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A Stash and an Echo

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Aaron looked around where he was, and he couldn't quite place it. He frowned but then he saw JJ standing on a huge beam. There was a thunderstorm all around. Aaron tried to get to her as the lightning struck around her, but a hand grabbed him. He turned to see that it was Spencer. Now Aaron could see that they were near Freehold Station on Meridian Bay on Mars.

"What?" Aaron asked.

Spencer just pointed at where JJ was. Aaron turned back around to look at her.

"What does it mean to be a Warlock?" It was Ikora's voice, and it seemed to float on the air. "Power. Only Warlocks understand true power."

A lightning bolt struck JJ, but it didn't do her harm.

"True power lies in knowledge--in understanding. Power channeled, not controlled. The Storm is raw power; the Trance is true understanding. Both are required. The Stormcaller, then, is both the question and the answer, and thus what it means to be a Warlock."

JJ's entire body was distorted by the Arc lightning that was wrapping around it. Lighting struck the tip of the beam that JJ was standing on before it kept striking ever closer to JJ. A huge arc of lightning stuck where JJ was, and she was gone. Aaron gasped, and then Arc energy started to form a ball in the middle of the air. It exploded out, and there was JJ, Arc energy all over her body. Aaron was used to seeing her with her Super active.

The scene changed quickly. Aaron quickly recognized Campus 9 in the Ishtar Sink on Venus. He had been there enough as part of missions.

"What does it mean to be a Hunter? I say it's all about where you belong." Cayde sounded exactly like his normal self. Cocky but sure, someone you could trust to have your back. Aaron hadn't looked up to a Guardian outside of the Iron Lords ever but Cayde, he could look up to him.

The location of where they were changed to the Endless Steps. Aaron looked around and saw Prentiss. There were Vex bodies all around, Aaron saw scarring on their bodies. Something that he had not paid too close of attention to during fights with her while hunting Skolas.

"The Warlocks have their libraries, Titans have their walls..." Cayde paused for a few seconds. "but Hunters belong in the wilds. Out there, you wanna live? You better have a quick shot or a sharp blade."

Prentiss stepped up to a large ravine in the Endless Steps, and she was looking out. Aaron saw on the other side them, the rest of the team.

"A lot of us are loners. But that's not the only path. Some of us know the difference a Fireteam makes. Some of us--we touch the Void. Make it part of us. And then we take a name: Nightstalker. Hunt from the shadows, pin them down... never let them see you coming."

Prentiss dropped her hand down, and her Void bow appeared. She drew it back, and three arrows appeared. She carefully aimed and then launched them. Aaron watched as the arrows hit their targets, protecting the team. Aaron felt Spencer's hand on his arm still, but Spencer wasn't keeping him back. He was keeping him grounded. Nightstalkers had not been a part of the Hunters in the years just after Guardians were formed. Aaron figured that it was an evolution of the Light as more and more, more varying Guardians were created.

The world blurred and Aaron saw that they were still on Venus, just in the Ishtar Commons now.

"What does it mean to be a Titan?" Zavala's voice grated on Aaron less than it usually did. Aaron's way of working was very different from the uptight Titan, but Aaron could respect him.

"As a Titan, you are part of the City in a way no Warlock or Hunter can understand. The dream of the City rests upon our shoulders."

"Then there are those that find a path outside our walls--those that take up with leaders they barely understand."

Aaron saw Dave standing in the center of an area that had a lot of markings on the ground. There was a fire burning in the center of the area, and Dave reached out for it. It was just like JJ. Aaron started to rush forward, but Spencer pulled him back.

"So it has ever been with the Sunbreakers. The Hammer of Sol is a flame in the darkness. But fire burns without thought. It is time that fire came home--to keep the City and her walls warm throughout the long night."

Dave's hand didn't jerk back from the fire. He kept it steady and something formed in it. Aaron recognized the Hammer of Sol, the Sunbreaker's weapon of choice. Dave swung the hammer and fire burned on it before it spread to his whole body. It consumed him and then broke free, and there he was standing again.

"This is what they went through, or at least a part of it. New classes that were born of need and of want. The crucible is coming, where even newer Guardians are going to be forged. We hold the Darkness, but the Darkness lives." It sounded like Spencer, but also it sounded like something else was there as well. Something hidden in the shadows.

