Chapter 1 - Lunar Pirates
I.I. Reflection and Absorption
Silence… A deafening silence numbed the cold pale rock that had lingered over the blue gem of which we call Earth. Craters the size of massive canyons, littered the white surface of the lunar plane like an ancient battleground between gods. Large crevices acted like wounds that could swallow entire cities. It was a beautiful yet terrifying sight to behold, seeing the light and dark contrast and compliment one another, as if they were at war with each other, competing for how much space they could occupy among the rock. That was what I always found beautiful about this place, the moon. Where the light would shine on this rocky mass’s wounded face, it would reflect in an almost blinding light, yet the shadows that developed in the areas hiding from the sun’s gaze, were shadows darker than the primordial genesis of our existence, a dark that existed before there even were stars. This moon is a place drowned by nothingness, not a drop of water forced into motion by the forces and laws created in the chaotic complexities of Earth, nor a plant or specimen enacting on the ravenous nature of survival. This place is far different from its beautiful blue and lively sister, who is visible teetering on the edge of the horizon. There is beauty in simplicity, a world nullified of color and life. This dead place is where my Renaissance began, where I was reborn in the light of The Traveler. If there was a noise on this frozen sentinel of a moon on that quiet lunar morning, it was the radiant hum of my loyal companion, the lone wandering drone that was destined to resurrect me so that I may continue this path and fulfill my destiny. This was my Ghost, Zero and this is where my new untold tale began.
-A Reflection from the Warlock Mentor, Charon of the Trinity of Chaos
I.II. Discoveries of the Lost
There was a faint blue glow pacing forward in a linear path that was easily visible along the shadowed edge of a large lunar crater. For those observing, the pearlescent light in the distance happened to be a Ghost with no name, who doubled as a lone wanderer without a voice. This particular Ghost was alone for a very long time, decades as a matter of fact. Not being able to communicate directly in this hostile, post-apocalyptic world is less than ideal and deep down inside his shell, he knew that. Many survivors of the collapse nicknamed him “Specter”, however, he didn’t particularly like that name. For him, he thought it was some sort of insensitive joke, as if he was being mocked for being a Ghost and for not being able to speak, just like the mysterious apparition known as the specter. Regardless of if these survivors meant to mock this drone or simply meant to dub him with a simple name to easily identify him within the Vangaurd’s spectral network, this particular ghost was very resourceful and cunning, despite his lack of voice. Specter had a very distinguishable white and silver shell that was gifted to him by a Cryptarch named Master Aides. Specter will never forget his and Master Aides’ encounter at The Last City, and the one thing that stuck in his radiant compact mind was when Aides told him, “You are a special Ghost, one that resembles the likeness of The Traveler itself, you may not be able to speak, but neither can the god that all the people in this City worship and look up to for power and knowledge. It is a giant marvel and wonder to millions, yet it doesn’t move or speak. Witness the power you can impose for just being present, Little Light! I know that a lot of people underestimate you for your mute existence, they do not understand your gifts like I do, but one day they will. One day, you will find your Chosen, lonesome Ghost, and you will be one with them, you will aid each other in your perspective weaknesses and you will combine your strengths and overcome the forces of evil together and fulfill your destiny until you meet your end. Now keep the eye of yours towards the sky, Little Light and take this token of this old Cryptarch’s recognition. A white and silver shell with the likeness of The Traveler.”
Upon Specter’s recollection of his past experience in The Last City, he lost track of his course as if he were dreaming and CLINK He had rammed into a lunar geodome made of a series of solar absorption panels. The roof of the geodome looked to have caved in due to a tectonic shift in the moon’s interior. Specter, now sparked with curiosity, accessed the lunar facility through the opening in the collapsed ceiling, it looked like the interior was once some sort of greenhouse. Inside was a series of withered, frozen specimens, exposed to the cold. Must’ve been some sort of lunar colonization experiment. The Geodome had several corridors pointing in 3 directions, Specter chose the path pointing West from the central dome from where he had entered. He often chose exploring areas, where few people have traced, from his experience, this way of thinking always led to some of his greatest discoveries. The corridor lead into an old laboratory, filled with all kinds of Golden Age tech and records. He was shocked that it wasn’t picked clean by scavengers. All of a sudden, there was a glowing red light that scanned Specter from bottom to top. There was a brief pause… then a loud audible voice, reminiscent of a female AI repeating “INVALID LOGIN - ACCESS DENIED” paired with an obnoxious alarm noise, this sequence repeated for quite some time. Specter then directs a ray of blue light towards the sensor that detected him and he manages to cease the noise, instilling complete silence. For a moment, Specter could hear even the quantum motion of light particles colliding within his shell, it was so silent. And then, breaking the silence like a window pane shattering, a howling screech from the distance like a beast preparing to ambush its prey along with its roaming cohorts of the hunt. Specter knew, he had alerted something and that it was swiftly approaching. He closed his glowing blue eye and focused on the brief silence as the beasts were approaching. In his brief meditation, Specter hacked into the Geolab’s external computer terminal and was able to disengage the locked door that the Lab AI was protecting. HISS The door decompressed and opened smoothly, the drone swiftly slid through the crack of the lab door and commanded it to shut behind him. The slam of the lab door was shortly followed by pounding, scratching and growling of the creatures that were alerted to his position. Specter had only bought himself time, he was not safe from his attackers just yet.
