Frontier – Act10 Chapter45 – Cleaving

Chapter 45: Cleaving

Earth
The Last City
Street Level

These Vex were getting wise, Shaxx thought. They’d somehow figured out that he and Arcite had been commanding a sizable number of fireteams across the combat zone. Of course, he was a much easier target than the Vanguard leaders in their fortified hall. The pair had to move faster and faster to stay ahead while still coordinating their forces. It was only a matter of time before the Vex locked him down.

There was a chase. Shaxx never considered the Vex were an enemy that would pursue a target in that fashion. Numerous rapidly-teleporting minotaurs flanked by harpies managed to run him and Arcite into a dead-end between two fallen apartment buildings. The alley was around 30 feet across, and the destroyed structures created high walls with multiple outcroppings but little in the way of cover on the ground. There were two nearby fireteams, but they were already engaged and couldn’t break off to assist. Shaxx and Arcite dug in and did their best to hold off the Vex.

It was inevitable that the Vex would wear them down, but Shaxx didn’t seem to mind. “You know, my friend, the horror of this day and most probably the end of everything we’ve built notwithstanding, I’m having a great time!”

“I figured you might be. Ever consider that you may have an issue?” Arcite posited, throwing a grenade over his cover at an approaching minotaur.

“Oh, I’m sure that I’m unhinged in some way.” Shaxx laughed.

“Can your deranged mind figure out how we’re going to get out of this one?” asked Arcite as he reloaded his Hakke Strongbow-D shotgun.

“A miracle and nothing less.”

“Someone call for a miracle?” boomed a voice from atop the wall behind Shaxx and Arcite. Looking up and peering through the noon sun reflecting off The Traveler, the two saw a titan standing tall on the ledge.

“Ho there! Come to save our sorry asses?” called out Shaxx.

“It would be an honour!” the titan called out as she tipped over the side of the wall.

The frames had time to properly explain Telemica’s new armour to her because it first required that her arm be replaced. Somehow, Solas’ predictions had calculated a high probability that she’d lose an arm in the rescue attempt due to the nature of Vex transfer gates. The new armour, named Regalia, included bleeding-edge cybernetic arms to replace the lost limbs. Telemica would only need the left one.

The first system she was told about was the Spiral Caliber. Each boot had two aggressively segmented wheels, which encased highly-miniaturized solar light-based repulsor tech modeled after sparrows like the EV-36 Sol Scout. Using a combination of solar light, nano-kinetic drivers and artificial gravity fields, a guardian could traverse any terrain with extreme efficiency. Shaxx and Arcite were amazed as the titan rode the wall down to them at both incredible speed and with incredible control.

The Vex began to divert their firepower to the newcomer. Rapid-fire bolts peppered and torch hammer fireballs surged towards Telemica and would have surely been her undoing, if not for the Null Jacket defensive system. A void light cloak that moved with her, shaping to her as if it were a long coat made of violet energy.

The Vex’s aggression didn’t worry Telemica in the least with such a strong defense at her command, but her code demanded it be responded to. Bringing the drive cores of the Spiral Caliber to full, she performed a sweeping kick at her attackers, sending a blast of roaring solar light slamming into their front line. Telemica bounced from outcropping to outcropping, sending searing shockwaves of devastation down until landing between Shaxx and Arcite, and what was left of the Vex group.

Two damaged minotaurs were attempting to return fire, but Telemica had other plans. Bolting towards them at ground speeds that even a sparrow rider would find extreme, she was upon them in a fraction of a second and plowed a left hook through both of them. The third part of the Spiral Caliber system was her new left arm, laced with the same tech as the wheels on her feet and designed to convert all that kinetic energy into destructive force.

Leaping back to a few feet from Shaxx and Arcite, Telemica took stock of the remaining Vex. Seven minotaurs with varied levels of damage and two harpies.

