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  • Writer's pictureAaron Corcoran

08 : Teamwork

Ace was not prepared for the famed “VIP 2014, Hero of the Red War, Slayer of Crota and Oryx, and other assorted titles” to be so unimpressive.

The man, Ace couldn’t tell if he was Exo or Human or Awoken since they both wore helmets, was of average height and said very little. Honestly, Ace only said “man” because of the other Guardian’s armor, but it could easily have been a woman in that weathered gear. Ace recalled that Wei Ning wore armor that had been crafted for men because it was the only gear that would accommodate her towering frame. Either way, it didn’t matter in the slightest.

Both of their ghosts did practically all of the talking during their meeting, up to this point. Ace had spent the time considering this Guardian that had become a living legend. They didn’t have the sheer force of presence that Saint 14 had radiated. Nor did this Guardian exude an aura of power like Osiris or Ikora. Hell, this Guardian was even a boringly average height; not a towering pillar of Light like Shaxx or Wei Ning. Yet, there was something about how they carried themselves. Suddenly, Ace sensed it. Overwhelming focus. This Guardian was a trigger, pulled taught and ready to be unleashed. He understood now why the Traveler had chosen this Guardian, out of all the others, to be the one that restored the connection to the Light to the rest.

“Listen, as much as either one of us wants to be the one to pull the trigger on Uldren, only one of us can be the one to do it,” Ace cut in on the conversation.

Both ghosts turned to regard him. Ace stepped forward, hands on his hips, and turned his head slowly to look at each of them squarely.

“I want more than anything in this universe to kill that bastard,” Ace continued as his gaze settled at last on his fellow Guardian, “but you were the one there when Cayde fell. You two were a fire team in that mission.”

“Three! If you count Petra!” the other Guardian’s ghost interjected. Mal winced slightly with a little shake at the exuberance displayed.

Ace ignored the interruption, “That means something. Cayde was my friend, a fellow Guardian, Hunter, and Exo. But at the end, you two were a fire team. What can I do to get you to Uldren?”

The Guardian stepped forward, closing the final few feet of distance between them and stuck out his hand. Ace gripped it firmly. Arc energy raced from one clasped hand to the other. Solar energy coalesced and flared in the air just overhead. Both ghosts flinched away from the unexpected displays of wild elemental power.

“Ahh, yes,” the other ghost began, “Well, it would appear that this ‘Fanatic’, Fikrul, has begun building up forces at a terrifying pace. His capacity is limited only by the sheer number of Fallen in the system, even the dead ones.”

“All the more reason to put this thing into the ground as soon as possible,” Mal retorted.

“And that’s the problem. We need to get to him, which will be difficult enough with those fearsome lieutenants of his.”

“You need us to thin the herd.”

“Even the lowest, most minor Scorn warrior is a serious threat. Fallen Dregs are kept weak by their Kells and Captains through reduced Ether allowance. Now, imagine a whole swarm of Dregs that have all the strength they need because they are no longer dependent upon consuming Ether.”

Mal nodded with a slight forward bob, “We understand. With the information that Spider provided, I already have a few ideas on how we can help you two to reach the Barons.”

“What do you have in mind?”

“Those maniacs are expecting you to come for them. You were there when they killed Cayde and they know that you have already reached the Tangled Shore. You will not be able to catch them unaware,” Mal declared.

“Only a fool would think otherwise,” the other ghost replied.

“Neither of you are fools,” Ace announced.

“We can’t draw away all of their forces, but the bulk of their manpower is commanded by the Scorn called The Machinist,” Mal explained. Both the Guardian and their ghost acknowledged this with a nod, “She needs those troops to secure her ports and supply lines. As I said, we can’t draw away them all, but a large enough disturbance to her supply line will get a lot of attention.”

“Sounds good. This kind of trick won’t work with any of the others, though. They don’t have a small army supporting them, so their forces will not be so easily divided.”

Ace spoke up, “I will act as overwatch support and do what I can to keep any reinforcing Scorn elements away from you.”

Mal nodded in agreement as the other ghost replied, “That really is the best you can do for us. And to be completely honest,” the ghost turned to its partner and they both nodded, “this is already so much more than we had hoped for.”

Ace unslung the Nameless Midnight from across his back and checked the magazine, “So, who is your first target?”

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