• Published 19th Mar 2015
  • 5,311 Views, 301 Comments

Light of Harmony - GjallarFox



The Traveler has felt the victory of its Guardians at the Black Garden. With this decisive victory comes a new decision: take the fight to the Darkness. With a set of six Ghosts sent to the far reaches of the Sol system, what is it expecting to find?

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The Seventh Ship

Back in the Tower, the ponies made their way to the Cryptarch's booth. Master Rahool was there, waiting, no Guardians decrypting engrams or purchasing armor. "Ah! The new Guardians are back! Congratulations on your first successful mission!"

"That mission was supposed to be 'nab a ship and scram.' It got really messy really quickly," Rainbow sighed as she slumped over a bit, showing her exhaustion.

"Oh?" the Cryptarch asked, interest piqued.

K-Ayd popped out and answered on behalf of his Guardian, "Archon."

"I thought Riksis was slain already." Master Rahool raised his eyebrows in surprise.

"It wasn't Riksis. It was his replacement. We don't know its name, but it's dead now," Z-Lda informed. "Also, we found something that is of great interest to the Cryptarchy."

The Ghost went over to the table and in a flash of light, rendered the flags from Hangar 1 of the LAX Cosmodrome. The Cryptarch gasped and slowly approached the things, as though the flags were his son he thought long dead. He inspected them carefully, putting on gloves so as not to ruin the perfect quality of the artifacts before him. "These were in the LAX Cosmodrome?"

"Yup!" Pinkie bounced up and down, her smile widening from the reaction of the Cryptarch.

"These are near priceless! We've never seen one of these in such perfect condition! The one in the City's museum is tattered and riddled with holes and singes," Master Rahool gushed over the things. "Go speak to the Vanguard, get your profiles updated so that you can get better armor from me. From now on, your armor is free."

"That's mighty kind of you but-" Applejack started.

"You have brought something back that we thought no longer existed. I'm certain the rest of the Cryptarchy will agree with my choice of reward. Now go."

Sent away by the Cryptarch, the ponies made their way towards the Vanguard headquarters, unsure of what to expect. They knew not the significance of the death of an Archon, but judging by how powerful it was, they assumed it would be worthy of immense reward. They walked down the stairs and past the hall of high-level merchants, and on to the main office of the Vanguard. Once again, they found the three Guardian representatives of the Vanguard standing around the massive holo-table. It took the ponies virtually no time to realize that they were looking over a map of the LAX Cosmodrome.

Cayde-6 was the first to greet them, "Ah! Our new fireteam has survived their first mission!"

"Can't say I'm surprised," Ikora Rey smirked as she turned to face them. "Their Light is greater even than my own."

"Due to your presence here, I assume you have successfully gotten yourselves some ships," Commander Zavala deduced as he too turned his attention away from the table. "Most excellent. How did it all go?"

"A mite rougher than expected," Applejack answered. "We ran into an Archon."

"And you yet live to tell the tale," Cayde mused. "That's pretty funny since that cosmodrome was Devil territory, and they lost their Archon a while back."

"It wasn't Riksis. It was his replacement," Z-Lda said to the Exo. "K-Rah's got most of the fight recorded. The new Archon has been slain."

"Well, since we never knew the House of Devils had a replacement Archon in their ranks, there was no bounty posted on its head. But the elimination of any Archon is a great victory for the City. For that, we will award you the bounty posted on Riksis' head. Twelve thousand Glimmer will be distributed among the six of you. As well, that kill counts significantly towards each of your Levels. That boosts each of you by two just for the Archon's death. But I have a feeling that the Archon wasn't alone. They never are."

"By my calculations, everyone in this team has reached Level 8 from this venture," K-Rah informed.

"When you head off to update your weapons, go talk to the frame by the shipwright. She'll give you some better weapons than Banshee can get you," Cayde suggested as he turned and walked off somewhere, starting a new conversation with an unseen correspondent.

"Thanks to you six, we now have eyes in and around Terminal 6 of the LAX Cosmodrome, as well as hangars one through three. This intel is absolutely priceless. You have the full support of the Vanguard in all of your upcoming endeavors," Zavala said. He then looked up as though something had suddenly caught his attention. "Ah! Amuro! Just who I needed. Would you show these ladies to the Guardians' quarters? They'll need rooms."

"Yes sir," their guide replied with a salute. "This way."

