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"The dust settled." - A Warframe storyline.


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The Dust Settled.
~ A Warframe storyline. ~

Updated without a plan, schedule, accepted bribes to continue include, but are not limited to: positive/negative feedback, praises, curses, a storyboard of the actions, plushietoys. Don't want to post feedback in public? Send me a PM. Content is completely made up, noncanonical unless DE wishes it. Lore is pieced together but what little information we have available and then some assumptions based on darkSector. May contain traces of peanuts. It's NOT ok to contact this poster with services or other commercial interests. Get the PDF version here: "The Dust Settled", last update: 06.02.2013 PDF.

~ Installment 1: Introduction: Looking Back ~
"Central Core", by Mark Hansen
setting the mood:

, by Koda

The dust settled around his grey and white armoured shape. His breath went deep and relaxing. With his left hand on the furniture of the rifle, the right on the grip, index finger resting on the trigger guard, his blank faceplate scanned the room.

"My scanners do not pick up any other lifeforms. Well done, Tenno. Let's go home."

A nod followed, more to himself than anyone else. Those around him could not nod anymore, as their twisted, degenerated froms, mangled by his handiwork, laid splattered and smashed across the room, riddled with bullets, slashed with his energized blade - or simply punched into a wall element. He trodded off, holstering his rifle.

He did not know his name anymore. His history was long gone with whatever memories he had that formed his personality. The only thing his body, however many millenia old, remembered was war. Fighting. The relentless charge towards enemy lines, dominance of the battlefield, be it whatever it may. The voice was his guide in this strange new world he had been born back into, from his cold and icy womb. The Lotus, she was one of them. He had no recollection, no connection to the name, other than a faint memory of a flower, atop a green hill, overlooking an ocean. But something also told him that the flower was no more and the ocean was gone.

The heavy shield emitters of his Rhino suit hummed with a steady background noise, filling his muscles with warmth. He strode through the hallways, on his way to the docking bay. He was alive, but his image of self did not exist. There was a void deep inside him. "Tenno", she called him. Emperor. First Priest of the Shinto. There were connections in his brain flaring up whenever she said the word. It did not feel as if it was him who should respond to the call. But for now, it would have to do.

His steps led him through the loading area, where three heavy lifters stood. Two of them where shredded with pieces of the floor panels, where he had impacted, from a good 15 feet up. His gaze went up to the ledge, where he introduced his presence to the patrol of the Grineer. A leap, followed by a roll, sword pulled and charged, he had slammed into the ground. The shockwaves had thrown all six of his targets into the air, in a bubble of supercondensed time.

Over there, by the crates, a torso was slumping against the uncaring metal. The face of the marine was torn and twisted, by shock and repeated cloning. But the starkest expression was the utter horror of his life being snuffed out in what must have been but a second for him. The lower half of his body was grotesquely draped over the hand rails of a short set of stairs, the gruesome cut cauterized by the energized blade.

The warrior marched onwards, to the next room. He looked at the other marine, taller, stronger, heavier armoured than the rest. His flamethrower still had a tiny pilot flame promising fire hazards, but the shattered shape contradicted that. He remembered. The wide passage of the storage area had opened, and the squad had turned around to see him there, sword drawn and his pistol in hand. And then, with a mental order, he had launched himself into the group, facing the largest threat first.

Energy had surged into motivators, shield emitters changed polarity, matter around him was ionized, and with a flash of blue light, he slammed into the target, headfirst. He remembered. Armor plates cracked, bone cracked, internal organs were pressed together, blood vessels burst, and the air was pushed out of lungs. The shockwave sent the rest flying. With their leader demolished, barely alive, they struggled to get back on their feet - but the warrior was already working. His body obeyed his calls, a personification of war.

He thrusted the blade into the heart of the Napalm Trooper, and his pistol spoke final judgments. A bark, a head. A bark, a hand. A bark, a kneecap. A bark, a heart. The squad was in terror, but he had no time of feelings for their emotions. He had a goal, and they were in his way. With cold precision, he executed the squirming vermin. In the brief moments he gave himself to dive up from his trance of warfare, he detested their imperfect, detoriated faces, their hunched over bodies. The lack of perfection in these beings was so apparent, it was appalling to him.

With calm breath and stride, his journey took him through an observation deck. Barely anything was left in there, and the closed blast shields over the viewing ports told their tale, ornated by sharp, pointy fragments of shattered glass. Behind those shields was the void of space. Inside, there was nothing left not bolted on. Only the blood smears reminded him. He remembered. With knowledge that could not have been his, the warrior had deciphered and unlocked the door that led into the room, and saw a group of five patrolling by. His rifle raised up, he gunned two of them down, but the rest dove into cover behind the massive pillars of the ship's superstructure.

His rifle swung around, seemingly off-target. When the bullets ripped the container with hydrogen apart, he heard one of the marines curse out violently, but the explosion obliberated the glass pane and the following purge of air muffled all sound. The emergency lockdown isolated the room. His frame had activated magnets in his boots, to fight the pull of space - the marines had not been so lucky. One by one, they got sucked into the dark outside. The warrior had scanned his field of vision, and then walked to the panel next to him, to seal the blast shields.

He remembered many things. None of them went past motions of destruction his body was accustomed to. As he stepped into the shuttle to leave this gutted and lifeless vessel, he looked into the room in front of him, still not sure what his name was.

"Another assignment well executed. You will be rewarded for this, Tenno."

, she called him. He did not remember that as his name or designation. But while he was still figuring these things out, she gave him a purpose.

Edited by Ced23Ric
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I - I

~ Installment 2: Chapter One: Trinity of Two ~


"Breach", by an unknown artist.

setting the mood:

, by Volor Flex

She gave him a purpose. The ship cut through the silent darkness like an arrow fired into endless black. Sitting across from him was a vaguely female, humanoid shape, clad in artificer armour just like him. Not like him - similar to him, his analytic brain reminded. She stared back at him, with a blank faceplate, baring any facial expressions. Only red lines of pulsing energy were to be seen, without any patterns he could recognize. In place of eyes, a nose and a mouth, there was just the blank, cold faceplate. She came on board after the last mission, to accompany him on his next assignment. They had not spoken since. Something inside him made him stay quiet, suppressed any urges to speak up.

She was silent aswell. A lean figure, betraying the grace hidden inside the frame, she was very much his mirror in demeanor and aura. The long, slender rifle to her side, the elegant pistol holstered at her hip and the long staff, bare of any ornaments, told him enough. She was a sharpshooter, much more suited to subtle engagements than he was. The warrior sized her up some more, without movement, without words. Their conversation went by unheard to all but his mind alone. The voice came back into his head. The Lotus. He liked it when she spoke to him, it made him feel ... at peace. Even if she told him horrible things. The shuttle docked with the hull of yet another ship and he boarded it, with his companion in tow.

"Your mission is to destroy the reactor, Tenno. The sensors have not detected you, no one knows you are here."

Again, "Tenno", she called him - and her, too? Maybe it was a plural word. Maybe they, all, were Tenno. He pushed out the panel and slid behind it through the ventilation shaft. Like a large eel in water, his ally followed, swift, silent, graceful. His boots hit the ground, and he pushed himself back up. He could feel her hand on his shoulder, as she used it to brace her impact with such minuscule force, it reminded him of a lover's touch. For a splitsecond, his mind drifted away, catching a figment of a memory. Of a bright day, with the smell of cherry blossoms. She slid down, using him as her guidance, and when her toes touched the floor, it made no sound. The emotionless faceplate was turned towards him.

He looked back at her, then he pulled his pistol and sword. Without further ado, he progressed into the ship. She followed, unheard, but her presence quite tangible for him. He was the noise, the forceful distraction, the focus of attention. His strikes were powerful and cut the grimfaced marines in half without him skipping a beat, his pistol roared and demanded bloody tributes, and all responded with due diligence. Yet, inside the bubble of chaos surrounding him, there was a Zen-like peace. A flash in the distance, and a marine dropped. He fended of a blow, another flash, and his assailant stared at him, with an empty gaze. Blood splattered out of his left temple.

He continued. She followed. His warframe became coated in shrapnel, blood, spit and grime. His path was bloody, the wake of a murdering monster. No, he reminded him. A precise, relentless weapon. He was not here because he enjoyed the killing, but because ... a loud crack ripped his thoughts apart, as his marksman support penetrated another hostile with a shot, only to impact and rupture the hydrogen canister behind him. His world was engulfed by flames and heat. Still bathed in fire, with the patina of gunk being burnt off of his shell, he turned around. Looked at her.

She looked away, and with a subtle beeping noise, the presence of a waypoint was introduced to him. he looked to the right. She wanted to go on, no longer linger on that moment. It was an apology of sorts - one that he could accept without hesitation. His shield emitters had caught the brunt of the explosion. Her shot had killed a marine about to stab him with an energized blade. There was no reason for alarm. And no reason to talk. The two of them fought onwards, in silent teamwork. He took the helm. She took enemies off his back - once or twice, literally.

"This is the reactor. Expose its core and destroy it."

No "Tenno", this time. Just an order. Not a problem.

Edited by Ced23Ric
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I - II

~ Installment 3: Chapter One: Trinity of Two ~


"Powercore", by Robin Olausson.

setting the mood:

, by Jakwob feat. Maiday

Not a problem. He lowered the handgun, with its barrel still emitting an ember glow from the heat of numerous projectiles passing through. After he emptied the entire clip into the cooling rods of the reactor core, the lights on the ship died. The shots echoed through the hallways, met by the deaf ears of the deceased they had left in their wake. The translucent material of the rods shattered to the ground. His eyes and ears soaked up the scene, and for a moment, it felt as if time would slow down around him. His heightened senses showered him with impulses, whatever he did, whereever he went.

"You need to get out of here, the ship is going to explode."

His awareness snapped back into the reactor room. His hand had barely holstered the pistol, and according to the tracker in his HUD, barely a second had passed since he shot the last rod. A new timer popped up, counting down from four minutes and thirty seconds. A new waypoint popped up, and he swung around. Where his steel and tungsten alloy-clad boots hit the ground, fragments of the rods flew around, plinking around. The synphony of destruction began to play anew.

