Heavy boots, heavier body. An exhausted assassin trudged through the wasteland to meet her partner at their rendezvous point. Athena had been without sleep for nearly a week, which was about her limit. Atlas could do a lot of things but they couldn’t completely eliminate their assassins’ need for sleep. Not that it mattered to Atlas anymore. Athena had wiped them clean off the map a year prior with the help of some vault hunters. After that, she had all but disappeared, only taking an assassination job every now and then to scrape by. That changed a bit when Nisha came into her life. They had been hired to kill each other by the same guy when they decided to call a truce and kill him instead, which worked out well. What started out as a pact for survival turned into a partnership; they often took jobs of all kinds together after that. Robbery, arson, assassination-- you name it, they did it. And despite Athena’s normal no-nonsense policy, the pair eventually found themselves in a romantic relationship as well. The gladiator was lonely and the gunslinger was convincing.
Heavy boots, heavier shield. Trusting was something Athena didn’t do easily. And once you lose her trust, it’s pretty much gone forever. Nisha had been dangerously close to losing that trust for a couple of months now. She had been signing the two of them up for underpaying jobs and making Athena do most of the work for a while. Athena didn’t want to make a big deal out of it because they were getting by. Additionally, she knew damn well if things went sour between them, someone was taking a bullet to the brain. It would be unfortunate for Athena to have to kill the first person she ever had romantic feelings for. After a year of Nisha’s companionship, she wasn’t quite sure if she loved Nisha or not. She did know she couldn’t handle another major loss.
Heavy boots, heavier backpack. Athena arrived at the broken down safe house and dropped the bag full of guns and gold at her feet. She took a seat in a three-legged chair and leaned forward, waiting on Nisha to come back with her share of the score. The gladiator had a lot on her mind. She had been contacted by a low-level programmer from the Hyperion Corporation to hunt a vault for him. Vault hunting wasn’t really her gig, but he promised a LARGE sum of money so… It was now. She hadn’t discussed it with her girlfriend yet and quite frankly she didn’t want to. The job required her to board a spaceship and head to Elpis and she wasn’t sure if Nisha would just let her disappear for… however long it takes to hunt a vault.
Heavy boots, heavier footsteps outside. After what seemed like an hour, Nisha had finally shown up. Brandishing her whip in one hand and a knapsack stuffed with loot in the other, she kicked down the door to the safe house. With a grunt, she heaved the bag up onto a nearby table then proceeded to unzip one of the pockets and pull out a Jakobs Maggie, one of the rarest pistols around. Cash and bullets trickled out of the pocket and hit the table and the floor. With a grin, she turned to her girlfriend, “Tell me Athena, have you ever seen something so beautiful?”
Athena snorted and stood up. “Yeah I’ve seen better, but it’s definitely pretty.”
“Oh I’m sorry I forgot you used to be one of those rich Atlas bastards,” Nisha said with an eyeroll.
“Oh please. You know that story forward and backward by now. Don’t give me that,” Athena quipped.
“Yeah, yeah. Torture this, kidnapping that. I know. I’m just messin’ with you,” the gunslinger replied, setting down the Maggie. “But hey with today’s haul? We won’t have to take a job for a hot minute. So we can focus on… Other things.” She leaned over to kiss Athena’s neck. Before Nisha could turn things R rated, Athena pulled away and said, “You know, I don’t think we will.”
Nisha blinked, genuinely surprised by that reaction. Thinking the worst, she asked, “You’re not breaking me off are you?” Athena shook her head then pulled out her Echo device. She scrolled through a few recorded conversations before she got to one labelled ‘Jack from Hyperion’ and hit play.
“Is this the Echo line for a certain former Crimson Lance assassin?”
“Depends. Who’s asking?”
“Name’s Jack. I work in programming for the Hyperion Corporation. I think I have a job that’s right up your alley.”
“Sorry, I don’t take corporate gigs.”
“Nonononono it’s not that kind of job. It’s more suited to your skill set.”
“...I’m going to go ahead and repeat myself. I don’t take corporate gigs.”
“Chillax. You’re not working for the company. You’d be working for me.”
“I’m putting together a group of talented individuals like yourself to hunt for a vault up on Pandora’s shithole of a moon. I could use somebody with the amount of tactical experience you have to lead the team.”
“Do you know the vault’s exact location?”
“No but I’ve got a pretty good hunch.”
“Where would our base of operations be?”
“Right here on Helios, baby! I’ve got the clearance to make crazy shit happen up here. And that includes running this job right under the president’s nose without him knowing.”
“Will you be providing equipment?”
“I can get you whatever you need, but if you’re not comfortable using Hyperion tech I’d suggest bring your own guns.”
“Three mil for your services alone. Five if you do a damn good job. And bonuses when we crack that baby open.”
“So that’s the offer. I know you’re a certified badass and everything but I need to know you’re not gonna run out on me before the job’s through.”
“If you hire me, you’re not just paying for another merc with a gun. You’re paying for decades of experience. You’re paying for professionalism. You’re paying for loyalty to the mission above all else.”
“Yeah? That what you told General Knoxx?”
“Loyal to the mission is one thing. Loyal to people is something else.”
Athena stopped the recording there and those words stuck with Nisha. Loyal to people is something else. Nisha opened her mouth to ask for an expansion on that thought but Athena spoke first, “I took the job. The rest of the call was talking logistics. I have to be at the site of some new Hyperion hub being built out past the Highlands in two days to catch the shuttle to Helios.”
“Funny you took that job without consulting me,” Nisha laughed. “Cause I did the same damn thing.”