s greeting. This was his first time meeting another Exo.


“Cayde, this is AC-013,” Ghost introduced, “AC-013, this is Cayde 6, the head of the Hunter Vanguard.”


Cayde glanced at the ghost as his hand fell back to his side, “AC-013? What kind of name is that?”


In response, AC-013 lifted his left arm and pulled back the sleeve of his tattered jacket to expose the print engraved into the chassis: “SN: AC-013”


“Curious,” Cayde murmured and then, more loudly, “So! Your ghost has brought you to me so that you can be enrolled into the Hunter Vanguard, eh?”


Ghost answered, “I have read his traits and he is definitely cut out for the Hunter Vanguard. He belongs under your tutelage.”


“So, you’re saying that we aren’t likely to see very much of the two of you around The City?”


“Claustrophobia and restlessness are his key identifiers.”


Cayde suddenly turned to the two other individuals standing at the table, one was a terribly imposing man with a bluish hue to his skin and the other was a quiet woman who was currently poring over a ruined book. Something in AC-013’s senses told him that the woman was the most terrifying individual in the room. “Well there you have it! Restlessness? This Exo was reborn for the Hunter craft.”


Cayde then turned back to look AC-013 in the eyes, “Your first step as a newly christened member of the Hunter Vanguard is this: Get yourself a cloak. And, Ghost?”


“Yes, Cayde?”


“Give this Guardian a real name.”


—————


“Hey, from one Exo to another, have you had anyone...” Cayde paused, “Whisper to you.”


Since they were safely in the new Tower’s hanger, Ace didn’t have his helmet on so his confusion was clearly conveyed to the Hunter Vanguard.


“Don’t worry about it, kid,” Cayde let out a hearty laugh. “So, what did you find at the bottom of that mine I pointed out to you?”


Ace found it hard to simply dismiss the emphasis Cayde 6 had placed on the word, “Whisper”. The way he said it oozed with significance and Ace’s expression must have betrayed his thoughts. The older Exo took pity on the younger Guardian.


“Most Exos come to me eventually, hoping that I can help them solve the mystery of their existence. And I will admit that you provide a very interesting puzzle with that serial number on your arm. You would probably find better luck working with the Cryptarchs than a reluctant bureaucrat like me,” Cayde clapped his hands suddenly, “Now, about that mine shaft. What kind of loot did you find?”


Realizing that he had been given the one and only tidbit of a hint that he was going to receive, Ace answered, “Not much. House of Dusk beat us there. A handful of Vandals were overseeing a group of Dregs in salvaging the equipment. It was pretty much all nothing more than empty shells. Anything good was already hauled away a while ago.”


“Drat. I hate to send a guy off on a wild goose chase for nothing. Sorry, kid.”


A wry grin played across Ace’s face, “You could make it up to me by giving me a hint to one of your infamous ‘stashes’.”


“Fine. There is this one that I squirreled away because I simply couldn’t get all of the haul in one trip. Interesting haul because it contained some Golden Age goods... a couple rolls of cloth and some engine parts that Holiday would sell me to the Hive for.”


—————


“I must admit, that’s a very sharp looking cloak you have there. How about we take a trip into the Crucible so I can take it from your body?”


“If you do that, Cayde,” Ikora called out as she stepped into view, “I will feel obligated to join his team.”


Ace and Cayde both turned in unison to observe the Warlock Vanguard take the last two steps down into the Hangar entryway.


“Ehhhhh, never mind,” Cayde hastily responded, “Ikora! What brings you down here?”


“I need to borrow your Hunter. We need someone to deliver a message to Osiris and Ace is the most experienced at traversing the Infinite Forest.”


“Him?” Cayde’s exaggerated gesture and tone clearly conveyed his joking intention.


A dry smile crossed Ikora’s face, “Well, he is the only one available in the Tower at the moment.”


Cayde playfully shoved Ace away from him, toward Ikora. Cayde’s laughter followed Ace, “Go take your lumps kid. Everyone has to play messenger boy some time. Oh, and keep that cloak in nice condition for me!”


—————


Ace’s cloak fell to the ground as he stood. Raising his hand, palm up, the Hunter summoned Mal out of its incorporeal form. As soon as the ghost finished materializing, Ace asked one simple question, “Who do I kill?”

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