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  • Writer's pictureAaron Corcoran

10 : Distraction pt 2

“The last time you attempted an entry like that,” Mal commented, “the window was reinforced and you knocked yourself out.”


“And when that happened, you immediately transmatted me out of there.”


“Yes, but that was different. We weren’t on a time table,” Mal countered, “Why didn’t you go for the window you had shot through? At least then you would know for certain that it had at least the one structural flaw.”


Ace sighed, “Fine. The next time I throw myself through a window to assassinate something that I failed to kill with my first shot, I will make sure to use the damaged window.”


“Thank you.”


“Okay, where is that command console we need?”


“Hold on. I’m scanning the local area network,” Mal paused for several moments, “There are a handful of slave consoles that connect, but I am having difficulty pinning down the actual command console. They all pass through each other and have redundancy connections. You’re going to have to fire one of them up.”


“You make it sound like this poses some kind of problem.”


“As soon as you touch a console, Elykris is going to know exactly where we are,” Mal explained.


An indicator appeared in his helmet visor and Ace immediately turned in the indicated direction. “Isn’t that the point, though? If she knows we are here, she will send her forces to come deal with us.”


“Yes, but we want her to have only a vague idea of where we are. If she knows precisely where we are, we will find ourselves dealing with an orbital bombardment rather than a large hunting party,” Mal explained, “Elykris isn’t Reksis Vahn.”


A shudder passed through Ace as he recalled his compatriot’s battle with the imposing Scorn Baron. Ace had to honestly admit that he was happy to let the hero Guardian handle that fight. He hadn’t seen a Lightbearer need so many resurrections for a single opponent in a long time. Ace had busied himself with cutting down the large band of Scorn, led by a pair of exceptionally large Cheiftains, that tried to follow the hero into Reksis Vahn’s hideout.


“Draw out the troops, not the missiles,” Ace muttered, “So what do you propose?”


“Well, I honestly doubt that we can avoid a bombardment. We need to present a larger threat.”

Ace reached the computer console indicated in his helmet’s HUD. It stood out in the open next to a large transmat generator and pad. He made no move to touch the device, “How much is this going to hurt?”


“Elykris cannot risk the command console, but these?” Mal paused for a long moment, “If you’re fast enough, it may not even hurt at all.”


“Mal?”


“Yes?”


“Queue up the Ridgerunner.”


“Oh! The one with the transmat preloader module installed? Consider it done.”


A minute later, Ace managed to barely escape the bombardment’s blast radius, his sparrow’s engine screaming as he held the throttle down in open position with all of his strength. Ridgerunner wasn’t anything fancy to look at, but it never allowed Ace to be late for an appointment.


“Did you get what you need?”


“Yes,” Mal conformed, “We now have the command console’s location. Let’s hit two more slave consoles to get as much attention as possible. This one,” a new indicator appeared in Ace’s view, “may draw out forces occupying the fuel supply depot nearest to her main base.”


“Do we have to spend as much time at the console this time? I would prefer not to cut it as close.”


“If we merely activate the console without running any commands or queries, she may not consider it a serious threat,” Mal warned.


Ace sighed. His new cloak was actually singed, they had cut their escape that close. Even though Guardians could be revived by their partner ghosts, Ace did not like dying. Death usually involved a lot of very real and excruciating pain leading up to it. “Fine.”


Several minutes later, Ace wished that he had the Two Tailed Fox at his disposal. The command console sat activated at his side and he saw two extremely large groups moving in on his location. The computer had disabled the Ketch and three Skiffs owned by The Machinist. Both of the groups moving toward Ace, each several hundred meters away but easily seen on the flat plain of the massive asteroid, were comprised of several other detachments. The fuel supply depot soldiers joined up with the regular patrol groups that had swept up and brought along the entire contingent assigned to working the dock. And that was just on the one side.


A couple well placed rockets would do wonders against an enemy force that had bunched itself up like that.


Mal quipped, “Well, we certainly got their attention. What do you think?”


Ace had already used much of the Thunderlord’s ammunition getting to this point. Elykris had many more powerful Scorn serving her than the two had anticipated. However, Ace did see one option for neatly handling one of the groups. It would definitely give him a fighting chance in the face of these overwhelming odds.


Cayde had been right when he warned Ace about the addictive danger of reaching into the Void. Titans and Warlocks merely summoned the Void energy into a point near or around their bodies. Hunters who used the Void had to channel the energy into themselves and allow it to infuse their entire being. The exhilaration of being infused with the energy of nothingness was unexplainable. Knowing the danger, it was both with great reluctance and incredible anticipation that Ace willed the Light to burst forth.


Mal had once asked him to explain what wielding the Light was like. “It’s not like I summon it,” Ace began, “More like I simply release it. It feels like I have been containing it, holding it back while it builds up from within. And when I am ready to use it, I just... stop holding it back and the power manifests.”


This time, the power of the Light manifested as a tiny, terrible explosion that seemed to rip a hole in reality. Ace thrust his hand into that hole and felt Void power flood through that hand, up into the rest of his body. As he began to pull his hand back out of the hole, the Void energy swelled and then swiftly flowed down his arms and gathered into his hands as vestiges of Void power swirled about his body. It all happened in a mere blink of an eye, but felt like an exquisite eternity to the Exo Nightstalker.


The elemental energy that gathered into the palms of his hands allowed him to hold onto and wield the bow of shadow that Ace pulled out from the nothingness. To actually touch the bow itself was suicidal. It was concentrated, undiluted nothingness and contact with it brought only madness.


Ace never grew tired of Wielding the Light. He feared he would never grow tired of reaching into the Void.

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