I wanted to put in a small note here before continuing on. The last couple of months I have had the opportunity to play both the Alpha and the Beta test for the game Destiny. Whether or not the opening to the story of the game is going to change prior to release one thing is clear, I will have to put this story through a major rewrite. I will be posting the remainder of the story in quick succession so if you miss a part, don’t worry it will be in the archive. A the very least, after playing the Beta test I will have an ending for the story. I will know more when Destiny is available to play on consoles September 9th. Now on to part 6.
When the elevator reached the desired floor, the two Hunters exited and walked towards their apartment. When they entered the door, they noticed that night had fallen over the City. The apartment was a large two story with a sitting area and kitchen on the first floor, beds and a restroom on the second. It was a relatively open floor layout with a large bookcase against the far right wall. There was a large view screen against the wall to the left of the room as you entered it. It was sparsely decorated with only the necessities. The kitchen area was to the right of the door and was also sparsely decorated.
The blinds closed over the windows as the two Hunters walked further into the apartment. Ver’verd and Elsibeth walked to the upper floor and placed their weapons in a slide out locker that was to the right of the staircase. Ver’verd removed his helmet and sat on the bed closest to the window, facing it. Ver’verd began to remove his armor piece by piece, starting with his shin pieces. All he had to do to remove the pieces on his shins and thighs was to pull sharply. He placed these pieces upon the bed to his right and stood.
Unclasping his holster from his thigh, he loosened his pistol belt and removed it. The holster and belt he placed to his left. He then removed his duster and unwrapped his cowl. He placed these in a pile behind where he was sitting and reached to his sides to unclasp the straps that held his two pieces of upper body armor together. He lifted his upper body armor over his head and placed it next to the pieces he removed from his shins and thighs.
Ver’verd un-tucked his tunic from his trousers, sat back down, and removed his gloves. Keeping his boots on, he removed the right gauntlet and then the left. He removed his PDA and placed it on the nightstand to the right of the bed. He then lay back, and using the earlier pile he had made as a pillow, turned his head and looked towards Elsibeth.
Elsibeth spoke a command and with a slight hiss her armor fell away. Her boots opened from the top and her greaves clattered to the ground into two pieces. She stepped out of her boots and bent down to dislodge her knee-pads. She then stood up, her chest armor falling away, and her back armor clattering to the ground as well. The upper arm segments had also fallen away, as did her gauntlets, but she removed her gloves manually.
Standing bare footed on the carpet, she stretched her arms upward and the chest area of her body suit expanded outward. Her neck seal unseated with a slight hiss and she removed her helmet. Elsibeth shook her head, her dark red hair falling to her shoulders. She looked over at Ver’verd and smiled, her silver eyes shining slightly. Because her mother was an Awoken she was a strikingly beautiful woman. Standing at about five three, and weighing only one hundred and twenty-five pounds without her armor, she carried the eye color and soft features of her mother, with the hair and skin color of her father.
As Ver’verd remembered, Elsibeths’ mother was one of the few Awoken Titans, and had served on both the Wall and at the gate, where he first met her. As a young man he had tried to flirt with her, until her husband returned from a mission outside the Wall and stopped by to pick him up for transfer. This was the last time that he saw her. Shortly after leaving his position at the gate, there was an explosion and Elsibeths’ mother was killed. He met Elsibeth for the first time at the memorial service. Elsibeth was just eleven at the time, so Ver’verd doubted that she remembered meeting him there.
The ceremony was simple for Titan standards; usually a great amount of pomp and circumstance was involved. The members in attendance were gathered in the parade field that newly graduated Titans would tread upon during graduation. They were divided by sections, with one of the captains of the guard standing in front of the rectangular formation that comprised the platoon that Elsibeth’s mother had been a part of. On a podium in front of the formation was the Titan leadership from the Titan Democratic Council and the commander of the guard. To the right of the TDC leadership was Commander Bespada and Elsibeth, tightly clinging to her fathers’ waist and sobbing.
Ver’verd was there, dressed in the black armor that was commonly associated with the members of TF Titan Night, and standing directly behind his commander. Ver’verd was amazed at the number of TF Titan Night members who were there for the memorial service of just one gate guard, just about all of them were in attendance. He stood staring at Commander Bespada’s back for the majority of the ceremony and was amazed at how rigid he stood. The entirety of the gate guard was there with members of the Expeditionary Forces taking their place for the ceremony. The ceremony that they gave to Elsibeth’s mother was one of the most gut wrenching that Ver’verd had ever experienced, and was one that he would not want to experience again.
