The Lost Exo (Fan Creations)

by Dagoonite, Somewhere in Iowa, lost in a cornfield., Saturday, January 31, 2015, 01:20 (3400 days ago)

The wind hit this part of the Tower a little stronger than almost anywhere else, but the four of them still preferred it. Most of the commons areas were too cluttered, too many people passing by to talk comfortably. The City, and by extension the tower, was many things, and crowded was one of them. Reaching this little hiding spot was tricky; one wrong step and they'd fall further than anyone could survive. The chance to talk without worry, though, was worth it.

"Maksim might grab you later," Fixari-12 said, her mouth lights flashing a deep purple. "He wants some help getting materials for Eva for a new mircroweave display and says he's willing to pay. And since you've figured out how to walk in the City without drawing attention..."

"Pfft." Thaliart shook his head. "He can get my help when he gets his brains out of his Ghost."

Jorgl laughed at his fellow Hunter. "Still upset about that little favor you did for him?"

"I had to shoot myself in the head so that my Ghost could reattach my arm! Yes, I'm still upset!"

Fixari-12's face moved as close to a smile as she could manage. "The materials you collected helped a great many Warlocks, myself included."

"Don't care," he growled. "He can pay me back when he jumps from the Tower into a methane pit."

They all remained quiet for a long moment, willing to let the subject drop apparently. Suddenly, Jorgl turned to me. "You've been awfully quiet today, Nikkel. Is that sandwich so interesting that you can't even eat it?"

I glanced down at my half-eaten sandwich, then back to the young Hunter, the newest member of our little group. "No," I said slowly. "I'm just... getting a grip on what happened this morning."

"I know you went out..." Fixari-12 let the words trail off in an obvious question.

"Southern part of Old Russia. The Cosmodrome's been getting all the attention lately, but the Cryptarchs thought they might have a line on a place that hadn't already been looted. Turns out, they were part right." I sighed softly, looking out to the City. "Old battleground. Lots of signs of human deaths, but there were signs of both Hive and Fallen. A lot of the surface is trashed, but there's a sizable subterrarian complex that's pretty much pristine. Some looting, but nothing major. My Ghost had to hack our way past some heavy-ass doors just to get down there."

"Ha!" Jorgl squirmed in delight. "That's great news!"

"But you aren't the type to focus on the past," Thaliart said softly.

"Fallen showed up behind me." I shrugged a little. "Maybe it was just luck, or maybe they followed me. I did pretty good at wiping them out. At least, until the Baron showed up. I was doing pretty good for a while there, taking out his guard and doing pot shots on him, but..."

I shook my head. "There wasn't a point in me using my fist on him. I never even got his shields more than halfway down, and he kept pushing me further into the complex. We got into this large area... Lots of human remains, skeletons huddled up to each other. Anyway, I get his shields about halfway down again when someone on a catwalk snipes him. I didn't see it, I had to duck under cover to reload, but it sounded... Familiar and weird, you know? I thought that I was under fire at first, until I heard his shields drop."

I drew in a shaking breath. "Anyway, I pop back out as I'm working the action to chamber a round when I see someone, just... drop from the ceiling. By the Light, he had a Fallen sword in his hands, and he just... cuts two of the bastard's arms off, grabs the gun and wrenches it free before the arms even hit the ground. He spins free and, I dunno, it was like he was slowly jogging away. But as he's jogging, he yells out 'Take him out, Titan.'

"I guess it was good that he yelled that, because I was, you know, kinda taken back by it all. You know?"

"But you took the shot," Jorgl said in hushed tones, his bright yellow eyes focused on me intensely. His Ghost had only brought him back a month ago, and he must have been young when he'd died. He was always fascinated by our stories.

"Emptied out my entire mag before its soul left its body. Barons don't go down easy, it seems."

"I keep telling you to upgrade your guns," Thaliart scoffed.

I snorted softly, turning the sandwich around in my hands. I wasn't really seeing it, though. "Anyway, once I get my wits about me again, I look up, and he's on the catwalk. Looking down at me. I got my first real good sight of him. It was like... I dunno. A hodgepodge of armor. Some of it looked like it belonged on a Hunter, some on a Warlock, but the gauntlets were definitely the kind I'd wear.