With heavy steps, the warrior sprinted away from the gouged-out, shredded heart of the ship, where panicking emergency protocols attempted to keep the reactor meltdown at bay. The ranks of red lights swelled behind him, but he paid no mind. Shoulder first, he bashed a door open, grabbed a shotgun from a slumped over body of a Grineer soldier, and pressed onwards. The shuttle bay was across the ship, through the comm array and past the bridge controls. Both would be heavily defended.

He checked his proximity scanner. His accomplice was right behind him. He did not look for her, she had to take care of herself. Their companionship was functional, just as their identities where unknown and, ultimately, irrelevant. A door slid open ahead of him, and a marine came running around the corner. He lifted up his rifle. The shotgun bucked in the warrior's right hand and the Grineer was hit by a wall of pellets. Driven by his momentum, his body spun around, smacking into the floor with his shoulder first. His head devoid of a face stared at the ceiling.

The Rhino did not pay much attention. This Strun shotgun had six more shots. He chambered the next, stormed into the comm array, downed the first hostile at the door, showered three Grineer from medium distance and then, sprinted towards them. Behind him, the crack of the sniper rifle announced his company. In the air, he charged his emitters, polarized them again. The marines fired at him, wildly. Most shots went wild, the rest was soaked up by his shield. Then, the world went bright. Energy dissipated upon impact, threw the marines into the air, shattering their bone structures, bending the armour plates meant to protect them. The shockwave ruptured their blood vessels, popped their eye balls. He stood back up, reaching for an assault rifle - mangled, bent, useless.

As his gaze went around the room, he finally found the access hatch to the maintenance shaft he has looking for. With little regard for the gruesome deaths around him, he dropped the broken rifle, unsheathed his sword and sprinted towards the hatch. Then, the PA system came to live, and an automated voice resonated through the ship.

"Initiating lockdown."

"We have been locked out - time to break in."

The Lotus was an all-seeing eye, a computer-like entity with a female voice, soothing his aching head. As he grabbed a disformed Grineer, sans cranium, and flung him tot the side like a piece of discarded trash, he analyzed the console. The ciphers were simple, to him. With fast fingers, he rearranged the conduits and diverted power, bypassed a firewall and lifted the lockdown. A gentle hand on his shoulder made him look up. Next to him, the female Tenno - he decided to call her as such - stood next to him, with her rifle on her back, one hand on her hip, the other on his armour. He looked at her faceplate, then down. Blood flowed. She was injured.

Looking past her, he made up the motionless shape of another Grineer soldier, with glowing energy blades next to him. He must have gotten close to her and stabbed her leg. She was slow. The timer alarmed him, two minutes and then some left until the ship would begin its deaththrows. A simple nod was all he could give her. She returned the gesture weakly, then caressed his armoured cheek. Like a farewell or an acknowledgement, almost. And the warrior turned his gaze away from her, marching towards the hatch. She would not make it in time, and she would slow him down, so the decision was clear. Then, he heard the metallic, solid noise of her body hitting the floor.

"Trinity is down."

He remembered the grassy hill again, with a house in the distance. Wind was dancing through his short hair, and the air smelled like summer and salt from the sea. He could feel the sun on his skin, the warmth it gave to him. And he remembered the touch of a kindred spirit, someone close to him. The warrior, stuck in a second of rememberance reemerging from his distorted mind, sensed the importance of that memory, despite not being able to fully grasp its meaning. He turned around, lifted the other Tenno up off the ground, threw her over his shoulder and started running.

"Get to the extraction point!"

Insistent, pressing, the Lotus kept pushing him onwards, guiding him with waypoints popping up through the maze of the dying ship. He boarded the shuttle, with the unconcsious Trinity in his arms, and left the carcass of the cruiser behind. A few seconds later, the reactor ruptured, sending a ripple through the hull of the doomed starship. But he did not notice it much, preoccupied with his latest decision and memories. He took of his faceplate, and his grizzled face was met by the cool, recycled air of the shuttle. He looked at himself in the reflection of a computer display, and he saw a face, maybe forty years of age, bare of emotions. Stark, blue eyes stared at him.

When he took of her faceplate, the elegant visage of a woman, ten years younger then him, came to the dim light of the shuttle. She was out, but she still had pulse. Quickly, he got rid of the more hindering parts of his armour and hers, strapped her onto an emergency stretcher and began cleaning out her wound. It was a deep gash, and with the cauterized nerve ends, she would need reconstructive surgery to operate again. He was unsure where to make that happen, he realized. Stuck between being helpless and frustrated, he brushed her black hair out of her face and attached a drip to her left arm. That was all he could do for now.

He had barey made it, and the little spacecraft shook under the shockwave of the cascading explosions behind them. The engines howled at dangerous operating levels, to race away from the damaging shrapnel of the tiny apocalypse behind them. But it did not matter. He went to sleep. Something about this woman was important to him.

Edited by Ced23Ric
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~ Installment 4: Chapter One: Trinity of Two ~


"Monk", by Byzko Wader.

setting the mood:

, by InContext

Something about this woman was important to him. The warrior searched in his thoughts for the pattern to reveal itself, to find the meaning behind his awareness of that fact, but after a handful restless hours, rolling around in the bunk, he gave it up. He calmed himself, meditating with techniques his subconscious still knew, despite the lack of recognition from his surface thoughts. The Rhino drifted away, into his dreams.

Sitting inside a circle, he could smell the incense, he could hear the wind caressing the sparse and short grass around him. With eyes closed, he saw only a calm darkness, but his other senses conjured up images. The air smelled of rain, and a comfortable, cleansing wetness clung to his skin. He knew, if he would open his eyes, he would see clouds around him. He would be meditating up high on a tower, a tower that had a significance lost to him. Yet, it felt like home.

He felt every inch of is honed body. Every muscle, every nerve, every joint, all ready and brimming with power. Long before he became so acutely aware of the suits he would later don, he became acutely familiar with his body, the groundworks everything else was based on. His swordsmanship was only bested by his precision, his inner calm a fortress to shield his mind, shutting out distractions. His brain worked in cycles, assessing situations, finding solutions, applying them.

But none of that was ... him. it was all acquired, trained knowledge, for a purpose. There was no image of himself in any of his dreams or memories. As he dove back up from under the lake of memories, back to a semi-conscious state, he remembered his face. A face. The face that was underneath his headarmour. He remembered it, because it felt like it had been the first time since he saw the contours of his jawbones, the blue of his own eyes. He did not recognize it, though.

"Wake up, Tenno. I have found a solution. We need to put Trinity into a Cryopod first, the journey will be long. I have detected an old Grineer laboratory vessel. They were working on a genetic reproducer, to mend tissue damage in the field. It is close enough to reach it in half a day, but the prognosis for her is not allowing for that much time. Put her under, it will give you more time. I am setting course now."

He barely felt the course correction, already on his feet as Lotus voice came through the speakers. Some time ago, maybe some weeks, even, he had wondered how the Lotus was always there, wherever he went. How she got into his ears, how she saw things before he did, yet, never appeared in person. But eventually, he dropped the thought. There was no sense in finding an answer. The warrior needed tasks, the Lotus handed him those, and she looked out for him. A gift he was willingly accepting.

With gentle motions, he peeled Trinity out of her suit. Her muscular figure, honed in battle and covered in scars, did not raise any lustful thoughts in him. Even in her naked state, she was a warrior like him, and it would be impure to soil her life's work with such desires. He respected her. He wanted her to be alive. With the female in his arms, he went into the small storage area of the tiny spacecraft and put her into the Cryopod. Normally meant for a pilot of this escape vessel to survive until found, it would now delay her demise.

Before he closed the lid, he took a second look at her flesh. Her shape was of pronounced muscles, barely any fat reserves, a machine that needed to be run at high levels to find challenge. With curiosity, his fingers caressed her cheekbone, standing out from her face like the mask of an ancient beauty. But he saw past the superficial things. There was no shallow appreciation of her looks for him, only the wordless, understood respect of a fellow fighter. She had done well to sharpen her skills and shape her form. With a hiss, the pod closed.

When he returned to the front area, he took seat in the cockpit and stared at the controls. He knew how to pilot these ships, but he did not know why anymore. The Rhino's feeling of detachment was almost like a dull pain in the back of his head. Going through motions his body knew on its own, he call up the target, checked the time of arrival and saw about eleven hours and then some before he would reach the ship. Time enough to eat, to rest and pick his tools for this engagement. The Lotus had already marked the entry point, a few terminals to search for data and likely pickup locations of the GR module.

The "Harbinger of Renewal" was a large spaceship, moreso, a large complex with engines. With their armies always on the move, always patrolling and fighting, the Grineer put even their military laboratories on cruisers and other vessels, to provide frontline support and conduct, even more sinister, frontline experiments of new gene-sequences. Their cloning technology and splicing efforts had made them such a strong force, but they also spelled their demise. The Grineer were dying. The warrior would help that along.

Satisfied with what he had learnt, he left the cockpit again and returned to the aft section. With dilligence, he put everything back to where it belonged, cleared out the central room - tiny as it was - and sat down. Crossing his legs, breathing in, breathing out, he calmed his spirit. The next fight was personal. It felt good to do something personal, he thought.

Edited by Ced23Ric
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I - IV

~ Installment 5: Chapter One: Trinity of Two ~


"Fantasy Spaceship", by an unknown artist.

setting the mood:

, by Danger

It felt good to do something personal, he thought. Looking into his diminished arsenal, the Warrior picked his Braton assault rifle and installed some selected modifactions. A charge spool for penetrating shields. A threaded barrel, for higher spin and better armour penetration. Elongated magazines, together with a different gasblock, for a higher firerate. Grineer had thick body armour, and they key was to shoot their heads. Some of them equipped shield emitters, so that was covered with the spool.

