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[Fanfiction] When The Bullets Stop...


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This is a story I started on a whim. It's mostly done as a writing exercise, but I figured I may as well post it, just to see what people think. I do plan on adding more, hopefully fairly quickly, if my clan can keep me working.

 

So, without further ado, I present the story of a warrior who suddenly, has another reason for fighting.

 

 

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“Jill, move!” I shouted, pouring a long burst of Braton fire into the Grineer lancer behind me. He jerked, the armor plates on his chest buckling under the storm of lead, then fell backwards with a scream. The pounding of heavy feet behind his corpse alerted me to the squad around the corner.

 

 

“I’m moving!” the female behind me shouted, sounding slightly panicked. It was her first mission, and she doubtlessly had not been prepared for the sheer physical work and terror that was combat. The Mag warframe she wore had powerful shields, but thin armor, allowing her to move slightly easier than me. Nevertheless, she was clearly winded and nearly terrorified.

 

 

“Tenno, extraction is ahead. Your fighters have burned through the hull in this room. Marking it now,” the voice of the Lotus spoke in my ear. She was personally overseeing this operation, as it was critical to the war effort. While the rest of my clan distracted the Grineer and Corpus by fighting for both sides, we two had been sent to recover the locations of the Tenno cyropods the Corpus discovered.

 

 

Jill ran ahead of me, clutching the data mass to her chest. Her Latron hung on her back, nearly knocked off repeatedly by the frantic motion of her hips. I would have to show her how to sling the longer barreled rifle higher, or she’d lose it in a fight. Beneath the rifle her dark dagger hung, solidly in place above the shelf caused by her rear. She carried a Viper on her hip, rather far back I thought. Her hand would have to drop much further than if she carried it forward.

 

 

A burst of Grakata fire behind me snapped me back to reality. I spun, still sprinting forward, and snapped off a quick burst. The Lancer jumped back into cover, cursing in it’s strange language. Ahead of me, Jill let out a shriek.

 

I spun back around, just in time to see her flying towards me from the impact of the large riot shield held by the Grineer in front of her. I ducked under her flying body, pushing my legs forward and sliding beneath the shield, still held out from his body. I pushed up, and spun in place, drawing my Skana and holstering my rifle.

 

There was a sickening slice, a spurt of blood, and a klang. The Grineer crumpled forward, it’s head slowly rolling next to it. I stepped forward, swung my blade, and caught the head with the flat of it. It flew forward, like a golf ball, and bounced off a crate a ballista was hiding behind. She screamed and flinched out of cover.

 

My hand dropped to the Lato on my left hip, and I raised it, snapping off a double tap. The woman tumbled backward, blood spurting, the Vulkar in her hands clanging against the floor. Jill had staggered to her feet by this point, and I gestured towards the extraction room.

 

She nodded and ran, as I turned and followed her. I kept my Lato and Skana out, ready for trouble. Veteran Tenno could hold a pistol and the data mass, but Jill was too afraid she’d drop it, and depended on me to defend her. Around a corner ahead, a Marine stepped out of cover. His Strun could tear through even a Rhino’s shields at point blank, and Jill was heading straight for him.

 

I did the only thing I could. I dived forward, waving my left hand and spreading a thick cloud of smoke. The energy systems in my Warframe activated, tearing a hole in space and ripping me through it. I dove onto the Marine, tackling him backward. The smoke from the transfer filled the air around us as I ripped his shotgun away, spun it around, and held the trigger.

 

 

The smoke slowly drifted up and away. The Marine lay where he fell, his entire head and part of his upper chest simply gone. A rapidly spreading pool of blood spread across the floor, darkened by the smoke hanging above it. I slowly rose to my feet, the Strun still held in my hands. Jill ran past me, slipping slightly in the blood.

 

I followed her into the room where our fighters were docked. Jill was hunched over just inside the door, chest heaving, barely able to speak. I turned and covered the doorway while she recovered. The sight of her bending over intrigued me, and I decided on a nickname for her right there.

 

“Come on, Ounce,” I said, tossing the shotgun to the side. “We can breathe when we get home.” She raised her head, clearly glaring at me, but I merely chuckled and strode down the stairs to the left. The emergency airlocks within were opened, but our fighters had sealed over them, containing the atmosphere of the room.

 

Jill followed, holding the data mass and still gasping slightly. I scanned the room as she walked towards her pod. I was just in time to catch a flash and a crack. Jill cried out, dropping forward and sprawling face down on the steel floor.

 

I instantly snapped into reaction mode. My eyes tracked the source of the shot, even as my feet moved my body towards it. Time seemed to slow, moving in flashes of intense speed. The room flashed by in a blur, then time froze as I stared into the eyes of the Ballista ahead of me. Her Vulkar still smoked. I saw the dawning fear in her eyes as I moved.

 

 

A flash again, and I was upon her. My hand grasped the barrel of the Vulkar, my leg snapped up and kicked her back, and my mouth gritted in pure rage. She collapsed backwards, and crawled back, screaming and pleading in terror. I reversed the Vulkar and shoved it downward like a spear. The barrel entered her eye socket, turning her eye into mush, and shoving through to her brain.

 

She died nearly instantly, as the muzzle turned her brain into stew, but it wasn’t enough. I put my foot on her chest and wrenched the rifle up. There was a crack, and her head split open at the eye sockets. The scene was obscured by blood and gore, but the crack echoed through the room. The barrel fell onto the floor, and I dropped it, stepping back and drawing my Latos. I calmly put four rounds into the already destroy mess below, then turned and holstered them.

 

Jill still lay splayed out, her helmet dented deeply. The round had cleanly pierced her shields and slammed into the armor beneath. I gently rolled her over, noticing as I did so that my hands were stained with blood, and checked her face plate. It was cracked deeply, with chips falling out. The swirl of energy normally beneath it, upon which her HUD was projected, was gone.

 

Even the Warframes could only heal so much, and being spaced was not on the list. If I took her into the fighters, she’d die. But I couldn't leave her here. So I did the only thing that made less sense than leaving her. I picked her up, slung her over my shoulder, and started back up the stairs. The Grineer had escape ball above, in lockers.

 

Calling them balls was rather misleading. They were essentially inflatable bags, made of the same material as space suits, with a small tank of pressurized air, and a parachute built into the outer layer of the bag. The absolute cheapest way to escape a dying ship.

 

I carefully wrapped it around Ounce, as I had decided to call her, and climbed in myself. If push came to shove, I was fairly certain I could wrap the cloth around her head and protect her. Of course, to do so would be to expose myself to the full friction of reentry, but I couldn't let a Tenno die. Especially one so young.

 

I pushed off the lockers, aiming for the air lock door, and pulled my legs inside the pod, sealing it from within. The compressed air system instantly kicked in, filling up the pod and allowing quite a bit of room. It was designed for the large Grineer, and though I wasn't small, I wasn't nearly as large as they were. Jill was shorter than me and easily fit against the curve of the sphere. I guessed it to be about 5 feet diameter.

 

I sent a mental command to my fighter, and it released the docking clamps. The room instantly depressurized, sucking the pod outside, and into hard vacuum. The sack had no windows, but I had sensors on the suit. They scanned the outside of the pod, and revealed no major obstacles between us and the planet, at least as far as they could see.

 

Jill’s ship, linked to mine before the mission, also detached, and the wave from it’s thrusters forced us further away from the Grineer cruiser, providing more safety on the way down. They were AI controlled, and headed for our clan’s dojo.

 

 

They never made it. The point blank defence weapons on the cruiser fired, and the ships, on AI, couldn't avoid it. They burst apart in a spray of shrapnel, cutting off our communications with our allies. The short range coms in our suits would never reach through the depths of space.

 

We were alone.

 

 

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Edited by KF5AQX
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Well, guess this story is fairly popular for a first time. So, have the next chapter!

 

 

 

 
The sphere tumbled gently, though I could tell it was being pulled in towards the planet below. Ounce floated through the orb, softly bouncing off the sides on occasion. I was occupied with holding both her dark dagger and my Skana against my chest, covering any sharp edged. I wasn’t about to let the orb be punctured by a careless, uncovered blade.
 
We had been falling for about four minutes so far. My sensors couldn't’ detect the ground yet, and we had passed outside their range to the Grineer ships about two minutes ago. I didn’t know how long it would take before we landed, so I checked on Ounce one more time, than settled against the curve of the ball to wait.
 
My eyes grew heavy inside the helmet of my Ash warframe, and I was tempted to take it off and sleep. But I knew that Ounce needed me to protect her if the ball failed. I couldn’t sleep, so I had to move. Still carefully cradling the weapons against my chest, I slowly explored our home for the next several hours.
 
It was plain, but seemed functional. There were no windows or flaps, but I did find the gas tank inlet valve. I could possibly rig a mask for Ounce if I had time, allowing her to breathe from the tank. The rest of the ball was plain and empty, with no apparent seams or seals anywhere, though a pair of straps hung from above me. I shrugged and examined Ounce again.
 
I had taken her helmet off to check her head. While it hadn’t penetrated the skin, she had a large bruise, and quite likely a cracked skull. She hadn’t awoken, though she was showing some signs of it. Her eyes were fluttering under her lids, and she kep flinching in her sleep.
 
I carefully maneuvered her to the straps nearby and hooked her in. She hung limply, but I could tell by the rise and fall of her chest that she was still breathing, and her pulse was strong. With her safely settled, I attempted to calm my mind and meditate. The Skana was inserted under my arm, with the tip safely held in my palm, and the dagger was cradled against my chest and locked in place magnetically.
 
 
Though it took far longer than normal, I eventually managed to calm my mind enough to enter a trance. Time passed quickly, though my mind was working constantly. I didn’t know what we were falling into, or how we’d get out. Or hell, even IF we’d get out.
 
I was awoken from my chance by a strange beeping. It seemed to be coming from the air tank, outside the ball. I frowned, and rose to my feet, realizing as I did so that my sensors were still reading nothing. I slowly crawled to the tank, still weightless, and examined it.
 
 
The beeping was fairly loud, which was strange, since we should have been in a vacuum. Than I heard a ping, and a loud snapping sound. The ball jerked up, slamming my knees into my chest, and causing me to drop the dark dagger, and nearly impale myself on the Skana.
 
The blade pinwheeled, then pierced the fabric, easily slicing through it and tumbling away. I lunged for Ounce, intending to wrap the fabric around her head, when I realized the air wasn’t gone. In fact, it was rushing in.
 