Shaxx and Arcite took the pause to reload and move up to better cover along each wall. “That’s some interesting gear you have there, titan Magna,” mused Arcite. Her entire armor seemed to be patterned after the helm Arcite had once heard about. The Empyrean Bellicose. A silvery translucent shell that barely hid the magnificent mechanisms it protected. Word was that it was filled with all manner of tech that was cutting edge even in the golden age. Arcite could tell that her left arm was entirely cybernetic and used the same design philosophies, which led his eye down to something entirely different on her hip.

A sword.

A katana, to use the old-world vernacular, hung off the titan’s belt, opposite Jolder’s iron sash. It was very obviously technological in nature, but great care was taken to make it look like a traditional weapon from centuries past, right down to the plasteel in the handle tinted just so to make it look like ray skin. The tsuba guard was modeled after the titan symbol, and the scabbard was ornately etched with the orange and white pattern of the Vanguard.

“I don’t mean to be the bearer of bad news, but I’m just about out of ammo.” noted Shaxx.

“Not a problem. We’ll be out of this mess in a minute, and I’ll get you back to the Tower.” assured Telemica with ultimate confidence. Arcite stayed silent, knowing something special was about to happen.

“That’s quite a statement, titan. Care to tell me how you plan on making that miracle happen?”

“I can do better than that. I’ll show you.” Telemica asserted as she slowly placed her hand on the katana and crouched. Half a breath passed before she drew her blade in a flash, sending an arc light shockwave slamming into the Vex. Both remaining harpies were sliced in two, and two of the more damaged minotaurs fell. Shaxx couldn’t tear his eyes away from the alley walls, which were etched deeply on both sides by the edges of the wave. He’d seen swords become more popular among guardians recently, as well as money pour into research and development of such weapons, but this was on a completely different level.

Telemica slowly pointed the sword at the Vex. The handle segmented and doubled in length. The tsuba split perpendicular to the blade’s edge and extended out, revealing mechanisms that looked similar to forcefield generators. The air in the alley suddenly took on a charge, as the blade itself seemed to change from a solid black steel to black and angry smoke.

“Nanomachines?” Asked Arcite aloud, almost in spite of himself.

“Precisely! These nans are filled with fighting spirit! With my mighty hands guiding them, their true greatness will be unsealed!”

More likely they’re programmed to respond to her via neural interface, but correcting her seemed like a dangerous proposition, Arcite thought. The nans whirled and twisted until forming a new blade. This one was flat on its sides, double-edged, and huge. Arcite guessed that it was 10 feet long and around a foot and a half wide and surmised that the nans had arranged in a new lattice that gave their construct the greatest surface area without sacrificing strength. Also, because no new material was added, it was the same mass as it was while in the katana form. How many different forms could this sword take? Snake blade? Rapier? Gladius? Shuang gou? Kukri? Spear? Arcite realized his recent fascination with bladed combat had distracted him from what was happening, because the titan had brought the massive cleaving sword back to a low two-handed hang at her side. She was preparing to finish this fight.

In an instant explosion of solar light from the Spiral Caliber system, she was among the Vex. One swung its arm around in a twisting hammer motion, but was caught effortlessly in Telemica’s left hand. Her fist closed around the Vex’s arm and crushed it with equal passivity. The sword came down on the minotaur’s head, splitting the entire unit in half. Turning the blade around and sweeping nearly 360 degrees, she cleaved another five units cleanly across the thickest parts of their bodies.

One last minotaur remained, and not only was it relatively unharmed, it was a praetorian. It began to unload its torch hammer on Telemica, who let it slam into her Null Jacket with ease. She wanted to show this one Vex that it was completely incapable of harming her. Perhaps other units in the network would see it. Telemica wondered if the Vex could feel fear.

