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  • Writer's pictureAaron Corcoran

12 : Distraction pt 4

Blinding, debilitating pain. Why does he, an Exo, feel pain? It made no sense at all.


“Ace! Your arm!” Mal somehow made his voice cut through the excruciating pain that pulsed and radiated from his right shoulder.


AC-013 turned his head to inspect the source of the pain. It was then that he realized that he was laying on a stone floor. His rifle lay a meter away from his face, still clutched in a gloved hand. AC-013’s eyes focused on the leather of the glove as he willed the weapon to move.


“Ace! You need to move! This is not-“


“Why won’t it move?” AC-013 mumbled.


“ACE! MOVE!”


Bolting upright at the panic in Mal’s voice, AC-013 left the rock floor. The Damietta-LR2 and the hand holding it remained on the floor. AC-013 looked back to the gloved hand. The hand refused to budge no matter how much he moved his arm.


Wait. His arm.


“ACE!!!!”


Mal’s voice made AC-013 flinch. It wasn’t enough to prevent the wire rifle bolt from finding his left shoulder. The force of the impact spun him around, back onto the floor. However, AC-013 did not allow himself to remain on the rocky surface this time. Scrambling to his feet with only one hand was made infinitely more difficult with the overwhelming pain causing his senses to shut out anything and everything that was not the pain coming from his right shoulder.


Mal chose to materialize at that moment, hovering in front of the wounded Guardian’s face. “Ace!” the ghost’s voice now screamed both inside of his head and in his ears, “You need to mo-“


A Void energy blast from a line rifle slammed into the small, floating orb. Mal’s voice cut short and the light in its singular eye went dead. Inert, the tiny thing fell with a metallic clatter onto the rocky ground. Reality returned with sharp clarity. AC-013 knew exactly what this meant and he finally registered what his small companion had been trying to get him to do. AC-013 moved.

Ignoring the pain that now suffused his entire body, no longer seeming to only exist in his shoulder, AC-013 threw his body forward. He attempted to dive into a roll over his stunned companion so that he might retrieve it. His left hand grasped the cuboid as the roll forward placed his feet below him. Another Scorn rifle blast tore through his lower back, AC-013 refused to allow the blast to deter him from his chosen path.


Unfortunately, his body had already taken far too much abuse. As his right leg took the first step away from the center of the cave, AC-013’s hand shuddered. Weakness overcame the entire arm and, with another metallic clatter, Mal fell once again to the ground.


Another Guardian would most likely have stopped to try to pick up their stunned ghost. Another Guardian would have been cut down by the Scorn riflemen perching around the hole in the cave ceiling. AC-013 was a survivor and he knew that the only way to survive this moment was to move. That is what Mal told him to do, wasn’t it?


It was difficult to see anything beyond the middle of the room, the area of the cave that was illuminated by the scant light that managed to come through the hole above, but AC-013 made out a darker shadow that gave the impression of an exit to another area of the complex. Likely a tunnel or another cave. His eyes flicked to the corner of his visor where the radar normally resided. With Mal inert, there was no extra information displayed in his view.


AC-013 decided to try his luck and threw himself into the blackness. He took solace in the knowledge that he had contributed to avenging Cayde’s death. Six Barons were dead now, thanks in large part to his aid given to the Vanguard’s hero Guardian. He couldn’t see any way out of this situation.


Looking back to the center of the cavern, AC-013 could clearly see his arm laying in the pool of dim light. A large piece of fuselage from his sparrow lay on the ground next to the sheered end of his upper arm. AC-013 suddenly recalled what had happened to his arm.


Since Scorn were essentially nothing more than Fallen who had been brought back from the dead, AC-013 understood why they no longer demonstrated a healthy respect for human bullets. But he was willing to do his best to teach them some with the five seconds that he was granting himself.


Five seconds and half a dozen more dead Scorn later, Mal informed him that the Ridgerunner was ready for transmat once again. AC-013 didn’t wait for the ghost to finish reporting and commanded it to bring down the sparrow.


This time, though, AC-013 made sure he was seated properly before opening the throttle. Sixty meters to a hole in the ground barely as big as the sparrow he sat upon. He couldn’t afford any error in trajectory. The Guardian knew that he had no room for error in this mad gamble.


“Why can’t we just get away?” Mal asked. AC-013 could hear a tremble in the the ghost’s voice.


“If we do that, all of these things will simply rush back to help The Machinist.”


“I know. I’m just scared.”


Banking hard into a slide, AC-013 used an anti-grav side boost to perform a sudden stop. He leapt from the sparrow and found himself a couple meters from the crack in the ground. Two swift strides and several Arc, Solar, and Void blasts struck the sparrow in rapid succession. One more stride before the sparrow exploded. AC-013’s shields had been torn away already in the mad flight from behind the building to here. There was nothing except for his already damaged armor to stop the razor sharp shard of fuselage from tearing into his Exomind chassis.


The combined forces of both the explosion and the impact caused AC-013 to tumble forward. He recalled feeling lucky that the tumble carried him into the opening in the ground.


The impact of landing on the cavern floor, twenty meters below, drove the fuselage the rest of the way through his arm.


Now his arm, his rifle, and most important of all, his ghost lay on the ground. He could feel the power of the Light waiting to be released, but AC-013 could not see how to make use of it. He needed two arms to utilize the Void bow.


It would have been the perfect play. A shadowshot placed at the lip of the opening would have given him the chance he needed to go back to where Mal still lay, unresponsive and motionless, and retrieve his tiny friend.


Frustration threatened to overwhelm the Hunter. All this power at his disposal and unable to wield it. What use was it when it couldn’t be used when it was needed the most?


Desperation began to take hold of the Guardian. He considered trying to wield his Nameless Midnight with just the left hand. Would a smoke grenade disorient enough of the Scorn long enough for him to snatch up Mal?


Half a dozen of the Scorn riflemen landed on the cave floor, rifles at the ready and looking about in all directions, the irregular shadows of the cave defeating their ability to detect AC-013. Then a Stalker cried out in excitement; it had spotted Mal.


AC-013 watched in horror as the smaller Scorn reached down to pick up the ghost.

Horror swiftly become outrage.


AC-013 didn’t think. He simply acted.


The Guardian let the Light rush forth and rip a hole in space. He thrust his left arm into the Void to pull forth the only weapon that could affect this terrible moment. With a cry of rage, AC-013 ripped the bow out of the tear and leapt forward. All attention in the room immediately turned from the inert ghost to the enraged Guardian. AC-013 had eyes only for the Scorn that dared to touch his ghost.


Lightning quick, he closed the space between him and his target, faster than the rest of the room could react. Void and Solar weapon fire erupted all around him. AC-013 clutched the Void bow in his hand and raised it overhead. The Stalker was too enthralled by the sheer impossibility of the scene unfolding in front of him, the madness of this Guardian charging at him with no weapon in his hand and the other hand lying useless on the floor.


Then the Scorn saw it. The weapon of pure, concentrated Void Light. The Scorn saw it descend. Then it saw nothing more.


The weapon of Light in AC-013’s hand erupted in an unimaginably terrible explosion of Void power. Raw power filled the chamber as every last one of the occupants was hurled to the wall with such force that each one was crushed under the unleashed, wild force. AC-013’s body was torn asunder under the force of the maelstrom.

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