RotG: Dark Menace
Chapter 02 - Tears of Haven
Face first Locke landed in the grass. When he shared energy with another Guardian during teleportation he only felt a bit exhausted, when he was with Spectre it was a piece of cake but all alone he was completely drained. For the moment he needed to recover he remained lying on the ground and watched the wind rustle the grass - within the two years since Enerjak's death the once barren wasteland of the Forbidden Zone had completely recovered and not just grass but also small trees and bushes were growing there - but not even this peaceful picture could distract him from the nagging fear of something he couldn't remember.
The neon lights lit up when Locke entered the Guardians' underground lair. Aside of Haven's usual whisper that probably only he had ever been able to hear everything was completely silent - even the whispers were quieter and sounded further away than normally. Quickly he checked the most frequented rooms - going to the other rooms wasn't necessary since if anyone else was here too they should have noticed Locke by now and make him know they were there - before entering the main surveillance room. The screens all around him were activated as usual, showed Echidnaopolis and other parts of the island. No signs of a new attack but unfortunately also no sign of the other Guardians.
A sharp sudden pain in his abdomen made him gasp and with arms tightly wrapped around his lower body he sank to his knees.
"I'm so sick of this this", Thunderhawk stated scarcely when he entered the room. Spectre and Locke turned around, looking at him wonderingly.
"Guardians..."He spit out that word like a bitter taste. "Guess that's the synonym for 'slaves of dud people'. They have the knowledge and technology to defend themselves from whatever threatens them and rebuild a complete city but, admit it, without us they would be completely helpless anyways. What else have we done during the past months but watching over them like over babies, helping them with their pathetic little problems, even helped them rebuilding their city and what for?"
The two other males exchanged a lightly worried gaze. Lately Thunderhawk hadn't been in the best mood and often neglected his duties but they never heard him speaking with such hate.
"There are dangers they simply can't come by on their own, for example when they have Enerjak's power or the strength of numbers", Locke carefully said. "And yes, they could have rebuilt Echidnaopolis on their own but it also is our home even though we mostly live in Haven now and we all agreed to help them, even you, remember?"
Thunderhawk only snorted. "Back then I still didn't knew it better. Besides, when had this ever been a real home to me? People treated me only with disrespect since I can remember."
"But only a few of them. You can't make all people responsible for what happened in your past", Spectre said with a frown. "Moreover these times are gone. You are a Guardian. The people respect and love you as their protector."
"Oh yes, they really love us. A pat on the head and a 'good boy' for the glorious protectors." The lavender male chuckled dryly. "We are the most powerful beings on this island, maybe even the whole planet. These scums should cower in the dust before us. They should fear us. THEY should be OUR slaves. But instead we waste all these powers for playing the goody-two-shoes and ripping our asses open for them." A feversih glow appeared in his eyes.
Spectre had stood up and made a step towards him but still held himself back.
"What the hell is wrong with you? You are insane."
"No, unlike you I'm realistic. Just imagine what would happen if I refused to continue wiping their tiny little b***h asses. Suddenly I would only be the burden for the society I had been before. So much for love and respect. For an outcast these two words are non-existant."
"For your information, there had been enough things people asked me which I declined and they still respect me though I once had been an outcast too" Spectre growled.
"Because you never made a secret of your full powers. The people already started fearing you although they are still less frightened as they should because you are still too weak-willed to also use these powers against them. Besides, when have you ever been an outcast? You had a whole army to cover your back. The Dark Legion was your family."
"Everyone I ever called my family was DEAD long before I even knew the Guardians!"
The two males approached each other rapidly but Locke jumped up and got between them. As much as he was shocked by Thunderhawk's harsh words or the fact that two Guardians nearly had started a fight against each other in the middle of Haven - it worried him even more to see how fast Thunderhawk was about to rush into a fight with one of his friends. Had he been in a bad mood under normal circumstances he only would have quickly avoided Spectre's attack and continued with his cynical taunts. But right now even the hot-tempered Spectre only shot glares while Thunderhawk's body had started glowing like he was getting ready for a massive attack and looked as if he would also blast Locke away if necessary.