She was in front of it in a blink. An instant later, its arms and head were surgically removed. It stumbled back but Telemica didn’t pursue. She wanted it to regenerate its shields and come at her one last time. When it did, she rested the blade’s edge where its head used to be, but didn’t apply pressure. “This is the Buster Sword, a mighty blade destined to cut a path through the darkness. You are unworthy of its power, but in my way nonetheless. Now, return to nothing!” Telemica commanded as arc light surged from the blade in a massive torrent of destruction. The shape of the blade didn’t change, but Arcite’s finely-tuned sensorium could see the truth. The arc light was reorganizing the arrangement of the nans and supercharging them, causing those that made up the nano-molecular edge to oscillate millions of times a second, like a chainsaw built to break apart the bonds of matter. Even though the blade was relatively weightless, it fell right through the extremely durable shield and body of the praetorian. Telemica’s hold was the only reason it didn’t bury itself in the ground.

She turned to Shaxx and Arcite as the two halves of the Vex were still falling to the side. “Another member of my fireteam is clearing some airspace. We’ll get you picked up and somewhere safe in no time.”

“Are you kidding me? After seeing something as awesome as that, how could I not want to press on!” Shaxx bellowed. “Get them to drop some supplies. My Redjacks and I have a war to win!”

 

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Exotic Concepts #6: FASTBALL

I think titans have gotten the best exotics when you consider how well they all integrate into effective build choices. Going over all the existing options looking for significant holes in the profile, I came up empty. I had to think a little more outside the box than usual, but it also had to be simple and executable.

False Axis Sensory
Tactical
BALlistic
Limb

The “Fastball Special” takes its cue from a nerd meta-joke. Large hero throws small hero at baddies. Mayhem is assured. Ah, the mayhem. While you can’t throw other guardians at Valus or Phogoth (as much as you’d want to sometimes…), you do throw other things. Grenades. Grenades travel on a parabolic arc and don’t travel very fast. But you’re a mighty titan, are you not? Are you arms not… mighty? If a professional baseball pitcher can throw a small ball at 100km/h, why can’t you send a sticky grenade slamming into some poor fool’s face at several times that speed?

Fastball Special: Magnetic Grenades will be thrown extremely fast and in an almost straight line.

Fastball Encore: You get a second Magnetic Grenade.

At this point some of the more hardcore titan players will be hissing and booing at me, saying that discipline is a fool’s stat for titans. Indeed, the strength stat seems to be the only thing worth a damn if you go by the example of every other titan exotic, but since Destiny makes it silly to min-max to such a degree due to its failure (yes, failure) to allow upgrade stacking, why not have a discipline build? This exotic would have to have a crazy-high discipline-only roll to make it worth while, but we’ve seen that sort of thing before in other exotics.

Consider how many heads you can detonate if you’ve got a sunsinger warlock in your fireteam helping you proc these little messengers of loud pain even faster. I did promise mayhem, after all.

I’d also like to include a heavy weapon loader upgrade to round out its effectiveness.

So here’s my question for the readers: What does it look like? Let’s have some fun with this! Even if it’s a half-idea or a picture from something else that you think kinda sorta maybe is in the same ballpark, just drop anything in the comments section. Also, would you like to use it?

Frontier – Act05 Chapter17 – Life Waters

Chapter 17: Life Waters

Through the ages after the Collapse, guardians have organized themselves under different banners. The hunters have their loosely-aligned groups that seem to be concerned more about territory and bragging rights than anything else, while the warlocks have their secretive covens that pool astronomical geniuses together as they peel back the layers of the universal onion. Titan Orders hold the most meaning to the day-to-day survival of our current civilization, as they were the ones that built and man the protective walls of the Last City.

The titans hold their traditions to the highest standard as well as the strictest of secrecy. Hushed discussions in dark corners revolve around rites, oaths and ceremonies that have bound titans together over their 12 ages.

Incredibly tall doors parted to allow Telemica entry into the vast and dim room. The hall and pillars seemed built of pure onyx and lit only by hundreds of handmade wax candles and reflecting moonlight off The Traveler, illuminating the space through huge windows that took up the entirety of the outer wall. Telemica was clad only in a veil of white silk that was draped over her body, while the two attendants flanking her were in full fieldplate armour. Telemica did her best to walk evenly, but recent injuries made walking at all a painful effort. Under her veil healing wounds of varying degrees of severity covered a good deal of her body.