I looked out the rip, and saw a flash of black and brown through it. We were in the atmosphere, far sooner than I’d expected. I grabbed onto Ounce and wrapped my arm around her, slotting the Skana onto my back. If we were inside the planet’s atmosphere, the parachute should have opened, which explained the sudden jerk.
 
Ounce was still out of it, so I carefully tried to adjust myself so I could hold onto her more securely. The rip was growing all the time, the fabric not designed to handled the wind of a free fall.
 
I wrapped both arms around Ounce, hugging her and looping my arms through the straps. So long as the cords didn’t tear out, we should make it to the ground alright. I steeled myself for the coming impact, and waited.
 
I watched the rip as it grew, ever wider. In short order it was almost splitting the pod in half, and I was able to see all around us. The planet was filthy, a horror of steel and iron. Though it had one been lush and fertile, it was now a super city, full of death and vermin. We were floating above the surface of Earth, the Grineer home world.
 
I eyed the rip carefully. I thought it wouldn’t make it far enough around to bisect the pod and drop us, but I wasn’t sure. I loosened my left arm from around Ounce, and twisted, trying to see the other end of the rip more clearly.
 
The sudden motion caused the rip to jerk open another inch, and I froze, one arm hanging onto Ounce. Above, I heard a rhythmic twanging, and we dropped a few feet in the air, than began to descend more rapidly. The cords were beginning to snap.
 
I glanced down in despair. We were still too high up to survive. Though I possibly could, in my Warframe, Ounce wouldn’t survive the impact. The Warframe... I weighed nearly 500 pounds in full armor, not counting the weight of my weapons and ammo. If I dropped, the parachute could probably support Jill’s weight until she hit the ground. I hoped.
 
I looked up, just in time to see the rip move another half inch, and another cord to snap. That proved it. I couldn’t stay, not if I wanted Ounce to survive the landing. I sighed, placed a waypoint where the parachute was headed, and dropped.
 
 
The wind whistled past me as I fell, instinctively spreading out into an X and controlling my fall. My acrobatics training came in handy here, allowing me to keep my balance in free fall. But all the training in the world wouldn’t let me survive the impact, unless I did something to change it.
 
I grabbed my Skana and Braton, holding them together in a bundle, then added the Latos to the mix. They were very sturdy weapons, and should handle the impact fine. I tucked my head and rolled forward, angling down to a head first posture. I scanned the area below, hoping to find water or a pile of sand, anything soft. There was none.
 
So I went for second best. There was a slope, made by the burned out floor of a building tipping sideways and collapsing. It looked like it was held together mostly by the rubble below it, but it would have to do. I angled towards it, noting that the sensors in my helmet placed me at 800 feet high.
 
I waited until I got to 200, then released the bundle of weapons and rolled forward, landing on the top of the slope on my back, curled into a ball. I tumbled down it, bouncing off every rock and ridge on the way down it seemed, then slammed into a pile of gravel at the bottom.
 
It nearly buried me, pouring rocks and rubble down atop me. I lay there, curled up, stunned, every bone in my body hurting. The Warframe kicked in, injecting a powerful painkiller. It was a special blend, designed for my unique genes and virus strain. It would make pain vanish, without numbing my limbs or fogging my mind.
 
Uncurling was difficult, with rocks atop me and on all sides of me. I slowly rose to my feet, rubble cascading around me, and scanned the area. A burned out, destroyed housing complex, by the looks of things. I checked my HUD, seeing a marker for my weapons across the block, and started for them.
 
The street was littered with papers and gravel, and was full of cracks. I quickly dropped down, crossed the street in a few long strides, and scaled the wall on the other side. It was also full of cracks, with many bricks missing, allowing an easy climb. 
 
I climbed onto the roof, and saw my weapons scattered across it. I gathered them, and examined them. They were all in working order, though the grip of one of the Latos was slightly chipped, and the Skana’s pomel had a deep scratch in it. The Braton appeared undamaged, as I expected. Mass produced though they were, the Corpus made solid weapons.
 
I slotted them onto their respective holders, and turned to the way point I had placed, where I hoped the parachute had gone down. It was a fair distance away, at least fifteen blocks. I sighed, dusted my hands off, and leaped off the building, sprinting down the street.
 
A burned out car was blocking my way, and as I vaulted over it I noticed a flash of movement from an alley nearby. I didn’t slow, but did note that I wasn’t alone. Though unseen, there were others here. And I would surely have to face them soon.
 
I decided to lose this group, though I was sure others would be ahead. I leaped to a nearby building, caught a handhold, and swung upward. Catching a window ledge, I pulled myself up, then leaped again, scaling the roof. The buildings were all more or less the same height, which made traveling them easy.
 
Due to my direct route, I had soon traveled nearly 10 blocks, and I slowed down slightly, sure that I had left whatever it was behind me. I crested a roof, and saw a figure standing nearby. His back was turned, and I easily avoided him, but it spooked me, and I kept more careful watch.
 
Before long, I noticed figures everywhere on rooftops, seemingly watching for something. I slipped past easily, teleporting where needed, and soon reached the highest building in the general area. I perched on the edge of the roof, and examined the area, searching for the parachute.
 
There. A white blotch in the middle of a sea of black asphalt. And around it, figures swarmed. I wasn’t the first one there. And now Jill was in mortal danger. I dived off the roof, tearing a hole in space, and leaped into the middle of the group, standing over Jill.
 
I ejected my arm blades with a click, dropping into a combat crouch in the same motion.
 
“The next one to touch her, dies.”
 
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Edited by KF5AQX
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Sure hope it turns out well. I've got most of the story frame work planned for probably another ten or fifteen chapters, and then, I have no idea where it's gonna go.

 

Might just use RNG to figure out, since it's Warframe.

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Sure hope it turns out well. I've got most of the story frame work planned for probably another ten or fifteen chapters, and then, I have no idea where it's gonna go.

 

Might just use RNG to figure out, since it's Warframe.

 

That's part of the fun.  If the story flows, at a certain point it will practically guide itself to the end, with the writer just nudging it in his/her desired direction.

 

That said, this was a good, interesting read.  I look forward to seeing where you're going with this.

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I admit, I've already seen that in this one. The original plan was for Ash to be the first to find her, and then they attract attention, but he basically said "Screw this, I wanna jump in."

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Sorry about not posting yesterday. The event rewards required leveling. As an apology, have a double post, with the first one now, and the second one later tonight.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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The woman I landed in front of screamed and staggered back, falling over awkwardly. She was small, and skinny, as if she had lived a rough life. The crowd of figures around us froze, though in terror or curiosity I couldn’t tell. One figure caught my eye.
 
A huge, hulking beast of a man, he stood easily two feet taller than the nearest male. My mind instantly recognized him.
 
“Grineer!” I hissed, pulling my left hand back to my chest and focusing the energy in my arm to my palm. With a blast of smoke, a pair of solid black, tri-pronged disks spawned in my hand. I flung them forward, covering the movement with a blast of smoke.
 
The Grineer moved faster than I’d ever seen one move, diving backward and landing on his back. The disks, though homing, couldn’t track him, and slammed into the ground, cracking the asphalt and exploding into smoke.
 
He didn’t even try to get to his feet, instead laying on the ground and raising his hands.
 
“I give up,” he said, in nearly perfect Tenno. I was about to respond when the woman I startled suddenly rose to her feet and started towards me, babbling something in the rough language of the Grineer. I drew my Braton and shifted my aim towards her, stopping her dead in her tracks.
 
“She says your friend is hurt,” the Grineer translated. “She wants to help.”
 
“Like hell,” I muttered under my breath. I squeezed off a single shot, sparking it off the asphalt next to the woman’s foot. It went exactly where I wanted it to go, but the woman screamed, and dropped to her knees, sobbing and babbling. 
 
I was amazed at the response, but before I could react, a small figure raced out of the surrounding crowd and leaped between me and the woman. A small shard of glass glinted in its hand, held like a knife.
 
“Don’t hurt my mom!” a young voice shouted, cracking in the middle of the sentence. The boy couldn’t have been older than thirteen. I raised the Braton and lined it up with his head, but something in his eyes stopped me. There was no fear there, only defiance. He was determined not to let me hurt his mother.
 
Then Ounce shifted behind me. Still keeping my rifle trained on the boy, I looked at her.
 
“Are you alright?” I asked in our native langage. She groaned and shook her head slowly.
 
“Head... Hurts...” she said weakly. I holstered my Braton, drawing my left Lato with the other hand, and kept it trained on the crowd in general. Kneeling next to Ounce, I used my right hand to feel for a pulse.
 
It was there, but weak. She was slowly lapsing in and out of awareness. I slowly rose to my feet and drew my second pistol, aiming it alongside the first one.
 
“All of you, leave, or I will kill you all,” I said. The boy snarled, and the old man sighed.
 
“Please,” he said, “Let us help her. We have surgeons, they can help, I promise. We mean you no harm.” I shifted my aim to him, noticing as I did so the Hind battle rifle strapped to his back.
 
“No,” I said clearly, and pulled the triggers. My guns jerked down, and the rounds impacted the asphalt at my feet. I spun around, expecting to see someone behind me, only to see Ounce with her hand raised. Though the helmet was missing, her Warframe was still operational, and she had threw off my aim with magnetism.
 
“What are you doing?!” I demanded, angry. She didn't respond, merely slumping back against the ground again. I cursed and spun back around, only to feel an impact on my legs in mid movement. Ounce had kicked my legs.
 
It wasn't a hard fall, especially not compared to the one I took an hour ago, but it was so unexpected I didn't react at first. Why was Ounce acting like this? I flipped to my feet, after lying on the ground for a few seconds, only to feel a force on my hands again. This time it was far stronger, and actually yanked the weapons from my hands, throwing them next to her.
 
I drew my Braton, holding it tightly, and aimed it at her.
 
“Stand. Down,” I said, every word enunciated. “You are acting in the manner of a rogue, and will be treated as such.”’
 
“Please,” she said softly, just on the edge of hearing, “They were helping me before you got here.” I glanced at the Grineer with the Hind, just in time to see him nod.
 
“The women are very skilled at healing. We can help her. Please, trust us,” he said, still holding his hands in the air. Ounce collapsed backwards, and the women around us shuffled forward, as if afraid I would attack. I slowly lowered my rifle and let them advance, and more of them came from the crowd.
 
I turned to the old man, who had risen to his feet, and gestured with my Braton.
 