I.III. Arrival, Survival and Revival
Specter started investigating the Executive Chamber that he had managed to unlock out of sheer fright and luck, and had noticed that there were several corpses occupying the chamber floor. Two had protective lab coats and one had strange space faring trousers on, along with a unique visor. Specter knew that this was it, that this was the moment that he would meet his chosen, although he had wished it would be under different circumstances. At this moment Specter was terrified that he and his new found Guardian, would die in this chamber, and his decades long search would’ve been for nothing. But then, out of nowhere, there was an overwhelming feeling of hope… and just like that, an unexplainable burst of emotion flowed through him as though the light within him were about to tear his little white shell apart. He opened himself wide and allowed for The Traveler’s Light to channel through him like a remote vessel. Then, the room was then filled with light, it was so bright that even the shadows cast from the light had fled. The light had surrounded the corpse with the strange trousers, the host’s body mass and matter materialized with gray skin, bright orange eyes, and jet black hair, conjoining to the mass that was only bone before. Spector’s Chosen was Awoken, and at that moment, Specter was ever so proud to be part of something more, his search was over.
I.IV. Moon Pirates
The Awoken’s eyes had opened, he was resurrected but he was still motionless, lying on the ground, staring at the chamber ceiling in confusion. “Where am I?”, he had thought to himself. His glowing eyes of bright amber followed the steel support beam along the ceiling until his sight aligned with the pale Ghost. Almost with a fright, the gray man, tall in stature but thin in physique, had leapt to his feet as he observed the silent hovering drone. “Whoa! What are you?!” the Guardian exclaimed. The Ghost, not being able to express any sort of verbal communication, offered a blank stare followed by a nod of urgency directed towards the chamber door that he had sealed shut. The Guardian had advanced towards the door and had leaned his head to it to see if he could hear and piece together what was unfolding on the other side. He heard nothing but the faint noise of what sounded like machines orbiting the room on the other side. Specter and his Guardian both looked at each other for a brief moment until the Awoken man had looked at the two remaining corpses on the ground. Surprisingly, the Awoken was expressionless, witnessing the skeletal remains of the scientists that had met their fate in this room very long ago. The tall gray man had no recollection of these scientists and it seemed he had no recollection of death either, but Specter knew that his Guardian would soon be reacquainted with it, having the full knowledge of what was behind the door, trapping them both. The Guardian knew that he and his “comrade” needed to find a way out of this chamber, so he observed the limited space. During this time, Specter had been scanning the whole room for a weapon that his Guardian could use to fend off the swarm of jackals that were certainly finding their way to break into the executive chamber. The Guardian had noticed several monitors on the wall labeled “Lunar Hydroponic Experiment Observation” above in golden text. The Guardian tapped on the left-hand monitor with his pale knuckles and the screen reacted. The screen displayed “Please Login with Valid Credentials”, the Guardian looked back at the drone, still searching for something that could aid in their collective survival. The Awoken then glanced back at the two skeletons on the ground and had looted their lab coats and managed to discover an ID card with a barcode on the back of it. The ID card read “Dr. Demetra Isabella Thorn - Lunar Hydroponics Executive”. The gray man observed both sides of the card momentarily, as he motioned towards the monitors. The Guardian, observed a scanner located at the top of the left hand monitor and swiped the doctor’s badge. The screen shifted colors from green to blue, followed by the same female AI voice that alerted Spector’s attackers, “Access granted. Welcome Back Dr. Thorn”, followed by a loud CRISH. Both Specter and The Guardian revolved towards the noise and they had noticed two cabinets had opened. One cabinet had what looked to be a military issue shotgun, the other looked to have some expired rations. The Guardian had turned back towards the monitors and had noticed that they were now displaying a live feed that had been observing the remainder of the facility.