In the center of the room was an empty pool with concentric rings of steps built-in going 13 feet deep. Her attendants stopped a few paces short as Telemica found her place at the side of the pool.

“My wounds are deep…” she sang out in a sorrowful key.

The one secret that nobody seemed to guess at was that all titan rituals were sung, the notes just as important as the words. From their earliest initiations, titans were taught to sing, a cipher that only another titan would know how to unlock. Every rite and ritual was a musical production, and a titan’s song was as core to their identity as their light.

Out of the shadows, several titans converged on the rim of the pool. A titan knew who respected her by who attended a ceremony as important as this, and Telemica’s heart was filled to see who stood with her tonight. The lords and ladies of the Titan Orders came to pay respects to one that has proven herself extraordinary. They were dressed in ornate ceremonial garb that was halfway between their military dress uniform and a warlock’s ceremonial robes, a wardrobe never seen by non-titans.

“Embrace hardship, for a titan shall endure all.” hymned the gathering. Each guardian began to intone, holding a deep trance-like note that filled the chamber and vibrate sympathetically off the walls. As the vibration became all-encompassing, a glowing blue liquid began to stream into the pool, being fed from a thousand winding pathways embedded in all of the surfaces of the room which seemed to whistle as if it was wind flowing through a host of flutes. The illumination of the liquid found its way to the centre as the pool filled to the brim. Once the pool was full, the intoning stopped.

Telemica allowed her veil to drop behind her, exposing her full form to the caress of the light as she stepped into the pool. As soon as her toe met the mysterious liquid, thin and intricate markings on her skin with thousands of details began to glow the same colour, as if her skin was taking the liquid in. Slowly she made her way in, and the markings glowed even brighter than the pool. By the time she was submerged up to her neck, it was clear that the entirety of her was covered in the markings. Without pause or hesitation, she sunk fully into the pool and floated freely in its centre.

If anyone who didn’t understand the ritual had seen this, after the first few minutes had passed by there would be an intense urge to rescue what looked like a naked and drowning woman. However, everyone in attendance knew Telemica was breathing freely and in a deep trance, reliving her greatest victories, deepest defeats and each death with excruciating hyper-realism. All her personal angels and demons did battle in her mind. Failure to survive this trial would be the loss of one’s light, and a permanent and painful death.

One by one, and in a pecking order that was a social calculation done over generations, guardians in attendance sang their praise of Telemica and dipped their bare dominant hand into the pool, lending their light to her survival. Not everyone standing around that pool was beholden to help Telemica in her struggle, instead singing her failure in notes of defeat. It was an honour to even undergo this ritual, but not every titan survived it. This was a judgement at the highest levels of their society and judgments were in the interests of the survival of civilization. Weakness could not be allowed at any cost.

Telemica’s wounds began to open up slightly, spilling blood into the pool and dimming the brightness of her markings. When a titan died and was revived by their ghost their markings were lost, unable to be recreated or duplicated, even if their body was salvaged. Every titan had different markings created through hardships, and those secret markings helped to inform the choice of a titan’s mark, considered the public face of this titan secret. Titans given the choice of this judgement of peers or death gladly risk all to retain their markings and their honour.

Titans who deeply embraced the Crucible and died often were the exception, though a life lived too long in such training and not in the service of the City was sometimes seen as dishonourable and unworthy. It was a grey area for the Orders and their traditions.

One by one, the lords and ladies of the Titan Orders shared their light and her pain. Her markings brightened. Wounds closed and became shining scars that sprouted their own markings like flora, telling the tale of the wound in a language only the Order seneschals could completely decipher.