“Lose the Hind, and I’ll be more inclined to trust you,” I said. He nodded and, using two fingers, removed the rifle, then tossed it at me. I picked it up and slotted it onto my own back, then lowered my Braton and watched the women. 
 
They fussed around Ounce, keeping her awake, giving her pain killers, and adding padding around her. After nearly twenty minutes of this, they gestured to some of the boys in the crowd, and they came forward with a sling. I didn’t let any of them touch her, lifting her onto the sling myself, though I had to let them help carry her.
 
The old man led the way, and we soon arrived at a gate, built into the side of a low warehouse. He opened the doors, and we went though. He led us through a gateway built inside the warehouse, and we exited into a large, open space. The buildings around us had basic barricades built between them, with walkways and guardhouses built atop that. It looked like an ancient castle or fort, built mostly out of rubble and scrap.
 
“The med-bay is this way,” the Grineer said, pointing towards a two story building on the wall. He led us to it, and I and the boy helping me carried Ounce up the stairs and into a small room. A window was on one wall, and a small bed sat in the middle, pushed up to a wall. Chairs were arrayed around the walls.
 
I carefully lifted Ounce into the bed, then snapped my Lato up as a woman pushed through the door. She froze, and I lowered my weapon.
 
“We will need time to prep the operation room. We can’t have any extra stress on the patient while we wait. Please leave, sir,” she said, in the ancient language English. Though I could understand it, as it had still been in fairly wide spread use when I was first put into cyro sleep, I was amazed she could. I nodded slowly, and turned to leave, when another voice spoke from outside the door.
 
“Tenno, I request you leave your weapons here. The people of this camp are not used to open fire arms, and will be panicked by the sight of them,” the Grineer soldier said from outside.
 
“If you try to take my weapons, I’ll leave your corpse here in their place,” I snarled. He sighed and shook his head.
 
“I will let you keep a Lato, but please. The children will be terrified by you enough as is.”
 
I studied his stance, and realized that despite his apparent calmness, he was tense and coiled for battle. Remembering how fast he moved before, and noticing the Kraken pistol strapped to his hip, I made a decision.
 
“Fine. For now,” I hissed, removing my Braton and placing it next to the bed. “I’m keeping the Skana. And don’t try to use the rifle. It’s bio locked to me alone. Anyone else tries to use it, and it will explode in their face.”
 
He nodded, realizing I wasn’t going to budge, then gestured to the Hind on my back.
“I will take my own rifle back now, if you please. It too is bio-locked, and would do you no good.” I wrenched it off my back and handed it to him, than let my hand drop near my Lato. The message was clear. He slung it himself, then led me out. “Enjoy your stay, Tenno. I promise you, no harm will come to you, or your friend,” he said, then turned and walked towards the front gate.
 
I glanced around, noticed several people staring at me, and sighed. It was going to be a long day.
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Your wish is my command!

 

 

 

 

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Sure enough, it was a long day. After sitting outside the med-bay for several hours, and feeling rather like an animal in a zoo, I decided to observe from above. I drew more stares with my parkour when I climbed the walls, but they soon lost sight of me.
 
Now I crouched in a shadowy alcove, in the side of one of the burned out buildings. The darkness was aided by the cloud of hanging smoke I emitted. I was sure that anyone looking up from below would see only shadows. It was the perfect spot to keep watch.
 
Every now and then a nurse would walk in or out of the building Ounce was in. I kept careful track of them. Even if she had acted rogue, she was still Tenno, and as such under my protection. I shifted my focus to the walls. Men and boys patrolled them, standing watch in various places. They appeared to hold various sticks and rocks, and there were piles of rubble on each corner.
 
It was nearly dark, and there was a flurry of activity below, in the center square. A low box was set up, wires were strung to and from it, and a crowd began to gather. I watched bemusedly, wondering just what was happening.
 
Eventually, a large crowd had gathered, and a girl stepped up to the box. She did something with the wires, which I couldn't see clearly from this distance, and sound was suddenly assaulting my ears. I leaped back, drawing my Lato in one motion, and spun, scanning the room I was in. Nothing. No sign of any threats.
 
Yet the sound continued. I slowly moved back to the window, all senses on high alert, and looked down. The crowd was moving in random, sporadic patterns. No, not random. They were moving along with the sound, which I now realized was a crude form of music, though it had little in common with the drums I had grown up with.
 
The crowd was... Dancing, I though the word was? It had been some time since I'd studied English, and Tenno had no word for the action. I holstered my Lato, and slipped out the window. In the near total darkness, I was a specter clinging to the wall.
 
I dropped down for a closer view, and saw the old Grineer standing on the wall. He had some sort of tube in his hand, and after a moment he raised it to his mouth.
 
“Before we start dancing, we should remember why we're here,” he said, his voice booming around the area, overpowering even the blind noise of the 'Music.'
 
“Young Harry has turned sixteen years of age, as of early this morning,” he continued, gesturing to a boy nearby him, apparently on guard duty on the wall. “As such, I will be taking his place on the wall for the evening, so that he may enjoy his party!” he shouted, before stepping up to the young man and saluting.
 
The boy grinned, then ran off, presumably to put his weapon in an armory and drop to ground level. I landed on the top of one of the guard towers, and observed. He ran out of a door way on ground level in a minute, his face nearly glowing with the smile on it. The girl on the stand fiddled with a board in front of her, and the music changed. Whereas before it had been a fast paced, heavy beat, it was slow and calm now.
 
 
Harry, who I now recognized as the boy who had defended his mother, walked up to a young female, and bowed. She bowed back, and soon the process was repeated with every boy in crowd. The dance floor was filled with dancing partners, but Harry and his partner were always in the middle.
 
As I sat observing, a heard a soft thud behind me. I rose to my full height, drawing my Lato, and turned. The old Grineer stood behind me, hunched over panting.
 
“Been a while since I had to climb anything,” he said, straightening and striding to stand next to me. “I saw you up here when Harry left, and figured I'd better make sure the people were treating you alright.”
 
I studied him, noting the Hind on his back, and the Kraken still on his hip, the only fire arms I had seen in the camp. He carried himself like a soldier, but also had a hint of pain in his stance. His face was disfigured, in the same way I'd seen dozens of Grineer soldiers disfigured. I turned back to the crowd and said nothing.
 
“You know, she talked about you,” he said suddenly. I flinched and looked at him. “The girl, I mean. When we first found her, she was scared. I told her we only wanted to help, and she relaxed. But before she totally trusted us, she said 'There is a mighty warrior nearby, who has killed hundreds of Grineer. If you hurt me, he will hunt you down.' I presumed she was talking about you.”
 
I chuckled softly, surprised at her trust in me.
 
“She got the numbers slightly wrong. I stopped counting at two thousand kills. Nearly six years ago now.”
 
The old man's eyes widened, and he shifted slightly.
 
“If it makes you feel better, I never killed a Tenno, though I did assist in capturing one of your civilians, some years ago.”
 
I smiled grimly under my helmet.
 
“Very few have ever killed a Tenno, and they don't live long enough to brag about it. Tenno rarely work alone, or travel without a sentinel.”
 
The old man nodded, accepting my point, then pointed to the girl on the stand.
 
“Do you see her? Teresa, is her name, though she insists we call her Terry. She loves those disks the works with. We found the first batch in an abandoned land fill, about four years ago. She claimed them, and spent over four months working on a player for them, tearing apart any electronics we found. She finally got one working. Most of the time, she's sitting somewhere, listening to the music and singing along. She also does our parties, as you can see,” he said, a hint of pride in his voice. Though Grineer couldn't breed, it was clear he thought of most of the people in the camp as his family.
 
He gestured to Harry, dancing on the side of the floor now.
 
“He's just come of age today. He's officially a man now, at least by our standards. He'll receive a weapon, and if he's lucky, convince a girl to have him.” He looked sadly at the boy, then sighed. “Most of us don't live very long here. Lives are short, and full of passion and zeal. I'm the oldest of them, and I'm a mere forty years old. It's why they call me 'Old man,' and 'Master.' Well, that and my training,” he said bitterly.
 
I raised my head and looked at him. He had repeated nearly word for word my feelings with my own clan. I was the only one left from the original group, and as such was considered old and gray, something I fought against with every fiber of my being. I turned back to the floor, and answered.
 
“The flame that burns twice as bright burns half as long. Life is either long and boring, or short and full of emotion.”
 
The Grineer nodded, then rose to his feet, moaning softly. I heard his knees pop loudly.
 
“Well, I'd better get back to the wall. Peaceful though it is now, there are raiders out there. Can't have them breaking in,” he said, then turned and walked away.  I heard a grunt and a thud as he jumped off the roof, then his footsteps continued down the wall below me.
 
“Oh, and by the way, your friend's operation is done. She's resting peacefully now. I'm under orders from the nurses to tell you not to visit her, but I know you'll sneak in anyway. Just don't disturb her. She needs her rest, but she needs you to be there when she awakes.”
 
With that, he continued away, and I was left watching the crowd below. Harry and his date had snuck over by the wall, and stood beneath me. I heard whispering, though I couldn't make out the words, and they both laughed, then started out to the floor again. His face glowed with happiness.
 
I sighed and stood up, looking towards the med-bay across the camp. Turning, I leaped onto the face of a nearby building, then began the long trip over. I eventually arrived, without being seen I was sure, and climbed to her window. It was open an inch, and I lifted it the rest of the way, then crawled inside.
 
Jill was sleeping soundly, her Warframe hanging from a wall nearby. They must have made her take it off. I was surprised they hadn't taken it. Maybe they really did just want to help. Shaking my head, I retrieved my Braton and second Lato, then sat down in a chair next to her. I placed the Braton on my lap, and decided to sleep myself. If anyone came through the door, I would be prepared. Jill was safe.
 
 
 
 
I was awoke by an alarm in my Warframe. I opened my eyes, but didn't move, hoping to catch the intruder unawares. No one stood before me, and the motion sensor I had set pointed towards the bed. I looked to see Jill moving, clearly just awoken. I stirred myself, placing the Braton next to my chair, and watched her.
 
She stretched her arms above her head, causing the sheet on the bed to fall forward. She was wearing nothing underneath, her only clothing the Warframe. She gasped, and I averted my eyes as she hurriedly covered herself again. She coughed awkwardly, and I turned back.
 
“How're you feeling?” I asked, sitting back down in the chair. She thought for a moment, then smiled.
 
“Much better, though my head hurts a bit,” she said, rubbing her temples.
 
“Want some pain killer?” I asked, holding out my palm and opening the port on it slightly.
 