The first thing the Guardian noticed from the feed was a colossal creature with horns, decorated in green adornments, wielding a large cannon that was spewing molten heaps of scorched matter. The creature had four long arms and what looked like some kind of banner with an odd symbol on it, hanging from his neck and covering the towering monster’s back. Surrounding the nightmarish alien giant, had been a parade of smaller creatures with similar attributes. There was a small crowd of bandits that seemingly were gifted with 4 arms. These smaller creatures were scouring the entire laboratory of the technology and goods left behind by the previous inhabitants of the facility. Next, there was a long chain of even smaller specimens, these rank and file enemies that seemed to only be pawns to The Guardian, only had 2 arms but it looked like their lower arms had been removed. They had been transporting a majority of the goods in a sort of monkey line, routed towards the exit of the geodome, where Specter had entered initially. The Guardian then noticed a large dark floating orb that seemed to be distributing some sort of energy to the creatures that were noticeably higher in command. The gray man had noted that this was the largest threat. He then looked at the second monitor whose observation camera was directed toward the other side of the door that was serving as a barrier between him and the lunar pirates. The Guardian had noticed two flying drone-like machines that seemed to be made of scraps of old space junk. There was no doubt that these two bots were trying to break into the Executive Quarters where they were hiding. Finally, The Guardian noticed that the geodome that the moon bandits were amassed in, had been damaged from what seemed to be external natural forces, like a quake of some sorts, which meant that there were structural weak points in several support beams holding up the ceiling. The Guardian had conceived of a plan.
I.V. Trial and Error
The Guardian looked back at Specter and discussed his plan. The Ghost listened and nodded with inaudible confirmation, meanwhile he was crafting his own plan. The Guardian grabbed the shotgun from the cabinet and stood before the door, “Can you help me with them?” The Guardian uttered to The Ghost with little confidence. Specter, suspended in silence, replied with a motionless stare followed by a single wink. “Alrighty then! Let’s kill some space pirates!”, The Guardian said sarcastically with a manic grin, “You know, I think we need to have a name for you. In case I need to call upon you for help. How about ‘Zero’?” The Ghost fluttered about, he loved the name and he no longer had to be dubbed “Specter The Lonely” which he ever so hated. He replied with a spinning motion as he brushed up against gray Guardian followed by another inaudible wink. He had wished he could thank him but it was obvious to the Guardian that his Ghost was pleased with this new name. The Guardian smiled and echoed the gesture. Their embrace was soon ended by another loud roar from the titanic alien leader that was rallying his troops on the other side of the door, the same roar that The Ghost had heard from before. “Open the door on my signal, okay?” The Guardian said with a nervous growl. Zero nodded with acceptance. The Guardian kept his eyes on the monitors and waited until the machine that was supplying sustenance to the pirate crew to pass the corridor entry way. “Now!” The Guardian shouted. PSSHT the door had opened swiftly and a wave of two-armed bandits closest to the door rushed towards them. The Guardian aimed the shotgun down the corridor and fired into the swarm. His initial shot was very effective, slowing the flood of enemies pacing towards them. The shots that engaged the wall of galactic goblins initiated a light show of void energy and a majority of the attackers disintegrated. The remainder of the rounds fired from the initial shot battered and bounced off of the corridor walls and towards the center of the grouping, defeating even more foes, collaterally. This shotgun was meant to be in this Guardian’s hands. The Guardian charged forward towards the mob of growling beasts and as soon as he passed the chamber entrance, Zero had shut the door behind him. The Guardian turned around, shocked. He then exclaimed “Well I guess I’m going it alone then, huh?… Thanks for nothing Pal! Perhaps ‘Zero’ is a fitting name for you!” This taunt burned the pure little Ghost but he knew what he was doing and knew that his Guardian would forgive him for it later. The Guardian proceeded alone as another wave pushed forward. This time there were far more enemies and they were accompanied by their ramshackled drones. The Guardian fired once more into the next line, but this time it was not enough to clear the hall. The enemies approached closer. Frightened by imminent death, the Guardian misfired his third shot and the rounds barely made it to the feet of the swarm that flooded in towards him. They were wielding long blades coursing with Arc energy while the drones on the outside edge of the grouping were providing mid range fire. The Guardian instinctively threw out his right arm as if he was trying to block the incoming shots, and suddenly a massive flow of void energy emitted from his hand. The whole room glowed with a deep blue-magenta hue and the crowd of vicious marauders dissipated, swallowed by the hungry void. The Guardian stood in the now empty hallway observing his hand, intrigued by his newfound ability. He wondered if there was anything else he was capable of doing. The Guardian pushed even further towards the end of the corridor. As he reached the opening, he saw 4 bright lights focused directly on him and as he stood and stared, their glow grew with intensity over the passing moments. Zick Suddenly, The Guardian then felt a sharp stinging, burning sensation in his rib cage, Zick then in his thigh, Zick then in his neck, Zick and finally his left arm. The Guardian looked down, and analyzed his flesh burning, followed by a disturbing scent of his own flesh being cooked by the molten slag that was fired by the alien bandits that were cloaked in darkness. He had glanced to his left side as he took a mighty tumble and noticed his left arm was entirely absent. He collapsed to the floor in a puddle of his own blood. The Guardian closed his eyes and had perished.
