Blakrana Posted October 31, 2014 Share Posted October 31, 2014 The night sky sparked, stars glimmering amidst the black. Grineer Galleons passed overhead and below, oblivious to the interloper. Kneeling in meditation, the Tenno Valkyr let the silence wash over her, till the only sounds in the ship were the idle noises of the communication scanner, Ordis, and the sparking of the foundry. Yet, hardly a scant few seconds passed before the memories uncoiled; flashes of pain, cold metal thrust into her arms. The rage, gnawing at her mind to be let loose. Her palms closed into fists, the clarity she sought once more sliding from her grip. Once more, there was nothing but undirected fury agitating her to move, to act. What strength she took from her rage, came at the cost of knowing even the smallest peace of mind. The other Tenno fought beside her. They held her still as kin. Yet, in the solitude of her Liset, it meant nothing. Only the Lotus' work allowed her even the smallest release. Battle was her only reprieve, a storm of motion that kept her alive. Whereas the other Tenno all had the freedom to rest in their own minds. Valkyr could only fight. Her fists clenched tighter... “Operator, I'm detecting a distress signal. Perhaps you ca-finish them off-n help?” Ordis' voice cut through the reverie, bringing Valkyr's mind back to her surroundings. Standing, she turned the scanner to the frequency Ordis displayed, and waited. For a moment the question of whether Ordis was simply bored, if indeed an AI could become bored, began to circle. Valkyr was about to turn away from the device when it began speaking again; female, by the sounds of it. Unfamiliar perhaps, but the barest trace of fear held her attention. “This is a representative of New Loka. We've lost contact with one of our colonies near Phobos. Please, if someone is hearing this, help us investigate. This is...” Valkyr paused for a moment, stepping over to the codex interface. There had been an incident with the Grineer on Phobos not too long ago, had there not? Sifting through a small log of operations, she found it; Operation Gatecrash. The Lotus had dispatched Tenno to prevent the Grineer endangering the Archwing data aboard Orokin Derelicts. Whilst it had been deemed a success, the fact remained that Infested had managed to slip through the opened portals across the system; it stood to reason that a lone Infested could have strayed into reach of a colony. “Operator, I must remind you that sand disagrees with my exhaust systems. Explosively,” Ordis complained bitterly. Valkyr wondered if he was trying to develop a sense of humour. As the Liset began the trip, she accessed the codex's limited database for more information on New Loka; it always paid to know who one was getting involved with. ** “Tenno, there's a number of life signs further ahead. Do everything you can.” Leaning out of her vantage point, Valkyr surveyed the Infested through her scanner; the majority were Crawlers, with a few Chargers and Runners mixed in. Nothing particularly worthy of concern, on their own. But, as she scanned the vestigial hive, she found what she was looking for; an Ancient. Of all variants, these were necessary to prioritise, as they held numerous abilities that strengthened the Infested, from simply healing to encouraging the production of toxins in lesser Infested. Stowing her scanner, Valkyr let energy flow through her palm, forming a hook; throwing it with deadly accuracy, she impaled the Ancient through the head, before tearing it clear from the body entirely. With a wet thump, the body fell to the ground, engineered decomposition already commencing; whatever the Orokin had originally planned for these abominations, they weren't to linger. Of course, with the Ancient dead, the entire horde went up in a frenzy, a disjointed array of eyes and limbs trying to find the threat to their survival. Dropping into their midst, she greeted them with her Sybaris, blasting chunks of flesh-turned-metal apart with each pull of the trigger. Claws struck glancing blows through her shield, but the pain did little to disturb the flow of combat, a stern rhythm of screaming and gunfire. After what seemed an age of bloody violence, the howls died down, the Sybaris halted and there was the fleeting peace of the battlefield. Like all peace, though, it was temporary; no sooner had the Sybaris' barrel stopped smoking when the Infested howls echoed down the dark, light-starved corridors. However, a thin sliver of light sliced through the darkness; a door, opened ever so slightly. Enough for a figure behind it to shout for help. Sparing not even a glance behind her, Valkyr ran through the door, sealing it from within. At once, the sounds of frustrated howling were replaced with the pained sobbing