Kentarch 3 Suit (Titan)
Helm of Righteousness
"How about now?"
Yardarm-4 squinted up at his Ghost. "You sure?"
"Of course I'm sure. There are no Vex within at least a mile."
"They're on their way back now. What do you think they were doing?"
Yardarm-4 rolled his eyes and kicked a stone over the cliff's edge. "Oh, come on. You've got all those sensors and you can't pick up on the signals they're sending?"
Yardarm-4's Ghost bobbed in the air, visibly acting out its waffling thoughts. "I—"
"Hey, don't worry about it. I'm not jealous."
"You're not?" His Ghost sounded shocked.
"Boy, you really don't get people do you?"
Yardarm-4 watched his Ghost shift its gaze around, trying to make up some excuse for itself.
"Hey, it's OK," he said. "I don't need you for that. I just need you to watch my back. I'll take care of the team dynamic. Rekkana might be the captain, but the good ship Kentarch needs sails if it's going to go anywhere."
"And the sails are you?"
"Yup. And the anchor, too."
"OK," his Ghost said, shifting its shell and trying to work through the metaphor. "What is Lisbon-13?"
"The… rudder? I don't get it."
"The rudder is attached to the tiller. If the ship doesn't have it, the captain can't steer. The ship is adrift at sea."
"So you'd be lost without him?"
"Lost? Nah. We'd know where we were. We just couldn't be sure where we'd end up."
"Wow. That's… deep. Hey, how do you know so much about ships?"
Yardarm-4 shrugged. "Just do. Always have."
"So… you're really not jealous?"
"Shut up. You really don't get people."
Gauntlets of Exaltation
Yardarm-4's back ached, and his feet were sore from running. But now nothing threated them in this unnatural vale. He looked over at his companions. They looked as bad as he felt. A joke wouldn't cut it, then. He needed to say something that would get their hackles up.
"You underestimated them," Yardarm-4 said.
Lisbon-13 turned his head sharply, but Rekkana touched Lisbon-13's arm.
Good boy, Yardarm-4 thought. She keeps you on a tight leash. These ideas came to Yardarm-4 unbidden, and so he said nothing.
"Yes," Rekkana said. "But it has given us perspective."
"Perspective?" What utter crap. Yardarm-4 had been tired, just playing at anger, but now it felt real. Still, Rekkana never said anything without purpose. "What perspective is worth nearly dying for?"
Something passed between Rekkana and Lisbon-13. She did not answer, and Lisbon-13 leapt into the gap she left, as he always would. "Those defenses were insane." That was true enough. "The relays and tethers. The Angelics. The Vex really don't want us to be here. That means they consider this place a weakness."
It's good to see some color back in her cheeks, observed Yardarm-4. And Lisbon-13 has his chest puffed out like some—
"Yes, it's a weakness," Yardarm-4 said, although he hadn't meant to. More words issued from his mouth. "Perhaps it's their greatest weakness."
Yardarm-4 shut his mouth in bewildered astonishment. The sentiments weren't wrong. It wasn't that they were things he wouldn't say. It's just… he hadn't meant to say them.
"Yes. So we must—" Rekkana began, but then Lisbon-13 raised the weapon they'd claimed and scanned the area.
Yardarm-4 jolted—a hypnic jerk. He wasn't tired anymore. He raised his own gun. "What is that? Where's it coming from?"
Rekkana joined them in defense against the unknown, her shoulder brushing Yardarm-4 as she drew her gun. "I don't hear—"
"You. It's coming from you. Because you're a hero."
Plate of Transcendence
Yardarm-4 spun, looking around the grotto.
"You hear that? Who is that?" Yardarm-4 had to stop himself from shouting.
"I hear it," Rekkana and Lisbon-13 said as one. A chill ran through him. How had they heard the voice if it was in his head?
All three Guardians called for their Ghosts.
"Ghost?" Yardarm-4 was first. "What have we got?"
Yardarm-4 started walking away even as his compatriots began talking with them.
"What are you looking for?" his Ghost asked.
"Anything. Everything. I… I'm not… Scan me. Look for something, someone else."
"Wow. OK…" His Ghost didn't understand, but it did as asked. "So, uh, what exactly am I look—?"
Yardarm-4 watched his Ghost's scan sputter out. Then the Ghost fell and clattered across the ground.
As Yardarm-4 picked it up, he felt his Light fading.
"Yardarm, Lisbon, you OK?" Rekkana asked from somewhere distant.
"Yeah. Sure." But Yardarm-4 did not feel OK, and he was not sure about anything.
