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First Steps

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>> Somewhere in the old territory of USA, Arizona
>> 12:32pm, 83F/28,4C

Sand blew over old structures of the abandoned town, rusty and broken. There were some withered bushes that made rustling sounds, but even they were barely heard in sounds of rushing wind and rising sand.

Two figures made their way into this desolated place, their Sparrows left behind, Ghosts floating ahead of them and scanning the ground and some intact structures. They weren’t making any sounds to be heard by any outsider, but they actually were having a conversation.

“You sure we’d find anything here, kiddo?” one figure gestured with their gun to scenery in front of them. “Looks like some sort of… either a death trap, or an awfully dull place with no need to stick around. Since we've not seen even any Fallen here…”

“Nah, Sully, I’ve checked this place,” another figure dismissively waved in no particular direction, “And while yes, this looks like nothing important… I did tell you that there were some pre-Collapse half-destroyed docs me and Flynn found in Old Washington?” after a nod from his partner, he continued: “Well, it couldn’t be that they’ve spent so much of their resources, as in scientists, power, metals and minerals, almost top notch technology, on something in this exact location... if not for something really good.”

“I got that, but Nate,” Sully put his hand on another’s shoulder, “That seems like it's not that good of a plan. You said you checked this place, but how much we can be sure about it?”

“I got some old maps from old Vanguard servers and even printed them out on paper, since my Ghost…”

“Excuse me, my Guardian,” in a second one of the Ghosts, the green and gold tinted one, appeared in front of both humans, “but that was only one time we got lost because of a jammer in the location placed by Fallen, and not my incompetence!..”

“Marco.”

“…and I would let you know that this time I pre-uploaded the maps and some useful data on my unique internal server so we wouldn’t be…”

“Marco, I get it! Thanks!” Nate barked a laugh at how Ghost’s form reshaped in a way that showed surprise, “It’s just we can’t afford any mistakes, since this area is so far away from usual Vanguard drops and patrols. And, ya know what they say, paper never loses signal, right?”

“Of course. Apologies, Nate.” Ghost slightly slinked in their own form, and then proceeded forward to continue scans of the area.

Sully shook his head; his own bright blue and yellow Ghost, Jose, at ping of Victor’s hand device appeared next to him.

“How are you even stuck with such a run-mouth?”

“Psh, beats me. And you were there, when we... he just… you know, happened to be like that?”

“Yeah, like they say: apples don’t fall too far away…”

Sullivan!

After a few jabs between him and Sully, Nate opened up an interface on his hand handler.

“I need to check up on our escape squad, well, you know,” he pressed blue communicator button on the screen, “In case something goes wrong. I'm not that stupid!” Nate did not see how after these words another Guardian shook his head. “Communicate: Guardian Chloe Frazer, identificator #9311.”

There were two tiny sound pings as he waited, and then with crackling sound there was an answer on another side:

“Well hello Nate, fancy finally receiving your call.”

“Hey Chloe! So, uh, about that Arizona deal?”

“Yes, I do remember that particular conversation we had… about hour and an half ago. So what about it? Hang on,” she paused Nate before he even said a word, “I’ll add our partners to this conversation, since we’re all are in this together. Adding to voice chat: Guardian Victor Sullivan, identificator #11082, and Guardian Flynn, identificator #123.”

Sully grunted affirmative ‘Chloe’ into his mic, while Flynn entered with 'Hey Nate, and Sullivan too I guess’.

“Alright, so our plan is while we’re doing our own thing in old factories in what was Detroit, you are doing your 'seeking the unknown’ in Arizona and if something unusual happens, we’ll come as soon as possible since we have faster Sparrows and somewhat better equipment. We even saved boosters and didn’t use shock absorbers so we’d be able to get to you in record time.”

Flynn’s voice cut into her speech after that:

“You better be grateful for that, since because we didn’t use them, that meant I had to feel every single rock on the road with my backside, apparently. Every single one!”

“Wow, you selfish bastard,” Nate gasped with mock outrage, “and Flynn, I thought your butt enjoyed getting kicked! Like the next time I’m going to exactly flat it on the Crucible. Tomorrow, if you’re not scared!”