of a group of survivors, hiding in the room. Each of them were writhing in pain, scattered medical supplies littering the floor; various forms of painkillers and anaesthetics, all exhausted. Looking again at the survivors, each had patches of metal growing where skin should have been. Gritting their teeth one of them, a man, looked at Valkyr as directly as he could, pleading. “You can help us, can't you?” “Tenno...you know there's no cure. There's nothing you can do for them now,” the Lotus spoke quietly, detached. “I've ordered Ember and Saryn here to purify the location. Get to Ex-” For the first time, Valkyr shut her mind to the Lotus' words. She knew to simply leave was wrong. The fear, the terror in the eyes of the survivors as their bodies slipped away, she knew what that was like. All that separated her and the victims before her was that Valkyr was a Tenno; there was a way she could help. The only way. Kneeling in front of the survivors, she drew a Heat sword from her back, and lay it before her. Looking at the one who spoke, she nodded, tracing a word she hadn't used for as long as she could remember. Mercy. The man paused, pain causing parts of his body to spasm. The others were silent as well, the single word as clear in intent as the flames licking the edges of the blade. A furtive glance between them, before they looked back towards Valkyr. Steeling himself, the man spoke again with difficulty. “Will it hurt?” She shook her head; no. “Will it be quick?” She nodded once; yes. Closing his eyes, the survivors stood as one, crying silent tears; whether of pain or relief she couldn't tell. With a faint smile, the man looked at Valkyr for the last time, and nodded. Rising to her feet, she channelled her energy through the blade, striking them all down in a single, broad stroke. As the energy consumed their bodies before they could register their deaths, they spoke their collective last words: “Thank you.” For the brief moment the words echoed through her mind, there was a cold peace. Once they stopped, replaced by the groans of Infested outside, the cold gave way to the ever present heated fury. As the door buckled under the attacks of the horde, she drew the other blade, and howled her own challenge at the beasts, before launching herself into the fray, Heat Swords surging with light. Once more, she was lost in battle. But this wasn't the practised finesse of marksmanship, nor the exacting grace of Tenno martial stances; this was the blurred reality of rage unleashed. Chargers were dismembered, Crawlers were impaled. What little blood was not burnt or sublimated into mist, splattered wherever it could find purchase, and she cared nothing for it. All Valkyr cared for was the task at hand; to purify the disease before her. Every Infested she destroyed honoured the lives lost in that space. Every Infested she destroyed ended the shame of it's victims, brought them absolution. Time slipped away from her, physical fatigue a distant thing long forgotten; it wasn't until she stood upon a pile of broken, tattered corpses, Heat Swords stained with Infested sinew, that she stopped. Stepping through the vanishing remains of the former battlefield, Valkyr sheathed the blades before climbing back towards the surface, leaving the room nothing but the darkness and silence to occupy it. ** “Tenno...what you've done for us today...It is deeply appreciated by we in New Loka. It is a shame that there were no survivors, but they died well. We thank you for your efforts in purifying the site. We would be grateful for you to assist us again in the future.” The automated message ended, the Liset silent once more. Beyond a direct contact link for the 'Representative', as Ordis had dubbed her, there was little else in the form of direct payment. As the Liset pulled out towards deeper space, Valkyr knelt beneath the window, Phobos receding from view. Her earlier research had shown her New Loka mostly concerned itself with the restoration of Earth, and idealising of the human species before the current era. Creation, as opposed to destruction. An embracing of the ideals of humanity. The colonists had accepted the option she gave them as the humane choice, in effect. Was that the best she could have done? Was that the extent of her humanity? Euthanising victims of the Technocyte Plague? No. She could do better. Stepping towards the codex, she keyed in the details the New Loka representative had provided. “Operator, Ordis wonders, what are you thinking?” In response, she traced a single word: Hope. ------------ Hoping people didn't mind reading this. I got the urge to write so figured why not a short one-shot. Happy hunting. Link to comment Share on other sites More sharing options...
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