Pyrrhic Ascent Plate
"I have died for my fireteam, but I never once thought to live for them." —Reed-7, Exo Titan
SIMULATION RECONSTRUCTION LOG // LA-02-02 // TRIALS ARENA, THE LIGHTHOUSE, MERCURY
Reed-7's arms feel like they're going to break apart at the seams. The vibration building in his body threatens to shake him to pieces for every second that he maintains his barrier. It stands as an extension of his Light and also his body. He feels it like a piece of himself, one that he has overextended time and again, as it deflects an Auto Rifle's rapid-fire barrage.
Only two Guardians are left on the opposing team; the remains of the third are scattered around the area, smoking and sizzling. Reed considers how fast he and Aisha might be able to rush in on their cornered Guardian. Even if Reed gets taken down, it might be enough time for Aisha and Shayura—wherever she is—to secure a victory.
"Aisha?" Reed asks. His voice rises in concern as his barrier begins to destabilize. He knows it's now or never. But as he looks to Aisha, Reed spies flames forming between her knuckles.
Aisha has the better plan.
As the opposing Guardian pauses to reload behind cover, Aisha boosts straight into the air, through the top of the barrier. Reed lets the dome collapse and feels the immediate release of pressure on his limbs, his legs nearly buckling. He watches Aisha glow brightly, spinning like a burning wheel before unleashing a volley of knives made from condensed plasma in every direction.
To Reed, it simply looks like a flash of fire and smoke as the opposing Guardian collapses in a heap, Aisha landing next to him. With a sigh of relief, Reed-7 gives her as enthusiastic a thumbs-up as he can muster.
"Did you see Shay while you were up there?" Reed asks.
"No. She's probably playing tag with the one that keeps going invisible," Aisha replies. "Let's go find her and finish this up."
A plume of atomic fire rises up over a nearby block of Vex design as if in direct response to Aisha. The Lighthouse emits a soft tone; the nearby Ghosts begin reconstructing their dead Guardians after the match's conclusion.
A scream rises from the same direction as the fire, spurring Aisha and Reed into action. The pair navigate the familiar Vex architecture quickly. Two more agonized screams fill the air. When they reach the source of the noise, Reed freezes in his tracks as he witnesses Shayura impale the other Guardian through the faceplate of his helmet with her Sword. The opponent's Ghost shrieks in frustration, trying desperately to get between Shayura and his Guardian.
Aisha is saying something, but all Reed hears is blood rushing in his ears. Not his blood though. The memory of it. Of something buried behind layered plates of carbon-polymer and plasteel weave. Something haunting his synaptic network. In that moment, Reed is outside of his own body, remembering faces frozen in stone, recalling the whispered plea of his Ghost's tortured voice on Io.
|| Don't you see? ||
Reed's heart races.
|| In Light, there is only weakness. ||
The opposing team's Guardian is brought back to life by his Ghost, but before the Guardian can finish shouting a plea to Shayura, the Warlock cuts off his arm in one stroke. She cleaves her Sword through the top of his helmet in a brutal follow-through. Reed feels his chest tightening, feels a sense of panic kicking in.
|| Only failure. ||
"Shay, no!" Aisha yells, running up to her friend. She wraps her arms around Shayura's midsection. Shayura screams like a frightened animal, lashing out with a swift slash of her Sword in the direction of the Guardian's corpse.
|| Only death. ||
"Shayura! The match is over!" Reed shouts, snapping back to reality. "The match is over!"
It takes both Reed and Aisha to restrain the enraged Warlock. Shayura's voice cracks in a feral cry as flames race down her arms and swirl along the length of her blood-slicked Sword.
"No! No! Stop! No!" Shayura howls, fighting against her comrades. Aisha grabs at Shayura's wrist, keeping her from swinging her Sword again as the freshly resurrected Guardian scrambles away.
"Shay," Aisha pleads, trying to get through to her. "Shay!"
Shayura screams an endless wail into the scalding Mercurian sky.