Zero, taking cover back in the safety of the executive observation chamber, opened up and resurrected his Warlock companion on the interior of the chamber, as if The Ghost had collected the universal data and matter of The Guardian in a dust pan and put everything back together in a flash. The Warlock rose confounded and speechless as he looked at Zero and later said “You’re full of tricks little one, aren’t you?” This was all part of Zero’s plan. He knew that as long as his Guardian could keep the enemies away from the door, they would have an unlimited number of shots at this. The ultimate process of trial and error. The Guardian knew that he needed to move quickly before the enemy could advance towards the door. “Let’s try this again, Zero!” the Guardian says as the door slides open “Take Two!” the Warlock adds jokingly. The Warlock charges beyond the chamber door with a competent stride and through the corridor. Zero repeats the plan, slamming the door behind The Guardian. The Warlock sees the husks of the drones that were defeated by his initial shotgun blast and hurdles over them. Suddenly, The Warlock, unknowingly, rips a hole through space like a dagger thrusting through the hollow flesh of air. Zero witnesses the leap through the live feed from within the chamber. It was as if his Guardian had skipped a frame in a film, appearing effortlessly from point to point. The Guardian landed on his feet and hesitated while he observed this godlike teleporting ability. The Warlock had a new tool to calculate into his plan and this had changed the potential outcome in his mind. The tall gray man had entered the laboratory where he had been vanquished by the cloaked foes, this time he had been prepared. The same four glowing lights that defeated the Awoken the first time were waiting for him on the far side of the lab, aimed at center mass. The Warlock stood and waited for the piercing light to intensify. Swish followed by a Zick The marauders had missed their shots, confounded. The Awoken had vanished from their sights. The bandits looked at each other in confusion. Pish one of the moon pirates collapsed as the ether fled from the creature’s body like a bird being released from a rattled cage. The 3 other bandits swiftly rotated to their left where their comrade had fallen. Swish Again, there was nothing there. Suddenly, a ghastly rain of Void swarmed pellets was unleashed upon the crew from above. The Warlock came crashing down, combining the deadly fire from his shotgun blast with a strong thrust of Void energy flowing from his right hand. The bandits were swallowed by the Warlock’s crafty attack and the room was empty and the air was turbulent with dust that had been disturbed by the rapid motion of the slaughter. The Warlock stood tall and shined a carnivorous grin as if for every galactic goblin that he smushed, he had been fulfilling a hunger within him. He had felt very powerful and he was hungry for more. His heart raced as he sprinted through the next corridor and on to the next wave.