“Yes, please, but only a little. I don't want to go back to sleep again,” she said, and I reached over the bed. The port opened fully, and a green mist poured out over Jill. She inhaled deeply, coughed explosively once, then settled back.
 
“That's a lot better. Thanks,” she said, brushing a wrinkle out of the sheets. I nodded and closed the port, settling back into the chair. The Skana on my back was probably slicing the cushions, but I didn't care.
 
“So, how did we get on the planet?” she asked. I recounted the tale, including how I fell, and why I was late to arrive. She gasped as she heard of my landing.
 
“Are you sure you're okay?” she said, her voice worried. I nodded.
 
“It was a hard fall, but I landed on my feet. The gravel helped, stopping my movement without splattering me. All in all, I was lucky.” Jill nodded, though her face was still worried, and told me her side of the story.
 
She had awoken on the way down, and found herself a few hundred feet off the ground. She recounted how she had landed, and fell asleep for a few minutes. When she awoke, the Grineer man was standing above her, talking on a radio. She tried to fight, but her Viper had been destroyed in the landing, and the Latron had fallen off her back on the way down. The man had stopped her without hurting her, and told her gently that help was coming.
 
The left out how she had warned him about me, and explained how the women showed up about ten minutes later. She passed out until my arrival, when she made the decision to trust them and to keep me from killing them.
 
After that, she said her next memory was waking up in the room, with me sitting next to her. I recounted how we had carried her back, and she had been in operation for a few hours, though I didn't know the extent of the damage. She was about to respond when the door opened.
 
The old Grineer from before stood in the door way, a young woman next to him. He strode inside, and I noticed he didn't have his weapons from before.
 
“Good morning, Tenno. How are you feeling?” he asked, stepping aside and allowing the nurse to approach Jill. I tensed, but didn't react. While the nurse examined Jill, the old man gestured to someone outside the room. A young girl, about 15 years old from the looks of her, entered the room.
 
“Sarah here has something to ask you, Tenno,” he said, then looked at the girl.
 
“Well, sir,” she started, looking awkward. “I saw you climb that wall yesterday, and well... I like to climb things too, and I was wondering if you could maybe teach me?” she asked, grinning nervously. I settled back into my chair and folded my arms, still keeping an eye on the nurse.
 
“What could I teach you?” I asked, my voice heavy with sarcasm. The girl didn't flinch, and answered immediately.
 
“Grandpa says you climbed a six story building last night, and you snuck through our line of sentries yesterday without alerting one. I can only climb a few feet, and I make a lot of noise while I do, nothing like you. I thought you could show me a few tricks, and help me out,” she said, becoming more confident as she finished.
 
I was intrigued. She seemed to honestly want to learn, but I didn't want to teach her.
 
“And what would be in it for me?” I questioned. She grinned, as if she had been expecting this.
 
“My mother is the best cook in the camp,” she said happily, with pride strong in her voice. “I could convince her to make you meals every day, and I can give you a place to sleep, or a better bed than a chair here!” she finished, grinning widely. I was about to respond when Jill beat me to it.
 
“Could your mother make enough food for both of us?” she asked, waving away the nurse. Sarah nodded, and Jill smiled. “He'd love to teach you,” she said. I spun on her, but she looked me dead in the eye, through the helmet, with uncanny accuracy. “He loves teaching young people new skills, don't you Ash?” she asked.
 
I sighed and slowly nodded. I never could argue with a female, and Jill had mastered the commanding tone nearly as well as the Lotus. Sarah laughed, and ran from the room, shouting over her shoulder.
 
“I'll go talk to my mom, and get you a meal sent up now!” she called. The nurse and the old man followed her, and I sat down again.
 
“Why did you volunteer me for this?” I asked, annoyed. Jill smiled.
 
“You may have the protein paste from the Warframe, but I hate that stuff. Besides, you don't have to eat it if you don't want to,” she said, laughing happily. I glared at her, a pointless gesture in a Warframe, and reached for my Braton, placing it on my lap.
 
“That reminds me,” Jill started. “I don't know what to call you. You know my name, but I don't even know what you look like,” she said, frowning slightly. “Considering you saved my life, I think I at least deserve to see your face so I can properly thank you.”
 
I sighed, and strode to the window, closing the blinds. I mentally activated my helmet, causing it to fold back into my armor, and turned around.
 
“My name is William,” I said simply, folding my arms and leaning against the wall.
 
Jill smiled, then bowed her head.
 
“Then I thank you, William Vas Lone Rangers, for saving my life,” she said, then settled back into the pillows and sighed. “I hope that girl gets the food soon. I'm starving.”
 
I chuckled, then sat down in the chair again, folding my helmet back up.
 
“Go ahead and sleep. I'll wake you up when she gets here.”
 
Jill nodded, and her eyes closed. She was asleep in minutes, but I kept watch until Sarah returned, the Braton on my lap. I didn't eat, letting her have my portion, then settled in to stand guard all day.
 
No one would hurt a fellow Tenno while I could help it.
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So, the internet at my place has been downed for the last eight hours.

 

I spent most of it typing on the story, with nothing else to do. So, here, have ten pages!

 

 

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Jill slept through most of the day. I spent most of it meditating, and planning my next moves. First things first, I needed to find Jill's weapons. Her Viper was broken, but her Latron had fallen across the city. It had a built in tracker, and I could hunt it down... But I'd have to leave Jill to do it. I decided to wait a few days, then take Jill with me when her strength was back
 
Sarah brought us food at both lunch and dinner, and it was soon clear that her mother had indeed earned her reputation as the best cook. The food was simple, the sort of things you'd eat in battle rations, but somehow it tasted far, far better. A simple meat and cheese sandwich was mouth watering good, and the iced tea she gave us was nearly addictive.
 
Sarah made me promise to start teaching her first thing in the morning the next day, and Jill agreed. Sarah also brought me a blanket, which I didn't need, and a sleeping pad, which was much appreciated. Though I was used to sleeping in a rest pod in the dojo, I easily adapted to sleeping on the floor.
 
When Jill was awake, she mostly watched the people below. I spent most of these times dissembling and cleaning my weaponry, though I always had one full assembled and ready to fire. I was beginning to relax, but not fully.
 
Evening came quickly, and Jill went to bed early. I stood guard for an hour, then heard a noise from outside. It was faint enough that I doubted a normal human could hear it, but my Warframe had audio enhancers. I glanced at Jill, then decided I was going to go stir crazy if I didn't get out.
 
I climbed out the window and easily scaled the wall. I vaulted over the top portion of the wall, and landed in a deep crouch. The sound was coming from nearly straight ahead of my position, and I traveled carefully, making no noise and mostly sticking to roof tops.
 
When I finally tracked it down, I found a party, exactly like the one last night, though smaller. It appeared that only a small portion of the children from the camp were there. They were all dancing to fast, frantic music, with a heavy beat. I listened, and could make out words, in English. I suppose if they scavenged the CDs, they would be in the old language. The lyrics were... Interesting, to say the least.
 
“We came, we saw, we killed, the rave!” blasted over the speakers. It sounded like a battle song, from what I could tell, and the beat certainly made me think that. It was fast paced and violent, not unlike the drum beats we used in our dojo sparring sessions.
 
The party was taking place inside a small square, made out of concrete barriers, as if taken from a wrecked high way or military base. Inside, a small pedestal stood, and the girl from the party, Terry, was atop it. She seemed to be the one controlling the music, which made sense since she had made the system.
 
I dropped closer, crouching on one of the barriers, deep in shadows. I excluded smoke, creating a haze around me, and watched. The girls seemed to take as much pleasure in teasing the males as they did in dancing. There was certainly a heavy amount of grinding and shaking going on.
 
I watched for some minutes, when a noise near me caused me to spin around, though I didn't draw my pistol. A girl stood behind me. No, not a girl, Sarah. How had she seen me?
 
“Um, sir,” she started, “If you want to dance, you're welcome to.”
 
I looked at her, then chuckled, genuinely amused by her offer, and touched by the blatant honesty behind it.
 
“No thanks. I prefer to watch, rather than participate,” I said, dropping to the ground and striding away. “And I think I've watched enough tonight. Enjoy yourself.”
 
Sarah shrugged, then headed back to the party. I was confused by how she had spotted me. I should have been invisible in the dark, at least to Grineer. A Tenno perhaps could have spotted me, but Sarah, and the rest in this camp, were Grineer, not Tenno.
 
I started back to the larger camp, intending to rest, when a noise nearby froze me in my tracks. The sound of a gun bolt sliding home, the metallic click that heralded death. I turned to the source, and saw a flash of light glint off metal. A small group of people, five at most, stood in a group. They all held Grakatas.
 
Their eyes were focused on the faint light from the distant party, and I could hear them moving noisily. I stalked them, following them at a small distance, never once letting them see me. Sure enough, they were heading for the group of children, and I highly doubted it was to offer them cookies.
 
I stalked them, following them at a distance, never letting them see me. They were communicating, though it was mostly in a language I didn't understand, nor recognize, but the malice in their tone was clear.
 
I moved ahead, bounding off walls and barriers, and reached the barriers before them. I vaulted them, and strode into the middle of the dance floor. The children parted before me, then continued dancing after I passed.
 
I walked up to Terry, standing on her stage, and called up to her.
 
“There are raiders inbound. Stop the music, and get everyone out, now.”
 
She merely looked at me, with red eyes. I realized she was drunk, or drugged. I wouldn't be getting help there. Looking around me, I noticed most of the kids had red eyes. That explained why they were out here so late.
 
So, plan B. I drew my pistol, and fired it into the air twice. The crowd exploded around me, children and one or two adults scattering in every direction. With them more or less out of the way, I turned my attention to the raiders. I faced the direction they were coming from, and passed the Lato to my left hand, using my right to draw my Skana.
 
I crouched behind one of the concrete barriers, and waited. Within minutes I heard a soft scrape as the raiders, now moving far more quietly, appeared. I tracked them with my helmet sensors, and let them onto the dance floor. I was about to reveal myself when one of them let out a shout.
 
Not all the children had left. A group of four, including Terry, were huddled underneath the stand. And the raiders had found them. I could hear them crowing, clearly pleased with this. One of them grabbed Terry and yanked her to her feet, leering into her face. I didn't want to see what they would do next.
 
