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  • Writer's pictureAaron Corcoran

11 : Distraction pt 3

“Nice,” Ace could hear the awe in Mal’s voice as the ghost observed the placement of the Shadowshot.

A large Scorn Raider was obliterated into nothingness by the sheer Void energy striking its chest. The doomed Scorn had not been in the leading ranks; rather it was a couple meters behind the front row. Now it was simply gone and in its place, Void power exploded as tendrils of the elemental energy burst forth to latch on to anything nearby. The tendrils connected to a pulsating orb in the center of the chaos, linking all of the tethered Scorn to each other.

Shrieks and cries of fear and confusion immediately filled the air as the Void power blurred their vision and made their limbs feel heavier.

Solar energy in the form of a single sniper round met with the chaotic mass of Void. The bullet passed through the shadowy energies without any hinderance and struck the chest of a crouched Lurker, narrowly missing its metal shield. The stricken alien fell lifeless.

The dead Scorn’s compatriots all felt the blow as the Void energy replicated, to less damaging effect, the bullet’s impact. Another Solar bullet struck. Another Scorn fell as, again, the experience was shared to all of those tethered. Ace, sprinting toward the tethered mass of corrupted bodies, grinned as he willed the Light energy within him to form into a grenade. A moment later, the grenade burst on the ground in the center of the tethered group, a small wall of shadowy flames burst forth from the grenade. Void fire burned all those Scorn closest to the grenade, and the tendrils of Void energy shared that burning with all the rest. It was too much for the greater majority of Ace’s enemies to handle. Between the two sniper rounds and now this fire of shadow, they succumbed to the replicated blows and collapsed.

The tether had connected several dozen of the Scorn. Now, only a couple dozen or more were left standing. And most of these opponents were panicking as they dove to the ground in an attempt to avoid the deadly Void energies. Many of them made for easy targets as Ace quickly swung his Damietta-LR2 to his back and pulled the Nameless Midnight forward into a ready position. He managed four shots before an Arc blast sent him spinning.

“Abomination!” Mal warned.

The massive, lumbering Scorn warrior had been hidden from view by the sheer mass of enemies between it and Ace. It’s slow pace kept it far enough back that it was well out of range of the tether. And it’s mindless focus prevented it from experiencing any of the fear or confusion that had settled in on the rest of the Scorn. With so many hostile enemies focusing solely on him, Ace knew that he wouldn’t have the luxury of engaging this monstrosity before he was overwhelmed. After all, there was still the matter of the other large contingent of enemies behind them. Enemies that were closing the distance very quickly.

“Mal! Ridgerunner!” Ace grunted as he dove to the ground, narrowly avoiding another Arc blast from the Abomination’s outstretched arm.

Ace only needed to make sure that these enemies stayed here and didn’t rush off to reinforce whatever opposition the other Guardian found in his push to reach Elykris. As long as the bait was enticing and appeared to be within reach, they would continue to pursue.

A small building housed the power transformer that fed the console and its accompanying transmat pad. Ace didn’t relish the idea of a power transformer exploding in his immediate vicinity, but it was the only cover available and he had pressed his luck enough as it was, attacked the first Scorn force out in the open.

Luck always ran out.

It was the most bitter, difficult lesson he had learned from Cayde’s death.

The sparrow materialized to the left of where Ace’s roll terminated. He wasted no time at all throwing a leg over the vehicle and opening the throttle to full speed. In fact, it would be a difficult argument to say that he was even “on” the sparrow before the thing leaped forward in a blinding burst of speed. Ace almost lost his grip at first, causing the vehicle to swerve unexpectedly, dangerously in the direction of the enraged Scorn Abomination. He eased on the throttle long enough to get it under control and then made a tight, banking turn away from the Arc-throwing monster.

Unfortunately, the time needed to get the sparrow under control and heading in the correct direction gave the Abomination time to direct an attack at his vehicle. It lurched once as an Arc blast slammed into the rear left panel, mere inches from the engine. Ace timed an anti-grav side boost to dodge the next attack. Having his sparrow explode beneath him would be just as disastrous as having that power transformer explode in front of him. Ace sent a silent plea to the Traveler and the Light that the building he raced toward would hold up to whatever weapons fire came his way. Another blast struck the right front panel, this one came from a Void wire rifle. He spared a glance to the right to see that the second group of Scorn had managed to close the distance much more quickly than expected. Smoke from the front of the vehicle caught his attention next. Not good.

“Mal!” AC-013 cried out over the sound of the Ridgerunner’s engine screaming. He knew that he needed to merely think “to” his ghost and Mal would hear it, but he was acting on instinct now. “We need better cover!”

Hold on! There is a cave system just bel- Jump!” Mal’s voice thundered inside of AC-013’s head.

He heard the scream of the Ridgerunner’s engine change pitch dangerously as he leapt from the vehicle. Mal’s warning had given him enough time to leap away before the vehicle exploded.

“Thirty meters to go. I’m looking for the nearest entrance to the caves,” Mal made himself heard over the sound of weapons fire and nearby small explosions.

AC-013 raced as fast as his feet would carry him as he frantically worked out options to get them both to cover. The building might as well be kilometers away for all of the thirty meters he had left to go. AC-013 felt for the Light energy built up within him.

In order to debilitate tethered enemies, the Void tendrils siphoned energy off of those entrapped. That energy was converted into Light that often bled over into the observable realm in the form of bright orbs. However, special metaphysical circuits worked into a panel of his leg armor established a continued connection between the Hunter and his shadowshot. This connection, created during the initial Void swell, created an energy conduit that allowed some of that siphoned Light energy to simply flow directly back into him.

AC-013 felt the power swelling to a peak once again. Unfortunately, he did not believe a second such attack would be as effective as the first. Already, the Scorn forces had spread themselves out and only a mere handful would be trapped by the attack. The rest would not succumb to panicked confusion and would cut him down before he could capitalize on the tether’s abilities.

But he did have one ability that he could utilize. A moment later, AC-013 was invisible and continued racing to the building’s cover. The invisibility didn’t fool his pursuers, it merely made him a very difficult target to hit. But they knew where he was going.

“I found an entrance!” Mal announced as AC-013 slid to the ground.

“Where is i-“ the indicator appeared in his helmet’s HUD.

Sixty meters away and out in the open. Pretty much in the direction of the advancing Scorn. Standing up, AC-013 could just barely make out the large crack in the ground that must open into the cave system.

Ace leaned against the wall and allowed his helmet to rest against it. “This is going to hurt, isn’t it?”

“The ship is almost done reassembling the wreckage of your Sparrow.”

Measuring the distance from the hole in the ground to the advancing Scorn, AC-013 remembered how close he came to being caught up in the same explosion that temporarily destroyed the Ridgerunner. Sixty meters from his position to the entrance. Forty meters from the entrance to the nearest Scorn. At least he would be enticing bait at those distances.

“This is going to hurt.”

“The sparrow will be ready in five seconds.”

Ace calmed down and switched weapons to the Damietta. He had a decent distance at the moment, so he might as well make good use of the next five seconds. Life was about to get really painful.

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