Aaron shot up in bed, seeing Spencer still dead asleep. Aaron inhaled and exhaled, looking at his hand. He could see the flames on it. Aaron tried to control it, but it wouldn't go away. There was no way that he was going to let it free from his hand. He was not going to fire his Golden Gun inside the Tower. Instead of their rooms, and especially not while Spencer was dead asleep. Aaron slipped from the bed, and he looked at his hand the entire time. He clenched it closed and three wisps of smoked formed something strange between his fingers but before Aaron could do anything it was gone, and he didn't feel that urge to use his Super.

The balcony was cold with the cool night air, but Aaron didn't care too much as he dropped onto the lounge chair. Aaron knew that he was close to breaking, to doing something stupid but at the moment he had to be strong for Spencer. Spencer's entire life was up in chaos at the moment.

Dreams were weird, Aaron knew that, but he had never seen anything that had happened in the dream, so he wasn't sure where the visuals came from. Aaron felt Spencer approaching more than he heard him. Spencer had a huge blanket with him and laid on Aaron's lap before wrapping it around the both of them.

"What's on your mind?" Spencer asked.

"I...We went from you having nightmares to me having weird dreams. Tonight was different."

"You've been murmuring in your sleep. The night before you kept calling for people. What were you dreaming about?"

"You know we are the two odd ones out. We know our lives. We know who we were and what we did. Yet for me, my memories are hazy of that last mission I was on for the Iron Lords. I was dreaming about that. I thought I was there on a mission alone, but I had a team with me. The few Iron Lords that were not going against SIVA. I don't know what happened to them. I don't know, and I think that my mind is making up things." Aaron heard the chatter from Spencer's tablet. It had been on the balcony where Spencer had fallen asleep. Aaron had just laid it on the table when he had picked up Spencer to take him inside to put to bed.

Spencer reached out and grabbed the tablet. He laid his hand over the screen, and then it lit up. "Oh. Rasputin burned their bodies and their Ghosts. They died taking out that last wisp of SIVA in that area. The last succumbing to her wounds. He used machines to bring their bodies to him and gave them a proper burial. You were in a different area, and he was afraid of you dying after Haley was destroyed, so he protected you. Sometimes I wonder how damaged Rasputin has been from being alone for so long without Ana and I. I don't know if Rasputin looks at us like siblings or as parents."

"Well find what HUB he's in and talk to him one day, Spencer. I promise."

"Too much is getting in the way, but I have a feeling that Rasputin is going to play a large part in everything at some point. How can he not after the way that he was born."

"Though it's kind of creepy that he watches us," Aaron said. He buried his face in Spencer's neck. This, this much more than sex was what Aaron was craving. Just being close to Spencer, it helped and soothed Aaron in ways that nothing else did."

"I know you are struggling, Aaron and I wish you would talk to me, but you have to get to that point on your own. I talk to the Traveler, I know that you don't look at it the same that I do but maybe if you talked to someone who wasn't me. You fought more evil than I have. You've lived through more. Maybe you need to talk to someone who is like that."

"Maybe. Or I can head up to the Temple and talk to the ashes of those who are gone. Add my team to their ashes. Scatter them to the wind in the passes." Aaron didn't pull his face from Spencer's neck, he just said the words into the skin there.

"Whatever you need, Aaron," Spencer said.

Aaron knew that he needed to do something. HE kind of hated that one of the things that had stuck with him that he had been raised to think was that men didn't rely on anyone. It was hard as a Guardian because a Guardian needed a fireteam, Aaron needed Spencer at his side but this part of him was just...walled off, and he wasn't sure how to break it down. He wasn't sure how to do any of it. Small bricks had come out of the wall, but there were no full broken holes big enough for anyone to get through. He didn't know if there ever would be. Aaron also knew that Spencer understood secrets and keeping things to one's self. Aaron knew that Spencer had not talked about the full breadth of what happened to turn the Awoken into what they were. Yes, the Awoken had fought Hive, Spencer reaction to that was nothing short of scary, but there was more to it. There was a sadness, an echo of pain in Spencer when he talked about those first days that said that the Awoken had gone through hell. Still, Aaron, like Spencer could wait for him to open up.

"I saw you watching me in the Crucible again," Aaron said. Nothing had topped the first time that Spencer had watched him, but Aaron knew that Spencer was no less appreciative of Aaron's fighting. Aaron was a born fighter. He had fought to live through his father. Spencer had been a sheltered academic who only knew how to protect himself if there was someone who wanted to rob him. Spencer had thankfully stopped balking at being trained, even if he still hadn't stepped into the Crucible. Aaron was slowly working him down on that.