Telemica opened her eyes, signaling the others to intone again at a higher and more triumphant key which drained the pool. Once her head was above the liquid line she took a deep breath of air, but not as urgent as one would expect from someone who was submerged for close to an hour. Those in the circle looked upon her markings with reverence for they were proof of a titan of truly exotic qualities. The markings she earned this occasion were certainly not alone, as her body was a dense maze of shining scars. Her attendants stepped into the now drained pool and affixed her armour to her still luminescent body. Once fully clad with the exception of her helm, she stepped out and rejoined the circle, her body was now far brighter than the liquid was, shining even through the armour and creating a dancing aura of light around her.

“Every wound adds to my story. Every injury etches a path of fate on my skin. Every victory paid for in pain.” Telemica sang, the others intoning in the background to elevate her notes like a symphony.

The lords and ladies of the Titan Orders slowly backed into the darkness from whence they came, never turning their back on Telemica. She was left alone by the empty pool to reflect on the experience, and the experiences that brought her there for as long as she wished.

The dawn sun was just breaking over the City, and it was customary to spend a day and a night on the wall as a simple watchguard to allow one to decompress from the experience. To fly the flag over the walls that the titans built and guarded for generations. The posting superseded her suspension from active duty because it was mostly ceremonial and quiet. Telemica took her time before slowly donning her helm, pivoting sharply and marching doubletime to her honoured post.

Frontier – Act03 Chapter11 – Dead of Winter

Chapter 11: Dead of Winter

Venus

House of Winter Ketch Simiks-Fel

Engineering section

As Telemica charged through the ship’s corridors, she didn’t stop to engage the Fallen crew she encountered. The titan simply ran through them, letting them break upon her like calm waves on a beach, forgotten a moment later. When she found her path intersecting the engineering section across a high-up gantry and spotted the ritual far below, she didn’t think that the other members of Fireteam Warden were nearby. She only thought how truly epic a story she would tell when she annihilated a Kell, a Servitor Prime and an Archon Priest in one meteoric strike. Without a moment’s hesitation she vaulted from the walkway and fell to her glory.

It was five minutes after impact, and she was still surprised that her daring maneuver had barely injured the enemy. She grappled with the kell named Plasis, whirling with him in a violent cyclone of close-quarters combat. Her advanced knowledge of strikes, locks and holds was surely being tested by the four-armed giant.

Immediately after the titan’s drop, Mehsor and Suviks-2 attempted to get to a more secure location. Already perched in a perfect sniping position, Vatyr fired a few shots at them in an effort to block the escape and separate them. Suviks-2 began to blink-teleport rapidly away, hoping the Archon would follow but knowing its first concern was its own safety. Unfortunately, as Mehsor began to hunt for the hidden sniper, the Servitor Prime found itself face-to-face with Solas.

Telemica and Plasis traded blows and evaded each other’s attempts at takedowns. The fight was too close and too fast to make use of any weapons other than those of their own forms. Plasis had tried to use his long blade, but Telemica had caught the edge between her palms and snapped it in half. Both knew Plasis had the advantage with two more arms and at least twice the weight of the guardian. The titan had already taken some serious blows and her armour was telling her of broken bones and internal bleeding while it tried to keep her moving.

The Kell grabbed his opponent and lifted the titan over his head with the intent of either throwing her across the room or breaking her spine across his knee, but a massive hammer-fist to the back of the head disoriented him enough for Telemica to drop down on his back, wrapping her arms around his neck and her legs around his upper torso. Plasis vaulted stories high into the air, coming down on his back and crushing Telemica thunderously underneath, but limbs augmented with field drivers and myofiber muscles continued to tighten around the Fallen. Armour began to crack and ether began to escape, causing the last thoughts of the Kell to be of panic before his head popped off and his lifeforce fled his body. A few minutes later, a hearty laugh came from under the dead armor of the Kell, still heavy enough to pin the injured titan.

