West of the Elysium Mons volcano
The sinister powder brought to bare by a Martian sandstorm could be considered far more dangerous than any Cabal rocket round. Fine enough to get into everything and coarse enough to do a lot of damage once it’s there. When whipped about by super-high winds, the sand overloaded barriers and clogged up almost every armour system. A Guardian often has an easier time acclimatizing to the hard vacuum and null-gravitational conditions on the Moon. Surviving on Mars is a skill hard-earned.
The storm had passed hours ago, depositing a thick and pristine layer of powder across the plain. As the last vestiges of the tempest bucked against the distant visage of Elysium Mons, a new roar filled the landscape, which heralded the approaching Cabal convoy.
Moving southeast, the convoy stretched as far as the naked eye could see. Thousands of Sand Eaters troops, hundreds of Harvester transports and Goliath tanks kept a slow, steady pace across the terrain. Intel suggested they were interested in setting up several logistical holdings in the area.
The Cabal column was slowly moving into the engagement zone, but all Telemica Magna could think about was the sand that was slowly working its way into crevasses that she didn’t have names for. Her Titan armour had saved her from more assaults both seen and unseen than she’d be able to count over the years, but this sand would best her, given time. Her fortress-like form, and the dozens of other Guardians she was currently in command of, were all suffering the same silent discomfort, since the only way to conceal the trap from Cabal scouts was the let the storm bury them. It was Telemica’s idea. “Creative camouflage”, she had called it, and regretted the concept almost instantly.
By charting the course the Cabal would take and forming up Guardians on either side of that path, Telemica’s plan was coming together perfectly. The full length of the Cabal formation would be assaulted at once and from all directions. Telemica had to use every iota of influence she’d gained from decades of service and storied victories, but eventually Commander Zavala saw that the possible gains outweighed the risks. The Sand Eaters were low on supplies and needed energy and materials to bolster their forces. Operations in Freehold had taken tolls and cracks in their effectiveness were showing more readily.
At her word, the Guardian formation would rise from the rust and fire a united salvo of rockets at the heavy assets, while buried charges would break any Cabal will to respond too quickly. Telemica’s heart began to swell with the glory she was about to bring to these Guardians and her Titan order. Perhaps she’d find the Cabal commander. Perhaps she’d make it scream her name over Cabal comms before jamming a shock grenade down its throat. While others spoke of much-needed salvage for the City, Titan Magna only cared to send waves of fear through the Cabal ranks.
“Incoming commands from the Tower, Lady Magna.” spoke the meek voice of Squire, her Ghost. Telemica’s mind didn’t register it. The time for battle had come.