------

The ponies, seeing as they were already well acquainted and all the same gender, got a suite that housed all six of them. It was an apartment-style setup, with a common kitchen and living room, which none of them really thought they'd get much use out of, and three bedrooms with one bed for two. Instantly the group knew Fluttershy would room with Twilight, as the two of them were closer to each other than the rest of the group, as well as the fact that the pegasus often had nightmares, and Twilight was best at calming her down. Rainbow decided to room with Pinkie, believing herself most able to handle her antics, and that left Rarity and Applejack together in the last remaining room. The only problem was, none of them had any civilian clothing to change into, and none of them, save for perhaps Rainbow and Pinkie for sheer lack of fucks to give, were comfortable sleeping in the nude with someone else in their bed. At least, not in these somewhat unfamiliar bodies.

So each of them asked if their Ghosts could synthesize a set of civilian clothing from random materials, and sure enough they could. It would take some time, but the process would be simple enough. It took about thirty minutes, but each of the Ghosts returned with a simple shirt and shorts for each of the ponies, matching their coat color so as not to cause confusion as to whose was whose. And with that settled, they all retreated to their rooms, and fell asleep faster than they ever had back home.

They slept until the sun rose the next day, a full twenty hours having passed quite quickly. One by one they began to stir, Twilight the first to get out of bed and wander into the kitchen to check for food. To their surprise there was enough food to cook a decent meal for six. So, wiping the sleep from her eyes, she began planning out what and how she would cook.

The ponies ate their meal in near silence, the only things to talk about being upcoming missions, which none of them had knowledge of, and the fate of their home and the friends they had there, but that was a dark and painful subject. Of course, just because there were no voices in the air didn't mean there were none in the minds of the ponies. Twilight thought almost exclusively of Spike and how he could have survived the destruction of Equis. She remembered tiny details like how dragons could bathe in lava and be unharmed, to how dragon scales were one of the toughest materials known to science and magic. If Spike had managed to make it to dragon territory, then the likelihood of him surviving was much greater, due to the abundance of lava pools to hide in and fellow dragons to push back against the expansion of the Cabal.

A knock came at their door, splitting the silence. Twilight simply opened the door with her magic, not bothering to stand up. At the door was Amuro, who stood slightly astonished at the door opening without the ponies coming to answer it. After a moment, he said, "Commander Zavala sent me. He needs to talk to you six specifically about yesterday's mission."

"We'll head up after we're done eating," Twilight responded casually as she continued eating her meal. She closed the door again with magic, and allowed the silence to return.

It took another ten minutes to finish their meal, five to armor up, and another five to walk over to the Vanguard headquarters. Once there, they found Commander Zavala and the other Vanguard leaders at their usual holo-table, waiting for them. The moment they stepped into the busy room, Zavala greeted them and beckoned them over to the massive table.

"On your last mission, you accessed Hangar 1, which housed seven US Fighter ships. After you left, the Ghosts made sure to lock the door behind you. However, the seventh ship is now missing," the Titan representative began.

"What?" Rarity questioned. "Are the Fallen responsible for this?"

"The Fallen are not behind this," Ikora Rey responded. "The Hangar's cameras got a very brief shot of the culprit before they were disrupted." With a few hand motions, the Warlock pulled up a holo-screen from the table, expanding it and rendering the surveillance footage. From a spot just above the Hangar door, the clip showed the ship they'd left behind sitting alone in the sealed building. However, a few seconds in, the image shook, and then a column of light began filtering in and expanding as the door slid open. A shadow then made itself apparent on the ground, a figure standing tall with an arm out to the side, holding a hand cannon. With a smooth motion, the shadow put away the weapon on its hip, and began walking forward. Once it walked in, they saw it as a hooded figure with a horn sticking out from beneath its hood, and something hiding on its back beneath its cloak. "That looks almost like you, Twilight Sparkle."

The unicorn looked closely at the screen, watching the figure move. Suddenly, as though it sensed it was being watched, the horn lit up and the image went black for about twenty seconds. After that, the image was restored, revealing the Hangar to be empty, with its doors closed.

"Something's amiss here. That thing had a horn and magic, but if you go back to where it first walks in, you can see lumps in its back near the shoulders. I suspect it has wings as well," Twilight said. "Go back to when the doors start opening."

Wordlessly, Ikora Rey began rewinding the video, the events passing by in reverse, until it was at the desired time point. The doors began opening in the video, revealing the hooded figure's shadow, holding a hand cannon out to the side. But as Twilight looked closer, she saw the faintest hint of movement near the hips just before the hand cannon was put away. Twilight pointed, "There. Just before it puts away its gun, it moves its wings."

"Interesting," Cayde-6 said as he observed what the unicorn had pointed out. "But that brings up another question. How did it get here from your homeworld?"

"Alicorn magic is extremely powerful. If it knew the spell and the location of this planet, it could very easily have just teleported here," Twilight answered.

"Well, this is certainly a development. I guess your overarching mission is to find and bring in this individual. While you work on that, you are free to take up any of the bounties that Xander 99-40 has today. I would suggest taking up multiple bounties at once," the Exo said, "it'll help you raise your Levels faster."