The Commander of the gate guard detachment stepped down from the platform and stood in front of the captain of the guard. He held a data pad that contained the entire roster of the detachment. He began to list the members one by one, starting from the furthest platoon in formation, and they would respond with a “Here sir!” When each platoon was finished, their respective captains would call out with, “All present and accounted for sir!” He continued to call out the names and the members would respond. When he reached the list of Elsibeth’s mothers’ platoon, he stared the captain of the guard right in the eyes. Slowly the commander began reciting the names, the members responding appropriately, when he reached the name before Elsibeth’s mothers’ name he paused.
From an outside perspective, the weight of the next few words seemed to hit like the thunderous cracks of lightening. The commander uttered Elsibeth’s mothers’ name. There was no response. He called the name again and still, no response. The commander called the name out a final time, a palatable crack in his voice. The captain of the guard saluted, his hand visibly shaking, tears streaming down his face.
“Sir.” The captain said, nearly loosing control of his own voice. “Lieutenant Bespada is no longer with us.” The commander then returned the salute, lowered it and faced the platform. Tears streaming down his own face he saluted the members of the TDC.
“Gentlemen.” The commander said, his voice gruff. “Major Bespada is no longer with us!” The members of the TDC returned the commanders salute. The commander dropped his salute and returned to the platform. It was then that the sky grew dark, the clouds heavy, and the distant sound of thunder grew in the background.
Ver’verd felt wetness on his face and looked towards the sky, there was no rain but his face felt wet all the same. He then noticed the Titans around him. Everyone in the audience was crying, tears streaming down their faces. The hardest men and women in the Titans, individuals who had seen several years of war and destruction, men and women who showed no emotion during most ceremonies were all crying. The men and women in formation on the parade field all raised their heads in the sky and howled. The sound was deafening, a cacophony of sound, as if the very souls were being ripped from the bodies of those in attendance.
Ver’verd looked at his commander and saw him with Elsibeth in his arms, holding her tightly, weeping. The sound from the parade field carried over the City, and several denizens bowed their heads in reverence. When the howling stopped, the captains of the guard regained control of their platoons and all members replaced their helmets and marched off of the parade field. The head of the Titan Democratic Council walked up to commander Bespada and placed a hand on his shoulder.
Commander Bespada nodded, and still holding Elsibeth, followed the members of the TDC off of the platform and towards the black transport that was reserved for the members of the council. The rest of the audience filed out, replacing their helmets as they did, until only Ver’verd was left. Ver’verd wiped the tears from his eyes, placed his own helmet on his head, and headed back towards the barracks.
A voice brought him out of his memory. “I know I’m beautiful.” Elsibeth said, her face upside down as she leaned over him, eyes shining. “But I didn’t think it would actually bring you to tears?” Ver’verd sat up and turned slightly towards her.
“I’m sorry, I was just remembering something.” Ver’verd stood up and faced her properly. “Well, I’m going to head down and grab something to eat.” He started towards the staircase. “Do you want anything?”
Elsibeth unzipped her bodysuit to her navel and her chest expanded further. “No I’m going to grab a shower, being stuck in this thing for months at a time can really do a number on a girls’ skin.” She smiled coyly and began to remove the rest of her bodysuit as she headed towards the restroom that was adjacent to the beds.
“Can’t you wait to do that until I’m down stairs?” Ver’verd said as he turned his head and walked towards the steps.
“Where’s the fun in that? Besides I don’t have anything that you haven’t seen before anyway.” Elsibeth said as she stepped through the restrooms’ doorway, her bodysuit in a heap behind her.
Continuing down the stairs, Ver’verd shook his head. He entered the kitchen area and opened the refrigerator. His nose crinkled as a foul odor sprung from the refrigerator and he turned his head away, gagging. He quickly closed the door and made a mental note to only keep dried, canned, or dehydrated goods in the safe house from now on. Moving to the pantry, he grabbed an old ration and opened it. He placed the main meal in the re-hydration unit and retrieved it a minute later. Grabbing a utensil from the ration package, Ver’verd ate the food, took the drink, and re-hydrated it as well. As he drank from the drink package he walked back upstairs.
Hearing the shower running and the sounds of relief issuing from the bathroom, he picked up Elsibeths’ bodysuit and placed it on her bed. He then moved towards his own bed and picked up his duster and cowl. He hung these up on a hanger next to the window. He looked out of the window and waved at the building next to his, the blinds closing quickly in the room of the building as he did so.