The Vanguards of Dead Orbit – Chapter Two

The Faction Wars are events that take place within computer generated arenas. The fireteam members from different factions, the most notable of which are Seven Seraphs, New Monarchy, Future War Cult and Dead Orbit, lay down in special stasis tubes that project the guardians consciousness into the arena space. This is achieved by using technology gifted to the city by the traveler. The event is held for many reasons; the Factions that participate in the matches, depending on the factions overall performance over the course of a week, have the chance of securing more funding and higher paying missions for the faction. The matches are arranged so that the Vanguards from each faction can only fight other Vanguards.

Vanguards are the strongest and most experienced guardians. They are the scouting force of the city and are the first in to any unexplored sector. Their mission is to uncover potential threats or possible allies in these sectors and also to secure any relics from our past that can be used to ensure our future. The more important missions from the city elders themselves are often given directly to the Vanguard fireteams that outperform their rivals.

The Faction Wars also acts as entertainment for the city’s occupants, each faction having its own supporters and acclaim.

As Dinnerbell comes to he’s immediately assaulted by the noises of the city, the screams and cheers from the faction wars spectators, the ships of coming and going guardians flying overhead and numerous other sounds too distant to recognise. Unlike the musk and silence of the dead city within the arena this city has the smells and sounds of something very much alive.

As he sits on the edge of his stasis bed he looks down at his legs, not fully convinced that he still holds power over them, he wiggles his toes before trusting them with his weight, he’s happy to see that all is well and proceeds to stand.

Finally on his feet, Dinnerbell takes a moment to absorb the sight around him. The arena has a high ceiling that’s dotted with bright lights of various colours, each of the seven walls of the arena has the insignia of a different faction printed on it, there are also stands for that factions members and fans to watch the match. Dinnerbell notes the emptiness of Dead Orbits section. In the center of the room are seven large screens each divided into three sections, the largest of the three sections is always reserved for the leader of the competing fireteam. In Dinnerbells case this is Lyannas screen.

As Dinnerbell stands still gawking at the arena, Lyanna and Screwloose have already exited their stasis tubes and have made their way to the locker rooms – removing the skin-tight suits has always been Lyannas biggest complaint about the Faction Wars.

“These damn things never want to come off!” Lyanna shouts as she manages to reclaim one of her arms.

“Rather these than having to walk out there without anything on.” suggests Screwloose with a shrug as he neatly folds his suit and places it in his wash pile.

“What would you know tin can, not like you have any flesh to cover up.” snaps Lyanna as her other arm is begrudgingly returned to her. “Besides it’s not like there’s anyone in our stands who’d notice my lack of attire.” Lyanna comments in a flat voice. Screwloose remains silent at this and goes about equipping his armor.

Dinnerbell enters the spacious locker room at the conclusion of Lyannas’ grudge match against her suit, “Ha, you are the toughest opponent I faced today but once again, I win.” Lyanna declares with laboured breath. The six-foot Awoken cheerfully dresses herself in her finery, she looks over to see Dinnerbell effortlessly remove his suit. “How do you and Screwloose do it?”

Dinnerbell looks over at Lyanna and shrugs “Nothing to it Sir.”

“Nothing to it!? That suit has given me trouble since the first day I wore it.” states Lyanna with a tone thick with disgust.

It’s during this exchange that Dinnerbell takes note of his captain’s appearance. She has straight black hair just past her shoulders, bright blue eyes, a faint blue hue to her skin and her lips are a deep purple, she has three earrings in her left ear, two at the bottom and one at the top. Dinnerbell concludes that she is a very pretty woman.

Lyanna gets to her feet and looks down at Dinnerbell “You handled yourself better than I expected today and nice work with the two looking down on the alley. You still got shot though so you’re stuck with the name Dinnerbell for now.”

Dinnerbell sighs at that “I’ve been meaning to ask, where did the name Dinnerbell even come from?”

Lyanna laughs and says “When the Commander pointed you out at Faction HQ it just came to me – after all you were a rookie with no field experience being assigned to the Vanguard fireteam, you’re half a foot shorter than I am and you look far too young even in your golden robes. I turned to the commander and said sending him out in the wild is the same as ringing the Dinnerbell. I still don’t think you’re cut out for Vanguard, and the three months the commander is giving me to get you ready isn’t going to change that but as he said, we have to work with what we’ve got.”

Dinnerbell actually agreed with his captain on this, he didn’t think that even three years would be enough time for him to get comfortable in situations like the one he faced today, however he also understood the Commanders reasons for asking so much from his faction after what happened six months ago.

The following day Fireteam Alpha are given one days leave for Dinnerbell to rest up after his first Faction War and Dinnerbell does just that. Screwloose uses this time to tend to his habit of gun smithing, Lyanna decides to spend some time in the inner city.