"I can so research as easy sitting in the stands and taking a few seconds break here and there as I can sitting here in the rooms. G.A.R.C.I.A. had finally gotten every single book in the Warlock library copied over into my system. She also found a server in the junk piles, and I'm going to work on getting it up and running again. Zavala has made it taboo to look into the past, but there are some Guardians who I think are one bad memory away from exploding. Ana was looking into her past before she was killed. I just wonder if Zavala looked into his past and didn't like what he saw."

"He's Awoken so he had to have been born after the Collapse or you would have known who he was."

"There were thousands of us, Aaron and while I was pretty good at names and faces, our faces changed just enough that I don't know if I would have known him if I knew who he was before he turned Awoken. There was an Exodus in the years after we became Awoken. Those who didn't like that they had fled the Collapse and who turned home to fight again to protect. Some died, some lived, some became Guardians. We cannot control why they left, and Zavala had his reasons when he left, whether those reasons stood after he became a Guardian we can never know because he had forgotten everything. The taboo has been a lot more recent in the regard of it being pushed. There has to be a reason, but at the moment we don't have enough information to understand it, and therefore we can only comment, not condemn."

"You and your logic," Aaron said. He smiled into Spencer's neck.

"Logic rules the world."

"Then how do you logically explain what goes on with the Light."

"Well, it's not magic. Even the Hive magic that we don't understand is just that, something that we do not understand. We will just have to study more and see what we can create from it."

"Isn't that dangerous?"

"Depends if someone knows what they are doing or not. Any idiot can set off a bomb."

There was another chirp behind them, and Aaron knew that it was the sound of his comm device. It was actually the chirp that Aaron had set for Cayde.

"I wonder if he figured out what he needed to about that ship," Spencer said. He ran his fingers through Aaron's hair and pulled his head up. "Let's go see what Cayde wants."

"What if he wants me alone?" Aaron asked.

"Then he will say that in the message." Spencer stood up and walked into the room. Aaron realized that he was naked and Aaron had not noticed at all. Aaron got up and followed him. He checked his comm and found that it was a note to meet at the hanger and that was it. There was no ask for Spencer to be there or to not be there so Aaron decided that Spencer was right and if Cayde didn't want him there he would say it.

It took but moments for Aaron to change and for Spencer to actually get into clothes. Aaron checked on Jack, finding the boy asleep. S.P.O.T. was active, but given the time of morning it was, that wasn't a shock. While Jack might be in lessons with other kids, he still got a lot of teaching from S.P.O.T., especially since S.P.O.T. had been given access to Spencer's tablet and the information on there from the Golden Age.

Cayde was alone when Aaron and Spencer arrived, but as they crossed to where he was, Aaron saw that JJ was entering from another area. Aaron nodded at her.

"So," Cayde started as he stood against the edge of the Galliot. "We have more information from what we were able to get from the Cabal. Oryx has a single goal, and he's focused on that one person to the detriment of everything else. He's come all this way to kill you."

Aaron saw that Cayde was looking at Spencer. Aaron wondered why. It was the whole team that had taken out Crota but to focus on Spencer meant that Oryx knew something else. Aaron wondered what Oryx thought he knew about Spencer. Oryx had wiped out Mara and possibly even Uldren. So far there was no word on the Prince.

"We're not gonna let him." Cayde looked at Spencer, and the look said that Cayde wanted to say more but wasn't, probably because of JJ. "Oryx controls the Taken from a Dreadnaught near Saturn, but we can't get close without a Stealth Drive. Lucky for us, I hid one at the top of an old colony ship before I got roped into the Vanguard."

"Really?" Spencer asked he stepped closer, and Aaron could see the look of wonder on his face. "What brand? What version?"

"Bray Tech and I have no clue what version. Why?" Cayde asked.

"Because I want to know."

"Well, it had purple bits."

Spencer grinned.

"How are you sure that it's still where you left it?" JJ asked.

"You better hope it's still there. You won't survive the Dreadnaught without it." Cayde gave them a grin. "So saddle up, and you can head out to find it. I'll guide you. I'll just do it from here and not the Vanguard room."

Aaron narrowed his eyes at Cayde. He understood doing what was needed, but he wasn't going to step up for Cayde if Zavala got mad at him.