"Approaching the Harbinger of Renewal, Tenno. The ship is buzzing with life, get ready for a fight. I will drop you off above the first laboratory, then park in a loading bay closest to your last checkpoint. Your mission is to find both the data about the GR module and the module itself. This is important technology for the Grineer, so be ready to face tough resistance. Connecting with the hull in T minus 5 minutes."

The Lotus briefed him as he clipped a compensator to the front of his trusty Lato. After he had adjusted the breech and firing chamber for higher velocity to punch through the riot shields of those Shield Lancers, he holstered his sidearm and grabbed his ammunition. He did not intend to get into prolonged melee combat, so the Rhino strapped Furax powerfists. Handsfree melee, no need to draw a sword. Good decisions to fight the Grineer.

He looked outside a viewing port and gazed upon the starship. A long shape against the dark, with positional lights blinking, the Harbinger floated in the void. Her massive engines gave off an eerie blueish glow, ionized luminesence. Multiple modules where held to her spine, expanding like ribs of a gargantuan animal. The bow of the vessel was a pointed plow, thick layers of armour to penetrate asteroid showers. Like a projectile, frozen in time, the science cruiser slowly drifted through space. He stepped away from the window.

With shield modules and armor augmentations all installed into his frame, he felt ready. The warrior sat down and closed his eyes. A deep breath followed, and he let his anxiety flow out of him. Concentrating, calming his nerves, he wandered away from his emotions, his concerns, and found the serene spot deep inside himself. A place of peace and clarity, where combat became art, where fighting became a craft and where pain became an obstacle to master, not a hindrance to shy away from. he felt is pulse slow down, his muscles tense up. He was ready.

With metallic protest, the shuttle touched the hull, magnetic claps engaged and held it in place. The boarding cutters whined and whirred, melting a hole into the plates. The Rhino stood up and left the shuttle through the boarding airlock. From the other side, he gave his all-clear signal, and the shuttle's tools welded the opening shut again. The darkness of the maintenance shaft was always the same to him. Cables, pipes, the intestines of a mechanical being, welcoming him with silence and ignorance.

Eventually, he found a hatch, kicked it out and dropped to the floor. The Rhino brought his rifle up, scanned his sectors and blinked. The ship's lighting was dimmed, and the air smelled sweet. Almost sickly, with a hint of something rotten, old and decomposing. His first steps where cautious, but every corner he peeked around only told him the same tale. Silence, emptiness. Despite his expectations, no Grineer where to be found. When he stepped through the door of the first laboratory, his steps where suddenly muffled.

He looked down, puzzled. Standing in a meadow of some sort of fungus, he immediately checked his own bio sensors, but none warned him about hazardous spores or airborne particles. The warrior blinked once, but then he marched on, to the terminal his HUD pointed him to. Running through a handful of routines, he found the data he was told to look for, slapped a memory core into the drive and started the data dump. Whatever had happened here, the Grineer were absent - but the data was there.

He took the memory core out of the terminal and stowed it away. His HUD switched, and gave him a new waypoint - again, a couple of doors down, passing through deserted floors, he entered a laboratory, with another access terminal. Right in front of the work station, a testing room expanded, seperated with thick glass. He looked through the glass and saw a pile in one corner. It looked like discarded work uniforms and lab coats. The Rhino squinted, alarmed by what he saw, but he could not quite put a finger on what irked him here. With constant looks over his shoulder, he gathered the next data package.

The memory core hummed, emitting his soft blue light, and the warrior looked down to confirm another bypass. Then, the glass in front of him shattered, showered him with crystals of broken Silicate, and a massive shape crashed through, rolling on the floor to his right. His reaction was instant, instinctive. Throwing himself backwards, away from the unidentified threat, he rolled over his shoulder and jumped back up, pulling his sidearm in the process in one fluid motion. The shape got up aswell, haphazardly, uncoordinated, with no grace whatsoever.

He stared into the contorted, morphed and misshapen face of something humanoid, yet warped beyond recognition. Two rows of glowing eyes stared back, focussing him. Before he could assess what he was facing, the thing threw itself forward, launching itself against him like a pouncing animal. It screeched, with a high pitch and disturbing frequency. His Lato bucked three times in his hand, sheering away flesh and bone splinters from the head of his assailant, the first two hits ripping of chunks, but reflected by the thick skull. The third one hit an eye, and with a soft and wet noise, smashed through and splattered the innards of the things head all over the wall behind it.

The body stumbled, still carried by its momentum and slammed into his chest and brought him down, sliding down the panel in his back. The weight was enourmous, and so close to him, he could make out the cancerous, overgrown muscles covering the entire thing. Disgusted, he pushed the still twitching corpse of him, struggling to get back on his feet. Suddenly, something clenched his ankle, and to his surprise, the brainless thing was still not dead - but apparently still intending to do him harm.

The Furax came to live, roaring with charged anger. Crackling, sizzling, light arcs danced from node to node, bathing the room in stark white and blue light. With a hefty slam, he drove his fist, sheathed in vicious power, into the body below him. When the fist connected, time skipped a beat, holding its breath for a split second. Then, the capacitators discharged all their energy into the target, atomizing flash, burning carbon connections, liquifying solid matter in one ball lightning of electric explosion. The sudden jolt sent the flesh of the thing flying.

With wet noises, bits met the walls and terminals around him. The smell of burnt flesh crept into his nose. A circle of blood, ruptured remnants of the thing and burn marks was the only reminder of its prior existence. He stared at the mess around him. Entrails, blood, glass shards covered everything in this room. Reassessing the situation, he walked over to the terminal and picked up the memory core from the terminal. Luckily, no damage had come to this unit. The Rhino marched off, towards his next waypoint.

"Detecting multiple lifeforms coming your way."

This was going to be a lot more complicated.

Edited by Ced23Ric
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  • 3 weeks later...

I - V

~ Installment 6: Chapter One: Trinity of Two ~


"Long Day At Work", by an unknown artist.

setting the mood:

, by Ellie Goulding (Sound Remedy remix)

This was going to be a lot more complicated. He took a glance at his HUD, found the next waypoint and set himself into motion. The technocyte armor hummed in energerized unison with his steady breath. The shell around him had become a part of his body, and he was quite aware why that was. He carried something for more than just armoured plates or shield emitters. This technology, this marvel of bio-mechanical combination was fused to him in a way one could never explain in its entirety - one could only attempt to feel it by accepting the bond oneself.

As he strode through the door, he noticed the same sticky mass covering the panels. As the hydraulics lifted the shield up, it ruptured parts of the growth. Like blood, fluids seeped out from the severed ends of what seemed to be part fungus, part moss, part flesh. He sniffed, like a curious predator, but the Rhino found nothing standing out. He almost, on an instinctual level, felt familiar with it. But he shook the thoughts off, as they distracted him from his mission.

The next computer terminal was a good jog down a few corridors, and he didn't want to stay longer on this ship than necessary. The Harbinger had an omnious aura about herself. With his rifle firmly in hands, he ran past the hallways of the science laboratories, blending out the intricate machines which were covered in the same patina he had seen before. Still pondering why he felt so familiar with the substance, another set of doors parted in front of him, revealing a large hall in front of him.

A massive walkway crossed the entire span of the room, with stairs leading down to lower levels. A hologram of the Harbinger calmly rotated above a terminal that was idly blining in yellow. It was marked by his HUD. The Rhino advanced, scanned the room for adversaries, but found none. The lights were out in this room, only the red shimmer of emergency lumination gave a glint of details away for him to inspect. Arriving at the terminal, he gave the readout a quick glance.

*** Emergency Protocol Engaged.


hazardState == 4

reactorState == 3

commsState == 0

engineState == 0

lifesupState == 1

secureState == 1

*** Evacuation Completed.

He nodded silently to himself. Something had gone wrong and the Grineer had deserted the ship. It did not answer why they would not shutdown the reactor, but whatever occured, they left the ship behind, with deactivated communication systems, no propulsion and minimal life support. Security had been reduced aswell - maybe to facilitate their escape? The report gave him more questions than answers, but it was something. Still reading, he slotted another memory module into the terminal, typed in the necessary inputs and started a copy from the large storage unit of this computer.

"I am detecting many bio-signatures coming your way. Twenty - and they are fast. Get ready for a fight."

The Rhino grinned and spun around. With a powerful jump he grabbed a ledge of the walkway that led down to the terminal, pulled himself up and brought his rifle up. A quick glance at the receiver and the display on the side gave him the needless and understood confirmation he was looking for - the rifle was as ready as he was. Maybe the Grineer left a commando team behind, he mused. He took cover behind a massive pillar, made sure the terminal would not be in the line of fire and inhaled. Then they burst into the room.

Slamming against the door, which gave way with a metallic groan, a horde of men crushed onto the walkway. The shapes looked like Corpus crewmen, but their movements were off. No weapons, either. But their howls silenced all attempts of his mind to identify them. Twisted, distorted screams of tortured souls echoed off the walls of the room, as they shambled and clawed at each other, throwing themselves towards the Rhino. Madmen, raging, full of blind anger and ... hunger, it seemed. He did not hesitate.

He squeezed the trigger and his Braton came to life. She bucked in his hands, but he held her steady. Concentrated brusts of fire lit up the room, as the supercharged projectiles found something to bite in the legs of the first few, shredding the torn clothes and the flesh underneath. The raging crowd stumbled, fell over one another. He raised his rifle, now aiming for heads. As the caseless ammunition vaporized the meat of these lunatics, he almost smiled on the inside. Almost. Heads exploded in showers of blood and gunk, throwing their former bearers around in a haphazard dance dictated by his rifle.

But then, he realized something was wrong. Those without legs kept crawling, using their arms to pull themselves towards him, those without heads kept jumping, running, twoards him. The short distance between his spot and the mob vanished by the second, as they made their rampaging way towards him. The Rhino started to walk backwards, but with wild abandon, they threw themselves over the guardrails, smashed on the floor below him and got back on their feet. And those screams roared again, flung back by the hall's walls, competing with the barks of his rifle. Until it clicked, its magazine spent.

