southernisms: (Slaine)
[personal profile] southernisms
It was ironic, really: Now that he finally committed to staying alive, Slaine figured his chances of surviving the current situation were slim. Those damned claw-wielding creatures were practically nipping at his heels, trailing him as he moved from cover to cover, while more advanced kinds – apparently named Vandals – held back, attempting to snipe at him from a distance with what seemed to be wire rifles. To make matters worse, the snipers were capable of calling up some kind of impervious shield; he had only discovered this annoying fact after wasting a few rounds of ammunition on the translucent, inky blue-black domes.

As worrisome as the scenario was, he was getting more than a little annoyed. It wasn't as if he could retreat and form some measure of a plan to deal with this mess; the swarm of hostiles had him cut off from escape routes. Hell, at this point he wouldn't completely object to blowing himself up out of frustration if there was some guarantee it would take some of these bastards down with him. Getting agitated wouldn't help, but it wasn't as if he could stop himself.

"Ugh...these sure are...a lot more resilient," he grunted as he ducked behind a fern-covered rock outcropping to reload, the sharp edges digging unpleasantly into his back. Another of the clawed creatures closed the distance; he gave it a good shove away with the flat of his palm. Much to his surprise, the creature instantly disintegrated in some sort of electrical charge as he did. Not that he had the luxury of exploring yet another new aspect of his abilities with these bizarre enemies relentlessly bearing down on him.

The towhead risked a glance out from behind his cover, aiming down the sights of his rifle with the intent to deal with the Vandals. He considered ways to close the distance while somehow managing to avoid claw rakes, giant energy globes, and comparatively simple gunfire, already shifting into position for a desperate run. "I think now might be the time to put those explosives to use, but I'll need to get closer to those snipers."

Before the Ghost could respond, said snipers abruptly and inexplicably began to taper off, one by one imploding in the tell-tale black vortexes. Where there had been five of them, now there seemed to be only one making a nuisance out of itself. It was more than a little worrisome that the others had suddenly disappeared, but the window he'd been suddenly provided was too valuable not to take advantage of. It might have been a trap, but his instincts were all but screaming at him that now was the time to act.

He shifted again to deal with the remaining sniper, only to be interrupted by another wave of rapidly-moving creatures with a singular white orb on the middle of what could have only been their heads closing in on his position. It seemed as good a place as any to fire at. He took aim, but before he could so much as fire off a shot, the creatures similarly imploded on themselves in rapid succession. That could only mean one thing: there was someone else here, and that someone else was purposefully helping him.

"A sniper, probably a Hunter! We're saved!" his Ghost announced in jubilant relief.

"Don't start celebrating yet. I still don't have a visual on that ship," Slaine retorted before emptying the magazine on the ridiculously tall blue-black creature currently throwing massive orbs of energy at him. He didn't quite move fast enough to avoid the edge of one and was temporarily blinded – not to mention in a considerable amount of pain – for a moment before his health started regenerating. "And we still have this damned thing to worry about! What the hell is it?"

"A Captain, from the looks of it," the diminutive AI replied, ascending just long enough to catch a glimpse before ducking to avoid a shot from one of the remaining snipers. "But at that size, it's closer to an Archon. It shouldn't be that big…"

Suddenly, Slaine was forced to find new cover as the trailer he had been ducking behind was abruptly destroyed.

"...Or that powerful!" the Ghost squawked indignantly.

Fortunately, a concrete pillar was more than adequate to shield him, and he made a desperate scramble for it, barely avoiding yet another orb passing by overhead. But though the cover was decent, none of his returning fire appeared to do much damage...if any.

"Would you like to go over there and let him know he shouldn't be that strong?" he replied sardonically.

While his Ghost seemed to be acclimating to his companion's rather dry sense of humour, that didn't stop it from being unamused. How a diminutive machine could affect sulking remained a mystery. "Very funny."

Despite his quip, Slaine understood quite clearly that if he didn't think of something fast, whatever resolve he'd found would be useless. Inexplicably, he could feel the Light pulsing within him, perhaps an indication he would be able to throw another grenade soon, but his throw would have to be precise and perfectly-timed. He doubted just throwing it at the looming monstrosity was going to be of much use, particularly with a nigh-impenetrable orange-tinged shield covering it. Maybe if he could find some way to amplify its power using some scrap parts to cobble together a Tesla coil or something similar...

His eyes fell on a pile of nearby wreckage, likely from whatever ship had crash-landed on the site. It seemed that his luck had changed: he could make out the muted verdigris of copper wiring jutting out from a ruined plastic cable, probably enough for his desperate plan. Slaine had to low crawl through the moist dirt to reach it, but now he needed a distraction long enough to dig out what he needed and jury-rig the coil.

Salvation – or at least the necessary distraction – came in the form of their hidden ally.

Even as he struggled to pull the cables out of the rubble, more shots from whomever it was providing cover fire rapidly took out the clawed creatures closing in. That sealed it; he was definitely being helped. Slaine might have even saluted the mysterious sniper in gratitude if his metaphorical and literal hands weren't already full with his attempt to wrest the wiring from decaying concrete. As it stood, the towhead was forced to glance up periodically to make sure the twitching creatures were not descending on him yet again even as he struggled with the stubborn wiring. Thankfully from the looks of it, his mysterious ally was more than capable of keeping them at bay.