"I've got armor," G.A.R.C.I.A. said as JJ"s appeared in front of them.

"Well then, lets as you say it, saddle up," Aaron said.


Aaron surveyed the Blast as Spencer looked for a safe place to set down. It was a war down there.

"Cayde...we've got a real problem down here," Aaron said as he watched the rift open it spew out more Taken Thrall.

"Let me guess: Four arms, wear cloaks... smell really bad?" Cayde's tone had Aaron smiling despite what was going on at the moment.

"It's not Fallen...well not only Fallen. It's also Taken.""

"Really? I thought we would have more time," Cayde muttered.

"Yeah, so did everyone else," Spencer muttered. He set the ship to hover and stood up. Aaron followed. Aaron was dropped don first with JJ next and Spencer last. "Let's get through here without being pulled into the fight too much. We don't know what else will be waiting on us."

"I agree," Aaron said. Aaron knew that Spencer took in Aaron's way of doing things, Aaron's command style but it still kind of shocked him when Spencer's thoughts on what they should do mirrored Aaron's so closely. Aaron let Spencer take the lead, and Aaron took the back. JJ was in the center where she could keep an eye on the sides. They skirted the fighting as much as possible but even then a few Taken and a few Fallen came upon them.

"You know. I thought that Thrall was the worst thing in the world," Spencer said as he slashed through a Taken Thrall that had crept up on them. "But they have nothing on these Thrall. They move in a weird way."

"It's like they almost teleport at some points," JJ said.

"And the way that they move in just weird directions. Still-" Spencer stopped as another jumped at him. Spencer took it's head off, nothing falling and the body and head just turning to wisps.

The Knights were bad, spewing fire at them from a distance while fighting the Fallen. Aaron felt a shot hit him, and he looked to find that it was a Goblin.

"The fact that Oryx can take everything, Fallen, his own race of Hive, Cabal, and even Vex." Spencer sounded contemplative, but he didn't say anything else. They pushed forward and got inside the facility that would take them to where they needed to go.

"So where are we going?" JJ asked.

"Devil's Lair. It's in an old colony ship. They don't have total control as you can see by the Taken. We will have to see about what exactly allows Taken to appear. If it's like Hive, we will have issues blocking them. G.A.R.C.I.A. make sure that you are taking readings of every single type of Taken that we come across. We can't work without information."

"You got it," G.A.R.C.I.A. said.

"How bad is it?" Cayde asked.

"The Taken are everywhere, fighting the Fallen! Fighting us when we get too close," Aaron said.

"Earth's gonna look a lot like Phobos if you don't find that stealth drive."

"No kidding."

Aaron was the last into next area, and it was kind of familiar, especially the skulls on pikes. It wasn't until they entered the next room that Aaron recognized exactly where they were. Spencer was stopped next to a Servitor body. Before Aaron could say a word, Taken started to spawn in. Firing at what he saw first, Aaron recognized what used to be a Psion. He shot it in the glowing eye, but as he fired, it split into two. "Multiplying bastards."

"Yeah, Psions need to be killed first. That could overwhelm anyone," JJ said.

"Do you remember when Sepiks Prime was our biggest problem?" G.A.R.C.I.A. asked.

"That's the least of our worries at the moment," Aaron said, but he understood what G.A.R.C.I.A. was saying. Aaron looked where they needed to go and found that it was a hole in the wall on the other side of the room. Aaron pointed, and Spencer nodded as he stood up from where he had been looking at the Servitor body.

"Okay, you're gonna find a vault door. There's a trick to getting through it, so let me know when you're there."

"Oh, I will," Spencer said.

Cayde laughed. "I like you, Warlock, more than I probably should."

"That's because he's as brash as a Titan, as sly as a Hunter, and has the smarts of a Warlock. No one can do anything but love him," JJ said. Aaron laughed in response to that, he heard Cayde laughing as well. Spencer though said nothing.

Down a long hallway, Aaron saw that Cayde had told them to look for. It was blasted open already, he could see remnants of grenade that had not gone off as he got closer.

"The door's already opened, Cayde; we're inside," Aaron said.

"And the Flux Grenades didn't detonate?" Cayde signed, and it seemed almost soul weary. "I gotta get out of this Tower."

Aaron could understand that he would die if he were a Vanguard member. Aaron knew that Dave was being groomed to take over Zavala's position while Cayde was partial to Prentiss and Ikora JJ. That left Aaron, Spencer, and Morgan and Aaron were okay with that. He didn't want that kind of position that would have him stuck inside of the walls. He understood it, but it would be a soul death for him. He didn't say anything though because this was no the channel or time for that.