I rose to my feet silently, and let off a single shot. The raider holding Terry fell backward, screaming and clutching his arm. I cursed to myself. I had been aiming at his head. The rest of the group surged forward, heading towards me in a disorganized mob. They didn't even bother to raise their weapons, though it wouldn't have helped. My shields could easily handle a few seconds of fire from four Grakatas.
 
I met the first one head on, bowling him over with a shoulder to his chest, and slashed the next one's knees out from under him. He fell howling in pain, and I silenced him with a double tap to his forehead. The next two were slightly behind, and had time to be smart. One charged in with a knife drawn from his belt, while the other tried to flank me.
 
I casually brushed the blade to the side with my left hand, and impaled the Skana through his chest with my right. He gurgled, and I kicked him off, feeling my shields flare as the one I had knocked over opened up from the ground. Spinning around, I placed the raider's corpse between me and the others, locking my right arm around his neck.
 
I raised my left hand and fired repeatedly, emptying the magazine into the raider on the ground, unable to aim without exposing myself. He jerked and collapsed, blood already pooling. The last one had managed to reach the barriers and vaulted over them, sprinting away. I dropped the corpse, drew back my left hand, and unleashed a shuriken. He staggered and fell face down.
 
I turned to check on Terry and the others, reloading my weapon instinctively. The one I had shot in the arm was still on the ground, moaning, and I approached him cautiously. He made no move to stop me, and I knelt next to him, pressing the barrel of my Lato to his forehead. It was the sort of kill I'd made a hundred times in the past, on everything from infested humans in the old war, to Corpus crewmen and Grineer marines.
 
But I couldn't do it this time. His eyes were staring at my helmet, filled with fear, and desperate hope. He looked no older than Harry, or Terry, or any of the others at the party. My finger froze on the trigger, and I stared at him for thirty seconds. Then, sighing at my own weakness, I jerked the barrel away and pointed, away from the main camp.
 
“Go. Flee,” I said, my voice full of menace from the helmet. He scrambled to his feet and vanished, sobbing as he ran. I watched him go, then sighed again and turned to Terry and her friends. They were gone, probably running back home. I holstered my weapons, then shrugged and started back myself, knowing I would get no sleep for hours, with the rush of combat in my blood.
 
I reached the walls and looked up at them. Jill would be fine, I was sure. She wasn't drugged anymore, and my Braton was next to her. She could defend herself for a few hours, surely. I realized I was rationalizing, and admitted to myself that I was flat out bored of sitting in a room. I needed exercise, and the brief struggle of the last few minutes didn't count.
 
I turned away and sprinted into the darkness, with a vague plan of hunting for Jill's Latron. I leaped from rubble pile to rooftop, rooftop to ground, and ground to walls. I traveled quickly, burning off my excess energy, and letting out pulses in an attempt to find the rifle.
 
I found it about sixteen blocks away from where Jill had landed, near where I had landed. It must have fallen out soon after I did, and simply moved faster. I retrieved it, examined it for damage, then slotted it onto my back. It too was bio locked, and I'd have to get Jill to test fire it, but it seemed in working order.
 
I didn't go back just yet, continuing to race through the city and explore. I made a mental map of the surroundings of the camp, finding the good defensive locations, making note of ambush points, and soon realized the camp was very well placed, and even better defended. 
 
It was on a hill, with a clear view of any approach, and with forward posts set up for the surrounding four blocks. I spied a fall back bunker, complete with a guard duty, and thought I saw explosives wired on several main approaches. Several gardens were scattered around the area, each with their own guard tower and low walls, and I saw several guards patrolling on each. These people knew their stuff.
 
Finally tired, I headed back, judging the night to be nearly half over. I climbed in the window into the med-bay, and found Jill sitting up in bed, with the Braton in her hands. I was pleased to see she was as alert as I'd hoped. She relaxed when she saw it was me, and settled back to sleep. I spread out the mat and knelt on it, relaxing, and soon I too was dozing.
 
The morning came quickly, and I awoke before Jill. I realized I still had her Latron on my back, and I placed it against the side of her bed, clicking the Braton into its place. Last night's conflict had made me realize the city was far more violent than I liked, and I intended to always carry my full loadout. I sat down in the chair, and began checking my Lato, worried it had been damaged last night.
 
The door opened about ten minutes later, causing Jill to start awake, and me to grab for my spare Lato. It was only Sarah, bringing in breakfast, and I holstered it. She was unfazed by the reaction, and began dishing out something called hashbrowns, and some sort of meat tube called sausage. I wondered where they got the meat, but figured it was better not to ask. I didn't eat while she was there, but Jill confirmed it was delicious.
 
Sarah sat in a chair nearby while Jill ate, and I cleaned my Skana. I saw Jill eye the blood on the blade, but she didn't say anything about it while Sarah was there. Instead she made small talk with Sarah, asking her about such things as where she lived, and what the surrounding area was like. I realized she was trying to recon on her own, and decided I'd tell her myself later.
 
Once Jill was done, Sarah collected the dishes, and said she was ready for her lessons now. I'd nearly forgotten. I sighed, and led her outside.
 
“Where do you normally climb?” I asked, looking around the camp. Though I could easily scale the walls, I doubted a normal human could. Sarah gestured to a low building near the wall, which I guessed was a storage of sorts.
 
“The walls there are brick, and you can grab the cracks if you're careful. I usually practice climbing there.”
 
I nodded and headed over, drawing stares from around camp. I knew they were focusing on my weapons, but didn't care. If raiders were able to hit the party a mere four blocks away, who knew what else they could do.
 
“Alright,” I said to Sarah, pointing to the wall. “Show me what you can do.”
 
Sarah grinned, and ran forward. She was quick, nearly as fast as a Tenno out of their Warframe. She jumped at the wall and scrabbled, barely catching herself. She placed her feet and slowly started up. She was indeed good at climbing, but had a rough technique.
 
“You don't use your legs enough,” I said, striding to the base of the wall. She clung about six feet from the ground above me. “You pull yourself up with your arms, and only use your legs to steady yourself. The legs are the most powerful limb in your body, use them to push yourself up. The arms should only be used if the legs can't.”
 
Sarah didn't say anything, but instead tried to climb like I suggested. She was clumsy at first, but before long was doing much better, pushing herself up more quickly and easily. I patted her on the back gently, careful not to hurt her.
 
“Not bad, but you still need some practice. I noticed you tend to use your heels to catch yourself usually, which is a bad idea. It tears them up, and if you need to run you can't. It's better to catch yourself with your toes, or use the flat of your foot. Here, watch me,” I said, taking a few steps back.
 
I launched myself at the wall, kicked off near the bottom, and dug my fingers into the brick. Using my toes, I pushed myself up further, hooked the top edge with my fingers, and rolled over the top. The entire maneuver had taken less than three seconds. Sarah stood below, gaping.
 
“You... You're really good,” she said, wonder in her voice. I nodded and dropped down, landing easily.
 
“I've had years of practice. Now, lets see you try it again.”
 
I worked with her for about three hours, and by that point she was exhausted, but far better at climbing. She went on her way, promising to work more at home, and I headed back to Jill.
 
She was sitting up in her bed, cleaning and examining her Latron. I was pleased that her instincts were to take care of her gear. She looked up as I entered, and then went back to cleaning. I settled next to her, in the chair from before.
 
“I could see you through the window,” she said, looking down the barrel of her rifle. “You really are good at that stuff. I thought I was good, but I'm nothing compared to you.”
 
I shrugged and repeated what I said to Sarah.
 
“I've had years to practice, decades if you count the time in cyro sleep. You'll get better. Some of the best parkour artists I've known have been females in Mag Warframes. The magnetism can be a huge boon while climbing.”
 
She nodded happily, then pointed to the pieces of the rifle on her lap.
 
“I take it you went exploring last night?” she asked. I nodded, and repeated the tale of my adventures last night. She was grim when I explained how I'd found the party, and the raiders near it.
 
“The kids went out without supervision, took drugs that are most likely illegal, and nearly got killed? Jeez, I sure hope we never did anything so stupid when we were younger,” Jill said, shaking her head in dismay. “Still, I'm glad you were there. I wonder if they all made it back alright?”
 
I shrugged, and said I'd have to ask the guards. She agreed, then sat back and sighed. She'd finished cleaning the Latron, and had put it back together during our conversation.
 
“If I don't get out of this bed soon, I'm going to go crazy,” she muttered. I laughed.
 
“Maybe you can convince the nurses to let you get some air,” I said, rising and heading for the door. “Want me to see if I can find any?”
 
Jill shrugged and nodded, and I stepped outside. I had no idea where anyone in the camp was, but I saw the old Grineer on the wall, and made my way over. He saw me coming and waved, and I climbed the wall to talk to him. He shook his head at the way I scaled it so easily. 
 
“If a group of Tenno attacked us, this wall would be pointless,” he said, reaching to shake my hand. I took it, noticing his firm grip, and then leaned against the wall.
 
“I was wondering if you know where the nurses are?” I asked. He nodded and pointed towards a tall building, built into the wall.
 
“Most of them live in the apartments over there. I can send someone to get one for you if you like, or you can get them yourself,” he said.
 
“If you could send one of them to the med-bay, that would be best,” I said. “I doubt they'd much appreciate me walking into their home heavily armed.”
 
He nodded, then seemed to notice my Braton for the first time. He sighed.
 
“Shoulda known I couldn't convince you to leave your weapons without using force,” he said. “Still, I think you've proven you won't use them on us, at least not yet. Terry told me what you did last night.”
 
“I didn't think she'd have remembered much, considering how high she seemed to be,” I responded, shifting my feet.
 
“Oh, she didn't say she remembered. She said one of her friends remembered, and told her about it. Presumably, one of the smart ones who didn't get high. Where they find or make those things, I'll never know. I've tried to curb their use, but they refuse to listen. Regardless, thank you for saving my granddaughter,” he said.
 
“Granddaughter? I though Grineer were clones,” I said, sure he was joking, but he nodded.
 
“The ones in the army are, yes. But the rate at which they decay means they couldn't continue cloning them for anywhere near as long as they have, especially with the genetic augments they give them. Every fifteen years or so, they come down to the planet, find a few of the untainted camps scattered across the world, and kidnap everyone. Their genes are used to make a new batch of clones, and then used again and again, until they too break down. Then they come back for more, and the process repeats.”
 
I was shocked. I knew the Grineer were breaking down, but not at such an accelerated pace. It would make sense that they would have to get new genetic material eventually, but I had no idea it was from their own planet. The Sisters really were insane.
 
“So how'd you wind up here? You're clearly not a normal Grineer, and I didn't think you could just leave the military,” I asked.
 