"Well, girls, looks like we're looking for any bounties in the LAX Cosmodrome," Twilight sighed in mild exasperation. As much as she wanted to believe that one of the princesses was alive and now here on Earth, she knew better. She'd seen the state of their armor, bloodstained and riddled with holes. Their skeletons were all that remained in that broken castle, Death claiming their souls, their immortal bodies lost to Time. But this stranger, this alicorn with the seventh ship of Hangar 1, they were a survivor from their homeworld. Perhaps they knew the fate of their home. Perhaps they were a Guardian too, reforged by a Ghost. Or perhaps those thoughts were naught but conjecture.

As they stepped back out into the main courtyard of the Tower, they noticed a new curiosity over on a small balcony by the doorway to the Speaker's observatory. There was a dark ship suspended just beyond the balcony's reach, and its presumed owner stood there, some Guardians avoiding her as the citizens of Ponyville had with Zecora, and others daring to speak to her. As they approached this new face in the Tower, the ponies observed that she had a third eye. Not only this, but she kept those eyes hidden beneath a blindfold, from under which darkness seemed to drip down. In her hands, she held a green sphere of something that seemed sinister, in which a small black object was suspended.

The figure turned to look at them, and said, "You're not meant for my tasks. Though effective, you're needed elsewhere."

"How do you know?" Fluttershy asked, stepping closer than the others dared.

"It was told to me," the hooded and blindfolded woman replied.

"By whom?" the pegasus asked.

"By the Shattered One," she said. "Go. You are needed elsewhere and time is not on your side."

"What do you mean by that?" Applejack interrogated the mysterious woman.

"Go. Find the stranger. You will need their help," she dismissed, turning away to talk to other Guardians.

With that, the ponies turned and left, heading off to the Cryptarch's booth to get a new set of armor for each of them. As they walked, each of them thought on what the mysterious woman had said to them. Who was this woman? What could she have known? And for that matter, who was the Stranger? Did they know the Stranger, or did the Stranger knew them? Why were they so important?

These questions, though unanswerable, provided ample room for hypothesis. If this odd woman crying darkness could detect somehow that the Stranger was important, much like the Speaker had detected that they had immense Light, then it could be conceived that the Stranger could be a Guardian like them. It could, at the same time, be that the Stranger was an agent of the Darkness, equivalent to humanity's Satan, or Equestria's Tirek; a deal would need to be struck to ensure the Darkness' defeat, but ensure the Darkness had at least a chance of returning.

------

The sun shined down on the LAX Cosmodrome, showing the ponies what their first mission's location looked like in daylight for the first time. The sunlight glared off of the metallic walls and glass windows. In their rush to finish their mission the previous day, they failed to notice just how trashed the one smooth tarmac was. Ship parts, blown apart and now naught but scrap, lay strewn across its surface. It was a miracle none of them tripped over one on their dash to the hangars. Frames of crashed fighters polka-dotted the ground, streaks of torn up concrete and tarmac marking their ancient doom trajectories. Some still had skeletons in their cockpits, the old glass canopies somehow staying sealed after impact. Others had nothing in their cockpits but ashes and ghosts. But human ships were not the only ones littering the grounds of the cosmodrome. Fallen skiffs were almost as common as human fighters, although they looked as though they were different in design somehow, perhaps because they were earlier models of the ones in current service of their four-armed enemies. A few other ships lay broken and battered on the ground, looking too much like the Fallen skiffs to be coincidence.

Soon enough they came across a small squad of Fallen in yellow armor. Figuring them to be the same as the ones in red, Applejack pulled out her newest weapon: the Silver Dollar Mk. 32 shotgun. Not bothering to aim down the sights, she approached the enemies that were yet unaware of their presence. When the first one turned and saw her, she pulled the trigger with the barrel to its back. The unfortunate Dreg was pushed forwards by the blast and slammed into the Vandal of the group, sending both of them tumbling in a flailing mass of arms and screaming. The four other Dregs, now aware that they were under attack, immediately drew their pistols and started firing at the group of Guardians who'd interrupted their salvage patrol.

The weak arc rounds were not enough to pierce the shields of the Guardians' shiny new armor. The small arms fire was, however, enough to irk Applejack into pumping another shotgun round into the chamber and letting it loose on a pair of unfortunate Dregs. The two enemies instantly paid for being too close to each other with their heads. Undeterred by its comrades' gruesome deaths, the last Dreg tossed a grenade at the group, making all of them scatter to avoid the blast. Using the grenade as cover to approach its assailant, it fired a few rounds from its pistol as it charged towards Applejack, one of them slamming into the shotgun and knocking it aside, another five hitting her chestplate and draining the shields to near nothing. It proceeded to scream a battle cry, unsheathing one of its daggers and throwing it at the Titan. The knife struck a weak spot in the armor, bringing down the shield, and piercing her abdomen. As she screamed in pain, the Fallen pulled out its second knife and lunged to slash at her throat.