He switched to his pistol and recommenced firing, when another roar, trumping all before, emerged from their entangled midst. One of them, towering over them like a misshapen giant, flexed his immense muscles, then charged. The others were bashed aside, driven out of the way by the sheer force of legs the size of the Rhino's torso hitting the metal. He understood. This was no enemy to fight with tactics, there was only one solution - brutal force. Charging up the polarity converters, he slammed his left fist on the ground - and sent shockwaves through the masses coming at him.

Many were swept of their feet, and the first row was rended from the sheer energy he just had unleashed, but the big one ... he only stumbled in his march, and found his bearing again. The barks of his Lato found purchase with those who survived the wave, but then, just as he spun around to meet the biggest threat again, the thing reached out, threw tentacles of spinning mass at him. He braced himself for impact, but nothing before could have prepared him for the pain that followed.

He felt as if all life was being sucked out of him. His vision became dizzy and he gasped for air. Naturally, his suit provided him with such, but nevertheless, the attack left him weak, disoriented. The shape above him was blurred, and his entire world had become a twisted vision of red and black. His HUD warned him - all shield energy was depleted, and the capacitators were sucked dry. All he had left were his emptied weapons and armour plates - and the big one loomed right over him, almost mocking him.

When his vision cleared up a bit, he saw another attack coming and threw himself aside. There was no time to reload any of his weapons, and without energy in his cells, he could not use the polarization discharges either. The emergency systems of his armour restarted, diverting energy into the shields, but they charged very slowly. There was no time to wait it out. He had to fight this one without firearms or his imbued abilities. The Rhino stomped on the ground, then he threw himself forward, dodging under another tentacle strike.

Putting all his weight in the strike, he thrust his right fist into the lower abdomen of the giant, who was easily three feet above his size. Sputtering, like defiant rebels, the capacitators of the Furax came back to live. When they impacted, a spark of light erupted, buring fabric into flesh. The hit sent the Giant stumbling backwards - but he did not stop to admire his handywork. Again, he pulled his arm back, despite the pain running through his entire body and slammed the fist into the beast. An uppercut, energized by the Furax microcore, ripped a chunk off the chin of the thing. Already on unsteady legs, he felled the grotesque creature, only to jump upwards and bring the fist down with him.

As his weight crushed onto the wriggling body, he heard ribs crack and flesh tear, but this beast would not lose its fight. The tentacle arm came up and around, wrapped itself around his throat - or where his throat would be, albeit covered by interlocking armour plates. It was not the pressure that got to him. It was the same feeling of disorientation, weakness, the almost blinding effect it had on his vision. Panic swelled up in him, but also, anger. A rage he had not found in himself before was set free. His mind dropping all thoughts of training and switched into survival mode.

Then he saw the external charge cell one of the others he had mowed down must have had dropped. He struggled with the grip of the monster, rolled off, still stuck in the terminal vice that threatened to suck all life out of him, and got a hold of the cell. With a groan, he jammed it into his thigh, and the suit immediately came back to life, jumpstarted by the sudden jolt of energy. The Rhino bellowed, rammed his head into the chest of the thing and triggered the energy projectors - with all safety limiters deactivated.

In an explosion of light and flesh and blood and entrails, intestines, bones and shredded clothes, the Giant was smashed against the stairs they were fighting on. Smoking body parts rained down, amongst the midst of all the corpses he had created just moments prior. He slumped over, exhausted. But the Giant had stopped moving and the tentacle around his neck dropped away, void of life. He allowed himself a minute to catch his breath, before he got up and collected the memory core from the terminal. With trembling hands, the warrior reloaded all of his guns, then he left the slaughterhouse he just created. Obviously, these were not Grineer he had expected.

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I - VI

~ Installment 7: Chapter One: Trinity of Two ~


"Lurking Evil", by an unknown artist.

setting the mood:

, by Till Death

Obviously, these were not Grineer he had expected. Still dripping blood and other fluids that emitted a faint stench of bile, the Rhino marched on. There was one more terminal to pilfer for information, and even though he had the ciphers necessary to reveal the secrets the Grineer had hatched aboard this seemingly doomed vessel, his suspicions of became stronger. This clearly was not the walk in the park - what was a park? - he had imagined. Grineer marines were reliable, predictable. These enemies were feral abominations.

"You found the last access console, Tenno."

The voice of her guidance in his head confirmed what he thought when he stepped into the next room. Elevated, overseeing a large hall, an office of sorts laid in front of him. Barely fifteen of his steps wide, and about ten deep, it was not a lounge, but a place of labour. He approached the terminal, which came to life with flickering lights. When he inserted the Memory Core, the preinstalled subroutines circumvented the security measure, then the display threw up the timed patterns. The Rhino snorted.

With quick motions, he parsed commands, aligned and rerouted subroutines and deactivated the passcode. The terminal sank in silence, then confirmed his orders and began uploading the last piece of scientific data. A progress bar began it's ever-too-slow journey from left to right and he backed off the computer. The warrior looked through the full-scale window into the dimly lit hall. It was empty, safe for a few knocked over containers and braces. The Grineer may have fled the ship, but they took the majority of their valueables with them. The upload finished without further interruption. The Rhino turned around, grabbed the core and stashed it away.

"With all the data files collected, we can now assemble the information we need. It is time to grab the prototype and make your way to extraction."

Silently, in the solitude of his existence, he nodded. There was no one to talk to, no one to see him. He was by himself, alone and unwelcome. For a moment, he felt the void again, gnawing at his sanity. The indifference to his own life past his current tasks, the lack of identity past his title reached out and tried to wrestle his self-control down. He stood in silence, frozen to the spot, as his inner demons woke up and laughed at him. His fist came down on the terminal, smashed into a series of relays and caused a shower of spark to wash over his arm. The demons scattered, shied away from his outburst of anger. A new waypoint popped up on his HUD, and he left the overseer's office, following the indicator.

"Heavy Infestation ahead - watch out."

He saw that the waypoints lead him through the series of hallways. The warrior stopped, grunted and threw himself into a sprint, back towards where he came from. Back into the room where he had acquired the last data package. With determination, he fired a few rounds on the run into the glass window. Like spiderwebs, fractures spread, weaking the structure. Then, he discharged the shield emitters again. The crackling energy crept through the thin cracks of his armour, burnt the blood and gore on his plates. The welcome blue light of the polarized emitters sheathed him in garments of raw Energy. And then, as it propelled him forward, he flung his form through the glass. A rain of a thousand diamonds, sparkling in the emergency light, accompanied his fall.

When he hit the ground, his instinctual motions caused him to roll over his shoulder. He slid over the metal panels, driven forward by his inertia, came back on his feet into a sprint, and bolted onwards. He wanted to get off of this ship, away from these twisted beings, wanted to get it over with. And he wanted to return Trinity to his side - for whatever reason that was important to him. The warrior thought, he would figure that out once the deed was done. Behind him, the roars and cries of his pursuers echoed through the spaceship. He paid no mind.

Following the adjusted waypoints, he dashed through empty hallways, all marked by the plague that had befallen the ship. No signs of Grineer, wherever he ran. He crossed a long bridge over a holding bay, many stories below him, sprinting as fast as the motivators of the warframe allowed. His energy levels were running low, with the generator barely being able to sustain the hunger of the multi-layered muscle support motors, yet he kept pushing. Every minute wasted on this ship would only attract more beasts, and would be another minute Trinity would have to spend in cryostasis.

Finally he reached the storage area, found the marked room and burst into it, his trusty rifle leveled. Yet, no enemies. Good. With hasty movements, he smashed his fist against the release button. Hissing, protesting, groaning, the air-tight cylinder moved upwards. The fog of cold and air moisture mixing rolled over the edges of the tank, spilled over the dge and bathed his plated feet ankle-high. The Rhino had no admiration for the subtle waves of nebula - he only had eyes for the small device in the middle. A small box, barely as large as his fist, stood there on the pedestal.

He reached for it, held his hand over it. The integrated digitizers in his right palm came to live and he closed his eyes, as the sudden flow of information that would later on be recompositioned into matter poured into his frame. Like a million voices whispering, his ears hummed with undefined noises, like waves crashing on a harsh reef, the sounds almost overtook his awareness. Suddenly, the stream stopped. When he opened his eyes again, the box was gone. What felt like an eternity for him was but a few seconds in all reality. He grunted, approvingly.

"Something is wrong. I am detecting another ship ... on collision course with the Harbinger, Tenno. They are coming in fast."

He blinked.

Edited by Ced23Ric
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~ Installment 8: Chapter One: Trinity of Two ~


"Void Space", by Maandersen.

setting the mood:

, by Mario M

He blinked. The way she had put those words, it was instantly clear to him that he was not to expect a surprise visit by friendly reinforcements, rather, something hostile. While the thoughts ran through his head, like confused bloodhounds thrown off a trail, his body already reacted. The genetic reproducer stashed, he bolted out of the room. His footsteps hit the ground hard, as if pounding the unfeeling metal would accelerate him further. The servoes whined in protest.

Once this engagement was over, his gear was in serious need of maintenance, he realized with a humourless smirk, as he dashed through hallways and rooms. According to the markings on the wall, the docking bay was about five minutes out. Five minutes of his time. He grunted, and kept up the pace. The warning indicators tried to persuade him otherwise, but after another thirty seconds of nagging complaints, he turned the low energy warnings off.

The warrior came into a new room, and as he entered, he immediately saw the hordes. A quick assessment numbered them in the higher twenties. They stumbled through the chamber, confused, aimless. Their bloated bodies made them wobble, blisters of puss coated them in shiny slime. He raised his rifle - no time to do this quietly or sneak by. They blocked his path. As his index finger caressed the trigger, the Braton came to life. She barked, and her song sent tracers of hatred towards these deformed shamblers.

The muzzle flash painted the room orange, and where the rounds hit true, tissue was ripped out of the Infested. Wet noises of impact joined the chorus of destruction he rained down on them. But the majority of them just flung themselves around and sprinted towards him, followed by their own additions to the symphony of fight. Screams, roars, footsteps on the ground. Like one mind, they leaped towards their new-found prey. He would have none of that.