“I was one of the lucky ones. My cruiser was invaded, by Corpus, not Tenno, and brought down. It crashed on the planet, but I survived. I wandered the ruins for a few weeks, then found the camp. I was half dead, and delirious by that point. They took me in, helped recover, and gave me a home. After a few years, they agreed to accept my help in reinforcing their defenses. And here I am now,” he said, smiling happily. It was clear he loved this place.
 
“You never thought of going back?” I asked, pushing off the wall and crossing my arms. He shook his head.
 
“Never. It's horrible in those ships. Cold and drafty, and you sleep in bunks that would be small for the people here, let alone a genetically enhanced giant like me. You Tenno don't notice in your suits, but they keep the air in those things at about 40 degrees, to save on refrigeration costs in the mess hall.”
 
I winced. Now that was brutal. Still, as interesting as it was to talk to him, I needed to get back to Jill before she did something stupid.
 
“At any rate, think you can get that nurse now? Jill is going a bit stir crazy.”
 
He nodded and called over a boy. While they were talking, I took my leave, and headed back. I entered to find Jill trying to clamber back into her Warframe. I hurriedly shut the door to preserve her privacy, though I couldn't avoid the sight totally. She gasped, and I heard frantic movement.
 
“Okay, you can come in now,” she called out a few minutes later, and I entered to find her sitting on the bed, wearing her Mag once more. Her cheeks were bright red, but I made no comment, merely sitting down in the chair.
 
“The nurse should be on her way,” I said. She nodded and placed her Latron on her back. It still hung low, and I remembered my thought from the cruiser.
 
“You should hang that higher,” I said. “The barrel catches on your hips as you run, and it might get knocked off if you have to move fast. Here, like this.” I stood up and moved it higher up, twisting it slightly so the stock was still within grabbing distance. The barrel hung away from her back, out of the way. “That should help,” I said, sitting back down.
 
She nodded and stood up, twisting and bending. The barrel was safely away from her body the entire time, though it did catch  on the bed a few times.
 
“It'll take some getting used to, but this is a lot better. Thanks, Will,” she said. I frowned.
 
“What happened to Ash?” I asked, only halfheartedly joking. I didn't get addressed by my name often.
 
“What, you're allowed to call me Jill, and you have to Ash? Not gonna work, mister,” she said, crossing her arms and smiling snarkily. I sighed. It was clear I couldn't win this one.
 
The nurse saved me, knocking on the door and entering. She examined Jill's head, tested her eyes, took her pulse, and declared her fit. Jill nearly jumped out the window in glee. The nurse shook her head, nodded to me, then left.
 
“So, ready to go running?” Jill asked, heading for the door. I nodded, rising to my feet.
 
“Hold on a minute. You lost your Viper, right? You need a side arm,” I said, drawing my left Lato and spinning it to hold it by the barrel. “Take this. I've got a spare.”
 
Jill smiled, took the pistol, and hung it on her hip, then continued out the door.
 
“Come on, lets go! I wanna see the city,” she called, already running down the stairs. I chuckled, then vaulted out the window and stood beside the door. She came down, looking behind her, and started when she saw me.
 
“How did you... Never mind. I don't want to know. Lets just go!” she said, then headed for the gate. I walked over to the wall and scaled it, scaring a sentry nearby, then vaulted over. I met her by the gate, causing her to shake her head.
 
“Would you stop that? I'm beginning to feel slow here,” she said, in mock anger. I laughed, then gestured her ahead.
 
“Ladies first, I believe the saying is,” I said. She grinned, then took off, picking a direction and sprinting away. I followed her, always watching for trouble. Jill was too happy to be alert, but it wouldn't do for both of us to be ambushed.
 
The run was shorter than mine had been. Jill didn't have my endurance, and skill in movement, and spent more energy for shorter distance. Nevertheless, we saw a significant portion of the city, and scouted most of the ground I covered the night before.
 
When Jill was out of breath, we returned to the camp. I showed her to the vantage point I found the day before, then pointed out that we couldn't stay in the med-bay anymore if she wasn't hurt. She shrugged.
 
“We could stay up here, and go down in the mornings for your lessons with Sarah,” she said. “After all, I'll still want that food of her's, even if you don't.” I supposed she was right... But somehow the idea of staying in camp didn't seem the best one.
 
“Are you sure you want to stay? We could go find a Grineer planetary base, maybe hijack one and get back to our clan,” I said, hoping she'd accept my last minute plan. She merely shook her head.
 
“We have no idea how to pilot a Grineer ship. Besides, even if you're Mr. Tough Guy and can go for days without sleep or food, I hate that protein paste the suits make, and I don't even have a feeding tube anymore without the helmet.”
 
“Hey, I've hijacked plenty of Grineer and Corpus ships,” I said, hurt.
 
“Lotus gave you a remote access transceiver, and you just fought to the cockpit and slotted her in. You didn't do any actual flying,” she pointed out with a laugh. “I'm not insulting your skills here, but the fact of the matter is, we only know how to fly our fighters, and those are bonded to our neural signature.”
 
I sighed unhappily, but she was right. Our best bet was staying in the camp.
 
“Well. In that case, let see if we can find a place to sleep in or nearby camp. I can go for days without sleep, but you're right. That protein paste tastes like &#!,” I said, grinning ruefully. Jill laughed and leaned against a half burned wall, sliding to the bottom and sitting.
 
“So, the ultra soldier admits a weakness? Don't tell the old man. He's all but convinced you've single handedly slaughtered every leader of the Grineer people in the last ten years.”
 
I actually chuckled at that, causing her to glare at me. I folded back my helmet to let my face cool, surprising myself at how little I cared about it. Normally I hated not having my helmet on.
 
“Actually, he's not far wrong. I was a part of the teams that killed Vor, Ruk, and Kril, though Vor came back as that half Orokin monster he is,” I said, grinning as her face blanched.
 
“How long have you been fighting?” she asked, curiosity plain on her face.
 
“I wasn't among the first group Lotus woke up, but I was among the first cyropods she opened in the second group. So, about... Seven years, I think? And I vaguely remember memories of combat from before cyro, and that tends to wipe all memories for the last ten or fifteen years. So, give or take, about twenty,” I said, sitting next to her.
 
She stared at me in shock. She was one of the so called “New,” recruits, Orokin civilians woken from cyro without a Warframe of their own. They normally looked up to the veterans, those who had been soldiers from before Cyro, and Jill was no exception. Not for the first time, I wondered why the Lotus had paired her with me, especially for such an important mission.
 
The mission. I had forgotten.
 
Jill was opening her mouth to speak, when I interrupted her.
 
“The war!” I cried, leaping to my feet and folding my helmet back. “We were sent to retrieve the location of the Cyro pods the Corpus found. We have to contact the Lotus, send her our position, get her to rescue us.”
 
Jill also rose, though not as fast as I had, and rested a hand on my shoulder, stopping my frantic pacing and turning. She turned me to face her, and gestured at the helmet. I grimly folded it back.
 
“We have no way of contacting her. We had to use the fighters to bounce the signal to her, and Ash Warframes have weak transmitters anyway. Mine has longer range, but I lost the mic, remember?” she pointed out, looking me dead in the eye. “We could maybe jury rig something from scrap, but we have no idea where to even look. We have to ask the Earth people, and even then we'd most likely need a guide. Face it, we can't do anything just yet.”
 
I sighed, and slumped against the wall behind me. I hated inaction, which was why I had to get out while I had been guarding Jill. I slide to the bottom of the wall, sitting again. Jill joined me, though closer than before.
 
“I hate not being able to do anything,” I said, nearly pleading. She nodded.
 
“I know. Just from the short time I've known you, I can tell that. But we have to right now,” Jill said, reaching onto my back and brushing away a piece of rubble. “But hey, come on. Lets see if we can find that sleeping spot now, huh?” I nodded sadly, and rose to my feet. Jill led the way to the hole in the wall, and I followed her out.
 
We climbed down, and looked about camp. All apartments were full, though Sarah pointed out we could take the sleeping mats she lent us out of the camp. We figured the hole where we had been was good enough, and spread the mats out there, apart but close together. Jill pointed out they were rather thin, so I let her have both and knelt along the walls. She seemed slightly put off, but didn't complain.
 
I spent most of the night sitting up, watching the skies, and thinking.
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Next chapter is ready to go! Things are getting hot, in both senses of the word.

 

 

 

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Jill awoke early the next day, rolling over and yawning widely. I was still crouching near the wall, having gotten little sleep, and glanced at her as she awoke.
 
“Sleep well?” I asked, folding back my helmet. Jill yawned again and nodded.
 
“Little cold, but very soft,” she said, sitting up and laying her arm on her knee. She looked out the hole in the wall, clearly still half asleep, and giving me a chance to study her. Though I had examined her physical health and loadout before, I hadn't truly seen her for her. 
 
Her hair was blonde, cut moderately short. It hung about four inches long, at the upper limit of what would fit in a helmet. She had a face that, I had to admit, was rather attractive, with full lips and green eyes. A small burst of freckles covered the bridge of her nose, scattering down her cheeks.
 
I rose to my feet, averting my eyes from her skin tight body suit, and brushed my fingers through my own, black hair. It was buzzed short, optimal for a helmet. Running my fingers through my side burns, I felt the rough stubble of my beard. I normally kept it shaved close, but I hadn't had time lately.
 
Jill was beginning to move around more by this point, and I drew closer, wincing slightly at the pain in my knees. I was still bruised from my fall, and kneeling all night didn't help. Jill caught the pained movement.
 
“Oh jeez, are you hurt? I didn't mean for you to sleep like that,” she said, blushing slightly. “We could have shared...” she trailed off awkwardly, looking away. I was shocked. Did she just...?
 
“...That's... Very flattering...” I managed awkwardly, feeling my own face warm. I hadn't even thought about something like that in years.
 
“Not like that!” she said hurriedly, raising her hands. “I just meant, the pads are thin, and it's cold at night, so we could share body heat, and oh god, I'm making it worse,” she said, covering her face with her hands. I stared at her, then burst out laughing. Jill stared at me through her fingers, than started to slowly chuckle herself.
 
I flopped onto my back, laughing uncontrollably. Jill soon joined me, and we both laughed long and hard. It was the type of laugh that revitalizes, and when we stopped we were both redfaced and happy. I rolled onto my chest and pushed myself up, sliding my feet under me and standing up. Jill remained on the ground, smiling like a giddy fool.
 