"What are the chances the elevator still works?" G.A.R.C.I.A. asked.

Aaron shrugged, and JJ did as well. Spencer though was studying everything. Aaron wondered what he was looking for.

"We're heading up." G.A.R.C.I.A.'s voice was nervous sounding. "Cayde? When's the last time you rode this elevator?"

"Relax, it works fine! ...But... stand by for resurrection, G.A.R.C.I.A," Cayde said.

"Thanks," Aaron said. Cayde just laughed, but it wasn't full of mirth like normal.

Up and up the elevator went, slowly. Thankfully no Taken appeared inside of it with them.

"From this height, I can pick up Taken energy readings throughout the Cosmodrome..." G.A.R.C.I.A. said as they neared the top. She turned around to look at Spencer, Aaron saw that all three of them were. Aaron hadn't even noticed that all three had appeared. "You know I was here, looking for you with Morgan... when the first Fallen crews came through. It started with one Skiff. A few months later, the Cosmodrome was theirs. The Taken have done it in hours. All these ships here and none of them made it off the planet. Supplies were loaded, stasis pods were at full occupancy. The hard part was done. What stopped them? Why didn't they launch?"

"I don't know," Spencer said. "How do we find your stealth drive?"

"There's a bridge from the tower to the ship. It took me days to get it working; It's a little unstable, so watch your step."

Spencer was the first out, and he stopped with enough room for Aaron and JJ to get off the elevator behind him. "Cayde, someone moved the bridge, destroyed the controls. It was probably the Fallen to get the Taken off of their back. Is there a way to reroute the power?"

"Yes. I'll send information to G.A.R.C.I.A. so you can find it easy."

"Yeah but there's still an active feed moving through those pipes overhead. Reid, if you find the source, I can patch the circuit."

"You got it," Spencer. He started to move around. Aaron and JJ moved to a position to protect him.

"Once you get the bridge working, my stash is in the ball on top of the colony ship."

Aaron heard some static and then a new voice. "We're still waiting for details on this plan of yours, Cayde." It was Ikora. She at least must have found where Cayde was hiding. SO it seemed that he had put the mission forward after telling Zavala and Ikora something else. Aaron didn't care. He could easily argue that he hadn't thought a thing of it. Each of the Vanguard had come to them with missions before.

"Yeah! Uh... give me a second, Guardians." Cayde's comm cut off. Aaron did not feel envy for him at the moment, he would not want to be at that briefing. He had been part of enough since he had come out of stasis.

Aaron looked out into the expanse that they could see. It was breathtaking. He could see everything, including the Wall, where the current legend of Guardians had come from. Aaron heard the bridge start moving, and he looked up to see Spencer at what looked like a fuse box a few levels up. Spencer started down, and Aaron realized that while Aaron had been watching for enemies and enjoying the view, Spencer had been jumping like a monkey.

"Alright, back in business." Cayde didn't sound much worse for the wear. "Hey, the bridge is already moving! Now, get to the top of that colony ship where I left my stash, and watch yourself on that bridge."

"One at a time?" Spencer asked as he landed on his feet between Aaron and JJ.

"Yes, please," JJ said.

"I'll go first then."

Aaron agreed with that. While JJ was lighter, she wasn't that great at dodging. Spencer would be able to hold the other end. Aaron liked bringing up the rear because he was going to focus on the far end while Spencer crossed. Spencer's only thought should be crossing, not enemies at the other side.

Spencer started forward on the bridge, and it began to rumble. He stopped and waited. Just about ten feet in front of him buckled and fell, leaving a huge gap. Spencer sized it up and then backed up and took off running. He blinked across to the other side and turned around waving JJ forward. JJ took off at a run across, she glided across, almost not making it. Spencer grabbed her arm and pulled her across. Aaron waved for them to go on. Aaron knew that he could make the gap.

Aaron heard the arrival of Taken on the other side, but he couldn't see them. He waited to make sure that Spencer and JJ weren't going to back up before he made the journey across. He drew his Hand Cannon as he heard Spencer's blades slicing through the air.

"Any advice on which way to go?" G.A.R.C.I.A. asked.

"Yeah. Up," Cayde sounded like his normal sarcastic self, so Aaron just shook his head.