Once he'd freed enough, he hastily wrapped the wiring around his forearms – it seemed as good a place as any to keep it while he continued to frantically work – he moved to fish out whatever else he could salvage for the desperate plan. The thick cloth of his longcoat should be sufficient enough insulation for the moment...at least he hoped so. But if a decent coil could be cobbled together, he might just have a chance at survival by channeling the electrical grenade through it somehow. Not that he was even sure how that would work, but he'd worry about that part when he came to it.

That was not, however, what ended up happening.

Instead of properly staying put, the Captain abruptly vanished from sight. There were only a few seconds of panic and bewilderment before it reappeared, barely a few feet away and firing down at his position with its massive rifle. The neophyte Guardian could only let out an involuntary startled squawk of "Goddammit!" before leaping back as much as he was able, barely avoiding explosive annihilation.

What was strange was that, instead of merely jumping back a several feet, a powerful blast of air from some unseen propulsion system that he currently had no time to examine sent him airborne up to a ridiculous height well above the towering Captain. Though hardly at the same speed as the madly-twitching monstrosities below, the feat itself had been so unexpected that he nearly collided with a balustrade some several stories above ground level, his left arm snapping out at the last second as he realised what had happened, desperately clinging to the rail out of pure instinct.

Great. Now what? he wondered as he hoisted himself up onto the landing and quickly surveyed the scene from his vantage point. For a split second the air around him crackled with electricity, a sign that he could probably pull off that grenade again. Regardless of his lack of a solid plan, it was not or never.

Time seemed to slow to a terrifying crawl as Slaine leapt off the landing and remained suspended in mid-air, the moment he had been waiting for having arrived with this unexpected narrow window of opportunity. The now-familiar plasma scorched the air and filled it with the scent of ozone, though not in the form of the previous grenade. Though the copper wires loosely wrapped around his forearms were nothing remotely resembling proper coils, they achieved a strange and unexpected effect.

The static electricity somehow channelled through the coils and released in a sudden strike directly below him, forming a shockwave which tore through the Captain as it sought the quickest route to the ground with a nearly deafening crack of thunder. The giant form seemed to disintegrate even as it fell, almost as if it were decomposing at a rapid rate, and Slaine found himself grateful that his helmet had protected his ears from the deluge of noise. He almost wanted to sink to his knees in relief as the adrenaline faded once the danger had passed, but it wasn't as if he was safe just yet.

"Can we celebrate now? Or better yet, find that ship?" his Ghost demanded. "I really don't want to go through all that again."

Slaine was inclined to agree, though he couldn't help but glance towards where that cover fire had come from. There was no doubt in his mind that the sniper had saved his life, but how could he even hope to repay that debt? He had nothing of value, and it was more than obvious the Hunter had little need of his help with much of anything. Yet, he couldn't help but feel an intense need to return the favour somehow, compulsion from a hidden sense of honour he hadn't even known he possessed. Unfortunately, that fulfilment of debt would never be realised as the Hunter was likely long gone by now…

His head jerked up suddenly as he caught the subtle flicker of light from near the tower's summit out of his peripheral vision. He could swear he could make out a tiny human figure from that distance, but it had to have been several kilometres away. Surely that couldn't have been his mysterious saviour, to be able to so precisely snipe his enemies from that distance. Then again, the impossible no longer seemed to be quite so impossible.

His Ghost verbally prodded him out of his musings. "Guardian? Are you alright?"

The Warlock shook himself. "Yeah...I think there's someone up on that tower over there."

Now it was the AI's turn to be startled, its almost constantly-moving components clicking and whirring as it swerved to look in the indicated direction. "All the way over there? How could they have that kind of range?"

"I was wondering the same thing, myself," he admitted. "How could that person even see me from there?"

“Not sure, but if my memory files are correct, even the longest range sniper rifles, like the Candace and Trajan models, don’t have that kind of range. He’s probably using a Legendary – maybe even Exotic – class weapon. Those are rare and valuable.”

“As valuable as his gift at shooting,” Slaine replied with appreciation.

Another click answered him. "You can tell him in person, then.. It looks like they're coming over here."

Before Slaine could even ask, the distant figure moved. And he was certain that there was something wrong with his vision, because the Hunter appeared to casually hop off the tower; easily at a height which would have severely injured – if not outright killed – a normal human being. Then again, he had just pulled off a similar stunt not too long ago. Yet, the jump appeared to be different from his own: rather than a blast of air which seemed to leave him suspended in mid-air, the distant Hunter appeared to have an initial blast which allowed him or her more speed and better control over movement.

His Ghost sounded amused at his obvious hesitation. "In case you hadn't noticed, Guardians aren't normal human beings."

The AI wouldn't have been able to see the sarcastic expression his Guardian turned on it, but he would certainly notice the traces of crackling electricity flickering around the fingers of the hand he now lifted up.

"No kidding."
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