A shot from Rarity's scout rifle struck the would be killer in the head, just between fates; soon enough to save her friend but too late to prevent the Fallen from causing one more injury. The Dreg's corpse fell with the knife still in its hand, and ended up putting a nasty gash in Applejack's thigh.

"FffffffffuuuuCK!" the farmer cursed in pain as she pulled the dagger out of her belly and dropping it to the ground. "Fuck fuck fuck fuck fUCK!"

"We still have a problem!" Rarity called out to the rest of the group, pointing at the Vandal that was picking itself up off the ground, tossing aside the lifeless corpse of its squadmate. Rainbow Dash simply drew her hand cannon and shot it once in the head, dispatching it with unmatched speed. "Or not."

"Alright, dear, I'll get right to that wound," Z-Lda said, inspecting the slit in her belly that the Dreg had put there with its knife. It fired a beam of light much like the one used to interact with other machinery. After that, she giggled as a tickling sensation replaced the pain, her flesh sewing itself back together as though being zipped closed like a suitcase. "There. Now I'll take care of that armor. Do be more careful Applejack."

"We're going to need to be more cautious," Twilight said. "These Fallen are different from the ones we fought last time."

"She's right. The Fallen House of Devils barely had any leadership left in them, and we eliminated the last of it the other day. The House of Kings still has plenty of its power base left. For all intents and purposes, they are a much greater threat," Z-Lda informed the rest of the group.

"I'm going to go out on a limb and say that the Fallen Houses are like factions?" Rarity proposed.

"Kind of," her Ghost replied. "Each House is essentially a kingdom. They each have a Prime Servitor, serving the role of their god, a Kell for their king, an Archon for their religious leader, and Captains as all of the knights serving the Kell."

"They're also a merit based society, with great importance being placed upon their arms," G-Evs added.

"So the smaller ones with only two arms must have done something to bring themselves dishonor," Twilight deduced, more to herself than anyone else.

They soon made it back to Hangar 1, where they had salvaged their ships from, and found the door to be cracked open, just enough to walk through in single file. J-Ami materialized in her usual spot above Twilight's shoulder. "I guess we'll start looking for hints as to what the Stranger is or where they might have been heading."

So the Ghosts started looking around, small grids of light appearing on the surfaces they were scanning. Sometimes they would freeze in place and pulse three times, the eight white tetrahedrons around their main body flicking outward with each pulse. On the ground where the seventh ship had been, there was a circle of dust that had been forced out from beneath the ship as it took off. In that dust were boot prints left by the Stranger, as well as a pile of shell casings. But behind a pillar, where a toolbox had been when they were there last, was a different box, with green lights on the lid and silver in color. "I think I see something," Rainbow said to her Ghost as she stalked toward it, drawing her hand cannon. The others watched, and upon hearing a mechanical noise, the others drew their weapons as well.

SkreeeEEEEE-op! Gohm gohm gohm!

"That's a Servitor! Aim for the eye!" K-Ayd called.

A floating spherical object with a crater in the front of it spun around in surprise as Rainbow discovered it hiding. Without thinking, Rainbow shot the thing, the bullet ricocheting off of its hardened armor. She jumped back, using her wings to give her more distance. She raised her sleek new hand cannon and unloaded the five remaining rounds, aiming for the center of the thing's eye. Luckily, that was enough to damage it beyond repair. Knowing it was defeated, the Servitor exploded in a purple flash, some of its shrapnel slicing through Rainbow's armor shielding, slicing her arm open and spraying a little blood on the wall. "Gah! Shit!"

"I got you," her Ghost said, mending the wound like Applejack's Ghost had done for her Guardian. "You're alright."

"No doubt we've alerted nearby Fallen to our presence by killing that thing," J-Ami warned. "I have reason to believe the Stranger was headed to Venus. Where exactly on Venus, I don't know."

"Would there be a problem if we headed there after we head out?" Twilight asked.

"We might be able to make it there," her Ghost replied. "Going up a few Levels wouldn't hurt."

"Let's see what these bounties do for us," the unicorn sighed.

"The extraction crew is inbound," G-Evs informed. "They seem to have a Walker with them."

"Walker? The bounty said nothing about a Walker," K-Ayd growled.

"Who cares. We've killed an Archon. I'm sure we'll be fine," Rainbow smirked confidently, reloading her hand cannon.

"Famous last words…" her Ghost sighed.