“So, you're okay with it?” she asked, her smile fading. I looked at her, and slowly nodded.
 
“We'll try it tonight at least, and see how it goes. Beyond that...” I said, trailing off. She nodded happily, then leaped to her feet as well.
 
“I'll hold you to that,” she said, then walked to the hole in the wall. “Now, lets get going.”
 
She leaped off the hole, and I followed her. We easily climbed down, and while Jill strode around camp and explored, I stood near the wall and watched. I saw a few people looking at me, then looking away, then snapping back to stare. I couldn't figure out why though.
 
Sarah soon found Jill, and the two of them talked for a minute, then headed my way. I nodded to them as they approached.
 
“Hey, Will,” Jill started. “We were talking, and I wanted to work with Sarah today, since I'm also getting the payment from the deal,” she said, putting her arm around Sarah casually. I shrugged, but was quite pleased to not have to work with her today. I was rather tired, though my suit was keeping me awake.
 
“That's fine by me if it's alright with Sarah,” I said. Sarah clapped her hands, and nodded eagerly, clearly pleased by the idea. I smiled myself, and gestured them away. Sarah ran off, then turned and looked back at me.
 
“By the way, I love the beard!” she shouted, then ran on. I glanced at Jill, saw her smiling, and realized I had my helmet down still. No wonder people were staring. I sighed, and waved her away.
 
“Go have fun. I'm gonna go get some sleep,” I said. Jill nodded and followed Sarah, and I returned to the burned out building. I settled on the mats, folded my helmet back up, and was soon asleep.
 
I slept for several hours, and was only awoken when Jill returned. She sat down next to the mats, and then curled up next to me. I was taken aback, but didn't quite know how to object, so I let her. Her face was red and sweaty, and she was panting softly.
 
“You didn't tell me Sarah was so good!”  she exclaimed. “I tried to race her, and nearly lost. I'm tired,” she sighed, gently shuffling back against my chest. I raised my arms to avoid hurting her with my wrist blades, and she gratefully pushed her entire back against me. I awkwardly lowered my arms over her, and she sighed happily.
 
“I could use a nap now too,” she said, closing her eyes. I didn't know what to do, and just laid there until her breathing slowed and she was asleep. I mentally shrugged, and dozed off myself.
 
 
 
I awoke near sun set. I shook Jill, noticing she had hugged my arm to her chest in her sleep, and sat against the wall. Jill settled beside me, and leaned her head against my shoulder, still drowsy. I let her, admitting to myself I honestly liked it.
 
We sat for a few minutes, then Jill sat up and stretched her arms above her head.
 
“I'm hungry,” she said simply. “Lets see what's Sarah's up to.”
 
Once again, she led the descent, and found Sarah while I stayed by the wall. I made sure to fold my helmet up this time, and noticed far less stares. Jill looked around the camp for several minutes, then came over to me and shrugged.
 
“She's not out here. Do you know where she lives?” she asked, leaning against the wall next to me. I shook my head.
 
“No, but I bet the old man does,” I said, pointing to the bulky figure sitting beside the front gate. We made our way over, and he looked up.
 
“Ah, Tenno. I was beginning to wonder if you'd left us. Keeping well, I trust?” he asked, leaning back in his chair. I nodded.
 
“Well enough. Do you know where the girl Sarah lives? She's supposed to give us food, and we can't find her,” I asked. He frowned and shook his head.
 
“I do, but it would do you no good. She's not in camp currently. It's actually why I'm at the gate here, keeping watch for her. She's not supposed to be out past curfew,” he said, shifting in the chair and causing it to creak.
 
I frowned myself under my helmet. Judging from what I'd seen at the dance party, being out after dark was... Bad.
 
“Can we help?” I asked, surprising myself. He looked up, and nodded.
 
“Sure, if you wanna go run around the city and see if you can find her, I'd appreciate it,” he said. “We have no idea where she got off to though, so it's mostly be down to luck.”
 
I looked at Jill, and saw her nod her head, then turned back to the Grineer.
 
“We'd be happy to help. We'll go out once it gets dark. We have some preparations to make,” I said. He nodded and turned back to the gate, and I headed back to the building we had made our home. Jill followed at my side.
 
“What preparations?” she asked.
 
“First off, you need food,”I said. “Sarah can't bring us food, but you need something. I can give you some protein paste from my Warframe.”
 
Jill wrinkled her nose, but didn't protest. She knew the importance of keeping her strength up. We climbed back into the building, and I made a small hollow in a concrete block with my Skana. Jill insisted in cleaning it as much as possible, before sighing and nodding to me. I activated the feeding tube in my armor, angling it away from my mouth. 
 
I leaned over the hollow, and a thick gray paste poured from the tube. It filled the hollow, and I stood back up. Jill grudgingly began to eat, as I folded my helmet up and did the same. The meal was awkward, and nothing was said. Soon however, Jill was finished, and the Warframe informed me my protein ratio had been met.
 
It was nearly dark, and we started to climb down. Jill was focused on the climb, and was moving slowly in the dark, so I glanced around, realizing as I did so I hadn't been as alert lately. What I saw froze me on the wall.
 
A Grineer military drop ship swooped nearby. It was flying low, as if searching, and headed straight for the camp.
 
“Jill, dropship!” I shouted, digging my hand into the wall and jumping to the side. I slide down, barely slowing myself enough to be safe, and rolled on landing. I was up and sprinting instantly, vaulting rubble and skidding around corners. I reached the front gate at nearly the same time as the old man.
 
“What did you do?!” I shouted, drawing my Lato and aiming it at his head. “When did you call them?”
 
He shook his head frantically, raising his hands above his head.
 
“I had nothing to do with this, I promise you! I haven't contacted anyone!” he pleaded. I shook my head and growled.
 
“Like hell you didn't! You're Grineer! You hate Tenno! You were distracting us so you could summon reinforcements and kill us!” I cried, moving forward. A hand on my shoulder stopped me, and I spun around, nearly backhanding Jill.
 
“I trust him,” she said simply. I stared at her.
 
“How can you? He's betrayed us!” I said, violently jerking away from her. She opened her mouth to respond when the dropship swooped over head and dropped a small squad. Jill froze, but the old man and I reacted instantly.
 
I leaped forward, shoving Jill down behind a pile of rubble, and rolled over the top of her. The old man dived backward, placing himself behind a low concrete barrier, and drawing his Hind in one smooth motion. He crouched, peering over the cover, even as I skidded into a pile of my own.
 
“I know you don't trust me!” he shouted, “But if you don't help me, everyone in this camp is going to die. Please, Tenno. I promise I'll explain everything once this is over!” I snarled, but Jill beat me to responding.
 
“Deal!” she cried, attempting to draw her Latron without actually moving. I sighed, then focused on the enemy. There were five Elite Troopers, equipped with Hind battle rifles, the same as the old man's, and personal shield generators. In addition, I knew their armor was nearly an inch thick, easily able to stop nearly any bullet.
 
“Fine!” I shouted, the Lato and drawing my Braton. “But when this is over, if you can't explain, you are dead.” The old soldier nodded, and peered over the wall. A burst nearly took his head off, and he ducked back under.
 
“I'd expect nothing less! Now, please, help me!” he screamed. I smiled grimly, feeling the surge of combat pumping in my blood.
 
I stood up smoothly, raising my rifle. The Grineer let off several bursts at once, and my shields flared. I ignored them and squeezed my own trigger.
 
A trooper staggered back and collapsed, his head a bloody mass of flesh. The others kept firing, and the old man took his chance. He stood up, raised his own rifle, and let the full five round burst go. It slammed into the chest plates of one. His shields stopped the first round, the armor plate stopped the second, slowed the third, and buckled under the fourth and fifth. He flew backward, landing in a crumpled heap, and didn't move.
 
Two troopers switched fire to his position, forcing the old man back into cover, and I vaulted my barrier. I sprinted forward, holstering my rifle and drawing my blade. Time seemed to slow, my reactions entering the state I referred to as “Combat mode.” The Grineer moved slowly, and bullets themselves were little faster than buzzing flies. My blade moved seemingly on it's own, deflecting the burst fired at me, as my feet carried me ever closer.
 
I met the Grineer head on. My sword buried itself in his chest, as my left hand drew back and flicked the wrist blade out. I spun, drawing the Skana out in the same motion, and impaled the arm mounted weapon though the head of a marine. I retracted it instantly, ripping brain and skull bits along with it, and swung the sword forward.
 
The last Grineer crumpled, his head rolling to a stop nearby. I stood above the three corpses, and looked for more. The drop ship had circled around, setting down a block away, across a bombed out building that was little more than rubble. The ramp lowered, and a heavy gunner strode out, her Gorgon clanking on her back.
 
She gestured backwards, and a small form hurtled down the ramp. She caught it easily, and spun it to face us, holding a Viper to its head.
 
My brain registered who it was, even as the old man let out an anguished shout.
 
“Sarah!” he cried, his voice thick with worry and sorrow. “No!”
 
The woman holding her laughed, a thick, painful sound, and spoke in broken Tenno.
 
“Come with,” she croaked out, gesturing with the Viper away from Sarah. “No come,” she gurgled, pressing the barrel against Sarah's temple again. The meaning was clear: Come with us, or the girl dies. I braced myself for a quick teleport, hoping to get Sarah out of harm's way, when a flurry of shots sounded behind me. The heavy gunner jerked back, her arm spraying blood, and her shields flaring and nearly dying.
 
I spun around, and saw both Jill and the old man holding smoking weapons. Jill stood confidently, her stance perfect, and the old man held his rifle like an old friend. I twisted again, raising my hand and unleashing a burst of power.
 
I ripped through space, appearing behind the heavy gunner, my arm blades fully extended, and leaped. I hooked my knees around her neck, locking myself in place and cutting off her air flow. My arms lashed down, and a scream of pain ripped out.
 
I rode the corpse backwards, flipping off and ripping a hole in space again. I appeared in front of Sarah, grabbed her with one hand, and pushed away with my legs, opening another hole. We landed behind Jill, hard. I had entered at an angle, and the blast of movement had thrown me off balance further. I skidded on my side, and Sarah let out a scream of shock.
 
I pushed her away, rolling and pushing myself to my feet, and took stock. Sarah lay huddled on the ground, staring up at me. Jill and the old man stood covering us. The drop ship was still open, and I heard the tramp of feet from within. I pointed to Sarah and jerked a thumb at the gate.
 