"Please", Locke said as calm as possible. "We don't want a fight within the walls of Haven or any fights between Guardians at all to begin with. We have been chosen to fight as one and not separated against each other and this bond we share shall not be destroyed just because some of us are in a pissed mood."
For a few seconds the two males continued glaring at each other then Thunderhawk turned around and stomped out of the room, his body still glowing.
This time even while the memories were rushing through his mind Locke had managed to stand up and stumble towards one of the nearest bathrooms. The last thing he wanted was to vomit on the floor of the surveillance room. He barely made it to the toilett when the retch started and all he coughed up was blood. For a few seconds he only stared at the crimson trail. What had he done to himself? Or better yet, what had that thing done to him that had made such grave measures necessary? Then the next flood of memories came over him.
"To me it sounded logical what he said, even if he said it with so much anger" Sojourner told the group of Locke, Spectre and Sabre. Thunderhawk was not in the room and all they knew was that he also wasn't anywhere in Haven anymore. He had disappeared the same day he had nearly started a fight with Spectre.
"It also doesn't matter to me what you think about it but I can't leave him all on his own. Not in his condition and not after all we have been through together."
"Excuse me", Locke suddenly mumbled and rushed out of the room, a hand pressed against his abdomen. He could feel the worried gazes in his back and knew it was only a matter of time until they would start asking but not even he knew what was wrong with him.
Locked inside the bathroom he cowered on the floor, arms tightly wrapped around him. With each wave of pain his body was glowing and he bit his lips so he wouldn't cry out.
When the fit was over he was lying at the side, heavily breathing. Sabre's worries he had told him a while ago came back to his mind, "I know we are gaining experience every day but lately I have the feeling our powers are growing way too fast. Sometimes I have more energy in me than I can handle." Was it this energy overflow that had caused Thunderhawk to slowly go insane and now also tried to break out of him?
"Tell me, what is wrong with me, my old friend?" he silently asked but not even the whispering voices of Haven had an answer.
When Locke regained consciousness he found himself in the same position as he had left off his memories. His whole body was shaking. It all had started with waves of pain and sickness - the same he had right now. Besides his memory was returning way too fast. This couldn't be a side effect from the injection anymore. The thing inside of him never had been dead - he only had weakened it and now it was pushing itself through again. He would have wanted to scream but again he forced himself to stay calm. He didn't know what it was yet and even after he found out there was still enough time left to think of another way to get rid of it or find the missing Guardians or at least keep Albion from attacking again.
Slowly he walked back to the surveillance room with less hope to see anything new but with the plan to contact Davis from the EST who had become their spokesperson for Guardian matters. He might have erased his own memories but not Davis' so if any of the Guardians had told him what they had done or gone to he would still remember.
"I need to speak to Commander Davis", Locke said when the face of a complete stranger appeared on the screen but the stranger's face expression only darkened at his sight.
"Guardian..." he said with a slightly threatening undertone.
"Listen, I don't know why everyone suddenly decided to hate on me and also don't have time to deal with it", Locke gave his testy reply. "I just need to talk to Davis."
"So you really want to tell us you don't know anymore what you have done, huh? Then I'd suggest you stay hidden in your little underground basement and think about it but try to make it not too long because I still need to get you and your fellowship and kick your sorry asses - and don't expect you survive it after what you've done."
"Then tell me what in Edmund's name I have done!" Locke yelled at the screen but was ignored.
"Davis and most of the EST have fled just like most of the other Guardian lovers who were foolish enough to stay loyal to you no matter what happened but the few we got were useless to us. Since they fled south the rest hopefully was killed by the desert. I, commander Tyler, am now in charge here."
With that he disconnected and left Locke alone with his anger and nagging fear.
"In charge here" - the way he had said these words it had sounded as if he believed not only to have taken over the EST but also the whole city. What had he done to those who weren't able to leave the city fast enough? For a moment he was relieved that Lara was still living with one of the desert tribes and never had moved to Echidnaopolis so she was still save for a while but then he was really worried about the other Echidnas who kept their loyalty - the free and the captured ones. And what were all these things - awful enough to want him dead - he had done everyone hated him for but no one told him? He knew he shouldn't try to remember that fast again but this time he couldn't help but wreck his brain. Nothing, now that he finally wanted for them to return his memories about these parts stayed blank.