Solas and the servitor blinked in and out of existence so rapidly, one could be excused for considering them tricks of light. Blasts of void light fired from the synthetic lifeform’s eye at Solas but never came close to finding a target. Solas was smaller and much faster. He knew the Servitor Prime was still weak from the evolution that just took place and would want to escape in order to recuperate. Solas cut off escape paths that Suviks tried to use, while also herding it into a boxed-in section of engineering and keeping it on edge with flashy but random attacks.

As soon as the Servitor Prime found itself caged not just by walls but with its own terror, it lashed out with a mechanical scream as its body opened. Ten metal spears, each almost as long as Solas was tall, launched from its inner workings and flew into the cavernous room, quickly sweeping thin rays of arc light from their tips and attempting to slice Solas into small pieces. The Exo moved as fast as he could, creating dozens of afterimages in his wake. These spears were almost as fast as the warlock was but only just. In minutes the room began to fall apart after getting shredded by the servitor’s arc beams and the shockwaves that Solas left in his wake.

Suddenly Solas vanished entirely. Minutes passed. Suviks couldn’t figure out if it had sliced the guardians into bits, buried him under rubble or scared him away. The spears returned to the main body just as Solas blinked into existence a step away from its huge eye. His hand charged with light and shaped like an arrowhead, he impaled the huge construct, driving himself into it up to his shoulder. The servitor wailed and thrashed as its internal balances of energy were sent wild, tearing itself apart from the inside out. The warlock drew out what energy he could in order to keep the Prime from recovering, but they both knew it was too late. Violent torrents of ether and light tore Suviks’ body apart, ending in an explosion that obliterated what was left of that section of engineering.

Solas appeared on a nearby platform, having blinked away at the last moment. The warlock had absorbed what he could of the Prime’s own ether, and with it, some of its knowledge. It was officially a forbidden technique among the arcane orders, but the more praxic guardians were known to bend the rules as often as they bent the universe. The encounter had left him disoriented, however. His body surrounded by a mote of ether as his mind dove into new resources, Solas simply didn’t have the capability to notice Mehsor behind him.

The Archon was in a blind rage after seeing the Servitor Prime destroyed, ready to bring the pandemonium of energy he held up in his hands down on the Exo. Vatyr had evaded the Archon a while ago and was watching Solas’ back from afar when the saw the Archon appear. Never taking his eyes from his scope, he formed a void shell of a bullet in his hand and filled it with as much solar light as he could before placing it in the breach of his sniper rifle. The hunter closed the breach and fired the light-bullet at the back of Mehsor’s head. The shot echoed through the entire ship and off the walls of the cavern it sat in.

When the star-bright bullet encountered the helmet of the House of Winter Archon Priest, the energy within expanded and encapsulated the entire target in a huge ball of blue-white plasma that resembled a chaotic star several meters in radius. The event was so explosive that it sent Solas flying, tumbling to another platform. If one could listen past the deafening roar of the plasma ball, one would have experienced the last screams of the priest as the matter that made up his body was turned into fuel for nuclear fusion, sustaining the mini-sun and melting anything nearby for a few seconds before vanishing like an extinguished candle.

Vatyr made his way over to help the dazed Solas, then the pair freed an injured but still giddy Telemica from under the remains of her foe.

“Now what, fearless one?” asked Vatyr, aiming the question at Telemica. “We’ve accomplished the near-impossible.”

“Now? Now we collect our prize. Squire?” Telemica called her ghost into being.

“Yes, my goddess?”

“You and the other ghosts take control of the main engineering controls. Lock out all other control access on the ship and lock down every compartment. Give me control of this ship. I’m taking it.” commanded the titan.

Glitch was already in the process of dominating the ship’s systems. Wisp materialized and followed Squire to Glitch’s location.

“I hope they can pull this off.” murmured Vatyr.

“A little faith goes a long way.” offered Solas, who sat on the ground to rest. “Our little lights will come through for us.”

All over the ship, screens went dark and doors slammed sealed. Amazingly the battles that the guardians had initiated had not damaged the ship enough to keep it from flight. Engines roared to life as anti-grav generators came online. The ship tore itself from the moorings anchoring it to the cavern and lifted into the sky.