Greaves of Ascendancy
Yardarm-4 watched Lisbon-13 brood.
He'll turn her against us.
We've welcomed him. He accepted our gifts. Yet now he fears us. Does that seem right to you?
No. But he always was an odd one.
The thought came to Yardarm-4 with a surprising amount of warmth. Lisbon-13 was his friend.
"We didn't come here for this," Lisbon-13 started.
"Of course not. Who could have predicted it?" Rekkana interjected. "But now, with all that's happened, does it matter what our mission was? This is so much more important."
"And awesome. Don't forget how awesome this feels," Yardarm-4 blurted. He meant to say more, to express something better and deeper than "awesome," but then Lisbon-13 jumped in.
"But these things—these powers we've been given—they come from the wrong side."
Rekkana couldn't look at him. "I'm not so sure."
How could she not be certain? What difference did it make, what side they came from?
"You remember on Io," Yardarm-4 said, stepping forward, "we were pinned down inside that shipping container with Phalanxes closing in from all sides, and you—you bastard. You ducked out a little hole in the back and made a run for it. I thought you'd left us behind."
"Never," spat Lisbon-13.
He means it. That's good.
"I know," Yardarm-4 continued. "The whole box was rattling with bullets, and there were explosions, and we were shooting when we could, and suddenly, through it all, I heard you screaming. It was like a banshee wail. You came screaming back on an Interceptor—the Psion still in it. You were steering it with the Psion's head!"
"I remember," said Lisbon-13 as he tried to step around Yardarm-4, but Yardarm-4 held firm and tried to catch his gaze.
"And you rammed it through four Phalanxes from the side, and then, and then—you remember this, Rekkana?"
"I can't forget."
Good. No one should forget.
"You splashed that Interceptor across the shields of another Phalanx, and you RODE THE EXPLOSION over the top. And when you hit the ground behind them, BOOM! It was the most beautiful thing I'd ever seen."
Lisbon-13 stopped and looked Yardarm-4 in the eyes.
This is it. This is the chance to turn the tide.
"That's us right now. We're doing what you did. This whole universe is like that container, and the Last City, the Vanguard, the Traveler—they're all inside that box. But we just snuck out of a hole in the back. And there's that Interceptor, and there's not even a Psion in it."
Lisbon-13 narrowed his eyes. He's thinking about it!
"But here the metaphor gets a little muddy, because instead of one Interceptor, there's an Interceptor for you, a Goliath for me, and a Thresher for Rekkana. What would that fight have looked like if we'd had all their firepower on our side?" Yardarm-4 ended, triumphant, almost breathless with admiration and love for his fireteam.
Lisbon-13's lip curled, and Yardarm-4 felt the shift as something almost physical. In his mind's eye, he saw a captain's wheel spinning wild and free.
"Something ugly," Lisbon-13 snarled and turned away.
"This isn't how the story is supposed to end," Rekkana said, seeming dazed.
"It's not over yet. We'll win this." Rekkana didn't look convinced. Yardarm-4 changed tack. "Listen, Lisbon's been holding back. He's afraid to use his new powers. So, in a straight-up fight against him, the advantage is ours, in numbers and strength."
"Lisbon isn't afraid. He's angry. Desperate. He feels betrayed," said Rekkana. She was clear-eyed again, scanning their surroundings for signs of another ambush.
"HE feels betrayed?" It was a ludicrous idea. "He turned on us!"
"Yes, but it's because he doesn't see us as friends anymore."
"Well, he's got that part right. How'd he get so twisted? We all took the deal. And look at us now!"
Rekkana did look at herself, and then at him. "Did we do the right thing?"
Rekkana doubting herself? It was disorienting. He had to get her to focus.
"Of course we did. And we're going to return to the City and share what we've learned with your order. But first we have to make it out of the Black Garden. Listen, we don't have to fight Lisbon. But if we're going to avoid a showdown, we gotta know what he's planning."
"OK, so does he hit us from behind or block us? Should we expect more Vex to get funneled toward us?"
Rekkana closed her eyes. Her breathing slowed. Yardarm-4 kept an eye on their surroundings, but he glanced back at Rekkana often, to see the flicker of REM on her eyelids.
After a few minutes, Rekkana's breath quickened, and she opened her eyes.
"It's no use. There are too many possible threads to plot our paths."
"It's OK. We'll go where the wind blows us," Yardarm-4 mumbled.
"I said, we'll chart our own course. We'll write our story as we live it."
Yardarm-4 put on a smile he didn't feel, and Rekkana pretended she had not heard what he'd first said.
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