Kneecaps shredded, a handful keeled over. Heads exploded, staggering their previous owners. But they kept moving, and so did the Rhino. He knew that his energy banks were depleted, so he had his weapons and fists to see this through, no charge or stomp would make this easier. It did not matter. The tools never mattered, only overcoming the obstacle. In his world, failure began with complaints about the circumstances. And failure was never an option.

Methodically, he mowed down what his rifle would give him, until she clicked, as if to apologize. In a fluid motion, he switched to his pistol, meeting the first that reached him with a shot to the face at pointblank range. The howl subsided, the body stumbled backwards, but did not drop. Two more shots ate away one leg, dropping the body to the floor. The next one jumped at him, and he rolled to his right. His feet touched a wall, and he contracted his legs, only to launch him over the next assaillant.

A few more pistol rounds took three more down, then his pistol excused itself just as his rifle had. Time to get personal. The Furaxi still had energy - and he became increasingly furious. The unison of weapon and mind awoke to a lethal dance in the middle of the decimated, angry mob. As one of the things inhaled air only to grow in size, he kicked out hard, sending it flying. Smashed against a wall, the bloated body exploded, sending bloody flesh shrapnel everywhere.

He did not have time to care. The Rhino was busy with the next target. His right fist impacted with the jaw of the walker, a perfectly executed uppercut. Bones crushed under the force of the blow, ripping the thing of its feet, snapping his skull off the spine. Then the Rhino felt a sharp pain in his back. Claws pierced his armour, ripping at him. He rolled around and clenched his teeth. Although the warframe's inherent ability to seal wounds took care of the superficial damage, the pain disoriented him for a split second. Another one jumped him, pushing him off his balance.

He fell on the ground, with the eight-eyed abomination on top of him. With a roar of his own, deep from the confines of his throat, he grabbed the disgusted face left and right and flipped the skull. A satisfying crunch indicated the internal damage done, and the tension that left the body ontop of him confirmed the effect. Tossing the leaper off of him, he struggled to get back on his feet. One more. Almost done. Staying focus was the priority. He grabbed the former Corpus crewman by the tattered remains of his space suit, pulled him in and pummeled his face three times. Lifeless in his grasp, he dropped the defunct being - now devoid of a face to speak of, leaving him as bloody pulp.

Then something hit the Harbinger. Something big. From ahead of him, a low frequency metallic noise, as if someone had smashed an empty fuel tanker with a sledgehammer, rolled over him, followed by tremors that knocked him off his feet. His arm flew up, the hand touched the ground, and with instinctual grace, he rolled over his torso, and got back up, barely losing momentum. A series of emergency ceiling lights burst and showered him in sparks. The room fell even darker, the shapes of the dead turning even more gruesome.

"Warning. The hull has been breached. Please remain civil and calm. There are enough escape pods for everyone."

The automated system of this ship reacted with the uncaring accuracy of any robot. An event occured, a prepared action followed. When the tremor subsided, the Rhino turned on his flashlight to pierce the darkness and kept on in his heavy-set jog. This sortie was becoming more and more of a nightmare. His body ached for rest and new warning monitors complained about his neglect. With a supressed moan of agony, he slapped a hypopoxy injector into his flank, and at least one of the monitor alerts subsided.

He had to keep going. The bay was not too far anymore. The Rhino crossed another room, traversed another bridge between the Harbinger's modules and saw what had happened. Before him, the hind half of the hangar was doted with fires, and portions of the ceiling had been blown out. Tubes of sorts had been jammed through the massive holes, and the air was thin. And through these holes, figures in the distance poured into the ship, towards a shuttle. His shuttle, he realized. He felt his heart sink.

Edited by Ced23Ric
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~ Installment 9: Chapter One: Trinity of Two ~


"Planets", by Someone Ghost 23

setting the mood:

, by Keeno

He felt his heart sink. The figures in the distance that he made out from his elevated position were not the bulky shape of armoured Grineer or the shambling groups of Infested. They moved wih detailed precious, in accurate lines, and fanned out. With stalking legs and small torsos and no arms to speak of, those clearly were walkers of the Corpus. Among them, a handful men in airtight suits scuttled towards the shuttle, guarded by their shield of robotic soldiers. With a mixture of caution and haste, they pressed forward across the hangar massive extent. He counted about forty of them, in total.

A quick glance at his HUD told him the story of a hundred odd rounds left for his rifle and two more magazines for the pistol, the energy banks had not miraculously charged either. His options were slim, and the sense of urgence gripped his pounding heart with cold fingers. They would find Trinity aboard the shuttle and kill her. He had to find a way to stop them. Gritting his teeth behind the faceplate, invisible to all, he figured the dimlit conditions of the partially malfunctioning emergency lights to be all he had in his favour. So he made his move.

He had to get there, fast and unseen, and get among their midst, where their firepower would only endanger them. He was fast. He could probably dodge a great deal of shots. Get to the ship, grab a new weapon from the arsenal, charge up, and smash them. The plan was about as sane as this entire mission had been so far. With all gear holstered and stowed away, the Rhino grabbed the guard rails in front of him, pulled his body over the ledge and fell down. His feet touched the ground for a splitsecond, and he closed his eyes.

And then, he remembered.

"Your body aches, because it tries to fight the ground." a firm voice said to him.

He responded. "Why is that so, sensei?"

"Because you never taught it otherwise. Forget your strength. You cannot win against the soil underneath your feet."

He got back up, rolling his left ankle. His body, clad in rough fabric without the adornment of colour, was built and strong, his heart was young and eager. But his mind was not at peace. It was a whirlwind of chaotic wishes, unclear tasks and the lack of direction. He found the shape of his teacher.

"How do I do this, then, sensei?"

"You need to avoid the fight. Dodge it like you dodge a strike. Use your momentum and divert it away from the resistance. You need to dance with the ground, embrace it, and evade its harsh punishment. When your feet touch the surface, anticipate it." his supervisor explained, in his monotone, soft voice.

"Give in."

The young warrior climbed on the wooden contraption again, held his balance and took a deep breath. When his master threw the heavy ball this time, he wrapped his arms around it, took it to his chest and fell backwards. Instead of slamming his feet down, he went into a crouch, softening his impact by a measureable amount. Then he keeled over backwards, driven by his momentum. Sheepishly, he hopped back on his feet.

"Your song has no melody, young warrior. You cannot end a tune with a single note, every tune has to be played out to be fluent. Instead of being forced to fall, fall yourself and make it voluntary." was the critique he received.

The old man added another sentence. "Be in control of your motions. Sing the song to the end."

With a smirk and a hint of cynicism, he talked back. "Your words make it sound quite easy, sensei."

"Don't be a fool." the other man said, with growing impatience woven into the tone.

"A good song is never easy, and singing it isn't, either. Mastering a song is the art of making hard things appear easy."

A pause, to let the words sink in. "Now, do it again."

And then, he opened his eyes again.

He crouched down in his fall, fell over forward, channeled the energy over his shoulder, put his left palm on the cold surface of the hangar floor and pushed himself up, into a halfway cartwheel. With almost artistic grace, defying the existance of the suit, the Rhino had dropped into the darkness of maintenance alcoves. a quick glance towards the shuttle reassured him that he had remained unnoticed. The thin air work in his favour, muffling the flow of sound. But that was only one part of the entire plan. He still had to cover a fair distance.

Putting himself into motion, he slid from wall recess to wall recess, conquered precious distance with every step. But before he made enough headway, the Corpus' behaviour changed. The humans had reached the Shuttle and hushed inside. The walkers suddenly stirred, like a pack of predators, and they ceased their guard patterns. They formed lines and hurried back towards the boarding tubes - without their human counterparts in tow. He glanced around to seek the source of their distraction, but before he found anything, the shuttle came to life.

He froze in place, as the realization of what was occurring before his eyes dawned on him. They were not here to kill Trinity, they were here to take her. If he had felt a pressing need before, it was now an almost overpowering sense of dread. They were going to take her. With wide eyes, he threw caution to the wind and bolted from his cover, but he was too late. The shuttle lifted off the hangars ground and sped towards an exit air hatch. There was no way he would be able to reach it in time. The only thing he could do was make a run for the slowly retracting boarding tunnels.

The last walker had already made its way up and inside. Surely, they would close within seconds. While he was still analysing the situation, his body already threw him forward into a headlong sprint, storming for the tube. A nearby crate was the boost he needed. Jumping on the pile of containers with long strides, he propelled himself up and forwards, with all the might he could muster, reaching for the end of the moving tube. His mind raced. If they would fly off now, he would lose her, for sure.

His right hand touched a handle protruding from the tunnel, and he closed his fingers around it like a vice.

Edited by Ced23Ric
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~ Installment 10: Intermission: Looking Down ~


"Shipyard", by an unknown artist

setting the mood:

, by KOAN Sound & Asa

The room was arranged in a circle, with one elevated seat in the middle, surrounded by monitors that processed data at seemingly arbitrary speed. The other eight seats around the center, fanned out like the segments of a fruit, looked similar, but with less displays. In each seat, women were laying, with their hands dancing over the inputs of massive consoles in front of them. Their heads were covered with large headgarbs. Out of the back of those, a myriad of cables went out and up, connected to more and more systems on the ceiling of the room.

They all monitored systems, and once in a while spooke gently, softly, as if in conversation with another person. Most of it were commands or situational updates. One of the seats stirred. The woman inside sighed. She pushed herself away from the console infront of her and lifted the visual interface goggles from her dried out, weary eyes.

"Lost contact with him. The Harbinger is showing signs of compromised integrity."

"Any identification on the other vessel?"

"Hazy. Corpus long range salvage ship, a tomb raider. Couldn't get a fix on it."

"We don't have forces in the area to intercept, Leash."

She grunted. "I am aware of that, your Highness."

"Then mark his soul. Send a sweeper team to the Harbinger, maybe they can extract his body."