“Get her inside,” I said, drawing my Braton and moving forward besides Jill. She nodded to me grimly, and I pointed at the barrier the old man was behind.
 
“Covering fire,” I said. “Do not, I repeat, do not leave that cover unless you have to. If they get too close, I'll draw them away.” She nodded, not arguing for once, and sprinted for cover. The old man let her in, then ran out and grabbed Sarah, slinging her over his shoulder and running inside.
 
I turned to face the drop ship, seeing thirty or more Grineer pour down the ramp. Everything from Scorpions to Ignis wielding Scorches ran in the mob. I stepped forward, and opened fire.
 
The battle blurred, my mind in a haze of adrenaline. A sword slashed out, removing a Scorpion's head. A shot roared, knocking a shotgun wielding marine backward. A burst of pain flashed across my side, gone in an instant. A Grineer near the edge of the hoard fell, his head exploding under the accurate rounds from a Latron.
 
I awoke from the battle fog ten minutes later. The first hoard was dead, the corpses scattered around me, and the drop ship had lifted off. I dared to hope we'd won, when a full battle group roared over the horizon.
 
“Dar'vit,” I muttered, invoking an ancient Tenno curse. The battle group set down on all sides of us, hidden from sight by buildings, and a steady stream of Grineer poured in. I checked my Braton and returned fire wherever I could, but was slowly pushed back besides Jill. We were surrounded.
 
A heavy gunner strode forward, her Gorgon spitting death, screaming for revenge for her sister. A Scorpion ran next to her, her machete held out from her side. I glanced at Jill, and saw tears streaming down her face. 
 
“What are we going to do?!” she sobbed, looking at me desperately. For all her skill with a rifle, she was an initiate still. She couldn't possibly survive in the melee that was sure to arrive, especially without her helmet.
 
I did the only thing I could. Vaulting the barrier, I sprinted head on towards the hoard, firing my Braton wildly. I heard Jill's surprised scream, saw her reach for me, then duck back behind the barrier. I leaped, dived, and slid beneath a marine's legs. He shouted and fired, blowing a crater in the dirt behind me.
 
I pushed to my feet, shouldered a ballistica aside, and ran harder. The hoard split, half following me, half continuing for Jill. No! I had hoped to lead the entire group away, and let Jill escape, not split them! I'd doomed us both.
 
I spun, dropped to one knee, and fired, unleashing every last round in my mag, feeling my shields flare and glow around me. I heard a click, and knew I was dead. I bowed my head, already hearing the roaring of death in my ears.
 
Wait. I was hearing a roaring, but not of death. I jerked my head up, expecting to see a Grineer shuttle above me, and shouted in pain and shock as a round tore through my shields and slammed into my chest, knocking me flat.
 
A pair of Tenno fighters hovered above me, doors already opening and the Tenno within dropping.
 
A Frost landed  on my right, holding a Gorgon, reved up and spitting lead. He held his ground, firing fearlessly, decimating the front ranks of the Grineer. A Vauban landed on my left, a pair of Vasto revolvers spinning on his fingers. He opened fire, dropping marine after marine with perfectly placed headshots.
 
“Drew, maneuver six, now!” he shouted, holstering his left pistol and drawing a sphere from his chest. He hurled it, and a field of gravity appeared around it, sending small pebbles and bits of rubble into the air. The Frost dived forward, stepped in the middle of the pad, and vaulted, soaring dozens of feet into the air. His fists crackled with pure cold, and he flipped, gaining extra force from the motion.
 
He slammed into the ground, sending pulsing waves of cold out, cracking the concrete he landed on. Grineer tumbled like leaves in a storm, ice and frost forming on their armor and weapons. The Vauban turned to me and held out a hand, unleashing a cloud of green mist. It flowed around me, as the sound of twin Furis firing shook the air, and I breathed deeply, coughing.
 
The pain from my chest numbed, and I pushed up with my hands, flipping to my feet. The Vauban nodded, reaching to his back and drawing a long barreled rifle. A Snipertron? I hadn't seen one in years. He gestured forward, and sprinted into the fray. I drew my own rifle, dropped the mag, and slotted a new one in with motions born of years of practice.
 
The Frost was still firing, knocking down any Griner foolish enough to get up, and the Vauban leaped from the pad he had placed earlier, spinning in mid air. His feet impacted with a Grineer with a sickening crack, and he bowled him over, skidding next to the Frost and laying on his hip, opening up with his sniper. He didn't aim as precisely as most I'd seen, instead blowing apart chests and legs with careless abandon.
 
I sprinted forward myself, and spun, slamming my back against the Frost's. I heard him laughing as he fired, roaring in glee, and I couldn't help but join in as relief flooded me and I squeezed the trigger. We weren't alone! Our brothers were here! Jill and I coul- Jill. 
 
I spun to the barrier I'd last see her in, and fired, blowing a Scorpion off her feet.
 
“Another Tenno was over there!” I shouted, knowing my helmet would synch with the two before me. “Did you see her?” I asked, starting forward. The Vauban laughed, rising to his feet and dropping a napalm with a shot to the chest.
 
“Oh, we saw her!” he said, pointing. I saw a Banshee and a Nova, each moving in perfect harmony, tearing apart the Grineer near Jill. The Banshee wielded an Orthos, slashing Grineer in half with every swipe, while the Nova used dual Ether blades, hacking limbs and heads with abandon. Jill stood behind them, firing constantly, making sure any they wounded stayed down.
 
The Nova sheathed her blades and raised her hands, energy pouring from her, then bent double and slammed her palms into the ground. Tendrils of anti mater flooded from the contact point, impacting every Grineer on the battle field.
 
“Fire in the hole!” she cried gleefully. The Vauban crowed, and shouted back.
 
“Firing!” he cried, destroying a marine's head with a powerful round. The results were spectacular. The Frost spread his arms, freezing the moisture in the air into a hard shield, covering the three of us. The Nova waved her hands again, placing a barrier around Jill and the Banshee, and the Grineer exploded. The anti matter in their bodies chain reacted, blowing craters into the ground and setting one another off. The crowd was torn apart, body pieces and chunks of rubble flying everywhere.
 
The Nova strode through it, unharmed by the explosions, laughing widely. The Frost lowered his arms, and the shield collapsed forward, shattering on the ground. Jill and the Banshee stood up, and the barrier flickered and vanished.
 
The Frost holstered his pistols on his hips and laughed once more. The Vauban locked the sniper on his back, and chuckled at the Nova's antics. She was now sitting in the middle of the battle field, laughing and playing with a mass of anti matter.
 
I followed their lead, lifting the Braton over my shoulder. The Banshee led Jill towards us, slotting her Orthos onto her back as she came. A Boltor hung besides it, and the Vasto on her hip swung slightly. The star symbol on her shoulder marked her as a member of my clan. I looked and noticed the rest also wore the symbol, though I didn't recognize them from the large roster.
 
 The Frost drew his Galatine and slammed it into a Grineer corpse, slicing it in half neatly, then planted it in the concrete and leaned on it. I noticed the golden accents on this frame, and did a double take. A Frost Prime?
 
“So, Will,” the Frost said, folding his helmet back to reveal a familiar face. “You got yourself into a bind again, huh, and I had to get you out.”
 
I laughed once again, and folded back my own, striding forward and shaking hand, slamming my left onto his back and pulling him against my chest.
 
“Drew, you old golden boy! I thought I saw the last of you back with Vor!” I said, smiling at the memories of our combat together. Drew had been a high ranked general prior to Cyro sleep, and as such wore a more ornate frame. Once we awoke, he had entered the ranks of the common soldier, and proven that he had in fact earned his lofty rank.
 
“You wish,” he said, shaking my hand firmly and hugging me back. “You never could fight on your own that well.” The Vauban let out a bark of laughter, coming to stand beside us.
 
“I don't know, he was doing pretty good I'd say, considering he was alone. I thought I counted over fifty kills before we showed up, and that was mostly with that sword of his,” he said, flipping back his own helm. The Frost nodded, still chuckling.
 
“True, but they had him on the ropes when we arrived. Ten more minutes, and he would have been doomed,” he said, yanking the Galatine out of the ground and sheathing it again. The massive weapon looked nearly normal sized on his broad back, and he carried it as easily as I carried my Skana.
 
Jill and the Banshee had arrived while we were talking, and Jill ran forward and nearly tackled me, tucking her head against my chest and nearly sobbing.
 
“I thought you were dead when you ran out!” she said shakily, hugging me tightly. I awkwardly wrapped my own arms around her, and patted her back.
 
“Hey, he's been fighting for as long as I have, and his luck hasn't ran out yet,” said Drew, catching my eye and winking knowingly. I scowled at him, and he laughed again. The Vauban drew his left Vasto and casually spun it on his finger.
 
The Banshee sighed and swatted the Frost's shoulder, folding back her helm as well.
 
“Oh, stuff it Drew. The poor girl nearly died today, and watched her friend sacrifice himself to save her,” she said, crossing her arms and glaring at the Frost. He chuckled and mock saluted.
 
“Yes sir, Sheva ma'am!” he said, earning a glare from the woman. Jill wasn't crying anymore, though she still shook. I could feel it through the armor, and her arms clenched tightly on me, as if hoping for something solid. The Nova walked up behind the Banshee and waved a finger at me.
 
“PDA, brother?” she asked, folding back her helmet, causing me to grin and laugh out loud. “Didn't mom and dad teach you better?”
 
“Good to see you to, sis,” I said, waving at my sister Elizabeth. She too laughed and rested an elbow on the Banshee's shoulder.
 
“So, where's the place you were staying?” she asked, looking me in the eye and winking. I sighed. Why was everyone winking all of a sudden.
 
“Just behind the camp,” I said, pointing at the building we had holed up in. Jill slowly moved away from me slightly, shifting to my side. She kept an arm around my shoulder, and I could still feel her shaking, but it was far less pronounced. The Banshee, Sheva from what I'd heard, frowned and cocked her head.
 
“Camp?” she asked, looking around. “We heard there were people down here. Are they hostile?”
 
I was about to respond when Jill shook her head.
 
“They saved me, and gave us a place to sleep and stay,” she said. “They're good people.”
 
The Banshee shrugged and seemed content for now.
 
“Alright,” she said. “Lets go meet these people then, and thank them for saving our newest member.”
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"Ancient tenno curse"

Yeah right.

I like the part where Holly was a traffic worker.

She yelled it and it scrolled across her chest.

 

Not only that, it got frozen on the screen by the gel from the fish truck.

 

And she walked into Root's office with it.

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