“Set course for the city. Send word that we’re on route.” commanded Telemica with arms crossed and head held high.

“My lady, we have ships incoming. Fallen. Skiff-class. They’re locking weapons on us.” said Squire. A nearby screen offered the view of several dozen of the small ships coming in as quickly as their engines could manage.

“Word must be out. The Fallen on the ground are firing everything they’ve got at us, but it’s nothing that will damage the hull. Those skiffs on the other hand…” mused Glitch.

“Remove them from my sky!” she commanded with a wave of her hand.

“Love to. Problem is we’re already occupied hacking and controlling a few other major systems. As it’s only the three of us doing all the work, adding one more high-priority system to break into and use probably isn’t the best idea.” suggested Glitch. While the ghost’s tone annoyed the titan, the advice was sound.

“Spinning up FTL. We can jump to just outside the City’s defense lines.” said Wisp, bringing up hyperspace telemetry readings in order to solve the equations that make it possible to move matter without moving it. Squire took over the other systems while Glitch assisted Wisp in controlling the technology that would rip a hole in spacetime. Generators came to life and engines whined as the universe swallowed the ketch up here and spit it out there.

Frontier – Act01 Chapter02 – Telemica

Chapter 2: Telemica

Mars

Elysium Planitia

West of the Elysium Mons volcano

The sinister powder brought to bare by a Martian sandstorm could be considered far more dangerous than any Cabal rocket round. Fine enough to get into everything and coarse enough to do a lot of damage once it’s there. When whipped about by super-high winds, the sand overloads barriers and clogs up almost every armour system. A guardian often has an easier time acclimatizing to the hard vacuum and null-gravitational conditions on the Moon. Surviving on Mars is a hard-earned skill.

The storm had passed hours ago, depositing a thick and pristine layer of powder across the plain. As the last vestiges of the tempest bucked against the distant visage of Elysium Mons, a new roar filled the landscape, which heralded the approaching Cabal convoy.

Moving southeast, the convoy stretched as far as the naked eye could see. Thousands of Sand Eaters and hundreds of Harvester transports and Goliath tanks kept a slow, steady pace across the terrain. Intel suggested they were interested in setting up several logistical holdings in the area.

The Cabal column was slowly moving into the engagement zone, but all Telemica Magna could think about was the sand that was slowly working its way into crevasses that she didn’t have names for. Her titan armour had saved her from more assaults, both seen and unseen, than she’d be able to count over the years, but this sand would best her, given time. Her fortress-like form, and the dozens of other guardians she was currently in command of, were all suffering the same silent discomfort, since the only way to conceal the trap from Cabal scouts was the let the storm bury them. It was Telemica’s idea. “Creative camouflage”, she had called it, and regretted the concept almost instantly.

By charting the course the Cabal would take and forming up guardians on either side of that path, Telemica’s plan was coming together perfectly. The full length of the Cabal formation would be assaulted at once and from all directions. Telemica had to use every iota of influence she’d gained from decades of service and storied victories in the Crucible, but eventually Commander Zavala saw the possible gains outweighed the risks. The Sand Eaters were low on supplies and needed energy and materials to bolster their forces. Operations in Freehold had taken their toll over the years and cracks in their effectiveness were showing more readily.

At her word, the guardian formation would rise from the dust and fire a united salvo of rockets at the heavy assets, while buried charges would break any Cabal will to respond too quickly. Telemica’s heart began to swell with the glory she was about to bring to these guardians and her titan order. Perhaps she’d find the Cabal commander. Perhaps she’d make it scream her name over Cabal comms before jamming a shock grenade down its throat. While others spoke of much-needed salvage for the City, Titan Magna only cared to send waves of fear through the Cabal ranks.

“Incoming commands from the Tower, Lady Magna.” spoke the meek voice of Squire, her ghost. Telemica’s mind didn’t register it. The time for battle had come.