Frustration boiled up in her. She was supposed to be the guardian angel of the Tenno, and while it was them who took the brunt of the load, it was her to make sure they came through alive. Losing an agent in the field was, given the scarcity of Tenno, a blow to the effort of the Lotus. And especially this one. She had guided him through many mission before, breached security ciphers to clear out his way and monitored his area of operation for enemy movements. While she never saw him, never heard him, he was her Rhino.

It was weird. It was not like she felt like a mother for him, but more as if he was a friend she had known for a long time. She had felt his eagerness to perform, his struggle against overwhelming odds, and she had seen the damage reports. The poor soul, sent out to kill and sabotage, had felt more pain than she ever wanted to even think about. And now, she had lost him, without knowing to whom. The Corpus raider must have had jammers of sorts, or spacial background noise had distorted the signal. Maybe the Harbinger's comm systems had been damaged by the Infestation. So many variables.

She detached herself from the system and got up, stretching her limbs despite the flaring up pain. With slow steps, she went outside of the room, into the briefing room that led into the chamber. Leash took a few deeper breaths and sat down on one of the seats surrounding the holo projector in the middle and buried her pale face in her hands. For a moment, she remained frozen in that position, shutting out the world to process the events, until footsteps disturbed her contemplation.

"I heard you lost two agents, Leash."

She looked up and saw a broadly built man, in combat attire. He smiled, but it wasn't demeaning.

"They are weapons, and weapons break. I know, you think differently. But this is how wars are won." He made a pause.

"Sacrifice is as much part of it as anything. Even the Tenno can fail."

The look she gave him was less than appreciative. "Harren, this Tenno has helped us capture three storage cruisers, destroyed a battleship en route to Omnicron base, freed seven of our operatives and brought us enough data to find a major Corpus manufacturing ring in the Kupier belt. He never asked for rest. He isn't a weapon. He is a warrior, with a sense of duty that demands nothing but respect." She hissed at him, angrily.

Harren backed off. "Bad timing. I understand. If you need anything, let me know."

Leash just snorted and stormed off. With her thoughts still trying to deny that she had lost two of her agents in one mission - in a mission to save the second one, to boot - she came into the rest area and grabbed a beverage. Cold water, filtrated, stale. Still, necessary, as her throat was dry and felt like roughed-up rock. She drank in huge gulps. As the cold liquid ran down her throat, she felt some relief. After all, Harren was right to an extent. This path of warfare was paved by the bodies of those at the tip of the spear. Every Tenno they found and woke up, they had to send into battle, and of course, they died.

The Lotus had been fighting for a long time now, and the Grineer were eager to get rid of the thorn in their sides, just as much as the Corpus. Without warriors like the Tenno, the Lotus would not have been in the position to make advances. They were just too few. But that only made the loss of agents in the field more severe. She stared at the wall in front of her, rubbed her eyes. It hurt to hold them open. A glance at a clock on a nearby display told her that she had been in the seat for over twelve hours, barely taking breaks. She felt tired, and the sensation of failure weighed her down even more.

With a few commands typed into her messenger, Leash sent a missive to her supervisor in the OpInfo chamber and signed out for her rest period. It would take a while to find her a new agent to support anyway, as the defrosting of Tennos wasn't to be rushed, to avoid complications. The amnesia they experienced didn't make it easy, anyway. It was remarkable how their sense of duty and loyalty survived the cold sleep, but their identities did not. Such poor, damned souls. The only thing in their life was the constant fight againt a machinery of enemies that never rested.

When she reached her quarters, Leash threw a quick ration pack into the heater and went for a shower. Her body ached from the long sitting, and her skin felt rubbery and alien to her. The hot water took the pain away, washed off the disgusting patina of sweat. She could feel her blood flow through her legs again. Leash became tired, as the events of the last time period all slowly came together and took their toll on her resilience. She made it to her bed, forgot about the food and passed out on the matress, covered by her towel.

When she woke back up, her messenger was beeping insistently.

Edited by Ced23Ric
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II - I

~ Installment 11: Chapter Two: Chasing Stars ~


"Ship at the Port", by an unknown artist

setting the mood:

, by Undersound (feat. Jane Thomas)

He was more than a weapon. He was a dagger in the night, pointed by an able body and mind. The cuts he left were well-placed, not hasty or wild flailings of a madman. No, he was a precise instrument that empolyed cunning and thought well before violence. He was called upon when a situation was delicate and retrival had to happen without raising suspicion. His work was the work of a meticulous planner, and his assignments were often over before his enemies knew what happened. He blended in. He moved unnoticed.

Loki was another field agent of the Lotus, and his mission was almost routine. Infiltrate the asteroid base unseen, acquire a dump of the recent communication logs and exfiltrate with the next shipment of ore. His timeframe was limited, and his exfiltration window was just as such. He moved quickly. Loki left the small observation chamber he had jumped down into on light feet, with his weapon holstered. No need to fight yet. He had no intention if he could help it.

With quick motions, he removed a fan from a vent and hopped into it. Over a man in height, he quickly journeyed through the winding maze of tunnels, all the time basking in the warm flow of air from the mining operations that made the entire base hum and vibrate in pulses. He ran past a few openings, overhearing Grineer chattering among themselves. Nothing of value. Nothing he did not know already. Nevertheless, even in passing, he memorized their words.

"Guardrails are for your own protection. Please respect."

The announcement made him smirk. For him, guardrails were means to hold onto, to launch himself across gaps and surfaces to land on after wide jumps. He certainly respected them, but not in the way the authority would like him to. In general, he found humour in many of the things happening around him. The way the guards patrolled, so filled with cold duty. How pointless their combat formations became if a Tenno jumped into their middle, messing with their training.

His feet carried him onwards, and he finally found the marking he was looking for. The communications station was below him, past the tiny storage room where the ventilation shaft ended. Crammed with storage containers and more airducts, it was quite the unsorted chaos. No wonder no one was in there, they would stumble. He slid down, after disabling the fan in the main tunnel. A quick look on his HUD gave away three hostiles in the room behind the door. He took a deep breath. Time to go to work.

He slammed his left palm on the panel that opened the door. With a hiss, the metal shields gave way and the communications suite greeted him with wild beeps, blinking lights and terminals next to more terminals. The opening of the door raises the suspicion of at least one marine. He blinked into the storage room. Loki had already vanished from view, wrapping himself in a field of light diversion. He dashed, with silent steps barely touchind the ground.

The guard made a few steps forward, grunting. His rifle raised, he eyeballed the chaotic chamber. Loki jumped, still invisible, and planted his feet on the wall, launched himself towards the Grineer. In flight, he drew his blade. Straight, darkened, with ornaments betraying its lethal purpose, it was a work of artisans. It was also a tool of fast demise. He rolled in his flight, and then, slammed the tip of the blade downwards onto the head of the soldier. The bone of the Grineer's skull protested briefly, then gave way.

Rolling over the massive shoulder and back armour, Loki did not check his handiwork twice. This one was already dropping to his knees, the sudden puncture ending his life swiftly. His invisibility still worked. He sprinted towards the next, and just as he was about to reach him, the field flickered. His veil peeled away from him, revealing his slender form to the naked eye. The marine in front of him snorted, and tried to whip him with his rifle. The Tenno dodged, diving down, driving the already bloodied blade upwards, through the jaw of his target.

The gurgled, cut-off scream was a mixture of confusion and anger. It took so long to understand when one did not see the blow coming. He twisted the blade andheard the bone crack as the metal pried it apart. Another thrust, and this guard's stare lost focus aswell. He could feel the muscles of his mark lose their tension and the body snk towards him. That was two Grineer down, one left standing.

The last one was smarter. He roared, then ran for the nearest intercomm interface. He would call reinforcements, Loki disagreed. He drew his trusty Bolto and fired a quick burst of three bolts. The first impacted with the calf of the Grineer, throwing off his stride. The second one hit his hand, piercing the glove and nailing it to his flank. The last one hit him in the knee, shattering the kneecap and making him lose control over his leg entirely. His momentum carried him forward, smashing on the carved rock floor.

Loki was over him before he rolled on his back, jumping upwards, the blade already poised above the soldier. As he came down, the point of his weapon punctured the backarmour, found the spine and lodged itself between two vertebreaes. Loki smiled. He janked the blade around, severing nerves and bone, then he plunged it deeper. The Grineer spat out blood, as his innards were stirred up. Loki set his right foot on the back of the felled marine and pulled the blade out. The Grineer still struggled. He slit his throat, with an offhand strike, then the Tenno went on with his buisness.

"Ignore your original objective. Copy all logs pertaining to the Harbinger of Renewal and return the assembled files. Extract as fast as you can, you have four minutes."

He curled his eyebrows underneath the mask. It wasnt unusual to receive adapted mission plans, but this mission was conducted under radio silence. If the Harbinger was important enough to break the rules of engagement and radio silence, something big was brewing up. He knew his Lotus operator for a long series of missions. This was highly irregular. But he also knew to fulfill his mission. Loki approached a terminal, connected the small cracking AI and swiftly defeated the security measures.

He copied the data and stashed it away. Loki smiled. Interesting times were upon him.

Edited by Ced23Ric
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  • 2 weeks later...


~ Installment 12: Chapter Two: Chasing Stars ~


"Piercing the Dark", by an unknown artist

setting the mood: Days to Come, by Seven Lions (feat. Fiora)

Interesting times were upon him. The previous exchange with the Lotus courier was brief - he passed the data along and was reassigned and out into the void within minutes. The vibrating engines of the small craft sung their song of persistance, every minute spent on their constant humming another stretch of space behind him. Loki sat in the small cargo hold, his legs crossed, his palms on the floor. He could feel the ship, as it told its tale of servitude. This shuttle was the bullet the Lotus had shot at their enemies. He was the payload.