Therefor now that he had closed his eyes and wasn't distracted by visions or anything else he could hear the whispers of Haven again. They still were very quiet and he couldn't tell what they said - not that he ever had really fully understood them but they at least triggered memories or feelings that made him more or less understand what they were trying to say - or if the ancient Guardians even spoke to him or only with each other but their tones had definitely changed since he could remember them from his last visit. This time they also didn't sound like they were in his head but rather somewhere deeper inside of Haven. With a last look back at the screens - still nothing new - he decided to follow the whispers. He had no idea what to do now or where to start and while he was thinking he could also walk through Haven.
A narrow door opened up to his side when he walked through the corridors and showed a small corridor that he was sure never to have entered before though he had been practically living in Haven for two years now - not to speak of the knowledge of this place he had been gifted with by his ancient Guardian namesake long before he had set foot in Haven for the first time. But on the other hand it was said this place held secrets not even the Guardians who had lived in there for decades were able to uncover. When closed the door perectly blended in with the wall and was impossible to be spotted but now Haven had decided to reveal one of his secrets - probably its biggest one. For a moment Locke even forgot to breathe.
When he entered the room at the end of the corridor he found himself on a metal balustrade under the ceiling of a room at least four floors deep - deeper than the rest of Haven. The walls, floor and ceiling were made of something that could either have been black marble or smooth black metal so the room appeared to be dark though therew were the same neon lights as in the rest of Haven. And in the middle of the room there was a huge black pillar made of the same material with moving lights all over it that gave it a look of a starlit night sky mixed with working computers. The "heart" of Haven - the thing that had kept it alive for the past millennia and was the home for the past Guardians' spirits.
When Locke climbed down the stairs to the bottom he could also finally tell what exactly had changed about the tone of their whispers now that they became a bit louder again. Among them there was a silent metalic sound like the long creaks of a sinking ship heard from far away. If a machine could cry it would probably sound similar. These were the tears of Haven.
Locke felt like crying as well. He had come here in hope to find answers or at least a hint what to do but instead only found out that Haven too was despaired of the missing Guardians, the destruction or whatever else was going on. Carefully he placed a hand on the cold dark material. Some of the little lights immediately wandered closer and started blinking as an outline of his hand.
"My old friend, I wished I could help you but I don't know what to do."
When he dragged his hand away the lights were still glowing around it and opened a virtual screen in front of him. At first he blinked in surprise. Virtual screens, maybe a completely virtual hardware that could be accessed from anywhere within Haven and not just in one certain room - it had been one of his dreams since they started rebuilding the complex but he never had been able to realize it because of the lack of materials and technical possibilities and now he had it right in front of him. Again he just had to wonder what highly advanced technology the ancient Echidnas had and how they could simply accept the huge backstep during Edmund's time.
With a wave of his hand he navigated through what obviously was another surveillance screen but with a much bigger radius than the other screens of Haven. One picture showed the canyons north of Albion but thanks to a sandstorm in there he couldn't see too much, then there was the edge of Angel Island, one of the entrances to the Chaos Chamber, the edge of the desert - part of the route they had taken when Spectre once had led them to the Legion camp - seen from high above with one of the desert nomad tribes wandering through it, Echidnaopolis with Tyler standing on some ruins talking loudly to the people - at least his gestures made it look as if he was talking loudly but the screen had no sound.
"Why are you showing me this? Has something happened on these places - or will something happen? I don't know what..."
He stopped and returned to one of the previous pictures. The nomad tribe was still there but although Locke couldn't zoom any closer to see details he was sure they didn't look like any of the other tribes. Rather like people from completely different parts of the island - forced to flee from their homes but lucky enough to find people who shared the same fate so they didn't have to fight through the wilderness all alone. Locke's heart started racing.
"Thank you, old friend", he whispered when he rushed back to the stairs.
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