Aaron entered the round shaped room and found that Spencer and JJ were fighting off Taken Thrall. There was not a lot of them, and Aaron only had time to kill one before they got rid of the rest. The way up was not exactly as straight forward as just walking up a ramp or stairs. It was an obstacle course of age-worn jumping spots and running around things that were not made to be walking areas. A Taken Phalanx tried to throw them off, but Spencer was quicker with his sword, darting under the Taken's shield and killing it. Spencer was deadly with his swords, he would reign in the Crucible with them. There were few Guardians who used them, the sword had fallen out of preference with the fall of the Iron Lords. Aaron hadn't worn his in a while, but he knew that G.A.R.C.I.A. had it on hand if he needed. The Sniper Rifle was a much better weapon at this point.

There was a slight feeling of surprise as Aaron came across a Vandals trying to snipe at them. It was a normal everyday Vandal, as yet untaken. More Fallen followed it and they took a break from creepy Taken. It was like Cayde had been drunk thinking that hiding a drive that would be worth a great deal in a place like this. Aaron stopped as he nearly came out of his crouch that he crawled through an area that he did not fit well in.

"Don't look down," G.A.R.C.I.A. said.

"Did you know that telling people things like that actually make them do it?" Spencer said from where he was standing at the end of where the beam was that Aaron was crawling across. Aaron did look down, and it wasn't that bad to him. The passes to get to the Temple were sometimes worse than this.

"I'm going to go up and get rid of the Phalanx and what lays behind with Stormcaller," JJ said as she jumped up to the level where Aaron could see Taken as he got out of his crouch. Aaron waited for her. Hearing the crackle of power when it lessened, he jumped up with Spencer going up too. JJ was at the far end, and there were scorch marks everywhere. JJ was waiting at a door for them, no Taken or Fallen in sight.

"Good job," Aaron said.

They were back on solid ground, and it seemed like they were going to be staying there for a good while, so Aaron was grateful. It wasn't that he didn't like precarious spaces, but with the Taken's ability to seemingly show up everywhere, Aaron hated being in the open. Aaron stayed at the back again while Spencer led them through hallways, then they came across a squad of Fallen protecting a grav-lift. Aaron noticed something off to the side and whistled when the last of the Fallen had dropped.

"Hey, you found one of my secret rooms. Good times. Help yourself to the Glimmer but leave the Exotics for me. When I get out of this Tower..."

Aaron looked around, but there was nothing but Fallen crates. He opened his mouth to say so, but G.A.R.C.I.A. spoke first.

"There's nothing in here but Fallen caches."

"They took my loot? It's like there are no rules."

Aaron saw a card on the ground, and he looked at it. "A Jack of Spades?"

"Yeah, I had a whole system to keep track of things. The royal cards stood for weapons. Spades meant Häkke, clubs for Crux/Lomar, diamonds for Omolon, and hearts... huh, well hearts were for this girl I knew."

"What was her name?" JJ asked.

"Uh, don't you have a stealth drive to find?" Cayde asked, and his voice sounded off, and it made Aaron and Spencer chuckle. "Get into the lift."

Aaron backed out and let JJ and Spencer step toward the lift. It was just big enough to allow all three of them to get into it at the same time which made Aaron happy.

At the top was a ground of Fallen that started to fire at them but then the light flashed and all of them were gone.

"What Crota began, I complete! My will conquers all! My will be done! Vengeance for Crota!" a voice said, and there was a shadow creature that kind of looked like a Taken, but it didn't at the same time.

"It's like an echo of what we were able to find from the Cabal. It's like an Echo of Oryx," G.A.R.C.I.A. said, and thankfully she was hidden from sight for the time being.

"Spencer, do you have your Nova Bomb?" Aaron asked.

"Yes."

"Okay, JJ. Machine gun his ass and get his distracted, so Spencer can actually hit it."

"You got it." JJ swapped her Pulse Rifle for the Machine Gun on her back. She stepped away to make sure that the Echo was only looking at her and she opened fire. She laid into the Echo. Spencer waited until she was near ready to change the ammo before he launched his Nova Bomb at the Echo. It turned but couldn't escape the pull of the Void bomb that was hitting him. Aaron waited until JJ was near the end of her second clip and Spencer's bomb was fading before he drew his Golden Gun. It burned brighter and hotter than normal, but Aaron didn't pay attention as he fired three headshots at the Echo of Oryx. JJ's third clip make it wink out.