When he rose from his contemplative position, the Tenno stretched. His lean body was covered in a maze of scars and pockmarks of bulletholes, here and there synthetic skin had replaced his own. He was, superficially, a wreck. But underneath the battered shell, finely tuned muscles still lived and strived. His bones had been broken more than once, patched back together and realigned. He did not feel any pain, or any vanity. There was no need for any of that. The past was behind him and his scarred tissue was the testament to his continous ability to survive.

Rarely did anyone ever see him outside of his suit. It was his true skin, as he saw it. Underneath was the machine making the skin work, but when he spent the hours of transit by himself, he escaped the comfort of the TCV armour. When he was vulnerable like this, he could shut out everything else and focus on his imperfections. Splitseconds he could be faster, angles of motion he could expand, acts of acrobatics he could drive further, make smoother - all that required the weakness of his unshelled form. And so he trained.

Repetition after repetition, Loki asked more and more of his muscles. He stretched his sinews, rolled his joints, bounced off the ground, ran up the walls. Every time his step was off, he caught himself again with a roll or a sidestep, only to repeat the cycle. Quenching thoughts, he hammered the motions into his muscle memory. Had he need enrichened the shuttle's atmosphere with more oxygen, he would have passed out a while ago. But this way, energy kept on flowing through his body, calories burning away.

His training regimen ended when the shuttle's autopilot alerted him to target proximity ETA of two hours. It was time to ready himself. He took a shower, washing the sweat and grime of his skin, and ate. Borderline tasteless, nutrional paste from the Lotus, meant to last for a long time and provide a balanced mix of necessities. Allowing himself a step away from protocol, he spiked his dinner with a shot of clear, harsh liquor - they called it "Engine Fluid No. 13". The raw, highly volatile liquid was rare, as the grain was in limited supply. It was labeled as a cleaning fluid, but almost everyone knew its true purpose. He had managed to get his hands on a flask the last time he was ... home.

He called it home, the Lotus HQ ship, but it was anything but. An ever-mobile, erratically moving starship with dampened energy signature, the cruiser was nothing but a clandestine base of operations without a fixed position. He did not even know where it was right now. No one but the highest ranks of the Matriarchs knew. Returning to HQ was something that rarely happened, as most item transitions happened via a chain of proxies. But when he had slain a Grineer General, the Matron saw it fit to call him in. The ceremony was simple, and was given a month of rest. An empty gesture, as he had to recover from his wounds anyway, but at least, they sugarcoated it.

Loki donned his suit again. Like oil clinging to metal, the armour connected with his skin. The semi-living inner lining filled out the imperfections, established links to the skin cells, enabling cell respiration. The suits analytical systems started monitoring his vital signs again and the communication uplink drove its tendrils back into his spine, directly connecting to his cortex via nerves. It felt like opening his eyes again. Of course, such mundane systems such as radios and personal communicators would work, but not as fast, as direct. The way this system worked, there was no delay. He was part of the network.

And while he was proud of his abilities, while he knew the Lotus sent him on missions lesser Tenno would not be sent on, especially not alone, he would not have it any other way. He appreciated the surveillance. He ravelled in the confirmation at the debriefing. The feats he pulled off, that was his true reward. His life was based on his addiction to adrenaline, and his strong sense of striving for perfection made sure he never overestimated himself - but also, never shied away from seemingly impossible tasks. Loki saw himself as such. The fight against his own limitations.

"ETA to mission objective: One hour. Updated intelligence suggests strong Corpus presence, with a full battalion of MOAs. Updated mission objective: Infiltrate the Trawler #213, establish a concealed position, implant provided software into reactor dampening systems upon exfiltration."

A data cartridge popped out of the terminal in the cockpit, glowing in an omnious green. As per usual protocol, he did not know what the software would do, in case of capture. Encrytped and jumbled, no one could find out its purpose within the next five odd years. By then, it would already have been executed or become inefficient anyway. Another weapon in his arsenal, as he saw it. A second cartridge popped up. He stopped. This gave him a pause, because usually, this meant further instructions. But none came, other than a simple label:

have equipped during mission.

He stowed both cartridges away in his suit and picked his weapons. Bolto pistol, a silenced Snipetron, his elegant Pangolin sword and a few spare ammo stripes. Looking out of the cockpit, he saw the shape of the Trawler #213 grow in size. It was time to get to work.

Edited by Ced23Ric
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  • 1 month later...

[size=6]II - III[/size]

[size=2]~ Installment 13: Chapter Two: Chasing Stars ~[/size]


[size=2]"Nebula", by an unknown artist

setting the mood:

, by Dabin & Koda[/size]

He cried out in pain, as the shield emitters cracked under the pressure of the void. Silence was all that came out of his mouth, yet, he could feel the vibrations of his larynx. The Rhino clenched his jaws shut, clawed into the screeching metal of the boarding tube and pulled himself inside of it. As his shield barriers bled their energy in the futile attempt to contain atmosphere and withstand the underpressure, he fought his way towards the hatch at the end of the tube. Warnings and alarms were beeping and blining in his HUD, making him aware of the limited time he had left to get inside - or die.

As he reached the hatch, he felt a subtle sensation of peace creep up on him, rising from deep inside. He felt lightheaded, and the urgence began to fade. The warrior still felt the pain, but somehow, it was almost alright with him. Almost. As his brain tried to come to terms with the trauma, one last impulse kept fighting on. The acceleration projectors flickered, as energy from his shields was diverted to them. He had one shot. With a spike of blue power flowing through him, the Rhino smashed into the airlock, cracked the seal and created an opening it. The forward forcefields protected him from crushing himself.

With hasty movement, he stuck his hands into the crack and pulled. The TCV armour screeched as molecules shifted around, accumulating over his biceps and assisting muscles. But it worked. The airlock opened up, just enough to let him in. He squeezed through, and the gate snapped shut again, followed by a secondary void seal. Angry hissing and crackling sounds in his ears greeted him, as the airlock pressurized with precious, recycled oxygen after he had slammed his left hand on the controls. The Rhino felt weak, spent and empty. The last adventure had been too close, even for his standards.

As the airlock opened, he pulled himself up from his slumped over position and stood in the preperation chamber. Spacesuits, helmets, plasma phase rifles and a box with grenades waited there for away teams to stock up. He checked his own gear and found his rifle badly damaged and probably out of comission. The Furaxi where still strapped over his hand, luckily, but the power monitor was as dark and lifeless. He grunted, and as he moved his tongue around, he tasted copper. In general, as his adrenalin calmed down, he started to feel the toll of his space endeavours.

Begrudingly, he grabbed a Corpus rifle, a handful of their grenades, some ammopacks and moved on. He was limping, he realized. What the Rhino needed, was rest. And he needed to reasses his mission, get a clear head on what was his goal and angle of approach. Without the Lotus operative, these things where up to him. And he felt alone, in a way that he could not describe. Sorting his priorities, he spotted a maintenance room to his right. Good enough for now. The Rhino walked in there, climbed over the humming generator and behind a wall of crates. He sat against the wall there and took off his faceplate. Cool, stale air washed over his sweaty, bloody face.

He ran a hand over his mouth and it came back bloody. His eyes were sore, as if someone had tried to push them in. He was in bad shape and he knew it. He could only trust his armour to either fix these problems or at least, support him enough to mitigate them. For now, he needed to get his mission back on track. The overarching goal was to exfiltrate Trinity and apply the Genetic Reproducer to her. To fulfill this goal, he needed to contact the Lotus for an exfil team. He also needed to secure either a shuttle or take temporary control of the vessel. To accomplish the former, he needed access to a Solar Rail Projector, probably found in the Comms Station of the ship. For the latter, he would need firepower and a hacker to control the door locks and elevators.

The Tenno nodded to himself. The latter was out of the question, clearly. He was in no way in the shapeto take such a fight to the enemy, nor did he have the electronical backup to trap them. His only chance was silent infiltration of the Comms Station, sending a message to the Lotus, then liberating a shuttle - maybe the shuttle they took her on! - and put some distance between them and the Corpus ship. A valid, if desperate plan, but in the end, most Tenno mission involved seemingly insurmountable odds. So, just another day in the office. He grinned a humourless smile as the phrase crossed his mind.

The faceplate in his hand was scratched and dirty, covered in burnt grime. He put it back on, regardless. The HUD was populated with alarms and failure readouts. With a sigh, he terminated them all and started a full system analysis. It did not look good. In the end, the diagnosis module had determined that the TCV aspect of the armour had shifted in its composition and was now rejecting the majority of his augmenting modules. There was some leftover compability with his shield projectors, giving him both access to the acceleration and the fortification systems. Yet, the entire suite of other modules was incompatible.

He was limping because the motivation assistor caused an allergic reaction, for a lack of a better term. He was bleeding on the inside, because the blood clotting support was working with opposite effect. He felt dizzy because the shifting armour was putting pressure on major blood vessels and did not follow his movements anymore. This and other systems were failing, most with detrimental effects. The awareness sensors, alerting him to hostile presences past sight and hearing, was now hindering him, like a blanket pulled over his head. The finely tuned suit was turning on him.

He needed to sort this. Again, mission assessment and analysis would help him. The goal was returning to combat effectiveness. The steps necessary were getting rid of the interfering modules. The TCV was part technology, but also part organical. And he had a knife. So, with swift motions, he began cutting away at the tissue, removing module after module. It felt sacriligious to stab and cut away at this suit that had protected him for so long, but at the same time, he remembered the TCV's true nature as a devastating plague. The suit fought back, attempting to heal what he damaged. But he kept digging. With every distorted module gone, he began to feel better. His senses cleared up.

Then, he took a deep breath and passed out.

Edited by Ced23Ric
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[size=6]II - IV[/size]

[size=2]~ Installment 14: Chapter Two: Chasing Stars ~[/size]


[size=2]"Core", from Deadspace.

setting the mood:

, by F.O.O.L.[/size]

The Loki sat in front of the second cartridge, contemplating his objective. Infiltration was what he excelled at, and hiding out as a blind passenger was nothing new. His eyes closed, he stared into the maelstrom of his mind. He had lost track of how many he had killed ever since the Lotus had called him out of cryostasis. He had lost counts of the missions. It was the Tenno's burden to carry out tasks they could not see as part of a greater whole, yet they had to believe they were. More than once, he had done things others would find deplorable, at best.