“Oh no, I already quiver with fear at your words, Drake! All my… wait a sec…” there was a clinking sound on his side, while Frazer stiffed a giggle and Sullivan placed a hand across his helmet with a sigh. “All thirteen buckles on my armour are clinking in sheer horror of what we are to experience in our next encounter with you!”

“Alright Flynn, that’s enough for insult hour, now, stop your bicker or I’ll have to ban your from this voice chat,” Chloe was having none of that anymore.

“What? Why do I get banned, yet Nate doesn’t even get a reprimand?!”

“First, you started getting all of  this off-topic, and second, you’ve yet to contribute in any manner to actual conversation. Third – Nate, here is me, reprimanding you. Stop getting the rise out of my partner, I do not think well of this.”

“Sorry, didn’t mean to.”

“Fine,” grumbled Flynn. Then he added: “To offer my contribution, in about twenty minutes in your zone there’s going to be a sandstorm, so whatever is that stuff you’re seeking, you better find it soon or at least find a shelter, since these storms are furious. So careful, Nate, I still want to fight you tomorrow. Aaand done talking.”

“Of course we’re gonna be careful,” Sully said gruffly, but besides a 'pfff’ into his mic there was nothing more from Flynn.

“I still would’ve liked you both to go with us. Would be lots better with more people around,” Nate knew that wouldn’t be changed, but he still tried.

“Both me and my partner have better luck in our case to find at least something that is sure to give profit out of it. You know the deal: I need to upgrade my Sparrow, Flynn has to pay back for his bet to Cayde, and do some-weird-Flynn-thing I still haven't pulled out of him. Yet. And our location at least is not a nowhere in the desert. Got your current coordinates, by the way! And,” – Chloe changed her tone to a slightly gentler one, “It’s not like we won’t just meet afterwards.”

“Alright. But be in contact, OK?”

“Same to you. OK with you, Sully?”

“'course, just don’t get yourselves permanently killed. It’d be a shame. At least for you.”

“Flatterer!”laughed Chloe. Well, voice chat over. Chloe Frazer out.”

Nate sighed, nervously tapping the screen. Something… something felt not like it usually went on his missions. But then he shook his head and unsheathed his pistols:

“Off we go, Sully.”

 

>> Somewhere in the old territory of USA, Michigan
>> 12:51pm, 48,1F/9C

I think we’re safe to assume that they’d be alright,” concluded Chloe, shutting down the chat link. Flynn just shrugged in answer, unclasping the revolver from his belt.

Well, at least I hope they’ll be alright and there would be no need for us to hurry to their rescue,” she added afterwards, less sure.

Aye. Remind me to bitch at Nate if they indeed get into some bad action,” Flynn laughed even as he got hit in the side with a fist.

All jokes and sarcasm, but I know you, mister,” Chloe unstrapped her own weapon, light scout rifle that rested easily in her hands. And you’re not as bad as you always try to pose yourself.”

Flynn only rolled his eyes in answer, but there was a good-natured smirk on his lips.

“Alright, let’s get started with our own work. Victory!” he summoned his Ghost with a wave of his hand, and they appeared, dark maroon and blue, right in front of the Guardians. “Show us the way to the location I pinpointed this morning.”

With an affirmative ping, Victory flied forward, scanning everything around as they proceeded. Flynn and Frazer were right behind them, weapons at the ready.

 

>> Somewhere underground, bunker on old territory of USA, Arizona
>> 12:55pm, 70F/21,1C

In the darkness of a bunker room, one of dozens of capsules suddenly was lit with at first dim, then bright cyan light. After fluid in it was drained, and the covering lid opened, out of it with gasp for air stumbled a human figure. She fell on all fours, coughing, nails scratching the floor and her entire body wrecking. Her blond hair was mussed and lots of strands sticked to her face.

Over her head something whirred, and then cyan light settled on her face.

“Guardian? Eyes up, Guardian!”

Elena Fisher, who was not yet sure how she was even alive, looked up to face a strange robotic creature floating right in front of her.