"He speaks again, and this time I can hear the reverb. An Exo. He says, 'They've already signaled to their Kell. Go and tell the City about this place. We'll lock the doors behind you.' I'm about to thank him, when he turns away, and I can see a Fallen behind him. She holsters her wire rifle and takes that big gun. All the while, his Ghost just hovering a little ways away."

I took another steadying breath. "He didn't even turn around before he barked 'I said go!' And, Traveler forgive me, I ran."

Fixari leaned forward, an elbow on one knee. "This female Fallen? How many arms did she have?"

"The Cryptarchs asked the same thing." I studied her metallic face. "Three."

"The Lost Exo," Thaliart said softly, and Fixari nodded.

"They didn't tell me anything about who it was."

Thaliart chuckled softly. "I'd imagine their legends are as different as Hunter and Warlock tales."

Fixari nodded. "Legends speak of an old Exo, in mismatched armor. He never runs, just moves at a pace that seems oddly slow. But when you take your eyes off of him, he seems to skip to a new place far too quickly. His Ghost is always out, sometimes hiding behind something. And he's always accompanied by a three-armed Vandal. They say he scavenges oddly, frequently from what Fallen corpses are in the area. A glimpse, occasionally a word from him, a nugget of advice, wisdom, or tactics, before he disappears."

Thaliart nodded a little. "Hunters claim that he's one of our own. Perhaps one of the first Hunters."

"But there's nothing to support either assertion," Fixari cut in.

The Hunter rolled his eyes. "Believe what you will. We believe that he's always on the outskirts, walking the long, hard path. More romantic Hunters believe that he was betrayed when his fireteam was corrupted by the Darkness and has sworn never to interact with another Guardian directly. The pessimistic ones think that he himself is tainted, but recognizes it. He keeps his distance from other Guardians so that he won't spread it to others. They say the Fallen in his company was of a long-forgotten House, one that was wiped out by other Houses, whom he rescued from certain death in exchange for her unending loyalty and knowledge of the Fallen."

"Another point where we disagree." Fixari turned her attention to Jorgl. "The Warlocks offer the suggestion that he kidnapped her as a babe, raising her as his own. He keeps one of her arms docked as a way of using her as a potential distraction. We believe that he is an ancient sage, having knowledge and wisdom that we cannot even imagine. However, even we disagree on what he is. A few of us, and this is a very unpopular belief, but a few of us believe that he isn't even a Guardian. That the Ghost is simply waiting for him to fall in battle, so that he might be made into a full Guardian."

Jorgl made an odd noise before clearing his throat. "But that would make him... ancient. Like, pre-collapse. How...?"

The Warlock laughed softly, a musical tone to her voice lights. "Hence why it's an unpopular belief. However, they believe that he came from a lost Exo factory, that his scavenging is so that he can produce more spare parts. Some truly mad souls believe that he is amassing an army of Exo soldiers for when the Darkness returns, to fight along side the Guardians of the Light."

"Leaving aside insane conjecture," Thaliart said quickly, "little is actually known. He appears anywhere on Earth, without any sign of transport. North America, Australia, Antarctica... He's been sighted almost everywhere, always accompanied by that Fallen."

"And the Ghost," Fixari added. I was starting to wonder if she secretly belonged to the camp that thought he wasn't a Guardian.

"And the Ghost, yes. I promise you, though. When they return there, they'll find those Fallen bodies stripped clean, not a single item left on them. And that those doors will be locked down as tight as possible."

"And you got to meet him," Jorgl said with amazement, looking at me.

"Don't get yourself so pleased yet." I tossed my sandwich to the side, deciding that I wasn't hungry after all. "I hear they've sent one fireteam to investigate, but they asked that I form another to help with the collection. I thought I'd include you."

"Awesome!" he said, bouncing in place. "So there!"

"I'll come along with you," Fixari said, a hint of amusement in her electronic voice. "If you opened that complex, then I'd like to see if we can discover just how he got in there."

"Plus, she upgrades her guns."

I waved my hand towards Thaliart's smug grin. "Take a flying leap."

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