But there was no time for regrets, he concluded. They were a small force. Their warfare was indirect. Whereever a Tenno was sent, a signal was sent, too. No one is beyond the reach of the Lotus, and even behind armies, those oppressing the people of the Solar System had to fear a strike. It made him proud to be a part of such a clandestine organisation, and he would lie to deny the thrill of being outside of the system. A saner, less dominant fragment of his personality was not in agreement with what the rest of him did. Maybe consciousness. Maybe something weak. He had long learnt to ignore it.

The cartridge beeped once, then popped open. His inquisitive gaze found five syringes with differently coloured fluids sitting inside the small box, and a little disclaimer, tasking him to inject them in intervals of five minutes. A glance onto the cockpit's HUD told him he had 45 minutes until he would reach Trawler #213. Whatever the Lotus had planned, it was timed, and they did not tell him what it was. That was irregular. Highly so.

The Loki picked up the first injection and rammed it into his left arm, pushing the liquid into his body. As the needle penetrated the soft tissue on the inside of his arm, he felt pain. And as the substance ran into his arm, he felt fire. A cough, followed by a shiver was the first sign of the change. He blinked, in confusion, as an alert ran over his own displays behind the faceplate.

WARNING: TCV mutation becoming instable.

Before he could react, the suit tensed up, clenching down on his body. He gasped as the armour plates began to crush his chest, pressing the air out of his lungs. Before he could get up or even out of his suits, the tissue had contracted and he was curled up in a ball, involuntarily. His eyes began to water as the pressure rose, and for the first time in a long while, he started to panic. Did the Lotus intend to kill him? Did he go too far and now they had to get rid of him? Thoughts raced through his mind.

Then, the TCV tissue erupted. Tendrils of cancerous pseudoflesh burst out of his chest, only to flail around in the air. His eyes widened in horror as the living part of his suit seemingly came to sentience. Only then he realized that it wasn't tendrils emerging, it was parts being dragged out of his armour. A minuscule chip, ripped out by the very fabric around him, fell out of one of the tendrils grasps. Another one followed, and his proximity sensors went dark. According to his HUD, the shield frequency modulator was gone as the first element. Then, the growth subsided and reverted, and so did the pressure.

With shaky movements, he sat back up and stared at the rejected systems on the floor. They twitched, as residual TCV tissue destroyed them on molecular level. His confusion was so profound, he almost missed the blinking light on the cartridge. He looked up. Five minutes had passed. With cautious hands, he picked up the next injection, unsure if he was to follow through or deny and object. Crushing the little syringe right there, in his palm, and jettison the others into space. But then, he jammed the next dose into his other arm. His HUD beeped, displaying a new message.

SYSTEM: Repatterning LIGHT DIFFUSION module. Please wait.

That was his stealth. The invisibility that made him such a great infiltrator. He waited, as instructed.

SYSTEM: Repatterning complete.

With slight dismay and dread, he activated the TCV armour, calling upon the light diffusion - and instantly realized the change. The amount of energy bank drain was almost cut in half. He waited for the cloak to lift, but after what he had deemed the right amount of time had passed, he was still not back in the visible spectrum of light. The duration had doubled, too. Filled with more confidence, he grabbed the next syringe instantly, as the cartridge blinked again, at the ten minute mark. Without much hesitation this time around, he injected the agent into another suitable spot: his lower abdomen.

As he waited for the effect to kick in, time passed by. At the fifteen minute mark, nothing had happened. The Loki grabbed the next syringe, and shot the next dose into his body, only to be met with the same absence of any tangible sensation other than the prick of the needle. At the last marker, the last fluid rested in his hand. Dutifully, slightly irritated and overall still confused, he injected this load too. Still questioning the reason behind all this, he again did not feel any changes, did not see any changes, either.

He also did not feel his body tilt over and hit the floor of the shuttle. He stopped feeling anything and stared at the roof of the shuttle, frozen in the moment, as if someone had paused him. Stuck in the situation, unable to move or sense his own situation, the shuttle carried on its designated pat, piercing the dark of space with the saturated green of vectorized plasma jets as a trail. The Loki was unaware of all of that.

SYSTEM: Repatterning TCV INTERFACE module. Please wait.

He waited, without knowing it.

Edited by Ced23Ric
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  • 1 month later...

II - V
~ Installment 15: Chapter Two: Chasing Stars ~
"Surface", from unknown artist.
setting the mood:

, by AZEDIA.


When he came back to, the Rhino felt weak, drained, and out of place. His armoured palms pushed his massive frame up from the ground. Sharp pain flared up from his arm, where his body was still injured, underneath the tissue that had formed a tight seal again. He grunted, but got back on his feet. There were more important things at hand, more pressing issues to deal with. First of all, he needed to find out for how long he had been unconscious. A quick glance at the dimly lit display close to the door informed him that almost a standard day had passed.


Twenty hours. The ship could be anywhere now. The Tenno tapped the side of this helmet, and subsections of his HUD flickered into existence. His shield capacitors were online, provided a base layer of protection. His vital signs were reduced, but stable. Out of his combat modules, the Charge projector and the Skin overdrive were operational. Other modules were inert or outright ripped out. He remembered that part and clenched his jaws together. With aching motions, he accessed his operational inventory and loaded up the Genetic Reproducer.


Holding out his palm, the Grineer tool manifested again, as stored data and mass were recombined by the ingenious null space storage device. The play of colours and energy bonding to form a solid object always fascinated him. It was almost disappointing to look upon the nigh-on mundane device that fell into his hand as the process was completed. But then again, the Grineer were no artisans, but soldiers. He shrugged, to himself, then the Rhino activated the contraption. His doubts, he had to swallow. Could not afford them.


With seeking tendrils, the handheld device whirred to life. He deactivated the automated seals and defense properties of his suit, then he pressed the thing on his sternum. Instantly, he felt another wave of discomfort, as the thing probed his chest plate only to dig through the chinks, and dug into his flesh. But the discomfort was brief. The Tenno sat down on a crate and could feel the device showering energy into his body, warmth and restorative radiation at work.


When the process was over, his vital signs were back where they belonged, and the device was back in his palm, inert as before. Quickly, he stashed it back into nullspace, stretched and inspected his improvised gear again. The Corpus rifle was in decent condition, and a handful of grenades for emergencies should be enough to get through this ship. He would have to be stealthy, though - with such diminished options, any overly aggressive action was not an option for him. Not if he wanted to survive and accomplish his goal of finding Trinity, fixing her damage and returning to base.


When he stepped outside of the maintenance room, he was met with darkness, only interrupted by the far and in between light of standby light sources. The ship seemed silent, idle. Cautiously, he made his way down the hall way, and when he reached the door, he realized that the systems were deactivated. Not locked, not standby - they were simply off. With a grunt, he looked around, found a ventilation shaft overhead and made his way up there. With groing impatience, he ripped the grid out of the frame, pulled himself up and dug deeper into the arteries of the ship.


Eventually, after several repetitions of what he had encountered before, he made it to the hangar bay. The ship seemed dormant, except for automated systems and routines running by themselves. It was in the bay that he saw the first non-robotic movement. A group of five guards was about to board an atmospherical shuttle - and they seemed to be the only other Corpus in the entire hangar. From their body language, he could sense that they were relaxed. Something in the back of his head grew weary and bursted forward.


The ship had landed and they abandoned it. Shore leave, maybe. Trinity might be gone. Those guards could be his last lead before he would lose the trail. Maybe. Time ran out. That was when he made a decision. Gripping the rifle harder, he bolted from his observation point, ran towards a chest and leaped ontop of it, in full sprint. His heavy steps alarmed the guards. They spun around and froze for a splitsecond, until the first one got the right idea.


"Reh sebulba!", he exclaimed.


Three rifles raised and drew a bead on him, while the other two pulled their electroprods from their belts. Crackling, lightning erupted from the tips sheated the battons. Then he was among them. Like a living projectile, he launched himself into their midst, slamming into two of the Corpus. When he impacted with the shuttle, he heard their body crush fro mthe applied force. No time to verify, he had to be fast. As he got back up, he already pulled the trigger, firing three energized bolts at one of the two gunmen. They retaliated, backing off, but his shield ate the shots up.


The second prod-carrier grunted something, and for a second, it sounded as if he was reassuring his squadmates that he would handle the situation. The Rhino's first target succumbed to the fire, as it penetrated his helmet and cooked his head inside the square box. Rushing forward, he slammed the riflebutt into the lower abdomen of the batton-wielder, fired at the remaining Crewman and silenced him, too. The Tenno growled, as anger and haste mingled in his mind.


He turned back to the prodding Corpus and yanked the batton out of his hand. Holding it with left, he grabbed the man with his right, dragging him across the floor until he slammed him on a nearby crate.


"I want answers. Where did they take the cryopod." was his question. The faceplate muffled it, but his anger was palpable.

"Droh narnaragh, t'keh verin da'hral! Leysa 'n tehr!" the Crewman threw back at him.

Rhino looked at him, then back at the shuttle.

"It is in the transfer logs, isn't it?" He said, a lot more calm.

The Crewman tensed up. "Ghe lech. Min'sa!"

"What I thought."


He raised the prod to end this interrogation, but something caught his eye in his periphery. Up and left, something was moving on the raised parapet, and before he could identify it, he saw the thing - no, person! - jump over the guard rails, towards him. Easily twenty metres off the ground. His grip left the Crewman. Then, light erupted from the intruder, and right in front of the Rhino, Loki manifested.


"She said, you need help."


Behind him, the Crewman suddenly found himself a good fifteen meters above the ground, with only the hard, uncompromising steel floor of the hangar bay waiting for him. A shocked gasp erupted, muffled by the helmet. As he hit the ground, breaking multiple bones, the Rhino would have bet his handful of grenades that this Tenno was smiling underneath his faceplate.

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