The Warlock had felt the temperature rising as he had paced towards the geodome at the center of the facility. The dark corridor was swallowed with the light over flowing from the central dome being absorbed from the midday lunar sun. The greenhouse effect scorched the room, issuing a thick sweat on the tall gray man. The Warlock’s fire lit eyes locked on the lingering giant who was surrounded by a shroud of his 4 armed subjects. The mechanical floating orb had been supplying ether to the crew from the center of the facility. The Warlock quickly tried to maneuver his way over to the weak spot in the structure holding up the remaining series of solar absorption panels. The guardian took aim on the deteriorated pillar supporting the ceiling and fired. Wing The shot ricocheted, barely leaving a scratch on the withered steel support. The Warlock had to recalculate his plan. Suddenly, a small spinning orb ejected from the hot ground. It detonated after its brief suspension and released a large web of Arc energy. The Warlock was rendered motionless. While the Warlock was suspended in the paralyzing web, the titanic 4 armed commander approached. The Guardian could not move a muscle as the Arc particles shocked and relaxed all of his muscles, leaving him completely immobile. The monstrous beast laid down his crackling cannon along the steel support and turned towards the Guardian, who was stuck in his web. The large arachnid creature gripped The Warlock with all four of his arms, a hand tightly constraining each of the Guardian’s limbs. The crew’s captain, towering over the thin gray man, let out a mighty howl and split The Warlock in two with one swift motion. The alien captain let out a thick laugh and threw both pieces of him to his pack of subjects as they cheered. Zero had witnessed the execution from the observation monitors within the executive chambers. He was horrified. Never had he seen such ferocity and horror from anything within this system throughout his long search. Zero hesitated to bring his Guardian back for a moment, until the fear of the Ghost’s own death brought him back to his mission. The Guardian rose for a third time and let out a haunting continuous laugh.The Ghost had looked at him with confusion as if the Guardian was fond of death. Zero supposed this was some sort of psychotic silver lining in this crisis but he was worried about his Chosen. “Why isn’t he scared?” Zero thought to himself. He had just watched his Guardian get split like a page of a book being torn from its spine and yet he is spewing maddening laughter, proud with confidence.
I.VI. Infinity vs. Goliath
The Warlock, catching his breath and wiping the tears of manic joy from his face, says “Alright. Hehe. I’m… R-Hahaha. Alright, I’m ready” Zero, offering a concerning glare, obeys the Guardian’s command. The Warlock fires out of the chamber like a bullet. The Warlock’s plan had enveloped, as he paced swiftly through the hall, he thought to himself that even though these pirates are crafty and strong, they suffered from low cunning and a lack of enginuity. The lunar captain had made a critical mistake and The Warlock knew he needed to move quickly before his enemy recognized its faults. The Guardian entered the geodome where he had been severed by the giant and had noticed that the group of bandits were distracted, still celebrating the death of the fallen hero. The Warlock snuck past them and managed to obtain the foolish monster’s hefty cannon that it had left carelessly, leaned against the weakened steel support. The Guardian teleported to the corridor where he was safe and aimed the cannon at the faulty support then fired away. Boom the giant alien and his crew were alerted and turned towards the Guardian and charged after him but it was too late for them. Crack the suspended ceiling panels in the dome shattered and a storm of razor sharp glass rained upon the alien crew and the rest of the structure collapsed on them. The Guardian’s ingenious strategy to take out the legion of bandits seemed to have worked but in the tumbling chaos, the Warlock had noticed through the fog of debris that the dark spherical machine managed to sacrifice itself to protect the captain, encapsulating the monster in a purple glowing shield of ether absorbing the blow of the collapsed structure. The boss had managed to survive and took a brief visual survey, witnessing his entire crew and precious round servant protector were crushed by the rubble and glass of the lunar dome. The giant let out a sorrowful, angry roar that shook The Guardian. The monster charged The Guardian at full pace, leaping towards the gray man in an instant with the stride of its six limbs contacting the ground in simultaneous motion. The captain of the pirate crew had leapt on The Guardian, pinning him to the ground with its 4 colossal arms. The fallen crew’s commander howled in the grey man’s face, acidic saliva dripping through its etheric respirator and onto the Guardian. The Warlock, shut his eyes and took a deep breath as if he were communicating to forces beyond, meanwhile the titanic monster was unsheathing its dual ark blades from his lower torso. Suddenly, a deep and dark violet glow radiated from the The Warlock’s palms, blinding the lunar captain. The monster raised one of its hands to its eyes, to block the blinding light, exposing him. The Warlock pressed his right palm to the monster’s head Boom a massive explosion of void energy swallowed everything within the radius of the geodome’s structure. The captain and The Guardian, that had cast the spell of ultimate destruction, evaporated into the hungry void. The silence of the dead rock returned. Zero had opened the executive chamber and had hurried to the scene of the explosion that had killed the observation feed. The geodome was reduced to nothing but a black ring of dust and the silhouette of two warriors varying in size in the direct center. Zero, looked beyond the ring of dust, upon the horizon and observed the white floating orb hovering over Earth. The Ghost opened up, released his light and resurrected his Chosen, once more.