Chapter 3: Vatyr
Ruins of Old Toronto
The sun was just cresting over the horizon, but the Awoken hunter Vatyr S’Jet was always hours into his schedule. His ghost Glitch displayed holographic representations of various traps going through their final automated checks and syncs. Hunter S’Jet was just finishing the reconstruction of his sniper rifle. It was a ritual for him. The pattern of it soothed him.
Harassment, others called it. Control an area through guerrilla tactics and make operations in that area undesirable. Vatyr just thought it was wicked fun.
The Fallen House of Exile had recently moved what few earthbound forces it had to this continent and were currently seeking a place to build a stronghold. Exile was always in dire straits when it came to supplies and infrastructure, and this half-flooded city seemed like a perfect spot to put down some roots and build. Plenty of materials to salvage and old skyscrapers to dock their ketch against for much-needed repair.
Vatyr’s keen hunter instincts warned him of movement at street level before his sensors did, even from his perch over 50 stories up in a half-destroyed office tower. Settling into sniping position, he peered down his long-range scope and ramped up the zoom. Yep, 9 dregs and a vandal were weaving their way through the street, filtering around the husks of old vehicles. While the main force was busy setting up under the broken spire in the city centre a few kilometers away, this group seemed to be a simple scouting party.
A sly grin formed on Hunter S’Jet’s face as his crosshairs settled on the vandal leader. He took an almost cruel enjoyment from seeing dregs panic after their commander either died, or ran away in a futile effort to save his own life.
A blinking indicator popped up on his heads-up display. Glitch silently overlaid his analysis along with video from a remote camera feed, showing another scouting party to the north and another to the west. All three were in Vatyr’s actionable zone, and therefore existed from this point on solely for his amusement.
Through the armour’s neural interface, Vatyr and Glitch concocted a plan: herd all three groups into the same killbox using planted explosives, and pick them off one by one. Each one wondered who was more evil for liking the plan.
The staccato pops of distant explosions echoed through the urban ruins. The party Vatyr had at the end of his rifle barrel looked agitated as their vandal commander attempted to keep composure. Soon the other two squads came running into the intersection that the first was holding in. Vandals and dregs screeched, squawked and growled at each other. Vatyr kept telling himself he should learn the Fallen language, but for now he let Glitch do the translating.
“They’re pretty rattled, boss. They have no idea what’s going on.” mused Glitch, sharing in her guardian’s smug amusement. She set off a few other distant charges just to keep them on edge as Vatyr lined up his shots.
Pop, followed by the screaming hiss of a Fallen’s essence violently vacating its body through the space where its head used to be. One vandal down. Pop. Hiss. Another vandal down with only one left. The dregs were in a full craze now. Some fired wildly into the surrounding towers while others simply ran. Glitch set off another two charges close to the intersection, one of which vaporized a fleeing dreg. There was to be no escape from this hidden and wrathful god.
A background beeping caught the hunter’s attention as he felled another dreg that attempted to bug out. “Recall order from the Tower. Priority… Gemini? Must be a mistake.”
Vatyr prized himself on having a keen sense of things, and something about this message seemed to be more than what it seemed. With lightning reflexes, he quickly mopped up the last 14 dregs while letting the last vandal run back to spread cheery tales of what it was like to be a fish in a barrel. Glitch set the remaining charges on proximity protocol while Vatyr broke down his rifle in the same ritualistic fashion he always did. They’d be back at the Tower before lunch.