Aaron put his back to the other two, and he felt them all close in on him, and they all kept watch, but nothing else spawned in on them.

"That thing seemed pretty mad. Oryx must still be holding a grudge for us," JJ said, and her tone was a little sarcastic. "You know... killing Crota?"

"Things won't get any easier on the Dreadnaught. You find my stealth drive?"

Aaron couldn't disagree with Cayde on that. He started to look around the rest of the team splitting up as well to find the drive. Aaron saw nothing.

"Are you sure it's still here?" Spencer asked.

"It's like all things: You gotta know where to look... enter frequency 5982, Ghost."

G.A.R.C.I.A. pinged on Aaron's HUD where that was, and he saw a pile of boxes that after a few seconds disappeared and he was looking at a pile of drives. Aaron crouched and was about to reach out and touch, but Spencer slapped his hands.

"Don't touch. Who knows what you have on your hands. G.A.R.C.I.A. scan them."

"The best hiding places are always in plain sight. Transmat it out of there. I'll get it set up. Just do me a favor: If you find anything else I've hidden...leave it for me. There'll be treasure enough for everyone on the Dreadnaught. Come on home."


When the ship got close to the landing zone that Holliday had directed them to. Aaron saw a Frame picking up one of the stealth drives and carrying it toward a ship. Aaron, JJ, and Spencer all transmatted out of the ship at the same time. They were in regular clothes having just enough time on the trip home to change out of armor. Aaron was ready for a shower though, but he wanted to see what Cayde's plan was.

"Maintenance pending," another Frame said from close to where Aaron was standing. "Requesting visual confirmation."

Holliday looked up from where she was looking at something on a makeshift table and turned toward the robotic assistant. Aaron kind of liked the Frames, they were all over, varying levels of intelligence but all were needed to help fill in the ranks of having fewer Humans to do jobs.

"Yep, that's the last one. Portside."

Cayde approached Holliday's workbench, and she turned to greet him.

"Confirmed," the Frame said in the background

Cayde puts his hands on his hips.

"Interesting tech, Cayde." Holliday pointed at the ship that she was having the Frame put the drive on. "Isn't this Eris Morn's ship?"

Cayde's tone was mischievous when he spoke. "Is it?"

Aaron looked at the ship to see Eris Morn's symbol on the nose of the ship. It looked to be in better condition than it had bee the last time that Aaron had seen it.

"Huh." Cayde pointed at the ship. "You know, you're a true artist. Can't even see the join." He gave a thumbs up to Holliday.

"Cute, but Zavala's got sign-off on all launches. Need to know why I'm letting it go." Amanda was a stickler for not allowing ships out after Zavala had made it so that he had to sign off on all launches. Aaron knew that. It was why they had not gone looking for Uldren.

Cayde picks up a wrench off of Amanda's workbench. "Stargazing tour?" Cayde said coyly.

Aaron watched as Holliday rolled her eyes and flashed Cayde an amused smirk. Cayde was fiddling with the wrench in his hands. Aaron knew that it was something that he did with nearly everything that he picked up. He always had to mess with something.

"Okay...how about...an unsanctioned op..." Cayde pointed at the ship with the wrench "...using modified stealth tech...to...infiltrate a Dreadnaught above Saturn's rings...so we can knock out its weapons." Cayde swung the wrench forward before he went on. "And create a transmat zone..." Next Cayde struck a pose with the wrench. "And send in the cavalry?"

Cayde held the post until Holliday took the wrench from his hands and set it back down on her worktop.

"How 'bout... 'test flight'?"

Cayde gave a quick nod of his head and turned to look at Aaron, Spencer, and JJ.

"It'll be waiting for you when you're ready," Amanda said drawing Cayde's gaze back to her.

"Me?" Cayde laughed. "I'm not flying that thing."

Holliday looked up, and it was like she was noticing the trio for the first time. "Oh. I see. Well...I might have to move a few things. All three of you?"

"Yes," Aaron said.

"Okay. I'll let you know."

Aaron nodded his head. He had only a single thought, and that was a shower. He looked at Spencer who nodded his agreeance at that.

"Will messaged me and wants to talk. So I'll catch you later."

Aaron watched JJ walk over to the transmat station that would put her down in the City. Aaron wrapped an arm around Spencer and started to pull him along. They would have a little bit of time before Jack was released from school. Just enough to enjoy their shower.

The End