As she walks down the steps of Dead Orbit HQ she takes in the view of the city she’s sworn to protect. The Ancient being known commonly as The Traveler hangs motionless low in the sky standing vigil over the city. Just below it she can see the tower, the tower is where hopeful guardians, some as young as five, are trained and schooled in the ways of combat so that they too may one day protect our last haven on earth.

The sun shines down on Lyanna as she seats herself on a bench at the far end of a park From here she’s reminded why she fights so fiercely for this city. The sight of children holding their mother’s hand as they point up at the city’s silent protector, the amazement plain across their faces always makes her take pride in what she does. Just down from the park is the shopping district, forever teeming with life and the voices from countless tongues, being the last safe city on the planet it comes as no surprise that people from many customs and beliefs have taken refuge here.

Lyanna makes her way to her favourite gun store at the far end of the shopping district to have her revolvers serviced and for some target practice. As she enters the store she feels a sense of peace take hold within her mind. The familiar smells, the dark walls covered with guns and armour, this store is her own personal heaven within the city walls.  However her peace is soon shattered as she overhears three FWC members trying to haggle over the price of a rare Pulse rifle the store owner has for sale.

“I’m sorry sir I can’t let it go for any less than twenty thousand.” says the shopkeeper in his usual not up for debate manner.

“Twenty thousand!? This gun isn’t worth half of that! Besides do you really think you should be charging a member of the FWC such a high amount in the first place? We’re out there protecting you day and night from all kinds of dangers, you should be more than happy to hand over any rare weapons you have to the FWC, it would be for the good of the city.” argues one of the FWC members.

The shopkeeper loses his patience “Look here, I am grateful to all the guardians for protecting the city but I also have a family to feed and protect, how am I supposed to do that if I don’t make any profit on my goods?”

The FWC member takes offense at this “How dare you talk to us like this!? Don’t you know who the FWC are? Why should we care about the troubles of a single shopkeeper who won’t even support those who defend him. On second thought I don’t think I will pay for this rifle after all, I think I’ll just take it. Consider it an apology for speaking to us in such an ungrateful manner.”

The Titan goes to grab the rifle on the counter.

The shopkeeper grabs at the rifle also and starts shouting “What do you think you’re doing? you can’t just take anything you want, this is against the law!”

The titan laughs at that “The law? we are the law you fool.” the titan then draws his sidearm and points it at the shopkeeper.

As he flicks the safety off, Lyanna glides between the three FWC members, …With Good Intentions in one hand and Serpents Kiss in the other, she points one at the back of the titans head and the other in the face of the warlock “Now isn’t this something, a Guardian pulling a gun on someone he swore to protect. I wonder what the city elders would say if they saw this?” The FWC members hadn’t even noticed Lyanna step into the shop.

“We were just playing, we swear!” claims the hunter in a stuttered voice.

“We wouldn’t really harm our citizens!” interjects the warlock as Serpents Kiss dances in front of him, The hunter being the only one without a gun pointed at him recognises his adversary.

“You’re Lyanna The Serpent from Dead Orbit aren’t you!?” The other two freeze at this.

“Could be I am.” answers Lyanna with a chilled tone in her voice.

The hunter starts to back away slowly “Please forgive us, we didn’t mean any harm, we’ll go and never come back, we swear.”

The other two echo him “We swear.”

Lyanna thinks for a moment and says “Not before you pay the man what you owe, twenty thousand right?”

The shop keepers mouth moves but no sound comes out, he clears his throat “Twenty thousand” he confirms with a nod.

Lyanna looks between the three of them “Well? Who’s the lucky buyer?” the warlock and hunter shake their heads.

“That would be me.” says the titan as he lets go of the rifle to produce the credits.

“Thank you sir.” says the shopkeeper as he hands the titan the rifle.

Lyanna backs away from them but keeps her guns raised “Well then, off you go.”

The warlock and hunter stumble out of the narrow door side by side in their haste.

The titan lingers for a moment. “Lyanna The Serpent from Dead Orbit huh, I’d forgotten that Dead Orbit were still in action, given what happened to a couple of its members half a year ago.” He looks Lyanna straight in the eyes, “I won’t forget again.” With that he walks out of the shop with only a fraction of the haste his fellow faction members displayed.

Lyanna is frozen in place after he leaves, she’d been making an effort to forget about what happened half a year ago and was living day-to-day, but now the events were playing out over and over in her head and as she glances at the revolver in her hand she screams.

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2 Responses to The Vanguards of Dead Orbit – Chapter Two

  1. Ragashingo August 7, 2014 at 2:59 pm #

    It’s nice to see a story taking a look into Guardians’ relationships with the citizens of The City. I do wonder though, did Lyanna just scream right in front of that poor shopkeeper? :p

    • WM August 8, 2014 at 11:04 am #

      Haha, yeah the way I had it in my mind is that she pretty much freaked out on the spot. A little extreme but you find out why in the next few chapters.

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